Africa Launch | The Role of Parliamentarians in Enhancing Responsible Investments in Agriculture for the Transition Toward More Sustainable Food Systems in Africa
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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Institute For Sustainable Development (IISD), the Pan-African Parliament, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament jointly organized an event on the role of parliamentarians in enhancing responsible investments in agriculture for the transition toward more sustainable food systems in Africa on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
Because of the agricultural sector’s influence on people and development, investment in the sector and in food systems is critical to supporting economic growth and reducing poverty and food insecurity. At the same time, it contributes to rural development and creating job opportunities, especially for young people, women, and other vulnerable social groups. In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, additional investment in agriculture is required to reduce its consequences and support recovery efforts toward the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In order to generate sustainable benefits for all, it is essential to ensure not only more, but above all, better investments that prioritize people’s food security and nutrition, uphold decent work, secure land rights and resources, recognize participation in consultation, and protect the most vulnerable.
Parliamentarians’ strategic position is fundamental to promoting enhanced public investments in the agricultural sector, such as the provision of public goods and services, including infrastructure, energy, research and development, especially in rural areas. These investments can also contribute to the emergence of the conditions to increase private investments, made by smallholders, by youth-led and women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and by larger-scale agribusiness investors, while ensuring well-defined safeguards are in place to protect legitimate interests and prevent damages to the environment and communities. Finally, they can act to facilitate complementarity between different kinds of investments. Members of parliament and parliamentary advisors also play a central role in building public awareness about the challenges and opportunities related to responsible investment in agriculture and food systems while ensuring that investments do not jeopardize vulnerable groups.
Based on their experience working with parliamentarians, in 2020, FAO and the IISD joined forces to develop a practical handbook that provides a comprehensive and systematic overview of the role that parliamentarians can play in the creation of “enabling environments” in several areas related to investment in agriculture and food systems. It includes guidance notes alongside examples of legislation and good practices.
This event aimed to
• Raise awareness of the importance of responsible investment in agriculture and food systems for the achievement of the SDGs.
• Bring together parliamentarians from different parties and catalyze discussions on their concrete role in the enhancement of responsible agricultural investment (RAI) within Africa.
• Launch Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems. A Practical Handbook for Parliamentarians and Parliamentary advisors.
Watch the full recording of the event
Download the Handbook here.
Check out a related story written by Francine Picard, Emma Jessie McGhie and Carin Smaller: More and Better Investments Are Needed in Agriculture and Food Systems - What can parliamentarians do about it?
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