Wikileaks: Investing in food security: Experts address Responsible Agricultural Investment at global Donor Platform meeting

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Viewing cable 10UNROME14, INVESTING IN FOOD SECURITY: EXPERTS ADDRESS RESPONSIBLE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10UNROME14 2010-02-04 22:15 2011-08-26 00:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY UN Rome
Original_wl_hour_glass_small
VZCZCXRO6812
PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHRN #0014/01 0352215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 042215Z FEB 10
FM USMISSION UN ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1276
INFO RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0473
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0369
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0307
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0140
RUEHPS/USMISSION OEDC PARIS FR
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 1353
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 UN ROME 000014 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR EAID EINV ECON ETRD PREL UN FAO
SUBJECT: INVESTING IN FOOD SECURITY:  EXPERTS ADDRESS RESPONSIBLE 
AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENT AT GLOBAL DONOR PLATFORM MEETING 
 
REF: USUN ROME 9 
 
1.  (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified.  Not for 
dissemination outside the U.S. Government. 
 
 
 
Summary 
 
------- 
 
 
 
2.  (SBU) On January 24, the Swiss Development Corporation, the 
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International 
Fund for Agricultural Investment (IFAD) jointly hosted a one-day 
seminar entitled "Land, Investment, and Development," attended 
by many of the key players working on responsible international 
agro-industrial and land investment principles (reftel).  In 
addition to USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and USUN 
Rome participation, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to 
Food briefed on his own set of land investment principles. 
Senior technical staff of the World Bank, FAO and IFAD discussed 
their ongoing work on the topic, as did representatives of the 
OECD, the International Land Coalition, and many other 
non-governmental organization researchers and policy staff. 
Concluding the seminar, participants agreed that next steps 
should entail harmonizing the World Bank's and Special 
Rapporteur's investment principles, and that relevant agencies 
would continue developing a "toolkit" for countries and 
investors, additional research and analysis on the issue, a 
"sourcebook" and country-level strategies to ensure principles 
were translated into implementable actions.  Also agreed was the 
notion that time lines for action are desired, and that the 
process of action should be advanced rapidly.  End summary. 
 
 
 
Side Meeting:  Global Donor Platform 
 
-------------------------------- 
 
 
 
3.  (SBU) The Swiss Development Corporation, FAO and IFAD hosted 
a one-day seminar on land and investment issues on January 24 at 
FAO headquarters, one day before the start of the Global Donor 
Platform for Rural Development annual meetings.  In attendance 
were senior technical experts of the World Bank, FAO, IFAD, the 
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, the International 
Land Coalition, the OECD, UN Habitat, and the International Food 
and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).  While several 
donor-state representatives were in attendance (Swiss, Japanese, 
U.S.), conspicuous by their absence were representatives of the 
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and 
representatives of developing country governments. 
 
 
 
 
 
The Human Rights-based Approach 
 
--------------------------- 
 
 
 
4.  (SBU) First to speak in a session entitled "Principles 
Proposed for Investment" was the UN's Special Rapporteur on the 
Right to Food (R2F), Olivier DeSchutter (most likely indicative 
of the Swiss Government's support for a rights-based- approach 
to food security, and to the Rapporteur, generally).  DeSchutter 
recalled his June, 2009 draft paper on investment principles 
which was shared in advance of a round table event in September, 
2009 on the margins of the UN General Assembly.  In a 19-page 
addendum to his UNGA report shared with participants, DeSchutter 
argues that the R2F framework offers a useful human rights 
construct for governments and investors to approach the topic, 
and should be seen as "a minimum safeguard" and not a substitute 
for more operational guidelines (being prepared in a separate 
process led by the FAO addressing Voluntary Guidelines for Land 
Tenure~).   Though recognizing "certain opportunities" 
 
UN ROME 00000014  002 OF 003 
 
 
associated with agricultural investment, DeSchutter's paper 
focuses heavily on the "risks" of such development and proposes 
a list of 11 principles which he calls the "minimum human rights 
principles on which large scale land acquisitions or leases 
should be based." 
 
