1 year and 6 months from October 2003 to March 2005
At the 22nd FAO Regional Conference for Africa (RCA) on 8 February 2002 in Cairo, in an effort to halt and reverse the decline of the agricultural sector in the continent situation, the Ministers of Agriculture unanimously adopted a resolution laying down key steps to be taken in relation to agriculture in the framework of the New Partnership for Africaís Development (NEPAD). In a direct follow-up to this resolution, all ministers endorsed, at a special NEPAD session of the FAO RCA, held in Rome on 9 June 2002, the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). This CAADP programme seeks to restore agricultural growth, rural development and food security in the African region. In July 2003, the Second Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) held in Maputo, Mozambique, endorsed the Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa (including livestock, forestry and fisheries), thereby providing strong political support to CAADP. In addition, the AU Heads of State and Government resolved to implement the CAADP and its evolving Action Plan , as a matter of urgency, for agricultural development at national, regional and continental levels.
The present project GCP/INT/911/ITA was formulated to promote inter-country consultations aimed at using the framework of the CAADP of the NEPAD as a framework for combating poor agricultural productivity and poverty. Consultations are to be supported as a way to combine and harmonise the energies of individual countries. The rationale is that such is the magnitude of the developmental challenge relative to the undeveloped state of the economies that the prospects of success are very poor for individual countries, each with small domestic market and limited possibility of achieving international significance as agricultural supplier. Under individualistic national action, the possibility of successfully combating transboundary diseases and barriers to effective and sustainable trade is also poor. Accordingly, it is a developmental necessity for the small economies to consult and concert their actions, based on shared priorities, complementarity and focus on those agricultural pursuits at which they have the best chance of succeeding and becoming internationally significant. The project is justified essentially by providing support to African countries and their stakeholders at both national and sub-regional levels to effectively interact. A side benefit of this activity will be to enhance their sense of shared ownership of the CAADP and of the follow-up steps that will ultimately lead to its implementation.
The ultimate objective of the project is to strengthen Africaís capacity to engage in focused agricultural development in areas where it has the best potential to achieve success. Inter-country consultation and development through it of realistic shared and complementary priorities for development, will be the means for ensuring this strengthening. The outcome will be eventual self-sustaining development based on agriculture.
This first phase of the project will focus on the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) area which includes 12 countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). For this sub-region, the project will aim to develop further the emerging consensus on priorities.
The project will support ministerial meeting and sub-regional consultations. In particular it will: (i) review the set of the projects prepared under the NEPAD agriculture plan in order to seek the political commitment of both African governments and regional economic organizations; (ii) reinforce the awareness of the NEPAD CAADP; (iii) encourage convergence among countries around shared priorities and harmonize approaches to agricultural, agro-industrial and agricultural trade development; (iv) make recommendations that will guide the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the sub regional NEPAD agricultural action plans and to determine the follow-up steps; and (v) encourage countries to organize national consultations in order to: bring together ministers for agriculture, finance, planning and budget, private sector and farmersí associations in support of NEPAD agricultural programme; promote the integration of national, regional and sub regional NEPAD agricultural programmes into national budgets; and determine the follow-up steps including the formulation of national NEPAD agricultural action plans and the mobilization of resources.
The project was declared operational at the end of 2003. Projectís funds were used to organize and participate in the Ministerial Meeting, held in Rome from 5 to 6 December 2003, on Implementation of the NEPAD CAADP, which was attended by African Ministers for Agriculture of member countries of the Implementation Committee of NEPAD and representatives of the African Union and NEPAD, Regional Economic Communities (REC), regional and sub-regional financial institutions, multilateral organizations and farmersí and womenís organizations. The main focus was to provide a review of the CAADP implementation and to discuss the roles of RECs. During the meeting, recommendations were made to establish a system of tracking countriesí progress regarding the Maputo commitment. Throughout this process, the issue of financing agricultural development in Africa has been an underlying concern.
The project also contributed to the preparation of background documentation for the Africa Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum, held in Maputo from 2 to 4 June, 2004. The Summit addressed the low levels of investment and resources allocated to agriculture, as well as issues related to private capital inflows, putting emphasis on creating and enabling conditions for private sector development. In addition, following the Maputo Declaration, the project assisted in preparing and finalizing the CAADP Companion document, including forestry, fisheries and livestock. The document was discussed during the REC meetings. Papers were also prepared and presented at the AU Summit in Ethiopia, in July 2004. In September 2004, FAO staff participated in the AU Extraordinary Summit on Employment and Poverty held in Ouagadogou, organized by the AU in collaboration with the International Labour Organization. Background documentation was also prepared for the 4th Africa Partnership Forum, held in Washington in October 2004, and the NEPAD Road Map presented at the Forum revised. Finally, the project ensured the organization of the NEPAD Multi stakeholder Dialogue held in South Africa in October 2004. During this event, Heads of State reiterated their endorsement to CAADP and reasserted the need for creation of conducive conditions for development.