The first ever SIANI Annual Meeting took place on the 21st of January in Stockholm. About 60 members and interested people joined the SIANI Secretariat for a full day event at the City Museum to discuss the future development of the SIANI network.
SIANI is entering a new strategic phase in 2014, and in line with that, the Annual Meeting was organised in order to provide members with a chance to give input to the forthcoming work plan and to participate in interacting discussions on emerging issues together with other members.
The meeting, also broadcasted online, created a forum for exchanging experiences and knowledge with others sharing the interest in questions relating to food and nutrition security. According to the feedback survey, it was a rewarding and positive experience for all participants.
Being an independent member network, SIANI strives to provide an informed debate on agriculture, food security and development. The number of members has grown extensively since 2008 and today reaches more than 870 members with a wide range of skills and expertise within areas such as food security, agriculture, development and nutrition.
Sida Programme Officer, Hanna Marsk, introduced the meeting in a dialogue with SIANI’s host, the Stockholm Environment Institute’s (SEI) Stockholm Center Director Jakob Granit. Both of them emphasized the importance of an active SIANI network, functioning both as a broad knowledge resource and multi-stakeholder actor. Among other things, Hanna Marsk stressed that SIANI has a true potential to go from ideas to actions.
“One of the strengths of the network is that it can use the whole chain and all SIANI stakeholders, seek partners and develop programs and actions that then Sweden and Sida would be able to act on”, said Hanna Marsk.
Matthew Fielding, SIANI Communications Manager, presented the work plan, developed by the Secretariat for the new phase. His presentation covered the creation of new Expert Groups and Themes as well as a stronger emphasis on member engagement.
SIANI stands for a multi-sector approach and at the meeting, participants from academia, public and private sector as well as NGOs engaged in Round Table Dialogues to discuss how to sustain and improve collaboration within the network. Additionally, the dialogues provided input to what topics the members find most relevant and important to discuss.
Engaging discussions were mixed with short Pecha Kucha presentations by selected members from different sectors, who were asked to share insights into their work and its relation to the SIANI vision of “Food Security and Nutrition for all”.
Professor Magnus Jirström from Lund University, told the participants about a research project that is aiming to explain the yield gap and why, in Africa, per capita food production was decreasing while it was increasing in Asia.
The representative of the Private Sector, Katarina Eriksson, Senior Project & Partnership Development Manager at Tetra Laval, presented a school milk project that focuses simultaneously on reduction of malnutrition and on job creation in Thailand by developing local milk production.
The non-governmental sector was represented by Anders Ölund, Policy Advisor at the Church of Sweden. He gave an inspiring overview about his work related to food security and agriculture, and shared his experiences on how crisis in the Horn of Africa and West Africa, often emerging from drought or sand storms, has helped to create better flood protection in Bangladesh.
Annika Söder, the Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and former Under-Secretary-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, FAO, shared her reflections and insights on Food Security, Nutrition Security and the role of networks in the ongoing process with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), suggested to replace the present Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Summarizing the day, SIANI Program Manager Madeleine Fogde, in line with the previous speaker, pointed out that: “The global food system is very complex and hunger is definitely one of the most pressing issues we are facing. Hunger and food security is also linked to all kinds of crisis. With the SDG’s, we are moving towards universal targets for all”,- she said.
“SIANI’s role is to link up local policy with global dialogues and to make Swedish resources visible in the larger context. Today’s remarkable possibilities to communicate, also directly with school children and farmers all around the world, leaves us with a huge potential to improve the situation”,- said Madeleine Fogde and encouraged all members to share their knowledge and experience through multiple channels accessible via SIANI.
The meeting will be the first of many interactive activities within SIANI.
Further comments and questions should be directed to the SIANI Secretariat. Please contact Matthew Fielding
Watch all videos and presentations from the event