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Post 2015 Consultation Through 11 January 2013

The UN is working feverishly to set the new goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) is facilitating a civil society consultation which will open for submissions on 29 December 2012. The deadline for submissions is 23:59 GMT on Friday, 11 January. Submissions must be limited to 2500 characters (approximately 400 words) per question.



The submissions will assist the work of the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 agenda. Chaired by the Prime Ministers/Presidents of the United Kingdom, Liberia and Indonesia they will be meeting in Monrovia, Liberia at the end of January.



This consultation will be conducted through the #Post2015HLP civil society consultation web page at www.worldwewant2015.org/Post2015HLP.



There are 12 questions organised under two main themes:


  1. The shape and content of a post-2015 development framework;

  2. Partnership and accountability for development.



Sample questions include:
A. The shape and content of a post-2015 development framework


  • From the Millennium Development Goals, what lessons can be learned about designing goals to have maximum impact?

  • How should a new framework address the dimensions of economic growth, equity, social equality and environmental sustainability? Is an overall focus on poverty eradication sufficiently broad to capture the range of sustainable development issues?

  • What elements should be included in the architecture of the next framework? What is the role of the Sustainable Development Goals in a broader post-2015 framework? How can the SDG process be aligned with the post-2015 process?

  • What time horizon should we set for the next phase in the global development agenda (e.g. 10, 15, 25 years, or a combination)?


B. Partnership and accountability for development

  • How specific should the Panel be with recommendations on means of implementation, including development assistance, finance, technology, capacity building, trade and other actions?

  • How can accountability mechanisms be strengthened? What kind of monitoring process should be established? What elements would make it effective? How to account for qualitative progress?

  • How can transparency and more inclusive global governance be used to facilitate achievement of the development agenda?


Tensions Rising?

Hakan Bahceci, Chairman of CICILS, the international pulse sector organisation recently gave a speech in Istanbul on a panel discussing: The Increasing Importance of Water, Food and Agriculture Within Next Ten Years: Would the tension rise with the tides?



Here are some of his opening remarks:



“We are on this panel today because agriculture has suddenly become interesting. For those of us in the food sector it always was. Honestly for anyone who likes to eat it should be interesting.



But why are there now panels after panels, conference after conference on food security? Quite simply because there IS actually a looming issue in food. More food will be eaten over the next half century than has been eaten by human beings since the dawn of history.



For decades, agriculture has chugged along producing more food per hectare year after year. It has been easy to ignore the fact that the vast majority of the poor live in rural areas and are themselves farmers. Even here in Turkey, for all our growth economically, some of the last to see the benefits have been our farmers.



But now the disinterest in agriculture has come home even to consumers. It is not just a matter for rural areas, because as population grows and productivity growth slows down, we really are struggling to keep with the demand for food. FAO says we need to produce 70% more to feed the global population in 2050.



In many developing and least developed countries, population growth outstrips production by far. For most countries population grows at over 2.5% while food production grows at less than 1.5%. This means that countries are not producing enough food for their people.



Where once carryovers of global stocks meant months of supply on hand we are now regularly down to 60-30 days supply. These consequences are real. As someone who buys and supplies food, I have to pay more to secure crops. That increase is passed on to the consumer. It means inflation, it means more people go hungry, and it can even mean political unrest.



The result is political attention on agriculture. Fair enough. Real attention is needed to kick-start research and foster production.”



It was a pleasure for Emerging Ag to assist with the preparation of his speech.

Climate Change and Agriculture

Experts, practitioners, civil society, researchers and others gathered to discuss issues related to food security, climate change and rural development on 3 December at Agriculture Landscapes and Livelihoods Day during the climate change negotiations in Doha. The fifth edition of the event offered a mix of policy discussions, ‘Big Ideas’, and networking opportunities.



Discussions early in the day looked at the progress made to date and the challenges ahead in terms of solutions, gaps and priorities for achieving food security in the face of climate change. While the global food supply and the livelihoods of millions of farmers depend on a sustainable agriculture system, climate change is threatening both.



The urgent need for more foresight was stressed, highlighting the critical impacts on food security, the environment and livelihoods of climate change. Yet, agriculture is significantly under-represented in the UNFCCC negotiations, with no dedicated work programme for agriculture as of yet and no progress in Doha.



One of the reasons little negotiating progress has been made is linked to the ongoing debate over-focusing on adaptation-to versus mitigation-of climate change. The notion that the two are dichotomous was debunked by panellists during ALL-5, who cited the synergies between, and interdependence of, mitigation and adaptation activities. Many practices such as improved water efficiency of crops and returning of organic matter to soils help farmers adjust to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Adaptation and mitigation cannot be considered separately and synergies must be identified.



