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    By Bertrand Reysset
    Evergreen Agriculture
    Side event Rio Convention Pavilion, 12:30-14:00, 2 Dec. 2015
     COP21, Paris

    The green revolution- to optimize food production and the use of inputs, has widely promoted ultra simplified systems: annual mono cropping. But these simplistic systems have proven to have many drawbacks: demand for external inputs, simplifying landscapes and biodiversity, sensitivity to minor shocks, and they only produce a single commodity.
    But Evergreen Agriculture proposes to change this super simplified approach by recalling what agriculture is: not only a food producing activity but also a partnership with our environment. If we ensure that vegetable cover is there all year round, we can improve the resilience, to climate change, of farmlands and farmers incomes, we’ll improve biodiversity and ecosystem services such as carbon storage and water retention. Evergreen agriculture promotes landscape restoration, multi layer crops and diversification of cropping systems even at the micro level: mix legume trees and cereals to create a micro-climate and free nitrogen supply, mix cotton, shrubby legume trees and maize to get income, food and fodder etc. all at the same time.
    It simply proposes to get back to basics and build a solution that will increase tolerance to shocks. As ICRAF’s Ravi Prabhu says “We must phase out the clean field paradigm and restore landscapes, hedgerows and diversity in farmers plots. Evergreen agriculture not only produces food but also energy, fodder, services and increases farmers, and in particular smallholder farmers, independence from external shocks.”
    Farmer-managed natural regeneration of Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen fixing tree, in millet plots has been presented as an archetype of what Evergreen Agriculture can provide to farmers and food security. In Niger, satellite imagery proves that this approach has contributed to the recent greening of Sahelian areas, increasing cereal yields, producing firewood and fodder, and then improving and sustaining food security. This agro forestry system is widely recognized and expanded, for instance, by IFAD investments in Niger for more than 20 years. The latest IFAD supported project in Niger will expand this approach on 100,000 hectares. Evergreen agriculture is one solution to the climate change puzzle; let’s help smallholders seize the opportunity and mobilize the resources needed in order to upscale.

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    The Make the Change petition IFAD started last month is gaining momentum at COP21 in Paris. IFAD’s delegation, attending the UNFCCC Climate Change Summit, is spreading the #Adaptnow message.

    The petition currently stands at over 750 signatures. Signatures from people who believe, as IFAD does, that smallholder farmers hold the key to food security in our changing climate and as such should be included in any climate deals being made.

    IFAD believes strongly that smallholders should be given a voice at any climate discussions where decisions are being made that will affect them. That’s why IFAD is working with the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) who have brought approximately 35 farmers to COP21 in Paris.

    Smallholder farmers are on the frontline of climate. Smallholder farmers worldwide are suffering from different climate impacts. Whilst one farmer in Niger is getting low yields from a prolonged drought, another in Vietnam is losing fertile soil to increased salinity levels from encroaching seas. The problems are diverse and geographically spread, and the responses need to be as adaptive and fluid as possible, in order to help all smallholder farmers who need it.

    Smallholders are currently providing food for a disproportionate amount of the world’s population. With shrinking cultivated lands, lower yields and the destruction of natural resources, food supplies are under pressure. And because of population growth, the number of hungry mouths will grow. Without a solid climate deal, there is a real possibility of a food security crisis.

    There is hope though. COP21 is proving that. As you can see many people agree that we should 'Make the Change'. Please if you haven't yet spread the message further and share the below link. Sign it yourselves and share it across any platform you desire in order to get as many signatures as possible. Let’s send a clear message to the negotiators at COP21, we want to #Adaptnow and MAKE THE CHANGE: invest in farmers in the developing world now.

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    At COP21 IFAD has caught up with some rural farmers that through its partnership with the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) it has helped to bring to Paris to take part in the UNFCCC conference on climate change.

    Smallholder farmers are already feeling and fighting the effects of climate change, so we wanted to speak with them to highlight their first-hand experience in the daily battle they face on their farms.
    We spoke to Mildred Crawford, a pig farmer from Jamaica. She is primarily a livestock farmer, rearing pigs, however recently she has specialised in artificial insemination.

    IFAD: How is climate change effecting your farm?

    Mildred: The global crisis of precipitation variability is having a negative impact on the quality of rain-fed agricultural produce in Jamaica.

    The Caribbean region depends entirely on rain. Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada are some of the many Caribbean countries that experience severe flooding, especially within the last 15 years. For Jamaica, the impact of climate change sees us experiencing many climate shocks such as severe droughts and storm surges. High storm surges lead to mass displacement.

    We are also experiencing the invasion of reptiles and farmers are increasingly noticing that their farms are subject to soil erosion, which is especially bad in coastal areas. Many farmers who inhabit coastal lands are experiencing drastic reduction in farm land. 

    Reduction in rainfall also results in smaller and lower quality agricultural produce. This in turn makes it more difficult for small farmers to compete in a competitive marketplace, further damaging incomes. 

    IFAD: What would you like to see coming out of COP21 in Paris?

