HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute looks at how applied research addresses the food and climate emergencies

17.06.2021 On 15 June the HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute welcomed online and in-person participants for its second annual event dedicated to addressing the question “How does applied research address the food and climate emergencies?”

With the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit being held in 2021, as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the topic of the second annual event of the Cecchini Institute centered the discussion around two pressing and closely interlinked challenges – the food and climate emergencies. Held in a hybrid format, the event allowed to connect with participants from many locations around the world, including Nigeria, UK, India, Nepal, Tanzania, and many others.

HAFL Institut Hugo P. Cecchini, jährliche Veranstaltung Enlarge image
Prof Dr Peter Spring, Deputy Director BFH-HAFL, Dr Lynnette M. Neufeld, Director of Knowledge Leadership (KL) at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Prof Dr Dominique Guenat, Head of HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute.

The event offered an opportunity to explore how the activities of the Cecchini Institute and its partners address these global emergencies and what action steps are needed next. Organised partly in three parallel sessions, the theme of the event was aligned with the Action Tracks of the UN Food Systems Summit and allowed for the discussion of such topics as:

  • sustainable agricultural, agroforestry and food production systems
  • value chains, markets and food economics
  • the role of sustainable consumption patterns
  • livelihoods
  • vulnerabilities and resilience in times of crisis, emergency and urgency.   

Following a warm welcome  from the BFH-HAFL Director, Dr Ute Seeling,  Dr Lynnette Neufeld, Director of Knowledge Leadership (KL) at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), delivered a compelling keynote speech focused on how implementation research can help us achieve “sustainable healthy diets”. Dr Neufeld’s presentation highlighted that academic rigor must still be central to implementation research, but balanced with programmatic relevance.

The breakout sessions brought together speakers from academic institutions, as well as the public and private sector in Switzerland and BFH-HAFL partner institutions in the Global South.

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The event also hosted a showcase of poster presentations by students from BFH-HAFL, University of Bern CDE and the University of Lausanne.

the video of the poster presentations.

The HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute for International Cooperation and Development was launched last year during its first annual event in January 2020. In his closing remarks, Dr Dominique Guenat, the Institute Head,  noted that within this last year the Institute had focused on strengthening its position as a reliable partner to the global research and development community, and a convening forum for addressing global challenges such as the food and climate emergencies.


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