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proceeding with trade liberalization, are facing tremendous direct and indirect challenges that will need to be addressed carefully; among these is the capacity of local public and private entities as well as regulatory and institutional maturity.

Farmers need to recognize that agriculture is the key to sustainable development, food security and biodiversity conservation; it is central to international action in trade and investment. It has been the main user of freshwater resources and central to producing bioenergy. Thus farmers have begun—but not yet sufficiently—to form partnerships covering such areas as how to manage water, land, genetic resources and energy. Farmers have also strengthened partnerships in research and technology. Such partnerships have been good, but they must be supported by capacity building and good governance. Successful development of agriculture requires democratic, consultative processes that involve farmers’ organizations. On the other hand, indigenous communities should continue to seek partnerships and associations with governments and transnational bodies to maintain access to traditional lands, based on principles of good faith and equity.        Public–private partnerships. When discussing partnerships, we should note that sustainable development requires partnerships among all stakeholders and at all levels. In particular, the regional aspect has been stressed as crucial, if implementation is to achieve the stated goals. Despite the fact that many encouraging partnerships toward implementing the declarations and conventions have emerged following Rio, real implementation has been less satisfactory due to the lack of resources and political will. Implementation has also been hindered by structural and institutional failings, such as questionable government policies and incentives associated with trade and agriculture. The international community has a responsibility to consolidate the multistakeholder dialogue by establishing an institutional structure to
facilitate the building of partnerships.

Recent approaches adopted by some international entities, such as the World Bank’s strategy in rural investment to promote agricultural growth and poverty reduction, are founded on the fact that the public sector, the private sector and civil society can work together to enhance productivity of the agricultural sector and promote its competitiveness in ways that reduce rural poverty and sustain the natural resource base. These actions involve a rich mixture of science, technology, people, communication, management, learning, research, capacity building, institutional development and grassroots participation.

4.2.3 Governance and information

It is essential in striving for sustainable development to seek and maintain transparent democratic institutions capable of protecting the environment and natural resources while providing basic needs and economic opportunities. In communities where people came together to protect their ecosystems, they also had better schools, health care and economies. Hence, developing institutional capacity has been the core of the recent national and global attempts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, and with continuous globalization, sustainable urbanization that covers environmental, social, economic and


institutional sustainability should be based on the proposition that transformation from rural to urban life requires a change in the institutional framework. Governance principles

While rapid technological advances may in many cases help achieve economic growth without harming the environment through what is known as “green economics,” real cases have raised the question: How can the international community guarantee that it will not continue to fail? The answer lies in emphasizing that greater overall sustainability goes hand-in-hand with less institutional constraints on decision-making powers, greater openness of political competition, and more widespread civil and political rights. Inevitably, national efforts to achieve sustainable development must focus on productive capacity and the institutions that are its key determinants, as well as human and natural resources. Moreover, capacity must be strengthened to be able to monitor performance where the results would feed into the process of influencing policy at the highest level.

It is essential to stress that all types of institutional setups could play a role in achieving the IAASTD sustainability goals. For CWANA, on the political level, the democratic deficit in decision making, both nationally and internationally, had to be overcome. Far too many governments and institutions in positions to act focused only on narrow interests without special focus on the will of the people. Parliaments had been working, at national and international levels, to provide a parliamentary dimension to the work of intergovernmental organizations working on sustainable development issues.

Local governments, on the other hand, could show leadership through increasing the coherence and integration of their own policies, including integrating sustainable development concerns across ministries and ensuring that existing policies have not worked against each other.

Trade liberalization has been a means to an end, not an end in itself. Each of the international regimes and institutions should be judged on its contribution to eradicating poverty and maintaining a viable natural resource base. The new perspective must build the bridges between trade and environment, between investment and development, and between finance and sustainable development. Transparency and accountability

The poor state of governance and weak protection of rights of vulnerable communities, including smallholders, is attributed to lack of transparency and accountability in government as well as corporate activity, which restricts the ability of citizens, civil society groups and public representatives to effectively monitor the performance of various public and private institutions. Access to information is the first step toward promoting and institutionalizing public accountability at various levels; while its absence or lack of it often results in arbitrary and nonparticipatory decision making, weak monitoring, inefficient project execution, human rights violations and rampant financial corruption in public bodies (Transparency International, 2006). Lack of access to information also contributes to sustaining excessive bureaucratic controls, eliminating stakeholder participation and weakening democratic institutions.