    Mildred: I believe it is the dream of every person living within the Caribbean to see balance. Balance for us means equality. Between the rich and the poor, and also between men and women, more specifically rural women in agriculture. We hope that these negotiations at COP21 can bring us that.

    IFAD: What can IFAD do to help?

    Mildred: I believe there are two things IFAD can do to help. The first is strengthening the capacity and the modus operandi of primary producers in advocacy. And the second is to continue their support for women in agriculture.   

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    Today at the UN Climate Summit in Paris (COP21) the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Union (EU) and the global research partnership, CGIAR, presented results from an EU-IFAD co-financed CGIAR research programme which promotes adaptation to climate change and reduced emissions for smallholder farmer.

    Megan Rowling from the Thomson Reuters Foundation said that the number of hungry people worldwide has dropped by around 20 per cent. But, there is still a long way to go to get to zero per cent hunger by 2030.

    There are a total of 836 million poor children, women and men in the world today. The majority of them live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. Agriculture is both a victim and a significant contributor to climate change, according to IFAD’s President Kanayo F. Nwanze.

    "Investing in smallholder adaptation is key to fighting climate change and also protecting food security,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze. “Smallholders are not just victims they are an important part of the solution to climate change.”

    Kenyan farming leader, Purity Gachanga said that if farmers all used climate smart technologies smallholder farmers in developing countries could go far towards meeting the zero hunger goal.

    "Everything used to grow - we expected rains in March and they would come,” Said Purity Gachanga. “That doesn’t happen anymore. Plants germinate without rain and yields suffer." 

    Tony Simons, head of one of the CGIAR research centres reinforced the case for further research to help farmers adapt to climate impacts.

    "If we could predict the future, we wouldn't need research,” said Simons. “If things never changed, we wouldn't need research - if we had all the answers we wouldn't need research - This isn't the case, we need research!"

    "Sustainable agriculture, the truth works!” said the EU’s Roberto Ridolfi.

    "The average farmer’s age is too high. It is not appealing to younger people. We need drive. The kind you can only find in humans. Farming is the biggest private sector actor and needs to be given that respect."

    Moving forward in the COP21 negotiations we need to heed the words of IFAD's President: "Move from declarations to actions, now we have to to walk the talk!"

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    By Ilaria Firmian

    Friday, 4 December 2015

    A side event co-led by IFAD, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) brought together scientific and programme and policy related stakeholders to discuss the role of science in the climate change policy-making processes.

    Both Mr Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, and H.E. Mr John Kufuor, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and Former President of Ghana emphasised ‘people-centred science’ that addresses the needs of local communities. 

    Mr. Kufuor stressed that scientific information is crucial. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proved that immediate action has to be taken to combat climate change.

    “This action has to be collaborative, with both North and South together. We should admit that the developing world is not as equipped as the developed world. The civil service and public sector do not have the capabilities required, therefore we need to create partnerships and encourage those who can to come forward and bring those at the bottom up”, stated Mr. Kufuor.

    Mr Hoesung Lee, IPCC Chairman, along similar lines, said that the IPCC needs to be as inclusive as possible to ensure a truly global assessment of climate change and recognized that many of the existing knowledge gaps are found in developing countries. He also stressed the need to improve the way the IPCC communicates, and overcome the challenge of simplifying the language of climate change so that it is understood by everyone.

    Communication, and especially communication to young people, was also at the centre of WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud speech. Mr Jarraud said, “The scientific reality is that almost no one is aware of issues such as negative emissions (resulting from carbon dioxide removal technologies), we need to give people a very honest and clear appraisal”.

    “The IPCC is not policy prescriptive, but is policy relevant” – He continued – “The decisions we are not making now will have huge costs over the years. We need to look at the consequences over the future generations”.

    The intervention of Ms Margarita Astralaga, brought concrete examples from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme. The examples illustrated the roles and needs of local communities in climate-related policy making processes, including how smallholder farmers, when receiving climate information, can start to frame a local response to buffer climate impacts and engage more effectively with local planning processes.

     “Local communities need to have information, understand it and influence policy”, Ms. Astralaga said, as concluding remarks. All panelists agreed that this is the only way forward.

    C:\Users\i.firmian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\EHDLIPNK\IMG_0112.JPG  C:\Users\i.firmian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\EHDLIPNK\IMG_0112.JPG
    Ms. Margarita Astralaga and H.E. Mr John Kufuor

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    By Brian Thomson
    Paris, 5 December 2015

    The German government announced today at the Soils Matters event at the UN’s Climate Summit in Paris that it is pledging 13 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help smallholder farmers in developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change and improve their food security.

    “This contribution will enable IFAD to broaden the reach of its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which can be expanded into a second phase to support an additional 7 million smallholder farmers to cope with, and adapt to, the effects of climate change,” says IFAD Vice President Michel Mordasini.

    “We would like to thanks the German government for this sizeable donation to our work which will enable IFAD to strengthen the climate resilience of at least 280,000 smallholder farmers.”

