The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other shocks have hit the food security status and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people the hardest – this was the central theme of a statement to the from a two-day regional consultation by civil society organizations (CSOs) ahead of the 32nd session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC32). The consultation brought together organizations of small producers and other civil society groups representing family farmers, fishers and fish workers, pastoralists and pastoralists, indigenous peoples, consumers, forest workers, women and young people in the region. The event was convened virtually by the CSO Regional Steering Committee through the Regional Platform of Peasant and Producer Organizations of Central Africa (PROPAC) on March 28-29, 2022.
Participants discussed Conference agenda items and key issues relevant to civil society groups and communities in the region. Discussion topics included the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on agrifood systems, the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF), promoting ecosystem restoration, investment and trade for competitive agrifood systems, ensuring agrifood systems are inclusive of women, youth and the rural poor, and the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.
On the second day, participants adopted the CSO Declaration which calls for a set of key recommendations with CSO commitments. These include, but are not limited to:
- Strengthen the inclusive multi-stakeholder mechanism, including government, CSOs, producer organizations, other partners and stakeholders, at all levels, from regional to national level;
- Provide continuous technical support to the most vulnerable at the grassroots level suffering from the adverse effects of multiple shocks, including COVID-19;
- Accelerate efforts to implement the UNDFF, Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (in the context of food security and poverty eradication);
- Promote the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022; Agroecology; inclusive agrifood systems for small producers, family farmers, fishers, pastoralists, including youth, women and the rural poor, enabling and empowering them to benefit from opportunities such as the Free Trade Agreement -African Continental Exchange (AfCFTA) and overcoming challenges and crises.
CSOs have also selected three CSO spokespersons who will participate and present the CSO Statement at ARC32 (April 11-14).
Engage with civil society organizations for the transformation of agrifood systems
“The agenda of the 32nd session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa focuses on topics and phenomena that influence our way of life, affect our existence and sometimes even threaten our survival, in particular the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agrifood systems, agroecology issues, the African Continental Free Trade Area, peasants’ rights, youth and women, to name a few. Faced with this situation, as actors in the field, our point of view counts for the development of resilience actions”, declared Mr. Kolyang Palebele, President of the Central Regional Platform of Farmers’ Organizations in Central Africa (PROPAC ), also President of the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO).
“Unlocking Africa’s huge potentials for agrifood systems transformation requires strategic partnership and cooperation with various actors, including civil society and producer organizations,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, Assistant Director General of FAO and Regional Representative for Africa.
“Civil society organizations play an important role in the joint effort to transform agri-food systems and achieve food and nutrition security, where women and young people play a role in the activities of family production units, being actors keys in each production unit. The concerns and proposals for solutions from this social stratum always contribute to enriching the discussions prior to the decisions taken by FAO Members on regional priorities and the planning of activities to be carried out with the countries,” said HE Francisca Eneme Efua, Minister of Agriculture. , Livestock, Forests and Environment of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and President of ARC32.
The regional consultation brought together 55 civil society participants from 20 countries in the region. Their views enriched the debate and recommendations on regional priorities presented at the FAO Regional Conference, and contributed to the development of FAO’s engagement with civil society and producer organizations towards common goals. set in the 2030 Agenda through transformation towards more effective and inclusive strategies. , resilient and sustainable agrifood systems in Africa.
The 32nd session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa will be held from 11 to 14 April 2022 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, online and in person.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the FAO Regional Office for Africa.
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