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It has been one year, that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) established its office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The office serves as a hub for the wider sub-region, covering the Fund's portfolios in  Indonesia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Earlier this month, IFAD commemorated this anniversary with a Forum on Empowering communities, strengthening resilience in Jakarta.

Partners and stakeholders, including government representatives from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, development partners, civil society and private sector, followed the invitation extended by IFAD, the Indonesian Ministry for National Development Planning and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. Having all partners in one room provided an opportunity to explore enhance cross learning and strengthen linkages within the portfolio: As Island states, the countries in IFAD’s portfolio in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific share a number of similar characteristics related to social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition related opportunities and vulnerabilities.

We are living in a fast changing and interconnected world today.  This new world calls for joint efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable development. For joint efforts to work, we need trust and an understanding of our shared interests. We have the global level commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our gathering today is not independent from this work, but it should complement or even catalyse the process.
H.E Bambang Brodjonegoro
Minister for National Development Planning
Indonesian Minister Bambang adressing the South-South Forum

In two sessions, participants explored good practices, common challenges and collaboration opportunities. The Project Forum Empowering communities, strengthening resilience focused on exchanging good practices and innovations from project implementation. Bringing together project partners from Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as regional networks and farmers’ organizations.

We at IFAD are firm believers in the power of partnerships. And our partnership with the Government of Indonesia, with the Governments of the Pacific Islands, with the Government of Papua New Guinea, and the Government of Timor-Leste, and all of you was taken to a new level when we opened the office here. I cannot think of a better way to mark this important step, and to honour the subregional character of our office, than assembling together to facilitate cross-learning and partnership not only within but among our countries.
Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes

Participants of the Project Forum
 Key messages emerging from the conversation were:
  • Empowering communities and creating ownership in programmes and processes for all stakeholders and giving rural people a voice and control over decisions that affect their lifes is crucial for development success.
  • Special attention should be placed on engaging young people to build tomorrow’s successful rural producers by bringing in innovative technologies, and most of all, make farming a solid business.
  • Partnerships create opportunities to leverage additional resources. Programmes must put structures and capacities in place so that these can be sustained beyond project completion.
  • Rural women and men’s resilience to increasing risks, such as by the impacts of a changing climate, can be strengthened by better natural resource management, diversifying income sources and mitigation measures such as insurances and savings.

Discussing how to ensure market access for remote rural villages.

Empowering our people and strengthening resilience is much more relevant today than yesterday, and much more so in the future, particularly with the increasing challenges through climate change, sea level rising and increasing severity of natural disasters. 
Balwyn Fa’otusia
CEO, Ministry of Finance and National Planning

The key is to activate the community to run with the programme. When programmes do not belong to the community, they will not be sustainable.
Lottie Vaisekavea
Programme Manager Rural Development Project
Solomon Islands

Introducing coastal resource management practices mot only created additional income opportunities through eco-tourism and better coastal ecosystems. It also enhanced the villages protection from beach erosion and floods.
Sapta Putra Ginting
National Project Coordinator
Coastal Community Development Project

The High-Level Roundtable Transforming Rural Areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific centred around the status of rural areas and how they can be transformed into vibrant economic and social centres. Building on the good practices and common challenges identified by the project-level forum, the high-level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, also explored opportunities for South-South collaboration.

The Indonesian Minister of Villages sharing his vision for rural areas.
We have the dream to turn villages into economic growth centres.
H.E. Eko Putro Sandjojo
Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration

We need to change the way we do development and partnerships if we want to address the challenges that we are facing. More mitigation now means less adaptation in the future.
H.E. Inia Batikoto Seruiratu
Minister of Agriculture

IFAD has been instrumental in designing processes to strengthening communities and giving them a voice in development planning.
H.E. Tevita Lavemaau
Minister of Finance and National Planning

Ministers and high level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu with IFAD Associate Vice President

In outlining the way forward, Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes, stressed the need to change mindsets in order to change practices, the importance of sharing knowledge and resources and the need to de-risk the agriculture sector. He recognised the expectation by IFAD’s member states to deliver faster and highlighted IFAD’s approach to develop tailored solutions—together with respective governments and communities. Findings of the forum will be reflected in IFAD’s work going forward.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the next chapter for IFAD in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Indonesian Minister of Finance delivering her remarks.

The day concluded with a reception to celebrate the office anniversary. In her opening remarks, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, H.E. Sri Mulyani, appreciated the IFAD’s partnership with Indonesia as well as the Fund’s contributions towards Indonesia’s rural development. She further expressed her expectation that with IFAD being on the ground, this partnership can be further strengthened.

from the left: IFAD Asia and Pacific Director Hoonae Kim, IFAD SEA and Pacific Country Director Ron Hartman, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes Perin Saint Ange, Secretary Department of Agriculture and Livestock PNG Vele Pat Ila' Ava, Minister of Agriculture Fiji Inia Batikoto Seruiratu, Minister of Finance and National Planning Tonga Tevita Lavemaau, Minister of Finance Indonesia Sri Mulyani, Senior Advisor to the Minister and IFAD Governor Indonesia Rionald Silaban

By Vivienne Likhanga, PROCASUR


In November 2016, the Learning Route (LR): Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors: the cases of Mozambique and Rwanda was implemented in several districts of Mozambique and Rwanda by PROCASUR Corporation. The IFAD projects: Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in Mozambique and Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda were selected as one of the best practices in managing climate change and adaptation components under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. The LR was organized and co-funded under the framework of the IFAD-PROCASUR Large Grant Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations”.

The partnership between PROCASUR and the IFAD Projects PROSUL and PASP involved the projects acting both as the LR ‘host cases’ on the one hand and as active ‘participants’ and beneficiaries of the learning activity on the other hand. An agreement between PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL was signed in August 2016 in order to design and implement the LR activity. PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL staff worked jointly to identify, select and systematize the good experiences to be visited during the LR. In November 2016 PASP and PROSUL, supported by PROCASUR, successfully hosted 25 participants from 7 different countries and implemented all the learning activities foreseen by the LR in Mozmabique and Rwanda through the valuable effort of many local champions.

