African Food Systems Transformation and Justice Challenge Cluster

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment

Abstract

The imperative of transformation in African agriculture and food systems has been brought into sharp focus through the UNFCCC commitments under the Paris agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the recent IPCC reports on climate impacts in a 1.5C world, amongst other high profile global initiatives. The importance and difficulty of ensuring that such transformation takes place in a way that is socially and environmentally inclusive and equitable, makes just transformation a global grand challenge. The GCRF- African Food Systems Transformation and Justice Challenge Cluster will contribute to new ways of thinking about transformative change, such that justice and equity are brought to the forefront of how donor-led projects, private investments, and agriculture and food policy is designed. It will offer approaches and guidelines for how to achieve, monitor and evaluate justice and equity in such interventions.

The GCRF-African Food Systems Transformation and Justice Challenge Cluster brings together African and international, GCRF-funded scholars, representing 8 GCRF projects, operating across 8 African countries. Through the involvement the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research's Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CGIAR-CCAFS) Initiative, and CARE International the consortium covers a pan-African geographic scope and multiple pathways to stakeholder engagement, influence and impact.

The Cluster team will undertake a synthesis review of evidence emerging from across the portfolio of GCRF- and non-GCRF-funded activity that they represent. This review will be developed into a conceptual framework for understanding and analysing justice in agriculture and food systems transformations in Africa. Case study profiles of existing and ongoing transformative actions in African agriculture and food systems will also be developed and presented as part of regional workshop in Nairobi. Funded places for early career African scholars at this workshop, will expand the breadth of the Cluster and build capacities, both in terms of providing opportunities to play a leading role in developing follow on research proposals and helping to embed food systems and justice thinking within the teaching and educational curricular at participant's institutions.

The ambition of the Cluster is to inform actions by policy makers, research institutions, the private sector, and civil society that contribute towards: (1) outlining actions taken to assess and address justice issues associated with transformation initiatives, investments, and programmes; (2) establishing appropriate baselines for monitoring and measuring social and environmental justice; (3) strengthening governance systems for the inclusive and sustainable management of agriculture and food system transformation; (4) regulating markets and investments such that they reflect the social and environmental justice implications of such investments or goods.

Planned Impact

The GCRF-African Food Systems Transformation and Justice Challenge Cluster is driven by a motivation to contribute towards the mainstreaming of social and environmental justice considerations within donor-driven interventions, humanitarian projects, private investments, national policy, and higher education curricular on agriculture and food system transformation. We aim to do this by developing a broadly applicable framework and guidelines for understanding and analysing social and environmental justice within agriculture and food systems, and providing case study-based examples from Africa that support and illustrate these concepts; highlighting challenges, approaches and successful practices.

The Cluster involves representation from two large organisations that specialise in research-into-policy and action in Africa: the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research's Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CGIAR-CCAFS) Initiative, represented in the project by investigators form ICRAF, and CARE International. We will draw on the communication networks, convening power, and large portfolio of activity of these organisations and of the GCRF-funded projects represented in the Cluster, to communicate a range of outputs, including (1) a webinar launch of a working paper on just transformations to be run as part of the existing GCRF-AFRICAP knowledge sharing seminar series; (2) a CGIAR-CCAFS policy brief setting out key lessons for targeting and monitoring justice in agriculture and food system transformations; (3) a co-authored academic paper targeted at a high profile journal; (4) an international conference presentation; and (5) potential contribution to a GCRF-AFRICAP side event at an international meeting such as the UNFCCC COP26.

Engagement of a wider network of African early career scholars at a planned Cluster workshop in Nairobi will aim to (1) build capacities for leading on large international follow-on research proposals that shape the future direction of the Cluster and that put the just transformations concept into practice; and (2) co-develop educational content and resources that can be integrated into existing higher education teaching in UK and African universities to embedded justice and systems thinking within agriculture and food degree-level programmes.
 
Description We have synthesized experiences of work from across the team on food system transformation, and developed from this a conceptual framework and guidelines for research. This helps to set out a collective understanding of what food system transformation and justice is, and ways that we can go about research in a transformative and just way.
Exploitation Route The framework and guidelines can be taken forward by academics and practitioners working in areas of food system transformation. They should help to focus attention on, and raise the profile of, social justice issues with these contexts.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description Cultivate Africa: Building Resilient Food and Agriculture Systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A side event at the Cultivate Africa conference on the topic of Building Resilient Food and Agriculture Systems. this was facilitated in partnership with the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network. Attracted social media attention and follow up contacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.cultivate-africa.org/about
 
Description Presentation to the European Association of Development Research & Training Institutes (EADI) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Virtual Dialogue: Consistent Injustice Within Environment-Development Intervention in Sub-Saharan Africa and Possible Ways Forward, 11 February, 11.00 CET Susannah Sallu was the keynote speaker presenting on 'Consistent Injustice Within Environment-Development Intervention in Sub-Saharan Africa and Possible Ways Forward' at this virtual dialogue organised by the EADI. Knowledge sharing and networking outcomes. Audience largely academic, policy think tanks, professional development practitioners, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. International in reach.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.eadi.org/events/2021.02/new-virtual-dialogue-consistent-injustice-within-environment-dev...