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The development of a digital agenda for Central American food safety continues

As a follow-up to the outcomes of BELLA Ideathon and in an effort to resolve food insecurity issues in the region, a virtual workshop "Building Solutions for a Resilient Ecosystem in Central America" was organized. The event was coordinated by the European Union, RedCLARA, the BELLA II initiative, with the assistance of FAO, GIZ, IICA, LACNET, and GÉANT.  

Over thirty specialists from diverse institutions participated actively in the initial phase of a sequence of endeavors aimed at establishing a Digital Agenda for Food Safety. This workshop initiates a collaborative and collective effort to develop proposals on the subject in Central America. It also serves as a preliminary stage for the forum, which is scheduled to occur on May 7 and 8 in San José, Costa Rica.

The opening emphasized the value of collaboration and the strategic direction of the BELLA II Project and RedCLARA investments for the creation of a secure digital platform.
"Central America faces multiple food challenges, and the creation of this digital agenda is essential to addressing them effectively," said Luis Cadenas, executive director of RedCLARA. "The goal is to actively contribute to the construction of this agenda, providing innovative and sustainable solutions. We have great capabilities, but we must promote coordination, and these activities help sustain it," he added.

The workshop, according to Leonel Tapia, the Technical Advisor of GIZ, aimed to implement "grounded" solutions through a constructive and collaborative process. This entails working in coordination, integrating agendas and projects, and paying attention to the options that technology presents in the continent's digital transformation process. “Without resilient agri-food systems, there is no life,” he said.

The workshop organized work tables around four key thematic axes: (1) agricultural policies; (2) environmental sustainability; (3) digital transformation technologies in agriculture; and (4) research and development from a gender perspective.

The working groups drew inspiration from the ideas, perspectives, and roles shared during the BELLA II Ideathon last March. RedCLARA, the BELLA II project, and the European Union organized the BELLA II Ideathon: Innovation of Agri-Food Systems in Central America and the Caribbean, with support from FAO, GIZ, IICA, LACNET, GÉANT, and ESA.

“The Ideatón provided us with valuable ideas and technological solutions to address climate change in agriculture, and this day is the starting point, as it helps us identify common areas and scalable solutions,” explained Laura Castellana, RedCLARA Project Coordinator.

As the main conclusions of the preparatory workshop, the tables highlighted various initiatives in the region that can be promoted: in the field of digital transformation technologies in the agricultural sector, the implementation of a drought monitoring system in agriculture, the exploration of greater sources of funding, the creation of early warning systems with weather stations connected to sensors that monitor nitrate levels in the soil, the promotion of carbon markets, and the establishment of water quality monitoring systems.

 The axis of environmental sustainability emphasized the importance of replicating nature-based solutions and the need to consider social factors as implementation limitations. Similarly, we emphasized the significance of generating solid data to inform the design of evidence-based solutions.

The Digital Agenda for Food Security's goal is to use it as a powerful tool to improve Central America's food situation.

As one one of the four main components of the EU-LAC Digital Alliance, the Digital Agenda on food safety for the region of Central America and the Caribbean continues to be implemented within the context of the BELLA II project, which is financed by the European Union and administered by RedCLARA.

The proposals will be evaluated during The Forum of the Digital Agenda on Food Safety in Costa Rica, with the objective of determining the precise actions that will be executed in accordance with the aforementioned Agenda.

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