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    by Eugenia Stefanelli Martín, Raphael Seiwald and Eloisa de Villalobos 

    Last week the AVANTI – Advancing Knowledge for Agricultural Impact initiative was officially launched as a side event of IFAD's Executive Board. Member State representatives, IFAD staff and others attended the event to find out more about the new AVANTI initiative and how it can contribute to governments' capacities in managing for development results through increased M&E capacities and systems.

    So… what is AVANTI?

    AVANTI is an initiative that works with national partners to facilitate systematic self-assessments of country capacities to manage for results in the rural sector. Its objective is to facilitate better government decision-making for rural policies and strategies through improvements in areas like monitoring and evaluation, leadership, planning, statistics and sharing of good practices. AVANTI started in early 2018 for a three-year period and will work in up to 20 countries across all IFAD regions.

    … And how does AVANTI contribute to achieving IFAD's mandate and the broader Sustainable Development Goals?

    The objective of AVANTI is to promote better government decision making for rural policies and programmes, by enhancing the ability of national monitoring and evaluation systems to capture progress achieved against the SDGs.

    It is clear that without adequate in-country results-based management and M&E capacities and systems in place, achieving and tracking development outcomes is challenging. This is why the international community is increasingly focusing on this. However, there are currently no systematic efforts (or standardized tools) to measure country capacities for results-based management in agriculture. This makes it difficult to understand which capacities there are in place, where the gaps are, and how to strengthen what exists in order to promote sustainable development.

    This is why IFAD has sponsored this new initiative, to support countries that are working on improving their M&E systems for the agricultural sector. Using facilitated self-assessment tools, participants from government agencies will deepen their understanding of the challenges, success factors and open questions existing around M&E, focusing particularly on areas such as leadership, planning, statistics and sharing of good practices. These assessments will then serve as the basis for the development of national Action Plans for strengthening rural sector M&E capacities and systems. These Plans, in turn, are expected to lead to better development results and improved value for money in terms of returns on investments.

    There are less than 12 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and given the current global context, we know that a business-as-usual approach will not work. According to the 2018 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 821 million people were undernourished last year, with hunger being on the rise for the third year in a row. We have to not only scale up efforts to achieve food security, but also make them more effective and more sustainable – now and over the medium-term.

    ©IFAD/Daniele Bianchi

    The experts' view

    During the launch event, we heard the enriching insights from a panel of experts from different fields (representatives from governments, donors, partners of other international organisations, NGOs and international development consultancies) telling us about their experiences, challenges in their day-to-day activities and suggested ways forward. We had the opportunity hear from H.E. Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, Minister of Livestock of the Republic of Senegal, how initiatives like AVANTI can contribute to strengthening governments' abilities to deliver and achieve greater development results, through the strengthening of their manging, monitoring and reporting abilities. In particular, the Minister highlighted how AVANTI can contribute to create a coalition of champions, through the development of national Action Plans with clear priorities that are available to partners and donors for synergies and coordinated support.

    These statements were supported by other panellists, like Oscar Garcia, Director of IFAD's Independent Office of Evaluation, and Bernard Woods, Director of Results Management and Aid Effectiveness division. They both agreed on the need to strengthen the institutional framework and greater demand of M&E capacities and systems, and pledged for initiatives like AVANTI that are another step in the right direction.

    Lastly, we heard from Annette Kolff, Director of International Programmes at HELVETAS and Ethel Sibanda, Principal Consultant at Itad and AVANTI Ag-Scan lead, both representatives of the AVANTI implementing partners. It was crucial to hear about the importance of involving all stakeholders, including civil society and farmers' organisations, in development projects, and of AVANTI's potential of creating stakeholder platforms. Country ownership was also pledged as a fundamental pillar of AVANTI's approach in the countries and as a key factor contributing to greatest in-country results.

    The panel and final Q&A discussion was truly engaging and the interest showed by colleagues in the room and online demonstrates the relevance and opportunity for initiatives like AVANTI.

    Way forward

    Fulfilling the promise of Agenda 2030 will require all of us to be more creative and innovative. That includes developing – and using – better tools to manage for results and to measure our progress. AVANTI represents a small, but important, contribution to this agenda.

    IFAD, together with HELVETAS and Itad, has taken the lead on setting up AVANTI. Governments and partners are welcomed to ensure that these efforts are sustainable by showing their commitment and support.

    To find out more about AVANTI visit:

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    A mangrove preservation and ecotourism development site in Pintu Kota, Lembeh Island, North Sulawesi.    ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Wetlands are land areas that are flooded with water, either seasonally or permanently. They may divided into three main categories: marine and coastal wetlands, inland wetlands, and man-made wetlands.

    Wetlands greatly contribute to nature and humankind through economic and ecological services, as described below:

    Economic services: many societies rely on wetlands for their livelihoods. They are home to indigenous peoples and a natural source of livelihoods for their communities by providing them with drinking water, energy, fisheries, agriculture, transport, recreation, cultural values and tourism.

    Ecological services: wetlands greatly contribute to regulate climate and maintain ecosystems and biodiversity: plants in swamps absorb pollutants, mangroves store carbon, lakes and underground aquifers are a crucial source of water, and coral reefs protect coastlines from wave action and serve as shelter for marine organisms.

    However, wetlands are at risk due to human-induced factors. Estimates show that at least 64 per cent of wetlands have been lost since 1900 and around 87 per cent since 1700. Moreover, 76 per cent of populations of freshwater plants and animals have disappeared in the last 40 years.

    Human-induced factors threatening wetlands include:
    • Agriculture: globally, agriculture accounts for 65 per cent of the total water withdrawal on Earth; 
    • Industry: paper making, beverage production and other industries consume significant amounts of water; 
    • Climate change: while raising sea level swamps shallow wetlands, desertification has put in risk other wetlands like estuaries and floodplains; 
    • Dams: More than half of all large river systems have been fragmented by human dam building, with the more than 45,000 large dams worldwide obstructing two-thirds of all freshwater flows. 
    The Convention on Wetlands is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971, also called the "Ramsar Convention", it came into force in 1975. Since then, 169 countries – or almost 90 per cent of UN member states – from all of the world’s geographic regions have become “Contracting Parties” of the treaty.

    The Convention's 4th Strategic Plan 2016–2024 urges its members to address and engage the drivers behind pressures on wetlands, such as unsustainable agriculture, forestry and extractive industries – especially oil, gas and mining.

    In September, IFAD was pleased to host a lecture by Ms María Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, who spoke about the key issues, benefits and challenges involving wetlands.

    In recent years, Ms Rivera has contributed to the implementation of the Convention in the Neotropics, both in her position as Technical Officer at the Ramsar regional initiative office in Panama (CREHO), and before that in her work at the Ministry of the Environment in Colombia.

    At IFAD, Ms Rivera advocated for more coordinated actions and sustainable practices in line with the Ramsar Convention. As an example of these, she mentioned the Ramsar regional initiatives, which support cooperation and capacity-building on wetland-related issues in specific regions or sub-regions.

    Upcoming opportunity 

    The 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) will be held from 21 to 29 October 2018 in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The theme will be Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future.

    Ms Rivera highlighted that the upcoming conference will be a good opportunity to convene the mangrove community, address progress and encourage more commitments in regards to the conservation of wetlands.

    During the conference, the report Global Wetlands Outlook: State of the World's Wetlands and their Services to People will be released.

    In addition, 26 resolutions are expected to be approved, aiming to promote policy links, implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sustainable cities, regional initiatives visibility and awareness raising of wetlands values.

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    The training was provided by Andrew MacPherson, an international agribusiness consultant for IFAD and a farmer with extensive experience in the field of agriculture production and marketing. The role that market access alliances play in providing access to markets and services, such as credit and transport and the preparation of business plans, were the key topics covered during the workshop.

    From left to right: Mr Andrew MacPherson, international agribusiness consultant for IFAD and farmer; Mr Halefom, PASIDP II agribusiness specialist from Tigray region (translating). 
    Since start-up, PASIDP II has been struggling with the implementation of its second component, which aims at strengthening the capacity of farmers supported under the programme to establish effective linkages and collaboration with other actors in the value chains as a way to access markets, finance and appropriate technologies. Following the second supervision and implementation support mission, IFAD has provided technical assistance to the implementing team, providing them with the intended model and tools for supporting local stakeholders to set up their market access alliances (MAAs) with business plans.

    MAAs, which are organized either at Woreda or Kebele level, are comprised of farmers’ cooperatives, service providers (e.g. input suppliers, aggregators, exporters), representatives of lead farmers in each of the beneficiary Kebeles located in each region, regional youth/women representatives, representatives of the regional bureaus of agriculture, representatives of the regional bureaus of trade, and the regional PASIDP II agribusiness specialists. 

    The mission supported a series of stakeholder meetings, in three of the four regions where PASIDP II operates, between 27 August and 7 September 2018. These aimed to provide practical and hands-on guidance to the nascent MAAs on how these can create linkages with markets, credit providers and other service providers as well as on the preparation of business plans by farmers. This exercise also intended to demonstrate the modalities of training to the PASIDP Agribusiness personnel at both Federal and Regional levels.

    During the training it was apparent that all farmers were most interested in producing for the market. There were no exceptions to this, demonstrating the need for farmers to produce for income, as opposed to producing for household consumption. Aside from the enthusiastic reception of the concepts covered during the workshop, it was found that the chairperson of the MAAs was a public employee, and not a commercial member of the value chains. This presents a potential conflict of interest, whereby the chairperson would not be affected by commercial decisions made. This was highlighted as a point of improvement to be considered by the members of the MAAs. 

    During the sessions on business plan preparation it was made clear that adequate payments for provision of water should be made to and kept by irrigation water users associations organized by the programme as a means of ensuring that there was sufficient funding to cater for actual operations, maintenance and replacement costs. This calls for a proper communication of actual water costs to farmers prior to or during scheme construction and the incorporation of these costs in farmers’ business plans. 

    The mission was concluded by sharing analytical planning tools and training materials to the federal and regional agribusiness specialists of PASIDP II to allow these to organize similar workshops in the future in other irrigation schemes of the program. The training tools included a graphic depiction of the rationale and role of the MAAs and on the ethics of value chain operations, a farm business plan model, and a farmers’ cooperative business plan model. The latter helps farmers’ cooperatives to assess their production costs, cost of sales, return of labour, as well as basic sensitivity analyses, enabling them to plan their production and marketing in a business-like fashion. 

    The ICO has worked with BMGF and AGRA to develop a collaboration and mobilize a grant to scale up the model to about four locations in each region, which are intended to serve as model locations for learning and further replication during programme implementation. 

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    "I have a dream. It is that all IFAD projects incorporate household methodologies in their activities. I really hope we can work together towards this".

    On this note, ECG Director Margarita Astralaga opened the ECG-NEN knowledge event Household methodologies for gender transformation and project effectiveness. The Kyrgyzstan experience, organized on 19 September 2018 at IFAD HQ. During this event IFAD and partners talked about the positive outcomes that household methodologies (HHM) can bring about in terms of gender equality and project effectiveness.

    The field practitioner, Asel Kuttubaeva, from the service provider Community Development Alliance (CDA) walked us through achievements and challenges of the HHM pilot in Kyrgyzstan, one of the few experiences outside sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2016, IFAD has been supporting the roll out of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) - the most comprehensive household methodology (HHM) - in Kyrgyzstan, in the context of the Joint programme Accelerating progress towards rural women economic empowerment (JP RWEE), a joint initiative by FAO, IFAD, UN Women and WFP.

    Until now, GALS is being used by more than 3,500 JP RWEE participants and their families in the four regions of the project: Osh, Jalalabad, Naryn and Chui. It was used to strengthen existing self-help groups and enable their participants to make better use of viable resources to increase agricultural production or engage in off-farm micro entrepreneurship activities. "Thanks to GALS, women's developed self-confidence and motivation to change’’, Asel explained. ‘’They became able to negotiate workloads with family members and discuss about their future and their dreams. This resulted in improved planning skills for the family and ability of women to engage in new income generating activities’’.

    The moderator, Ndaya Beltchika, IFAD Lead Technical Specialist on gender and social inclusion, teased out these key GALS/HHM aspects.

    Gender transformative results
    GALS is a powerful strategy to bring about gender transformation in different socio-economic setting and can be a very effective way to deliver on IFAD 11 target to have at least 25 per cent of gender transformative projects. Family members jointly analyse their economic and wellbeing situation, and plan for a better future of each member. GALS in Kyrgyzstan helped to challenge existing gender-based practices within the household. Men took up tasks that were used to be considered women-only and women gained support to engage in different economic activities. GALS also helped existing self-help groups of women to better plan for their future, revise internal governance mechanisms and decide over services they want to provide to members.

    Suitable for different technical interventions
    GALS was delivered through self-help groups managed by UN Women – another JP RWEE partner. The methodology helped women to take better advantage of economic opportunities supported by other agencies: women developed better business plans to access revolving funds, scope market opportunities in a more realistic way and gain intra-household support to engage in new activities – either by catalysing family saving or reallocating workloads to free up more time.

    This shows how HHM/GALS can be integrated in a variety of technical interventions for development: support to entrepreneurship, value chain development, rural finance, natural resource management and so on.

    The Kyrgyzstan pilot is the first GALS in Central Asia. This methodology was developed in Eastern Africa in a very different socio-economic context - with very different development challenges. Yet, it proved to be a very adaptive methodology and it was easily transferred to the Kyrgyz context and the development interventions of the Joint Programme RWEE. Mikael Kauttu, IFAD Country Programme Manager with long-lasting experience in the country claimed that, "Kyrgyz institutions are quite strong and are good interlocutors for development. They are promising entry points for ownership and upscaling of GALS practices on the national territory".

    Accelerator of development results
    Beatrice Gerli, gender and social inclusion consultant, presented GALS/HHM achievements highlighted by the JP RWEE midterm external evaluation, conducted in March 2018.

    GALS Increased overall project effectiveness in achieving better livelihoods, increased income, food security and leadership role of participating women through solidarity economic models - like self-help groups and economic groups.

    The evaluation revealed the following change model. When women start engaging in income generating activities, they still have to take care of domestic tasks, leading to overwork and less time for leisure. With GALS women make more accurate business plans, realize their needs and dreams and their husbands realize the value of domestic work and start contributing. As a result, women engage in income-generating activities and got more time for themselves.

    Change maps created by women beneficiaries included statements indicating that women now enjoyed higher status in the family, more equal distribution of domestic tasks with their husbands and had more time for themselves. "After using GALS, happiness is around", said Asel smiling.

    This interesting experience provides food for thought for IFAD operations in Kyrgyzstan, where there is potential for additional scale up and integration with investment projects – both in the country and neighbouring ones. The JP RWEE is now committed to support 700 additional rural women and men to use GALS, extending its scope to new communities in an additional region. UN Women itself has adopted this methodology to support its programme to prevent gender based violence in Kyrgyzstan.

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    By Oscar Garcia, Director, Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD

    The evaluation criteria developed by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 1991 influenced the practice of evaluation in a significant way. Relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact are amply used, validated and recognized internationally. They are a cornerstone of the global architecture to evaluate development assistance and have been instrumental to improve accountability and learning. The standardized approach allows for aggregation and meta-analysis. What is interesting about the evaluation criteria is their broad applicability. They are useful to assess development interventions in any sector, in health, education, industry, trade, social protection, energy or agriculture.

    After many decades of use, the evaluation criteria need some updates. There are three main sources of criticism. The first one comes from the limited scope, arguing that the criteria were developed with projects in mind. Currently, more complex development interventions are needed in policies, programmes or strategies to achieve the expected development outcomes such as eradicating extreme poverty, adapting to climate change or ending hunger. In other words, how the evaluation criteria can be useful in more complex development contexts, adopting a systemic approach. The second one refers to the definitions and their need to be updated, for instance, on the different dimensions of relevance. The third one comes from the rigid application of criteria that may highjack their potential to be used in a variety of contexts. The use of criteria without sufficient consideration of the context in which the evaluation takes place, has been identified as a constraint.

    What needs to be done? The OECD DAC evaluation criteria can be kept as they are; be transformed, including by updating their definitions; or be expanded, by adding new criteria.

    I am in favour of a combination of transforming them and adding new criteria. The OECD DAC evaluation criteria should continue orienting the evaluation practice and I would not question the importance of keeping them. I would simply adjust the definition of relevance to include the dimension of the appropriateness of design and would be more explicit on the indicators to measure efficiency. The main proposal I have, however, is to add a new criterion.

    I propose to add coverage as an evaluation criterion to assess development assistance. Coverage was previously developed by ALNAP as part of the evaluation criteria for humanitarian action. It was understood as the extent to which major population groups were reached by humanitarian action.

    In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where the ambitious goals demand to reach out to marginalized groups of population in order to eradicate poverty, end hunger and spread prosperity, the disaggregated data on every development initiative needs to come clearly to the fore. Based on IFAD's experience, identifying more clearly the target population and their differentiated needs, which may include indigenous peoples, pastoralists, people with disabilities, women or youth, improves the soundness of the interventions. Adding coverage to the set of evaluation criteria would allow to respond to the political economy question of who benefits and who loses from the development interventions. It has the advantage of universal application. Who benefited from the initiative can be asked in every sector and would be valid according to the initiatives' objectives. Which population groups were reached out and which were left out will answer, in a standardized and systematic way, one of the main concerns about the Agenda 2030, namely to not leave anyone behind.

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    ©IFAD/ Guy Stubbs

    The world faces the huge and complex task of providing healthy and accessible food for a population projected to reach 10 billion in 2050 while reducing agriculture's environmental and climate impacts, and improving rural livelihoods.

    Tackling these challenges requires a systemic approach, states Alexander Müller, lead author of TEEB for Agriculture & Food: Scientific and Economic Foundations, a study addressing the core issues involving the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

    Food production has successfully been increased over the years as new agricultural technologies have augmented crop yields and productivity, but many environmental and social impacts have not received appropriate attention. These are crucial for achieving sustainable development and ensuring a more liveable world for the upcoming generations.

    During a talk at IFAD HQ this week, Müller highlighted that hidden costs and benefits in eco-agri-food systems are rarely captured in conventional economic analyses because they focus on goods and services that are traded in markets.

    For instance, a hidden cost of food systems is their climate footprint, estimated (along the value chain) at between 24 and 57 per cent of anthropogenic global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, a hidden benefit is that food systems (including small-scale agriculture) employ more people than any other economic sector – agriculture employs 1.5 billion people worldwide.

    A systems approach looks along entire food value chains and reveals many significant but economically invisible or non-market stocks and flows. These stocks and flows may be unpriced and not incorporated in macro-economic modelling – including Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – because they are unrecorded inputs to production, or because they are considered “externalities”.

    Müller and other experts advocate for more holistic assessments in order to enable a transformation towards sustainable food systems.

    India's state of Andhra Pradesh, for example, is trying to eliminate chemicals in agriculture. Instead of just focusing on food production, the government has launched a scale-out plan to transition six million farms/farmers to 100 per cent chemical-free agriculture by 2024. This is an unprecedented transformation towards sustainable agriculture at such a massive scale.

    As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, eco-agri-food systems are comprehensive and offer interconnected elements, all of which need to be addressed simultaneously.

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  • 10/17/18--07:28: Terra Madre 2018

  • Guaraná sticks as traditionally prepared by the Sateré Mawé people, that first discovered Guaraná and is today one of the major producers of the performance enhancing plant. The Sateré Mawé peoples is part of the Slow Food Network and youth representatives take part in the IFAD supported Indigenous Peoples Terra Madre Youth Network.

    Jacilene is a member of the Sateré Mawé Slow Food Presidium. She was helping to sell her peoples natural products in the Terra Madre Event. She is a youth leader in her tribe and wants to contribute to preserve the traditional knowledge of her people. 

    Capacity building and south-south exchanges about indigenous youth , innovations and drivers in the Terra Madre Arena. Rahul Antao from IFADs youth team contributes to the panel discussions stressing the pollination of knowledge needed at a global scale. With the aim to inspire others each participant lifted their own positive experiences, but also described the challenges. Concluding that indigenous youth can be the drivers of change.

    A private collection of beans of different varieties was exhibited in the food fair. This was one out of many examples of how seeds and variety of seeds was put forth among the participants. 

    Experiences and visions were shared among the participants from far distant geographical locations and levels. In this panel indigenous representatives from Latin America, Asia, Scandinavia and Africa took part. The participant in green skirt is Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the Kankana-ey Igorot ethnicity in Philippines. She is also the UN Special Rapporteur of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Being a Mecca for food enthusiasts Terra Madre delivered a large variety of types of foodstuff and flavours. In the picture is a variety of types of artisanal mustard produced by small scale producers. 

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  • 10/18/18--05:50: GO WHERE THE GRASS IS GREEN
  • By Oliver Mundy

    Kyrgyzstan has a unique problem: it has an abundance of rich high-alpine summer pastures, but these are hard to reach. Roads and buildings from the Soviet time have deteriorated. Other herding societies witnessing an ever-decreasing area of pastures might envy such a challenge.

    IFAD's Livestock and Market Development Projects I and II, with the support of ASAP funding, aim to strengthen the traditional “transhumant” system where herders move with their animals to the high mountains over the summer months. The two projects work with over 300 pasture user unions who receive training and can submit grant proposals for small projects. Over 20,000 villagers have participated in trainings and in selecting over 1,400 micro projects.

    No livestock? A local pasture committee in Naryn put a five-year grazing ban on 9,500 ha of heavily degraded pastures, allowing the vegetation to recover
    The projects are helping the pasture user unions to rehabilitate livestock shelters, water troughs, housing for herders, and roads. Their locations are being monitored through an online map. The infrastructure gives herders better access to and better management options for both old and new pastures. It also provides them with more options to react to changing conditions – in particular to bad weather induced or worsened by climate change. Livestock mobility and flexible management practices are key for climate change adaptation in pastoral systems.

    The pasture user unions are reporting rising livestock numbers and better pastures thanks to access to new areas. Livestock are valuable assets that help to overcome poverty.

    While summer pastures are abundant, spring and autumn – and in particular winter – pastures are the bottleneck. They are vulnerable to degradation. The herders’ current strategy to relieve grazing pressure by using new pastures will become ineffective as soon as there are too many livestock that remain on spring and winter pastures waiting for the snow at higher elevations to melt. Without a meaningful change in stewardship practices, the problem of degradation is only postponed and may even worsen.

    The pastures user unions are increasingly becoming aware of this problem. The projects advocate pasture rotation, increased fodder production, measures to prevent erosion and focus on increasing productivity per animal. Pasture user unions with good leadership have the capacity to enforce better management practices. One union in the northern Naryn region is successfully imposing a five-year grazing ban on 9,500 ha heavily degraded pastures.

    Other institutions are also heading the right way. One of the implementing partners of the project, the Kyrgyz Association of Pasture Users’ Union, received an award from the International Land Coalition in September this year for its successful approach of helping pasture user unions to locally manage ecosystems sustainably.

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    Food security and climate change are inextricably interlinked, and policy-makers and experts can and should work for more integrated approaches addressing both. That is the main takeaway from a side event on Wednesday 17 October, during the 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), in Rome.

    The link can be explained through two ways – agriculture both influence and is influenced by climate change. Agriculture is highly sensitive to temperature increases and variability in precipitation patterns, which makes food production very susceptible to climate change; and it also contributes to climate change as the sector is causing 10-12 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Wednesday’s debate was motivated by a call made last year at CFS 44 encouraging the CFS to be more closely involved with the international climate agenda. The event was organized by the UN Rome-based Agencies – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) – together with the Government of New Zealand.

    The IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5°C (October 2018) shows that the most optimistic predictions of 1.5°C global warming present very significant challenges to maintaining food security in the most vulnerable regions. Crop yields, their nutritional value as well as availability and access will be adversely affected by climate change. Responding to and addressing the risks and challenges posed by climate change for food and nutrition security therefore requires very urgent action.

    Climate change is a growing threat to food security, and an unprecedented transition is imperative for meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Individuals can make the difference as individual habits like what you eat and how much food you waste are behind major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. “If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter after China and the United States,” said Ambassador Mario Arvelo, CFS Chair.

    The representative of the Rome-based Agencies, Bing Zhao, advocated for more preventive climate actions, mentioning the benefits from empowering smallholder farmers and investing in early warning mechanisms, effective information sharing and appropriate infrastructure. “These will save funds from humanitarian response,” he stressed.

    “We should give priority to the poor and most vulnerable,” highlighted Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources. The 2.5 billion people who depend on agriculture worldwide are small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities generating more than half of the global agricultural production and who are particularly at risk from disasters.

    The panelists agreed that achieving food security while increasing climate change resilience requires more coordination between different actors – government ministries (agriculture, health, environment, trade etc.), non-profit organizations and the private sector.

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    by Margherita Calderone (Overseas Development Institute) and Ilaria Firmian (IFAD)

    The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted the urgent need for unprecedented action to keep global temperature rises to 1.5°C. It sheds light on how farming communities will be hit hardest by the impacts of global warming, particularly in the drylands and the poorest countries. Whilst touching on mitigation, the report also explains how adapting to the effects of climate change can support sustainable development. It highlights the importance of relieving the barriers the world's poorest people are facing, such as the lack of up-to-date and locally-relevant information, lack of finance and technology, and institutional constraints.

    Stepping up adaptation efforts is becoming crucial for the global development agenda. Two multi-country programmes mainly funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) exemplify this commitment to help vulnerable populations cope with the impacts of climate change and build more resilient livelihoods: the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED, £140 million implemented across 13 countries) and the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP, US$305 million with operations covering 41 countries).

    ASAP is the flagship resilience programme of the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), whereas the BRACED consortium is led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The two organisations have crossed paths multiple times. From participation in the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (CoP) Development and Climate (D&C) days to when ODI carried out the mid-term review of the ASAP programme, there have been many opportunities for cross learning.

    To ensure that best practices are being incorporated, BRACED and ASAP organised a joint workshop in Bamako, where key representatives from local projects funded under the two programmes convened to share insights and learn from each other. Mali is one of the landlocked Sahelian countries hardest hit by climate change and, thus, a strategic focus for the operations of both programmes.

    ASAP and BRACED follow different modalities for local programme implementation. In Mali, IFAD’s loan project Fostering Agricultural Productivity Project (PAPAM) is focused on irrigation, water management and sustainable land management with the aim of increasing the yield per hectare. ASAP financing complements PAPAM and provides smallholder farmers with complementary adaptation technologies and services.

    BRACED is implemented through four local NGO partners: the Near East Foundation with the Decentralising Climate Funds project Blumont/International Relief & Development (IRD) with the WYL project (Wati Yelema Labenw - Bambara for ‘action against climate change’), the Catholic Relief Services with the Scaling-Up Resilience for One Million people (SUR1M) project, and the Acting for Life Consortium with the Livestock Mobility project including a number of local NGOs such as TASSAGHT and ICD (Initiatives, Counselling, Development).

    PAPAM is being implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture, which guarantees direct policy impact at the national level. BRACED operations have wider geographical coverage by cooperating with various local actors based across the country from North to South.

    The similarities between BRACED and ASAP are tenfold and multiple areas of common interest and similar approaches were identified during the exchange workshop. Chief among these commonalities were climate information services, adaptation technology, institutional setup, and inclusive strategies for adaptation - all prominent issues in the IPCC report.

    Knowledge is power – Spreading climate information
    PAPAM supported the creation of local meteorological assistance groups to increase the ability of smallholder farmers to collect, analyse, and disseminate climate information. A partnership with Mali Météo was promoted which gave access to seasonal weather forecasts. Other services included distribution of rain gauges, training of farmers in charge of rain data collection and the training of local radio commentators on the correct broadcasting of climate information.

    Under BRACED, the SUR1M project adopted a similar approach by cooperating with government stakeholders to ensure continued radio messaging on key topics including climate information and natural resource management. The WYL project sourced local geographical climate information from a private company and supported communities to use two-day weather forecasts in their decision-making and planning. In spite of its cost, the service was well appreciated, the households’ uptake was large, and beneficiaries continued to demand it. Within the Livestock Mobility project, TASSAGHT organised field data collection to provide pastoralists with access to information gathered on the ground and derived from geo-satellites in order to help them in deciding where to move.

    Adapting to the unavoidable
    In both programmes adaptation technologies are vital and are being used to improve local livelihoods. For instance, in the WYL project, through a partnership between Blumont/IRD and ICRISAT (the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), the use of weather information was integrated with the promotion of climate-smart practices and technologies for households pursuing farming and animal husbandry.

    PAPAM strongly focuses on the promotion of renewable energy. It piloted the installation and use of various types of biogas digesters to reduce women’s workload and pressure on forests. The project identified several ways to improve the technology, i.e. coupling bio-digesters with latrines, piloting plant-based biomass, improving slurry storage to preserve its fertilizing properties, etc. The benefits included a reduction in respiratory problems (a healthier kitchen environment, since the combustion of biogas, unlike firewood, does not produce smoke/fumes), reduced carbon emissions, availability of nitrogen-enriched fertilisers and, hence, yield increases. On average, women reported spending 58 per cent less time on household activities such as wood-gathering and meal preparation. Biogas development also created jobs and opportunities for engagement by the private sector through the training of artisans for the construction and maintenance of bio-digesters and photovoltaic kits.

    Inclusive strategies
    The Livestock Mobility project provides a clear example of the importance of securing access to markets and resources for every household. In spite of the difficulties in reaching mobile pastoral communities spread across the remote and often insecure areas of the North, it helped to prevent conflicts between farmers and (agro-)pastoralists by ensuring that transhumant routes were permanently earmarked for the mobility of livestock.

    Along the same lines, PAPAM supported the creation and operation of land commissions which grouped different commune stakeholders in order to regulate disputes over access to land. An offshoot of this was that it was able to secure access to land in favour of small-scale producers, especially women.

    Similarly, the SUR1M project supported women and women associations in acquiring better knowledge of land policies, acquisition processes, and titling mechanisms. It also worked on improving access to financial services for women through the creation of local savings and credit associations– an approach followed by the WYL project as well. WYL also helped in increasing women’s income generating activities and earnings by training women on improved practices for cultivating, drying, processing, and marketing sesame and fonio (a local edible grain similar to quinoa).

    All the participants found the exchange very enriching and IFAD and ODI are looking at opportunities to replicate this experience in other countries where both ASAP and BRACED have programmes.

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    by Aïnina Aïdara and Marzia Perilli

    On 11-12 October 2018, the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN) held its second Annual Plenary Meeting and a workshop on 'Business Models for the Delivery of Technical Assistance Complementing Finance for Smallholders and Agri-SMEs' at IFAD headquarters. The events brought together about 60 SAFIN partners and guest speakers from a diverse set of communities in the agri-finance and agri-SME development ecosystems from Africa, Asia, North and Central America, and Europe.

    The event kicked off with the partners' plenary meeting, which was designed as a space for the SAFIN community to reflect upon its path and for partners to better know each other, share perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of the network, and discuss plans for 2019-2020. One key objective of the session, which was led by SAFIN's Senior Coordinator Bettina Prato, was to cultivate trust and mutual understanding among partners, as a key precondition for an effective network, and as the ground on which partners can stand to work towards their shared vision of a more effective and inclusive ecosystem for agri-SME finance and investment. Partners confirmed their commitment and engagement particularly under network activities related to blended finance, aligning investments at the country level around the SAFIN investment prospectuses, and knowledge sharing. Many good ideas were generated and shared about activities that the network may put on its agenda for next year. Many suggestions were also made about how to strengthen communication flows and outreach to some key stakeholder groups (e.g. commercial banks and farmers organizations). Partners also flagged the importance of transactional space to share and learn about their respective projects and to explore collaborations and co-investment opportunities.

    The event continued with a workshop featuring a variety of interactive sessions including panels, pop-up presentations and two "clinics." The three panels delved into the pluses and minuses and the specific design and implementation challenges of different models of delivery of TA –notably technical assistance facilities, value chain-embedded and cooperative-based TA. They also addressed the challenges of TA market development and the role of development finance in that context. Some proposals for follow up by the network were formulated, for instance around benchmarking work on specific models of delivery and around country-level mapping of TA providers, perhaps complemented by a validation system vetted by SAFIN partners.

    During the pop-up session, five new initiatives or products under development in different institutions were presented in rotation to small groups of participants. The purpose of this was to elicit questions and suggestions for improvement, as well as to stimulate the identification of possible partnerships for the implementation, replication or scaling up of specific initiatives. The pop-up presentations covered the following:
    Finally, two "clinic" sessions were held around two funds targeting agri-SMEs and agricultural finance providers serving smallholders, both of them currently under development or about to be launched. The purpose was to tap the expertise of partners and other participants to strengthen elements of the design and implementation strategies of the funds. These are the Huruma Fund of Gawa Capital - a 100 million EUR fund targeting a combination of financial institutions and agri-SMEs in Latin America, and secondarily Asia and Africa, and the Food Security Fund of AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited and partners, with particular focus on Nigeria.

    Like the pop up sessions and the partners' plenary, the clinics effectively underlined the great potential for "transactional" value generation that exists within the network, as partners and other participants put on the table a tremendous aggregate amount of knowledge as well as interest and enthusiasm around these new initiatives, and many expressed the desire to stay engaged and to provide further support. More generally, there was a pervasive sense of "critical mass" during the two days of the meetings, which reflects a stage of significant advancement of the network from its early conceptualization a year and a half ago. The challenge in the coming months will be to expand on the areas of greatest value to partners and to continue to balance transactional and ecosystem-changing value, and the interplay between global and country-driven dimensions of network action.

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    Expertos y autoridades de tres países africanos y tres países latinoamericanos han pasado una semana en Bolivia visitando emprendimientos rurales que están gestionando riesgos medioambientales para adaptarse de manera exitosa cambio climático.

    Por Arnoud Hameleers, Gerente del Programa de País del FIDA en Bolivia. 

    El Programa de Inclusión Económica para Familias y Comunidades Rurales (ACCESOS), un proyecto dependiente del Ministerio de Desarrollo Rural y Tierras, el Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) y la Corporación PROCASUR llevaron a cabo durante la última semana la “Ruta de aprendizaje de Estrategias y herramientas de adaptación al cambio climático para el desarrollo rural”.

    Esta iniciativa ha permitido a las personas participantes –una veintena provenientes de seis países: del continente africano, Ruanda, Malawi y Mozambique; de Sudamérica, Chile, Perú y Brasil- conocer diferentes experiencias de gestión de riesgos medioambientales y adaptación al cambio climático realizadas en el país mediante la ejecución de diferentes iniciativas de desarrollo rural financiadas por el FIDA y ejecutadas por el Gobierno boliviano a través del citado programa ACCESOS.

    “La iniciativa de la Ruta de aprendizaje ha sido realizada en Bolivia por los avances logrados en experiencias y metodologías de adaptación al cambio climático en este país, que aspiran a hacer de él un país resiliente y con un desarrollo rural sostenible” señaló en la jornada inaugural de la ruta José Antonio Carvajal, coordinador general de ACCESOS.

