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  • 06/01/15--07:08: Climate Cinema: Take Four
  • By Yufei Li

    Last Tuesday, ECD organized its fourth Climate Cinema Event, in association with the Think Forward Film Festival and the International Center for Climate Governance. Focusing on the theme of clean energy, five films were screened with a panel discussion led by James Heer from IFAD and Lorenza Campagnolo from Euro Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Italy.

    The first film, Forests: The heart of a green economy, was adocumentary about the UN-REDD Programme. The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries. The Programme supports nationally-led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation. Produced for the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), this film highlights the critical role of forests in combatting climate change as well as supporting the environment, the economy, and human well-being through REDD+ initiatives.

    The second film was Kenya: Kid Power!, produced by IFAD in 2012. The film featured IFAD Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management, showing how children could change adult’s behavior and make a difference in environmental conservation. The kids at Kambaru Primary School in Kenya have planted more than 4,000 trees as part of a larger effort to reforest east Mount Kenya and restore much-needed water resources.

    The next film, Black Inside - Three Women's Voices, was a documentary byRodney Rascona from the United States. Nearly half the global population still cooks over an open fire. Each year over 4 million people lose their lives, mostly women and children, from breathing the toxic smoke created while cooking over an open wood fire to feed their families. Black Inside presents the stories of three women from three continents - voices who regardless of their cultural differences or the hardships they endure, share the same aspirations of a better life for their children, framed by the mist shrouded cliffs of the Peruvian Andes, India's richly chaotic border with Nepal and the remote, drought affected arid lands of Kenya's northern deserts.

    The fourth film was Brazil: Living with the land by IFAD. The North-East of Brazil is the most densely populated semi-arid region in the world. Low, erratic rainfall and recurrent droughts make farming difficult. For generations, farmers have resorted to excessive use of chemicals and slash and burn agriculture, stripping the soil of nutrients. The film focused on farmers like Irupuan Gomes who started to use bush management techniques to rehabilitate the natural ecosystem. Not only is the environment healthier -- but so are their profits.

    Lastly it was The Windmill Farmer, a silent animation by Joaquin Baldwin. The film started with a farmer planting in the ground. Through the seasons, his crops were flourishing until a vicious wind destroyed everything overnight. Feeling disappointed and helpless, the farmer resigned to his fate when the thick winter snows arrived and nature started its process of rebirth. 

    The next Climate Cinema will be held on June 23rd, focusing on the theme of environment. 

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    By Lorina Sthapit 

    25 April 2015. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving more than 1.7 million children affected. Overall damage has been estimated at nearly half of the national GDP.

    That day I was at the Metta Center Children’s Home in Kavre, about 30 km east of Kathmandu. The plan was to spend a beautiful day with the 15 girls who live at the Center. The plan was to tell them about the proposal approved by the IFAD Staff Help Fund (this fund is an independent group organized in May 1996 to help finance, through private contributions, small-scale educational projects in developing countries). The plan was to celebrate!

    The children at the Metta Center Children’s Home in Kavre
    ©IFAD/L. Sthapit

    The girls were quite excited that day; dressed in their favorite kurthas, giggling and running around, humming popular Nepali songs, throwing me we-know-why-you-are-here smiles. They even insisted on preparing lunch themselves.

    While we were waiting for lunch, I suggested that we sing and have some fun. One of them came forward and said she would like to sing a song so that I could tape it and show it to my friends in Italy. It didn't come to mind at that time, but now, revisiting the meaning of the song, the coincidence is chilling.

    Marne kasailai rahar hudaina (nobody dreams of dying)
    tara na mareko prahar hudaina (every minute somebody dies)
    bhagera jau kun thau jau (where to run and hide)
    manche namarne sahar hudaina (there is no city where people don't die)

    After lunch, we talked about IFAD and the Staff Help Fund. The girls were overwhelmed to know that new books and computers were arriving and they would soon be able to study under bright lights after the solar panels were set up. They were even more excited when we told them that they could select five books each for the library. “I already know my list,” said one of them, “Harry Potter!” 

    The children at the drawing table creating an artwork to thank the IFAD Help Fund
    ©IFAD/L. Sthapit

    “We want to send something to IFAD as a thank you,” they said. And so we headed to the library, on the top floor of the orphanage. On a big piece of paper they started making beautiful drawings and designs. Seeing them work on it with such dedication and love, I told myself this will probably be one of the best gifts that the Help Fund will ever receive. But just when they were putting the final touches to the drawing and writing their names, the building started shaking and swaying. The crayons and pencils started to roll off the table, shelves started falling, chairs sliding, windows vibrating as if they were going to explode. We could hear strange noises that sounded like a bomb exploding. Terrified, it took us a moment to come to our senses and realize what was happening. It was an earthquake. And it was big.

    We had no time to decide what to do next. Should we get under the table? Should we stand under the door frame? Should we just run outside? Do we have to get our shoes? What about the artwork? Should we carry it with us or leave it there? But there was simply no time. As the building started rocking violently, we hurried to get out of the building. But we could not even walk without stumbling into each other. Bricks started falling from above as we struggled to pass the entrance gate. It felt like the world was coming to an end and there was nothing we could do to save ourselves. After what seemed like an endless minute, we finally made it to the garden where others were waiting. I could see the tension in their faces, they were worried about whether we would make it or not. Everybody was pale and in shock.

    The ground was still shifting. And before we could catch our breath, there was an aftershock. And another one. And another one. For the next hour we sat in a circle and prayed as strong and frequent aftershocks kept coming…it felt like the end was near…

    Fortunately, I can report back that all the girls are safe. Life is still very unsettled, but thanks to the Help Fund, they are eagerly looking forward to choosing books for the new library.

    Some weeks after the disaster, I discovered that somehow all the voices and sounds of that fateful minute was accidentally recorded on my camera. It gives me shivers every time I listen to it. While I can hear myself saying "thik cha" (it's okay) to the girls, I knew that nothing was okay and would never be again.

    One month after the earthquake the Nepali people still live in fear of another big tremor – since the second powerful earthquake (magnitude 7.3) struck on 12 May and took away any sense of normalcy that the people had slowly been regaining. Things may gradually be getting back to normal for those whose homes were unscathed and whose family and friends unhurt, but for those who lost loved ones and whose homes are uninhabitable and are taking shelter under flimsy tarpaulins while searching for or building temporary shelters as the monsoon arrives, the future is still very dark and unsettled.

    The artwork created by the girls on that fateful day to thank the IFAD Staff Help Fund is exhibited in IFAD's foyer.

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    From 12 to 16 May 2015 the International Land Coalition organized a Global Land Forum, which brought together over 500 grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organisations and government agencies from around the world in Dakar, Senegal. The Forum created particular opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges in Senegal and Africa. It facilitated dialogue to the highest political level on land reform in Senegal. Moreover, the global cope of the Forum enabled exchange across different national and regional contexts that allowed for not only identification of trends, but also the emergence of new perspectives and areas demanding common action.

    Experiences from IFAD-supported projects were shared during various opportunities. IFAD’s Vice President, Mr. Mordasini, made an inaugural speech and participated in a plenary session on the future of small-scale farming systems. Mr. Mordasini stated that the challenge is now to scale up the implementation of land policy, and approaches for securing a diverse range of customary land and natural resource rights. He mentioned some general principles that apply:     

    - The first one is that scaling-up the implementation of land policy requires political leadership and ownership, as well as transparency and accountability, so that the rights of the poor are protected even when they conflict with the desires of the more powerful.     
    - The second principle is that there is a need for more inclusive business arrangements – such as contract farming or joint equity schemes - between the smallholder farmers and their business partners. Indeed, with more private-sector investments being channeled to agriculture, it is imperative that these investments are made in the form of mutually beneficial partnerships with the people already using the land.
    - Thirdly, we need to address the significant and persistent data gaps on key dimensions of land governance and the realities of land management. Such deficiency seriously affects the quality and consistency of the land policies,  and the credibility of their objectives and targeting, weakening also the performance monitoring.
    - The fourth principle is that we must more systematically share knowledge and experience across the continents. By sharing evidence of what has worked, and learning from what has not, we can accelerate and improve our scaling-up efforts.

