Indonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia

The Financing for Development summit in Addis is a decisive point in the process towards the post-2015 development agenda. World leaders, high-level policy makers, funders and finance ministers, among others, are expected to deliver the political will, policy reforms, and financial investments required to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Agriculture and nutrition is one of the four key focus areas at the summit, along with sustainable infrastructure, social protection and technology. Already at the core of much of what UNDP does every day across the globe, this reinforced agriculture as a key pillar of our poverty reduction efforts in over 170 countries.

The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive.

UNDP is engaged in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to improve the lives of millions of farmers through its Green Commodities Programme (GCP).

If smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, are to be lifted out of poverty, we need to improve the economic, social, and environmental performance of our key agricultural commodity sectors. By 2020 UNDP’s GCP aims to contribute to enabling eight million farmers, managing 20 million hectares, to improve the sustainability of their practices and as a result, their livelihoods.

Smallholder farmers mainly seek out a living by using outdated and poor production practices. Improving these production techniques will lead to increased efficiency, higher yields, and improved product quality. This in turn means increased household food security and higher household income, especially when money is saved through less fertilizer and pesticide use. There will also be a positive environmental knock-on effect.

The expansion of smallholder coffee farms in Peru, a direct result of low productivity and poverty, has contributed to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the highly sensitive Western Amazon. Indonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are also suffering, plagued by bad production techniques. This perpetuates the deforestation cycle as farmers seek to boost productivity by carving out even more land from the pristine forests of the archipelago.

UNDP, through the GCP and its global network of country offices, is working with government, private sector, civil society, and the farmers themselves, to improve production practices, yields, and product quality while protecting the environment. In other words, all the stakeholders are working together to identify, understand, and really implement solutions to the major challenges. This will take time, as all long-term strategies that really want to have an impact on our planet must. But this type of collective action – that could catapult the development agenda into the post-2015 era – is what we need to see in Addis.

SOURCE: Landesa

Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas where land is a fundamental asset and a primary source of income, security, opportunity, and status. Yet more than half of these families lack either access to land or a secure stake in the land they till.

Legal rights to land improve the resiliency of families so they can climb out of extreme poverty. Tangible land rights also lay the foundation for other development investments to take root — like education programs, financial services, and health care. Landesa partners with governments to create tailored solutions to accelerate land rights for their citizens, and advocates for other development organizations and policymakers to include land rights as a cornerstone component to alleviate extreme poverty.

Infographic | Why Land Rights Matter
Infographic | Why Land Rights Matter

  1. Population Reference Bureau, World Population Data Sheet (2005).
  2. UN Secretary General, Stand Up Event on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (2007), available at:http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/sgsm11226.doc.htm.
  3. R. Prosterman, R. Mitchell and T. Hanstad, One Billion Rising: Law, Land and the Alleviation of Global Poverty (2009).
  4. C. Chen, Land Reform in Taiwan (1961), p. 84, chart 12.
  5. K. Deininger, Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction (2003), p. 46.
  6. E. Field, “Property Rights and Household Time Allocation in Urban Squatter Communities: Evidence from Peru” (2003).
  7. C. Chen, Land Reform in Taiwan (1961), p. 84, chart 12. See also F. Gershon and A. Nishio, The Benefits of Land Registration and Titling: Economic and Social Perspectives (1999) (finding a 200% increase in income).
  8. S. Galiani and E. Schargrodsky, “Property Rights for the Poor: Effects of Land Titiling,” 94 Journal of Public Economics 700 (2010).
  9. S. Galini and E. Shargrodsky, “Effects of Land Titling on Child Health,” 2 Economic and Human Biology 353 (2004), p. 367.

SOURCE: Government of Netherlands

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands aims to improve the position of women and girls in the World. Hence another round of funding is now been made availabel: Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW).

Worldwide, some progress has been made in recent decades in attaining women’s rights and equal treatment. Many countries have abolished discriminatory laws and criminalized violence against women. They have made investments in health and education, and in some countries the economic participation of women has increased. In general, however, the pace of change is slow. In some countries and sectors, progress is at a standstill or has even been reversed. Despite major regional and contextual differences, experts agree that there is no country where progress towards gender equality is either assured or irreversible.

Call for proposals launched today

FLOW funds programs in low- and lower-middle income countries. 93 million EUR is available for the period of 2016-202, for programs aiming at:

1. Combatting violence against women;

2. Participation by women in politics and public administration; and

3. Women’s economic participation and self-reliance

Deadline for submitting FLOW proposals is 31 August 2015. More information about FLOW, e.g. policy framework and application form, in the documents below.

Specific questions can be addressed via our designated email address: DSO-FLOW-tender@minbuza.nl and our twitter accounts @community_flow and @nlwomensrights.


