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Recommendations on Aid and Development Effectiveness in Agriculture and Rural Development

July 19, 2011

As a member of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, the BetterAid Open Platform is bringing forward a comprehensive agenda for renewed partnerships toward a just development cooperation. This regional process is part of the international community’s initiative on the road to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) in Busan.

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), member of the BetterAid Coordinating Group, led the process of organizing the thematic consultations on aid and development effectiveness in agriculture and rural development (ARD). This initiative was participated by national, sub- regional, regional and international platforms and support NGOs engaged in issues on food and ARD. Different civil society organizations (CSOs) mostly from the agriculture sector and donor countries have gathered to discuss, share experiences and work for common messages and recommendations as contribution to the overall CSO agenda for Busan.

In view of the previous HLFs, limited attention was given to address the specific needs of the agriculture sector. With the consensus reached at the regional workshops conducted, CSOs and other stakeholders proactively developed a set of recommendations for improving the aid and development effectiveness agenda for ARD. It is anticipated that these recommendations will be carried as key messages to the Busan HLF-4.

The regional consultations held in Asia and Africa are well represented and attended by different stakeholders on ARD. This success needs to reach out further to other constituents. An international CSO forum on development effectiveness in ARD was also conducted in Manila on July 4, 2011 during which the outcome document was presented and discussed for final input. This finalized document is intended to define the multi-stakeholder agenda on aid and development effectiveness in ARD, serving as an advocacy platform to HLF-4 in Busan and beyond.

Based on the regional and international CSO consultations, along with the multi-stakeholder forum held in Dar es Salaam, the following sectors/groups involved in agriculture and food participated: (1) peasant groups including pastoral communities; (2) agricultural workers; (3) rural women; (4) indigenous peoples; (5) fisher folk; and (6) institutions involved in rural development and related issues.

Recommendations : From the inputs of key organizations and case studies presented during the regional consultations, participants benefitted from knowledge-sharing on the current discourse on agriculture and food sovereignty. This includes a background on the commitments of the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) and the involvement of CSOs in the Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food.

With myriad of challenges in agriculture, overarching issues were highlighted: results, accountability and multi-stakeholder engagement:

  • Results are vital for country-level planning and as basis for accountability. Adequate results can be achieved through comprehensive, needs-based agrarian programs where beneficiaries “own” the results that respond to basic needs such as daily subsistence food
  • Accountability of all stakeholders to rural communities was considered a key. The role and capacity of governments must be further strengthened to enable them to act as development accountability institutions, their mandated function.
  • Decision-making processes should recognize and involve all stakeholders – governments, donors, the private sector and civil society – using country systems, and ensuring ownership by local communities and marginalized groups, particularly rural women, indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers.
  • Communication of needs and demands by communities and sectors to decision makers is critical, highlighting the role of both formal and social media in this aspect
  • The capacity of all stakeholders to work together must be built and facilitated through an enabling environment that promotes consultation, discourse and consensus building. However, the challenge remains for all actors to recognize and develop mutual trust towards each other

From these premises, CSOs reached consensus to support the three areas of reform and the “CSO Asks” which were discussed in BetterAid’s Key Messages and Proposals document. Participants, however, raised several critical issues that should be addressed in these areas of reform.

This takes into account that the proportion of ODA allocated to agriculture has declined from nearly 20 percent in the early 1980s to barely 5 percent today. Similarly, allocations at the national level have also declined sharply during this period. At the same time, while increase in aid to ARD is important, CSOs are more concerned on the quality of aid and critical in challenging aid mechanisms like Green Revolution, genetically modified organisms (GMO) promotion, and corporate agriculture, among others.

CSOs also raised disappointment in the way governments and development agencies inadequately responded to the global food crisis experienced in the same period that AAA commitments were made on developing and implementing global partnership on agriculture and food. On this note, CSO strongly positioned to ensure that their voices will be heard evaluating the Accra commitments in Busan for the HLF-4.

In this regard, participating CSOs in the regional consultations arrived at a consensus to put forward the following specific recommendations:

Ensure democratic ownership in the aid process in ARD – ownership of the whole country, especially the people. Promote aid architecture that is equitable and inclusive of all stakeholders.
  • Formulate ARD policies democratically, ending corporate-dominated green revolution programs by institutionalizing direct participation of CSOs down to the community level and ensuring that marginalized groups are given space in policy formulation, development planning, up to implementation and monitoring especially of ODA-supported development programs.
  • Scrap aid policies supporting unsustainable corporate agriculture, monoculture farming, dumping of toxic farm inputs, production of GMOs, and other corporate-oriented agro-technology. Promote agrarian reform, food sovereignty and sustainable, ecological, small scale farming instead.
  • Continue CSO-led capacity building efforts that will institutionalize CSO knowledge base to develop the next generation’s leadership in challenging structures of aid-dependency and underdevelopment.
  • Continue CSO-led capacity building efforts that will institutionalize CSO knowledge base to develop the next generation’s leadership in challenging structures of aid-dependency and underdevelopment.
  • Build democratic cooperation architecture that is based on a country’s self-determination of what it needs and where it wants to channel and allocate resources for its people.

End tied aid and donor-imposed technical assistance. Stop aid mechanisms such as Green Revolution and GMO promotion.
  • Support CSOs in technology development over the special role taken by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) institutes; democratize agricultural research by directly involving smallholder farmers and CSO’s working on agro-ecology.
  • Conduct extensive research and investigation on the impacts of aid and development programs on ARD within the framework of asserting the principle of democratic ownership through a bottom-up approach starting from the community level.
  • End tied-aid practices specifically those that undermine and weaken domestic agricultural production, market and trading of developing countries.

