Raising the Stakes
She suggested five tracks to focus on:
• substantially raising investment in agriculture: Start a home-grown green revolution for Africa;
• creating an enabling environment: governments must develop an enabling environment for private investors and CSOs in rural areas, for agriculture;
• developing sustainable production chains: amongst others criteria for sustainable agro-energy crops;
• improving market access;
• Enhancing food security and emergency food aid: create safety nets, advance the sustainable water management agenda and give a vigorous response to drought.
The Women's group kicked off and gave recommendations for the text: to include the right to natural resources and that rural women must be included in all decision making processes on natural resources.
The Youth and Children group declared vividly that youth is not a teddy bear for the delegates in the CSD, but that they eager to contribute to a better future, and to a better present. Their recommendation was that all delegations should include youth representatives.
The NGOs group reacted to the statement of Youth by saying: 'As youth says that it is passionate, we are highly committed. Twenty years ago, we were there where the youth is now and we hope that the youth will come to us in 20 years.' NGOs expressed their expectation from CSD:
• Recognition of the right to land, to food, to water, to food sovereignty, from there we can talk about criteria for agro-energy crops and a sustainable Green Revolution;
• Redirection of budgets of R&D towards small-scale farmers.
The Science and Technology group stressed that knowledge is not reaching the people that it needs to reach.
And the Farmer's group addressed that 10% of national budget allocation should go to agriculture.
Achim Steiner of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) emphasized the need for collective action by stating that we see political walls when addressing sustainability issues as chemicals, agriculture. We focus too often on our points of disagreement, not only common ground. We can not allow that the dichotomy grows! It undermines our way of action.
The Namibian Minister for Environment Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah stated that all countries need to allocate resources for the implementation of the decisions taken here at the CSD. 'Because when there are no resources, we keep the same implementation of decisions as in the past: none'.
Rokhaya Daba Fal from the Senegalese delegation put forward that we need to speak about food sovereignty instead of food security, as we need to depend upon ourselves. In order to achieve this: we need a green revolution as Europe and India had theirs. In Africa, we need a green revolution that is based upon our ecology, ecosystems and our financial situation.
In the light of the official protocol of the UN, the stakeholder meeting was quite interactive. Remarkable was that a lot of women spoke, so many that the chair Verburg politely responded to a male delegate with: 'Thank you, Mam!'
Today in the corridors, I learnt that there is a difference of nuance in the words smallholder and small-scale farmer, which I have been using interchangeably (until now). The difference is that although they are both farmers producing on a small plot of land, a smallholder holds it, in other words s/he has an official title to the land. Interesting...