The Florence Annual General Assembly is themed 'Food Systems and Gender - Women's empowerment for food security and nutrition.' This emphasis on the fundamental role of women is because of their central role as smallholders in food and nutrition security as well as their contribution as entrepreneurs, development agents and policy makers. The AGA will be hosted by MFAIC-Italy.
The second day is a members only day, where Platform members discuss how to translate the acquired knowledge and the previous day’s results into policy and investment improvements as well as practical measures and actions.
The objectives of the Annual General Assemblies of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (AGA) are to:
The Platform Annual General Assembly under the theme “Rethinking Rural Development__ Opportunities for new partnerships and territorial approaches in a changing rural environment”, was held on 22-23 January 2014 in Paris and was hosted by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and the French Agency for Development (AFD).
Keynote by Julio Berdegué__ Territorial approaches in a Latin American context
Keynote by Bruno Losch__ Territorial approaches and managing complexity in an African context
Keynote by Estherine Fotabong. Rural Futures Program: Growth and Development
Marie-Madeleine Nga talked about lessons learned from territorial approaches application in Cameroon (video in French).
Recently coastal areas have suffered severe damage through human and environmental factors. Mark Prein explained how GIZ and KFW are helping to stabilise coastal areas in South-East Asia by investing in mangrove rehabilitation and engaging in creative public-private partnerships.
The landscape approach takes into account geographical and socioeconomic elements to manage the natural capital to meet the goal of sustainable development. The proper interaction of these elements helps to maximize productivity, improve livelihoods, and reduce negative environmental impacts. However to understand and manage these interactions a high level of expertise is required. Giuseppe Fantozzi shared the lessons learnt in the Loess plateau watershed rehabilitation project where the World Bank had used a landscape approach successfully.
The strong interlinkages between different sectors of rural development have been known for decades. However there is still a lack of systemic approach due to the high level of linkage complexity and sectoral blindness. For two years Austrian Development Cooperation has used the nexus approach in an attempt to promote a more holistic development. Waltrud Rabitsch presented the challenges experienced by the implementation of this comprehensive approach in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.
Keynote by Ben Ramalingam__ Complex systems and rural development
The second day was reserved for members only and meant for their close interaction. Members focused on networking, sharing of achievements and work planning for the next year. A good exchange of impressions and ideas on the Platform’s added value as well as ways to enhance it took place.
The second day concluded with saying goodbye to Monique Calon of Dutch MFA, who left her role as Platform chair role after two years of productive work. (The next day the Platform board elected Marjaana Pekkola of MoFA Finland/Nairobi office, as a new co-chair.)
Download the agenda day 2.
The member day started with a reflection on the AGA day one. Marie-Cécile Thirion, Project Officer of ARD and Biodiversity at AFD, shared the conclusions on the theme ‘rethinking rural development’ from a donor perspective and proposed follow-up actions for the Platform. In her presentation she stressed: “We should not neither come back to what we used to do 20 years ago, nor give up sectoral or value chain approaches totally, but use them complimentarily.”
Brian Baldwin, Senior Operations Management Adviser at IFAD and Platform co-chair Nikita Eriksen-Hamel of DFATD Canada highlighted Platform achievements over the last decade and in 2013 specifically. They emphasised the crucial importance of internal advocacy in the time of tight budgets. Continuous development of ability to recognise and follow change were named to be the Platform’s main accomplishments. The involvement with CAADP and the Global Donor Working Group on Land were discussed as great examples of collaborative action. The fundamental Platform publication ‘On common ground__ Donor perspectives on agriculture, rural development, food security and nutrition’ underpinned all the developments within the Platform. Nikita recommended for members to make the best use of virtual briefings and interviews on the Platform’s website as they were beneficial to opinion exchange, an excellent learning tool and a valuable source of ARD information.
Highlights of the 2013 Platform themes land and nutrition were presented by their respective leads Iris Krebber, Food Security and Land Advisor at DFID, and Lynn Brown, World Bank consultant. The area of scaling up was elaborated on by Cheikh Sourang, Senior Programme Manager at IFAD. Giuseppe Fantozzi, Senior Operations Specialist ARD at the World Bank presented the organisation's draft of analytical toolkit to support contract farming, which had been developed in close cooperation with the Platform's private sector group.
Robin Bourgeois, Senior Foresight and Development Policies Expert at GFAR presented findings of the Platform-commissioned “Prospects for agriculture and rural development aid in the post-2015 framework “ study — which is not a new foresight exercise persé, but builds on existing work with a look at the next coming 20 years. Responding to the questions of the Platform members the researcher accentuated that one should not go too fast and not necessarily through all the stages towards collective action, shown in the study. No one could build coalitions from a scratch. We were looking at a process that demanded from those working in ARD to fight for things to happen.
Robin also spoke about the need for coming up with more comprehensive goals. “The problem with the MDGs is that they belong to a different world than the one we are living in,” he said. Currently, in practice each MDG was considered in separation, combined with institutional differentiation in terms of responsibility for each of them. Robin suggested, that in the future it could therefore be more fruitful to apply a complex systems approach to see how the goals were interconnected, which of them were the entry points and which were the more long-term ones.
Discussion on the post-2015 development agenda and presentation of the Platform work plan 2014 triggered a lively debate among members. They were looking for agreement on the ways to influence post-2015 process, work out negotiating strategies and sharing information on technical indicators and targets. Members commented on what possibly could be added to the 2014 Platform work plan, which had been designed and compiled with the input of 17 members and then handed over for the board endorsement the following day.
Felix Fellmann, Agriculture and Food Security Network Focal Point at SDC presented the latest version of “On common ground” and described next steps of this living document’s revision.