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.
“AGRA is 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 and businesses we work with to achieve the triple helix target of food security, inclusive economic growth and protecting the planet.” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President, in her message to 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.
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.
AGRA drives the bulk of its investments through the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For more information, visit www.agra.org, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube