In pursuit of a better, fairer world

Published in Al Jazeera in February 2014

In pursuit of a better, fairer world

Tackling rampant inequality is not just a moral duty: It’s a human rights obligation.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which often feed into each other [Reuters]

 

About the Author
Luke Holland

Luke Holland is a researcher and communications coordinator at the Center for Economic and Social Rights.

Story highlights

Development negotiations taking place in this year will have a pivotal impact on the future wellbeing of ordinary people everywhere. Relatively unnoticed by the media, a broad spectrum of consultations and talks are currently unfolding as the community of nations endeavors to agree a new sustainable development agenda that can ensure equitable socio-economic development while also guaranteeing environmental sustainability in the post-2015 era. This week (Feb-3-8) in the UN’s New York headquarters, the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals will address one of the most pressing issues of our time: inequality. This will be the OWG’s eighth and final session before drawing up a set of concrete proposals to be presented to the General Assembly, which is due to hammer out the

Relatively unnoticed by the media, a broad spectrum of consultations and talks are currently unfolding as the community of nations endeavours to agree on a new sustainable development agenda that can ensure equitable socio-economic development. This round of negotiations will have a pivotal impact on the future well-being of ordinary people the world over.

This week, the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals, the eighth and final session, will address one of the most pressing issues of our time: Inequality. OWG is due to draw out a set of concrete proposals to submit to the General Assembly, which is expected to hammer out the parameters of a new global development framework next September.

As demonstrated in a devastating recent report from Oxfam, global inequality has now reached historic and unacceptable levels. Tackling these increasingly pronounced disparities, both within and between countries, will be essential if future development efforts are to deliver a more just and sustainable world.

A lack of attention to inequality in the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed on back in 2000, left the door open to patterns of widening economic and social divergence.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which all-too-often feed into each other. Differentials in household wealth and income conspire with disparities between rural and urban areas, and inequalities along the lines of gender, disability, ethnicity, and migration status, in a dysfunctional synergy. The result is that many millions of people are shut out of development processes, their rights violated, their dreams and aspirations smothered and their potential to contribute to development wasted.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which all-too-often feed into each other.

This is not just a question of North-South politics; the post-2015 agenda will apply to all countries, and as such its provisions on equality will have important implications for disparities within developed countries, too.

Policy-makers would do well to remember that inflated levels of income inequality were also a central factor in triggering the global financial crisis, and the ruinous human costs that came with it.

Above the law?

Ethical and instrumental considerations are not the only reasons growing disparity must be tackled head-on, however. It is also a legal obligation under international human rights law. The duty to address inequality and discrimination is contained in the principal human rights treaties which the vast majority of states have already signed and ratified, and it also lies at the core of a human rights-based approach to development, which is being demanded by civil society organizations all over the world.

Underpinning this drive is the understanding that future development efforts must be based on principles of justice, rather than charity, if they are to have a genuinely transformative impact. A human rights approach empowers citizens to influence and direct development processes themselves, and in this way addresses the structural underpinnings of inequality in a way that a traditional charity-based model cannot. Most importantly, it represents a paradigmatic and corrective shift away from the shortfalls of the current MDGs, which will expire in 2015 with few of the targets they contain being achieved.

The principles of universality and non-discrimination, as set out in the international human rights legal order, require that inequality be addressed both in law and in practice, wherever it may manifest. At the most basic level, this requires robust anti-discrimination legislation, rectifying unjustifiable wage differentials and providing for decent work. Such fundamental measures must go hand-in-hand with efforts to tackle the structural drivers of inequality, such as regressive fiscal policies and taxation regimes, egregious levels of tax abuse and evasion, weak labour market regulation and economic policies that promote “jobless growth”.

Moreover, the duty to meet minimum core standards of social and economic well-being, as confirmed by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, requires that states guarantee basic social protection floors to all people within their jurisdictions. Research by the International Labour Organization has demonstrated that this key tool in redressing inequality is affordable even in low-income countries. And in an age when the roll-back of social protection systems has exacerbated poverty and inequality in manycountries, the necessity of fulfilling this duty is more pertinent than ever.

