End Poverty 2015 - agriculture http://endpoverty2015.org/en/taxonomy/term/203/0 en Analysis: World Food Crisis and the MDGs http://endpoverty2015.org/en/end-hunger/news/analysis-world-food-crisis-and-mdgs/28/apr/08 <p>The dramatic surge in food prices has plunged millions of poor people and many net food importing poor countries into a food crisis. Consequently, it has also put at risk their chances of achieving the <a href="/goals">Millennium Development Goals</a> (MDGs) by 2015. Whilst the focus has been on the impact on the <a href="/goals/end-hunger">MDG1</a> of reducing poverty and hunger, given the close inter-connectedness between all the 8 MDGs, the impact on these sections of the poor on health, education and livelihoods more broadly, cannot be underestimated.</p> <p>Paradoxically, addressing the MDGs in a comprehensive manner, as agreed by 189 world leaders at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, could have led to much greater food security for the poor. Even now, to find a lasting solution, apart from meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of vulnerable people and countries, what is needed is essentially a much more serious and intensive effort to meet the MDGs by 2015, with a strong focus on poor and excluded groups.</p> <p>Building on a bottom-up analysis with strong national ownership amongst poor countries is the key to addressing the short and long-term causes of this crisis. A long-term MDG-based plan establishing clear cross-sectoral linkages backed up with adequate budgetary allocations, which poor country Governments have promised in 2000 and recommitted in 2005, has to be the starting point. The prolonged neglect of investing in sectors that employ large sections of the poor and excluded such as agriculture and off-farm livelihoods has to be reversed. </p> <p>While pursuing better technology for high yielding agricultural inputs can be a part of the armoury to improve agricultural productivity, there is no substitute for land, soil and water management approaches that are sustainable and respect the rights and aspirations of poor and indigenous communities, particularly women. For the revolution to remain “green”, we cannot forget that the causes of food insecurity are as much institutional and environmental as they are technical. Addressing MDG1 without studying its impacts on <a href="/goals/environmental-sustainability" />MDG7</a> and vice versa will simply mean transferring Asian models to Africa without really learning any lessons.</p> <p>The current crisis has also once again underlined the need for a much more disaggregated analysis of winners and losers and a greatly nuanced search for solutions by region, by country and by social groups – all of which are central chants in the <span class="caps">MDG</span> hymn sheet. After all it is the impact of the “one size fits all” dismantling of all forms of agricultural support and social protection that is now coming to haunt the poor. The clock has turned a full circle and even the strongest opponents of state subsidies are now promoting the idea of targeted support and conditional cash transfers. Going to scale in agriculture makes eminent sense, but a looming question is whether we are ready to go to small-scale where appropriate. The contribution of agri-businesses have to be measured in terms of their impact on food security of the poor and not any other metrics.</p> <p>An incredibly powerful aspect of this crisis has been the spontaneous public protests in countries across the world including in some countries which have no space for citizens voices to be heard. This is certainly a wake-up call to leaders that denying basic rights and <span class="caps">MDG</span> commitments have political consequences. Translating these outbursts into long-term citizens efforts to monitor state accountability is a big challenge. But the fact remains that the lack of transparency in managing public affairs and food stocks, unethical hoarding by greedy traders operating in the black market, often hand in glove with politicians, are all starting to become less and less acceptable to citizens at large. A growing and attentive media will not allow unaccountable governance and corruption to persist.</p> <p>Finally, we have been once again rudely reminded that the primary responsibility of poor countries in achieving the MDGs, and the importance of the nation-state as the ultimate unit of both decision-making and accountability, only holds true if rich countries (the so-called “international community”) also keep their side of the grand global partnership deal. They have to deliver on <a href="/goals/global-partnership">MDG8</a> commitments of both meeting aid volume commitments and aid quality promises made in the Paris Declaration and they are slipping on both. They have to conclude the Doha Trade Round in a manner that helps poor countries achieve the MDGs; sadly, not much light is seen at the end of this tunnel. Unregulated global market forces require an international architecture that works to shield the poor from shocks that are not of their own making and completely beyond their ability to absorb. The long-term distortionary impacts of subsidizing agriculture in rich countries which then leads to dumping of agricultural produce on poor countries has eroded the agricultural base in so many poor countries. Now subsidies and incentives for bio-fuels is causing a new kind of distortion leading to serious questioning of unbridled support to first generation bio-fuels that are pushing up corn prices.</p> <p>As we begin the second half of the countdown to 2015, the combined and interlinked increase of food and oil prices is really testing the global political resolve to stay the course on the MDGs. The High Level Event called by the UN Secretary General at the UN on 25 September and the <span class="caps">MDG</span> Call to Action that has already got the support of over 30 countries across the world will help in keeping our eyes firmly set on the destination that we have set sail towards, even as we go through choppy waters. The 43 million people who Stood Up for the MDGs (<a href="http://standagainstpoverty.org">StandAgainstPoverty.org</a>) on 17 Oct 2007, and the hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty will expect nothing less.</p> http://endpoverty2015.org/en/end-hunger/news/analysis-world-food-crisis-and-mdgs/28/apr/08#comments Africa End Hunger Asia Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English agriculture food crisis Mon, 28 Apr 2008 06:35:43 +0000 admin 338 at http://endpoverty2015.org UN-backed meeting on climate change's impact on agriculture wraps up http://endpoverty2015.org/en/environmental-sustainabilitynews/un-backed-meeting-climate-changes-impact-agriculture-wraps/20/dec/0 <p>With climate change threatening agriculture in Asia, 10 nations met in a three-day United Nations-sponsored meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, to discuss sustainable farming practices to feed growing populations.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.wmo.ch/pages/index_en.html">UN World Meteorological Organization</a> held its Regional Association Asia Working Group on Agricultural Meteorology meeting from 17-19 December, which was attended by representatives from China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.</p> <p>Global warming is responsible for more frequent and serious droughts, floods and storms across Asia, and this is expected to intensify in the future. Seven of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events last year were Asian: the Philippines, the Democratic Peopleâ??s Republic of Korea (<span class="caps">DPRK</span>), Indonesia, Viet Name, India, China and Afghanistan.</p> <p>This year, floods in China have forced nearly 800,000 people from their homes, caused almost $400 million worth of damage and affected over 300,000 hectares of crops. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, more than 3,000 people were killed and millions were left homeless when Cyclone Sidr struck on 15 November.</p> <p>&#8220;In view of the growing populations in Asia and the need for secure access to food for these populations, indoor and urban agriculture is also receiving special attention to make most efficient use of space using controlled environments,&#8221; said <span class="caps">WMO</span> Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.</p> <p>Participants conferred on issues critical to promoting sustainable agriculture in the region, including drought response, impacts of climate change, water resources, pest and diseases.</p> <p><span class="caps">WMO</span> recommends countries invest more in urban and indoor agriculture that can assist greatly in providing food for the hundreds of millions of people living in Asian cities whose populations are surging.</p> <p>The agency also measures providing seasonal prediction and early warning systems are crucial, as well as monitoring systems for regional droughts to guide farmersâ?? decisions on when, where and what crop is best to grow. Forecasts can also help in better managing the spread of pests and diseases.</p> http://endpoverty2015.org/en/environmental-sustainabilitynews/un-backed-meeting-climate-changes-impact-agriculture-wraps/20/dec/0#comments Environmental Sustainability agriculture climate change Thu, 20 Dec 2007 17:20:00 +0000 admin 172 at http://endpoverty2015.org