Research Into Use joins Kofi Annan and other African leaders to review the role of parliament at African Green Revolution Forum
9 September 2010
RIU's Andy Frost
and Tony Worthington joined a group of senior African parliamentarians in Accra, Ghana, at the first-ever African Green Revolution Forum
. The forum was chaired by former UN Secretary-General and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa chair, Kofi Annan
The parliamentarians lauded efforts to launch a capacity building initiative supporting the development of agricultural parliamentary committees
in Africa. This initiative, which is spearheaded by the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), is co-funded by AGRA and RIU.
RIU Deputy Director Andy Frost said:
"We were delighted that we were invited to take part in a plenary panel session at the forum which was attended by Kofi Annan. Whilst the RIU contribution for this programme was modest, £125,000 (around US$ 200,000), our investment was very timely and acted as a catalyst for other financial support. This has allowed initial scoping work in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania, all of which have RIU programme, three of which are our focal countries."
Former British MP and Team Leader for the AWEPA initiative, Tony Worthington
noted that agricultural parliamentary committees need to be better supported to play their roles, through capacity building initiatives.
This idea of developing select committees was championed recently by British Parliamentarians on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food
for Development in their report 'Why no food for thought?
' The report's recommendations include to:
"Ensure UK Policy Makers promote the individual's right to food in domestic legislation whilst also presenting suitable policy options internationally and to other Governments". It suggests that DFID should: "Undertake, with other donors, Parliamentary strengthening work with agricultural select committees, given the crucial importance of good governance in establishing a supportive environment for agricultural productivity."
"Establishing agricultural select committees in African parliaments could be an effective approach to ensuring that the agricultural sector receives the attention and priority it warrants, but currently does not receive, and that the interests of smallholder farmers, others in the agricultural value chain and poor consumers are all better served.
These committees might also represent an effective mechanism through which to channel lessons emerging from RIU and other similar initiatives, as well as to lobby for evidence-based pro-poor policy change. RIU's challenge now is to package the information and knowledge we are generating in a way which these parliamentarians find helpful and persuasive. Some of the innovations we have been getting into use have been known of for nearly 50 years - we have to find ways to shorten the time it takes for good ideas to became common practice benefiting African producers and consumers"
Photographs of RIU deputy director, Andy Frost, at the first African Green Revolution Forum in Ghana. The forum was chaired Kofi Annan who attended the session where Andy was a panelist.