The UNDP Green Commodities Programme exists to improve the national, economic, social and environmental performance of agricultural commodity sectors. In 2019, UNDP launched the GCP in recognition of the importance of global agricultural commodities in achieving the SDGs, with a mission to:
- Improve the lives of farmers and their communities.
- Protect high conservation value forest and important vulnerable ecosystems.
Most commodity sectors in developing countries are afflicted by poor production practices that lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems and fail to improve the livelihoods of rural communities. Poor production practices lead to negative environmental impacts such as biodiversity loss, deforestation, carbon emissions, soil erosion, depletion of water resources and contamination from chemicals.
But despite the progress made through standards and supply chain initiatives, weaknesses in the underlying enabling environment limit change at a larger scale. Improving the enabling environments will increase the chances of sector-wide change to work towards sustainable production practices.
The UNDP Green Commodities Programme acts as a catalyst of mid to long-term national, structural and systemic commodity sector changes in support of sustainable agriculture. To achieve this, we:
- Strengthen stakeholder cooperation towards a shared vision and collective action.
- Seek to change mindsets, behaviors, regulations and practices, improving the enabling environment that will allow sustainable production.
- Work systemically, mindful of the political and economic context.
- Promote gender balance.
- Promote transparency, accountability and good governance as drivers of success.
Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for Systemic Change
Multi-stakeholder Collaboration for Systemic Change is GCP’s DNA and our approach to ‘how’ to go about achieving success.
We define multi-stakeholder collaboration as a process of interactive learning, empowerment and participatory governance that enables stakeholders with interconnected sustainability problems and ambitions, but often differing interests, to be collectively innovative and resilient when faced with the emerging risks, crises and opportunities of a complex and changing environment.
Sustainability is characterised by complex and “messy” problems that have a multitude of interactions between all the different players and issues involved. Systemic change involves working with the complexity, to help people see the whole system, and to recognise that change will often be an unpredictable and surprising process.
GCP’s Signature Process
Sustainable commodities can only be achieved if developing countries align their stakeholders behind a shared vision for the future of their commodity sectors and engage and commit all actors in effort to generate change.
The typical sequence is for UNDP as a neutral broker to bring together all stakeholders into a commodity and country-specific National Commodity Platform, which then collaboratively creates a National Action Plan.
Platforms are led and owned by government, driven by participants and enabled by UNDP through its country offices and GCP. A steering committee for the platform provides coordination and helps reach decisions by consensus. The National Action Plans articulate all agreed courses of action.
National Commodity Platforms and National Action Plans are driven by the need for coordinated action by all commodity stakeholders around a common agenda.
They bring together government officials, farmers, civil society groups and the private sector in a safe space to tackle the root causes limiting the sustainability of a sector by jointly devising:
- Clear public policies and legal frameworks.
- Plans around land-use planning.
- Effective ways of enforcing laws.
- Finance and support that allows farmers to improve their production techniques.
Our Theoretical Background: GCP’s Theory of Change
The Theory of Change is the theoretical background guiding GCP’s global targets, expected outcomes and delivery strategies.
Through GCP, UNDP contributes to the transformation of key commodity sectors through a systemic and integrated approach that improves the enabling environment for sustainable agriculture by bringing all changemakers together to build a shared vision for action.
An effective enabling environment consists of elements such as clear public policies, a well-functioning legal framework, clarity regarding land-use planning, effective enforcement mechanisms, accessible credit structures, and effective farmer extension services. The Theory of Change outlines how all of these pieces must work together to achieve long-term systemic change.
Learn more about GCP’s Theory of Change here.