Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI)

Strengthening legal and policy frameworks

The Challenge

The achievement of the first two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - the eradication of hunger and poverty by 2030 -requires a substantial increase in responsible investments in agriculture and food systems. Policies, incentives and legal frameworks that promote responsible investment at country and regional level are needed.

Our reponse

FAO works with key stakeholders such as senior-government policy makers, technical government staff, parliamentarians, small-scale producers and civil society organizations, to:

  • strengthen capacities
  • facilitate inclusive dialogue to identify, review, develop and implement relevant policies, incentives and laws, in accordance with the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI Principles).

The Bigger Picture

Assessing the enabling environment

The enabling environment—i.e. the combined institutional, legal, policy and incentive frameworks—is one of the main determinants of investment volumes and outcomes. It requires coherence, consistency and predictability among policies, laws and regulations in the range of areas related to agriculture and food systems.

States’ responsibilities in this area revolve around their obligations under international law to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to food of all individuals. For example, this means that states should enforce laws that prevent investors from violating others’ right to food, and/or strengthen vulnerable people’s access to resources in order to facilitate their ability to feed themselves.

A series of capacity assessments conducted by FAO have highlighted the need to strengthen the commitment and capacities of different key stakeholders that include senior-government policy makers, technical government staff, parliamentarians, small-scale producers, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Each country requires a tailored approach. In some countries, for instance, there are no laws related to responsible investments in agriculture, therefore, the objective is to ensure they are put in place. In other countries relevant laws may exist but are not supported with relevant policies. Therefore, the objective is to ensure proper enforcement.

Learning Programmes

FAO develops global learning programmes on the enabling institutional, legal, policy and regulatory environment for responsible investment in agricuture, with support from the Federal Government of Germany. The e-learning programme “Creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems” is available in the FAO e-learning academy.

In the Senegal River Basin countries (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal), FAO in partnership with Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale, deploys learning programmes for policy makers on the enabling environment for responsible agricultural investments specific to the regional context. This learning programme is deployed with funding from a multi-donor trust fund supported by France and Switzerland.

Under a project funded by the Federal Government of Germany, FAO contributes to the application of the CFS-RAI Principles in Lao PDR, Liberia and Sierra Leone. To achieve this, FAO develops informative materials, organizes awareness-raising and capacity assessment events in the 3 countries, and delivers a blended learning programme specific to the national context of each country.

Enabling a favourable environment for RAI in Mesoamerica

FAO works to strengthen the capacity on policy and legal frameworks for responsible investments in agriculture in Mesoamerica. In 2016 a multistakeholder workshop was organized to assess the capacity required to foster an enabling environment for the implementation of the CFS-RAI Principles in the sub-region. In 2018, two follow-up workshops were organized in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic to support application of the CFS-RAI Principles at the national level, particularly through recommendations for the improvement of relevant policies and legal frameworks.

Within the context of improving the legal frameworks, FAO undertakes capacity development activities for parliamentarians and their advisors at national and regional level. More information is available here.