    “En Bolivia, el programa ACCESOS ha tenido muy buenos resultados. Hemos conseguido recuperar tecnologías que tuvimos por muchas generaciones y que habíamos perdido. Esto ha permitido revitalizar la producción y transformación de alimentos en muchos lugares” mencionó el ministro de Desarrollo Rural y Tierras César Cocarico. “Es un esfuerzo importante el que estamos haciendo como entidades de gobierno de diferentes países para adentrarnos en los trabajos que debemos hacer para preservar la Madre Tierra”, añadió. 

    El recorrido de la ruta se inició en La Paz, para después trasladarse a Tarija y Chuquisaca. Los participantes visitaron tres municipios en la región del Valle de Cintis, en donde conocieron microproyectos apoyados por el programa ACCESOS. En Camargo, una iniciativa de construcción de reservorios de agua a través de la planificación territorial. En Villa Charcas, un proyecto de riego con un enfoque de resiliencia. En Villa Abecia, un interesante caso de adaptación al cambio climático en la comunidad Higuerayoc, donde se ha generado un emprendimiento piscícola a partir de una estrategia de dotación de agua para el riego, que articula un atractivo turístico y gastronómico que dinamiza la economía local.

    “Las rutas de aprendizaje representan una manera muy eficiente de compartir conocimientos, experiencias y resultados concretos. Un modo absolutamente eficaz de promover la cooperación entre distintos países del Sur” señaló el representante del FIDA en Bolivia Arnoud Hameleers. Según datos de esta agencia de Naciones Unidas, el 65% de la alimentación en Bolivia proviene del pequeño productor. “El cambio climático puede tener efectos impredecibles de aumento de temperaturas o disminución de lluvias, poniendo en riesgo la seguridad alimentaria en nuestro país, por lo que es importante unir conocimientos ancestrales de los pueblos bolivianos, ciencia y experiencias de otros países para hacerle frente”. 

    Bryson Msisica, representante del Ministerio de Agricultura de Malawi señaló durante el trascurso de la ruta que África puede aprender mucho de Sudamérica: “Podemos aprender mucho sobre cómo adaptarnos al cambio climático cuidando la nutrición, economía y seguridad alimentaria de los pequeños productores. Estamos muy lejos en contextos pero tenemos problemas que pueden ser similares. Aprender juntos cómo solucionarlos nos acerca más”, aseguró.

    El representante de la ONG Procasur Juan Moreno destacó que la Ruta cuenta con una metodología de aprendizaje basada en conocer de primera mano soluciones concretas a problemas concretos. “Para poder aprender sobre el terreno con los agricultores cuáles han sido las estrategias y herramientas resilientes al cambio climático que han dado mejores soluciones; cuáles han sido los problemas que han atravesado y como se han resuelto” menciona. “Bolivia es un laboratorio de soluciones que pueden replicarse en otros países”.

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    Cutting edge information, accurate data and state-of-the-art intelligence are essential to design high quality and impactful projects in smallholder agriculture. IFAD and a number of universities, research institutes and think tanks are joining efforts for improving evidence-based approaches on climate change adaptation in West and Central Africa.

    Together IFAD and these institutions are setting up a long term partnership to improve the accessibility to best practices for research, technical and organizational innovations on climate change across agricultural and food systems in West and Central to support de-risked IFAD investments in the region.

    This endeavour is part of a project funded by the second phase of IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP II) which aims to address knowledge gaps in IFAD's planning and programming.

    The initiative will enhance IFAD's evidence-informed Country Strategic Opportunity Programmes (COSOPs) and projects design while providing technical advisory support to climate change adaptation in West and Central Africa. This multi-partnership will improve IFAD's cooperation framework and future investments in countries with cutting edge knowledge, data and information on adaptation. This one stop shop will be a repository of relevant most up-to-date innovations, strategic studies/knowledge to inform future IFAD operations

    To achieve this objective, IFAD has partnered with the University of Ibadan (UI) in Nigeria – one the best universities in Africa – having jointly organized a workshop on the topic at UI's campus, bringing together 20 delegates from 15 countries (Sudan, Niger, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Nigeria, and Italy) and different research and non-profit institutions.

    During three days in September, universities, think tanks, agricultural engineering schools and business schools discussed the contents of regional project pipelines under IFAD11 and identified collaboration opportunities on knowledge for COSOPs, projects design and IFAD's Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP).

    Workgroups at the event's plenary sessions have been asked to make proposals on how to set up a long term strategic partnership with IFAD to address interconnected challenges for its project designs as well as implementation bottlenecks of approved projects regarding climate change and agriculture. Participants spoke about increasing expertise sharing to enhance IFAD’s evidence-informed initiatives during the design phase and provide technical advisory during the implementation phase in order to improve smallholder farmers' adaptation to climate change.

    The main findings of the workshop and inputs from the different delegates were captured into a logical framework drafted before the end the workshop. IFAD is working to compile them into a three year proposal (2019-2021) to be shared soon with all participants for review. The final document will be submitted to IFAD Programme of Grants and Loans (PoLG) and ASAP II for funding.

    See also

    IFAD and the Lab launch new partnership to drive finance to African smallholder farmers combating climate change

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    By Everlyne Nairesiae

    Rizki Rahmat/ILC
    In September 2018, members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) and other stakeholders from grassroot organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, as well as multilateral organisations and government agencies from around the world converged in Bandung, Indonesia for the 2018 Global Land Forum (GLF). This year’s GLF was hosted by the Government of Indonesia under the theme United for Land Rights, Peace and Justice.

    The Forum aims to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and social link between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy. Locally GLF was timely because it provided a platform for the people and government of Indonesia to reflect on their Agrarian reforms and tenure rights for all, including indigenous people. Globally, the Forum advanced responsible land governance agenda as put forward by the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and Agenda 2030.

    The diversity of the delegates enriched discussions at the forum and affirmed the importance of global coordination, networking and multi-sectoral collaboration to achieve responsible land governance for peace, justice and sustainable development. Despite reported positive progress in addressing land governance issues globally by various ILC members, gaps in monitoring of land tenure and governance initiatives, communicating key outcomes in people’s lives and fostering best practice remains. This need resonates with the mandate of the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII). This is a global multi-stakeholders’ platform hosted and facilitated by the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) at UN-Habitat, made up of over 50 partners working towards achieving global monitoring of land governance issues through comparable land indicators for comparable data by 2030.

    Going Beyond the SDGs to Monitor Land Governance Issues

    Inspired by the VGGT and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 5, 11, 15 and 16 which include key land targets land and governance of other natural resources, the ILC members and other stakeholders are challenged to do more to secure land tenure and natural resource rights for all; leaving no one behind to achieve the SDGs by 2030. At the heart of land and data communities is the aspiration for better coordination and strong mechanisms for generating authentic, regular and sex disaggregated land data and statistics. This goal is pursued through National Statistical Offices (NSOs) whose role is central to data collection, tracking progress and reporting on SDGs with CSOs, the private sector and other data contributing agencies well positioned to provide complementary data and monitoring support to track progress at local to global. This data is used to track and communicate progress and outcomes related to local and global land tenure and governance of natural resources.

    Since 2012, GLII, has coordinated and facilitated efforts of the land and data communities in developing global indicators, data protocols, tools and knowledge products that set the foundation for monitoring land governance issues. The GLII community successfully developed a set of 15 globally comparable and nationally applicable land indicators for monitoring land governance issues. Through high level lobbying and influencing, some of these indicators including tenure security indicator 1.4.2 were included in SDG1. This is a major milestone considered to position the importance of securing tenure rights in achieving sustainable development globally. GLII indicators have since gained traction and integrated in various data initiatives including those of regional bodies like Monitoring and Evaluation in Africa under the Africa Land Policy Centre; CSOs generated data under the ILC Dashboard and the private sector like Property Rights Index (PRIndex) by Global Land Alliance. 

    Rizki Rahmat/ILC
    There is no doubt that the global mechanism for monitoring SDGs led by National Statistical Organisations, complemented by other local, regional and global mechanism for monitoring land governance is set to transform quality and accessibility of land data and statistics for tracking progress on key outcomes related to land than ever before. Despite the significant success, for GLII, land data and statistics are not enough. There is a need to collate and compare land data and statistics from various sources such as governments, CSOs and the private sector for more nuances on land governance issues that will inform policy decisions at country level. This will allow for a deeper analysis of key trends, data triangulation to establish relationships between variables, profile gaps and areas of interventions that governments, CSOs and development agencies need to focus on. This is achievable through a facilitated process that converges land data and statistics for development of a regular global status report on land governance for policy makers and practitioners. 

    ILC Delegates Express Support for Development of Global Status Report on Land Governance

    Consultation between members of the land and data communities on the value, structure and need for development of a global status report on land governance was held during the GLF session titled “Going Beyond Data to Develop a Global Status Report on Land Governance”. The session was organised by GLII and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to further discuss the idea of developing a “Global Status Report on Land Governance”. One of the panellists, Everlyne Nairesiae, underscored the importance going beyond the norm to give real meaning and value to land data and statistics by developing a report that will benefit from government-generated land data related to the SDGs and which will be complemented by other data sources including CSOs and private sector.

    The report is expected to track progress on land governance issues, show key trends, profile critical gaps and areas in need of more interventions, emerging issues and opportunities. Everlyne noted that “the UN Annual SDGs Progress Report is limited in content and does not offer the depth of analysis and scope required to address land governance issues (…). As land data and statistics are increasingly becoming available, a global status report is the way to go (…) going by the example of other global reports on poverty, food security and nutrition.’’

    Other panelists affirmed the importance of developing this report through a collaborative and inclusive multi-stakeholder process. Malcom Childress of Global Land Alliance emphasised the relevance of the report and its direct link it to the PRIndex initiative that collects data on perception of tenure security through global polls; while Ward Anseeuw of ILC confirmed that the Dashboard initiative for people generated data will be a good data source for this report. All the panelists agreed that monitoring land in the SDGs and the requirement for countries to provide comparable data is an opportunity to access comparable data for consolidation and development of this global status report.

    The discussion generated interest and various reactions from delegates. Those who contributed to the discussion supported the development of the global report with the following recommendations:
    • The report should be produced by a wide group of stakeholders (not just the custodians for land indicators in the SDGs to expand the data sources and contribution from key stakeholders). 
    • It is important to recognize the need for producing such a report under the umbrella of the United Nations for credibility and legitimacy although the process must be inclusive. The content and scope of the report should be incremental based on available and authentic data from governments linked to the SDGs and other data sources such as CSOs and the private sector. 
    • GLII-IFAD will keep the discussions going with the custodians, data agencies, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) and other stakeholders to deliberate on the structure, scope, mechanism and institutional framework for development of the report. 
    The ILC members are ready contribute to the report and committed to support the process that will see to the launch of the first Global Status Report on Land Governance at the GLF 2021. The conversation about the development of this important report continues.

    Session Theme: Going Beyond Data to Develop a Global Status Report on Land Governance

    Session Chair: Harold Liversage, Land Tenure Technical Advisor at IFAD

    Ward Anseeuw, Senior Technical Specialist for Knowledge, Learning and Innovation at ILC

    Malcolm Childress, Executive Director of the Global Land Alliance

    Everlyne Nairesiae, Coordinator of GLII at GLTN/UN-Habitat

    The blog was originally published by GLTN

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    by Robyn Stewart (ILC), Giulia Barbanente (IFAD) and Romy Sato (GDPRD)

    Bandung, Sandra Apaza/ILC

    ‘Smallholders are also agricultural investors’
    The first speaker was Justine Sylvester from Village Focus International, a CSO from Laos. Justine, who works closely with investors in Laos, explained that there is a global preoccupation when it comes to foreign direct investment in agriculture, which often fails to account for transboundary investments and smaller-scale and localized investments. This is problematic in regions where there has been a proliferation of smallholders planting cash crops, becoming commercialized and forming local level contracts with traders - of which the cumulative impacts are very significant. Moving beyond the concept of domestic investments being only agribusinesses, Justine argued in favor of a paradigm shift to acknowledge that smallholders are agricultural investors in their own right. Justine then addressed the contribution of civil-society organizations, explaining that there is a huge potential for CSOs to work with domestic investors (and local governments) to operationalize global guidance and standards – putting into practice the VGGT, RAI Principles, FPIC, etc. This has opened the door to work with other stakeholders, smaller companies and helping to integrate principles into institutional framework and working towards agreement contracts that are culturally appropriate. Concluding, Justine argued that civil society needs support to promote responsible agricultural investment and engage with domestic investors.

    The need for a roadmap for domestic investors
    Benzualem Mogessie, from the Ethiopian Horticulture and Agricultural Investment Authority (EHAIA), was asked about the challenges to managing domestic investment. He explained that there are conflicts with communities where there is a weak institutional capacity. The current need for a clear policy direction when it comes to domestic investors will likely be addressed by the upcoming land use plan and policy. He explained that there is a severe need for guidelines to set a roadmap for industrial agriculture, filling the capacity gaps of the current agricultural investments. The translation of the VGGTs in local languages have recently allowed to breach the gap and allowing fruition of the guidelines at the local level. There is further need for a support system for local investments, which should provide support to address bureaucratic constraints and provide incentives for investment. Another major issue is corruption, which affects decision-making about how to distribute land, where and to whom land should be assigned. He explained that corruption levels are currently too high. In this light, Mogessie argued that better recognition of livelihood systems is vital. Mogessie was then asked about the potential of a paradigm shift towards recognizing domestic, smallholder investors in their own right and the implications on government and policy. He addressed the need for respecting local land practices. This can be done through working with local governments towards a shift in systems, helping to build the capacities of local people dependent on the land.

    Bandung, Barbanente 2018 

    Better data to minimize risks for smallholders
    The third speaker was Dr Tran Thi Thuy from the Vietnam Rubber Association. Dr Tran addressed the advantages and disadvantages and risks of domestic farmers versus foreign investors, explaining her experience of working with small-scale investors in the rubber industry. She explained that the world demand on natural rubber encourages the development of rubber plantations and creates important income for more than five million smallholders in an area of about 14 million ha. At the same time, smallholders are increasingly being exposed to the risk of being forced out of business by foreign investors. Small-scale rubber farmers often enjoy good incomes but they face risks during development due to increasing prices, which encourage foreign investors and lead to oversupply and a decrease in prices. This is significantly impacting local livelihoods. Professional associations can make the link between agribusinesses and CSOs/NGOs to support farmers and growers developing sustainable rubber plantations which mitigate socio-environmental risks and follow the “Zero-deforestation” policy. Regarding the need for better data and information about domestic investments, Dr Tran explained that, particularly in Vietnam, it is important to disseminate information in order to understand the situation of the rubber markets, of supply and demand and prices. She also said that a better database of the rubber sector in Vietnam would help growers to work according to international standards, comply with guidelines surrounding responsibility, transparency and sustainability.

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    By Daniel Mont, Center for Inclusive Policy

    According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities all people, regardless of disability status, have the same rights to be full member of society. This notion is embodied in the “Leave No One Behind” Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To make this goal a reality, it is important to develop good statistics on disability. First, to uncover the scope and nature of exclusion. That is to document the prevalence of disability and its pattern both geographically and also by various characteristics, such as age, gender or ethnicity. Also, to document gaps in outcomes, such as education, employment, the experience of violence, HIV status, etc. – basically any outcome, including the SDG indicators. This helps in motivating and planning policies to promote inclusion. Secondly, to monitor and evaluate the implementation and impact of those policies. To do this we need a reliable methodology for identifying people with disabilities in surveys and censuses. To benchmark progress globally, for example in disaggregating SDG indicators by disability status, we need this method to yield internationally comparable results.

    Fortunately, such a methodology has been developed and tested by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG). The WG is a United Nations Statistics Commission City Group formed of representatives from national statistical offices working on developing methods to better improve statistics on persons with disabilities globally, with input from various international agencies and experts. These include UN agencies, bilateral aid agencies, NGOs, Disabled People Organizations and researchers. Simply by adding the WG questions to existing data instruments – censuses, labour force surveys, income and expenditure surveys, etc. – all indicators currently being produced by a country can be disaggregated by disability status without any additional surveys or statistical infrastructure.

    The WG methodology has been adopted, recommended and used by a growing number of countries, agencies and organizations. It has been recommended by the UN Statistical Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Europe Council for Europe, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, a disability data expert group under the auspices of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the International Disability Alliance and the World Bank. The international aid agencies of the UK (DFID) and Australia (DFAT) have adopted the WG questions for reporting on their activities. Recently, use of the WG questions was included in the commitments from the World Disability Summit.

    The WG has created several tools. The most famous is a set of six questions (known as the short set) that can easily be included in data instruments to identify people age five and above with disabilities. The approach -- based on the approach to disability taken in WHO’s International Classification of Functioning and the bio-psychosocial model of disability -- is designed to identify (in a census or survey format) people at greater risk than the general population for participation restrictions due to the presence of difficulties in six core functional domains, if appropriate accommodations are not made. Those functional domains are seeing, hearing, mobility, cognition, communication and self-care.

    These questions, and detailed documentation on how to use them can be found in the Washington Group’s website. You can also find guidance on translation, training, and implementation – including an extensive FAQ section and blog series that provides answers to the most common concerns people have, as well as examples of how the questions have been used.

    However, the WG Short Set has some limitations. It can’t be used for children under age five, and it tends to under-identify children with developmental disabilities. It also asks no questions on psychosocial disabilities, or questions dealing with assistive devices. For that reason, the WG developed additional tools. The WG Extended Set addresses the issue of psychosocial disabilities and also assistive devices as well as providing more detailed information on functioning. (The extended set contains 35 questions. The WG Short Set Enhanced Set consists of 12 questions and deals with psychosocial issues). Also, the WG in cooperation with UNICEF developed a Child Functioning Module (CFM) that can be used for children aged 2-17 that identifies more children with disabilities. It has been included in UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. Detailed information on these data sets can also be found on the WG website. UNICEF’s website has a users’ module for the CFM.

    These questions can be used to identify people with disabilities to monitor prevalence and to disaggregate indicators by disability status, so we can see if people with disabilities are being left behind in development. What they can’t do is tell us WHY they are being left behind. What are the barriers that cause their exclusion?

    To work on these issues the WG and UNICEF developed an education module that can be used to examine the barriers to education. The WG and ILO are also working on a similar module that can be used to look at employment in labor force surveys.

    In short, a lot of work has been done to create tools to collect international comparable, high quality information on people with disabilities. These tools have been both cognitively tested and field tested in low, middle and high income countries in every region. So, the methodology exists. And the WG is also standing by to offer technical assistance, through its website, through many regional trainings, and through one-on-one consultations with any country or agency wanting to use them.

    Contact us through our website!

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    Lorenzo Cotula, Prinicipal Researcher at IIED
    Thursday, 8 November 2018

    In many parts of the world, land relations are experiencing rapid and profound change. People who have a strong connection with the land – including peasants, indigenous peoples, forest dwellers, pastoralists and fisherfolk – are feeling the squeeze. Land policies are also changing rapidly.

    In this evolving context, there is an even greater need to closely track developments as they unfold. In the run-up to the 2018 Global Land Forum in Bandung, the ILC took stock of developments since the last Forum in Dakar, 2015. In March 2018, the ILC Secretariat issued an open call for members to make written submissions.

    The idea was to provide ILC members with a space to articulate the main issues they face – a vehicle for collective, bottom-up analysis. 21 ILC members and initiatives responded with submissions covering 30 countries from different continents. I helped to summarise the findings, together with Ward Anseeuw and Giulia Baldinelli.

    The number of responses received is small both in absolute terms, and relative to the ILC membership. It does not necessarily reflect a representative sample, and the result is not a comprehensive overview of global trends.

    But the submissions did provide insights about some of the issues that the members who responded are grappling with. The diverse picture that emerged is one of contradictions – a picture where major advances coexist with deepening concerns.


    One positive development relates to the advances made in some public policies. These include national law reforms to strengthen the protection of collective, customary land rights – a further move away from longstanding perceptions that private land ownership via individual land titles is the only way to go. The challenge ahead lies in implementation.

    Members also outlined how people in many parts of the world have been mobilising on land rights issues. New spaces for multi-stakeholder engagement provided opportunities for this – including as part of efforts to monitor the implementation of recently developed international guidance. In other cases, activists resorted to public campaigns and even legal action.

    This growing public engagement with land rights issues holds the promise of more democratic, bottom-up land governance. It is also helping to bring about concrete change.

    Some members reported that their government has become more willing to listen. They also reported specific advances in securing collective rights in practice – for example, those of pastoralists in Africa and indigenous peoples in Latin America.

    Submissions from Latin America identified positive experiences in advancing a territorial approach that links land governance to greater autonomy and accountability at local government level.

    One submission from Asia discussed how digital technology can disrupt old patterns in land governance, drastically reducing the time needed for registration, and improving access for women and poorer farmers.


    These are encouraging trends. But in their submissions ILC members also raised real concerns about new and longstanding challenges.

    Commercial projects continue to exacerbate pressures on land in many places, even though the “global land rush” that peaked a few years ago has now ebbed. Members raised concerns about large-scale agribusiness plantations now at implementation stage, but also about the land footprint of extractive industry projects, a new big infrastructure push, and special economic zones.

    And beyond the direct land impacts of large-scale projects, more diffuse processes of agricultural commercialisation are having a profound effect on small-scale rural producers and ultimately their relation to land. One submission from Europe discussed how new technologies and old practices are being combined to sustain exploitative production systems.

    In raising these issues, the submissions outlined the diverse ways in which global inequalities unfold in the land governance arena. They also raised questions about the social differentiation that cuts across communities and even families, including inequality between women and men as they are affected by the transformations.

    These trends partly result from market forces. But members also indicated that public policies are at play, “agrarian reforms in reverse” that favour large-scale commercial interests – sometimes coexisting in the same country with the more “progressive” policies.

    Advances made in opening up spaces for public participation are overshadowed by growing state-sponsored repression, which in many places makes it harder – and more dangerous – for activists to do their work. The past three years have been a particularly tragic time for the murders, attacks and intimidation of land rights defenders, and several submissions referred to the shrinking space for land activism.


    The submissions reflected the great diversity of contexts – more than it was possible to bring out in this short note. Many important issues did not get the space they would deserve. But across the board, it is clear that we are witnessing a period of far-reaching change in land relations.

    The Global Land Forum has provided a great opportunity for ILC members to discuss these issues and debate possible ways forward. We have important advances to celebrate. But there is still so much work to do, and ILC members can play an important role by sending a clear signal about their resolve to rise to the challenge.

    These remarks were made at the International Land Coalition’s Assembly of Members, held in Bandung on 27 September 2018. Download the full report LAND: Trends in Land Governance 2015-2018.

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    Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and empowerment of rural women and girls

    This was the theme at the half day workshop on the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW) in Harare, Zimbabwe on 15 October 2018. The workshop was initiated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and hosted jointly with the IFAD-funded Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme; Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement (MLAWCRR); and Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MWACSMED).

    Sixty participants represented women and men farmers, government ministries and departments, private sector, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), World Bank, media, local and international non-governmental organisations and academia. They discussed issues affecting rural women: food and nutrition security, entrepreneurship and rural women empowerment, climate change, and natural resources management. Participants shared knowledge, experiences and success stories on country programmes, strategies and on-going designs.

    Food and Nutrition Security

    Farai Ndumuyana, WFP presentation on the summary of the challenges faced by rural women

    Gender based inequalities, structural barriers and discriminatory social norms along the food production value chain impede the attainment of food and nutritional security. Although rural women constitute the larger percentage of labour force and contribute to food and nutrition security at the household level, they face a number of challenges.

    WFP improved women’s nutrition impact pathway

    The promotion of production and consumption of diversified foods and the use of Male Nutrition Champions in nutrition education will be important to achieve improved food and nutrition security for rural women and girls.

    Delilah Takawira, FAO, shared success stories providing evidence that the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment can generate significant gains for the agriculture sector and society. If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields by 20 to 30 per cent. 

    The big question is: how to ensure sustainability of food and nutrition security for the rural men and women after the project has ended?

    Rural women, climate change and natural resources
    Presentation by Delilah Takawira, FAO
    Rural women rely on natural resources for firewood, building materials, food and medicines. Rural women and girls have to walk for long distances carrying heavy loads of water and firewood, thereby further constraining the time available to women. This calls for investment in renewable energy.
    Melanie Chiponda, WoMin, highlighted that in Uganda rural women are making briquettes from biomass as an alternative to firewood. Could this be replicated in other countries?
    With regards to access to land, only 10 per cent of the land under the land reform programme, went to women, falling short of the 20 per cent quota stipulated in Zimbabwe’s Constitution. This is mainly due to cultural practices where land is only accessible to woman through a patrilineal line. 

    The question that needs to be answered is: how do we fix the customary practices affecting women’s rights to security of tenure and land ownership?  

    Entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment

    Rural women are limited in achieving their full potential in agriculture due to lack of credit. The Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank could provide the required loans, although the lack of collateral by women will still need to be addressed.

    Other challenges faced by the rural women from Domboshawa include: lack of access markets, business development skills and labour saving technologies. It is not clear whether there is a pathway for enterprises graduation from small to medium and large scale enterprises?

    Roselyn Charehwa, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce highlighted the need for entrepreneurs to find mentors for support. Additional incentives include: support for achievement awards to recognise successful rural women entrepreneurs, provide training for start-ups, and promote value addition and certification of rural women products.

    The presentation by Anesu Truzumbah, a young farmer entrepreneur, showed that the youth face greater challenges as they lack business planning and entrepreneurial skills as well as, access to capital.

    However, the MWACSMED asked critical questions about whether the rural women are really empowered? In addition, Godfrey Chinoera, Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust (ZADT), urged participants to present successful projects that could be scaled up to transform the livelihoods for rural women.

    Priority needs for rural women
    • Value addition, post-harvest storage and processing techniques 
    • Diversification of farming systems 
    • Involvement of men and boys  
    • Nutrition education 
    • Equal access to land and tenure security 
    • Access to natural resources including pasture 
    • Increased social and rural infrastructure 
    • Access to finance and financial literacy training 
    • Access to inputs, technology and extension 
    • Links to established markets 
    • Access to business development skills and information 
    • Assistance in forming and strengthening women’s groups

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    By Romy Sato

    In the last five years, significant steps have been taken to put land tenure security as a priority in global policy frameworks, but also in implementation plans. A side event at CFS45, organised by the Global Donor Working Group on Land with other key players, took stock of progress. 