    IFAD organized two break-out sessions: one on inclusive business arrangements and another on access to land for young people. During the first session a variety of stakeholders from producers’ organisations, civil society, public and private sector shared their views on how to improve land administration systems and investment in agriculture so that the land rights and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, pastoralists and others are strengthened. Several examples of inclusive business arrangements supported by IFAD were shared, such as the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda, the Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme in São Tomé and Principe and a collaboration with Malibiocarburantin Mali and Burkina Faso.

    The second break-out session identified transformative practices that promote inclusive development for young people, with a special reflection on the specific challenges of women and indigenous youth. The experience of the IFAD-supported Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal was shared, where an innovative targeting approach was developed through the ubiquitous and very cohesive village sports/cultural associations. Members of the latter are encouraged to prepare proposals for agro-related income- generating activities and submit them for project support. They are able to enhance their eligibility for support by accepting women and other vulnerable categories as full members. Over 4 000 young women and men belonging to 45 associations are receiving the financial and capacity-building support they need to become agro-entrepreneurs in their own communities, thereby reducing the pressures in favour of migration. Participants of the break-out session strategized collective actions for replication and scaling up in different contexts.

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    From 12 to 15 May 2015 IFAD’s Vice President, Mr. Mordasini, visited Senegal. Besides participating in the Global Land Forum organised by the International Land Coalition, Mr. Mordasini took the opportunity to meet several of IFAD’s key partners in Senegal. He met with different representatives of the Government, namely Mr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Mr. Amadou Ba, Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning and Ms. Aminata Ndiaye, Minister of Livestock and Animal Production. The Vice President discussed the performance of the ongoing IFAD-supported projects and programmes and congratulated the Government for its exemplary collaboration with IFAD.  Furthermore, he also met with  Mr Samba Gueye, President of the National Council for Rural Consultation and Cooperation, which brings together the main farmers’ and producers’ federations in Senegal. IFAD-supported projects in Senegal have been working with farmers’ organisations (grassroots organisations, unions) and will continue to work with them in the future to strengthening their capacity and support their professionalization. Finally, the Vice President met with the Country Team of UNDP, where the IFAD offices are hosted.

    IFAD’s Vice President and Senegal’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment

    IFAD’s Vice President and UN resident coordinator in Dakar

    After the meetings in Dakar, the Vice President travelled to Kaolack, a department in Senegal’s groundnut basis, where the IFAD supported Agricultural Value Chains Support Project (Projet d’appui aux filières agricoles – PAFA)  is being implemented. Here he visited several interventions that are being supported by PAFA.

    Resulting from discussion between producers’ organisations, local government and other market operators during value chain, PAFA has supported the construction of several value chain development centres where agricultural produce can be stored and sold. Each centre has a storage place, a polyvalent room, a point of sale and toilets. The Vice President visited one of these centres in Keur Socé.

    PAFA has developed a holistic approach to village poultry, which has proven to be extremely successful. The characteristics of the model are: (i) setting up farmers’ groups in a transparent and inclusive manner; (ii) technical training tailored to the needs of the beneficiaries, especially women; (iii) close technical follow-up provided by local extensionists; (iv) construction of henhouse with local material as a shelter during the night; (v) breeding local chickens that are adapted to the environment and farming conditions; (vi) vaccination and other preventive measures; (vii) production of feed by the beneficiaries themselves using local ingredients. During the Vice President’s visit, a service centre for village poultry, which includes a slaughterhouse and a point of sale, was officially opened in Fallou Sall.

    Twelve market gardens have been set up and/or equipped with solar pumps, drip irrigation equipment and fencing with the support of PAFA. The capacity of the producers’ organisations is being strengthened and agricultural advisory services and are foreseen. More than seventy per cent of the producers are women and about twenty per cent are younger than 35 years old. The Vice President visited the market garden in Taiba Nianguène, where vegetable production is being integrated with fish farming.

    To promote the consumption of local products, PAFA has trained more than 800 women and young girls in processing and cooking techniques using local cereals. Furthermore, hotel and restaurant owners have been sensitized to introduce dishes prepared with local products in their menus. A diner was organised to allow the Vice President to taste the local dishes produced and prepared by various farmers supported by PAFA.

    Value chain development centre of Keur Socé

    Market garden in Taiba Nianguène

    Service centre for village poultry in Fallou Sall

    Tasting local products in Kaolack

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    Written by: Leigh Winowiecki and Caroline Mwongera

    Originally published here

    “Stakeholders coming together can achieve more impact”

    So was the message from 54 participants at a workshop aimed at sharing experiences about different approaches to outscaling climate smart agriculture (CSA) using prioritization tools.

    Tor-Gunnar Vågen, ICRAF, explains, an open source platform to target CSA interventions. Credit: S. Malyon/CIAT
    “There are a lot of people, national institutes and international organizations working with farmers in Africa. Many of them have developed their own successful tools and methods and all have valuable experiences from which others can learn. We are committed to come together more to share and learn from each other,” said Leigh Winowiecki, CIAT soil scientist and one of the event organizers.

    The CSA knowledge sharing workshop took place on May 20 2015 with participants from CGIAR centres, NGOs, private sector and the Kenyan government, all gathered to interactively discuss and share pathways for outscaling CSA.

    Collectively they showcased, discussed and shared over 14 CSA Prioritization Tools during a Tools Bazaar. The presentations showed that a diversity of approaches are being applied across a variety of scales.

    For example, CARE International has developed a Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) tool and CIAT has led the development of the climate-smart agriculture rapid appraisal (CSA-RA), both emphasize participatory approaches at community and district levels.

    In addition, a Climate-Smart Agriculture Prioritization Framework (CSA-PF) by CIAT guides national and sub-national climate change and agriculture planning, and the developed by ICRAF GeoScience Lab uses advanced statistical mapping techniques on an open source platform to target interventions, for example through the  development of county-specific interactive “dashboards”.

    We interviewed Michael Okumu, Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, and Maurine Ambani, CARE International, about the tools they presented. Watch them here:

    Supported by the CIAT-led, IFAD-funded project, “Increasing food security and farming system resilience in East Africa through wide-scale adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices”, the workshop expanded on the knowledge from the Kenya National Climate-Smart Agriculture Workshop held in Nairobi in 2014.

    The objectives of the latest workshop were to:
    • To provide an interactive forum to share methods, tools, and experiences currently being used and developed to prioritize CSA practices in SSA.
    • To share lessons learned from implementing climate-smart/best practices.
    • To explore opportunities for collaboration and funding.
    • To explore better alignment where possible and relevant.

    Interactive group sessions focused on what outputs different users would desire from a prioritization tool. For example, what type of information do Kenya County Governments require from a tool compared to what donors, farmers, researchers and National Governments want? The final groups session highlighted challenges and suggestions for outscaling agricultural techniques! The overwhelming suggestion was that collective collaborations across stakeholders is needed in order to achieve impact.

    Specific outputs of the workshop include: 1) A better awareness of the current CSA Prioritization Tools and the development of a Tools Matrix; 2) Direct input into the CCAFS CSA initiative, 3) A joint publication on the use of prioritization tools for outscaling CSA in Africa.

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    By Viateur Karangwa

    Simplified post harvest technologies at household level

    Harvest seasons in Rwanda may be followed almost immediately by new planting seasons giving rise to two issues: 1) farmers may have to divide their time between harvesting old crops and preparing for planting new ones, and 2) the weather may be wet at harvest times predisposing harvested crops to moisture related quality deterioration.

    To contend with the compressed cropping season, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has enacted a set of programmes to reduce post-harvest losses. Among them, the Climate Resilient Post harvest and Agri-business Support Project (PASP) has prioritized connecting business operators with financing institutions and creating awareness on climate risk management.

    PASP has identified training, coaching and close follow up with farmers as an entry point before constructing post-harvest infrastructure. Stakeholders continue to discuss how they can coordinate their efforts to ensure PASP achieves its targets.

