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    By Wanessa Marques

    ©FAO/Andrea Polo Galante

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ©IFAD/Wanessa Marques

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

    ©IFAD/Wanessa Marques

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

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

    ©FAO/Sara Ferrante

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    Lili Szilagyi and Fabian Verhage (CCAFS)

    Originally posted here.

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch the video recording of the event:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Mary Nyasimi and Lili Szilagyi

    Originally posted here.

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

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

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

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

    Watch the recording of the event:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    By Christopher Neglia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Current challenges

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

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

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

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

    The solutions are there

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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    By Giulia Barbanente

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    By Elisa Mandelli

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

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

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

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

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

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    By Gabriele Marchese


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    By Kalin Schultz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more about SAFIN

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    Asia-Pacific farmers’ organizations 
    Irish Domingo and Benoit Thierry
    October 2017

    Representatives from farmer organizations in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific, international partners, and civil society organizations gathered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India on 6-10 October 2017 for the Expanded 3rd MTCP2 Regional Steering Committee Meeting.

    The RSC opened with  welcome remarks from SEWA Executive Director Reema Nanavaty, La Via Campesina (LVC) Program Manager Zainal Arifin Fuad, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) Secretary General Esther Penunia and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Country Program Manager Benoit Thierry.

    The opening remarks were followed by talks from resource persons who shared their valuable inputs on sustainable agriculture. Sanjaybhai Prasad, Principal Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperatives of the Gujarat Government discussed government schemes which lay thrust on profit going back to the actual producers or the farmers. Dr. Rajendra Khimani of Gujarat Vidyapith presented a case study on the changes and benefits experienced by a village in Gujarat after the implementation of climate-resilient farming. Meanwhile, Zainal Fuad discussed in detail about the protection and recognition of the rights of peasants and people working in rural areas. Yacinta Esti, Project Manager of the ASEAN Farmers’ Organisation Support Programme (AFOSP) of the ASEAN Foundation presented about the AFOSP and its activities which includes the ASEAN-EU roundtable discussion on strengthening agricultural cooperatives and the ASEAN Learning Series and Policy Engagement on Agricultural Cooperatives for coffee which was participated by MTPC2 NIAs.

    Sanjaybhai Prasad, Principal Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Gujarat Government

    MTCP2 Accomplishments

    Updates on MTCP2 projects implemented in each sub-region were also presented. Zainal Fuad presented the key accomplishments of Southeast Asia + China sub-region from June 2015 to June 2017 which includes the expansion of memberships in 7 countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and China) and the expansion to one more country, Thailand, in 2017. Currently, there are 31 national farmers’ organizations (FOs) and 11,059,249 individual members in the sub-region. Among the major activities conducted by MTCP2 SEA + China are profiling of FO member organizations, organization developments and legal registration, farmers' forum, dialogue/networking with other sectors, land law policy, production and trainings on marketing and seed banking, indigenous vegetable refrigeration and liquid fertilizer, transformation of farmers into agricultural cooperative, partnership with IFAD, active engagement in GAFSP program and linkage with Grow-Asia. A lot of activities such as forum and summer camps were also conducted to improve the participation of youth and women sectors in MTCP2. Currently, women and youth are already involved in FO structures.

     Dr. Keshab Khadka presented the accomplishments of MTCP2 in South Asia which include the increase in membership from 41 to 58 national FOs and in individual membership from 61,31,288 to 91,26,837, and improved market linkage for farmers through ICT (i.e. Rudi in India), value chain, etc. Dr. Khadka also presented the key targets of MTCP2 South Asia for 2018 including climate change and sustainable agriculture, organizational strengthening of FOs through ICT, and coordination with FAO, SAARC and other regional/international agencies.

    Breakout sessions

    The next two days of the RSC focused on discussing successes, challenges and recommendations, deadlines for various funding/s and reports, brainstorming about the focus for the next phase and developing new ideas for fund raising from an external funding for the forthcoming 5 years.   

    Peter Situ, international expert, initiated a crowdfunding for a support/trust fund for Asia-Pacific farmers. Other participants of followed and donated generous amounts to start the trust fund.

    Recommendations for better implementation of MTCP
    The Supervision Mission team composed of Peter Situ, Ed Angeles, and Yolando Arban who visited some of the countries implementing MTCP2 programmes also reported their key findings and presented their recommendations during the de-briefing session.

    Yolando Arban who visited South Asia remarked that in SA, there is a strong partnership with government organizations at the district and village levels. He also acknowledged the benefits of producing manuals/publications, monthly newsletters, websites that capture and share good practices of FOs. He recommended that SA be persistent in continually coordinating with IFAD country offices and offer concrete proposals how to help their programmes and to tap or mobilized local development communication practitioners.

    Meanwhile, Ed Angeles’ main findings from his visits include: positive outcomes observed in farmer-to-farmer and country-to-country exchanges, increased youth participation in almost all the countries, and potentials in China, Indonesia, and India yet to be further developed to reflect the country size and huge number of smallholder farmers and of their FOs. He also noted the increased number of KM materials generated from the projects implemented.

    On the next phase of MTCP, the following points have been recommended by the SIS mission team: change the program name to Asia Pacific Farmers Programme as agreed in RSC 2014 in Hanoi, more inclusive and representative national platforms, FO development sustainability and financing instrument (trust fund), and build on farmer businesses, technical centers, promotion of value chains and FOs led enterprises.

    Knowledge Management Fair

    Among the highlights of the RSC is the KM Fair where success stories of farmers and farmer organizations from the 3 sub-regions covered by MTCP2 Programme were presented and put up for popular voting by the participants and the partners from IFAD. Previously, a KM Fair was held by each sub-region and three winners for each sub-region were picked to move up to the regional KM Fair. (Click this link to view the complete list of entries.)

    Participants putting money under their favorite entries

    After the voting, MTCP2 Philippines’ entry, “Improving Lives through Partnerships - 
    the Fabrica Experience” which is about the establishment of a coco-fiber processing facility in a town in Camarines Norte, Philippines and how it helped the coco-farmers in the area won the grand prize. MTCP2 Pacific’s entry, “PNG Solar Rice Mill Project” bagged the 2nd most votes, and MTCP2 Nepal’s entry on advocacy, “MTCP2 Nepal’s suggestions incorporated on the draft Right to Food Bill” won 3rd place.

    The grand winner will receive US $1,000 which they will use to fund a learning visit to another country under the MTCP2 Programme.

    Visiting local farmers & coop

    The RSC participants went to Anand district to interact with small and marginal farmers and to see their initiatives to improve their livelihood situations.