    Poor smallholders are the group that is most exposed to the impacts of climate change.
    “To eliminate rural poverty and hunger we must make sure all our programmes are climate sensitive."
    Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development said that smallholder farmers are among the best possible clients for climate finance, and if we invest more and better in them we will be able to feed a growing planet while at the same time restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture's carbon footprint.

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    By Bertrand Reysset
    Global landscape forum. 5 Dec. 2015
    Climate is not only modifying what is inside our dishes, but also what is in our coffee cups. The Global Landscape Forum, held in Paris Saturday, presented some recent works showing that Arabica coffee production is tremendously threatened by global warming. Warmer climate means warmer soils, and that means less production.
    Hopefully some technical solutions can help to save time for a while: shading coffee crops with trees can buffer climate warming impacts while at the same time increasing soil fertility and carbon storage. Mulching or intercropping can reduce heat stress on coffee trees roots. Many options have been tested by the Coffee and Climate Initiative , a public private partnership, and are now going to be scaled up for 70,000 smallholder coffee producers.
    But this will not be enough to ensure our daily cup of coffee tomorrow.....As Mario Cerutti, Coffee Corporate Relations Director at Lavazza, says “there are 20 million coffee producers in the world, mainly smallholders. If private companies, governments and extension services do not join hands, coffee supply is to shrink soon”. A sad perspective for smallholders and customers!
    IFAD is nonetheless already committed in climate resilient coffee production through for instance its NICADAPT programme in Nicaragua where shading and diversification is promoted to buffer the impacts of climate change on smallholder livelihoods. Increased effort is still needed if we want to enjoy our daily cup, but hopefully we have some recipes to deal with it!

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    By Christopher Neglia

    An empty stomach has no ears
    -Senegalese proverb 

    The development and climate days were held today at a converted factory in Saint Denis, Paris. The event was led by the Red Cross Climate Center, IFAD and others. The conversations were fascinating, and perhaps more conceptual than the COP21 proceedings going on in nearby Le Bourget.

    In the morning session, Dr. Pablo Suarez presented the challenges that climate change poses to our diets. Will meat consumption continue to be sustainable in coming years as countries go through crucial processes of decarbonization, he asked. Indeed, total greenhouse gas emissions from livestock per year amounts to 7.1 billion tons, and much of that is methane, whose comparative impact on climate change is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.  

    Dr. Suarez was flanked on stage by Senegalese Chef Pierre Thiam. Chef Thiam is not just a chef but an activist. He is passionate about learning from smallholder farmers and their food culture in his native Senegal, and communicating ways of reducing our ecological footprints through food. He recently visited the IFAD-supported Agricultural Value Chains Support Project (PAFA) in central Senegal, and shared his experiences with the audience. In his white chef coat, Thiam was busily preparing insect fritters, meal worms and cricket macarons throughout the lecture. 

    But can introducing insects into our diets really help to offset meat consumption? You might be surprised to know that two billion people already eat insects regularly as a vital source of protein. And after sampling Thiam’s fritters, and gauging the audience’s reaction, the idea doesn’t seem so unbelievable.  

    The environmental impact of raising cattle is substantial. The production of one kilogram of beef leads to one hundred times more emissions than one kilogram of edible insects. However, beyond thinking about insect-based food, the event prompted an exercise in thinking about things you can’t do, or are unwilling to do to reduce your individual carbon emissions. And why not. 

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    By Ilaria Firmian 
    5-6 December 2015
    L’Usine, Saint-Denis, France

    This year for the first time IFAD has co-sponsored the Development & Climate Days (D&C Days) at COP21.

    Since COP10 in Buenos Aires, D&C Days has taken place annually in the middle weekend of the UNFCCC COPs. It is a unique space, where policy, knowledge and practice are linked in a way that enables substantial learning and dialogue. The atmosphere is designed to attract a diverse set of participants seeking to find joint solutions. The format of the sessions is innovative and dynamic, very different from the traditional side event format seen elsewhere in the COP.

    The theme of this year “Zero Poverty. Zero emission. Tough talk on poverty and climate” provided an opportunity to focus discussion on integration of global efforts to tackle climate change and poverty, aiming to set the world on a path to zero extreme poverty and zero net emissions.

    I attended one session on creating a business case for resilience – an x-factor style session where panellists from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Red Cross Climate Centre (RCCC) pitched innovative ideas to enhance resilience. The participants voted for the most compelling approach, which in my view was an approach focusing on the risks at the different stages of agricultural value chains.

    I also attended a session on main-streaming climate information services, including up-scaling already established projects. IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) was discussed and it's experience on salinity monitoring in Vietnam was used to compare potential possibilities with other projects in Bolivia, India and Kenya.

    Day One closed with a plenary session on ‘Radical Adaptation’. This involved questioning the suitability of current climate adaptation programmes and proposing, using field examples, different adaptation approaches that complement poverty eradication. The approaches addressed the structural causes of vulnerability and resilience. They also talked about what it meant to be 'climate-informed' and the best way to ensure this. 

