Around 1800 participants, mostly World Bank staff from the regions, but also 300 guests from other organisations have assembled at this year's SDN Forum. Until 1 March, information and networking will happen in a variety of network, sector and training days. The Platform secretariat is present at the forum in Washington.
// Sustainable development and green growth
World Bank Vice President of Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte set the scene in her keynote, stressing the Bank's evolving narrative for sustainable development/green growth. According to her it would be of key importance to show the significant value addition the Bank creates in green growth for its clients through the generation of sectoral and regional knowledge which is both relevant and applicable. It would also be important in preparation for the upcoming World Bank spring meeting (with Ban Ki Moon) on green growth, and Rio+20. Communication would be key to disseminating the message.
// Growth first vs. green growth for all
This debate which followed the keynote address left the audience divided.
// Mission Possible: Implementing Green Growth Through Spatial Approaches
Lead by Sector Director Jürgen Vögele this session focused on ARD issues. Diverse speakers presented examples of sectoral coordination in different contexts (DRC, Brazil, India, US) to fuel the discussion. The objective was to promote better understanding of trade-offs and synergies between agriculture, forests, energy, water and urban expansion at a landscape level. As Vögele put it, 'We can't continue to work on single sector approaches – anywhere, poor or rich. The way we try to reach global solutions needs to be fundamentally re-thought!'
// Brazil and China on green growth
One of the parallel afternoon sessions brought Brazil and China to the table on the issue of Green Growth: Brazilian Vice Minister of Environment and Chinese professor of Economics from Beijing University presented and discussed principal challenges and successes of Brazil (biofuel, hydropower and food security) and China (high growth and high fossil fuel rates). VP Kyte commented that both countries had innovated in ecological institutional ways more than any OECD country and stressed the importance of land management policies. Only by working at landscape scale could the world post-Durban find solutions that work for all, people, yields and food security. Lessons could be learnt from both countries to build institutions, business and communities: according to Kyte we should be combining our knowledge and thinking with our humility. Three things would help
- Smart policy choices, smart regulations, efficient economies, shifts in subsidies
- Based on those policies, a development of parameters for innovation for the public and private sectors
- Support to cities and provinces: the institutional capacity of the local and municipal level is a key.
// ARD Sector Day
On 23 February sessions: Community Driven Development (CDD), Small Producers' Access to Markets and the Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture. In this latter, recent regional and country assessments of CC impact on agriculture were presented and discussed, focussing on methodological approaches, the studies' results and their use in supporting policy development.
// Plenary: State of ARD
The session was lead by the Platform's Focal Point Fionna Douglas and moderated by Mark Cackler. Jürgen Vögele presented what the Bank had been doing in ARD in the past year, having lent $8 bn to 69 countries for ARD projects, what would be in the Action Plan for 2012 and what needed to be done to update the AAA 2013-2015. He stressed that the Action Plan had really worked: Instead of a Strategy, we did an Action Plan [...] and put money where our mouth is.' In the evolving global context, the issue of commodity price volatility remained very important and would increase; in the slowing economic growth, new opportunities to respond to Climate Change were needed as was an increase in global developing partners' commitments to agriculture. In the coming years, the Bank would put more emphasis on Climate Smart Agriculture (and opportunities for green growth), Integrated Landscape opportunities, Food Security and Trade as well as partnerships, including with the Private Sector.
Jürgen Vögele on Productivity - 'the world is at risk since we've lost our ability to increase productivity'
Vögele stated that agricultural innovation was of key importance (newly launched publication 'Agricultural Innovation Systems') as were GAFSP, gender, land governance, CGIAR, and livestock and fisheries initiatives.
On Risk and Vulnerability
Vögele explained that many countries needed support in their agricultural risk management; the Arab World Initiative for Food Security (modelled on GFRP and GAFSP); AMIS and the continued Bank support to the G20 (including compilation of data on global food availability). To highlight the significance of the nutritional dimension, a new knowledge Platform on Agriculture and Nutrition with HNP and the Bank's Poverty Reduction Group was set up to develop a Community of Practice around ARD&FS and Nutrition.
On Linking Farmers to Markets and Strengthening Valuechains
Public-private-partnerships in Global Food Safety were seen as essential to building capacity in developing and emerging markets; financial instruments included global index insurance facilities, trade liquidity programmes, as well as an agriculture finance support facility with BMGF to scale up Rural Finance Business.
On Rural Non-Farm Income
Vögele emphasised the Rural livelihoods project in India which would create 35 million off-farm jobs and the e-Sourcebook ICT in agriculture.
On Environmental Services and Sustainability
Soil carbon, reversing land degradation, environmental health, ecosystems and watershed management were presented. Climate Smart Agriculture will increase sustainable productivity and incomes, resilience and carbon sequestration. The Bank's efforts should help to reverse the trend in which agriculture was seen as the problem, not the solution, and help bring it to the table.
Vögele and Kyte then listened to Regional Sector Managers and discussed the necessity to increasingly focus on integrated approaches. On the Rwanda example, Kyte commented that 'the Landscape approach is important – break down the silos! It doesn't take long to see the changes!'
// Green Growth and Climate-Smart Agriculture
This early afternoon session showed a few examples of agricultural strategy development and programme implementation, amongst them presentations by Bruce Campbell from CGIAR – which Vögele had earlier called 'a continuing success story' - and by Molly Jahn, Professor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the commissioners of the report of the CCAFS Commission on 'Achieving food security in the face of climate change'. The Platform was mentioned as a partner and thanked for its contribution at several instances. Campbell saw agriculture at the nexus of food security, adaptation and environmental impact, cited Rockström (2009) and alluded to ARDD 2011 on CSA. Molly Jahn presented the report as a synthesis of the more than a dozen recent most important publications (like the Foresight Report and IFAD's Rural Poverty Report) and explained the seven recommendations with country examples as concrete, urgent actions by governments, institutions and investors. For her, the outcome of Durban which at least saw agriculture at the table had been the result of a joint effort by everyone coming with the same message. She stressed the 13 commissioners had an ongoing commitment to push for a long-term, evidence-based, holistic approach to reforming agriculture and the food system. The Commission's findings should be brought to the global processes.
A following CGIAR-sponsored side event saw around 35 participants from different public and private organisations, amongst them USDA, USAID, BMGF, NASA, Smithsonian, Mars, universities and NGO representatives putting action points to the recommendations.
// Knowledge Management
VP Rachel Kyte reported that the WB Board had just passed the new ICT strategy for SDN and stressed that the knowledge network would become transformative for the work they do. MD Mahmoud Mohieldin talked about knowledge and knowledge exchange in the institution.
// SDN Forum - further info
Many presentations were recorded and will be made available in the coming weeks on the SDN Forum site [coming soon]
President Zoellick could not be present because he attended the launch of the new Ocean Initiative at The Economist’s World Oceans Summit in Singapore.