Practice mutual accountability, define CSO roles in mutual accountability mechanisms, government and donor accountability to people and communities
  • Exercise full transparency of mechanisms for accountability to rural people and ensuring reparation on negative impacts of development programs/projects that have displaced people from their lands, damaged the ecological system, contributed to the climate crisis, caused forced migration, discriminated women and children, undermined national sovereignty, imposed onerous debts, financed militarization and disrespected ancestral domain of indigenous peoples among other human rights violations.
  • Design development cooperation that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of citizens in developing countries. Form a CSO-led country level oversight body, recognizing that CSOs are in the best position to forward the people’s position on whether the aid money has been used properly and has reached it intended beneficiaries

Employ people-oriented management for results strategy. Involve communities in program management, gauging results based on its impacts to the lives of stakeholders.
  • Implement rights-based management empowering rural communities and sectors to directly participate in planning, monitoring implementation and evaluating results.
  • Re-channel resources to programs that will strengthen land tenure and institutionalize land distribution to small scale food producers, especially to peasants, farmers, indigenous peoples and pastoralist among others. Stop ODA-supported policies/projects that contribute to the global rush on land-grabbing.
  • Measure development goals based on its fulfillment of internationally-agreed instruments such as the seven conventions on human rights, , the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples among other international declarations and conventions which will be the reference points in any discourse concerning aid and development policy formulation.

Apply country level approach in engaging all relevant stakeholders in ARD
  • Institutionalize a multi-stakeholder consultative process in the country level that will draft action plans on aid and development effectiveness in ARD.
  • Establish country level CSO platforms on the aid and development effectiveness agenda to engage more pro-actively with government, lobby parliamentarians partaking in decisions, fulfilling watchdog role, engaging regional bodies, and developing indicators for development effectiveness.

Consultation process: On the 20th of January 2011, the Asia-wide CSO Conference on Aid and Development Effectiveness in ARD was conducted in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sixty-two participants from 11 countries representing 44 CSOs attended this capacity-building activity. Representatives from various groups and sectors namely peasants, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, and other rural communities from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, as well as Colombia, Kenya, and Senegal were present.

The Africa-wide Consultation was conducted on April 7, 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania which was attended by 53 CSO participants from 16 countries. Representatives from Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as PCFS Steering Council members from India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Philippines actively shared knowledge and learned from each other’s experiences.

On April 8th, a multi-stakeholder forum was held to develop a consensus among ARD stakeholders on aid and development effectiveness in ARD to address rural poverty and food insecurity. CSOs were joined by members of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) with representatives from IFAD, FAO, OECD-DAC and northern organizations. In sum, it was participated by 28 international delegates and 29 CSO representatives from Tanzania including 14 media practitioners.

List of Participating Organizations
Local / National Organizations
    Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Agricultural Labour Union (BALU)
  • Coastal Development Partnership (CDP)
  • Bangladesh Krishok Federation (Krishok)
    India
  • Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU)
  • Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON)
  • Forum for Indigenous Peoples and Action (FIPA)
  • Food Sovereignty Network, South Asia (FSNSA)
  • Indian Federation of Toiling Peasants (IFTOP)
  • Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE)
  • Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED))
  • Tamil Nadu Women's Forum (TWNF)
  • Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU)
    Malaysia
  • Tenaganita
    Mexico
  • GRAIN-Mexico
    Mongolia
  • Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
  • Mongolian People's Coalition for Food Sovereignty (PCFS Mongolia)
    Nepal
  • All Nepal Peasants' Federation (ANPFA)
  • Anuman-e-Mazareen Punjab (AMP)
    Pakistan
  • Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)
  • Roots for Equity
    Philippines
  • AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People)
  • National Federation of Peasant Women (AMIHAN)
  • Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera
  • Dagsaw-Indigenous Peoples Center/Panay/Guimaras
  • GABRIELA-Philippines
  • Organic Farm Field Experimentation Research Station-Panay
  • Panay Fair Trade Center
  • Philippine Peasant Movement (KMP-National)
  • Panay Guimaras Peasant Movement (KMP-Panay/Guimaras)
    Sri Lanka
  • Green Movement of Sri Lanka (GMSL)
  • Janawaboda Kendraya (JK)
  • Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR)
  • JNational Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
  • Vikalpani National Women's Federation
    Kenya
  • Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSFF)
    Lesotho
  • Lesotho Small Scale Farmers Forum (LESSFF)
    Malawi
  • National Small Scale Farmers Movement (NASFAM)
    Senegal
  • Conseil National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux (CNCR)
    Tanzania
  • Agricultural Non State Actors Forum (ANSAF)
  • Foundation for Civil Society (FCS)
  • National Network of Small Scale Farmer Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA)
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)
    Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe Movement of Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)
    Country Offices of International Organizations
  • China Expo Forum for International Cooperation - Sri Lanka (CEFCO China)
  • Citizens Global Platform – Tanzania (CGP Finland)
  • Service Centre for Development Cooperation - Tanzania (KEPA Finland)
    Sub-regional
  • Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
    Regional Organizations
  • Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
  • Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
  • Asian Rural Women’s Coalition - Sri Lanka (ARWC)
  • IBON-Europe
    Global / International
  • ActionAid International - Asia Regional (ActionAid)
  • Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development – Kenya (ACORD International)
  • Oxfam Great Britain - Tanzania
  • Swedish Cooperative Center - Vi Agroforestry Programme - Africa (SCC-ViAFP)
  • Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA)
  • South Asian Peasant Coalition - Nepal (SAPC))
  • Pesticide Action Network - Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP))
  • Light Africa - Cameroon
  • Pesticide Action Network - Africa (PAN-Africa)
  • Reality of Aid Network – Africa (ROA Africa)
  • Global Service Corps – Tanzania (GSC)
  • IBON Intenational

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Email: secretariat@foodsov.org
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