    Day Two closed with a high level panel where people like Mary Robinson and Janos Pasztor shared their vision of what will, or at least should, happen at the end of COP21.

    The expectations are high. “We need the best possible and most robust agreement that we can manage. The SDGs come into operation as of the first of January, and this is a great opportunity to build”, said Mary Robinson, the founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation -Climate Justice.

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    By Bertrand Reysset
    UN Rome-based agencies side event at COP21. 7 December
    The International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme have presented their actions and commitments in the move towards a food secure world.
    Smallholders have received special attention as key players and key beneficiaries in the solution to the climate puzzle. Janos Pasztor, United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Special adviser on climate change, recalled that investing in the agriculture sector is one of the development activities that yields higher return rates. 
    Global Environment Faciility (GEF) representative, Elwyn Grainger Jones, highlighted that investing in climate adaptation for smallholders is showing incredible impacts both in terms of food security, biodiversity improvement and carbon mitigation. 
    Michel Mordasini, Vice President of IFAD, finally stated that “investing in adaptation for smallholder agriculture is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do”.
    The Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture, José s. Marcucci, called for increased action on the ground. Through the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) prepared for COP21, more than 100 countries have planned their priorities to include adaption in agriculture. COP21 now needs to give the political and financial momentum to transform planning into action. Make the change!

    With US$360 million already targeted to 8 million smallholders’ adaptation activity, IFAD is in a frontrunner position but there is so much more to do. The three Rome based agencies are committed to increasing their collaboration to ensure that we’ll be able to feed 9 million people without jeopardizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) success, or environmental sustainability. This will need substantive investments to ensure that the most affected by climate change and at the same time the least responsible for global warming, i.e. the smallholder farmers of the developing world, can seize opportunities to frame our most fundamental public good: food security. It is a question of climate justice.

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    The Knowledge and Learning Market-Policy Engagement in the Philippines was held on 25-26 November 2015

    The ribbon cutting headed by DAR Usec Rose Bistoyong , Farmer Representative Jovela Samtican, IFAD Country Programme Officer Yolando Arban and other stakeholders officially started the Interactive Exhibits

    Different exhibitors from all over the country showcased knowledge products and processes related to family farming. Indigenous products, good practices and advocacies are also present. The exhibits mirror this year’s theme: “International Year of Family Farming +1 Partnership For Food Security, Nutrition and Climate Resciliency: Increasing Farmers’ Market Power”.
     Not only does this generate income for the farmers, it also serves as an avenue for drawing lessons from current models and innovations on climate resilient agriculture, institutional purchase and farmers’ market, and agri cooperatives. 

     According to CIP- Food Start Exhibitor Ms. Arma Bertuso, the exhibits have evolved and became more diverse as it now includes more farmer groups. “The exhibit is a way to promote our project and also to increase awareness on root and sugar crops among the people” she added.
    Another exhibitor, Mr. Stepher  Banhan of CHARMP2 also shared “Magandang pagkakataon ito para ipromote yung mga magagandang products natin sa Cordillera. Isa ito sa mga paraan para maging mas malawak ang market at mga networks namin” (This is a good chance to promote our products in the Cordilleras. This is a good way to widen our market and networks).

    Participants include different partner organizations and agencies in service for the development of Philippine agriculture including Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice), Procasur Corporation, Rural Micro Enterprise Program (RUMEPP), Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RAFPEP), Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project 2 (CHARMP2), Food Start, Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (ASIADHRRA)  Medium Term Cooperative Program with Organizations in Asia The Pacific Phase II (MTCP/ PHILFO)  and Federation for People Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC).// Arianne Robea Nebrida

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    By Christopher Neglia

    This afternoon at COP21 a panel discussion featuring a young entrepreneur from France, a small coffee farmer from Uganda, a youth delegate from the Cook islands and an activist from the Philippines explored how young people, who are an under represented demographic in high level political fora, can get involved in the fight against climate change.

    In his opening remarks, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggested that climate change and youth unemployment are two related and very pressing crises. In fact, global unemployment levels exceed 200 million, and over 75 million are young people. As the impacts of climate change disrupt key economic sectors and value chains, it will be young people who will bear most of the burden.

    At the same time, there is a great opportunity to engage youth in growing economic sectors such as renewable energy technologies, waste management and sustainable agriculture. According to Serge Bounda of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), young people are an enormous asset that countries should do more to invest in, especially countries entering what he called the demographic dividend - when rapidly declining fertility rates and a high proportion of working age people without dependants lead to high economic productivity.