Learning Route Participants from the IFAD Project: Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) in Botswana at the experience of the multiplication of climate-resilient varieties of cassava in Manjacaze District, Gaza Province, Mozambique in November 2016

Two members of the PROSUL project team participated in the whole LR, culminating in the development of an Innovation Plan (IP): “Strengthening Institutional Capacities to Improve the Provision of Climate Information to smallholder farmers in Southern Mozambique”. The IP aims at establishing an effective climate information system for enabling farmers and agricultural stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to seasonal planning and monitoring. This is a crucial component in many IFAD-supported projects addressing Climate Change Adaptation, and in particular in the ASAP, as an important adaptation measure to increase small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks.

Technical Exchange: Enhancement of Knowledge Management in the PROSUL project

Prior investments on climate information in Mozambique had already been made by the PROSUL project with the aim of setting up an effective mechanism for the provision of climate information such as the rehabilitation of two meteorological stations, in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, and the provision of training to meteorological observers. These activities were done under the scope of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI), the former leading agency of PROSUL, and the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). As highlighted in the rationale of the IP, both INAM and PROSUL failed to achieve the expected results due to the weak capacities in INAM in developing readily use messages framed to agricultural sector and to the lack of involvement of the Department of Crops and Early Warning (DCAP) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).

The IP, designed by the LR’s participants from the PROSUL project, integrates the lessons they learnt during the LR from the PASP project in Rwanda, where the provision of climate information to farmers and the relationships among the government institutions involved has achieved positive results.

Local Champion, Justin Etienne Mpayimana explaining how he uses the climate information provided by the Rwanda Meteorological Agency to plan his farming activities. Justine is a farmer and a businessman running a small shop at the Mutara village in Ngoma District. He is also a member and beneficiary of the KOREMU Cooperative that illustrates the financial mechanism developed by the IFAD Project: Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) to access to equipment and technology for post harvesting activities under the hub operational model as product and business aggregation points. He is an interesting example of success of usage of climate information that has been adapted in the Innovation Plan of the PROSUL Project in Mozambique.

From the LR (November 2016 – where the IP idea was born) to date, the IP has been discussed in depth among the PROSUL project management team (PMT), the IFAD country office in Mozambique, the governmental stakeholders involved and with PROCASUR. There has been a renewed commitment from INAM to revisit their objective of increasing small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks. Due to the strong interest and willingness of all the interested stakeholders and the PROSUL PMT to implement the IP, and in line with the recommendations received by IFAD in the mid-term review report, PROSUL expressed the specific request to PROCASUR to facilitate one of the activities foreseen in the IP that will lead to the strengthening of their capacities in collecting and processing climate data and the final and timely dissemination of the climate information to smallholder farmers.

In this framework, PROCASUR will be organizing a technical – institutional exchange learning activity in Rwanda involving PROSUL, MASA and INAM representatives in order to strengthen their capacities in providing climate information to smallholders and to improve the institutional dialogue by exposing them to the processes and tools used in PASP. This training will be held in September 2017.

We look forward to updating you on the progress!  Stay tuned for more on the innovation plan implementation and more information on the Learning Initiative on our Website and Facebook Page.

Por Salvador S. Merlos

Árboles frutales enTunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
El 20 de junio de 1698, un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 en la escala de Richter provocó grandes deslizamientos en las laderas altas del volcán Carihuairazo, que acabarían sepultando a la actual ciudad ecuatoriana de Ambato, en la provincia de Tungurahua. Pocos meses después de la catástrofe, pobladores de Santa Rosa, el Obraje de Huachi y el asiento de Ambato construían en esa misma provincia la acequia Toalló. Esta obra abastecería de agua a buena parte de la microcuenca, aunque sería también motivo de disputas a lo largo de los siglos, reflejando así la importancia crucial que el agua ha tenido en esta región desde tiempos inmemoriales.

Un año después del grave terremoto que en 2016 destruyó los hogares de más de 20.000 habitantes de poblaciones rurales del Ecuador, el Vicepresidente Adjunto del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), Périn Saint Ange, visitó el país andino con el mensaje de que, junto a la ayuda humanitaria en casos de desastre, el desarrollo a largo plazo es crucial para reconstruir vidas. Además de reuniones con ministros e instituciones, el Sr. Saint Ange viajó a Tungurahua junto con funcionarios del Ministerio de Agricultura y representantes de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) para reunirse con pequeños agricultores y jóvenes beneficiarios del proyecto "Buen Vivir". Su propósito era conocer de primera mano la manera en que este proyecto financiado por el FIDA está transformando los medios de vida de las comunidades rurales y especialmente de las mujeres.

Riego tecnificado en Tunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
En las inmediaciones de la antigua acequia Toalló, el presidente de la Junta de Riego del canal de Mocha-Huachi, Hugo Villegas, recibió calurosamente al Sr. Saint Ange en compañía de un gran número de los 214 beneficiarios de ese proyecto. De ahí partieron al reservorio de agua, cuya capacidad es de 4.200 m3, para comprobar in situ cómo el nuevo sistema de riego de parcelas permite diversificar la producción de papa y alfalfa en las 120 hectáreas de Tunga-San Pedro. Los principales productos que se cultivan son la alfalfa, frutales caducifolios, zanahoria, papa y maíz, mientras que en la parte pecuaria se manejan cuyes.

La incorporación de riego tecnificado es crucial para una región que se está viendo fuertemente afectada por el cambio climático. El caudal concesionado del río Mocha ha registrado un descenso de alrededor del 40% en el lapso de poco más de 20 años, lo que ha incidido directamente en la disponibilidad de agua para su uso en la acequia Mocha Huachi. "La incorporación de los sistemas presurizados, además de un uso eficiente del recurso, contribuye a empoderar a las mujeres, quienes ganan tiempo y calidad de vida, rompiendo así el circulo de la pobreza y de las desigualdades", afirmó Caroline Bidault, Gerente del Programa del FIDA en el Ecuador. Esto se ha traducido, por ejemplo, en un incremento de los rendimientos de alfalfa de 25.000 kg/ha con riego por inundación a 33.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado; en cuanto a la papa, se ha pasado de 9.500 kg/ha con riego por inundación a cosechar 16.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado.

