15 Southern countries adopt the Abuja Declaration on South-South Cooperation

30/09/2013 - 

28th September 2013, Abuja/Accra - Ministers and heads of delegation from 12 African countries, the People’s Republic of China, Brazil, Vietnam, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), other United Nations agencies and development partners engaged in the multilateral agricultural South-South Cooperation (SSC), have adopted the Declaration of the High Level Forum on SSC in Abuja, Nigeria.

The countries pledged to work together on SSC, to share experiences, knowledge, technologies, best practices and capacities, as well as explore new areas and modalities of multilateral agricultural SSC.

FAO has been facilitating the South-South Cooperation involving more than 50 countries from the global South since 1996. A message by the FAO Director-General, delivered on his behalf by Mr. Laurent Thomas, the Assistant Director-General, FAO Technical Cooperation Department, said that the forum provided an opportunity for broadening the scope for sharing lessons learned and best practices of southern-generated development solutions that promote agriculture and food security

In his statement Laurent Thomas said, “FAO looks forward to learning from the discussions of the forum, by building on the collective accomplishment and opportunities in the past years to improve the effectiveness of its expanded SSC modalities in order to better serve its member countries, and better harness resources, knowledge, expertise and technological solutions in the global South.

The Minister of Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in his statement, expressed satisfaction with the contributions of the SSC programme raising food production and income of farmers, particularly in the rural areas.

“We in Nigeria have been implementing the SSC programme in its widest sense since 2003 and today we are proud to recall the immense contributions it has made to our agriculture with its introduction of over 200 technologies that are raising food production for our farmers, particularly in the rural areas; this has not only helped in reducing the farming drudgery of conventional faming, but also is putting money in their pockets,’’ he said to the delegates at the opening session of the Ministerial meeting.

Farmer’s livelihoods are improving in Nigeria

The Nigeria SSC programme is being implemented under a Tripartite Project Agreement (TPA) signed between Nigeria, the People’s Republic of China and FAO, and has been fully funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria covering its 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Due to the success of the first phase, the project’s reputation grew, allowing the second phase to be more demand-driven. It now responds to individual states’ requests for specific types of support. A nearly 700 Chinese experts and technicians have been helping Nigeria’s agricultural sector improve productivity and strengthen its capacities, not only of the farmers but also of processors, farm managers and extension staff.

The Chinese delegation sets for the next mile

China has been championing SSC around the globe, providing both financial and technological solutions to southern countries. It has been deploying nearly 1000 experts and technicians to more than 22 countries, especially in Africa. At the forum, the Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Mr Chen Xiaohua, promised to continue to work closely with governments and people of the participating countries as well as with FAO to ensure the expansion and sustainability of the programme.

“The cooperation is welcomed by the government and people locally, and recognized by FAO. The SSC modalities, experiences and lessons learned by both government of China and Nigeria have been attracting increasing attention from the international community, thus setting a unique model for achieving the MDG.”

Participating countries commit to SSC programme

The participating countries - Benin, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda, together with cooperative countries Brazil, Viet Nam, as well as FAO unanimously agreed to continue to work together in order to speed up the attainment of food security and poverty reduction in Africa through SSC by 2025.

Last July, in Addis-Ababa, the promotion and strengthening of South-South Cooperation by public institutions and Non-State actors for action was strongly encouraged by a The High Level Meeting on Renewed Partnership for a Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa jointly convened by the African Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Lula Institute.

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Submitted by: Justin Chisenga