    The panellists were all highly motivated and working in their respective fields for climate action. But they also acknowledged there are many barriers holding young people back from taking an active role in their own communities. Denis Kabito, a smallholder farmer from Uganda said that when he was a child his mother used to tell him to study hard so he could get an education and get out of agriculture. Farming is tedious, she told him, and it doesn't produce much income. But even though Denis did go to university and became an agronomist, he returned to rural Uganda believing that in order to advise others on their farming practices, he must experience farming himself. He now sees that climate resilient approaches to agriculture can provide a good way of life for people his age. And it's not just about convincing those who are born on a farm to stay there, but also about convincing those who have migrated to cities to return, Kabito said. IFAD has provided extension support to build the skills of farmers like Denis in Uganda, which is a sensible investment given changing climate patterns and the need to adapt traditional practices.

    The proposition that youth have a great deal to offer as climate innovators was proved by the dynamism in the room, including from the audience who raised issues such as involving women to a greater extent in decision-making processes, and using information and communication technologies to organize direct action for a low carbon future. Their message resonates with other youth delegates participating in the COP21 proceedings: young people are not waiting to receive solutions to climate change. Instead they are authoring their own.    

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    By Alessia Valentini
    What’s your name, country of origin and what type of farm do you work in?
    My name is Julie Nakalanda Matovu, I’m the East African Convenor for INOFO, the Intercontinental Network for Organic Farmers' Organizations. I come from the central part of Uganda, and I am an organic vegetable farmer. I cultivate fresh vegetables and do direct marketing. Where I come from, there are different groups working in different parts of the city autonomously that deliver vegetables to communities on a weekly basis, with door to door deliveries. Right now these deliveries are done with my small car, based on the little time I have available, so we are working on organizing monthly deliveries that should start in April this year. All the members of my community are actively involved in this job as we want to guarantee to the public real, organic food. Participation is a key aspect in this kind of arrangement as we are working in a growing market. Our first target is of 100 households, but we aim to later reach out to the near clusters. However, working out the logistics is not easy.

    What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
    The impacts of climate change are very visible in Uganda. First of all, let me say that I’ve studied agriculture and years ago we used to have a weather pattern that was very clear. Today, instead, this is no longer the case. For example, we should be preparing for the end of the rainy season now, but we are experiencing long rains and we are not sure when they are going to end. Of course, this is an advantage for us as we grow vegetables but we still do not have the technology to face this much rain. Another impact of climate change is the drastic change in the temperatures, which leads to crop failure. We try to mitigate and cope with the effects of climate change but this is not easy. Agriculture is one of the main forms of living for people in Uganda as we grow pretty much everything in our homes. We all have little gardens where we grow our own food and encourage practices that will help us minimize the loses that come with climate change.

    What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
    First of all, I want my government to realize that they have a role to play. I’ve learnt a lot from these meetings at COP, as they are bringing a lot of information to people that is going to be helpful. Unfortunately, this information is not always put at good use. For example, back home we have many projects ongoing, such as one in Lake Victoria, where trees, that play a key role in the survival of nature, are being cut down to start palm oil projects even though we know that this is not the best type of oil for us. This is bringing indigenous people to leave the area with negative repercussions on the lake, which is a very important natural asset to our country. What makes me sad is that when you look at our paper work on the projects, everything looks fine, but that’s not real in practice. Secondly, I would like my government to consider inclusion towards the people that are affected by climate change. We should set up programmes that reach out to women and children that are part of the process, to make it more sustainable and make them feel included. Lastly, we need more commitment in farming to invest in the appropriate technology that will make farming easier and more fun for the people and, therefore, more productive so that farmers can enjoy doing the work and feed the world.

    How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
    What we need is capacity building and more support for appropriate technologies. I think IFAD has already given us some support and we really appreciate that. However, we need further capacity building so that we are able to build a resilient system of governance and bring down the activities to our communities. In my opinion, funds should be invested in projects that provide farmers with the right knowledge and tools that will help them become more resilient to climate change. We shouldn’t depend so much on first aid, but rather understand how to manage and respond to the impacts of climate change. If this were true and people knew what cutting down trees meant, they wouldn’t do it. But if they don’t know, they are hungry, and their only source of income is to cut down a tree, they will. This is the reason why we should really think about an inclusive system of development.

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    By Alessia Valentini

    On 8 December, at COP21, a side event on climate finance was led by UNDP with the support of IFAD, UNCDF, FAO, WHO, UN-OHRLLS, UNECA, UNECLAC, UNEP and IPCC. This event explored the lessons learned from the UN and member states on climate finance, particularly in delivering co-benefits for development. The discussion focused on actions needed beyond Paris to maximize the development effectiveness of climate finance for the broader post-2015 development agenda.

    H.E. Mrs. Janine Felson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations and Lead Climate Negotiator of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), opened the event by explaining how this discussion is critical for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) where the impacts of climate change on sustainable development are extremely high. “We need to make sure that what is being delivered as climate finance is reaching those in need and, in particular, those least developed areas, such as the SIDS, that are particularly vulnerable”, said Ms Felson.

