Collaboration beyond the SDGs: Future Challenges in Food, Land, and Water Systems

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Last Tuesday evening, the Netherlands Food Partnership hosted a special dinner event. We were thrilled to welcome our guest of honor, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, along with a group of partners from private sector, policy, knowledge institutes and civil society to discuss what lies beyond the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Welcoming Remarks and Inspiring Start

Our evening kicked off with a warm welcome from Ivo Demmers, Executive Director of NFP. Dr. Ismahane Elouafi (Executive Managing Director of CGIAR) then set the stage with an inspiring introduction, highlighting the urgent need to transform our food, land, and water systems.

A Dinner to Remember

Each course was paired with a discussion on a key challenge we need to tackle together beyond 2030. Here’s what we talked about:

  1. Impact of the Climate Crisis
    • Speaker: Janny Vos, Strategic Partnership Director, from CABI provided a very insightful introduction on the topic at hand, putting the urgency of the climate crisis at the center of the following conversations.
    • Key Question: “What do we need to start doing differently, in our organisations and in our collective action, to come to a climate change action agenda and ensure food security beyond 2030?”
    • Highlights: We shared insights on how climate change is already affecting our work and brainstormed strategies to secure food systems in the future. This also relates to the added value of structured financing in sectors adjacent to the agro-food industry.  Some of the topics discussed more in depth were: Nature-Based Solutions, healthy diets, climate financing, understanding consumer behaviour and the National Food System Pathways. 
  2. Operating in Fragile Settings
    • Speaker: Rutger Groot, Chair of the Board of Trustees at East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation, shared the experiences and insights about the challenges of and need for operating in fragile settings.
    • Key Question: “What non traditional coalitions do we have to forge to ensure we have the required capacity and resources to improve outcomes for food-insecure and vulnerable households in increasingly fragile settings?”
    • Highlights: The discussion turned to the increasing fragility of our environments. Some of the key areas that were highlighted as important for bringing in non-traditional partners: need for long-term thinking and flexible programming together with humanitarian organisations, strengthening learning agendas, and need for coalitions that can strengthen the focus on the (peri-)urban areas.
  3. Shifting Power in a Changing World
    • Speaker: Liana Hoornweg, Director of Partos, presenting four principles about should guide partnership efforts in a changing world. The principles were front and central in the follow up conversations.
    • Key Question: “What new roles do we as a global community have to take on or emphasize and what roles do we have to stop playing to ensure equality in collaborations? And what principle(s) should guide our collective action?“
    • Highlights: We delved into the necessity of shifting power dynamics within our organizations and globally. Participants debated new roles and guiding principles for fair and effective collaborations. Some of the key insights shared as concerns were: the need for trust in partnerships, the high cost of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning and the need for flexible programming.

Moving Ahead Together

We’re excited to build on this momentum and continue working together towards a sustainable future. A big thank you to everyone who joined us and contributed to the lively and insightful discussions. 

A Green Venue

Ethica Restaurant, the evening’s venue, was a fitting choice. Known for its sustainability and awarded the Gaia Green Award 2023, it complemented our focus on sustainable solutions and practices.


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Mariëlle Karssenberg

Knowledge Broker - Netherlands Food Partnership

Marjan Riepma

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