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Tracking the Progress and Future of the L’Aquila Initiative

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Jonathan Shrier, Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security and Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy. Read the full transcript on the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development website or watch it below.

AFSI meeting: Examples from farmers and civil society

Platform secretariat: Jonathan, you were just at the AFSI Meeting in Maputo. You were talking about partnerships, you were talking about the private sector, civil society and a whole lot of other issues. Can you recap what was discussed there and just give a synopsis of where it’s going?

Jonathan Shrier: The L’Aquila Food Security Initiative Group, known by its initials as AFSI, was established to track our progress in fulfilling the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, launched by our leaders, the leaders of G8 and other governments, other international organisations and regional organisations. We gather to track our progress in fulfilling our leaders’ commitments, to change the way we’ve been doing business in agriculture development, security, and nutrition, to track our progress in fulfilling financial pledges our leaders made in July 2009. So this meeting was a chance to look back, and also to look forward at the ways we are partnering with civil society, and the private sector, in pursuit of food security.

We heard presentations, for example, from the founder and head of a farming operation in Mozambique who had been very successful in introducing new crop varieties with greater nutritional density, for example orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Spreading their use contributes to better agricultural development and economic growth, job creation and also improves nutrition for inhabitants of Mozambique. We also heard from civil society about their support for progress in the cause of food security and their advice to donor governments and various countries, that carry out programmes for security and nutrition.

Managing results

Secretariat: I also heard there was discussion around MFDR, the Managing For Results. Is there anything coming in the sense that you are looking at tracking of how you actually deliver your commitments, so that the governments combined in the initiative are committing?

J.S.: That’s an important topic of discussion. The L’Aquila Initiative was launched in a time of increasing attention around the world with improving development effectiveness. One of the keys to improving the effectiveness of development efforts—whether it’s national governance in beneficiary countries or bilateral—is to use data. We use data to track progress and then use the results of that data work to adjust the programming. If we do something that works,we need to know that through evidence. We should be expanding such programs or replicating them. If we find food programmes that are not working as actively as we hoped, we should be prepared to divest them or perhaps to eliminate that kind of programme.

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