Global Donor Platform for Rural Development
Godesberger Allee 119 | 53175 Bonn | Germany
phone: +49 228 249 341 65
fax: +49 228 249 342 15
Rome, 4 Jun 2012. Expectations on Rio+20 are rising and topics of agriculture and rural development will be high on the agenda. In a video interview with the Platform,
Carlo Scaramella, the World Food Programme’s Coordinator for Climate Change, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction, shares his views on the event from a unique WFP and Platform perspective. While doing so, he sketches fundamental issues which he would like to see addressed as well as potentials to establish partnerships for WFP with Rio+20 attendees, and Platform members in particular.
Secretariat: Carlo - Why is Rio important for WFP? What do you hope to take from it?
Carlo Scaramella: Rio is a one-in-a-generation event. It is something that everyone is waiting for. It is a moment during which we expect the international community to be able to reset the vision of sustainable development. In this context WFP together with many partners will advocate for the reestablishment and reenergizing of the discourse on hunger and education as part of the vision of sustainable development.
Fundamentally, one of the key messages we are going to bring on is that there is no way we can even talk about sustainable development if we are unable to resolve fundamental issues in terms of hunger which is affecting the lives and livelihoods of a billion people around the world, as we all know.
Secretariat: At ARD day in Rio on June 18th, you are organising a learning event on sustainable development and another one on sustainable nutrition – all going along with the recommendations of the Commission for Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change. What is your specific objective in conducting these sessions?
CS: They are very closely related to our stated objective. Our fundamental aim in Rio is to make sure that we can think, conceive and re-elaborate that the vision of sustainable development is based on the objectives of inclusion and equity.
"The events [...] will try to highlight some of the challenges but also some of the lessons learned: the positive lessons, results and success stories that have been achieved in the field."
When we look at the recommendations from the CCAFS study and we look specifically at the issues of vulnerability and inclusion of marginalized groups, subsistence farmers, pastoralists, people living in arid and semi-arid lands, living on less than one acre per day, fragile households exposed to disaster risk, exposed to the impacts of climate change – the question is, how do these people relate to sustainable development or even better, how does sustainable development and our vision of sustainable development relate to the future of these households, these communities, and all these people? So, the events will address this type of aspects and they will try to highlight some of the challenges but also some of the lessons learned: the positive lessons, results and success stories that have been achieved in the field.
Secretariat: It is widely recognised that issues like climate change adaption can only be resolved in a cooperative environment like the one the Global Donor Platform – of which WFP is a member – is trying to create. How do you see WFP's role in such a collaborative environment? And how do you see such collaborations developing in the future?
CS: This is probably really the essential question. Perhaps one issue on which there has been convergence over the last year in thinking about Rio is the issue of coming together with stronger partnerships in support of a development that is sustainable. Looking at this issue from the point of WFP, we look at fundamental challenges in [strengthening] resilience and [enabling] the long term sustainability of fragile livelihoods and fragile communities. These are achievements, outcomes that we can only deliver if we work in partnerships, if we are able to work with communities, responding to their needs, to their vision of a future that is sustainable and that is built in respect to the national resources on which people depend. [Another] element of convergence with the work of many other actors [is] bringing [in] a type of mentality and approaches that we have been able to build over the last decades and focusing much more on our ability to work together as partners in delivering outcomes that make sense for people on the ground.
"We need to be able to find new ways of forging alliances to deliver fundamental outcomes in the field for people who are particularly marginalized and vulnerable."
So, partnerships are a crucial condition to make efficient use of resources and to deliver outcomes. I think we are past the period of doing one project for one objective. Today, we work in a resource scarce environment. We have to be able to be much more strategic in the use we make of resources but also of opportunities that we have to meet with the populations who are in need and communities that have few options and opportunities to change their life. In other words, the situations and conditions of poverty under which populations live make a compelling case for the international aid community. We [need to] use much better resources, [we need] to be more strategic, to be more punctual, to be more efficient and to be also able to harmonise interventions that come from different sectors. There is not only a need to build more partnerships and to re-enforce and strengthen partnerships but also to do better what we do. We need to be able to find new ways of forging alliances to deliver fundamental outcomes in the field for people who are particularly marginalized and vulnerable.
Secretariat: So to sum it up in a nutshell: What do you think is the added value of WFP being part of the Global Donor Platform?
CS: For us it is a great opportunity to meet with actors, key actors. They can provide complementary support to the work WFP does in the field. You should not forget, WFP is one of the few agencies that literally every year reaches a hundred million people in the most deprived and vulnerable environments and conditions and we operationally provide support to these communities. Therefore, we can also provide a platform to more actors to come on board and to contribute to solutions at the local level. From this point of view WFP offers itself to the Platform but it is also sure that through the Global Donor Platform we can benefit in terms of knowledge, technical capacity, new opportunities for partnerships and strategic alliances.
Want to respond to this interview?
Send your comments to
We will do our best to publish your response here, but may edit it for reasons of clarity and space.