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    Participants listen to opening statements at the 12th session of the UN
    Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. ©IFAD/Bridget Scallen
    NEW YORK, 21 May 2013 – The 12th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened here yesterday, drawing more than 1,000 participants – including indigenous peoples’ leaders who are partnering with IFAD on rural development projects around the world.

    The two-week session began as indigenous peoples, many in traditional clothing, filled the cavernous General Assembly hall at UN headquarters. They were greeted by the melody of an Andean flute and a ceremonial welcome from Chief Sidney Hill of the Native American Onondaga Nation. A series of speakers followed, outlining the objectives and aspirations of the Permanent Forum, which serves as the UN Economic and Social Council’s advisory body on indigenous peoples’ rights and issues.

    Several of the speakers noted that the current session of the Permanent Forum would play an important role in setting the agenda for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held in September 2014. Several also asserted that indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge – and their vision of sustainable development based on respect for culture, identity and the environment – must be integral to the global agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals after the MDGs’ target date passes in 2015.

    Platform for dialogue 
    The theme of sustainable development in indigenous communities figured prominently in two IFAD-related side events that followed the opening session. The first of those events was a review of IFAD’s engagement with indigenous peoples and the findings of its Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, which held an inaugural global meeting in Rome this past February (see video at the bottom of this post).

    Panel at UN Permanent Forum side event on IFAD's engage-
    ment with indigenous peoples. ©IFAD/Bridget Scallen
    Antonella Cordone, IFAD’s Coordinator for Indigenous and Tribal Issues, introduced the side event. She explained that the institution’s dialogue with indigenous peoples in rural areas actually began in earnest in 2003. Six years later, she recalled, IFAD adopted its Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples as the basis for an equitable partnership with indigenous communities involved in rural and agricultural development projects.

    The Indigenous Peoples Forum at IFAD is an outgrowth of the policy’s emphasis on full partnership. While the Forum is scheduled to convene a global meeting every other year, Cordone stressed that it is not primarily a meeting but, rather, a process. “It is a platform of continuous dialogue between IFAD and indigenous peoples at the regional, national and international levels,” she said.

    A starting point
    A panel of indigenous peoples’ leaders spoke at the side event, representing grassroots organizations that are engaged in just such a dialogue with IFAD in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The leaders agreed that the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum is a vehicle for meaningful cooperation on reducing poverty and increasing food security in some of the world’s most marginalized communities. They cautioned, however, that it is still just a starting point for improving the lives of millions of indigenous women and men in poor rural areas.

    Devasish Roy, a member of the UN Permanent Forum,
    at one of  the IFAD-related events. ©IFAD/Bridget Scallen
    “IFAD is opening a door,” said Joseph Simel, Executive Director of the Kenya-based Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization. But to ensure success in the long term, he observed, the best practices developed by individual projects in indigenous communities must be adopted widely and institutionalized in IFAD and beyond.

    Joan Carling, Secretary-General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, added that IFAD has a critical role to play in advocating for recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights. “Land tenure is at the heart of indigenous peoples’ food security,” she said, citing the need for national policies that ensure access to ancestral land and resources. Indigenous women’s empowerment is another area that urgently needs attention, Carling said.

    “It’s not enough to have a policy on indigenous peoples,” concluded Myrna Cunningham, a Nicaraguan activist and member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Policies have to be accompanied by mechanisms for implementation.” Such mechanisms, she said, require indigenous peoples’ participation at every level, as well as adequate resources to make a significant impact on the ground.

    Self-driven development
    One existing mechanism for implementation – the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF) – was the subject of the second IFAD-related side event held at the Permanent Forum yesterday. Established in 2007, the facility aims to strengthen indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations by financing small projects that foster self-driven development. In the process, these projects generate innovative approaches to rural development that potentially can be replicated and scaled up.

    UN Permanent Forum participants confer in the Trusteeship
    Council Chamber at UN headquarters, New York. ©IFAD
    IPAF is governed by a board composed mainly of indigenous members. It has approved grants in support of more than 100 projects to date.

    The IPAF side event featured representatives from indigenous peoples’ organizations that co-manage the facility with IFAD in the various regions where it works, as well as partners implementing projects with IPAF grants. In a series of presentations, they demonstrated how IPAF support has helped their communities apply traditional knowledge about sustainable agriculture to enhance rural livelihoods and food security. One presenter, Gregory Juan Ch’oc of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, in Belize, praised IPAF for enabling indigenous peoples to pursue “development with identity” in the face of the historic suppression of their cultural heritage.

    As the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continues in the coming days, IFAD and its partners will be looking toward a future in which development with identity is not the exception but, instead, the rule for indigenous peoples worldwide.

    VIDEO:  Indigenous Peoples' Forum
    Watch a recap of the first global meeting convened by the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD in February 2013. The video was screened to a visibly moved audience yesterday at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


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    Having lived in Africa, I have experienced first-hand the challenges, frustrations, and not to mention the immense negative impact on efficiency experienced with shaky internet connections, primarily due to frequent power outages and flaky ISPs.

    But with BRCK, which is described as the “backup generator for the internet”, this could according to them
    now be in the past. Shortly explained, BRCK allows for you to define a range of ways of connecting to the internet, such as ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, and will shift between them depending upon the status of your existing connection. It can support up to 20 computing-devices at once and has an eight hour battery life, which should allow you to stay online until the original connection has been restored.

    At the moment, the BRCK is at prototype-stage, but Ushahidi (the makers of the BRCK and not-for-profit that built a crowdsourced mapping platform as a consequence of the Kenyan post-election violence in 2008), is raising funds using Kickstarter, and is well advanced to reach their fundraising goal.

    It will be interesting to continue following the development of the BRCK. At the moment it is priced at $200, which is a little steep, but I am sure the cost will be reduced as they reach economies of scale.

    What do you think? Is the BRCK it?

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    ©IFAD/Horst Wagner
    The availability of Market Information System (MIS) have proven to be an important tool to help increase market transparency, alleviate information asymmetries, allow farmers to adjust production and ultimately obtain a higher price for their products.

    A Michigan State University study on the “Impact of Agricultural Market Information Systems Activities on Market Performance in Mozambique” suggests that access to market-information increase probability of farmers-participation in market-activities by 34%, and increase the mean-price obtained for commodities sold with as much as 12% [1].

    However, the reliability and sustainability of MIS’ have historically been a major challenge, and most systems stay reliant on donor support throughout their lifespan. The majority of MIS’ are based on data collected by enumerators, who observe prices in public marketplaces and report these to a central system, for example via a mobile phone. This is very human-resource intensive and costly, and require substantial amount of management and supervision. As prices reported often go through a rigorous control prior to being disseminated, many system often report data that is outdated and of no use to the farmer. 

    SANGONeT and International Development Enterprises (iDE) started with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a mobile phone point of sale (POS) and inventory control app in Zambia called Lima Links. The data generated from the POS is then used to obtain real-time and accurate price information, which is disseminated to farmers, completely eliminating the need for using third party enumerators. This does not only reduce cost (and thus increase likelihood of a sustainable business model) but also reduce the margin of error and delay of delivering price information.

    Lima Links is still at very early stages, but it is a very interesting innovation in the MIS realm, well worth following further.You can access an excellent assessment of MIS in East Africa done by USAID here , and read USAID's profile paper on Lima Links here .



    [1] Kizito, Donnovan, & Staaz. (2012). Impact of Agricultural Market Information Systems Activities on Market Performance in Mozambique

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    "Inspiration" was the focus of the first two sessions of the 2013 Retreat on the Joint Programme Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women being held at IFAD today and tomorrow. About 40 participants from IFAD, FAO, WFP and UN Women gathered to hear about achievements, challenges and opportunities in the seven pilot countries: Ethiopia, Liberia, Niger, Rwanda, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal.
    

     Economic empowerment for women is recognized as a fast track to improving gender equality between woman and men, driving economic growth and advancing women's human rights.

    Your mother might have told you that money can't buy you happiness. But research shows she was probably wrong. In any case, it surely buys you practically everything else. How's this for starters: nutritious food, clean water, physical safety, healthcare, schooling, decent clothing, a mobile phone, a bicycle. Money also buys less tangible things: status, hope, freedom, choices, self-respect, security, comfort.

    An op-ed published this week in The Hindu makes another critical point about the effect of economic empowerment for women: "high levels of female employment and earnings are critical to lowering domestic violence against women".

    What follows is a personal account and a personal reflection on the morning's work and the significance of the aims of the Joint Programme.

    What does it mean?
    It's hard to say in a jargon-free nutshell what economic empowerment means, because in fact it means so many things. It means earning money, being paid for your work where before you may have worked for nothing. It means being paid a fair wage that compares with what others are paid for similar work. It means having the power to negotiate fair prices for your produce. It means having the power to decide how the money you have earned is spent, or not spent in the household. It means having the power, the education and the information to decide about investments, savings, loans. It means being able to go to a bank or a microfinance institution and being treated fairly when you get there. This list is not exhaustive.

    Launched in 2012 in New York and Rome, the Joint Programme aims to speed up economic empowerment for rural women by building on ongoing work by the four agencies in the seven pilot countries, maximizing synergies and scaling up approaches that work. To be effective, the Programme has to respond clearly to issues identified at national level and complement existing activities.

    In five out of the seven pilot countries consultative workshops have been held with the four agencies, government representatives, local partners, women's civil society groups and rural women's associations. Some countries are also using focus groups and interviews to identify stakeholder priorities. Good practices are being collected and successful initiatives are being mapped.

    Country ownership and common challenges
    Participants at the Retreat underlined the importance of the Joint Programme being 'owned' by the countries to ensure that achievements and progress are sustainable over the long term. Aligning work programmes with country development priorities is also essential to getting buy-in from governments and local partners.

    Common challenges across the countries relate to sharpening the focus of the Joint Programme and clarifying how the agencies work together on the ground in widely different contexts. In many cases local stakeholders are very enthusiastic about the new programme and there's a need to manage expectations while the groundwork is finalized and activities get under way.

    The retreat runs for two days and aims to hammer out details and agreements that will enable the ambitious Joint Programme to move up a gear and, in the words of Clare Bishop-Sambrook, IFAD Senior Gender Adviser, "turn the ripples made so far into waves".



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    Trusteeship Council Chamber at UN headquarters, site of an interactive
    dialogue between indigenous peoples and UN agencies on 24 May. ©IFAD
    NEW YORK – As the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues wrapped up the first week of its current two-week session, participants engaged in a full day of spirited dialogue on issues of mutual concern with UN agencies and funds. The dialogue unfolded during a 24 May plenary session at UN headquarters here. Its tone was constructive but pointed at times, as indigenous peoples’ representatives repeatedly underscored the need for free, prior and informed consent on development activities affecting their ancestral lands.

    The right to full consent is articulated in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but various speakers at the plenary suggested that the UN agencies and funds have not always upheld it. The speakers called upon the international community to engage in meaningful collaboration with indigenous peoples at every stage of the development process. Only an inclusive approach, they asserted, can ensure sustainable initiatives that respect indigenous peoples’ rights and are informed by their traditional knowledge about managing natural resources.

    A model of partnership
    Several participants in the dialogue credited IFAD for its efforts in this regard. They cited the activities of IFAD’s Indigenous Peoples’ Forum and its Indigenous Peoples’ Assistance Facility (IPAF) as good examples of participatory engagement. Noting that the community-driven development projects financed by IPAF are small in scale, however, they said additional financial resources were needed to support indigenous peoples and their organizations.

    “We encourage IFAD to continue with this funding and even increase funds,” said Myrna Cunningham, a Nicaraguan activist and member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    IFAD's seat at plenary session of the UN Permanent Forum
    on Indigenous Issues.  ©IFAD
    Another speaker who addressed IFAD’s record was Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education. Tauli-Corpuz has been instrumental in building trust and partnership between IFAD and indigenous peoples. She played an active role in the extensive consultations that led up to the first global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD in February.

    “This process,” she said, “allowed indigenous peoples to formulate a global plan of action in relation to IFAD, which was presented to the senior management, Executive Board and the Governing Council.”

    Tauli-Corpuz told the plenary that IFAD had provided a “model of partnership of an intergovernmental body with indigenous peoples” by facilitating such direct exchanges with decision-makers. She recommended that the Permanent Forum “call on the UN agencies, bodies and funds to emulate the ways IFAD is operationalizing a partnership with indigenous peoples.”

    In a further recommendation, Tauli-Corpuz urged IFAD itself to help reframe the agenda of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global partnership engaged in research for a food-secure future. The CGIAR agenda, she said, should place a greater emphasis on developing inclusive research partnerships with indigenous communities.

    Full and effective participation
    Antonella Cordone, IFAD’s Coordinator for Indigenous and Tribal Issues, also spoke at the plenary. She re-affirmed IFAD’s commitment to supporting projects that build on the skills and knowledge of indigenous and tribal peoples, and ethnic minorities, in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Participants in the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD, held
    in Rome in February 2013. ©IFAD
    Indigenous peoples are “valued partners” whose development “continues to be high on our agenda for poverty reduction in rural areas of developing countries,” Cordone said. As evidence, she cited IFAD’s Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples. That policy, she noted, calls for the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples’ Forum “as a concrete way to institutionalize consultation and dialogue with indigenous peoples, with the aim of improving IFAD’s accountability to its target groups and its development effectiveness.”

    The first global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD was a milestone for the organization, Cordone said. She reported that participants in the event “underscored their commitment to partnering with IFAD in working towards the ambitious goal of reducing rural poverty, pointing out that there can be no sustainable rural development without indigenous peoples.”

    By helping to strengthen traditional institutions, open new livelihood opportunities and empower women – among other successful practices – IFAD-supported projects have been building a “true and effective partnership built on mutual trust” with indigenous peoples for years, Cordone observed. “We are convinced that only by working together we can make a difference,” she said. “That is why we look forward to our strengthened cooperation with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and like-minded agencies and indigenous peoples’ organizations.”


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    We all know how critical water is for our survival and for the survival of our planet. For poor rural people water is a an extremely precious resource that has also been the cause of civil unrest and conflict.

     
    As you dig into just a few UN water statistics
    • 780 million people do not have access to water (equivalent to 2 ½ times the population of the USA),
    • women spend a total of 200 million hours a day to collect water (enough to build 28 Empire State Buildings every day),
    • by 2050 there will be 9 billion people to feed which means we will need 60% more food and 19% more agricultural water will be used up,
    it comes to no surprise that there is great concern about the world’s food and water security.

    Given the increased need that there will be for more food and water, worsened by the effects of climate change, we undoubtedly have to be innovative about how efficiently we use the water we have combined with good agricultural practices and good policies.
     
    In IFAD we manage a large water portfolio with about two-thirds of our projects dealing with community-based natural resource management and about half involving water resource management as well as supporting innovative research programme in water for poor rural people.

    Given the common concerns we share on water and food security and about poor rural people, Dr. Madramootoo (see bio), Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University spent one day with IFAD staff to share his experiences, including with President Nwanze who was awarded an doctorate of science, honoris causa at McGill University in June 2012.
     
    During his visit, Dr Madramootoo presented many innovations (watch presentation on bliptv) in water management for smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions and discussed with staff how we can join forces to share knowledge and put research to work on the ground.
     
    In his presentation Dr Madramootoo confirmed that the harsh conditions of farmers in semi-arid regions will be exacerbated by the impact of climate change with temperatures increasing by +5 degrees C by 2050 and the unpredictability of weather patterns disrupting agricultural practices. In fact, any development initiative addressing water and agriculture will have to factor in the impact of climate change.
     
    Dr Madramootoo advised that to improve water security, greater investments are needed to increase water storage, improve on-farm water management, develop/apply innovative technologies, and develop better information and knowledge systems. All these efforts will require strong partnerships - no one will be able to do it alone. And the biggest leap will come from the private sector.
     
    For example, partnerships could be developed with Google and Microsoft - that are looking to invest in these opportunities - to collect, store, analyse and treat large volumes of data for soil and water management.
     
    Dr Madramootoo also presented many areas that have been neglected and that ripe for exploration through small business ventures to improve water security, such as:
    • Soil nutrient assessments
    • Risk assessment to advice governments on how to invest in water initiatives
    • Linkages to carbon storage
    • Piggy backing on the water and sanitation sector as a driver in irrigation development and put in reality an integrated water management
    • Bio- prospecting to determine from indigenous fungi what are the mycorrhizae that can be extracted locally and put in plant roots to extract nutrients and hold onto water in difficult soil conditions – a fascinating approach that uses ancient indigenous knowledge
    • Biochar
    • Conservation agriculture
    • Fertilizer technology
    The research that has been validated by McGill University is of interest to IFAD’s beneficiaries and Dr Madramootoo met with technical staff of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA) and of the Environment and Climate Division (ECD) in the afternoon to explore areas for future collaboration.
     