Narcisa Mayorga frente al reservorio de agua de la acequia Mocha Huachi ©FIDA
El Gerente del Programa Buen Vivir Rural, Hugo Dután, destacó la importancia de la presencia del Vicepresidente Adjunto del FIDA, "al dar cuenta de iniciativas productivas tradicionales que se mejoran con la incorporación del riego, además del gran impacto territorial generado por la modalidad de intervención mancomunada entre los Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados, las organizaciones y el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería por medio del Programa Buen Vivir rural que se ejecuta mediante el convenio con el FIDA".

Narcisa Mayorga, una de las agricultoras beneficiarias, destacó que a raíz del proyecto las mujeres disponen de más tiempo para dedicarse también a otros menesteres. "Además del tiempo ganado, ha mejorado la seguridad, pues en el pasado hubo accidentes, algunos de ellos mortales". Narcisa cuida de sus padres y corta a diario la alfalfa de su terreno para alimentar a los cuyes, que vende en una feria cada jueves. "Los nuevos turnos de riego nos han permitido renunciar a las palas, azadones y picos, para incorporarnos con las válvulas. Ya no tenemos que levantarnos de madrugada para pernoctar tempranamente".

Perin Saint Ange es obsequiado con una muestra de productos de Mocha Quero ©FIDA
La experiencia de trabajo en el Proyecto ha permitido que los beneficiarios adquieran nuevos conocimientos y desarrollen destrezas técnicas, además de fortalecer la coordinación interinstitucional, el trabajo en equipo, la capacidad de entendimiento entre todos los involucrados y un sinnúmero de aprendizajes que contribuirán al ejercicio de nuevas y mejores prácticas. Alberto Flores, operador del sistema de riego del ingreso del agua al reservorio, es un buen ejemplo de ello. Él se encarga de abrir la válvula, verificar las presiones y dar mantenimiento, al tiempo que cuida de un pequeño terreno en el que cultiva mora. Junto a él, 214 familias del ramal San Pedro han aportado un terreno para la construcción del reservorio, y han excavado más de 9.000 metros de redes secundarias, además de adquirir e instalar equipos en las parcelas.

Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA
La comitiva prosiguió su visita al Directorio de Aguas de la Acequia Mocha Quero, en el cantón Pelileo, donde la implementación de sistemas de almacenamiento y riego tecnificado ha contribuido a la diversificación de la alfalfa, la mora y el tomate de árbol. Allí, Ángel Morales, uno de los beneficiarios del proyecto, explicó a la delegación del FIDA que el reservorio para regadío de su finca lo utilizan también como piscifactoría. Mientras invitaba a la comitiva a descender por su escarpado terreno para mostrar el sistema de riego ante la vista imponente de los Andes, un familiar daba de comer a los peces, destinados de momento al consumo de cuatro familias. "Este es un sueño que el proyecto del Buen Vivir ha hecho posible", comentó con visible emoción. "Me siento muy orgulloso de ser campesino".

Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA

By Francesco Rubino and Elisabeth Steinmayr
Q&A with participants and World Bank representatives © F. Rubino
As part of its knowledge generation and sharing activities, in March 2017 a team from the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL)* travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty (20-24 March 2017). The globally re-nowned conference represented the ideal stage to share the preliminary results obtained by the project in securing land tenure rights for smallholder farmers in Mozambique.

The PROSUL project is an IFAD-supported project working to support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors. In doing so, the project works across 19 districts in the In-hamabane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces, focusing on three specific value chains: horticulture, cassava and red meat (i.e. cattle, goats, etc.). Alongside building stronger farmer organizations and improving the agribusiness linkages for farmers, the project strongly focuses on climate smart interventions and land tenure security in the rural communities targeted.

The paper Mainstreaming Securing Land Rights in Value Chain Development Programmes: The Case of the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors in Mozambique presented at the World Bank Conference gave insights on PROSUL’s experience in mainstreaming interventions that aim to facilitate land tenure regularization for smallholder farmers in the project provinces.

PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate arriving at the
 Conference ©F.Rubino
In its work under the cassava value chain, PROSUL has managed to secure 4,260 individual land use rights titles (DUATs – Direito de Uso e Aproveitamento de Terra) in the districts of Morrumbene, Massing and Jangamo; and of these approximately 33,5% were attributed to female-headed households, through both individual and co-titling arrangements. This showcases a great result for the project team, as they were able to go beyond their yearly target. In addition to that, almost 161,400 hectares (ha) of land were delimited and provisional land delimitation certificates issued in communities that largely depend on livestock as one of their main sources of income. Within the areas identified, circa 105,400ha were designated as grazing areas, thereby assisting the communities in their desire to reduce the land degradation through a better management of their livestock routes and grazing patterns.

Beyond the described successes PROSUL also faced a number of challenges, and in presenting the paper to the numerous participants that attended the presentation, the PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate mentioned the need to continue promoting and increasing the secured access to land for vulnerable groups such as women and youth. An additional point of interest discussed are the Community Based Natural Resource Management Plans, which will be elaborated with and for the communities, in order to strengthen the sustainable use of the natural resources surrounding them.
The paper prepared by Daniel Mate and the PROSUL Land Tenure Advisor Daniel Simango**
represents a good example of IFAD-supported projects directly engaging with knowledge creation, thereby attempting to bridge the often large gap between knowledge and practice. Furthermore, it shows PROSUL’s contribution (both theoretical and practical) to the Government of Mozambique’s Terra Segura (Secure Land) program, that seeks to ensure land tenure security regularization across the country.

Daniel Mate explained how the paper presented this year is just the first of what may well become a number of future participations and publications for the project team. In fact, PROSUL is already working on identifying topics for the 2018 Land and Poverty Conference, hoping to possibly share new experiences, and is on the look-out for other platforms and meetings in which to engage and share with partners on a global scale.

