VIRTUAL EVENT: South-South Cooperation Forum on Food Security and Agrobiodiversity in times of Covid-19 and Climate Change

30 November to 2 December 2020. South-South Cooperation Forum on Food Security and Agrobiodiversity in times of Covid-19 and Climate Change

This Forum, organized by UNEP in collaboration with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), builds upon global transformative experiences and good practices, and explore on three themes “Poverty alleviation: food and nutrition security”, “Agrobiodiversity and smallholder resilience” and “Food system transformation”.

The main aim of the Report on the Forum for the UNEP, will be to formulate and put down the key outputs of the meeting from the thematic areas of discussion  as well as develop and submit a report to the United Nations World Food Summit 2021.

South-South Forum Background Paper (15 pages)

  • This background paper has been prepared for the South-South Cooperation Forum on Food Security and Agrobiodiversity. 
  • It probes the core issues of food security and agrobiodiversity in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and climate change. The paper is expected to provide identified opportunities for addressing these challenges and key discussion questions for the Forum to contribute to the acceleration of actions in the global South.


  1. In the COVID-19 and climate change context, food security in the global South is increasingly at risk, especially for female smallholder farmers in rural areas 
  2. Loss of biodiversity—agrobiodiversity in particular—will further stress food production and resilience building
  3. How to build back better and rebuild the loss of gained ground on the SDGs

  1. Promoting an integrated approach for achieving the SDGs, food insecurity, biodiversity loss and climate change in particular
  2. Promoting South-South Cooperation for effective delivery of capacity building, knowledge sharing and technology transfer 
  3. The COVID-19 recovery process creates an opportunity to reset the path for building back better in the global South, building upon existing platform for transformation


30/11 Theme 1 Poverty alleviation: food and nutrition security

Key questions: 

  • To what extent have the twin crises of COVID-19 and climate change affected access to food and nutrition security at the household level in the Global south? Discuss by region.
  • Food poverty is a critical issue and constant existential threat to a significant majority of populations in the Global South. What are appropriate coping mechanisms? Discuss by region.
  • Natural catastrophes, climate-related disasters and global health crises will continue to occur. How can multilateralism and global partnership play a vital role in effectively addressing these?
Kick off message: Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP

Keynote presentation: Johan Swinnen – Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute

Panel 1: 

  • Facilitated by: Ms. Linxiu Zhang, Director, UNEP-IEMP 
  • Dr. Jiban Krishna Biswas, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
  • James Mbata, Malawi, PEA
  • Sabnam Shivakoti, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Nepal
  • Eleonore Amenan Kouakou, Burundi
Panel 2:
  • Facilited by: Mr Golam Rasul ICIMOD 
  • Mr. Jared Bosire, UNEP 
  • Dr Ganesh Thapa, Nepal 
  • Mr Mustafa Hamed Zia, Afghanistan 
  • Muhammad Saghir, Pakistan 
  • Solomon Makuza, Rwanda  
01/12 Theme 2: Agro-biodiversity and smallholder resilience
Key questions:

  • How have agrobiodiversity and smallholder farmer communities been affected during natural catastrophes, climate-related disasters and global health crises?
  • How can policy instruments (e.g. Government NDCs, reports to UN Convention on Biodiversity, CEDAW, Beijing+25 reports) be enhanced to promote agrobiodiversity as a coping strategy against similar pandemics as the COVID-19 and climate change?
  • What governance models exist in the regions that enable women and men to steward natural biodiversity while also promoting local food production systems?
Kick off message: Susan Gardner
Keynote presentation: Bernadette P. Resurrección Associate Professor, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada

Panel 1: Issue and ground facts

  • Facilitated by: Nidhi Tandon (UN Women) 
  • Yiching Song, UNEP-IEMP 
  • Cris Panerio, Philippines
  • Pierre Boileau, UNEP
  • Bharat Bhandari, Nepal
Panel 2: Existing practices and solutions
  • Facilitated by: Dr. Fadel Ndiame, Deputy President of AGRA
  • Haroon Akram Lodhi, Canada 
  • Goodman Gcaba, South Africa
  • Vijay Kumar Thallam, India 
  • Lise Lykke Steffensen, Nordic Genetic Resources Centre (Sweden)
02/12 Theme 3: Food systems transformation (from 1000hrs – 1315hrs East Africa Time / UCT+3)
Key questions:

  • What appropriate policy response measures have been in place to effectively address impacts of COVID-19 and climate change on vulnerable groups so far?
  • What measures can be instituted to promote a food system transformation, and what opportunities does the pandemic open up to promote resilience in local food systems?
  • How should South-South Cooperation promote women’s empowerment in equitable farm and food systems in the context of biodiversity, climate change and health risks, what are the next steps?Keynote: Satu Santala, Director General, Development Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland

Kick off message: Ruth Oniang’o, Kenya

Keynote presentationSatu Santala, Director General, Development Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland
Panel 1: 
  • Facilitated by: Patty Fong (Global Alliance for the Future of Food)
  • Fadel Ndiame, Senegal
  • Mr Bingfang Wu, China
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Pakistan
  • Domingos Zefanias Gove, Mozambique
Panel 2: 
  • Facilitated by: Mr. William Speller, TEEB Programme, UNEP
  • Paulo Augusto Lourenco Dias Nunes, Italy
  • Marc Wegerif, South Africa
  • Jyoti Prakash Tamang, India
  • Tayan Raj Gurung, Bhutan
  • Patty Fong, Global Alliance

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