    Women farmers in Anand gather to meet the RSC delegates visiting their community

    Farmers in the community farm various crops including rice and taro

    Solar-powered water pump used by the community for their farms and for their daily needs

    The RSC delegates also stopped by the Amul butter and infant milk factory and were taken around the factory to see their facilities and production processes while being fed with the history of Amul.

    Amul or Anand Milk Union is a dairy cooperative based in Anand, Gujarat. Amul was formed as a response to the exploitation of marginal milk producers. In 1946, milk farmers went on a strike which led to the setting up of the cooperative to collect and process milk. Milk collection was decentralized as most producers were marginal farmers who could deliver, at most, 1-2 litres of milk per day. Anyone can sell milk to Amul, regardless of their class, caste, or religion, or the amount of milk they have. 70% of Amul's profits go to the members, the milk farmers.


    At Amul factory

    The participants also had a special Session on Anubandh, where SEWA-Founder Ela Bhatt spoke on building holistic and mutually beneficial communities to cater to the basic needs of daily life: food and water, clothing, education, health, housing, education and banking.

    RSC delegates with SEWA founder Ela Bhatt

    Experiencing local culture

    Aside from the regular activities usually conducted for RSC, the delegates were exposed and immersed to the local culture and interacted with experts through the meetings and gatherings organized by SEWA. This include the welcome dinner at the SEWA Ganeshpura Center, the solidarity night held at the Manipur Center, a visit at SEWA Gram Haat Office where a dinner cooked by women entrepreneurs was hosted for the delegates and Dr. M H Mehta-ICFA gave a short talk on the Eco Agri Revolution Model for Asian Farmers.

    The RSC aims to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the major accomplishments of the MTCP2 program as well as key learnings and lessons. It also aims to identify joint actions, common training needs, and research agenda in support of key policy agenda at various levels. The meeting will also be a venue for donors and other development partners and FOs to have a dialogue and share experiences to enhance their solidarity.

    The Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 (MTCP2), a five-year program supported by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)and European Union (EU), has been implemented in 18 countries across 3 sub-regions—Southeast Asia, South Asia, Pacific—engaging 1,544 sub-national farmer organizations with total membership of around 18 million women and men farmers. The program resulted to significant output amidst various challenges as well as great opportunities.

    The RSC is organized by the consortium Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), with support from key donor partners IFAD, SDC, EU and in cooperation with other partners for development ASEAN Foundation, Agricord, FAO, etc. This year's RSC was hosted by Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), the National Implementing agency (NIA) for MTCP2 in India.

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    By Alice Brie, WCA

    This blog looks at IFAD’s work in promoting south-south knowledge exchanges on climate change adaptation through its partnership with PROCASUR. Niger is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change where communities have developed techniques to better adapt and protect natural resources from its effects. Representatives of seven projects supported by IFAD gathered for10 days in Niger for a learning route to exchange and learn on successful practices in order to better replicate them in their home countries.

    Les habitant-e-s du village de Dan Marké présentent l’outil du « Plan d’Action Communautaire d’Adaptation », élaboré de manière participative afin de sensibiliser les populations aux changements climatiques et d’identifier des stratégies d’adaptation. ©PROCASUR

    Fin octobre 2017, a eu lieu une « route d’apprentissage » organisée par PROCASUR et financée par le FIDA, dans le but de soutenir la diffusion des bonnes pratiques d’adaptation aux  changements climatiques. Basée sur les expériences développées par le programme de développement de l’agriculture familiale (ProDAF-FIDA) et du programme d’apprentissage à l’adaptation pour l’Afrique (ALP Care international), la rencontre a permis à plusieurs projets, d’apprendre et d’échanger sur les approches les plus pertinentes à répliquer.

    Venus de cinq pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre (Tchad, Benin, Mauritanie, Sénégal, Cote d’Ivoire) et de Madagascar, 15 technicien-n-e-s lié-e-s aux projets FIDA se sont retrouvés dans la région de Maradi pendant 10 jours, pour un programme chargé et de nombreuses visites de terrain. Le déroulé de la route s’est axé sur plusieurs thématiques identifiées au préalable avec les projets hôtes, le PRODAF et l’ALP. Les apprentissages se sont ainsi concentrés sur :

    -Les pratiques d’adaptation aux changements climatiques dans le secteur de la production agricole,
    -Les structures sociales pour la mise en œuvre, la gestion et le suivi des mesures d’adaptation,
    -Le rôle des partenariats entre acteurs dans la mise en œuvre des activités,
    -Les dispositifs d’amélioration des compétences techniques pour les communautés locales,
    -L’accès et l’utilisation des informations climatiques,
    -L’approche d’adaptation à base communautaire.

    Au-delà de la mise en avant des aspects positifs, pour M. Hameney agronome en Mauritanie auprès du PASK II,  « la route a permis d’analyser des pratiques surtout déjà testées et donc d’identifier les difficultés rencontrées par nos collègues ainsi que les réponses appropriées pour y faire face. Cela nous sera particulièrement utile pour la mise en œuvre de nos propres activités ».

    L’équipe du projet d’appui au développement du maraichage (PADMAR) du Benin, prépare sa présentation pour la « foire d’expériences », une des activités de la route. ©PROCASUR

    En échangeant avec les membres du ProDAF et de l’ALP, les participants ont pu par exemple comprendre les défis qui se posent à l’implantation de la régénération naturellement assistée, qui vise à améliorer le couvert forestier et la fertilité du sol à travers l’introduction d’espèces productrices locales. Les discussions et conseils ont ainsi porté sur l’appropriation de la technique par les communautés comme gage de durabilité. La route a pu mettre en avant le rôle et les modalités d’accompagnement afin de mieux focaliser l’appui technique et institutionnel sur les comités de gestion villageois, et ainsi assurer un bon suivi et entretien des sites aménagés. L’occasion a aussi permis de souligner que la réussite de cette pratique ne pouvait avoir lieu sans perspectives de bénéfices directs pour les communautés.

    Une représentante du groupement féminin du village de Dan Saga présente une des activités génératrices de  revenus qu’elle mène, ici la production de savon,  à partir des ressources forestières non ligneuses  issues de la RNA. © PROCASUR

    Du village de Golom à celui de Dan Saga en passant par Dan Marke, le voyage a ainsi permis aux participants de mieux comprendre la mise en pratique des techniques de conservation des eaux et des sols, des champs écoles paysans ou encore de l’outils  « cash for asset » pour la récupération des terres dégradées, à travers des apprentissages en équipe et de discussions auprès des communautés rurales, principales promotrices de ces bonnes pratiques.

