Brian Baldwin: The Platform has always said it wanted to do, and saw the role necessary, of both knowledge exchange and advocacy. The two are not linked: one doesn’t go up and the other one goes down. Knowledge exchange is important, and knowledge networking is important. We can talk more about that. I think central to that issue is the desire at any one time of members who want to share knowledge on a particular topic. You’ve seen where we’ve had success in sharing knowledge: CAADP, climate leading up to Copenhagen, more latterly land. I’m always guided by what the members want to lead on knowledge, and to make sure that there is a good number of members, particularly want to share knowledge on a particular topic, because knowledge management takes resources and time. And I think if the Platform is going to add value to the knowledge, not necessarily substantively, but add value to the networking of knowledge, it needs to spend some time and go into some detail on particular topics. And not simply skim over or recycle at a low-key level at some of the existing knowledge. That’s the comment on knowledge.
I would focus on issues of advocacy, of course it is the initial raison d’etre of the Platform was to advocate for agriculture and rural development. We had the successful 2008 Report. I think you’re beginning to see declines in donor financing and ODA for agriculture. I believe that advocacy for rural development is still very much on the agenda. And I think the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, one has seen the importance of that continued advocacy. Because we now have a SDG, second goal, which focuses on food production, nutrition, in the rural sector. It wasn’t there in the initial drafts. It took some strong advocacy from IFAD, FAO, the World Food Programme, and others to get that SDG into the final list of goals.
So, the advocacy has moved but it is still needed. There are still issues that we need to be alert to advocate for. I think the importance of advocating still for the principals of the Paris Declaration, in terms of country ownership, leadership alignment. And most particularly, for results, managing for results and accountability for results, needs continually to be advocated.
And I think you are going to see as we move into the climate meetings in Paris at the end of the year, again, a strong need for someone to be advocating that agriculture may be part of the problem, but it is also very much part of the solution to climate adaptation and climate mitigation. So the goal posts of advocacy are moved. But I think it’s important for members of the Platform, and this is where the Platform comes into its own, collectively the Platform membership is stronger when they’re pulling together. So, if the Platform is able to produce in the lead-up to the Paris Meeting small pieces that advocate for outputs, that advocate for the role of agriculture in supporting the climate agenda, that would be very welcome.