The Group of Twenty (G20) is a leading forum of the world’s major economies that seeks to develop global policies to address today’s most pressing challenges. The G20 in Argentina will seek to pin down the impact that technological change is having on productivity, growth, jobs, and inequality. Following a diagnostics phase, it will also explore the policies needed to embrace the opportunities and address the challenges presented by technology, particularly in the welfare and education agendas. The G20 will be lead under the theme “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development”.
Since the global financial crisis, the G20 states have been working to strengthen the resilience of the global financial system and to improve the regulation and supervision of financial market participants, including what is known as the shadow banking system. Germany also wants to use its G20 Presidency to discuss other global problems above and beyond the main issues of economic, financial, climate, trade, employment and development policy. Migration and refugee flows and counter-terrorism are, for example, issues of global significance. Read more >>
The report includes input from eleven different international organisations in a joint effort to assemble a set of ten tactical recommendations for sustainably improving agricultural productivity growth.
The report builds on commitments made at the 2011 G20 Summit, which saw the creation of the Agricultural Market Information System, and highlights that investment and innovation will be needed to implement future solutions for productive and sustainable agricultural solutions.
Below is a summary of the recommendations for G20 governments.
According to the authors and contributors to the report, G20 governments should:
Commit to investment in domestic agriculture, with particular attention to smallholder farmers of both genders; collaborate with concerned international organisations; and introduce an on-going process of analysis and peer review to find best policy options.
Demonstrate leadership to strengthen international disciplines on import and export restrictions; promote greater adherence to sanitary measures developed by international research organisations; and support sanitary capacity building.
Continue to support on-going initiatives to contribute to improving agricultural productivity sustainably; facilitate exchange of experience and policy dialogue on Agricultural Innovation Systems at a high level by supporting an annual meeting of “chief scientists” in G20 countries and involving a variety of platforms; strengthen efforts of the national, regional and global levels to identify, assess, prioritise, monitor and evaluate investments in Agricultural Innovations Systems.
Commit to support developing countries to establish and enforce appropriate Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) systems consistent with international obligations; support the development and promotion of a global information system on plant and animal genetic resources.
Support countries in considering a range of policy responses for improved agricultural water management; promote innovations in water research to farmers; seek to improve and build resilience for water governance at an institutional level to address climate change related water security risks; continue dialogue based on the recommendations concerning food security and water made by ministers at the World Water Forum in March 2012.
Commit to reviewing policies that may generate perverse incentives for sustainability and encourage unsustainable use of natural resources; support developing countries in implementing policies based on a comprehensive analysis of the relationships between food security, food production and natural resource use; support developing countries to strengthen evaluation systems of “market-smart” smallholder targeted input subsidy programmes.
Support the efforts of relevant international organisations and risk management initiatives, such as the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management; strengthen their own efforts towards exchanging weather information.
Support the continued provision of targeted, well-designed and gender-sensitive social safety-net programmes that meet the immediate food and nutrition needs of smallholders and their households.
Recommend the explicit integration of agricultural education and the sustainable agriculture intensification agenda into the international organisations’ initiative to support national skills development strategies; recognise the equal importance of the roles of women and men farmers in promoting sustainable agricultural productivity growth.
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As the G8 and G20 sessions got underway, Farming First’s Morgane Danielou spoke with a US radio channel, Farm Cast, about sustainable agriculture around the worldwide.
Danielou discussed that how the Farming First principles were developed to provide relevant guidelines to agricultural programmes worldwide at global, regional and local levels, both in developed and developing countries.
She highlighted how the challenge in developed countries was to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural activities, whilst in developing countries the focus must be on raising agricultural productivity:
We need to learn the lessons from those [that have achieved increased productivity] and see how we can increase agricultural productivity, especially in Africa, whilst not having the environmental impacts that we had in the sixties or the seventies.
Danielou also said,
If you want to perform agriculture in the best way possible for farmers, or for consumers or for nature it has to be seen as a highly knowledge- and technology-intensive sector and there has to be constant investment in agricultural research.
Listen to the Farm Cast interview with Morgane Danielou here:
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Farming First have contributed to a virtual roundtable on China Dialogue’s website where experts and commentators have been invited to debate the top priorities for world leaders in Toronto this weekend. Speaking on the behalf of the Farming First coalition, Howard Minigh, President and Chief Executive of CropLife International insisted on the need for putting food security first for sustainable development and called on the G8 and G20 to provide support to existing food security initiatives.
The proliferation of aligned, but ultimately separate, food-security initiatives over the past two years suggests a number of roles for the G8 and G20 to play, as core funders of international development.
Farming First, a sustainable-development coalition, believes that G8 and G20 leaders should help proactively guide policymakers to coordinate their efforts to prevent overlapping, competing or disjointed activities in agriculture. Our 129 supporter organisations have compiled a comprehensive “Guide to Food Security Initiatives” ahead of this year’s G8 and G20 summits.
Alongside the need for cohesion, Howard Minigh spoke of the need for collaboration between all stakeholders to effectuate these food security policies successfully.
In these times of austerity we urge world leaders to demand greater transparency on the delivery of these billions and on the impact they are having. Lastly, we urge their governments to engage with all relevant stakeholders, notably farmers, scientists, engineers and industry, on turning enlightened food-security policies into effective and sustainable action on the world’s farms.
Food security is an immediate and future priority for all countries worldwide. Since the food crisis erupted in 2008, a large number of global and regional food security initiatives have been launched or strengthened in response. While these developments are welcome, improving policy and implementation coherence is essential to ensure programmes have the desired impacts.
As we move towards action on these food security policies, Farming First urges policymakers to:
promote a clear joint focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
encourage increased transparency on how much of pledged funding has been committed and to what types of programmes
engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful.
Returning farmers to the centre of policy decisions is fundamental to sustainable development. Governments, businesses, scientists and civil society groups must focus attention on the source of our food security. Women farmers should become specially targeted recipients because of their vital roles in the agricultural workforce,
household food procurement and preparation, and family unit support.
Productivity levels in most developing countries have to be raised exponentially while considering environmental sustainability. Policies encouraging investment in developing countries’ agricultural sectors should be supported.
Governments should invest in their agricultural sectors and devise long-term agricultural development strategies supporting the development of local agricultural markets and farmers’ ability to answer market demands.
Local production should also be stimulated by providing farmers with the technology, the knowledge and the adequate financial services they need.