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Principes pour un investissement agricole responsable

Chers Membres du Forum,

Il est essentiel d'investir de façon responsable dans l'agriculture, en particulier dans la petite agriculture, afin de réduire la pauvreté, de créer des emplois décents, d'améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition et de favoriser la durabilité environnementale. Les investissements agricoles peuvent produire des bénéfices très divers du point de vue du développement. Pour ce faire, ils doivent toutefois être responsables et dirigés spécifiquement vers la concrétisation desdits bénéfices, et il faut veiller à éviter d'éventuelles conséquences négatives.

Afin de satisfaire ces exigences, le Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale a entamé un processus consultatif visant à élaborer des principes pour un investissement agricole responsable et à faire en sorte qu'ils emportent une large adhésion. Ces principes devraient permettre de promouvoir, dans le secteur agricole, un investissement responsable qui contribue à la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et qui favorise la concrétisation progressive du droit à une alimentation adéquate dans le contexte de la sécurité alimentaire nationale.

Ils sont destinés à fournir des orientations pratiques aux gouvernements, aux investisseurs publics et privés, aux organisations régionales et intergouvernementales, aux organisations de la société civile, aux établissements de recherche et aux universités, aux donateurs et aux fondations. Facultatifs et non contraignants sur le plan juridique, ils devraient être interprétés et appliqués conformément aux obligations en vigueur inscrites dans la législation nationale et le droit international.

Des consultations se dérouleront de novembre 2013 à février 2014, sous la forme de réunions régionales ou par voie électronique. La consultation électronique vise à mettre à profit le retour d’informations et les apports reçus dans le cadre des consultations régionales en donnant aux personnes et aux organisations qui n’ont pas encore été en mesure de participer aux réunions physiques la possibilité de s’exprimer.

Tous les avis qui auront été recueillis contribueront à l'élaboration de la première version du projet, laquelle sera ensuite négociée par le groupe de travail à composition non limitée du CSA sur les principes pour un investissement agricole responsable en mai 2014, à Rome. Les principes qui auront été définis au cours de ce processus seront présentés au CSA à sa quarante et unième session, en 2014, pour adoption en séance plénière. 

Nous vous invitons à nous donner votre avis sur l’avant-projet en répondant aux questions ci-dessous:

1. L'avant-projet aborde-t-il comme il se doit toutes les questions et domaines en rapport avec le fait d'encourager l'investissement agricole responsable? Si non, quelles modifications conviendrait-il d'apporter?

2. Les rôles et responsabilités des parties intéressées pertinentes sont-ils définis de façon suffisamment claire pour faciliter l'application des principes? Si non, quelles modifications conviendrait-il d'apporter?

3. L'avant-projet permet-il d'atteindre les résultats souhaités pour ce qui est de promouvoir des investissements agricoles qui contribuent à la sécurité alimentaire et à la concrétisation progressive du droit à une alimentation adéquate dans le contexte de la sécurité alimentaire nationale? Si non, quelles modifications conviendrait-il d'apporter? 

4. Les principes sont destinés à fournir des orientations concrètes aux parties intéressées. Par conséquent:

  • La structure actuelle et le langage utilisé sont-ils clairs et accessibles à toutes les parties pertinentes intéressées?
  • Quelles mesures faut-il prendre afin que les principes pour un investissement agricole responsable soient utilisés et appliqués par les différentes parties prenantes après approbation par le CSA?

Nous vous remercions à l'avance du temps que vous allez consacrer à ce partage de connaissances et d'expériences.

Christina Blank

Présidente du Groupe de travail à composition non limitée sur les principes du CSA pour un  investissement agricole responsable

Cette discussion est fermée. Contactez fsn-moderator@fao.org pour tous renseignements.

Dr. Botir Dosov CACAARI, Uzbekistan
21.01.2014
Botir

My feedbacks:

1. Are all relevant issues and areas related to fostering responsible agricultural investments adequately addressed in the Zero Draft? If not, what should be changed?

