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    Many people of African origin arrived in the Americas with the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. Those who were directly from West Africa mostly arrived in Latin America as part of the Atlantic slave trade, as agricultural, domestic, and menial labourers and as mineworkers. The connection between Africans in the Americas and the Africans that were scattered abroad during the slave trade is ever evident in the underlying cultures and traditions that were passed down from generation to generation in the form of music, dance and fashion, but most noticeably in cuisine. Derivatives of African cuisine have been preserved, yet modified due to the conditions of slavery. Often the leftover/waste foods from the plantation were forced upon slaves, causing them to make do with the ingredients at hand. However, during this Diaspora, what remained whole were the techniques, methods and many of the spices and ingredients used in African cooking.

    The Colombian Ministry of Culture acknowledges the cultural, social, economic and environmental importance of traditional cuisine in its Traditional Cuisines Public Policy. With support from IFAD and the ACUA Foundation, the Ministry therefore organised a learning event to exchange knowledge and experiences related to traditional cuisine between Colombia and West and Central Africa in Buenaventura, Colombia, from 26 to 30 October 2016. The aim of the event was to promote identity-based  territorial development. The event brought together a number of diverse participants:

    • Representatives from Colombian and international institutions (Ministry of Culture, ACUA Foundation, local government and IFAD)
    • Representatives from Colombian community-based organisations
    • Beneficiaries from IFAD-supported projects in West Africa and the representative of Self Help Africa, an African NGO

    In the two years running up to the event, research was carried out on local ancestral know-how and traditions from various communities in the regions of Quibdó, Guapi, Buenaventura and Tumaco, in Southern Colombia. This resulted in the publication of two books and a documentary, which were presented at the annual book fair of Bogotá and the during meetings on local food and cooking practices in Quibdó, Guapi, Buenaventura and Tumaco.

    The event offered numerous opportunities for the participants to share knowledge and experiences: presentations, live cooking performances, a cocktail workshop with local drinks from the pacific region,  cooking experience with the women working at the Buenaventura market place, a visit to the village “La Gloria” where women are running a collective farm, an exhibition of traditional cooking utensils and tools and cultural and musical nights.

    The three beneficiaries from IFAD-supported projects in West Africa were Ms Aissatou Cissé and Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi from Senegal and Ms Blandine Montcho from Benin. Ms Aissatou Cissé is a beneficiary of the Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal. Local ingredients are the secret to success in her restaurant business. She received training and support in restaurant management and food processing through the Project. Today, in her restaurant, she offer Senegalese and European dishes made of locally-grown products and earns a good living.

    Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi is a beneficiary of the Support to Agricultural Development and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme in Senegal. She is a young entrepreneur and runs an agricultural and processing company in the Kolda region and has been focusing, although not exclusively, on fonio, the oldest cereal in West Africa. It is a kind of millet that has a nutty flavor – a cross between couscous and quinoa in both appearance and texture. Fonio has been cultivated in West Africa for thousands of years, and is a favorite in salads, stews, porridges and even ground into flour. It’s gluten-free and nutritious because of two amino acids, cystine and methionine, which make it a favorite to be baked into bread for diabetics, those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Until recently, the fact that processing operations were small- scale, time-consuming and difficult meant that there was no future for the crop. However, with support from the Project, Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi is now applying new producing and processing technologies  operations and modernizing drying, which has sparked s renewed interest in fonio and new export chains are developing around innovative products. She is currently leading a network of 150 women that are producing and processing fonio.

    Ms Blandine Montcho is a beneficiary of the Rural Economic Growth Support Project in Benin. She is the owner of small processing enterprise that turns tropical fruit into organic juices. Although she focuses mainly on pineapple, her company also makes organic tamarind, baobab fruit and ginger juices.

    Overall, the event showed that when products are used that have been grown organically and/or responsibly, traditional cuisine allows local communities to have access to the required nutrients for a healthy life. Traditional cuisine can also contribute to preserving biodiversity and the environment.  for environmental and biodiversity protection projects. Furthermore, it can be used for nutrition education to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food- and nutrition-related behaviours conducive to health and well-being. Finally, traditional cuisine is of great economic and social value as it can help to create employment in rural communities and help to build networks, especially between women.

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    By Christopher Neglia

    The IFAD-sponsored tve biomovies competition finished at the end of 2016 and the winners have been announced. In the Family Farming category, the winning entry is 28 year old Hongwei from China.

    Hongwei’s short documentary profiles the vulnerabilities and difficulties of female farmers coping with natural disasters brought on by climate change. The film was shot in Luoci County, Yunnan Province. This village in the Southwest of China is heavily dependent on agriculture, where small family-owned farms make up the mainstay of the rural economy.

    Through field trips and interviews with local farmers, Hongwei shed light on the physical, and mental fights women go through to provide for their families. She also notes that mining and upstream industrial activities are impacting the community’s drinking water, and decreasing crop yields.

    After releasing  a short-list, the tve biomovies jurors invited finalists to submit a one-minute film based on their proposals. Hongwei came out on top with more than 5,000 views on Youtube. IFAD partnered with the 2016 tve biomovies competition, which encourages young people from the developing world to produce short films that show their perspectives on issues such as international development and climate change. You can watch Hongwei’s winning documentary below. 

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    by Christa Ketting 
    Stanley uses his mobile phone to communicate current market prices from a variety of traders and markets to producers in his group. The First Mile Project in Tanzania began in 2005 concentrating on developing the connection between suppliers in rural areas and markets. ©IFAD/Mwanzo Millinga

    The Public-Private-Producer Partnership (4P) approach, is one of IFAD’s strategies to connect smallholders to the private sector as a way to secure access to inputs and outputs markets. But how do we broker the 4P model? An IFAD grant-funded initiative implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation looks into this question. Through the grant, SNV brokered twenty three 4P cases in Senegal, El Salvador, Mozambique Uganda and Vietnam. With the grant hitting midterm, some initial lessons from the grant were presented at IFAD headquarters in Rome on 7 December 2016.

    Conventional Public-Private-Partnerships often assume that farmers are common private sector operators. However, it is obvious that smallholders have specific needs and face different constraints than well-established agribusinesses. Many agribusinesses, and especially international companies are therefore still hesitant to source directly from smallholders. A 4P therefore explicitly includes smallholders as equal partners in a business relationship and blends public and private resources in order to make the 4P mutually beneficial (win-win) for both producers and agribusinesses.

    In Vietnam for example, a 4P is brokered between Betrimix, a private company active in the processing of coconuts, and local producers. Betrimix used to process traditional products like desiccated coconut with little value added. Ms. Chau Kim Yen, general director of Betrimix explained now as part of a 4P, it provides smallholders with inputs, training services and quality verification enabling them to significantly improve quality and practices. The IFAD-funded Project for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh Provinces, representing the P that stands for public in the acronym, provides training to these groups on business plan development and farming techniques.

    Ms. Chau Kim Yen stressed the importance of a broker when it comes to enforcement and arbitration of the 4P. For Betrimix’s business model to succeed it is key that smallholders uphold organic standards as indicated in contractual agreements. In a 4P, this is where the broker steps in. In the case of Betrimix for example, the independent broker hired by SNV through the grant stepped in to resolve conflicts when necessary.

    Mr. Abbey Anyanzo is hired by SNV to assume the role as an independent broker in Uganda. He explained that a key feature of his role is to balance the interests of different participants and take a neutral stand in potential discussions between the partners. In order to do so it is important to understand what the main motivations and interest of the different partners are by talking to them separately. Afterwards a broker should bring different partners together and slowly start with the development of the partnership. Unfortunately it is often the producer who is the most vulnerable partner in the partnerships. Producers could for example be illiterate and have urgent financial needs luring them to side-selling which jeopardizes the entire 4P. In some cases Mr. Abbey Anyanzo encountered that producers are not accustomed with working for an agribusiness and, therefore, require more attention.

    4P brokers hired by SNV through the IFAD-grant, are independent brokers and not connected to governments. Independency is a key requirement for the success of the 4P model. But how to roll out the 4P strategy in IFAD projects? The grant aims at showcasing different models through which a 4P brokerage can be developed in order to replicate it in IFAD projects globally.

    Brokerage services are not limited to partnership brokering. Financial brokerage is another key-enabler for a 4P. For example, 4P cases established through IFAD’s Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal are constrained by limited access to finance. In order to resolve this problem, a financial brokerage model is developed by the IFAD grant with the assistance of a specialized partner, i.e. The Rock Group. Mr. Ruud Nijs, a partner at the Rock Group, just returned from Senegal where he mapped the financial situation and needs of the Alif Group in order to attract potential investors. By developing individual financial models for cases, they can liaise with both local financial institutions as well as international investment funds.

    It often occurs that producer organizations and private companies are active in a certain area, but not able to form a synergetic partnership. 4P brokerage can overcome this problem, but it is key that learning on brokerage skills are disseminated more widely in order to do so. This is exactly what the IFAD-grant will focus on during the final year of implementation. In order to support IFAD projects with value chain development, 4P brokerage guidelines and knowledge products will be produced building on the experience of grant-supported cases in the five pilot countries.

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    By Michele Pentorieri

    Another year has passed, and we had a look at what engaged our followers the most on IFAD's social media last year. Here's what we discovered.

    Climate change: Recipes for change and COP22

    One of the most engaging themes in 2016 was climate change and ways to tackle it. To celebrate World Environment Day on 5 June, IFAD partnered with Italy's famous chef Carlo Cracco in order to show the impact that climate change is having on rice production in Cambodia. This was part of our Recipes for Change series, focusing on the impact climate change has on traditional dishes and giving you the tools to cook recipes from all over the world.