    Following these constructive knowledge exchange sessions, it was agreed that a Concept Note will be put together on how the two organizations could work together. One area identified was with the ECD in the area of Climate Change and in effectively designing “climate smart” approaches – especially through the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) that channels climate finance to smallholder farmers to increase their resilience. The other was with the Policy and Technical Advisory Division on knowledge management related to water resources in particular. Partners at McGill University could be not only support the validation of PTA’s “How to” knowledge products but could also work with partners in the field for dissemination of the products and putting good practices and lessons into practice.
     
    The message of the World Day to Combat Desertification 2013 (17 June) “don’t let our future dry up” characterizes the day spent with Dr Madramootoo in recognizing that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and that there are possible solutions to these critical issues and we can put these solutions into practice by working together.

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  • 05/28/13--06:56: Youth in Agriculture


  • Ariel Pagaspas, 17, harvests potatoes in Bangao, Buguias, Benguet,
    Philippines. 
    ©IFAD/GMB Akash
    The role of young people in the agricultural sector have been debated extensively, and for good reason. Youth unemployment is a huge challenge with potentially severe consequences, and the agricultural sector is the biggest employer in most developing countries.

    Currently, the global population of young people aged 12-24 is around 1.3 billion, and projected to peak at 1.5 billion in 2035. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that globally, around 55% of young people reside in rural areas. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and south Asia, this number increase to as much as 70%. In SSA alone, youth (aged between 15 and 24) comprise as much as 36% of the labor force. With food production having to increase with 60% by 2050 in order to sustain expected food demands (FAO, 2011), adequate integration of young people in the agricultural sector can be a vital factor of reaching those targets..

    Consequently, I am often asked the question: “How can we facilitate for increased youth participation in the agricultural sector?”.

    In order to answer that question, I would like to first identify some of the key challenges I believe young people face when trying to enter the job-market:
    • Limited jobs: There are limited jobs available, and those that are available tend to go to "more experienced adults", often leaving entrepreneurship as the only possibility;
    • Perception: The agricultural sector is regarded as a poor man’s job and something you do to survive, and not a career. Consequently, many young people are simply not interested in working with agriculture;
    • Not everyone is an entrepreneur: statistically less than 20% of the population globally are entrepreneurial. In developing countries, entrepreneurship is often due to circumstances and not by choice. Globally, 44% of business start-ups have failed by the third year;
    • Lack of experience: By nature of being young, one would not have obtained as much experience as adults. Lack of experience is reportedly the leading reason for business failure, after incompetence;
    • Access to finance: Many financial institutions simply refuse to serve young people as they see them as higher risk than adults; and
    • Being taken seriously: Young people can often miss out on important opportunities as they are simply not taken seriously by their adult peers.
    The solution is complex, but I would like to offer two suggestions I believe could make a difference:

    Develop educational mobile-phone games: There is limited data available on mobile-phone gaming in Africa, but most young people own a phone and many use it for gaming. Most phones used by young people in Africa today can run simple java-based games. By developing a mobile phone game that young people find entertaining, based around the concept of starting a business in the agricultural sector, young people could learn more about important business principles such as planning, budgeting, marketing, and profit-margins.

    A study by Doorway to Dreams (D2D), a not-for-profit organisation that works on improving the finances of low- and middle-income consumers, on the effect of D2D's financial education games, showed that both financial self-confidence and financial-knowledge increased when playing finance-educational games [1]. A potential game would also expose young people to a different side of agriculture other than “as a poor person’s job”, which could possible encourage young people to consider the agricultural sector as a potential career. Games for Change and "half the Sky movement" worked together on developing educational games to teach about important social issues in Africa (and other places), which was played by more than 500,000 gamers globally. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK2O6u89A9c 

    Promote microfranchising: Microfranchise as a concept has been around for a while but surprisingly not made the traction in the international development arena as I would have expected. Shortly explained, Microfranchising apply the concept of franchising to businesses at the bottom of the pyramid, where the franchisee replicate a proven business-model by following a consistent set of well-defined processes and procedures. The franchisor remove a lot of the entrepreneurial responsibility from the franchisee by managing many of the key aspects of running a business, such as marketing, establishing and improving operational procedures, procurement, and so forth. As such, many of the key business-decisions necessary for a startup have already been made, the success of the business rely more on the ability to implement step-by-step procedures than ones entrepreneurial skills.

    Youth Business Internationalargue that having access to a mentor is a key success-factor for youth entrepreneurs as it limits the possible negative impact of lacking experience. However, maintaining a mentoring programme is difficult and expensive, as one would have to compensate for the mentor’s time. With microfranchising, the comprehensive implementation support provided by the microfranchisor, who has a financial incentive to see the franchisee succeed, may substitute much of the function of a mentor. Working with an established microfranchise should remove some of the perceived risk by financial institutions. Financial services could possibly even be provided in-kind by the franchisor and paid back with a monthly repayment schedule.

    There is limited data about Microfranchising, but preliminary findings suggests that the absolute majority of microfranchises established are still running after three years of operation.You can learn more about microfranchising here , or learn read about Grameen Foundation’s mobile microfranchising activities here.

    What do you think? Could mobile games and microfranchising be the solution for unemployed youth?

    __________________
    Doorway to Dreams, "Can games build financial capacity? A financial entertainment report", Available at: http://www.d2dfund.org/files/publications/D2D_FE-Report_Pages_0.pdf 

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    by Chris Neglia

    While the international community is concerned about a rise in global mean temperature of 2°C, climate modelling indicates that we are more likely to reach 4°C by the turn of this century, says
    Warren Evans, a senior advisor with the Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank.

    Evans was speaking at IFAD’s Rome headquarters on the medium to long-term outlook for climate finance for development. Sourcing the World Bank’s recent study Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4° Celsius World Must Be Avoided Evans noted that the impacts of rising sea levels, ocean acidification, heat waves and extreme temperatures, droughts and floods are already evident worldwide.

    Evans has led a prolific career in the development field, living over 25 years in South East Asia, and the last 10 in Washington D.C. with the Bank.

    Addressing IFAD directors, staff members and country representatives, he explained his role now is to leave behind some of the tacit knowledge he accumulated and to share his perspective on the lending of development finance institutions amid rapidly changing demographic, economic and climate trends.

    Much of Evans’ prognosis regarding the challenge of climate change to human systems was palpably shocking. For instance, there is fairly high confidence in attribution to climate change of the Russian heat wave in 2010, which resulted in an estimated death toll of 55,000 people. Drought conditions caused grain harvest losses of 25 per cent (estimated US$15 billion), leading the Russian government to impose a total ban on wheat exports. Evans also cautioned that humans had crossed the threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    “The news is all bad for coral reefs, and ocean ecosystems in general,” he said. If atmospheric CO2 reaches 450 ppm, coral reef growth around the world is expected to slow down considerably and at 550 ppm reefs are expected to start to dissolve. This represents a severe threat to the economic viability of Small Island Caribbean States (SIDS) and would be destructive to marine biodiversity.

    The consequences that can be inferred from these projections underscore the urgency of leveraging climate finance for mitigation and adaptation actions, which can still limit the rate of warming to 2°C above preindustrial levels. This is where Evans sees the continued relevance of the World Bank, and other international funds such as IFAD, that are integrating climate objectives into development projects and programmes.

    But how can we meet the financing challenge for global public goods, and what are the sources that climate finance is expected to flow from in the future? At present, most climate finance is allocated from public money. However, Evans cited the need to engage the private sector to a much greater extent than has been achieved hitherto. Commercial financial institutions, corporate actors, and institutional investors have the potential to mobilize the resources necessary to take serious climate action. Getting buy in from insurance companies, pension funds and mutual funds could be the tipping point for influencing more low carbon green investment.

    Although Evans pointed out that these sources are very risk averse, their attitudes can change as development finance institutions start to take steps to manage risk, such as through portfolio diversification.
    Important for IFAD, it was recognized in the discussion that sustainable agriculture is unique in that it builds small farmers’ climate resilience, as well as sequesters carbon in the soil. “Agriculture is the best opportunity to increase food security and reduce emissions,” said Evans. For this reason, climate finance should pay greater attention to increasing small farmers’ capacity to move to sustainable production systems.

    In terms of the types of initiatives that climate finance will look to invest in, he mentioned the 6th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as processes to watch for an indication of mitigation and adaptation activities that hold the greatest prospects for scaling up.

    Evans provided many insights into how the World Bank and others can create incentives for the private sector provision of global public goods. Utilizing human ingenuity and innovative financing mechanisms, we have the solutions to avoid a 4°C warmer world that none of us can afford.


