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Growing green assets: Removing constraints to private sector investment in forestry in Asia and the Pacific










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    Book (stand-alone)
    International Investments in Agriculture in the Near East
    Evidence from Egypt, Morocco and Sudan
    2011
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    The food crisis of 2007- 2008 sparked an increase in investment flows to agriculture in the Near East, particularly to countries rich in water and land resources, such as Sudan. These investments have continued to increase during 2009 - 2010, as food prices continue to remain high. This publication was motivated by this surge in international investments in agriculture. and the-. need to answer some key policy questions, through and a brief review of international investments in the region, and an exploratory analysis of the issues and challenges in the policy arena. Three case studies in Egypt, Morocco and Sudan were commissioned by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East. The purpose was to (i) identify past and current investment trends in terms of the actors involved, modalities, size and impact (to the extent that information is available), (ii) assess these investments in the context of the region and its food security challenges, and (iii) identify areas to be addressed by pol icy makers to ensure food security in the long run and provide a starting point to evaluate investments for timely and targeted policy measures. While information on international investments in agriculture is not readily available, the case studies provide an overall picture of agriculture investments, specifically focusing on foreign direct investments. The share of international investments to agriculture has traditionally been very low in the region. With a an average share of 1- 2% of total FDI, this investment is mostly concentrated in sectors other than primary agriculture. In the past few years, investments in agriculture have grown remarkably; however, information on their allocation and impact is incomplete and fast changing. Impacts of agricultural investments in the past have been mixed and concentrated in capital and resource intensive activities which are largely supported by the public sector. Sudan has attracted resource seeking investments, whereas Morocco and Egypt co ntinue to be investment destinations for market seeking investments, in the food processing and fruit and vegetable production sectors. The involvement of the private sector in investment in agriculture is growing but there is still a strong government presence in supporting these investments, often through direct and indirect subsidies in most countries. The historical experience of the region is instructive in terms of improving the efficiency of future investments in agriculture as well as en suring sustainable outcomes. Some of the salient features of international investments in agriculture can be summarized as follows: • Intra-regional investment in agriculture constitutes the bulk of the international investment in agriculture in the Near East. • Countries such as Egypt and Sudan are the largest recipients of recent international investments in food and agriculture, mostly from the Gulf States but also from other countries such as China and South Korea. Other countries in the reg ion are also heavily investing in agriculture and food sectors overseas, and beyond the Near East, including in Asia and Latin America. • Whether investor or host country, the common driving factor for international investments in agriculture in the region is food security concerns. The investment policies of most countries in the region are geared toward attracting investments. They are therefore relatively open and do not differentiate between the different sectors or the different types of ac tivities within agriculture. Agriculture, as an investment category, has been growing rapidly in the last three years, and most countries (especially the poorest) have not yet had the time to align their investment strategies with their national food security objectives. Given the rapid growth in agricultural investment, caution needs to be exercised by investor and host country governments, as well as private investors, to develop sustainable solutions and incorporate a long term perspective to support healthy and profitable investments. Given the diverse national and household food security concerns and resource availabilities, a regional focus on food security may be needed to better formulate and harmonize policies as well as tap into opportunities. The potential capacity for staple food production has its limits, but income generating opportunities are ample. A mix of investments geared at food processing, food service, and other sectors linked to agriculture, could also provide a lternative income opportunities for rural people, as well as increased employment opportunities in urban areas. Within this context, regional initiatives could be very promising in promoting food security in the longer term.
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    Status of the World’s Soil Resources. Chapter 15: Regional Assessment of Soil Changes in the Southwest Pacific 2016
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    This is Chapter 15, "Regional Assessment of Soil Changes in North America," of the report Status of the World’s Soil Resources. The Southwest Pacific region includes the 22 island nations of the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia). The landscapes of the region are very diverse ranging from a large continental land mass through to tens of thousands of small islands across the enormous expanse of the southwest Pacific Ocean. There are extensi ve ancient flat lands through to some of the youngest and most tectonically active landscapes on the planet. Temperature and rainfall ranges are large because of the breadth of latitudes and elevations. As a consequence, the soils of the region are also diverse. The strongly weathered soils in humid tropical areas and the vast expanses of old soils across the Australian continent are particularly susceptible to disturbance and this is where some of the more intractable problems of soil managemen t occur today. Case studies for soil change are given for Australia, New Zealand and Atoll islands in the Pacific.

    The full report has been divided into sections and individual chapters for ease of downloading:

    Also available: Technical Summa ry of the Status of the World’s Soil Resources.

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    Meeting
    Promoting Private Sector Investments in Sustainable Forestry: Expert Workshop on Financial and Institutional Innovation for Reducing the Risks of Private Sector Investments in Sustainable Forestry 2016
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    This workshop was organized in the framework of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) led initiative on “Financial and institutional risk mitigation and management strategies”. This initiative stems from the lack of significant funding for the forest sector in key areas of intervention such as forest plantations, natural forest management, small and medium forest enterprises, local and community forestry, and large‐scale forest investment projects including REDD+, whi le private capital is available for investments. Underlying efficient business models can bring substantial financial returns to investors in all these activities, but many traditional investors are still reluctant to invest.

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