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Emerging Ag 2019 Year in Review

2019 was a successful year for Emerging Ag with many accomplishments worth highlighting! 


As Emerging Ag welcomed 2019 we were able to have a look at the coming year and build plans around the events and projects everyone would be attending and taking part in. Through this planning, our calendar grew, and it shaped up to be a very busy year.

Internally, the team continued to grow as we welcomed Zaira Lanna in the role of Strategy Manager. As a Strategy Manager, Zaira works on stakeholder engagement strategies, risk monitoring and policy development in a range of projects, mostly related to public health and ecosystem conservation. She is an external affair professional with a strong background in emerging economies and a great interest in sustainable development.

Hlami Ngwenya also joined the team as a Special Facilitator. She is an International Development Consultant and Lecturer at the University of Free State, South Africa (Centre for Sustainable Agriculture). She is also Social Entrepreneur and Founder and Executive Director of the Facilitation of Systemic Change Consulting Company.


World Pulses Day

The first international celebration of World Pulses Day, which was officially designated by a resolution of the United Nations to fall on 10 February every year, took place at a luncheon at the United Nation Headquarters on 7 February. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Burkina Faso and Turkey, as well as by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC). 

The road to the establishment of this important Day was paved with successes that have resounded around the world, beginning with the International year of Pulses in 2016. With this legacy, the celebratory luncheon of World Pulses Day was attended by over 95 guests, 76 of whom were representatives of Member States.


Representing Business at UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) 

The 4th session of the UN Environment Assembly was held March 11–15 in Nairobi, on the theme ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges & Sustainable Consumption and Production.’ Emerging Ag organized the Global Business Alliance for the Environment’s High-Level Dinner attended by over 80 guests including Mr. Siim Kiisler, President of UNEA4, alongside many Ambassadors, Ministers of the Environment, Permanent Representatives, NGO representatives, UN staff and private sector actors. The dinner was run as a guided discussion with each table discussing concrete ways to incorporate and leverage the expertise of business when responding to environmental challenges.

Emerging Ag Kenyan Team Retreat

After the UNEA4 conference, 19 team members met at Mount Kenya for the semi-annual team retreat. While we work in a virtual office most of the year, these retreats give us the opportunity to come together to discuss the many projects we work on, and to come together as a team. After three days of intensive meetings, we had the opportunity to visit a school and a number of farms in Kiambu, Kerugoya. Also, the group was able to tour two smallholder dairy farms, as well as the dairy processing plant Palmhouse Dairies.

The team retreat allowed Emerging to also welcome two new team members, Sophie Goudard and Rosemary Navarrete.

Sophie acts in the role of Operations Manager and focuses primarily on team logistics, scheduling and event planning. A French national from a mixed background, Sophie holds a Master of Arts in International Cultural Exchange Strategies from the Institute of Political Sciences of Lyon, a BA in Legal Studies and Political Science from the Institute of Political Sciences of Rennes and a BA in History.

Rosemary joined our Rome based team in the role of Stakeholder Manager. She is a US-trained international lawyer with a Masters in Economic Development.  Before joining the team at Emerging, she worked as an Agriculture Adviser for the Minister Counsellor for the Department of Agriculture-Australia, posted to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization-Rome.


Emerging Ag supports responsible research on gene drive during International Society for Biosafety Research Conference  

Emerging Ag in its role of secretariat of the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research supported the organization of a parallel session on Risk Assessment and Management of Gene Drive Research during the 15th Symposium of the International Society for Biosafety Research (IBSR). The session discussed ethical and regulatory issues in carrying out responsible research on gene drive applications for biodiversity conservation and public health.


Emerging Ag takes part in an European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) workshop on risk assessment of gene drive

The workshop discussed plausible environmental risks associated with the release of gene drive organisms to control agricultural pests and insects. One of the key takeaways was that existing risk assessment frameworks can be a reference for guiding the research on gene drive applications. More information on the workshop is available here.

Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research welcomes 3 new members

The Pirbright Institute, the Insect Genetics Group (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine joined the Network. A blog with news, reports and articles about gene drive was also launched. On the policy front, we saw public recognition of the need for more investment in research and for new tools to address health and conservation challenges. The message was highlighted in several key reports throughout the year, such as the IPBES’ report, WHO World Malaria Report, The Lance Commission’s report on Malaria and IUCN report on synthetic biology. The members of the Network participated in numerous thematic consultations and preparation meetings worldwide that will inform two major milestones of 2020, the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) and the adoption of the CBD Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.


World Milk Day

World Milk Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2001 to recognize the importance of milk as a global food.

To help create a positive stream of conversation in advance of the celebration, Emerging coordinated for the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) the Enjoy Dairy Rally from May 29-31, culminating in World Milk Day on June 1. Through social and traditional media as well as hundreds of events, the benefits of milk and dairy products were actively promoted, including how dairy supports the livelihoods of one billion people around the world.

Highlights included:

664 million impressions for the global campaign (including #EnjoyDairy plus 17 translations and local hashtags) 

50,000+ posts using #WorldMilkDay

391 million impressions for #WorldMilkDay

60% positive, 36% neutral, 4% negative sentiment for top 3 hashtags

525 media articles with 341 million readership (75% positive sentiment)

107 Countries featured World Milk Day activity, among which 66 countries hosted 420 events

The 5th Oat Recipe Contest for Avena Canadiense announces 12 talented winners

On behalf of the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), Emerging Ag announced the 12 winners of the Contest before Canada Day at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City on June 27. The contest, open to Mexican residents – amateurs and professionals, celebrates the health benefits and versatility of oats. This year, we received 91 sweet and savory recipes. Read the full press release here. You can download the recipe booklet which includes all 12 winners and their amazing creations here! 


Global Dairy Platform at the High-Level Political Forum 2019

Eight Dairy “Ambassadors”, members of the Global Dairy Platform (GDP), participated in the High-Level Political Forum held from 9 to 18 July, 2019. Emerging worked with these representatives to conduct outreach aimed at sharing the contributions of the Dairy Sector to the Sustainable Development Goals. They spoke at side events: United Nations Decade of Family Farming, USCIB’s All In Forum on Multistakeholder Partnerships and UN DESA’s special event on the role of philanthropy on achieving the SDGs.

First release of sterile male mosquitoes in Burkina Faso

It was a crucial year for Target Malaria. The project’s Burkinabè team released its first modified sterile male mosquitoes. The release was also the first of its kind on the African continent and the result of seven years of dedicated work by all partners. While these mosquitoes are not yet an antimalarial tool, this is undoubtedly a significant step towards the next phase of their gene drive research.


Emerging Ag Canadian Team Retreat

In August, the team met for its second team retreat in Calgary, Canada. It was another fantastic opportunity for the group to take part in team building and professional development sessions and have some fun along the way. After two days of meetings and brainstorming sessions, the team took part in a farm tour. We started off at Olds College, an innovative agriculture-based school located approximately 45 minutes North of Calgary. We were able to tour facilities and view work being done in the sectors of animal health, horticulture, and the Digital Agriculture Centre. We, then, visited Kaun’s Seed Farm in Penhold, Alberta, approximately 30 minutes further North. We toured the canola fields and learned about crop breeding techniques, farm machinery and crop rotation.

In a year of growth, the Emerging Ag team gained another new member with Jacob Tukai as Project Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, Jacob explored ecosystem financial values that natural ecologies and biodiversity hold and provided administrative and financial support for The Wildlife Foundation (TWF) in Kenya. Jacob holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Kenyatta University, Kenya, and a certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation from MS TCDC, Arusha, Tanzania. He has a special interest in information technology, green energy development, finance and agriculture.


Sharing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship at the Africa Green Revolution Forum 

Emerging Ag coordinated Fertilizer Canada’s attendance at the 2019 Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Accra, Ghana. Fertilizer Canada launched their 4R Nutrient Stewardship project, which is being implemented in three African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal. The project works directly with 80,000 smallholder farmers, with a strong gender component, to share customized tools and best management practices for nutrient stewardship. 