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    Written by Clarissa Baldin

    Maria Maxaili, widowed, aged 60. Her three children have all
    moved to South Africa in search for better opportunities.
    ©IFAD/C.Baldin
    I’m just back from Mozambique, where I visited the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors of Mozambique (PROSUL). Officially launched on 17 April 2013 in XaiXai, Gaza, PROSUL will work to improve yields, quality, prices and sustainability of production in the irrigated horticulture, cassava and red meat value chains. It will reach 19,550 beneficiaries in the southern Provinces of Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo.

    This is already enough for the making of a special project, but there’s more: it is also the first IFAD-supported project to include funds from IFAD’s new Adaptation for Smallholder Programme (ASAP)

    ASAP will provide USD 4.91 million to establish improved and climate-smart livelihoods for small farmers. In order to document the climate related issues faced by the smallholders of the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors, I visited 5 districts collecting photo, video and written materials. Here is a snapshot of what I found.

    The Smallholder Association of 25 de Setembro, in the District of Chokwe, Gaza Province, was founded in 2007. Today it includes 29 members and covers an area of 50ha where they cultivate maize, beans, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and onions. This season, however, unable to rely on rainfall and facing problems with their irrigation system, they planted only 30ha.

    Ernesto Macuvel, Vice-President of the Association, told me that every time there is a flood, like the one earlier this year, the community is affected – the water pump is damaged, and the replacements have to be imported from the fabricant in South Africa. As the frequency and intensity of the floods increase, their capital erodes, until the point that they can no longer afford to fix the pump and loose the harvest. After every cycle, he says, his community becomes poorer.

    The consequences are also felt by Maria Maxaili, aged 60. Her 3 children have all moved to South Africa in search of better opportunities. She told me she misses them, particularly because she doesn’t believe they will ever come back to Mozambique. She says that when she was young, rainfall levels were more uniform in the rainy season, and floods were rare. When I asked her if she had a message for heads of state at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Warsaw this November (19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC - COP19), she said she would ask them to undertake a study on the causes of the recurring floods and how to minimize their impacts on the crops.

    Maria showed me her maxamba and demonstrated how she weeds the maize. It is precariously located, just a few yards from the river and very vulnerable to the floods – which will certainly be back soon. With challenges of her own, Maria had many reasons to not be concerned about me. And yet, she would walk right by my side fearing that I might fall along the slopes. In her eyes, I was the vulnerable one.

    What I found in southern Mozambique was a big promise - with the right adaptation measures, this community has immense potential for increased production, prosperous livelihoods, and dynamic rural areas. I look forward to visiting Ernesto and Maria again next year, to see how PROSUL is being implemented and how IFAD’s work on climate change adaptation is making a difference in the livelihoods of all the other 27 members.

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    By Ilaria Firmian and Estibalitz Morras

    We recently started the design of a project funded though the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in Bolivia, which will complement an existing programme of US$ 45 million that was recently signed by the Bolivian Government.

    The Economic Inclusion Program for Rural Families and Communities in the Territory of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (ACCESOS) invests in selected community-based natural resources management initiatives which are also deemed fit as economically viable business plans. The business plans enhance food security, generate income, and improve access to financial services. The best plans are selected by the communities themselves and funded through an IFAD loan.

    During the design of ACCESOS, the vulnerability of rural poor to climate change was identified as a major area of concern for both the Government and IFAD. In fact, the 52 municipalities included in ACCESOS are located in a large and dispersed area, covering highlands, valleys and plains, that is extremely susceptible to a number of climatic phenomena affecting the rural economic base and preventing progress in poverty reduction.

    Additional funds of $10 million from ASAP
    One of the tasks of the design mission was to better understand the implications of climate change for the lives and livelihoods of the communities IFAD works with. The mission split into two groups and visited 20 municipalities, where we undertook focus interviews by applying a framework developed by CARE, the Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis - CVCA process.

    The community members raised concerns on drought, frost, hail and floods that badly affect crop and livestock. Interestingly enough, we did not only heard about the difficulty of dealing with current climate variability, but also about the opportunities generated by the change in climate. In the highlands, due to temperature increase, the farmers were keen on exploring the possibility of growing fruit trees, which would have a higher value on the market than currently grown crops such as potatoes.

    Watch and listen to local people and their climate concerns.


    Knowledge means action
    Focus group discussions also revealed that human-induced impacts on ecosystems were not understood in their cause-effect relations, for example the increase in climate-related risks associated with bad land management practices.

    Therefore, knowledge management – intended as different approaches for knowledge sharing, sensitization and joint learning among different stakeholders that eventually results in behavioural changes - appeared to be a practical strategy to facilitate community-based adaptation to climate change.

    In Bolivia traditional technologies exist that may help in copying with floods. At the same time, new technologies, such as biogas, appear to have the potential to help crops recover from frost (through the application of fertilisers generated through biogas systems).

    Following this line of thought, part of the project response will include systematisation and validation of both ancestral knowledge and new technologies, with the notion that project stakeholders, through community meetings, exchanges of experiences and trainings, identify practices that improve productivity and reduce climate risks.

    The results of the systematizations will also generate a ”menu” of options that the project may finance through the “concursos” (competitions) approach.

    In fact, the ASAP ACCESOS will apply the same competition approach as the baseline project, but with a difference: its focus will be on funding investments at landscape or larger territorial level to complement those at community/group level funded by ACCESOS. The underlying principle being recognising the complexity of people’s interactions with landscapes and the fact that investments or management practices in different parts of a landscape unit can produce benefits or reduce climate risks on other parts, well beyond the local administrative borders.

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    By Emile A. Frison, Julia Marton-Lefèvre ‎ and Kanayo F. Nwanze

    Agricultural biodiversity is the basis of our life on Earth. It is also the basis of healthy and resilient ecosystems. Yet it is under threat. Biodiversity provides more options for dietary diversity, can help smallholder farmers grow more food and earn more income, while protecting the natural resource base upon which their—and our—lives depend. It is time to redesign farms as productive, healthy, resilient ecosystems that conserve diversity within a broad landscape that provides food.

     Conserving biodiversity makes nutritional, ecological and economic sense. Targeted development projects can leverage these benefits to reduce hunger and poverty. For example, ancient grains high in quality proteins and rich in micronutrients such as quinoa and finger millets have been grown for generations, but in some places farmers were struggling to conserve and use these grains because there were limited markets. From 2001 to 2010, an international effort supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and coordinated by Bioversity International in Bolivia, Peru and India helped to enhance the sustainable conservation and use of such underutilized species, in order to unlock their potential value for income generation and nutrition.

    Bioversity International and its national and local partners researched high-yielding Andean grain varieties, reintroduced lost species, ensured a wide diversity of genetic resources were preserved in seed banks, and introduced technologies to process grains for markets. The result was not only improved livelihoods but enhancement of cultural identity for communities.

    When farmers are linked to value chains, they can reach markets for these primary grains, which are transformed into processed foods that are highly in demand.  Rural people living in poverty are important custodians of biodiversity and have found ingenious ways of utilizing it sustainably. When they achieve higher incomes through these activities it creates an incentive to conserve biodiversity sustainably.

    In Uganda, the forest-dwelling Benet people have been deriving their livelihoods from the forested landscape of Mount Elgon for hundreds of years. In 1983 the Ugandan Government declared Mount Elgon a National Park, evicted the Benet communities and resettled them outside the forest. The park subsequently experienced land degradation, while communities that had looked after the Park’s natural resources for generations suffered from marginalization and increasing poverty.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) worked with the government, local communities and district authorities to realize a new vision for the Mount Elgon area, which included better-defined use and access rights for communities within the national park. After this new model replaced the exclusionary approach, harvesting of wild resources for food helped diversify and improve local diets. It also benefited Park management, with an 80% reduction in incidences of illegal timber extraction. In the buffer zone around the Park, IUCN helped communities apply their own by-laws to improve land-use decision-making. Communities elected to stop open access herding of cattle, which enabled simple but effective soil conservation techniques to be applied.

    The preliminary results demonstrate that local communities have increased their incomes by more than 100% through collection and marketing of wild honey, a two-fold increase in milk production and vegetable gardening, and harvesting of two (rather than one) agriculture crops per season from the rich volcanic soils.

    There are many other examples of farmers, scientists and policy-makers working together to re-establish traditional land management regimes where agriculture and conservation practices co-exist and complement each other. This can improve productivity, reduce fossil energy dependency, increase efficiency in plant nutrient utilization, improve water management, and contain the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

    These positive examples demonstrate that it is time to take a landscape perspective on agriculture and natural resources: a more pragmatic approach involving community-based natural resource management, strong partnerships and flexibility.

    In 2012, the IUCN World Conservation Congress delivered a ‘Call to Action for Agriculture and Conservation to Work Together.’ The conservation and agriculture sectors will need to collaborate if we are to find long-term sustainable solutions to food and nutrition security and preservation of biodiversity. We need commitment from partners and funders to a common vision, and decision-makers need to rethink policies separating the two agendas.

    The major actors in conservation and agriculture are recognizing the critical contribution that biodiversity makes to human livelihoods, food and nutrition. However, we need a deeper understanding of how social, ecological, commercial and financial sectors, as well as cultural movements, can mobilize biodiversity’s contribution to food security and poverty reduction, particularly in view of climate change threats. Biodiversity can be both safeguarded and put to use within a sustainable and resilient agriculture that meets multiple needs: food production, environmental restoration and preservation, and improved livelihood for rural people.

    The momentum for a new agricultural paradigm began at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress where Bioversity and The Christensen Fund co-organized a plenary panel discussion and workshop facilitated by Ken Wilson from the Christensen Fund. This workshop ‘From Competition to Collaboration between Agriculture and Conservation’ was the impetus for partnerships that are continuing this effort.

    Bioversity International, IFAD and IUCN are coming together with thought leaders in agriculture, conservation, public entities and industry to support a new paradigm in agriculture and sustainable development. Through CGIAR research programs, Bioversity is developing a research model of agriculture with smallholder farmers and partners that maximizes agricultural sustainability, productivity and conservation objectives, emphasizing the bridge between agriculture and conservation with biodiversity as a key link.

    Our common vision is a global agricultural system that meets the challenge of transforming food systems while building resilience to climate change. This is especially vital for the regions of the world where large rural populations living in poverty rely on agriculture and ecosystems for their livelihoods.
    Cross-sectoral cooperation will be vital to addressing shared global challenges now and in the future, including within the context of the post-2015 development agenda. We need to work together to ensure that biodiversity is recognized as key to tackling major issues such as food and nutrition security, climate change, human health, and poverty. Learn more about the Agriculture and Conservation Initiative.

    Emile A. Frison is Director General of Bioversity International, Julia Marton-Lefèvre is Director General of IUCN, and Kanayo F. Nwanze is President of IFAD.

    Originally posted by Thomas Reuters 

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    Journalist trainees speak to jackfruit producers in Pagon village, Indonesia.
    ©IPS/Abigail Lee
    By Katie Taft 

    Saleem Shaikh Muhammad, a freelance journalist from Pakistan, sat under a rambutan tree in Pagon village, about 70 kilometres outside Jakarta, Indonesia. He was interviewing a group of women about their jackfruit business and how it has been affected by a changing climate. After his interview, he walked over to me with an expression of disbelief.

    “It’s not just about giving them some rice to eat,” he said of the group’s efforts to produce jackfruit snacks. “They are getting something much more – empowerment.”

    Saleem is one of 13 journalists from across Asia who came to Indonesia this month as part of an IFAD-sponsored training programme conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) and IPS International News Agency. The three-day training focused on expanding the journalists’ knowledge about the impact of climate change in the region, specifically its effect on rural areas.

    Hari Priyono, Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, and Ron Hartman, IFAD Country Programme Manager, were among several speakers who gave presentations to the journalists. The training also included a visit to Pagon to interview members of a farmers’ organization that was once a part of the IFAD-supported P4K project.

    ‘Doing it themselves’
    The project, which has been operating successfully on its own for seven years now, aims to improve post-harvest processing and provide small-scale farmers with access to capital through a local commercial bank. As the journalists saw first-hand, the project continues to thrive. Each member has access to about US$220 in capital, and they have increased their income by about 40 per cent, producing jackfruit snacks that they sell to souvenir shops in Jakarta.

    Pagon village producers' group displays jackfruit snacks.
    ©IPS/Abigail Lee
    What Saleem and the other journalists learned from speaking to the women is that reporting on climate change is about more than just environmental facts and figures.

    “These women, they are business women with confidence and knowledge because they are doing it themselves,” Saleem explained on the bus ride back to Jakarta. “One woman told me that before, her husband would not give her money for buying household items. Now that she is making more money with her jackfruit business, he came to her recently to ask for money. She is the one making the money and the decisions.”

    But Saleem, like the other journalists, saw that the women were beginning to struggle because of climate change.

    “They talked about how the rains are not as predictable, and how water resources are running low,” he said. “Working together, they are looking at adjusting the two jackfruit planting seasons to accommodate the rainfall.”

    Covering the human angle
    Back in the training session, the journalists had a chance to discuss challenges and opportunities in covering climate change in their respective countries and share what they learned from the field visit. Dilshad Elita Karim, a reporter from Bangladesh, explained how her newspaper regularly covers climate change but sometimes lacks attention to detail on the social and economic aspects.

    “Everything is too scientific, which I think readers find a bit boring,” she said. “There is a place for statistics and the science behind climate change, but what really improves a story is when I can meet the people who are living and dealing with the issues.”

    Ho Vinh Phu, a television reporter from Viet Nam, agreed and noted that there are many similarities between rural areas in Indonesia and those in Viet Nam. “Those women yesterday, they could be speaking from a village in Viet Nam,” she said. “The social issues of climate change, how it impacts women and children specifically, is the same story no matter where you are.”

    She added that journalists have a responsibility to better highlight what she called the human angle. “I think the story about climate change is a long, long one. It is the small farmers that need the most up-to-date information, and it is our stories that can help give them that.”



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    Worldwide, there are 1.2 billion young women and men between the ages of 15 and 24, 85 per cent of whom live in developing countries, often in rural areas. IFAD’s project portfolio includes a number of activities that focus explicitly on supporting rural youth, such as the establishment of young farmer clubs in Cambodia, business training in Vietnam and on Fiji, a youth employment programme in India, and a young professional programme in Afghanistan, if we look at the Asia and Pacific Region. Large portions of the population in IFAD’s partner countries are in the youth demographic – in Bangladesh the median age is 23.9 years, and in India half of the population is below 24 - making young women and men an important target group in all IFAD-supported projects.


    IFAD discussion event on "
    "Rural Youth - Why should it be a priority?
    Last week, IFAD’s Strategy and Knowledge Management Department organized a meeting to discuss the question “Rural Youth – Why should it be a priority?” The meeting made clear that the answer is quite straightforward: today’s generation of young people  is the largest in history. In fact, youth make up one fifth of the global population, with shares growing in South-Central Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa.  As the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, writes in his viewpoint, “Sheer force of numbers means that we urgently need to harness the power and creativity of young adults on every continent. (…) With world population set to peak at over 9 billion in 2050 – and projections that food production will need to rise by 70 per cent – creating opportunities for young farmers and workers in rural areas is crucial.”


    Rural young people must play vital roles in their communities as tomorrow’s teachers, farmers and businessmen or women. But currently, many rural youth have difficulties finding work or feel that they cannot gain sufficient income from farming, and they are therefore leaving their rural homes for urban areas in record numbers.

    A large number of IFAD-supported projects work to address this situation, to create perspectives and opportunities for young people in rural areas. As a lead implementation agency of the System Wide Action Plan on Youth , IFAD is particularly committed to increasing access to assets and services by young entrepreneurs in rural and urban areas (measure 3.3), as our SKM colleagues Rosemary Vargas-Lundius and David Suttie reported.

     In Bangladesh, for example, IFAD is working closely with local institutions to do just that, supporting entrepreneurship and building the business capacity of farmers in several ways:

    • Creating employment by supporting entrepreneurship: Young people often are confronted with a jobless market but have ideas for their own businesses. To give them the funds and capacity needed to turn these ideas into reality, the Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC) project that is working in all areas of Bangladesh provided women and men with access to micro-entrepreneur loans as well as training on business management and technology aspects. Loans averaging USD 1000 supported a broad variety of businesses, ranging from producing cooking tools made of recycled aluminum, to producing clothes, to food processing. Worth noting is that an average of 1.5 additional jobs were created for every entrepreneur supported with a loan. So supporting small entrepreneurs with financial resources and capacity creates new opportunities and perspectives for others as well.