All of these measures will be crucial to redress inequality in the post-2015 era. Policies implemented by the state and other powerful development actors only represent one side of the equality equation, however, as an empowered, well-informed and actively engaged society will likewise be necessary if the failures of the past are to be avoided this time around.

Democratising development

Arguably the greatest failing of the current MDGs is that they were conceived in a top-down manner, with states promoting development for an ostensibly passive beneficiary populace. This approach, founded in a vision of development that is itself rooted in inequality, must be turned on its head. Effective systems of accountability, participation and transparency are the tools with which this about-face can and must be achieved.

Firstly, all development actors must be held accountable for commitments set out in the new agenda. The absence of effective systems of accountability in the original MDGs meant that governments faced no meaningful incentives to deliver on their promises. In order to remedy this fatal flaw, time-bound commitments must be subject to effective monitoring of both the goals, the policy and budgetary efforts governments made to achieve them.

This question of accountability also speaks to the need for the meaningful participationof those facing poverty and discrimination in all development processes. Just as powerful development actors must be held accountable to the new goals, so those most affected by poverty and injustice must be enabled to shape the design, implementation and monitoring of development.

People living in poverty generally see their deprivation in terms of voice and power, or the lack thereof, just as much as material wealth.

Ensuring transparency by delivering timely, disaggregated data on the processes and outcomes of development efforts will be a crucial prerequisite to achieving the effective participation of vulnerable groups.

Taken together, the principles of accountability, participation, and transparency can serve to facilitate empowered citizen pressure, thereby ensuring more responsive governance and confronting the structural underpinnings of inequality. Combined with other direct measures, such as progressive fiscal policies and social protection floors, they have the potential to overcome these key obstacles to equitable and sustainable development.

In September this year, the international community will meet again, when the General Assembly considers the OWG recommendations and negotiations on the post-2015 agenda move into the final strait. Between now and then, those who would prioritise even greater accumulation of wealth for an elite few, rather than a just and sustainable future for all, will no doubt seek to influence debates and consolidate their power. The international community faces an ethical and environmental imperative to make sure short-sighted economic demands do not take precedence over social and economic justice, however.

Indeed, the real test of progress must surely be the degree to which ordinary people can access their inherent human rights and enjoy freedom from both want and fear. This is the legitimate expectation of those campaigning for a new sustainable development agenda that reflects the lived experiences of women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and others frequently left out of the development process.

Should national governments fail to properly address equality and the human rights obligations that underpin it in the design and implementation of the post-2015 framework, they will not only be derelict in their legal duties; they also run a serious of risk of squandering the opportunity to create a better, fairer world for this and future generations. The stakes could not be higher.

Luke Holland is a researcher and communications coordinator at the Center for Economic and Social Rights. 

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Is there a blueprint for driving change at global level?

Published in Simon Maxwell blog

Is there a blueprint for driving change at global level – and is it being applied to sustainable energy and food security?

Interested in driving change at global level? Here’s how to do it, apparently: agree a Declaration; set global targets; write (or recommend the writing of) country plans; promise international support, usually through a specially created fund; and set up new bodies to coordinate action and monitor progress. Quite often, it is thought useful to have a High Level Panel to work through the issues in advance, and provide the ideas which will shape the Declaration.

There has been a long debate about the merits of this kind of approach. Does the use of quantitative targets bias interventions to what can be measured? Are global targets imposed from above? Do country plans reflect donor-driven priorities? Do vertical funds distort spending? Are new institutions really necessary? Critics are often – well, critical. Proponents, on the other hand, point to the benefits of political momentum, additional funding, and results on the ground. My own view is probably best captured by the title of an article I wrote back in 1998, when the International Development targets were all the rage, and the Millennium Development Goals were still a gleam in Clare Short’s eye: ‘International Targets for Poverty Reduction and Food Security: A Mildly Sceptical but Resolutely Pragmatic View with a Call for Greater Subsidiarity‘. Here is an extract from the summary:

‘International development targets adopted by UN Conferences provide political impetus, focus expenditure and help in monitoring progress. However, simple targets can misrepresent complex realities and distort policy. Monitoring targets can have a high opportunity cost. Political impetus can be lost if targets are over-ambitious. . . .’

