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    An IFAD project is helping to thwart food security threats

    What do wasps and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have in common?

    Both of them are fighting to curb the threat to food security, particularly in South-east Asia and Indonesia.

    Cassava is a well-known staple food and in South-east Asia it is the third-largest source of calories after rice and maize. It is a key crop in Indonesia, a nation which is among the world’s major cassava producers.

    The country sees more than one million hectares of cassava planted every year, half of which is directly consumed as food, and the crop supports an estimated 40 million people. It's also a very significant source of income in the region. In 2014, for example, Viet Nam's export of cassava amounted to US$1.3 billion.

    The plant's value is built on its many and varied uses. Directly or indirectly, cassava is an essential support for smallholder incomes, so keeping the plant healthy is vital.

    But smallholder farmers across the world are faced with  a big problem.  And the problem is called the mealybug (phenacoccus manihoti. Mealybugis one of the most virulent cassava pests globally. The pill-shaped invader sucks sap from crops causing them to wither and die.

    In the 1980s, mealybug, also known as the pink mealybug, almost eliminated African cassava and severely threatened the food security of the region. During this period the farmers faced record yield losses of up to 82 per cent.

    How did the African smallholder farmers fight this the problem?

    Here comes our hero: angyrus lopezi, aka the parasitic wasp

    This program is part of a much bigger project addressing cassava threats and diseases in the region, funded by the European Commission (EC), through IFAD and other strategic partners  under the EC/CGIAR Programme.IFAD has been managing the'Emerging Pests and Diseases of Cassava in South East Asia: seeking eco-efficient Solutions to Overcome a Thread to Livelihoods'projectwhich is funded by the EC under the EC/CGIAR Programme.

    Parasitic wasp is the natural enemy to the pink mealybug and its introduction is considered as one of the most successful pest-control programmes in the world.

    Recently, pink mealybug spread throughout South-east Asia, and once again presenting a catastrophic threat to cassava-based livelihoods and food security.  

    But this time, 3,000 tiny parasitic wasps took part in a major 'sting'.  The first stage of the project was to release the wasps in an infected field in Indonesia. Nature took its course and they deposited their eggs. The hatching larvae consumed the mealybugs from the inside, slowly mummifying and killing them. The wasps quickly adapted to local conditions and reproduced, and they were then released into an open field.

    Eliminating the pest in its early phase is vital to ensure continued economic prosperity for millions of farmers and this was the first stage of a larger eradication campaign. And the method is also environmentally friendly  ̶ it doesn't involve any spraying of pesticides and the wasps pose no threat to humans, animals or other insects because they only feed on the cassava mealybug.

    Cassava is a crucial crop, and depending on the region, is prepared in different ways. The boiled root is similar in taste to potato. Once mashed and sieved, it can be used as flour, as porridge or tapioca, or as a thickening agent. Industrially, there is a growing demand for cassava pellets for animal feed. Furthermore it can be distilled to produce alcohol; and it has a variety of uses in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. And the starch is used to make paper, wood and textiles.

    Mealybug infestation on a cassava leaf/Neil Palmer - CIAT

    This is an example of using nature itself to overcome the threat to food security (with a little help from IFAD).

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    Written by Elisabeth Steinmayr, Land tenure consultant, IFAD, and Tenagne Kebede, CBINReMP Focal point at the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use, Ethiopia.

    Tenagne Kebede receiving the IFAD Gender Award for East and Southern Africa
    from IFAD’s Associate Vice-President Périn Saint Ange ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Women’s empowerment is a crucial element of sustainable rural development. Women tend to invest more in education and health to the benefit of all household members. Enabling them to access productive and financial resources has proven to be a good recipe for change.

    Similarly many development actors now recognize the importance of land tenure security, not only as an end itself but also as a means to strengthen the benefits of other activities. When people have more secure tenure, they can commit to activities with a longer time frame. They are more likely to invest in their land, plant trees and use environmentally sustainable agricultural methods. Moreover tenure security reduces the risk of conflict and can contribute substantially to women's empowerment by acting as a source of collateral.

    This strong nexus between tenure security and women's empowerment has once again been highlighted during the 2015 IFAD Gender Awards. The award for East and Southern Africa was given to the Community-based Integrated Natural Resource Management Project in Ethiopia (CBINReMP). The project is supporting the issuing of land certificates, which have been given to all women heads of households in the target area. In married households, family land is being registered and certificates are being issued with husband and wife as co-owners. The project is directly benefiting 450,000 households.

    Empowered women taking on new roles

    What this means for the well-being of women and households was vividly explained by Tenagne Kebede, the CBINReMP focal point at the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use in Ethiopia. Tenagne, who accepted the award on behalf of the CBINReMP, transmitted her enthusiasm for the project during the award ceremony on 25 November and the Special Gender Breakfast the following day. She explained how the project has made a huge difference to many women's lives.

    Women are now happy to invest in their land and are for example planting perennials and trees and use soil and water conservation methods to increase the productivity of the plots, which enabled them to increase their income. This allows them to buy more food and to raise poultry and cattle – things which have helped them to increase and diversify their family's diet, leading to higher food security.
    Being respected and having a voice in the community is often linked to owning assets. As women now are landholders, they are joining elders’ and land administration committees or are functioning as arbitrators in land disputes. Needless to say that all of these positive changes have increased women's self-confidence, empowered them on many levels and enables them to serve their communities.

    Awareness raising as a key for success

    When Tenagne is asked about the "how" regarding the great success of CBINReMP, her answer is many times "awareness raising". The project has sensitized communities with regard to women's rights and land, which is the fundamental element for economic empowerment. It has raised awareness about land laws (land proclamation, regulation and procedures), land transaction (including inheritance, donation or gift and rent), and long-term land investments as mentioned above. Activities targeted men and women, both together and separately, in a range of institutions, especially at the grassroots' level, the elders' and land administration committees, and groups of women.

    The CBINReMP has demonstrated the close link between women's empowerment and land tenure security. The communities in the project area, Tenagne, her colleagues, the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use and IFAD can be justly proud of their great achievements.

    Read more: Factsheet on Strengthening women’s access to land in Ethiopia

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    By Juliane Friedrich and  Marian Odenigbo

    In the past years, the topic of nutrition faced numerous challenges, amongst which was the lack of political will to invest in this area. This year thanks to the Global Goals and the adoption of different nutrition-related declarations such as Scaling Up Nutrition Global Gathering (SUNGG), Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and Committee on World Food Security (CFS), nutrition not only back on the agenda but also considered as a driver of the sustainable development goals. Furthermore, increasingly the development community is paying attention to the nexus between gender and nutrition.

    Scaling Up Nutrition, or SUN, is a unique Movement founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. It unites governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers in a collective effort to improve nutrition.

    Under the SUN movement 55 countries and the State of Maharashtra have committed to scaling up nutrition and working collectively as a movement to reduce the percentage of stunting. The SUN countries are home to 85 million stunted children. And this translates into 80% of the stunted children worldwide.

    The fact that IFAD is investing in all the SUN countries, puts us in a vantage position to dialogue with governments and partners thus ensuring that nutrition is integrated and mainstreamed in development investments. Furthermore, considering one of the many focuses of IFAD-funded investments is addressing the needs of women farmers, we not only will be able to tackle the challenge of malnutrition at household level, but more importantly put a gender lens on nutrition and development related activities.

    The onus to implement the nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive strategies and address malnutrition is on governments, as action happens on the ground and by people and not at global gatherings.

    At the plenary session of the SUN Global Gathering in Milan which took place in October 2015, the participants reviewed the recent Global Nutrition Report on investment in nutrition. It was interesting to note that for every dollar invested in nutrition the return is $16. This means the benefit to scale up nutrition interventions in 40 low and middle-income countries is 16:1. Key note speakers and panelist stressed the importance of addressing teenage pregnancies because these pregnancies carry an extreme risk of underweight babies and thereby perpetuating malnutrition in the lifecycle.  

    Power of good data 
    In light of the increased political will on nutrition, at this year's SUN Global Gathering, participants from different governments including the parliamentarians put a lot of emphasis on availing of quality and convincing data for advocacy purposes. ‘Without data we are stuck’ said a parliamentarian from Uganda. Similarly another parliamentarian from Malawi said "If you give me good data I can make sure my country has a better nutrition programme."

    Participants from the academic institutions underscored the important links between the work of policy-makers and nutrition scientists. They voiced their willingness to contribute to research and data generation for communication and advocacy purposes.

    You will undoubtedly agree that over the last years we've made a lot of progress on the food security front. At the same time, we know that we need to do more and better on  collecting, compiling and collating evidence base data to show the outcome of  nutrition related interventions.
    At IFAD we believe that focusing more  nutrition-related aspects will increase the impact of investments and underscore IFAD’s commitment to achieving the goal of improving nutrition and reducing poverty. It will also position IFAD as a leader in the arena of food, agriculture, and nutrition and promoting the sectors contribute to improving nutrition.  

    IFAD’s focus on nutrition is not just an add-on but as an essential part of what IFAD already does and as a contributor to investment quality.  IFAD’s emphasis on nutrition and nutrition-sensitive agriculture reflects an understanding of the importance of nutrition in development and the role of food and agriculture to improve nutrition.

    We must not fail! We have committed to Nutrition! By joining forces we shall make zero stunting a reality!

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  • 12/22/15--08:24: Unravelling indicators
  • In recent years, IFAD has stepped up its efforts to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the projects and programs it supports. However, it is clear that many challenges still remain. The 2014-15 portfolio review of the West and Central Africa Division (WCA) highlighted project management, and more specifically in the area of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), as being weak. In addition, IFAD is giving more importance to measuring the results and impact of the projects it supports not only to see if objectives are being met according to its mandate, but also to increase accountability towards its Executive Board.

    From 14 to 18 December 2015 WCA organised a sharing and learning workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, for IFAD-supported projects from Anglophone countries in the region. The overall objective of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of our stakeholders, mainly project M&E officers and coordinators, but also IFAD country teams, in the area of M&E, its basic concepts and methodological tools including RIMS, in order to improve the performance of projects and contribute to the achievement of its expected results and impact on rural poverty reduction. The event was part of the division’s continued efforts to strengthen the capacity of project management teams and aims at building technical and analytical skills in monitoring and evaluating  the outputs, outcomes and impact of projects financed by the Fund. Sixty-three people participated, coming from Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and IFAD headquarters.

    Logframe & theory of change

    The first part of the workshop focused on the logframe and the theory of change. The logframe provides you with a ‘snapshot’ of the project, a roadmap for implementation. It is a management tool, which guides annual planning; monitoring and evaluation; decision making. It has boxes and doesn’t use arrows. The theory of change is a comprehensive description of how change is expected to happen. It includes mapping results: outcomes needed to achieve a goal; and project interventions that lead outcomes. Results mapping uses arrows, focuses on causality and is an analytical tool. Reine Anani gave some suggestions on how to select good indicators: keep it simple; disaggregate by gender and age and ensure that they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). A wide range of measures of verification can be used to monitor these indicators. Rigorous methodologies should be considered, but their cost/benefit should be kept into account. Secondary data can be used, if reliable. Finally, assumptions and risks are critical and need to validated and communicated regularly.

    M&E tools

    During the second part of the workshop attention was given to tools that have proven to be effective for monitoring and evaluating projects. Good monitoring is important for projects to track progress made in achieving planned objectives and results and for decision-making. Two examples were shared: one on the use of GPS and SACCO registry in Uganda and another on the use of earth observation data in The Gambia. IFAD’s Asia and Pacific Division shared examples of their effort to shift the focus from impact documentation at completion to outcome measurement during project implementation. Annual outcome surveys are used to measure more regularly the positive or negative changes/outcomes taking place at the household level, provide early evidence of project success or failure and deliver timely performance information. Finally, Ghana’s experience with impact assessments was presented, where the use of sensemaking and the Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach were piloted.

    M&E system and RIMS

    A group discussion was held on M&E systems and two projects presented their M&E system. While in The Gambia, the project M&E system directly feeds into the National Agricultural Database, in Ghana GIS is being used to monitor the different rural enterprises that are being supported by the project. Projects from Malawi and Sierra Leone presented their computerised systems for managing M&E data. RIMS was identified by many projects as being a challenge. It was emphasized that the priority of projects is the M&E system of which RIMS is a only a part that will automatically follow. Special attention should be given to identify evidence for outcome and to undertake quality control. Good experiences with RIMS reporting from Nigeria and Sierra Leone were presented.


    The Annual Workplan and Budget (AWPB) is an essential managerial tool to: guide and regulate all activities and investments; set times, deadlines, targets and responsible parties; allocate appropriate resources to achieve proposed objectives and outcomes. Good practice AWPBs contain: an introduction; a summary Project description; a previous AWPBs implementation assessment; strategic direction, activities by component & resources plan; a summary training & technical assistance schedule; a budget & financing plan; a procurement plan; and, a M&E plan. Projects took the opportunity to develop their 2016 AWPB.

    M&E officer

    Participants also talked about the roles and responsibilities of the M&E officer. They should manage the “M&E process”, which includes many tasks and many people, advice and train the people involved; ensure data quality control and its utilization. Active management support is essential for good M&E. Management includes Project Coordinators/Managers, but also Managers in implementing institutions, and in IFAD. They should show interest, demand information, provide feedback; Act on non-compliance and non-performance; and give physical progress information the same attention and follow-up as financial progress information. A M&E training plan should be created to systematically build capacity.

    Use of M&E data

    Finally, the use of M&E data by three key stakeholders, project coordinators, the government and IFAD was discussed. The focus on M&E to support internal learning and management does not mean ignoring wider upward and downward accountability. Projects have important responsibilities to primary stakeholders, government agencies, funding agencies and society at large to account for their expenditures, activities, outcomes and impacts. In turn, supervising and funding agencies must account to their governments and tax payers for the investments made.

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    By Vivienne Likhanga

    – Organised By PROCASUR, IFAD, TSLI-ESA - GLTN In Uganda (4-10 December 2015):

    It is the morning of the 4 of December 2015 and we are excited to welcome the participants to the Learning Route! Finally we meet them after communicating with them for so long in readiness for the trip. Everything is ready now: Let’s start the journey!

    First step is the presentation of the main topics by our technical coordinator, Ken Otieno, and an introductive panel discussion with Rebecca Apio, Uganda Land Association (ULA), Peter Kisambira, Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFF) and John Mwebe, a Land Issues-expert lawyer.

    Then we jump on the bus and go. Destination: Kalangala islands, on Lake Victoria!

    Here we meet our first hosts: the Vegetable Oil Development Project, in its second phase (VODP-II). On this enchanting island, so remote and isolated thus still wild, the project has established a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the production of palm oil. The Learning Route participants gather with the main actors of the project at all levels (project directors and officers, the private company, the farmers and their association), receiving insights and sharing ideas, comments and points of view.Our hosts were proud to welcome our “Ruteros” and willing to exchange knowledge, answer questions and actively participating at the discussion.

     After two whole days on the island, our journey has to continue, bringing us to different shores.

    A long bus drive brings us uphill, on the slopes of Mount Elgon: we reach Kapchorwa profoundly amazed by the landscape: mountains roads, green meadows, waterfalls and the Rift Valley below us! Here, we meet Kawacom Limited, the second Case Study of this Learning Route. Again, a full and intense visit takes us to the offices, the production site and smallholders’ farms, opening our eyes on how Inclusive Business Models can serve as tools for land security– in this case, through the production of organic coffee.

    After each visit, our Ruteros are called for the Case Analysis Workshop. The first day, in fact, the practitioners have appointed themselves as “secretaries” of one of the two cases: they have therefore presented a critical analysis of the Lessons Learnt, Challenges and Recommendations for the way forward.

    This activity is part of the PROCASUR methodology: the Learning Route is an active learning wherein practitioners receive inputs, giving also back suggestions and different points of view, in a dynamic atmosphere of knowledge exchange.

    Day after day, our Ruteros are getting closer, having intense sessions and discussions – the two cases have given us so much food for thought! –but we have had so much fun and laughter as well.

    Learning is a journey, this is our philosophy: on the way, we discover new places and habits, acquire knowledge, have new experiences and meet new people. PROCASUR mission is to make sure we don’t waste any opportunity the road offers to enrich ourselves!

    To follow more details on the learning route: Kindly follow us on our FacebookTwitterGoogle +LinkedIn for updates! These social media pages are specially dedicated to sharing our experiences, stories and photos from the learning route, so kindly feel free to interact, share and post your own comments, ideas and photos to make this journey more interactive and exciting!! Don't forget to visit our website on the following link for additional reading on the thematic of the Learning Route and for more on Procasur Africa. We are looking forward to sharing our experiences on all these forums.

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    Por M. Ignacia Fernández,
    Directora Ejecutiva de RIMISP-Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural 

    El pasado mes de noviembre, en el marco de la primera semana FIDA sobre Desarrollo Rural en El Salvador, un panel sobre la los Grupos de Dialogo Rural (GDRs) sirvió para reflexionar y hacer balance de esta iniciativa latinoamericana de diálogo sobre políticas públicas.

    Los Grupos de Dialogo Rural (GDRs) fueron establecidos en cuatro países de América Latina - México, El Salvador, Colombia y Ecuador -, con el objetivo de promover y fomentar el diálogo sobre políticas públicas. Están conformados por un conjunto de personalidades influyentes de las organizaciones sociales, el mundo empresarial, la academia las organizaciones no gubernamentales y el gobierno, que ven en los procesos de diálogo una oportunidad de aunar fuerzas para promover la inclusión en una agenda pública -que a menudo las pasa por alto- de cuestiones relacionadas con el desarrollo rural que son de relevancia nacional.

    La metodología de trabajo de los GDRs ha sido desarrollada por RIMISP-Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural junto con el Fondo Internacional para el Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA). Cada GDR definió una agenda prioritaria e identificó objetivos específicos de cambio en las políticas rurales, de acuerdo a las condiciones y prioridades de cada país. Los resultados de estos años de trabajo han sido ampliamente satisfactorios. Son varias las políticas y estrategias que benefician a los pobres rurales de la región que llevan el sello de los GDR: la Ley de Tierras y Desarrollo Rural en Colombia, la Estrategia de Desarrollo de la Franja Costero Marina en El Salvador o la Estrategia del Buen Vivir Rural en Ecuador, por mencionar solo algunas.

    La experiencia de los GDR nos muestra que el diálogo bien guiado y contando con los actores sociales adecuados puede ser una poderosa herramienta de cambio para superar la pobreza rural. Como decimos en RIMISP, “la mejor política pública se hace dialogando”.

    Aunque cada GDR tiene sus especificidades y está particularmente atento a las oportunidades que ofrece la agenda  política en cada país, existen ciertos elementos comunes de su metodología en los que creemos que radica su particular contribución a los procesos de cambio.

    El más importante, es la formulación de propuestas de políticas públicas sólidamente basadas en la evidencia empírica que deriva de procesos complementarios de investigación y análisis. El segundo es la creación de grupos diversos, legitimados y autónomos respecto de los gobiernos de turno que desarrollan relaciones estratégicas con actores claves y se mantienen atentos a las oportunidades que ofrece un entorno cambiante.

    A esto se suma otro elemento clave, consistente en una capacidad creciente y reconocida de comprender el desarrollo rural como un campo interdisciplinario, que requiere de políticas intersectoriales. Los GDR han sabido lidiar con gobiernos organizados en compartimentos bien definidos, apoyándolos en la resolución eficaz de asuntos que trascienden los límites de un único ministerio, secretaría o servicio público.

    Cada vez son más las dimensiones del desarrollo rural que escapan al mandato legal,  la vocación y  las capacidades sectoriales de los ministerios de agricultura. Tal es el caso de la fuerte expansión de la infraestructura y de la cobertura de los servicios de educación y salud, o la preminencia de actividades económicas no agrícolas en las zonas rurales.

    Los GDR apuntan justamente a la necesidad de proporcionar espacios de diálogo multidisciplinar e intersectorial que permitan y fomenten la discusión de temas relacionados con las políticas de desarrollo rural más allá del lugar que tradicionalmente las instituciones les han otorgado. Estos espacios permiten abordar de manera integral las problemáticas e intereses que convergen en torno a este tema, así como dar salida a propuestas concretas de políticas públicas que cuenten con un consenso social y respondan a intereses de beneficio colectivo.

    Este es el tipo de resultados que presentaron los secretarios técnicos de los cuatro GDR en el panel en San Salvador en noviembre pasado. Todos ellos destacaron cómo la  participación del FIDA en estos grupos puede contribuir a escalar su capacidad de incidencia, abriendo conversaciones con nuevos actores, nuevas oportunidades y nuevos temas para la transformación rural. 

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    Article originally posted here

    4 December 2015
    “Climate change is an issue of survival,” declared H.E. Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, the keynote speaker at the United Nations System side event co-sponsored by WMO on “Science-based climate information – building on evidence to implement policies,” on 4 December at COP21.
    Kiribati is one of the low-lying Pacific islands most at threat of rising sea levels. Even now, Kiribati is suffering more high tides, damage to homes and food crops and drinking water, and extreme weather. “Based on this experience and climate change projections, we are faced with very real possibility of our islands not being able to support our current population and life as we know it today,” President Tong told the side event.
    Kiribati has reconciled itself to the “brutal reality” that the scale of resources necessary for adaptation will be insufficient and so that Kiribati was preparing for the worst.
    “Relocation must be part of our adaptation strategy, adaptation beyond our borders,” said President Tong. The government is also trying to educate and train people to make them more competitive and mobile on the international market, he said.
    He said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had provided ample evidence that “something is terribly wrong.” “And yet the world continues to oscillate and we continue to ignore what the science is telling us and what we are witnessing with our own lives,” he said.
    The side event featured presentations from U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Change H.E. John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Hoesung Lee, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, UNESCO IOC Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin, UNFCCC Director for Strategy Haldor Thorgeirsson, and Director of the Environment and Climate Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Margarita Astralaga.
    “It’s a challenge to the entire planet and not even the most developed country is  exempt,” said Mr Kufuor, the former President of Ghana. “We need a very comprehensive global effort. Without science we wont make a dent so scientific information is crucial,” he said.
    Hoesung Lee, who was recently elected IPCC chair, said ahead of the Sixth Assessment Report, the IPCC would seek to become more geographically balanced with a greater focus on developing country scientists and regional and local impacts.  He said there would also be greater attention, after COP21, to possible solutions for dealing with climate change.
    The IPCC would improve the way it communicates to translate the complexity of science into language understood by everybody. “This does not mean dumbing down the language. Scientific accuracy and rigour will always be the hallmark of the IPCC,” he said.
    “We are at a historic period of life on this planet. We as a human race are modifying life on the planet within the space of a couple of generations,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Thanks to the science of the IPCC, we know what’s going on now but what will be the consequences in the future,” he said.
    WMO would continue to inform negotiators at climate change negotiations of the science, he said. “Negotiators no longer have an excuse for not making decisions.”
    Vladimir Ryabinin, of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, said the oceans played a crucial role in the climate and in socio-economic development. More than 90 percent of heat from greenhouse gases is absorbed by the oceans.
    Sustained ocean observations and research are a must to inform policy making and adaptation, he said. “The ocean is not only the victim, but also part of the solution and must be part of the conversation,” he said.
    Ms Margarita Astralaga provided concrete examples of “people-centre science” 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.

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    Por Anna Rivera y María Luisa Saponaro

    El Fondo Internacional para el Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) celebró el año pasado 30 años de colaboración con el Gobierno de El Salvador y compromiso con la población rural salvadoreña Una parte esencial de las conmemoraciones fue la celebración en noviembre de la 1ª. Semana FIDA sobre Desarrollo Rural, Diálogo, Conocimiento y Articulación - El Rostro Humano del Desarrollo.

    El evento, organizado en coordinación con el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) y otros sectores claves de la sociedad salvadoreña, tenía como objetivo impulsar el diálogo y el debate sobre políticas públicas, abordando temas como la participación y oportunidades para la juventud rural, el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres rurales y de los pueblos indígenas y el medio ambiente y la mitigación de los efectos del cambio climático.

    La jornada inaugural de la semana contó con la presencia del ministro de Agricultura y Ganadería, Orestes Ortez, quien destacó en su discurso el compromiso del gobierno de trabajar por el desarrollo del sector productivo en las zonas rurales.

    “La colaboración del FIDA ha sido esencial en los avances conseguidos en este terreno”, aseguró Ortez. El titular del MAG agradeció al FIDA y al resto de agencias de la ONU presentes en El Salvador su cooperación con el desarrollo del país en los más diversos ámbitos sociales y económicos.

    Glayson Ferrari, gerente del programa del FIDA para El Salvador, declaró: “Lo que vamos a mostrar aquí durante esta semana no es fruto tan solo del trabajo del FIDA, sino de la colaboración entre muchos socios, del esfuerzo de muchas manos trabajando al unísono”.

    Uno de los principales momentos del evento fue la presentación de la Estrategia del FIDA en ElSalvador para los años 2015-2019. Dicha estrategia, elaborada en estrecha colaboración con el gobierno, la sociedad civil, el sector privado y, por supuesto, las organizaciones rurales salvadoreñas, prevé una inversión de 41 millones de dólares para luchar contra la pobreza rural.

    El objetivo del FIDA durante estos años será generar riqueza y bienestar entre las y los pequeños agricultores salvadoreños y sus familias, a través de la consecución de tres objetivos estratégicos:

    • ·      Mejorar el acceso de las y los pequeños agricultores a tecnologías, recursos e información; que les permitan desarrollar una agricultura más sostenible y adaptarse al cambio climático.
    • ·      Promover el empoderamiento económico de la juventud, las mujeres rurales y los pueblos indígenas.
    • ·       Contribuir a los esfuerzos del gobierno para invertir de forma más eficaz, eficiente y equitativa en las áreas rurales.
    Las operaciones financiadas por el FIDA en el país son y serán continuidad de una colaboración que comenzó en 1985 y que se ha concretado en los 10 proyectos de desarrollo llevados a caboconjuntamente con el MAG. Dos de dichos proyectos están todavía activos y un tercero, Rural Adelante, fue aprobado por la Junta Ejecutiva del FIDA el pasado mes de diciembre y en breve estará operativo.

    Más de 560 personas asistieron al evento, en el que participaron 120 representantes de instituciones de gobierno salvadoreño y de gobiernos locales. Entre ellos, además del titular del MAG, cuatro viceministros de Agricultura y Ganadería (Hugo Flores), Economía (Merlin Alejandrina Barrera), Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Ángel Ibarra) y Gobernación y Desarrollo Territorial (Daysi Villalobos).

    También estuvieron representados 36 socios estratégicos del FIDA en El Salvador y América Central, incluyendo organizaciones de la sociedad civil, ONGs (PROCASUR, RIMISP-Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural, PRISMA, Grupo de Diálogo Rural de El Salvador, Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales-ICEFI, SNV y Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social-FUSADES), empresa privada (AGEXPORT) y organizaciones internacionales (Comisión Económica para América Latina-CEPAL y ONU Mujeres). Muchos de ellos fueron co-organizadores de distintos momentos y actos incluidos dentro del programa de la semana.

    Los 11 paneles temáticos realizados abordaron importantes cuestiones en el área del diálogo sobre políticas públicas para el desarrollo rural:
    • participación democrática,
    • oportunidades económicas de los y las jóvenes;
    • empoderamiento económico de las mujeres;
    • programas de transferencia monetaria; acceso a mercados;
    • alianzas entre los sectores público y privado y las y los pequeños productores rurales;
    • medio ambiente y cambio climático;
    • soberanía y seguridad alimentaria;
    • y la participación y empoderamiento económico de los pueblos indígenas.
    Junto con ellos, 6 talleres proporcionaron formación práctica a decenas de asistentes en cuestiones como metodologías para el diálogo sobre políticas públicas de desarrollo rural, participación en mercados y cadenas de valor o negocios inclusivos.

    La juventud tuvo un papel relevante. Más de 110 jóvenes rurales participaron en diversos paneles sobre juventud rural y en la Asamblea de la Red Nacional de Jóvenes Rurales. Durante este último evento, aprobaron un plan de trabajo y acordaron la creación de la Asociación Integral de Redes Juveniles Rurales de El Salvador (AREJURES), que les representará a nivel nacional. Las y los miembros de la primera junta directiva de la recién creada asociación, fueron juramentados por Yeymi Muñoz, directora general del Instituto Nacional de Juventud (INJUVE).

    Los y las jóvenes rurales expusieron su necesidad de más oportunidades para la participación y explicaron cómo muchos de ellos viven en condiciones de pobreza y vulnerabilidad, su falta de recursos para convertirse en pequeños agricultores o emprendedores rurales y cómo tienen que lidiar con la carga de la persistente violencia criminal que afecta a El Salvador.

    Glayson Ferrari destacó el papel clave de la juventud en el desarrollo rural: “Sin una juventud empoderada, todo esfuerzo en favor de un desarrollo rural inclusivo será en vano. Los jóvenes son la respuesta a muchos de los desafíos que las áreas rurales afrontan. Son ellos quienes pueden incrementar el uso de tecnologías, desarrollar nuevos servicios y llevar adelante negocios rurales más competitivos”.
    A lo largo de la semana, el FIDA firmó tres importantes acuerdos:

    • Con la Asociación Guatemalteca de Exportadores (AGEXPORT), para promover oportunidades de acceso a mercados para las y los pequeños productores de Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador;
    • Con el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), la ONG Visión Mundial y el Instituto Nacional de la Juventud (INJUVE) para apoyar a la juventud rural.
    • Con la ONG PRISMA y el Comité Nacional de Agricultura Familiar (CNAF) para fortalecer la soberanía y seguridad alimentaria.
    Durante el evento se presentaron diversos estudios relacionados con la economía, el desarrollo rural y la política fiscal en la región centroamericana. Entre ellos, los estudios El desarrollo rural en cifras e Incidencia de la política fiscal en el ámbito rural de Centroamérica. El caso de El Salvador, elaborados por el ICEFI con el apoyo del FIDA.

    Jonathan Menkos, director ejecutivo del instituto destacó que“El Salvador es uno de los países centroamericanos donde existe mayor inversión per cápita en desarrollo rural”. Sin embargo, como en la mayor parte de Centroamérica, su población rural continúa sufriendo “un inadecuado acceso a servicios y bienes básicos, lo que genera desigualdades en las tasas de bienestar, empleo e ingreso”. Políticas fiscales adecuadas pueden ayudar a cambiar esta realidad, logrando una distribución más equitativa de la renta.

    Este hecho no se da en El Salvador, donde según Betty Pérez, representante del Consejo Coordinador Nacional Indígena Salvadoreño (CCNIS) , prima “una visión paternalista de las políticas sociales”.

    Por su parte, la directora del Centro de Investigación y Estadísticas de FUSADES, Margarita de Sanfeliú, presentó el estudio Programas de Transferencias Monetarias y Desarrollo Rural: El Caso de El Salvador.
    Como ven, la 1ª Semana FIDA en El Salvador estuvo repleta de acontecimientos. Fue un desafío apasionante organizarla. Pero, una vez que ha pasado, comienza un desafío todavía más apasionante: aprovechar toda la energía y el conocimiento que el evento generó para avanzar en la senda de una transformación rural inclusiva y sostenible en El Salvador.

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    As the new year is upon us, we had a look back at IFAD's social media highlights of 2015 to see what our followers engaged with the most over the course of the year. What were the agriculture and rural development issues you found most interesting? Let’s take you through our findings.