 
 
5.  (SBU) Consistent with the human rights based approach to 
food security, DeSchutter argues that neither host states nor 
investors need await finalization of guidelines on investments 
or land tenure to act in accordance with human rights.  The home 
states of private investors, he asserted, are also under 
obligation to regulate the conduct of its investors abroad, 
particularly if the host State appears unwilling or unable to do 
so.  Investments that can affect land rights, he noted, are a 
particular source of concern.  The human right to food would be 
violated, he argued, if people depending on land for their 
livelihoods, including pastoralists, are cut off from access to 
land, without suitable alternatives; if local incomes are 
insufficient to compensate for the price effects resulting from 
the shift towards production of food for exports; or, if 
revenues of local smallholders fall following the arrival on 
domestic markets of cheaply priced food, produced on more 
competitive large-scale plantations developed thanks to the 
arrival of investors.  In reaching agreement on large-scale land 
acquisitions or leases, he said, states should take into account 
the rights of current land users in areas where the investment 
is made, as well as the rights of workers employed on the farms. 
 They should also be guided by the need to ensure the right to 
self-determination and the right to development of the local 
population. 
 
 
 
World Bank Proposes Set of Guiding "Principles" 
 
---------------------------------- 
 
 
 
6.  (SBU) In the second presentation, WB Land Tenure Adviser 
Klaus Deininger discussed why the Bank backed adoption of the 
seven principles discussed and generally accepted at the 
September UNGA round table meeting in New York, vice FAO's 
vetted "code of conduct" on the issue.  Deininger explained that 
principles can be general and more technical, and apply to all 
stakeholders.  A code of conduct, he said, is too easily bogged 
down in political process and procedural detail - ending up with 
the lowest common denominator.  Principles, he continued, can be 
refined and improved in an iterative process, can be backed up 
by detailed work on implementation, and can draw upon the 
expertise of a wide array of stakeholders.  These views, he 
noted, were generally supported by a Bank study on investment 
issues in 20 client countries, that touched upon inventories, 
frameworks, and projects linked to investments.  After sharing a 
WB case study on land investment issues in Mozambique, Deininger 
turned to next steps in the process, adding that an inter-agency 
team was working to next produce a toolkit (by April 2010), 
country level analysis (8 countries identified), a "sourcebook" 
(to finalize by early 2011), and additional consultations among 
interested parties.  Responding to questions on the R2F 
principles addressed earlier, Deininger said he saw no major 
contradictions between the two sets of principles.  Another 
senior World Bank participant in the audience was at pains to 
emphasize during Q and A that the Bank's work on the issue was 
part of a collaborative effort between it and the other three 
agencies. 
 
 
 
FAO Pressing a "Code of Conduct" 
 
---------------------------- 
 
 
 
7.  (SBU) FAO's point person for land investment issues was sick 
and did not attend this event, but his colleague, Paul Munro, 
presented an update on FAO's work to promulgate "Voluntary 
Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land Tenure and Other 
 
UN ROME 00000014  003 OF 003 
 
 
Resources" - work currently funded by Germany, Finland and 
others.  The major conclusion of FAO's work on this issue to 
date is that good governance is critical to the responsible 
stewardship of land and other resources, and that weak 
governance was usually the culprit in cases of poverty, 
degradation and exploitation.  Regarding FAO's work on 
international investments, David Hallam continues to be at the 
center of ongoing work in this field, and tells USUN Rome that 
FAO will continue to seek agreement from members on a "Code of 
Conduct" for responsible international investment.  This 
approach was further bolstered in a panel discussion on 
international regulatory instruments, in which panelists 
concluded that voluntary guidelines are generally weak due to 
lax monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. 
 
 
 
Comment 
 
------- 
 
 
 
8.  (SBU) The discussion on responsible international investment 
in land and agriculture is moving rapidly, with Japan and 
various international agencies pressing for decisive action and 
follow-up to discussions at the UNGA and in other fora.  Much 
work is being done at the World Bank and FAO, in particular, and 
according to our local contacts Tokyo appears intent on pressing 
for agreement this year on an international "framework" through 
which investment principles are endorsed and implemented.  What 
such implementation means should be better understood, 
particularly in terms of the vehicle through which it is pursued 
(i.e., a "code of conduct" or self-policed industry principles). 
 It will be helpful for this mission to have guidance to respond 
to questions on this issue, particularly as USUN Rome considers 
hosting a discussion in early April for permanent 
representatives and others regarding the practical applicability 
of these principles (reftel).  End comment. 
COUSIN
Original source: Wikileaks
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