Zero Draft text submissions from the small-scale farming perspective
In the last half a year 2011 governments, business organizations and civil society organizations could submit their proposals to the UNCSD Zero Draft text that would serve as a base for outcome document of the Rio+20 conference.
‘Green Economy Coalition’ analyzed the submissions in order to understand better how governments and stakeholders are responding, interpreting and re-defining the concept of a green economy. What elements of the picture drawn by the Coalition relate to agriculture and would affect small-scale farmers?
There are five shared claims that concern agriculture. If implemented, the proposal concerning phasing out ‘harmful subsidies’ in agriculture, submitted by actors mainly from the Western countries (EU, North America) would have the most direct impact.
Two other proposals that relate to implementation of financial mechanisms to support ‘green economy’ initiatives and green jobs creation and valuating ecosystem services could also strongly affect small-scale farmers. Such provisions would open new possibilities for supporting sustainable agriculture.
Another proposal which reflects a shift in thinking about the environment and the economy. It was suggested that new national indicators (beyond GDP) should be introduced. Those indicators should measure societal and environmental health. Certainly, sustainable agriculture initiatives can be considered as one of such indicators. Thus, implementation of new national indicators could trigger initiatives favouring small-scale farmers.
Finally, there is strong support for formulation of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (similarly to Millennium Development Goals). If, switch to sustainable agriculture would be one of such goals, small-scale farmers would regain their place in the policy-agendas.