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    The Mekong Hub Knowledge and Learning Fair was opened in style today in Da Nang in central Vietnam. Mr Thomas Rath, Country Director and Representative for Vietnam, Thailand and Lao PDR
    Subregional Coordinator – Mekong Hub, used a traditional Vietnamese Gong to announce the event.

    Being the first of its type in the Mekong region, the fair attracts 130 participants from IFAD supported programmes and loan projects from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines. In addition, there are partner projects and grant projects implemented by CGIAR institutions, academies (SEARCA), international NGOs (SNV, Helvetas, CIAT), and farmers organizations (AFA) among others undertaking studies and piloting approaches and technologies which will complement loan projects. 


    “I think we have an unique opportunity that we have five countries presented here in one place. It is a good mix of people with different experiences and backgrounds. The purpose is to exchange knowledge between the projects and programmes but also among the countries in the Mekong Hub. Usually, we have very ad-hoc visits, people in another country or another province look at something very specific in a locality. Here we have people looked at their own success stories and their ‘bumping stones’ in their project implementation in an interactive way,” said Mr Rath in his opening address.

    Expected to be a compelling, exciting and innovative fair, this three-day event (4-6 July), provides a forum for participants with creative learning and sharing opportunities, equipping them to better act and influence current and future issues relating to agriculture, food security, price volatility, climate change, changing demographics… etc.


    The event is complemented by vibrant knowledge booths by all participating countries and a photo exhibition with best pictures from the field.

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    By Abraham Akilimali (Programme Coordinator at KINNAPA Development Programme) and Fiona Flintan (Senior Scientist at ILRI)

    OLENGAPA Tanzania Livestock Keepers’ Association meet with Minister of Livestock and Fisheries

    The Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP) funded by IFAD and implemented through the International Land Coalition (ILC) by ILRI, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the National Land Use Planning Commission and local NGOs, has supported district and community authorities to carry out joint-village land use plans as a way to secure rangelands and contribute to land conflict resolution between farmers and pastoralists. The process led to the protection and certification of a shared grazing area that has been called OLENGAPA, to incorporate a part of each village’s name in Kiteto District, Manyara Region.

    See also the blog post Joint village land use planning for the resolution of conflicts in Tanzania.

    In 2015, the OLENGAPA Livestock Keepers Association (OLKA) was established as a body to manage the shared grazing area. Its membership is made up of all livestock keepers in the four villages that share the OLENGAPA grazing area. OLKA is a member of the Tanzania Livestock Keepers Association (TLKA), established in 2006 in order to protect and advocate the interests of pastoralists and other livestock keepers in Tanzania. TLKA has offices in thirty-seven districts all of which have a proportionately high number of livestock keepers.


    OLKA members at the meeting, OLENGAPA Chairperson Sayei Mussa (right) and Board Member Baraka Koisenge (left). Photo credit: Abraham Akilimali and Fiona Flintan


    On 14 to 15 May 2018 a meeting of the TLKA took place in Dodoma, officiated by the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Luhaga Mpina. The meeting was attended by around 180 participants including representatives from the OLENGAPA LKA, facilitated by local NGO KINNAPA. 

    During the meeting there was a presentation of the joint village land use planning process that had been piloted in OLENGAPA, which the Hon. Minister described as “very inspiring.” The presentation started a discussion on the ongoing problem across the country of protecting enough grazing for Tanzania’s significant livestock population. With increasing competition for land, a growing human and livestock population, and insecure land rights the problem is not easily resolvable, often leading to conflicts between land users.

    The Minister highlighted the urgency for all Districts to set aside grazing areas for livestock, and the importance of carrying out and implementing village land use planning. With a lack of budget available at a local level for such planning this is no easy task. Even where villages have land use plans, enforcing them is an ongoing challenge with, for example, constant attempts by agriculturalists to encroach grazing areas.

    Other problems raised included conflicts with conservation areas and the high taxes placed on livestock at point of sale – in some places reaching TzShs23,500 (approximately US$10) per head of cattle – and high costs for veterinary treatment.

    Determined to make the most of having the Minister’s attention, the OLENGAPA livestock keepers explained how the joint village land use planning had helped them protect their land, yet now needed funds for investing in livestock infrastructure and rangeland improvements. The Minister recognized the value of this innovative process and expressed interest in scaling up the methodologies of joint village land use planning to other areas, as well as further supporting OLKA in their endeavours.

    The experience of attending the TLKA meeting and the support expressed by the Minister, had strengthened OLKA members‘ resolution to protect their grazing areas and to find funds for improving its management. As Baraka Kosingye, one of the OLKA members and resident of Engongwangare village said, ‘’It is our first time to attend such a big meeting with participants from all over the country. We thank SRMP and KINNAPA for enabling us to attend the meeting. It comes to my knowledge that the project has helped us a lot and we feel blessed as there are communities with a lot of problems the same applied to us before we have OLENGAPA. When we go home we will stand firm to make sure that our people will respect the land use plans in place for peaceful co-existence among land users.’’

    Protecting shared resources such as Orkitikiti dam and OLENGAPA grazing area is key to sustainable pastoralism in Tanzania. Photo credit: Abraham Akilimali and Fiona Flintan


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    By Christa Ketting, Asia and the Pacific Division and Anja Rabezanahary, Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division

    This year in Bangladesh marks a milestone for gender equality with the introduction of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in Labour Contracting Societies (LCS). Bangladesh’s Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and IFAD jointly designed a pilot to empower women and their families working as wage labourers in LCS  to achieve transformative changes. This means that women in these groups will be supported to increase their incomes, develop their livelihoods and change areas of inequalities that they may face in their homes, their groups and their communities.

    The Local Government Engineering Department mainly invests in infrastructure development and employs LCS – of which the majority are poor women – for the construction of roads and markets. With Bangladesh graduating into a Middle Income Country in the near future, GALS allows for more equitable distribution of welfare within the household. Experiences and lessons learned from CCRIP will be integrated the new project PROVATi³ that will fully integrate the GALS as an approach for empowerment of LCS workers. Results and impacts will closely monitored and will inform policy-making in the country.

    In late April, an inception workshop on GALS was given to LGED in Dhaka. The workshop was co-organized with the CCRIP and facilitated by a member of IFAD’s gender and social inclusion team. The workshop was attended by the project staff at central and district level, but also the Gender and Development Forum of the LGED, and two IFAD staff members.

    The GALS workshop kicked-off with a dynamic introduction session that broke the ice and allowed participants to get to know each other. It provided an opportunity to discuss gender issues faced by the project during implementation such as heavy workload of LCS workers, high level of illiteracy, lack of business planning and lacking social capital to support a way out of poverty. The GALS approach and principles, together with the phases and tools, were introduced to the participants and linked to the challenges faced by the project. Case-studies and video material delivered a powerful message on the impact created by GALS in other countries. By the end of the day, all participants seemed to have mastered the basic principles of GALS. More importantly, after the workshop all participants recognized the importance of GALS and were enthusiastic about including it in their project interventions.

    The next step will be start implementation of the pilot activities in August through a GALS Change Catalyst Workshop in five market areas of the CCRIP. The change catalyst phase aims to provide tools for 125 women workers in LCS to increase their incomes, address gender inequalities in their homes and empower others around them (family members, neighbours, co-workers). The project will hire a team of consultants to conduct the pilot activities and it will offer an opportunity to exchange experiences with Africa.

    Congratulations to the project teams for pioneering GALS in Bangladesh!



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    On the occasion of land titles distribution, landless become land owners 

    In recognition of its efforts towards achieving gender equality on land settlement for landless families, the Char Development and Settlement Project-IV (CDSP IV), Bangladesh was awarded IFAD's Gender Award for Asia and the Pacific Region for 2017. The journey towards women's empowerment was not easy. The project's story shows many struggles, which it has successfully overcome since its inception in 1994.

    At present, 33,000 landless families have received 33,000 land titles. The number of male and female beneficiaries is equal, as the husband and wife are getting an equal share of the settled land. Around 43,000 acres of land have been given to the landless families. In CDSP-IV, 16,000 acres of land have been distributed to the 12,000 landless families. According to latest surveys, 84.6 per cent of settled families retain their land. All of the families have improved water supply and sanitation, household assets have been increased by over 500 per cent and malnutrition has reduced from 57 per cent to 43 per cent. Settled families are more secure and their annual income has increased by 395 per cent.