Extreme weather, water scarcity, and increased pest pressure were identified as key gaps in research. It was also evident that there is a strong need for gathering local data in a way that can be aggregated and shared to serve decision-making at the national level as well as at the farmer level.



To watch the closing video, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuNXwga8Ik8&list=PLmATng7lKk6V8Bu2QOp2pFt-_yJJMK-Lv&index=3. There is an excellent presentation by Franklin Moore regarding the UN Committee on World Food Security, my own summation of the outcomes of Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day (at 26.46 into video), and then a wrap up speech by his Royal Highness the Prince of Swaziland. The entire event is moderated by the talented and insightful Lindiwe Sibanda of FANRPAN.



Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day - Ideas Marketplace

One of the changes to Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods day was to hold an ideas marketplace. Nine different organisations brought great ideas on how to tackle the challenges of climate change in agriculture. Numerous methods exist to address the dual goals of adaptation and mitigation. For example, the winning idea was presented by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan. They are using bamboo charcoal as a renewable source of energy that is more sustainable than wood charcoal and firewood. It has a big impact on improving human health and better livelihoods for farmers, as well as reducing deforestation. You can see the presentation on this project as well as the nine others done in a rapid fire approach, with just five minutes each to present their ideas on agriculture and climate change at http://www.agricultureday.org/ideas-marketplace.



A key challenge is to scale-up these types of solutions. Public-private-people partnerships should be the new paradigm to increase the uptake of solutions among the agriculture community. One other example that struck a chord with me was the work of SACAU to use farmer-led approaches to agricultural training.

Farming First Named "Best Association"

Farming First won "Best Association" at the 2012 European Excellence Awards on December 6 for its "Female Face of Farming" campaign. It is further recognition for the compelling importance of the topic of women in farming as well as a recognition of the quality of the work. Please visit http://www.farmingfirst.org/women/.

Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day

It has been a pleasure, in conjunction with Kibo Consulting, to assist the organizing committee for Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day in Doha during the UN climate change negotiations. The event drew hundreds of experts from around the world and was followed by an active on-line community discussing food security and natural resources management. Please follow the read more link to read the press release, or enjoy the outstanding opening panel session at www.agricultureday.org.



Over 500 Agriculture Experts Convene at Day-Long Event Held in Parallel with United Nations Climate Talks


Renewed Call to Action Issued for Negotiators to Include Agriculture in Addressing Global Climate Change Challenges



Doha, Qatar: Global agricultural leaders and practitioners come together today to share best practices and build consensus on policy recommendations from the sector at Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day, held in parallel with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently underway.



Our global food supply and the livelihoods of millions of farmers depend on a sustainable agriculture system, yet climate change is gravely threatening both. Specific actions on how agriculture can adapt to climate change remains absent from the UNFCCC discussions. Furthermore, it is reported that as much as 6 billion tons of CO2 could be saved annually by 2030 through improved agricultural techniques.



Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day seeks to identify scalable solutions, gaps and trade-offs in addressing climate change impacts for agriculture, the environment and farmers. The one-day event features a high level panel session and a series a roundtable discussions that focus on various climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that could safeguard global food security as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the agricultural sector.



Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security CCAFS), comments:

“We are heading for a four degree warmer world, yet are still without any major measures put in place by the UNFCCC to deal with adaptation in agriculture. Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day is about convening the people best equipped to get action going on the ground immediately to protect our environment and food supply.”



Nineteen organisations involved with the event also issued a call-to-action for negotiators to further consider a Work Program on Agriculture, the adoption of which would advance scientific and technical understanding and inform decision-making on agriculture’s role in addressing future food security and climate change challenges.



Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer of the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and Farming First spokesperson comments:

“According to experts, yields in food-insecure continents such as Africa and South Asia could decrease by 15 percent and 18 percent respectively, due to climate change. Solutions already exist for countries such as my own that rely on rain-fed agriculture for their food, but they must be supported by a United Nations framework in order to be scaled up and brought to those most in need.”



The theme of this year’s event is “Solutions for People in Drylands and Beyond” and will highlight strategies that will improve agricultural productivity in dry regions, which are most vulnerable to climate change.



In the sidelines of the event, a new report, entitled Strategies for Combating Climate Change in Drylands Agriculture, was launched, offering a number of “climate smart” solutions for smallholder farmers in dry regions to reduce their vulnerability and increase their productivity. Countries such as Jordan and Morocco have seen increases in wheat yields of 20 percent and 17 percent respectively, due to some of the improved agriculture practices referenced in the report.



Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the International Centre of International Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) comments:

“One third of the world’s population lives in drylands, where access to water is becoming even scarcer due to climate change. Many of the answers to the problems faced by people in drylands regions exist, but they cannot succeed without adequate policies that ensure that the most effective innovations are put into action and that long-term funding and investment is available.”



Today’s event also marks the first occasion that Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day broadens its agenda, shifting discussions towards a combined consideration of agriculture, forestry and land use, and their impacts on society. It is held in conjunction with Forest Day 6, under the theme of “Living Landscapes”, exploring the interconnections between the two sectors and how a unified approach could hold sustainable solutions to climate change adaptation and mitigation.



Follow the discussions via the event’s social media channels:

Live webcast and blog: http://www.agricultureday.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AgricultureDay

Twitter: @AgricultureDay (Hashtag: #ALLForest)

Event photos (Flickr): http://www.flickr.com/photos/cgiarclimate

Rio +20

From an article written by Robynne Anderson for Gaftaworld, Issue 197, August 2012

Gaftaworld, Issue 197, August 2012You may have seen the media coverage suggesting Rio+20 “just settled” and “showed no ambition”. However, the needs of farmers and the importance of agriculture are well reflected in the final outcomes.


A two year process agreed UN text on trade and food price volatility within the food security section, plus a brief additional section specifically calling for greater trade liberalisation and conclusion of the Doha round.


Having represented the World Farmers’ Organisation through the negotiating process, it was a pleasure to see strong emphasis in the agriculture section on issues that can help farmers address food security and hunger. Read the entire article (PDF, 192KB)

Development after 2015

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has appointed his advisory panel for the Post 2015 Development Agenda. 2015 is a looming deadline for the UN because that is when the current Millennium Development Goals expire. Unfortunately many of them will go unmet, and the UN wants to regalvanize attention on key means to achieve sustainable development. The current progress report shows that good progress is being made on poverty, access for girls to eduction, , the fight against TB, and internet access. On the other hand, hunger remains an area where there is still a long way to go.
http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/2012_Progress_E.pdf



It is noteworthy that the sole private sector representative on the panel is Paul Polman from Unilever, a food company. With global crop prices rising, it is likely hunger will remain and important part of the agenda. For the agriculture community, it will be important to keep farming as the cornerstone of addressing the hunger challenge.



The relationship between this process and the new process on Sustainable Development Goals, flowing out of Rio+20 must also be clarified. Can the UN really afford to have two sets of overarching goals? In my opinion, bringing these processes together is essential. Until the UN achieves a higher level of accomplishment against existing goals, it cannot effectively manage two separate processes and different goals across the breadth of its operations.



Co-Chairs


David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian president

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian President



Panellists


Fulbert Géro Amoussouga (Benin) Heads Benin's economic analysis unit of the president of the republic of Benin.

Vanessa Petrelli Corrêa (Brazil) President of the Institute for Applied Economic Research, which conducts research to support the design and implementation of governmental policies and development programmes in Brazil.

Yingfan Wang (China) Member of the secretary general's MDG advocacy group and a career diplomat.

María Ángela Holguín (Colombia) Foreign minister of Colombia.

Gisela Alonso (Cuba) President of the Cuban agency of environment.

Jean-Michel Severino (France) Former director general of the French development agency.

Horst Köhler (Germany) President of Germany 2004-10.

Naoto Kan (Japan) Former prime minister of Japan. Now adviser to Japan's technical committee on renewable energy.

Queen Rania of Jordan An advocate for Unicef, the UN children's agency.

Betty Maina (Kenya) Chief executive of the Association of Manufacturers, one of Kenya's leading business organisations.

Abhijit Banerjee (India) Professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.

Andris Piebalgs (Latvia) Commissioner for development, European Commission.

Patricia Espinosa (Mexico) Secretary of foreign affairs.

Paul Polman (Netherlands) Chief executive of Unilever.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) Minister of finance. Former managing director and vice-president at the World Bank.

Elvira Nabiullina (Russia) Economic adviser to Vladimir Putin, Russia's president.

Graça Machel (South Africa) A member of the Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work on human rights.

Sung Hwan Kim (South Korea) Minister of foreign affairs and trade.

Gunilla Carlsson (Sweden) Minister for international development co-operation.

Emilia Pires (Timor-Leste) Minister of finance.

