SRP Rice Week 2021 – A Summary

SRP Rice Week 2021 closed on Friday 2 April, wrapping up an exciting 5 days of interactive discussions, with 245 participants (38% female, 62% male) and 66 speakers from 41 countries, representing members and the wider development community.

Following opening remarks by UNEP, Olam International, IRRI and FAO, two major strategic partnerships were announced, with FAO and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development both joining the Sustainable Rice Platform. These partnerships formalize several years of collaboration with both organizations and opens the door to multiple new scaling opportunities.

High‐level speakers including representatives of FAO, UNEP, World Bank, Global Environment Facility, IRRI, and Olam, emphasized the critical role of rice in transforming our global food system, and in addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Following an overview of the latest developments in the SRP, the role of the BMZ‐funded ‘Mainstreaming Support for the Sustainable Rice Platform’ project in supporting expansion of SRP’s Secretariat and programming was introduced, together with authorized SRP training provided by IRRI.

Speakers from Thailand’s Rice Department, Africa Rice, FAO, UNEP and Helvetas Intercooperation showcased member initiatives harnessing innovation and technology convergence to drive change. GIS‐enabled digital solutions were presented by IRRI and private sector partners, followed by a panel discussion on water in rice landscapes, led by the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

Day 3 began with a presentation of a study by IRRI reporting willingness to pay a premium for sustainable rice among urban consumers in Asia. GLOBALG.A.P. then introduced the SRP Assurance Scheme, with speakers from Rikolto, Preferred by Nature, Control Union and Rice Exchange offering important perspective on early implementation challenges. The business case for sustainable rice was further explored in a panel discussion led by Olam and Mars Food, with senior level speakers from LT Foods, Westmill Foods, Ahold Delhaize and IRRI.

A dedicated session with a keynote by Diane Holdorf of WBCSD also explored scaling opportunities via multilateral mechanisms such as GEF and via the World Bank, financing for sustainable rice (led by Clarmondial AG, with panelists from Rabobank, HBL Bank, NATCAP, FAO and WBCSD), and gender and governance within SRP, the latter led by speakers from AWS, ISEAL Alliance, UN Women, Oxfam, Oxford University and the International Trade Centre.

A very special thanks to all participants for their active and valuable participation, to our Plenary Steering Committee and also to members of the SRP Board, all of whom actively participated either personally or through their teams. We look forward to an exciting year ahead for SRP, its members and partners.

Read the full SRP Rice Week 2021 Event Summary here.

Rewatch the sessions: SRP Rice Week 2021 Playlist.

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