    Key lessons which have been internalized in the CDSP journey over the years are:

    1. EQUAL RIGHTS  The ownership of the settled land provided equally to wife and husband, with a share of 50:50 has ensured equal rights.
    2. INCLUSIVENESS  Widows and divorcees were eligible to get ownership of government khas land which has ensured inclusiveness.
    3. EMPOWERMENT  Putting the wives' names first in the land title which supported the empowerment of women.
    4. ACCESSIBILITY  Title Deed signing / registration done at field level which has ensured better administration at the doorstep.

    The project's successful journey started in addressing the severe environmental challenges posed by the river's delta in Noakhali District in southeast Bangladesh. Every year in Bangladesh thousands of families lose their houses, land, and livelihoods to erosion. The river cyclically breaks through the embankment and floods the land. River-eroded families usually go to the adjacent newly accreted low-lying land, known as chars, to resettle their houses and livelihoods. The chars are naturally formed from silt carried by the rivers to the Bay of Bengal. On average 1.1 billion tons of sediment are carried down by the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system, the largest sediment load in any river system in the world.

    The newly accreted land becomes the property of the government (khas land) and is transferred to the Forest Department to plant trees that help to stabilize the land. After 20 years, the land is considered fit for settlement. Without anywhere else to go, many river-eroded families try to rebuild their lives on the newly emerged chars, often before the 20 years have expired.

    Living conditions on the newly accreted chars are harsh. The land is completely inaccessible and can only be reached by boat and foot. The people living there are exposed to harsh conditions and the land gets flooded on a regular basis. There is no safe drinking water, no health service or sanitation, no agricultural inputs, no education and no legal or social structures. When occupying the land, women and men most likely face the Bahini, local power groups, who take control in the absence of any other structures. The Bahini often press for money and take away livestock and produce from the newly settled landless people.

    To address this terrible situation and to develop improved and more secure livelihoods for poor settlers on the newly accreted coastal chars, the Government of Bangladesh with the help of IFAD and the Government of the Netherlands, has adopted an integrated approach: with the introduction of Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP) phase-4, one of the main tasks is to provide legal land titles to landless char dwellers.

    Building on previous phases of the project and their successful approach to solving land tenure issues, the project conducted an extensive plot-to-plot survey to identify pieces of land and their current occupiers. The project also led the administrative process for the official registration of the land titles, organized public hearings to confirm the landless households, and registered the title in both the wife’s and the husband’s name in the electronic land record management system. These innovative features are unique to the project and have led to a faster and more accurate land settlement process.

    Official land titles give rural women and men social recognition. As land is the most critical resource in the char area, the possession of land strengthens the owner’s position in the community and enables them to make medium- and long-term investments. They can build better houses, grow vegetables and rear livestock. They can create their own employment, invest in new technologies, increase their incomes and sustain their livelihoods. In addition, by writing the wife’s name first in the legal document, the project ensured that the wife is legally entitled to 50 per cent of the total land. This simple step strengthens her position in the family, gives her uninterrupted access to the land and a legal position in many decision-making processes, and protects her in cases of conflict with her husband.


    Mohammad Rezaul Karim acts as the Land Settlement Advisor in the Technical Assistance Team of the CDSP-IV Project. He is responsible for leading a team of the land sector which is responsible for the settlement of Khas (Government) land to the landless people of different char (Newly accreted area from seabed) areas under Noakhali district of Bangladesh. 


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    El proyecto PRODENORTE ayuda a las mujeres indígenas de Alta Verapaz a afrontar los desafíos del cambio climático

    Por Estibaliz Morras, Oficial de Proyectos de Medio Ambiente y Cambio Climático

    Irma Cucul se ha levantado hoy a las tres de la mañana para acudir a su curso de cocina. Ella y otras mujeres de la comunidad de San Juan Chamelco en Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, comparten risas y confidencias mientras aprenden a hacer mermelada de ciruela, donuts o empanadas de piña.

    Gracias al apoyo del proyecto PRODENORTE, una colaboración entre el Ministerio de Agricultura de Guatemala y el Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), Irma y otras mujeres reciben capacitación y apoyo técnico en diferentes temas, y este curso de cocina forma parte de ese programa de formación.

    Hoy es un día especial, porque el grupo de Irma ha recibido la visita del famoso cocinero italiano Chef Rubio, quien entre risas ha cocinado con ellas tamales (una especie de empanada de maíz que se puede rellenar de distintos ingredientes) y pastel de plátano con frijoles.

    Como cada día después del curso de cocina, Irma, una joven mamá de dos hijos, y sus compañeras se acercan a la Municipalidad a vender la comida que han elaborado. Ello les permite recibir un ingreso extra para sostener a sus familias. El Chef Rubio anima la venta, congregando a un numeroso grupo de curiosos dispuestos a probar los ricos tamales de Irma y sus compañeras.

    Cuando la venta no es suficiente y hay necesidad de realizar algún pago urgente, Irma pide un préstamo al grupo de ahorro comunitario, creado con otras mujeres de su comunidad. Este grupo fomenta la autoestima de las mujeres y su independencia económica, promoviendo el valor del ahorro familiar.

    Irma está contenta: todo el esfuerzo que tuvo que hacer al principio para convencer a otras mujeres de que se unieran al grupo está teniendo sus beneficios. Nos comenta que por 200 quetzales (algo más de 25 dólares) que invierten pueden conseguir el doble pasado unos meses.

    El director de PRODENORTE Gustavo Pereira nos explica cómo el proyecto da seguimiento técnico a este tipo de iniciativas, y cómo después de superar las dudas iniciales se obtiene una gran respuesta por parte de las mujeres. Son ellas quienes más interesadas se muestran en el ahorro, ya que es crucial para poder invertir en la educación de sus hijos, lo único que les puede facilitar mejores oportunidades laborales en el futuro.

    Irma es un ejemplo de dedicación y cuidado de todo lo que le rodea, especialmente su pequeña parcela y el huerto comunal donde especies tradicionales (maíz, cardamomo, frijol) se mezclan con árboles de sombra plantados en la margen del rio que atraviesa San Juan Chamelco.

    Irma y los demás miembros del pueblo indígena Q’equchi mantienen costumbres ancestrales de comunicación con la naturaleza. Ella sabe muy bien que, sin árboles y sin sombra, el agua también desaparece y que, por el contrario, "con el bosque y con la sombra podemos conservar nuestro medio ambiente".

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    Evento reúne 25 jovens de todo o Nordeste e foi aberto oficialmente na manhã desta terça-feira (24 de julho de 2018) no interior do estado, que segue programação até a próxima sexta-feira (27 de julho)


    Às margens do rio São Francisco foram iniciadas as atividades do “I Intercâmbio em Ecogastronomia Slow Food para os jovens dos projetos FIDA no Brasil”, que acontece até o próximo dia 27 no estado de Sergipe. A abertura oficial do evento aconteceu na manhã desta terça-feira (24), na sede da comunidade Brejão dos Negros, em Ilha das Flores, interior do estado. O Intercâmbio é uma realização do Fundo Internacional de Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA), através do Programa Semear Internacional, em parceria com o Movimento Slow Food.

    A comitiva foi recebida com música pelos moradores da comunidade. Durante todo o dia, várias atividades foram desenvolvidas, entre elas, uma exposição com pratos desenvolvidos por cada jovem participante, feitos com ingredientes da culinária de seus estados. Foram expostas receitas desde linguiça defumada de jaca, a doce de jerimum, rapadura de goiaba, brigadeiro de macaxeira e vinho suave de seriguela.

    Todas as informações, com as fotos das apresentações feitas pelos jovens, já estão em nosso site. LEIA MAIS

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    ©IFAD/ Marco Salustro

    By Oscar A. García

    Oscar A. García is Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) and co-author of a new book on evaluation practices and how they can help to foster inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.

    Three questions lie at the heart of every effort to improve social and economic conditions in the world’s rural communities: How are we doing? Why is that? and How can we do better? These questions reflect the need to regularly assess development initiatives and to share knowledge, which can help to improve both efforts and results.