    • Changing the mind-sets: Most rural youth are involved in agriculture, or as Felicity Procter, International Development Expert, put it in her presentation last week: “For many millions of rural youth there is no other alternative other than a livelihood in agriculture.” However, many do not perceive farming as a sufficient means to support themselves. The Rural Enterprise Development Component under the Market and Infrastructure Development Project in Charland Regions (MIDPCR) supported smallholders in turning their farming into a business, bringing in new technologies and increasing their incomes. Following a systematic approach to value chain development, the project brought relevant actors (suppliers, producers, buyers, regulators) together before the actual crop production started, which allowed young farmers to identify market demand, input shortages and technical assistance needs. Through these meetings and workshops, farmers strengthened their linkage with private sector actors and adjusted their production to market needs. In addition, farmers participated in marketing workshops where they learned to approach farming as a business undertaking, including the nuts and bolts of bookkeeping, market analysis and marketing. Young farmers who had encountered technical issues that kept them from increasing their production or adjusting to market demand received targeted technical training in new technologies and production methods from private sector partners . After three years of implementation, the income of participating farmers had increased by up to 300 per cent.

    The meeting on rural youth last week showed the importance of involving young people in our work,

    and first steps have already been taken at the corporate and the project level. To summarize the very rich and detailed discussions from the afternoon would be almost impossible – the tweets (#ifadyouth) will give you an impression – but a few points that I took away from the event were:

      
      Sharing experiences from operations.
    • IFAD needs to continue creating opportunities in rural areas, so that young people can and will want to stay and work there. This includes providing funds and capacity building for small businesses, and making farming more profitable.
    • When working with youth, it is crucial to know your audience. There is not just one rural youth but a diverse group of women and men with different perspectives, expectations, and skills.
    • Young women and men should be included in the whole project circle from design to implementation.
    • As the two examples above show, there is a need to invest in capacity building that responds to job-market demand and self-employment, enhancing both entrepreneurship and life skills.
    • ICTs offer big opportunities in terms of creating access to information, knowledge and markets, be it a market information system in Ghana or a rural radio programme in Bangladesh.


    For further information, please see:


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    What is the best conference you ever attended in your life? Those who have had the luxury of attending a TedTalk may think of their TedTalk experience. Others may think of the only time they attended an out of the box event.

    Well, whatever your best conference moment may have been, I wish you had attended the “young professional conference: Innovative ideas to feed the world” conference.

    This fantastic conference was organized by four interns working at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The event created a platform for young professionals to share some extraordinary and highly innovative ideas to feed the world and more importantly to learn from each other and share ideas on how to end hunger.

    I had the honour and privilege of moderating the conference and I must say, so far this event  has been one of the highlights of the year. It was so refreshing to see the enthusiasm and the out-of-the-box ideas of our young colleagues. It was so wonderful to see that their complex and innovative ideas were expressed in 500 words instead of 500 pages. It was so great to see the look of awe on the faces of the more seasoned participants and to hear comments such as “wow, I do not remember when was the last time I got excited about something”.

    So what was this great event all about? Here is how Rebeca Souza described it in her blogpost

    On the 21st of May, more than 150 young professionals presented their groundbreaking ideas to help end global hunger and malnutrition on the “Innovative Ideas to Feed the World – Young Professionals Conference” held at FAO Headquarters.

    The event was initiated by four interns of FAO and had the main goal to establish a platform where young professionals could learn from each other and help new talent and ideas to end hunger to emerge.

    “This event brings in three important ideas: young professionals – innovative ideas – feeding the world. These are three ideas that are not always connected. The biggest contribution you can give is to bring them together”, said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

    “Five top project proposals were selected from among 25 entries in a competition involving young professionals from the three Rome-based agencies. They included interns, volunteers, Associate Professional Officers, consultants and staff working in different technical areas in the three UN Rome-based agencies, besides students and young professionals from organizations related to Food Security and Development issues”, said Cyntia Lima, one of the group of young professionals who had spearheaded and organized the Conference.

    The projects were selected by a committee of senior professionals composed of representatives of FAO, IFAD, WFP, the Young Professionals Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) and academia. The choice of the five most innovative ideas was based on the criteria of innovation; impact and potential for adoption of the 25 project proposals submitted.

    The five winning projects and their presenters were:

    CourseWork on Feeding: PC and mobile application to connect NGOs with Master and PhD students which would provide  technical assistance for them, at the same time that they gain practical experience and write their thesis - Marco Bianchini, volunteer at FAO Headquarters;

    Care Farming: Using this approach to reduce the work burden of rural women and thus contribute for their potential economic empowerment which is key for food security and hunger eradication - Hajnalka Petrics, Gender and Development officer at FAO Headquarters;

    Price Monitoring using Interactive - Voice Response (PMIR Technology): monitoring food prices by linking  grocers with price information that was then fed into a database that could be easily accessed by all - Syed Fawad Raza (Programme Officer at WFP in Pakistan);

    Save Food, Save Future: a Multimedia tool for sustainable diets and food consumption - Daniela Demel (Executive Board Officer, WFP), Camelia Bucatariu (Consultant, FAO) and Sandra Ferrari (Consultant, FAO);

    Save.Use.Produce (SaveUP): focus on increasing the efficiency of urban and peri-urban food systems for mass nutrient and dietary energy flows. This will be done by  rearing insects for feed is already practiced in some countries7 and is a concrete solution towards supplementing animal feed and indirectly providing safe and sustainable8 high quality protein for human consumption. - Ms. Afton Halloran and Ms. Camelia Bucatariu - FAO consultants

    Amir Abdullah, WFP Deputy-Executive Director, was in charge of the closing remarks of the event. He noted that two of the five projects focused on the development of new Apps. and technologies while another two of the five proposals were concerned with the common theme of food waste. Young people thus had a very topical, innovative and practical approach to ending hunger.

    The five speakers selected received congratulatory letters from the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva and had their presentations uploaded at the FAO Slide Share.

    The Conference was attended by young professionals from the three Rome-based agencies, Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (USA), University of Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany) and University of Rome 3 (Italy).

    Opening remarks were made by FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva. Statements were also made by Conference moderator Roxanna Samii, IFAD manager for the Web, Knowledge and internal communications; Arni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and Monica Altmaier, Director of Human Resources, FAO. The Closing Remarks were done by the WFP Deputy Director, Amir Abdulla.

    Have a look at the Compilation of the 24 Ideas submitted for the "Innovative Ideas..." Contest. Congratulations to all the participants for their excellent work and innovative ideas!

    Check the picture of the event on Innovative to Feed the World's Facebook album.

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  • 06/20/13--01:51: The different sides of M&E

  • The West and Central Africa Division of IFAD organised yesterday (19 June 2013) a talk on the importance of Impact Evaluations in Programme Implementation. The talk was given by our new Colleague Franck Luabeya Kapiamba, the Country Programme Officer (CPO) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


    Franck vibrantly introduced his extensive experience with M&E from the point of view of a student reviewing poverty profiles for social adjustment programmes for his dissertation as well as from the point of view of a technician to whom a poorly designed programme document was given, with too many indicators for which he had to put into place an M&E system.


    From his experience, on whichever side he found himself, the questions and complexities regarding M&E and evaluating impact are the same:


    •           What are we trying to measure or to prove? Which questions are we trying to answer?
    •           Are our projects effective? Have they reached their objectives?
    •           Do our projects really impact the lives of the farmers who participate in them?
    •           Are we using the proper tools to undertake our analysis?
    •           Is quantitative data enough to demonstrate our impact?  Can impact be limited to numbers?
    •           How important is qualitative data in impact evaluation?
    •           Are we objective in our method? Is our data reliable?


    Of course the questions we chose to answer imply many things and can change during course of our observations according to the findings of our observations and the data collected.


    Franck stressed the importance of consistency throughout the evaluations and the need for good baseline surveys, midterm and final evaluations of projects and programmes. He outlined some methods that can be observed to achieve good evaluations and explained some risks like selection bias of the control group. In order to mitigate some of the risks associated to ineffective M&E, he suggested that technicians with good experience in the project area are selected.



    To continue the discussion, you can follow us on twitter #ifadm&e, #ifad, #drc or contact Franck directly l.kapiamba@ifad.org


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    by Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division

    Paying the protectors 

    At IFAD we are convinced that poor rural smallholder farmers should be recognized and compensated for the environmental services they provide when they practice environmentally sound land-use management and forestry which benefit all of us.

    This type of compensation, known as Payment for Environmental Services (PES), creates incentives for sustainable production by paying for carbon sequestration, avoiding deforestation, and protecting biodiversity. It’s all part of the solution to climate change. Schemes for carbon trading need to involve compensation for rural carbon sequestration.

    Climate change will affect us all, but it poses a particular risk to development and poverty reduction, and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

    Natural water filters
    One example of PES at work is the Green Water Credit model, piloted in Kenya and now expanding to other countries such as Algeria and China. This model is about farmers upstream being paid for soil and water conservation by water users downstream who benefit from cleaner water.

    Soil and water conservation is a matter of survival in most developing countries where the majority are smallholder farmers. In fact, 80% of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa is produced by small farmers. Although many private investors are not attracted to natural resources management, it is a fundamental part of sustainable development.

    In the Andean Highlands of Peru, our project with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will work towards protecting and sustainably farming this fragile ecosystem. At the same time, downstream beneficiaries will pay upstream agricultural communities for the resulting biodiversity and water services that they maintain.

    Similarly, communities in Ethiopia have re-greened the Tigray, a massive watershed which was hopelessly degraded a few years back. It is now a rejuvenated landscape supporting 4.4 million people who depend on smallholder agriculture. Investors are also trickling back to support people’s livelihoods.

    Not just cash
    In Jordan, another GEF funded project for IFAD will see private tour operators being asked to pay local communities for nature conservation and the maintenance of corridors between different reserves.

    Recent work in Africa tested innovative techniques for promoting PES through negotiated environmental service contracts with poor communities based on the principles of 'willingness to provide services' and 'willingness to pay'. This work was funded by an IFAD grant to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – Pro-poor Rewards for Environmental Services in Africa (PRESA) – which is linked to IFAD investment projects in Guinea, Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

    Similar work with ICRAF is ongoing in Asia, where the Programme for Developing Mechanisms to Reward the Upland Poor of Asia for the Environment Services They Provide (RUPES) is active in 12 sites in China, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nepal, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

    In Indonesia alone, over 6,000 farmers in 18 communities received permits to grow coffee while protecting the forests. Providing communities with clear land tenure rights gave them the incentive to maintain or restore environmental services, such as replanting and managing forest areas.

    One community negotiated with a private dam operator to reduce silt in the river by applying soil protection techniques on their plots in return for a micro-hydroelectric machine for energy supply.

    The activities also benefit lowland communities by protecting the watersheds, and shoring  up carbon sinks. These activities offer further evidence that PES transfers do not necessarily need to be financial, but can be provided in the form of secure land rights.

    Our efforts at IFAD will be more effective if we recognize poor rural people as effective custodians of the natural resource base, and ensure they have access to the technology and financing they need to cope with climate change and be part of the solution.

    By listening  to smallholder farmers in developing countries when planning adaptation and mitigation projects, we can reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere while accelerating progress towards a world without poverty.

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    Listen up! Raising awareness about women's legal rights in Burundi

    Summer is the season of cheat sheets, as students around the world get into gear for exams. So I’ve developed  a cheat sheet for IFAD’s AR2012 that will break it up into bite-sized chunks, and might even whet your appetite for the main report.

    The Annual Report is one of the places that staff, our Member States and partners go for key facts and figures. (You may not believe it, but people start trying to get their hands on it even before the preliminary GC draft is printed.) 

    Here are some of the key numbers from AR2012. Remember, these are all correct as at 31 December 2012.
    Let’s start with the big numbers:
    • 255 ongoing programmes and projects with an IFAD investment of US$5.3 billion and a total value of US$11.9 billion– up 50% from 2009
    • 33 new programmes and projects approved in 2012 with loans and DSF grants worth US$968 million
    • 88 new grants approved in 2012 worth US$69 million
    • Total IFAD loan and grants operations since 1978: US$14.7 billion
    If you want the details behind those figures, or more information on the various types of cofinancing, disbursements or repayments – take a look at Table 1 and the graphics that go with it.
    Now let’s break down the big numbers region by region.

    West and Central Africa
    • 55 ongoing projects in 23 countries
    • US$966.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$250.8 million
    East and Southern Africa
    •  56 ongoing projects in 18 countries
    •  US$1,368.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 4 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$108.0 million
    Asia and the Pacific
    •  59 ongoing projects in 19 countries
    • US$1,592.8 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 10 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$328.4 million
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    • 39 ongoing projects in 19 countries
    • US$574.1 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 8 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$149.6 million
    Near East, North Africa and Europe
    • 46 ongoing projects in 18 countries and Gaza and the West Bank
    • US$787.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 4 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$70.1 million
    But the Annual Report isn’t just about numbers. It’s also about issues, strategies and stories. If you want more of that kind of detail, go to the Programme of Work chapter. You’ll find a handy overview of issues in each region, key areas of work with results, and stories from the field. You’ll also see 2012 investments and disbursements by lending terms in the regional pie charts. If you want to know which countries we’re working in and where we have country offices, take a look at the map.

    Don’t forget that you can use the online full version to search for anything you’re interested in using the simple Find command with a keyword. The full online version also contains individual summaries for all newly approved programmes, projects and large grants– worth a look if you want to keep up with new directions and developments.

    The Financing Data and Resource Mobilization chapter is far from dry − every year the numbers tell a different story. This is where you’ll find the figures on the current shape of our portfolio, the 8th and 9th replenishments, supplementary funds, bilateral and multilateral cofinancing, support to the HIPC Debt Initiative and more.

    Here’s a sample – again, remember that these figures are correct at 31 December 2012:
    • US$1,386 million pledged to IFAD9– 92% of the target
    • US$42.7 million received in supplementary funds during 2012
    • US$653 million disbursed in loans and DSF grants during 2012
    • US$412 million provided in debt relief under HIPC to 33 countries
    • 71% of 2012 financing went to LIFDCs

    If you’re looking for a super cheat sheet with graphics and pictures  - try the Highlights, which is just 12 pages long. It’s very portable for sharing with partners.

    Finally, if you’ve found time to look at the main report, please take 5 minutes to fill in the AR survey– we’d like to hear your comments and ideas for next year.

    And last but not least, a big thank you to everyone who worked on the Annual Report this year. If we had credits like in the movies, they would go on and on. The stars of the show are the determined rural women and men featured in the stories from the field. But we also have scores of people behind the scenes: focal points, writers, editors, translators, proofreaders, gaffers and best boys (and girls). We couldn’t do it without you!

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    When I first met the Maasai women back in December 2011, I was impressed by their shyness. Their eyes were trying to communicate to me but at the same time they preferred staying silent. Almost none of them talked. The project "Increasing HouseHold Income for Maasai Women Livestock Pastoralists in the Amboseli Area, Kenya" (funded by the Finnish supplementary funds and implemented by the NGO African Wildlife Foundation) was just at its very beginning and its impact on the Maasai women's livelihoods was not visible yet. The project aims at supporting income-generating activities which enhance pastoralist women's self-esteem and strengthen their socio-economic position both within the household and in the community. The project is part of the AWF's Kilimanjaro Livestock Initiative which aims at demonstrating that, with relatively modest investment in market integration, it is possible to yield positive results in terms of returns and incomes to livestock producers while at the same time manage the natural resource base in a sustainable way that is compatible with viable wildlife populations living in the landscape.


    18 months later, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya again to meet the same women's group and see if any progress had been made. I had a candid chat with the women pastoralist. Things are now positively different and not only at the economic level. This time I have found them confident and assertive. They are no longer afraid to raise their hands to express their needs; nor are they scared of the challenges ahead of them. Their body language talks clearly and their eyes have that particular sparkle that only highly-motivated people have. Some of the Maasai women even had the opportunity to travel to India and Tanzania for a learning trip. For a few of them, this was their first journey ever.


    While talking to them, I realised that a sense of pride emerged from these women. Maseto and her fellows are now aware that their contributions to the household income is vital. All of them think big when it comes to their children's future. Although they all realise that the livestock activities have played and still play a big role in the improvement of their livelihoods and the lives of their families, the Maasai women hope that their children will leave the land to head to a better future. To them a better future is inextricably associated to access to education. For this reason, some of these women are already taking care of their children's college fees and their sense of pride is almost tangible.

    But, how do the Maasai men see such a strenghtening of their women's role considering the male-dominated society? They candidly admitted that at the beginning, they did not appreciate having their wives taking on responsible roles. Back in the early days, the Maasai men did not allow their wives to join the group. The women decided to sit and bravely found the heart to face their husbands, who reluctantly allowed them to attend the group. Only at a later stage, the men realised that having a pro-active wife has a positive impact on the household.


    While the project is now moving towards its exit phase, I can truly affirm that witnessing the Maasai women being empowered can surely be considered as a sustainable impact of the project. The sense of pride has emerged from us too.




