The CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI) were approved by the 41st Session of CFS on 15 October 2014.
The Principles offer important guidance to companies engaged in agriculture at local, national and international levels. Private sector firms of all sizes are already engaged in responsible corporate practices related to agricultural investments and the guidelines will offer a helpful framework for their work with the objective to increase the positive impacts that responsible investments can have on food security and nutrition, as well as overall poverty alleviation and economic development worldwide.
The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) has been involved in the various stages of development of the RAI and emphasized throughout the need for the principles to be operational and for the CFS to quickly move to implementing them. The RAI now needs to be positioned as a tool to enhance and attract investment, both foreign and domestic.
The private sector is already the biggest engine of poverty reduction and economic growth in the developing world. On average, business provides 60% of GDP, 80% of capital flows and 90% of jobs in developing countries. It is the major source of the US$1 trillion a year needed to finance development. To help leverage this potential, governments must create stable, predictable and transparent regulatory frameworks and legal systems to attract sustainable investments in agriculture.
The private sector was already involved in either testing the principles first developed by the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) and were actively involved in the CFS negotiations. Many companies have started to review the RAI principles in the context of existing reporting mechanisms and relevant laws and are willing to examine how the principles may work in practice, with a view to operationalizing them.
Workshop on the role of FAO and Private Sector to translate the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) into action
This session introduced the CFS-RAI Principles to the participants. The Principles’ content, implications and added value was discussed by the panel. FAO presented its Umbrella Programme, which is designed to support the private sector and other stakeholders in translating the CFS-RAI into action. During the discussion, participants had the opportunity to provide inputs on this FAO initiative.
John Young Simpson, Vice President of Duxton Asset Management Ltd., presented on good practices, lessons learnt and business cases from Duxton Asset Management Ltd. These practices can serve to make the CFS-RAI principles more tangible and to ignite a discussion on how to further operationalize the principles for the private sector.