    The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has produced a book entitled, Evaluation for Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Transformation: World Bank Series on Evaluation and Development, Volume 9, to shed light on the process behind the evaluation of development policies, strategies and programmes, and to share lessons learned from some key assessments.

    Independent evaluation is fundamentally important to IFAD’s work to support inclusive and sustainable transformation in rural areas, in line with its mandate, and in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    IOE aims to promote accountability and learning through independent, credible and useful evaluations. Its main role is to evaluate IFAD-funded projects and programmes, provide assessments of what works and what does not, identify the factors leading to good performance, and determine to what extent IFAD’s policies and strategies are successful in alleviating poverty in rural areas, and why.

    Game-changers
    Evaluations have helped IFAD to boost its development effectiveness by leading to structural and organizational changes, new corporate policies, and more streamlined internal processes and procedures. For example, IFAD increased its number of country offices as a result of one influential evaluation and, following another, it took on direct supervision of projects in which its funding was involved.

    Inclusive and sustainable
    IOE evaluations in recent years have reflected increased recognition of the importance of looking at the connections between social, economic and environmental dimensions in sustainable development. They have considered issues such as gender equality, the need to engage more effectively with indigenous peoples, and changes in previous assumptions about the ways in which pastoral communities function.

    One evaluation looked at the results of IFAD’s support to environment and natural resources management by examining evaluations conducted between 2010 and 2015. It found that, during the evaluation period, environmental and social safeguards were upgraded, IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division was established, and a new programme was launched to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers.

    Still, the evaluation noted, farmers needed more incentives and environmental and natural resources management needed to be better incorporated in country-level planning. This is only an example of how evaluation can recognize accomplishments while also identifying opportunities for improvement.

    Gathering information
    In addition to looking at how evaluation at IFAD has evolved, the book also looks at the methodology used to gather information and make assessments. It illustrates the sources of information, which may include the views of the country programme manager; staff members responsible for delivering projects, government officials, civil society representatives, written reports and other documentation. More importantly, evaluation gives voice to the voiceless, by systematically including perceptions of project beneficiaries on the expected impact of IFAD's operations.

    Asking the right questions, looking for the signs of what is working, what is not, what is needed and why, is not the sole responsibility of evaluation professionals. It is part of an ongoing process of examination and evidence-gathering which can take place in rural homes, on the farm, at the fishing docks, at the market, in parliamentary halls, and at the work desks of numerous government officials and educators.

    New challenges
    Despite its success, IFAD’s mission faces new challenges every day, amid rapidly-shifting scenarios and the numerous ongoing, interconnected social, economic and environmental factors, which have an impact on people’s capacities to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, protect natural resources, and transform food systems and government policies in sustainable and nutrition-sensitive ways. Evaluation helps the Fund to keep in step with these changes.

    Evaluation for Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Transformation - World Bank Series on Evaluation and Development, Volume 9 will be launched on 21 September 2018

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    Tanzania – First Mile Project – March 2006                                                               © IFAD/Mwanzo Millinga

    By Harold Liversage and Giulia Barbanente  

    Recent years have been marked by a growing recognition of the importance of tenure security and equitable access to land and natural resources for rural development. Secure tenure rights are recognized as a key driver of sustainable agricultural production and labor opportunities, land-based investments, sustainable use of natural resources and improved access to credit. For vulnerable categories such as women and the youth, tenure security represents a central element fostering social recognition and economic empowerment. The renewed interest tenure has led to an improved multi-stakeholder involvement and the elaboration of new shared policy tools, such as the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure, the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.

    The growing interest in tenure has also been accompanied by an increased demand for tenure-related data and more results-based decision making for investments in land and natural resource governance. In this regard, recent global initiatives offer new and promising opportunities for the promotion of tenure security as a tool for poverty eradication. A first, important initiative concerns the integration of tenure-related indicators into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More specifically, the indicator 1.4.2 on secure tenure rights in Goal 1 and the women’s land rights indicators 5.a.1 and 5.a.2 in Goal 5 (see also blog on this topic). With the reclassification from Tier III to Tier II in the fall of 2017, the tenure indicators have been formally included in the SDG monitoring process. As described earlier this year on this platform by Chris Penrose-Buckley, the current challenge is to get the tenure indicators to Tier I, leading to the systematic collection of data and evaluation of performance. This involves collecting information on the tenure indicators for at least 50% of the population in at least 50% of countries globally by 2020. The Friends of the custodians, as well as the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) are mobilizing to reach this goal.

    While achieving Tier I status for the tenure indicators would go a long way in measuring tenure security, being able to measure the impact of tenure security measures has become another priority for tenure researchers and practitioners. A partnership between the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Global Land Tool Network, with the support from GDWGL, WB, MCC and Landesa, has recently led to the drafting of the "Guidelines for Impact Evaluation of Land Tenure and Governance Interventions". The purpose of the Guidelines is to inform the design of tenure impact evaluations and to foster the collection of better, more reliable data on what works – and what does not work- when it comes to interventions aimed at strengthening tenure security and equitable access to land. From a long-term perspective, by improving tenure impact evaluation, the guidelines will support the design and implementation of better tenure-related interventions, contributing to lasting tenure security impacts.

    The guidelines focus on impact evaluation instead of monitoring. While monitoring provides snapshots through time and shows data trends, impact evaluation for tenure security is crucial to understand how different tenure environments affect the outcomes captured by the data that is collected, investigating whether the expected tenure outcomes are realized. A theory of change developed for the Guidelines, illustrates the web of causal links between events which can be expected to be triggered by a specific tenure intervention. The causal links were identified through a systematic review of the literature, both empirical and theoretical, and systematized in a comprehensive model. Addressed to both tenure experts and evaluators, the Guidelines offer a platform facilitating information access for both types of expertise.

    The Guidelines were presented at the Land and Poverty Conference of the World Bank in March 2018 and we are now entering the next phase of the project. Building evidence on land measures and sharing it among relevant stakeholders is a first set of activities that will support breaching the gap of current evidence, while learning from different land impact evaluation frameworks. Such efforts could potentially be coordinated through a 'land evaluation group', bringing together evaluators and the land community, allowing for a regular and structured flow of information on land impact evaluations. The group could support the coordination at country level on land evaluations, especially in terms of maintaining control areas and sharing questionnaires. Building a community around land impact evaluations will improve the dissemination of best practices, support capacity building, contribute to an improved allocation of resources and ultimately drive the SDG framework at large.

    This blog was first published on the LandPortal

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    Dr. Sonia da Silveira - GCF Focal Point, technician of the Department of Monitoring & Evaluation from the Ministry of Economy & Finance

    Mozambique remains one of the countries most impacted by climate change in Africa, having faced a number of climate shocks and disasters over the past years that have hampered economic development. Temperature rises, scarce rainfall and droughts, floods and cyclones, have had significant impacts on key sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism, among others.

    In response to these challenges, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have positioned themselves to actively support the Government of Mozambique’s efforts to take action. Mozambique has ambitions to further analyse and acknowledge the scale of climate change impact on the country and its economy, as well as take steps to identify sustainable solutions to these challenges.

    The Government of Mozambique is already taking direct action to enhance its readiness through the establishment of a National Advisory Committee (NAC) comprising different ministries and institutions, and led by Ministry of Economy & Finance. As part of this initiative, a team from the Ministry of Economy & Finance - MEF (and partner institutions), with support from the IFAD - Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL), participated in a two-week capacity building training on Climate Change and Climate Finance. The training was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in June 2018. The beneficiaries were a multi-sectoral team which included the National Deputy Director for the Department of Monitoring & Evaluation and technicians from the Departments of Monitoring & Evaluation and Treasury of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the National Institute for Educational Development and the National Fund for Agrarian Development (FDA).

    The broader aim of the training was to enhance the capacity of government staff on climate change aspects, but above all to provide the necessary tools and knowledge related to climate finance.

    The specific objective was to enhance knowhow on climate funds – the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Adaptation Fund and the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), among others. It also aims to ensure good understanding of the accreditation process, modes of financing, and how to approach, plan and manage the process for accessing climate funds.