Kadir Topbas (Turkey) Mayor of Istanbul and expert in urban rehabilitation.

John Podesta (US) Chair of the Centre for American Progress.

Tawakel Karman (Yemen) Journalist, human rights activist and politician. Awarded Nobel peace prize for promoting women's rights during the 2011 Yemeni uprising.

Amina Mohammed (ex officio) Special adviser to the UN secretary general on post-2015 development planning.

Mobilizing Knowledge for Agriculture

I was honoured to moderate an extraordinary panel of leaders from around the world who are delivering key projects to benefit farmer knowledge systems, when USDA hosted a session on "Mobilising knowledge for agriculture" at Rio+20. Extension and rural advisory services (RAS) are key to putting farmers’ needs at the centre of rural development, ensuring sustainable food security and poverty reduction, and dealing with risks and uncertainty. Knowledge sharing mechanisms must focus on critical areas including protecting natural resources, productive farming processes, product development, marketing skills, nutritional needs, and household health. Improving institutional capacity in extension will help us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and any future Sustainable Development Goals.



Kristin Davis of the Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services shared a growing call on the five key pillars to revitalize knowledge systems in agriculture:


  1. focusing on best-fit approaches;

  2. embracing pluralism;

  3. using participatory approaches;

  4. developing capacity; and

  5. ensuring long-term institutional support.



Many thanks to Greg Crosby, the session host from USDA and a panel speaker, for his tireless dedication to e-extension and his kind invitation. He reviewed the means to link knowledge to action. Bridgit Muasa, a veterinary scientist and AWARD winner from Kenya, gave a dynamic presentation on the mobile tools be used in Kenya, including ICow.



Zeinab Al Moumany of Jordan spoke about the needs for economic empowerment as part of knowledge systems, particularly to address the challenges faced by rural women. Last and by no means least, Rajeev Chauhan spoke about the extension systems in India, one of the few countries that is really investing in extension and rural advisory services.



The session was streamed live and a recording can be found on http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23333230 and http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23333969 for part 2.

Canada Funds Key Ag Issues

The Canadian government has announced a program to direct $40 million of its programming budget for foreign assistance to key agricultural issues like grain storage, livestock vaccines, and fertilizer innovation. Interestingly the plan is to work with the private sector to leverage the relatively modest sum into greater funding.



Canadian support in the amount of $40 million over five years for AgResults - an innovative Canada-led initiative aims to improve food security in developing countries in close cooperation with the private sector. The announcement was made at the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, as part of a broader donor commitment of up to US$100 million in support of this initiative.



The governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are supporting this effort.



AgResults involves donors allocating relatively small amounts of public sector money to leverage private sector research and development on food security challenges that would otherwise go unaddressed due to market uncertainties. Public funds are only paid out to partners that demonstrate measurable results in targeted areas such as improving harvest management and nutritional fortification of staple foods.



Commonly known as an advanced market commitment, this type of approach emphasizes accountability and innovation.



In the coming years, the initiative will launch a series of pilot projects that address some of the biggest problems in global food security and agricultural development. The AgResults' portfolio of pilot projects will represent a diverse mix of agriculture and food security issues, testing different types of pay-on-results approaches in different regions around the world. The initial set, expected to start later this year, will focus on maize production in Sub-Saharan Africa, including:


  • Incentivizing the adoption of on-farm storage technology for smallholder farmers;

  • Encouraging innovative distribution of a breakthrough technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination; and

  • Building a market for new vitamin A-enhanced varieties of maize.




Additional projects will be explored in the coming years, including livestock vaccines and fertilizer innovation, as well as new ideas related to increasing crop yields, decreasing post-harvest losses, increasing livestock productivity and improving nutrition.



The model has already shown success in pulling private sector knowledge and resources towards the development of an affordable vaccine against pneumococcal disease - a disease that kills millions of children each year in developing countries. With the first vaccines delivered in late 2010, this initiative is expected to save an estimated 7 million lives by 2030. Canada made a significant contribution of $200 million in Budget 2007 to this initiative.



AgResults builds on Canada's leadership in financing innovative development initiatives internationally. Canada has previously supported the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Finance Challenge, launched at the Toronto G-20 Summit in June 2010, and the private sector component of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, launched in April 2010. Canada, with other G-20 Leaders, committed to exploring the potential of innovative initiatives at the Toronto G-20 Summit, and is pleased to be following through on this commitment.



Canada's contribution of $40 million for AgResults is being provided through existing Government of Canada resources for international assistance. Funds from donor countries will be managed by the World Bank.