Jørgen Ole Haslestad traveled to Brussels to address a top forum, organized by the European Commission, on international affairs and development cooperation.
Launched in 2006, European Development Days (EDD) has been one of the fastest-growing international forums. The theme of this year's EDD was 'A Decent Life For All By 2030 - Building A Consensus For A New Development Agenda'. On November 27th the CEO took part in the Trade and Private Sector High Level Panel, discussing how the private sector and trade can create inclusive and sustainable development.
Haslestad told about Yara's experience with Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and lessons learned, and took the stance that it is not a question of if public and private sectors should collaborate - but rather - how.
"It is about a shift in mind-set," the CEO argued. "Energizing the mutual trust and belief that we can set some common goals, which will benefit all. From there, it is about pooling resources towards pragmatic, knowledge-based objectives. In addition, we need to be concrete, and make necessary investments in agriculture and infrastructure capacities."
Creating win-win situations
Using Yara's collaborative farmer support programs in Ghana and Vietnam as examples, Haslestad made the case that this type of development needs to be scaled up, and is essential for creating win-win situations between PPPs and target groups such as smallholders. "If farmers do not have a decent living, they can't invest in inputs, which means they will not be our customers," he noted.
Drawing from Yara's experience with projects like the agricultural growth corridors, and the emergence of the African-led Grow Africa Partnership and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, the CEO explained that he believes the shift in mind set needed to allow PPPs to drive inclusive development is underway - but that greater cooperation is necessary.
"We need to build trust and understanding, to bridge the sectors and work together towards unified goals," Haslestad added. "By working towards the same goal, we build trust over time. This trust will help energize and speed up the processes - an important element is seeing the role of investment as a driver with the potential to benefit all."
The CEO presented Yara's concern with how the major global challenges of climate change, resource scarcity and food security interlock. Arguing that tackling them is beyond the reach of any single entity, he called for a better - and unified - effort.
"I find agriculture holds great promise to deliver solutions for a wide range of these interconnected issues," Haslestad said. "I am dedicated to driving these issues, and to partner with other stakeholders to deliver solutions."