    This training is part of ongoing support to departments within the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Firstly, support to the Focal Point for the GCF (to engage with the private sector to formulate a pipeline of bankable projects that could be funded by the GCF; secondly, support towards the implementation of the Natural Capital Program, provided in partnership with WWF. The Natural Capital program is an initiative co-led by the finance ministry and the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER), which contributes to the implementation of the Government’s Green Economy Roadmap (GER) which has the goal of positively impacting climate resilience, economic productivity and inclusive prosperity.

    Certification ceremony photo with course trainers, and Mozambican staff: Albano Manjate (Deputy National Director for Monitoring; Evaluation – Ministry of Economy & Finance), and Ministerial technicians Sónia da Silveira, Anacleta Chiangua, Félix Massangai, Nelton Manjate, Helena Xerinda and António André

    ''This was an opportunity to better understand how the NAC will further develop the National Climate Finance Strategy and coordinate its implementation across Ministries, and with other partners and stakeholders'', said Sonia Da Silveira - GCF focal point in Mozambique within MEF.

    The effort and support provided to Mozambique by the Bank/WWF and IFAD demonstrate the importance of capitalising on synergies and partnerships. Whereas institutions working in the climate space differ in areas of comparative advantage, all have a role to play. In the context of Mozambique’s priorities, climate mitigation and adaptation inherently speak to the concept of Natural Capital, and provide an opportunity to consider how climate finance may be deployed to achieve multiple benefits, including, for example, improved management of stocks of natural assets (water resources, forests, soils), in Mozambique.


    This post originally appeared in the African Development Bank website

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    Recife sediará intercâmbio entre 20 técnicos de projetos apoiados pelo Fundo Internacional de Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA) em todo o Brasil com a presença de representantes do MDS e PNAE

    Entre os dias 20 e 24 de agosto, o estado de Pernambuco será sede de um evento reunindo 20 técnicos de todos os projetos apoiados pelo Fundo Internacional de Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA) no Brasil. Além de oficinas e palestras, a formação contará com visitas a comunidades rurais, cooperativas e empresas multinacionais que comercializam produtos provenientes da agricultura familiar, a exemplo dos centros de distribuição das redes Walmart e Pão de Açúcar, em Recife. O intercâmbio é uma realização do FIDA, uma agência da ONU ligada ao desenvolvimento da agricultura familiar em todo o mundo, através do programa Semear Internacional, em parceria com o Instituto Interamericano de Cooperação para a Agricultura (IICA), e Banco Mundial.

    LEIA MAIS

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    IFAD Nigeria Country Programme Officer, Dr Ben Odoemena (middle), Mrs Vera Onyeaka-Onyilo Knowledge Management and Communications Advisor for IFAD Programmes in Nigeria receiving the ‘Development Partner of the Year 2018’ Award at the Nigeria Agriculture Awards held recently in Abuja, Nigeria.

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been chosen as the “Development Partner of the Year 2018” at the Nigeria Agriculture Awards held recently in Abuja, Nigeria.

    The Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA), is an annual event that recognizes and rewards men, women, businesses and institutions that have distinguished themselves in Nigeria’s agriculture landscape.

    Chairman of the NAA Central Committee, Prof. Emmanuel Ikani said at the award ceremony that such special recognition of individuals and corporate organizations that have distinguished themselves as critical actors in the agricultural sector will serve as motivation to other stakeholders to follow suit.

    IFAD was recognized for its outstanding contributions to the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, particularly for its efforts towards improving the livelihood of Nigeria’s smallholder farmers and the economic space in which they operate. Particular reference was made to the IFAD-assisted Value Chain Development Programme which is empowering many women and youth through the innovative Public Private Producer Partnership (4Ps) initiative. The 4Ps, which is a business transaction and policy dialogue platform, has triggered partnerships with major off takers and smallholder farmers and has yielded significant results. 

    For exmaple, Olam Nigeria, Popular Food (Stallion rice) and Onyx Niger Plc through the IFAD/VCDP partnership has received 150,000mt of paddy from rice farmers and in turn processed and released 97,500mt of milled rice to the national domestic market. This represents an estimated income of US$ 63.6 million to the hands of the rural smallholder farmers and injection in the Nigeria economy. From a macroeconomic viewpoint, it represents 150,000mt import substitution and US$ 63.6 million foreign exchange savings to Nigeria, hence a great support to the government agricultural promotion policy.

    Dr Ben Odoemena, IFAD Nigeria Country Programme Officer, who received the award on behalf of IFAD, thanked the NAA Central Committee for adjudging IFAD as ‘Development Partner of the Year 2018’. He stated, “Emerging as the successful nominee in the category of Development Partner of the Year is very inspiring and rewarding. Anybody who works hard towards a goal and gets recognized for his hard work feels good. Let me also thank the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for all the support. This award could not have come without the support of these great partners. The most important to be appreciated are the rural poor farmers who took our technical advice to improve their livelihoods. It is the glaring improvement in their livelihoods that stood IFAD out to be chosen for this award”.

    Odoemena reiterated, “You have given us the tonic we need to do more. IFAD is a friend of the poor and we will not leave Nigeria until food security is guaranteed for all, poverty is eradicated among rural people and rural youth and women are gainfully engaged and become the drivers of Nigeria’s economic growth.”

    Since 1985, IFAD has financed 10 projects in Nigeria for a total of US$ 795.3 million, including US$ 317.6 million from IFAD’s own resources, directly benefiting nearly 3.8 million Nigerian rural households. IFAD is presently financing two programmes - the Value Chain Development Project and Climate Change Adaptation, and Agribusiness Support Programme.


    Find out more about IFAD and Nigeria


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    In March 2018 IFAD’s land tenure desk participated in the annual Land and Poverty Conference at the World Bank. This year’s theme was “Land Governance in an Interconnected World”. The conference is the premier global gathering of researchers, policy experts and development practitioners in the field of access to land and development. Since 2013 IFAD's Land Tenure Desk has encouraged IFAD supported projects and other partners to document their lessons learnt and good practices in promoting tenure security. So far about thirty papers have been produced and presented. This year, for the first time, three papers were presented directly the by the Tenure Desk. Below are summaries of each paper and links to learn more about each of them.

    Mainstreaming support for good land governance into agricultural and rural development programmes: lessons from IFAD supported projects
    The paper looked into the experiences of IFAD-supported projects in mainstreaming support for good land governance into agricultural and rural development programmes, based on a review of 240 IFAD-supported projects, which have been ongoing since 2010. By drawing on the experiences of the respective projects, the paper presented lessons learnt and further considerations to strengthen tenure security and access to land.


    Ethiopia - Community Based Integrated Natural Resource Project - September, 2013   ©IFAD/Wairimu Mburathi

    Firstly, IFAD has learnt that a modest investment in tenure security measures can substantially contribute to positive project outcomes. A suggested increase in investment does not necessarily translate to a higher level of investment per project, but rather to a greater support of projects. The study also highlighted how one of the key activities for the future must not necessarily be increasing the investment per project in tenure security measures, but making those measures more effective. The desk is striving to support projects in improving this impact. However, to do so better, instruments to monitor this impact must be in place. 

    IFAD also proposes to continue strengthening the integration of tenure security measures into IFAD-supported projects during design and implementation, and to continue strengthening the engagement of our country teams and partners in policy dialogue and lesson-sharing by developing partnerships through our membership in the ILC and the Global Donor Working Group on Land, and collaboration with various partners. Finally, assessing impacts has been identified as a key issue in the land sector and is as relevant for most if not all other development partners. A grouping of a range of development partners collaborating under the auspices of the Global Land Indicators Initiative has been effective in developing an indicator for measuring tenure security into the SDG framework.  By strengthening impact assessments, IFAD could not only contribute to the process but also increase its profile in showcasing the support it provides on tenure security measures. 

    Find out more: IFAD’s support for land and natural resource tenure security


    Strengthening women’s land rights, lessons from IFAD supported projects in sub-Saharan Africa 
    The presentation focused on current challenges and existing solutions to women’s access to land. In the context of a growing momentum for women’s land rights advocacy, three successful initiatives from IFAD supported projects were presented: 

    The first case concerned land use planning in the context of the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project in Tanzania: building on customary rights, the project supported the development of joint village land use planning, supporting the sharing of land across village boundaries. The process involved women as decision-makers, creating a platform for (re)negotiation and sensitization on women’s land rights.

