IITA alumnus to represent One CGIAR at UN Food Systems Summit
Former President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Director General of AfricaRice, and an IITA alumnus, Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze has been appointed as CGIAR Special Representative to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), which is tentatively scheduled to take place in late 2021. At the Summit, he will be bringing the voice of independent agricultural research and broad-ranging partnerships to the global forum.
Accepting his appointment, Nwanze highlighted the need for representation at the UNFSS. “To be reengaged with CGIAR, to me, is both a privilege and a unique opportunity to serve the System,” Nwanze said. “CGIAR must be represented in the UNFSS; we cannot just sit on the sidelines. We’ve got to bring to the table our scientific knowledge, our wealth of experience, and our partnerships—we have so much to offer.”
An Africa Food Prize Laureate, Nwanze has worked for more than 40 years in the CGIAR System and Rome-based agencies, most recently serving as President of IFAD. He is currently a member of the CGIAR System Management Board.
Nwanze is a fitting representative for CGIAR at the Summit as a voice for independent science and broad partnerships to bring food systems innovations to scale. This was noted by Marco Ferroni, Chair of CGIAR’s System Management Board, in a post announcing the appointment. “Dr Nwanze is an ideal candidate to make the case for science and strong partnerships in agriculture from the global to the local level. We are honored to have him represent CGIAR and our commitment to achieving a future free of poverty and hunger,” Ferroni said.
The appointment comes as CGIAR prepares to mark its 50th anniversary in 2021, with celebrations planned for the organization’s transformational innovations for food systems over the past five decades.
It also comes at a time when CGIAR is preparing to unify the governance and operations of its 15 Research Centers under a single system, as One CGIAR, to drive progress on meeting the SDGs by 2030. As a unified system, CGIAR will pursue a revised mission to “end hunger through science to transform food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis,” focusing its efforts on the five key impact areas of nutrition, poverty, gender, climate, and environment.
The UN Food Systems Summit aims to catalyze and accelerate the transformation of the world’s food systems—how we grow, catch, transport, process, trade, and consume food—to meet the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“I would be very optimistic about the outcome of this Summit,” Nwanze said. “I would hope that we will not come out of it with just another declaration or call for action, but with very clear milestones, timelines, funding envelopes, and commitments for partner engagement for delivery in the next ten years. And I think CGIAR must be central to this.”