*The PROSUL project is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and through the Agrarian Development Fund (FDA).
** together with support from the IFAD Country Office

By Elisa Mandelli and Andrea Wyers, with contributions from Everlyne Nairesiae (GLII-GLTN)

Participants at the GLII Expert Group Meeting on ‘Securing Women’s Land Rights in the SDGs Monitoring Framework’. @Browne 2017

From 8 to 9 July Elisa Mandelli, representing IFAD, was in New York to participate in the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Securing Women's Land Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting was jointly organized by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) in partnership with Landesa, Oxfam, Huairou Commission and UN Women. Over 40 gender and women’s land rights experts participated, including representatives from national statistical offices, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, UN agencies, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.

The EGM preceded the United Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York from the 10 to 19 July 2017. The Forum focused on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" and on the review of some SDGs, including goals with land-related indicators such as:
  • Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.
    Indicator 1.4.2 : Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).
  • Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
    Indicator 5.a.1 (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
    Indicator 5.a.2 Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.
The inclusion of land indicators that explicitly reflect women’s land rights in the SDGs is a major achievement for the land community and a significant point of departure from the Millennium Development Goals, which did not have these provisions. This achievement is attributed to high level advocacy at national, regional and global levels by the land community including the GLII, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), FAO, UN Women, UN Sustainable Solution Network (UNSDSN) and other networks, CSOs and agencies who have strongly advocated for the inclusion of land indicators in the SDGs.

The importance of securing women's land rights to eradicate poverty has also been identified by the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) as one of the critical areas for advocacy and action of the African member states. As part of this engagement and within the framework of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI) is negotiating member states’ commitment in monitoring the progress of women’s land rights and increasing to a minimum of 30% the amount of land allocated (individually or jointly) to women. The LPI has also played a key role in advocating for the African Union recent endorsement of the Pan African Women’s Charter on Land Rights. The Charter resulted from the Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has mobilized rural women from 22 countries across Africa. The Charter includes 15 specific demands addressing women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose of their land and natural resources with the ultimate aim to help empower women across the continent.

Thus, the land tenure community can celebrate the progress made in raising awareness on the importance of women’s land rights and the monitoring of progress made, but is now challenged to define the methodology for measuring the progress on these indicators and ensuring that the reporting contributes to the women’s land rights agenda. Land tenure statistics are in fact highly complex and there is a lack of clear and consistent data on land tenure security, particularly when it comes to statistics disaggregated by gender. See also blog on gender equality.

Within this framework, the purpose of the EGM was to examine land indicators in the SDGs and to promote meaningful and more harmonised approaches to monitoring women’s land rights in a coordinated manner. In particular, participants agreed on the need to promote the harmonization and complementarity of land-related indicators based on a single and integrated narrative of concepts and definitions (i.e. land tenure security, ownership, tenure type, etc.). This includes strengthening the level of robustness of the proposed methodologies using proxies for women specific issues noting that women are not a homogenous group.

Moreover, participants committed to convey key messages and recommendations on women’s land rights to UN member states during their participation at the High Level Political Forum. Messages included the importance to monitor the progress on women’s secure land rights since not having the data to diagnose and monitor progress made in the context of the SDGs will be a missed opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls. In order to ensure immediate country data collection and reporting on secure tenure rights (1.4.2., 5.a.1 and 5.a.2), member states have to support the adoption of the proposed methodologies for monitoring the indicators at the 6th Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) to be held in November 2017. Further information on the re-classification of land-related indicators can be found in the blog by Jamal Browne, a participant of the EGM.

IFAD is looking forward to continuing its engagement with the GLII, the GDWGL and the custodian agencies responsible for the specific land indicators including UN Habitat and World Bank; FAO and other agencies to support the elaboration of the proposed methodology and their successful reclassification by IAEG-SDGs in November 2017. On this subject, IFAD and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat are collaborating in the co-financed grant “Strengthening capacity for assessing the impact of tenure security measures on IFAD supported and other projects within the SDG framework”. The grant aims at improving the capacity of IFAD-supported projects to assess measure and report their impact on poor rural people’s tenure security, including on women’s land rights.

You, whose voice can be heard in other places

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Friday, July 21, 2017 0 comments

By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar,  Country Programme Manager for Mexico

It was still dark when we left. Without breakfast, without even a sip of coffee. Half asleep, we all piled into the three vehicles that had been assigned to us and began driving up the mountain in a state that is now known for its blistering land and its unsafe territory: a land of death, a land at war.

We were tossed around inside the cabs of our trucks as we rolled over streams and open wounds in the roads, slowly being engulfed by the depths of green vegetation as we penetrated deeper into the forest. Its shades of green were endless, an explosion of hues that were evidence of nature almost completely undisturbed. Adobe houses adorned the hillsides, and every so often we glimpsed a peasant herding goats or a group of women shouldering bundles, slowly but surely making their way.

We finally reached our destination several hours later, with the sun high above us. A group of visitors from distant places, with their lists of questions, and local guides who knew their way around the hills with a guerrilla-like intuition. Of course, we all arrived with the stubborn expectation of finding the survival instincts and organization that supposedly always prevail, even in the harshest of conditions.

We were welcomed by a group of inhabitants of a small settlement that was proudly called a village. We got out and started walking up to one of the villagers’ houses, then to their gardens and orchards, spread out in the surroundings. They showed us their production techniques, talked about their dreams, and asked us what we thought or how this or that was done elsewhere. Then we went back to the first house where a group of women were preparing a meal, an unmistakable sign of poor people's gratitude: sharing their hearth and their table, offering a stranger their best food.

From the back of the house appeared an old woman. Small and discreet, with a calm and profound look. This is Doña Carmela, they told me. She's the oldest person in the village and she's still as lively as ever. She likes doing everything and going everywhere. She'd even climb the trees with us if she could!

She exuded such magnetism that I went over and knelt beside her so that I could talk to her, but above all so I could listen to her. She took my hand and gave me a smile that revealed some missing teeth. She bowed her head discreetly, her way of thanking us for our visit. She grabbed the arm of a girl whom she might have resembled seventy years ago and sat down in a chair to wait; to wait with the patient determination of someone who is certain that they must take the opportunity to send a message with an emissary who is finally within reach.