    A second initiative addresses barriers to women’s access to land at the household level. The intra-household negotiation approach is part of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) and includes visual representations by household members of the family’s Vision Journey and the Gender Tree. This approach has been used among others the Community based Poverty Reduction Project in Sierra Leone, where it has fostered collaboration and transformational change.

    The third case presented was that of the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda, where a Public-Private-Producers Partnership has been established to link smallholder producers to a private company, with monitoring and support from the public sector. Representation of female smallholders within the producers’ association, as well as the productivity and economic empowerment that have followed the establishment of the partnership, has allowed women to access tenure security, combined with profitable agricultural production.

    Find out more:
    > Gender action learning system
    > Household Methodologies

    Fostering transparent and evidence-based reporting on large-scale land-based investments: the case of the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda
    The study conducted an extensive review of the reporting on a project supported by IFAD - the Vegetable Oil Development Project” (VODP) in Uganda – specifically the oil palm component, with the objective to shed light on the dynamics behind the circulation of information on large-scale land-based investments. The oil palm component of VODP was chosen based on the high amount of information that has been generated on its impact, and on the apparent irreconcilability of much of the information produced. The study investigates the sources and dissemination of information, by analyzing media, NGOs, international organizations and online platforms’ practices on information management and sharing.


    The objective of the study was to foster a more balanced and evidence-based discussion on land rights reporting systems. The analysis of sources of information on the project is aimed at understanding how to better manage the dissemination and analysis of information on rural development projects touching upon sensitive issues, such as land access. The review of over 100 sources of reporting on VODP leads among others to some observations around the issue of source validation. Information produced through on-the-ground research is often repeatedly sourced by new studies referencing them. The use of second-hand information is all the more widespread as the cost of conducting independent impact evaluation, including of land tenure projects, is a costly and lengthy endeavor. Due to this, issues arise when it comes to validating the information reported by others. In this sense, the creation of channels for more constructive engagement would help moving the conversation forward in a way that can positively impact the development of a project.



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    Uganda - Vegetable Oil Development Project - June 2010 • Credit: ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    By GLTN (Global Land Tool Network) and Ivonald Da Cruz

    Tenure security plays a central role in driving rural transformation. It is a powerful means for enhancing the sustainability of development efforts and empowering rural people. Given the importance of tenure security, IFAD entered into a partnership with UN-Habitat, through the Global Land Tools Network (GLTN) in 2011 to implement the first phase of the Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA) initiative. The objective of TSLI-ESA I was to identify common issues and promote lesson sharing and knowledge management on land related tools and approaches amongst IFAD supported projects in selected East and Southern African (ESA) countries.

    The second phase of TSLI-ESA, which started in 2013, aimed to strengthen security of tenure on land and natural resources through the integration of pro-poor tenure tools in IFAD supported projects and programmes within the ESA region. The projects objectives were to:

    a) Improve knowledge and awareness of land and natural resource tenure issues and measures for strengthening the tenure security of poor women and men;
    b) Strengthen capacity for development and implementation of tools (for in-country policy dialogue, country strategy development, project/programme design, implementation and evaluation) and;
    c) Strengthen and scale up approaches and tools for securing land and natural resource tenure.

    In places where IFAD works, especially in Africa, most rural land falls under customary tenure. Managing customary land can be challenging, as it is generally undocumented and perceived to be unclaimed, generating competing interests and claims which end up resulting in encroachment, grabbing and in some cases conflict. The management by public authorities of land, for which no official title can be presented by those living on it, can in some cases further increase tenure insecurity, leading to unilateral changes in the allocation of the land and discouraging dwellers of that land to invest on their main productive asset.

    Under the project GLTN provided support in developing tools and providing training to IFAD supported projects. In total 217 participants from 39 IFAD-supported investment projects in 21 countries participated in various training and information sharing events. Two examples of IFAD supported projects that have integrated GLTN tools are the Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) in Uganda and the  Smallholder Dairy Commercialisation Programme (SDCP) in Kenya.

    Kenya - Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) - Nov 2013 • Credit: ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    TSLI-ESA in Kenya's Smallholder Dairy Commercialisation Programme (SDCP) 
    The goal of the project is to increase the incomes of poor rural households that depend substantially on the production and trade of dairy products for their livelihoods. The SDCP project was confronted with some key tenure challenges right from the beginning as there was encroachment of grazing lands and a deterioration in the state of communally shared resources. This provoked some rising tensions with regards to pasture and water resources, which also impacted the productivity of the dairy animals. As a response, GLTN in collaboration with partners conducted participatory mapping of communally shared resources ensuring that communities now have the means to protect their common resources from encroachment and ultimately promote their sustainable utilisation. The success of community mapping under TSLI-ESA in Kenya, has been captured in a video with an accompanying blog entry from GLTN.

    TSLI-ESA in Uganda's Vegetable Oil Development Project 
    The project aims to increase the domestic production of vegetable oil and its by-products, thus raising rural incomes for smallholder producers and ensuring the supply of affordable vegetable oil products to Ugandan consumers. With regard to tenure security, the oil palm component has faced particular challenges where land was acquired for nucleus estate for a private sector investor and where there has been large-scale conversion of land use. The project in collaboration with GLTN developed and supported “famer-driven enumeration” (FDE) in Kalangala District, Uganda, where the GLTN’s Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) is being used to upgrade the database system for farmers being used by the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT). For further information and a video showcasing the success of farmers’ driven participatory mapping with STDM in Kalangala, Uganda, here is a blog entry from GLTN.


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    By Elisa Mandelli and PROCASUR

    Some of the participants of the Learning Route in the Community Conserved Area of the Somdal village (Manipur State) Credit: PROCASUR 2018

    The North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCORMP) in India hosted a learning route on “Innovative solutions for rural livelihoods improvement through Sustainable Forest Governance and Natural Resource Management” in Northeast India from the 20th to the 29th of May. The purpose was to promote the dissemination of innovations and good practices on sustainable forest management already being implemented by IFAD-supported projects as well as to highlight the interdependence between forest management, land and natural resource governance and livelihood improvement.

    The exercise was co-organized by IFAD’s Land Tenure Desk and PROCASUR under the auspices of the IFAD-Procasur collaboration in the “Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations” project (2016-2018). Similar learning routes have been organized under the project linking land tenure security and land governance to water rights (see blog Land, Water and irrigation schemes: What can we learn from Senegal and Mauritania?) and to land use conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers (see blog Learning initiative on innovative practices and tools to reduce land use conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers).

    It is estimated that over 2.4 billion people worldwide depend on forest goods and services for the direct provision of food, wood fuel, building materials, medicines, employment and cash income, making forests fundamental to the livelihoods of rural and urban people (FAO, State of the World’s Forests, 2014). Moreover, forests which cover approximately one third of the Earth’s surface, are widely known as the world’s largest repository of terrestrial biodiversity, they play a vital role in global climate change mitigation and contribute to soil and water conservation in many fragile ecosystems.

    IFAD recognizes the socioeconomic benefits of forests for poor rural people and acknowledges the importance of promoting sustainable forest management as a way to contribute to rural development and food security. Even though forestry is not a prominent topic in IFAD’s operations,   several IFAD-supported projects have integrated community based forest management models in their interventions based on the assumption that rural communities could play a central role in protecting and sustainably managing the forests and the natural resources on which they depend.

    NERCORMP is one good example of this and readily volunteered to host the learning route. The project has been supported by IFAD for the two initial phases (from 1999 to 2008) and has currently completed  its third phase funded only by the Government of India. The goal of the project was to improve the livelihood options of economically vulnerable groups by supporting an improved and sustainable management of forests and natural resources and by strengthening local institutions that relate to livelihood development.

    15 participants joined the Route from five IFAD-supported projects addressing issues related to  forestry or natural resources management in Bangladesh (CDSP-IV), Kenya (UTANRMP), Peru (MERESE), Sudan (Integrated Carbon sequestration Project), Nepal (Poverty Alleviation Fund) as well as from the Government of the Nagaland State (India).

    The Route visited four experiences in the Manipur and Meghalaya regions that illustrated the approach and the positive transformations introduced by NERCORMP and/or promoted by community-led initiatives. The visits focused on the following three dimensions:
    a) Community-based forest management as a potential driver for sustainable development and value creation in rural and indigenous peoples’ communities;
    b) Forest conservation practices aimed at enhancing biodiversity of forests and generating alternative livelihood solutions for rural and indigenous peoples’ communities from Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) through the involvement of women and youth;
    c) Dialogue and convergence between rural communities and government institutions around community conservation initiatives.

