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IFAD Governing Council: Day 2 highlights

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Wednesday, March 1, 2017 0 comments

Recognizing the role of Indigenous Peoples

By Claire Ferry

The first day of IFAD's 40th session of the Governing Council was marked by keynote speakers and the election of the Fund's next president, Gilbert F. Houngbo. The second day, however, brought the focus back to the heart of the organization—the people it serves.

The biennial gathering of the Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum was held earlier in the week at IFAD's headquarters and it called on representatives from across the world to discuss indigenous peoples' involvement in IFAD-supported projects. Those representatives carried their message into the second day of the Council, voicing their praises and concerns to IFAD Member States in a panel discussion.

Pope Francis speaks to indigenous peoples' representatives

Just before the Council reconvened for the panel, the indigenous peoples' representatives attended a closed meeting with Pope Francis. He stressed the delicate balance between forging ahead with development while also respecting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

"The right to prior and informed consent should always prevail," Pope Francis said. "Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict."

Francis highlighted the importance of women and young people in indigenous communities, urging governments to recognize the rights of all those involved. To bring about this change, the Pope proposed IFAD's funding and expertise as a "road map" to navigate the development that has too often left indigenous peoples in its wake.

"I think the Pope's words are important," Mirna Cunningham, President of the Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Autonomy and Development, said. "We have to remember that technological and economic development is not progress in itself, and IFAD can play a very big role with technical and financial support to ensure that these measures are considered with indigenous peoples."

As a token of all the indigenous peoples represented, delegation members offered gifts to the pope: an alpaca coat from Bolivian Andes, a blanket from the Igorot people in the Philippine Cordillera, and a Miskitu-translated bible from Nicaragua. Each gift serves as a reminder of the human faces behind every project.

Governing Council's panel on indigenous peoples

Following the meeting with Pope Francis, Cunningham mediated the Panel of Indigenous Peoples with representatives from Asia, Africa and South America.

Joan Carling, a former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, praised IFAD for its clear actions in promoting indigenous peoples' right to free prior and informed consent.

She explained how better implementation of projects leads to real empowerment, allowing these communities to be at the centre of the decision-making processes. Specifically, Carling cited IFAD's ability to track the progress of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which she believes contributes to indigenous peoples' self-determined development.

One area she suggested bolstering, though, was IFAD's securing of women's land rights and initiatives. "We know that indigenous women are working on the lands, so the entitlement of women and the protection of lands is critical to the survival of indigenous peoples," Carling said.

Elifuraha Laltaika, a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, followed Carling's remarks with an update on the state of indigenous people in Africa, highlighting the lack of recognition of these communities by governments. Though the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights exists, Laltaika doubts how closely most governments have followed its guidelines. Despite this, he remains hopeful because of constitutional reforms in countries like Kenya and Tanzania. Constitutional inclusion of indigenous communities' rights, along with involvement by agencies like IFAD, opens the door to more extensive change in African countries.

Echoing Laltaika's emphasis on recognition, Maria Teresa Zapeta Mendoza, Programme Manager for the International Indigenous Women’s Forum, shifted the discussion to the marketing of indigenous peoples' products while maintaining respect for their culture. She again reinforced the importance of governments' acknowledgement of the peoples' rights, but furthered the conversation, saying, "IFAD and governments should see us as allies and should recognize that we are legally entitled people." Mendoza told of women in Ecuador trying enter the international fish market and people in Chile achieving sustainability through ecotourism. She called for support from both IFAD and governments, which would allow indigenous peoples to compete alongside everyone else in the marketplace.

Jorge Alberto Jiménez, General Director of the Bureau for Comprehensive Social Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, built on Mendoza's insistence that indigenous people could indeed occupy a competitive place in the market. He spoke proudly of El Salvador's indigenous population and its extensive knowledge of natural medicine, but acknowledged it needs the help of institutions like IFAD to jumpstart progress. Jiménez also recalled the genocide of nearly 30,000 indigenous people in 1932 and its role in El Salvador's history today: "We have to remember that our history is not in museums; it's in the hands of the people." With that, he called for constitutional reform and stronger implementation and monitoring of the policies in place.

To conclude the panel, Cunningham invited to the stage special guest Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Tauli-Corpuz acknowledged the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and praised IFAD for its outstanding implementation of the declaration. Though indigenous peoples still suffer from continued mistreatment, she urged IFAD and governments to listen to the aspirations of these communities and enter into multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Looking ahead: President-elect Gilbert F. Houngbo

The focus of the 40th Governing Council was appointing the next president of IFAD, but amidst such a monumental event, the president-elect himself did not lose sight of the rural people the Fund serves.

“I have come from the rural world," said Houngbo, a native of Togo. "I have first-hand knowledge of the harshness of this kind of life.”

The Indigenous Peoples' Forum and the Governing Council have concluded, but the work now truly begins as President Nwanze begins to hand over the reins to Houngbo. Throughout it all, though, it is the people who will undoubtedly remain the focus of IFAD's operations.

IFAD's Member States meet for annual Governing Council

By Kerri Devlin
Delegates representing countries from all over the world were in attendance at this year's Governing Council. ©IFAD
On 14 and 15 February development leaders, heads of state and representatives from around the world attended IFAD's 40th session of the Governing Council (GC), where IFAD’s sixth President was appointed.

In conjunction with the third global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, the GC, IFAD’s main decision-making body, met with rural farmers and government representatives from 150 nations to appoint the new President of IFAD and discuss IFAD's commitment to "leave no one behind" in the framework of the 2030 Development Agenda.

In the opening of the inaugural ceremony, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, gave his final opening speech to the Governing Council.

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) speaks at the opening ceremony of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, was introduced by President Nwanze to give a keynote address. Her Excellency emphasized the key role that women play in the economic development of Africa, saying “Africa will not advance and take her rightful place as a global leader unless she moves beyond the outdated mentality of past centuries, and until we offer our daughters the same right and opportunities as our sons.”

Gurib-Fakim also spoke of the hardships many African countries continue to face, highlighting the extreme poverty and lack of a thriving agricultural sector.

“Today nearly two in five children are malnourished and one in eight women is underweight,” said Gurib-Fakim.

Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy of the Italian Republic also gave a keynote address at the opening ceremony.

He brought to attention how far the international community has come in thinking about and addressing the ambitious challenge that is within our reach: ending hunger and malnutrition.

Gurib-Fakim called upon every man and woman to play a role in achieving this goal, stating firmly that there is no acceptable number of hungry or malnourished. “Hunger and poverty, especially in rural areas are often the first link in a chain of factors that bring conflict, instability, humanitarian emergency and migration,” added Martina. 
Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
Nwanze followed and gave a statement to close the inaugural ceremony. In his final time closing the ceremony, the President of IFAD emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda, saying that “investing in rural areas is not a choice; it is a necessity.”

“We will never eliminate poverty and hunger unless we transform rural areas into vibrant economies” said Nwanze.

“Rural development is also a moral obligation. When people face the prospect of dying in poverty and hunger, they migrate to cities and urban areas and beyond. For them, no ocean is wide enough, no fence will ever rise high enough, no border will impregnable enough to keep out desperate women, children, and men.”

Nwanze also discussed the way that IFAD focuses on long term solutions. He explained that by transforming lives and transforming livelihoods, we also transform communities. “When we invest in the economic and social development of rural areas, and when we bring clean water, electricity, roads, financial services to rural areas, then we are building communities that people don’t have to flee from,” said Nwanze.

In his final address to IFAD’s GC, Nwanze reflected on the achievements and reforms of the past eight years, and spoke to his successor’s challenges that lie ahead.

Nwanze cautioned that at a time when the world is plagued by conflicts, migration, climate change and political uncertainty, selecting the right person as IFAD President is a big responsibility.
Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD
Representatives from Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Togo, Turkey, Dominican Republic and Switzerland were candidates for the position of IFAD’s sixth President. Delegates from Member States of IFAD met to appoint the new President, who will lead the organization.

Former Prime Minister of Togo, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo was appointed as new President of IFAD. He will serve for a term of office for four years, to take effect starting 1 April 2017.