    Since the approval of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) in 2012, several countries have integrated its principles into national law and decision-making processes. Land also gained further traction in 2015, when three land indicators – 1.4.2, 5.a.1, 5.a.2 – were included in the Agenda 2030, signaling that tenure security was inseparable from several of the overarching SDGs. While the vision is clear, questions of how to monitor progress towards these goals and evaluate the impact of related interventions remain unanswered. Responding to this call, a range of monitoring and data generation initiatives and tools has blossomed. But the next challenge became how to coordinate the several initiatives, ensuring land tenure security is in fact improved at the end of the day, and in an inclusive and effective way.

    This topic was discussed at a side event during the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome. The session was organized by the Global Donor Working Group on Land with the International Land Coalition (ILC), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Global Land Indicators Initiative (ILC), the Land Portal and other partners from the land development community.

    Speakers and participants exchanged views on the growing ecosystem of data and how to further improve collaboration among actors, make people-centred data and monitoring tools more accessible, and further democratize information surrounding the VGGTs and SDGs.

    Overview of initiatives

    Below is an extract of the talks given by the different speakers and their initiatives:

    GLII - Everlyne Nairesiae talked about the role of the GLII in addressing the call for developing globally comparable indicators on land. 15 GLII indicators, designed in extensive consultations with multiple actors, had been taken up by all of the initiatives present in the side event. Many of these indicators go beyond the datasets found in formal cadaster systems; they cover aspects of the VGGTs, human rights, corruption and others.

    ILC’s Dashboard - Ward Anseeuw referred to ILC's Dashboard as an initiative aimed at democratizing the monitoring of land interventions by including local communities in the definition of indicators and in data collection. ILC identified 270 land initiatives within their membership and organized 12 consultations to agree on a monitoring system, resulting in 30 widely recognized indicators for land tenure security.

    Prindex - This initiative to assess people's perception of land tenure security just launched a report with results from the first 15 countries involved in the measurement exercise. Speaker Anna Locke reported that the average tenure insecurity is 25 per cent, which represents ca. 41 million adults across these 15 countries. In countries such as Zambia, the results demonstrate that even with documentation, people do not feel safe in their lands (33 per cent of interviewees held documents, but only 27 per cent felt safe). Gender gaps were also assessed. Women are more worried about losing tenure in case of spouse death and divorce, and this fear can keep women trapped in an oppressive situation.

    Land Portal - Speaking on behalf of the Land Portal, Laura Meggiolaro argued that the lack of synergy and coordination amongst key stakeholders, such as governments, civil society, academia and donors, means that important providers of information are mostly working within their own sector and keeping valuable data on projects, initiatives unnoticed to other potential beneficiaries. The Land Portal tries to address this gap and catalyse increased access to information, but recognizing that data is only valuable if delivered to the right people in the right context.

    Guidelines for Impact Evaluation - MCC's representative Jennifer Lisher highlighted the importance of impact evaluation (beyond monitoring) and the lack of consistent data to allow for this. She introduced the recently published Guidelines for Impact Evaluation of Land Tenure and Governance Interventions, which is the result of a collaborative work of many land tenure practitioners and specialists. The overall objective of this publication is to inform and strengthen the design and implementation of future land tenure and governance initiatives and achieve related impacts on poverty, food security, gender equality, environmental sustainability and security.

    It's not about data, but who owns it and how it is used

    As with many development challenges, solutions for a more inclusive and effective governance of land tenure do not only lie in the amount of data, but in many other areas. Participants and speakers agreed that:
    • For the democratization of data, it is important to broaden the scope of indicators used in the monitoring of land governance interventions. This means broadening the scope of sources who are deciding on the indicators and providing data to fulfil them. 
    • The diversity of perspectives, of data providers should allow for actors who are only visible at the local level to also be visible at the global level. Good practices towards the democratization of data include creating metadata and standards, but above all be willing to be open with your data. 
    • At the same time, there should be careful reflection about who owns the data and how it should be used/shared. At the grassroots level, for example, there is a risk that data is used to feed sophisticated systems which local communities might not be able to access. Or that data is used to advance a standard, potentially helpful policy, such as land titling, but which might compromise tenure, for example, in the case of collective lands or customary rights. 
    • The SDG reporting creates an opportunity to coordinate with multiple actors and have an initial overview of the state of land tenure security in the world. However, data alone will not solve the problem, and continuous participation and open access to information remain key for the improved governance of land tenure. 
    This blog was first published on the Global Donor Platform

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    Carrying on the tradition of the Pharaohs, who prized biodiversity, Egypt is hosting the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Sharm El-Sheikh.

    At the opening of the High-level Segment (HLS) government ministers, international organisations, NGOs, and other biodiversity champions gathered to discuss the path ahead.

    Continuing tomorrow, the HLS is focusing on how to mainstream biodiversity into the energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing, and health sectors, within the broader context of sustainable development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony was H.E. Dr Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt.

    “This important meeting doesn’t get held often enough, but today we have 196 countries present here, continuing what happened in Cancun, Mexico in 2016,” said Fouad.

    She talked about the critical fields that need to bring biodiversity mainstreaming to the fore, such as the health and energy sectors. But Fouad went beyond that to talk about bio-balancing and the value for ecosystem services.

    “In the African continent, all African countries support Egypt hosting this COP. Egypt shall support all the needs of Africa, through partnership, policy and experience exchange and full cooperation with international organisations,” added Fouad.

    The Governor of the South Sinai Governorate, Khaled Fouda Saddiq Mohammed, also welcomed the gathered dignitaries and stressed the importance for Egypt and the wider world of preserving biodiversity.

    Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment then took centre stage.

    “There can be no better place for biodiversity than Egypt and right here in Sharm el Sheikh. A wonderful green city - at the bay of the magnificent pearl of biodiversity, the Red Sea!”

    Solheim went on to detail some of the great progress and stories that the international community have managed to achieve in recent years.
    • China has continued the ban of rhino horns. 
    • Indonesia has set up a peatland centre to share their experience with the world of protecting peatlands. 
    • China panda numbers are rapidly increasing. 
    • In Russia, India and Bangladesh the number of tigers is increasing. These are one of the hardest animals to protect due to their solitary nature. 
    • Snow leopards have been removed from the list of the most endangered animals. 
    • Brazil reduced deforestation – by 70.8 per cent- no other country has achieved this. 
    • Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover. 
    • UAE is protecting the beauty of its desert. 
    • The EU have a plastic strategy meaning birds, turtles and other sea life will now be protected. 
    “Lots and lots of good news,” continued Solheim. “The problem is that all this doesn’t add up to sufficient protection for Mother Earth.”

    Solheim then went on to detail how the reefs are still dying, there is still deforestation – and how humans are still totally dominating earth to the jeopardy of all other species.

    Offering a solution to this problem, Solheim presented his three Cs.

    Conservation. Co-existence. Communication.


    If we do conservation better, we can create income from tourism and other sources, which in turn allow us to conserve better, win - win - win.

    There was an enormous opportunity for a win-win in Botswana. In the Botswana Okavango Delta there is a fantastic protection of nature occurring whilst increasing tourism revenue. Conservation and economic success, that creates jobs, win – win - win.

    In Rwanda there is currently a US$1500 cost per person per hour to see the gorillas. Whilst this may seem unfair it has created a fantastic economy – drivers, waiters, hotels, security, nurses!

    Through this success we have to include indigenous and local people and have them benefit from conservation to make it a success.


    At the end of the day most of the planet will not be conserved. Humans and nature need to live together. Singapore is now one of the richest cities on the planet. It is also one of the greenest cities in the world. From the early days they incorporated nature.

    People need income and to feed themselves, but its all about doing this in a way that doesn’t destroy mother earth.


    Unless we can communicate beyond the green group on environment we will fail. We need to reach those who aren’t interested. We need to be engaging, not boring. We cannot act in the typical UN fashion. No acronyms. We need to systematically set this out as a crucial issue – exactly like we did with plastics.

    Has anyone met anyone who doesn’t like nature? Dog, cat, cow or camel? Everyone loves something to do with nature!

    It is our failure (the broader environment community) that we haven’t taken this enthusiasm and used it to convince the world of its importance. We need to awaken curiosity in the fantastic mysteries of nature. We need to together form a citizen’s movement for nature.

    With the 3Cs we can create a new deal for nature. If we don’t, we will destroy our world.

    “We are here discussing the most vital issue – preservation of all life on this planet, including our own species. We are not in a position where we can simply thank ourselves for the very real progress we have made,” said Dr Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary, the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Finishing her address Palmer went on to say “We are failing to arrest the destruction of biodiversity. We are failing to convince people why this is important. Humanity is rapidly destroying nature. Our shared vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050 will not be achieved if we carry on as business as usual.”

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