Yes, they are. Principles are well defined and formulated. Though ‘Food safety’ and ‘addressing risks emerging from food insecurity’ seen being implied in the part I, they should be highlighted in terms of existing situation and forecasting risks. I also miss the stressing on standards of accountability and reporting of food security at national level. Additionally, I found that principles are described in more generic style, but I acknowledge that this document is highlighting the ‘principles’ and does supposed to be detailed or specific. ‘Principles’ should not interpreted in multiple meaning, therefore should have shorter and wider versions. It would also be useful to readers to brief why principles are divided into groups / parts.

2. Are the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders clearly defined in order to facilitate implementation of the principles? If not, what should be changed?

Yes, and not. Yes, because this document is stipulate ‘general’ principles, not a guiding ‘principles’ or framework or strategy or policy. Not, because, each case would have its own framework in kind of project or program, where actors of public and/or private sector would have different mandate and role. Additionally, each case could be different state by state. In the section “roles and responsibilities” the document states that ‘states’ are obligated…, are encouraged… . It is not clear will this assure the buy-in of principles by states and national partners.

While public and private sector is considered as horizontal dimension, a vertical dimension should also be considered, such as inter-sectoral institutions, regional and global bodies, and their roles and responsibilities.

3. Does the Zero Draft achieve the desired outcome to promote investments in agriculture that contributes to food security and supports the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security? If not, what should be changed?

Yes, it does, if the principles are recognized, adopted and implemented/followed by countries. I think first of all these principles should up-scaled as much as possible to make sure that they could be then out-scaled. The principles are very holistic, but still more efforts should be done in order assure ‘buy-in’ by national partners.

4. The principles are intended to provide practical guidance to stakeholders; therefore:

Are the current structure and language used clear and accessible for all relevant stakeholders to apply?

Yes, it is very clear and easy to read! But, I am not sure that all stakeholders would be communicated. An Intstitution in charge should be resposible for communicating the principles should be communicated to all stakeholder. The principles should be translated into local languges.

What steps need to be taken for the CFS-RAI principles to be used and implemented by different stakeholders after endorsement by CFS?

This is very critical. The principles are very holistic, but still more efforts should be done in order assure ‘buy-in’ by national partners. The CFS-RAI principles should be widely endorsed and adopted by development continuum, global initiatives and political bodies. Wide campaign should be implemented towards formal recognition of the principles by states. Global Standards on food security accounts/accounting should also be adopted globally for assuring the transparency and M&E of principles implementation. CFS-RAI principles should also be linked with MDGs. 

Abdul Razak Ayazi Afghanistan Embassy, Italy
20.01.2014
FSN Forum

I note that the four questions on which you wish to receive feedback from Permanent Representatives are not exactly the same that were posed to the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on 19 September, 2013.  Nevertheless, I shall try to respond to all the four questions.

Question 1 : Are all relevant issues and areas related to fostering responsible agricultural investment adequately addressed in the Zero Draft? If not what should be changed?

          As I understand it , the Zero Draft has a special intent, namely to elaborate the Principles that need to be observed when investment is planned for agriculture by all stakeholders. From this angle the Zero Draft adequately covers the main issues and areas in making agricultural investment responsible.

          However, fostering responsible investment in agriculture at the national and local level, including for food security and nutrition, goes much beyond the 8 RAI Principles. Agricultural investment on a national scale hinges on such important consideration as macroeconomic environment, political stability, growth prospects in the sub-sectors of agriculture, suitable land and water resources, enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of agricultural commodities produced domestically, size of the internal market, choice of technology, institutional services, infrastructure, access to finance, tax and credit policies, incentives etc. At project level, the decision is based on social cost/benefit analysis in which it may prove difficult to factor in one or more of the 8 Principles into the analysis.

          The notion that the eight Principles provide all the elements required for investment decision at national or project level would be an exaggeration.   

          Question 2 : Are the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders clearly defined in order to facilitate implementation of the Principles? If not what should be changed?

