Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI)

Working with parliamentarians

The Challenge

Transparent and stable policies, legal frameworks and incentives at country and regional levels are essential to enhancing responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. These legal frameworks can only be enabled if “change agents” worldwide are aware of the critical role that responsible investments play in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating of poverty and hunger.

Parliamentarians hold a strategic position as they can inform political and legislative agendas with the purpose of fostering more and better investment in agriculture. In fact, the Final Declaration of the Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition, (October 2018) recognizes the “need of creating an enabling environment for responsible investments in the food systems”.

Our Response

  • FAO raises awareness among parliamentarians and their advisors in different regions with a view to enable the legal frameworks that will increase responsible investment in agriculture.

The Bigger Picture

Partnering with parliamentarians

States play a unique role in fostering an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, given their specific function in the areas of legislation, policy, public administration, and provision of public goods.

Some national laws that are relevant for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems already exist in various countries, in particular with respect to the realization of the right to adequate food. However, the situation differs across regions, and in most cases, their implementation is still deficient due to several factors.

This is why working in partnership with parliamentarians on the global, regional and country level is key for the application of the CFS RAI principles. FAO organizes activities to raise awareness of parliamentarians in and their advisors and strengthen their capacities to promote responsible investment in agriculture and food systems for the reduction of hunger and malnutrition.

Global initiatives

During the summer of 2019, a survey to understand the capacity needs of parliamentarians in relation to responsible investment in agriculture was disseminated at global level, and its results will inform the development of a Practical Handbook that will be prepared during 2020 with the support of the Government of Germany.
In October 2018, FAO engaged with parliamentarians from around 70 countries and some regional parliamentary bodies at the Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition in Madrid. The Summit’s final declaration mentions the “need of creating an enabling environment for responsible investments in the food systems.”

Engaging with parliamentary alliances in Latin America and the Caribbean

In December 2019, a full day of training on RAI was organized for advisors of parliamentarians in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the context of a course on how to improve the impact of State policies to achieve SDG2 organized by the Hunger-Free Latin America and Caribbean Initiative.
In December 2018, a capacity development workshop for Parliamentarians of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic and their advisors was organized in Guatemala City to strengthen capacities to apply the CFS RAI principles at the national level of these two countries and to determine the priorities and next steps to follow.

In July 2018, a Regional capacity development workshop for the Parliamentary Front against Hunger of Latin America and the Caribbean (PFH-LAC) was organized at the Spanish Cooperation (AECID) Training Center in La Antigua, Guatemala. The goal of the workshop was to strengthen the capacities of parliamentary members and their advisors to support responsible investments in agriculture and food systems through legal frameworks and national policies. The workshop resulted in the development of a regional roadmap for implementation of the CFS RAI principles, with actions to be undertaken at regional and national level. A report, which includes the roadmap, is available (only in Spanish) here.

Engaging with parliamentary alliances in Africa

In October 2019, FAO organized a session on Responsible Agricultural Investment during the first meeting of the Parliamentary Network of Food Security in Africa and the Arab World, established in early 2019 to contribute to the global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular the second goal on eradicating hunger by 2030.

In March 2019, FAO organized a capacity development workshop for the Pan African Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (PAPA-FSN) to strengthen and consolidate capacities of the parliamentarians to position food security, nutrition and the right to adequate food on political and legislative agendas. One session was on responsible investment in sustainable food systems. The workshop was part of a two-year project to improve the legislative capacities on food security and nutrition of the PAPA-FSN.

In December 2018, the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament) officially launched a new Network of Parliamentarians on Gender Equality and Investments in Agriculture and Food Security. The vision of the network, which is being developed in cooperation with FAO and other partners, is to foster inclusive and gender-equitable agricultural investment in the ECOWAS countries. The network can be seen as a practical example of the application of the CFS RAI principles.