Target Malaria Mali imports modified mosquitoes

The Mali team marked an important milestone with the import of modified mosquitoes for work under containment at their insectary facility. The permission to import was received in 2018 from the biosafety agency.


UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

CFS46 took place at the FAO Headquarters in Rome October 14-18. The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) had its largest delegation to date, with 211 business leaders, including over 30 youth and representatives of youth organizations, from 45 countries.

A successful meeting with FAO’s new Director General, Dr Qu Dongyu, took place. 15 additional bilateral meetings occurred throughout the week.

In Plenary, PSM was able to make 14 interventions on a broad selection of topics. PSM hosted 5 side events, which reached over 900 attendees on the topics of nutrition; agroecology and innovation, multi-stakeholder partnerships; and youth. In addition, PSM delegates spoke at 11 other side events. You can read the full CFS report here. 

This year’s High Level Dinner brought together over 200 guests, including the Chair of the CFS, H.E Mario Arvelo of the Dominican Republic, the Director General of FAO, Dr Qu Dongyu and Ambassadors, Representatives of CFS Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and companies. The theme of the dinner was “Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance and Improve Food Security and Nutrition in the Framework of the 2030 Agenda.” Read the full High Level Dinner report here.

Emerging Ag at the Latin America regional meeting on food systems and nutrition in Panama

Emerging Ag guided the PSM delegation at the Latin America regional consultation on the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition in Panama on October 28th – 29th. The private sector delegates stressed the importance of multistakeholder partnerships, science and innovation to achieve nutrition-sensitive food systems in the region.

Introducing the Avena Champions (A.K.A Campeones de Avena)

A new and exciting section was launched in October on the website titled “Campeones de Avena”. This section highlights the work of chefs, recipe contest winners and bloggers, developing delicious oat recipes to help Mexican consumers adopt a healthy diet.


Avena Canadiense joins YouTube

Online video is becoming the favorite format for new audiences when it comes to having fun, learning and getting inspired. The Mexican food blog Avena Canadiense launched a YouTube channel in October to host a series of newly created videos. The videos vary from tasty Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles with Oats, to crispy and delicious fish tacos. The videos are made in conjunction with the Mexican Food blogger Karla Hernandez from Pizca de Sabor as well as the Mexican Diabetes Federation (Federación Mexicana de Diabetes). To date, the videos have garnered over 1.2 million views on both Facebook and YouTube. Explore the archive and subscribe to the YouTube channel here.


World Diabetes Day celebrations in Mexico City

On November 14, 2019, Avena Canadiense, with support from the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) and Grupo Vida, celebrated World Diabetes Day with cooking workshops at the Colegio Superior de Gastronomia in Mexico City. The guests, diabetes patients and medical professionals, were taught how to cook the 12 recipes from the contest and learned about the nutritional benefits of adding oats into their diet. The training was captured in a photo album shared on the Facebook page.


Target Malaria Communications

The website’s new section on “Our Work” now features updated and expanded information about the project’s approach, and new videos are available on the project’s Vimeo channel, including voices from Target Malaria’s stakeholders in Uganda and Burkina Faso. Throughout the year, the project also published several studies, covering issues from responsible stakeholder engagement to gene drive resistance. Researchers also participated in discussions worldwide to raise awareness of malaria’s economic and social burden, and the need for innovative tools to eradicate the disease.

Season’s Greetings

We thank our clients for their longstanding support. Thanks to their trust in our services, we were able to accomplish so much in 2019. Our ever growing team is looking forward to serving you in the new year. We wish you all a happy holiday season and our best wishes for 2020 and for this new decade! 

Ashleigh Schoonderbeek

Ashleigh has joined the Emerging team as one of our client-service coordinators. She brings with her experience in food services, the arts, media and development, and administration. She is currently working on completing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree at the University of Calgary and Athabasca University, this program combined her passion for writing, travelling and connecting with people, aspects she hopes to continue and develop moving forward. Ashleigh currently holds a number of teaching certificates in various aspects of dance. Learn more

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