          The inclusion of a section on “Roles and Responsibilities” in part I, II and III is appreciated. The question is how detailed these role and responsibilities be spelled out. In Part I, it covers two full pages. Taking Part I, II and III together there are 35 bullet points on Roles and Responsibilities for States, 18 for Investors and 4 for others, making a total of 57 bullet points. We think that in order to avoid a shopping list, there should be few bullet points of high relevance. Given the wide range of capabilities and resource availability among states and given the diverse profile of investors, a short list will be more desirable. This is more so as RAI Principles are voluntary and non-binding as underlined on page 2 of the Zero Draft.     

          Question 3 : Does the Zero Draft achieve the desired outcome to promote investment in agriculture that contribute to food security and supports the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security? If not what should be changed?

          This is a loaded question and therefore difficult to answer. The difficulty arises  due to the fact that the promotion of investment in agriculture depends on several  other things that are not part of RAI Principles. Therefore, I am not able to respond to this question.

          Question 4 : The Principles are intended to provide practical guidance to stakeholders; therefore:

  1. Are the current structure and language used clear and accessible for all relevant stakeholders to apply?

From the language point of view the Zero Draft is acceptable. With respect to structure, we have four comments to make.

First, each of the 8 Principles have bullet points, amounting to 17 bullet points for 8 Principles. Each bullet point touches on a different issue and can stand on its own. So one wonders if there are 8 or 17 Principles. We would prefer to merge the bullet points under each principle into a single concise text as was the case in the May, 2013 Session of the OEWG. It should be noted that the 7 Principles drafted jointly by FAO/IFAD/World Bank and UNCTAD at the request of G20 were also in the form of concise texts.

Second, there is considerable room for making the section on rationale for each RAI Principle crisp and short. For example, the rationale of Principle 1 could be reduced to read “Investment in agriculture and food systems contributes to the fulfillment of the four key dimensions of food security; availability, access, stability and utilization”. It is not necessary to define what food security is or explain the particulars of the four dimensions. They are well known to all stakeholders.

          Third, under each Principle a number of Objectives are listed and these amount to 27 Objectives. We do not think this is the right approach because it amounts to the proliferation of RAI Objectives. We prefer that the Objectives under the 8 Principles be consolidated and shown in one place under the current title of “Objective, nature and scope” on page 1 of the Zero Draft.

          Fourth, we recommend refraining of too much of subscription in the sections on Application, particularly for Principle 1 and 3.

  1. What steps need to be taken for the CFS/RAI Principles to be used and implemented by different stakeholders after endorsement by CFS?

Once the Principles are approved, the next steps will be advocacy, implementation and monitoring. One would think the same route would be appropriate for RAI Principles as the one observed for VGGT, which is also voluntary and non-binding as the RAI Principles. 

Advocacy should be done by all organization approving the Principles, with the three Rome-based agencies taking the lead.

The IFIs would need to internalize the RAI Principles in their investment policy for agriculture and rural development and adjust their lending and grant policies accordingly.

States should be encouraged to adjust their current legislation on domestic and foreign investment to make room for RAI Principles. Implementation is the prerogative of the States and there is not much that CFS can do.

Monitoring the progress in the implementation of RAI Principles could be handled by CFS.    
 

Prof. Alexander Sagaydak State University of Land Use Planning , Russian Federation
15.01.2014
Alexander

In my opinion, the Zero Draft of the RAI is a logical development of the VGGT. It establishes a comprehensive approach to responsible management of investments in agriculture. It is very important for Russia and other post-Soviet countries. As for the questions that can be answered as follows.
1. Almost all major aspects of the responsible agricultural investing are adequately described in the Zero Draft.
2. The roles, rights and responsibilities of the main parties involved in the investment process in agriculture are also described clearly.
3. The Zero Draft is quite perfect document, which I believe have a major impact on improving the efficiency of agricultural production, providing its sustainable development in the context of national food security.
4. The Zero Draft is written clearly, understandable and accessible.
I especially appreciate that the Zero Draft pays great attention to the environmental aspects of investment process in agriculture. This reveals the connection between the Zero Draft of the RAI and the VGGT.
However, in my opinion, it should be noted that investing in agriculture should be carried out on the basis of project analysis using international indicators to measure the effectiveness defined by using international accounting standards. This requirement is especially important for Russia and other post-Soviet countries. Implementation of the RAI should be started with the launch of the pilot projects in the different parts of the world. The experience should be scrutinized, disseminated and replicated.

