Stories tagged: CSD

Farming First’s Speech at CSD 18

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.

Thank you.

Agriculture and Enterprise Skills for Women Smallholder Farmers

Women play a vital, but often ignored, role in addressing hunger. Whilst a large proportion of farmers in the developing world are female, many lack voice and organisation.  To boost women smallholders’ productivity and reduce their vulnerability to various challenges, women need to be able to access and apply appropriate training for rural livelihoods.

A recent project – Training for Rural Development – highlights the many challenges that women marginal farmers face on a daily basis in their efforts to produce food for their families and communities and focuses on how training can contribute to improved livelihoods for women in the developing world. The research project was conducted by City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development, a not-for-profit research and development organisation that spent January to August 2009 researching and reviewing past and present international projects helping women farmers.

Having evaluated the success of various training schemes in different contexts and different countries, the project’s report offers six key findings:

  1. Enterprise training is valuable in helping women branch out into small business.
  2. To improve women smallholders’ access to training, their particular situations – including their level of literacy and domestic chores – need to be taken into account.
  3. A systematic approach to training for women should be taken, whereby the whole community is involved, to improve women’s positions.
  4. Groups are particularly important in enabling access to training for women, and helping to disseminate information from that training.
  5. Increasing technology use helps to improve agricultural yields whilst reducing the amount of work needed to go into production.
  6. Training programmes needs to be coordinated with improving women farmers’ access to resources to purchase inputs and technologies, and building strong rural infrastructure links to enable women to access training.

After the review phase, the project held four field trials over two countries; Ghana and India. Using lessons from these case studies, the project draws out four recommendations in reaching and supporting women farmers:

  1. Projects must engage with the women and their current challenges through providing a long-term commitment to the community.
  2. Projects must use existing community structures, for example engaging with community leaders, to make training more effective.
  3. Changes need to be introduced in stages that women can manage themselves. Including managerial skills in training programmes can help to support them in this.
  4. Projects can secure longer-term change by engaging effectively with local government structures.