Last month, the Farming First coalition was represented at the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) where we took part in a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Advancing the Implementation of CSD Decisions. The following statement was delivered on behalf of the Farming First coalition, farmers, scientific and technological communities, and business and industry major groups.
The speech is also available to listen to in the UN’s webcast archives on May 11 within the 15:00-18:30 recording between the times of 1:04:30 to 1:09:12.
May 11 2010
Thank you Madame Chairman for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Farming First coalition, which is supported by 127 different organizations, and specifically the Scientific and Technological Communities, Business and Industry, and Farmers’ Major Groups.
This is an example of how three Major Groups are working together to build consensus on an important issue and provide clarity in our advice to delegates and the bureau during the past two years.
The long-term engagement in and utility of the Commission on Sustainable Development needs attention. This forum has been a leader in the UN system in the role it has provided for Major Groups and its co-operative spirit. The success of CSD lies not just in process, but also in implementation. As the CSD plays an important role as a thought-leader, we cannot stress enough the importance that CSD work with UN agencies more engaged in operational programs and with national governments. As the panelists have said, it is through the liaison with these organizations and the consistency of their use of CSD policy in their own work, that a difference can be made.
Sustainable development is tied to many other topics, such as climate change, desertification and biodiversity, which are each also being discussed in different UN bodies. How the varied outcomes feed into implementation decisions and how policy processes are coordinated are important questions which impact on stakeholders’ capacity to engage and effectively contribute to implementation.
In agriculture, we welcome and encourage the efforts by CSD and the UN Secretary General’s High Level Task Force to bring together the decisions taken in different fora so that horizontal cohesiveness is increased. Greater clarity would help major groups contribute in a more effective and targeted manner, and help us identify more easily where opportunities for partnerships exist.
As farmers and part of the Farming First coalition, we believe CSD 17 decisions set important goals and priorities for agriculture and so tracking their implementation is crucial. Therefore, we can pick no better example of where progress is needed on implementation. Among our suggestions:
- Public-private partnerships are a powerful pathway for engagement with other stakeholders and offer an opportunity to bring together the knowledge, expertise and resources of different actors together. More needs to be done to facilitate these programs and to highlight work that is underway.
- As well, from farmers – to small to medium sized enterprises – to larger companies, it is important to engage the private sector to ensure change is sustainable and not dependent solely on aid.
- There were a large number of common themes in the CSD-17. Those themes should be repeated in the discussions occurring within the UN, World Bank, and even the G8, including the promotion of best practices, the sharing of knowledge, the need for infrastructure and micro-credit, the establishment of fair markets, and the importance of research and development.
- We need an approach that relies on sound science and engineering, supports application of technologies and ideas in a locally-appropriate manner, and fosters best practices like integrated crop management.
- We echo the position of the women’s major group to ensure land tenure rights for farmers, particularly women farmers.
- There is a need for risk insurance to help farmers’ manage variability and improved markets to further their incomes
Madam Chairperson, Bureau members, and the Secretariat, we believe there is much to be done to see the outcomes of CSD-17 reflected in the real world. Each of our respective partners is working on projects to make a difference in the lives of farmers. We believe Hunger and Poverty deserve our action as well as our talk. In particular, we believe the funding bodies which have offered promises of more money need to be looking at the CSD-17 principles. For tackling hunger in the long-term demands improvements in agriculture first. We welcome the EU’s recent communique which indicated they will focus on assistance to small shareholder farmers.
As you said Madame Chair, we don’t want crisises to drive implementation and resourcing. For decades we have said agriculture needs attention. The CSD-17 policy proved timely, but that makes implementation all the more important.