    A year after the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, Governments met in Marrakesh, Morocco, for the UN climate change conference (COP22). To mark the event, IFAD launched a campaign called #AdaptNow, where we invited the international community to recognize smallholder farmers’ positive impact on food security, and to help farmers on the front line of climate change to adapt.

    Rural Development Report 2016: fostering inclusive rural transformation

    On 14 September IFAD launched itsflagship publication analysing global, regional and national pathways of rural transformation. The report draws upon both analysis and IFAD's direct experiences and presents policy and programme implications in various regions and thematic areas of intervention, based on both rigorous analysis and IFAD’s 40 years of experience investing in rural people and enabling inclusive and sustainable transformation of rural areas.

    International Days

    In 2016 we also highlighted some important days celebrated around the world. Some of the most popular ones were Valentine's Day, International Day for Biological Diversity and International Youth Day.

    Africa Food Prize

    Finally, many of you joined us in congratulating IFAD's President Kanayo F. Nwanze for the Africa Food Prize. He dedicated it to "the African women who silently toil to feed their families." The reasons the prize committee gave for the choice were Nwanze's leadership and his results and successful efforts at IFAD.

    Keep following us

    Don't miss out on our daily posts in the year to come. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about rural development, agriculture, climate issues and research findings. We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Blogspot. IFAD's President Kanayo F. Nwanze is on Twitter too.

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    Written by: Elisa Mandelli

    AU Declaration on Land issues
    and Challenges in Africa. 
    From the 4th to the 6th of December, the city of Arusha in Tanzania hosted the members and partners of the Land Policy Initiative for a planning review and the annual Steering Committee. Participants included representatives from governments and intergovernmental institutions such as Tanzania Ministry of Land, African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Union du Maghreb Arabe and Intergovernmental Authority on Development to mention a few. It also included academic institutions such as Ardhi University, civil society platforms, farmers organizations and development partners such as IFAD, AFDB, USAID, and Swiss Cooperation.

    The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) was established in 2006 as an initiative from the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The objective was to generate African-led policies and strategies based on contextual needs and aspirations to ensure equitable access and efficient and sustainable utilization of land in Africa. With this vision, the first phase of the initiative resulted in the development and the adoption by the AU members of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G).

    Today the LPI assists African governments to address land tenure security by implementing the AU Declaration and developing policies and strategies in accordance with the F&G. Within this framework, IFAD is supporting the LPI to mainstream good land governance in agricultural development and more specifically in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP is a common framework to stimulate and guide national, regional and continental initiatives to enhance Africa’s agricultural productivity. The grant seeks to support the strengthening of linkages between land governance, rural poverty reduction and agricultural development by fostering the engagement of ministries responsible for agriculture and rural development in land policy implementation. The grant will pilot this approach in  four countries in East and Southern Africa: Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda and Tanzania and two countries in West and Central Africa: Cote D'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo.

    During the planning meeting in Arusha, the LPI Secretariat presented the achievements and progress made in mainstreaming land governance in the CAADP, but also in generating and disseminating data, supporting capacity building, creating or strengthening platforms and partnerships on land governance, addressing  gender-related issues and supporting the monitoring and evaluation of the AU implementation.

    Participants of the LPI Partners Review and Planning Meeting, Arusha 4th to 6th of December 2016.
    ©ILPI 2016.

    At the continental level the LPI has provided technical inputs to the 2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa and has supported the integration of land governance into the agenda of institutions like the Panafrican Parliament and the Panafrican Farmers’ Organization.

    Regional institutions like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Regional Centre For Mapping Resource for Development (RMCRD) have also adopted the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and LPI is supporting them with capacity building and knowledge sharing initiatives.

    On the topic of generation and dissemination of evidence to inform and raise the awareness on the situation of land governance in Africa, the LPI undertook continental and regional assessment as well as thematic researches on large land-based investment, women’s land rights, land administration, land ethnicity and conflict, urban development, resilience and climate change. The documents are available online.

    In response to the challenges of insufficient human resources and inadequate technical capacity LPI has engaged with other continental institutions (e.g. RCMRD and IDEP) to provide capacity development support and to improve the quality of education and research on land also by elaborating a guideline for the development of an academic curriculum on land policy and land management.

    The LPI has also fostered inclusive policy dialogue and technical coordination by supporting the Joint Working Group on Farming, Forestry and Rural Land Management, intergovernmental knowledge sharing workshops, and grassroots and Civil Society Organization networks in collaboration with the International Land Coalition.

    The LPI has also put a lot of efforts on gender-related issues as one of the critical areas for action identified by the AU declaration. The recruitment of a land and gender specialist has allowed to elaborate a LPI Gender Strategy that will be published soon and will support the mainstreaming of gender throughout all their activities. As part of these efforts, LPI organized a side event during the week of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) on secure land tenure for women and prepared a module for training on gender and land that will be adapted to national challenges thanks to field consultation. Moreover, LPI aims to specifically target women through their support to the Kilimanjaro Initiative and the campaign of 30 per cent minimum land certificate for women land ownership.

    During the second day of the event, the LPI Secretariat shared the 2017 strategic plan that includes the institutionalisation and consolidation of the initiative which will become the African Land Policy Centre. 

    IFAD will continue to support the LPI and is constantly exploring opportunities to strengthen the synergies with IFAD Country Offices, IFAD-supported programmes and relevant partners. IFAD is looking forward to explore collaborations during the upcoming events and trainings that LPI is planning for 2017, in particular:
    • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional dialogue on good land governance and land administration in the East and Horn of Africa, 12-15th June 2017.
    • The Arab Maghreb Union-LPI event on land governance in the Maghreb area, 20 - 21 March, Rabat, Morocco.
    • The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) Training of Trainers on land-based investments.
    • Land Policy Initiative gender and land trainings.

    IFAD is encouraging anyone interested in engaging with the LPI  to contact us, we will be happy to provide you with additional information! 

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    By Francesca Aloisio

    It seems like yesterday that the 39th session of the Governing Council (GC) of IFAD ended, after a very busy time spent organizing it, that usually requires the enthusiastic efforts of a large number of IFAD staff. But in reality, it has already been one year.

    We are now approaching the 40th session of the Governing Council, that will be held on 14-15 February 2017, a key event in IFAD's calendar. The Governing Council is the Fund's main decision-making body, and this year the event will focus on the appointment of IFAD's new President.
    Also, this year, the Governing Council will be preceded by the third global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Forum, another important event on IFAD's calendar. It will take place at our headquarters in Rome on 10 and 13 February 2017, and it will focus on economic empowerment of indigenous peoples, particularly women and youth. It will be a great opportunity to discuss, share and learn about the role that indigenous peoples have in contributing to sustainable development, but also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

    How can you join the events?

    IFAD would like to extend the invitation to join the conversation around these events, a conversation that will address important issues regarding rural development, the dialogue with indigenous peoples, and the role of youth and women - at national, regional and international level.

    And what better way to talk about rural development and indigenous knowledge in 2017 than doing so using social media!

    We encourage you to follow the webcast sessions, join the conversation and spread the word using #WeAreIndigenous for the Global Forum and #IFADGC for the Governing Council.

    More information on the events, including programme, webcast, photos and videos, can be found on our website:

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    Written by: Elisa Mandelli

    Participants at the event.
    ©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
    15th of November last year, IFAD's Land Tenure team was in Lima, Peru, to participate in a Dialogue on objectives and goals of communal titling programs in Peru. The dialogue was convened by three Civil Society Organizations (CSO) groups: the Pacto de Unidad de los Pueblos Indígenas, the Colectivo Territorios Seguros para las Comunidades del Perú and the Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra, initiated with the support of the International Land Coalition. The event brought together more than 30 representatives from local and international CSOs but also representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes and development partners such as IFAD and GIZ.

    The participants took stock of the current situation of communal land titling in Peru. Over the last few years, the country has experienced an increase in projects and initiatives focusing on land titling. Among these initiatives, the “Proyecto de Catastro, Titulación, Y Registro De Tierras Rurales en el Perú” (PTRT3) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through a loan from the World Bank, is currently allocating US$ 15 million to land titling and is covering 10 regions in the Selva area of Peru, namely: Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, San Martin, Huánuco, Ucayali, Junín, Cusco, Apurímac and Puno. The activities of this Project range from the deliverance of individual and communal titles, to the improvement of legal frameworks and the strengthening of instructional and technical capacities at regional and national level.  Other interventions such as the Programa de Inversión Forestal (FIP–PE) funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Joint Declaration of Intent between Norway and Peru aim to support individual and communal land titling, especially within Amazon indigenous communities, as a way to protect forests and foster a sustainable management of natural resources.

    The participants acknowledged the substantial contribution of these interventions in protecting biodiversity and strengthening land tenure securities of indigenous peoples’ communities in Peru but also observed a tendency to orient investments towards indigenous peoples’ communities in the Amazon. Many representatives of local CSOs stressed the importance of also taking  into account indigenous peoples and farmers’ communities in other areas of the country, especially the Andean region (Sierra), where large parcels of forest are threatened by extractive activities, forest fires and the expansion of agricultural borders. These communities often have weak tenure rights since they struggle to get their status of either “farmers” (campesinos) or “indigenous” (indigenos or nativos) community recognized and are by consequence less involved into decision-making regarding their territories. 

    Representative from the Ministry of Agriculture explains the PTRT3.
    ©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
    Participants called for a greater support to territorial and community land delimitation, customary and communal land rights recognition but also to the generation of more sustainable and inclusive models for territorial land and natural resources management.  Moreover, women’s  land  rights has been highlighted as a cross-cutting challenge that needs to be prioritized, in particular with regards to indigenous women who face a double  marginalisation on their access and control over land and decision-making. 
    Against this framework, participants agreed on the fact that inclusive and responsible good land governance has a critical role to play.  In this sense, the PTRT3 has created a dedicated entity for rural land titling within the Ministry of Agriculture, the DISPACR (Dirección de Saneamiento de la Propiedad Agraria y Catastro Rural) filling an institutional void in the coordination of rural land tenure issues. Moreover, the PTRT3 has created a working group for civil society consultation and advisory, a positive experience that many participants described as a potential model to enhance inclusive and participatory land governance in the country. 

