Civil Society Organizations discuss contributions to the 28th FAO Regional Conference for Africa
A meeting of more than 50 representatives of international, regional and national Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) based in Africa opened in Tunis today to discuss priority issues related to the development of agriculture and rural areas in Africa.
Participants at the two-day consultation at Carthage Thalasso Hotel, hosted by l’Union Maghrébine et Nord Africaine des Agriculteurs (UMNAGRI), include farmers, artisanal fisherfolk, herders/pastoralists, landless, urban poor, workers in the food sector, women, youth, indigenous people, forest dwellers and other various constituencies.
“It has become a tradition now in FAO, to organize consultative meetings with Non-State Actors (NSA) as an integral part of the regional conferences, to enable you effectively contribute in the Regional Conference as one of the main governing bodies within FAO at regional level”, said Mr. Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa.
The CSO consultation will also discuss the food and agriculture situation and CAADP implementation in Africa with a particular focus on small farmers and family farms. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). 2014 is also African Union’s Year for Agriculture and Food Security and marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).
The outcomes of the consultation will be presented at the 28th FAO Regional Conference for Africa, which will also take place in Tunis, from 24th to 28th March. Three spokespersons of the CSO Consultation to the Regional Conference have been designated in a transparent and democratic manner, taking into account the geographical and gender balance. The three CSO representatives will present the final declaration of the Consultation during the ministerial segment of the 28th Regional Conference and they will participate in the conference as participants and not just observers as was the case in the past.
In her opening remarks, Ms Elisabeth Atangana, Vice President of the Panafrican Farmers Organizations (PAFO) emphasized the importance of the CSO meeting. “Our task to influence the policy debates related to food security for a world free of hunger is huge but not impossible. We really thank FAO for providing us with this opportunity to voice our concerns and effectively contribute to its decisions making on choices leading to the eradication of hunger in the world”, she said.
The meeting was officially opened by Mr. Lassaad Machaal the Minister of Agricuture of the Republic of Tunisia.