New and old challenges for indigenous peoples in Asia

Year of publication: 2015
Publisher: FAO; IWGIA; AIPP
Pages: 415 p.
Job Number: I4580
Office: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Corporate author: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok)
Personal author: Erni, C.
Abstract:The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007. Since then, the importance of the role that indigenous peoples play in economic, social and environmental conservation through traditional sustainable agricultural practices has been gradually recognized. Consistent with the mandate to eradicate hunger, poverty and malnutrition – and based on the due respect for universal human rights – in August 2010 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations adopted a policy on indigenous and tribal peoples in order to ensure the relevance of its efforts to respect, include, and promote indigenous people’s related issues in its general work. This publication is an outcome of a regional consultation held in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2013. It documents seven case studies which were conducted in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nepal and Thailand to take stock of the changes in livelihood and food security among indigenous shifting cultivation communities in South and Southeast Asia against the backdrop of the rapid socio-economic transformations currently engulfing the region. The case studies identify external – macro-economic, political, legal, policy – and internal – demographic, social, cultural – factors that hinder and facilitate achieving and sustaining livelihood and food security. The case studies also document good practices in adaptive changes among shifting cultivation communities with respect to livelihood and food security, land tenure and natural resource management, and identify intervention measures supporting and promoting good practices in adaptive changes among shifting cultivators in the region.

Download publication here: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4580e.pdf


Global Witness has been documenting the Papua New Guinea government’s failed response to one of the largest land grabs in modern history. In recent years roughly 12 per cent of the country has been annexed to timber and palm oil companies using a leasing system intended for small-scale agriculture. Three years after a national inquiry was launched into allegations of widespread fraud and illegality surrounding the acquisition of this land, the government has taken no meaningful action to defend its citizen’s rights to their land and halt the wholesale destruction of rainforests of global importance.

Our briefing paper documents:

  • Government inaction – The government has failed to stop any logging operations under Special Agriculture & Business Leases, even where an official investigation recommended they be cancelled.
  • Breakdown in law and order – Logging and exports continue unabated and with the support of local police and forest authorities in the one operational Special Agriculture & Business Lease the government has cancelled.
  • Failure to complete review of leases – More than three years after committing to review the legality of these leases, around 40% have not been reviewed, including the three largest timber exporting operations.
  • More logging authorized – The National Forest Board continues to issue and renew permits to log and clear rainforest under this leasing system, ignoring community complaints and the government’s own decision to repeal it.
  • Timber grabbing – Many Special Agriculture & Business Leases have been used for industrial logging rather than their intended purpose to promote agricultural development. These leases now account for nearly a third of the country’s total log exports, with an export value of roughly US$100 million a year.
  • Total impunity – No government officials or companies involved in the abuse of these leases have been prosecuted or sanctioned where evidence of criminality or negligence was uncovered by an official investigation.

Briefing paper available here: https://www.globalwitness.org/documents/10526/png_brief.pdf


This document was compiled following analysis of CIVICUS’ bimonthly Civil Society Watch reports, and additional monitoring by national and international civil society organisations who are members of the CIVICUS alliance.

Find the full report here: http://www.civicus.org/images/CIVICUSCivilSocietyWatchReport2015.pdf


New initiative aims to inform policy makers, continue global conversation on food security

Photo: ©FAO/ Sergey Kozmin

Farmers going to work in the fields of Jalal-Abad Oblast, Kyrgyzstan, in the early morning. Some 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by family farms.

16 June 2015, Rome –  Recognizing the contributions of family farmers to food security and poverty eradication worldwide, FAO today launched a new digital platform that aims to become a “one-stop shop” for information, data and legislation on the sector that produces some 80 percent of the world’s food.

“Family farmers feed our communities and take care of our earth — they are crucial allies in the fight against hunger and rural poverty,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said on Tuesday.

By gathering digitized information on family farming from all over the world – including public programs, national and regional legislation, up-to-date statistics, case studies and academic research — the new Family Farming Knowledge Platform will allow governments to build stronger policies in support of family farmers and help policy dialogue with family farmers’ organizations.

“There was a need to share knowledge on family farming-on the different kinds of policies that governments have implemented and the numerous activities of family farmers and their organizations in the field,” said Francesco Pierri, Chief of the Advocacy Unit in FAO’s Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

“There is a lot of information available on the web, but it’s scattered — we wanted one single access point for all the information out there, for anybody working in this field to use,” he added.

The initiative is among the main legacies of last year’s International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), which put the spotlight on the contributions and struggles of family farmers in the global challenge to feed a growing population of 9 billion by 2050.

The platform will benefit from the collaboration of partnerships with diverse international entities including governments, family farmers’ networks, UN agencies, NGOs and research organizations.

Governments will be a key partner in the initiative by providing a large portion of the content for the platform’s legal database that allows users to browse through a catalogue of family farming-related policies and programs per country.

After successfully establishing the platform as an international information point, a second phase will expand the initiative to also host online policy dialogues.

Why family farmers

Family farms are owned or managed by families who depend predominantly on family labor.

While the category is diverse, including not only crop but also fisheries, forestry and livestock production, the vast majority are smallholders or peasant farmers — today, some 72 percent of farms in the world are smaller than one hectare and only 6 percent are bigger than five hectares.

They are essential to local food security and balanced diets and play a key role in maintaining biodiversity by preserving traditional food products.

They support the sustainable use of natural resources and are frequently seen as holding the key to breaking cycles of rural poverty because of their potential to boost local economies and family incomes.

Since the launch of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, FAO and various partners recognized the need for a more permanent vehicle to address family farming issues and support policy makers in building strong strategies to fight hunger and make agriculture more sustainable.

In addition to the global challenge posed by climate change, common obstacles for family farmers include limited access to land, credit and technology and poor basic services like water, sanitation and electricity.

The new platform will continue the global conversation that was started with the international year and support knowledge-based action that helps family farmers keep communities food secure into the future.


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