Influencing the EU Consensus on Development
In its new Consensus on Development, the European Commission more explicitly than before mentioned support to smallholder farmers and to agroecology as elements of its food security policy.
The EU and its member states coordinate their development policies on the basis of the so-called EU Consensus on Development. The first policy was published in 2005. When the EU started to work on a new Consensus, CONCORD decided to influence the text and make sure that civil society’s perspectives on sustainable development would be taken on board. After some years of asking attention for the key role that smallholder farmers and agroecology should play in the EU’s support to agriculture in developing countries, we would like to see the EU explicitly recognize this in the next Consensus. That would be more in line with the EU’s specific Food Security Policy Framework, which was published in 2010. While the first Consensus does neither mention smallholder farmers, nor the importance of the agroecological approach, thanks to our effective advocacy the second Consensus mentions them both!
The significance of this change is that the Consensus is a guiding policy document for the Commission’s own centralized food security programs (e.g. financed with DCI or EDF money) the EU Delegation’s country specific programs (National Indicative Programs) to some extent: the EU Member States’ support to food security and agriculture in developing countries Indirectly, this might also lead to funding opportunities for NGOs like the members of CEA, who have a wealth of experience in working with smallholders.
The Civic Engagement Alliance contributed directly to this change through Evert-Jan’s role as CONCORD lobbyist. Within CONCORD, a small group of lobbyists and food security experts (the so-called Sustainable Consumption and Production work stream of Hub 1) formulated a few clear and concrete sentences on smallholder farming and agroecological agriculture. Evert-Jan contributed to these sentences. These text suggestions were then shared with Commission representatives in DG Development Cooperation.
After the publication of the new EU Consensus on Development, it appeared that our suggestions had made it straight into the text of the final, official document. In CONCORD’s public response to the Consensus, this was gladly acknowledged. The relevant phrases in the Consensus have been and will be used for ongoing CONCORD advocacy on the position of smallholder farmers and the EU support to agroecological projects and programs.