    Following training sessions held on 24th December 2014, and continued coaching from PASP technical staff and agronomists from sector and district levels, farmers in Murama sector (Ngoma district), pledged to monitor each other to reduce the practice of drying beans on the floor, which exposes the crop to moisture and deterioration.

    After the introduction of these disciplinary measures and improved post-harvest practices, members of the KOREMU farmers’ cooperative were able to go from 211 tons to 411 tons of produce sold to national markets.   

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    IFAD utilises many partnerships to ensure that it can achieve its goal of empowering rural smallholder farmers to achieve food security. Here we talk to Estibalitz Morras Dimas, IFAD's Environment and Climate Division's Portfolio Officer about a new IFAD undertaking.

    Can you explain briefly the relationship between IFAD and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)?

    For more than 15 years IFAD has been one of the executing agencies of the GEF. The GEF is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. Together IFAD and GEF are working together in 42 countries, with a total portfolio of US$ 253 million.

    What is IAP?

    The Integrated Approach Program (IAP) is a new way of using GEF funds. For the next four years, IFAD will seek to produce multiple environmental benefits by working with a broad range of organizations and sectors. Currently there are three new "pilot" programmes addressing global commodities, sustainable cities and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (led by IFAD).

    In the case of the Integrated Approach for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, the GEF wants the management of natural capital - land, soil, water, vegetation and genetic resources - to be a priority in the transformation of the agriculture sector for food security. This program will support twelve countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) targeting agro-ecological systems where the need to enhance food security is linked directly to opportunities for generating global environmental benefits.

    IAP aims to promote the sustainable management and resilience of ecosystems and their different services (land, water, biodiversity, forests) as a means to address food insecurity. At the same time, it addresses various barriers (policy, institutional and knowledge) to emphasize a shift toward safeguarding the natural capital that underpins its sustainability and resilience for food security in the long term.

    The programme will adopt a three-pronged approach that:

    1) Engages stakeholders across the public and private sectors, and across environment and agriculture to foster collective action and coherent policies,

    2) Acts to scale up, diversify and adapt practices for a large-scale transformation of agro-ecosystems, and

    3) Tracks impacts on ecosystems services and resilience to assess progress and enable more informed decision-making on agriculture and food security  on many levels.

    Why is IFAD the lead agency for coordination of IAP Food Security?

    IFAD throughout its African portfolio of projects promotes a "multiple-benefit" approach, building food security and climate resilience, through managing competing land-use systems at the landscape level while at the same time reducing poverty, enhancing biodiversity, increasing yields and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. IFAD is thus well placed to leverage support from its investment portfolio on natural resources management in Africa to scale up investments in integrated approaches for sustainability and to lead IAP-Food Security. Overall coordination of IAP Food Security will be the responsibility of IFAD, in its capacity as the lead GEF agency for the programme, and the GEF Secretariat.

    Other GEF Agencies participating in IAP Food Security will be UNEP, FAO, UNDP, World Bank, Conservation International and UNIDO.

    What is the next step for IAP?

    The 48th GEF Council recently approved in June 2015 $116 million Program for Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total GEF financing of $106.5 million will be supplemented by $805.36 million co-financed from the governments, development agencies, foundations, international organizations, and the private sector

    The detailed country design documents will start in the following weeks. It's expected that IAP Food Security will start its implementation around the last quarter of 2016.


    For more information on IAP, click here

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    by Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Adviser, Gender and Social Inclusion, Policy and Technical Advisory Division

    Accurate evaluation of results and impact has become a top priority for IFAD and our partners over recent years but in the field of gender equality there is still a long way to go. To measure women’s empowerment in a meaningful way, data have to be not only disaggregated by sex but also to reflect the reality of women’s lives. 
    In May, the Rome-based agencies participated in an Expo event organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation focusing on “Measuring the empowerment of rural women”. The event was opened by a think-piece on the key issues and challenges of measuring rural women’s empowerment by Marco Zupi from Centre for International Political Studies. Other panellists were from ACRA-CCS Foundation and AIDOS.

    On behalf of IFAD, I reported on the Fund’s special interest in this topic in recent years, both at the global and corporate levels.

    At the global level, we have contributed substantially to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) discussions around rural women’s empowerment. The need for active engagement drew on the experience from 2012 when the RBAs, together with UN Women and other agencies, set out to report on the progress of rural women against the eight MDGs.

    However, there were challenges. Many of the data were not disaggregated by sex, yet alone by rural-urban dimensions – hence the information available was patchy and incomplete. More importantly, many of the indicators did not resonate with the lives of rural women.

    © Alessandra Gabero
    Women farmers are major producers of food and yet their efforts are regularly hampered by their lack of access to productive resources, inputs, technologies, services and markets. And it is about more than just the role of women as economic actors. We also want to know if there have been improvements in the quality of their lives, in terms of nutrition, health, gender-based violence and the use of harmful traditional practices.

    This lack of valid, useful data spurred us on to play a more active role in ensuring that the new SDGs would reflect more meaningful change from the perspective of rural women, with a focus on economic empowerment, decision-making and voice, workloads and quality of life. We were active in the drafting of proposed indicators for SDG2 on Hunger, food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture. We also ensured that rural women’s perspective was reflected in SDG5 on Gender equality and women’s empowerment.

    At the corporate level, there are gaps in the data we regularly collect from the field. We are good at collecting sex-disaggregated data at the activity and output level: in terms of the number of women and men trained, who are savers or borrowers, or are members or leaders of various groups, etc. However, we lose the gender perspective as we progress to project outcomes and final impacts.

    The gender team in PTA has been working with PMD Front office and SKD to fill this gap. We have adapted theWomen’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index(WEAI), which was launched in 2012 by IFPRI, USAID Feed the Future and OPHI. The index measures women’s empowerment in five domains, which can be grouped to tie in with the three strategic objectives of IFAD’s policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment (see figure below).

    WEAI Dimensions of Empowerment

    WEAI Indicators

    Objectives  of

    IFAD’S Gender Policy


    1. Input in productive decisions

    Economic empowerment

    2. Autonomy in production


    3. Ownership of assets

    4. Purchase, sale, or transfer of assets

    5. Access to and decisions on credit


    6. Control over use of income


    7. Group member

    Decision-making and representation

    8. Speaking in public


    9. Workload

    Equitable workloads balance

    10. Leisure

    We have undertaken statistical analysis on various WEAI datasets to experiment with fewer indicators, fewer questions per indicator and the introduction of additional questions to capture dimensions of empowerment relevant to IFAD’s work. These revised questionnaires are being piloted in some ongoing impact assessments, the updates to the Results and Impact Management System (RIMS) and a NEN grant.

    And why is there so much attention on indicators? A lot of work has already been done yet there is a great deal still to do in the area of indicators for women’s empowerment. This is because it is vital to find out the extent to which IFAD-supported projects contribution to gender equality and the empowerment of women. This is significant as an end it its own right. 

    However, perhaps of more interest to an international financial institution such as IFAD and our drive towards evidence-based investments and policy dialogue, is the crucial link between women’s empowerment and improved, deeper and more sustainable project outcomes and impacts.

    A special event will be held later in the year to discuss IFAD’s adaptations to the WEAI.

    Panelists: Marco Zupi, Scientific Director CeSPI; Susan Kaaria, Senior Officer FAO / ESP* ; ValerioTranchida, Gender advisor for Operational and information Management WFP; Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Specialist (Gender and Social Inclusion), IFAD; Giuseppe De Santis, Food security and Food sovereignty Desk Officer, ACRA-CCS Foundation /Expo dei Popoli; Paola Cirillo, Vice-President AIDOS

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    find yourself in the others,
    learn that we are equal
    and distinct at the same time
    that´s the adventure of life,
    here are the smiles
    of those that open new paths

    What feels to be freed of territorial and cultural boundaries and make from the world our learning ground?
    How to trace a path to happiness that starts with listening and learning from our own people?
    Outstanding rural women and men, farmers, artisans, weavers, indigenous people, local authorities and youth leaders from across the south are our inspiration. Thank you all for sharing a life of efforts, for showing us the way that, from the grassroots to the top, we can change this world for better.
    PROCASUR proudly present this Video inspired by thousands of local champions and the poetry and music of Calle 13, a talented young music band of Puerto Rico that interprets our journey very well.

