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Japan, US and AU to host "Roundtable on Responsible Agricultural Investment"
Published: 12 Apr 2010
Posted in:  African Union | Japan | MCC | US | World Bank
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The Government of Japan, the Government of the United States of America, and the African Union Commission will co-host a round-table event in Washington, DC on Sunday, April 25 to facilitate a dialogue among government representatives, multilateral agencies, civil society, and the private sector to further explore progress and advancement of ongoing work related to principles for responsible agricultural investment.

Roundtable on Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI)

Co-Hosted by The African Union, Japan, and the United States

Washington, D.C., April 25th, 2:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Venue:  MCC Offices, 875 15th Street, NW

Background

The November 2009 World Summit on Food Security endorsed five key principles, one of which addressed sustained and substantial commitment by all partners to investment in agriculture, food security, and nutrition.  In recognition of the key link between cross-border investment  and development, and that official development assistance alone would be insufficient to achieve food security, leaders committed to a crucial, decisive shift toward increased short, medium, and long-term national and international investment in agriculture in developing countries.  Leaders also recognized the crucial role played by the private sector, foundations, multilateral banks, UN institutions, and many others in ensuring food security and agriculture-led development.  Reflecting the critical importance of cross-border international investment to agricultural growth and trade, work is underway in a number of multilateral institutions – i.e., World Bank, FAO, UNCTAD and IFAD – to develop principles for responsible international agricultural investment, as discussed during a meeting organized by Japan during last September’s UN General Assembly in New York.

As detailed in a Chair’s Summary of the New York meeting, relevant organizations were asked to research, quantify, and analyze available data and experiences related to the impacts of cross-border investments in agricultural land and food security, and to share the results of their review six months later.  Their work has focused mainly on developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and seeks to quantify and qualify the impacts of large-scale international agricultural investments.  The primary objective of the work is to support “win-win” arrangements whereby investors and host countries can both benefit from international investment, supporting national or regional food security aims.  To promote wider understanding of the draft investment principles, particularly how developing countries might benefit from their application, the African Union Commission, Japan, and the United States have organized a roundtable meeting alongside the World Bank’s Spring Meetings and its Annual Conference on Land Policy and Administration.  We will invite senior government officials, private sector and civil society representatives, UN agency experts and others to come together at this event to share experiences, best practices, ideas, and practical input for the experts and governments that are concerned with this issue.

Round-table Objectives

  • Increase understanding among diverse audience, with a special emphasis on representatives of host countries for international agricultural investment, of ongoing work on RAI principles, the relevance of those principles to country-led food security planning, and next steps as seen by the agencies/actors involved.
  • Provide a forum for country representatives, private sector and civil society representatives, and others to inform technical experts involved in this work about issues of relevance for addressing this subject at country and regional levels.
  • Explore what tools and information are available or still needed for governments and others to analyze and assess how potential investments, especially state-sponsored or supported investments, might impact food security, while reinforcing open investment policies supported through strong rule of law, enhanced transparency, and respect for citizens’ rights.
  • Explore other useful areas of focus such as possible capacity-building for developing countries to analyze potential agriculture deals, within the context of open investment principles, and update and enforce their legislation governing investment in agricultural sectors.
  • Review ideas for a joint work plan by the four main organizations involved to further develop, if necessary, and to promote the use and implementation of the voluntary principles (e.g., various guidelines for investors, a toolkit, sourcebook on best practices, etc).

Meeting Date, Venue, Format

The discussion will be held on Sunday afternoon, April 25, from 2:00-5:30 p.m., in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Invitations will be sent to senior officials from governments, international agencies, regional organizations, private sector representatives, civil society organizations and others.  The event will feature presentations and panel discussions on topics discussed in the “Objectives” section, and will be closed to the press.  A Chair’s Summary will report on the discussions, which may be used as the basis for a brief press release following the event.

Background Documents:

Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights, Livelihoods and Resources (Synoptic Version) - A discussion note prepared by FAO, IFAD, the UNCTAD Secretariat and the World Bank Group to contribute to an ongoing global dialogue. February 22, 2010

Government of Japan, "Advancing the Initiative on Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI)", 17 March 2010

Government of Japan, "Examples of international commitments to promote agricultural investment", 17 March 2010



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