Minister Coveney welcomes the establishment of the IARDC and the Appointment of Mr Tom Arnold
Press release09 March 2021
Press Release 9 March 2021
The Ireland Africa Rural Development Committee
Today, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Charlie McConalogue T.D., and the Minister for Foreign Affairs (DFA), Simon Coveney T.D., announced the first step in the implementation of key recommendations from the National Task Team on Rural Africa’s (NTTRA) Report with the establishment of the Ireland Africa Rural Development Committee (IARDC).
The IARDC will be responsible for the ensuring the implementation, accountability and resourcing of the NTTRA Report’s recommendations and will seek to strengthen the coordination of Ireland’s existing contribution to the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and rural economy. The IARDC will comprise representatives from both Departments, as well as the relevant State Agencies, the private sector, academia and the African community in Ireland.
Minister McConalogue said, “I welcome the Report of the National Task Team for Rural Africa. The report recommendations will deliver a coherent national response that harnesses the capacity and expertise of all stakeholders within the Irish agri-food sector in its future partnership with Africa.
“Agriculture is the backbone of rural food security and livelihoods. This report will lead to a more effective Irish contribution to the development of sustainable food systems in Africa which are critical in reducing hunger and improving nutrition and health. Importantly, it will also provide a framework for stronger agri-business linkages between Ireland and Africa, including a focus on supporting female entrepeneurs.”
Appointment of Mr Tom Arnold as Special Envoy on Food Systems
The two Ministers have today also announced the appointment of Mr Tom Arnold as the Government of Ireland’s Special Envoy on Food Systems.
Mr Arnold’s role as Special Envoy will be to communicate Ireland’s position and policy priorities in the run-up to UN Food Systems Summit and to engage with a broad range of key actors and stakeholders within the global food systems network, for the purpose of communicating Ireland’s support and promotion a sustainable food systems approach.
In addition to his role as Special Envoy, Mr Arnold is also a member of the UN Food System Summit’s Champions Group and has recently been appointed by the European Commission to chair a new High Level Expert Group (HLEG) whose mandate is to assess the needs, options, impacts and possible approach for an International Platform for Food Systems Science (IPFSS).
Mr Arnold has also served as the Chair of the European Commission’s Task Force for Rural Africa and as the Chair of Ireland’s National Task Team on Rural Africa.
Speaking in relation to Mr Arnold’s appointment, Minister Coveney said, “I am delighted to announce Tom as the Government’s Special Envoy on Food Systems. He has played a pivotal role across a range of key Food Systems events and processes, both domestically and internationally.
Tom’s extensive knowledge of food and agriculture policy and his unparalleled experience as a facilitator and leader will allow him to share and promote Ireland’s experiences and ambitions in terms of agricultural development, agri-food innovation, food safety practices, sustainable farming and food production, and public-private partnerships.”
Notes for Editors:
- In March 2019, the European Commission’s Task Force on Rural Africa (TFRA) published its report, setting out a bold yet robust Africa-Europe agenda for rural transformation. This agenda seeks to intensify cooperation within, and between, EU Member States and African countries, and was subsequently endorsed at the AU-EU ministerial conference in Rome in June later that year.
- In response to the TFRA’s report, Ireland commissioned its own National Task Team on Rural Africa (NTTRA). This team was given a mandate to prepare a report on Ireland’s potential contribution to the work of the TFRA and present it to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, (DAFM) for consideration and action.
- The NTTRA report (available here) sets out a new framework to enhance, and improve the coordination of Ireland’s existing contribution to the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and rural economy by harnessing the respective expertise of Government Departments, State Agencies, the private sector, civil society, academia and the African Diaspora
- In 2021, the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs by 2030. By deliberately building on other ongoing efforts and events, the Summit will launch bold new actions, solutions, partnerships, and strategies to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems.
- The Summit will look for synergies between the multiple regional and national initiatives and alliances that already exist or are forming to support the transformation of unsustainable food systems. The Summit will also draw evidence and knowledge from all these sources to inform its global ideas and recommendations, and share this back with stakeholders around the world.
- The Food Systems Summit will provide an opportunity for Ireland to demonstrate leadership, both in terms of its domestic policy on sustainable food systems and in integrating food systems thinking into its wider foreign policy, including development cooperation.