When the time was right, she spoke in that timeless language of Rulfo and his Comala[i],making reference respectfully and impersonally to forces and attitudes that have ignored them for years on end, even today on the centenary of a Constitution born out of a revolution that over the decades has lost sight of its main goal: satisfying the peasants’ clamour for land and development.

"You, whose voice can be heard in other places, tell them not to forget about us, the poor." I promise to pass on your message, I told her. We shook hands again and said goodbye: she, feeling certain that she had sent her message again, and I, fearing that it would fall, once again, on deaf ears.

[i] Translator’s note: A reference to Mexican writer Juan Rulfo and a town mentioned in his novel Pedro Páramo

By Susan Onyango

Originally posted here.

Africa’s population is expected to double from 1.26 billion today to over two and half billion by 2050, little more than 30 years from now. At the same time, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the effects of climate change pose increasing challenges to the continent’s agriculture sector, particularly smallholder farmers.  If left unchecked, these challenges will threaten the food security of millions of people, particularly in the drylands. Affected countries will require national policies and farmer practices that safeguard food production, as well as frameworks for mutual cooperation across the agricultural and environmental sectors, if they are to ensure the sustainability and resilience required to feed their people.

In an effort to address these multiple challenges, more than 80 government and development sector experts met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5 July 2017, to launch the Integrated Approach Programme on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa. Financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the 5-year, USD 116 million programme is designed to promote sustainability and resilience among small holder farmers through the sustainable management of natural resources – land, water, soils and genetic resources – that are crucial for food and nutrition security. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is the  lead agency with the Programme Coordination Unit hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at their headquarters in Nairobi. Bioversity International, UN Environment, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, UNIDO, AGRA and Conservation International are all involved.

Smallholder farmers, who are responsible for most of the region’s food production, will benefit from practices and policies that will ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their production systems. Efforts to ensure post-programme sustainability include a particular focus on gender issues at every level of the programme to address policy and culturally-related barriers to gender equity and women’s empowerment in most of the participating countries. The Programme targets almost three million households in 12 countries and will improve the management of 10 million hectares of land.

“With an explicit focus on smallholder agriculture in the drylands, we have collectively established a framework to underpin the long-term sustainability and resilience of production systems,” said Dr. Mohamed Bakarr, Lead Environment Specialist at the GEF. “The program framework, which is defined by three main components – platforms for multi-stakeholder engagement, acting to scale-up innovations, and systems monitoring and assessment – is informed by sound science and policy, including a theory of change.”

The Programme includes the increased involvement of the private sector in developing viable value chains for food crops. At the same time, a regional hub that will support, synthesize and promote learning across the network of countries will improve access to knowledge from scientific institutions and help inform policy options and investment opportunities for managing ecosystem services in smallholder agriculture.

Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division reiterated the importance of linking food production with ecosystems to protect the environment and to ensure that smallholder farmers reach markets.

“A key ingredient to the Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is the learning across the twelve country projects as well as its three components on institutional frameworks and policy, scaling-up integrated approaches, and on measuring collective impacts,” she noted.

To ensure effective implementation of the project, participants called for system-wide stakeholder engagement – from the field to the government – and the mapping of existing and previous projects to enable south-south learning. They also emphasized the need for technical support on improving stakeholder engagement, capacity development, strengthening institutions, monitoring systems, combining research and technology, scaling technologies, and communicating among stakeholders in participating countries and globally.

“The process has been very engaging, giving us insight for those who haven’t started on implementation (and) alignment with regional programmes, especially indicators and information on national and regional goals,” said Shamiso Nandi Najira of Malawi’s Ministry of Environment. “We look forward to working with the implementation agencies. Learning from others on what they are doing in their countries has been a good eye opener.”

“Taking resilient food security to scale means supporting innovation among millions of farmers over millions of hectares,” said Fergus Sinclair of the World Agroforestry Centre. “We have to go beyond simply promoting best bets, to supporting farmers as they experiment with new options in their own contexts, and then foster the sharing of that learning about what works where and for whom.”

The Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the three Rio Conventions on biological diversity (CBD), to combat desertification (UNCCD) and on climate change (UNFCCC). It will be implemented in 12 countries including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.

Other Integrated Approach Programmes of the GEF are on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities.

Also see:
GEF Integrated Approach Pilot: Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa 

IFAD Director presenting the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP)

By Nerina Muzurovic, NEN/IFAD, and Drew Gardiner, ILO

Rates of female education in the Arab World have increased dramatically—a factor usually leading to higher levels of employment. Why, then, is female labor force participation in the Arab World not only the lowest in the world, but also rising very slowly?

This was one of the questions addressed at a policy forum on gender and labor markets in the Arab world on 3 July 2017 in Amman, Jordan. Panel members hailed from Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, and the University of Minnesota.

The forum was part of an executive course on evaluating labour market programmes conducted by ILO, under the IFAD regional grant on gender monitoring and evaluation in the Near East and North Africa (NENA). The IFAD and ILO partnership, also known as the “Taqeem Initiative”, looks to build evidence on “what works” in effective rural labor market strategies for women and young people.

The five-day course brought together more than 60 participants from 9 NENA countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. It also included co-financiers, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), GIZ and the Economic Research Forum who contributed financial and in-kind support.

In his opening remarks, the Labour Ministry’s Secretary General Farouq Hadidi highlighted the need for evidence of investments’ impact, when it comes to generating job opportunities. He also noted the importance of supporting positive labor market outcomes in Jordan, as well as drawing from good practices when drawing up policy recommendations.

The keynote lecture, “Gender and Labor Markets in the Arab World,” was delivered by Ragui Assaad, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Professor Assaad discussed what he called “the MENA paradox.”

"Rural young women are both increasingly educated and increasingly unwilling to engage in traditional agriculture work,” said Assaad. “Thus, because of limited mobility and limited modern employment opportunities in their local labor markets, they are increasingly unemployed or withdrawing from labor force altogether."

Arguing against the idea that “this is strictly a story about conservative cultural values restricting labor supply,” Professor Assaad introduced the idea of “reservation working conditions”—the minimum working conditions that a woman (and her family) will accept.