    This dialogue and the exchange with local CSOs and development partners has allowed IFAD and its country office to get to know better the socio-political context of land governance in Peru and to identify potential synergies with IFAD-funded programmes and projects in the country and the Andean Sub-region. 

    In particular, there is the potential for IFAD to bring in its experience in supporting land tenure measures enabling inclusive and sustainable territorial management such as land use planning, community by-laws, customary certificates and others. These type of measures have often proven to be more effective and less controversial than titling to address land tenure security of poor rural communities, and allow to link territorial management of land and natural resources with improved rural productivity..

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    Written by: Fiona Flintan, Senior Scientist ILRI and Technical Adviser for the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project, Tanzania

    Pastoralists, farmers and land use conflicts in Bagamoyo

    As drought tightens its grip in the drylands of many East African countries, in Tanzania conflicts between farmers and pastoralists are set to increase. With insecure access to grazing lands, a lack of land use planning and continued encroachment of grazing areas by crop farmers and investors alike, pastoralists are often pushed from place to place with no real solution provided to their plight. This is no more clearly seen than in Bagamoyo district in Pwani region where Barabaig pastoralists have ended up, following ongoing evictions from one place after another, and most importantly from their homelands of the Basotu Plains.

    In Bagamoyo district such conflicts occur on a regular basis with livestock being slashed and killed, and crops being trampled and destroyed as pastoralists and farmers clash in a growing situation of increasing land competition. Such conflicts are bad for pastoralists, bad for farmers, and bad for investment. Bagamoyo is the site of a new industrial zone and competing to become sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest port. In addition the District has been targeted for large-scale commercial investment and being enviably close to Dar Es Salaam and the coast is rife with land speculation.

    IFAD Tanzania CPM Francisco Pichon, IFAD Senior Land Tenure Adviser Harold Liversage, ILC Director
    Mike Taylor and Fiona Flintan, ILRI and Technical Adviser to the SRMP discuss
    with pastoralists from Bagamoyo how best land use conflicts can be resolved.
    Credit: F. Flintan 2014

    The Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP)

    In this context the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP), financially supported by IFAD, Irish Aid, the International Land Coalition (ILC), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Government of Tanzania is working with national and local authorities to secure rangelands and the land rights of local rangeland users including pastoralists across the country through the implementation of village land use planning and land certification. The Project, led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the National Land Use Planning Commission not only supports individual village land use planning, but more importantly joint village land use planning in order to secure resources such as grazing areas shared across village boundaries. 

    Between 2010-2015 SRMP assisted nine villages to carry out village land use planning, and successfully piloted the implementation of joint village planning across three of these: Lerug, Ngapapa and Orkitikiti. The process led to  the protection and certification of a shared grazing area that has been called “OLENGAPA” to incorporate a part of each village’s name .  

    OLENGAPA – a pioneer of joint village land use plans

    In the OLENGAPA area the SRMP supported the villagers to carry out a participatory mapping of the different resources in the villages and their distribution. This was used to develop a basemap for the village land use planning process, including showing which resources are shared by the villages and where they are situated.

    Participatory mapping of rangeland resources was an innovation introduced to village land use planning process
    by SRMP Credit: F. Flintan 2013
    SRMP then facilitated village members to come to agreement over the individual village land use maps and plans, as well as the joint village land use map and plan, and the joint village land use agreement (JVLUA). These detailed and ultimately protected the shared grazing area, water points, livestock routes and other shared resources. Reaching agreement was a protracted negotiation process between the villages and within villages between different interest groups, involving many community meetings and much investment of resources. In the end each Village Assembly approved the JVLUA, which allocated 20,706.73 ha of land for shared grazing – that is, around 40 per cent of the total area of the villages. By-laws for the management of the resources were developed and adopted. 

    Following on from the approval of the JVLUA, the three OLENGAPA Village Councils established a Joint Grazing Land Committee made up of members from all three villages. This Committee is responsible for planning, management, enforcement of by-laws applicable to the OLENGAPA, and coordination of the implementation of the OLENGAPA land use agreements and joint land use plan. In addition a Livestock Keepers Association was established including 53 founding members with most households from the three villages being associate members. In January 2016 the Ministry of Lands approved and registered the village land boundary maps and deed plans for the three villages. The District Council has issued the village land certificates and the next step is for the Village Councils to begin issuing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs). The shared grazing area will require three group CCROs to be issued to the Livestock Keepers Association – one from each village for the part of the grazing area that falls under its jurisdiction. Signboards and beacons marking the boundary of the shared grazing area are being put in place. 

    OLENGAPA shared grazing area, as agreed by community members from all three villages in 2015

    The details of the OLENGAPA process are detailed in a recently launched ILC Rangelands Initiative Issue Paper . A Manual to provide guidance on participatory rangeland resource mapping was published by the project in English and Swahili: “Field Manual to support planning and management in rangelands including in Village Land Use Planning”.

    Scaling up joint village land use planning

    SRMP has now entered its third phase (2016-2020), which will focus on the scaling-up of the joint village land use planning approach in several new clusters of villages, as well as expanding the original ones. This includes the securing of grazing areas through the provision of CCROs and improving the management of the areas by the established Livestock Keepers Associations through action research on rangeland rehabilitation, improvement, and on intensification of rangeland and livestock productivity.

    Activities will be undertaken in three regions – Manyara, Morogoro and Pwani. The locations of the new clusters of villages appropriate for joint village land use planning will be identified through a mapping of grazing areas, livestock routes, and VLUP interventions across a pastoral-dominated landscape or corridor stretching form Kiteto district (in Manyara region), through Kilindi district (Tanga region), Mvomero district (Morogoro) and up to Bagamoyo district in Pwani region. 
    Improving the enabling environment for future interventions

    Not only does SRMP seek to secure rangeland resources for rangeland users, but it also aims to improve the enabling environment for current and future interventions. The SRMP is a component of the ILC’s Tanzania National Engagement Strategy (NES), a framework through which ILC members collaborate, strategise, and engage with government and other partners in order to effect positive change. In Tanzania the NES has two main components – land-based investments and rangelands where SRMP is a key mechanism for achieving the NES rangeland-focused objective of securing grazing areas. IFAD is supporting the NES to foster an inclusive policy dialogue for good land governance in the country.  

    Through working closely with national and local government, SRMP aims to influence policy and legislation to provide a more enabling environment for securing the rights of local rangeland users including rights to key resources such as grazing areas and water, maintaining necessary mobility. The Project also aims to improve the participation of such users, women and men, young and old, in decision-making processes pertaining to their lands. SRMP will build the capacity of different actors to support the securing of rangelands, resolve conflicts between land users, and improve the management of rangelands through research, training and learning. The ILC Rangelands Initiative will assist cross-country and cross-continental exchange with other ILC members and their partners working in similar contexts. This includes through learning visits, study tours, meetings, and dissemination of results through publications, conferences, social media and other forums. 

    Finally the SRMP aims to influence thinking in Tanzania to be more supportive of livestock production systems including pastoralism through advocacy and lobbying, not only for the land rights of pastoralists and other rangeland users but also to raise awareness on the benefits of and opportunities for investment in pastoral production systems. A key vision of SRMP is to garner support for and move towards the establishment of a Southern-Livestock Green Growth Corridor or “SLIGGCOT” across the pastoral landscape where the Project is working – stretching from Kiteto through Morogoro to Bagamoyo. 

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    The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) established three new work streams under the “Consultative Process on Advancing the Environmental and Social Sustainability in the UN system“. This was basically a call for UN agencies to work towards a common approach to environmental and social policies and standards in its work.

    Many UN agencies are currently in the process of developing or rolling out their own social and environmental policies and procedures into their projects and programmes. In order for all UN agencies to go forward in joint or co-financed projects, they must build towards a common UN-wide safeguards system. A common approach reflects the UN's commitment to support country partners to implement their duties and obligations under international conventions and environmental agreements.

    IFAD is committed to enhancing environmental sustainability and resilience in small-scale agriculture in all of its projects and programmes. Promoting a focus on the sustainable use of natural resources and providing livelihoods for rural people that are more resilient to climate change, environmental degradation and market transformation is at the core of delivering IFAD's poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture mandate.

    IFAD launched its new Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP) in 2015 which address the social, environmental and climate impacts associated with its projects and programmes and bring it in line with other UN agencies. These include a range of issues, from relocation, dams and finance to indigenous rights. It also launched a Complaints Procedure to receive and facilitate resolution of environmental and social concerns in the context of its-supported programmes.

    The UN system operates in areas of constantly increasing and shifting levels of risk, impact, and conflict. This makes it all the more imperative that robust safety measures are in place to avoid or alleviate harm to people and the environment. Based on this shared need, there are a number of benefits to developing a common approach to safeguards. Several of these agencies highlighted that if we don’t move towards a more common approach, we may face challenges of policy coherence due to different standards in projects and programmes.

    A major benefit to the shared approach is that the UN will be seen to be ''Delivering as One''. The principles of the UN are always put into practice in its projects and in order to avoid different environmental and social safeguards/procedures being implemented simultaneously, sometimes within the same project, a common approach is needed.

    Another benefit is that this would enable shared training, learning, and guidance materials benefitting from relevant expertise from across the system to be used by all agencies. With a common framework, the implementation of projects would become easier. Different agencies would then be able to pool resources and relevant expertise to jointly screen, assess and manage potential social and environmental impacts and jointly handle grievances related to UN country programming where possible.