    Achieving food security in a changing climate

    One of the themes you have been engaged with the most is climate change and its impact on food security. Our Recipes for Change showed the effects of unpredictable and extreme weather conditions on rural people's traditional crops and dishes.

    Partnering with rural communities in developing countries and local celebrity chefs, we brought you a taste of food traditions from around the world, and included the recipes for you to try at home.

    Last year, climate change was high on the world's agenda. The world's leaders gathered together in Paris in November to reach a global agreement to protect the environment. At the UN's Climate Conference (COP21) IFAD focused on the role of rural people in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

    At the COP21, our followers participated actively in our campaign "Make the Change". Thanks to everyone who contributed and shared the petition on social media, we were many who said "Make the change: Invest in farmers in the developing world now!"


    In this episode of #RecipesForChange, top Bolivian chef Marko Bonifaz discovers how climate change is threatening the...
    Posted by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Building a better world, it's about people

    In September, the UN General Assembly approved 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that commit the world to shape a better future for the next generations. A future free of poverty and hunger. As entrepreneurs and agents of change, rural people and smallholder farmers are critical to ending poverty, feeding the world and protecting the planet.

    We gathered stories of rural people, who with the right investments are making a considerable difference for their families and communities, by doing their job as farmers, fishers or livestock breeders. 

    In the lead up to the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, we launched a campaign to tell the world's leaders that: Building a better future - it's about people. Over 500 followers signed up for our Thunderclap and the support enabled us to spread the stories of WafaaBenjaminAna Sofia and many others to more than half a million people.

    International days 

    The United Nations observes designated days, weeks, years, and decades, and assigns each of them a specific topic that resonates with the priorities of the global agenda. As a specialised UN agency, IFAD has celebrated many of those observances, like International Women's Day, World Soil Day and World Environment Day.

    The one our followers engaged with the most was the World Happiness Day, celebrated on 20 March. Also, during the World Food Week in October, our followers engaged with us at multiple events such as the UN Committee on World Food Security and the Expo2015 in Milan for the World Food Day, on 16 October.

    AgTalks: Bringing you the latest trends in small-scale farming

    Introduced during the International year of Family Farming, the AgTalks series has become a regular appointment, offering up-to-date insights and research on smallholder farming. Innovators, policy-makers and rural people have come to IFAD Headquarters in Rome to join a live discussion, and engage with the audience in the room as well as followers on social media. The topics have often been connected to the international agenda, like the one on the International Day of Rural Women.

    The future belongs to organised farmers, says Beatrice Makwenda in her #AgTalks that was just released yesterday.Watch the full episode here:
    Posted by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Thursday, June 18, 2015

    Stay tuned

    The content reported above is just a small piece of the broader mosaic of topics, events, and research findings we have talked about on social media.

    If you want to know more about what's going on in the environment of agricultural and rural development, read more stories of smallholder farmers, find out the latest thoughts and trends on rural transformation - then stay tuned and follow us in 2016!

    We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, Linkedin, and Blogspot. And don’t miss the thoughts and quotes from IFAD's President, Kanayo F. Knwanze, which he shares on his Twitter account.

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    By Julie Potyraj from George Washington University,

    As extreme weather events occur more commonly across the globe, it is becoming apparent that the implications of climate change extend far past a change in the Earth’s average temperature. Though all countries will be affected, The World Bank cautions that poor countries are the most at risk for complications due to the changes in weather. Increasingly severe droughts, floods, and heat waves will hinder crop production and reduce the availability of safe water. Information collected by Global Agriculture shows that millions of people in the world’s poorest countries rely on either subsistence or commercial agriculture, so any changes in solar radiation, temperature, and hydrologic cycle could threaten their livelihoods. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) crop yields, food prices, and overall food security will be negatively affected by climate change as well, though the exact impact is difficult to calculate due to a variety of determinants that include regional climates, agricultural practices, and types of crops.

    Certain parts of the world, specifically Africa and Asia, are already suffering from extreme weather events. There has been a push to emphasize funding for climate “adaptation” in addition to climate “mitigation.” Adaptation is the preparation for the effects of climate change, while mitigation involves initiatives that obstruct the progress of climate change. It is no longer enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the future; damage has already been done. Many organizations, like The World Bank, are prioritizing disaster risk management and other immediate climate change adaptation strategies in order to brace for the effects of the Earth’s rising temperature in the world’s poorest countries; without adaptation, those countries are even more exposed and vulnerable.


    Why? Because a slight change in the Earth’s temperature can result in immeasurable consequences on the daily lives of poor rural communities. Lower crop production, changing landscapes, and shrinking safe water supplies caused by the effects of climate change will hinder economic development and increase world hunger. Severe weather events facilitate the spread of disease. The damage that weather causes to infrastructure and rural environments makes it more difficult to provide people with the medical attention they need. If they are unable to cope with unstable soil conditions and unreliable water availability, rural families may be forced to temporarily or permanently resettle.However, migration can lead to political, social, and economic instability. Migration is an extreme and disruptive adaptation strategy, but it may be the only option for inhabitants of the most vulnerable regions.

    Though agriculture is actually a contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions, the people most susceptible to the harmful effects of climate change are not necessarily the people with the power to mitigate the Earth’s rising temperatures. The following data visualization from MHA@GW, the online Executive Master of Health Administration offered through the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, compares the nations that contribute the most CO2 emissions to the nations that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Many of the most vulnerable nations are already predisposed to severe weather events such as drought and flooding. Unless developed countries take accountability for their contribution to climate change, the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities will increasingly struggle to adapt to its negative effects.

    This graphic can be seen in a larger form here.

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  • New Projects in the Philippines Introduced:  FishCORAL and CONVERGE

    Two new projects in the Philipines was introduced this week.  The Fisheries Coastal Resources and Livelihood (FishCORAL) on 19 Januay 2016 and the Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (CONVERGE) on 21 January 2016.

    FishCORAL aims to aid fishing households below the poverty line in the areas of Region 5, 8, 13 and ARMM

    Project CONVERGE aims to reduce incidence of poverty in the ten target provinces of Regions 9, 10 and CARAGA located in the west, north and northeast of Mindanao which are among the six poorest regions of the country through crop diversification and increased farm income.

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    An enriching Philippines ACPoR- The core of knowledge management 

    The 8th Annual Country Programme Review (ACPoR) of IFAD-Philippines has been scheduled to convene the representatives and guests of IFAD-assisted programmes/projects in the country, chaired by Under Secretary Ongkiko, DAR and Palad, DA and Mr. Benoit Thierry-IFAD Country Programme Manager.

    The year’s meeting held on 27-2 8 January 2016 in the city of Baguio- the Cordillera of Northern Phillipines.  As in the past 7 editions, the 2015 review recounts the result performance of the IFAD-funded programmes  (both loans and grants funded by IFAD) in the country and assess the contribution of these projects to the objectives of the Philippines-Country Strategic Operations Programme (PH-COSOP) and the Philipines Development Plan (PDP). Not only the meeting was devoted to review implementation activities and share project good practices and experiences; but it also discussed about the hindered challenges/difficulties projects are encountering and realistic gaps they are facing. 
    From there, innovative ideas and strategic development plans for future actions were generated among a team of IFAD representatives, projects’officers and partners.  IFAD is well-known to be a learning-based organization and this Philippines ACPoR can be seen as one of the very illustrative example for its strong knowledge management. The participants had a field interaction with Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP2) with a purpose of acting to be a venue for knowledge sharing among IFAD projects.  

    This AcPoR was also the opportunity to launch the first ever Country Programme Evaluation by IFAD in Philippines, During 2016 and as a preamble to the new COSOP, this CPE will review all IFAD funded activities over the past 10 years in the country.

    The first day of AcPoR was dedicated to field visit in Cordiallera, A wide range of activities were running including the visit to the rehabilitated Calasipan-Apanberang-Mongoto farm to market road, the organic garden of the livelihood investment groups, the reforestation and agroforestry site, and the coffee-processing center of the Abiang Community Multi-purpose Cooperative. 

