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    By Giulio Fabris

     Climate change, migration, conflicts, hunger. Global challenges cannot be tackled individually by states or organizations, but require an international approach. Preventive actions to address these challenges should be based on an inclusive and sustainable development.

    Global issues require constant and deep collaboration, partnership and commitment from all stakeholders.

    The VII edition of the Diplomacy Festival in Rome was the occasion to gather and discuss with ambassadors, experts and representatives from all the political institutions based in Rome. Also known as the Capital of Diplomacy, Rome hosts over 140 embassies to Italy and the Vatican, 130 missions to international organizations, as well as cultural institutions, NGOs and international universities. The aim of the one-week Festival is to recognize the identity of the international community that works and lives in Rome and to foster dialogue and collaboration..

    The event Global Challenges for UN Agencies in Rome at SpazioEuropa discussed the UN agenda and the role of UN agencies and other stakeholders in addressing international issues. Moderated by journalist Tommaso Polidoro, it brought together Jan Tombiński (Ambassador of the EU to the Vatican and UN agencies in Rome), Giorgio Bartolomucci (General Director of the Festival), Francesco Luna (WFP representative in Italy), Elisanda Estruch (FAO Lead Economist) and Mattia Prayer-Galletti (Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD).


    The first speaker, Jan Tombinski, pointed out the urgent need of further cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations to tackle the huge challenges we are facing today, especially the refugee crisis. The Ambassador also highlighted the huge investments that the EU is allocating to sustainable development projects in partnership with the Rome Based Agencies, with a particular focus on fighting poverty and hunger.

    Giorgio Bartolomucci, General Director of the Festival, highlighted the central role of Rome in the international diplomacy and focused on the opportunities offered by embassies, IOs and international actors. Unfortunately, he said, the city has not always made the most out of the presence of such a big number of international organizations and institutions.
    The representative of WFP, Francesco Luna, called attention to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the impelling urgency to stop conflicts, which are deeply connected with hunger and food insecurity. Mentioning the The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, he made it clear that peace and stability are pivotal to achieve Zero Hunger and the other Global Goals by 2030.

    The economist of FAO, Elisand Estruch, talked about the link between food security and migration, which was also the theme of World Food Day 2017. Addressing the root causes of migration through investments in rural areas of developing countries, she said, will help eliminate malnutrition and hunger, as well as reducing the migration flows. 

     
    Lead Technical Specialist Mattia Prayer Galletti spoke on behalf of IFAD, presenting the role of the organization in rural development. He showed the impacts of over 250 active projects around the world in terms ensuring food security and providing technical assistance to developing countries. In particular, he outlined the importance of investing in rural areas to create opportunities for young people: urbanization and unemployment are issues that can be addressed by investing in new technologies in rural areas in order to give youth the choice and the possibility to secure their future without migrating to big cities.

    Learn more about which investments can create jobs for rural youth and download the latest IFAD and World Bank Rural Youth Employment paper.

    Also, read about how IFAD-supported projects are working to support and employ youth in rural areas from this recent blog post.

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  • 11/08/17--04:52: The Agriculture Advantage
  • 7 November, Bonn

    The agriculture advantage: the case for climate action in agriculture, an IFAD and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Programme of the CGIAR (CCAFS) led series of events at the opening of COP23.

    This session, A framework for agricultural development under climate change was led by CCAFS' Director Bruce Campbell and the Executive-Director of Sygenta, Simon Winter.

    Then followed an interactive panel with speakers from each of the events that will come in the next week: The Gender Advantage, The Land and Water Advantage, The Low Emissions Advantage, The Policy Advantage, the Breeding Advantage and finally The Business Advantage .

    Winter set out his and Syngenta’s views on effective multi-stakeholder investment. He talked of the risks faced by smallholders and the many possible ways in which that could be alleviated – including SMS technology, improved crop varieties, weather risk insurance and many others.

    He acknowledged that the problem is big and there are no easy solutions, but that he had high hopes for the next two weeks in Bonn and especially the Agriculture Advantage series of events where people could come together and debate and reason out new strategies.

    He went on to talk of the need for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), something IFAD has long championed. He talked of the last decade, which has been great for PPP, but also highlighted the lack of system wide uptake and also the downside of PPP. Namely that some companies were using the terminology to attract donors support, but with no attention to results and impacts nor intention or knowledge for replicability.

    “We need to make sure farmers are always front and centre of any initiatives,” said Winter.

    Bruce Campbell talked of agricultural transformation under climate change.

    "While we want agricultural production to increase for these smallholders, we don’t want back-breaking work done mostly by women to increase,” said Campbell.

    "With 815 million people hungry and the planet in need of one gigaton of emissions to be sequestered by 2030, if there is even a hope of keeping global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the time is now to act."

    Campbell believes that cellular technology is key, and said that within a decade he fully expects every farmer in Africa to have access to a smartphone and all the information this implies. He thinks that international development should focus on this massive uptake of technology and utilise the reach in order to tailor solutions all the way down to the farm level.

    Carl Deering from CARE told us how the Gender Advantage event on the 8th November is important because in terms of smallholder development, absolutely nothing that has and will be talked about will ever succeed without acknowledging the fact that most farm work is done by, and indeed most farmers are, women. And usually women in extremely marginalised areas.

    Ilaria Firmian of IFAD talked about the Business Advantage event on 13 November. She said that to achieve transformation in agriculture we need more investments in the sector, and climate finance has the potential to leverage private sector investments, as shown by IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme. Effective action, however, requires strong partnerships among a multitude of stakeholders (investors, farmers, scientists, development practitioners, etc.).

    This is shaping up to be a truly exciting series of events where participant deep dive in how we can have smallholder farmers making more money, having better nutrition, not increasing workloads and having better access to markets.

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    UNFCCC COP23, Bonn, 8 November

    Here in Bonn, IFAD and the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) held the first session of the Agriculture Advantage Series– The Gender Advantage.

    The event brought together representatives from CCAFS, IFAD, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and CARE.

    IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian gave the first presentation of the day, stating that the gender advantage in agriculture is already known. FAO research shows that if women were given access to the same resources as men, agricultural output in developing countries could increase by up to 4 per cent and the number of hungry people could be reduced by 100-150 million.

    She illustrated how IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the world’s largest climate change adaptation programme focused on smallholder farmers, addresses gender equality and women’s empowerment issues at project design stage.

    Firmian highlighted the three main objectives of IFAD’s gender policy - economic empowerment, decision-making and representation, and equitable workload balance. “Equitable access to information channels and adaptation knowledge is critical," said Firmian. "When women are left out of early warning systems, their potential to contribute to household and community responses is not fulfilled and it results in their greater vulnerability to extreme weather events.”

    A key focus of the alliance between IFAD, CCAFS and CARE has been to generate lessons on integrating gender in adaptation projects with smallholder farmers.

    “We need to transform the gender disadvantage,” said CARE's Tonya Rawe. “There is an unfair labour burden on women. They work farms, are responsible for food security and have to do domestic chores. We cannot add more work to this, but must also make sure that this existing workload doesn’t hinder women’s involvement.”

    Sophia Huyer spoke of the ASAP projects PRELNOR in Uganda and PAPAM/ASAP in Mali, and their victories and challenges when it came to gender empowerment and equality.

    Priscilla Achakpa, the executive-director of the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and one of the negotiators here at COP23 also gave a presentation on the role that the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC) plays in Africa’s engagement in the regional and global gender and climate change processes at the UNFCCC.

    She spoke of the varying challenges Africa is facing when it comes to women’s empowerment, from religious and cultural differences, to diluted and fractured messages coming from different countries.

    “We now come with the message from Africa, united by our group experience," said Achakpa. "We need to focus on the institutionalisation of gender – not solely on outcomes.”

    “We need to safeguard women’s rights while staying open to opportunities,” Bimbika Sijapati Basnett from CIFOR said in her closing remarks. “We cannot operate in silos, we must also include men and boys in the process or risk its failure.”

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    By Oliver Mundy
    The UN systems side event "Climate action for food security: harvesting adaptation and mitigation benefits in the land sector" was jointly organized by IFAD, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNESCO, UN Women, WFP and FAO. 
    Martin Frick from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) moderated the panel discussion and underlined that agriculture is always amongst the sectors that are the most effected by climate change. 
    The Political Perspective:
    Climate-resilient agriculture is a topic Mr. Tekini Nakidakida from the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture wants to see discussed at the climate summit in Bonn. Fiji's agriculture is especially hard hit by cyclones and dry spells. Climate-resilient agriculture is needed to restore marginal lands, fight erosion and prevent pests and diseases. 
    The Youth Perspective: 
    "Young people are very innovative", stated Mr. Divine Ntiokam from the Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network. He sees youth as an integral part of sustainable development. They offer solutions, but need to be involved in decision making at all levels. Divine is one of six youth representatives from the network IFAD partnered with to participate at UNFCCC COP23. 
    The Indigenous Peoples' Perspective:
    "Land and forests are our supermarkets," said Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous leader from Chad. She sees land rights as crucial to overcome climate change. Communities that have secure land rights have more sovereignty. This encourages them to invest more in their land leading to greater food security. She urges UN agencies to work together on land, agriculture and climate change and pointed to FAO's voluntary guidelines on land tenure. 
    The Women's Perspective:
    Ms. Katia Araujo of the Landesa Rural Development Institute highlighted the importance of land rights for rural women. By strengthening these women can play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agricultural sector. International policies and frameworks on land tenure have to take gender into account. 
    The Finance Perspective:
    Mr. Juan Chang from the Green Climate Fund looked optimistically towards current investments from the fund in land with regards to mitigation and adaptation measures. Currently, the Green Climate Fund has approved US$2.6 billion in projects of which US$1 billon is directly related to the land sector. Yet, results on the ground have to be seen because the release of funds only started two years ago. 
    The Research Perspective:
    Dr. A.K.M. Saiful Islam, Professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology presented some insights of their climate and crop models for Bangladesh. He described the country as more vulnerable to floods and increased salinity due to sea level rise. Yields for some of the main rice varieties grown in Bangladesh will decrease. He urged for urgent action to be taken to reach the 2 °C warming target. 



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    By Oliver Mundy and Ilaria Firmian

    Developed countries have committed to mobilising $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to support climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. A large part of the money is meant for rural communities in developing countries, but how can the finance get to them?


    This question was discussed at an event organised by IFAD as part of the Climate and Development Days in Bonn "How can communities access financial support for strengthening resilience?"


    Public institutions, especially local governments, are in the best position to channel funding to vulnerable communities. They know the specific needs of their often very diverse communities. 


    The county of Makueni in Kenya has established County Adaptation Planning Committees to help prioritise investments. Grass-roots committees guide the county by telling them what needs to be done. Alice Caravani from the Overseas Development Institute explained that similar activities are also being undertaken in Ethiopia.


    IFAD's "Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme" channels climate finance to smallholder farmers by co-financing IFAD's regular agricultural programmes. 


    Carl Wesselink, Director of South-South North said that attain results at scale we have to work within the system and work together with public institutions.


    Many public institutions are often underfunded and lack the capacities to access and manage climate funding. Most do not have mechanisms in place to set up programmes and activities for their communities. At the same time funding procedures are complex.


    Local governments require massive capacity building to be able to set up the right frameworks and design programmes that help their communities to adapt. Local communities have to participate in this process to express their diverse needs.


    Financial institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and IFAD have to help set up effective mechanisms to channel financing to communities through governments.





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    IFAD partnered with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) to come to UNFCCC COP23 in Bonn this November. IFAD and CSAYN have a shared passion for raising awareness of climate change impacts and actions amongst young people in rural communities.
    Today’s generation of youth is the largest the world has ever known: 1.2 billion young people are between the age of 15 and 24. People under the age of 24 account for the largest share of the population in almost all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in many countries in South Asia, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.

    Youth are two or three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. The majority of working youth are poor and employed in vulnerable low-quality jobs in the informal sector.

    Today saw the joint side event: Youth Engagement in Climate: Climate Smart Agriculture and Smart Education. Speakers came from CSAYN, the Research Programme for Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS), IFAD and the African Union

    Ajayi Olu from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA asked why should we focus on youth?
    “Over the next ten years, one in six youths will be unemployed," said Olu. "The only option for youth in developing countries seems to be migrate to Europe and the hope of a better life. This is a problem for both developed and developing countries.”

    “We don’t want to talk just about the problems though, we want to talk about the solutions.”

