AGRA Adopts Environmental and Social Management System for Sustainability

AGRA Adopts Environmental and Social Management System for Enhanced Sustainability
and Environmental Outcomes

Agriculture and environmental management
are frequently at loggerheads. However, when agricultural projects are
carefully designed, they contribute to enhancing environmental sustainability significantly
improving food security and social wellbeing.

The Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
recognises environmental and social risks as critical issues that require deliberate
systems and organisational capacities to identify, manage and monitor in line
with global best practice and applicable national and international legal requirements.

To this end, AGRA has committed to institutionalizing environmental and social
considerations in our work and that of our partners and has developed and
adopted an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) to guide this
process. The ESMS is equal to international best practice, that underpins
our resolve to identify, reduce or avoid negative environmental and social
impacts that may result from our work. This will be part of our core business processes shaping
the design of programmes to ensure and
maximise positive environmental and social outcomes.

“As an environmentally informed and socially responsible
organisation, we are committed to improving the management of the environmental
and social implications of all our investments. The Environmental and
Social Management System (ESMS) that we have developed and are now adopting
will ensure that our work is designed to enable the smallholder farmers we work
with to achieve the triple helix target of food security, inclusive economic
growth and preserving the world,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President, as
she shared the ESMS with AGRA staff and partners. 

AGRA’s ESMS guiding principles
will ensure that all our investments:

  • Avoid, reduce or limit negative environmental,
    social and climate impacts and improve the environmental and social benefits of
    its initiatives;
  • Support the preservation and protection of
    biodiversity and sustainably manage natural resources;
  • Avoid negative impacts on the living conditions,
    livelihoods and land tenure of communities;
  • Ensure the health and safety at work of its own
    employees and require its subcontractors and partners to implement measures to
    protect the health and safety of their employees at work;
  • Condemn forced labour and child labour, prohibit
    discrimination, prohibit and combat harassment and support the freedom of
    association and the right to collective bargaining of workers;
  • Comply with all relevant environmental, social,
    health and safety as well as land acquisition policies, laws and regulations of
    the countries of intervention and international standards.

The ESMS is in line with our founding principles. As called for by our
founding Chair, the late Kofi Annan, we work to deliver a ‘uniquely’
African Green Revolution tailored to the needs and aspirations of the diverse
continent recognizing the importance of sustainability. We
distill lessons from Asia, Latin America and other regions to ensure that
Africa’s green revolution does not cause ecological and social harm witnessed
in earlier revolutions.

Our investments are, therefore, driven towards an inclusive agricultural
transformation linking millions of
small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food systems and employment
opportunities for millions including those that will transition from farming.

We work with our partners to provide technical assistance that is closely
aligned with Africa’s unique farming conditions, dietary preferences, the vision
of prosperity to develop an agriculture sector that is economically inclusive
and environmentally sustainable.  We
preserve the agrobiodiversity of the staple crops produced by African farmers
which is wider than anywhere else in the world.

The development and implementation of our Environment
and Social Management System received technical and financial support from the
Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) Bank as part of a strategic partnership
between the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
(BMZ) and AGRA. We also acknowledge our other partners and the many African smallholder
farmers that we consulted as we developed the system.

About AGRA

Established in 2006, the Alliance
for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is an African-led and Africa-based
institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s
growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive
into farming as a business that thrives. 

Together with our partners, we
catalyse and sustain inclusive agriculture transformation to increase the
incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11
African countries by 2021.

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