    With development funding becoming more and more scarce, and constrained, agencies that can actively demonstrate that they are ''fit for purpose'' in helping countries achieve their sustainable development goals are more likely to get funding and create projects. IFAD is already publicly showing that it is conforming with the international norms and best practices through its SECAP. A common approach will help to ensure continued access to financing that is increasingly tied to social and environmental safeguard and accountability policies (e.g. Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, Adaptation Fund, bilaterals). Having a shared approach can also translate into increased international recognition and reputational value for IFAD and the UN as a whole.

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    By Julie Potyraj

    The impact of climate change on agriculture is often discussed in relation to environmental health. It threatens “global food security, sustainable development, and poverty eradication,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

    Factors like loss of farmland and changes in water availability could yield a decline in both the quality and quantity of crops. Droughts and floods could become more regular and erratic as global temperatures rise, making it difficult for farmers to plant and harvest crops. Extreme weather events are already taking a toll on agricultural land around the world. Rural men and women whose livelihoods depend on the availability and accessibility of natural resources are especially vulnerable. Many of the 3 billion people who live in rural regions of developing countries rely on agriculture. Climate change threatens their food supply and their income.

    However, the vulnerability of rural farmers extends beyond environmental concerns. Their health is also at risk. Climate change is likely to impact both the frequency and severity of human health issues, according to “An Overview of Occupational Risks from Climate Change,” an article by faculty members of the Master of Public Health program at The George Washington University. The paper also notes that changes in climate will likely intensify health and safety issues for both indoor and outdoor workers in a wide range of professions. Agricultural workers, including farmers, represent some of the most vulnerable populations to these new risks. Increased heat exposure, which can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and even death, poses a particularly great threat to these workers. They also face greater exposure to ozone and vector-borne diseases. Extreme rain events and flooding could also increase susceptibility to infectious diseases and enteric infections, which are typically transmitted through contaminated food or water.

    MPH@GW, the online MPH program from The Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW recently published the above graphicto outline some of the most prominent health threats to workers around the world. The effects on individual workers vary depending on environmental and ecological factors. However, climate change is expected to exacerbate threats to occupational health around the world. For vulnerable rural populations, climate adaptation strategies must include measures related to health in addition to agriculture.


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    IFAD's Member States meet for annual Governing Council

    By Kerri Devlin
    Delegates representing countries from all over the world were in attendance at this year's Governing Council. ©IFAD
    On 14 and 15 February development leaders, heads of state and representatives from around the world attended IFAD's 40th session of the Governing Council (GC), where IFAD’s sixth President was appointed.

    In conjunction with the third global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, the GC, IFAD’s main decision-making body, met with rural farmers and government representatives from 150 nations to appoint the new President of IFAD and discuss IFAD's commitment to "leave no one behind" in the framework of the 2030 Development Agenda.

    In the opening of the inaugural ceremony, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, gave his final opening speech to the Governing Council.

    Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) speaks at the opening ceremony of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
    Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, was introduced by President Nwanze to give a keynote address. Her Excellency emphasized the key role that women play in the economic development ofAfrica, saying “Africa will not advance and take her rightful place as a global leader unless she moves beyond the outdated mentality of past centuries, and until we offer our daughters the same right and opportunities as our sons.”

    Gurib-Fakim also spoke of the hardships many African countries continue to face, highlighting the extreme poverty and lack of a thriving agricultural sector.

    “Today nearly two in five children are malnourished and one in eight women is underweight,” said Gurib-Fakim.

    Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy of the Italian Republic also gave a keynote address at the opening ceremony.

    He brought to attention how far the international community has come in thinking about and addressing the ambitious challenge that is within our reach: ending hunger and malnutrition.

    Gurib-Fakim called upon every man and woman to play a role in achieving this goal, stating firmly that there is no acceptable number of hungry or malnourished. “Hunger and poverty, especially in rural areas are often the first link in a chain of factors that bring conflict, instability, humanitarian emergency and migration,” added Martina. 
    Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
    Nwanze followed and gave a statement to close the inaugural ceremony. In his final time closing the ceremony, the President of IFAD emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda, saying that “investing in rural areas is not a choice; it is a necessity.”

    “We will never eliminate poverty and hunger unless we transform rural areas into vibrant economies” said Nwanze.

    “Rural development is also a moral obligation. When people face the prospect of dying in poverty and hunger, they migrate to cities and urban areas and beyond. For them, no ocean is wide enough, no fence will ever rise high enough, no border will impregnable enough to keep out desperate women, children, and men.”

    Nwanze also discussed the way that IFAD focuses on long term solutions. He explained that by transforming lives and transforming livelihoods, we also transform communities. “When we invest in the economic and social development of rural areas, and when we bring clean water, electricity, roads, financial services to rural areas, then we are building communities that people don’t have to flee from,” said Nwanze.

    In his final address to IFAD’s GC, Nwanze reflected on the achievements and reforms of the past eight years, and spoke to his successor’s challenges that lie ahead.

    Nwanze cautioned that at a time when the world is plagued by conflicts, migration, climate change and political uncertainty, selecting the right person as IFAD President is a big responsibility.
    Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
    Representatives from Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Togo, Turkey, Dominican Republic and Switzerland were candidates for the position of IFAD’s sixth President. Delegates from Member States of IFAD met to appoint the new President, who will lead the organization.

    Former Prime Minister of Togo, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo was appointed as new President of IFAD. He will serve for a term of office for four years, to take effect starting 1 April 2017.

    With first-hand knowledge of the rural world and more than 30 years of experience in political affairs, international development, diplomacy and financial management, Houngbo believes that “through a dynamic leadership of IFAD” he can “contribute to visible change in the hardship-laden lives of the world’s rural poor.”

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    Recognizing the role of Indigenous Peoples

    By Claire Ferry

    The first day of IFAD's 40th session of the Governing Council was marked by keynote speakers and the election of the Fund's next president, Gilbert F. Houngbo. The second day, however, brought the focus back to the heart of the organization—the people it serves.

    The biennial gathering of the Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum was held earlier in the week at IFAD's headquarters and it called on representatives from across the world to discuss indigenous peoples' involvement in IFAD-supported projects. Those representatives carried their message into the second day of the Council, voicing their praises and concerns to IFAD Member States in a panel discussion.

    Pope Francis speaks to indigenous peoples' representatives

    Just before the Council reconvened for the panel, the indigenous peoples' representatives attended a closed meeting with Pope Francis. He stressed the delicate balance between forging ahead with development while also respecting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

    "The right to prior and informed consent should always prevail," Pope Francis said. "Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict."

    Francis highlighted the importance of women and young people in indigenous communities, urging governments to recognize the rights of all those involved. To bring about this change, the Pope proposed IFAD's funding and expertise as a "road map" to navigate the development that has too often left indigenous peoples in its wake.

    "I think the Pope's words are important," Mirna Cunningham, President of the Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Autonomy and Development, said. "We have to remember that technological and economic development is not progress in itself, and IFAD can play a very big role with technical and financial support to ensure that these measures are considered with indigenous peoples."

    As a token of all the indigenous peoples represented, delegation members offered gifts to the pope: an alpaca coat from Bolivian Andes, a blanket from the Igorot people in the Philippine Cordillera, and a Miskitu-translated bible from Nicaragua. Each gift serves as a reminder of the human faces behind every project.

    Governing Council's panel on indigenous peoples

    Following the meeting with Pope Francis, Cunningham mediated the Panel of Indigenous Peoples with representatives from Asia, Africa and South America.

    Joan Carling, a former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, praised IFAD for its clear actions in promoting indigenous peoples' right to free prior and informed consent.

    She explained how better implementation of projects leads to real empowerment, allowing these communities to be at the centre of the decision-making processes. Specifically, Carling cited IFAD's ability to track the progress of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which she believes contributes to indigenous peoples' self-determined development.

    One area she suggested bolstering, though, was IFAD's securing of women's land rights and initiatives. "We know that indigenous women are working on the lands, so the entitlement of women and the protection of lands is critical to the survival of indigenous peoples," Carling said.

    Elifuraha Laltaika, a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, followed Carling's remarks with an update on the state of indigenous people in Africa, highlighting the lack of recognition of these communities by governments. Though the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights exists, Laltaika doubts how closely most governments have followed its guidelines. Despite this, he remains hopeful because of constitutional reforms in countries like Kenya and Tanzania. Constitutional inclusion of indigenous communities' rights, along with involvement by agencies like IFAD, opens the door to more extensive change in African countries.

    Echoing Laltaika's emphasis on recognition, Maria Teresa Zapeta Mendoza, Programme Manager for the International Indigenous Women’s Forum, shifted the discussion to the marketing of indigenous peoples' products while maintaining respect for their culture. She again reinforced the importance of governments' acknowledgement of the peoples' rights, but furthered the conversation, saying, "IFAD and governments should see us as allies and should recognize that we are legally entitled people." Mendoza told of women in Ecuador trying enter the international fish market and people in Chile achieving sustainability through ecotourism. She called for support from both IFAD and governments, which would allow indigenous peoples to compete alongside everyone else in the marketplace.

    Jorge Alberto Jiménez, General Director of the Bureau for Comprehensive Social Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, built on Mendoza's insistence that indigenous people could indeed occupy a competitive place in the market. He spoke proudly of El Salvador's indigenous population and its extensive knowledge of natural medicine, but acknowledged it needs the help of institutions like IFAD to jumpstart progress. Jiménez also recalled the genocide of nearly 30,000 indigenous people in 1932 and its role in El Salvador's history today: "We have to remember that our history is not in museums; it's in the hands of the people." With that, he called for constitutional reform and stronger implementation and monitoring of the policies in place.

    To conclude the panel, Cunningham invited to the stage special guest Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Tauli-Corpuz acknowledged the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and praised IFAD for its outstanding implementation of the declaration. Though indigenous peoples still suffer from continued mistreatment, she urged IFAD and governments to listen to the aspirations of these communities and enter into multi-stakeholder partnerships.

