Fourth global meeting of the Farmers' Forum
What is the Farmers' Forum?
It is an on-going, bottom-up process of consultation and dialogue between small farmers' and rural producers' organizations (FOs), IFAD and governments, focused on agricultural and rural development and poverty reduction. The Forum is rooted in concrete partnerships and collaborations at the country and regional levels. The Farmers' Forum was born in 2005 and it meets every two years for a global consultation, in conjunction with the Governing Council of IFAD.
Who will be attending?
Representatives of farmers'organizations attending the global meeting of the Forum are nominated by its Steering Committee. This year's edition, to be held in Rome on 20 and 21 February 2012, brings together 90 farmers' leaders, representing millions of smallholders and rural producers from all over the world, to interact with IFAD staff and selected partners, including FAO, AgriCord, the EC, donors, research institutes and NGOs. The Forum will be opened by the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze. Its closing session, in the afternoon of Tuesday, 21 February, will be open to the IFAD's Executive Board representatives.
Youth in the spotlight
Following a recommendation of the 2010 Forum meeting, a special effort has been made by participating FOs and by IFAD to invite young farmers and representatives of rural youth movements. A special preparatory session is being held on Saturday, 18 February to share experiences and views of young rural people from different regions and to contribute to the formulation of successful policies and programmes.
Partnership and operational matters
The 2012 edition of the Forum provides space for discussion on operational matters and dialogue on thematic issues of interest to both FOs and IFAD. These themes have been selected by the Steering Committee in the context of the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development and in relation with the overall theme of the Thirty fifth session of the IFAD Governing Council: "Sustainable smallholder agriculture: feeding the world, protecting the planet".
In the morning of Monday, 20 February, IFAD will present its analysis of evolving partnerships with FOs. In the afternoon, five regional working group sessions will discuss collaboration between IFAD and farmers' organizations at country and regional levels. In the morning of Tuesday, 21 February, four thematic working groups will address the following issues:
- sustainable agriculture, agro-ecology: how to promote and scale up good practices on the ground;
- sustainable fisheries: how fishers' organizations can contribute to sustainable management of marine resources while improving incomes;
- institutional development and financial sustainability of farmers' organizations; and
- engaging RIO+20: the objectives of FOs and IFAD.
A Synthesis of Deliberations and Recommendations regarding our evolving partnership will be agreed upon by participants and discussed with IFAD's management on Tuesday afternoon. This closing session will be open to IFAD's Executive Board Representatives. The participants in the Farmers' Forum are invited to the Governing Council with observer's status. The Synthesis of Deliberations of the Forum will be delivered to the Governing Council on Wednesday 22 February. A parallel side event of the Forum on women's leadership in FOs will be held on Wednesday afternoon as a follow-up of the 2010 workshop on the same subject.
After the closing of the Governing Council, six side events of the Farmers' Forum will be held on Thursday 23 afternoon, with FOs and selected partners. The themes of the side events are:
- organic farmers' organizations: empowering farmers and promoting sustainable rural development (organized by IFOAM);
- linking research to advocacy in farmers' organizations (AgriNatura and the ESFIM project);
- the role of livestock for farmers coping with environmental and social challenges of the future (Vétérinaires Sans Frontières–Europa);
- strengthening farmers' organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa–the Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa" (AGRA); and
- the World Agriculture Watch (WAW secretariat at FAO);
- the International Year of Cooperatives (IFAD, WFP and FAO).