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Feeding Knowledge awards 18 Best Practices from over 700 entries

Innovation / -

Degli oltre 700 progetti presentati, hanno vinto 18 Best Practice che migliorano la sicurezza alimentare
© Lisa Wiltse/Corbis

A total of 52 projects made it to the final selection stage of the Call for Best Practices for Sustainable Development, from the original 786 applications. Of these 52, 18 winners were selected, three more than initially planned.

The Call, which was launched by Expo 2015 in November 2013, closed on October 31, 2014. The evaluation of the 786 projects submitted in response to the Feeding Knowledge Call is now complete, with the judges having selected 18 winners. While these were supposed to be 15, due to the large number of submissions received and the high quality of the projects, the judges decided to commend an extra three: a very positive outcome indeed.
Evaluation of the Best Practice submissions involved several stages. An initial assessment of eligibility took into account three specified criteria. These were: completeness, relevance to the high priority topics for Feeding Knowledge, and the involvement in the implementation of the initiative of at least three partners.
The 749 projects that made the grade were then pre-judged by a committee made up of five working groups, one for each priority topic. These priority topics were: Sustainable management of natural resources, Improving the quality and quantity of agricultural productivity, Socio-economic dynamics and global markets, Sustainable development for small rural communities in marginalized areas, and Food consumption patterns: diet, environment, society, economy and health. Each group was led by a representative of the Scientific Committee for Expo.
The next step was to draw up a list based on the nine criteria required by the Call. These were: innovation, social impact, environmental impact, concreteness, transferability and replicability, openness, attractiveness, sustainability, and dissemination. From here, 52 Best Practices were submitted to the International Selection Committee (ISC). Two members of the ISC evaluated the remaining these 52 Best Practice projects and initiatives, supported by scientists of the Pre-assessment Committee, to produce a short-list that was then discussed during a plenary session, and a final decision taken.
The International judging panel - the International Selection Committee - chaired by Prince Albert II of Monaco, had the final word. They chose the 18 Best Practices considered as the most representative. The winning Best Practices will be presented in Pavilion Zero during the six-month exhibition. The Best Practice thought to be the most representative for each priority topic area will be featured in a short documentary produced by Expo 2015. The other 13 winning submissions will be illustrated by means of photostories.
The winners
In terms of geographical areas, seven projects were from Africa, six from Asia, three from America and two from Europe. The final outcome produced: five winners in Priority 1 (Sustainable management of natural resources), four winners in Priority 2 (Improving the quality and quantity of agricultural productivity), three winners in Priority 3 (Socio-economic dynamics and global markets), three winners in Priority 4 (Sustainable development for small rural communities in marginalized areas), three in Priority 5 (Food consumption patterns: diet, environment, society, economy and health).

Giampaolo Cantini. Feeding Knowledge: the future lies in a Mediterranean laboratory

Innovation / -

Giampaolo Cantini

During the course of the ceremony to announce the results of the Call for Best Practices for Sustainable Development, an initiative launched by Expo Milano 2015 to bring together and give visibility to the projects related to food security in the Mediterranean, we interviewed Giampaolo Cantini, the Director General for Development Cooperation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to gain a better understanding of the Feeding Knowledge program and the future of the related Best Practices.