15.01.2014
C.Palanivelayutham

Dear sir,

I have read the zero draft on principles of responsible Agriculture investment.

 1. Are all relevant issues and areas related to fostering responsible agricultural investments adequately addressed in the Zero Draft? If not, what should be changed?

In this topic I want to include some of the areas related to fostering responsible Agriculture investment.

1. The government organisation, or private public participation mode the investment should be focussed in the area of irrigated Agriculture. Investment towards the development of irrigation facilities, water harvesting technologies, Drip,sprinkler irrigation, and improved agroniomic practices are to be given primary importance.

2.  Either Private sector.or ppp mode more investment are needed in the area of certified seed production which will pave the way for better production in this crop  and sustainable income for Agriculture investment.

3. More investment should be added in formation of cold storage, supply chain management, retail marketing, door to door  supply of farm products and value added service.

4.Future market in agriculture commodity (on line market) should be strictly prohibited for sustainable Agriculture investment.

Katy Lee International Agri-Food Network, Italy
13.01.2014
Katy

Dear Christina Blank,

Sincere thanks from the PSM for setting up this valuable E-consultation and the chance to give our views. It is an extremely good idea to reach out to try to get a full set of responses from stakeholders before we get into the nitty gritty of the text later in the year.

I was interested to read the comments of Mr. Rigterink - many thanks for kicking off the debate!

The Zero Draft we have seen is a good starting point but the big job now for those involved in the CFS principles is to create a document that everybody can work to and one that gets the best possible benefits from all types of investment. 

As far as views from the International Agri-Food Network go, it is clear that agriculture has been undervalued for too long and all forms of investment in agriculture - public and private, foreign and domestic, small and large - will be needed to increase food production sustainably.

Investment is needed to foster food production, avoid waste, and create value added products. When it comes to assessing investments, this should take place not only at the local level but also at the national and regional level, taking into account potential food security impacts and potential trade offs. 

To pick up on Mr. Rigterink's points on smallholders, investments that support smallholders in moving from subsistence farming to creating surpluses are advantageous to help support food security through local, regional and international trade. 
 
On environmental impacts of investment projects, these should be assessed and measures should be taken to encourage sustainable resource use while minimizing the risk of negative impacts and mitigating them. 
 
Perhaps not stressed enough in the current draft, are the exciting and very positive prospects that investments in the transportation, storage, and handling of grains can bring. All of these things can help to minimize post harvest losses and increase overall food availability. 
 
There are many more specific aspects of the text that I could draw upon but I will throw the debate open to others for the time being!
 
One final suggestion would be to shorten and clarify the draft, especially when it comes to roles and responsibilities. This is no doubt going to be an interesting debate when you consider all of the actors and countries involved in the CFS process, all with specific national contexts! For now, why don't we think about joining the roles and responsibilities into one section and perhaps putting it at the end?
 
Looking forward to hearing from others.
 
Katy
 
 
Paul Rigterink Potomac Technical Advisors, États-Unis d'Amérique
13.01.2014
Paul Rigterink

1. Are all relevant issues and areas related to fostering responsible agricultural investments adequately addressed in the Zero Draft? If not, what should be changed?

Farmers living on a small plot of land need better information and access to supplies.

For example,

Does an agriculture investment organization supply information on the right type of fertilizer, pesticide, herbacide, and seeds to use for a particular type of crop?

Does an agriculture investment organization insure that the appropriate supplies needed by a small farmer are available including tools, nursery stock, veterinary supplies, fencing, irrigation equipment, packaging, transport, marketing information, crop insurance, fertilizer, pesticides, herbacides, etc. 

Without all the proper supplies and better information, small farmers will not be able to increase their cash crops and small animal production; Often they will not be able to pay back their investment if there is unusual weather.   An agriculture investment organization needs to insure that all the supplies and information are available so that their investments are appropriate.  This is currently not being accomplished.