- The United Nations agency that promotes commerce to fight poverty kicked off a meeting today aimed at finding ways in which trade, investment and technology transfers between developing countries – so-called “South-South” cooperation – can improve farming to boost food security in poorer nations.
Experts from more than 20 countries gathered at the headquarters of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva for the three-day meeting on “international cooperation: South–South cooperation and regional integration.”
UNCTAD research into spiraling food prices in 2008 – which resulted in food shortages that has hiked the number of people suffering from hunger around the world up to around 1 billion – found that agricultural development has been neglected in recent years and greater support is needed to prevent future crises.
The meeting will discuss a number of areas in which South-South cooperation can support sustainable agricultural development, such as the challenge of raising investment in developing countries; the need to correct persistent distortions in the trading system, particularly the massive agricultural subsidies provided annually to farmers in affluent countries; the threats and opportunities from the recent rise in foreign direct investment (FDI), including large-scale acquisitions or leases of farmland; the development of new and appropriate technologies; and the challenge of adapting to climate change.
This second session of the multi-year expert meeting is also expected to add to UN efforts to achieve food security under the framework of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, as well as strengthen UNCTAD’s work on agriculture.
A final session will be held on “the way forward,” with presentations by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Special Envoy on Food Security and Nutrition David Nabarro and by UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.
Earlier this month, the UN Deputy Secretary-General called for stronger and more innovative cooperation between developing countries, particularly neighbouring States, to tackle global challenges such as poverty, hunger and climate change.
“Development does not occur in a vacuum,” Asha-Rose Migiro told the UN High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, taking place in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “It has proved to be most successful when coupled with strategies to increase cross-border trade and investment.”
The three-day meeting was to review 30 years of progress since the UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1978.
Ms Migiro also added that South-South cooperation should not replace North-South cooperation, but rather complement it. “Together we can harness the great endowments of the South and achieve the internationally agreed development goals.”
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.