    Sur la base de ces apprentissages, les différents projets ont chacun développé un plan d’innovation visant à répliquer une des initiatives étudiées une fois de retour. Pendant une année, PROCASUR effectuera un suivi rapproché afin d’appuyer les différents participants dans la mise en œuvre de la pratique choisie.

    Pour plus informations sur le dérouler de la route, accéder aux photos et à la documentation développées par PROCASUR : 

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  • 12/21/17--07:03: Gender Transformation
  • By Ida Christensen, FAO

    Agenda 2030 requires us to do more, do things differently and to move fast! Importantly, we need to work closer together with our partners to find, test and upscale relevant solutions. It was in this spirit that the FAO Investment Centre organized a workshop on 12-13 December 2017, entitled Empowering women for sustainable rural transformation.

    The workshop was tailored to the needs of professional staff in FAO and IFAD working on investment design and implementation. It offered eight sessions of practical insights, supported by the opportunity for participants to share experiences and engage actively in group work. In addition to exploring the gender dimensions of rural livelihoods, preparing gender strategies, tracking performance and assessing gender impacts, the workshop focused on the intra-household dynamics that often act as socio-cultural barriers to women’s full participation in development. The workshop presented two methodologies: (i) the Gender Action Learning System which develops the skills of poor household members (men and women) or community groups to draw a shared vision and map the steps towards achieving it; and (ii) individual household mentoring, used as a mechanism for social inclusion. Participants discussed the central role played by the household in influencing livelihood outcomes and the importance of engaging men and women together in reducing gender inequalities and achieving transformative impacts. The workshop also addressed a number of key cross-cutting issues, from a gender perspective related to value chains, nutrition, youth and climate change. Participants discussed issues around women’s economic empowerment in agribusiness and their effective participation in value chains; the role of gender norms in accessing and utilizing food at the household level; the differentiated needs and priorities of young rural women and men and ways to address them; and the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change and how to respond.

    The workshop was attended by 18 professionals from FAO and IFAD (8 male, 10 female) and facilitated by: the FAO Investment Centre Division: Clare Bishop - Senior Gender Specialist/Consultant, and Ida Christensen - Technical Adviser and Gender Focal Point; the FAO Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division: Ilaria Sisto - Gender and Development Officer, Szilvia Lehel - Gender and Environment Consultant, and Tomislav Ivancic - Decent Rural Employment Consultant; and the IFAD Policy and Technical Advisory Division: Beatrice Gerli, Gender Specialist.

    Read more:

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    By Rahul Antao and Francesca Romana Borgia

    The Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) has for long embodied an ambition to bring together young people, from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, to contribute to shaping a better food system. The BCFN Young Earth Solutions (YES!) contest aims to achieve such a result by inviting young talented PhD and post-doc level researchers from around the world to come up with practical projects to foster a better balance between food and environmental sustainability.

    Recently BCFN hosted the 8th International Forum for Food and Nutrition, where the YES! finalists presented their proposals, in front of a collection of experts, following which two winners were announced. IFAD, being a part of the jury in the selection of projects, was invited to participate in the forum and had the opportunity to have a deeper and meaningful interaction with the finalists and the winners.

    BCFN Yes! 2017 finalists and three winners (on the left hand side of the moderator)
    This year’s winners, Joana Abou Rizk and Theresa Jeremias, focused on maternal and child nutrition among refugees and host communities in Greater Beirut, with emphasis on anaemia. The aim is to examine the underlying causes of anaemia and to improve maternal and child nutrition using sustainable nutrition education approaches to fight hidden hunger in Lebanon and post-conflict Syria. A second winner, Laura Garzoli, from the National Research Council – Institute of Ecosystem Study, focused on promoting integrated pest management strategies to enhance ecosystem services provided by bats in rice agroecosystems .

    While the 2017 YES! winners were selected for their innovative proposals in addressing some of the pertinent social and environmental issues in the food system, it should be acknowledged that the rest of the finalists also came forward with noteworthy proposals. These ranged from addressing the formal/informal seed systems, researching biogas production under cowpea cultivation; to proposals that focused geospatial mapping of using forests to support nutrition during times of drought and others that focused on the effects of third party certification programs on markets. All these shortlisted finalists had one common denominator, they all brought out a sense of positive disruption, to stir up the dust and seek to innovate in solving an array of challenges.

    The Forum also hosted break-away working session for these young voices to collaborate amongst each other and ideate on means to overcome the current burning issues of the current food system. Young participants gathered in four groups proposing solutions for food-related SDGs (#2 zero hunger, #3 good health and well-being, #4 Quality education, #10 Reduced inequalities, #11 Sustainable cities and communities, #12 Responsible consumption and production, # 13 Climate action, # 14 Life on land). This gave IFAD participants a chance to interact with a wide range of young people from grassroots’ network organisations, advocacy groups, academic institutions and BCFN YES! Alumni. IFAD also had the opportunity to sponsor the participation of two young students Tolulope D. Adika and Andres Morales, selected among those who benefitted from the 'IFAD – Universities win-win partnership' grant, approved in 2015 to present their experience and their research results at the forum.

    From left to right: Rahul Antao (IFAD consultant), Tolulope Adika, Francesca R. Borgia (IFAD consultant), Andrés Morales and Bolanle Titilola  

    Indeed, the BCFN forum served as true platform for learning, sharing, scouting ideas, strengthen partnerships and building new ones with various individuals, organisations and agencies. In bolstering our collective commitment towards achieving the SDGs, we were reminded by Sir Bob Geldof in the closing ceremony how “Easter Island remains a good reminder of how we need to think about our limited resources before we use them endlessly.” It is up to everyone to do their part - governments, the private sector, civil societies and people - before we all become Easter Islanders!

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    by Maelle Peltier
    Learning about the role of women and men through South-South exchange.

    Who is the ideal woman? Does the ideal man actually exist? These questions pursued the participants of the recent South-South exchange between projects supported by the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). The exchange, organised jointly by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), brought together participants from eight francophone ASAP projects in Africa (from Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).

    The exchange had a dedicated gender day, facilitated by CARE International, to debate and learn about gender-related aspects. The gender day put the participants at the centre of the action, alternating between practical sessions, exercises and reflections. Emily Janoch, Deputy Director for Knowledge Management and Learning at CARE, who facilitated the gender day said:

    “Our studies show that women’s inclusion is not only crucial to equality, but is also a key component of local economy: in Bangladesh, when a study by CARE showed that women were paid half of what men were for the exact same job, their husbands were the first to fight for wage equality!”
    Through this type of perspective change, resulting from a complete analysis of men and women’s roles in their community, it is possible to evolve towards a more egalitarian society, to the benefit of all.

