75 Official Launch of the FAO Umbrella Programme “Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems”

Making agricultural investments durably responsible and beneficial for all

FAO

Abstract

FAO will officially launch the Umbrella Programme “Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems” on 19 October 2016. During this event, FAO will present the programme and issue a call for action. The Umbrella Programme aims to support and engage all relevant actors – governments, small-scale producers, civil society organizations and the private sector – in order to enhance responsible agricultural investment and to unite them behind one common framework for action. With more than 50 years of experience and recognized expertise, FAO has the capacity to achieve these tasks. Based on eight multi-stakeholder capacity assessment events, FAO has developed a needs-driven Umbrella Programme to provide support to all actors. This programme is designed to apply relevant international guidance instruments that are encompassing, appropriate and legitimate frameworks for action, such as the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS- RAI), the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), and the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

Key speakers

Marcella Villarreal, Director, Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development Division, FAO

Francois Pythoud, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland to FAO, WFP, IFAD

Francesco Pierri, Head Advocacy Unit, FAO

Main themes/issues discussed

FAO launched its Umbrella Programme for Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems. The programme is designed to support the application of the CFS Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) and is strategically interlinked with the implementation processes of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) and the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

Summary of key points

Increasing investments in agriculture and food systems are crucial to end hunger and poverty by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, some investments may lead to irreversible damage to local livelihoods and the environment. It is essential that investments are responsible and enhance the well-being of everyone, including vulnerable groups such as small-scale producers, landless workers, women and youth.

The overall goal of FAO’s umbrella programme is to have more and better investments in agriculture and food systems. The programme aims to deliver three outputs: (1) raising awareness and promoting joint action, (2) improving the enabling environment and strengthening capacities, and (3) supporting the monitoring of trends and impacts.

FAO has ensured that the needs and voices of all actors are taken into account in the programme, in alignment with the spirit of the SDG’s to enhance partnerships with all actors as a means of implementation. The programme is based on the inputs received at eight FAO-organized multi-stakeholder events and FAO technical expertise.

Negotiated broad-based guidance instruments, such as the CFS-RAI, are drafted with extreme care and can sometimes be difficult to apply to concrete situations. It was stressed that FAO needs to work with stakeholders to make these principles understandable and useful at a practical level.

Building on the extensive preparation and consultations, which have resulted in a solid umbrella programme, it was emphasized that it is now time to go beyond paper and get action on the ground. In the coming period FAO will focus on implementing feasible awareness raising and capacity development activities, while talking with donors for the support necessary to achieve a broad, sustainable impact.

Key outcomes/take away messages

The Umbrella Programme will address all types of investments in agriculture and food systems by all actors. This includes foreign and domestic, large and small, private and public investments.

It essential that all stakeholders focus on concrete actions.

Extra budgetary funding is critical for the long term sustainability of the umbrella programme and to further operationalize instruments such as the CFS-RAI