    Looking ahead: President-elect Gilbert F. Houngbo

    The focus of the 40th Governing Council was appointing the next president of IFAD, but amidst such a monumental event, the president-elect himself did not lose sight of the rural people the Fund serves.

    “I have come from the rural world," said Houngbo, a native of Togo. "I have first-hand knowledge of the harshness of this kind of life.”

    The Indigenous Peoples' Forum and the Governing Council have concluded, but the work now truly begins as President Nwanze begins to hand over the reins to Houngbo. Throughout it all, though, it is the people who will undoubtedly remain the focus of IFAD's operations.

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    The impact of water and rural infrastructure rehabilitation in Mozambique.

    By Magali Marguet and Mawira Chitima

    Yumma used to walk 3km, five times a day, to the nearest Limpopo river to fetch about 125 liters of water for her family. Normally, the five 25 liters containers needed per day were transported on Yumma head one by one, but over the last two years, her life has changed completely. Thanks to her community’s new multifunctional borehole, this morning she watered her family garden and later she will work with the other women of the village at their art and craft group.

    Yumma, 40, lives in Matxinguetxingue, a semi-arid region in the Gaza province of southern Mozambique. It’s a small village of 89 households that depends on the subsistence farming of cattle and goats. She has four children and her eldest son helps tend the animals. Like most men in the community, her husband is a migrant worker in South Africa.

    For years, growing vegetables to supplement the family diet was only possible in the wetlands 5 km from the village. But life for Yumma and her neighbours has changed radically. A borehole with 81 meters underground and a solar-powered pump is now supplying the village with up to 18,000 liters of fresh and clean water a day. The system has five water points: two for domestic water supply, one for family gardens, one for clothes washing and one the village’s animals. The community and its Water User Association (WUA) has been empowered. 
    It all started with the idea of upgrading the borehole and constructing new water points to increase the community's resilience to drought, to manage water sources more effectively and to supply it to the animals’ drinking troughs. In 2012, the IFAD-funded Pro-poor value chain development project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) was set up to address climate resilience, land tenure security and gender equity. The project effectively started three years later, encompassing horticulture, cassava and red meat value chain development, with the construction and rehabilitation of hydro-regulators in irrigation schemes. Other interventions include: the construction of multifunctional boreholes, shade clothes for year round horticulture production and the establishment of cattle fairs.
    Being the animal husbandry activity the main source for income generation for almost all the household in Matxinguechingue village, the water supply reliability, and availability for cattle is seen by the beneficiaries as a boost to increase red meat production and hence increase the local community well-being.

    Yumma's case illustrates the benefits gained with the upgrading of the Matxinguetxingue borehole. With the upgrading of the borehole, Yumma and other women are able to save some time which is used to generate new income from arts and crafts, but the advantages go far beyond this. Access to a reliable supply of water is priceless, as is the reduced gruelling labour for women and young girls and the corresponding increase in health and lifespan.

    The rehabilitation of the Matxinguetxingue borehole also highlights the link between domestic and commercial water supply. Rural infrastructure interventions like this can have major implications on smallholder livelihoods, land management and resilience to climate change.

    In fact, the situation has changed very quickly and positively in the districts covered by the PROSUL. The project has been such a success that the demand for similar borehole stations has increased. From the 14 achieved so far, it has now been significantly extended with a further 28 due to scaling-up. In the local currency, that will represent a total cost of 3.7 million Metical (USD 52.857,14) – approximately $105 per person, taking the example of the number of people and cattle in Matxinguetxingue.
    A water through for cattle drinking in Matxinguetxingue
    The PROSUL project is now at half-way of its implementation and itis already clear that its success must be evaluated from a wider perspective. Water and rural infrastructure interventions have significant impact on people’s livelihoods, their health and their resilience to climate change. And on a very personal level, for people like Yumma, it really is life-changing.

    Mozambique - Pro-poor value chain development project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) mid-term review mission – December 2016

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                      ©IFAD/WCA Échanges avec les femmes de Saraf sur les effets du changement climatique et les techniques locales d’adaptation.
    Par Alice Brie

    Malgré le potentiel du secteur agricole tchadien, l’insécurité alimentaire touche la plupart des régions du pays. Ce problème est particulièrement lié à la vulnérabilité des systèmes agricoles face aux aléas et au changement climatiques. Une autre cause est l’inégalité entre les femmes et les hommes, qui demeure un obstacle important pour le développement rural puisque ce sont les femmes qui assurent en grande majorité la production alimentaire du pays. Avec un accès limité aux ressources, aux marchés et à la formation, les femmes sont aussi les premières impactées par le changement climatique, qui à la fois affecte leurs travaux agricoles et touche directement les ménages. Confrontées quotidiennement aux effets de ce changement, les agricultrices tchadiennes sont aussi porteuses de solutions pour s’adapter. Le PARSAT[1] accompagne les ménages vulnérables tout en soutenant l’autonomisation des femmes pour ainsi renforcer la résilience des systèmes de production et des populations face au changement climatique. La première mission de supervision du projet a été l’occasion de rencontrer des femmes membres de cette initiative.

    « Pour les femmes, responsables à la fois des tâches domestiques et agricoles, la raréfaction des ressources naturelles et les changements climatiques augmentent directement leurs charges de travail »

    Près du lac Fitri, la journée de Kadidja Abouna, débute à 5 heures du matin. Après s’être occupée de ses neuf enfants, elle part travailler de 7h à 18h sur sa parcelle, où elle cultive des haricots, de l’hibiscus et du sorgho. Sans aucune hésitation, elle affirme que ses rendements ont « diminué ces dernières années et que cela est dû aux changements des pluies qui finissent de plus en plus tôt ». Dans les autres localités d’intervention du projet, les constats sont du même ordre. Dans le village de Yao, le président du comité départemental d’action des agriculteurs, note la disparition des périodes de froid propices aux pépinières, la présence de plus en plus marquée d’insectes ravageurs, l’augmentation du nombre de pluies destructrices et des vents violents. A Mébra, ce sont les conflits hommes/nature qui deviennent plus fréquents. Ses habitants notent aussi une forte augmentation des températures et déplorent la baisse du niveau de la nappe ainsi que la disparition d’arbres fruitiers.

    ©IFAD/Sarah Morgan femme allant remplir ses seaux d’eau au puits.

    Pour les femmes, responsables à la fois des tâches domestiques et agricoles, la raréfaction des ressources naturelles et ces changements climatiques augmentent directement leurs charges de travail. Pour les habitantes de Mébra par exemple, la perte du couvert forestier les contraint à commencer leur journée à 3 heures du matin pour la corvée de bois et la collecte d’eau. L’ensablement de la route à Saraf rend lui l’acheminement des marchandises au marché de plus en plus difficile pour les désignées vendeuses.

    Au Tchad comme dans la plupart des pays d’Afrique, les femmes n’ont par ailleurs que très peu accès aux ressources économiques et productives qui leur permettraient de rebondir et diversifier leurs activités face aux aléas climatiques. Dans les régions du Centre Ouest, seuls les hommes bénéficient de la propriété des terres. Le droit coutumier empêche les femmes d'hériter de la terre ou du bétail parce qu'elles quittent le clan de leur père pour se marier. En conséquence, les droits sur les ressources productives sont concentrés essentiellement entre les mains des ménages dirigés par des hommes, tandis que les ménages dirigés par des femmes tirent beaucoup moins de revenus des activités agricoles. Ces ménages sont beaucoup plus exposés aux facteurs de risques notamment climatiques qui à la longue entrainent la faim.

    Des actrices incontournables pour la protection de l’environnement et la lutte contre la dégradation des terres 

    Les effets produits par le changement climatique entrainent la mise en place de stratégies innovantes, développées par les femmes, afin de mieux s’adapter et indirectement de protéger leurs environnements. Établissant des liens entre la désertification des sols, l’augmentation du temps de travail nécessaire à la corvée de bois et la disparition du couvert forestiers, les habitantes de Moito et de Mébra ont mis en œuvre des techniques efficaces, qui permettent de restaurer la fertilité des sols et d’économiser la quantité de bois nécessaire au ménage.

    ©IFAD/WCA, Agricultrice arrosant ses plants de salade grâce un puits maraicher financépar le PARSAT

    Les femmes plantent par exemple des arbres à proximité des cultures pour faire face à la désertification. Avec l’appui du PARSAT, elles intègrent plus particulièrement le rôle éco-systémique des arbres pour les sols grâce aux apports en matière organique et la régulation hydrologique qu’ils produisent. Des fagots de bois consommés, elles réutilisent le charbon afin de chauffer d’autres aliments, ce qui a pour effet de limiter l’usage de nouveaux fagots et indirectement de réduire leur impact sur les forêts avoisinantes. Elles établissent de même une planification détaillée de la répartition en eau par activité (cuisine, hygiène, de boisson) et les quantités nécessaires pour chacun des membres du ménage. Cela leur permet ainsi de réduire la quantité journalière d’eau prélevée, et surtout de limiter le nombre d’allers et retour jusqu’au forage. Dans certaines localités, les femmes observant une meilleure rétention des eaux de pluies dans les bas fonds, privilégient les travaux agricoles dans ces zones. Elles utilisent de même des semences à cycles courts ou précoces afin de s’adapter au démarrage tardif des pluies et obtenir de meilleurs rendements.

    Soutenir l’autonomisation des agricultrices pour renforcer la résilience des ménages

    Kadidja, elle, a pris sa décision juste après que son mari soit parti en exil. En novembre, elle a rejoint un groupement d’agriculteurs soutenu par le PARSAT. Kadidja voit dans cette organisation paysanne composée de 27 membres dont dix femmes, « un objectif commun » : une meilleure gestion des bénéfices à travers un système d’épargne communautaire, qui lui permettra de mieux investir dans sa parcelle, d’augmenter sa production et le revenu de son ménage. Au sein du groupement deux femmes possèdent un rôle clé : Safi Issa est la comptable et Kadidja elle même s’occupe de la vente de la production. Le projet formera ces femmes en particulier au leadership et à la prise de parole afin qu’elles intègrent le comité de gestion agricole du groupement et qu’il prenne mieux en compte les besoins de son groupement et celui des autres femmes.

    Kadidja voit aussi dans le PARSAT l’opportunité d’obtenir des formations techniques et un accès à des technologies agricoles pour qu’elle puisse s’adapter au mieux aux nouvelles contraintes climatiques auxquelles son milieu agricole doit faire face. Le FEM (Fonds pour l’Environnement Mondial), le FIDA avec l’ASAP (Programme d’adaptation de l’agriculture paysanne) appuieront à travers ce projet les ménages ruraux les plus vulnérables et en particulier les femmes afin d’accroître leur production agricole sur le long terme, de gérer les ressources naturelles et les écosystèmes agricoles de manière durable, mais aussi d’améliorer la conservation, la transformation et la commercialisation des produits animaux et agricoles, leur proposant ainsi des ressources complémentaires. L’approche est double puisque le projet inclut des mesures d’atténuation pour réduire les risques climatiques (notamment à travers la diffusion de données météorologiques), et des mesures d’adaptation afin de minimiser les effets du changement climatique. La combinaison de ces deux aspects permettra aux femmes d’améliorer leurs conditions d’existence et la sécurité alimentaire des ménages tout en leur donnant les moyens d’amortir l’impact de futurs chocs.

    [1] Projet d’amélioration de la résilience des systèmes agricoles au Tchad.

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    To celebrate International Women's Day 2017 officials from the UN Rome-based agencies 
    spoke about the importance of closing gender gaps in rural communities.

    By Claire Ferry

    The yellow mimosa was a badge of honour last week—sold on the streets, pinned onto lapels, attached to chocolates. Italy's iconic symbol of International Women's Day reminded us all of how much there is still be done before we reach gender equality. 

    I was greeted with that same yellow flower as I walked into the Food and Agriculture Organization Headquarters (FAO), where the United Nations' Rome-based Agencies—FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP)—hosted a panel to mark the worldwide celebration. 

    The opening session consisted of addresses by José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO; Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of Climate and Natural Resources of FAO; Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD; and Amir Abdulla, Deputy Director of WFP. Following their remarks, a panel of four experts discussed the topic of "Women in the Changing World of Work." Evident throughout both sessions was this year's overall theme, "Step It Up Together with Rural Women to End Hunger and Poverty."

    "The need to step up our work with rural women is urgent and vital," Vice-President Mordasini explained in his address. He called for a "deliberate and unambiguous focus" on improving the lives of rural women, outlining the many challenges they face in the workforce and at home. Mordasini made an important connection between gender equality and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

     "At IFAD, we have learned from our experience in the field that overcoming gender inequality is integral to transforming rural areas," he said. "We know that achieving sustainable agricultural development and resilience to global risks such as climate change or water scarcity would be 'mission impossible' without fully involving rural women, capitalizing on their knowledge, skills and engagement."

    During International Women's Day, IFAD's Vice President called for a "deliberate and unambiguous focus"
    on improving the lives of rural women, outlining the many challenges they face in the workforce and at home.

    Mordasini's emphasis on women and their role in improving rural communities was echoed by the other speakers as well. As Abdulla stated in his address, "There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women."

    The day's events focused on closing the gender gap in rural communities, but the messages still resonated with me.  As the experts rattled off statistics about rural women and relayed stories from the field, I found myself invested in the conversation as more than just a bystander—as a woman, I had a personal stake in this topic.

    Kostas Stamoulis, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Development Department of FAO, served as the moderator. In a welcome change from common practice, the panel was made up of four women.

    Valeria Esquivel, Economist and Gender Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO), first laid the groundwork of women's presence in the workforce. She explained that with 27% fewer chances to participate in the labour market, women are put at a disadvantage from the start.  

    The ILO predicts the proportion of people working in agriculture will decrease only slightly by 2030, dipping from 31% to 28% for women and from 28% to 24% for men. This means targeting the gender gap in rural sectors, especially in agriculture, will remain key in reducing world hunger and poverty.

    With the facts established, Marzia Fontana of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London took a closer look at the specifics of gender inequality within rural communities. She provided a list of numbers about the gender gap, but Fontana's main point was the many disadvantages rural women face, even within their own communities and households: older women might not have the education necessary to break through barriers;  mothers are obliged to sacrifice incoming-earning opportunities to take care of children and the elderly; and women rarely have access to land or resources. And women of all ages work from dawn till dusk and beyond, with a huge burden of labour that leaves them neither time nor energy to change their lives.

    Wafaa El Khoury of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division at IFAD echoed the statements of the other panellists, especially the importance of addressing the multi-dimensional problems of gender equality. What struck me most, though, was her emphasis on involving men in the process. 

    "They [men] will either be the gateway or the obstacle," she said. 

    Gender gaps in the workforce, forced responsibilities as caretakers, inadequate leadership presence—these issues are not exclusive to rural women, and in that, we can find common ground. The message that comes through time and again, however, is that only by empowering rural women will we win the battle against poverty and hunger.

    The final panellist, Enrica Porcari, Chief Information Officer and Director of IT at WFP, closed the discussion with a personal message to all the young women in the room. She told her story of finding unlikely success in the IT industry and explained how she defied the odds. Porcari listed learning the difference between confidence and competence, never compromising oneself and the importance of humility as her pillars of success. 

    "Pave the road for others who want to break the [glass] ceiling," she encouraged.

    The yellow mimosas are no longer pinned to lapels or sold on the streets, but Porcari's message still rings loudly. IFAD experts are attending the Commission on the Status of Women at the New York United Nations Headquarters from 13 to 24 March, together with representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities. The meeting will continue the discussion of women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by indigenous women. 

    One day a year is set aside to celebrate women, but the work towards gender equality is year-round.

    "If we are seriously committed to this vision, then 'step it up' means to employ every possible resource at our disposal for the cause," Mordasini said. "It means devoting ourselves to this issue not only on International Women’s Day, but every day."

    Young or old, rural or urban—no matter our differences, we all deserve an equal shot at self-fulfilment.

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    By Paolo Silveri, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Brazil

    The need to strengthen the productive and commercial capacity of family farmers in north-east Brazil, one of the poorest regions of the country, was the focus of a forum held in Recife, Brazil, from 15 to 17 March.

    The Eighth North-East and Minas Gerais Family Farming Managers Forum was organized by the knowledge-sharing programme Semear (meaning "to sow" in Portuguese), co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

    Over three days, we shared the lessons learned from IFAD-funded operations in Brazil with government representatives, civil society, the private sector and family farmers. The forum emphasized the need for the promotion of public policies that favour area-based development in the interior of the country, beyond the main cities.

    Brazil is a major agricultural and industrial power with the strongest economy in Latin America and the seventh strongest in the world. Between 2004 and 2013, the proportion of the population living in poverty decreased from 22 per cent to 8.9 per cent. However, today more than 18 million people still live below the poverty line of whom 8 million are extremely poor. In the north-east part of the country, IFAD's intervention area in Brazil, one in four people in rural areas lives in poverty and in many municipalities poverty rates are above 60 per cent, with some reaching 90 per cent.

    In order to reverse this situation and facilitate market access for small- and medium-sized cooperatives in this harsh environment, the forum agreed on the need to link technological innovation to family farming and foster specific policies, including technical assistance, extension services, production investments and financial services. Farmers' access to land was also flagged as a sine qua non for sustainable rural development.

    This Forum is one of Brazil's main platforms for public policy dialogue on rural development and for fighting poverty in the country. It also serves as a bridge among the different actors involved in decision-making in state governments and the Federal Government.

    Networking for scaling up is a key feature of IFAD's country programme in Brazil. This session of the Forum highlighted the lack of a national strategy for rural development, and the consequent need for political leaders and development workers to discuss priorities and harmonize policies across states and regions, to ensure that recent progress against poverty and in favour of smallholder farmers in north-east Brazil does not get lost due to the current economic crisis. Several development options were discussed in Recife, and an in-depth study on how to open markets for small farmers and artisans was also launched and discussed. This type of "hands-on policy dialogue" ensures harmonization and coordination through experience-sharing, originating mainly from IFAD co-financed projects.

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    Par Alice Brie
    Comment anticiper les retards de pluies et donc les épisodes de sécheresse, les inondations, en l’absence de données climatiques fiables ? Quelle variété choisir quand les pluies sont en retard ? Au Mali, où les phénomènes extrêmes s’intensifient en raison du changement climatique, l’enjeu est de taille car leurs conséquences affecteront directement la production agricole des plus pauvres. Pour s’adapter à ces évolutions climatiques déjà observées, l’un des enjeux est de permettre aux agriculteurs les plus vulnérables d’anticiper ces événements extrêmes pour mieux adapter les techniques culturales. L’approche du PAPAM[1]à travers le don ASAP[2] appuie dans ce sens les petits exploitants pour qu’ils aient un meilleur accès aux informations climatiques et météorologiques.

    ©PAPAM/village de Baliani, Région de KAYES. Au centre, Adama Tounkara, paysan observateur tenant son carnet de relevé, à sa gauche le représentant de Mali-météo et à sa droite l'agent régional en Planification de l'ASAP, chef d'antenne ASAP de Kita. Les deux paysans en retrait sont les suppléants à M. Tounkara.

    « Une perte de production agricole d’environ 17% est envisagée d’ici 2050 »

    Le Mali fait partie des pays sahéliens qui sont parmi les plus durement touchés par le changement climatique. Les évolutions observées et les prédictions des tendances conclus à une augmentation de la température moyenne sur l’ensemble du pays, à une diminution progressive de la pluviométrie et une augmentation de la fréquence et de l’ampleur des phénomènes climatiques extrêmes. Plus particulièrement sur la pluviométrie, cette diminutionest un phénomène déjà en cours puisqu’une diminution de 20% a été enregistrée de 1951-1970 à 1971-2000. Cette évolution a notamment provoqué une raréfaction des pluies au nord du pays[3]. Ce phénomène va s’amplifier dans les décades à venir. Il se caractérise par des cycles de saisons culturales raccourcis et par une installation des pluies plus tardives[4]. En outre, une perte de production agricole d’environ 17% est envisagée d’ici 2050, elle pourrait atteindre 28% si aucune action d’adaptation n’est entreprise.
    Les petits exploitants évoquent déjà une difficulté à planifier les calendriers culturaux et les mouvements de transhumance à cause d’une perte de repères par rapport à l’arrivée des pluies et à leur modèle de répartition sur la saison. Heureusement, ces impacts négatifs peuvent être atténués par la diffusion d’information agro climatique.  

    Aider les petits producteurs à prendre la meilleure décision

    Le projet ASAP-PAPAM en partenariat avec Mali-météo appuie des groupes locaux formés à l’assistance météorologique dans la production et la diffusion vers les paysans d’information sur l’évolution de la campagne agricole et agropastorale. Ces groupes locaux disséminent des pluviomètres aux producteurs et communes pour comprendre l’installation des pluies dans  bassins de production. En retour, les producteurs reçoivent par les radios locales les conseils agro-métrologiques pour prendre les meilleures décisions de date de semis ou de choix de variétés. 

    A ce jour, 750 pluviomètres ont été installés dans la zone d’intervention du projet et des paysans-observateurs et des journalistes ont été formé sur le relevé et la diffusion de l’information météorologique. Les agriculteurs participent désormais activement aux relevés pluviomètriques et leur utilisation montre de bons résultats dans l’aide à la prise à la décision. De plus en plus d’agriculteurs viennent spontanément vers le paysan-observateur pour savoir si les apports en pluie sont suffisants aux plantations ou bien pour des conseils sur le choix des variétés adaptées à la tendance climatique de l’année. 18 radios locales ont été appuyées pour la diffusion d’informations sur l’adaptation au changement climatique et pour la diffusion des résultats d’analyse de ces groupes. C’est ainsi quelque 22 000 exploitants qui peuvent maintenant bénéficier d’informations pluviométriques et près de 4000 exploitants qui bénéficient de données agro météorologique fournies par les groupes d’assistance météorologique. 

    Produire et diffuser des données météorologiques ciblées pour mieux anticiper les effets du changement climatique

    Fournir des informations crédibles et concrètes sur la météo et le climat à ces agriculteurs vulnérables a donc le potentiel d'atténuer les facteurs de risques qui menacent leurs moyens de subsistance, d'améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et leurs revenus. En fournissant des éléments sur la variation du climat et sur la pluviométrie, ces données peuvent aussi être utilisées pour l'élaboration d'approches et techniques agricoles novatrices, localement appropriées (semences améliorées, systèmes d’irrigation plus adaptés) afin de soutenir de nouveaux moyens de subsistance. Cependant, l’analyse et la diffusion de ces informations climatiques aux agriculteurs sont des processus complexes. Pour que l’information météo soit utile celle-ci doit identifier les informations les plus pertinentes pour des communautés bien ciblées. Se pose ensuite le défi de l’identification des moyens pour communiquer ces informations d'une manière appropriée à l’échelle locale. Enfin l’information météorologique ne peut être correctement utilisée que si des moyens sont mis en place pour évaluer et transmettre l’incertitude de ces mêmes informations. La prise en compte de ce degré d’incertitude permettra aux agriculteurs d’envisager plusieurs solutions en cas d’erreur de prévision. 

    [1] Projet d’amélioration de la productivité agricole au Mali.

    [2] Programme d’adaptation de l’agriculture paysanne.

    [3] Déplacement de 200 km des isohyètes au Sud déjà constaté.

    [4] Les premières pluies se déplacent progressivement de mai à aout voir même septembre pour certaines années.

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    By Nerina Muzurovic 

    Britain’s Prince of Wales visited the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 5 April 2017.

    As part of the British Royal’s visit, the Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations invited Dr Khalida Bouzar, IFAD Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, to introduce the work of IFAD in Somalia.

    “We have been investing in rural people for the last four decades – targeting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the most remote areas,” Dr Bouzar said, after greeting His Royal Highness. “IFAD’s investments have so far reached about 464 million people.”

    Almost half of IFAD’s ongoing operations are in fragile and conflict-affected countries like Somalia, she added, where IFAD has supported 9 programmes since the 1980s for a total cost of US$140 million and an outreach of 1.8 million people.

    In places like Somalia, IFAD’s work is more important than ever, she said. “Many activities designed and financed by IFAD in such areas have proved to be resilient to conflict and still continue.”

    Noting that the United Kingdom has demonstrated active leadership in raising awareness of the current food crisis in Somalia, she added, “Our experience shows that even in the most challenging circumstances, investment can bring about positive change in the lives of poor people.”

    One good example of positive change brought about under challenging circumstances is the IFAD-financed North-Western Integrated Community Development Programme (Phase II), which ran despite a devastating drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia from 2010 to 2015. The programme reached 1.4 million beneficiaries, of whom 40 per cent were women. Working with 124 communities in 9 districts, this programme focused on improving farming in areas where water is scarce.

    Among other measures, the programme helped introduce 15 sand storage dams to hold and absorb floodwater. These dams replenished water sources and allowed people to farm profitably in a community where, previously, water scarcity caused frequent disputes. The Prince of Wales noted that he was familiar with sand storage dams, having seen them in India.

    In addition to empowering communities, the sand dams had a markedly positive impact on local women’s lives. “With this project, we see how resilience, security and gender empowerment go hand in hand,” noted Dr Bouzar. “In the village of Aada, for example, a woman herder told us, ‘we used to walk long distances, sometimes the whole day to get water. Now fetching water is easy; in just a few minutes we have water for washing, cooking and cleaning. And a lot of women have become interested in farming.’”
    Speaking before the British Royal, Dr Bouzar also introduced two new IFAD projects in Somalia. The first, co-financed by the Italian Development Cooperation, is aimed at irrigation needs in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle region. The second, funded by a regional grant covering Djibouti and Somalia, will provide technology for enhanced farming, rangelands, and watershed management.

    Famine begins and ends in rural areas, which is why measures like resilience building, strengthening livelihoods, and keeping animals alive are key. With an eye to the future, IFAD is currently also using climate modelling to carry out climate change vulnerability mapping, along with the World Food Programme (WFP), to assess effects on smallholder agriculture in Somalia.

    “Sustainable rural development can be a potent stabilizing force—which is why we have established “FARMS, ”the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability,” Dr Bouzar concluded. “We believe tools like FARMS are powerful means of change in places like Somalia, where there are currently 1.1 million internally displaced people.” Giving people the ability to feed their children today is crucial, but it is also of paramount importance that we help the rural poor to secure sustenance for future generations. To accomplish this, IFAD plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and long-term development.

    Despite ongoing conflict in the region, where security remains a problem, IFAD’s work in Somalia will not slacken, she said. At present, new collaboration is being planned with the Italian Development Cooperation to address food insecurity in the country’s Puntland area.

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    IFAD brought together leading experts on migration and remittances in the historical city of Perugia to look at why migrants matter, both in Italy and back home.

    Over 80 attendees, including students and journalists, gathered to hear top experts discuss issues around migration and remittances at the panel session, Money Talks - Why Migrants Matter at the International Journalism Festival, the largest annual media event in Europe.

    Over 80 people attended the session "Money Talks - Why Migrants Matter" at the International Journalism Festival
    The panel of experts included: Adolfo Brizzi, the director in the Office of the Associate Vice President at IFAD; Charito Basa, the founder of the Filipino Women's Council(FWC) and Leon Isaacs the CEO of Developing Markets Associates. Moderating the event was Karima Moual, an award-winning journalist, whose writing and reporting focuses on the Arab World, Middle East policy, Islamic issues and immigration/migration.

    The panel discussed the impact money from remittances has on local economies. Last year, 250 million international migrants sent almost half a trillion US dollars back to their communities in developing countries, 40 per cent of which – around US$200 billion – reached rural areas.

    "Migrants’ money represents a critical lifeline for millions of households,  helping families raise their living standards above subsistence and vulnerability levels while investing in health, education, housing as well as entrepreneurial activities," said Adolfo Brizzi, Director in the Office of the Associate Vice President at IFAD. "Remittances can reunite families, promote development and slow migration. In Italy for example, migrants send back home about 25 per cent of their earnings, while 75 per cent stays in the country – this is contributing to the country’s GDP and is a win-win situation all round.”

    Remittances also offer other opportunities, in particular, "remittances are a great possibility for investment, as they give the opportunity to rebuild rural communities and stabilize families, " said Charito Basa, the founder of the Filipino Women's Council  (FWC). Basa is an economic migrant herself whose reason to come to Italy was to help her family back home.

    IFAD estimates that one in ten people originating from a developing country either sends or receives international – or domestic – remittances. Although remittances are critical for communities in developing countries, there is always a risk when sending money.

    According to Leon Isaacs, CEO of Developing Markets Associates, migrants lack financial protection when making these transfers:

    "To transfer money, different countries implement different laws for the legal and informal migrants,” Isaacs noted. “There is a danger for everybody that wants to transfer money, especially in countries where there isn't a well-developed financial system, if a legal migrant transfers money, they have some sort of protection, but an informal migrant has none, and the country on the receiving end also needs information for its use".

    The panel later opened to questions from the audience. One, in particular, addressed the role of women within migration and remittances. 

    "Women are great factors of stability due to their remittances, as a majority of international migrants that send money back to their communities in developing countries are women," said Karima Moual, the moderator of the panel.

    The panel wrapped up with an interesting view on remittances  mentioned by Adolfo Brizzi is that it might be a way to halt migration, after all, who really wants to leave their home, their country when they are able to live and work there.

    Over the last ten years, IFAD has given rural people and communities more options to invest their money and create opportunities for business development and employment in approximately 40 developing countries by piloting over 50 programmes. Learn more about our work with remittances here.

    Watch IFAD's Rome to Home video to learn more about migrant remittances.

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    By Elisabeth Steinmayr & Steven Jonckheere

    "It is important, when so much effort is being put into irrigation infrastructure and a lot of opportunities are created by a project, to make sure that people can actually benefit from it. We have built the infrastructure and are now aiming at maximizing the impact."

    This is what Doro Niang, one of the local champions of Maghama in Mauritania, said with regard to the use of land developed through an IFAD project. We met Doro Niang during the 10-day Learning Route on Securing Land and Water Rights in Senegal and Mauritania from 6 to 16 March 2017, orga-nized by Procasur with technical support from IPAR (Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale) under the IFAD grant project Strengthening Capacities and Tools to Scale Up and Disseminate Innovations.

    The importance of land and water in contributing to the increase of agricultural production, income, health and sustainable land use have separately been recognized, however, little is understood about their interface. The intricacies of land and water governance are only beginning to be understood. Securing access by rural poor people to land and water rights is key to reducing extreme poverty and hunger, since land and water are among the most important assets that poor rural women and men have.

    From Dakar to Maghama and back – the Learning Route 

    Procusar took up the challenging task to organize a Learning Route with 22 participants from 9 countries (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone), crossing the border, and thus the river Senegal twice, travelling 1.800 km by bus and car, giving us the possibility to meet with 250 crop and livestock farmers, project coordinators and local champions, translating at times into four different languages.

     The participants, mainly IFAD supported project and government staff, and the team of the Learning Route, made up of Procasur, IPAR and IFAD staff, met up on 6 March in the IFAD office in Dakar for the kick-off workshop, already having in mind the three objectives of the learning experience: Besides learning more about the methodology of the Learning Route, the participants, all working in the field of land and water governance, also shared their previous experience in the thematic areas, the issues their projects are dealing with and the learning needs and objectives they had identified for themselves.
    Participant Mato Maman talking about land tenure security in Niger

    Land use and allocation plan in Diama 

    The day after we embarked on our trip and drove from Dakar north to the region of Saint Louis where are first visit introduced us to the community of Diama. In the region, rich in land and water resources, irrigated agriculture, flood recession farming, and rain-fed agriculture are practiced. The community had been part of the Support Programme for Rural Communities of the Senegal River Valley (PACR-VFS) (2008 - 2015), supported by the French Development Agency and the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project (IWRM) (2009-2015), and supported by the Millennium Challenge Cooperation. The local champions and community members introduced us to two innovative tools meant to complement institutional arrangements and correct shortcomings of the land legislation:

    Land use and allocation plans (POAS) 

    The POAS, which development are undertaken in an inclusive and participatory way, identify land use zones, giving priority to activities without excluding others (residential zones, pastoral zones, agro-pastoral zones etc.) The plans essentially consist of rules governing the management of space and natural resources, an organizational framework for decision-making and M&E, and mapping tools. The POAS are legally binding and can be enforced.

    Land use and allocation plan in Diama

    Land information system (SIF) 

    The SIF is a set of principles governing the collection, processing, use and storage of data on the occupation of public land, which informs decision-making. It allows to document three dimensions of land tenure: "who? and how?" by carrying out socio-economic land tenure surveys; “where?" by mapping and a plot numbering strategy. The system is made up of registration procedures, a land allocation map, land administration forms, a register with requests for land allocations, a land regis-ter, and can be managed autonomously by the local authority. Beyond land allocations management, the SIF coupled with the POAS allows a gradual improvement of local territorial and land policy, through a clarification of geographic and land tenure information. The inclusive and participatory approaches used by the community of Diama foster good local governance, democratic processes and representative decision-making. After having spent a very interesting day and a half in Diama, including delicious local food, dance performances and a theatre play by the local youth to celebrate the International Women's day on 8 March, our next destination was Maghama in Mauritania. Our drive took us from Rosso to Kaedi where we spent the night, and allowed for a short stop-over and half-day workshop in M'bout and PASK II where we learnt about the challenges faced when developing land agreements (entente fonciere). The land agreements there are social agreements and are not legally binding: through a territory-centred approach and a consultative process, groups of producers agree on the use of the land. The many hours of driving finally brought us to Maghama, where we were overwhelmed by the welcoming and hospitality of the local community.

    Entente Fonciere in Maghama 

    When the IFAD-supported Maghama Improved Flood Recession Farming Project (PACDM) (2002 – 2009) was being designed in the 1990's, it was noted that families with a weak status in the in the community would not have been able to access and benefit from the 9000 ha of land that were to be developed. This is why IFAD made the establishment of the entente fonciere, the land agree-ment, a pre-requisite for its funding. The agreement that was then developed in a long consultative process is based on three key principles: justice, solidarity and efficiency.

    Field visit it Maghama

    What was interesting for all participants was the establishment of the National Coordination, an informal body with representatives of all villages in the Walo (flood recession farming area). Those representatives were natives from the villages, but resided in the capital. Their role was to facilitate the negotiation phase of the agreement while also defending the interests of the beneficiaries during the period of drafting and signing the protocols of the agreement with the State. Not only the learning opportunity was unique in Maghama – far away from hotels and guesthouses we had the chance the live with the community for three days, stay in people's houses, eat delicious food and enjoy an evening of theatre and music performances. Another drive and adventurous boat ride took us then to our last stop in Matam, and thus back to Senegal.

    One household, one hectare & pastoral units in Matam/Senegal 

    The Agricultural development project of Matam (PRODAM) in Senegal is supported by the West African Development Bank (scaling up of former IFAD-supported project (2003 – 2011)). PRODAM contributed to improving land tenure security by supporting the one household, one hec-tare-principle for allocation of land in village irrigation schemes and the establishment of pastoral units responsible for the management of pastoral resources. In order to guarantee land access in the irrigated areas to returnees and dispossessed people, PRODAM facilitated a regrouping and redistribution of land amongst all families effectively living in the village. Each household could receive only one irrigated plot of up to one hectare, the size of which was calculated on the basis of their operating capacity. By facilitating access to land for returnees and dispossessed people the project hoped to improve their socio-economic situation. Special attention was also given to ensure that also women were recognised as land owners.

    Participants and local champions discussing village irrigation schemes

    PRODAM has also supported pastoral units to ensure good rangeland management, improve access to water and reduce pressure on the grazing lands. A pastoral unit is made up of a group of localities that - given their economic interests, historical ties and physical proximity - share the same pastoral and agricultural areas and use the same water points.

    What did we learn? 

    Once back in Dakar we spent one last day together in the IFAD office, holding a wrap-up workshop. This very instructive learning experience left us with some main conclusions: In many cases, water rights become operationalized through user organizations. Ensuring that women, smallholders, livestock keepers, or other poor and marginalized water users are represented in these organizations is an important step to strengthening their water rights. However this is often difficult because of overt resistance from those who do not want to share water rights and decision-making, or because of social challenges of including marginalized groups in local organizations. With irrigation becoming an increasingly private investment, access to capital becomes a determining factor for access to water and land for vulnerable groups.

    Participants from Nigeria and Sierra Leone are discussing the take-aways from the Maghama case

     Participants from Nigeria and Sierra Leone are discussing the take-aways from the Maghama case. Officially-recognized rights help ensure that their holders have a “seat at the table” in discussions about further water development or land use changes that may impinge on their rights. Joint plan-ning and modelling of water resource development with government agencies and different user groups helps to put this into practice, but it may require strengthening the capacity of both the agencies and the users. There is no single, optimal property right system for irrigations systems—in developing countries or elsewhere. Rather, we need a range of options and the understanding necessary to be able to tailor them to their (ever-changing) physical and institutional context. This, however, requires that enough time is dedicated to understanding the local context and reaching a consensus through an open and inclusive dialogue.

    What's next? 

    During the learning journey the participants had worked on their own innovation plans, aimed at replicating innovations in their country/organizations/projects, and the last day provided the space to present the first drafts of these plans and to give a first round of peer-to-peer feed-back. It is important to put enough effort in projects dealing with land and water issues in irrigation schemes into joint planning and modelling of water resource development, promoting more equitable access to water and irrigated land, addressing the issue of access to capital. At the same time we should step up our efforts of documenting and sharing the experiences of IFAD-supported projects in dealing with land issues. This Learning Route and a paper written on the three cases for the 2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty are a first step in the right direction. The end of the Learning Route left all participants tired but satisfied and inspired. It is now up to all of us to capitalize on this experience and support the implementation of the ambitious innovation plans. And since after the game is before the game, Procasur and IFAD are already starting to think about the next Learning Route on land tenure – we'll let you know more about it soon.

    The Learning Route team – happy about the success of the route © Veronica Wijaya

    Useful links 

    • Subscribe to the IFAD Land Tenure Newsletter
    • Inclusive land and water governance: Experiences from Mauritania and Senegal: Paper on the three cases of the Learning Route by Steven Jonckheere, IFAD for paper written on the three cases for the 2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty
    • Procasur
    • IPAR

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