    The same was illustrated in the first exercise performed by the participants: when women and men separately sought to establish the typical daily agenda of a man or a woman in rural areas, some elements consistently come out in a very obvious manner, regardless of the diversity of the contexts the participants’ projects operate in. Everywhere, the rural woman wakes up earlier. Her day is burdened with countless tasks; preparing meals, providing care to children, working in the fields, fetching water or firewood, or feeding poultry and cattle. The rural man also has a busy day, but all acknowledge that he has moments of recreation or rest, and time for socializing. Studies demonstrate that on average, the day of a woman is longer by 5 hours than that of a man: time is yet another resource women have access less to than men.

    During a second exercise, accompanied by a reflection on values and norms adopted in a given community, participants tried to describe the ideal man or the ideal woman. The diversity of contexts comes together in the model men and women of the rural areas where the projects operate: the ideal rural woman is discreet, available and respectful. The ideal man, for his part, is strong, listened to and respected. He is responsible for his family. These models show the limits to changes sought by development projects. How could a woman from whom society expects discretion find the strength to speak up in public meetings? How could a man, on whose shoulder lay the responsibility for the family, manage to save face in a context where climate change leads to external shocks, making production ever more uncertain? How can one change when new behaviours go against the common values, and risk sanctions and judgment from the group? These values, projected in the model of the ideal man or woman, act as a normative straightjacket that can make individual change impossible. “With this exercise, we have understood that it is time to redefine the models of ideal men and women, and to accompany this change of perspective. The ideal woman and the ideal man should actually be identical: autonomous actors of their community’s and household’s development, and recognized as such.”

    CARE offers a clear methodology for real impact on gender related aspects: change cannot happen without an in depth diagnosis of the dynamics inherent to each specific context, each specific community. In line with this approach, the project teams that joined in the exchange tried to identify key recommendations for their own projects. Many have insisted on the importance of having a continuous reflection on gender related aspects, this dynamic being too often confined to IFAD’s annual supervision missions. As the CCAFS coordinator in Mali, Robert Zougmoré noted: “We all have a role to play in gender mainstreaming, and technicians and managers alike must act as leaders in this: it is also there that work on gender should begin”. With this day of reflection, participants acknowledge that a door has been opened, and that they feel better equipped to mainstream gender in their project. As some put it: “the road is long, we have to walk”.

    This blog was originally posted on the CCAFS website.
    Read the French version here.

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    by Maelle Peltier

    When it comes to resilience and sustainable agriculture as supported by the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the diversity of these countries quickly comes together, as revealed during a recent South-South exchange, organized by IFAD and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The exchange brought together project implementers from eight IFAD projects, co-financed by ASAP to enhance climate resilience in the eight countries, all of them at different stages of implementation (from start-up to completion).

    During the 5 days exchange, a variety of sessions took place, from technical presentations on climate-smart agriculture or weather information, to animated debates on common implementation challenges. A full day was dedicated to discussions, awareness raising and training on gender related aspects, and the workshop participants spent a day and a half around Bougouni, visiting and learning from the ASAP financed “Fostering agricultural Productivity Project” (PAPAM/ASAP) in Mali.

    Throughout the week, discussions were animated, rich, and sometimes heated, as projects were eager to share their experience, ask for advice, and compare their similarities and differences. As a participant put it: “Being put together to discuss really gives us the opportunity to realise we are not alone! Sometimes, the others have great solutions to situations that totally block us”. During the first session, each team presented their project, and the participants were mildly sceptic when considering the diversity of implementation contexts. After the Niger team had explained how they rehabilitate degraded land, the Mali team had presented the successes of biogas, the Benin team developed the issue of reducing dangerous chemical inputs in horticulture and Djibouti’s team shared their experience on coral reef protection, a participant found the words to express how this diversity comes together: "The coral reef is like the tree and the forest. If you cut the tree, if you remove the forest, the animals will not come any more, the ecosystem will fall apart”, launching a discussion on the importance of ecosystem conservation to ensure sustainable productivity in the context of climate change. The(se) discussions gave way to core themes the project teams are regularly faced with: the complexity of monitoring and evaluation; the question of mainstreaming not only gender but also environment, climate, and nutrition and the tools that can be used to do so; the matter of safeguards and how IFAD expects projects to implement them; and most of all, the stake of sustainability.

    The second day of the workshop focused on exchanges and reflexions on gender, and opened with a presentation by Dr Mathieu Ouedraogo on CCAFS’ experience in integrating gender related aspects in projects in West Africa. The rest of the day enabled participants to become actors of the reflexion through practical sessions, exercises and debates on gender related aspects, animated by Emily Janoch from Care International.

    On the third day of the workshop, the participants travelled to Bougouni, 150km South of Bamako, for three field visits presenting the experience of PAPAM/ASAP: one on biogas, the second showing how participatory mapping and the involvement of local authorities enabled to efficiently install a women managed market garden equipped with solar pumping, and the last presenting how market access was improved through participatory planning, by building a bridge connecting production areas with commercial areas. The participants were most impressed by the biodigestors, a technology that not only has added value to manure by improving its fertilizing power, but that has most of all been key to women empowerment. Thanks to biogas, the time required for the preparation of meals and washing of cooking pots has been drastically reduced, cooking is safer and easier, and women spend much less time looking for firewood. They have more time for themselves and to take care of the children, and the community has managed to reduce its impact on forest resources. Workshop participants asked many detailed questions relating to technical aspects, all of them eager to identify whether and how the experience could be replicated in their country.

    During the last day of the workshop, the projects teamed up for presentations on guaranteeing the sustainability of investments and local stakeholder engagement; scaling up through national policies, addressing start-up related issues, and integrating transversal aspects such as gender, nutrition, and climate in project implementation. The exchange was also an important avenue for science-practitioner engagement, bringing expertise from the CGIAR and national research partners to address implementation challenges, and charting out a pathway for deeper engagement with scientific partners. The exchange led to the creation and recognition of a community of practice, represented by the members of the project teams. All acknowledging the need for more exchanges with other French-speaking colleagues, also faced with the challenge of mainstreaming climate and environment in their projects.

    This blog was originally posted on the CAAFS website.
    Read the French version here.

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    By Oliver Mundy

    Eric Patrick, adaptation specialist at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), presented a new innovative pilot programme in a TED-like 'Landscape Talk' at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn in December. 

    Patrick began with an analysis of three past water-harvesting projects that seemed to have failed.

    Fences to manage grazing were removed. Many of the planted trees died. Water catchment structures were not maintained.

    He talked to beneficiaries and other stakeholders to find out why. To his surprise their perception of the shortcomings were completely different to his own.

    They said that the projects were successful. It offered them employment: the youth in particular. Materials were used for livestock kraals. The projects kept land out of the hands of the politically well-connected elders.

    "Peoples' criteria for successful projects were quite different from our own," said Patrick.

    Complexity of landscapes

    Standard approaches to project design often have narrow assumptions of what success is. The reality is much more complex. Challenges such as land degradation, food insecurity and poverty are often intertwined.

    Development institutions try to understand the interactions between humans and ecosystems. They increasingly recognise that landscapes have many uses and provide the basis for food and income for many different types of stakeholders.

    Many institutions and approaches aim to improve food security, increase rural incomes and protect natural resources. But what is the best approach to achieve these multiple benefits? 

    Piloting a new programmatic approach

    IFAD is leading the new Integrated Approach Programme for Food Security (IAP); a GEF-funded multi-agency programme launched in June 2017. The programme aims to bring 10 million hectares of land, in twelve African countries, under integrated and sustainable land management.

    The programme is piloting a new approach that is innovative in terms of its structure and components. 
    The multi-agency programme focuses on dryland areas of 12 sub-Saharan African countries

    The programme’s 12 country projects are connected by a 13th project that ensures joint monitoring, the exchange of knowledge and up-scaling of best practices in all country projects.

    The three guiding principles of the IAP are Engage, Act and Track (EAT). They are reflected in the three core components of each of the 12 country projects. 

    • Engage: Bring together the right stakeholders in the right forum depending on what their interests are. 
    • Act: Identify proven practices that bring multiple benefits and up-scale these. 
    • Track: Monitor and assess the programme. 
    Programme structure: one crosscutting project links all country projects

    Most projects use the landscape approach to involve different stakeholders at different levels.  

    The programme builds on the experience of multiple agencies. It is delivered in conjunction with AGRA, Bioversity International, Conservation International, FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO, the World Agroforestry Centre and the World Bank.  

    All 12 country projects will follow proven management techniques and the portfolio approach will help identify which project works in which context. 

    View Mr. Patricks entire landscape talk here

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  • 01/16/18--01:02: Article 0

  • IFAD in Sudan: putting inclusive rural transformation into practice

    by Mia Madsen (NEN) and Anja Rabezanahary (PTA)

    It was a unique experience. A total of 35 male and female staff members from four IFAD-financed projects in Sudan spent 10 days together in Wad Madani, Gezira State (22-31 October 2017) to build their knowledge and skills on the IFAD piloted Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology. Staff from IFAD-funded projects have a history of being inspired from peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and have participated in several Learning Routes abroad where they have witnessed the transformative changes GALS can bring for men and women in rural areas. As a result they have adopted the methodology in their own areas of intervention and are now willing to advance the GALS implementation in Sudan, learn more about specific GALS-tools and get better control of the implementation process.

    SDP Community Development and Gender officers drawing their vision for the Unit

    In response to such demand, a GALS workshop was jointly organized by the IFAD country office, the IFAD Policy and Technical Advisory Division and the Central Coordination Unit for IFAD-funded projects in Sudan, with financial support of the Government of Norway. The ten days provided sufficient time to learn about the basic tools and principles of GALS, to understand their use at project level and to develop facilitation skills to roll out at community level. The workshop included eight days of practical exercises and two days of field work. The overall goal of the workshop was to launch a change catalyst process in rural Sudan and prepare the four projects (SUSTAIN, LMRP, SDP and BIRDP) for the advanced phase of GALS applied in areas such as agri-business, value chain development, natural resource management and inclusive rural finance.

    The leadership and social empowerment map, one the basic GALS tool

    Sudan is the first country within the IFAD Near East, North Africa, Europe Division where the GALS methodology is being piloted. It is a welcome tool to enhance economic empowerment of women in a region where women face challenges in access to economic opportunities, productive resources, land and credit and decision-making at all levels.

    Catalysing change at community level

    As part of the training participants visited some rural communities and asked them to envision their future (the first basic GALS tool). Men and women of different generations came together to draw individually and collectively their dreams. With the use of visuals and drawings, no one was left behind; each community member was guaranteed one voice, one drawing.

    The exercise created a big interest among the community members and the participants were impressed by a young girl who stood up in front of local leaders, male and female adults and children to share her dream. She wanted to become a teacher and identified that the main barrier to her dream is child marriage. 

    A girl child sharing her vision of her future with community members

    In discussions, illiteracy was identified as a main challenge for the empowerment of women and girls at community level. Imagine the results if a community decided to take action on child marriage and allow more young girls to become teachers? The community would have more literate people with better chances of increasing their individual and collective dreams.

    On the second day, participants drew the gender balance tree (another basic tool) with men, women and children to stimulate self-awareness on imbalances and identify actions to “balance the tree”.

    Mapping the road for inclusive rural transformation

    The workshop ended with a planning exercise where each project committed to implement the GALS as part of their community development and extension activities. For instance, the BIRDP project aims to empower the communities through improvement of male and female participation at individual, household and community level in the Butana area.

    How does GALS work?

    The first phase of the GALS process is designed to initiate changes of mindset and behaviour of men and women of different ages/status so that individuals, households and communities are ready for rural transformation. When people are taking actions for change, they become receptive and take the risk to be part of value chains, use formal services such as rural finance and plan for efficient use of their resources. The advanced tools can be introduced once people have started seeing results of the basic tools and once they have learned to share their ideas and dreams with others. For instance, in the development of the sorghum value chain in Sudan, the IFAD projects and beneficiaries will be able to envision the future of that crop and develop a “sorghum vision calendar”, analyse and address the specific challenges with a “sorghum challenge action tree”, involve equitably all household members with a “household sorghum tree”, and gain sustainable and inclusive market access with a “sorghum market map”. Those are just examples of the possible tools that can be introduced at a later stage of a GALS process and how they can improve quality of impacts in a value chain development effort.

    Closing ceremony of the GALS workshop, Wad Medani, 31 October 2017

    The training ended with the participants officially naming 2018 as the year for GALS in Sudan. Let us stay tuned and follow closely how the results of piloting GALS in Sudan and how it will support the projects to achieve effective inclusive rural transformation for men, women and youth.

    Read more

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    By Tiffany Minjauw

    The Smallholder Market-led Project (SMLP) in the Kingdom of Swaziland is a six-year project whose development objective is to enhance food and nutrition security and incomes among smallholder producer families through diversified agricultural production and market linkages. 

    On the 8th of January, SMLP held a training in Manzini to kick start its baseline survey through the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT). MPAT is a monitoring and evaluation tool that uses surveys to assist the design, targeting, and prioritisation efforts of a project at a local level.

