This article was co-authored by Jeske van Seters.
[updated 27 March 10.00 CET]
This blog will be updated with the latest developments during 25-26 March 2013 from the African Union Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Looking back at the PP after its closing, you could question the added-value of this annual event for the implementation of CAADP and the achievement of results and impact.
Does it serve the CAADP purpose or is it a waste of time and money?
Seemingly supporting the latter point of view, critical remarks by participants on the conduct of this PP affecting its effectiveness could be heard in the corridors during the course of the two days.
These included comments on the limited time dedicated to discussions rather than presentations; cancelled or improvised break-out sessions due to the absence of scheduled speakers; and key documents not having been shared prior to the meeting. While recognizing these weaknesses, it can be countered that the PP nevertheless provides a unique platform for a broad range of stakeholders – representatives of African governments, regional organisations, members of parliament, farmers’ organisations, private sector, and development partners – to exchange experiences and reflect on critical issues for the way forward for CAADP.
Indeed, strong messages were conveyed at this PP, not in the least by a considerable number of women farmers emphasizing the need for CAADP implementation to be fast-tracked and to benefit the most vulnerable. Others stressed issues like the need for stronger political leaderships at all levels, improved accountability mechanisms as well as scaling-up and development-proofing of private sector investment. Now it is up to participants of today’s CAADP Business Meeting (i.e. the platform to make decisions for improving the CAADP Partnership) to agree on concrete measures to act on these strong messages.
Looking at Europe, we have an exciting year ahead: the EU has taken over the chairmanship of the CAADP Development Partners Task Team here in Addis, and has announced yesterday that food security will feature high also at the Africa-EU Summit in April 2014
Yesterday, on the first day of the PP, many speakers lauded CAADP for having brought critical progress since its inception 10 years ago.
Regularly this was illustrated by milestones reached in CAADP processes, like the respectable number of 40 African countries now engaged in CAADP and 30 countries having signed a CAADP compact. However, this contradicted with several interventions of farmer representatives, who seriously questioned progress made so far on the ground. Some stressed that the CAADP progress is quite slow in a number of countries and regions, and appealed to government representatives for fast-tracking.
More importantly, they pointed out that, so far, small-holders and small-scale food processors often don’t benefit clearly from CAADP initiatives.
This gap between statements of decision-makers and perceptions of farmer representatives is related to how ‘progress’ is defined. Hopefully the overarching ‘CAADP Results Framework’ that will be discussed on this second day of the PP will capture both process elements as well as actual impact on the ground benefitting those suffering from poverty and food insecurity.
The opening session of the Partnership Platform (PP) saw interesting interventions of high-level speakers.
The African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, put the event in context, by indicating that the 9th PP is an important part of the political build-up to 2014 AU year of Agriculture and Food Security, and beyond.
The Canadian ambassador to Ethiopia, Djibouti and the African Union, added on behalf of all Development Partners that this PP is an excellent opportunity to renew partnerships for CAADP implementation for results and impact, in line with the theme of the meeting. He also stressed the importance to keep youth and women at the heart of the process.
Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency reminded the audience that in Africa 90% of farms are family run, making it crucial that they benefit from CAADP, including from the capital flowing into agriculture.
In relation, Alangeh Romanus Che of the Pan African Farmers Organisation stressed the importance of the involvement of farmers’ organisations in CAADP processes at all levels (local, national, regional and continental).
Wondirad Mandefro, State Minister of Agriculture of the Government of Ethiopia confirmed the value of multi-stakeholder participation, as well as other key CAADP principles such as cross-sectoral linkages.
After these opening statements, the challenge in the next day and a half is for the PP to move beyond general statements and provide a genuine platform for dialogue, and not only very interesting presentations.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is Africa’s main instrument to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture. It has its 10th birthday this year, and everyone will be looking at what progress has been made over the past decade.
This specific meeting is about assessing the progress in achieving the CAADP goals. Bringing together all the main stakeholders – government representatives, the RECs (Regional Economic Communities), farmers organisations and development partners – discussion will focus on how to move from commitments to implementation, results and impact in the coming years. The design of an accountability framework to track progress will also be discussed during the meeting.
As the heads of our food security programme, we are attending the event and will be live tweeting direct from the centre. Follow the updates on twitter, or come back to this blog, as we will be disseminating the key proceedings from the meetings during each day.
This meeting is important because it sets the stage, in this particular year, for a review of the progress of CAADP, and it will produce the key messages for the African Union heads of states to take to their next summit.
The event is placed under the “CAADP: sustaining momentum” theme, a continuation from last year’s partnership platform. The implementation of CAADP has been, mostly, ‘confined to public investment planning, resulting in a high level of donor financial dependency’, according to the concept note for the event. The tricky question of buy-in from national governments will, therefore, be central to the event.
You can read the state of play of regional CAADP processes in our briefing note, detailing progress that various RECs have made to boost agricultural development and strengthen food security.
Check back to this blog where we will be posting the latest information on a regular basis.
This blog post features the author’s personal view and does not represent the view of ECDPM.
thank for your report. I was in Ethiopia with you and one could see that it was waste of time and resources. I learned that you are out of office and on your return we shall throw more light on it. thanks a lot
thanks for your report on CAADP. I was also there and it was waste of time and resources. I think that steps should be taken to address that. I learn t you are out of office and i believe we shall have fruitful response on your return. Robert from Ghana
Hi Charles, thanks for your comment ! The issue of 10% Maputo commitment was indeed discussed, with conclusion briefly being that 'progress was made but much more needs to be done'. CAADP is now discussing the adoption of a CAADP Results Framework which was presented for comments in Addis, and hopefully soon available at http://www.caadp.net . This should be an instrument to put peer-pressure so that more African countries meet their Maputo target. Interesting data tracking progress on publ.investment in agriculture were also presented in Addis by ONE: http://www.one.org/c/international/policybrief/4644/ and if you're interested check out this Index released last week: http://www.ids.ac.uk/news/poorest-countries-lead-the-fight-against-hunger-and-undernutrition ...the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) measures political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition by showing levels of appropriate policies, legal frameworks and public spending.
Thanks Jeske for the briefs about the 9th CAADP PP. I would like to know if the issue of the failure to implement the Moputu commitment for 10% of national budgets to agriculture came up in the discussion and what the conclusions/recommendations were.