“Educated women in the Arab World are seeking higher rates of market work if such work can meet their ‘reservation working conditions,’” Assaad explained. In countries like Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, this means work places must do the following: preserve women’s sexual and reputational safety; prevent contact with male clients or owners and bosses in non-public spaces; be geographically accessible without excessive commuting; and be located inside fixed establishments, protected from passers-by. “Generally, this means larger workplaces with many other women present,” said the professor.

To support his claims, Professor Assaad cited primary data gathered from some 1,000 interviewees as part of a recent ILO report on Jordanian labor market challenges by Susan Razzaz. “As long as I am alive, I will never let my sister work in manufacturing,” said one male Jordanian manufacturing worker. “The employers are very rough. I don’t trust them to not yell at my sister or harass her.” When these conditions are not met, many women stay home.

Furthermore, safety and harassment were considered common concerns. As one unemployed Jordanian woman said: “I’d be willing to work in a hotel if the job was in reservations, at the front desk, or in food service. Of course, I can’t work in housekeeping or room service because it is near the bedrooms.”

Long commutes were also a concern: “I wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours a day on the road,” said one female Jordanian worker. “I could barely stand the time spent getting to and from work in Amman, so I wouldn’t work outside of it.”

However, change is possible: An IFAD-supported initiative under the Agricultural Resource Management Project (ARMPII) in Jordan tapped into the region's traditional knowledge base to initiate 400 small-scale enterprises for women in the southern part of the country. Relying on the sustainable use of local resources, these businesses centered around food processing, dairy and pickle production, and the harvesting of mushrooms.

Interviews with the women involved showed they felt empowered, managing small-scale income-generating enterprises. They reported increased levels of independence and status, as well as more effective participation in decision-making at both the community and household levels.

Findings like these indicate that effective policy interventions should look into improving opportunity structures for women. Peter van Rooij, ILO’s Director in Cairo, Egypt agrees, “Women and men need to have equal opportunities in the world of work, especially in the agriculture sector which represents the most important source of employment for women. Achieving gender equality goals under the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved through concerted effort and unique partnership, such as that between the ILO and IFAD in the Near East and North Africa”.

Indeed, the panel discussion that followed recognized positive trends: factors affecting female labor supply are moving towards increased participation. These factors include educational attainment, later marriages, access to improved infrastructure like water and sanitation, access to household technologies, and access to markets for time-saving goods and services.

The panel also noted that incentivizing private employers to offer shorter work days, low-cost transportation, telecommuting, and flexible and part-time work opportunities would make a difference. Other important changes would include shifting maternity leave pay to social insurance, specifying a minimum wage on an hourly basis, establishing better public transport systems--where women can feel safe—and taking steps to gradually expand the range of jobs considered acceptable for women in conservative societies.

Creating a more attractive environment for investors to invest in remote rural areas, as well as making agricultural sector more attractive, should also be considered a priority.

“With a rising population and growing demand for food, there is an ever greater need to invest in agriculture and rural development. Investment in agriculture is two to four times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. The agricultural sector is also a rich source of employment for young people, especially women. Thus, creating job opportunities in this sector will improve the lives of poor farmers, and serve indirectly as a means to combat migration to cities and beyond, ” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD.

A journey through the implementation of an IFAD project in Fiji

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Monday, July 10, 2017 0 comments

By Inosi Vulawalu, Knowledge Management, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Fiji AgriculturePartnership Project (FAPP)

The Fiji Agricultural Partnerships Project (FAPP) is the first IFAD in-country loan investment in the country and became effective in December 2015. It has a Project Management Unit (PMU) located within the Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Suva. The Project is co-funded by the Government of Fiji (GoF) and IFAD and has a four-year timeframe. It will be implemented in one district of Naitasiri province, 2 districts of Ba province and 4 districts of Nadroga/Navosa province. The overall goal of FAPP is reducing hardship in remote rural communities of Fiji. To achieve this goal, the Project endeavours to engage small-scale producers in sustainable farming and establishing business partnerships in remote areas, particularly in the highlands.

Over the past months, the PMU participated in a number of trainings and learning events that were instrumental in having the team strengthen their skills and experiences, familiarize with IFAD processes and operating modalities, and put in place project implementation arrangements.

Training in value chain analysis and knowledge management

Most recently, FAPP’s PMU staff participated in the Value Chain Analysis capacity building training organized by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON). The workshop was held from 26 to 28 April 2017 and participants included IFAD Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Sakiusa Tubuna, staff of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Tim Martyn from FAO. It was also attended by nine Research and Extension staff of Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The training covered topics such as introducing the basic concepts of value chain, key lessons from Pacific value chain studies, and undertaking a value chain analysis for fresh and processed ginger and taro. Field visits were also part of the program. Participants visited some value chain actors who are the leading agricultural exporters in Fiji to-date, such as Ben’s Trading Limited, Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd both situated in Navua and Ranadi’s Plantation. Ben’s Trading Ltd primarily exports root-crops such as taro and cassava, to markets in Australia, NZ and USA. Kaiming Agro Processing Limited exports crystallized and glazed ginger to USA, Australia, NZ, UK and Germany. Ranadi Plantation situated along the Queens Highway in Deuba is about 45minutes drive away from Suva. They are one of the largest organic ginger producers in Fiji and also exports fruits, legumes and spices

Last year I also had the opportunity to attend a regional workshop on “Developing Knowledge Management Capacity for Improved Agriculture, Information, Research and Policy Banks in the Pacific“. The training was organized by the Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) co-funded by the EU, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and took place in Fiji from 31 May to 3 June 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to assist us improve our knowledge sharing environment to disseminate agricultural information and knowledge within our country and amongst other countries. Topics covered were on Knowledge Management (KM) products, tools and understanding the KM tree provided by CTA.

Another workshop I also attended was on “Development of E-agriculture Strategy for Fiji”. It was organized by the International Telecommunication Unit (specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies) and FAO. It took place in Suva and its purpose was to help identify and address challenges in a broad manner and help Fiji leverage the best outcomes from emerging and innovative technologies.