    Land governance and land tenure (in)security came out as cross-cutting topics influencing the forest conservation practices and the decision-making of the different communities visited. Interesting lessons have also been drawn on the synergies between shifting agriculture and forest conservation as well as on the key role played by religious leaders in generating community awareness and social convergence for sustainable forest governance. 

    Based on the experiences and lessons learnt of the Route, the participants are currently finalizing their Innovation Plans for adapting and adopting NERCORMP’s strategies and good practices in the implementation of their own projects.

    Additional information on the contents of the Innovation Plans as well as on the analysis of the cases and the lessons learned can be found in this webpage where the Final Report and other briefs of the Learning Route can be found.

    The IFAD Land Tenure Desk and Procasur are also planning a final workshop to capitalize and share the lessons learned from all the land-related learning routes supported by the grant.

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    Bangladesh - Char Development and Settlement Project – Phase IV (CDSP IV) - Oct. 2017   ©IFAD/ Fahad Kaizer

    By Jennifer Witriol Lisher

    Secure land tenure is now recognized by global actors as a key driver of poverty alleviation, food security, gender equity, effective urbanization and sustainable natural resource management. When a land governance system effectively allocates and protects land use rights, individuals, groups, government and private sector entities with secure tenure can make productive and long-term investments in their land, property and human capital. However, there remains a lack of evidence on the driving factors, timeline, and context of how land tenure and governance interventions lead to impacts among beneficiaries. As donors, governments, and civil society put more resources into improving security of land tenure and effectiveness of land governance systems, decision makers are requesting evidence of outputs of the interventions as well as progress towards expected outcomes.
    Although performance monitoring provides a good tool to track data trends, impact evaluations combined with qualitative assessments are crucial to understand the nuances behind this monitoring data and drivers and impacts of changes in land tenure. Only impact evaluations can show causality of project impacts. However, establishing effective impact evaluations that well capture the nuances of results in the land sector has proven difficult. This is due to the nature of land but also projects lacking detailed theory of change models and weak evaluation designs. Land tenure experts often lack statistical tools to understand project design needs to facilitate an impact evaluation and statisticians often lack sufficient understanding of the nuances of land tenure and land transactions to effectively capture results across beneficiaries. 

    It is important to both understand the lessons learned in conducting land impact evaluations, as well as have a well-accepted theory of change based on patterns in the land evidence and which is clear on potential gaps that need further assessment. MCC presented its lessons learned from conducting land impact evaluations at the 2016 World Bank Annual Land and Poverty Conference. Following on this initiative, MCC and IFAD presented at the 2017 World Bank Annual Land and Poverty Conference findings from a systematic review and gap analysis of the land literature, including presentation of a model for key economic benefit streams.

    Building on these efforts, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) partnered with Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), in consultation with the Global Donor Working Group on Land, to improve the tools to evaluate land tenure and governance interventions — specifically the production of the Guidelines for Impact Evaluation of Land Tenure and Governance Interventions and related theory of change founded on existing literature and experiences of the land and research community. The guidelines aim to serve as a tool for both evaluators and land sector experts in the design and conducting of land impact evaluations and ultimately broaden the evidence of what works and does not work and why in regard to measures meant to improve land tenure and governance. The overall objective is to inform and strengthen the design and implementation of future land tenure and governance interventions to best support lasting tenure security and achieve related impacts on poverty, food security, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and security. 

    The launch of the land impact evaluation guidelines took place at a roundtable during this year’s World Bank Annual Land and Poverty Conference. Harold Liversage, the head of IFAD’s Land Desk, chaired the session and Oumar Sylla of UN Habitat GLTN provided opening remarks. It was a full house of attendees (standing room only) including those from the evaluation and research institutions as well as the land community. Jennifer Witriol Lisher, who is the author of the Land Impact Evaluation Guidelines and MCC’s lead for land monitoring and evaluation, gave the keynote presentation. She provided an overview of the evidence and gaps in the land literature, introduced the theory of change model for land tenure and governance interventions, and presented key aspects of the land tenure and governance impact evaluation guidelines, focusing on recommendations for impact evaluation design (key research questions, methodology, exposure period, sampling), data sources and data collection. The presentation and guidelines can be found at the link above.

    Discussants from civil society (Jolyne Sanjak of Landesa), research community (Heather Huntington of Cloudburst and Michael O’Sullivan of the World Bank’s Gender Innovation Lab) and government (Caleb Stevens of USAID) weighed in with their respective experiences and contributions.

    Discussants and attendees commended the team on producing this helpful tool to help improve land impact evaluations. The roundtable closed with suggested next steps for moving forward in establishing improved impact evaluation and evidence of land tenure and governance interventions. Most notably this included:

    • Publish and disseminate the guidelines; 
    • Rollout the land impact evaluation guidelines tailored to various groups of stakeholders; 
    • Continue to build and share land evidence; and
    • Establish the land impact evaluation working group/community, which is comprised both of evaluators and land sector experts with an interest in land impact evaluation. 

    The team looks forward to engaging further in this initiative as we head to the next phase and move forward these action items. The guidelines will be published on the UN and IFAD websites shortly.  The land impact evaluation working group already has around 20 members and is starting a listserv to allow members to correspond directly. The group will hold its first webinar in the fall to present results from the latest released land impact evaluations.

    If interested in joining the land impact evaluation working group, please reach out to Romy Sato at romy.sato@donorplatform.

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    Coordination between the United Nations Rome-based agencies - the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP), is integral to all three organizations. Such a collaboration, at local, regional and global level, is necessary in order to deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, a framework for global action. The three agencies possess a combined force of knowledge, technical assistance and financial support systems. Solutions to global issues must also derive from partnerships between the Rome-based agencies and governments, policy makers and the private sector. The core UN strategic objectives in promoting development are social inclusion, resource sustainability and economic sustainability.

    A  Joint Briefing by FAO and IFAD for Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow  was held in July 2018 as a result of a visit from guests of Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) programme. ALOT is a two year leadership development programme designed to provide leadership tools for those in agribusiness in Missouri, USA. The event at FAO headquarters was facilitated by Boubaker Ben-Belhassan  (Director of Trade and Markets Division, FAO), and brought together speakers Guilherme Brady (Coordinator of Civil Society/ Producer/Cooperatives, FAO), Michael T. Clark (Senior Coordinator of  Governance and Policy, FAO), Abdelkarim Sma (Regional Economist for Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD) and Shantanu Mathur (Lead Adviser of  Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, IFAD).




    The first speaker, Guilherme Brady presented a general overview of FAO's mission and objectives. Michael T. Clark highlighted the importance of the RBA’s vocation aimed at supporting development and the 2030 agenda. He noted that rural areas are home to 80 per cent of people living in extreme poverty who directly and indirectly depend on agriculture. The SDGs, brought to fruition in 2015, are delineated by a distinctive set of assumptions and commitments: 
    • Demand  for transformational change
    • Recognition that inequality is systemic and growth is not inclusive
    • Recognition that there are different policies for different contexts and levels of development and capacity 
    • Acknowledgement of a need for innovation 
    Michael T. Clark established that structural transformation is key to achieving sustainable development and countries that attempt to skip this process do not succeed in accomplishing a successful sustainable development scheme. 

    Abdelkarim Sma, from IFAD, provided an account of the framework,  operations and objectives of IFAD. With 176 member countries made up of contributors and beneficiaries , IFAD has developed a six billion dollar investment portfolio.  Sma asserted that, only with the support of agriculture  we can overcome poverty. At the core of IFAD's work is investment  in rural people. This UN agency partners with governments and private sector bodies to encourage sustainable economic and  social transformation.  

    Shantanu Mathur also spoke on behalf of IFAD. He said that IFAD's self-help, self-reliant, inclusive and  transformative agenda is a bridge to long term development. Mathur gave an overview of the Rome-based agencies and highlighted the importance of the collaboration, which was instigated by donor countries, given their common work on food and agriculture. These commonalities, combined with a collaborative effort will create a powerful synergy with the ambition of ending poverty and achieving zero hunger. 


