Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems

HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the report


Schermata 2020-12-04 alle 12.21.39During its 46th Plenary Session (14 – 18 October 2019), the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to produce a report entitled “Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems”. The overall aim of the report, as articulated in the CFS Multi-year programme of work, is to “Review the opportunities for, and constraining factors to youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems”, including examining “aspects related to employment, salaries, and working conditions”; “rules, regulations and policy approaches […] aimed at addressing the complexity of structural economic, cultural, social and spatial transformations”. The report was also tasked to “explore the potential of food systems and enhanced rural-urban linkages to provide more and better jobs for women and youth.”

The report will be presented at CFS 48th Plenary session in October 2021. As part of the process of elaboration of its reports, the HLPE is organizing a consultation to seek inputs, suggestions, and comments on the present preliminary V0 draft (more details on the different steps of the process, are available here). The results of this consultation will be used by the HLPE to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert review, before finalization and approval by the HLPE Steering Committee.

HLPE V0-drafts of reports are deliberately presented early enough in the process – as a work-in-progress, with their range of imperfections – to allow sufficient time to properly consider the feedbacks received in the elaboration of the report. E-consultations are a key part of the inclusive and knowledge-based dialogue between the HLPE Steering Committee and the knowledge community at large.

How can you contribute to the development of the report?

This V0 draft identifies areas for recommendations and contributions on which the HLPE would welcome suggestions or proposals. The HLPE would welcome submission of material, evidence-based suggestions, references, and concrete examples, in particular addressing the following questions:

1. The V0-draft is structured around a conceptual framework which presents three fundamental pillars for youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems (AFS): rights, agency and equity.
Do you think that this framework addresses the key issues affecting youth engagement and employment in AFS?

2. The V0-draft identifies main trends for youth engagement in agriculture and food systems, focusing on employment, resources and knowledge.

Do you think that the trends identified are the key ones in affecting outcomes with respect to youth’s engagement in AFS and broader FSN outcomes? If not, which other trends should be taken into account?   
In particular, can you offer feedback on the following:

  1. Where are youth currently under- and over-represented in food systems employment/work? How does this change when considering intersectional categories such as gender, place, ethnicity?
  2. How has digital technology, agriculture 4.0 and automation affected youth employment in AFS? What is their likely impact in the coming decades?

3. Employment

  1. What can make i) farming/fisheries/livestock rearing and other forms of food provision and ii) other roles in the food system a more attractive option for youth employment?
  2. Under what conditions should children be allowed to work in AFS when they want to?

4. Land and other resources

  1. What models of land and resource access and redistribution best support young people to engage in food systems for sustainable livelihoods?
  2. Do these models take account of the differences amongst youth in terms of gender, indigeneity and other characteristics?

5. Knowledge

  1. What policies/initiatives could stop the loss of, and support the revitalization of, traditional, ecological and marginalised forms of knowledge in AFS?
  2. What policies/initiatives could integrate traditional and modern knowledges (including educational programming in primary, secondary, post-secondary, and technical training), to prioritize equity, agency, and rights in AFS and create new opportunities for youth?
  3. How do the experiences of young women differ from those of young men in knowledge generation, acquisition and transfer?
  4. How can grassroots and youth-driven learning opportunities and knowledge transfer be strengthened and supported?
  5. What are the implications (potentially positive and/or negative) of online platforms and social media increasingly playing the role of knowledge providers?

6. Drawing on HLPE reports and analysis in the wider literature, the report outlines several examples of potential policy pathways to address challenges to youth engagement and employment in AFS, and to transform AFS to make them more “youth-friendly”. The HLPE seeks input on case studies that could illustrate successful policy initiatives that have improved youth employment and engagement in AFS, and in particular:

  1. Successful implementation of existing policy commitments, including examples of rights-based approaches to youth employment, as well as protection from unemployment, in food systems.
  2. Initiatives to improve equity in access to resources and improved working conditions (including in conditions of informality) for young people within AFS.
  3. Pathways for increased youth agency in AFS policy, including best practices and mechanisms to improve the leadership role of youth, including young women, in their own organizations, and in broader AFS and food policy discussion spaces.
  4. Pathways for equitable use of technology and digitalization, in particular ensuring access to and control of information and data by youth.
  5. Financial instruments and marketing tools that are available to youth within AFS.
  6. Examples of economies of solidarity, collective enterprises and other collaborative initiatives among young people in AFS.
  7. Examples of how consumers and urban actors are involved in working towards a sustainable food system that values and involves youth.

7. On data and knowledge gaps:

  1. Do you have additional data or information that could help refine the analysis of the interplay between youth’s characteristics, aspirations, rights, resources and knowledge, AFS sustainability and FSN outcomes?
  2. Is the set of case studies appropriate in terms of the dimensions and issues chosen and their regional balance? Do you have other good practices and examples of policy and interventions that could accelerate progress towards the SDGs by enhancing opportunities for youth?
  3. What are ways to collect better data on the situation of and prospects for youth in AFS? What can be done to improve population and employment data to give a more accurate picture of young people’s multidirectional mobility between places and sectors and multiple income sources?

8. Are there any major omissions or gaps in the V0-draft? Are topics under-or over-represented in relation to their importance? Are there any redundant facts or statements that could be eliminated from the V0-draft? Are any facts or conclusions refuted, questionable or assertions with no evidence-base? If any of these are an issue, please share supporting evidence.

We thank in advance all the contributors for being kind enough to read, comment and suggest inputs on this V0 draft of the report. We look forward to a rich and fruitful consultation.

The HLPE Steering Committee


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