                                                                    Maasai women walking proudly

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    El 8 de Marzo: ¡todos los días!
    El papel imprescindible de la mujer en la lucha contra la pobreza

    El 8 de marzo 2013 –“cien años de celebrar el día internacional de la mujer nos ha llevado a cien años de lucha. No se puede hablar de igualdad ante la ley cuando la sociedad no ha cambiado. Hablar por nosotras de mi condición, de legisladora, de profesional, de madre, de esposa y sentir que en el paso a paso que doy todavía sigo discriminada.” Lourdes Tibán- Legisladora Ecuatoriana.

    Lourdes Tibán (2°), Legisladora Ecuatoriana, 8 de Marzo, Día Internacional de la mujer, evento en el PMA


    Lamentablemente en muchas de nuestras sociedades modernas en Latinoamérica aún persiste la discriminación de género, las mujeres están subordinadas a patrones culturales obsoletos que son difíciles de erradicar, como son la falta de instrucción, el maltrato físico o mental no sólo en los hogares sino en la cotidianidad, el duro trabajo casi sin cesar ya sea en casa como en el campo, prácticamente sin remuneración ni garantías.

    Es por esa razón que ya es hora que todos nos demos cuenta que la evolución necesaria en nuestras sociedades va de la mano con el mejoramiento de las condiciones de vida de las mujeres, y al mismo tiempo que comprendamos que ellas son la clave para salir de la pobreza. Existen innumerables casos que demuestran que las mujeres administran óptimamente los medios con los que cuentan cuando logran acceder al microcrédito, son puntuales en sus cuotas y producen lo necesario para mantener su hogar, para alimentar a sus hijos y para proveer digna y tangiblemente en el diario vivir.
    “El 99% de soberanía alimentaria, lo hace la mujer. Si la mujer es la responsable de dar de comer al mundo, entonces nos damos cuenta que hay que tomar conciencia de que la mujer no solamente es para producir bebés, la mujer produce conocimientos, valores, ciencia, tecnología, sabiduría, y desde ese punto de vista vivir ahora cuestionando de que todavía somos discriminadas, yo creo que le falta tomar mucha conciencia al mundo y a la sociedad”
    Nos dice Lourdes Tibán, Legisladora ecuatoriana, una mujer que conoce en carne propia esta realidad, quien durante la celebración del Día Internacional de las Mujeres, que se llevó a cabo en el Programa Mundial de Alimentos PMA en Roma, nos ha hecho un llamado acerca de estos factores y nos exhorta a no desmayar en el cometido de empoderamiento de las mujeres. “las mejores condiciones de trabajo y el acceso a la tierra, al agua, al microcrédito con consecuente  acceso a los mercados, son medios idóneos y eficaces para combatir diariamente  la pobreza”.



    La educación, la salud, la protección contra la violencia doméstica, la tutela de nuestras mujeres, son factores imprescindibles.
    “Un trabajo tiene que nacer con la familia. Tiene que cambiar la familia. La educación tiene que ser con los hijos. Las madres estamos destinadas a parir, pero también somos destinadas a educar hijos para la libertad, hijos para la democracia, hijos que no salgan desde el hogar a maltratar a la hermanita. Desde pequeños tenemos que enseñar al hombre y a la mujer a lavar los platos, a tender la cama, desde pequeños los dos cogen el azadón para cavar las papas para cavar la tierra. Ese es el camino donde necesitamos volver a la familia y mirar el reflejo de que familia estamos construyendo. Cambiar a la sociedad de la actualidad.” 


    Para el bien de las generaciones futuras, no perdamos de vista este elemento crucial de nuestras sociedades a todo nivel y en todo lugar, dignidad a las mujeres, en especial a las más desprotegidas. No nos olvidemos de esto:  dan todo con abnegación, con empeño, con amor... merecen inmensamente más de lo que reciben.

    By Eduardo Vides y Carla Francescutti

    ­

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    par Ilaria Firmian

    Ma mission de la semaine dernière dans le Sahel ouest africain pour la supervision d’un don FIDA a été l’occasion une nouvelle fois de mettre en évidence le rôle capital de l’arbre dans les champs agricoles.
    Le don objet de la supervision s’intitule «Les arbres des parcs agroforestiers et les moyens de subsistance: adaptation aux changements climatiques dans le Sahel ouest-africain».

    Il est géré par l’ICRAF (World Agroforestry Center) et mis en œuvre au Burkina Faso, Mali et Niger par les instituts nationaux de recherches agricoles en collaboration avec les équipes de quatre projets d’investissement financés par le FIDA dans les trois pays.

    Le but général du projet est d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des communautés agricoles et pastorales pauvres vivant dans les zones d’intervention, grâce à la diversification et à la conservation des parcs agroforestiers, ainsi qu’à l’accroissement de la valeur des produits des arbres commercialisés dans le cadre d’entreprises communautaires.

    Les parcs agroforestiers sont des mélanges d’arbres que les paysans choisissent pour certaines fonctions et cultivent en combinaison avec des cultures vivrières de base telles que le petit mil et le sorgho. Dans le Sahel ouest-africain, les communautés rurales utilisent plus de 115 espèces locales d’arbres à différentes fins : alimentation humaine, fourrage, médicaments, bois de feu, bois de construction, outillage agricole et ménager, sculptures, instruments musicaux, fibres, etc… ces arbres rendent également des services environnementaux essentiels comme l’amélioration de la fertilité du sol, la conservation des sols et de l’eau, la création d’un microclimat etc.). Beaucoup d’ espèces d’arbres contribuent ainsi au revenu familial. Cependant, plusieurs d’entre elles sont en voie de disparition au niveau local faute de gestion appropriée et en raison du climat de plus en plus chaud et sec.

    Les visites de terrain confirment magnifiquement ce  qu’indiquent les rapports à savoir  le rôle crucial que jouent les arbres dans la réduction de la vulnérabilité, le renforcement de la résistance des systèmes agricoles et la protection des ménages pauvres contre les risques liés aux changements climatiques. Les arbres grâce à leur système racinaire parfois très profond, mobilisent d’importantes réserves d’hydrate de carbone, et sont, par conséquent, moins vulnérables que les cultures annuelles à la sécheresse et aux fluctuations des niveaux de pluie d’une année à une autre.

    L’approche du projet se base sur l’identification des espèces prioritaires pour des groupes différents (hommes – femmes - jeunes hommes - jeunes femmes) et sur la recherche-action pour conserver ces espèces et améliorer leur productivité et leur résilience.

    Selon les scientifiques de ICRAF, les bonnes techniques pour conserver et améliorer les espèces arbustives existent, et sont pour la plupart faciles et accessibles, mais le lien entre recherche et paysans est encore trop faible, et c’est là qu’il faut intervenir.

    Dans les cas où la vulgarisation des techniques d agroforesterie est effective, les paysans peuvent d’eux-mêmes quantifier les revenus procurés par les arbres. Un petit sachet de fruits du tamarinier est maintenant vendu sur le marché à Bamako à 1.000 FCFA, alors qu’il y a quelques années il n’était pas du tout considéré sur le marché, et un tamarinier adulte peut atteindre une production de 50 à 100 kg /an.
    La recherche a montré qu’avec des techniques de coupe appropriée, les arbres  peuvent produire toute l’année, ce qui peut se traduire par un doublement des revenus. Avec des techniques de greffage il a été démontré aussi que des plantes comme le karité commencent à devenir productives en deux-trois ans au lieu de dis.

    Et puis chaque espèce arbustive a bien plus qu’une seule fonction. Par exemple avec les feuilles de neem les paysans fertilisent le sol, mais ils les utilisent aussi en pharmacopée sous forme de tisane ; le bois de neem est un des meilleurs bois de feu, o les feuilles et les fruits sont d’excellent insecticides, et avec son huile on fait du savon qui a des propriétés antibactériennes.

    L’Acacia Nilotica est aussi utilisé pour faire des haies vives, pour ses gousses et feuilles comme alimentation animale, pour le tannage à partir de la décoction de ses gousses, et pour le soin des enfants en utilisant son écorce.

    Les fruits du Résinier sauvage sont très appréciés et normalement récoltés et vendus par les enfants sur le marché. Les femmes les sèchent et en font une décoction sucré riche en vitamines et bue en période de soudure. Le même arbre est aussi élagué pour faire du paillage améliorant la fertilité du sol.

    Les agronomes se  concentrent souvent sur les cultures annuelles, en oubliant que les arbres peuvent satisfaire beaucoup de besoins des familles, comme le montre bien le Docteur Bationo, Maître de Recherches en Biologie et Ecologie de l’Institut national de l’environnement et des recherches agricoles (INERA) au Burkina Faso dans cette interview:



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