With first-hand knowledge of the rural world and more than 30 years of experience in political affairs, international development, diplomacy and financial management, Houngbo believes that “through a dynamic leadership of IFAD” he can “contribute to visible change in the hardship-laden lives of the world’s rural poor.”

Hazard Zone - The Impact of Climate Change on Occupational Health

Posted by Ricci Symons Tuesday, February 28, 2017 0 comments

By Julie Potyraj

The impact of climate change on agriculture is often discussed in relation to environmental health. It threatens “global food security, sustainable development, and poverty eradication,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Factors like loss of farmland and changes in water availability could yield a decline in both the quality and quantity of crops. Droughts and floods could become more regular and erratic as global temperatures rise, making it difficult for farmers to plant and harvest crops. Extreme weather events are already taking a toll on agricultural land around the world. Rural men and women whose livelihoods depend on the availability and accessibility of natural resources are especially vulnerable. Many of the 3 billion people who live in rural regions of developing countries rely on agriculture. Climate change threatens their food supply and their income.

However, the vulnerability of rural farmers extends beyond environmental concerns. Their health is also at risk. Climate change is likely to impact both the frequency and severity of human health issues, according to “An Overview of Occupational Risks from Climate Change,” an article by faculty members of the Master of Public Health program at The George Washington University. The paper also notes that changes in climate will likely intensify health and safety issues for both indoor and outdoor workers in a wide range of professions. Agricultural workers, including farmers, represent some of the most vulnerable populations to these new risks. Increased heat exposure, which can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and even death, poses a particularly great threat to these workers. They also face greater exposure to ozone and vector-borne diseases. Extreme rain events and flooding could also increase susceptibility to infectious diseases and enteric infections, which are typically transmitted through contaminated food or water.

MPH@GW, the online MPH program from The Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW recently published the above graphic to outline some of the most prominent health threats to workers around the world. The effects on individual workers vary depending on environmental and ecological factors. However, climate change is expected to exacerbate threats to occupational health around the world. For vulnerable rural populations, climate adaptation strategies must include measures related to health in addition to agriculture.

The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) established three new work streams under the “Consultative Process on Advancing the Environmental and Social Sustainability in the UN system“. This was basically a call for UN agencies to work towards a common approach to environmental and social policies and standards in its work.

Many UN agencies are currently in the process of developing or rolling out their own social and environmental policies and procedures into their projects and programmes. In order for all UN agencies to go forward in joint or co-financed projects, they must build towards a common UN-wide safeguards system. A common approach reflects the UN's commitment to support country partners to implement their duties and obligations under international conventions and environmental agreements.

IFAD is committed to enhancing environmental sustainability and resilience in small-scale agriculture in all of its projects and programmes. Promoting a focus on the sustainable use of natural resources and providing livelihoods for rural people that are more resilient to climate change, environmental degradation and market transformation is at the core of delivering IFAD's poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture mandate.

IFAD launched its new Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP) in 2015 which address the social, environmental and climate impacts associated with its projects and programmes and bring it in line with other UN agencies. These include a range of issues, from relocation, dams and finance to indigenous rights. It also launched a Complaints Procedure to receive and facilitate resolution of environmental and social concerns in the context of its-supported programmes.

The UN system operates in areas of constantly increasing and shifting levels of risk, impact, and conflict. This makes it all the more imperative that robust safety measures are in place to avoid or alleviate harm to people and the environment. Based on this shared need, there are a number of benefits to developing a common approach to safeguards. Several of these agencies highlighted that if we don’t move towards a more common approach, we may face challenges of policy coherence due to different standards in projects and programmes.

A major benefit to the shared approach is that the UN will be seen to be ''Delivering as One''. The principles of the UN are always put into practice in its projects and in order to avoid different environmental and social safeguards/procedures being implemented simultaneously, sometimes within the same project, a common approach is needed.

Another benefit is that this would enable shared training, learning, and guidance materials benefitting from relevant expertise from across the system to be used by all agencies. With a common framework, the implementation of projects would become easier. Different agencies would then be able to pool resources and relevant expertise to jointly screen, assess and manage potential social and environmental impacts and jointly handle grievances related to UN country programming where possible.

With development funding becoming more and more scarce, and constrained, agencies that can actively demonstrate that they are ''fit for purpose'' in helping countries achieve their sustainable development goals are more likely to get funding and create projects. IFAD is already publicly showing that it is conforming with the international norms and best practices through its SECAP. A common approach will help to ensure continued access to financing that is increasingly tied to social and environmental safeguard and accountability policies (e.g. Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, Adaptation Fund, bilaterals). Having a shared approach can also translate into increased international recognition and reputational value for IFAD and the UN as a whole.

Written by: Fiona Flintan, Senior Scientist ILRI and Technical Adviser for the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project, Tanzania

Pastoralists, farmers and land use conflicts in Bagamoyo

As drought tightens its grip in the drylands of many East African countries, in Tanzania conflicts between farmers and pastoralists are set to increase. With insecure access to grazing lands, a lack of land use planning and continued encroachment of grazing areas by crop farmers and investors alike, pastoralists are often pushed from place to place with no real solution provided to their plight. This is no more clearly seen than in Bagamoyo district in Pwani region where Barabaig pastoralists have ended up, following ongoing evictions from one place after another, and most importantly from their homelands of the Basotu Plains.

In Bagamoyo district such conflicts occur on a regular basis with livestock being slashed and killed, and crops being trampled and destroyed as pastoralists and farmers clash in a growing situation of increasing land competition. Such conflicts are bad for pastoralists, bad for farmers, and bad for investment. Bagamoyo is the site of a new industrial zone and competing to become sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest port. In addition the District has been targeted for large-scale commercial investment and being enviably close to Dar Es Salaam and the coast is rife with land speculation.

IFAD Tanzania CPM Francisco Pichon, IFAD Senior Land Tenure Adviser Harold Liversage, ILC Director
Mike Taylor and Fiona Flintan, ILRI and Technical Adviser to the SRMP discuss
with pastoralists from Bagamoyo how best land use conflicts can be resolved.
Credit: F. Flintan 2014

The Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP)

In this context the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP), financially supported by IFAD, Irish Aid, the International Land Coalition (ILC), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Government of Tanzania is working with national and local authorities to secure rangelands and the land rights of local rangeland users including pastoralists across the country through the implementation of village land use planning and land certification. The Project, led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the National Land Use Planning Commission not only supports individual village land use planning, but more importantly joint village land use planning in order to secure resources such as grazing areas shared across village boundaries. 

Between 2010-2015 SRMP assisted nine villages to carry out village land use planning, and successfully piloted the implementation of joint village planning across three of these: Lerug, Ngapapa and Orkitikiti. The process led to  the protection and certification of a shared grazing area that has been called “OLENGAPA” to incorporate a part of each village’s name .  

OLENGAPA – a pioneer of joint village land use plans

In the OLENGAPA area the SRMP supported the villagers to carry out a participatory mapping of the different resources in the villages and their distribution. This was used to develop a basemap for the village land use planning process, including showing which resources are shared by the villages and where they are situated.

Participatory mapping of rangeland resources was an innovation introduced to village land use planning process
by SRMP Credit: F. Flintan 2013
SRMP then facilitated village members to come to agreement over the individual village land use maps and plans, as well as the joint village land use map and plan, and the joint village land use agreement (JVLUA). These detailed and ultimately protected the shared grazing area, water points, livestock routes and other shared resources. Reaching agreement was a protracted negotiation process between the villages and within villages between different interest groups, involving many community meetings and much investment of resources. In the end each Village Assembly approved the JVLUA, which allocated 20,706.73 ha of land for shared grazing – that is, around 40 per cent of the total area of the villages. By-laws for the management of the resources were developed and adopted. 

Following on from the approval of the JVLUA, the three OLENGAPA Village Councils established a Joint Grazing Land Committee made up of members from all three villages. This Committee is responsible for planning, management, enforcement of by-laws applicable to the OLENGAPA, and coordination of the implementation of the OLENGAPA land use agreements and joint land use plan. In addition a Livestock Keepers Association was established including 53 founding members with most households from the three villages being associate members. In January 2016 the Ministry of Lands approved and registered the village land boundary maps and deed plans for the three villages. The District Council has issued the village land certificates and the next step is for the Village Councils to begin issuing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs). The shared grazing area will require three group CCROs to be issued to the Livestock Keepers Association – one from each village for the part of the grazing area that falls under its jurisdiction. Signboards and beacons marking the boundary of the shared grazing area are being put in place. 

OLENGAPA shared grazing area, as agreed by community members from all three villages in 2015

The details of the OLENGAPA process are detailed in a recently launched ILC Rangelands Initiative Issue Paper . A Manual to provide guidance on participatory rangeland resource mapping was published by the project in English and Swahili: “Field Manual to support planning and management in rangelands including in Village Land Use Planning”.

Scaling up joint village land use planning

SRMP has now entered its third phase (2016-2020), which will focus on the scaling-up of the joint village land use planning approach in several new clusters of villages, as well as expanding the original ones. This includes the securing of grazing areas through the provision of CCROs and improving the management of the areas by the established Livestock Keepers Associations through action research on rangeland rehabilitation, improvement, and on intensification of rangeland and livestock productivity.

Activities will be undertaken in three regions – Manyara, Morogoro and Pwani. The locations of the new clusters of villages appropriate for joint village land use planning will be identified through a mapping of grazing areas, livestock routes, and VLUP interventions across a pastoral-dominated landscape or corridor stretching form Kiteto district (in Manyara region), through Kilindi district (Tanga region), Mvomero district (Morogoro) and up to Bagamoyo district in Pwani region. 
Improving the enabling environment for future interventions

Not only does SRMP seek to secure rangeland resources for rangeland users, but it also aims to improve the enabling environment for current and future interventions. The SRMP is a component of the ILC’s Tanzania National Engagement Strategy (NES), a framework through which ILC members collaborate, strategise, and engage with government and other partners in order to effect positive change. In Tanzania the NES has two main components – land-based investments and rangelands where SRMP is a key mechanism for achieving the NES rangeland-focused objective of securing grazing areas. IFAD is supporting the NES to foster an inclusive policy dialogue for good land governance in the country.  

Through working closely with national and local government, SRMP aims to influence policy and legislation to provide a more enabling environment for securing the rights of local rangeland users including rights to key resources such as grazing areas and water, maintaining necessary mobility. The Project also aims to improve the participation of such users, women and men, young and old, in decision-making processes pertaining to their lands. SRMP will build the capacity of different actors to support the securing of rangelands, resolve conflicts between land users, and improve the management of rangelands through research, training and learning. The ILC Rangelands Initiative will assist cross-country and cross-continental exchange with other ILC members and their partners working in similar contexts. This includes through learning visits, study tours, meetings, and dissemination of results through publications, conferences, social media and other forums. 

Finally the SRMP aims to influence thinking in Tanzania to be more supportive of livestock production systems including pastoralism through advocacy and lobbying, not only for the land rights of pastoralists and other rangeland users but also to raise awareness on the benefits of and opportunities for investment in pastoral production systems. A key vision of SRMP is to garner support for and move towards the establishment of a Southern-Livestock Green Growth Corridor or “SLIGGCOT” across the pastoral landscape where the Project is working – stretching from Kiteto through Morogoro to Bagamoyo. 

Civil Society Organizations' dialogue on communal land titling in Peru

Posted by Beate Stalsett Wednesday, February 15, 2017 0 comments

Written by: Elisa Mandelli

Participants at the event.
©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
15th of November last year, IFAD's Land Tenure team was in Lima, Peru, to participate in a Dialogue on objectives and goals of communal titling programs in Peru. The dialogue was convened by three Civil Society Organizations (CSO) groups: the Pacto de Unidad de los Pueblos Indígenas, the Colectivo Territorios Seguros para las Comunidades del Perú and the Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra, initiated with the support of the International Land Coalition. The event brought together more than 30 representatives from local and international CSOs but also representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes and development partners such as IFAD and GIZ.

The participants took stock of the current situation of communal land titling in Peru. Over the last few years, the country has experienced an increase in projects and initiatives focusing on land titling. Among these initiatives, the “Proyecto de Catastro, Titulación, Y Registro De Tierras Rurales en el Perú” (PTRT3) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through a loan from the World Bank, is currently allocating US$ 15 million to land titling and is covering 10 regions in the Selva area of Peru, namely: Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, San Martin, Huánuco, Ucayali, Junín, Cusco, Apurímac and Puno. The activities of this Project range from the deliverance of individual and communal titles, to the improvement of legal frameworks and the strengthening of instructional and technical capacities at regional and national level.  Other interventions such as the Programa de Inversión Forestal (FIP–PE) funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Joint Declaration of Intent between Norway and Peru aim to support individual and communal land titling, especially within Amazon indigenous communities, as a way to protect forests and foster a sustainable management of natural resources.

The participants acknowledged the substantial contribution of these interventions in protecting biodiversity and strengthening land tenure securities of indigenous peoples’ communities in Peru but also observed a tendency to orient investments towards indigenous peoples’ communities in the Amazon. Many representatives of local CSOs stressed the importance of also taking  into account indigenous peoples and farmers’ communities in other areas of the country, especially the Andean region (Sierra), where large parcels of forest are threatened by extractive activities, forest fires and the expansion of agricultural borders. These communities often have weak tenure rights since they struggle to get their status of either “farmers” (campesinos) or “indigenous” (indigenos or nativos) community recognized and are by consequence less involved into decision-making regarding their territories. 

Representative from the Ministry of Agriculture explains the PTRT3.
©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
Participants called for a greater support to territorial and community land delimitation, customary and communal land rights recognition but also to the generation of more sustainable and inclusive models for territorial land and natural resources management.  Moreover, women’s  land  rights has been highlighted as a cross-cutting challenge that needs to be prioritized, in particular with regards to indigenous women who face a double  marginalisation on their access and control over land and decision-making. 
Against this framework, participants agreed on the fact that inclusive and responsible good land governance has a critical role to play.  In this sense, the PTRT3 has created a dedicated entity for rural land titling within the Ministry of Agriculture, the DISPACR (Dirección de Saneamiento de la Propiedad Agraria y Catastro Rural) filling an institutional void in the coordination of rural land tenure issues. Moreover, the PTRT3 has created a working group for civil society consultation and advisory, a positive experience that many participants described as a potential model to enhance inclusive and participatory land governance in the country. 

This dialogue and the exchange with local CSOs and development partners has allowed IFAD and its country office to get to know better the socio-political context of land governance in Peru and to identify potential synergies with IFAD-funded programmes and projects in the country and the Andean Sub-region. 

In particular, there is the potential for IFAD to bring in its experience in supporting land tenure measures enabling inclusive and sustainable territorial management such as land use planning, community by-laws, customary certificates and others. These type of measures have often proven to be more effective and less controversial than titling to address land tenure security of poor rural communities, and allow to link territorial management of land and natural resources with improved rural productivity..

By Francesca Aloisio

It seems like yesterday that the 39th session of the Governing Council (GC) of IFAD ended, after a very busy time spent organizing it, that usually requires the enthusiastic efforts of a large number of IFAD staff. But in reality, it has already been one year.

We are now approaching the 40th session of the Governing Council, that will be held on 14-15 February 2017, a key event in IFAD's calendar. The Governing Council is the Fund's main decision-making body, and this year the event will focus on the appointment of IFAD's new President.
Also, this year, the Governing Council will be preceded by the third global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Forum, another important event on IFAD's calendar. It will take place at our headquarters in Rome on 10 and 13 February 2017, and it will focus on economic empowerment of indigenous peoples, particularly women and youth. It will be a great opportunity to discuss, share and learn about the role that indigenous peoples have in contributing to sustainable development, but also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

How can you join the events?

IFAD would like to extend the invitation to join the conversation around these events, a conversation that will address important issues regarding rural development, the dialogue with indigenous peoples, and the role of youth and women - at national, regional and international level.

And what better way to talk about rural development and indigenous knowledge in 2017 than doing so using social media!

We encourage you to follow the webcast sessions, join the conversation and spread the word using #WeAreIndigenous for the Global Forum and #IFADGC for the Governing Council.

More information on the events, including programme, webcast, photos and videos, can be found on our website: