Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 326 - April 20, 2018

Issue 326 - April 20, 2018

Smallholder Farmers' Rights are Women's Rights


Most farms in developing and least developed countries are small, generally plots of less than two hectares of land. Smallholder farmers manage over 80% of the world’s estimated 500 million small farms and provide over 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and food security. As much as 75% of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by smallholder farms. However, despite their vital role in the global agricultural community, the participation and priorities of smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – are often neglected. Effective mechanisms giving smallholder farmers a voice in policymaking are imperative to address their needs and interests, to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources and more broadly, to ensure food security. Read more



Last October, more than 150 organisations signed a PPP Global Campaign Manifesto, expressing our alarm at the increasing use of PPPs to deliver infrastructure projects and public services around the world, and in particular the World Bank’s role in promoting these contracts. Our combined evidence shows that the experience of PPPs has been negative, and few PPPs have delivered results in the public interest. Our concerns are echoed by many more organisations and individuals across the world, who are alarmed by the risk that this represents for developing countries.
The Manifesto was launched after a number of technical discussions between members of our community and the staff of the World Bank Group. While we have appreciated the willingness of staff to meet and engage in frank and open exchanges, the Manifesto and this letter are expressions of our collective dissatisfaction with the degree to which our concerns have been addressed by the Bank. Read more


The Indian state government of Tamil Nadu this year presented a Gender Budget Statement as part of the annual budget documents, quantifying the allocations that will benefit women during this fiscal year. Finance Secretary K. Shanmugam said it is the first time such an exercise has been undertaken. Kamakshi Sundaramurthy, senior researcher of Social Watch Tamil Nadu, said the gender budget does not address the needs of sub-categories among women, such as those from among the minorities, Dalits and sub-castes. “These women need better education, healthcare and hostel facilities. Employment is also critical for their empowerment. They need the gender budget more than any of us but remain excluded,” Ms. Sundaramurthy said. Read more


The context in which SDG 2 is being implemented is the battlefield of two opposing worldviews on modernity and food and nutrition, which are supported by two equally distant production, marketing and distribution systems.
On one side, the corporate model that views food as commodity and aims to conquer consumers’ markets, where consumers are identified merely as individuals with purchasing power. It views production as a highly-specialized process that can be delocalized anywhere the resources to maximize narrowly-defined productivity can be found. It is based on the privatization of the commons, and increasingly on its financialization, as well as extensive use of biotechnologies, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Its uniformed products are horizontally and vertically integrated in global value chains and its business model is based on minimizing the externalities it is obliged to cater to while seeking the lowest possible labour intensity by applying mechanization, robotics and information technologies. This homogenizing and hegemonic model is leading the capture of agriculture and nutrition by large-scale and intensive industrial production, vertically integrated with industrial food transformation, with large distribution channels that allow increasing penetration of global markets up until rural communities. Read more


Invitation to contribute to the 2018 report


Social Watch invites you to participate in our renewed collective effort to make governments accountable for the ambitious promises they made us.
This report will be launched next July during the meeting of the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations that will review at ministerial level the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Almost three years after the adoption of this ambitious agenda, the 2018 report will look at how it is implemented. The Guidelines for the 2018 Social Watch contributions are available in EnglishFrench and Spanish.


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