    To effectively address rural poverty, it is crucial to understand the underlying causes and the constraints before appropriate interventions can be selected and administered. The priority is to help to create an enabling environment within which people can build the type of life that they choose. IFAD poverty-alleviation initiatives seeking to foster an enabling environment where upward mobility is possible, benefit greatly from measurement tools such as MPAT which provide an overview of the key sectors involved.

    Instead of defining and measuring the quality of life that the rural poor should obtain, MPAT assesses the overall environment within which people live, in order to determine whether it, and their current state of human well-being (a combination of all dimensions of livelihoods), are sufficient to allow them to seek the quality of life that they desire.

    Obtaining an overview of rural livelihoods in IFAD project implementation areas will assist project managerial, technical and M&E staff to assess the primary contraints that beneficiaries face. With this notion in mind, MPAT measures people's capacity by identifying indicators of the domains essential to an enabling environment within which people are sufficiently free from immediate needs, and thus in a position to pursue their higher needs and, ultimately, their goals. 

    How does MPAT work?

    MPAT is a free, open access tool that can be found at Users can add tailored questions to the core MPAT questionnaire if they so wish, allowing MPAT to be both applicable globally (comparable across countries and continents) and locally - adapted to a particular country, project, and context. 

    The questionnaire has been programmed and digitized (on the World Bank Survey Solutions), so that users have the option to implement MPAT on paper and/or on tablets or phones. 

    MPAT within SMLP 

    SMLP has opted to conduct MPAT on tablets, as the digitalized version allows for real time data quality control and for the location of all interviewed households to be automatically geotagged by the survey software. 

    From the 8th-12th of January, a team of 8 enumerators and 2 supervisors were trained by an IFAD MPAT consultant. The teams then had the opportunity to pilot the survey in order to clarify any issues and test the tablets. SMLP's M&E officer was trained by the MPAT consultant on how to carry out remote data quality checking. 

    ©T. Minjauw - Enumerators are taught on how to ask MPAT questions, and how to record answers in particular scenarios

    ©T. Minjauw - An MPAT enumerator pilots the household survey in Mafutseni, central Swaziland 

    The MPAT data for SMLP will be collected over a period of approximately 30 days and the analysis is expected to be ready by March 2018. The data collected will provide a comprehensive overview of rural poverty in the country across 37 chiefdoms, and will assist the M&E officer in tracking changes over the course the project duration.

    ©T. Minjauw - Household members answer the MPAT questions outside their homes, or while they are carrying out their usual activities, so as to cause minimal disturbances to their day.  

    ©T. Minjauw

    ©T. Minjauw

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    by Amathe Pathe Sene, IFAD's Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for West and Central Africa speaking at the 4th German-African Agribusiness Forum in Berlin

    Irrigation in Africa has the potential to boost agricultural productivity by at least 50 percent and combining innovative methods of energy production for food production on the continent is almost crucial.

    Land, water and energy resources are central to agriculture and rural transformation. They are intrinsically linked to current global challenges of food insecurity and poverty, climate change, conflicts and migration as well as the degradation of natural resources.

    In Africa, agriculture continues to be the main source of income for the rural poor which is being eroded because of climate change. Unpredictable rain-fed agricultural systems in drylands combined with unsustainable land and water management practices; lack of access to reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies and limited skills contribute to the low performance and vulnerability of the agricultural sector. This in turn limits investment to modernize the sector.

    Most rainfed areas need to be irrigated to produce the additional food needed to feed 1.5 billion people by 2030 and reduce poverty. At the same time, agriculture must become a more attractive option to more than 330 million young Africans who are entering the labour market by 2025. This is a big challenge but also a great opportunity for all of us.

    Better land use, water management, such as trough irrigation techniques, and access to affordable renewable energy contribute to increased productivity with a longer cropping season. In turn, this reduces the chances of water scarcity or water excess, increasing household incomes, making labour savings and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources.

    So what is IFAD doing?

    IFAD prioritizes the toughest work with the most disadvantaged people, those being poor rural small holder farmers, youth and women.

    IFAD's approach to land, water and energy is an integrated one. It is designed to get more income per drop of water to lift the poor out of poverty; more nutritional value per drop to fight food insecurity while strengthening smallholder farmers resilience to climate shocks.

    The so-called water and energy nexus can contribute to improving agricultural production through pumping water, primary processing, fish farming, livestock rearing, or small-scale industries, to name a few.

    IFAD considers farming at any scale as a business. Smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs and businesses need clear linkages along the value chain, from production to processing, post-harvest handling, marketing and ultimately to consumption.

    We devote significant efforts in what is commonly known as "the 4Ps" i.e. public-private-producer-partnerships, to de-risk, deliver water, energy, goods and services around the agricultural value chain and food systems.

    With its Smallholder and SME Investment Finance (SIF) Fund; complemented by the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), IFAD promotes blended finance on water and energy sector services and goods.

    In Madagascar, IFAD is scaling up its micro-irrigation project, supporting more than 10,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers to use micro irrigation systems (MIS) and natural fertilizers to improve their productivity and food security.

    IFAD has almost 40 years of experience in providing loans and grants to support governments on programmes that focus on restoring, managing efficiently and governing natural capital (water/land); promoting crop varieties and cropping techniques to adapt to the variability of rainfall (duration, intensity, timing) and secure food production.

    Through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the world's largest adaptation programme for smallholder farmers, IFAD supports poor communities in building water and energy infrastructure within the catchment and agricultural value chains in Cabo Verde, Niger, Ethiopia, Benin, Mauritania.

    In many countries in Africa, we invest in dams, canals and pipe distribution networks, reservoirs, treatment plants, small hydropower installations as well as micro-irrigation schemes such as drip-irrigation for rational use of available surface water and groundwater resources (whether fresh, brackish or saline).

    We support the access and deployment of renewable energy technologies to power the agricultural value chains. In Nigeria and Rwanda, IFAD has introduced energy-efficient processing and storage technologies (e.g. solar heating, cooling, drying and energy-saving appliances), while in Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, IFAD has enhanced and diversified access to clean energy sources through the promotion of household biogas digesters, solar home systems and solar PV pumping systems.

    With the climate and environmental finance (GCF, GEF, AF), we encourage governments to invest in innovative renewable energy solutions and efficient irrigation technologies to accelerate climate resilient and low carbon agriculture development for food production on the continent.

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    By Karan Sehgal

    On 23 January 2018, IFAD held an in-house seminar that took up the issue of renewable energy and how it is addressed throughout the Fund’s development portfolio. The panel was chaired by Roshan Cooke, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for the Asia and Pacific (APR) region and Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Specialist.

