Global Donor Platform for Rural Development
Godesberger Allee 119 | 53175 Bonn | Germany
phone: +49 228 249 341 65
fax: +49 228 249 342 15
“Platform papers and discussions with other members helped the Directorate to define positions on various issues. Platform briefs linking climate, agriculture and land use were particularly useful.”
DG Dev Belgium in Platform 2010 Annual Report
Secure access to land and other natural resources is of fundamental importance to food security that is to be based on sustainable agricultural production and productivity. Therefore, improved access to – and tenure security of – land and other natural resources as well as the promotion of agricultural investments are key success factors for reaching food security.
Then again, both the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in 2006 (ICARRD) and the World Food Summit on Food Security in 2009 stressed the importance of a secure access to land and agricultural investment.
The definition of principles, guidelines and rules for governments and investors are widely discussed in two major processes. Both are voluntary and not legally binding for member states. They identify the issues that need action and offer frameworks of internationally accepted standards that member nations may use in developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities.
Voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of land tenure and other natural resources (voluntary guidelines) - led by FAO in a broad partnership with member nations, civil society, IFAD and other UN agencies
Principles for responsible agricultural investment (RAI Principles) that respect rights, livelihoods and resources, developed by the World Bank, FAO, IFAD and UNCTAD and discussed in numerous policy fora.
Unlike with the voluntary guidelines, no formal approval procedure has yet been decided for the RAI principles. Prepared by FAO, WB, IFAD and UNCTAD, the RAI are used as guidance for their operations in pilot countries, but have never been submitted for approval of their respective governing bodies. The four agencies agreed on the need for a consultation so as to make the principles operational and ready for implementation (read the RAI Synoptic Version). The CFS Bureau has not agreed on ownership and legitimacy, and whether the consultation process should be fully taken within the CFS. Confusion with the actual process of negotiation of the voluntary guidelines should be avoided. Therefore adoption of the RAI principles by the CFS plenary session of October 2012 seems most likely.
But given the increasing number of large-scale land acquisitions particularly in food insecure countries, there is a general sense of urgency. Hugo Verbist, Vice-Chair of the CFS Bureau has proposed a twin-track approach for RAI in which broad, inclusive and genuine consultations could be accompanied by piloting the feasibility for investors, governments and civil society, see RAI-proposal for consultations. Special attention was needed for consultation with the private sector, so Verbist. He proposes the establishment of a working group in March 2011 to keep track of the ongoing developments in 2011 - which would serve as input for the broad consultation starting after the CFS' October 2011 session. A decision on this proposal which is a product of extensive consultations with all stakeholders will be taken at the CFS Bureau meeting of March 18. Inputs are welcome until March 11th. The EU working Group on Land is considering preparing a common statement after 9 March.
The RAI-consultation has to be funded by extra-budgetary resources, since the core-budget of CFS will - besides the fixed administrative costs - only cover the CFS activities foreseen on mapping and on the development of the Global Strategic Framework. The important question is therefore which stakeholders are committed – also financially – to support such an inclusive process of developing RAI. At present, WB and FAO are seeking funding for RAI-related field studies.
A conference will be held at the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 19 and 20 April, aiming to increase awareness of the successful implementation of innovative approaches which can help to improve land governance and contribute to the wellbeing of the poorest and the attainment of the MDGs. The RAI website www.responsibleagroinvestment.com currently hosted by the World Bank will be migrated to the Donor Platform website by mid-2011.
FAO Trade and Markets Division is planning an electronic conference on RAI. FAO Investment Centre Division's work revolves around the voluntary guidelines, but wants to also support the growth of the RAI principles. The idea was to organise an expert meeting on lessons learnt in October.
The High Level of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) is conducting a study to be presented at the 37th Session of the CFS in October 2011 on the issue of large-scale plantations; the mapping of available land; comparative analysis of tools to align large scale investments with country food security strategies. Since this study is closely related to agricultural investment issues, it should be regarded as an integral part of the CFS process on RAI.
At its Seoul Summit in November 2010, the G20 encouraged countries and companies to uphold the principles of RAI and requested UNCTAD, the World Bank, IFAD, FAO and other appropriate international organizations to develop options for promoting responsible investment in agriculture (March 2011 for preliminary report; June 2011 for final report). These reports should also feed into the CFS-process. The link between G20 and CFS on this issue should be ensured.
At the upcoming 3rd EU Forum on Rural Development in Palencia/Spain, 28 March - 1 April, the EU Working Group on Land Issues (EUWGL) organises a breakout session on land (BS3). The session "Access to land and other natural resources for improving rural people´s livelihood" will present case studies from Madagascar, Tanzania, Bolivia and Cambodia. Moderators are Roch L. Mongbo, Executive Director of the Centre for Environment and Socio-Economic Development (CEBEDES) in Benin and Annalisa Mauro, Programme Manager Latin America at ILC. More information at ruralforum.info and see EFRD Background Paper Access to Land.
The French position paper on the RAI-process calls for broad consultation with the private sector, civil society, NGOs, producer associations and governments, and in particular the governments of the countries that may become investors and those that may become recipients.
Concerning the contents of the consultation, France suggests that the RAI-Principles would benefit from being made more detailed in order to be more concrete with particular attention being paid to family farming, taking into account the rights of the native and indigenous populations. The RAI should include the principles for responsible investment developed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (June 2009). To strengthen food security, part of the investment could be earmarked for local food supply systems. In a wider context, the issue of equitable distribution, between all the actors concerned, of the wealth created by the exploitation of land resources must be addressed.
Ultimately, in order to ensure the ownership and application of the RAI principles by private actors, a system to monitor their implementation should be developed at national level or by the regions affected by acquisitions. This point should be pursued within the context of the G20. France also wants the G20 report to make proposals that can fuel debates, especially concerning the link between the RAI principles and the voluntary guidelines. An interim report should be submitted in March, and a final report in June. France would like to see the contents of this report published for the 37th session of the CFS in October 2011.
The German Working Group on Land has invited Gregory Myers, chair of the Intergovernmental Working Group to its next meeting on 2 May in Berlin.
Several consultations are planned in 2011 of the 'Dialogue Initiative', a partnership ILC formed in 2010 with ROPPA, AFA, COPROFAM (regional farmers' organizations), Action Aid and Oxfam to widen the dialogue on large-scale land acquisitions. ILC is also completing a global study on commercial pressures on land and how to respond to this in a way that minimised risk and maximises opportunity for local land users. The results of these consultations and report should feed into the CFS-consultation. ILC commissioned a study on 'framing the debate' with case studies in Asia, Africa and Latin America which is due June/July this year. It will facilitate the land thematic workshop at the EFRD.
The global CSO network publicises an appeal against the issue of land grab. The petition referring to the voluntary guidelines and RAI makes a strong statement on RAI: 'Meanwhile, we urge the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to definitively reject the World Bank principles for responsible agricultural investment (RAI), which are illegitimate and inadequate to address the phenomenon, and to include the commitments of the ICARRD as well as the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in its Global Framework for Action.'
Various social movements, faith-based groups, environmental, development and human rights organizations organised a series of events and launched a strong appeal against 'land grabbing' during the last World Social Forum (WSF) in Dakar. The appeal calls for an immediate stop to land grabbing and the restitution of the lands that have been taken away from local communities and makes several demands of national governments and international organizations. Online until March 31 at petitiononline.com/dakar/petition.html
The journal of the Society for International Development, has just published its first issue of the year entitled 'Local Land Grabs', view palgrave-journals.com/development/journal/v54/n1/index.html
The Land Deals Politics Initiative LDPI organises an International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, 6 - 8 April programme.