The African Union and the European Commission have jointly launched the “Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy Practice for Sustainable Food Systems under the AU-EU Partnership” (StEPPFoS) project. This initiative is strategically designed to foster policy coherence and alignment across the Pan-African Network for Economic Analysis of Policies (PANAP) and Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) partenership. Its primary goal is to minimize the fragmentation of policy initiatives in the agri-food sector at both national and regional levels.

This endeavor follows the recent introduction of the Consortium Europe Africa on Research and Innovation for Food Systems Transformation (CEA-FIRST) on February 14, 2024 which operationalizes the International Research Consortium (IRC).

Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) stands out as a critical developmental concern in Africa. FNSSA is a top-tier policy priority in numerous African countries and is at the forefront of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) international development agenda. Emphasizing this, FNSSA became the primary Research and Innovation (R&I) area in the AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology, and Innovation. The establishment of PANAP further solidified this commitment.

StEPPFoS aims to contribute to the FNSSA 10-year roadmap and the global transition towards sustainable food systems. Its specific objectives are:

  1. Enhancing capacities of stakeholders.
  2. Improving the science-policy interface to develop strategies promoting scientific support within policy development.
  3. Expanding and strengthening the PANAP Network.

The project will unfold through its 8 work-packages (WPs) over a 48-month period. It will employ capacity building, stakeholder engagements, participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning as primary methods, adhering to open science principles and effective data management practices.

The consortium leading StEPPFoS is well-positioned to achieve these objectives, leveraging the expertise and experiences of partners from both Europe and Africa, representing credible academic, research, and policy institutions:

  1. Forum For Agricultural Research In Africa, Ghana – FARA Coordinator
  2. The Registered Trustees Of The Association For Strengthening Agricultural Research In Eastern And Central Africa – ASARECA
  3. West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development – CORAF
  4. Council For Scientific And Industrial Research – CSIR-GH
  5. European Centre for Development Policy Management – ECDPM
  6. Food Agriculture And Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network – FANRPAN
  7. Regional Universities Forum For Capacity Building In Agriculture – RUFORUM
  8. Universitaet Hohenheim
  9. European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development Agrinatura
  10. Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis KIPPRA, Kenya
  11. Stichting Wageningen Research – WR
  12. African Forum For Agricultural Advisory Services AFAAS
  13. Universita Ca’ Foscari Venezia – UNIVE
  14. Universite Felix Houphouet Boigny, Benin
  15. E-Science European Infrastructure For Biodiversity And Ecosystem Research – LifeWatch
  16. Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation Society – EAFF
  17. The Association of Commonwealth Universities – UK
  18. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission – EC-JRC

Through collaborative efforts, StEPPFoS is set to play a pivotal role in advancing evidence-based policy practices for sustainable food systems in the region.