Main finds

01

Actions for rural and agricultural transformation in LAC

chapter 1

02

Global and regional context

Chapter 2

03

Key actions for rural and agricultural transformation towards inclusive and sustainable development in LAC

Chapter3

04

The bioeconomy: a catalyst for the sustainable development of agriculture and rural territories in LAC

Chapter4

05

Annexes

Chapter5

Main finds

01

01

Actions for rural and agricultural transformation in LAC

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) is global in nature, both in terms of its scope as well as the commitments undertaken, which are organized into 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are closely intertwined, rendering the Agenda innately indivisible. “Leave no one behind,” one of the key principles of the 2030 Agenda, requires that all social sectors and stakeholders take part in partnerships aimed at mobilizing and sharing knowledge, capacities, technology and financial resources, as well as guaranteeing the Agenda’s implementation in all countries.

The “leave no one behind” principle poses significant challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Despite the socioeconomic progress it achieved over the past decade, LAC is still the world’s most unequal region. This inequality is attributable, among other things, to the development gaps between urban and rural areas, which are reflected in much higher levels of rural poverty. In recent years, poverty levels in the region have increased, as have urban-rural gaps with respect to poverty and extreme poverty, schooling, social protection and security, overfeeding and obesity, access to basic services, as well as health and employment.

In light of these issues, we must acknowledge and capitalize on the harmonious relationship between rural and agricultural development, whose complementarity can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. The causality between these two elements is clear: rural development cannot be achieved without agricultural development, and sustainable development cannot be achieved without rural development. Rural poverty is closely linked to serious deficits in terms of decent work opportunities in agriculture (and in other primary production activities), as well as the limited presence of labor institutions in rural areas. In order for agriculture to contribute to reducing poverty and inequality in rural areas, it is important not only to bridge salary gaps between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, but also to extend the coverage of social security and other employment benefits to agricultural workers.

02

02

Global and regional context

LAC countries face a complex global scenario, with lower economic growth, greater volatility, trade restrictions and the need to act against climate change:

  • Global economic growth of 3.5% is projected in 2020 (IMF 2019).
  • In LAC, a GDP growth slowdown is expected in 2019, to 0.5%, compared to 1.1% in 2017 and 0.9% in 2018 (ECLAC 2019).
  • A slowdown in global agricultural demand and international prices is expected with respect to the last decade.
  • The origin of agricultural exports will be increasingly concentrated in some countries. This might increase the vulnerability of agricultural markets to supply shocks derived from natural and political factors.
  • The projections for 2050 suggest an additional shortage of natural resources for agriculture, either through degradation or increased competition from other uses. These effects, on top of stricter regulations, could limit food production and increase agricultural costs.
  • Since that almost a third of produced food is lost or wasted, there is a great margin to reduce the demand for natural resources simply by reducing losses and waste along the food chain.
  • Despite the significant progress observed over the past 15 years, poverty and extreme poverty rates in rural LAC areas represent about 1.8 times and 2.6 times, respectively, the rates of urban areas.

03

03

Key actions for rural and agricultural transformation towards inclusive and sustainable development in LAC

No sustainable development without rural development

It is not possible to overcome poverty or combat hunger, malnutrition and climate change, if societies and political actors in LAC do not recognize rural areas as an engine of economic, social and environmental development in their countries, at least with the same importance assigned to them in developed countries.

Agricultural development is key to rural development: a menu of complementary options

The importance of productive inclusion and the “two-way” intersectoral approach mean agriculture and its related activities should be taken as a “hard core” from which other complementary economic activities (industry, commerce, services) can be developed to promote development in rural territories.

Institutional framework for sustainable development

An urgent institutional modernization is required to secure and allocate the necessary funds to achieve inclusive and sustainable rural development, especially as regards the allocation of public resources to agriculture, food systems and the rural milieu.

imagen

04

The bioeconomy: a catalyst for the sustainable development of agriculture and rural territories in LAC

What is the bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy is a new techno-economic paradigm of production and consumption. The distinctive element of the bioeconomy as a policy framework and a development approach is the fact that biological resources are its material and energy base.

Why should LAC focus on the bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy is both an opportunity and a need for LAC. It is an opportunity because the region possesses the two basic ingredients that undergird the bioeconomy:

  1. The broad availability of biological resources (biodiversity and genetic resources, diverse productive landscapes, the ability to produce biomass, the generation of biomass from unused waste); and,
  2. The scientific and technological capabilities necessary for the development of the bioeconomy, such as the agricultural and biological sciences.

The region also needs the bioeconomy, in view of:

  1. The challenge of finding new pathways for more sustainable and inclusive rural and agricultural development (it could help resolve problems of equity, distribution, poverty and territorial imbalance);
  2. The urgent need to find alternative forms of mitigation and adaptation for the agricultural sector in response to climate change that also guarantee the sector’s sustainability and competitiveness, as well as the inclusion of small farmers; and,
  3. The global objective of contributing to the decarbonization of fossil fuels.

The development of the bioeconomy is under way in the region. Legal, institutional and policy frameworks are already in place, and there are pioneering business initiatives on issues linked to bioenergy, biotechnology and sustainable biodiversity use. Pathways have also been identified for the development of the bioeconomy with a regional vision (Hodson 2015, Hodson de Jaramillo et al. 2019) and several countries are developing national and subnational strategies on the subject.

05

05

Annexes