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Agriculture at the interface of global change
18 February 2010

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges The Global Mechanism as the source of this newsletter


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Dear Lindiwe Majele Sibanda,

The mantra, “No agriculture, no deal” – echoed by civil society organizations in Copenhagen for agriculture to be part and parcel of any post-Kyoto climate regime – puts agriculture firmly in the spotlight at the interface of global change, and at the heart of global development challenges like food security.

All too often, agriculture persists as a marginal sectoral issue, despite the fact that integrating agriculture with global concerns – such as trade, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and food production – promises to reap significant socio-economic benefits. Just as sustainable agricultural practices hold considerable potential to offset carbon emissions and boost food production, Aid for Trade (AfT) provides opportunities to increase small-scale farmers’ access to markets enabling them to capitalize on the economic potential of their produce.

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) – a partnership of bilateral and multilateral donors and development agencies – has been successful in positioning agriculture and land vis-à-vis climate change adaptation and mitigation on the UNFCCC COP15 agenda. Bridging the gap between agriculture and global issues such as climate change is a major challenge, but a necessary one if we are to meet demands such as 70% increased food productivity by 2050, considering that food insecurity is an issue climate change threatens to exacerbate.

The recent Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the GDPRD, held in Rome on 26-27 January 2010, and organized by IFAD and the GM, provided an excellent opportunity to advance and harmonize approaches on agriculture and rural development (ARD), whilst looking at major policy processes such as trade and climate, investments into land and key processes for channelling financial resources into agriculture such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Trade emerged strong on this year’s AGA agenda, with the GM facilitating a structured dialogue bringing together GDPRD members and Geneva-based trade organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat; the Executive Secretariat of the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Least Developed Countries and AfT donors, including the World Bank.

The debate on trade and market access represents a major breakthrough in strengthening the linkages between agriculture and AfT and increasing cooperation at the country as well as international level. Political awareness on the benefits of addressing trade and agriculture in concert has already been heightened in Uganda, where the GM is supporting a process on “Linking Aid for Trade and Agriculture to Achieve Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction”. The success of an event held last November – attended by the Minister of State for Trade, Nelson G. Gagawala Wambuzi and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Aggrey Henry Bagiire – signals a new dawn to effectively integrate agriculture with trade processes and vice versa.

Africa in particular is in need of more effective channelling of agricultural investments, participants at the AGA agreed. A broad debate stressed that donor agency support to Africa must come through CAADP, the primary channel for investing into agricultural growth, food security, and rural development. The GM supports the call to make CAADP part of overall development and budget processes and believes the process can be a model for implementing the “Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security”.

Best regards,

The Global Mechanism Team

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