The 7th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Partnership Platform Meeting, jointly organised by the African Union Commission (AUC), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and hosted by the Government of the Republic of Cameroon, took place at the Hilton Hotel, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 23 to 25 March 2011. The 7th CAADP PP was organised under the theme: 'Mutual Accountability in the formulation and implementation of country CAADP investment plans'. A summary of key messages:
The opening statement and remarks highlighted the genesis of CAADP and the importance of living up to the vision defining CAADP as a transformational development model based on agriculture; underlined the fact that agriculture continues to form a cornerstone of African economies and the critical role it plays in impacting on poverty and hunger; emphasised the need to focus on programme implementation and results; underscored the need for providing capacity support to countries and RECs to advance programme implementation at country level; reiterated the importance of enhancing local ownership and responsibility including the imperatives of mobilizing domestic resources; and called for establishing mechanisms for transparency and effective coordination among all actors on the CAADP agenda.
The statements in the opening session further highlighted the supportive role that can be played by pan-African organisations and development partners in anchoring CAADP firmly at the country level. The statements underlined the important role development partners play in supporting the broader CAADP agenda under African political and professional leadership. The statements also noted the impetus provided by CAADP in realising the vision of a food secure Africa and the launch of the African Food and Nutrition Security Day to raise public awareness and strengthen partnership around the food security thrust of CAADP.
A keynote presentation titled 'Taking CAADP to the Next Level' by Mme. Estherine Fotabong, Director for Programme Coordination and Implementation at the NEPAD Agency, underscored the need for results-oriented efforts in the implementation of National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (NAFSIPs). In this regard, a call was made to strengthen capacities of local institutions to take more responsibility and ownership in developing and implementing agriculture programmes. Furthermore, CAADP stakeholders were called upon to promote measures that enhance sustainable financing for implementing agriculture programmes - including leveraging private sector financing and triggering the flow of domestic resources.
The meeting noted the significant support RECs and continental organisations, including AUC and the NEPAD Agency, have provided to countries in moving CAADP from merely being a process of mobilization of key stakeholders in evidence-based agricultural planning to one that created the necessary conditions for generating the required investment finance.
The meeting appreciated the critical role CAADP can play in promoting AU’s regional integration agenda. In this respect, the meeting reiterated the added value of national actions in the advancement of regional integration and underlined the need for ensuring complementarities between regional compacts and national priorities.
Participants at the meeting noted the progress made with regard to post-compact processes, making specific reference to the efforts made in developing national agriculture and food security investment plans, deployment of external experts for country technical reviews, and organisation of ‘CAADP Business Meetings’.
The meeting took cognizance of the substantial resources being mobilized domestically to implement CAADP investment plans. The meeting also noted the positive patterns in public allocations and expenditures in the agriculture sector, and further called for the need to leverage other mechanisms to ensure sustainable financing of the sector - with thrust on mobilizing private sector and other domestic resources.
The Meeting reaffirmed that Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are pivotal stakeholders in the CAADP process as they provide regional leadership, technical and financial support to in-country CAADP processes. In this regard, the meeting recognised the uneven progress with CAADP across the continent, and the need for providing purpose-tailored capacity building support to RECs to help them articulate better the value addition of CAADP to existing national agricultural strategy formulation processes.
The meeting took note of the second Comprehensive CAADP M&E report that highlighted progress on the extent to which commitments to, and targets on CAADP have been met so far. The report showed progress on the roundtable processes, trends in public national budget allocations to the agriculture sector and in agricultural GDP growth rates, and emerging positive progress towards halving poverty and hunger rates by 2015. The meeting endorsed the 2010 CAADP Continental M & E Report but took note of the negative effects caused by poor data quality on M&E products.
Participants welcomed the new emphasis placed on establishing country Strategic Analysis Knowledge Support Systems (SAKSS) and called for expedience in operationalising the SAKSS at country level.
The meeting recognized the critical role that the CAADP PP could play in advancing mutual accountability. The meeting, however, noted that considerations need to be given to enhancing effective and informed participation of key stakeholders and improving the organisation and management especially of the ‘Business Session’ segment of the Platform.
The meeting noted that non-state actors (NSAs) are critical players in CAADP implementation, the involvement of which at all stages of CAADP is indispensable to the realization of CAADP targets and results. In particular, the meeting recognised that the engagement of NSAs is critical for articulating issues of wider significance for delivering on the broad-based development agenda of CAADP. However, the meeting noted the challenges NSAs face with regard to their informed participation as equal partners in the CAADP process.
The meeting took note of the progress countries have made in establishing and/or strengthening context-specific multi-stakeholder Country Teams in support of CAADP with well-defined terms of reference. The meeting noted the growing effort towards enhancing the visibility of women in CAADP Country Teams. The meeting further noted the important roles these structures play as change agents in facilitating and leading analytical work and providing a forum for enhancing the interface between the technical and the political dimensions in CAADP implementation.
The meeting underscored the timeliness of investing in agricultural innovation systems in general and in fostering agricultural research for development in particular. To this end, countries are urged to allocate sufficient proportions of the government budgets to agricultural research, extension and advisory services that are commensurate with the task of raising agricultural productivity - so as to meet the CAADP targets of hunger reduction and poverty alleviation.
The meeting noted the necessity of supporting African capacity building institutions, including national agricultural colleges and universities, in order to entrench capacity development within national structures and processes that are mandated to build capacity for CAADP implementation.
The meeting noted the substantial increase in Development Partners’ support to agriculture and rural development programmes as a follow up to their commitments to CAADP-aligned investment plans. Still, Development Partners were urged to work towards ensuring adequate, timely and predictable financing to country-led investment plans.
The meeting noted the important advocacy roles being played by Development Partners especially at headquarters levels and requested that such an engagement is pursued in a planned and institutionalized manner at regional and country level. The meeting further noted the need to synchronise the efforts of Development Partners on these issues with those of African institutions.
The meeting noted the engagement of Development Partners with regard to strengthening communication and collaboration between headquarter level, regional and country offices as well as between agencies dealing with a range of agriculture-related initiatives such as climate change and nutrition security. The meeting also underlined that the efforts of development partners be intensified to ensure that ‘unity of purpose’ defines development partners’ engagement with CAADP.
The meeting noted that agriculture is the main employer of the youth and women in Africa. Harnessing the energies of these segments of the society requires concerted efforts aimed at guaranteeing access to land and financial resources, among others. The meeting further noted that decent rural employment considerations focusing on women and the youth are central for effective CAADP implementation.
The meeting noted the importance of advancing sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) matters within CAADP to enhance food security and market access. In this context, the meeting underscored the need to address Aflatoxin control and other SPS challenges in a holistic and integrated manner across the entire value chain, and across the various partners involved.
The meeting encouraged countries to put in place sound food security policies and programme choices to ensure that farmers benefit from prevailing higher prices, vulnerable groups are protected and price volatility is managed. The relevance of evidence-based analysis to inform policy options was further more stressed.
* The full document, COMMUNIQUE OF THE SEVENTH COMPREHENSIVE AFRICA AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME PARTNERSHIP PLATFORM (CAADP PP) MEETING, March 23 - 25, 2011, Yaoundé, Cameroon, can be accessed here.