MDG Action Blogs
|Have you recently started a campaign to raise awareness about or mobilize other young people around the Millennium Development Goals? Or have you successfully started a lobbying campaign geared towards your local or national government? Whatever action you have taken, we would like to learn about it! Sharing your experiences good or bad - can be very inspiring for other young people. If you haven't been as active yet, you can use this GroupBlog to learn what you can do to add your voice to the global fight against poverty!
Investments in Agricultural Water Critical to Achieve the MDGs
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the World Bank today called for an increase in funding and a renewed focus on agricultural water management in Africa, including irrigation, drainage and rainwater harvesting. Representatives of AfDB, NEPAD and the World Bank issued the call after a special session on agriculture water use in Africa held in Tunis at the First African Water Week. The meeting discussed challenges facing agriculture water development in Africa and a proposal for a new initiative aimed at scaling up investments and ensuring a more reliable, broad-based and sustained flow of funds for agricultural water, as well promoting analytical work and supporting sectoral strategies in the field of agricultural water. The Initiative would promote knowledge sharing, dissemination and capacity strengthening. It would launch innovative business lines in support of agricultural water management and sustainable development. It will also foster regional integration, coordination and partnerships, and empowerment of national and regional stakeholders.
According to the World Bank’s latest World Development Report, growth in the agricultural sector in Africa is vital to poverty reduction and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “Strategic public and related private investment in water management will be essential for the intensification of agricultural production and for meeting targets for poverty alleviation, food production and economic recovery by 2015,”said Richard Mkandawire, NEPAD’s Agriculture Advisor. “Reliance on irregular and unreliable rainfall for agricultural production is a major constraint on crop productivity in the region,” Mkandawire added.
The Tunis meeting discussed the agricultural water strategy: Investment in agricultural water for poverty reduction and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa which was jointly prepared by the World Bank, AfDB, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI), in response to NEPAD’s desire to implement land and water management (Pillar I) of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). The CAADP encompasses among other objectives an increase in the area under sustainable water management in Africa to 20 million hectares, up from less than 7 million hectares at present.
“Developing water resources and rural infrastructure are among the key priority areas of the African Development Bank in Africa. The ongoing agriculture portfolio of the Bank comprises 240 projects covering 28 countries with a total investment of US$3 billion. More than a third of the investment portfolio, ie US$1.37 billion, has been assigned to agriculture water development covering 53 projects and programs, and benefiting 23 African countries,” said Aly Abou-Sabaa, Director of the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department of the AfDB. “The initiative is timely in view of the rising food prices across the globe and the World Bank is committed to investing up to US$1 billion in sustainable agricultural water projects over the next 5 years”, said John Stein, Acting Director of the Sustainable Development Department, Africa Region, World Bank.
USAID Reviewing Food Aid As Costs Soar
After a recent announcement that it will cut the amount of food aid it gives poor countries, the United States is likely to shift most of its focus to emergency needs, the American government agency responsible for humanitarian aid has hinted. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) told IRIN on 25 March that it was reviewing its food aid plans "to ensure our resources go to the highest priority needs." Last month, USAID announced that the cost of wheat and other food had gone up by 41 percent setting its budget back by US$121 million, which meant it would have to reduce the amount of food aid sent overseas.
Harry Edwards, a press officer for USAID said, "Commodity and ocean freights costs are increasing globally; as these two factors comprise the majority of food aid budgets, the price increases are reducing the tonnage of food aid available". Food prices have risen in part because of increased demand. But the cost of food aid has also been directly hit by freight charges, which have shot up because of rising oil prices. The price spike at the beginning of 2008 follows a 34 percent increase last year. The USAID annual budget for food aid, with supplemental appropriations, is about $1.5 billion. The food aid cuts will affect the agency's emergency operations in more than 40 countries across the world.
The US is the world's biggest food aid donor, contributing an average of six million tonnes of cereal annually since 1970. It funds half of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), which is responsible for 40 percent to 50 percent of global food aid. Besides emergency food, the US also provides monetised food aid, when food is bought at subsidised prices in the donor country and sold in the recipient country to generate funds for development projects. The US is one of very few countries that does this; most donors give food in kind or supply cash to UN agencies or NGOs for buying food on national or world markets. "The prospect of the food aid budget in the US going up is very dim - so it will have to make the donated dollar work more efficiently and prioritise," explained Christopher Barrett, who teaches development economics at Cornell University and edits the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
"In cases where the US is the primary donor, it will have to relax its binding restriction, which does not allow food aid to be procured locally [in the recipient country] and regionally; improve timeliness of response and focus on emergency food aid." Almost all food aid donated by the USA is tied to domestic requirements for procurement, processing and shipping. "Freight costs form a major portion of the costs of food aid," said Barrett. According to him, it costs more than two dollars of US taxpayers' money to deliver one dollar's worth of food procured as in-kind food aid.
American legislation requires that 50 percent of commodities be processed and packed before shipment; and that 75 percent of food aid managed by USAID, and 50 percent of the food aid managed by the US Department of Agriculture, be transported in "flag-carrying" US-registered vessels. "The agency is looking for opportunities to reduce costs where possible," said Edwards. "It is seeking to reduce commodity costs by working with aid agencies implementing food aid programmes to use lower cost commodities and reduce transport costs by consolidating small orders."
Jeff Borns, director of USAID's Food for Peace programme was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "We're in the process now of going country by country and analysing the commodity price increase on each country. Then we're going to have to prioritise." But these are "short-term responses" to the situation, added Barrett. "Fuel and food prices are going to continue to rise; in the long term the solution lies in stimulating smallholder farmers into producing more food in poor countries."
Related to this project: Vision and Hope for the community
Development Generation Africa International (DGAi) will host the first Abia State Children and Youth Forum on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (ATM) with theme: "Children and Youth Alive and Well" from April 25th, 2008 at Umuahia, capital city, Abia State, as part of the DGAi Nigeria Children and Youth Forum on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (ATM) which will un for one year and aims to stop and start reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria with children and youth voice and participation.
A response that is based on 'human rights' and education and leadership!
This Group TIGBlog is owned by: Franziska Seel.
منظمة مجموعة حريات للتنمية وحقوق الانسان
Ajay Kumar Uprety
Aare Kornar !
Leslie Anne Umaly
M M Rahman
Moustafa Mohamed Hussein
Murray J. Brown
PATRICIO JOSE TRUJILLO MANRIQUEZ
Prince Olawuyi Seyi Lans
Подскочий Евгений Михайлович
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