    Enjoy the smiles and the rhythms, and start walking differently. Today.

    Share it, comment it.

    With all our appreciation: La vuelta al mundo. 
    Please click here for the video:

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    I’ve been writing an Annual Report cheat sheet for a couple of years now and people tell me they find it useful. So here’s the potted version of AR2014 key facts and figures.

    These are the big numbers, correct as at 31 December 2014:
    • 224 ongoing programmes and projects with an IFAD investment of US$5.4 billion and a total value of US$12.3 billion 
    • 26 new programmes and projects approved in 2014 with loans, DSF grants and ASAP grants worth US$713.4 million 
    • 64 new grants approved in 2013 worth US$51 million 
    • The target of IFAD10 was agreed at US$1.44 billion. 
    At the time of publication (June 2015), total IFAD loan and grants approved since 1978 were worth nearly US$16.6 billion and the programmes and projects we support had reached about 445 million people.

    If you want the details behind those figures, or more information on the various types of cofinancing, disbursements or repayments – take a look at Table 2, IFAD at a glance, on page 48.

    Here's the breakdown of the numbers region by region.

    West and Central Africa
    • 47 ongoing projects in 22 countries 
    • US$1,076.5 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • 6 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$157.8 million 

    East and Southern Africa
    • 43 ongoing projects in 17 countries 
    • US$1,212.9 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • 4 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$94.9 million 

    Asia and the Pacific
    • 56 ongoing projects in 20 countries 
    • US$1,752.8 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • 8 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$269.5 million 

    Latin America and the Caribbean
    • 42 ongoing projects in 21 countries 
    • US$617.4 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 1 new project for a total IFAD investment of US$4.0 million 

    Near East, North Africa and Europe
    • 36 ongoing projects in 18 countries and Gaza and the West Bank 
    • US$698.2 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$187.3 million 

    Not just numbers 

    The Annual Report isn’t just about numbers, however. It’s also about issues, strategies and stories. The Programme of Work chapter gives an overview of the current main priorities in each region and key areas of work with results. Pie charts for each region show 1978-2014 investments and disbursements by lending terms.

    2014 was a busy year for IFAD on the international policy dialogue and advocacy front. The Major Initiatives and New Programmes chapter gives our main messages and achievements in areas such as the post-2015 agenda, nutrition, indigenous people and work with young people.

    If you're interested in the details of all the new programmes and projects, all newly approved programmes, projects and large grants are summarized on the AR CD-ROM. We also give a link to projects in the pipeline page if you want to keep ahead of the game.

    To see which countries we’re working in and where we have country offices, take a look at the map. And last but not least, read the stories from the field in the Programme of Work chapter and learn about our work on the ground.

    Don’t forget, if you want more than this one-page cheat sheet, there are plenty of other options.

    If you’re the kind of person who reads big fat tomes, you’ll want the full 174-page report (which includes a wealth of information and detail, including all new programmes, the Financial Statements and more). If you prefer something more succinct, try the 64-page print report. It has all the key info, the pictures, the stories and the graphics.

    Shorter still are the Annual Report Highlights at just 12 pages, but still including stories and pictures. 

    I’d like to close with a big thank you to the many people who have contributed to AR2014.

    It’s a team as big as a film crew: the focal points who provide the info – coordinating input from their own colleagues, including CPMs and regional economists – and give feedback and guidance during drafting, those who write their own sections, the people who give us the numbers, directors who give support and clearance, the production teams in the four languages, the production coordinator, the editor, the photo editor, the sub-editor, the translators, the in-house and external designers, the editorial assistant, the proofreaders and the webteam. Everyone has contributed a huge amount and I hope you will all be happy with the end result. As usual, we’re launching the Annual Report on social media. If you want to join the conversation, take a look at our Facebook page and follow us on twitter with the hashtag #ifadar. Please tweet your favourite quotes and facts and figures to your followers.

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    By Pedro De Vasconcelos, Manager of the IFAD Financing Facility for Remittances

    How can we maximize the development impact of remittances?

    This was the key question of the fifth Global Forum on Remittances and Development, which ended in Milan last Friday after four days of substantive dialogue and debates. More than 400 participants attended from 88 countries around the world.

    In 2014, global remittances to developing countries reached US$436 billion, exceeding official development assistance by at least three times. The forum focused on how to leverage these funds for social and economic development in recipient countries. It is estimated that about 20 percent of the funds received could be invested in productive activities and small businesses.

    While today there is greater appreciation of remittances by governments and the international community than ever before, there are still many barriers that prevent remittances from meeting their development potential.

    Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD's President, opens the Global Forum on Remittances and Development.
    The forum started with the warm-hearted observance of the first International Day for Family Remittances. 

    In his opening, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze reminded the audience that remittances are the largest poverty alleviation mechanism adopted by millions of migrant workers around the world in benefit of their families back home.

    In her keynote address, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, speaking in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, also acknowledged the importance of remittances. "We should never forget that to millions of families in developing countries remittances represent their only hope for building a better future", she said.

    Enabling environment to transfer remittances

    Participants rallied around the need for more proportionate regulations and a more enabling regulatory environment for remittances. In particular, payments systems should be more integrated and adapted for transfers of small amounts of money.

    The issue of de-risking was much discussed and will remain an area for future work. Money transfer operators and companies present at the forum called for the opening of a dialogue with regulators. De-risking is the closing of bank accounts of money transfer operators, which they need to operate, by banks due to perceived legal, regulatory sanctions and anti-money laundering/countering of financing terror measures.

    Unleashing the potential of new technologies 

    There was a wide consensus on the promise of technology to provide cheaper, more efficient and far-reaching remittances.

    The use of mobile and online technologies has led to a transformation of the landscape for domestic remittances in many countries, for example in Kenya. Their use in cross-border transactions, however, remains limited and is hampered by the lack of international interoperability of mobile systems and of regulation harmonization between countries. The value of international remittances sent through mobile phones accounted for less than 2 percent ($10 billion) of global remittance flows ($542 billion) in 2013, according to the World Bank.

    H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands delivering her keynote speech at the opening of the Global Forum

    Ensuring impact on development: financial inclusion is key

    Public-private-people partnerships and dialogue with migrants and recipient families were the leitmotiv when discussing concretely how remittances can harness development locally.
    The private sector is very key in that respect. By providing access first to savings accounts and then loans and insurance, banks and money transfer operators can offer millions of people the possibility to invest, develop their activities and start small businesses. Currently only about 10 per cent of rural people in developing countries have access to even the most basic financial services.

    Participants discussed how to go beyond pilot activities and take proven models and scale them up to maximize development. The IFAD Financing Facility for Remittances is launching a call for proposals to that effect. Guidelines will be published in September 2015.

    Costs can be further reduced

    While progress has been made to reduce transfer costs in recent years, more should and can be achieved through increased competition and the introduction of new technologies. With a global average of about 8 percent, costs remain too high and are much higher in many places, for example in Africa.

    Next steps

    It was agreed that joint efforts need to be pursued to reduce transfer costs, to increase the use of new technologies and to improve financial inclusion. Particular attention also should be paid to the role remittances can play in the post-2015 development agenda and their contribution to the sustainable development goals.

    The next global forum will take place in New York in 2017 to assess progress towards the goals related to remittances.

    First awards for excellence in remittances and social and economic development

    The forum closed with a ceremony to recognize practices that make a real difference to migrants and their families.

    The FFR gave four awards for efforts to help leverage remittances for development. Awardees were: WorldRemit, the world’s largest mobile-centric money transfer service; Mame Khary Diene, CEO of Bioessence and a successful diaspora entrepreneur; the Central Bank of the Philippines which set up a Economic and Financial Learning Programme one component of which targets overseas Filipinos and remittance-recipient families; and the non-profit Asociación Mexicana de Uniones de Crédito del Sector Social (AMUCSS), a network of rural financial institutions and micro banks.

