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"FAO: social protection, critical component to reduce rural poverty" - Carla Mucavi, Director of FAO Liaison Office to the UN

13/02/2019

Delivering a statement on behalf of FAO, Carla Mucavi - Director of the FAO Liaison Office in New York - noted that social protection is an essential, but often lacking safety net in preventing rural families and other vulnerable populations including women, youth, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples from falling into a downward spiral of poverty and exclusion.

The dialogue was part of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD57), which is taking place from 11 to 21 February 2019 under the priority theme of “Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies.”

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Statement by Carla Mucavi, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office to the United Nations:

Thank you, Mr. Harris.

Distinguished panelists and discussants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to thank the Commission for organizing an interactive dialogue on this critical theme and the panelists and discussants from around the UN system for sharing their insightful perspectives.

I would like to recall that while we continue to see rapid urbanization in the world, rural people are at risk of being left behind. They are three times more likely to be poor and have lower wages than their urban counterparts. And only one of five agricultural workers have access to basic social protection.

There is, therefore, a need to invest more to transform rural areas and promote rural-urban linkages that benefit communities in rural villages and cities. Fiscal, wage and social protection policies are central elements of this effort.

FAO considers social protection as a critical component to reduce rural poverty. It is a needed but often absent buffer that would prevent rural families from falling into a downward spiral of poverty and exclusion when they are hit by economic or climate shocks.

But it must be combined with productive policies for long-term results in overcoming poverty. We have seen how linking productive investments with social protection schemes can create virtuous cycles of local development, accelerating efforts to reach Zero Hunger, sustainable development and build resilient rural livelihoods.

This is an important policy innovation that has gained traction in recent years and delivered concrete results in different parts of the world. Local food purchase from family farming is a very good example of linking social and productive policy implemented in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, with tangible results and often supported by South-South Cooperation.

I would like to emphasize that this is not only a matter of social justice, but an essential investment to help vulnerable, excluded, poor families, and especially women and youth, to effectively contribute to local economic development.

It is our strong belief that achieving the 2030 Agenda requires a strong focus in addressing inequalities and social exclusion, ensuring access by rural families to essential services and giving them the means to overcome barriers in order to build sustainable, productive and resilient livelihoods.

Thank you for your attention.

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Relevant links

FAO Statement
http://www.fao.org/new-york/fao-statements/detail/en/c/1180741/

Press release
http://www.fao.org/new-york/news/detail/en/c/1180756/

CSocD57 website
https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/united-nations-commission-for-social-development-csocd-social-policy-and-development-division/csocd57.html