The second edition of the Science and Innovation Forum, a major component of the World Food Forum, concluded in Rome on Friday after three days of discussions and proposals on how technology can assist agrifood systems in tackling the climate crisis.
The forum, held in a hybrid format at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), attracted hundreds of stakeholders from around the world. Over 150 speakers from academia, business, government, non-governmental organizations, as well as Indigenous Peoples, shared their expertise and perspectives in a series of roundtables and panel discussions. Participants were also presented with the Action Plan 2022-2025 for the implementation of the FAO Science and Innovation Strategy, which provides a common framework for the agency’s actions at various levels.
During the forum, partnership agreements were finalized with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), Italy’s University of Naples Federico II, and the Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu expressed his gratitude to participants for their contributions, highlighting the “more intensive dialogues and discussions,” “out-of-the-box” thinking, and increased engagement with other sectors and Indigenous Peoples. He called for even greater focus, interlinkages, and holistic approaches in future programs, and invited the private sector to provide “more specific requests” to FAO.
Summing up the outcomes of the forum, FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi emphasized the role of science, technology, and innovation in ending hunger, addressing malnutrition, and enhancing the resilience of agrifood systems. These systems currently contribute to about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the panel discussions, titled “Future Forward: Advancing Climate Solutions through Science, Innovation, and Technology,” explored groundbreaking innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and biotechnology. Notable speakers included Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ildephonse Musafiri, Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gabriel Mbairobe, and a behavioral economics professor at the University of Copenhagen, Christina Gravert.
The forum also showcased discussions on soil and water management for climate action, integrated governance of natural resources, bioeconomy as a catalyst for addressing the climate crisis, and the use of AI and digital tools for climate-resilient agrifood systems.
In the closing session, FAO Chief Economist Máximo Torrero highlighted some of FAO’s digital tools, such as the FAO Food Loss App (FLAPP), which helps analyze and reduce food losses.
The forum concluded with a session on implementing the FAO Science and Innovation Strategy and the Strategy on Climate Change in Synergy. Participants emphasized the need for successful and coordinated implementation of these strategies to effectively tackle climate challenges through science and innovation.
The Science and Innovation Forum showcased the vital role of technology in addressing the climate crisis and enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agrifood systems. By bringing together global stakeholders from diverse sectors, the forum fostered meaningful discussions and proposed innovative solutions for a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.
More detail via Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations here… ( Image via Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations )