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    The ministerial round-table on agriculture at the UN's Biodiversity Conference highlighted the immense importance placed on agriculture when discussing protecting biodiversity.

    After an opening from Mexico, each country was given an opportunity to share examples of how protecting biodiversity in their respective countries had gone, successes, lessons learned, the next steps and also any issues they wanted aired.

    In their opening the Mexican ministry said, “all countries, producers and stakeholders need to take more responsibility.”

    They talked about how agriculture consumes a massive percentage of fresh water, and leads to soil degradation, through over-use of fertilisers and deforestation. They highlighted that despite these issues agriculture by necessity was set to expand.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says that by 2050 we will need to be producing 60 per cent more food. This is not good news for biodiversity because despite significant gains in sustainability agriculture still has an overall negative effect on biodiversity.

    Every day though, countries around the world are protecting and regaining biodiversity and it is currently being ‘mainstreamed’ into agriculture.

    The Brazilian ministry showcased the incredible advances they have made in the last 16 years. They built on the philosophy that the loss of biodiversity is everyone’s concern, but most especially small producers. They asked themselves how the world will be able to feed nine billion people by 2030 without sacrificing biodiversity? They answered it by protecting water reserves, limiting hunting, integrating native wildlife onto farms and ranches, legally protecting 20 per cent of all farmland and designating it for the protection of native species, investing in innovative technology, research and upscaling.

    Brazil has leapfrogged many countries this century to become the first ranked country for protected areas. They have prioritised the protection of biodiversity, implementing biodiversity protection into every aspect of agriculture and are now ‘’encouraging everyone to do the same’’.

    “We think that our efforts are commendable and should be replicated. We also believe that international trade needs to be addressed to reward countries who can prove that they are making great strides in protecting the environment.”

    The Danish delegation stressed, as many others have, that, “Aichi will expire in 2020, with only four years left we don’t have much time left and must act accordingly.”

    Biodiversity is the basis of agriculture. Without biodiversity, there is no agriculture, however agriculture has the ability to completely destroy biodiversity if not managed well.

    Denmark finished by highlighting that they believe a major area for concern lies with pollinators being forced towards extinction. There is a win-win here, but in order to achieve it we must “protect bees, butterflies and birds”.

    IFAD had a statement for this round-table, delivered by Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD's Environment and Climate Division’s. Astralaga highlighted how in agriculture we have lost nearly 75 per cent of crop diversity between 1900 and 2000. Today, only about 15 plants produce 90 percent of the world's food intake.

    “Today, IFAD recognizes that loss of biodiversity is a major threat to small farmers and their communities, without biodiversity livelihoods are not sustainable and food security and nutrition for the entire planet is weakening.

    "The full IFAD portfolio over the years has contributed to the achievement of most of the Aichi goals, and since 2004 has integrated biodiversity management into its investments in agriculture, livestock and aquaculture. Supporting good water management and soil management, promoting agroforestry and conservation agriculture, and promoting green value chains.”

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    By Brian Thomson

    Fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to food security and livelihoods at household, local, national and global levels. Today's roundtable on fisheries at the CBD Biodiversity Conference (COP13) in Cancun highlighted that fish already provide essential nutrition for 3 billion people and 50 per cent of protein and essential minerals for 400 million people, mainly in poor countries.

    Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of FAO, addressing the ministerial roundtable, said that biodiversity conservation is strongly linked to food security and poverty reduction.

    "Aquatic systems are enormously biodiverse and a key challenge is increasing production while preserving our natural resources and dealing with climate change impacts," said Semedo. "We need an integrated approach to restore productive capacity and ecosystems services of our blue world. Mainstreaming biodiversity means a more participatory approach where biodiversity conservation is seen as an incentive. Sustainable management of fisheries should be our common goal and aspiration." 

    Fisheries are under high pressure due to human activities including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change. Climate change is compounding these pressures, posing very serious challenges and limiting livelihood opportunities.

    For millennia, small-scale fisheries and fish farmers have drawn on their indigenous knowledge and historical observations to manage seasonal and climate variability but today the speed and intensity of environmental change is accelerating, outpacing the ability of human and aquatic systems to adapt.

    "Oceans and other water bodies are becoming warmer and may affect nutrient recycling and productivity of fisheries," said Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD's Environment and Climate Division. "Localized extinctions may occur if fish cannot migrate to cooler waters, for example, in lake fisheries. Fish migration paths could change, affecting small-scale fishers without suitable vessels to pursue migratory species. Increased spread of disease, reduced oxygen and increased risk of toxic algae blooms and fish kills will impact on aquaculture production."

    Sea level rise combined with extreme weather events, like stronger storms, severely threatens coastal communities and ecosystems. Higher water tables and drainage problems may affect brackish-water aquaculture and destruction of fishing and aquaculture assets. There may also be fish escapes, increasing the risk of disease and parasitic infestation of world stock as well as impacting biodiversity.

    Some lakes, rivers and water bodies are at risk of drying up. Changes in rainfall patterns and evaporation rates lead to changes in run-off, water levels, water availability and quality, and sedimentation patterns in inland and coastal water bodies, affecting the production of both fresh-water fisheries and aquaculture systems.

    "In many cases, it is the poorest communities in the poorest countries that are most vulnerable to these changes," added Astralaga.

    Fisheries more than any other modern food production system, depend on the health and natural productivity of the ecosystems on which they are based. Aquaculture, practised on a small-scale in rural areas in developing countries, is also dependent on ecosystem services for feed, seed and adequate supplies of clean water.

    "The need to increase resilience to climate change is required for smallholder agriculture as well as for small-scale fisheries and aquaculture," said Astralaga, "IFAD continues to focus on country-led development, community-based natural resources management, gender equality and women's empowerment, access to financial services and markets, environmental sustainability and institutional capacity in the design of its fisheries and aquaculture interventions."

    IFAD is integrating climate adaptation and mitigation in its fisheries and aquaculture operations through two multiple-benefit approaches namely; the ecosystem approach and co-management.

    Fisheries and aquaculture are of particular concern to IFAD due to their importance to food and nutrition security; their close relationship with the environment and natural resources; their contribution to poverty reduction and employment, often in rural areas of developing countries where alternative economic opportunities are limited, and for gender equity as women dominate the post-harvest aspects of fisheries; and small-scale fishers (including processors) and fish farmers will be among the first to be significantly impacted by climate change.

    Case studies – IFAD in action

    IFAD supported projects include the Haor Infrastructure and Livelihoods Improvement Programme (HILIP) started in 2013 to support vulnerable communities in the Haor Basin in north eastern Bangladesh, an area faced with extreme climate events including heavy monsoon rains, cyclones, floods, storms and strong winds.

    The basin is effectively flooded for six months annually, which seriously interrupt economic activities and their capacity to produce food. The aim of the project is to improve road infrastructure (i.e. bridges, culverts, canals), build local capacity and expand access to natural resources, technology and markets. Other interventions for climate resilience include an early warning system against adverse climate events, a community-based resource management model in priority water bodies ensuring communities have fishing rights, excavation of silted water bodies and establishment of fish sanctuaries and planting swamp trees. The project will also secure employment for poor rural women under infrastructure improvement contracts and it will support women's income-generating activities. Additional financial support has been provided to enhance climate adaptation and resilience through a complementary project, Climate Adaptation and Livelihood Improvement Programme (CALIP).

    TheFisheries Resources Management Programme (FRMP) in Eritrea was designed in 2016 and seriously takes environment and climate change vulnerability analysis and risk mitigation measures into account. There is one component addressing coastal ecosystem management through an integrated approach, which includes mangrove planting and management and inter-sectorial  development planning. It will establish a fisheries monitoring, surveillance and management system to ensure effective measures such as gear restrictions, closed areas and seasons and adaptation to eventual changes in the migratory movement patterns of the pelagic fish species. Solar technologies will be promoted for fish preservation and processing. Another component will support inland aquaculture through water reservoirs to increase productive use of the scares water resources in the country (only reservoirs with low risk of water depletion will be used). Fish species with high resistance to local climate related stress will be selected.

    Finding and applying management approaches that avoid unsustainable fishing practices and that enable stocks to recover are essential elements in a strategy to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. A number of key strategic actions for accomplishing this, are being explored during COP13.

    The overarching principles of sustainable fisheries have been agreed to, and are stipulated in, a number of international instruments at COP13. These represent a comprehensive global framework for fisheries policy and management and support mainstreaming of biodiversity in fisheries and aquaculture. However, there is a need for the strengthening of fisheries management agencies, particularly with regard to governance and assessment so that biodiversity considerations are explicitly part of their work and accountability, as well as constructive interagency collaboration, and meaningful participation of biodiversity experts and relevant stakeholders in the fisheries management process.

    Engaging the fishing sector is critical to the successful implementation of sustainable marine conservation and management measures. The governance of marine fisheries and the conservation of marine biodiversity continue to evolve; coherence between them remains critical if each is to achieve its goals.

    Approaches for enhancing the integration of biodiversity and sustainability of fisheries include:

    ·       Making greater use of rights-based and innovative fisheries management systems, such as community co-management, that provide fishers and local communities with a greater stake in the long-term health of fish stocks;

    ·       Eliminating, reforming or phasing out those subsidies which are contributing to overfishing;

    ·       Enhancing, in each country, monitoring and enforcement of regulations to prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing by flag-vessels;

    ·       Phasing out fishing practices and gear which cause serious adverse impacts to the seafloor or to non-target species; and

    ·       Developing marine protected area networks and other effective area based conservation measures, including the protection of areas particularly important for fisheries, such as spawning grounds, and vulnerable areas;

    Appropriate approaches for addressing biodiversity considerations in fisheries management will be situation-specific and depend greatly on the capacities and information available. The political will and resources to enable fisheries management agencies to fully deliver on a mandate to address fisheries and biodiversity issues is also needed as is enhanced regional cooperation between fisheries and environmental agencies.

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    More than 190 government decision makers have gathered in Cancun, Mexico for the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD). With just four years remaining to achieve the Aichi targets, the worry is high that the world has not done enough to stop and reverse the massive loss in biodiversity.

    Achievements of the Aichi targets will be critical for achieving the three-other historic global agendas agreed last year, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

    Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, opened the conference highlighting how this was the first time that government representatives from all sectors were involved in CBD.

    “Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism - all these sectors are represented here today. The presence of these people in such an important meeting and the reason we invited them is because we are all involved in biodiversity. It is important for all human beings and is at the foundation of all of our livelihoods,” said Alaman.

    Chun Kyoo Park, Director-General of the Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea noted that the global community has made noticeable achievements in conserving biodiversity, and it remains high on the agenda, named in 15 out of 17 SDGs.

    Miguel Ruíz Cabañas, Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, talked of the incredible advances in technology the human race has made, but warned that the further advanced we become the more hard truths we must face.

    “With major advances, such as the Hubble Telescope, we conclude we are working on the only planet we can inhabit. This is the only planet that can support life. We must look after it. Biodiversity is life. Currently around 17,000 plants and animals are in danger of extinction, and we know we will not survive if we carry on like this. We are the only species conscious of our ability to destroy, and we must ensure we reverse the damage we have done,” said Cabanas.

    Helen Clark of the United Nations Development Programme said: “We are in Cancun to reflect on the progress made and the outlook for achieving the Aichi targets by 2020. In the past 30 years, the world has witnessed huge development, but biodiversity has paid a heavy price.”

    Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer, The Global Environment Facility closed the opening ceremony.

    “There has been a huge effort in the last 25 years from countries in CBD to expand protected areas both on land and in oceans," said Ishii. "We would be in much worse shape today in CBD’s absence. However, we must recognise our efforts have not been sufficient.”

     “There is an argument that we have entered the 6th great extinction. We now have no option but to transform food production and agricultural production systems.”

    Despite the negativity and doubts surrounding our ability to reach the Aichi targets, there was a sense of optimism in the air. For the first time, all sectors are coming together for a common purpose. People are united in their goal to protect biodiversity, recognising that tourism, agriculture, fisheries and forestry all have a major role to play in the effort.

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    Written by: Michele Pentorieri

    Panel at the CFS side-event. ©IFAD/M. Pentorieri

    On 19th October, a side event at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS43) called "Human rights, food security and nutrition and small-scale fisheries" took place in the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Headquarter in Rome. The event was organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the IPC (International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty) Fisheries Working Group. Representatives from World Forum of Fisher Peoples, OHCHR, FAO and IPC Fisheries Working Group together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver had the opportunity to talk about the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). 

    Naseegh Jaffer, of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples, stressed that for several communities fishing is a constitutive part of their life and culture. In presenting the Guidelines, he underlined that they are particularly focused on implementation, and support a mechanism that goes beyond the mere ratification, to address the accountability of the duty-bearers, such as multinational enterprises but especially the states. He concluded by reminding the audience that the Guidelines are not only specific to the fishing context, as they "seek food security for everyone."

    "Fishing is not about property rights, but about human rights" stated Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food, introducing one of the main themes of the event: the human rights based approach that characterises the Guidelines. She also recognised that a great focus should be put on including small-scale fisheries in decision-making processes and protecting women, who play a crucial role in fisheries.

    Women's role was also mentioned by Stefania Tripodi of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Guidelines also represent a way to fight the gender inequality that persists in the sector and to involve all the levels of the society in the decisions that will directly affect them. "The Guidelines are a unique opportunity to apply the human rights based approach on fisheries", she stated, marking once more the importance of the new approach adopted by the Guidelines. This way, unlike the old needs-oriented approach, they constitute a weapon to fight and try to defeat patterns of exclusion.

    ©IFAD/M. Pentorieri
    Sisay Yeshanew, of the FAO Legal Department, highlighted the disadvantaged and marginalised people. They represent the main focus of the Guidelines and they should participate in any decision-making process. He also introduced two categories: the right holders and the duty bearers. The former are especially represented by small-scale fishers, while the latter are primarily the states. In order to stress once again the importance of the new approach followed by the document, Yeshanew said that "differently from any other normative instrument, the Guidelines specifically mandate the application of the human rights based approach".    

    The importance of participation was also stressed by Editrudith Lukanga, of the IPC (International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty) Fisheries Workgroup. She said that all the actors, such as "fishing communities, indigenous people and youth (including both men and women)" should be fully included in the decision-making processes. She commended IFAD for leading the way in practical terms by providing resources to support the participation of fishers and fish worker organizations globally in implementing the SSF guidelines. The grant project approved by the agency last year with a budget of USD 350,000 supports capacity building of fisheries organizations at different levels towards the implementation of SSF Guidelines and several training workshops have been organized in Africa and Asia as outputs of this intervention. This is in fact the third grant by IFAD in support of SSF Guidelines development and implementation; the first one in 2008 (USD 200,000) to support the participation of CSOs in high-level consultations and the second (USD 240,000) which ensured the inclusion of fishers and fishers organizations in preparing the Guidelines.

    For the last part of the event, a Q&A session was opened, where the audience was encouraged to ask questions or to simply comment on the issues that came out during the discussion. Some of the most stimulating questions were about the link between the human rights based approach and poverty reduction and about how much the states are receptive to the Guidelines. The first question was effectively answered by Stefania Tripodi, who made it clear that human right based approach and poverty reduction are strongly linked. This is essentially because to empower all people (including the poorest) to fully participate in decision-making processes is equal to help them improving their living conditions. Finally, Hilal Ever recognised that one of the main challenges regarding the issue is to make sure states are aware of the Guidelines and use them to effectively protect people and the environment where they live. Hence, she wished for a push for the Guidelines, so as to disseminate them as much as possible.

    In conclusion, the forum reaffirmed the need for states to comply with their obligations under international human rights treaties and to support policies, interventions and investments which have direct and indirect positive impacts on fisheries and the right to food of fishing communities. Fishing communities and all fish workers, including the indigenous and tribal peoples, should be actively involved in the decisions that affect their enjoyment of the right to food, security of tenure and access to fisheries resources.

    Learn more about the Guidelines on FAO's website.

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    By Francesca Aloisio

    A young mother in Mafupa Village (Malawi). She can use the chicken’s eggs to improve the family diet and then sell any extra for income. ©IFAD/Marco Salustro 2016

    Gender equality and food and nutrition security are key issues for the new Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although the link between gender equality and food and nutrition security is well known – and celebrated in slogans such as ‘Women feed the world’ − the complex interconnections between gender and nutrition are unfortunately often overlooked or ignored.

    For this reason, IFAD has launched a series of trainings for project staff and consultants involved in IFAD-supported projects in the field. The collaboration between the Gender and Nutrition teams in organizing this workshop shows IFAD's commitment to increasing the level of knowledge required by people directly involved in the development projects.

    On 21 November 2016 IFAD hosted the pilot training on “How to integrate gender and nutrition-sensitive approaches into IFAD's operations”. The training was the first of its kind in IFAD.

    In his opening remarks, Perin Saint Ange, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department (IFAD), highlighted the positive fact that gender equality and women’s empowerment has now been widely recognized as a development priority. However, he cautioned that the challenge is so huge that progress often brings in another layer of challenges and creates another layer of complexity. Improved livelihoods and opportunities can lead to negative outcomes that are unforeseen. In relation to nutrition, for example, he warned that malnutrition can also turn into obesity, stressing national budgets and requiring a complete new set of interventions.

    Juliane Friedrich, Senior Technical Specialist in Nutrition (IFAD) pointed out that a focus on nutrition is crucial for the holistic success of a project and indeed for sustainable rural transformation. In many countries, incomes may be rising and food security may have improved, but the nutritional status of families participating in development projects − in particular nutritionally vulnerable groups like mothers and children − remains unchanged.

    Indeed, it is a misconception that increasing food production on a family farm is enough to guarantee access by all family members to adequate, nutritious food. Often the production is sold for cash income, with none of the nutritious food kept for the family table. Teaching people about the need for a diversified diet, especially for mothers and young children, is essential to making a difference to levels of malnutrition.

    The training aimed to raise awareness about the importance of including nutrition in project design and implementation, and to give some practical guidance on how to do this.

    Investing in young women and mothers is vital to break the intergenerational vicious circle of malnutrition and poverty. If mothers are under age at first pregnancy and undernourished, they give birth to underweight children. If they go on to have pregnancies at frequent intervals, this further depletes their physical resources, imposes a heavy burden of additional labour and care, and deprives the children of adequate nutritious food, even during breast-feeding. Globally, every third mother is underage and this is a key factor in the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. Improving nutrition for adolescent girls is therefore a key entrypoint in the fight against chronic undernutrition.

    Participants learned that stunting – which is an indicator of chronic undernutrition − is not reversible after the age of 23 months. And, although stunting has decreased globally, some countries have made no progress – e.g. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, India and Yemen.

    However, what are the challenges that project staff and consultants are facing in the field? Participants at the training referred to the lack of nutrition indicators at project level, institutional challenges, little awareness about nutrition and gender at local level and most of all a lack of tools and documentation of evidence on the matter.

    One of the very few books tackling nutrition and gender is "Gender, nutrition, and the human right to adequate food: toward an inclusive framework". Co-author Dr Stefanie Lemke from Coventry University (UK) presented the book during the training. In the comprehensive publication, Lemke proposes a rights-based approach instead of a needs-based approach to promote a more precise diagnosis of the root causes of inequities.

    The training was the first in a series. In 2017, IFAD will continue with further trainings to raise awareness about the complexity of food and nutrition security, and to share knowledge and experiences.

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    By Stefano Consiglio, IFAD Country Office Tanzania

    On 3-4 December 2016 a round table dialogue on consultation for indigenous peoples and local communities was co-hosted by IFAD Country Office in Tanzania, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, in Dar es Salaam. Representatives of the Government of Tanzania, IFAD partners, and members of the different indigenous communities, discussed the central role of consultation in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.

    Left to right: Hon. Augustine Mahinga, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Ms. Antonella Cordone,
    FAD Senior Specialist on Indigenous Peoples.

    The Government of Tanzania and the rights of Indigenous Peoples

    It is important to demystify the fear connected with  recognizing  indigenous peoples and their right to self-determination, stressed Hon. Augustine Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania. The Government needs to accept, he added, that the definition of Indigenous Peoples, as provided in International and Regional instruments, applies to some groups living in Tanzania. The Government of Tanzania, he recalled, is fighting against marginalization, embracing the process of consultation and talking about indigenous peoples in the context of development and unity. Tanzania, concluded the Minister, is a champion in tolerance and multi-ethnic coexistence; it is paramount to build on this diversity as a major cultural asset, which will foster development and social inclusion.

    Cultural diversity is an asset for development

    In the centre: Mr. Adam Ole  Mwarabu, a member of the Masai community
    from the PAICODEO indigenous forum, who participated in the
    Indigenous Forum organized in IFAD HQ in 2015.
    Dr. Alber Barume, of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recalled that for over 60 years, development was based solely on the concept of statehood; cultural diversity was seen as a dividing element. Today, he noted, the African Development Agenda considers cultural diversity as an asset for development, fully embracing the idea of “leaving no one behind”, which is embedded in the 2030 Development Agenda. Dr Barume noted that both the African Union and the Governments of the different African States, consider consultation of local communities key to the realization of the development agenda. A multi-stakeholder dialogue, he emphasized, is paramount for the development of a country-specific consultation process, of which this round table dialogue is a very good example. This consultation process, he concluded, must follow a right-based approach, applying international consultation standards.

    The intervention of Mr Shani Msafiri, representative of one of
    the hunter-gatherers’ communities that participated
    in the round table discussion.

    The impact of consultation on the policies of the Government of Tanzania

    The policies of the Ministry of Agriculture are adopted after a dialogue with stakeholders, said Mr. Victor Mwita, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. A clear example of the impact of consultation on the policy-making process, he added, is represented by the Grazing Land and Animal Feed Act. The idea of linking land management and livestock, he noted, was brought to the Parliament as a result of the consultation process held with the pastoralists. These indigenous communities, Mr. Mwita concluded, are not following an outdated system, on the contrary they are good scientist, who know where and when to move their cattle.

    Indigenous peoples, land titles and the struggle for better laws

    The formal recognition of the customary rights of occupancy of indigenous peoples, noted Mr. Edward Lekaita of the Ujamaa Resource Community Trust, is upscaling the level of protection offered to indigenous communities. The collective land title obtained by the Hadzabe hunters/gatherers communities, he added, is a clear evidence of the importance of supporting those legal instruments that can protect indigenous peoples from those phenomena of land grabbing and land degradation, which are affecting their livelihood. The importance of adopting laws that recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, was further emphasized by different speakers representing the respective indigenous forums.  Mr. Joseph Parsambei, of the Tanzania Pastoralist Community Forum, noted that despite the important role of indigenous peoples, there is no specific law in place that recognizes them. The lack of recognition, he emphasized, is limiting the rights of indigenous peoples. To overcome this situation, Mr Pasambei stressed, it is crucial to promote consultation with the Government and with other stakeholders, promote the involvement of the media, and act on the basis of the international instruments adopted by the Government of Tanzania. The words of Mr Parsambei were echoed by Mr. Edward Porokwa, Executive Director of PINGO’s Forum, who highlighted the importance of the proposed Constitution, which has been under discussion since 2011. The new constitution, he noted, recognized specific human rights to the minorities [Makudi Madogo Madogo in Kiswahili], who are identified with those people who depend on biodiversity for their livelihood.  This constitution, he concluded, is benefiting from the direct contribution of indigenous communities, who have 10 seats in the Constituent Assembly and are drafting entire sections of this crucial legal instrument

    A united front to tackle challenges and deliver on achievable milestones

    Left to right: Hon Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Chairman of the Commission for
    Human Rights and Good Governance; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
    United Republic of Tanzania; and Mr Francisco Pichon,
    IFAD Country Director Tanzania.
    It is paramount to avoid fragmented actions and create a united front through the joint identification of a road map with achievable milestones, noted Mr. Francisco Pichon, Country Director for Tanzania.  It is crucial, he added, to avoid being blocked by the definition of indigenous peoples, and focus on the joint efforts that can be made to promote and protect their rights. The importance of a streamlined approach was emphasized also by Ms. Antonella Cordone, Senior Specialist on Indigenous Peoples, who recalled that behind every system and every organization there are the people. It is important, she added, to identify the champions of indigenous peoples in government and civil society and go beyond the organization of workshops. It is key, she concluded, to jointly set the next steps and milestones that could be achieved, and to understand that if indigenous peoples can benefit from IFAD’s support, also IFAD needs the help of indigenous peoples, who are the depositary of an invaluable knowledge. 

    The Tanzanian Country Programme and the rights of indigenous peoples

    The Tanzanian Country Strategic Opportunity Programme 2016-2021 gives special attention to the needs, priorities, and inclusion of pastoralists, hunter-gatherers and other indigenous groups in Tanzania, noted Ms. Rachele Arcese of the IFAD Country Office in Dar es Salaam. IFAD, she added, is currently acting through three main projects, which focus on the rights of indigenous peoples. A large country grant provided to the International Land Coalition, she noted, is fostering policy dialogue through the creation of a platform for NGOs coordination on land governance. The GEF-funded LDFS project, she continued, has been designed through a participatory approach, strongly focused on the consultation of the involved indigenous communities. The same approach, she concluded, will be used for the Dryland Development Project in central and north-western Tanzania, which will be formulated in 2017.

    The importance of global engagement for the rights of Indigenous Peoples

    The round table dialogue held in Tanzania was a direct result of the engagement of IFAD both in the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This engagement at global level allowed IFAD to start a policy dialogue with the Government of Tanzania, which would not have been possible without this global level engagement. With the financial and technical support of our partners, including the National Commission for Human Rights, IFAD is playing a catalytic role in facilitating this policy engagement process, and the upscaling of the national policies adopted to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. It is, therefore, paramount for IFAD to focus both on country level dialogues and global engagement, two strategies which are not only mutually reinforcing, but which are also facilitating the dissemination of good practices, both at national and global level. 

    The participants of the round table dialogue came from the Government of Tanzania, IFAD representatives from both HQ and the ICO, IFAD development partners, and representatives of different indigenous groups.

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    On the first day of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) IFAD held a side event to discuss the linkages between biodiversity conservation, smallholder farmers and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2- Zero Hunger.

    The moderator, Terry Sunderland – Team Leader and Principal Scientist, Sustainable Landscapes and Food Systems, at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) opened the event.

    He discussed the role of smallholder farmers in creating resilient agriculture systems and how the world needs to recognise the value smallholder farmers bring to the world's economy.

    He asked the panel how smallholder farmers can incorporate biodiversity conservation into the challenges they already face? 

    Alejandro Argumedo, Director of Programmes at Asociacion ANDES spoke of his personal experiences in the mountainous regions of Peru and the need to move towards a more integrated landscape management approach.

    “We should be creating innovations for food systems, we don’t need to be inventing new systems as there is already lots of knowledge," said Argumendo. "We need to harness traditional knowledge.”

    Chikelu Mba, Team Leader, Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources, Plant Production and Protection Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) told the packed auditorium that he came from Nigeria where they maintain close ties to ancestral homes and villages.

    "Despite the best efforts of small family farmers, they are barely scraping by," said Mba. "They want to send their children to school, they want cell phones, and they don’t see farming as a way of achieving that.”

    “We also know we will need to produce more food with a growing population. The additional food can only be produced with a knowledge intensive ‘green-green’ revolution.”

    IFAD's Director of Environment and Climate, Margarita Astralaga, explained that for smallholders their assets are part of their ecosystems. They depend on plants for medicine, seeds and hunting.

    “What helps them and us is to see the full potential of these ecosystems,” said Astralaga, “Different crops and indigenous crops are important - we have lost nearly all genetic variations of corn and wheat,  50 per cent of the world is eating the same species."

    "We must diversify - when small farmers do that, they can protect themselves against climate shocks. When farmers grow nuts, cocoa, coffee, cassava as well as corn, when a drought strikes and the corn yield is low or non-existent they have other crops to fall back on."

    Terry Sunderland went on to ask the panel about how we can create more equitable systems, and get governments to realise the full value of smallholder agriculture?

    “We have seen demonization of smallholders,” said Sunderland.

    Tómas Eusebio, Forest Dialogue Facilitator, Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos Y Bosques (AMPB), clarified that smallholders and indigenous peoples are agents of conservation and don’t destroy biodiversity necessarily.

    "I believe the problem lies with global policies," said Eusebio. "Matching ancestral knowledge to proposed policies is oftentimes difficult  - so we would like to see ancestral knowledge put into policies at CBD.”

    Sunderland then asked the panel how agricultural institutions at the country level are integrating environmental concerns into their rural development programmes?

     “At IFAD we are mainstreaming this across the portfolio of investments," said IFAD's Astralaga. " If we didn’t take into account climate change and natural resource management, we would lose our money in the long term.

    "As an organisation, we lend money. But we want our borrower countries to be able to pay it back. This can only happen if the crops do well. We have many examples of how it makes economic sense to invest in sustainable agriculture, you see a much higher return. It’s all about the long-term investment.”

    All panellists then gave examples of the problem of youth migration to urban areas – taking with them traditional knowledge that has been in families for generations.

    “By 2030 only 20 per cent  of people will live in rural areas. What will we do?” said Argumedo, Director of Programmes at Asociacion ANDES.

    FAO's Mba agreed saying that if current urbanisation trends continue  in the developing world three per cent of the population would provide all the food and there is not the technology nor the knowledge for this to be a reality in most developing countries.

    “We need to have able bodied people who find agriculture attractive. Not simply seeing it as working like slaves. We need a change in behaviour and outlook,” concluded Mba.

    IFAD's Astralaga added that youth in developing countries want internet, phones, entertainment and easy access to the city.

    "At the moment, they spend six hours or so on a bus to get into a city. If they can make a life that is seen as decent, they would stay in rural areas, but carrying on like their great grandparents is not going to happen.”

    CIFOR's Sunderland summed up by saying that this was an extremely interactive event.

    “There is clearly no one size fits all answer here," said Sunderland.  “All of us intuitively know there is no conflict between agriculture and biodiversity, why then are they constantly separate, whether in ministries or in declarations?"

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    Written by: Michele Pentorieri

    The speakers at the AgTalks session that focused on youth in agriculture. ©IFAD/M. Pentorieri
    On 29th November, the eight session of AgTalks took place at IFAD's headquarter. The name of the session was "Whassup with agriculture? Young innovators tell their stories," and four young speakers  shared their stories and  ideas on how young people can be motivated to engage in agriculture. The speakers were Josine Macaspac from Philippines, Alpha Sennon from Trinidad and Tobago, Nawsheen Hosenally from Mauritius and Rahul Antao from India.

    Josine, a medical and veterinary entomologist, explained the dangers of promoting the use of chemical products to fight pests. If the pests survive the first application of a chemical substance,  they become resistant to it, forcing farmers to use other ones. This leads to an increasing use of chemical products in agriculture. In order to avoid this, Josine invented a Mechanical Pest Removal System: a low-cost machine that helps to kill and remove pests from rice, corns and other similar products. The machine is based on three principle: mechanic, organic and manual. Innovation in agriculture does not need to be expensive or hi-tech.

    Alpha never thought about being a farmer when he was young. Agriculture seemed really boring to him and it was not considered as an activity for young people at all. After travelling to Jamaica with his university, he realised agriculture could be promoted in a different way. His mission became to show young people that agriculture is not what they think it is. He founded WHYFARM (We Help Youth Farm), a non-governmental organisation aimed at increasing awareness among young people about food and food systems. He also created "Agriman", a superhero whose mission is to educate children about issues like food security and food waste.

    Nawsheen lives in Burkina Faso. According to her, only young people have the tools and the capacities to stimulate other young people to engage in agriculture. So she founded a web TV called "Agribusiness TV" with a twofold aim. The first one is to show people the positive sides of agriculture, since media never do. The second one is to give visibility to stories that can stimulate young people to see agriculture in a positive way.

    The last speaker, Rahul Antao from India, currently works at IFAD as a consultant. He studied at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. He also worked with young chefs and indigenous rural communities in North Eastern India, focusing on the linkages between culture, man and ecology. He realised young people were moving away from local indigenous traditions, so he worked to create recipes that could be attractive for young people while using traditional products such as millet. "Children are often disenchanted about agriculture, so we created school gardens to stimulate their curiosity" said Rahul, who also worked with Slow Food Italy.

