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empowerment of the rural poor

empowerment of the rural poor

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Published by: gilbertociro on Aug 26, 2008
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02/01/2013

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EMPOWERING THE RURAL POOR
Through Access to Productive Assets
and Participation in Decision-making
A global consortium of inter-
governmental and civil-society

organizations governed by seven
regional civil-society organizations
and five intergovernmental

organizations \u2013 IFAD, FAO, WFP
the European Commission
and the World Bank
SECURE ACCESS TO LAND, WATER AND OTHER PRODUCTIVE
ASSETS IS BASIC TO LASTING SOLUTIONS TO HUNGER AND
POVERTY. IT RESULTS IN GREATER PRODUCTIVITY,
INCREASED FAMILY INCOME AND SUSTAINABLE
LAND USE.
IN THEIR DAILY STRUGGLE TO FEED THEIR
FAMILIES, THE RURAL POOR OFTEN HAVE
LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO USE THEIR LIMITED

RESOURCES EXTENSIVELY. THEIR NEGLIGIBLE NATURAL AND CAPITAL ASSETS COMPEL THEM TO ADOPT SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

WITH SHORT-TERM HORIZONS. THEY
BECOME EXCLUDED FROM
PRODUCTIVE OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE
OF ILL-DEFINED OR NON-EXISTENT
PROPERTY RIGHTS, LIMITED ACCESS TO
FINANCIAL SERVICES AND MARKETS,
INADEQUATE SECURITY AGAINST

NATURAL DISASTERS AND THE LACK OF PARTICIPATION IN DECISION-MAKING. UNDERSTANDABLY, THEIR IMMEDIATE

HOUSEHOLD FOOD REQUIREMENTS TAKE
PRECEDENCE OVER THEIR FUTURE
REQUIREMENTS, WHICH WILL DEPEND ON
WHETHER SUSTAINABLE LAND-USE
PRACTICES ARE ADOPTED.
The Commission on Sustainable Development called

upon governments, including local authorities,
\u201cto develop and/or adopt policies and implement
laws that guarantee to their citizens well-defined and
enforceable land rights and promote equal access
to land and legal security of tenure, in particular
for women and disadvantaged groups, including
people living in poverty and indigenous and
local communities.\u201d

Report of the Eighth Session, May 2000
ORIGIN
The Popular Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty is the outcome of the
Conference on Hunger and Poverty convened by the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) in November 1995 in Brussels. The conference

emphasized the urgent need for policies and programmes to address the lack of access by the rural poor to productive resources, their insufficient participation in decisions that affect their daily lives and the need for reforms in

macroeconomic policies that adversely affect them.
Against this background, the Popular Coalition was established to catalyse
practical action and forge strategic alliances, within nations and
communities, public and private institutions, international organizations
and civil society, that would mobilize the popular will to fight hunger
and poverty.
MISSION
The Popular Coalition is a global consortium of intergovernmental,
civil-society and bilateral organizations committed to the

empowerment of the rural poor by increasing their access to
productive assets, especially land, water and common property
resources, and by increasing their direct participation in
decision-making processes at the local, national, regional and
international levels.

The Popular Coalition is not a new organization. It is a multi-
stakeholder mechanism that is testing innovations to strengthen
participation, and replicating successful community-based
initiatives in order to enhance the impact of national
programmes to eradicate hunger and poverty.
ACCESS TO PRODUCTIVE ASSETS
In many developing countries, having access to land, water and
related production factors is the only way poor rural
households can develop sustainable livelihoods. The manner in
which resources are regulated and property rights enforced
determines the opportunities for the rural poor to:
\u2022 ensure their household food security;
\u2022 earn income by producing marketable surpluses;
\u2022 accumulate capital and assets;
\u2022 access financial services;
\u2022 invest in alternative income-generating strategies;
\u2022 use their own labour to sustain the natural resource base; and
\u2022 build reserves to cope with drought and preserve their assets
during periods of agricultural stress.

Despite these considerations, the political and economic difficulties have been formidable. Today, access to resources has returned to the agenda, based on a recognition of its importance to economic, social and political stability. Land reform and resource rights are

prominent in the World Food Summit Plan of Action, the
Commission on Sustainable Development, the World Summit for
Social Development, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the
Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
New opportunities are creating favourable enabling conditions. The rise of
democratic institutions, combined with the successful efforts of civil
society, have both increased political awareness of the consequences of
continuing to neglect rural populations and revealed the potential for
progress. Economic liberalization is gradually eliminating the subsidies that
formerly favoured large farmers. For many agricultural activities, a growing body

of knowledge confirms that smallholder farms are potentially more productive and environmentally sustainable than large-scale commercial agriculture. Land-tenure reform, therefore, contributes not only to social equity for smallholders but also to

sustainable agriculture and rural development by \u201cincreasing production on land already
in use and avoiding further encroachment on land that is only marginally suited to
cultivation\u201d (UNCED 1992: Chapter 14).

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