Good health is impossible without healthy food

Corona makes it even more difficult to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. So that this perspective does not get out of sight, Germany must play a stronger role internationally - a summary of the Strategic Advisory Group of SEWOH.

 

Republic of Niger: Nutrition talk for mothers in a village center. Photo: Christoph Püschner/Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
Republic of Niger: Nutrition talk for mothers in a village center. Photo: Christoph Püschner/Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

Heino von Meyer

Heino von Meyer moderates the Strategic Support Group of SEWOH, in which representatives from civil society, science, the business world and associations advise the BMZ. Since 2019, he has been Head of Global Relations and Networking at the creative founding team of the international PtX Hub Berlin. Their mission is to catalyze green hydrogen solutions on a global scale, with a special focus on sustainability along the entire value chain.

 

‘Health protection, food security and poverty alleviation, SDGs 3, 2 and 1 belong together’, is the key message of a paper with directions and suggestions on the Covid-19 crisis, which special initiative 'One World – No Hunger' (SEWOH) addressed to German Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller. According to the paper, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has created structures and instruments with SEWOH that enable the BMZ to quickly achieve broad-based results on the ground and to organise effective international cooperation. During the Covid-19 crisis, it ensured that Germany was well positioned to assume global responsibility in close coordination with the EU and set an example in the areas of food security and agriculture – in the short, medium and long term as well as locally, nationally and globally.

 

Due to the broad approach and the diversity of SEWOH’s partners, Germany is predestined to help quickly in the Covid-19 crisis and to secure long-term structures. These efforts must focus on food security, because without it successful health protection cannot be ensured. Through strong networks, SEWOH can quickly implement problem-specific solutions with African partners. In Germany, SEWOH is supported by a broad network of experts from civil society, the business sector, associations and science.

 

The paper continues to point out that the German EU Council Presidency should be considered an opportunity but at the same time also a responsibility. The paper recommends that the German government should use it to consolidate the issues of health, food security and employment. The regional focus should be on collaboration with Africa. Global crises require global responses. While many other donors withdrew from SDG 2, Germany also set a strong example internationally with SEWOH. It enables Germany now to assume a stronger role worldwide.

 

‘Ostensibly, Covid-19 is a health crisis, but for many of our partner countries, especially in Africa, it can also lead to a dramatic food and agricultural crisis’, writes German Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller in his reply to the SEWOH Strategic Support Group. ‘The two crises are feeding into each other.’ He then refers to the rapid response of the BMZ, which has reallocated one billion euros at short notice for emergency measures against Covid-19, which are being implemented quickly and flexibly on the ground by SEWOH’s partners and multilateral organisations. Furthermore, he is campaigning for additional funds, says Federal Minister Müller: ‘I have submitted an additional requirement of 600 million euros for the areas of food security and agriculture to the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development (AWZ) of the German Bundestag.’ The objective is to make the agricultural and food supply system more crisis-resistant, especially in Africa, ‘because we can only solve the crisis globally – or we will fail to provide a solution’.

 

The goal of creating a world without hunger by 2030 and achieving SDG2 was already under threat before the Covid-19 crisis, not least because of climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates the problem. With SEWOH and annual investments of €1.5 billion in food security and rural development, the BMZ is the largest bilateral donor worldwide. German Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller thus sent a strong signal that has attracted global attention, including at the G7 summit declaration in Schloss Elmau (2015) and the German G20 presidency (2017).

 

It is necessary to think beyond the humanitarian crisis now. The challenges of climate change and the preservation of biodiversity must be taken into account during crisis
management.

 

SEWOH and the Green Innovation Centres can make important contributions in the medium term to stabilise value chains, keep markets functioning and provide high-quality food. For example, they can recommend to switch to particularly supply-relevant products such as vegetables and legumes. The reinforcement of decentralised, local and regional value chains and markets is extremely important and can have a crisis-mitigating effect. What SEWOH has created must be mobilised during and after the crisis and can establish itself.

 

Many large and small civil society organisations are actively participating in SEWOH. In addition to their own configurations, they have also established stable networks with local partner organisations in many countries worldwide, including farmers’ organisations consisting of hundreds of thousands of smallholders. Especially in a crisis situation, in which external aid organisations are sometimes forced to withdraw, these partner networks and organisations create resilience, become locally active, organise and distribute aid, produce food and keep markets running. They also call on their own governments to take action.

 

The projects of the German agricultural industry and the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Association can help to establish a modern agricultural sector based on local private enterprise in the medium and long term. They can also increase the prosperity of countries and societies and simultaneously make them more resilient to future crises. In particular, the German agricultural industry participates in agricultural projects that serve to secure the income and food supply of family farms and smallholders. Self-help organisations such as cooperatives and associations play a key role in that regard.

