The Malabo Montpellier Panel at AKADEMIYA2063 recently concluded the 9th edition of the biannual Malabo Montpellier Forum to offer a roadmap of policy innovations for food systems transformation, building resilience and adapting to climate change. The Forum promotes stakeholder dialogue against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly frequent and extreme climate change related weather events across the continent.
Following the UN Food Systems Summit and the recently concluded COP26, the virtual Forum unveiled Recipes for success: policy innovations to transform Africa’s food systems and build resilience, a report summarizing seven of the Panel’s reports and over 50 country analyses published between 2017 and 2020, with renewed stakeholder appetite to absorb and implement the evidence-based guide for sustainable food systems transformation. With the continent poised to host COP27 next year, and amid the ongoing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, now is the time to align the goals and ambitions of the continent’s food systems transformation and climate change agendas.
“There is no greater urgency right now than to fix our food systems,” said Dr. Ousmane Badiane, AKADEMIYA2063 Executive Chairperson and Malabo Montpellier Panel Co-Chair.
“Mindful of the advances over the last couple of decades, there is still so much more to be done in terms of the quality of progress, spanning ecosystem health, equality of growth and living conditions, reduction of vulnerability through for example social safety nets, improved health and nutrition and safeguarding livelihoods in the context of changing climates. Achieving these requires a lot of joint effort from various groups of actors, and this explains the mission of the Malabo Montpellier Panel in apprehending these intricacies through evidence-based research. Our report provides a practical, evidence-based guide to support African countries’ efforts to accelerate progress towards ending hunger and transforming their food systems,” he said.
“Recipes for success: policy innovations to transform Africa’s food systems and build resilience is not just a title of the volume released during the Forum; it captures our mission and strategy at the Malabo Montpellier Panel,” said Prof. Joachim von Braun, Malabo Montpellier Panel Co-Chair from the Center for Development Research, Bonn University in Germany.
“We like to learn from successes, but we do take note of problems. The seven themes addressed in the monograph – nutrition, irrigation, mechanization, trade, digitization, energy, and livestock, are cornerstones of a well-functioning food system. But we do not treat them in isolation; we connect them to systems issues. Going forward, the true costs of food need to be identified and considered; the costs of malfunctioning food systems to public health and the environment must come down everywhere, notably in Africa. What we need are sustainable, efficient food systems that deliver on the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The convening ended with a resounding call to action from Malabo Montpellier Forum Co-Chair, H.E. Assia Bensalah Alaoui, Ambassador-at-large of His Majesty Mohamed VI King of Morocco.
“The centrality of food systems transformation and its multiple interconnections with key areas for the sustainability of mankind will offer more opportunities to our youth and populations at large, because they will stay on our continent and contribute with their talent to the transformation of Africa and the implementation of Agenda 2063,” she said.
The 9th Malabo Montpellier Forum attracted 120 attendees from over 50 organizations, including senior government representatives from nine African countries and featuring over 22 high-level speakers, seven fireside chats and one high-level policy roundtable discussion.
About The Malabo Montpellier Panel
The Malabo Montpellier Panel convenes 16 leading experts in agriculture, engineering, ecology, nutrition, and food security. Its aim is to facilitate policy choices by African governments in order to accelerate progress toward food security and improved nutrition. The Panel identifies areas of progress and positive change across the continent and assesses what successful countries have done differently. It identifies the institutional and policy innovations and program interventions that can best be replicated and scaled by other countries. The related Malabo Montpellier Forum provides a platform to promote policy innovation; it uses the evidence produced by the Panel to facilitate dialogue among high-level decision-makers on African agriculture, nutrition, and food security.