FAPP also conducted its first ever stakeholder workshop in April 2016. The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Jitendra Singh officiated the opening and acknowledged the participation of international agencies like IFAD to partner and develop the livelihoods of people residing in rural and vulnerable communities. The workshop, held at the Holiday Inn in Suva, was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and few farmers from the PHVA project in Nadarivatu.

The team also joined IFAD Indigenous people consultation session held in Deuba on 23 November 2016. Monica Romano, IFAD Project Implementation Specialist, conducted a presentation on the action plan for strengthening KM communication in managing the IFAD Pacific portfolio in the pacific.

Awareness raising about FAPP

The PMU has conducted some awareness sessions to the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension officers that will be cooperating with FAPP in the project’s target areas. For example, in October 2016, we paid a visit to the extension officers responsible for target areas in Nadroga/Navosa province and their Principal Agriculture Officer Western. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sigatoka Research Station in Nacocolevu, approximately 10km from Sigatoka town. The team also visited three exporters in Bilalevu, which falls in the Waicoba district of Nadroga Province. These exporters procure eggplants, Okra, Moringa (Saijan) leaves mostly from farmers in the upper valley of Sigatoka and exports to New Zealand market and supplies also to local markets.

Earlier in July 2016, the project team had visited the highlands of Viti Levu and briefed the extension staff as well. The extension officers will be working in cooperation and coordination with project in-field staff, providing support in technology transfer to the communities. That’s why we felt it was important that we established linkages with them early on and we explained the project's focus and implementation structure in the field. The team had also the opportunity to visit some of the Ministry of Agriculture’s projects in Navai and Nadala villages. Navai village falls within Nabobuco district of Naitasiri but is located very closely to Nadala village in the district of Savatu, Ba province and Nadrau in the province of Nadroga/Navosa province. We visited a potato and other assorted vegetable farmer and also witnessed a small mushroom plot managed by a woman. Demand for mushroom in Fiji according to the Ministry of Agriculture Extension officers in Nadarivatu, is huge. The Ministry of Agriculture through promotion and training of local farmers will enable them to sell mushroom in local markets and generate income.

In addition to these training and visits, the PMU also visited Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd, Ben’s Trading Limited and Joes Farm on 3 March 2017. This enabled us to better understand the operation processes and also to brief them on FAPP’s component on SMEs. Joes Farm exports vegetables to PICs such as Kiribati, Nauru and the Marshall Islands. They also export Dalo, Cassava, Jackfruits, Breadfruits, Yams to Australia and USA.

Given the vital role the Research Division will also play in the project, the PMU also made a courtesy visit to the Koronivia Research Station (KRS) to brief the Principal Research Officers on FAPP and most importantly the project’s linkages to the Research Division. Principal Research Officer - Agronomy guided the PMU team to the Naduruloulou Research Station where various propagation methods of fruit trees are conducted. Nursery management is also a vital component of the station’s operation

FAPP team made another visit in April this year to the Extension officers following its meeting with the Assistant Minister for Agriculture to provide an update on FAPP. The meeting also included other government stakeholders from the Ministry of Provincial Development and the Ministry of I’taukei Affairs.

FAPP team led by the Project Manager Kaliova Nadumu briefed the new Assistant Minister for Agriculture Hon Viam Pillay regarding the project and its core purposes. Hon. Viam Pillay acknowledged the team for the brief. He requested the team to keep extension officers updated on the progress of FAPP.

IFAD Implementation Support Missions

In November 2016, a team of international experts from IFAD led by the IFAD Sub Regional Coordinator visited us to undertake an Implementation Support Mission. The team consisted of Ronald Hartman, IFAD Country Director managing the Pacific portfolio; Monica Romano; Ed Angeles (IFAD Finance Specialist); and Finance Trainee, Viliame Mavoa.

The team reviewed the project’s progress and worked with PMU to advance implementation, identify bottlenecks, and revise the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B) and Procurement Plan, and define KM activities. They also met various stakeholders to discuss project related issues. Ron Hartman had the opportunity to meet the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Joeli Cawaki, and acknowledged the Ministry of Agriculture’s support towards the project.

Earlier in 2016, IFAD provided implementation support in the areas of project management, with the support of Monica Romano, and financial management and procurement, with the help of Ed Angeles, who revised the Project Implementation Manual (PIM). During a Mission in April 2016, Monica also helped the PMU to prepare KM and M&E action plans, liaising with the M&E office of the Ministry of Agriculture, and drafting the overall project M&E framework, including formats to be used in the field. This work has been further advanced through the assistance of the IFAD M&E Consultant, Fabrizio Vivarini, who was with the team for almost two weeks in December 2016 looking into the RIMS framework, logframe and reporting templates to be used both by PMU and the Lead Implementing Partner (LIP). Therefore, the KM and M&E system is now fully in place.

The financial management and procurement aspect of the project is also now fully established. The PMU welcomed the project’s Financial Management & Procurement Assistant, Atelena Nauku, at the beginning of 2017. We benefitted a lot from her vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the GoF’s financial management and procurement guidelines. Required office equipment for the PMU and the newly established Agribusiness Development Unit (ADU) is procured with necessary register maintained. The Finance Management and Procurement Officer liaised with the Ministry of Economy and facilitated a refresher on-the-job training on operating the financial management systems. Officers from the Ministry of Economy had conducted two of this type of trainings to the project’s FMPO and his assistant.

Learning from and experience sharing with other IFAD funded projects

Early on after its effectiveness, FAPP benefitted from the support from neighbouring IFAD funded projects in the Pacific.. Soane Patolo, Manager of the MORDI Tonga Trust, a NGO implementing the IFAD-supported Tonga Rural Innovation Project (TRIP), was sent to share some valuable experience of project implementation and experiences. The PMU also liaised with the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of Kiribati’s Outer Island Food and Water Project (OIFWP) when preparing for the RIMS Baseline Survey for FAPP.

