FAO and Action Aid join forces to empower rural people

Promoting rights of family-farmers, indigenous communities and women key areas for cooperation under new partnership

6 September 2015, Durban, South Africa – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and ActionAid International, a globe-spanning NGO, have agreed to embark on new joint program of work that will focus on empowering rural people.

Under the terms of a partnership agreement signed here today, the two organizations will collaborate closely to improve the livelihoods of rural communities and promote the right to food worldwide.

Adriano Campolina CEO of ActionAid International and José Graziano da Silva, FAO's Director-General, signed the agreement in an event on the side-lines of the XIV World Forestry Congress which kicks-off tomorrow.

The main thrust of the new partnership will be to boost small-scale producers' and family farmers' access to and control over productive resources. Particular attention will be paid to women and disadvantaged groups, and to increasing farmers' awareness and adoption of ecologically sustainable and climate-resistant agricultural practices. 

Advancing best practices in land tenure

One specific focus area will be building awareness of and adherence to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, a set of far-reaching global guidelines aimed at safeguarding the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries

The internationally-adopted guidelines outline principles and practices that governments at all levels should refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries and forests rights -- and represent a standard communities and civil society groups can hold their leaders accountable to.

The new joint effort will complement FAO’s existing global reach by mobilizing ActionAid's network to involve communities and civil society on the ground efforts to promote the implementation of the guidelines. This will include the preparation and distribution of training materials and programs to give these communities the tools and skills they need to do so.

The two organizations will collaborate in monitoring national and local implementation of the guidelines as well as develop additional projects aimed at empowering civil society as an active participant in promoting them.

Support to indigenous communities, female farmers

Another area of joint work will be engaging with indigenous communities to establish and maintain traditional seed banks for the conservation of biodiversity and seed variety.

And Action Aid will support FAO in implementing its Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, designed to ensure that the world's indigenous populations are considered in all relevant aspects of the agency's work.

Ensuring that agricultural and land-use policies are gender sensitive and advancing the rights of female farmers will also be an area for joint cooperation.

Note to editors: 

ActionAid is an international nongovernmental organization working with over 15 million people in 45 countries for a world free from poverty and injustice.

Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts - to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. FAO's three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.


Photo: ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto
FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, with ActionAid CEO, Adriano Campolina.