    Amanda Namayi from CSAYN explained how it is presently in 30 countries and expanding working with farmers on the ground to achieve results.



    “How many people here had breakfast? How many people want lunch? Agriculture will never go out of fashion, it can’t, because everyone needs to eat,” said Namayi.

    “We need to empower young people with access to land, training, and capacity building," said CCAFS's Catherine Mungai. "First and foremost we must change the youth perception of farming and make it cool again.”

    “There are many opportunities to engage with youth, and one way is to not solely focus on production, but all areas of the value chain.”

    But all these ideas cost money

    The question still remains - how will we pay for this?

    Ayalneh Bogale from the African Union Commission talked about how, according to the UN’s FAO, the world will need to increase food production by 50 per cent by 2050. But population predictions for Africa have its population doubling by 2050, which means its food production will need to increase by 100 per cent not just 50.

    "With this challenge, and in the hopes of achieving SDG1 and SDG2 (no poverty or hunger), we cannot afford to neglect the role agriculture will play,” said Bogale. "Agriculture is responsible for employing over one billion people worldwide and generates US$2.4 trillion for the global economy."

     “The youth are the innovators. The older generation are risk averse and stick to the status quo. If we want true agricultural transformation it can only be done by the youth. Youth want more wealth than their parents. They will look elsewhere if agriculture cannot provide a different life. One simple way of doing this is to ensure agriculture is a year-round job. Six months work and dependency on seasons is not attractive. High value and high yield crops, paired with effective irrigation systems can provide year-round employment and income – this is key."

    He also mentioned how this idea can be boosted with the inclusion of other income diversifying tactics (some that IFAD is already using), such as bee keeping and land regeneration with perennial crops.

    IFAD’s Amath Pathe Sene then gave insight into IFADs work and the struggle developing countries are facing.

    “Opportunity is key, opportunity for land rights, opportunity for access and loans, finance training," said Sene. "These limits on success need to themselves be limited.”



    Representatives of Ibn Zohr University in Morocco promoted two of their programmes: The Butterfly Effect and Eureka. Both work extensively with young people to increase capacity for more productive and secure farms of the future. They currently cover 52 per cent of Morocco and have over 125,000 student members and focus on learning, research and development, expertise and capacity and skill building.

    The audience of over 70 people then had the chance to give their own insights and ask questions of the panellists. Many sought a future partnership with youth networks such as CSAYN and all agreed by the closing that the most important message of the day was:

     “It is always better to plan with than for youth”.







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    By Irish Domingo (AFA) and Benoit Thierry (IFAD). Ahmedabad-India-October 2017.

    Not far from Gandhi's India Ashram, around 90 women farmers and representatives of rural women from 14 countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific regions came up with a declaration at the end of the three-day Asia-Pacific Women Farmers Forum (APWFF) held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India on 4-6 October 2017.
    During the forum, the participants discussed their initiatives and actions they have taken to reduce poverty and hunger in their families and communities, as well as the challenges and obstacles they face as they perform their roles in society development, and the strategies they want to implement to fully achieve women’s potentials as key stakeholders in sustainable development. The participants also identified ways forward to sustain or replicate their efforts.



     Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) Secretary General Esther Penunia stressed that the importance of conducting the forum is highlighted into two (2) concerns: first is that Asia-Pacific region has the most number of small-scale family farmers in the world at 70%. She noted that it is the small scale family farmers that feed the world. And second, women in family farmers do as much as 70-90% of the work but are not recognized, are underpaid, and underprivileged.

    In her opening remarks, AFA Vice-Chair Zashada Begum recounted the plight of women farmers in her country, Bangladesh, saying that women farmers in her country are not recognized. She expressed hope that the forum will be a venue to discuss the future of women farmers and that the participants can come up with consolidated issues and challenges and provide ways on how to overcome these.


    Meera Mishra of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) stressed that the forum is a very important platform not only for sharing experiences of the farmers, but to also to talk about new innovations. “All women farmers should also be encouraged to learn basic technology and be open to technologies. Only then can you be open to new opportunities,” she says.


    Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Executive Director Reema Nanavaty also said that the meeting could also be for finding ways on how to create more opportunities for women. Furthermore, she expressed hope that the result of the deliberations will make a big way for policies of India and will be brought to International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2019 to be included in the discussion on the future of women and young farmers in Asia. “We will all work together to improve the lives of women farmers and their families and give integrity to the farming profession by doing the work that we do,” she added.


    The forum aimed to make appreciation for women farmers in addressing food security, nutrition and climate change in general, and to identify key action points to strengthen these role of women. For three days, the participants shared their work, gave analysis, insights and perspectives and outlined ways forward.



    The Asia-Pacific Women Farmers’ Forum was organized by Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA) and Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).


    Here is the video of the declaration :    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb7HYPBvoZU


    FIELD VISIT TO SALT FARM: 

    APWFF participants visited a salt farming village in Surendranagar.



    The farmers use solar energy to power the machineries they use in salt farming including machines to monitor salinity level, pumping, etc. One has to remember Gandhi's Salt march in 1930, 

    against the British salt monopoly, which gained worldwide attention to the India's independence movement.


    INDIA : SEWA’S INITIATIVES. 

    SEWA Executive Director Reema Nanavaty says SEWA believes in full employment and self-reliance of its members. Two-thirds of SEWA’s members are rural dwellers. They organized small women farmers and have been able to reach out to more than half a million of farmers in India.

    According to Ms. Nanavaty, SEWA provides various technical services to its members and they also partner with private companies. SEWA also invests in climate smart agriculture by bringing in technology such farm planning to maximize the production and profit of the land by not relying on one crop alone. They also did innovation to improve access of bank for farmers.

    “If we want to support family farmers and improve labor force in your community, own up the value chain of your product,” she stressed.
    SEWA recently marked its 45th year as an organization. 

    SEWA was founded in 1972 by Gandhian and civil rights leader Ela Bhatt as a branch of Textile Labour Association (TLA), a labour union founded by Gandhi in 1918.



    SRILANKA: KANDYAN HOME GARDEN. 

    Ms. Deniyage Samanthi Manjula and Mr. Lalith Abeysinghe presented the Sri Lanka case study which is a story of a group of women owning a small plot of land called Kandyan Home Garden. Through MTCP2, the women were encouraged to organize themselves and asked to maximize the land and nature. MTCP2 programme helped them build confidence in leadership and gave them trainings to add values to their crops, and proper production of spices and processed coffee. The value addition of their own products boosted the women’s confidence and hope. They were also mobilized to help needy people and participated in protest campaigns.





    INDIA: WOMEN & MEN FOR ALL. Catila Jane Palmar have been associated with SEWA for the past 20 years.  She used to be a small producer of millet but could not even earn enough to provide two meals for her family. She underwent horticulture training though SEWA and gained knowledge and confidence. Consequently, she improved her. She also began livestock management for additional source of income. Furthermore, she took a loan from SEWA to buy a solar light which she used in her work. Not long after, she was able to pay the solar lantern from the increase of her income. She also used to sell flowers to traders because she did not know to where to sell. She then took another loan to buy a cellphone which she used to search for data on prices of flowers in the market. She learned where to sell flowers with better prices. This made her realize that many farmers are on the same situation as her so she set up Rudi Company. In Rudi project, they procure their produce and sell it to their members as well. They are currently working in various places in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.



    LAOS : INTEGRATED FARMING.Bouachanch Sivilay used to grow crops only for food consumption. In 2009, a local NGO that support sustainable agriculture gave a training which she participated in. She got together with a group of 7 people who learned how to do organic production. When they had enough produce, they tried to do organic marketing. In 2014, her group became a member of Laos Farmer Network where she learned more techniques on organic farming. At the present, her group has 97 women members growing organic crops and providing welfare for their families.


    PAPUA NEW GUINEA: EDUCATE THE WOMEN. Ms. Maria Linibi says that in Papua New Guinea, they do not communicate much as they have many languages, women are not educated, and most do not know how to use smart phones. She also noted that women work better with other women than with men.

    Their group, Papua New Guinea Women in Agricultural Development Foundation (PNGWiADF), used the multi-sectoral approach for their initiatives in agriculture. They talked to the government and partnered with other institutions. PNGWiADF has women farmers who grow coffee, who are in horticulture, mining, etc.

    PNGWiADF’s activities under the MTCP2 programme include: launching of a website; indigenous seeds saving program; hosting the SIS mission to PNG; solar irrigation, lighting, mobile charging, and other appliances for women; solar rice milling machines; building capacity for women, and cut flower arrangement.

    Ms. Maria ended her presentation by saying, “If you are educating a man, you are educating an individual. If you are educating a woman, you are educating an entire family.”






    KYRGYSTAN : WATER IS LIFE.
    WUA Federation in Kyrgyzstan is in charge of distribution of water. In 1996 a land reform was carried in accordance with the government program to transfer from common collective farming to individual private farming. Since all water canals became ownerless, the country had to carry out water reform. Thus the Water User Association was established. WUAs took responsibility of repairing, maintaining and operating irrigation structures.


    The organization aims to unite WUAs taking irrigation water from one source, to deliver required amount of water at the right time, to properly record water use, to increase confidence of water users, to collect irrigation service fee from water users, and for sustainability.

    Expected results of WUA Federation’s programs are sustainability, an organization capable of managing off-farm and on-farm irrigation systems without external support, and support of WUAs through consultations.


    According to Ms. Bratashova Irina & Ms. Natalia Manchenko, the federation’s achievements so far include its establishment and current functions, good collection of irrigation service fee from water users, repayment of technical credit for machinery, operation, and maintenance not only on-farm canals but the whole off-farm system including headworks.






    JAPAN : COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE. Ms. Akiko Aratani of narrated a story about their farming village in Menno, Ainoka, Japan. In their farm, located in the northernmost part of Japan, they raise 400 chickens and grow crops including rice, herbs, grapes, and wheat. Currently, there are about 80 households in their community who eat the produce in their farm.


    They have a program called CSA (community supported agriculture). In the beginning of the farming season, they announce what they will grow. Those who want to buy their produce can either go to the farm to get 10-15 varieties of vegetable every other week, while others may also opt for delivery. They target those living in the cities who usually do not have families who farm and grow crops. Ms. Akiko said that, “By sharing food, we work with city people. It is our belief that life is more sacred than basic commodity.”


    The village has a small bakery that hosts their produce.



    They also teach children about farming.



    CHINA: FOR MORE WOMEN, FOR BETTER LIFE. In 2005, Ms. Kou Hongyan of China went back to her village to start the egg layer breeding business. She established the YINONGYUAN cooperative in 2007 with local female farmers. Over the years, YINONGYUAN coop has developed a series of business including layer breeding with yellow meal worm, apple planting, and agricultural tourism.


    In 2015, in order to resolve the problem of apple overstocking, she tried to introduce new sale channels, such as online marketing, TV home shopping, and mobile shopping. 

    In 2016, YINONGYUAN coop started to combine the online shopping business with agricultural tourism. Ms. Kou introduced the smart box, with which tourists can conveniently search and book products of the coop on their phones. They also established the first rural ON&OFFline shop in Beijing. They created garden trusteeship module to help increase the income of local poor. They changed the traditional idea of agricultural production, and innovated the new types of development model, and improved the local livelihood.


    YINONGYUAN has played an important role in solving social problem of the community. Starting 2014, they have assisted the local procurator to help 8 youth who have commit misdemeanors to master the ability to earn a living by studying ecological farming.
    Mrs. Kou has been awarded “national rural science and technology female expert”, “Beijing labor model”, “Beijing outstanding contribution talents” and other titles. She believes the cooperatives provide her a platform to show her value and give her a chance to realize her beautiful farmer dream.

    YINONGYUAN has built their training center in 2014 in order to enhance the comprehensive abilities of local farmers, such as farm technology, product marketing, policy explaining, etc. As a result of the training, local farmers has more job opportunities and obvious increasing income. In 2016, YINONGYUAN trained more than 3500 farmers, coordinated 28 female farmers to improve their cooperatives, and attract 30 coops to join in the Women Agriculture Business Federation.


    Ms. Kou said that her dream is to train more women farmers to earn more from their farm. 




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    By Ricci Symons and Ilaria Firmian

    This year’s Development and Climate (D&C) days were held at the periphery of the UNFCCC COP23 during its middle weekend. IFAD went beyond its traditional co-sponsoring role and partnered with ODI, MRFCJ, BSR, RCCC, CSAYN to organise a number of parallel sessions.

    At D&C Days the dynamic format encourages dialogue on a range of issues that link policy, knowledge and practice. Innovative approaches encourage participants to interact, challenge existing thinking and to generate new ideas. 


    This year D&C days had four overarching themes that linked different sessions together:


    1)       Resilience through empowerment and access: exploring effective pathways to address poverty and climate vulnerability and manage climate risk, and to consider how engagement in decision making, equitable access to resources, and the provision of goods, services and innovation can be enhanced.


    2)       Valuing lived experience, and local knowledge: highlighting the importance of creating space and the voice of those at the development and climate frontline in all discussions related to climate and development.


    3)       Transparency and downward accountability: examining the ways in which decisions are made, climate responses are prioritised and climate finance is directed.


    4)       Shared resilience: recognising we live in an interconnected world with complex intercontinental supply chains, global financial flows, and decision making shared between the international, national and local levels, strategies for managing risk and building resilience must be designed and implemented together.

      
      IFAD contributed its experience and idea mainly to the first two themes. Over the course of the two days, IFAD spoke about gender responsive climate action and its contribution to community resilience. IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian brought into the ‘interactive learning circles’ (an approach where everyone will get to share their experiences and best practice) concrete experiences from the ASAP project in Mali. The high adoption rate of biogas technology in the project showed the importance of designing technologies that respond to women’s needs while at the same time benefitting also men.

    IFAD also gave its contribution into discussions related to mobilising private sector investments for climate resilience. Everyone felt that the private sector has never been so high in a COP agenda as it is this year. Public investment is clearly not enough - and this is even more true for the agriculture sector - leveraging private investment is a real need.

    The importance of tapping into local knowledge and listening to local voices was another area to which IFAD brought relevant experience and a local partners’ perspective.


    “We have to be a part of a transparent inclusive discussion without blaming each other” has been repeated many times during this year’s D&C Days. Which is fully in line with the Fijian presidency pro-activity in bringing in all stakeholders, including business, local governments and grassroots representatives.


    At the end of the second day, there was a strong sense that by moving adaptation forward on the ground by providing guidance to implementation we could all provide inputs to the Talanoa Dialogue. The first step in that direction will be a short outcome document from D&C Days with high level messages to inform the dialogue. 



    To get a sense of the richness of the discussion have a look at summaries of day 1: https://storify.com/IIED/development-climate-days-day-on and day 2 : https://storify.com/IIED/development-climate-days-day-two


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  • 11/14/17--01:32: The Business Advantage
  • Yesterday saw the last thematic event in the IFAD and CCAFS organised series “the Agriculture Advantage”. This session, the Business Advantage, focused on private sector climate actions.

    Private sector-led climate actions are key to helping countries achieve goals set out in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  But of all publicly available climate finance, only 2.5 per cent goes to agriculture.


     “Populations are increasing. Food insecurity is increasing,” said IFAD's Margarita Astralaga. "If we have a chance of achieving developing country NDCs, most of which mention agriculture, we need to mobilise more financing and this can only come from the private sector.”


    H.E. Luis Felipe Arauz Cavallini, Costa Rica's Minister of Agriculture and Livestock said that in order to engage the private sector they need to see a tangible benefit.


    "These benefits exist, we just need to get better at communicating them to potential partners," said Cavallini.


    He then gave examples of successful engagement with the private sector in Costa Rica particularly focussing on coffee and livestock.


    Then followed an interactive panel moderated by Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).


    “There is a common misconception that public good equals private bad, and vice versa. We need to undo and reframe this thinking,” said Simons.


    Whilst acknowledging that there are serious risks within the agriculture sector and also when it comes to engaging with them, Simons said that the benefits were still greater, and a priority moving forward needs to be in de-risking agriculture, possibly through insurance schemes.


    Margarita Astralaga then gave an in-depth review of IFAD’s flagship Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). In it she detailed how ASAP engages with private sector entities throughout its portfolio.


    “At IFAD we don’t just work on Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP), we work on PPPP. For us the Producers are an integral part. We consider the smallholders we work with, and the cooperatives we empower them to join as private sector entities,” said Astralaga.


    Fhumulani Mashau, Projects Officer, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) gave an insight into her experience in Southern Africa. She talked of the important role Information and Communications Technology (ICT)will play going forward and how climate-proof infrastructure was a huge priority.


    “The main role of the private sector is scale,” said Matthew Reddy, Director for CSA, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). “There is an opportunity to link agriculture to large companies. We can bring the whole value chain together. We can increase productivity and simultaneously decrease greenhouse gas emissions – which is important for everyone.”


    Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer, Kellogg Company talked of all the work Kellogg’s has been doing to improve its sustainability record, and how by 2050 the company wanted to be using 100 per cent renewable technology, a huge feat.


    “We knew that we needed transformation. We needed the enabling policy and technology to allow us to do it,” said Holdorf. “Food waste and loss are huge risks. They are specifically mentioned in SDG 12. For our part, we noticed an area we could improve, and that is in food labelling. There is confusion around 'best before’ and 'use by' labelling. We are driving consistency in labelling to reduce confusion and eventually reduce food waste and loss. Another important area we are working on is packaging sizes.”


    After a long Q&A session, Astralaga wrapped up by stating, “It is all about trust. Trust is key to engage agricultural value chains from farm to plate. We need to foster a trusting environment because private sector investment is essential!”




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    By Nicoletta Boi 

    The November session of IFAD’s Gender Breakfast Series offered an opportunity to talk about women and climate change. 

    Just imagine being a woman having to face hard drought in rural Africa,  trying to make a living from agriculture. Your daily routine would be tougher and busier than men’s, with long and strenuous walks to collect water,  hard manual labour in the field and never-ending domestic and family care work in the household. As a woman, you would be responsible for many activities, but with very limited access to resources, assets and opportunities.

    Within this context, we asked: how can climate-related interventions address gender disproportionate effects to achieve overall successful results?  Can climate policies be blind when it comes to rural women's conditions? 

    The November session of the IFAD Gender Breakfast series tried to answer these questions. Sophia Huyer, Gender and Social Inclusion Leader, CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Program (CCAFS), shared lessons on how to integrate gender into climate change and adaptation projects based on findings from a gender review of the IFAD ASAP programme in partnership with CARE and CCAFS.

    A truly gender-transformative programme  is an operation  that seeks to balance its final goals with the promotion of  gender equal social structures.  In order to implement a series of practices to achieve successful  programme results and foster gender improvements it is necessary to address three important domains: agency, power relations and existing social structures.

    Good practices should first entail a deep analysis of the existing social structures and gender power relations, concrete actions on equitable access to resources and information, promotion of inclusive decision making processes, integration of participatory processes to monitor and evaluate the project, and constant investment in staff capacity in order to maintain high gender mainstreaming standards. 

    Sophia presented two gender-transformative projects as examples: IFAD's Program for the Restoration of Livelihoods in Northern Uganda  (PRELNOR) and the Project to Promote Agricultural Production in Mali  (PAPAM/ASAP).

    In Uganda, the IFAD/ASAP PRELNOR Project aims to ensure women’s participation, promoting collaboration with men in decision-making processes.  Working with farmers’ groups and vulnerable households, the program helps women express their aspirations,  finding solutions to address the constraints they usually face in pursuing their livelihoods. Through dialogue and participation, men and women question everyday issues such as workload distribution, benefit sharing, and access to income and resources. During the process of including women in project implementation and community discussion, it emerged that endemic gender-based violence in the community existed, requiring further intervention.

    The PAPAM/ASAP program in Mali instead was designed to support small farmers in accessing informational tools and technologies in order to build their resilience to climate change. To assess and report on ASAP investments in climate information, a study was undertaken  involving  focus groups of men and women. Results showed that despite agriculture being the main activity for both men and women, women were more impacted by the lack of equipment, and weather information was less relevant for them. For instance, at community level, ploughing, sowing and weeding on women’s plots were done after the work required on men’s plots, so they needed different agro and weather information than men.

    Both cases show that addressing gender inequalities is key to achieve not only satisfactory programme results but also to drive important changes in women’s reality and everyday life. Equal conditions between men and women ensure better and faster project achievements, so when conditions aren't as so, it is fundamental to invest resources and efforts to ensure gender equality.

    The Gender Breakfast has been an interesting forum for discussion. Questions about the reliability of measurement tools, of social conditions, and about project staff preparation on gender issues highlighted the main difficulties in project implementation. To address these issues, measurement tools involving women's direct participation (such as surveys) are in use, and training for all staff members is promoted.






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    By Alice Brie

    IFAD and its partners (FAO, WFP, UNCCD) co-hosted an event at UNFCCC COP23 to discuss options for better scale up and use of finance to support climate smart land use.


    © Giorgia Pergoloni/WFP

    The discussion brought leaders from financial institutions, international organizations, governments and civil society together to focus on how climate finance can support continued and more effective action on land use but also how climate finance flows can be used to unlock much larger sums of public and private resources, to advance better climate change mitigation and adaptation for rural people.

    "It is undeniable that climate finance for climate-smart land use has thus far been insufficient, “said WFP's Gernot Laganda. "Annual flows of finance for land-use mitigation and adaptation constitute only a small portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in land-use in developing countries."

    Costa Rica's Minister of Agriculture, Luis Felipe Arauz, said that ministers of agriculture and environment need to be better coordinated, and that too often, in each of the international climate funds, focal points are from the ministry of environment, which make it difficult for agriculture to access climate finance.

    The Minister of Environment from Mali, Ms. Aida Mbo Keita, explained that climate impacts are already altering productive land, leading to food shortages in her country.

    "The international climate finance mechanism is only one part of the adaptation solution to be implemented,'' said Minister Keita. "It is also important that States create their own financial mechanisms, such as Mali has recently done, to assure durability in investments."

    IFAD's Margarita Astralanga said that the UN system is working closely with developing counties to help them access the different climate fund resources in accordance to their national plans.

    She also said that UN agencies couldn’t be alone in the process and that the private sector must play a crucial role by supplying the new markets that will be created with innovative products and services, such as suitable weather forecasting services and micro-finance for sustainable agriculture.

    © Giorgia Pergoloni/WFP
    The event also invited technical expert and farmers’ representative to the discussion.

    Boris Spassky, a representative of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, said that we needed to deliver a positive impact with high environmental and social standards.

    "Farmer are interested in things that works, they have too little capital to to invest in innovations that have no result on the ground".

     "Investments are there but are not being directed in the right direction to a lack of political commitment,” said World Farmers Organization representative, Mr Noel Oettle
    According to him more investment in climate resilience agriculture research is fundamental to support farmer knowledge on adaptation.


    For the African Risk Capacity representative Ms. Ekhosuehi Iyahen, explained that investments are urgently needed in early warning systems and an adaptive response to crises. She said that longer lasting extreme weather events and natural disasters will pose numerous risks to smallholder farmers since they have the fewest resources to adapt or recover quickly from shocks.


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    Par Alice Brie

    Le FIDA en partenariat avec l’organisation internationale de la francophonie a organisé lors de la COP23 à Bonn un side-event autour des questions de l’emploi pour les jeunes ruraux, de l’agriculture climato-résiliente  et du rôle de la finance climat dans la transformation du secteur.




    ©Alice Brie/IFAD
    L’Afrique compterait aujourd’hui environ 1,2 milliard d’habitants, dont près de 130 millions seraient des jeunes ruraux âgés de 15 à 24 ans. Leurs conditions de vie et leurs parcours familiaux, scolaires et professionnels sont mal connus. Par ailleurs, les jeunes africains sont chaque année entre 10 à 12 millions à arriver sur le marché de l’emploi, une main d’œuvre qui permettrait de régénérer un secteur agricole en perte d’attractivité.


    La rencontre fut l’occasion de discuter avec des représentants de gouvernements, représentant de jeunes agriculteurs, et d’organisations internationales sur le rôle de l’agriculture comme réponse au défi de l’emploi chez les jeunes africains, mais aussi sur les obstacles qui se posent encore aujourd’hui au développement d’une agriculture climato-résiliente, compétitive et pourvoyeuse d’emplois verts. L’objectif de l’évènement était également de voir comment la finance climat, peut engendrer la transformation de ce secteur en soutenant l’insertion des jeunes dans des chaines de valeur durables.