    While IFAD has made an effort to integrate rural energy solutions into its projects as a means of powering agricultural processing and value-added activities, this has not been conducted systematically from COSOP to project implementation in most cases. Indeed, only 22 projects between 2006-2016 have included renewable energy technologies (RETs). 2014 accelerated the expansion of the renewable energy portfolio with the launch of the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which has integrated renewable energy into 15 projects.

    The results so far demonstrate a variety of domestic and commercial applications for renewable energy in the agricultural sectors. Country Programme Managers (CPMs) on the panel shared experiences from their respective projects.

    Philippe Remy, Mali CPM showcased the fixed dome biogas systems that have been undertaken by communities as part of the ASAP-supported Fostering Agricultural Productivity Project (PAPAM). By placing the biodigesters at the centre of productive activities, communities achieve upstream benefits by utilizing animal waste as a fuel source and an organic fertilizer (a by-product of the digesters), and downstream benefits that accrue especially to women, who spend much less time cooking and collecting fuelwood. PAPAM has installed more than 500 biodigesters coupled with solar panels. The reported impacts include over 230 ha. of forests saved due to reduced demand for fuelwood, and 2.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided.

    Similarly, the Post-Harvest Agribusiness Project (PASP) in Rwanda has disseminated over 310 flexibiogas systems, which have also generated jobs in installation, repair and maintenance.

    Lakshmi Moola, Nepal/Bhutan CPM spoke about the utility of grants as a tool to level the economic playing field and create incentives for private firms to view rural communities as prospective markets. Here she highlighted the ESCAP grant, which established an 18kw solar-powered system run jointly by the private sector and three communities in Tanahu district, Nepal. This public-private partnership has the advantage of ensuring sustainability of the grid, since both parties have a stake in it. The grant was also instrumental in revising the renewable energy subsidy policy of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), a Government of Nepal institution with the objective of developing and promoting RETs in Nepal; and thereby demonstrates how grant resources can influence broader-based policy changes that create an environment conducive to private sector entrepreneurs. As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AEPC, more than 7,500 RET units are scheduled to be installed under IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholders in Hilly Areas (ASHA) project by July 2019.

    As the renewable energy portfolio matures, new opportunities to dovetail with government policies are emerging. For instance, the Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Project (JTELP) in India has partnered with the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA), a state-owned administrative department, a research institute that has piloted more than 1,000 RETs (solar home systems, solar lanterns and improved cookstoves).

    Currently, access to electricity in rural Jharkhand ranges from 26 - 60 per cent. Through the JTELP programme, IFAD aims to bring its comparative advantage to bear through its presence on the ground and achieve a wide coverage of renewable technologies in tribal areas.

    There are many advantages to working with JREDA: they operate rigorous tendering and a competitive bidding process for installation work, IFAD can ensure its activities are streamlined with government policies, and JREDA maintain accountability for the technologies they install, ensuring the technologies will not fall into disrepair after a few years.

    While the spread of renewable energy has the potential to be transformative, there remain significant policy barriers that are not easily discounted. High fossil-fuel subsidies deter renewable energy technology companies from entering rural markets where transaction costs are high. There is a lack of fiscal incentives for existing renewable energy suppliers to come into rural areas, where market demand may be sporadic, diffuse and disorganized. Finally, knowledge and capacity among local decision-makers is often low, which impedes well-designed policy frameworks.

    Perhaps the greatest challenge are barriers in the legal system, such as lengthy bureaucratic procedures to obtain subsidies for RETs; and on the trade side, high import tariffs that impose barriers on innovative technologies.

    Moving the renewable energy agenda forward, IFAD is in the process of drafting a new renewable energy strategy. The strategy proposes a dedicated financing window in IFAD, housed within the ASAP2 fund, which would help catalyse the design and integration of renewable energy elements in IFAD projects. This would also help to align global operations with the IFAD Strategic Framework, in which it states, “farming at any scale is a business, and smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs.” We must therefore recognize the role of energy as an essential input for thriving businesses, and do more to augment the supply of rural energy. Critically, the financing window would be able to access funds specifically earmarked by governments for the scaling up of renewable energy. These funds, owing to the conditionality attached to them, are complementary in nature, and would be put toward, supporting technical assistance and diagnostics, streamlining procurement, piloting, and policy dialogue and advocacy.

    To capitalize this financing window, IFAD will seek support from a subset of interested donors that range from bilateral sources (Finnfund, AFD), Intergovernmental Organizations (IRENA), Philanthropic institutions (Global Good), and multilaterals (Green Climate Fund, African Development Bank).

    As IFAD clients diversify their production and aim for higher marginal incomes through value-added activities, there is a rapidly increasing need to address the deficit of rural energy through the Fund’s business model. This year, there will be further opportunities for in-house consultations that will ultimately guide how the new Renewable Energy Strategy is framed. The session last week offered a useful survey of what IFAD has achieved to date, identified entry points for future integration, and mobilized staff to engage with an issue that can spur job creation and economic growth in the agricultural sectors.


    · Roshan Cooke, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist, ECD
    · Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Specialist, ECD
    · Francisco Pichon, CPM Rwanda/Tanzania, ESA
    · Lakshmi Moola, CPM Nepal/Bhutan, APR
    · Philippe Remy, CPM Mali, WCA
    · Antonio Rota, Senior Livestock Specialist, PTA
    · Wafaa El Khoury, Senior Agronomist, PTA
    · Jonathan Ndaa Agwe, Senior Rural Finance Specialist, PTA
    IFAD Toolbox on Renewable EnergyTechnologies Sources

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    A 5-day workshop on the EO4SD Agriculture and Rural Development Cluster was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 5 to 9 February. The workshop was organized under the European Space Agency (ESA) initiative for building capacity among Task Team Leaders (TTL) and implementing teams for increased uptake of Satellite Earth Observation in different stages of project cycles (planning, preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation).

    The content of the workshop is composed of three blocks which address:

    • Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on) - 2 days
    • High level introduction of the project and services, emphasizing on their added value for project managers and TTLs - 1 day
    • In depth knowledge and hands on training related to the service generation and uptake - 2 days

    A total of 25 participants attended the workshop, including staff from the Sustainable Land Management Programme, Ethiopian Mapping Agency, Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, and Jimma University; and 15 staff from the Federal and respective four Regional Project Coordination Management Units of the IFAD -financed Participatory Small Scale Irrigation Programme (PASDIP II).