    Michael Jacobs, Senior Advisor of The New Climate Economy, illustrated how countries at all income levels have the opportunity to build lasting economic growth and at the same time reduce the immense risk of climate change. “We live in a moment of great opportunity and great risk”, he said. The opportunity is in the expanding capacities of human intelligence and technological progress to improve the lives of the majority of the world’s people. 2.4 billion people still live on less than US$2 a day, and urbanization, rising consumption and population growth have put immense pressure on natural resources. “A lower-carbon pathway can bring about multiple benefits leading to higher productivity”, said Mr Jocabs.

    Gernot Laganda, Lead Adaptation Specialist from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) presented IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme(ASAP). “Our main clients are those 2 billion rural people in the world whose lives depend directly or indirectly on agriculture,” said Mr Laganda. It is for them that IFAD is investing in better analysis of new and emerging climate risks in agriculture; technology, information and financing for better climate risk management; and scale mechanisms and pathways for sustainable management of landscapes and natural resources.

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    By Christopher Neglia

    A high level side event brought together three international trade institutions- UNCTAD, WTO and ITC- and their United Nations partners today on the sidelines of COP21. Trade has an important role to play in accelerating the development of markets and diffusing low carbon technologies. At the same time, climate policies do influence trade among countries by promoting more sustainable emission patterns. Although trade is not a headline topic at COP21, it is certainly on the agenda in the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation, which works on cross cutting issues. The international trade institutions have contributed to and benefited from this work.

    Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of ICT asserted that at the interface of trade and climate change, we should not only look at big business, but also at small and medium size enterprises, which represent the majority of economic agents in all countries. The main thrust of her organization's work on climate change is in response to three main questions: 1) how can trade organizations support the mitigation efforts of small enterprise? How can trade be used to create new opportunities that are climate sensitive? 3) how can multilateral cooperation support public policies and development objectives?

    Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD recognized the role of habitats in determining the products that people produce and trade. But due to climate change he noted many habitats are undergoing dramatic changes. For instance, in Mesoamerica where higher temperatures are creating conditions whereby fungi and disease are destroying Arabica coffee plants. Moreover, fishing stocks are collapsing everywhere due to overfishing and ocean acidification. According to Reiter, trade policy makers must stop doing the wrong things by ending trade distortions in the form of subsidies that prop up wasteful and destructive economic activities. And we must put a premium on doing the right things, by extending carbon markets and supporting product certification standards.

    Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Climate Change in New Zealand spoke in favour of a radical reform to fossil fuel subsidies, which have no place in a sustainable economy, he said. This is a critical point at COP21 more broadly, since the IEA estimates eliminating all such subsidies would achieve a further ten per cent reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030. Let that sink in for a moment. Fortunately, some countries are moving further down this track, with Indonesia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates all pledging to dramatically reduce their own fuel subsidies. 

    Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Environment and Climate Division in IFAD noted that agriculture, deforestation and land use together represent about twenty five per cent of global carbon emissions. Agriculture is therefore part of the problem and solution to climate change. With better soil and water management, supported by international climate and sustainable development agendas, smallholder farmers in particular (since there are simply so many of them) can make a significant contribution to mitigation efforts. Furthermore, smallholders have the potential to take advantage to a greater extent in nascent value chains. Studies done by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) suggest that the market for certified organic agriculture is expected to rise from US$ forty billion in 2008 to two hundred and ten billion by 2020. We expect that the private sector will come and partner with small producers around the world to access markets at fair prices, Astralaga added.

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  • 12/09/15--21:45: Article 3
  • The Annual Country Portfolio Review  of IFAD funded programmes in Laos was participated by all stakeholders with interactions among projects team.  Program status, challenges and way forward for better program performance was discussed during the first day.  ACPoR is being held on  09-11 December at Luang Prabang, PDR.

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    World Farmers' Organisation Delegation to COP21
    By Alessia Valentini
    On 9 December, at COP21, IFAD interviewed another rural farmer from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO). His name is Dr. Dinesh, and he is the Chief of Indian Cooperative Council at WFO.
    IFAD: What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
    Dr. Dinesh: Climate change is very visible in India, with particular impact on the farming community. We are an agrarian society, with approximately 150 million hectares of cultivable land, where more than 70% of the people live on farming. The agriculture situation has changed drastically due to the effects of climate change. For example, December and January used to be the coldest months of the year but now the temperature is over 15 degrees back home. The northern part of India is experiencing serious droughts while the south is suffering from floods. People have been talking about climate change for a while, but only now farmers realize how climate change is impacting their lives and their farming system.
    IFAD: What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
    Dr. Dinesh: First of all, I would like for the farming communities to be at the centre of attention during the negotiations, as farmers are the ones who need to become more climate resilient. Secondly, I would like for the negotiators to understand that it is crucial that the adaptation techniques adopted are based on the local resources and knowledge, as they need to consider the local context and culture of the Indian farmers. 
    IFAD: How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
    Dr. Dinesh: IFAD has been doing very good work in India up to now. What I would like is for IFAD to replicate the success projects it has undertaken in my country, so that the knowledge and techniques are not limited to a few areas but rather extended, to provide other farmers in other areas with the same knowledge and support.