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    By Tomás Rosada, IFAD’s Regional Economist for LAC and Ed Heinemann, Lead Technical Specialist – Policy in PTA.

    Policies have an impact on every dimension of poor rural people's lives. They shape economic opportunities, provide a ladder for people to climb out of poverty or can prevent them to make it to that ladder.

    For IFAD, policy engagement is a core part of our business. It is the only way to create the conditions for larger numbers of rural people to move out of poverty, above and beyond the impact of individual projects.

    IFAD-funded projects and programmes are increasingly becoming laboratories to test new ways of tackling rural poverty. When lessons and learning from our investment activities are scaled up and incorporated into policy framework at a national level, the projects achieve their ultimate goal and targets.

    Policy engagement happens in many different ways:

    • Supporting the creation and strengthening of public institutions working on rural development policies and rural people’s organizations
    • Promoting fora for sharing experiences and concerns between governments, rural people and private sector players
    • Operationalizing policy programmes at local, regional and national levels.

    It is hard to tell when a change in policy will have a positive impact on the lives of rural people, and it is even more difficult to assess the overall contribution policy engagement. Yet answering these questions is key if we want to be able to assess our performance in this field.

    Policy engagement: A central part of development work

    Some days ago, IFAD hosted the event Assessing the Impact of Policy Engagement. This gathering provided a unique opportunity for IFAD and its partners to reflect on these questions.

    IFAD’s Senior Policy Technical Specialist Lauren Phillips, – set the scene: "for IFAD, policy engagement is the process by which IFAD, and IFAD-supported projects and grants, work with governments and other national actors to create, reform, implement or monitor policies.

    "The final goal is to influence policy (the combination of laws, regulations, institutional approaches and practices) and to shape it in a way that allows poor rural people to overcome poverty", said Phillips.

    John Young, Head of the Research and Policy in Development Programme at ODI ©IFAD
    John Young is Head of the Research and Policy in Development Programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a well-known British think tank. For him, policy engagement is a “central part” of international development work.

    “Outright policy change is rare and the causes that lead to it are often unique and rarely able to be replicated.”

    However, a number of frameworks and approaches can help to overcome conceptual and technical difficulties when it comes to assessing the impact of policy engagement. All of them involve developing a theory of change: a logical model or roadmap of how one envisages policy changes.

    “The earlier and clearer you have your theory of change, the easier it is to check it against delivery.”

    Review what works and what doesn’t

    Ignacia Fernández, Lead Researcher at the Latin-American Centre for Rural Development (RIMISP), talked about a successful experience of policy engagement in four countries of Latin America. The IFAD-funded project Knowledge for Change has allowed RIMISP to set up Rural Dialogue Groups (GDR) in Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador.

    The GDRs are fora where representatives of these countries’ authorities and smallholder organizations discuss how to create a political environment for poor people to overcome poverty. They have facilitated the adoption of policies in favour of family farming in the areas of biodiversity, adaptation to climate change and agricultural innovation.

    Susana Márquez and Ignacia Fernández, first and second on the left ©IFAD
    After three years of experience, RIMISP was able to set up an evaluation strategy for GDRs based on a model called steps of influence. Its aim is to identify which actors contribute to policy changes -and how.

    “This has allowed us to learn more and better about which mechanisms led to positive outcomes and which mechanisms failed and have to be redesigned.”

    Susana Márquez, Planning and Strategy Manager at the Unit for Rural Change (UCAR), Argentina’s national branch of the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF) illustrated some of their achievements of this policy dialogue body of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR, the free trade area formed up by Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela).

    REAF has functioned as a political forum for representatives of family farmers’ organizations, academia, civil society and policy-makers from MERCOSUR countries to discuss public policies targeting family farming. REAF policy recommendations have been implemented at a national level, including both pro-family-farming legislation and financial support programmes.

    Márquez made clear that REAF “has no crystal ball. Yet we know now some approaches work and some do not.”

    And what does work? “The adoption of a strict methodology, the definition of clear but broad objectives and, above all, flexibility. To create policy engagement you have to be flexible, trusted by both governments and civil society.”

    National strategies to define policy engagement targets

    Óscar García, director of IFAD's Independent Office of Evaluation pointed to the Results-Based Country Strategies (COSOPs) as an essential pillar to build on policy engagement.

    “The COSOP preparation process is where IFAD and governments agree on how they can collaborate to promote rural development. To evaluate what that collaboration brings about is impossible if we don’t know what we want to achieve.”

    Left to right: Edward Heinemann, Óscar García, Paolo Silveri and Lisandro Martín ©IFAD
    He also shared a proposed framework for evaluating policy engagement – one that recognises the complex policy cycle and the need to distinguish between policy dialogue, adoption, implementation and outcomes.

    Lisandro Martín, IFAD’s Senior Portfolio Manager, reminded us of the strong correlation that exists between good policies and good project outcomes. “Thus, it is critical for IFAD to have a specific focus on policy engagement as part of its self-assessment system.”

    Martín underscored that COSOPs are the natural space to capture policy engagement objectives and activities, but “we need to be conceptually clear as to what can be attributed to IFAD’s policy engagement and the outcomes and impact to which it contributes.”

    As we closed this half-day event, the following lessons emerged: First, there is no single right method to assess the impact of policy dialogue. Second, and more importantly, every path starts by knowing where you want to go. Otherwise, is impossible to know whether you have arrived or not.

    You can consult the summaries of some of the presentations made at the learning event Assessing the Impact of Policy Engagement:

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    Helping farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change can also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which is good news for the planet and for future generations, says the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the CGIARResearch Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

    Speaking at UNESCO’s Our Common Future Under Climate Change Science Conference in Paris, CCAFS and IFAD have released details of their latest research on what mitigation potential smallholder farming actually has. 

    The study finds reducing emissions may not be as big a burden as some may believe. The Mitigation Advantage Report has found that mitigation could be another benefit of adaptation activities. The study, released today, examines IFAD’s portfolio of projects focused on making smallholder agriculture more resilient to climate change.

    The Mitigation Advantage Report shows that thirteen IFAD-supported adaptation projects could reduce CO2e emissions by 30 million tons. This represents about 38 per cent of IFAD’s target to reduce 80 million tons of CO2e by 2020 under its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP).

    Whilst IFAD’s investments are focusing on the key priorities of rural poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and food security, the mitigation target set by the organisation shows how resilient, climate-smart agriculture can make a substantive contribution to the global fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions.   

    “What this report shows is that smallholder farmers are a key part of the solution to the climate change challenge,” says IFAD’s Vice President Michel Mordasini. “With the right investments, smallholders can feed a growing planet while at the same time restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture's carbon footprint.”

    IFAD’s climate change adaptation initiatives include improved agronomic practices, afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands. These practices help address farmers’ immediate needs, like dealing with unpredictable rains, and gradual shifts in crop suitability.

    If smallholder adaptation can help reduce global emissions, there could be new opportunities, according to CCAFS Head of Research, Sonja Vermeulen.

    “Currently over 90 per cent of public and private climate funds go to mitigation, not adaptation. For future food security it would be very helpful if the majority of the world’s farmers, who are smallholders, could access those funds,” she said.

    IFAD is supporting projects in over 40 countries through its innovative climate financing mechanism, the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). Launched in 2012, ASAP has become the largest global financing source dedicated to supporting the adaptation of poor smallholder farmers to climate change.

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    By Line Kaspersen, Programme Analyst, Uganda Country Office

    On 1 July 2015, the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Project in Uganda, also known as CAIIP, held its project completion workshop. We, at IFAD, consider CAIIP as a flagship project in the IFAD-funded Uganda portfolio. And this is because throughout its life cycle, the project was able to rehabilitate more than 5000 kilometres of District Feeder Roads and improve the quality of Community Access Roads (CARs).

    Thanks to these achievements, in 2013, the project received the prestigious US Department of the Treasury award.

    What made CAIIP a success?
    To start with, the project benefitted from a participatory design and involved communities in the oversight of project implementation. This process culminated with handing over certificates to the communities. The participatory approach was successful in terms of targeting the rural poor people and in ensuring roads were rehabilitated accordingly to industry standard.

    The award also recognized the partnership and cofinancing with our sister organisation, the African Development Bank (AfDB). In 2012, the project also received an award at the East and Southern Africa regional implementation workshop for the quality of its financial management.

    Within AfDB, the project is being used as a model for  future investments in agriculture in the region, focusing on infrastructural development. One of our success criteria is the fact that CAIIP was scaled up at national level, where phase 2 and 3 are currently being implemented, and phase 4 is in design. Furthermore, CAIIP has inspired other countries who are now looking into designing and implementing similar interventions.

    Within IFAD, the construction approach of CARs was scaled up in the District Livelihoods Support Programme, a project under the implementation of  the Ministry of Local Government and the Project for Rehabilitation of Livelihoods in Northern Uganda, which is expected to start later in the year. Other IFAD-funded projects, such as the Vegetable Oil Development Project, have benefited from the engineering experience in developing farm and community roads.

    Awards were given for best performing districts and for good planning and timely completion of works. For example, two neighbouring districts who planned to build a road close to each other, thus linking their respective communities, also received an award.

    In providing rural infrastructure, CAIIP helped the communities to extend their access within the rural area, reduce transport costs for passenger and operating costs of vehicles by half. The implementation of rural roads has allowed farmers to increase by 13% the volume of marketed staples. CAIIP also addressed one of the challenges facing smallholder farmers – namely, reducing post-harvest loss – which led to a 30% increase in  income for farmers, earning as much as 200,000 Uganda shillings (USD 66) more per month.

    Within IFAD, the project was selected as an IFAD10 impact evaluation and providing a sound basis for scaling up.

    CAIIP is an excellent example highlighting the important role  roads and infrastructure have in transforming rural areas in the region.

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    By Andrea Luciani and Wanessa Marques Silva, Office of the President and Vice-President

    A recent meeting of IFAD’s Thematic Group on Gender addressed a very pertinent issue for UN workers, especially women: how can IFAD achieve a gender-balanced management structure?

    Chitra Deshpande, a member of the 2014 Global Staff Survey Project Charter Team on "Leadership and People Management", set the scene: "IFAD is doing a good job in gender mainstreaming overall and compared to other UN-agencies. However, we still have work to do".
    IFAD and UN: Percentage of women staff by level (Jan-Dec 2013)
    Source: Annual Report on IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2014)
    IFAD has been striving to achieve the target of 35 per cent of women at the Professional level 5 (P-5) and above  – yet only once reached above 30 per cent in 2013. The figure has persisted at around 29-30 per cent, and in the last quarter of 2014 it fell to its lowest point: 26 per cent.

    Across the UN system the goal is even more challenging: gender parity (50 per cent) at P-4 and above. The current data show that women account for 37 per cent of P-4 and above positions in IFAD. 

    Why is this so challenging in IFAD? Currently 99 of the over 500 IFAD staff members are in P-5 and above positions. Many are found in the Programme Management Department where over 60 staff members at P-5 and above, yet only 13 are women. This low number may partly be explained by the nature of the work of country programme managers, which requires regular travelling.

    Why this continuing interest in meeting the target? The reason is simple: women in management make a difference. According to a study published in the 2012 Harvard Business Review, which interviewed over 16,000 male and female leaders, women are more effective than men in leadership positions (ranking 55 per cent versus 52 per cent of overall leadership effectiveness respectively). Furthermore, filling the gap with more women introduces different views and ways of management into an organization. The study also indicated that a higher presence of women at management level can establish a positive cycle of hiring more women and promoting women to higher positions.

    Recently, IFAD has introduced a number of initiatives to overcome this challenge, including: setting gender and diversity quotas in the latter stages of the recruitment process; providing training in gender-sensitive interviewing techniques; and mainstreaming gender and diversity into human resources policies. In addition a Gender Action Plan for the IFAD Workplace is being drafted. The initiatives have already shown results: 38 per cent of D-1 posts are now held by women.

    The participants in the meeting, over 40 people from different departments of IFAD, proposed other initiatives to address three main issues: internal promotion, the selection of candidates, and the expansion of the pool of candidates in order to attract more qualified female applicants.

    For internal promotion, the proposal to enhance the skills of women working in P-1 to P-4 positions was very much supported. A detailed proposal for the creation of an IFAD mentoring programme was discussed, as well as the importance of providing internal candidates with feedback from the recruitment process. Another proposal was for IFAD to host the CGIAR Women’s Leadership programme in Rome. 

    For the selection process, the increasing use of anonymous written tests for pre-screening candidates was supported. Another suggestion was to remove the age, name and sex from Personal History Forms when preparing a shortlist of candidates.

    To expand the pool of female candidates, proposals included using search firms to identify qualified women, improving women’s work-life balance by promoting flexible working arrangements, and expanding the pool of development specialists through hiring senior female consultants.

    Adolfo Brizzi, Director of IFAD’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division, reminded participants that generally for P-5 and above positions, women candidates make up less than 30 per cent of the applicants and this tends to be reflected throughout the entire selection process.

    It was clear to the participants that achieving a gender-balanced management structure needs to be an IFAD priority and is essential to make significant strides in gender mainstreaming. The outcomes of the meeting provided a solid basis upon which to overcome the current gap in P-5 and above positions. Given the commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated at the meeting, we are already far ahead!

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    Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Adviser, IFAD; Regina Laub, Senior Technical Officer, FAO and Patrick Teixeira, Programme Adviser, WFP

    The Rome-based agencies’ gender teams are recognized as leaders in the field of peer review – particularly when sharing experiences in implementing the UN system-wide action plan on gender equality and women’s empowerment (UN-SWAP). The UN-SWAP is in its third year of implementation. Almost 70 UN agencies now report on their progress with 15 indicators of gender mainstreaming (link to blog on IFAD’s progress in 2014).

    RBAs working together to empower rural women
    Members of the UN-SWAP teams from FAO, IFAD and WFP met this week to share the results of their 2014 submissions. This practice of peer review is rare among the UN agencies, so it is interesting to reflect on why it works so well in Rome.
    It is relatively easy for the RBAs to come together in this way. The gender teams meet on a fairly regular basis throughout the year to organise shared events such as International Women’s Day – so it’s a collegial relationship. In addition, although the agencies work at different points along the continuum from humanitarian assistance through recovery to development, we share a common interest in agriculture and rural development, food security and nutrition – so we speak a common language. And finally we share many of the same members on our executive boards – so it is imperative that we are all familiar with the good practices of each agency.
    The trick to making the peer review work effectively has been to keep the process simple and flexible to accommodate the different needs of the RBAs.  Before the annual review meeting, we record our results for the 15 indicators in one matrix, noting the levels of achievement, ranging from missing to approaching, meeting or exceeding requirements. There’s a colour code to indicate whether an agency has made progress on a specific indicator, remained unchanged from the previous year, or their position has deteriorated.
    During the meeting, experiences on each performance indicator are shared, focusing mainly on “changes”, as follows:
    • When progress has been made (i.e. moving one level/two levels up) - What are the major reasons for the change, and what was the driving force for the improvement?
    • When there was no change in the performance rating and/or the agency stays at the “approaches requirement” level – What is the reason and what should be done to move up to a higher rating? Any possibilities for support from other RBAs?  
    • When an agency downgraded a performance rating – What are the reasons for this change and what needs to be done to move up again?
    We conduct the meeting in an informal way to encourage free and open discussion, building on past peer review experience and relying on mutual trust and interest for enhanced collaboration. We follow up by sharing specific documents and other materials, identifying areas for further collaboration and making recommendations.
    UN-SWAP Brochure
    At this year’s peer review meeting, we were particularly interested in sharing experiences on WFP’s and IFAD’s use of gender markers to track resource allocation to gender-related activities and expenditures at the project level, FAO’s experiences of carrying out a gender audit and their assessment of and strategy for developing staff capacity. Innovative outreach activities such as IFAD’s monthly ‘gender breakfasts’ (with IFAD gender mugs), FAO and WFP’s inclusion of gender issues in media training, and WFP’s ‘lunch and learn’ events also attracted attention. 

    The three agencies also discussed the ‘bigger picture’ of the UN-SWAP. How can we support each other in meeting or exceeding specific indicators that are proving more challenging? How can we make sure we maintain high standards? And what will happen beyond 2017 when all UN agencies are expected to have met or exceeded the 15 UN-SWAP indicators?

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    By: Vanessa Meadu 

    Can a global climate change agreement meaningfully respond to the needs of smallholder farmers, who are already feeling the impacts of climate change? And can smallholder farmers join the global fight against climate change without compromising food security?

    These questions brought together groups at the nexus of agricultural and climate change issues including the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry; the European Commission; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), CARE International, and leading scientists from the IPCC and CGIAR.

    The event on Food and Farming under Climate Change: Moving toward a global agreement took place on 8 July 2015 alongside the global science conference Our Common Future Under Climate Change in Paris. The events aimed to catalyse action in the lead-up to the UN Climate Conference (COP21) in December.

    Agriculture is the basis for the development of modern civilisation. The cultivation of land and domestication of animals triggered revolutionary social change that shaped a new course for humankind. So why has agriculture been so overlooked in the context of climate change, particularly when half a billion people today depend directly on food and farming for survival?

    Agriculture – the basis of modern civilisation – has been mostly overlooked in the context of climate change
    We now know that climate change is already affecting crops, fisheries and livestock around the world, as declared by the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    At the side event, Jean Jouzel, the Nobel-award winning French climatologist and IPCC vice-chair, highlighted current impacts on staple crops like rice and wheat, as well as fisheries. Jouzel pointed out that climate change will create ‘many losers’ among regions that are currently highly dependent on agriculture, yet highly vulnerable to shocks and changes. Our mission is clear, according to Jouzel: “We need to do everything in our power to guarantee food security,” he said, “but the bottom line is simple – we must absolutely fight against climate change and mitigate it as much as possible.”

    It turns out that many actions which enhance food security and improve climate resilience for smallholders, also reduce emissions. This is according to Michel Mordasini, Vice President of IFAD, who shared a new study which found that thirteen IFAD-supported adaptation projects could reduce C0­2 emissions by about 30 million tonnes by 2034. The study, which was undertaken by IFAD, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), showed that improved agronomic practices, afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands help address farmers’ immediate needs for increasing yields and incomes, even with more unpredictable weather, while also reducing emissions and storing more carbon in the landscape. In addition to these benefits, this opens new opportunities to access climate finance to support food security actions, as over 90 percent of public and private climate funds currently going to mitigation, not adaptation.

    During the event, panelists and audience members shared examples of country-led initiatives, where governments are working with farmers, the private sector and civil society to improve resilience and reduce emissions where possible. Lini Wollenberg, who leads CCAFS research on Low-Emissions Agricultural Development highlighted how the government of Vietnam is investing in an approach to paddy rice production called Alternate Wetting and Drying, which uses less water (a blessing in times of drought) and reduces harmful methane emissions (currently the chief source of emissions in Vietnam).

    In Kenya, Wollenberg highlighted how the dairy industry is interested in boosting milk production and improving supply reliability through better feed and ‘zero grazing’. The upshot is reduced emissions from livestock, which has inspired the Kenyan government to pursue funding for mitigation actions.

    Meanwhile, in Mexico, the government is working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to test the ‘greenseeker’, a new tool that uses optical sensors to measure the nutrient status of maize plants based on their colour, allowing farmers to carefully target nitrogen-based fertilizers to improve maize yields. The result is more efficient use that saves farmers money, and also reduces nitrous oxide emissions.

    But these technologies are not “silver-bullets,” explained Wollenberg. Interventions need to be suited to farmers in different contexts and put food security first.

    Beyond national actions, world leaders need to build momentum that gives way to ambitious commitments in the final months before COP21. To this end, the French government shared its vision of fighting climate change while guaranteeing food security in a new initiative focused on increasing the amount of organic matter in soils, which would simultaneously make land more fertile, increase crop yields, and also act as a vital sink for storing carbon.

    Stéphane Le Foll, France’s Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, highlighted the “4 for 1000” initiative, which aims to increase the amount of organic matter in soil by 4 per thousand (0.4%) each year, which would be enough to compensate for all global greenhouse gases emitted due to human behavior.

    “We need to make sure that countries don’t see a climate change agreement as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity to guarantee their own development,” said Le Foll. Achieving this requires research on assessing the potential for soil carbon sequestration globally and developing locally appropriate technologies, so science partnerships will be essential. This initiative will be championed by France in the lead up to COP21, in collaboration with research groups such as CGIAR, INRA, CIRAD and IRD, and is likely to appear on the on the Solutions Agenda at the climate conference.

    The European Commission is also stepping up to the challenge of tackling adaptation and mitigation in agriculture. “We need to explore all possible options” to address issues related to malnutrition, sustainable food production, rural poverty and adapting agriculture to climate change, said Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, Director General of the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development.

    De Melo highlighted that the EU has committed at least 20% of its total budget to actions dealing with climate change, with a pledge to include all sectors in the climate change fight, and lead on integrating agriculture into climate change activities. This translates into around EUR 41 billion of EU cooperation and external aid to climate-relevant actions from 2014-2020. In the last five years alone, EUR 80 million were allocated to agricultural research for development each year, with a significant contribution to CGIAR in close collaboration with IFAD. But beyond developing knowledge, innovations, and expertise, the EU is ready to put farmers at the centre of efforts against climate change in order to make a meaningful impact, said De Melo. “The farmer should not be seen as a recipient, but play a decisive role throughout the process.”

    To date, many mitigation solutions in agriculture propose large-scale actions led by national governments and multi-national companies. But according to several participants at the event, putting farmers and their organisations at the centre, as co-leaders in developing solutions, will likely lead to more sustainable benefits for food security and agricultural mitigation.

    Indeed, putting people’s own agency and decisions front and centre, emerged as one of the most important themes during the discussion. This includes addressing the inequalities that shape how different social groups experience climate change. Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General and CEO of CARE International, said closing gender gaps would be a critical task. “We need to overcome political issues to address food insecurity and undernutrition,” said Jamann. Furthermore, COP21 must focus on “the impact climate change is already having on vulnerable populations, rather than as a distant future challenge,” he stressed. “Community-based approaches are essential for implementing climate-smart agriculture,” added Mordasini.

    A recurring concern is whether a focus on mitigation in smallholder farming will undermine food security. “How real are we in our discussions when we compare what’s happening in a farmer’s field?” asked Ambassador Yaya Olaniran, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UN Rome-based Agencies “Smallholder farmers don’t care about carbon or carbon markets,” added Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center. Farmers will always prioritise benefits to their livelihoods and themselves, so it’s important that new initiatives and agricultural interventions continue to focus on soil fertility, nutrition, crop diversity and productivity. It’s important to build on existing knowledge and practices, that could be improved to deliver both adaptation and mitigation, said Wollenberg. To be successful, policies and research must “harness farmers’ innovation capabilities and networks, and improve their access to credit,” she explained.

    So is there a common agreement on the way forward for food and farming under climate change? The event showed that the conversation is ongoing, with many perspectives and often divergent views, particularly between more developed and least developed countries. New and ongoing initiatives show great promise. We need a better collective understanding of the challenges ahead – much work remains to be done to reach consensus at COP21 and beyond.

    Learn more…

    Watch: Lini Wollenberg (CCAFS) and Michel Mordasini (IFAD) debate the role of smallholders in climate change adaptation and mitigation

    Read: The Mitigation Advantage Report (July 2015).

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    For the past ten years, the Pastoral Community Development Programme (PCDP), jointly funded by IFAD and the World Bank, has worked to increase the resilience of Ethiopian pastoralist communities in the regions of Oromia, Afar, Somali and SNNPR. To that end, it has supported a number of public services investments, particularly in terms of water and sanitation, and has introduced an early warning system to better manage and respond to potential food-related disasters. The third phase of the programme became effective in 2014.

    Beside the physical investments, one of the most important achievements under the PCDP programme was the demand driven nature of the project through the application of the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach. Such an approach has helped the communities identify their needs from within and has ensured participation of all communities’ members, including women and youth. In addition, it has provided local institutions with a methodology to replicate elsewhere. Over the time span of the programme's second phase, a total of 2.85 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists (of which 41 percent female and 19 percent youth) were mobilized, sensitized and consulted. Given its positive impact in the planning process of development, the institutionalisation of the approach has been included in the third phase of the programme.

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    By Marieclaire Colaiacomo, Programme Officer ESA


    ©IFAD/David Alan Harvey
    Today, the first ever Legal Guide on Contract Farming is being launched by IFAD, UNIDROIT and FAO.

    The guide provides the framework within which smallholder farmers can participate in modern value chains, ensuring both sides to the contract, the producer and the buyer, operate in a fair and transparent manner.

    The guide provides advice and guidance on the entire legal relationship, from negotiation to conclusion. Its aim is to promote more stable and balanced relationships and to assist parties in designing and implementing sound contracts.

    IFAD designs many of its projects to include a value chain component. Access to markets means our target beneficiaries, rural smallholders, will be able to reach markets they could not access before. Most importantly, smallholders should be able to sell their produce at a good price.

    Storage facilities, transportation, infrastructure, financing and information, or being part of an effective farmer organisation are all vital to smallholder participation in modern value chains. However,  we rarely speak about the most important instrument that can ensure all the above: the contract. Whether it is a simple oral promise or a written document.

    Developing the guide

    Developing the guide has been an intensive process bringing many different stakeholders to the table.
    Over the past four years a group of internationally renowned experts, international financial institutions (IFIs) , civil organisations and private sector players have captured the essence of what an agricultural production contract should look like.

    The working group received valuable input during public consultations held in Rome, Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Buenos Aires in 2014,  as well as through an online public consultation process.

    Future implementation
    I had the privilege of being a member of the working group that developed the guide.
    This year I have worked on an implementation strategy that will turn the guide into simple, affordable and publicly available tools.

    As part of my approach, I analysed hundreds of contracts, some available on the FAO Contract Farming Resource website, which show just how strong the imbalance of power can be between buyers and producers.

    So I decided what was needed was a good deal of courage and yes, 4Ps (patience, perseverance, passion and a big push) and designed a grant that would address this imbalance.
    IFAD will be financing a transformation of the Legal Guide addressed to policy and lawmakers, into contract templates, interactive tools and practical advice that can benefit millions of farmers around the world.

    There is an enormous need out there on every level for legal tools which can demystify the legal process for the rural poor. 
    Access to practical and useful tools will enable rural smallholders to negotiate on a level-playing field, establish long term arrangements and favourable pricing mechanism for their produce.

    Download your copy of the Legal Guide on Contract Farming here.

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    Photo by Marian Amaka Odenigbo
    By  Marian Amaka Odenigbo

    On 22 July 2015, IFAD-funded Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP) in Zambia embarked on a food survey. This is the first food survey in an IFAD-supported programme and it aims to assess the food consumption pattern and the underlying factors necessary to ensure adequate food intake.

    You may ask why is IFAD engaging on food survey?

    In the blogpost entitled ‘Building strong partnerships for nutrition and agricultural development’, IFAD President reminds us that "Every night, 842 million women, children and men go to bed hungry. And every day 8,000 children die needlessly from conditions linked to under-nutrition." He proceeds to say: "Under-nutrition could not be solved by a simple equation: increase agricultural production and incomes, and better nutrition would automatically follow."

    Repeatedly, we hear about alarming  under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiency rates in many rural regions and among smallholder farming communities. And we keep asking ourselves why do smallholder farmers still go hungry and are persistently malnourished in spite of the agricultural and rural development interventions which have contributed to improving food and nutrition status and increase income?

    In an effort to address the issue of persistent malnutrition, Abla Benhammouche, IFAD Representative and Country Director is championing mainstreaming nutrition-related issues in the Zambia portfolio. Her work led to conducting a food survey to better understand the underlying factors contributing to malnutrition.

    Herds of sheep in Bakasa community, Siavonga district,
    Photo by 
    Marian Amaka Odenigbo
    I travelled with the survey team to Siavonga, one of the districts in Zambia where SAPP is being implemented.  In paying a courtesy call to Dr Kunda Ndashe, the Siavogan Acting District Agriculture Coordinator, I was pleased when he said “I was very happy when I heard that IFAD is planning to mainstream nutrition in its programme. As you go into the community tomorrow for data collection, you will see lots of malnourished children despite the abundance goats, sheep, cattle, fish in these communities.”

    This statement and the fact that about 45% of Zambian children are stunted increased my curiosity to probe for the underlying factors and barriers that are hindering good nutrition in this district.

    As we drove through the community for the focused group discussion (FGD) and household data collection, I saw lots of livestock roaming around in almost all the neighborhoods. These scenes made me reflect on how can a farmer in this remote rural setting keep abundant cattle, goats, sheep, chicken while the children are malnourished?

    Focused group discussion in Bakasa community
    Photo by Marian Amaka Odenigbo
    We engaged in an interactive conversation with men and women farmers, representatives of farmers groups and leaders to find out about their regular and traditional food production, processing methods, storage and consumption pattern.

    The participants told us  that sorghum, finger millet, cucumber, fish, goat, sheep, cattle, local chickens were among the staple foods in the communities.

    As we probed further to understand why these available and common food items were not translating into good nutrition, the following emerged:

    Livestock – a status symbol
    The community members unanimously gave the following reasons for rearing cattle:
    • means of transportation 
    • for sale to generate income
    • for milk production
    • symbol of pride 
    In the rural communities, your status and stature is based on the number of livestock you own. It is for this reason that unfortunately, livestock heads are rarely slaughtered for consumption at household level with the exception of customary festivity period and/or for funerals.

    Nsimbi Godfrey, one of the community members, told us “if you eat your livestock you will have problems paying the school fees for your children.”

    The Chalokwa community consume chicken every three months and the eggs are off-limits, because they are used for hatching to increase the numbers of chickens.

    Kabyobyo cooperative in Masau community located in Siavonga district acknowledged receiving support from SAPP for fish cage farming and marketing. However, when members of this cooperative were posed with the question on fish consumption at household, Simalarali Salai told us “we don’t even taste the fish, the produce is only for the market. For you to taste a fish, you have to buy it’’.

    Listening to this comment made me think, are these farmers only interested on increasing their income and are oblivious to the importance of nutritional values of their food intake? But there is always more than what meets the eye……

    Traditional norms 
    When community members were asked about intra-household food distribution, the men emphatically mentioned that the two delicious parts of chicken – namely the gizzard and the back -  were meant and  reserved for the head of the family which typically is the husband or the father.
    Both men and women within the community did not consider this as a gender bias, rather for them it is normal practice to reserve the best and last portion of meat for the man of the house.

    Regular diet intake
    Woman grinding Sorghum for Nshima or porridge (Left);
    Woman preparing rape –the steamed green leafy vegetable in the pot (right) 

    Photo by Marian Amaka Odenigbo
    Another reason why the communities suffer from malnutrition is because their monotonous daily meals consist of three key staples: Nshima (made of sorghum or maize), Okra and sorghum porridge. Although on occasional basis, Nshima may be eaten with fish and sorghum porridge with sour milk but the common pattern is to eat Nshima with steamed rape leaves; okra with addition of only of salt-potash) or sorghum porridge cooked with baobab fruit or sugar/salt.

    Through this food survey, we managed to identify the regular dietary pattern of the communities and identify what is preventing them from benefitting from nutritious diet.

    As a result of the food survey, we will now embark on a nutrition education and behavioral change to raise awareness about the importance of protein intake and a diverse diet.

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