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Strengthening capacities to reduce hunger through enhanced responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in the Dominican Republic

18/10/2018

“When we talk about responsible investment, responsibility has to do with sustainability, and investment relates to budget. Today, the Dominican Republic is investing only 0.4% of its GDP in agriculture, and we really hope this is going to increase in the next years” said Hamlet Melo, coordinator of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger of the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, despite an increasing foreign direct investment- FDI- in the country, which is the largest FDI recipient in the Caribbean, the flow to agriculture is less than the 1% of the total.[1]

The Dominican Republic is an upper middle income country[2]; however, 85% of its households are food insecure.[3] Therefore, the recently approved national strategy to achieve SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”, “Hambre Cero al Año 2030 en la República Dominicana. Revisión Estratégica y Hoja de Ruta para el Logro del Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible 2 – Hambre Cero” comes very timely, as it identifies, as a target among others, toIncrease investment to enhance agricultural productive capacity”.[4]

“More” and “better” investment in agriculture to achieve the SDGs

On 19-21 September 2018, FAO and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) organized a multi-stakeholders workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to identify the national capacities that are needed to ensure investment is not only “more”, but “more responsible”, in accordance with the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI).

The workshop followed a sub-regional assessment carried out in 2016 with representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, and is part of the FAO Umbrella Programme “Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems”.

30 participants from different government institutions, the private sector, civil society, farmers’ organizations, and research centres, learnt about the CFS-RAI and the latest national achievements related to food security and nutrition, before collectively responding to a questionnaire about the legal framework, policies, institutions, organizations and services available in the country that are relevant for investment in agriculture and food systems.

The methodology has been used by FAO for many years; it was recently refined to include the lessons learnt in a similar workshop in Guatemala and adapted to the context of the Dominican Republic. Three days of intense discussions allowed the participants to share their knowledge and experience in relation to investment processes in agriculture and food systems at different level and in different parts of the country.

Some areas identified as priority were: improving women’s access to land, credit and other services, investing to enhance rural livelihoods in remote areas, and putting in place incentives and policies that would encourage youth to become “rural and agricultural entrepreneurs”, which would also contribute to reduce the rural-urban migration.

Which means, as indicated by MP Melo that “Safeguards to ensure those investments consider the specific interests of the most vulnerables” need to be put in place. “It is fundamental to ensure that these investments contribute to, instead of compromise, the achievement of the sustainable development goals” reminded Carmelo Gallardo, FAO Representative in the Dominican Republic.

For more information:

The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems: www.fao.org/3/a-au866e.pdf

Overview of the FAO Umbrella Programme “Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems”: www.fao.org/3/a-i6820e.pdf

E-learning course on responsible investment in agriculture and food systems: www.fao.org/elearning/#/elc/en/courses/RAI

News article on FAO-Dominican Republic’s webpage: www.fao.org/republica-dominicana/noticias/detail-events/es/c/1153523/

Previous capacity assessment in Mesoamerica: www.fao.org/capacity-development/news-list/detail/en/c/469729/

FAO’s Corporate Strategy on Capacity Development: www.fao.org/3/a-k8908e.pdf

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

Contact: 

Responsible-Investment@fao.org



[1] CEPAL. (2017). La Inversión Extranjera Directa en América Latina y el Caribe 2017. Obtenido de Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL): https://www.cepal.org/es/publicaciones/42023-la-inversion-extranjera-directa-america-latina-caribe-2017

[3] SIUBEN (2017). Documento metodológico. Escala Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Seguridad Alimentaria. Marzo

[4] Hambre cero al año 2030 en le República Dominicana – Revisión estratégica y hoja de ruta para el logro del objetivo de desarrollo sostenible 2 – Hambre cero.  https://vicepresidencia.gob.do/vicerdo/2018/02/22/gobierno-presenta-hoja-ruta-logro-del-ods2-hambre-cero-pais/

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