    In this case, the following statement of Peter Drucken is possibly used for the roadmap 2016 of Phillippines projects that “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes”.  

    Photo Credit: Robert Domogen - CHARMP Project.

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    The agricultural sector is vital for Cameroon; it employs around 50 per cent of the economically active population and has been able to support the overall economy in a context of falling oil and industrial revenues. Apart from some agro-industrial plantations and a few large private farms, agriculture is dominated by small family farms. Most of them employ manual methods, often make use of casual labour and use few or no external inputs. In rural areas 50 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Rural youth in Cameroon, faced with a lack of opportunities, skills and resources, are one of the population groups most vulnerable to poverty. IFAD is working with the Government of Cameroon to build the organizational capacity and bargaining power of poor rural people and their organizations and to achieve sustainable improvements in the prospects for income-generating on-farm and off-farm activities of poor rural people, particularly women and you
    ng people.

    From 9 to 12 February 2016 the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Territorial Development and the IFAD country office in Cameroon have brought together a wide range of stakeholders in Kribi to look at current trends, take stock of what the IFAD-supported projects have achieved so far and to plan ahead for the next four years. Participants include representatives from sectorial ministries, youth groups, producers’ organisations, project management units and the IFAD country team. Emphasis has been put on strengthening linkages between the different IFAD-supported projects, building the capacity to document and share experiences and promoting a management-for-results culture.

    Each of the three IFAD-supported projects has worked out a knowledge management strategy. Areas for collaboration between the projects have been identified. In addition, IFAD’s country strategy results framework for Cameroon has been updated, which will support the use of performance information to improve decision-making. Finally, the event has helped to boost team spirit amongst the various stakeholders. All participants re-confirmed their commitment to a common agenda: transforming rural areas in Cameroon.

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    Written by Sally Martinelli, Simona Siad and Katie Taft

    As different cultures celebrate Valentine's Day, IFAD reminds the world of the importance of investing in small farmers. 

    At IFAD, we love investing in small farmers. Some of our reasons may be obvious – small family farms feed up to 80 per cent of the population in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, manage a large share of the natural resources and ecosystems, and support the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people. 

    Other reasons might be surprising – for instance, did you know behind each box of chocolate is the important work done by a small farmer?

    There are so many reasons we believe the world should also love and support small farmers, but here are our top five reasons.

    1. Small farming provides rural youth with job opportunities 

    In the Near East and North Africa region, seventeen million young people – more than 20 per cent of the population – are without work. Since young people face the highest rates of poverty, they often move away from home to seek opportunity elsewhere. However, when young people work in agriculture, they not only can support themselves, but are more likely to adopt new technologies. This creates better yields, which in turn allows farmers to continue feeding the world's growing population. Rural youth are an important factor in eradicating food insecurity internationally.

    IFAD supports the ambition young people have to not only find employment, but to act as entrepreneurs within the industry. The IFAD Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (RYEEP) combines IFAD's knowledge of rural development with the expertise of two entrepreneurship-focused social enterprises to create employment opportunities for more than 18,000 rural youth between the ages 15 and 35.

    2. Small farmers contribute to climate change mitigation 

    Climate change is the biggest threat humanity faces today and small farmers are on the front lines to battle it. Rural farmers are guardians of natural resources, often managing vast areas of land and forest. Improving land management and farming practices and planting forests can help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Small farmers are combating the effects of climate change by implementing new farming techniques.

    In pursuing its target to reduce 80 million tons of C02e by 2020, IFAD is supporting small farmers with adaptation projects that could reduce emission by 30 million tons. These initiatives includes planting trees and creating natural barriers against flooding and unpredictable rains, using crops that are adapted to resist climate change, and other solutions to address short-and-long-term problems.

    3. Small farmers produce much of the world's cocoa (and chocolate) 

    The world spends US$83 billion each year on chocolate. Europeans especially love chocolate, eating one kilogram of it every month. This industry depends on the five million small-scale family farmers who grow 90 per cent of the world's cocoa. IFAD is helping cocoa farmers in 12 countries to overcome problems such as pests, disease and unsustainable production methods that harm the harvest and local environment. In São Tomé, IFAD has formed a relationship with the local farmers to connect their high-quality cocoa with Fair Trade buyers such as Kaoka. These efforts have helped nearly 2,000 farming families in São Tomé to revitalize their cocoa industry and produce 1,200 tons of cocoa in 2014.

    Fatima, small farmer from São Tomé 

    4. Small farmers contribute to global food security 

    The population of the planet is expected to grow to almost 9.5 billion people by 2050. Food production will need to nearly double in developing countries to feed this population and address existing hunger and malnutrition. Since most of the world’s farms are small, investing in them will be the only way to address this growing demand.

    In Cuba, an IFAD-funded project has organized 157 farming cooperatives to increase the production and productivity of crops such as maize and beans. The Cooperative Rural Development Project in the Oriental Region (PRODECOR) supports the country — which imports 80 per cent of its basic food requirements — to address food insecurity. The population has been impeded by intense drought due to climate change and limited agricultural machinery. With the use of new technologies and the pooling of knowledge, these cooperatives are expected to benefit over 52,000 people.

    5. Small farmers preserve biodiversity 

    Biodiversity is an essential part of preserving the planet. Changes to an environment such as the loss of a plant or species has the potential to derail the balance of the whole region. When family farmers take the necessary steps to secure their local environment, they not only ensure that their crops yield bountiful harvests, but that there will be future harvests too.

    With the support of IFAD, small farmers in Brazil have implemented new agricultural practices that are more environmentally friendly. Over the course of nine years, the region saw a 69 per cent reduction in land erosion, and carbon sequestration ranging from 15 to 79 per cent. In the 20,000 hectares of saved and preserved land, there has been an increase in diverse species of 11 per cent.

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    Written by Christopher Neglia
     Briefing by France,Morocco and Peru on the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
    ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello

    There is no doubt that the recent Paris agreement produced historic results in terms of bringing governments together to act on climate change.

    This afternoon’s event at IFAD, Outcomes of COP21 and the Road to COP22, was a forum where presenters and discussants reflected on the process leading up to Paris, and the priority areas for action now that a sustainable framework has been established.

    Perin Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, gave the opening remarks, which considered the role of agriculture in the Paris agreement.

    Agriculture is not mentioned explicitly in the Paris agreement, he said, but the preamble emphasizes that actions to address climate change should be undertaken in a manner that is coherent with sustainable development and poverty eradication efforts.

    In fact, agriculture features in 80 per cent of countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which is UN-speak for national climate plans.

    This sends a positive signal that countries want to take action on adapting agriculture to the effects of climate change, and reducing emissions from unsustainable farming practices, but additional finance and support is needed to help countries implement their INDCs, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

    Eda Adriana Rivas Franchini, Ambassador of Peru to the UN Rome-based agencies recalled the long journey of the UNFCCC process, which had its origins in the fated Kyoto Protocol, and finally culminated with the ambitious, universal and balanced Paris agreement.

    Areas of dispute had to be overcome, compromises made, and longstanding divisions resolved within the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities.

    As host of COP20 in Lima, Peru’s contribution to the final outcome was substantial. At the time, I attended the opening address of Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, which set a political impetus for results at those negotiations.

    In Peru the government worked behind the scenes as an impartial broker, and facilitated an environment that led to a number of successes that year, including the adoption of a mechanism to ratchet up country ambition every five years and a target to raise US $10 billion in climate finance by 2020.

    Indeed, Peru is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, whose impacts are affecting the Amazon region and the country’s glaciers, which are a crucial supply of fresh water and hydro energy.

    'Paris agreement is not a destination but a departure'

    Serge Tomasi, Ambassador of France to the UN Rome-based agencies emphasized the universal nature of the Paris agreement. Adopted by 187 countries, it has put the international community on a trajectory to achieve neutral emissions by the latter half of this century.

    One of the critical factors that led to the success of COP21 was the high-level diplomacy brought to bear by influential figures like French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who fostered the goodwill of countries and guided the Convention to adopt the final agreement.