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    Jonjon Sarmiento
    By Alessia Valentini
    Today, at COP21, IFAD interviewed another farmer from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO). His name is Jonjon B. Sarmiento, and he is a sustainable agriculture practitioner from the Philippines.
    IFAD: What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
    Jonjon: Climate change is affecting us more and more every day. We are struggling because of the weather’s unpredictability. We are experiencing floods, droughts, and just recently we were hit by the strongest typhoon that, in less than four hours, wiped out all our livelihood and permanent structures. We also have a problem with the salinity level of the water, long dry spells and lack of rain that brings the decline of crops.
    IFAD: What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
    Jonjon: I would like to see agriculture in the agreement. Agriculture is one of the major solutions to climate change, and still it is being neglected. Instead of introducing chemical farming, which is changing the landscape of farming in the Philippines and depriving us of our agricultural biodiversity, I would like to see an agricultural transition from chemical farming to agro ecology. This is what us smallholder farmers need and this is what I expect from COP21. It’s good that food security and ecosystem were included in the preamble of the text. However, the agreement needs to be translated into real action to provide a better future to the generations to come.
    IFAD: How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
    Jonjon: IFAD should continue to reach smallholder farmers with its projects. We are the ones on the front line of climate change, and we need the right information and tools that can help us face this serious threat. Climate change is a major global challenge and in order to fight it, more power needs to be given to the farmer sector. In particular, I believe that IFAD should invest more in agro ecology as in the Philippines we use this as a tool for rehabilitation from the impacts of climate change.

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    By Marian Amaka Odenigbo, Eric Rwabidadi and Richard Abila

    Eritrea has an untapped gold mine…. And that is the Red Sea. This body of water is rich in biodiversity and home to a vast variety of fish species. Literally, fish run to you when you get to the sea bank, as if they are asking you to catch them!

    Sitting on such an abundance fisheries resources, one wonders why  malnutrition remains persistently high in Eritrea. Eritrea is among the sub-Saharan African countries with critical state of malnutrition and a stunting rate of 50.3 per cent.

    Mountain Highland view: Asmara to Massawa, Eritrea 
    In late November, we had the opportunity to participate in the IFAD and Government of Eritrea joint implementation support mission of the IFAD-funded Fisheries Development Project (FDP) and the National Development Project (NAP) and were tasked to support the nutrition mainstreaming interventions in this project.

    During our interactions with different ministries and government officials we were very happy to see the high level commitment to nutrition.

    ‘We have a meeting today which is specifically focused on nutrition and the Minister will participate in that meeting’ said Amanuel Negassi Hagos, the Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture.

    Hagos informed the mission about the government's intensified activities on nutrition, the establishment of a Steering Committee on National Food and Nutrition Security to improve nutrition situation of vulnerable groups.

     Hagos informed us of the following  initiatives which the government of Eritrea has put in place to improve nutrition:

    • Production of fortified baby food-DMK plant in Dekemhare, a small agricultural town South East of Asmara
    • Creation of the dry Fishmeal processing plant in Massawa City on the Red Sea
    • Increased productivity of locally produced complementary foods such as mushroom and sweet potatoes

    We wanted to better understand the reasons for low fish consumption and poor nutrition among the traditional fishers and communities in the coastal areas, most of whom are the target group of  FDP.

    We therefore embarked on a trip to Massawa, the Pearl of the Red Sea. It was a breathtaking two hour ride; scaring mountains heights, view of varied livelihood, changing landscape from the green forest to the sandy sea shore You can imagine  the spectacle as we got an experience of three seasons: thick fog, bright sun and extremely cold weather during our  drive from over 2000m to the Red Sea level! All this in a span of less than two hours! Incredible, you need to see it to believe!

    Sea View: School of fish, literally will come to you
    as you get to the sea bank
    Eventually we got to the magnificent view of the Red Sea and immediately our attention was drawn to the abundant fishes in the sea.  What came to mind was- why Poverty and Malnutrition where there is such an abundance of Fisheries Resources?

    We met and interacted with the Ministry of Marine Resources at Massawa,  to learn about FDP's progress. The Fisheries Resource Development Department (FRDD) is doing a tremendous job in strengthening the capacity of fishers’ cooperatives and artisanal Fishers.   The Director of FRDD, Tewolde Woldemikael, a very interesting and highly motivated person, told us that IFAD's support to FDP has given the department a good sense of direction to build the capacity of fisher folks.

    ‘There is very high demand for fishing input now and the capacity of artisanal fishermen is rising’ said Woldemikael.

    The visit to the landing sites at the Fishing Port in Massawa, was an eye opener, as we witnessed the progress that the Ministry has made, thanks to FDP's activities.

    One of the ice plants established through FDP 
    Today, the provincial office is keeping immaculate records  of the fishing activities, including records on the quantity of fish catch for each boat, income of fishermen, and number of days the boats take out to the sea. The ice-making machines installed by FDP are functioning to full capacity.  The demands for ice from fishermen has increased tremendously and FDP is trying to meet that demand. This means the fishers need more ice making machines.

