What a year for YPARD and our fellow persons. Many of us have survived natural disasters, political unrest, and lost loved ones to the pandemic. It's been a no less eventful year on the global stage of food and agriculture. Food security, environmental protection and restoration, human rights, and international cooperation have only become more important through the course of the pandemic. Our shortcomings as a global society in these areas have been exacerbated. Through all these hardships, but also opportunities for reinvention, we are glad you have taken the time to be a part of the YPARD community.
There have been many transitions in the last year, and it is time to step back and reflect on all we have accomplished – and overcome—together. It's also time to look forward to the year ahead.
In the past year, YPARD has gone through several transitions. The Global Coordinating Unit (GCU) moved out of our hosting with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our hosts the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague and Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas (AGRIDEA). We welcomed three new staff members: Glindys Virginia Luciano, Valentina Martinez Salazar, and myself. Renewal also occurred in our Steering Committee as we welcomed Sebastian Pedraza Paez as Chair and welcomed Jim Leandro Cano and Marina Demaria Venâncio to the SC team.
YPARD also began a strategic partnership with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), which has helped both organizations gain new perspectives in their work, from the perspective of extensionists and young professionals, respectively. Now, we are enthusiastic about our planned projects together and offer hearty thanks for lively collaboration thus far. Look for announcements soon of a collaboration with GFRAS' regional network EUFRAS.
The relationship with GFAR and FAO has remained strong; this was one of the goals the YPARD SC and GCU set for our administrative transition. YPARD still serves actively on the GFAR Steering Committee, and collaborative projects with GFAR and FAO are in advanced stages of discussion. Thank you GFAR and FAO for your active collaboration with YPARD and youth.
We've also re-energized YPARD's policy engagement at a global level. YPARD, both at the regional and global levels, was actively involved in bringing YPARD member voices to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), but also the 26th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP), among others. Through these engagements, vibrant collaborations with the Major Group on Children and Youth (MGCY), YOUNGO, International Association of Agriculture and Related Sciences Students (IAAS), Bites of Transfoodmation, and other youth organizations have been forged or reinvigorated. You can expect these types of policy engagements and youth collaboration to continue in 2022. Look out for our YPARD Working Groups, for which you can express interest here.
To focus on network strengthening, the YPARD GCU has also co-hosted regional meetings with the YPARD Regional Coordinators and the Country Representatives, including YPARD Coffee Chats. Expect these meetings to continue in 2022, and to be expanded to editions with the general membership! You can become a volunteer YPARD meeting translator here. COVID allowing, these meetings could even occur in-person.
As always, please be in touch with us—to share your ideas and to problem solve together. You can always write an article to share your views and create projects with other YPARDians. When you want to share your expertise by becoming an expert speaker for YPARD, you can write to our Network Engagement Coordinator!
Last but most importantly: a huge thanks goes out to you, our YPARD members, including the YPARD Regional Coordinators, Country Focal Points, and everyone in between. These relationships are the invaluable human connections that YPARD works so hard to foster.
And to the YPARD partners and donors: huge thanks for your work together in the last years, and for understanding that organizations go through periods of transition. We look forward to growing together in the next year!
With humility and in solidarity,
See the last edition of "From the Director's Desk" here.