The political impetus is key. ‘Pity the poor minister’, I observed ‘who has to fight their corner without the benefit of the President’s signature on the latest international declaration. If I were running the International Civil Aviation Authority or the Universal Postal Union, I would be organising a summit before you could say ‘potholes in the runway’ or ‘queues at the post office’.

A point I did not make in 1998, but might have done, is that the sonorous declarations which frame global initiatives are often opaque when it comes to the choices and trade-offs. One big choice is always evident, which is that the topic under review is of exceptional importance: what price repairing the potholes in the runway when food security or sustainable energy are the priorities of the moment? What price the funding of diseases not covered by the Global Fund? The very establishment of a global initiative implies choices at the margin about resource allocation.

Beyond that fork in the road, however, lie other choices about the substance, especially about incentive and regulatory frameworks and public expenditure packages. Perhaps it is legitimate to argue that these are best sorted out at country level. But perhaps not – especially when global policies are needed, as with the case of the environment. I wrote approvingly, only a few months ago, of the work of the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Sustainability, which had strong things to say about such topics as subsidies on fossil fuels: the challenge was to see these views reflected in the Rio+20 Declaration.

Two recent examples of initiatives at a global scale are the Global Action Agenda on Sustainable Energy for All, issued by the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel in April 2012, and the new Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, announced by the G8Group of Eight at Camp David in May 2012. How should they be rated?

Sustainable Energy for All

The Secretary General’s High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All published its Global Action Agenda in April. The Group had been set three high level targets: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Its response is to recommend eleven ‘action areas’, each illustrated with a list of high-impact opportunities. The list of eleven action areas includes seven ‘sectoral’ areas and four ‘enabling’ areas, all listed in Box 1. Examples of the high-impact opportunities range from efficiency standards and home solar, to loan guarantees and new research partnerships. Needless to say, countries will be tasked with developing their own, tailored plans. Globally, metrics will be developed to measure progress, and regular assessments will be carried out. No vertical fund is proposed (yet!) – but there is talk of a special Trust Fund. Overall, we are told that ‘energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity, and an environment that allows the world to thrive.’

All this is fine, as far as it goes, but does rather leave questions in the air about priorities, sequences and modalities. There is plenty of discussion in other reports, on topics like fossil fuel subsidies, the pricing of environmental resources, or the use of subsidies to kick-start renewables: see, for example, the report of the High Level Panel on sustainability, or the new World Bank policy paper on green growth. At national level, these are hot topics: the new UK Energy Bill, for example, has generated a storm of debate about the role of the market in electricity generation.

Andrew Scott from ODIOverseas Development Institute (London) commented on the need for more detail when reporting on the EU’s Sustainable Energy for All Summit in April:

‘One of the key questions facing the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative was articulated by Danish Minister for Development Co-operation, and co-chair of the summit, Christian Friis Bach, namely how the three objectives are going to be reconciled. Recognising that price incentives make a difference, he asked how we can set these high enough to promote energy efficiency, low enough to enable access to energy services by the poor, and right enough to ensure environmental sustainability?’

Were the authors of the Global Action Agenda just being cautious on these topics? Did they really not have a view? Or were they rushed, wanting to put something out before Rio+20? The co-chairs, certainly Kandeh Yumkella and probably also Charles Holliday, know a great deal about this topic. So do those listed as Principals, including Andris Piebalgs. Perhaps there is more to come.

Food security and nutrition

A contrasting case is provided by the G8Group of Eight initiative on food security and nutrition. The relevant section of the communiqué is short enough to reproduce in full:

‘For over a decade, the G8Group of Eight has engaged with African partners to address the challenges and opportunities afforded by Africa’s quest for inclusive and sustainable development. Our progress has been measurable, and together we have changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. International assistance alone, however, cannot fulfill our shared objectives. As we move forward, and even as we recommit to working together to reduce poverty, we recognize that our task is also to foster the change that can end it, by investing in Africa’s growth, its expanding role in the global economy, and its success. As part of that effort, we commit to fulfill outstanding L’Aquila financial pledges, seek to maintain strong support to address current and future global food security challenges, including through bilateral and multilateral assistance, and agree to take new steps to accelerate progress towards food security and nutrition in Africa and globally, on a complementary basis.

Since the L’Aquila Summit, we have seen an increased level of commitment to global food security, realignment of assistance in support of country-led plans, and new investments and greater collaboration in agricultural research. We commend our African partners for the progress made since L’Aquila, consistent with the Maputo Declaration, to increase public investments in agriculture and to adopt the governance and policy reforms necessary to accelerate sustainable agricultural productivity growth, attain greater gains in nutrition, and unlock sustainable and inclusive country-led growth. The leadership of the African Union and the role of its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) have been essential.

Building on this progress, and working with our African and other international partners, today we commit to launch a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to accelerate the flow of private capital to African agriculture, take to scale new technologies and other innovations that can increase sustainable agricultural productivity, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities. This New Alliance will lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade, and be guided by a collective commitment to invest in credible, comprehensive and country-owned plans, develop new tools to mobilize private capital, spur and scale innovation, and manage risk; and engage and leverage the capacity of private sector partners – from women and smallholder farmers, entrepreneurs to domestic and international companies.

The G8Group of Eight reaffirms its commitment to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and recognizes the vital role of official development assistance in poverty alleviation and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. As such, we welcome and endorse the Camp David Accountability Report which records the important progress that the G8Group of Eight has made on food security consistent with commitments made at the L’Aquila Summit, and in meeting our commitments on global health, including the Muskoka initiative on maternal, newborn and child health. We remain strongly committed to reporting transparently and consistently on the implementation of these commitments. We look forward to a comprehensive report under the UK Presidency in 2013.’

Most of the key elements of our global initiative blueprint are in place: an overall target; country-led initiatives; financial pledges; monitoring. Any missing pieces can be found in the background documentation, specifically a White House Fact Sheet.  It is reproduced at the end of this note. It offers some interesting differences of emphasis compared to the communiqué (for example a stronger statement about the role of smallholders); and also lists a breathtaking number of initiatives linked to the new ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’: a list is in Box 2, with what appear to be new items marked with an asterisk. One obvious omission: not a mention of the G20 initiative on food, which was so prominent only a year ago. Global shocks, and trade-related issues, which dominated then, feature very little in the new initiative.

Of the 21 items listed in Box 2, 13 are marked as new, ranging from the writing of plans and  reports and the organisation of conferences, through Declarations and frameworks, to new partnerships, platforms, facilities, and challenge funds. There is strong support for an existing vertical fund (the GAFSP) and commitment to a Leadership Council to ‘drive and track implementation’. The G8Group of Eight certainly cannot be faulted for lack of imagination in thinking about how to make things happen!
Despite the plethora of new initiatives, it is not quite clear where the New Alliance has positioned itself in substantive terms. Does it adjudicate between competing narratives on agriculture and food security? There are, after all, many debates in this field: cash crops or food crops? Large-scale or small-scale? Labour-intensive or capital-intensive? Stocks or imports? What is the role of the private sector? In the absence of a High Level Panel to review the debates and take positions, we are left to interpret the documents.
Most independent observers have focused on the private sector orientation of the New Alliance, observing that the new money to be mobilised is to come from the private sector. Many have been critical. A typical response was from Oxfam, who warned that

‘the ‘New Alliance to Increase Food and Nutrition Security’ focuses too heavily on the role of the private sector to tackle the complex challenges of food insecurity in the developing world . . .  The average private sector role in existing country food security plans, the basis for the L’Aquila agreement, is about 5%, and most have no role at all. This new alliance – is a nice complement at best, a deflection at worst. . . Smallholder farmers need the freedom to pursue their own growing strategies, not take overly-prescriptive tips on farming from G8Group of Eight leaders, or one size fits all technologies from far away CEOs.’

Others complained that the initiative focused too much on production, not enough on consumption. However, speaking inChicago just before the Camp David meeting, President Obama said that ‘we’re going to keep focusing on nutrition, especially for young children, because we know the effects of poor nutrition can last a lifetime’. At the same meeting, Hillary Clinton said ‘nutrition is just too important to be treated as an afterthought’. The documents all reference Scaling Up Nutrition.

