The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 28th Regional Conference for Africa was held, in Tunis, Tunisia from 24-28 March 2014. The main objective of the Regional Conference was to deliberate and reach a consensus on the three key priority areas of actions needed to accelerate agricultural transformation and eradicate hunger in Africa: enhance the enabling environment for investment by the domestic private sector, including smallholder farmers; invest in the enhancement of agricultural productivity and constructive engagement of youth, smallholder farmers and family farming; and determine how CAADP can more effectively contribute to building systemic capacity for monitoring and evaluation, and results-oriented action.
It was of paramount importance for ESAFSN to take part in such a regional conference mainly to let others know the role being played to ensure food sovereignty based food and nutrition; to engage and lobby governments from participating countries in order for them to devise and implement appropriate policies and strategies that would promote ecological and sustainable productivity and production enhancement; and to strengthen networking with other like minded CSOs from different African countries and the FAO secretariat towards paving the way for more meaningful intervention in the future.
As a result ESAFSN representative has partnered with other CSOs in designing the formal declaration and also contributed his part independently, in spite pre-arranged intervention for elected speakers during the two days preparatory workshop prepared for FAO-sponsored CSOs on 21 and 22 March 2014.
Major independent interventions focused on the need to: give due attention and support small holder farmers who practice ecological and sustainable agriculture in Africa; promote and strengthen food reserve systems to enhance food and nutrition security; develop and implement ecological agriculture friendly policies ensuring food sovereignty based food and nutrition security for the continent as the intergovernmental panel of experts on climate change (IPCC) has very recently called for the same approach worldwide against current policy directions which are more synthetic dominated and unsustainable; and give formal acknowledgement to the roles being played by CSOs in respective African countries and make available certain portion of resources being mobilized through FAO for food and nutrition security and more and meaningful space to CSOs starting from national to global level events. Moreover, a two-pager on ESAFSN intervention has been prepared and distributed to all participants in the plenary.
In addition to the formal interventions, ESAFSN representative was able to meet with Mrs. Gerda Verburg, Chair of CFS and discussed on issues including: nature of CFS, CFS role in promoting food sovereignty, need to promote new initiatives like going down to small holder farmers even to hold meetings like this one by FAO, need to promote ecological approach, need to promote food reserve systems in all African countries, among others. Acquaintances were also made with some FAO and government officials of different countries for future engagement.
ESAFSN also shared a common regional position with FAO on ecological family farming and food reserves to ensure food sovereignty based food and nutrition security in Africa.