    In Tomasi’s words, the Paris agreement is not a destination but a departure. It does not impose emission reductions, nor does it contain sanction powers. Rather, the targets each country has voluntarily committed themselves to will be enforced through a stock-taking exercise every five years, compelling governments to act based on a system of peer review.

    Lastly, Ambassador Hassan Abouyoub from future COP22 host country Morocco offered his assessment of the climate change agenda. In his remarks, Abouyoub said that Morocco was the first to anticipate climate change on the African continent.

    Over the last century, Morocco has experienced huge changes in rainfall patterns, to the extent that droughts now occur one in every  three years. Fisheries have been heavily impacted by the warming of ocean waters and agricultural land faces chronic water shortages.

    Sensible policies, such as fish stock regulation and water management have been implemented by the government, but Morocco’s vulnerability to climate change is an alarming indication of more severe impacts to come.

    As host to COP22 this year, Abouyoub promised the same spirit of solidarity among Parties to drive enhanced action even before the Paris agreement comes into effect in 2020.

    Learn more about how IFAD is helping small farmers adapt to climate change.

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    Written by Sally Martinelli

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were a key focus at this year's Governing Council. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Rome, 17 February — A multitude of flags welcomed development leaders, heads of state and government representatives from all over the world to IFAD's 39th Governing Council (GC), where members of IFAD's decision-making body convened.

    Rural farmers and representatives from many nations came  together to address the monumental task at hand: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The GC, which has taken place at IFAD headquarters for the last six years, assembled in a spacious tent.

    Delegates representing countries from all over the world were in attendance at this year's GC. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
    Before entering the tent, many high-level guests from around the world stopped for photographs in front of an IFAD backdrop. One of these guests was His Excellency Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic, who was greeted by IFAD's President, Kanayo Nwanze and a frenzy of photographers.

    His Excellency Sergio Mattarella (second from left), the President of the Italian Republic, walks to the stage with IFAD's President, Kanayo Nwanze (right). ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Once His Excellency was escorted into the tent, he was introduced by Nwanze to give the keynote address. President Mattarella pledged that Italy will play a role in the eradication of hunger and poverty.

    He brought attention to the current refugee crises and called leaders of all nations to get involved, saying: "Saving human lives and  reaching out to those fleeing war or misery is a moral duty, a duty for any society that defines itself as free, democratic and authentically respectful of human rights."

    Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    In regards to the SDGs, His Excellency spoke about the importance of sustainability and the fundamental role agriculture and small farmers play in reaching all seventeen goals.

    He commented on the cross-cutting nature of these goals, saying "the issues are not separate chapters, they are many pages of the same book working towards inclusion" and that Italy will play a central role in achieving them for the well-being of future generations.

    President Mattarella concluded by saying: "The hunger, poverty and the deprivations chain is strong but it can and it must be broken."

    Nwanze followed His Excellency, and gave a statement to close the inaugural ceremony. The President of IFAD opened his address by warning the audience that, without the continued efforts of IFAD and other organizations, it is quite possible that the recent gains made in the fight to end poverty and hunger could be reversed.

    The focus must remain on long-term development, specifically achieving the SDGs. According to Nwanze, this feat depends on smallholder farmers and their ability to transform rural areas into being more productive, and IFAD expedites this process by "investing in small farmers so that they can grow their businesses and improve their lives through their own efforts; not through hand outs."

    According to IFAD President Nwanze, IFAD has reached 139 million people and saved five million hectares of land through its initiatives between 2010 and 2015.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

    Nwanze also discussed changes made in the way IFAD conducts its business and how it assesses its own impact. He shared some promising statistics: IFAD has reached 139 million people and saved five million hectares of land through its projects that opened or closed between 2010 and 2015.

    Nwanze concluded that "project participants are better off than they would have been in the absence of IFAD." Despite this good news, Nwanze cautioned that there is much more work to be done, citing the refugee crisis. To Nwanze, "it is imperative that we commit to investing in long-term development."

    The next person to take the stage was international journalist Babita Sharma, the moderator for the panel on Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: Galvanizing Private-Sector Action.
    Sharma was joined by a diverse range of panelists, which included: Sunny Verghese, Olam International CEO; Jussara Dantas de Souza, the Commercial Manager of Family Agribusiness Cooperatives of Canudos, Uauá and Curaçá, and Brazil; Beatrice Nkatha, the Founder and Managing Director of Sorghum Pioneer Agencies in Kenya; and Victor Rosca, the Director of IFAD Consolidated Programme Implementation Unit in the Republic of Moldova.

    A private-sector panel which included Sunny Verghese, Cofounder and Group CEO of Olam International, highlighted the need for bold initiatives to better link smallholder farmers to markets.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Each panelist offered a unique insight to the private sector's role in creating a more sustainable society. Nkatha spoke about how she thought it was the responsibility of both the government and the private sector to work with smallholder farms.

    She cited specifically how important farmers need the assistance of both to access international markets. Verghese echoed this sentiment, saying: "Everyone has to act … recognizing that there is no way to deal with these problems unless we all come together.”

    Verghese also believed that the private sector will have to play an increased role as governments are becoming more burdened with other costs.

    When farmers are respected, they produce better and more consistently, says Sunny Verghese – Cofounder and Group CEO of Olam International. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Rosca similarly described the potential role of the private sector to be "enormous," but said it would not be an easy task to enlist supporters. Citing a project he worked on in Moldova, he described the skepticism financial institutions can have about investing in these kinds of projects.

    However, according to Rosca, once the banks saw that their investment paid off, "Their attitude changed. We were able to convince them that it is necessary to invest in agriculture, and they were quick to agree."

    Dantas de Souza also spoke about the importance of perspective and motivation. She described the need for private institutions and groups to help educate and motivate small farmers, citing an example in Brazil of Canadian missionaries encouraging local women to take on a larger role within their society to improve their lives.

    To Dantas de Souza, "when there is a will, there is a way," and this will must be sparked within rural farmers so they can help themselves. The panel offered fascinating perspectives on the SDGs, and reiterated how important it was that people from each corner of the world work towards these crucial goals.

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    Written by Christopher Neglia

    Innovation is needed more than ever to help make marginal environments agriculturally productive, says Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA.
    Rome, 18 February – At IFAD’s Governing Council, the role of innovation was discussed in the context of rural transformation during a dynamic panel session.

    In the first segment of the session, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, observed the huge impacts of the Green Revolution on Asia’s agricultural productivity in the 1960s.

    This was a high-input agriculture that boosted key commodities such as rice, but also left behind marginal landscapes, upon which the majority of smallholder farmers work.

    Today, owing to strong population growth and climate change, Dr. Elouafi suggested that we need to mobilize innovation on a similar scale as the Green Revolution, because the alternative: an additional 1.2 billion food insecure people by 2050, is not a choice at all.

    Achieving SDG1 (no poverty) and SDG2 (zero hunger) will foremost require Africa to strengthen agricultural productivity and close its yield gap with the rest of the world. This necessarily calls for more public subsidies in the agricultural sector.

    But Elouafi also brought up the need for greater investment in upstream research and development.

    By testing crops within local agro ecosystems, smallholder farmers can optimize their production. This type of applied research generally comes with additional time and resource costs, but the commercial potential is huge.

    A second panel discussion, facilitated by IFAD Associate Vice President Périn Saint Ange, focused on innovative agricultural solutions to many of the global challenges discussed over the two days. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    In the second segment of the panel, moderator Perin Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, held a dialogue with Elizabeth Ssendiwala, Gender and Youth Technical Specialist (ESA), Ronald Hartman, Country Director for Indonesia, Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos, El Salvador Portfolio Officer and Jacopo Monzini, Senior Technical Specialist (NEN).

    Ssendiwala spoke on the utility of household methodologies as a means of improving intra-household gender relations.

    According to Ssendiwala, encouraging women to take up more economic responsibilities in the community can appreciably contribute to development. She also rightly noted the importance of men becoming champions of gender equality.

    Ronald Hartman underlined that middle-income countries such as Indonesia should ensure that economic growth is equitable.

    As the fiscal position of countries strengthen, IFAD’s role becomes more about facilitating innovation through policy dialogue and piloting new technologies on small farms, thereby contributing to more inclusive growth.

    Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos advocated for more democratic participation of young people in economic decision-making. He proposed moving from a project-based approach to an more integrated mode of engagement between political institutions and non-traditional actors in civil society and the private sector.

    Finally, Jacopo Monzini provided a review of IFAD’s experiences using GIS and earth observation to get a clearer picture of land use and environmental degradation, scaled down to the project area.

    Mapping the spatial data at project design, and going on to collect it during implementation has already led to better beneficiary targeting, and enhanced the capacity of ministries and universities to utilize such data in their own development strategies.

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    Written by Sally Martinelli

    Rome, 18 February– After a whirlwind of dynamic speakers, panels and deliberations, IFAD's 39th Governing Council has officially come to a close.

    During the last two days development leaders, heads of state and government representatives from all over the world discussed critical issues relating to feed security, nutrition and small farming that hamper growth and prosperity for everyone.

    The United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were a major focus on day one, which continued into day two.

    Entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim takes the stage 

    Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, globally recognized entrepreneur.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

    Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, globally recognized entrepreneur and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, was featured in the IFAD Lecture that opened the session.

    Through its Index of African Governance, Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships and other initiatives, the foundation promotes and cultivates good governance.

    A vibrant orator, Ibrahim did not mince words as he offered his analysis and opinions about the direction African countries need to take in the coming years.

    He noted that the continent is full of potential, and that "its richest resource is its people."

    However, according to Ibrahim, Africans themselves, and especially their leaders, need to take responsibility for the problems the continent faces and address them quickly. Africa faces poverty, hunger, food insecurity, and a growing population of young people that are leaving agriculture and rural areas behind.

    Ibrahim urged African governments to increase their investments in agriculture, noting that easy profits from oil or minerals caused African leaders to neglect the agricultural sector. However, this is not a sustainable practice since "people don't eat oil, they eat food," Ibrahim said.

    Ibrahim noted that 80 per cent of countries had not met targets made in the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2003, and that it was crucial that they live up to commitments to invest in agriculture.

    Though Ibrahim said there was no "silver bullet" to solve these problems, he focused much of his speech on good governance.

    Good governance is crucial for businesses and other organizations to invest in Africa, Ibrahim said. Businesses would not invest in an area that does not obey the rule of law. He listed a range of governance problems from corruption to poor taxation regimes.

    Though he conceded that businesses can "misbehave" as well, Ibrahim said that when business is a force for good, it creates jobs, prosperity, and innovation, all of which would transform the African continent.

    Building the agriculture of tomorrow 
    Innovation is needed more than ever to help make marginal environments agriculturally productive, says Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

    Ibrahim's speech was followed by a one-on-one session with Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, the Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).

    Elouafi started her speech with a warning: though climate change is now universally recognized, there will be grave consequences if we do not realize how widespread and damaging its impact is.
    "We have huge challenges ahead, and we need to act, " said Elouafi.

    Elouafi spoke about a broad number of topics, including gender equality and education. Elouafi was optimistic about the future, saying that she believes the SDGs are within reach.

    "I am confident that we can achieve the SDGs because the demand is there," said Elouafi. But to get there, much has to be changed.

    One of Elouafi's main critiques of how smallholder farming is approached concerned the flaw in research and development. Elouafi said that most research and development is carried out in the West and then applied elsewhere.

    She believes that, to produce the best results, development programmes must be devised where the problem is happening. "We need to have much more customized research and solutions for each region," she noted.

    Elouafi also spoke about how farmers are leaving agriculture because they are not being given the the opportunity to innovate or expand into new areas.

    According to Elouafi, in order to reach "the agriculture of tomorrow," we must continue to innovate.

    Innovation investments for rural transformation

    A second panel discussion, facilitated by IFAD Associate Vice President Périn Saint Ange, focused on innovative agricultural solutions to many global challenges.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

    This message was underscored by the next panel, on “Innovation Investments in Rural Development.”

    Moderated by Périn Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD's Programme Management Department (PMD), the panel featured IFAD experts discussing innovative investments in four different regions.

    Elizabeth Ssendiwala, the Regional Gender Coordinator for the East and Southern Africa Division, described how IFAD is addressing gender equality by looking at the household as a whole. In response to a question posed from the audience, Ssendiwala said: "Gender equality is not about empowering women alone, but rather every member of the household."

    Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos, Country Director for El Salvador, Latin America and the Caribbean Division, spoke at length about the youth in Central America and the problems they face.
    He believes that rural youth in El Salvador want to help transform the areas they call home, but are not often given the opportunity to do so.

    "Young people have to be part of the solution, and not seen as part of the problem," Dos Santos said. Concerning agriculture, Dos Santos said he found that the youth were willing to work in the industry, but they wanted to break away from traditional farming practices.

    Ronald Hartman, Country Director of Indonesia, Asia and the Pacific Division, agreed with this idea of doing things differently. He believed that, by incorporating new technologies, farming can be made more attractive, more efficient and less laborious.

    Hartman also spoke about working in Indonesia, and how changes in IFAD's structure allowed the conversation to shift from being all about finances to finding out ways to innovate and support the nation’s development strategy.

    Jacopo Monzini, the Senior Technical Specialist for the Environment and Climate Division, also discussed innovation, focusing on the ways IFAD is using GIS and earth observation to get a clearer picture of land use and environmental degradation, scaled down to the project area.

    After the Chairman read a summary of the discussion in the Governor's  Round Table the previous day, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze delivered his closing statement.

    IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze told leaders that “by working together to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – starting with zero poverty and zero hunger – we can break the chain of desperation” that leads to emergencies and humanitarian disaster.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
    Nwanze thanked the governors and delegates for their time and devotion, and summarized the preceding of the last two days.

    Nwanze told the room that “by working together to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – starting with zero poverty and zero hunger – we can break the chain of desperation” that leads to emergencies and humanitarian disaster.

    Nwanze reminded us all that there was much more work to be done and that we must continue to work together towards long-term solutions.

    Or, as Nwanze aptly put it: "Our world is one world."

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    Speaking at one of IFAD’s Climate and Environment Lectures, Doctor Tim Searchinger focused  his analysis of the livestock industry in developing countries and its potential for sustainable intensification.

    Tim Searchinger is a Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and also a Senior Fellow of the World Resources Institute, where he is the technical director of its World Resources Report on global agriculture.

    ''In the specific countries we have looked at, there are win-win opportunities to boost the productivity and incomes for small farmers in ways that protect forests and reduce greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions'',Searchinger  said.

    Climate smart agriculture (CSA) is an essential part of the work that IFAD is doing in rural areas. But increasing yields in a sustainable way without expanding the amount of farm land or overusing the current land is a tough process. Climate smart agriculture can hold the key.

    Searchinger discussed three separate case studies: Vietnam, Colombia and Zambia, and then tied them together to discuss implications at the global level. He stated that with growing populations the agriculture sector will have to expand, but simultaneously must reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2050.

    In Colombia and Vietnam, a detailed analysis of inefficient livestock systems has identified  opportunities for improvements in beef and dairy systems, with associated  consequences for production, income, land use and emissions.

    ''Colombia has a difference in emissions of a factor of 6 (of CO2e/Kg of meat) from one region to another'', he said. This means the amount of emissions per kilogram of meat or litre of milk are up to six times that of cattle raised using  climate-smart practices.

    ''So the problem is, we need to produce 70 percent more food. Doing that without increasing emissions at all is going to be very, very hard. Doing that in the developing world without increasing emissions at all is probably impossible. But by being more efficient in our use of land, animals and inputs, we can hold down emissions a lot,''.

    Boosting the productivity of livestock is an enormous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases. Agriculture currently accounts for 13 per cent of all emissions. If CSA can be scaled up, there may still be a rise in net emissions, but it will be a fraction of what emissions would be in a business as usual scenario, and they will be  offset even further by  increased productivity and yields.

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