An Australian Presentation Sister speaking at the UN
The Annual Ministerial Review looks at “Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs”.
This is Mary’s Oral Intervention:
Thank you, Chairperson, for the opportunity to present a statement on “Investing in agriculture pays high dividend in terms of quality of life and dignity for rural people living in poverty”. My name is Mary McFadden and I represent the International Presentation Association. Carlos Sere, Chief Development Strategist at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, had said in an interview by the UN News Centre, “Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 per cent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households. 500 million small farms worldwide, most still rain-fed, provide up to 80 per cent of food consumed in a large part of the developing world. Investing in smallholder women and men is an important way to increase food security and nutrition for the poorest, as well as food production for local and global markets.”
Chairperson, I bring to your attention one of the effective practices of investing in smallholder farmers. The Bakhita Women Project by rural women in Kinnertone village, Kalomo District, Southern Province of Zambia, was initiated by our organization in 2002 at a time when women in this village had limited access to enough food, finance and land. Most of these women are widows. This project helped to invest in human capital and in agriculture. The women, having constructed a dam to harness rainwater harvesting and having access to land, are able to produce enough food for themselves, sell the surplus and use the resources for their children’s education. Today they are a Cooperative and share the benefits among themselves. Besides, seven other neighboring villages have access to the harvested rain water from the dam for their farming. They are a registered society and are empowered to access government programmes and network with other NGOs. Therefore we recommend that this August gathering consider national level implementation of the following commitments from The Future We Want, the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Conference…
• In Paragraph 109 the UN Member States have recognized the importance to take the necessary actions to better address the needs of rural communities through, inter alia, enhancing access by agricultural producers, in particular small producers, women, Indigenous peoples and people living in vulnerable situations, to credit and other financial services, markets, secure land tenure, health care and social services, education and training, knowledge, and appropriate and affordable technologies, including for efficient irrigation, re-use of treated waste water, water harvesting and storage and have reiterated the importance of empowering rural women as critical agents for enhancing agricultural and rural development and food security and nutrition. The UN Member States have also recognized the importance of traditional sustainable agricultural practices, including traditional seed supply systems, for many Indigenous peoples and local communities.
• In Paragraph 156, the UN Member States have stressed the need to provide social protection to all members of society, fostering growth, resilience, social justice and cohesion, including those who are not employed in the formal economy. In this regard, the UN Member States have strongly encouraged national and local initiatives aimed at providing social protection floors for all citizens. Supporting global dialogue on best practices for social protection programmes that takes into account the three dimensions of sustainable development and, in this regard, the UN Member States have noted the International Labour Organization Recommendation 202 concerning National Floors of Social Protection.
I thank you for this opportunity.
Mary McFadden pbvm
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