Kenya, July 2022: Private Sector and Markets Technical Working Group Meeting

The Private Sector and Markets Technical Working Group begins its work in earnest

By Cicilia Githaiga

The Private Sector and Markets Technical Working Group (PS&MTWG) established under the Intersectoral Forum on Agrobiodiversity and Agroecology (ISFAA) met on 28th July, 2022 to select its leadership and to design their activities for the year 2022 onwards. With the support of the IUCN BIODEV2030 Initiative and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the team had on 26th May 2022 launched the Private Sector and Markets Working Group when the Ministry of Environment and Forestry convened while the IUCN supported the forum themed ‘Engaging private sector and financial actors in agrobiodiversity and agroecology actions’. The meeting was also poised to commemorate the World Environment Day.

On the 28th July, 2022, the objectives and TORs of the PS&MTWG were presented and members were asked to make give comments on the draft document that was presented. Among other objectives the forum is expected to link policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and end-users in the area of agrobiodiversity and agroecology, ensure strategic and wide public participation in policy-making and other international processes and commitments and promote policy-relevant research that highlights the challenges, potential and opportunities offered by agroecology and agrobiodiversity in achieving food and nutrition security, biodiversity conservation, health, etc.

The selection of leadership was then done and announcement made that Miss Sylvia Kuria from Sylvia’s Basket (chair), Mr. Noel Templer of Nutri Produce Limited (vice chair), Miss Pramila Mwibanda from Urban Smart Gardeners (secretary) and Mr. Geoffrey Ongoya of Koppert (assisting secretary) would lead the team.

Various speakers gave valuable insights

The team then heard from the Consultants who presented the IUCN BIODEV2030 Initiative project case study which settled on Kajiado County as its pilot location. The BIODEV2030 project seeks ‘to create the necessary (sic) conditions for a national dialogue involving stakeholders around strategic economic sectors relevant to the country’s economy and biodiversity’. The Consultancy sought to identify options and scenarios of voluntary commitments from biodiversity in agriculture and forestry sectors in dryland ecosystems in Kenya and was led by Dr. Joram Kagombe who was assisted by Dr. Magrate Kaigongi and Dr. Antony Macharia. The meeting was asked to give their input from the floor to beef up the report with further input set to be received in writing to enable the consultants to capture the stakeholders’ views.

Dr. Ullrich  Klins highlighted the experiences he had had with private sector engagements particularly the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Private Sector Forum. He asked the participants to address themselves to questions as to who was going to be part of the working group, in which way the selection process will be managed and to sort out any legitimacy issues beforehand. He advised that a crucial factor of the platform’s success would be the motivation and interest of private sector players to join the platform. He also advised the team to consider what incentives would help members to stay active and engaged in the forum. He advised that there was need to check what low hanging fruits and best practices could be showcased. He advised the team to look into how best to manage the platform while speaking about his experience. He also invited the team to learn from private sector platforms and countries in which the private sector was integrated in decision-making processes and feedback provision. He also advised that it is important that governments provide the space for real partnership engagement to jointly engage in the field of biodiversity.

The meeting then discussed the proposals for the workplan of 2022 with the stakeholders proposing that mapping be done to understand where and what various stakeholders are engaged in which information would be documented and findings updated periodically. The team would also find ways to integrate and involve all stakeholders to make ensure they work together on matters of agroecology and agrobiodiversity. The team would pool resources, and jointly execute activities to help achieve the team’s mandate. We look forward to continuing our engagement with this working group while providing technical expertise among other possible forms of support.

© all photos by Cicilia Githaiga (GIZ)