    Day 2- Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on)

    Day 2- Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on)

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    Staff from the IFAD Country Office for Ethiopia welcomed three students from the TERI University in Delhi before their departure to the field. This was an excellent opportunity for IFAD staff to meet the students, learn about their research, and give them a critical overview of IFAD’s interventions in Ethiopia to help them familiarize with the country and shape their study.

    Through the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP), students who are citizens of borrowing members of IFAD studying in Global South universities, have the opportunity to undertake their Masters’ programme field practice in IFAD-funded projects. This partnership allows students to gain field experience in development practice while enhancing IFAD’s impact, visibility and quality as learning institution. IFAD partners also benefit from the additional analytical work of enthusiastic students.

    Ethiopia has become a popular destination for students from the MDP programme. In 2018, four students from the TERI University in Delhi, pursuing the M.A. Sustainable Development Practice, chose to undertake their in-the-field practice in Ethiopia. One more student from the University of California, Berkeley, is expected to come to Ethiopia for a three-month field practicum between May and August.

    Endowed with a highly diverse agro-ecological environment, spanning from temperate and moist tropical highlands to hot and arid lowlands, which is matched by a diverse socio-cultural setting, Ethiopia offers a wide range of IFAD-funded interventions for students to choose from. These projects aim to endow smallholder farmers and (agro-)pastoralists with an enabling combination of the critical assets they require to enhance their productivity and resilience, including natural resources, technology, finance, institutional capacity, and access to markets.

    Once IFAD-funded projects submit a list of relevant research topics, these are displayed on the MDP Secretariat’s online platform. Students from MDP can then choose a topic of interest, submit their research application and, supported by the IFAD Country Offices, coordinate with the project staff the research work-plan and their stay in the country.

    The IFAD Country Office in Ethiopia has proactively supported the design of these studies, to ensure they are relevant to strengthening the knowledge base that will feed into lessons and project completion reviews. Particularly the extensive contact time with the projects' client communities is expected to yield important in-depth learning that can meaningfully complement specialized consultancy assignments.

    Suruchi Upadhyay & Nejarat Malikyar (TERI University Students) - middle, with Samir Rayess (KM Consultant), Ulaç Demirag (Country Director), and Frew Behabtu (Country Programme Officer)

    Ms Suruchi Upadhyay, from Nepal and Mr Nejarat Malikyar, from Afghanistan, will undertake their research on the Pastoral Community Development Programme III (PCDP III), focusing on gender and nutrition, respectively. After meeting with their field coordinator and project staff from PCDP III, they arranged the work plan to undertake field research in the area of Awash, in the Afar region.

    Guche Mekene-TERI University student – middle, with Ulaç Demirag (Country Director), Helen Teshome (Rural Finance Specialist), Dagim Kassahun (Country Programme Assistant), and Samir Rayess (KM Consultant)

    Mr Guche Mekene, from Ethiopia, will carry out research on the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme II (RUFIP II), focusing on the socio-economic impacts of the programme. His research will cover districts from the main four regions of the country: Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region.

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    Republished from
    By Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Climate and Environment Division, IFAD

    The mountainous areas of Morocco’s Central Atlas range offer ideal conditions for the cultivation of high-value fruit and nut trees, which can grow in shallow soils, on hills and slopes, and thrive in the harsh climate characteristic to the region. Nevertheless, small-scale farmers typically grow rain-fed cereal crops and legumes for their own subsistence, even though returns are low and increasingly unpredictable as a result of climate change (see figure 1, that illustrates trends of increasing temperature and diminishing rainfall, yet more frequent storms). In support of the Government’s “Plan Maroc Vert”, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is funding the Rural Development in the Mountain Zones Programme (PDRZM) to increase the profitability and resilience of small farm businesses in Sefrou and Azilal provinces and expand tree crop surfaces by more than 2,000 ha, split between apples, plums, walnuts, almonds and carob.

    In each target community, the technical package promoted by PDRZM is identified jointly by local farmers organizations, government extension services and project staff. The project’s “toolbox” contains a mix of adapted technologies. Drip irrigation, for instance, conserves diminishing water resources and is well suited for fruit trees, such as apples and plums, which maintain a high enough economic value to offset the capital costs of the system. The introduction of drip irrigation has the potential to be transformative. Landscapes that predominantly feature grain cultivation and livestock raising, may over time gradually convert to orchards in a more diversified and market-oriented production mix.

    In the Ait Sbaa Cooperative of Sefrou province, a Farmer Field School was established to train apple growers in the use of drip irrigation and rational pest-management techniques. To create additional employment, particularly for women, the project will provide a matching grant for the establishment of a refrigerated storage and fruit transformation unit. Cold storage and fruit drying give rural producers the option to hold onto their production for marketing when the prices are more favourable, which is particularly important for apples, whose farm-gate price is halved at harvest time. In Bougrinia Cooperative, also in Sefrou, an innovative plum dryer powered by crushed olive seeds has been installed, dramatically reducing both the cost of operation and the greenhouse gas emissions of the unit.

    In Sidi Ahmed Ben Driss cooperative in Azilal province, the project trained and equipped a youth group for the production of briquettes using the crushed seed and pulp that is the by-product of olive oil extraction. This simple, easily-replicable unit has created 3 permanent jobs, reduced the amount of waste from oil extraction and provides local schools – and eventually local residents – with an alternative to firewood as a fuel for heating and cooking.

    Where traditional gravity surface irrigation systems exist, the project is investing to reduce losses. In the Slilou watershed for example, nearly 9,000 m of canals are being restored and lined with concrete. To ensure sustainable and equitable management of these irrigation perimeters, the project established a total of 24 Agricultural Water Users Associations (AUEA) and supports them with training to ensure adequate operation and management of the systems.

    The project was also been able to generate “quick wins”, which is a real challenge when working with tree crops that typically require several years before entering production. In Azilal, 16,000 wild male carob trees, with limited productive potential, were grafted with female transplants, allowing for a marked increase in production within one year of the operation. Similarly, 10,000 walnut trees were pruned, fertilized and the ground immediately adjacent profiled to enhance water infiltration. It’s worth noting that the pruning of the walnut trees were initially questioned by some beneficiaries (Won’t a smaller tree give less nuts?). The project thus decided to operate in phases, allowing beneficiaries to see for themselves the benefits of the pruning on a sample of trees before it is generalized.

    By establishing a typology of profitable interventions, such as the ones described above, the project hopes to facilitate the replication of profitable and resource-efficient approaches throughout the “Plan Maroc Vert”.

    Young rural Moroccans interviewed by the Project Mid-Term Review team in November 2017 testified that, if life on the farm is about judicious resource management and business acumen – as opposed to just hard back-breaking work – then they’re ready to embark on such a journey.