    Still on our journey to understand the underlying causes of poor nutrition among the traditional fishers and communities in the coastal areas we had a consultative meeting with the Dean and staff of Massawa College of Marine Science and technology (COMSAT).

    COMSAT is one of the implementers of FDP supporting the activities and training on fish processing and handling. They highlighted the following challenges for poor utilization of fish:

    • some of the fishing communities live in very remote areas with few facilities
    • unfamiliarity with fish as a source of food 
    • lack of awareness raising campaigns on benefits of fish
    • poor handling and processing technologies for value addition
    • cost of fish in the market

    Acknowledging that fisheries resource is essential to ensure food and nutrition security of these coastal communities, FDP has renewed its focus on:

    • Capacity building of women groups/cooperatives to improve dietary intake at household level. These women can play central roles in improving family diet and care giving since the fishing activity takes the men out in the sea for several days.
    • Strategic dissemination of new and simple technologies on fish handling, processing and value added product development by COMSAT for community outreach.
    • Inclusion of nutrition education in the curriculum for Fisheries Trainings and nutrition sensitization in the training plan and capacity building provided by the Fisheries Resources Development Department and Fisheries Regulatory Services Department. 

    We are confident that with the commitment of the government to nutrition and FDP's focus on nutrition together, we will be able to take concrete actions to achieve the goals set by Sustainable Development Goal #2 and to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in Eritrea.

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  • 12/15/15--06:19: Courage Brigade
  • By Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist – Gender and Social Equity, PTA

    We celebrated this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2015 with the Shaurya Dals (Courage Brigades) in Madhya Pradesh.    

    During the workshop on gender and nutrition organized by IFAD’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division, the Asia and the Pacific Division  and the India Country Office for the New Delhi Hub, a field trip took us to a  village in Dindori, - a predominantly tribal district of Tejaswini project where Self-help Groups (SHGs) and the Courage Brigades have changed the life of the community.  Initiated by the IFAD-supported Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme in Madhya Pradesh, which was also the exquisite host of our workshop, we could witness how tribal women have been empowered in the course of several years.

    About 230 SHGs with over 3000 members have been established, grouped into village committees and federations to become actively involved in community matters and economic activities.  To tackle violence in the community, and in particular violence against women, they established  the Shaurya Dals, small village groups consisting of ten members, with five women from SHG, and the remaining five people – usually men – respected residents of the village.

    The groups sensitize the community and intervene directly on all forms of violence in the community, including domestic abuse, rape and molestation of girls, discrimination against women and girls including in matters of food and malnutrition. The Shaurya Dals are well known and their members have authority, so people call on them to take action at any time of the day or night to prevent violence from escalating.

    During our visit, we heard the moving testimonials of four representatives. One women told us how the group was called by the  family of a man who was heavily drunk, behaved badly in public and had a row with his wife. The Courage Brigade gathered in the middle of the night to stop the abuse and teach the husband a lesson that his behavior was not tolerated. When a poor widow arranged the marriage of her teenage daughter to an older man, the Courage women suspected that the girl would be trafficked into prostitution. They stepped in when the “groom” arrived to pick up his bride, stopped the transaction and handed the man over to the police, whose confidence and support they have gained over a period of time. When they found out that this poor teenage girl had been abandoned by her mother, they collected funds to send her to a boarding school. They also take a stance against neglect and insecurity. For example, some children found objects that turned out to be explosives used for warding off animal menace. While playing with them, one of the girls lost several fingers. The Courage Brigades charged the men of neglect and endangering the life of the village people,  and arranged for the child to receive medical treatment.

    Our staff from 15 projects in India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participating in the workshop were deeply inspired by the testimonials we heard. We admired how women and men take their destiny into their own hands, finding and negotiating solutions to end and prevent violence in their community. The model of the Courage Brigades  has been so successful that the Government of Madhya Pradesh decided to scale it up across the state and replicate it throughout all districts.
    For me, the example of the Courage Brigades shows that society and IFAD have come a long way in addressing violence against women. Only a few years ago, proposed activities to combat violence against rural women were turned down with the argument that these were not rural development issues. Now poor rural women, who have been economically and socially empowered, also through the IFAD-funded programmes, teach us a lesson. Once they have a voice, they use it to address the discrimination they are facing. Gender-based violence – at the household, community and state levels – is the most universal attack on women’s dignity and their human rights.  It may not be explicitly mentioned in IFAD’s global mandate, but it remains one underlying cause of poverty. When rural women are empowered, they also speak out and address violence. 

    The Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme is an important IFAD investment programme (total project cost: US$ 223.7 million; IFAD loan: US$ 54.4 million. Directly benefiting 1,120,000 households) implemented in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh by the Maharashtra Women's Development Corporation and the M.P. Women's Finance and Development Corporation, respectively. The Maharashtra Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme received the IFAD gender award 2015on the same day we visited its sister project in Madhya Pradesh.

    For more information:
    ·         The power of  Courage Brigades (Video)

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