CSD-17 background reading/achtergrondinformatie

Background readings on CSD-17 done, lots of interesting stuff on the main CSD-17 website, including a report from a Capacity Development Workshop on Improving Agricultural Productivity, Water Use Efficiency and Rural Livelihoods held at Bangkok, Thailand, from 28-30 January 2009.

I was especially intrigued by the following excerpt which outlines the chairperson’s main ideas:

‘Her Excellency, Ms. Gerda Verburg (Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Chairperson of the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development) reiterated in her closing statement the challenging task we are facing to foster sustainable agricultural land and water management in order to ensure food security and poverty eradication. Even though governments made the commitment to reduce by half the number of people living in poverty by 2015, the achievement of this first Millennium Development Goal is further away than ever.

She cited a number of reasons for the high food prices, such as neglecting investments in agriculture, less available farm land, droughts, growing demand for biofuels and changing consumption patterns. A five-track approach was recommended that will help to address the issues and challenges faced by agricultural development, water management and rural livelihoods.

1) The first track calls for substantial investment in sustainable agriculture for capacity building in the area of land and water management, sharing knowledge and technology transfer.

2) The second is an enabling environment, emphasizing community participation in the decision-making process, attracting private investment, considering tenure rights and ensuring integrated land and water management at all levels.

3) The third is to develop a safe and sustainable food chain, from production, processing and marketing to consumers.

4) The fourth track aims at improving market access that supports the development of local and regional markets.

5) The fifth track focuses on food security and emergency food aid, by means of enhanced safety nets for the most vulnerable people and increased lending possibilities, including provision of micro-credit schemes.

In closing, she reminded participants of the important role of governance, with the emphasis that poverty eradication, food security and sustainable resources management should be addressed in a coherent manner.’

Ah, that word ‘coherence’ in the last sentence reminds me of the latest guidance from the Baha’i World Centre which is all about coherence between activities carried out by Baha’is world-wide.

My idea to join the Sunday morning devotional at 11 AM at the NY Baha’i Centre has changed because I realised that the briefing of the Major Groups, hosted at the BIC offices, starts at 12.30 PM. And since I was asked yesterday to be there on behalf of the Women Major Group, I’d better be there from the start. So, I need to find some breakfast, sort out what to take with me, and make my way over to the BIC offices (next to the UN building).

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