 

It is already necessary to think beyond the humanitarian crisis now. The major systemic challenges of climate change and the preservation of biodiversity must be taken into account during crisis management. They must especially be addressed in medium and long-term development strategies and programmes. Roughly 60 per cent of all infectious diseases known today are zoonoses that spread from animals to humans at some point. Protection of biodiversity is a key factor in preventing the spread of new infectious diseases. The health of people, wildlife and the environment (One Health) must be consistently considered together. Promotion of sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains, research financing and vaccination of farm animals are important pillars of SEWOH in this respect.

 

Global crises require global responses. While numerous stakeholders, who have pushed for the achievement of SDG2 in the past, have recently retracted their commitment, Germany has sent a strong signal worldwide with SEWOH. It will enable Germany to play a stronger role on the international landscape and use its position in the G7, the G20 and during its forthcoming EU Presidency to push for global processes that are necessary to achieve SDG2. The Federal Government should use central activities of the German EU Council Presidency beginning on 1 July to consolidate the issues of health, food security and employment – with a regional focus on Africa.

 

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Freed from trade? Towards a fairer EU Trade Agenda

A contribution by Dr. Jan Orbie (University Gent)

‘Fair’ and ‘sustainable’ are key words in Germany’s EU Council Presidency. At the same time, Germany pursues ‘modernization’ of the WTO and ‘rapid progress’ on free trade agreements. Are these goals really compatible? Can we be concerned about fairness and sustainability while continuing with ‘business as usual’?

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(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

A contribution by Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how? About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

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“They said: You can do it”

A contribution by Bread for the World

As President of the IABM cooperative in Muhanga, Alphonsine Mukankusi is not simply focused on the figures. She has learned how to deal with people and how to take on responsibility. At the same time, her work helps her to come to terms with the past

 

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No rainforest for our consumption

A contribution by Jenny Walther-Thoß (WWF)

In the tropics rainforests are still being felled for the production of palm oil, meat and furniture. It is high time to act. Proposals are on the table.

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Africa's rapid economic transformation

A report by T. S. Jayne, A. Adelaja and R. Mkandawire

Thirty years ago, Africa was synonymous with war, famine and poverty. That narrative is clearly outdated. African living standards are rising remarkably fast. Our authors are convinced that improving education and entrepreneurship will ensure irreversible progress in the region even as it confronts COVID-19.

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© AHA

The farmes themselves are the benchmark

A contribution by Andreas Quiring

Strong farmes are the key to a self-determined, sustainable development. Social innovations can help make the farmers’ actual needs the benchmark.

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(c) Thomas Lohnes / Brot für die Welt

The hype about urban gardening: farmers or hobby gardeners?

A contribution by Stig Tanzmann

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.

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JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

A report by Dr. Agnes Kalibata (AGRA)

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

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Mr. Marí, what happened at the alternative summit?

An Interview with Francisco Marí (Brot für die Welt)

Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) did not attend the UNFSS pre-summit. Instead, the organisation took part in a counter-summit that took place at the same time. A conversation with Francisco Marí about the reasons, the process - and an outlook for the future

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(c) Privat

How much private investment is the agricultural sector able to bear?

By Pedro Morazán

Small farmers in developing countries must modernise their farming methods, but poorly understood reforms could exacerbate poverty instead of alleviating it.

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Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

No dirty dealing

Von Marlis Lindecke

Shit Business is Serious Business: A successful cooperation between research and the private sector.

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Support for sustainable start-ups

Companies in Africa that need financing between $20,000 and $200,000 find relatively few investors, as this sector is too large for microcredit and too small for institutional investors. This creates a "gap in the middle" where companies have limited options. A project of the World Resource Institute provides a remedy with the Landaccelerator 2020.

A World Resources Institute project

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(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

What it takes now

A contribution by Heike Baumüller

Artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are the hottest topics of our time. The digital transformation of the African agricultural sector is ready for take-off. What will it take for the future of technology to hit the ground running?

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Pesticides – a blessing or a curse?

A debate between Lena Luig and Ludger Weß

What are the consequences of using synthetic pesticides in agriculture? Where do they help, where do they harm? Lena Luig, expert for the development policy organization INKOTA, and science journalist Ludger Weß discuss this controversial topic of international scope.

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KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

Wanted: German investment in African agriculture

Interview with Stefan Liebing

Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.

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(c) Privat

Human Rights, Land and Rural Development

A contribution by Michael Windfuhr (German Institute for Human Rights)

Land rights are no longer governed by the law of the strongest. That is what the international community has agreed to. Governments and private companies have a duty to respect human rights and avoid corruption.

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A new attempt at Africa's industrialization?

A contribution by Helmut Asche

Afrika is about ready. There are promising approaches for a sustainable industrialization. However, the path poses challenges to the continent.

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(c) Christoph Mohr/GIZ

Microinsurance against climate change

A contribution by Claudia Voß

Climate change is destroying development progress in many places. The clever interaction of digitalisation and the insurance industry protects affected small farmers.

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