Below is the CSIPM intervention delivered by Djibo Bagna, of the West African Network of Peasant farmers (ROPPA) and Niger’s peasant farmers’ platform. Djibo gave a practical example on how, recently, the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs) were key for the formulation of Niger’s national policy framework on land tenure.

Transcript: In the name of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM), achieving the implementation of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) outcomes is a fundamental issue. I will now present a specific case at the national level that effectively illustrates many of our key messages. I am Djibo Bagna, the president of the Niger Peasant Platform, which brings together 13 constituencies in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, agroforestry, and processing. Additionally, I am an advisor to the West African Network of Peasant and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations (ROPPA), covering 15 countries in the ECOWAS region.

Niger is a vast country, covering 1,287,000 square kilometers. We are facing the challenges of climate change, experiencing its effects on a daily basis. Early on, Niger implemented what is known as the Rural Code, a set of guiding principles. After 20 years of implementation, Niger’s government decided to conduct a review of the Rural Code’s two-decade-long implementation. A multi-stakeholder committee was established, including representatives from the government, civil society organisations, researchers, the private sector, and development partners—creating a space for dialogue.

To formulate our land policy, we used the voluntary guidelines of the Committee on World Food Security (CSA) to guide our work. These voluntary guidelines had already achieved consensus at the CFS level, making our work easier, as they were widely accepted. The guidelines facilitated the sharing of experiences, recognised the primary role of family farms, provided clear principles based on human rights, and outlined a roadmap for our work.

What did we achieve in this process? First and foremost, there was strong engagement from all stakeholders. We conducted consultations across all regions of Niger, involving family farms and giving them the opportunity to influence discussions to address the concerns of small-scale producers. In 2021, we ultimately adopted a sustainable land policy, establishing a consortium of civil society and a platform for development partners focusing on youth.

What lessons did we learn? The involvement of those most affected must be ensured throughout the negotiation and implementation process. The participation of farmers, women, and youth made a difference, not only strengthening their capacities but also addressing the concerns of different regions.

Regarding challenges, the first is coherence. The government must play a role in preventing multiple initiatives, whether by partners or NGOs, to provide a unified framework for all stakeholders. The FAO group, as a technical advisor to our governments, can guide and help coordinate the efforts of technical partners, not only giving their opinions but also providing consistent financial support.

Another lesson is that funding for policies should not rely solely on external sources. States must allocate resources to support and defend these policies. A good communication strategy is essential to accompany the implementation of information products that reach the grassroots. Finally, addressing issues of insecurity is crucial today.

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