    After the presentations, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers or to simply share their impressions. The President of IFAD Kanayo F. Nwanze thanked the four young innovators for having shared their stories, inviting them to also focus on the efficiency of the value chains. Perin Saint Ange, IFAD's associate Vice-President, underlined some of the key points that for him were crucial for the speakers' success. Among others, their passion their proactivity, and their capacity of thinking outside the box.

    Some interesting questions focused on the role of social media for the young farmers' success and what international organisations such as IFAD, FAO and WFP can do to promote young people's projects in agriculture. The speakers agreed that social media had a great impact on their projects. Alpha underlined they were crucial to share his idea, Josine got project feedback from all over the world about and Nawsheen recognised the use of social media as a constituent part of the strategy to spread her Agribusiness TV. With regard to the second question, Rahul invited the organisations to listen to young people's ideas and Nawsheen wished for a more efficient collaboration between organisations and young people in order to identify relevant issues, a wish shared by Alpha too.

    In closing, the four speakers were invited to leave the audience and young people in general with an inspirational sentence or thought. Nawsheen focused on passion, inviting everyone to "love what you do." Josine tried to motivated people to take the first step, the first step is usually the hardest one to take. Rahul encouraged people to link things together, trying to combine different aspects of the same issue one is focusing on. "Allow your ideas to change the world, don't let the world change your ideas" said Alpha.

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    IFAD's Director for Environment and Climate Margarita Astralaga spoke at the biomovies award screening at the UN's Biodiversity Conference in Cancun (CBD COP13), where the finalists in the IFAD-sponsored Family Farmers category were announced.

    For six years TVE has been connecting with YouTube users around the world through. Its a global competition that engages with young (and sometimes not so young) filmakers worldwide on key environment and development challenges and then it showcases the best film entries to a global online audience.

    Since the competition was first launched, biomovies films have received more than 3.6 million views on You Tube with films covering a range of issues including climate change, sustainable energy, biodiversity, food waste and marine pollution.

    There were entries from 17 countries for the Family Farmers category, with four films being commissioned: South Africa, Kenya, Kosovo and China. Three of these are short documentaries giving a first-hand account of life as a small family farmer in the developing world.

    The quality of entrants was impressive considering that they were tacking what can be seen as one of the less glamourous areas of environmental communications– i.e. sustainable farming.

    The guidelines for films in the family farming category had to address these or similar questions for smallholder farmers in developing countries:

    • Protecting biodiversity and feeding your family 
    • Climate change and family farmers 
    • Water scarcity and family farmers 
    • The fight for fuel and family farmers 
    • The role of women in family farming 

    “This is the first-time IFAD has taken such a proactive role in CBD's COP," said Astralaga. "And with that in mind we wanted to make sure you noticed that we were here in Cancun – so we partnered TVE sponsoring The IFAD Prize for Family Farmers."

    IFAD’s investments, including the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), help farmers in a variety of ways, from installing weather forecast systems, to introducing new drought resistant crop varieties, as well as setting up farmer field schools where knowledge and new climate smart agriculture techniques can be demonstrated and disseminated.

    The Biodiversity Advantage: Global benefits from smallholder actions shows how IFAD-supported projects are working with smallholder farmers to protect biodiversity contributing to the well-being of communities as well as to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by helping to eradicate poverty, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agricultural practices.

    “Necessity is the mother of invention and creativity. And we have seen some incredible entries in this section of the awards,” added Astralaga

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    Written by Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist - Gender and Social Equity, IFAD/PTA

    Have you ever heard about gaslighting? You are not alone if you wonder what it has to do with gender-based violence.   None of the participants in a lunchtime seminar organized by PTA and the IFAD medical team on “violence is everyone’s problem”  knew that the term explains what is happening in abusive relationships.   

    The seminar took place under the umbrella of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.  This global campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence and respect of human rights started on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and runs until Human Rights Day (10 December). Dr Flavia Donati (staff counsellor),  Kim Harvey (IFAD Nurse) and Dr Hayford Etteh (medical adviser)  advised staff how to recognize symptoms of gender-based violence and how to act and react

    According to  Dr Flavia Donati, gaslighting describes a form of psychological abuse where a victim is manipulated into insanity, doubting memory and perception. It goes back to the 1944 Hitchcock thriller Gaslight, which was adapted from Patrick Hamilton's 1938 novel.  There a husband slowly manipulates his wife into believing that she is going insane. He is dimming the lights which were powered by gas, then denying that the lights have changed when the wife wonders what is going on. Gaslighting usually happens gradually in a relationship and may seem harmless at first.  Abuse can be physical and psychological. One partner is driving the other slowly but steadily into a confused state of mind, where the victim does not know anymore what is right or wrong.  This leads to isolation, disorientation, depression and fragility.  The victim starts to doubt about perceptions and feelings, feels trapped and cannot talk about it.  He or she starts to feel ashamed because she cannot leave the perpetrator and also tries to protect the aggressor.

    What can we do if we see a close friend, family member or colleague showing symptoms of gaslighting?  The most important thing is to listen, show compassion and tell them where to get help. We should not try to give advice about what to do.  What help would it be to say “Just leave“ if we don’t know what is really going on in the relationship?  It is important to understand that the victim cannot change the perpetrator, only his or her own behaviour and attitude towards the abuser. Kim Harvey (IFAD Nurse) shared a poster by the medical service with useful addresses and phone numbers of where to get help. It  will be posted at various locations in IFAD. 

    Mame Adama Diagne, Director of Ethics said that IFAD as an organization had a responsibility to care for its staff and prevent abuse. Dr Hayford Etteh (medical adviser) highlighed how important it was to involve more men who are not only perpetrators, but also victims of violence.

    Participants also discussed how gender-based violence women is a global phenomenon that knows no borders.  It can affect rich and poor and occur at any stage in our lives. We may witness it ourselves, or with our loved ones,  our sisters, mothers, wives, partners, daughters, friends and colleagues.   Most important is not to let it happen!  We invite all to support the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.  

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    So how is the development community responding to the crisis facing smallholder farmers in the developing world relating to climate change while also dealing with the biodiversity crisis?

    Among other projects run by The Global Environment Facility (GEF), it has funded the Integrated Approach Pilot programme which commits US$110 million to helping farmers in Africa while also promoting programme level biodiversity objectives to conserve ecosystems that are habitats of globally significant biodiversity. This initiative and others involve a number of UN agencies including FAO, UNEP plus the World Bank and CI.

    IFAD, the leading agency on the Food Security Integrated Programme, targets agro-ecological systems where the need to enhance food security is linked directly to opportunities for generating global environmental benefits. The programme aims to promote the sustainable management and resilience of ecosystems and their different services (landwaterbiodiversityforests) as a means to address food insecurity.

    At the same time, it will safeguard the long-term productive potential of critical food systems in response to changing human needs. The Food Security Integrated Programme will be firmly anchored by local, national and regional policy frameworks that will enable more sustainable and more resilient production systems and approaches to be scaled up across the targeted geographies.

    IFAD’s Director of Climate and Environment, Margarita Astralaga, moderated the event, giving some opening remarks and introducing the panel.

    Matthias Halwart, Senior Programme Officer at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) gave a presentation on some good examples of interventions that he believed should be scaled up.

    “How do we see sustainable intensification?" said Halwart. "Achieving food security is at the heart of FAOs effort, striving for a world free of hunger.”

    He also talked about the huge number of species that live in the waters of rice paddies and how these ecosystems are important.

    "Save and grow works well together, zero pesticide use, leads to huge returns.”

    He concluded by saying how up-scaling of all ideas, through programmes like IAP, are both possible and necessary.

    The GEF's Mohammed Bakarr, Senior Environmental Specialist asked why The GEF feels scaling up is important.

    “The forces of change that countries are experiencing are far greater now than seen before," said Bakarr. "To be more concrete we decided to change aspects of our replenishment, trying to help countries harness what nature offers and still allow them to produce the food their countries need to feed growing populations.”

    He talked of the biological inheritance in Africa, the unique biodiversity that we cannot allow to be sacrificed. He spoke of experience gleaned from the Asian green revolution - that intensification not done sustainably can lead to water problems 40 years down the line.

    Margarita Astralaga spoke to IFAD's role in the new IAP.

    “IFAD is leading the IAP on food security," said Astralaga. "Concentrating on how, through management of resources, sub-Saharan Africa will be food secure. Climate change is also a huge threat in these places, which is why we are aligning food security work with climate change. It is a huge task, which is why for the first time, seven large development agencies are working together. We expect to bring 10 million hectares under sustainable management, with an increase of 15 per cent in genetic diversity while at the same time sequestering 10 million tons of greenhouse gasses.”

    ”57 countries have been involved in conservation agriculture. We want to tailor this knowledge into the IAP. Mainstreaming biodiversity practices along the way,” said UNEP's Marieta Sakalian.

    “We need a new integrated approach to achieve resilience and sustainability in food production - we need to incorporate the value of ecosystems into value chains,” said

    UNDP's Midori Paxton.

    The panel were asked a range of questions, one of which was; how they are building on indigenous knowledge?

    It was noted that most agroecological practices are derived, and there is a loss of indigenous knowledge worldwide.

    "We are here to ensure traditional knowledge is preserved, committing resources to preserve genetic diversity and traditional knowledge,” said Bakarr.

    “Indigenous knowledge has to be fully taken into account - it is all about working with the people," said Halwart. "We are trying to achieve this with our Farmer Field Schools where we don’t go to impose our knowledge but we go to learn with them.”

    Another audience question was about the panels opinions on biotechnology, a divisive issue at CBD.

    “We promote participatory breeding – it’s what the farmers want – and it is based on what they are facing, not a foreign technology being imposed," said Bakarr. "GMOs are driven by the private sector, not farmers."

    "Farmers are doing amazing transformations without GMOs. We need to reconcile smallholder knowledge and practices with our mandate. We can’t sacrifice biodiversity in our strive for more food.”

    “There are a large range, and many can be useful," Halwart added. "Plants with resistances and animal vaccines - these are good. Obviously there are many applications."

    "But by simply mixing rice paddies with fisheries we have seen yields increase by three tonnes per hectare. That’s amazing. Biotech doesn’t achieve these levels, so we have better options I feel."

    IFAD's Astralaga closed the session by saying, “access to finance is obviously a key element for smallholders. However, there is also an issue with the way they are approached with help. We aim to empower. We find it is better bringing farmers to teach farmers. This is the best way, as they can relate to each other better, and also they have knowledge we could never have without being in their shoes.”

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    By Patrick Teixeira, Programme Policy Officer, Gender Office, WFP, Rome
    Michael Hemling, Finance Officer, Yangon, WFP, Myanmar
    Sam Sieber, Communication Specialist, Performance Management and Monitoring, WFP, Rome

    What started as a small group of male WFP colleague’s actively committing to gender equality in late 2015 has grown to a movement drawing interest from other agencies. This Wednesday, movement members Patrick Teixeira, Michael Hemling and Sam Sieber were invited as guest speakers at the IFAD Gender Breakfast, a monthly meeting focusing on gender related issues.

    The exchange with the colleagues from IFAD was a lively one: after presenting the keystones of the movement’s history and introducing the communication tools, Michael – dialing in from Myanmar – displayed some of his office’s activities to increase awareness for gender-based violence.

    Both male and female IFAD staff then engaged in discussing the challenges of gender equality throughout IFAD and WFP offices and operations. A special focus lay on areas of joint interests and possible collaborations to continue the sharing of experience and support the eventual establishment of a similar men movement for gender equality at IFAD.

    We will continue to reach out to the men in WFP and motivate them to join the movement by simply sending an email to WFP.ISUPPORTGENDEREQUALITY@WFP.ORG. IFAD male colleagues are most welcome to email us and we will be glad to share our experience.

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    By Sabrina Verleysen

    As the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence come to a close, I got the pleasure of attending a Gender Breakfast, an interactive and informal event that is held once a month to discuss wide-ranging issues surrounding gender.

    This Gender Breakfast was particularly interesting because the focus was on men and gender equality. The WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality Movement came to talk to IFAD colleagues about their experience in setting up an independent group for men who want to support gender equality at work and at home.

    One interesting point that the speakers made was that when speaking about gender-based issues, the male perspective is often overlooked, as the narrative surrounding this topic is almost always focused on women's issues. Gender-based violence is not only a women's issue.

    As a women, I am also guilty of this one-dimensional way of thinking. When I think about gender-based violence, I almost always look to other women to "fix" the problem, assuming it is "our" responsibility because it affects just us. The error in this thinking is that gender-based violence affects everyone, women and men, thus a multidimensional approach is necessary to combat this type of behaviour.

    The initiative, "WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality", gives men employees in WFP a safe space to discuss issues of gender. They began as 24 members and have now grown to over 320 members. As a movement, they are independent from management.

    Their campaign is to promote the active participation of all men at WFP to take a stand against gender-based violence and to join their campaign. Through discussion-based meetings, men are encouraged to share how issues of gender have influenced their own lives and in what ways they can challenge the status quo, especially surrounding issues of masculinity. Men who work in field offices are welcome to attend as well, via Skype.

    As of now, women are not permitted to join this group, as the presenters believe that it is easier for men to engage other men in this discussion. The aim of this initiative is for every man in WFP to become a member, and thus for the group to have fulfilled its function and no longer have to exist.

    WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality run their own social platform. They have 322 members who have connected with them online, as well as cards to pass out and an email address to encourage new members to join.

    Although IFAD does have an informal group of women that meet to discuss gender issues, there is no group just for men. This Gender Breakfast has hopefully inspired male colleagues at IFAD to get started on initiating their own discussion group, similar to WFP.

    The speakers reminded us that within the United Nations agencies, there is a systematic disparity in the number of women and men in leadership positions. If things continue to improve at the current rate, the UN will reach 50/50 gender equality in our agencies in 2068. To promote gender equality throughout the rest of the world, it is critical to hold ourselves responsible for promoting gender equality in our own lives and our own organization first.

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    By Vivienne Likhanga

    “Climate change issues are pertinent all across the world. One moment we are experiencing floods and the next we are facing extreme drought. The climate change euphoria that is with us right now will not be permanent. We need to seize this opportunity to do things right and learn from each other’s experiences. The learning route is a great opportunity to bring together families to come and learn from each other”, Robson Mutandi – IFAD Country Director in Mozambique
    These were the concluding remarks by Mr. Robson Mutandi in the opening session of the Learning Route (LR) Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors; the case of Mozambique and Rwanda, which set off the tone for the ten days training programme.
    Opening Session: (Left to Right) Mr. Daniel Mate, PROSUL Project Director, Mr. Abdul Cesar Mussuale, Director of Agriculture CEPAGRI, Robson Mutandi, IFAD Country Director for Mozambique and Mr. Ariel Halpern, PROCASUR Corporation Vice President.

    After months of preparation and 80 applications, 25 participants from 7 nationalities in Africa were selected to attend the LR. The diverse group, mostly coming from International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) projects in East and Southern Africa, namely Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Botswana, contributed to a multicultural experience of learning, participatory knowledge building and exchange.

    A Learning Route is a continuous process of training in the field organized thematically around successful experiences, case studies and best practices on innovative rural and local development in which local actors themselves become trainers. 

    The 10 days Learning Route organized by Procasur Corporation with IFAD's support took place in different districts of Mozambique and Rwanda between the 6th and 16th of November 2016 as part of a one year long Learning Initiative (LI) on Climate Change Adaptation that will take place in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region, under the framework of the Programme:“Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations”.

    The LR began with an opening session at the Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM) in Maputo, Mozambique with the participation of various Climate Change experts and stakeholders from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI). Mr. Ariel Halpern, the vice president of PROCASUR Corporation, welcomed the group and gave a brief introduction of the LR.

    Climate smart strategic ideas are needed in order to improve the resilience of farmers and value chain development. PROSUL in the framework of climate change in conjunction with IFAD is contributing to alleviate poverty. I urge everyone to contribute to the fight against climate change by offering their ideas from back home as they learn from the experiences of Mozambique” - Dr. Abdul Cesar Director of the Fundo de Desenvolvimento Agrario

    All the 25 participants were excited to share their experiences during the experiences fair. For most of them, the objectives of the LR had an underpinning similarity: To identify climate-smart practical solutions in production and post-harvesting sectors to reduce losses and enhance resilience of smallholders living in their countries.

    The main objective of this LR was to scale up through peer to peer learning the Mozambican and Rwandan best multi stakeholder strategies, tools, practices, and mechanisms of increasing farmers’ awareness and ownership in adapting to the negative impacts of climate change in order to reduce production and post-harvesting losses. For this purpose, the best practices of two IFAD Projects were selected by PROCASUR as the hosting case studies: the “Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL)” in Mozambique and the “Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP)” in Rwanda.

    “During the LR we are going to learn how to enhance small holder farmers’ resilience in order to face negative impacts of climate change in a pragmatic way by empowering them with strategic solutions from different trialed and tested experiences” - Ms. Laura Fantini, PROCASUR LR Coordinator

    Climate smart solutions for horticulture, livestock farming and cassava multiplication in Mozambique

    The LR started in Mozambique with the purpose of learning from the experiences of the Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in three value chains: horticulture, red meat and cassava. 
    A local champion showing the participants the use of drip irrigation in the shade cloths in Mafuiane - Namaacha District, Mozambique.

    The first field visit in the country led the participants to the green and fertile plains of Mafuiane, in Namaacha district. After a warm and hearty welcome with songs and dances from the farmers members of the Associaçao de Regantes de Mafuiane (Water Users Association in Maufuiane - WUA), the participants got to learn first-hand about climate smart solutions for enhancing horticulture through the use of shade cloths (greenhouses) and drip irrigation. The initiative resulted in the smallholder farmers' specialization in the production of high value vegetable crops to supply specific markets within and outside Mozambique during the low hot and dry seasons.

    Horticulture represents a major value chain for a large numbers of vulnerable households in Mozambique. Smallholders farm an estimated 90% of the areas devoted to horticulture throughout the Country, on plots of less than 1 ha which is the average size for smallholder farmers. Before the interventions of the PROSUL project with financial support of the Adaptation to Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), they mostly produced during one season, using traditional technologies and a minimum of input. The introduction of shade cloths and the use of the drip irrigation schemes has increased outputs across both high and low seasons, opening up the smallholder farmers’ markets for quality products in restaurants, hotels, national markets, regional/local markets with exports still available to South Africa and other neighboring countries. Mozambican farmers have now become major suppliers of these new channels improving their livelihoods.

    There were demonstrations of the 8 stages of the haymaking process with a comparison of the different animals' conditions in the project with those of other animals that are not participating in the project yet. It was clear to see and appreciate the benefits of the livestock supplementary feeding techniques through haymaking. The selling point for this labor-intensive practice is evident when the animal mortality rate and weight loss at the end of the dry season are compared with the ones before this project intervention.
    Illustration of the Haymaking Process. This practice has two options: opening a hole in the floor where the grass is pressed and/or pressing the grass in a wooden box. The farmers have been trained on the best time to cut the grass, how to dry it and how to prepare salt blocks.

    The last experience related to the PROSUL case study was the multiplication of climate-resilient varieties of cassava in Manjacaze District, Gaza Province. The farmers champions explained to the LR participants how they have been able to identify climate-resilient solutions for improving cassava production and showed the production and multiplication plots as well as several examples of processing cassava.

    Scaling up Climate Smart Solutions to reduce post-harvest losses in Rwanda

    After the enriching experiences of the PROSUL project in Mozambique, the LR journey moved to Rwanda to learn from the Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP). The opening session in Kigali was graced by Mr Clavier Gasirabo, Director of the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) in MINAGRI and by Lucia Zigiriza, PASP project manager and by many other SPIU staff members. A panel to introduce the LR participants to the climate challenges and responses in Rwanda was led by Mr. Denis Rugege, Climate Change expert, and by Mr Emmanuel Kabera. 
    A local champion Mr. Kadugara Frank explaining to the LR participants the processes of sorting, grading, drying and storage of grains in his warehouse in Kayonza, Rwanda

    Smallholder farmers in Rwanda’s rural districts face a myriad of challenges; the main one being loss of productivity—occasioned by an increasingly variable climate. Post-harvest losses are recognized in Rwanda as some of the greatest sources of inefficiency in agricultural production in the country. The causes of post-harvest losses are not limited to pests, pathogens, spoilage and damages but are also caused by a lack of suitable storage structure and an absence of management technologies and practices.

    PASP was formulated as an instrument for the implementation of the PHSCS (the National Post-Harvest Staple Crop Strategy) which aims to develop an efficient post-harvest system driven by the private sector to reduce post-harvest losses and ensure food security of staple crops. To tackle climate issues that will have an impact on the sustainability of PASP investments, ASAP financing supports the integration of climate risk management in the planning and implementation of investment undertaken by HUB owners through the promotion and demonstration of climate resilient practices, structures, and innovations.

    The LR in Rwanda showcased the experiences of the HUB operational model as product and business aggregation points, the Private-Public-Producers Partnership – 4Ps Model in Nyagatare and in Ngoma Districts and the Climate forecasting and information tools in PASP project.

    The participants visited KOREMU Cooperative in Ngoma and CODPCUM Cooperative in Nyagatare to learn about the HUB operational model. A HUB is a structure where the equipment and technology that are necessary for the post-harvest activities are concentrated in one location. The HUBs put cooperatives at the centre, strengthening their relationships with financial actors and the private sector, involving them directly as part of private investment and enhancing their role as actors of change.
    listening keenly: LR participants draw lessons on how rain water is harvested and stored for use during dry seasons in Kayonza, Rwanda

    The members of the cooperatives have benefitted directly at the community level improving their socio-economic conditions and their resilience. There have been behavioural and mindset changes thanks to the training provided through PASP. Their livelihoods have also improved thanks to the enhanced quality and quantity of products to be sold in the market and the consequent increased prices.

    Building climate services capacity in Rwanda: Useful climate services information for increased resilience and productivity 

    To build a more climate-resilient agriculture sector, the Rwandan government and partners are taking action to provide nearly a million farmers with timely access to essential climate information services. The PASP partnership with the Rwanda Meteorological Agency (RMA) provides smart-climate information to farmers. On the last day of the LR, participants visited the RMA and met people who elaborate data directly from satellite images and from the 300 meteorological stations spread across the country in order to provide short, medium and long--term climate forecasting to be disseminated to the smallholder farmers. Currently they are able to reach 5000 farmers and many improvements are foreseen in the next future using the HUB created by PASP as main dissemination points of climate information.
    Clementine Niyibigira is a Sector Agronomist, she explained the role of agronomists in mobilizing farmers on climate smart agricultural techniques in CODPCUM Cooperative in Nyagatare, Rwanda

    Overall Lessons Learnt

    Climate-resilient farming practices can bring overwhelming benefits for farmers.

    The LR participants gained many lessons from the 2 host cases mainly around 4 learning outcomes. More in detail, they learnt about: (i) climate smart infrastructures, technologies, practices and techniques in production and post-harvesting sectors; (ii) how to better promote relationships between farmers, local stakeholders and financial institutions in order to access market and create linkages with the private sector; (iii) how to improve institutional and political dialogue at local and national level in order to create an enabling environment to enhance adaptive capacities.

    At the end of the learning process the participants drew linkages among these learning outcomes in order to have an integrated approach to enhance smallholder farmer’s resilience to the negative impact of climate change.

    As final output of the LR, the participants proposed fresh ideas to be envisioned into innovation plans they will draw in order to scale up the lessons learnt into their different contexts

    This has been a very inspiring and insightful experience for me. We have been integrating conservation agriculture in our project in Malawi so it has been interesting to see first-hand which methods the farmers in Mozambique and Rwanda are adopting in order to deal with the challenges of climate change. We have farmer field schools in Malawi where smallholder farmers are taught and empowered about climate smart agricultural techniques. However, I was very impressed by the use of extension officers in the PROSUL project and how they work hand in hand with the farmers. I plan to create a linkage between our farmer field schools and the extension officers. I am also going to upscale the issue of rain water harvesting, mulching, pit planting and the use of the shade cloths during dry seasons. From Rwanda, I have drawn from their use of cooperatives, in linking smallholder farmers to the market and financial institutions. Interest rates are so high in Malawi. We have farmers' organisations but most of them are weak and little geared towards providing services to their members. In Rwanda they are much friendlier and the cooperatives give a lot of support to the farmers. For this reason, I am going home with ideas to lobby policy makers in Malawi to embrace the use of cooperatives in linking farmers to financial institutions and markets” - Mr. Rex Baluwa, National Project Coordinator - Sustainable Agriculture Production Programme in Malawi.
    “I have learnt that there’s nothing useless in a cassava plant. I am going to adapt to our projects because I have realised we have been wasting so many opportunities” -Eunice Nakasi, Field Officer at the Kalangala Oil Palm Grower’s Trust under the Vegetable Oil Development Programme, Phase II – VODP II in Uganda
    “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must change too. Climate change is no longer a fallacy. If farmers have to move ahead, we have to embrace adaptation and climate smart agricultural techniques to mitigate the effects.” Egidio Mutimba - Climate Change Expert, Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors in Mozambique
    “For climate change adaptation strategies to be initiated by the smallholder farmers and for long term sustainability, the adoption of simple and affordable technologies and solutions has to be applied. They also have to be involved in the planning to orient project design and implementation. Building on consultative and participatory processes develops stakeholder ownership and sustainability of the projects” - Lucia Zigiriza, Project Coordinator, Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project – PASP Rwanda

    Stay tuned for more on the innovation plans from the LR and more information on the Learning Initiative. Please visit our Website, Picasa Album, Slideshare and Facebook Page for library information, photos, presentations and updates.

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    From the 25th November to the 10th December, the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign was a real learning journey for me. I particularly appreciated the learning event organized by UNWomen and WFP on “Understanding masculinities and violence against women and girls” (Rome, 8-9 December 2016). Participants came from WFP, FAO, IFAD, EU and IDLO. Let me share with you briefly what was an eye-opener from the training.

    Circles of influence and multi-layers of interventions

    We played a game that allowed all the participants to surround a couple that was experiencing some forms of violence. Participants played the role of friends, families, peers, local actors such as pastors and police, judges, government entities, but also donors, global and international actors, as well as powerful and influential nations/countries. From home to the local and global spheres, each level qualified the situation as: a minor issue, not my business, not part of the agenda or the priorities, etc.

    All the circles of influence in this “ecological model”, and the multi-layers of intervention, left the couple in their vulnerability. From the centre to the periphery, the system was perpetuating the circle. Changes only occur according to our level of activism. It is a matter of taking action. The trainer insisted that our current form of activism, such as wearing orange as a colour or a ribbon, is not enough.

    A wheel of privileges

    This wheel of privileges is used to explain series of decisions and actions that lead to some forms of violence, be it physical, emotional, sexual or economic. The violence can be intentional or non-intentional, but the more a person tends to be in the centre the more “he” will have privilege and entitlements that perpetuate gender-based violence. On the other hand, the more he stands at the centre, the more he has power to bring change - and be the change.

    The “do no harm” principle

    As we strive to support women’s empowerment through financial or non-financial services, we need to develop a good understanding of her “ecosystem” to get the intended results. For instance, providing “food/cash for work” programmes to women will put them in a vulnerable position if they live in a context of gender-based violence. The intention to empower women will result in a “disempowering” and harmful model where they will experience pressure from male members of their families. Parameters need to be taken into consideration to ensure the “do no harm”.

    In sum, breaking the cycle and eradicating factors that perpetuate gender-based violence is an act for each of us, male and female, at all levels using both top-down or bottom-up approaches. In WFP, there is now a momentum where men take charge of the changes to end gender-based violence and inequalities. The movement “WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality” is growing in number and outreach.

    At a TED talk in Euston, the Nigerian speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told us why we should all be feminists. You can watch her 30 minutes talk through this link

    Read more about how IFAD participated in the 16 days campaign this year

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    Forests play an important role in the production of food, fuel, fibre and the provisions of other goods and services critical for human well-being. The quality and quantity of biodiversity, that underpins production systems, also benefits from forests.

    IFAD’s Oliver Page, speaking at The Rio Pavilion at CBD COP13, said that every year large areas of forests are lost. The majority of crop and livestock production systems are, unfortunately, still among the most significant drivers of global deforestation.

    Page was facilitating a session in the Forest and Agriculture Day on Ecological Intensification and Ecosystem Services. The event was co-organised by UNEP, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

    TEEB’s Salman Hussain opened the session with a keynote address on ‘Recognizing the value of agro-forestry systems to global production‘.

    Hussain said that TEEB AgriFood commissions feeder studies on forestry, investigating the co-benefits of carbon mitigation as it is not just about sequestration.

    TEEB are trying to avoid just giving a value to agroforests as policy makers prefer to have an analysis of the status quo vs different inputs. In this way, they can highlight the value added using various valuation methods.

    Oliver Page rounded off the presentation by saying how this study provides the hard evidence which allows us to take this beyond the walls of the already converted and influence policy.

    He spoke of a new FAO publication linking mainstreaming ecosystems services and biodiversity. But why the focus on ecosystems and biodiversity?

    Mba said that sustainable agricultural production systems can reduce carbon footprints. However, agricultural and food systems have significant social and biological constraints. Agriculture at the farm level can be regenerating, but solutions need to be targeted as ‘one size fits all’ does not work.

    Bernardo Strassburg, Executive Director, IISD, gave an illuminating presentation on ’Agricultural intensification as a key to achieving climate commitments in Brazil while reducing pressure on biodiversity in the Cerrado’.

    Achieving climate change commitments in Brazil will require a mix of policy, science and practice. The biggest challenge of the 21st century is how to feed the world, produce enough food and at the same time protect land.

    He gave an in-depth review of the IISD hypothesis that Brazil already has enough suitable land to intensify farming with no more deforestation needed and actually with some restoration of existing agricultural land.

    In this hypothesis, meat production would increase with more efficient land use, meaning higher carrying capacities. Carrying capacity is the number of livestock units a certain area of land can support - relative to a 100 per cent efficient pasture. When pastureland is well managed and efficient, its carrying capacity increases. Ideally there would be an increase to just 49 per cent carrying capacity in 30 years. It is currently producing between 32-34 per cent of what it could.

    “By 2040 we could go from 32 per cent to 49 per cent carrying capacity which would still only equal the production of Mexico. If we could get to 70 per cent by 2040 it would liberate 36 million hectares of land.”

    There have been extremely good results with this hypothesis and it is ready to be up-scaled. Failure to do so could see catastrophic loss of biodiversity in the Cerrado, equalling if not exceeding that of recent global extinctions.

    He said that they have done studies as to why this intensification coupled with land restoration/liberation hasn’t been taken up sooner - mainly the high cost of intensification and the limited access to finance. One surprising obstacle was the lack of access to qualified labour. Strassburg believed this was one of the most significant barricades and needed to be rectified with trainings.

    Overall it was a fascinating and engaging session, prompting many questions and encouraging audience participation.

    Oliver Page rounded off the session saying that with all the information and techniques currently available we have a duty to upscale sustainable action and push forward at all levels. 

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    By Mia Madsen

    IFAD-supported projects in Sudan organised a Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity, from 24 October to 2 November 2016. The Learning Route was the first of its kind to be organised in Sudan, building on  the knowledge of project staff and the IFAD Sudan Country Office.

    In early November the first ever Learning Route (LR) on Natural Resources Management (NRM) and Agricultural Productivity was concluded in Sudan. Participants described the knowledge-sharing event as a ground-breaking tool for knowledge sharing among peers. IFAD-funded projects in Sudan, the Central Coordination Unit for IFAD-funded projects, the Sudan Country Office and Procasur all contributed to the planning and implementation of the route.

    The main objective was to share best practices from NRM and increased agricultural productivity in Sudan, while highlighting the importance of strong linkages between agriculture and sustainable NRM. IFAD project staff have shown great interest in the methodology developed by Procasur, having participated actively in LRs abroad over the last few years and made use of  the knowledge acquired in their daily work.

    As part of increased knowledge management efforts within the Sudan portfolio, a Knowledge Management core group was set up in early 2016 with the task of coordinating knowledge sharing between the projects. Group discussions led to the idea of organising an internal LR in Sudan, which would at the same time develop the capacity of IFAD projects to use the LR as a knowledge sharing and policy tool. In September 2016 project staff got ready to implement their first LR in Sudan after having participated in a workshop  by Procasur. Read more about it here.

    The LR methodology is a peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing tool which seeks to inform development practice and enhance project implementation. It is structured as a learning journey where participants visit communities.  They share their knowledge of what works, why, and above all, how. This is the connecting dimension of the process which includes the exchange of challenges, experiences, good practices and results. Following the field visits, participants develop Action Plans where they seek to articulate and apply some of the lessons learned to their own context and projects. The Action Plans are closely monitored and followed up by host communities and other LR participants to ensure the new knowledge is used in an effective way for enhanced project delivery and effectiveness.

    The first Sudanese Learning Route

    The first Sudanese Learning Route took its
    participants on a 2,000-kilometre-long journey

    The Sudanese Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity can be described as a highly dynamic and immersive road trip where 35 people working with IFAD-supported projects, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Animal Resources and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning visited three IFAD supported projects, namely BIRDP[1], SUSTAIN[2]and WSRMP[3]. During the 10-day journey, a convoy of 11 vehicles drove through several states, covering about 2,000 kilometres. The participants joined actively in the field visits, sharing their perspectives on different innovations for strengthening land tenure security and NRM governance, and highlighting the concomitant link to agricultural productivity.

    It started with an official opening session in Khartoum where participants and other development partners were provided with the conceptual framework and methodology. The three host projects delivered short presentations on their respective cases. This was followed by a panel discussion where Sudanese experts highlighted challenges related to sustainable NRM in Sudan and their impact on agricultural productivity. Before the participants embarked on their 10-day field journey, an experience fair was organised where each host project had the opportunity to brief others about the specifics of their case.

    Part of the field visits included vivid presentations from host communities on progress made. ©Mohammad Makki Hanafi

    Community networking for NRM in the Butana region

    The first field visit was to the BIRDP project area in the Butana region where participants learned about community networking for NRM, and more specifically about how six communities have established the At Tasab Network as a way to join hands to protect their natural resources and livelihoods. The participants visited range pastures of the At Tasab Network and interacted with women, youth and elders . The six communities have organised themselves, protected their rangelands against foreign stakeholders through patrolling, raised a common voice about the challenges they face, and also come together to ensure certain basic services in the area, such as veterinary services and telecommunications. It highlighted the importance of networks for social mobilization and empowerment, and especially for addressing a sense of isolation which many communities experience; thereby enabling them to deal with key land and NRM governance challenges, including those linked to large-scale land acquisitions by foreign and domestic investors.

    Sinnar state: Linking improved agriculture with NRM

    Learning Route participants learn about
    SUSTAIN’s technical package during a field visit
    to Sinja, Sinnar State.
    ©Mia Madsen

    After learning about the importance of community networking for NRM, the participants continued their journey to the SUSTAIN project area in Sinnar state to learn about its integrated package for improved crop farming and  impact on NRM and agricultural production in the area. The participants visited farmers who practice traditional farming as well as farms under improved agriculture, and learned that agricultural productivity was enhanced thanks to the use of chisel ploughing, crop rotation and drought-tolerant seeds. The case study analysis indicated the need for an integrated approach to agriculture and livestock farming so to avoid increased pressure on land and the project  is working on this by encouraging farmers to use crop residue as fodder for livestock, which eases the pressure on rangeland.

    Stock routes and conflict resolution mechanism in North Kordofan

    After the SUSTAIN field visits, the  participants continued with an 8-hour drive to North Kordofan and the WSRMP. The project presented their experiences in conflict resolution between crop and livestock farmers, and in the demarcation and co-management of livestock routes. The participants visited a Conflict Resolution Centre (CRC) in El Rahad, which was established to solve disputes related to NRM in the Kordofan region. Some of the disputes handled at the CRC are conflicts between settlers and nomads, and have been referred to the CRC by the formal courts. After the visit to the CRC, the routeros visited a stock route demarcated by the WSRMP, met with Mobile Extension Teams who have been established to reach out to pastoralists in the area, and learned about the co-management mechanism of stock routes, piloted by the project.

    “In addition to the cases presented by the other projects, I have learned how to organize a Learning Route, especially the roles of the Methodological Coordinator and the Technical coordinator, and how to select and write a Learning Route case and present it to others”. Aida Osman, Gender and Community Development Officer, BIRDP
    Peer-to-peer learning

    The lessons and innovations presented during the LR were well received by the different projects. As part of the peer learning, each project identified particular challenges and received advice from others on how to address these challenges: BIRDP received guidance especially from SUSTAIN on how to strengthen adoption and uptake by other communities, and on how to strengthen inter-state coordination from WSRMP. SUSTAIN drew lessons on networking as a vehicle for adoption of their “improved farming practices” and BIRDP provided inputs on strengthening the integration of crop and livestock farming systems, and WSRMP on securing stock routes. WSRMP, which is close to completion, received advice on how to institutionalize the good practices developed during its exit strategy – including linking up with the new Livestock Resilience and Marketing Programme. The Programme learned from all other projects and aims at incorporating their good practices. Each project developed an Action Plan to integrate the lessons learned into their operations, which they presented during the wrap-up meeting in Khartoum. Participants were encouraged to continue seeking advice from each other and sharing lessons in the implementation of their Action Plans.

    The participants gather for a group photo in North Kordofan ©Mohammad Makki Hanafi

    Next steps

    At the closing session in Khartoum each project team presented their Action Plans. BIRDP was inspired by the improved agriculture package promoted by SUSTAIN, while the SUSTAIN team planned to integrate community networking for NRM in their project activities. The LRMP team committed to building on the experiences of the co-management mechanism and the conflict resolution centres from WSRMP. The Action Plan developed by the WSRMP team includes the draft of a road map on the way forward for the co-management of stock routes, inspired by the community networking displayed during the BIRDP visits. During the closing session the Methodological Coordinator Dr Omer Egemi, and IFAD Lead Land Tenure Specialist Harold Liversage provided insights from the LR and ideas for future engagement in NRM in Sudan. The closing session in Khartoum was attended by the Minister for Agriculture of Khartoum State.

    “I'm convinced that the Learning Route is a powerful learning tool which enables participants to share their experience, analyze their challenges and arrive to a reasonable solution on how to address present challenges. The challenge for us now is to see how we can continue sharing knowledge in other areas such as microfinance for example”. Isam Altahir, M&E Officer, SUSTAIN
    As a way forward, it has been suggested for the Sudan Country Office and projects involved to continue using LRs as a tool for strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogue and policy engagement on land and NRM governance and other thematic areas. The IFAD-funded projects are already planning similar knowledge sharing events in the future, including a LR on NRM where Sudanese policy makers could be invited, as well as a LR on microfinance and the ABSUMI[4]model to be developed together with the Agricultural Bank of Sudan.

    [1] Butana Integrated Rural Development Project

    [2] Supporting Small-scale  Rainfed Producers in Sinnar State Project

    [3] Western Sudan Resources Management Programme

    [4] Agricultural Bank of Sudan Microfinance Initiative

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    By Soane Patolo, Monica Romano and Sakiusa Tubuna


    In October 2016, the Tongan Government officially launched the newly formulated Community Development Plans (CDPs) prepared by communities living in Niuas, Vava’u, Ha’apai, ‘Eua and Tongatapu islands. The CDPs are a simple but effective mechanism to mobilize communities not only to identify their own development priorities, but also to mobilize support and assistance to improve rural people’s livelihoods.

    The community plans were formulated adopting the successful approach tested under the IFAD-funded regional grant for the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovations (MORDI) and scaled up under the ongoing Tonga Rural Innovation Project – TRIP and by the Tongan Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). The 136 CDPs were presented by the District Officers and Town Officers to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga, Honourable Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, on 4 October 2016 in Nuku’alofa.

    In his keynote speech, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of establishing transparent and accountable governance mechanisms to keep people informed and to formulate appropriate policies.

    The Prime Minister said that in order to be able to change we must begin by fixing our governance system to become more informed, more transparent and more accountable. To enlighten and to empower our people by obtaining the right information, giving people the opportunity to make an informed decision about their lives. But, most importantly in order to strengthen government to make the right policies, to set the right priorities, provide the right support, to be able to defend and protect the lives of our people, and ultimately to support the right development.

    Among the communities involved in the CDP formulation, 60 communities are targeted under IFAD-supported TRIP, implemented by the Mordi Tonga Trust (MTT). 76 CDPs were formulated with financial assistance of the Government of Tonga through MIA, UN Women, and the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) supported by the Australian Government and implemented by UNDP and Live & Learn Environmental Education (LLEE), under the facilitation of TRIP project staff.

    During the launch, IFAD stressed that MIA’s adoption of the community planning approach is a first example of scaling-up of an IFAD project by a Government in the Pacific. IFAD’s experience shows that community-driven development processes such as the formulation of CDPs are powerful mechanisms to promote collective action that results in empowering rural people and in making them lead and drive their own development pathway.

    The community planning approach was first tested under the IFAD regional MORDI grant, which was implemented in Fiji, Kiribati, and Tonga in two phases from 2004 and 2012. It aimed to establish sustainable processes that enable remote rural communities to link with policy and planning processes. The CDPs have been effective in empowering very remote rural people to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. This institutional model was successfully scaled up in selected communities in all regions of Tonga by TRIP, which is currently implemented in partnership with the Government of Tonga and MORDI Tonga Trust, with an IFAD financing of USD 3 million.

    Target communities of TRIP include 53 communities located in the Outer Islands and 7 in the Tongatapu. TRIP promotes an integrated approach towards community development aiming to build the capacity of communities to identify their own development priorities, formulate their own CDPs, and optimize the allocation of financial resources from public and private sectors, development and donor agencies, and non- government organizations.

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    Por Annibale Ferrini

    Los sistemas de Seguimiento y Evaluación (S&E) siguen representando uno de los problemas que más afectan los proyectos de desarrollo rural apoyados por el FIDA en América Latina, en términos de dificultades para registrar, medir y comunicar los resultados e impactos de sus intervenciones. Por otra parte, el nuevo énfasis del FIDA en la medición de resultados, pone en el centro la necesidad de mejorar estos sistemas, las herramientas y capacidades de los equipos para gestionarlos.

    A partir de esta toma de consciencia la coordinación FIDA de la Subregión Andina en colaboración con PROCASUR y AGRORURAL, institución del Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego del Perú, han organizado a principio de Diciembre en Lima el taller “Fortalecimiento de los Sistemas de Seguimiento y Evaluación y de Gestión de Conocimiento en programas de inversión pública rural”.

    El taller fue precedido por una visita de campo al Proyecto Sierra y Selva Alta el día 30 de noviembre que sirvió para conocer de cerca el enfoque, logros y retos del proyecto y visualizar la problemática de la medición y comunicación de resultados.

