Markets and trade

The Inter-Agency Working Group

The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) of FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD and the World Bank engages in research activities, awareness-raising and multi-stakeholder dialogue that promote the use of guidance instruments for responsible agricultural investment. Since its creation in 2009, the IAWG has actively supported and contributed to inclusive consultation processes on principles, and provided input to an ongoing global dialogue.

Background: the birth of the IAWG

The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Responsible Agricultural Investment was created in 2009, amid global concerns around a wave of large-scale land acquisitions and the need for more responsible agricultural investment. The UN General Assembly called for research about the phenomenon and practical guidance to maximize opportunities and minimize risks of large-scale agricultural investment. The creation of the IAWG was a direct response to this challenge.

Research activities: in search of good practices

The IAWG has conducted extensive research on responsible agricultural investment as well as challenges and opportunities, and gathered empirical evidence of good practices. The latest programme on principles guiding new investments in agriculture was initiated in January 2015. The programme includes field research and capacity development on responsible investment in agriculture in six African countries.

Guidance instruments: contributing to a global dialogue

Based on this empirical evidence, the IAWG has also informed public debates on international guidance instruments. For example, the IAWG actively supported and contributed to inclusive consultation processes that led to the development of international guidance instruments, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI), which were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in 2014. The CFS-RAI are based on other relevant guidance instruments such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure and take into account existing frameworks such as the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that respects rights, livelihoods and resources (PRAI), that were conceived by the IAWG in 2009 as a contribution to an ongoing dialogue.

Awareness-raising and dialogue: applying guidance instruments

The IAWG actively promotes the use of guidance instruments through awareness-raising and dialogue activities. Since 2015, FAO has organized several inclusive and interactive workshops, which are part of the programme on principles guiding new investments in agriculture. Lessons learned are regularly shared and a final report will be published by the end of 2016.