Could you explain briefly the key features of the Feeding Knowledge program?
Sponsored by Expo 2015 and implemented by CIHEAM-IAMB in Bari and the Polytechnic University of Milan, the Feeding Knowledge program is the largest collaborative network in the Mediterranean area on issues related to food security and sustainable development, involving institutions, organizations and research centers. In its three years of operation, Feeding Knowledge has laid the foundation for a shared and widespread system on the knowledge about food security, helping to better understand needs, and promoting innovation and the search for solutions that can be applied in the various member countries. Lastly, via the international Call for Best Practices for Sustainable Development, the program has collected more than 700 successful case histories that can be studied and could provide inspiration for new initiatives.
How is the Italian Cooperation for Development improving food systems and agricultural production in the participating countries?
Considering the wide range of best practices that we have collected and presented via the Feeding Knowledge Call, it’s clear that improving food and agricultural production is key to Italian Cooperation. Our operations in the countries taking part in Expo focus on improving and managing production chains – durum wheat in Ethiopia and coffee in Latin America, for example. We address aspects such as marketing and sustainability, as well as the rediscovery and use of traditional production methods specific to certain areas – such as quinoa in the Andean countries. Other initiatives promote the sustainable use of resources such as soil and water, while other projects support the development of a cooperative model that combines support to the small producer while providing more efficient systems for granting access to credit and management.
Can you provide three figures to indicate the need to improve access to food?
The first is that 805 million people worldwide suffer from chronic malnutrition. It's a figure that reminds the international community of the need to persevere in its efforts to eliminate hunger. Some encouragement can come from my second figure:100 million people have managed to escape this situation over the last decade. This means that, in addition to the knowledge, tools and, potentially, the resources, the conditions are in place to achieve "Zero Hunger". People need to understand the importance of this challenge and to support the political commitment to overcome it. My third figure concerns food loss and wastage. One-third of the food produced each year is lost post-harvest due to the lack of appropriate technologies, infrastructure or access to markets; more food is then wasted during distribution and consumption. All that, while demand for food in the world continues to grow. Therefore, we need action on two levels. First, we need to develop knowledge on supply chain management, we need to enhance infrastructure and adopt appropriate policies. The second involves building awareness among people – especially the younger generations  – of our individual responsibility as a consumer and as part of a global system, and the opportunity that we have, via our choices, to influence the development and the future of the Planet. These are the main messages that, by means of the Expo, can reach millions of people. It is also on these issues that the Italian Cooperation will work as part of the exhibition.
What is the future of Feeding Knowledge, post-Expo Milano 2015?
I believe it lies in consolidating and further developing the wealth of experience, partnerships and relationships built up over the years, as well as establishing a virtual focal point on knowledge of food security and sustainable development in the Mediterranean area. This "Mediterranean laboratory", would continue to encourage the sharing of knowledge, research and innovation, as well as the adoption of the most effective solutions to common problems.

Feeding the Planet is possible. It takes political resolve

Innovation / -

On Tuesday September 16 a press conference was organized at the Centro Congressi della Fondazione Cariplo during the first meeting of the International Selection Committee of Best Practices chiared by HSH Prince Alberto II of Monaco.
© Daniele Mascolo / Expo 2015

Speech by Prince Albert II of Monaco at the convention for the presentation of the Competition for Best Practices launched by Expo Milano 2015.

The message that I wish to share with you today is both personal and close to my heart. Let me explain in just a few words why I responded so positively and enthusiastically to the invitation from our Italian friends to preside over the jury that will select the best project in this competition.
The Universal Expositions, since they were founded at the end of the 19th century, have continued to be a means of assuring the general public an understanding of the effects of technical progress on our daily life and the potential transformations it can bring. It is in this spirit that my great-grandfather, Prince Albert I decided that Monaco would participate in the very first Universal Exposition.

The direction that he set for us continues to be a point of reference, even if today the methods of sharing knowledge have become very wide-ranging.

It is still as important today as it was then to generate awareness around the benefits of scientific and technical development, as well as their inherent risks.

In this regard, the theme of "Feeding the Planet" espoused by the Exposition in Milan in 2015 seems particularly relevant, and is without doubt, an inescapable responsibility of statesmanship.

The question is to know how – how to feed the Planet – which may well be connected to effective, but short-term processes. That said, we must look beyond how, and examine the more onerous task of identifying the best course of action so that future generations do not suffer for the decisions we make today.

But we are all aware of one thing: constant population growth exacerbates our pursuit of efficient, healthy agricultural and food policies for the benefit of the greatest number of people.

Therefore, it is my firm conviction that it in this area, as in others, we must think in terms of sustainable development.
The Final Declaration of the Rio +20 Summit makes it clear, setting down key principles for sustainable agriculture that does not deplete natural resources but instead, protects and nurtures them, benefitting those who will populate this Planet after us.

Improving food security and eliminating hunger are feasible goals, provided there is clear, robust political resolve across the world.

And knowing which best practices we should encourage for a food production that is truly "enduring" is no less important.

So it is with this in mind that we must rally our efforts in research and innovation. We have already acquired skills and know-how, but we must now perfect them and bring them together to serve the greatest number of people, objectively and without bias.

The Feeding Knowledge Program resolutely follows this line and it is in this spirit that the Jury I will chair will examine the projects set before them.

Expo Milano 2015 will give a big media presence to this initiative, which is by no means theoretical. Indeed we want to identify specific projects that, in the next few years, will bring benefits to the most disadvantaged populations. It is for these populations, first and foremost, that the work of the Feeding Knowledge Program attains meaning and value.
It is a point that I particularly wished to emphasize on this occasion. Thank you.

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