Parliamentarians from the Republic of Congo support responsible investments in agriculture and food systems

29/07/2021 - 

The Senate and the National Assembly of Congo gathered their representatives for a signing ceremony to mark the beginning of a technical cooperation project between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Congolese Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security (APCSAN). A capacity development programme to promote responsible agricultural investments in the country was launched as the first activity to be implemented under the project.

The launch of the project follows a meeting of July 15, in which the FAO Representative in Congo, Yannick Ariane Rasoarimanana, and the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Isidore Mvouba, had discussed the details of the technical assistance that the FAO will provide APCSAN aimed at improving legal and institutional frameworks relating to responsible investments in agriculture and food systems.

"The establishment of appropriate legislative frameworks" noted Ms. Yannick Ariane Rasoarimanana, "requires political will and parliamentary action supported by cooperation and multisectoral collaboration and enhanced awareness of legislators".

The Congolese Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutritional Security (APCSAN) is a collaborative mechanism which aims to achieve national, regional and global development objectives. APCSAN was created in 2018 by the two chambers of Parliament, making Congo the first country in Central Africa to establish this type of alliance.

"Since 2018 parliamentarians, standing together, resolved to support the transformation of the agricultural sector with the support of FAO by setting up an enabling legislative framework for the promotion of inclusive, resilient and sustainable agriculture” stressed Hon. Isidore Mvouba.

As the agricultural sector plays a major role in the lives of people and development, investing in agriculture and food systems is essential to support economic growth, reduce poverty and food insecurity, contribute to rural development and create employment opportunities, especially for young people and women. In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional investments in agriculture are necessary to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic and support recovery efforts, in order to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In order to generate sustainable benefits for all, increased investment and above all, better investments which prioritize food security and nutrition of populations, support decent work, guarantee land rights and resources, recognize the right to participation and consultation and protect the most vulnerable, are essential.

Parliamentarians play a strategic role, as they can advocate and legislate for responsible public investments in the agricultural sector. These investments may take the form of public goods and services, including infrastructure, energy, research and development (particularly in rural areas), and help to create favorable conditions for increased responsible private investment by smallholders, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and agribusiness investors, while ensuring that well-defined safeguards are in place to protect legitimate interests and prevent damage to the environment and communities.


Parliamentarians take an active role in responsible agricultural investments

Parliamentarians and their teams gathered at the Palais des Congrès in Brazzaville, with experts from FAO and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) connecting virtually for a follow-up session to “The Role of Parliamentarians in Strengthening Responsible Investments in Agriculture and the Transition to More Sustainable Food Systems in Africa”, a meeting organized in December 2020 by FAO, IISD, the Pan-African Parliament, the Legislative Assembly of East Africa (EALA) and the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).   

The meeting in December focused on the role parliamentarians can play in creating an enabling environment for better investment in agriculture and food systems, and served as the launch event for Responsible investments in agriculture and food systems – A practical handbook for parliamentarians and parliamentary advisors. The publication offers guidance notes, examples of legislation and good practices.

Today's workshop responded to a request from parliamentarians for additional training in the area of responsible agricultural investments, providing the opportunity for parliamentarians and parliamentary advisers to analyze their capacity building needs in relation to priority national processes for FAO and IISD to develop a well-targeted training plan, which will be implemented in the coming months.