Global institutions news – Post date: June 11th, 2020.

STDF partners share latest updates for safe trade

Over 250 people tuned in to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) “Future-proofing safe trade during Covid-19” webinar on 26 May, to hear updates from STDF partner experts on how to facilitate safe trade during Covid-19, spanning food safety, animal and plant health. In the 90-minute session, the WHO, FAO, OIE, WTO, IPPC, World Bank Group and Codex Alimentarius Commission shared the latest Covid-19 resources and tools. Topics covered included guidance for food businesses and food safety authorities for keeping trade and markets open by supporting information access; the use of electronic platforms including ePhyto; and adoption of Codex standards. STDF’s vital role in supporting developing countries was highlighted by speakers throughout the webinar.

A number of partner experts from the session have also provided 2-minute short videos on priorities for future-proofing safe trade during Covid-19 as part of STDF’s new speaker series.

“We need to continue relying on international standards. We need to make sure that all countries can participate in the setting of the standards and that they can apply them.” – Tom Heilandt, Codex Alimentarius Commission

“We need to address three critical priorities: to contain the spread of disease in the workplace; to ensure the flow of food supply; and to rethink the efficiency and resilience of food supply.” – Eleonora Dupouy, FAO

“We need to keep a coordinated global effort, and learn lessons – rapid response is very important – and we need to learn how to track the spread of pests and diseases and incorporate best practices.”  – Brent Larson, IPPC

CGIAR global event: A new era for food and climate

On 25 June CGIAR is hosting a global online event to catalyse efforts to address the current food crisis prompted by Covid-19, and to avert future food insecurity due to our changing climate. “A new era for food and climate: Driving transformative actions” is a full-day, around-the-world virtual relay event that starts in Australia and concludes in Colombia.

The event aims to inspire collective action on the priorities laid out in CGIAR’s new report “Actions to Transform Food Systems Under Climate Change”, also to be launched on 25 June.

The relay opens in Canberra, Australia at 08:30 CEST, and moves through Asia and on to Africa and Europe, with contributions including “Enabling markets and public sector actions to incentivise climate-resilient and low emissions practices” from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (11:00 CEST); “Reducing food loss and waste” from Wageningen, The Netherlands (13:00 CEST); and “Supporting prosperity through mobility and rural reinvigoration” from Bamako, Mali (15:00 CEST). Then via contributions from the USA and Canada, the event closes in Cali, Colombia at 20:00 CEST.
The around-the-world virtual relay event will be livestreamed on the CCAFS website.

Understanding food systems

There is a general consensus that the coronavirus pandemic must lead to a global re-evaluation of food systems. A new Food Systems Dashboard combines data from multiple sources to give a complete view of the world’s food systems. Users can compare components of food systems across selected countries and regions, and identify and prioritise ways to sustainably improve diets and nutrition in food systems. Users can also track progress to see if policies or other interventions are working at country or regional level. In recent years, the public health and nutrition communities have used dashboards to track the progress of health goals and interventions, including the Sustainable Development Goals, but this is the first dashboard to collect country-level data across all components of the food system. The resource was developed by Johns Hopkins University and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), with collaborators at FAO and a group of US universities.

ITC: How to target support at young entrepreneurs

The International Trade Centre (ITC)’s Covid-19 Business Impact Survey contacted over 2000 business leaders and managers in 130 countries in April and May 2020, including one-fifth of respondents aged under 35. Comparing their survey responses to those of their elders yields interesting insights into how young entrepreneurs are weathering the pandemic storm (ITC, 2 June).

Forty-two per cent of companies led by managers or owners under 35 said that there was a risk that their business will permanently shut down because of the crisis, compared to 35% for non-youth-led firms. This suggests that although youth-led firms are not necessarily more exposed to the economic impacts of the pandemic, they are more sensitive to the impacts and less able to cope. Possible reasons include their lack of diversification, social networks and professional experience.

On the other hand, the survey found that youth-led firms were significantly more likely to adopt an agile response to the situation than their older counterparts, as they are more likely to turn to online sales, create new or customised products, or loan their employees to other enterprises in response to the crisis. Young entrepreneurs also found it easier, on average, to access information and benefits from Covid-related government assistance programmes compared to their more aged peers. This may reflect relatively higher digital literacy rates among young entrepreneurs. However, only a minority of youth-led firms said they had received help from business support organisations. Young entrepreneurs seemed to need concrete support in the short term to reduce costs, such as rent subsidies, but were less interested in tax waivers and financial programmes compared to older entrepreneurs.

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