    Un momento de la visita al Proyecto Sierra y Selva Alta. Foto: FIDA

    Los dos días de actividades del taller, realizado en el marco del Programa Interregional “Fortaleciendo capacidades y herramientas para el escalamiento y la diseminación de innovaciones”, apoyado por el FIDA e implementado por PROCASUR entre América Latina y África, han visto la participación de más de 46 personas entre miembros de los equipos técnicos, directores y encargados de S&E de los proyectos de la cartera FIDA en Bolivia (Proyectos Plan Vida, ACCESOS, Pro-camélidos, y el Programa
    Fortalecimiento de Complejos Productivos de Granos Andinos y Frutos Amazónicos en Comercialización y Transformación, que no es parte de la cartera FIDA); en Colombia (Proyecto de Construcción de Capacidades Empresariales Rurales: Confianza y Oportunidad -TOP); en Ecuador (Programa Buen Vivir Rural e Ibarra - San Lorenzo); Perú (Proyecto Sierra y Selva Alta) y Venezuela (PROSALAFA y PROSANESU) además del equipo FIDA LAC, miembros del equipo PROCASUR y expertos de la Subregión, para mejorar sistemas de S&E ineficientes o desvinculados de los objetivos de los proyectos.

    Las intervenciones de Jesús Quintana, coordinador del FIDA para la Subregión Andina, Cecilia Leiva, presidenta de PROCASUR, y Margarita Mateu, directora de Desarrollo Agrícola de AGRORURAL, inauguraron el evento cuyos trabajos empezaron con la presentación de los resultados del diagnóstico realizado por PROCASUR.

    Seis de los siete proyectos encuestados consideran que sus sistemas de S&E no son funcionales para las organizaciones involucradas. El primer obstáculo se encuentra en la recopilación de información: los recursos humanos son escasos, falta capacitación de los técnicos y los formatos son incompletos o excesivos. Respecto a la sistematización digital de la información, los sistemas son implementados a medio camino, no integran toda la historia de datosdel proyecto, y no incorporan todas variables claves. Además, el diseño de proyectos con múltiples componentes, cada uno con su set de indicadores, suma complejidad e incomprensión, o no son coherentes con las capacidades de implementación de los equipos, o con las lógicas y los procedimientos institucionales de cada país.

    Por otra parte, los sistemas de S&E de los proyectos no están interconectados con los sistemas de gestión de gobierno, hay formatos diferentes en cada institución. La comunicación hacia los usuarios es asimétrica, poco estructurada o ausente. En los estudios de base y evaluación de impacto, la ausencia de líneas de baseque arrojen información de la situación de las comunidades antes del proyecto es la principal complicación de los estudios de evaluación (no se tiene base de comparación).

    Grupos de trabajo integrados por los diversos equipos de proyectos FIDA de la subregión y expertos, para presentar propuestas de soluciones, en el intento de empezar a tomar nuevos caminos más prácticos y funcionales, trazando líneas bien marcadas entre una abundancia de herramientas y metodologías que en muchos casos no responden a las necesidades específicas de S&E de los proyectos de desarrollo rural, a la complejidad de sus territorios de operación, la diversidad de su población objetivo y las capacidades de sus equipos.

    Caroline Bidault, gerente de los programas del FIDA para Venezuela y Ecuador, durante un momento del taller.
    Foto: FIDA
    Entre las soluciones propuestas destacan:
    • mejorar el diseño del sistema de S&E desde el principio , vinculándolo al marco lógico del proyecto y adaptándolo al contexto específico de la región y de las poblaciones involucradas, seleccionando los indicadores más relevantes;
    • crear sinergias con los sistemas existentes a nivel nacional y entre los entes ejecutores;
    • capacitar a todos los actores involucrados, desde la unidad de gestión del proyecto hasta los técnicos de campo y las organizaciones de base, incluyendo metodologías participativas;
    • asegurar que las tareas relacionadas con S&E (que incluyen recolección de datos, análisis, generación de aprendizajes y relativa toma de decisiones) sean, formalmente, una función transversal de todos quienes trabajan y participan en el proyecto, con tiempos y recursos asignados;
    • diseñar e implementar estrategias de comunicación y campañas dedicadas a la difusión de los aprendizajes más relevantes, de los logros del proyecto y de los elementos que contribuyen al diálogo político sobre desarrollo rural.
    Todas las propuestas indicadas han sido sistematizadas en el informe final según los temas de los grupos de trabajo.

    Particular atención ha sido dedicada a la importancia de la Gestión del Conocimiento en su estrecha relación con el S&E:
    1. en el diseño del proyecto, en que se identifican los portadores de interés involucrados, sus intereses en el proyecto y las soluciones ya desarrolladas en base a conocimientos locales;
    2. en la puesta en valor de las experiencias vinculadas a los saberes locales, y su integración en procesos de aprendizaje e intercambio para su replicación;
    3. tras la finalización del proyecto,  se hace seguimiento a los resultados del aprendizaje y su adaptación para el escalamiento, en la perspectiva de un impacto del proyecto mayor y de mejor calidad. 
    Tres fases en las que la Gestión del Conocimiento tiene que acompañar constantemente el proceso de S&E para garantizar su coherencia con el contexto cultural, socio-económico y de gobernanzade los territorios de intervención, y de capacidad deactuar de los protagonistas de los proyectos.

    Generar sistemas de S&E que permitan pasar de la información al “aprendizaje” y a la “mejora continua” es un imperativo para fortalecer la Gestión de Conocimiento al interior de los proyectos, incluyendo la capitalización de experiencias y la difusión de innovaciones a nivel de proyecto, país y subregión.

    “La Gestión del Conocimiento es algo intrínseco al sistema de S&E – dijo Cecilia Leiva en la inauguración de los trabajos–, no los podemos hacer de forma separada. Tienes que caminar juntos desde el diseño de proyectos hasta la difusión de los resultados y del conocimiento generado, en términos de éxitos y de fracasos, para el escalamiento de las buenas prácticas. Ésta es la visión del FIDA a nivel de Subregión Andina, que nosotros compartimos, y este encuentro representa el primer paso hacia el nuevo camino”.

    El taller fue seguido con sumo interés por los participantes. Foto: FIDA

    El evento ha representado también una oportunidad única para tener todos los jefes de proyectos y parte de sus equipos de la Subregión Andina reunidos compartiendo experiencias, perspectivas y propuestas a futuro.

    En el nuevo marco del FIDA para la eficacia del desarrollo– señaló Jesús Quintana – es fundamental el proceso de fortalecimiento de la descentralización así como el trabajo en estrecha coordinación con los socios y en dialogo con las políticas de inversión pública. Este primer encuentro a nivel de sub-región nos permite abrir un espacio de interacción permanente enfocado hacia los resultados, hacia su medición y visibilización, hacia una siempre mayor eficacia y mejor impacto de los proyectos”.

    Como resultados del taller cada proyecto se ha comprometido en llevar adelante algunas primeras acciones y participar en una plataforma de colaboración e intercambio presentada por el equipo FIDA de la subregión Andina como parte de los siguientes compromisos:

    1. Crear una plataforma accesible a todos los proyectos para compartir y promover guías, metodologías, herramientas y experiencias sobre S&E+ (seguimiento y evaluación, gestión del conocimiento y comunicación); incluyendo guías actualizadas sobre Sistema de Gestión de Resultados e Impacto (RIMS, por sus siglas en inglés), aplicación del marco lógico, elaboración del plan de trabajo anual, metodología de cierre, implementación de los proyectos;
    2. Crear una plataforma de gestión del conocimiento sobre desarrollo rural para compartir aprendizajes e información sobre innovaciones;
    3. Realizar un ejercicio de sistematización de herramientas y buenas prácticas en la sub-región Andina;
    4. Planificar e implementar un programa de capacitación de los proyectos en S&E+ (a través de la iniciativa CLEAR– Centros Regionales para el Aprendizaje sobre la Evaluación y los Resultados);
    5. Establecer lineamientos mínimos comunes de FIDA en S&E+ (con flexibilidad para su adecuación en los países).
    6. Facilitar la coordinación entre los consultores del FIDA en S&E para armonizar los enfoques y el conocimiento de las herramientas actualizadas;
    7. Proveer asistencia técnica.
    Los participantes en el taller de Lima. Foto: FIDA

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    by Ricci Symons

    At the high-level ministerial roundtables and plenaries in the weekend preceding the official start of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), ministers of tourism, forestry, fishery and agriculture, all met to discuss the key questions; how to mainstream biodiversity protection and how to reach the Aichi targets.

    At the offset, with only 4 years remaining to still achieve 70% of the Aichi targets before 2020, it seemed to be a bleak outlook. All parties were vocal about the shortcomings that have led us to this point, and whilst there was also excitement and innovation around new practices, technologies and policies, meeting the Aichi targets seemed like a pipe dream.

    The above-mentioned ministers have never been involved in the biodiversity exchanges before. This signals a change in thinking, where the general consensus is that biodiversity is something all sectors of government should strive to protect. It also highlights that we are aware of the negative impacts these sectors, mainly agriculture and tourism, are having on biodiversity loss.

    Biodiversity is about more than plants, animals, and micro-organisms and their ecosystems – the conference recognises that it is also very much about people and their need for food security, medicines, fresh air, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment.

    Biodiversity conservation is central to achieving global commitments for sustainable development under “Agenda 2030”, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. IFAD recognizes that losing biodiversity means losing opportunities for coping with future challenges, such as those posed by climate change and food insecurity.

    Many smallholders with whom IFAD works are already reporting climate change impacts on their ecosystems and biodiversity that sustain agricultural production and rural livelihoods.

    Biodiversity and food security is at the heart of what IFAD does. As IFAD's Director of Environment and Climate, Margarita Astralaga explained in Cancun, smallholders’ assets are part of their ecosystems. They depend on biodiversity to provide plants for medicine, seeds and hunting.

    What helps them and us is to see the full potential of these ecosystems,” said Astralaga, “Different crops and indigenous crops are important - we have lost nearly all genetic variations of corn and wheat, 50 per cent of the world is eating the same species."

    "We must diversify - when small farmers do that, they can protect themselves against climate shocks. When farmers grow nuts, cocoa, coffee, cassava as well as corn, when a drought strikes and the corn yield is low or non-existent they have other crops to fall back on."

    As the COP draws to an end, with the Cancun Declaration ratified and published, people are taking stock of what has been achieved in the last two weeks, and what the next steps are. The CBD convention adopted 37 decisions, whilst the Cartagena Protocol adopted 19, and the Nagoya Protocol adopted 14 decisions. A full break down of the decisions and discussion topics can be found here.

    COP13 marked an international move towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and implementation of the Strategic Plan. This will happen through the mainstreaming of biodiversity into many of the productive sectors: tourism, fisheries, forests and agriculture. The COP13 also highlighted that moving forward will mean to take into consideration emerging technologies, such as gene drives, synthetic biology and other genetic resources, to provide functioning ecosystem and the provision of ecosystem services essential for human well-being.

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