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Our common principles

The climatic, natural, political, cultural and economic situations of countries are diverse and often unique. However, there are several common principles which could improve the quality of support targeted for agriculture, pastoralism, fisheries and rural development.




Better support reinforces local communities, community-based organizations and social organisations particularly in building: political empowerment; the capacity of people to articulate their views; implementation of their own development models; and meaningful participation in development processes. It recognises that the needs and realities of rural communities are at the core of solutions to solve hunger and poverty. Development aid should give priority to strengthening small-scale production sector to ensure realisation of sustainable livelihoods for the majority.

Knowledge held by communities is based on generations of people interacting with their unique surroundings. Better support should build on the wealth of local culture and knowledge held by communities, supporting processes that facilitate appropriate technological solutions.

Support should promote human, cultural, biological, environmental, and  production methods diversities.

Better support generates inclusive dialogue and engagement among different development actors. Implementation of agricultural, pastoralism, fisheries, forestry and rural development must be based on democratic consultations and meaningful ongoing community participation. Support should contribute towards reducing existing inequalities.

Women play a major role in agricultural production and in local food security. Better support facilitates the empowerment of women, recognizing the fundamental importance they hold in providing food for their families and for the community.

Livelihoods are sustainable when they can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks that threaten food security without undermining their natural resource base. Building local capital, social systems, financial capital and the natural resources on which they depend is critical. Better support should be guided by a clear development paradigm supportive of the principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability and intergenerational equity.

Efforts should foster linkages between the local, national and global opportunities for learning and knowledge sharing. Better support should provide platforms for the exchange of experience globally, provide nationally coherent programs for delivery of support, and should foster linkages among local efforts. It should address problematic structures and mechanisms that limit the effectiveness of aid in reaching the world’s poor and hungry.

Support for food, agriculture and rural development should build on and support the human right to adequate food and on food sovereignty.

Changes in delivery and focus of support

New policies and practices for agriculture, pastoralism, fisheries and global food trade are needed to end hunger and poverty, and to promote sustainable development. Changes in the delivery and focus of support are needed to achieve this.

To strengthen such new policies and practices, support should:

• facilitate provision of sufficient, safe, nutritious food (food security);
• put emphasis on income strategies, peoples’ livelihoods, local production systems, local markets, fair trade, fair and good distribution systems, protection of markets where needed to enhance national and local food security, and avoid the use of food aid where it will threaten the market for local products;
• support realization of land reform, water rights and unrestricted access to genetic resources for food and agriculture and wider agricultural biodiversity for smallholder farmers; exclusive fishing zones for artisanal fisherfolks; grazing rights for pastoralists; improved common property resource management;
• support sustainable, farmer-led, smallholder/family/community agricultural systems (e.g. agroecology, sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture).

To achieve this requires improved education and public awareness not only for how to implement this but also how to avoid problems caused by poorly conceived support.

Some definitions in this document

Agriculture, Pastoralism and Fisheries’ include cropping, livestock husbandry, pastoralism, fisheries, forestry and other natural resource use for food production and food gathering, which is dispersed throughout rural, urban and peri-urban areas.

‘Farmers, Herders and Fisherfolk’ refer to smallholder peasant/family crop and livestock farmers, herders/ pastoralists, fisherfolk, landless farmers and indigenous peoples, among other users of natural resources for food production.

‘Natural Resources’
include land, water, coastal commons, forests, genetic resources, agricultural biodiversity.

'Local communities and social organisations' include farmers, fisherfolks, herders, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers among other natural resource users.


Related documents

Brochure More and Better 2011 | Download - 792.1KB