The RESCSAN-STP (Civil Society Network for Food and Nutritional Security of STP) Resource Centre was inaugurated on the afternoon of 24 January 2020, in Mesquita, São Tomé, in the framework of the PAS – Sustainable Agri-Food Policies project, “Civil society in the consolidation of multi-actor governance of food and nutritional security in São Tomé and Príncipe”.
This activity is part of the strengthening and capacity building of RESCSAN, as a network of associations of producers and rural women in the area of food and nutritional security in Sao Tome and Principe and aims to strengthen the participation of civil society and its capacities for discussion and monitoring of the implementation of public policies with an impact on access to and management of natural resources, poverty reduction and food and nutritional insecurity.
To contribute to good multi-stakeholder governance in food and nutrition security and to sustainable and inclusive development, it is necessary to strengthen San Tomean civil society, in particular producer associations, particularly those representing rural women, so that they can have an active voice and play a role in monitoring public policy. RESCSAN thus assumes itself as a major player, which in turn integrates regional and international networks, such as CONSAN-CPLP (Food and Nutrition Security Council of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries).
With an area of 42.5 square meters, the Resource Center has rooms for meetings and training, Internet access, a computer and copy center and a space for viewing films/documentaries on the areas of interest to RESCSAN members.
The Resource Centre also houses a library, worth 7 thousand euros, with books on food and nutritional security, focusing on agriculture, farming, fishing and forestry, which were acquired by ADAPPA with the support of a Portuguese association and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development. In addition to the books, the Centre also has a media library with about 40 titles, most of which were produced by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) in the area of food and nutritional security.
Among the 25 participants in the event, the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of São Tomé and Príncipe, Mr. Francisco Ramos, who praised the importance of the role that RESCSAN plays in the food and nutritional security of the country and considered that the Resource Centre adds value, not only to the space where it is inserted, but also to the level of resources that become available to civil society. The Ministry of Agriculture has supported the equipping of the Centre through the donation of books and DVDs that could contribute to the modernization and agro-food development in the country.
The IMVF representative in Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. António Lima said that “the project was born from the need to improve food and nutritional security of the San Tomean population, through the improvement of the legal framework regarding public policies for family and local agriculture, as well as in approaching a decentralized approach to the impacts of public policies in a concerted dialogue with civil society to meet what has been standardized and proposed by both FAO and CPLP, as well as at the level of bilateral understandings on what gives sustainable development of agriculture in the country”.
Dr. António Lima added that he considers this initiative “extremely important so that civil society organisations can assume their central role as agents of development in the international achievement of development goals and affirmed national and international commitments”.
The Secretary of RESCSAN, Dr. Adalberto Luís thanked on behalf of the network members for the support given through the project. He recalled RESCSAN’s commitment to its associates, namely around family agriculture and the role of rural women in the development of food and nutritional security.
The PAS – Sustainable Agrifood Policies project, “Civil society in the consolidation of multi-actor governance of food and nutrition security in Sao Tome and Principe” is financed by the European Union and Camões, I.P. and is implemented by IMVF, ACTUAR – Association for Cooperation and Development and the Sao Tomean NGO ADAPPA – Association for Agricultural Development and Environmental Protection. ADAPPA and Zatona-Adil are currently exercising their mandate as secretariat of RESCSAN-STP.
The archipelago of Sao Tome and Principe is composed of two islands with a total area of 1,001 km2. The current population, 178,739 inhabitants in 2012 (2012 Census data), is concentrated in urban areas (more than 60% in 2015). The growing urbanization of the country is largely due to the rural exodus in recent decades due to the inability to retain the population in the absence of income generating and distributing activities, ecosystem degradation and lack of social infrastructure. According to the Human Development Index, the country was ranked 142nd in 2014. About 68% of the population lives below the poverty line and 29% are affected by extreme poverty (UNDP). The proportion of women with a monthly income below the minimum wage (44.5%) is twice that of men (20.8%). Of the country’s total population, 41.2% of heads of households are women.