The ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security
Posted 16 April 1998
News: April 1998
See also News
for July 1998
, June 1998
and May 1998
In Venezuela, 1998 is declared "Year of Food Security"
In Venezuela, 1998 has been declared Year of Food Security by the Government. Encouraged by this initiative, the initial activities planned by the Thematic Group on Rural Development and Food Security will focus on food security issues, complementing and strengthening the Government's efforts. The Thematic Group in Venezuela includes the participation of FAO (chair), UNDP, PAHO, UNICEF, IICA, the World Bank, IDB, the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the National Food Council (NFC).
Announcing the Network's "Theme of the Month"
is first of a series of articles to be published in our new Themes
section. Future updates will devote a section to a particular thematic area. This section will seek to include a short feature article highlighting the importance of the selected thematic area for rural development and food security, examples of activities undertaken by Thematic Groups in this area, and information on possible areas in which UN partner organizations could provide support to Groups working on these issues at the national level. The Themes
section will also be helpful in directing Thematic Groups towards relevant resource materials, including publications, training materials, case studies, Internet sites etc.
Future themes to be covered include: pluralism and civil society; natural resource and environmental management for food security; population and food security etc. We await your suggestions of additional themes which could be included. Please send your ideas to: RDFSemail@example.com
Encouraging the participation of civil society in the Network
"Pluralism and civil society" will be the special theme covered in the next update. The Network strongly encourages the participation of representatives of civil society, including for instance farmers' organizations, rural workers' organizations, women's groups and NGOs, in the work of Thematic Groups at the country-level. In his letter dated 25 August 1997 to the Director-General of FAO, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, expressed his appreciation of the "innovative modalities of action being envisaged [by the Network] and [welcomed] the intention to involve civil society organizations in the work of the ACC Network on Rural development and Food Security and, particularly, in the activities of thematic groups within the Resident Co-ordinator system".
Guidelines for Thematic Groups
The Network Secretariat is currently preparing Guidelines for the Thematic Groups which will aim to provide guidance to assist in the establishment and operationalization of the Groups. The Guidelines are being drafted on the premise that Thematic Groups in each country have their own needs depending on particular contextual factors at the country level. They will, however, aim to provide useful suggestions which could be adapted to respond to local needs and situations in order to help guide Thematic Groups as they move from the conceptual to the operational phase. The draft Guidelines will be shared with UN Focal Points and Thematic Groups in April for comments and suggestions prior to finalisation and distribution.
Help Desks: A support mechanism for country-level Thematic Groups
The FAO Secretariat is putting in place a Help Desk
system to provide direct support, including technical advice and information, to Thematic Groups aimed at assisting them with the implementation of their agenda and at enhancing overall results. Under this system, all SDA Headquarters and Regional officers will each be responsible for technical backstopping in 5-6 countries in consultation with the ACC Network Co-ordinator. Guidelines on the Help Desk system are currently being prepared and Thematic Groups will shortly be informed of the name of the designated Help Desk Officer for their Group.
Network e-mail listserver
Network participants at the country and headquarters level will soon be able to access and share information by subscribing to the Network listserver. This server will greatly facilitate a horizontal exchange of information and foster interactive networking between country-level members of the Network and member organizations at headquarters level. It will be open to all Network members at country-level, including invited non-UN partners, as well as UN Focal Points. The intention is to open this list to a wider audience of interested institutions and individuals once the Network is fully operational.
This section of the Network's site will be updated regularly to provide information about and/or access to selected resource materials (such as publications, case studies, guides etc.) of possible interest and use to Thematic Groups as they seek to develop and implement activities in support of rural development and food security.