    Find out more about the Rome-based agencies


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    By Jonky Tenou

    The Africa Green Revolution Forum - AGRF2018 - is the biggest forum on the continent. It brings together 2,800 participants and is held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 5th to 8th September 2018. The AGRF2018 served as a platform where heads of state, representatives from governments, the private sector, development partners, donors, researchers, civil society and farmer's organisations met and shared their insights, knowledge and experiences to advance rural transformation in Africa. Innovative approaches, practices and technologies have been shared as well as partnerships and policy engagement/dialogue. It was also a platform for donors and receivers that facilitates the connection with various stakeholders from various arenas.

    The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) was represented at AGRF2018 at a very senior level, organized a side event hosted by the Integrated approach programme on fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in sub-Sahara Africa (IAP-FS) with a focus on the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund (UTNWF) as a tested public-private-partnership.

    The side-event highlighted innovative approaches including large-scale payments for ecosystem services in Kenya which benefit urban water users including beverage companies and power generation firms who are willing to invest in rural environments, creating win-win opportunities. Emerging lessons from the UTNWF initiative, which has a budget of approximately US$60 million and targets 21,000 households directly ( with a further 100,000 households indirectly) informed other development actors, countries, businesses of insights and potential collaborative opportunities in building resilience of the smallholder farming enterprises in rural areas.

    The IAP-FS is a GEF funded and multi-agency programme aiming to promote sustainable management of natural resources: land, soil, water, vegetation and genetic resources. All the assets that underpin food security and resilience. The programme covers twelve dry-land countries in sub-Sahara Africa.

    The event held on September 5th, 2018 from 14:30 to 16:30 was moderated by IFAD's Associate Vice-President Donal Brown and registered more than 300 participants from different development arena.



    This keynote speech focused on public-private-partnerships (PPPs) explaining the most effective business case and frameworks in supporting smallholders resilience in Africa. It was delivered by Munhamo Chisvo, the Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). His presentation highlighted the progress made by African countries in achieving their commitment to the Malabo declaration, in investing in agriculture, reducing poverty through inclusive agriculture growth and transformation, and enhancing resilience of livelihood and production systems to climate vulnerability. 

    From the African 2018 Inaugural Biennial Review Report, specific recommendations have been made for creating a policy environment for private investments, boosting regional trade for agricultural commodities, increasing local processing of key agricultural products and their respective value chains, stimulating local and regional private sector investments in agriculture through a conducive business environment that attracts both domestic and foreign investments in the agriculture sector. Regarding the PPPs framework, opportunities in various stages of agricultural systems such as primary production, post-harvest, market and utilization/consumption were identified. The future direction of PPPs needs conducive policy environments, guiding principles with obligations and risk-sharing mechanisms for more PPPs in financing climate-resilient production and processing to transform African agriculture. 

    After a presentation of the UTNWF initiative by Jonky Tenou, the Task Manager of IAP-FS programme, a panel discussion ensued, talking about how to conserve the Upper Tana catchment by improving water quality and quantity, enhancing ecosystem services, food security and livelihoods. There was a focus on the research of ways and means to advance PPPs which is indispensable for agriculture transformation in Africa. Hand-on experiences and strategies from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) were also shared with the audience respectively by Dr. Joe DeVries, Vice-President for programme and innovation at AGRA, Dr. Charles Karangwa, Regional coordinator, forest landscape restoration at IUCN and M. Philip Githinji, Production manager at NCWSC and board member of UTNW.


    From the panel discussions and interactions with the audience the following key recommendations have been pointed out : 

    (i) The important role of the private sector for effective ways of producing goods and services that offer resilience solutions and climate-resilient technologies and processes, while the public sector is critical for creating an enabling environment;

    (ii) The catalytic role of multi-lateral financing which is needed for co-financing from the private sector and is essential for sustainable rural transformation in sub-Sahara Africa; 

    (iii) Integrated and innovative approaches need to be scaled-up across the continent.

    In general and regarding the IAP-FS objectives, the AGRF2018 has permitted the link/connection with a range of partners such as the African Union Commission and its regional initiatives, the private sector, including financial institutions, civil society organisations and former's associations operating in rural areas at national, regional and global levels who are relevant for the delivery of the programme. The AGRF2018 paved the way to further develop strong partnerships for implementation in an integrated approach in order to significantly influence policy directions for resilience, foods security and sustainable growth in sub-Sahara Africa. IFAD, alongside the GEF and IAP-FS partners (UNDP, FAO, UNEP, ICRAF, World Bank, Conservation International, AGRA and Biodiversity) will continue to support countries and regional platforms for effective continental agriculture transformation through sustainability management.



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    ©IFAD/Pablo Corral Vega
    The Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) has approved a regional policy directed to family farmers. The policy was developed by the Programme for Rural Regional Dialogue (PDRR), a long-term programme supported and financed by IFAD since 2007.


    PAFCIA: The First Regional Policy on Family Farming
    A new victory for peasant, indigenous and Afro-descendent family farmers has been achieved in Belize last July. After a long and highly-participative process at regional and country level, the governments of the CAC's member countries approved a regional policy that will constitute the framework to be followed by the national governments in the development of local policies. The Policy on Peasant, Indigenous and Afro-Descendent Family Farming 2018-2030 aims to 'move towards a diversified, inclusive and territorialized productive model, to contribute to the social and economic development of the countries and the region'.

    Mr Abel Lara, Regional Coordinator of the Programme for Rural Regional Dialogue, stated that the policy aims ''to provide to the governments with the necessary instruments to support family farmers, especially in terms of agro-ecological practices and sustainable natural resource management. The next step now is to transform this policy in different laws at country-level, and we are working in different dialogue spaces at national-level to institutionalize the instruments developed in the regional policy’’. On the role of IFAD in the process, he added: ''IFAD has been a key partner over the years, not only because of its contributions in terms of knowledge and experiences in rural development and natural resource management, but also by pushing the boundaries of the debate on how to assure the outreach of traditionally excluded groups, as youth and indigenous people.’’

    According to Juan Diego Ruiz Cumplido, IFAD's Hub Head for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, ''the official approval of the Family Farming Regional Policy for Central-America must be considered as a strategic milestone in order to promote sustainable, rural transformation processes in the region. The effective participation of small producers in inclusive food value chains is a key driver for tackling poverty and malnutrition at community level. This IFAD-funded initiative provides an outstanding good practice about the relevance of promoting policy dialogue by involving different stakeholders, both public and private, such as Governments, civil society organizations, think tanks, etc.’’

    The Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) is the organisation within the Central-American Integration System (SICA) dedicated to develop and execute policies directed to the agricultural development of the member countries. A regional policy framework directed to family farming is a great advance for the region, as over 2.6 million productive units are responsible for 70 per cent of food production in the region.

    IFAD's policy engagement in the region
    The Programme for Rural Regional Dialogue was created in 2007 as a space for policy dialogue composed by professional social organizations representing small and medium-scale farmers and indigenous people, which benefited from the technical and financial support of IFAD. The overall objective of the PDRR has been to enhance policies related to family farming and rural development in Central America. Since its creation, the PDRR has established and maintained close dialogue with the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) by means of hearings – attended by representatives of the organizations involved in the PDRR – and through the establishment of a channel for close communication and coordination with SECAC (the executive secretariat of CAC). CAC has acknowledged the PDRR as the main regional venue for dialogue between family farmers and governments in Central America.

    The last IFAD's grant was approved in December 2016 to a consortium of the PRISMA Foundation, RIMISP and OXFAM, and has been dedicated to strengthen the institutional capacity and strategic vision of the PDRR and of organizations working on the topic of family farming in Central America and the Dominican Republic. Within this, it has facilitated and improved spaces for dialogue on national and regional policies focused on rural development and family farming.

    IFAD has been promoting public policy engagement in Latin America, and particularly policy dialogue on issues related to family farming and rural development, for more than 10 years. At least two successful models for encouraging policy dialogue (and strengthening the institutional capacity of rural organizations) have now emerged in the region. 

    The first aims to facilitate dialogue and policy harmonization at the regional level. This model is best illustrated by the highly successful Commission on Family Farming (REAF) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), which was created in 2004 with the support of IFAD, and the Programme for Rural Regional Dialogue. 

