Innovations that matter

The year 2016 was one of global change, not least for the Solidaridad Network. The organization adapted to complex political changes in regions where Solidaridad is active, built capacity in the global network and explored opportunities presented by emerging technologies. These dynamic times call for innovative approaches. Armed with a new strategy, Solidaridad hopes to contribute to a future that is more robust, resilient and inclusive for all.

Highlights of 2016

  • Europe

    In 2016, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave its partnership with Solidaridad a fresh boost following the evaluation of the successful Farmer Support Programme. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen, signed agreements with Solidaridad allocating a total of €80 million by 2020. The strategic partnership is compliant with the ministry’s “aid for trade” policy. Solidaridad has been a pioneer in reforming economies and development policy in this way for several decades.

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  • South America

    The Sustainable Trade Platform in Colombia concluded its first phase, proving that commercial competitors can successfully collaborate on common sustainability challenges. An external evaluation assessed this multi-stakeholder platform as neutral, safe and relevant. The platform helped to articulate standards, develop climate change adaptation solutions and support producers in making important value chains more inclusive and sustainable.

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  • South & South-East Asia

    The Malaysian Palm Oil Board signed an agreement with Solidaridad, the first such agreement with an international development organization to enhance the effective implementation and adoption of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil standard for 100,000 smallholders. Similarly, The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India signed an agreement for the first time with Solidaridad to develop an Indian framework for the sustainable production and trade of oilseeds and vegetable oils.

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  • West Africa

    Developing and integrating innovative solutions to address supply chain challenges continued throughout the year. Solidaridad focused on validating the business case to establish rural service centres for cocoa farmers as well as the business case for cocoa farming as an enterprise using empirical data. New discussions centred on farmer service enterprises as a crucial factor for success if best management practices are to be scaled up at both the farm and mill levels.

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  • Central America

    Solidaridad Central America leveraged experience and relationships built over the past five years to launch regional platforms that create flows of information and innovation to optimize sector transformation of key commodities. Solidaridad also encouraged sharing successful solutions among sectors, boosting capital flows, and accelerating and increasing the impact of sustainable and inclusive practices, including youth participation and gender equity.

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  • East & Central Africa

    From Ethiopia to Zambia, and Kenya to the Congo, the rising temperatures and drought conditions, as well as political issues, posed significant risks to agriculture. A general decrease in quantities, qualities and prices of agricultural commodities was evident. Coffee, tea, fruits and vegetable farmers in the wetter highlands continued to adopt climate resistant varieties with Solidaridad’s support. Solidaridad also continued to strengthen partnerships with research institutes in addressing climate-smart agriculture.

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  • China

    China entered a new era of setting sustainable development at the forefront of the political and economic agendas. Through innovative approaches to address China’s environmental footprint both domestically and abroad, Solidaridad worked directly in the sectors of manufacturing, agriculture and international commodity trade to bring continual improvement of environmental and social performances balanced with economic growth.

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  • Southern Africa

    Climate change had devastating effects on the region with Southern Africa experiencing its second rain-scarce season, leaving over 29 million people food insecure. With the majority of these populations living in rural areas and reliant on natural resources, addressing climate change through the inclusion of smallholder farmers and promotion of sustainable agriculture practices is at the forefront of Solidaridad’s mission.

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  • North America

    Small but effective – that is Solidaridad North America in a nutshell. With a lean team, Solidaridad is punching above its weight in terms of proposals developed and relationships managed. In 2016, Solidaridad developed proposals in collaboration with all regional centres in the Network, strengthened its connections across North America and managed relationships with both current and prospective supporters and partners.

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Foreword By Nico Roozen

Looking back at the past year, a number of key events and themes seem to stand out and define it. The launch of our new strategy Ambition 2020 in March was a pivotal moment for the organization. We strengthened the Solidaridad brand, developed new proposals that received significant support from our funding partners and further improved our cooperation with stakeholders in the regions where we work.

In fact, Solidaridad endured and thrived in a period of great political upheavals in our focus countries. Perhaps the most prominent geopolitical development of 2016 was the US presidential election. The change in government will shape the direction of America’s international development efforts. Our experts in North America expect that the coming years will be challenging and that increased support for environmental, social and economic sustainability organizations will have to come from philanthropic and corporate sources, with less coming from the US government.

In addition, majority support for a "Brexit" is most certainly a challenge for the European Union as well. The only right answer will be making European cooperation as successful as possible and inviting the British people to join us again in the next decade to correct this historic mistake.

Contrary to fake news spread by extreme right movements, several regions continue to face a growing disaster. Climate change is being felt by producers everywhere. Severe droughts, for example, have impacted our programmes in Southern Africa and Brazil. In South Asia and China, however, we are noticing an increased interest from governments and businesses in finding local solutions to address climate change for their specific communities.

From an organizational perspective, our greatest assets are our partners and our experts, and their support continues to grow year on year. We are strengthened by our partnerships with other organizations, be it corporations or cooperatives, which share our values and aims, and can contribute their experience and expertise. We will continue to work together to enhance our collective capacities by learning from each other.

Across the Solidaridad Network, we are continually striving to improve our accountability and transparency mechanisms. Not only is it of the utmost importance for our donors and partners, as well as our staff and experts, but it is also one of the best ways to influence policy and promote effective sustainability solutions.

Solidaridad’s agenda moving forward will reinforce the new organizational structure based on an innovative strategy that integrates sustainability programmes at international, national and community levels. We know there is still a long way to go – but I am happy to say that we achieved progress in 2016 on many key priorities in our mission to improve the lives of producers while protecting people, planet and profits.

Nico Roozen
Solidaridad Network Executive Director

Creating change that matters

The Solidaridad Network is registered as a foundation at the Chamber of Commerce in Utrecht, the Netherlands, under the number 51756811.

Network Secretariat
't Goylaan 15
Utrecht 3525 AA
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 (0)30 275 94 50

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