    En introduisant le sujet, M. Sene Amath Pathé du FIDA et modérateur de l’évènement, a noté que “les jeunes ruraux africains sont le plus souvent présents au prisme des migrations vers la ville, et l’Europe que sous l’angle de leur capacité d’action, d’innovation ou d’installation en milieu rural."


    Selon Mme. Juliette Biao, directrice régionale Afrique du PNUE, "ce n’est pas l’envie d’entreprenariat et d’autonomie qui manquent aux jeunes africains mais l’absence d’opportunités que le secteur agricole a à offrir”. Plus scolarisés, plus mobiles et familiers avec les nouvelles technologies, les jeunes se trouvent en décalage avec le monde agricole qui leur est proposé. Mme Biao en conclut donc que « la finance climat doit s’investir à connecter les nouvelles technologies, notamment de l’information, aux chaines de valeur afin de dynamiser le secteur."


    La représentante de l’organisation mondiale du travail (OMT), Karin Isaksson, a ajouté que les emplois verts dans le secteur agricole peuvent aussi apporter une solution au problème du chômage élevé chez les jeunes africains. L’agriculture propose de fait de nombreux emplois, tel que la production alimentaire, les énergies renouvelables ou encore l‘aménagement du territoire. Ces derniers peuvent offrir selon elle, de belles opportunités aux jeunes de participer à l’essor d’une économie dite verte,  "mais encore faut-il investir dans le développement des compétences de ces jeunes et c’est bien là que finance climat peut être bénéfique."


    Les discussions ont aussi permis de noter que l’activité économique rurale ne se résume pas  seulement à l’agriculture : les jeunes générations se retrouvent dans tous les secteurs de l’économie présents dans le monde rural. Pour la représentant de l’OMT, la densification de la population, s’accompagne d’une ouverture croissante vers l’extérieur et d’une diversification des activités notamment non agricoles soutenues par le dynamisme des jeunes, qu’il est important d’adapter dans une perspective de durabilité.
     
    ©Alice Brie/IFAD
    M. Amedi Camara, Ministre l’environnement de la Mauritanie, a souligné que les jeunes ont aussi besoin de politiques publiques qui les appuient, et notamment de régulations équitables, la facilitation et sécurisation de l’accès à la terre, de moyens de production et plus généralement de capital. "Nous travaillons à mieux les accompagner. Les politiques publiques spécifiques existent mais nous devons nous attacher à mieux les intégrer. La finance climat peut être un vrai moteur pour concevoir cette intégration sur la longue durée."

    Pour Divine Ntiokam, représentant du réseau de jeunes pour l’agriculture intelligente face au climat, les jeunes travaillants dans le secteur agricole espèrent aussi un revenu personnel, de nouveaux biens de consommation, des services et une répartition plus égalitaire des ressources entre générations. "Le changement climatique doit aussi désormais leur être présenté comme une opportunité et pas comme une fatalité. Mais nous devons nous efforcer à investir dans des outils pour qu’ils s’y  adaptent et soient en phase avec la modernité à laquelle ils aspirent." 


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    By Nerina Muzurovic

    ©WFP/Rein Skullerud


    On 15 November 2017, the World Food Programme (WFP) hosted a side event about an important topic: school meals for children. In partnership with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, as well as the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement Program (LRP), the WFP’s event looked at the critical impact effective school meal programming can have.

    Chaired by Mr David M. Beasley, Executive Director, WFP, and Ms Jocelyn Brown, Deputy Administrator, Office of Capacity Building and Development, USDA, the event’s takeaway message was clear: Not only do school meals reduce hunger, they also improve school literacy, education and nutrition for school children in low-income, food-deficit countries around the globe.

    IFAD’s NEN Director, Dr Khalida Bouzar, also spoke at the event, describing the importance of school meal programmes from IFAD’s perspective. “Thanks to our work in this field, we already know that school feeding yields economic benefits,” said Dr Bouzar. “These include improved incomes and access to markets, as well as social, such as health benefits. Better nutrition improves educational opportunities and outcomes.”

    ©WFP/Rein Skullerud


    “School meals help communities, both in the short- and long-term,” she said. 

    Other speakers included Mr Steven Were Omamo, Director of Food Systems, WFP, Mr Günter Hemrich, Deputy Director, FAO Nutrition and Food Systems, and Ambassador Haladou Salha, AU-NEPAD Senior Technical Advisor. Among other topics, they looked at potential entry points for strengthening the Rome-based Agencies (RBA) collaboration, when it comes to home-grown school feeding.

    In her comments, Dr Bouzar also highlighted the importance of the Home-Grown School Feeding Framework Resource. The document, which links school meals to local agriculture, emerged from the Rome-Based Agency agencies (RBA) collaboration. “RBA collaboration is a building block for the ongoing UN reform as well as the Agenda 2030,” said Dr Bouzar.

    In fact, to strengthen RBA collaborative efforts further to support countries in developing cohesive policy frameworks, IFAD is hosting a technical consultation meeting on 1 December. This IFAD event will bring together all institutions involved in the preparation of this resource framework to agree on the next steps, as well as options for follow-up at country level.

    To illustrate the importance of school feeding programmes, Dr Bouzar used the example of IFAD’s current grant project in Tajikistan1.

    “Food insecurity and malnutrition is high in poor households in the Khatlon region, especially among children,” said Dr Bouzar. “Child malnutrition is being addressed by WFP’s School Feeding programme, which complements the government’s social safety nets by providing daily school meals, country-wide, with fortified wheat flour, vitamin-enriched oil and iodized salt.”

    The School Feeding Support Project in Tajikistan seeks to benefit school children enrolled in classes 1-4, complementing the WFP School Feeding Programme by increasing the supply of fresh, locally grown produce for school meals.

    “Diversifying diets with nutrient-rich vegetables grown in school gardens also has significant potential to further strengthen the entire school feeding,” Dr Bouzar added.

    IFAD’s comparative advantage, when it comes to improving the nutritional content of school meals, derives from its experience working with different tiers in regional administration and civil society. This includes agricultural production platforms, social infrastructure and nutrition mainstreaming.

    The Tajikistan project design draws on this comparative advantage, both in the short and long term. The project will work to improve the nutritional content of school meals, and to increase the agricultural production potential of the communities on a sustainable basis.

    The event speakers noted that there is increasing scope for a more proactive field-level coordination involving RBAs, other partners and the private sector. “This program could do more than just resolve hunger,” said speaker David Beasley. “Feeding children will allow us to get to the root causes of forced migration, ethnic and religious strife, violent conflicts and wars.”

    “Why school meals?” said Jocelyn Brown, summing up the event. “It’s not just about literacy, food security, hygienic practices, sanitation, health, rebuilding schools and educational systems, women’s empowerment and local and regional community involvement.”

    “It is about all these targets combined. ”

    1/Starting in 2018, the three-year School Feeding Support Project is financed by the Russian Federation and is valued at USD 1.5 million.



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    By Elisa Mandelli


    Poster of the event @ALPC 2017.


    The second edition of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa took place on the 14-17 November 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the theme: The Africa We Want: Achieving socioeconomic transformation through inclusive and equitable access to land by the youth.

    The theme was aligned with the African Union declaration of 2017 as the African year of youth as agents for socioeconomic transformation. 65 per cent of the continent's population are aged between 15 to 35 years so inclusive participation of youth in decision-making and access to resources is key to unlock Africa’s economic potential (ALPC 2017). In this context, the conference aimed to create a space for presenting research findings on this topic and more generally on land policy and governance to draw the attention of African researchers, governments, parliamentarians, civil society, private sector and development partners on emerging land challenges and opportunities that need to be tackled in order to achieve the objectives of the development Agenda 2063.

    Experiences have been shared across the conference sessions on the challenges faced by youth in accessing and controlling land. This is often due to land scarcity, cultural practices, unclear tenure rights, inadequate land polices or lack of implementation, corruption in land administration, youth’s lack of resources and motivation to engage in rural production as well as rural migration to the cities and abroad. Speakers, including the young representative Rachel Mwikali, have raised the importance of promoting youth inclusion in land governance and policy-making discussions in order to ensure youth socio-political empowerment and their participation in the elaboration of tailored policies and solutions. Edson Mpyisi, Chief Financial Economist at African Development Bank Group, highlighted that sales and rental markets need to be adapted to youth needs and arrangements, such as sharecropping, could be facilitated as mechanisms to provide access to land. Lessons learned on securing land tenure rights of marginalized groups have also been shared by IFAD-supported projects in Sudan and Mozambique as well as from the implementation of the IFAD regional grant on Mainstreaming Land Policy and Governance in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) implemented by the Land Policy Initiative (see previous blog on this subject).

    Speakers standing up during the opening discourse of Rachel Mwikali @ALPC 2017.

    The conference was also an opportunity to celebrate the newly established African Land Policy Centre (ALPC). The ALPC has hosted the Conference and represents the institutionalization of the African Land Policy Initiative, a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank active since 2009. As highlighted by Harold Liversage, IFAD Lead Technical Specialist on Land Tenure during a donor roundtable discussion, “The creation of the ALPC is the formalization of the LPI Secretariat but the Land Policy Initiative could be conceived as something broader than the ALPC, it’s a coalition of stakeholders and actions oriented towards achieving good land governance in Africa. In a way the Land Policy Initiative it’s all of us”. 

    As part of the multi-stakeholders network supporting the Initiative, IFAD, the International Land Coalition and the ALPC have jointly organized a pre-Conference Forum on the Contribution of Multi Stakeholders Platforms to Land Governance in Africa. The forum took place in Addis one day before the conference with the objective to provide a space for sharing experiences and perspectives among key stakeholders, especially civil society organizations (CSOs), engaged on land governance across Africa. Many of the participants joined the forum as members of ILC National Engagement Strategies which are country-based platforms that provide a framework for CSOs and other actors to interact and actively engage into land governance based on ILC's 10 commitments as well as on the principle of the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) and the Voluntary Guidelines for Land Tenure (VGGTs). The Forum allowed to exchange country-specific challenges and priorities but also to link them up with regional and continental initiatives to foster inclusive and transparent land governance.

    Overall, the conference and the forum have been successful in creating catalytic spaces for interaction and knowledge-sharing on land policy development and implementation in Africa. We are looking forward to the next edition!


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    By Wanessa Marques

    ©FAO/Andrea Polo Galante

    To navigate the complexity of food systems and identify entry points for nutrition-sensitive policy and investments, a Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC) approach has emerged to improve food security and nutrition outcomes in development projects. The NSCV approach leverages opportunities to enhance nutrition value as well, increasing supply and demand for safe and diverse food, and minimizing nutrition losses.

    In this context, the Rome-based Agencies (RBAs) — FAO, IFAD and WFP, along with Bioversity International and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) — have identified nutrition-sensitive value chains as a crucial area for collaboration, and formed a Working Group on Sustainable Food Value Chains for Nutrition in 2015. The RBA Working Group undertakes joint actions on NSVCs, focusing on capacity development at global and country level.

    The RBAs are currently developing an e-learning course to equip project designers and managers, and policy makers with concepts, principles and tools they need to leverage value chain approaches to improve nutrition. This e-learning module is based on the forthcoming IFAD guide on NSVC, the FAO's Sustainable Food Value Chain Framework and on practical experience of both agencies.

    To validate the approach of the e-learning course a workshop was organized by FAO, IFAD and WFP at FAO HQ on 15 November 2017. This workshop was the first step in a consultative design process, intended to inform the development of the e-learning course aimed at strengthening the capacity of programme managers and designers, and policy makers to use VC approaches to improve nutrition.

    The workshop gathered around 30 participants from organizations that are committed to, and engaged in, NSVC projects and research, such as the University of Wageningen, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS - University of Sussex), The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), IFPRI and many colleagues working in the RBAs. The participants provided important feedback and shared case studies of NSVC projects which are valuable to the development of the e-learning course.

    Mr Günter Hemrich, Deputy Director, FAO Nutrition and Food Systems division, opened the workshop highlighting that non-healthy diets are one of the perks for many diseases we are facing in the current days, and stressed that "diet is at the center of the nutrition discussion and value chain is critical to improve diets". After his remarks, Florence Tartanac, FAO Senior Officer, and David Ryckembusch, WFP Senior Programme Adviser presented an overview of the ongoing RBA collaboration around nutrition-sensitive value chains.

    Isabel De La Peña, IFAD Nutrition and Value Chain consultant, presented the Framework on Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chain jointly developed by the RBAs. Drawing on existing value chain approach, including those for NSVC, and building on each RBA work this analytical framework for project design was adopted by the RBAs as a common approach to guide the efforts in mainstreaming nutrition into VC. IFAD has been piloting an operational guidance for design of nutrition-sensitive value chain in two countries, Indonesia and Nigeria, since 2015 and the outcomes of this project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will be presented in the IFAD guide to NSVC to be published in early 2018.

    ©IFAD/Wanessa Marques


    Case studies were also showcased during the workshop. Matthias Jäger, CIAT Senior Expert Markets & Value Chains, and Christine Chege, Agricultural Economist and Nutritionist, presented the CIAT project Making value chains work for nutrition in East Africa, which applies a multidisciplinary approach to make value chain projects nutrition-sensitive. Cristina Scarpocchi, FAO Project Coordinator, presented a case on the Enable women to benefit more equally from agri-food value chains project, which includes a gender and nutrition dimension in ongoing value chain projects.

    ©IFAD/Wanessa Marques

    After the presentations, Andrea Polo Galante, FAO Senior Nutrition consultant, and Cristina Petracchi, FAO e-learning team leader, led the participants through a group exercise. Participants were divided in two groups according to the proposed target audience: i) policy makers, and ii) project designers and managers. The groups debated the specific job tasks and activities of the target audience in relation to NSVCs and the specific knowledge, skills and competences that have to be considered in the e-learning course to respond to the target audience learning needs. 

    The groups had fruitful discussions and the outcomes will be included in the development of the e-learning course. The e-learning lessons will be learner-centred, engaging and rich in interactive elements, examples and case-based scenarios. The course will be launched in March 2018 and it will be accessible on-line, free of charge through FAO's e-learning centre. The e-learning course complements the efforts on capacity development in nutrition-sensitive agriculture that are on-going in IFAD, and will benefit staff and project management unit teams.

    ©FAO/Sara Ferrante



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    by
    Lili Szilagyi and Fabian Verhage (CCAFS)

    Originally posted here.

    At COP23, we kicked off the Agriculture Advantage event outlining the framework for agricultural development under climate change.

    Both part of the cause of climate change, but also part of the solution, agriculture is central to any debate on global warming and extreme weather events. The interactions between the agricultural sector and climate change have undeniable implications for both global food security and our environment.

    The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under the Paris Agreement overwhelmingly prioritise the sector for climate action. 119 countries include agricultural mitigation in their INDCs, and of the 138 countries that include adaptation, almost all (127) include agriculture as a priority (Richards et al. 2016). Agriculture is also key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by countries.

    “Agriculture Advantage: The case for climate action in agriculture” is an initiative and collaboration effort between different organizations with the same mission to transform agricultural development in the face of climate change. The event aims to articulate the different dimensions of climate actions in the agricultural sector.

    At the opening event, speakers set the vision and discussed the different dimensions of climate action in agriculture, as a prelude to the six events organized on more specific topics during the COP23.


    Watch the video recording of the event:



    Simon Winter, Executive Director of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture gave a presentation on the need for effective multi-stakeholder engagement to deal with the complex challenges of climate change.

    He stressed the importance of investing in smallholder agriculture, highlighting the challenges of such investments:

    "Many insurance projects have failed to achieve the scale to outlive the grants that funded them. Premium subsidies can help drive adoption, but are not always available, and may well not be sustained. Furthermore, even where they work, insurance products alone are not enough."

    He also expressed the importance of private-public partnerships and scaling up solutions. Though much work has been done in the past in the private-public partnership arena, "we need to do more in order to have system-wide, landscape-level and, in due, course country-wide impacts that improve smallholders' ability to deal with climate change risks and invest in modernisation of their farming enterprises."

    Photo of Bruce Campbell at the opening event. Photo: Michael Major (Crop Trust)
    Bruce Campbell, Director of CCAFS, delivered his presentation on a vision for agricultural transformation under climate change.

    He argued that agricultural transformation is crucial for various reasons. For example, it's unacceptable that almost a billion people are going hungry, while we waste one third of the food we produce. Agriculture is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions therefore focus on mitigation is crucial.

    Many organizations, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the African Development Bank, to mention a few, are behind the agricultural transformation agenda.



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    by
    Mary Nyasimi and Lili Szilagyi

    Originally posted here.

    We need to reduce the constraints that women face in agriculture in order to feed more people.

    Building on the momentum generated during the first day of the Agriculture Advantage event series on the sidelines of COP23 that discussed the framework for agricultural development under climate change, the second day brought in gender and social inclusion issues that must be addressed for agricultural transformation to occur.

    Smallholder agriculture has so much potential to meet the food needs of millions of people in developing countries. However, this is currently not exploited, partially because the roles and responsibilities of women and men, their access to and control of various resources, and their participation in making informed agricultural decisions is not well understood. A great number of agricultural development programs generally assume that women and other vulnerable groups will benefit directly from adaptation initiative. In reality, women and men have differential access to agricultural resources and also have different adaptive capacity.


    The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and partners gathered to share lessons on integrating gender in adaptation projects with smallholder farmers which could serve as guidance for those who will implement adaptation measures in agriculture.

    Watch the recording of the event:


    After the welcoming remarks delivered by Alain Vidal, from the CGIAR, Ilaria Firmian, an Environment and Climate Knowledge Officer working with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) set the event by acknowledging that, under climate change, building on women’s agricultural knowledge and experiences can deliver gender-responsive adaptation benefits. Tapping into this knowledge and working in partnership with women and other vulnerable people within a community will lead to economic empowerment, decision-making and representation by women and equitable workload balance. Ms. Firmian emphasized that this can be done by conducting vulnerability analysis (using participatory approaches) to identify who the most vulnerable are and the resources they have, and then develop adaptation actions that can generate equitable benefits.

    Sharing IFAD’s experiences, Ms. Firmian mentioned that women’s participation in agricultural adaptation efforts under a changing climate requires critical resources; water, energy and climate information (weather and agro-advisory serves) and climate resilient practices and technologies. Access to water for domestic and farming activities within the homestead can reduce the time women and young women take to collect water. Water is also important for irrigation practices for fields that are managed by women e.g., kitchen gardens.

    The need for engendering agricultural energy technologies that can reduce women’s labor demand is urgent. Participatory development of gender responsive agricultural machinery and enhancing women’s access to agricultural inputs that require intensive use of energy, such as irrigation technologies, will ultimately transform agriculture, thus increasing productivity and incomes.

    Following UNFCCC Decision- /CP.22, parties agreed to appoint and provide support for a national gender focal point for climate negotiations, implementation and monitoring.  Tonya Rawe, Global Policy Lead, Food and Nutrition Security, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), discussed the importance of having gender focal points during the designing stage of adaptation actions that will provide guidance on implementation of Gender Action plans. A gender focal point will make sure that adaptation actions move forward and therefore program must invest in building capacity and increasing number of expertise on gender mainstreaming in adaptation efforts.

    Sharing experience encountered by three organizations (CARE, CCAFS and IFAD), evaluating IFAD’s Adaptation in Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), on whether the project translated project design commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment into implementation practice, Ms. Rowe noted that the “ASAP project had a strong emphasis on targets for women’s participation, but not necessarily their access to project opportunities or the impact of their engagement’.

    According to Ms. Rowe, understanding the deeply embedded gender and social norms that govern an individual’s adaptive capacity is the first step in designing a gender transformative agricultural program. This is extremely important to all stakeholders,  more so for gender focal points. Indeed, it is critical for a gender responsive program to document how everyone (women, men, old, young, etc.) understand and experience climate change. These differential experiences will enable agricultural programs to develop adaptation efforts tailored to the different types of people.

    A robust and gender-responsive monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) framework should also be integrated into the programs. An effective MEL will engage women and youth in the process of reflecting in the whole process and dialoging on what kind of change they are looking forward under the changing climate. This is important because adaptation needs can change over time. Having a gender responsive MEL also empowers local stakeholders to voice their needs throughout the process. Read more: CARE participatory performance tracker

    At the continental level, a number of organizations and alliances are working towards mainstreaming gender in climate change adaptation actions. The African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC) comprised of stakeholders form national governments, community-based organizations (CBOs), NGOs, academia and research institutes. It bridges the gap between science and policy in gender and climate change, as well as accelerate implementation of gender-responsive climate change policies and programs. Additionally, AWGGCC supports African countries to develop gender-responsive adaptation and mitigation plans such as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) framework.

    Priscilla Achakpa, a member of AWGGCC and Nigeria party delegate, emphasized that gender mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach and a means to achieve the goal of gender equality in Africa. Ms. Achakpa concurred with the other presenters who noted that, to ensure a transformation in Africa’s agriculture, we should understand that women and men have different life experiences, needs, vulnerabilities, coping strategies, priorities and that all these are affected differently by climate change. Ms. Achakpa called for increased institutional capacity for gender mainstreaming (increased trained gender focal points), use of gender-responsive criteria or checklist in MEL of adaptation programs, and conducting both distributional and relational gender analysis.

    Women’s inequalities in access to and control over resources will undermine equitable adoption of adaptation actions in agricultural sector." Ms. Achakpa, AWGGCC member
    To bring all the discussions together, was a presentation by Sophia Huyer, CCAFS Gender and Social Inclusion Leader, who provided a research and action agenda for mainstreaming gender in adaptation in smallholder agriculture. Ms. Huyer pointed out that a gender-transformative agriculture adaptation must be accompanied by:


    • Gender and social analysis of norms, policy, differential resilience and vulnerability to climate risks
    • Equal access to agriculture and climate information
    • Women’s information priorities are addressed
    • Equal access to agricultural inputs and technology
    • Equal access to land, water and forest resources
    • Promote access to market opportunities and to equitable credit and finance
    • Use innovative, farmer led, community based approaches for capacity building
    • Promoting anticipatory, flexible, inclusive, and forward looking adaptation planning and decision making processes
    • Equal representation in decision making at household, community and national level forums
    • Integrating consultative learning, capacity building, monitoring and knowledge management processes
    • Investing in staff capacity to mainstream gender transformative approaches during program implementation

    "It is timely we identify these issues and we need to really ensure there is coherence among gender, development and the climate change community across these themes," said Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, Gender Coordinator and Social Scientist at CIFOR in her closing remarks. As we move forward towards sustainable development solutions, we need to think of how we ensure that these themes are addressed in both in safeguarding women’s rights but also in focusing on opportunities they might provide moving forward.

    We need to ensure gender is not left to the poor women in the global South or in the local community but that there’s this broader enabling framework in cross-sectoral policies to ensure there’s consistent approach to supporting gender.

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    By Christopher Neglia

    At Villa Drusiana, the residence of the Permanent Representative of Germany on Monday evening, a panel of eminent speakers was invited to share their views on the future of sustainable food systems, reflecting on the outcomes of COP23 in Bonn and how current actions and initiatives are configured to achieve Agenda 2030.

    The event - which formed part of Germany’s ‘Climate and Food talks’ series - was hosted and moderated by Dr. Hinrich Thӧlken, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Rome-based Agencies. Thölken in his opening remarks illustrated the key role of agriculture for climate change mitigation and adaptation. 'Agriculture, forestry and land use accounts for 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector,' he said.


    IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo offered an analysis of sustainable food production and climate change against a complex global governance backdrop. Even if Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are implemented in full, global average temperatures are likely to rise upwards of 3.2°C above pre-industrial levels. In addition, sea level rise is slated to exceed 2.3 meters if we fail to correct course. The implications of a changing climate for small-scale farmers, fishers and pastoralists are wide-ranging and complex.

    All this underscores the urgency of action. ‘There are cost-efficient options. We need to do this without delay. Because climate resilience measures – such as planting trees – are not quick fixes. They often take years to become effective,’ Houngbo said. He stressed that mitigation and economic growth can go hand in hand.


    Speaking on the NDCs, Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs at the United Nations Framework Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that the aggregated effects of the national climate plans could not be quantified ahead of time, because ambitions are expected to grow as investment plans are developed.

    ‘The majority of NDCs will be overperformers,’ Thorgeirsson said. This ambition mechanism will be instrumental in the drive to reach climate neutrality by 2050, as foreseen by the Paris Agreement. Reflecting on COP23, Thorgeirsson saw reason for prudent optimism as both cooperative action of non-party stakeholders as well as momentum inside the UNFCCC framework has been picking up speed.