This is not the place for detailed analysis of the New Alliance proposals. For the record, however, I am more sympathetic than some to the role of the national and international private sector – as reported in my report on discussions at Davos in 2011. It would have been good to say more about land policy and ‘land grabs’ – on which see the new European Report on Development. It’s good that nutrition is in. On the other hand, this is really an initiative about agriculture more than ‘food security’ as customarily understood. In that context, it seems odd not to say anything about global markets, or about the balance between food and cash crops.

The more general point is that the New Alliance would have benefited from making more visible the evidence and analysis underpinning the action programme – perhaps in the form of a High Level Panel Report. As it is, we are left to read between the lines and guess what choices have been made in adjudicating the big questions about the future of agriculture in Africa.

To conclude, these are two contrasting approaches. Both exhibit high-level ambition, with strong international targets and multi-faceted programmes of action. Both want to engage the private as well as the public sector. Both prioritise country-led programmes, Both promise monitoring and reporting. The energy report contains many practical suggestions as to new policies or programmes, but does not (yet) push these to the point of specific proposals, as in the G8Group of Eight action plan. The G8Group of Eight has created a whole new architecture of institutions to deliver change.

Neither initiative really provides depth of analysis, though much doubtless exists in the background (we hope!). That for me is an important lesson. The problem to be solved is self-evident in both these cases. But when shaping global initiatives in contested territory, it is necessary to win the argument about which solutions to choose – or at least, to provide a robust case for the solutions that eventually emerge.

Picture credit: http://www.ehow.com/how_8756369_read-mechanical-blueprint.html

Fact Sheet: G-8 Action on Food Security and Nutrition

At the Camp David Summit, G-8 and African leaders will commit to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of our shared commitment to achieving global food security.  In partnership with Africa’s people and leaders, our goals are to increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities.  We recognize and will act upon the critical role played by smallholder farmers, especially women, in transforming agriculture and building thriving economies.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years by aligning the commitments of Africa’s leadership to drive effective country plans and policies for food security; the commitments of private sector partners to increase investments where the conditions are right; and the commitments of the G-8 to expand Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth.

We welcome the support of the World Bank and African Development Bank, and of the United Nations’ World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Food and Agriculture Organization for the New Alliance.  We also welcome the successful conclusion of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security and support the broad-based consultation process and pilot use of the Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment.

The New Alliance Will Build on and Help Realize the Promise of L’Aquila

Since the L’Aquila Summit, where we committed to “act with the scale and urgency needed to achieve sustainable global food security,” we have increased our bilateral and multilateral investments in food security and changed the way we do business, consistent with core principles of aid effectiveness.  Based on the findings of the 2012 G-8 Accountability Report and consistent with the Rome Principles on Sustainable Global Food Security, the G-8 will agree to:

  • Promptly fulfill outstanding L’Aquila financial pledges and seek to maintain strong support to address current and future global food security challenges, including through bilateral and multilateral assistance;
  • Ensure that our assistance is directly aligned behind country plans;
  • Strengthen the coordination of G-8 strategies, assistance and programs in-country and with partner countries to increase efficiencies, reduce transaction burdens, and eliminate redundancies and gaps.

The New Alliance will be rooted in partnership

To accelerate national progress in African partner countries, the G-8 will launch New Alliance Cooperation Frameworks that align with priority activities within each partner’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) national investment plan and include predictable funding commitments, specific policy actions, and statements of intent from the private sector.

The G-8 will partner with the African Union, New Partnership for Africa’s Development and CAADP to implement the New Alliance, and leverage in particular the Grow Africa Partnership, in order to ensure our efforts build on African ownership, yield significant outcomes, and can be replicated across Africa.  The G-8 will work together to advance the objectives of the New Alliance and G-8 members will support its individual elements on a complementary basis.

To mobilize private capital for food security, the New Alliance will:

  • Support the preparation and financing of bankable agricultural infrastructure projects, through multilateral initiatives including the development of a new Fast Track Facility for Agriculture Infrastructure.
  • Support the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with the goal of securing commitments of $1.2 billion over three years from existing and new donors, scaling up and strengthening the operations of its public and private sector windows and support other mechanisms that improve country ownership and align behind CAADP national investment plans.
  • Report on the progress of G-8 development finance institutions in catalyzing additional private investment in African agriculture and increasing the range of financing options and innovative risk mitigation tools available to smallholder farmers and medium-sized agribusinesses.
  • Call on the World Bank, in collaboration with other relevant partners, to develop options for generating a Doing Business in Agriculture Index.
  • Announce the signing of Letters of Intent from over 45 local and multinational companies to invest over $3 billion across the agricultural value chain in Grow Africa countries, and the signing by over 60 companies of the Private Sector Declaration of Support for African Agricultural Development outlining their commitment to support African agriculture and public-private partnerships in a responsible manner.

To take innovation to scale, the New Alliance will:

  • Determine 10-year targets in partner countries for sustainable agricultural yield improvements, adoption of improved production technologies, including improved seed varieties, as well as post-harvest management practices as part of a value-chain approach, and measures to ensure ecological sustainability and safeguard agro-biodiversity.
  • Launch a Technology Platform with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and other partners in consultation with the Tropical Agriculture Platform and the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative that will assess the availability of improved technologies for food commodities critical to achieve sustainable yield, resilience, and nutrition impacts, identify current constraints to adoption, and create a roadmap to accelerate adoption of technologies.
  • Launch the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, housed at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to strengthen the seed sector and promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies improved seed varieties, and other technologies prioritized by the Technology Platform to meet established goals in partner countries.
  • Share relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, to develop options for the establishment of a global platform to make reliable agricultural and related information available to African farmers, researchers and policymakers, taking into account existing agricultural data systems.
  • Launch an information and communications technology innovation challenge on extension services at the African Union Summit in July 2012.
  • Explore opportunities for applying the non-profit model licensing approach that could expand African access to food and nutritional technologies developed by national research institutions.

To reduce and manage risk, the New Alliance will:

  • Support the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) to complete national agricultural risk assessment strategies, to be conducted by the World Bank and other international institutions in close partnership with New Alliance countries, with the mandate of identifying key risks to food and nutrition security and agricultural development and recommending options for managing these risks.
  • Create a global action network to accelerate the availability and adoption of agricultural index insurance, in order to mitigate risks to farmers, especially smallholder and women farmers, and increase income and nutritional security.  This network will pool data and findings; identify constraints; support regional training and capacity-building; and accelerate the development of instruments appropriate for smallholders and pastoralists.
  • Recognize the need for Africa-based sovereign risk management instruments, recognizing the progress by the African Union and its member governments toward creating the African Risk Capacity, a regional risk-pooling facility for drought management.

To improve nutritional outcomes and reduce child stunting, the G-8 will:

  • Actively support the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and welcome the commitment of African partners to improve the nutritional well-being of their populations, especially during the critical 1,000 days window from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday.  We pledge that the G-8 members will maintain robust programs to further reduce child stunting.
  • Commit to improve tracking and disbursements for nutrition across sectors and ensure coordination of nutrition activities across sectors.
  • Support the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of bio-fortified crop varieties, crop diversification, and related technologies to improve the nutritional quality of food in Africa.
  • Develop a nutrition policy research agenda and support the efforts of African institutions, civil society and private sector partners to establish regional nutritional learning centers.

To ensure accountability for results, the New Alliance will:

  • Convene a Leadership Council to drive and track implementation, which will report to the G-8 and African Union on progress towards achieving the commitments under the New Alliance, including commitments made by the private sector.
  • Report to the 2013 G-8 Summit on the implementation of the New Alliance, including the actions of the private sector, in collaboration with the African Union.

Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/18/fact-sheet-g-8-action-food-security-and-nutrition

The Future Role of Civil Society

Published in Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and Work Affairs in January 2013

The Future Role of Civil Society examines the evolving role of NGOs, labor organizations, and faith groups, among others, in building civil society in the global arena. The report is a compilation of insights from over 200 leaders in government, business, international organizations, and civil society at large, 80 expert interviews, and 5 related workshops. The report aims to engage civil society in reaction to anticipation of ongoing changes in politics, technology, economy, as well as government, business, and international organization leaders who are interested in further collaborating with civil society actors. It includes discussion of the role of religious leaders, faith communities, and faith-based organizations in building civil society. The World Economic Forum partnered with KPMG to produce the report.

Download the Report

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