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Agriculture Faces New Scrutiny in Post 2015 Agenda

The High Level Panel chaired by the leaders of Britain, Indonesia, and Liberia released the communiqué from its most recent meetings in Monrovia, February 1. The Panel has been asked by the UN Secretary General to set recommendations on the new global development agenda. Agriculture is being reframed in these discussions in an interesting way.

While in the current Millennium Development Goals, agriculture’s role has been focused on the first goal of halving hunger and poverty, the communiqué suggests “it is imperative to change the current pattern of natural resource (both renewable and non-renewable) exploitation”. As a primary user of land and water, agriculture is likely to be squarely engaged in this aspect of the emerging discussions. “Changing the current pattern” and “exploitation” are very strong language in UN terms.

Quoting directly from the communiqué:

“Achieving structural transformations through a global development agenda will involve:

Sustainable growth with equity: To foster long-term, sustainable growth and reduce volatility, the global community must promote good governance, invest instable and accountable institutions, fight corruption, ensure the rule of law, and build resilience to shocks in all countries. We recognize the indispensability of economic and social justice, individual choice and opportunity for all. This includes the empowerment of women and girls; investments in young people’s development and expanding social protection schemes; and ensuring universal learning and access to health care — including sexual and reproductive health.

Creating wealth through sustainable and transparent management of natural resources: It is imperative to change the current pattern of natural resource (both renewable and nonrenewable) exploitation, in order to diversify our economic base and use natural resources sustainably. This must benefit local populations, whilst promoting sustainable development.

Partnerships: Economic transformation will require partnerships with many actors, unified behind a common agenda. It must encourage national and local governments to work with the private sector and civil society to align their efforts behind sustainable development. Interactions between countries and new partnerships through trade, foreign direct investment and cooperation also have huge potential to bring about poverty eradication and prosperity for all. We look forward to discussing these important issues, including the means of implementation, at the fourth meeting of the High Level Panel in Bali, Indonesia.”

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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