    The second and more recent model are the rural dialogue groups, funded by an IFAD grant to the Latin American Centre for Rural Development (RIMISP) and focused on promoting dialogue among high-level policymakers and relevant national stakeholders in a number of Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico).



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    IFAD participated in the conference’s session on What development partners really want (and need) from gender research, where representatives of international development organizations and development partners highlighted the challenges and opportunities of gender research.

    From left to right: Lydia Atomsa, Gender and Migration, Dutch Embassy; Ulaç Demirag, Country Director and Representative for Ethiopia and South Sudan, IFAD; Fatouma Seid, FAO Representative in Ethiopia; Amsale Mengistu, BMGF Ethiopia; Faith Bartz, USAID Ethiopia; Tanja Nader, Delegation of the EU to Ethiopia. 

    Organized by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, the second Annual Scientific Gender Conference and Capacity Development Workshop is being held at the ILRI Campus in Addis Ababa from 24 to 28 September 2018. The conference brings together national and international researchers and representatives of development organizations to identify the gender’s agriculture research priorities, strengths and gaps. Presentations will also examine how to build capacity to undertake and implement the findings of gender research, as well as promote knowledge sharing among key stakeholders.

    During his intervention, Mr Demirag stressed IFAD’s commitment to overcoming gender inequalities and empowering women to reduce rural poverty and food insecurity; a commitment which is embedded in all its operations and guided through IFAD’s Policy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

    He highlighted some of the key development issues from a gender perspective such as: women’s limited access and control over productive assets and thus, limited opportunities; women's double burden of productive activities and domestic work which continues to limit their ability to participate in new income-generating opportunities; limited inclusion of women leaders and models within development interventions; gender perspectives often poorly represented in public services such as agricultural extension; and the need to consider the role of women in value chain interventions to progress beyond subsistence level or being care givers but rather in productive and profitable activities.

    In addition, he emphasized that research can also make a vital contribution to enhance the set of practical tools to enhance the quality and effectiveness of development interventions, which can be applied during project designs and implementation. Some of these tools include: effective methods to ensure women’s participation in defining their training and skills development needs; tools to identify and address gender inequality issues in institutional analysis; development of training packages and approaches that take into account gender-specific constraints; and tools to enable business enterprises to tailor their products and services to the specific need of women.

    However, given the very location and context-specific, multidimensional and complex nature of gender issues in development, Mr Demirag highlighted the need for more action-oriented and applied studies, as opposed to basic research. While women representation and advocacy are important to ensure participation, ownership and nurturing women's leadership, we need focus our attention on the economic empowerment of women. Based on good examples in IFAD supported projects in Africa, he highlighted that successful business women often turned into strong leaders in the community, making a vital contribution to create employment, as role models and opinion leaders representing women's  perspectives in local institutions and organizations. Gender analysis and the work of gender experts in general can be enhanced by strengthening their focus on gender-sensitive value chain analyses, and support to small enterprises, including rural financial institutions, to design products and services targeted at women, with a clear business model.

    Finally, Mr Demirag shared with the audience examples of how IFAD-supported operations are supporting women; including empowerment through land certification and access to finance as well as their enhanced decision making role through gender-sensitive community demand-driven social services delivery.

    The audience engaged in an enthusiastic discussion, agreeing on the need to strengthen the partnerships between development partners and research institutions to better position themselves for advocating for gender priorities to governments, who are ultimately leading the gender agenda. There was also consensus on the need for longer term investments that prioritize gender empowerment.


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    Mid-term review mission

    Between 27 August to 5 September 2018, IFAD carried out carried out a mid-term review for the Sustainable Development Project for the Rural Communities of Semi-Arid Zones (North and Mixtec Regions) - PRODEZSA; executed by the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR). The National Financial (NAFIN) and IFAD's Independent Office of Evaluation also participated in the mission. Six ejidos and a producter organization were visited in the States of Zacatecas and Coahuila, Mexico.

    Objectives
    The objective of the mid-term review was to learn about different experiences on the use of non-timber forest resources, such as candelilla, lechuguilla and oregano, among other native species of the semi-arid ecosystem; as well as carrying out a joint review of the administrative, financial and operational progress of the project.

    Project location and scope
    The territories visited were the Ejidos de San Jerónimo, Los Indios Romualdo and Apizolaya in the State of Zacatecas; and the Ejidos de Las Ánimas, Tuxtepec, Plan de Guadalupe and the Sociedad Microempresarial Lureno in the State of Coahuila. As part of the mission, there were also meetings with municipal authorities, state managers and other representatives of CONAFOR, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), NAFIN, personnel of the Project Coordination Unit and the participants of the project ; agreeing on measures that will contribute to the achievement of results and impact.

    In the Mexican system of government, an Ejido is an area of communal land used for housing or agriculture, on which community members individually farm designated parcels and collectively maintain communal holdings. The Ejidos are registered with Mexico's National Agrarian Registry.

    "At first glance, it would seem that the semi-arid zones have little potential or little economic advantage. Which is not true. Supported rural families show that there are viable, sustainable economic activities linked to the exploitation of non-timber forest resources such as: lechuguilla, used in the manufacturing industry; candelilla for the extraction of wax: and oregano for the production of oils. Handicrafts are also produced, such as candles and honey. Rural tourism is promoted. These are the center of economic and cultural activities in these areas,” said Juan Diego Ruíz, Hub Leader for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, IFAD.

    Project financing
    The PRODEZSA project is a good example of how IFAD finances projects to improve the living conditions of rural populations; in particular young people, women and indigenous peoples. In coordination with the Government of Mexico, this project was formed in 2015, with financing amounting to US$35.7 million; of which IFAD has granted a loan of US$18.7 million plus a donation of US$2 million; and a loan of US$15 million from the Spanish Trust Fund (FFE). Likewise, there are national counterparts of CONAFOR and contributions from more than 40 thousand rural families that participate in the project.

    Objectives of the project
    The overall objective of the project is to enable the indigenous and rural population of the Semi-Arid Zones in the North and Mixtec Regions increase their income and employment; this strengthening the social fabric through its organization for rural businesses in forest regions. To achieve this objective, PRODEZSA allocates resources to owners and holders of forest lands to:

    • Development of human and social capacities
    • Promote sustainable production
    • Promote access to rural markets and businesses

    Mrs Aurelia Zapata is one of the beneficiaries of the project, living in in Ejido Tuxtepec, located in the Municipality of Ramos Arizpe, in the State of Coahuila (about 125 kilometers from the municipal capital). She dedicated herself to growing candelilla since she started the revegetation project (with PRODEZSA). This has contributed to improving her household economy. "I get up early, I make lunch and we are going to plant the candelilla with my husband and one of my children, who lives with us, we have lunch there. We produce between 30 and 40 kilos in a fortnight and with what they pay us for the candelilla, about 70 Mexican pesos per kilo; my husband pays for the fruit, I pay the errands (the vegetable that comes every Saturday and other expenses) and my son supports his family’’.

    Some advances of the project
    Three years after its execution, PRODEZSA has served 1,555 groups (27,403 men and 7,341 women). The project currently operates in 192 municipalities, located in 13 States: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Sonora and Zacatecas; totaling 12.4 million hectares. It has strengthened human and social capacities, sustainable production and access to markets and businesses of the participating rural population; with the execution of 105 technical and managerial training workshops, where 88 ejidos and communities have participated; as well as 17 organized groups.

    62 microenterprises have been integrated, equipped and strengthened, of which four are led by women who work with the soyate palm, damiana, medicinal plants, dead wood and bow stick. Areas have been incorporated into forest management programmes, which allow for the sustainable supply of raw materials for their transformation and commercialization, through the rural microenterprises and production chains promoted by the project. 342 studies were conducted that have allowed the regularization of 688,845 hectares of arid zones, where currently various species are sustainably cultivated.

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    by Eugenia Stefanelli Martín, Raphael Seiwald and Eloisa de Villalobos 

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

    So… what is AVANTI?

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



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

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

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

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

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

    ©IFAD/Daniele Bianchi





    The experts' view

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

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

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

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

    Way forward

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

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


    To find out more about AVANTI visit: www.avantiagriculture.org


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Upcoming opportunity 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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