Round table | COVID-19 on April 15, 2020

On April 15, 2020, a first virtual roundtable on COVID-19 was convened by the Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinFA) and Netherlands Food Partnership for bilaterally funded programmes to see possible actions to support local farmers, nutrition programmes and partners with existing means.

During this meeting partners discussed the impacts of COVID-19 seen by organisations present, what actions they are currently taking in ongoing programming, what is needed from the MinFA and where there are opportunities to partner up in this response.

Present at this initial meeting were representatives from: 2SCALE, Agriterra, GAIN Alliance, IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, ICCO, Netherlands Space Office – Geodata for Agriculture and Water (NSO – G4AW), the Netherlands Enterprise Agency – SDG Partnership facility (RVO – SDGP), SNV, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Solidaridad, NFP, AgriProFocus, Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) and the MinFA. All organizations were in the process of identifying how the crisis impacted their programming and finding ways to reorient these activities. Several are conducting surveys among partners or members and are starting initiatives to mitigate impacts of the crisis such as setting up and looking for emergency funds as well as reaching out to donors or financial institutions. Participants asked the MinFA to communicate to the multilateral system that besides a focus on health, a focus on food is needed; to facilitate the reorganization of activities; and to have a dialogue with embassies on the reorientation of decentrally funded programmes.

In the course of the discussion four areas of work were identified among which Communities of Practice could be organized and where cooperation could provide added value:

  • Nutritious foods: social protection, access to nutritious food
  • Markets & Supply Chains: food markets, rural-urban linkages, input markets, SME’s
  • Finance and Outreach: lobby financials, make existing credit lines easy to access, grace periods etc, SME survival, vouching for partners in terms of credit worthiness
  • Digital: upgrade, intensify, broaden applications; use also to guide program implementation

Participants were asked to join CoPs that were most relevant to them, to self-appoint conveners and expand CoPs with partners that strengthen the work of the CoPs. The following approach for CoPs was suggested but to be later determined by participants:

Information gathering – get the information and analysis on the table by individual partners: with whom we work, where the pain is, where the bottlenecks and risks and SHARE; i.e. mapping and connecting.

Reorienting- translate in activities that help the COVID-19 response and are feasible.

Upscaling joint response – gradually shift to recovery and resilience in focus countries; possibly in conjunction with the other CoPs.

To access the complete notes, please contact rbolling@nlfoodpartnership.com.

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