    Dr. Johannes Cullman, Director of the Climate and Water Department of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) described how hydrometeorological systems worldwide are responding to rising carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. To do this, he made the analogy of adding sugar to a cup of coffee. The more spoonful’s you add, the sweeter it becomes. In 2016, we had the steepest increase of sugar in our cup, he explained.

    In a rather grim prognostication, Cullman reminded the audience that the last time there were similar carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, it was about three million years ago. At that time, sea levels were about 10-20 meters higher than they are today.


    Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted the milestones achieved at the recent COP23 in Bonn, Germany; where for the first time, negotiators from the G77 and developed nations agreed to recognize actions in agriculture as contributing to climate adaptation and mitigation. This has effectively revitalized the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), which provides guidance to nations in support of implementing more effective interventions.


    Olav Kjorven, Chief Strategy Officer of the EAT Foundation had a more pessimistic message.

    ‘We have no chance in hell of achieving the 2°C target unless we transform agriculture,’ he said. ‘Governments have exited [the agricultural sector]. They left it to the market. This has to stop. Governments need to reёnter and provide direction and guidance at the country and global level.’ He made a strong case for taking a fresh look at food systems to come up with models that are truly sustainable.


    Dr. Stefan Schmitz, Deputy Director-General of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development described how governance in the agricultural sector can incentivise sustainable solutions. He advocated for more agricultural research, and broadening the focus to go beyond ‘farm-centric' programs and look across value chains, taking into account the entire rural economy.


    Finally, Divine Ntiokam, President of the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) commented on the need to speak in languages that young farmers understand. His group is engaged in translating the Sustainable Development Goals into more than 60 languages. CSAYN representatives in six African countries also sponsor tree-planting in schools, using it as an entry point to sensitize students on environmental management and promoting agriculture as a viable livelihood – one that requires intelligence, prudence and indeed, entrepreneurism.

    Surveying the post-Bonn landscape, there are bright spots that were mentioned by some of the panelists on Monday night. Others cautioned that fragmentation of initiatives would hinder, rather than accelerate progress. But we have now certainly come to a critical phase in addressing climate change through global food systems. The response of our institutions will have a great influence on food production and sustainability in the next generation.


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    By Sebastian Schweiger
    High-level Event to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the VGGT @Schweiger 2017
    In order to learn from the Committee on World food Security (CFS) and side events, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Land Tenure team sent me to participate at the 44th session of CFS.

    I am a political science bachelor student from the French university 'Sciences Po' doing a six month internship in the IFAD headquarters in Rome. Opportunities like the participation at the CFS represent the extraordinary chance the Land Tenure Team gave me to learn from development and land experts from within their environment. My objective for the CFS was to attend sessions touching land tenure issues to learn and observe how this topic is tackled in this kind of international fora, and to understand the international trends and public debates around the issue.

    In his intervention during CFS, Justus Levi Mwololo from the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum struck me as the only participant to analyse the causes of modern day land distribution from a historical point of view: he claimed that foreign post-colonial control over land was consolidated through big corporations and is consequently the root cause for current struggles in Africa. In the context of the 44th CFS, his intervention was rather unique: while most participants focused on current hurdles, the potential of existing mechanisms and new innovative approaches, Mr Levi Mwololo elevated the discussion to an historically-grounded analysis of current dynamics.

    Current challenges

    The side event Global Hearing of the Landless, organized by the CSM Constituency of the Landless, explored solutions on how to effectively secure and institutionalize the Land Rights of the Landless Poor. Rhoda Guete, Coordinator of the CSM Landless Constituency from the Asian Peasant Coalition, expressed her grave concern regarding what she called, "imperialism enforced by expropriation", exemplified by the hundreds of thousands of hectares in Malaysia owned by multinational enterprises. She claimed that opponents to land acquisitions often fear violence, such as during the construction of an airport in West Java, Indonesia, where an airport was built by the state and land activists' rights were supposedly violated. This side-event came to the shared conclusion that landless people around the globe are particularly vulnerable to marginalisation and must, consequently, be given special attention.

    The case in Java is closely connected to the numbers presented by Jesse Coleman from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Development (CCSD) during the event Impact of Increasing Capital Flows that focused on capital flows in sub-Saharan Africa. According to her, in many countries domestic investments in land (private and public) outscore foreign investments significantly. This goes hand in hand with Milu Muyansa's intervention during that event. He claimed that a large portion of farms in Africa are owned by urban males that have a public service occupation and own multiple parcels of land. He continued to say that an often neglected and little understood phenomenon in land ownership is land accumulation on a national level. For the same reason Salete Carollo pointed out that in her home country, Brazil, 1 per cent of the population owns 40 per cent of the land. Whether it is domestic elites or foreign corporations who own large amounts of land, it depends on each region's specific context. The meeting's panellists, from the CCSD, the Cities Alliance, Cultivating new Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Michigan State University, and IFAD (IFAD Lead Technical Specialist on Land Tenure, Harold Liversage) identified the lack of knowledge on the topic as a core issue. There is a long way to go before the impact, dimension and origin of land-based investments can be fully assessed, but the principles found in the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) can provide a base to tackle many of the problems rising from land struggles. The same conclusion was found in the meeting organized by United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) Applying the VGGT in agribusiness investment projects which brought together donors, private sector and civil society.

    Impact of Increasing Capital Flows CFS Side Event @Schweiger 2017
    According to William Cobett, panellist from the Cities Alliance in the Impact of Increasing Capital Flows event, described how weak urban land tenure governance can also enhance displacement and conflict through the assignment of dangerous lands for housing. Such lands are often used by mostly poor citizens that are unaware of potential dangers like floods or landslides.

    As the ambassador of Sudan, Amira Gormass, stated during the Global Hearing of the Landless, the observed famines and struggles over land take place while global food production is already sufficient to feed the entire world population; she sees landlessness as an underlying issue for people suffering from malnutrition in a world of mass production. In order to counter this paradox, all stakeholders should be included in transparent land redistributions.

    The solutions are there


    On the side-lines of the events, during personal talks, delegates from development agencies, research institutes and ministries ensured me that in many countries facing land struggles the legal side of land tenure is sufficiently developed. William Cobett from the Cities Alliance explained during his passionate speech that the challenges around what he referred to as "land grabs" and involuntary displacements of people are rather a result of a mismatch between jurisdiction and governments, meaning that sometimes state employees are not aware of legal boundaries or knowingly choose not to implement existing laws.

    As a political science student, it was interesting for me to see that seemingly abstract concepts like fairness, inclusion and transparency already have a ground on which their realization can be based: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the VGGT. These goals and guidelines were omnipresent throughout the entire CFS, as they put principles into words that have the prospect of significantly improving the state of the world and to counter rising poverty and inequality.

    With this background one could ask why we are still analysing struggles if the guidelines just wait for implementation. However, as the representative of DFID explained there are challenges related to political commitments, but also lack of resources and capacities.

    On this subject, the Thematic Session Land and Conflict for the 5th anniversary of the VGGT treated the changing role of the different stakeholders in the implementation of the VGGT in contexts affected by conflict. In the current conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo for instance, Oumar Sylla, Unit Leader of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) which is a key partner of IFAD (see past blogs), identified elite grabs as a trigger for communities to mistrust one another and the central government. According to the panellist, corruption and individual profit are common amongst elites that are involved Congo's politics. The representative from UNHABITAT identified the VGGT as an effective tool to resituate the confidence between communities, to help create land conflict resolution centres, to guide the private sector towards job creation, to create data on land and secondary rights and to reconstruct the dialogue between civil society and the government. The idea of using sustainable land governance as a mean for peace reconstruction has already proven its potential in Latin America, where in Colombia the state uses the VGGT to build up the Government's capacity to administer the land previously occupied by rebels fairly – a similar story was shared about Guatemala during the same Land and Conflict thematic session. The VGGT can also be the very foundation of future peace consolidation processes in the Arab region, as it was agreed upon during the thematic session. This event concluded with consent of all panellists that land is a trigger in most conflicts and must therefore be part of conflict resolution.

    For Rhoda Guete it is clear: the implementation of fair land tenure requires political commitment. She brought up the great responsibility the international community and civil society have in this process, by encouraging the observance of the VGGT before conflict erupts. Also Jamal Al-Taleh from the Land Research Centre in Palestine focused in his intervention on the international dimension. The researcher called upon the international community to stop ignoring of the violation of land rights and the rights of landless people. He even called for the set-up of an international database on landlessness, the creation of Voluntary Guidelines and an international conference for the landless.

    GLTN – IFAD Side event on Tenure Security Learning Initiative @Schweiger 2017
    On the side-lines of the CFS, IFAD presented its engagement in a workshop on the lessons learned in the implementation of the Land and Natural Resources Learning Initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA). TSLI-ESA is a joint IFAD and GLTN initiative aimed at improving knowledge management and capacity development of the staff and partners of IFAD supported projects for strengthening security of tenure in Eastern and Southern Africa region. This workshop presented experiences from four countries that represent the lengthy but successful path projects can take to contribute to improve land tenure challenges.

    The achievement of the SDGs and the implementation of the VGGT require precise monitoring. In the Monitoring of the VGGT from a Land Governance Perspective thematic session on the potential contribution of existing initiatives, including land governance monitoring, Everlyne Nairesiae from the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) identified two crucial purposes for monitoring of indicators: the comparability between countries around the world and the national application of the principles and goals. This could help to hold governments responsible for the developments in their countries and it can encourage more targeted cooperation. Therefore, monitoring of SDGs and VGGT can play an indirect role in securing gender equality, peace consolidation, sustainable land use, etc.

    Monitoring of indicators is consequently one of the main priorities for the Global Donor Working Group (GDWGL) – a group of more than twenty major donor institutions in the field of development cooperation for land tenure (see blog on GDWGL). During the design of the GDWGL Road Map for 2017-2020 in the context of the 44th CFS, the GDWGL has reinforced one of the main goals from the annual plan for 2017: the improvement of the measurability of the main SDG land tenure indicator (1.4.2) and the reclassification of the indicator by 2019 with the strongest possible classification for measurability (Tier I) by the Inter-agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). The IAEG-SDGs is the institution that classifies the SDG indicators into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level. Furthermore, the GDWGL emphasised throughout the GDWGL Road Map for 2017-2020 and the 10th Physical Meeting the importance of proving the impact of land tenure. The land community faces the difficulty of providing evidence for the causal effects of changes in land tenure. Hence, different institutions support research programmes to underline a theory that shows also the impacts of land tenure and that can be used as a tool in land tenure, the Theory of Change.

    GDWGL 10th Physical Meeting @Schweiger 2017
    A discussion on Land Tenure Guidelines in global politics

    It becomes clear that the base for improved land tenure governance is set with the support of global agendas and international commitments. In order to get governments and other stakeholders to implement principles of fairness, many experts suggest alternative approaches that would mean a rethinking of access to land in world politics.

    Jamal Al-Taleh, for example, linked rights to land to human rights. According to the Palestinian researcher, Human Rights cannot be guaranteed without rights to land. Jes Weigelt from GLII also sees a similarity in the two rights: the expert claimed during the Monitoring of the VGGT from a Land Governance Perspective thematic session that the VGGT, and therefore their principles of secure and equal rights to land, have an independence from national agendas and are universally recognized as important, just like Human Rights .

    The connection of the VGGT and their principles to Human Rights, however, is not commonly agreed upon. This became evident during the discussion of the Monitoring of the VGGT from a Land Governance Perspective thematic session, when participants emphasized the voluntary nature of the VGGT, which makes the VGGT and their principles distinguishable to Human Rights. This discussion illustrates a polarization between binding and voluntary principles that exists throughout all fields of international policy (e.g. climate change politics). The land community, therefore, touches upon the sensitive grounds of sovereignty and national self-determination.

    Conclusion

    Today, the challenges surrounding land governance are more intensive than ever as humanity faces climate change, increasing population pressure, expanding economies and weak governance. As stated in the introduction, future land tenure trends will be shaped by decisions taken today. Since land tenure influences a wide range of topics – from employment to food security and climate change – it is crucial for all stakeholders to commit to sustainable policies. The SDGs stand at the beginning of a global thinking that will impact lives for decades to come; and land governance is one of the indispensable thematic areas of the SDGs. By connecting long-term political orientation to the current reality on the ground, the 44th CFS offered a unique perspective on future challenges.


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    By Giulia Barbanente


    Plenary session with the delegates of the five winning projects, IFAD Gender Awards, 29 November 2017, IFAD HQ ©IFAD/Barbanente
    The connection between gender and land tenure issues is increasingly relevant to many IFAD-funded rural development projects. Women's access and control over land and other natural resources is a central component of many projects working towards women empowerment and their improved livelihood. Due to the critical role that women have in agricultural production, securing women's access to land is also broadly recognised as a priority for reducing poverty and ensuring household food security (see also blog “Securing Women's Land Rights: A Growing Momentum With SDGS and LPI”).

    The relevance of women's land tenure security was recently stressed on occasion of the Gender Awards that IFAD hosted on 29 November 2017. The awards have been created to recognise the efforts and achievements of IFAD-supported projects in delivering on the strategic objectives of IFAD's policy on gender equality and women's empowerment. By selecting one project from each region in which IFAD is active, the awards recognize the best performing projects in addressing gender inequalities and empowering women, providing them with visibility and recognition throughout IFAD and its network of partners.

    The prominence of land tenure as a cross-cutting issue is reflected in the five projects that received the Gender Award:

    The Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP IV) in Bangladesh focused primarily on securing legal land titles for landless families living on newly accreted coastal islands. Every year in Bangladesh, 26,000 families lose their homes, land and livelihoods to erosion. In the south-east of Bangladesh, approximately 150,000 people live on low-lying river islands, known as Chars, where regular flooding and rising sea levels are constantly changing the coastline, creating new Chars and eroding or submerging others. CDSP IV is applying an integrated development approach to improve the economic situation and living conditions on the Chars, by securing land rights and strengthening protection from climate change; building climate resilient infrastructure; providing livelihood support, such as health services and legal education, and supporting the establishment of field-level institutions. CDSP has been working to support the rural women and men occupying land on the Chars to receive legal titles for these plots, introducing an innovative approach to address gender issues. The process firstly involves the production of a settlement map through a plot-to-plot-survey (PTPS), mapping each and every plot and to file the details on the inhabitants. The maps and the information about the families are then deposited in the Upazilla [subdistrict] Land Office. The CDSP facilitates the participation to the process for local families, by holding public hearings at the village level regarding the PTPS. Once the reviewing process is concluded and the plot for each family has been confirmed, the land registration is also carried out at the village level. Under CDSP IV, only married couples and unmarried women have access to land titling, and in case of a married couple, the wife’s name is written first in the legal document entitling her to 50 per cent of the total land. This initiative has empowered women to make economic decisions regarding their land, and to occupy a stronger, safer position within their families (see also the video'Bangladesh Land of Our Own').

    The Rural Markets Promotion Program (PROMER) in Mozambique, focusing on building the capacity of farmers' organizations, was recognised for its success in building women's capacity to sign marketing contracts, develop Savings and Credit Groups, access leadership positions and education. As part of the initiatives strengthening farmers' organizations, resources have been allocated to support land certification in 15 Districts. Ensuring women’s rights are also recognised has been identified as a key issue. This investment is supporting the country-wide programme of the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural development, Terra Segura, that seeks to issue five million land certificates.

    The delegation from CDSP IV accepting the Gender Award on November 29, 2017 at IFAD HQ ©IFAD/Barbanente
    The Building Rural Entrepreneurial Capacities Programme: Trust and Opportunity (TOP) in Colombia, aims at improving the livelihood of 50,000 families in extreme poverty conditions, by supporting their collective efforts towards development, social inclusion and improvement of the quality of life. Besides being recognised for fighting discrimination of rural women, supporting their economics initiatives and promoting their leadership in rural communities, the project has also targeted young people's access to land programmes such as the National Land Credit Programme which allows the creation of young people's groups who want to settle as agricultural producers.

    The Projet de lutte contre la pauvreté dans l'Aftout Sud et la Karakoro – PASK II in Mauritania, which aimed at improving the challenging living conditions of 21,000 households in the areas of Aftout South and Karakoro, distinguished itself for targeting women to improve their revenues and involvement in decision-making. One of the initiatives aims to include poor rural households targeted the sustainable management of natural resources. Land agreements have been included in interventions related to land and natural resource governance, in order to facilitate the creation of an irrigation scheme and the adoption of an integrated watershed management approach.

    The Agricultural Value Chain Development Project in the Mountain Zones of Al-Haouz Province in Morocco is built upon the previous PDRZMH project, implemented between 2000 and 2011, and aims at capitalising on and ensuring the sustainability of the three supply- and value-chains for olives, apple and ovine meat. The "2-sheep initiative", made possible through microfinancing, has been enabling hundreds of rural women to step out of isolation and dependence within the household. By offering women their proper source of income, they managed to dedicate more time to shop at the Suk and attend literacy classes.

    The awarded projects demonstrate how the goal of women’s empowerment is closely connected with securing their access to land. In particular, land tenure security is linked to the three objectives of IFAD gender policy: (1) promote economic empowerment to enable rural women and men to have equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, profitable economic activities; (2) enable women and men to have equal voice and influence in rural institutions and organizations; and (3) achieve a more equitable balance in workloads and in the sharing of economic and social benefits between women and men.

    Moreover supporting women's tenure security can foster social change, as shown for example in the case of Bangladesh, where the land titling initiative of putting women first also led to a decline in child marriages. Overall, the Gender Awards succeeded in creating a space to showcase successful initiatives and demonstrate the relevance of addressing cross-cutting issues, such as land tenure security.

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    By Elisa Mandelli


    Participants of the Learning Route in Damajagua @Procasur, 2017
    The issue youth employment has increasingly gained visibility in the development agenda. Awareness is growing on the importance of putting young people at the center of the design of strategies and policies to promote decent employment opportunities for youth. With the objective of exploring existing solutions and innovative practices on rural youth inclusion, the IFAD Land Tenure Desk as well as representatives from the Gender Desk and the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division (NEN), were part of the Regional Learning Route on Strategies for sustainable youth inclusion in rural development initiatives which took place in Dominican Republic, from 6 to 12 November 2017. This Learning Route was organized by Procasur in the larger framework of a regional grant developed by FAO and financially supported by IFAD on Strengthening Decent Rural Employment Opportunities for Young Women and Men in the Caribbean. The project aims to contribute to the reduction of poverty for rural youth by promoting an enabling environment for the development of regional policies for rural youth employment in the Caribbean. The collaboration with Procasur focuses on knowledge management and lesson sharing on youth rural inclusion within FAO and IFAD and across the region. Thirty young people and representatives from civil society organizations, Ministries of Agriculture and Youth Inclusion as well as research institutes joined the Route from 11 countries in the LAC Region. The participants visited three cases studies that have significantly contributed to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship of rural youth in Dominican Republic:
    • Association of Ecological Bananas of the Northwest Line (BANELINO). An association of small producers of organic banana created in 1996 which now exports high standards products through the Fair Trade label. Concerned by the progressive aging of their members (54 per cent of the members are over 50 years old and 30 per cent over 61) and the increase of migratory rates of rural youth to urban areas, BANELINO has developed different strategies aimed at ensuring the inclusion of the next generation of farmers. Strategies include the negotiation for land transfers from fathers to sons and daughters but also the creation of the BANELINO farmer field school where young people can learn how to farm organic banana or become a technical worker supporting the association in different sectors of the value chain. Since its creation, 270 youngsters between 17 and 25 years old have graduated from the BANELINO School.
    • Association of Tourist Guides of Damajagua. After the decline of sugar industry in the area, unemployment rates were very high in Damajagua, especially among young people. Taking advantage of the untapped potential of the 27 falls of the Damajagua River, young people from the local communities started to informally work as tourist guides. In the nineties the guides have created a formal Association of Tourist Guides of Damajagua which today co-manages the protected area of the Damajagua River together with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Tourism, provincial and municipal authorities and private owners. The Association has attracted many young people who describe their work in Damajagua as a stimulating and dynamic employment that is providing them with financial and social security to invest in the future (family, education and new businesses) but it also giving them the opportunity to continually grow and be exposed to different cultures and languages. 
    • Support Center for Entrepreneurship. The center of services of integral support for the micro, small and medium enterprises is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the private University of Technology Barahona (UCATEBA) with financial support from different stakeholders. The center provides trainings, mentoring services, technical support and seed capital. In two years, the center has contributed to significantly stimulate entrepreneurship and improve self-employability of students and vulnerable people in the region.
    Young technician of the Farmers Support Team trained 
    by the BANELINO School on organic banana 
    production @Mandelli, 2017 
    A recurrent challenge in the cases visited as well in the experiences shared by the other participants was the youth’s access to land. In fact, while off-farm opportunities (like the tourism in Damajagua), or along agricultural value chains (as the technical services of BANELINO) are often emerging as valid and feasible alternatives for youth employment, improving the access to land of young women and men remains an essential condition for the effective socio-economical inclusion of rural youth. Land access is not only the essential requirement for starting farming and other rural related business, it also offers opportunities for accessing finance and can contribute to the upgrade of youth social status and their involvement into decision-making. The experiences shared by the cases studies and the participants highlighted how with the increasing pressure and competition on land and natural resources, young people, and particularly young women, face grater challenges than adults to access land. Moreover, land ownership is commonly perceived as an adulthood privilege, young people are often working on the family plot and usually only access land through inheritance or when they marry or start a family. However, the subdivision of land among a large number of siblings leads to fragmented and unviable land parcels, and young people are increasingly left landless or as secondary right users. At the same time, life expectancy is increasing in many countries and young people have to wait longer to inherit their shares of family land. Thus, it is rare to encounter inter-vivos transfer of land to youth.

    While the issue of youth’s limited access to land has become a recurrent challenge of the development agenda (see also blog on the 2017 Conference on Land Policy in Africa); little is shared on the existing solutions and the innovative strategies to improve the situation. As such, IFAD participants will take advantage on the exchanges during the learning route but also on the experience of IFAD-supported projects to draft an Innovation Plan on Youth Inclusion which will specifically look at capitalizing lessons learned on innovative solutions for youth’s access to land. The plans will also integrate the issue of young girls’ inclusion and will explore opportunities to pilot innovative options for youth inclusion.

    On this topic, IFAD has recently approved a regional grant in Central America that intends to improve youth’ social inclusion by (i) supporting the collection and the dissemination of challenges and innovative strategies across Central America and through South-South learning; by (ii) fostering informed and inclusive policy dialogues and policy-making processes; and by (iii) transversally address youth access and control on land as an essential asset for rural youth inclusion.

    Moreover, the Indonesia Young Entrepreneurship and Employment Support Services Programme (YESS) is being developed to promote employment opportunities for young rural men and women that are looking for a sustainable source of income and an alternative to migrating to the urban centres or abroad. Since youth’s access to land has been identified as a potential constraint, the start-up phase of the programme will carry out a review of the situation and inform the design of different options for young people to benefit from the programme, also by accessing land (see blog entry on YESS).

    The issue of youth access to land is also being explored as a topic for future Learning Routes in the framework of the IFAD grant on Large Regional Grant Strengthening Capacities and Tools to Scale Up and Disseminate Innovations. The grant is implemented by Procasur and supported by the Regional Divisions of East and Southern Africa (ESA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the West and Central Africa Division (WCA) and by the Land Tenure Desk in the Policy and Technical Advisory Division to specifically look at the cross-cutting issue of land tenure and natural resources management. As part of this focus, a learning route has been implemented on securing land and water rights in Senegal and Mauritania (see blog post) and another on has been organized in Tanzania and Kenya based on the demand of IFAD-supported projects in Nigeria which wanted to learn on innovative practices and tools to reduce conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers (see Procasur report). The Land Tenure Desk and Procasur are currently planning a cross regional Learning Route on Forest Governance which is expected to take place in India in April 2018. The call for applications will be sent out soon, stay tuned!

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    By Gabriele Marchese

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    FAD booth at the Expo. ©UNOSSC
    As the global hunger is on the rise again after declining for over a decade, can South-South and Triangular Cooperation provide the Rome-based agencies with effective solutions to achieve Zero Hunger? Can they join efforts and resources to this end?

    These questions shaped the discussion among FAO, IFAD and WFP at the thematic forum on Accelerating country-led progress towards Zero Hunger through joint and complementary efforts of RBAs held on 28 November at the 2017 Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD). This global event took place in Antalya, Turkey, from 27 to 30 November 2017 and was organised by the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in partnership with the Government of Turkey.

    More than 800 participants from 100+ countries participated in the GSSD Expo, which brought together UN agencies and international organisations, the private sector, NGOs and other development partners.

