The Guidelines for Transformational Partnerships and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Agricultural Value Chains (Transformational AVC Guidelines) are a set of policies and incentives being proposed for adoption by the ASEAN and its member states. The proponents are part of a multi-stakeholder platform who conducted research on practices and policies affecting agricultural value chains (AVCs) in the region. Their study showed how AVC stakeholders and policymakers could contribute to inclusive recovery, building back fairer, and accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Transformational AVC Guidelines aim to supplement existing ASEAN policies to become more responsive to the needs of women and men small-scale producers in AVCs. These are a set of guidelines that support and incentivize AVC stakeholders to practice a set of Benchmarks. These Benchmarks were developed from best practices of social enterprises and inclusive businesses that successfully transformed the lives and livelihoods of women and men small-scale producers in the ASEAN.
The following are the critical elements of the Transformational AVC Guidelines:
- Enabling innovations that support AVC development for food secure, resilient, and empowered small-scale producer communities
- Enabling women’s economic empowerment that spans all functions and organizations engaged in AVC development, management, and governance
- Mobilization of investments on sustainable consumption and production systems that enable women and men small-scale producers as stakeholders in achieving a climate-resilient and green economy
- Recognition and support for social enterprises and inclusive businesses as innovators and key enablers of women and men small-scale producers in AVCs
- Mobilization of support for social innovation platforms that mainstream sustainable agriculture, transformational partnerships, and women’s economic empowerment in AVCs toward measurable social impact and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs
The Transformational AVC Guidelines promote food security, social protection, and resiliency that are critical in the effective recovery of women and men small-scale producers from COVID-19 and similar disasters or crises. These provide policy support to women in agriculture and the informal sector as subjects for empowerment beyond women in the formal economy and entrepreneurs that current policies on women’s empowerment in ASEAN focus on.
The Transformational AVC Guidelines also promote inclusive economic growth that reduces poverty in the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors, supplementing what is not adequately tackled by the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (2018) or the ASEAN Guidelines on RAI. Moreover, the Transformational AVC Guidelines recognize and support critical stakeholders such as social enterprises and inclusive businesses in the process fostering mutually beneficial partnerships to transform the lives and livelihoods of small-scale producers. By adopting the Transformational AVC Guidelines, ASEAN and its member states would pave the way toward empowering women and men small-scale producers in AVCs as stakeholders in a poverty reduction and inclusive growth agenda that would accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.