Follow-Up Meeting to the Seventeenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

February 4, 2010

On February 1, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) attended a follow-up meeting to the Seventeenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which took place May 4-15, 2009 (see article). The
follow-up meeting, entitled “Multistakeholder Dialogue on Implementing Sustainable Development,” centered on ways in which to advance CSD-17 agreements in the thematic areas of agricultural, rural development, land degradation, drought, desertification and Africa. The meeting was the first of its kind to take place outside of the regular annual session of the Commission. Discussion focused particularly on sustainable agriculture and the importance of developing new
partnerships, scaling-up best practices and fast-tracking implementation.

Participants included representatives from Member States, UN System Organizations, International Financial Institutions and Civil Society. Permanent Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations in New York, Frederico Cuello Camilo, was amongst the stakeholders to voice recommendations during the open discussion period following the key note presentations.

Presentations on enhancing agricultural production were delivered by experts: Dr. Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Dr. Shiham Mohamedahmed, Environmental Expert, Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Unit, African Development Bank; Mr. Thomas Forster, New School Food Studies Program, International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture; Dr. Robert Townsend, Senior Economist, Agriculture and Rural Development
Department, World Bank, Dr. Madiodio Niasse, Director, International Land Coalition; Dr. Carol Kramer-LeBlanc, Director of Sustainable Development, Office of the Chief Economist, US Department of Agriculture; Dr. David Nabarro, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition; and Alain Vidal, Program Director, CGIAR Challenge on Water and Food.

Invited speakers delivered the following messages:

  • Agricultural
    development must be an integral component of sustainable development strategies.
  • Resources and leadership have been insufficient to scale-up best practices in sustainable agriculture and rural development.
  • Greater financial investment needs to be allocated towards food production.
  •  It is essential that stakeholders establish common goals.
  • The relationship between policy and implementation must be
  • High and volatile food prices; population growth and demographic changes; climate change; and land and water restraints are all factors that have contributed to global food insecurity.
  • Efforts to enhance food security must recognize and integrate climate change mitigation.
  • Safety nets such as health and nutrition programs are vital to preventing hunger and malnutrition.
  • Water productivity and
    irrigation potential must be enhanced.
  • Market opportunities need to be increased for small-scale producers in developing countries, particularly in Africa; trade restrictions must be avoided.
  • Improved indicators must be devised to evaluate progress.
  • Urban-rural linkages must be enhanced to guarantee food security.
  • Secure land tenure is fundamental to sustainable production and sustainable land and natural
    resource use.
  • Payment programs for environmental services should form part of land use strategies.
  • Greater attention needs to be paid to the areas of education, research and extension services.
  • Global partnerships must be strengthened in the areas of disease control, statistics and gene banks.
  • Increased access to financial services must be made available to small-scale farmers.
  • Practitioners in developing countries should have access to the latest technological tools.
  • Improvement needs to be made in the areas of donor coordination and the allocation of resources.
  • NEPAD (New Partnerships for Africa’s Development) countries need to strive to fulfill their obligations under the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) to allocate 10% of their national budgets to developing the
    agricultural sector.
  • Enhanced international cooperation is critical to achieving the goals set forth.
  • Initiatives need to be country-led to ensure for long-term sustainability.

Presenters also underscored the catastrophic impact of the global financial crisis on agricultural development and global food security, and the shift in policy focus away from agriculture. Shenggen Fan stressed that from 2002 to 2009 the
number of persons suffering from undernourishment has increased from approximately 857 million to approximately 1,020 million.

David Nabarro discussed the UN High-Level Task Force on the Global food Security Crisis’ Comprehensive Framework for Action, launched in July 2008, which strives to realize many of the same objectives articulated in the CSD-17 outcome document. Like CSD-17, the Comprehensive Framework for Action advocates for improved food security,
focusing on strengthening access, availability, utilization and stability.  Primary objectives of the Comprehensive Framework for Action are: increased access to emergency assistance and safety nets; enhanced productivity of small-scale production; an improved global food market; and international biofuel consensus.

Siham Mohamedahmed drove home the need to eliminate trade barriers and increase African producers’ access to international markets. She
also emphasized the severe toll climate change inflicts on African economies. According to the African Development Bank representative, climate change phenomenon such as floods and drought translate into a 1 to 2 percent GDP loss for the continent.

Alain Vidal stressed the challenge water restraints pose to meeting projected agricultural demands for the year 2050. According to the Program Director, water productivity will need to double. He described the work being
carried-out by his institution to improve food security, livelihoods, nutrition, health and environment at the household and community level in over 30 developing countries. He highlighted progress in the areas of coastal resource management, livestock water productivity, and river basin use, in Vietnam, Uganda and India respectively.

USDA Director of Sustainable Development, Carol Kramer-LeBlanc, presented the USDA’s interactive Internet platform, eXtension,
recently launched in February 2008. The purpose of the initiative is to disseminate sound scientific information and best practices to practitioners, policymakers, students and educators. The site currently contains 45 Communities of Practice including: food safety, goats, livestock and poultry waste, horticulture, equine, organic, dairy, entrepreneurship, forestry, climate change, freshwater agriculture, sustainable marine fisheries, and plant breeding. Since its reveal, the site has
received over 3.4 million hits, twenty percent of which are from residents in countries other than the United States. Ms. Kramer-LeBlanc also communicated the USAD’s interest in collaborating with international partners to create a global extension platform.

Representing the Dominican Republic, Permanent Ambassador Frederico Cuello Camilo called for fair trade as a means of advancing organic agricultural production, referring specifically to the
country’s production of cacao and banana. Moreover, the Ambassador articulated the urgent need to implement action plans to enhance agricultural production and food security in Africa. He also drew attention to the dire situation in Haiti, and advocated for a focused international response.

GFDD and FUNGLODE support the United Nations and its different agencies in carrying out their missions and achieving their goals. In 2004, GFDD and FUNGLODE were admitted to
the United Nations System as institutions with consultative status, joining the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Global Compact Office (UNGC), the Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

GFDD and FUNGLODE attend seminars and conferences about issues impacting the global community in order to remain at the
forefront of academic debate and network with renowned experts, as part of their mission to bring world-class programs concerning social and economic development and democratization to the Dominican Republic.

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