|dc.description||Now, a part of the UN system has opened up a sort of front-desk to the various parts of the UN involved in agriculture and rural development. The UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security (RDFS) is based in the FAO and managed from the Rome headquarters. The network comprises 20 UN organisations, bringing together the key actors to achieve their shared goals of "food for all" and rural poverty reduction. It calls itself an inter-agency mechanism for follow-up to the World Food Summit (WFS) of 1996 and the WFS-Five Years Later event of 2002, and it supports the International Land Coalition.
Part of the role of the RDFS network is to coordinate efforts by governments and UN agencies, but it is most useful for its explicit goal of reinforcing ties between UN system bodies and other stakeholders, notably NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs). It does this at the international level, without any drift towards attempting to own its independent partners a welcome but rare hands-off attitude. And at national level, it promotes links between public and independent sector bodies through national thematic groups, of which there are 80, many in ACP countries.
In practice, this means that any NGO or CSO in the field of rural development and food security, keen to develop links with parts of the UN system, can knock, by mail or electronic communication, on the door of the RDFS network and find the way.
The RDFS Website is a gem. It has general articles and interviews on networking and agriculture, and then 16 thematic chapters, including agriculture, communication for development, gender, food and nutrition, governance, partnership, and HIV/AIDS. Each chapter highlights the major accessible programmes of UN agencies in the field, and links to other partners.
RDFS Network Secretariat
Rural Development Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39 06 5705 3250