    For IFAD, a delegation from the Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy (GKS) Division and the regional Division for Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) actively participated in the event. Senior colleagues were engaged in several fora and side events to share IFAD's perspectives and achievements in using South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) as an integral part of its business model. IFAD also set up a booth where visitors could get insights into selected rural development solutions and interact with colleagues.

    One of the most successful events of the GSSD Expo was the Rome-based agency forum. It offered the opportunity to describe the approach of each agency to SSTC and, more specifically, how this would allow them to fulfill their mandate to eradicate hunger and food insecurity. Ms Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, moderated a panel composed by Mr Kenn Crossley, Deputy Director of the Policy and Programme Division at WFP; Dr Dongxin Feng, Deputy Director of the Partnership and South-South Cooperation Division of the FAO; and the Director of the WFP's China Centre for Excellence, Dr Sixi Qu. IFAD was represented in the panel by Ms Dina Saleh, Country Programme Manager in NEN, and Mr Ashwani Muthoo, Director of GKS.

    "At project level, SSTC can be extremely helpful'', said Ms. Dina Saleh, who is currently responsible for IFAD's operations in Turkey and Georgia, ''we need evidence-based learning solutions that are directly replicable in the field".

    "Less than 10 per cent of the total ODA is directed towards agriculture and food security, we have to do more'', warned Mr Jorge Chediek, the UN’s Envoy on South-South Cooperation and UNOSSC Director, in his remarks. ''The RBAs have embedded SSTC in their DNA and have already embarked on creative initiatives to achieve Zero Hunger through South-South and Triangular Cooperation".

    The panel of the thematic forum on Zero Hunger ©IFAD/Gabriele Marchese
    For example, FAO has recently moved its SSTC unit from the Technical Cooperation Department to the Partnership and Advocacy Division (now renamed Partnership and SSC Division) so as to foster cooperation with the whole spectrum of development partners. WFP has in turn adopted an operational and country-driven approach to SSTC, as each Country Office works in partnership with the host government to promote locally-tailored interventions and to leverage the country's successful experiences. In Brazil and China, for instance, this led to the establishment of Centres of Excellence for knowledge sharing and learning in the South.

    As for IFAD, South-South and Triangular Cooperation has gained even greater prominence in its strategy. The Fund's Strategic Framework 2016-2025 clearly recognized the role of SSTC in promoting knowledge-sharing and investments among developing countries, and called for an expansion of its work in this field. As a result, last year IFAD updated its approach on SSTC by identifying clear objectives and areas of interventions, i.e. technical cooperation and investments promotion. In the near future, IFAD plans to open three sub-regional offices entirely devoted to SSTC in Beijing, Brasilia and Addis Ababa.

    Closer partnerships between development organizations and governments were viewed as key to successfully engage in SSTC. In particular, stronger political commitment and ownership at national level are needed to make SSTC activities more impactful. Country leadership would facilitate the matching of demand and supply of knowledge and solutions, inspire policy makers to create an enabling environment for investments of the private sector, and drive the scaling-up of home-grown solutions at broader levels.

    An example of IFAD's engagement with governments to facilitate SSTC is the current partnership initiative for agricultural development and enhanced food security in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia. This IFAD-financed project implemented by UNOSSC aims at addressing national priorities through demand-driven exchanges of knowledge and experience among ten countries. The countries themselves are responsible for the "country components" of the project, not only for the planning but also implementation of the activities on the ground.

    The continued engagement of the RBAs to SSTC will soon enter a new phase. In light of the second high-level UN conference on South-South Cooperation in 2019 (BAPA+40), FAO, IFAD and WFP have drafted a joint road map to set common priorities, define approaches and commit to actions for improving efficiency and impact. Among other initiatives, the RBAs pledged to join efforts to identify methods and indicators for measuring achievements of SSTC-oriented operations.

    "That's a concrete example of transforming common will into practical actions", said Ms Xiaojun Grace Wang closing the event.


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    As the GEF's Gender Policy is approved by the GEF Council, the IFAD/GEF co-financed project Poverty Reduction Project in Aftout South and Karakoro – Phase II (PASK II) in Mauritania wins the 2017 IFAD gender award.

    PASK II addresses a major challenge in the country, the one related to water.

    Mauritania experienced a dramatic reduction in rainfall in the last century, going from an average 1,100 mm/year in the early 1900s to the current 400 mm/year. In addition, most rainfall is concentrated during the rainy season, where isolated storms are more frequent, discharging large amounts of water over short periods of time, causing erosion and flooding. The water run-off does not recharge the water table and at the same time destroys the soil and causes damage to top soil.

    Because of these periodic floods the villages cannot be located close to the riverbed, and women have to walk long distances to fetch water. In addition, male migration to find alternative sources of income is increasing and women have many more additional tasks to take care of.

    Women and young people now make up more than 50 per cent of project participants and are benefitting from the project’s multi-dimensional approach to reducing poverty.

    ©B.Gravelli/IFAD 
     60 per cent of the project investments – from soil restoration to surface water mobilisation, livestock productivity and natural resources management - are related to water for irrigation and for human consumption.

    The GEF co-financing is specifically targeted to water for agriculture, with 40 women-managed market gardening areas developed, as well as productive micro-projects benefitting women.
    Improvement in access to water have made a huge difference to the daily lives of women and girls, saving them an average of five hours per day and freeing their time and energy for education, money making activities and participation in the community.

    Gas stove shops, harvesting non-timber forest products and rearing small livestock are a few of the activities enabling women and youth to earn an income. A total of 88 income-generating micro projects are benefitting over 1,500 women and 100 young people.

    In order to achieve these results, the project has also invested in a wide range of cross-cutting educational activities including literacy and numeracy training for women producers’ associations, coupled with awareness campaigns on gender equality.

    In the words of Ahmed Ould Amar, project coordinator ‘there is no such thing as men’s resistance, it is just a matter of lack of awareness’.

    ©B.Gravelli/IFAD 
    Experiences like this one in Mauritania, or the one of the IFAD/GEF Agricultural Value Chains Support Project – Extension (PAFA) in Senegal (that won the IFAD gender award last year) have fed into the GEF gender policy development process, that has been highly participatory by calling for the contribution and the concrete field experiences of all the GEF agencies.

    Now that the GEF Gender Policy has been approved, we expect to see gender and environmental challenges increasingly recognised as interrelated and addressed consistently.



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    By Kalin Schultz

    IFAD’s Director of Communications, Cassandra Waldon opened the 2017 IFAD Gender Awards with a strong statement: “It is clear that if we do not empower women, we will not eradicate hunger or poverty”.

    Women’s empowerment was the topic of the day on November 25th as representatives from five IFAD-supported programmes, one from each region, gathered at headquarters to receive their awards and share their experiences. As an intern, I felt very privileged to attend this ceremony and the following knowledge sharing event.

    The winning countries were Bangladesh, Mozambique, Colombia, Morocco and Mauritania. These projects were honoured due to their clear prioritization of gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as their impressive results. These included increasing numbers of women in leadership positions, improved access to assets, inputs and resources, and training in literacy and commercial skills.

    After the awards had been presented, there was a roundtable discussion where the winners discussed the challenges and successes of their programmes. It was remarkable to hear them recount where the communities started and how far they have come in including women in crucial aspects of society. They were obviously enthusiastic to engage in conversation and answer questions. The passion for their work filled the room.

    A lot of emphasis was put on the importance of building women’s confidence and self-esteem. As stated by a representative of the Building Rural Entrepreneurial Capacities Programme: Trust and Opportunity (TOP) project in Columbia, “The women’s population had completely lost trust in themselves”. The Columbia-based programme now has 600 micro projects that focus specifically on women.

    The focus of these programmes on female inclusion yields positive effects for the entire community. Representatives from Morocco discussed the way that rural women have become a symbol of power and will in their communities, and with more support from their male family members, they have been able to balance their daily household responsibilities with economic activities, parenting and food provision.

    Although progress starts at the local level, sustainability and lasting progress can only be achieved with the support of local and national governments. As discussed by Carla Honwana and Mário Quissico, representatives from the Rural Markets Promotion Programme in Mozambique, they had to work with local leaders and influencers as well as government level officials. “If we do not help the government on the roles [of the project] it will not be sustainable, so we work with government on every level,” they said.

    The event closed with a recognition of the 16 Days of Activism (#orangetheworld) against gender-based violence. This truly put into perspective the impact and importance of the work that is being done, but also showed how far we have to go.

    Links:

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    Almost a year ago, at the end of its flagship conference on Investing in inclusive rural transformation: Innovative approaches to financing, IFAD took on the challenge of leading the development of a new network of institutions with a shared interest in bridging the gap in access to finance by small and medium-scale agro-enterprises. This commitment came from a shared belief among prospective network partners in the critical role that these enterprises – from small farmers to SMEs working all along the agriculture value chain – play in realizing the 2030 Agenda.

    After a first meeting in June in Washington, DC, SAFIN partners met a second time on 27 and 28 November 2017 at FAO – a network partner – to exchange knowledge and experiences in understanding, aggregating, and responding to the demand for finance in the ecosystem, and to discuss their workplan for 2018.The event gathered around thirty individuals, including long-time and new participants in the process.

    The first day was dedicated to a workshop on different approaches to representing, aggregating and responding to demand for finance.

    The first session focused on the role that farmers' organizations and cooperatives play in representing their members' demand for finance as well as in facilitating access to finance. Presenters from the Asian Farmers Association, East Africa Farmers Federation, and FEDECOCAGUA recalled the main challenges and the solutions implemented by their respective organizations. "Capacity building for farmers organizations leaders and staff to upscale successful initiatives and manage finance is one of the main challenges," said Esther Penunia, Secretary General of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development.

    The second session focused on country-level institutional frameworks to mediate and respond to SME demand for finance. It featured speakers from the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana, FederCasse and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, each of whom tackled the theme from the perspective of the work done by their organization. The main outcomes of the discussion were the need to strengthen capacity of commercial banks; track innovative models of mobilization and delivery of finance; promote dialogue across different institutional communities; invest in capacity building; improve the regulatory environment for institutions that work on aggregation of demand and/or financial intermediation; and use public development funds in a rigorous, principled, and catalytic manner to better align private sector incentives.

    The third session looked at initiatives and instruments for tracking demand for finance and/or to organize knowledge around supply and demand of finance in ways that can facilitate appropriate decisions by relevant actors. It featured panel interventions from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, Financial Sector Deepening Trust, the MIX, and Access Development Services. The group discussed the concept of investment prospectuses (IPs) and how these can facilitate strategic decision-making and collaboration among actors and institutions at the country level. The discussion highlighted the need to set clear knowledge agendas around the demand for finance for SMEs; accelerate investment in generating and organizing knowledge; improve the use of knowledge generated through existing initiatives and platforms; and address the incentive system facing actors who hold relevant knowledge.



    The last session considered how some of the institutions involved in SAFIN assess and respond to demand in their work and in their respective networks. The key points that emerged were the increase in demand for finance for climate change-related investments; a decrease of public vs. private financing of agriculture; the need to consider how the financing ecosystem incentivizes them to serve SMEs; and the need to invest in growing the market of "bankable" enterprises and projects. "Private’s share of investment in Ag has increased dramatically, reaching 75 per cent in the US" said Yuri Dillon Soares, Unit Chief of the Multilateral Investment Fund from the Inter-American Development Bank, underlying that this trend presents a new landscape in terms of demands around the role of institutions like the IFIs.

    The second day focused on activity proposals for 2018 under four of the SAFIN workstreams, namely: innovation in the delivery of finance and technical assistance (TA); mobilization of financial resources for the ecosystem for agri-food and rural SMEs; alignment of partners' efforts in specific country contexts; and, advocacy and policy engagement. In the course of the day IFAD shared its plans for the Smallholder and SME Investment Finance Fund (SIF). The fund will provide debt and equity finance ranging from US$ 50,000 to US$ 1 million to agri-food SMEs.

    The SAFIN coordination team will be formulating a roadmap for 2018 based on the activity proposals, suggestions and feedback received from the group during the meeting. The coming year will be an important year for SAFIN, as “we need to work in a perspective of delivering both near-term value to individual partners and longer-term impact on the broader ecosystem, with a clear contribution to addressing the financing and investment gaps faced by rural SMEs within the timeframe of the 2030 Agenda.” said Bettina Prato, Coordinator of the SAFIN Team housed in IFAD.


    Read more about SAFIN