Looking forward to project implementation in the field

Project preparation and implementation arrangements are near to completion by now. We are now working on the RIMS baseline survey that will be the basis for our continued project monitoring. We look forward to implementation of in-field activities and to sharing our experience of linking small producers and farmers with markets in Fiji.

by Hazel Bedford

As communicators, when we set out to make a case about inequality, poverty or women’s empowerment we need numbers to make our case. Preferably eye-catching numbers that grab people’s attention and make our message crystal clear.
Ellen Nkomakoma, a 45-year-old widow and mother of 3 in Malawi,
 is one of millions of women who work in agriculture worldwide:
“I’m a farmer, I grow maize, beans, peanuts and tobacco ...
 I also keep cattle, goats and chickens.”
©IFAD/Marco Salustro

But it’s often hard to find accurate statistics that reflect reality in the poorest – mostly rural – parts of the world. Where there are few roads and erratic electricity, there are often no reliable censuses either, and statistics that may have been commonly used for years are actually little more than guestimates, or even worse, they are ‘zombie’ statistics with no basis in fact but seemingly indestructible.

However, things are changing in the data world, especially with the emphasis put on gathering reliable statistics by the 2030 Agenda. The purpose of this blog is to share some sourced big numbers that are particularly relevant to IFAD’s work with poor rural women towards the 3 interconnected strategic objectives in our Gender Policy. Here’s a quick reminder of what they are:  
  • Empower women economically – help rural women acquire more assets, including land and livestock, make more money, learn how to manage it and have more say over how it is spent. 
  • Reduce women’s workload – make labour-saving devices available to women, improve infrastructure to alleviate the burden of daily water and fuel collection for women and girls, and promote the redistribution of domestic chores and onerous care work. 
  • Increase women’s voice and influence – enable them to take part in decision-making inside and outside the home, at the community, local, national and international level.
I’ve identified a selection of useful facts and figures by objective.

Economic empowerment

  • Women make up 43% of the global agricultural workforce – this includes farmers, family workers, casual labourers and employees on large plantations (FAO: The role of women in agriculture
  • Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23% ; in other words, women earn 77% of what men earn (ILO: Women at Work 2016
  • The ILO has noted that, without targeted action, at the current rate, pay equity between women and men will not be achieved before 2086. (ILO: Women at Work 2016
  • Women with children in sub-Saharan Africa earn 69 cents to a man's US$1, and women with children in South Asia earn only 65 cents to a man's $1. (UN Women: Progress of the World's Women 2015-2016
  • The proportion of married women in developing countries with no say in how their own cash earnings are spent ranges from 2% in Cambodia, Colombia and Honduras to over 20% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia and 42% in Malawi. (United Nations Statistics Division: The World's Women 2015, chapter 8, pg. 194)
  • Only 2 in 3 married women aged 15 to 49 participate in decision-making on major household purchases in developing countries. (UNSD: The World's Women 2015, chapter 8, pg. 195)

Women’s workload

  • In developing countries, women spend on average 4 hours and 30 minutes per day on unpaid work, while men only spend 1 hour and 20 minutes. (UNSD: The World's Women 2015, chapter 4 pg. 111)
  • The global working-age population is split evenly between men and women, but for every 3 men in wage/salaried work, there are 2 women. For every 4 male employers, there is only 1 female employer. (Overseas Development Institute: Ten Things to Know about the Global Labour Force)
  • 59% of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, 89% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and 95% of women in South Asia labour in informal work. (UN Women: Progress of the World's Women 2015-2016 chapter 2)
  • 663 million people still use unimproved water sources; 2.4 billion are without improved sanitation (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 6) 
  • 1.1 billion people lacked access to electricity in 2012 (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 7) – the vast majority of them in rural areas 
  • In 2014, about 3 billion people – over 40 per cent of the world’s population, relied on polluting and unhealthy fuels for cooking (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 7)

Women’s influence

  • In 2016 women held 23 per cent of parliamentary seats worldwide, a proportion that had increased by only 6 per cent over 10 years (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 5)
  • The countries with the highest proportion of women in parliament (lower or single parliamentary house) are Rwanda (61%), Bolivia (53%) and Cuba (49%) (Inter-Parliamentary Union: Women in parliaments)
  • 70 countries (or close to one third of all countries with parliaments) have less than 15% participation of women in the lower or single houses of national parliaments. (The World's Women 2015, chapter 5, page 121)

Gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is relevant to all three objectives because it limits women's freedom of movement and action and harms their health.
  • Worldwide, 35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non‐partner at some point in their lives. (UN Stats: Violence Against Women)
  • Half of countries in developing regions report a lifetime prevalence of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence of at least 30%. Its prevalence is highest in Oceania, reaching over 60% in some countries. (UN Stats: Violence Against Women)
  • Research has shown that indigenous girls, adolescents and young women face a higher prevalence of violence, harmful practices, and labour exploitation and harassment than other girls and women. (The World's Women 2015, chapter 6, page 149)

Some gaps and caveats

There are no clear and consistent global statistics available on women's land use and ownership. The accuracy of widely quoted figures such as " less than 2 percent of the world’s land is owned by women” or " Women in the developing world are 5 times less likely than men to own land, and their farms are usually smaller and less fertile" have been questioned by different researchers and stakeholders. (See for instance IFPRI, Gender Inequalities in Ownership and Control of Land in Africa, 2013)

Though the margin of inequalities can vary significantly by country, region, and type of property holding, all available data shows that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to land ownership, see blog on Securing Women's Land Rights: a growing momentum with SDGs and LPI.

Treat with caution any statements along the lines of “women produce xx% of the world’s food” – women and men often contribute labour at different points in the production of a crop and this is difficult to disentangle statistically. Also, as Cheryl Doss says in a recent research article: “no evidence supports the claim that women produce 60-80% of the world’s food. Given women’s responsibilities for household work, it would be surprising if they produced most of the food.” (Women and agricultural productivity: Reframing the Issues)

The statement “women provide the bulk of labour in African agriculture” has been shown to be false (see Agriculture in Africa: Telling facts from myths)

It’s useful to remember that reality is varied and complex: like other population groups, rural women’s experiences are affected by many factors, including their location, income, status, age, position in the family, education and ethnicity. It’s true that we need big numbers to grab attention, but our messaging needs to factor in the complexity behind them. In my next blogpost, I’ll be pulling together some messages on rural women and IFAD’s work to empower them.

Finally, I’d like thank Claire Ferry, who did much of the research to find these numbers.