IFAD Member States approve ambitious $2 bn plan to reduce hunger and poverty for 100 million rural people

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By Murimi Gitari, February 16, 2024, As climate change, biodiversity loss, economic uncertainties and growing instability take a strong toll on rural communities and small-scale farmers in many parts of the world, particularly in the most fragile and vulnerable places, the 178 Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today adopted an ambitious agenda to improve the production, incomes, food security and resilience of more than 100 million rural people over three years.

Attending the second day of IFAD’s annual Governing Council Meeting, government leaders adopted a report and resolution for the 13th replenishment of IFAD’s resources.  So far, 68 Member States have committed an unprecedented US$1.34 billion in support of a three-year programme of work (2025-2027). Pledges already exceed the total US$1.28 billion pledged for the 12th replenishment of IFAD (2022-2024). In the coming months, IFAD expects more pledges as it works to mobilize US$2 billion in new funding to implement a US$10 billion programme of work.

“Your investments will create jobs and opportunities and increase resilience. IFAD is an excellent and very effective vehicle against food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD. “They are fundamental investments in creating shared prosperity and resilience in the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Lario encouraged Member States who have not yet pledged to do so in the coming months. “The conversation will continue. The momentum is there. This US$1.34 billion is record breaking but not enough to achieve the target we have,” he further acknowledged.

Amongst the 68 Member States who have pledged thus far in the current replenishment cycle, 45 made their highest pledge ever and 14 of those pledges have increased their commitment by more than 50 percent since the last pledging cycle, showing their strong commitment to the Fund, and need to step up investments in rural development to fight hunger and poverty.

To support small-scale farmers and their efforts to build resilience in the face of growing challenges, the IFAD13 report and resolution adopted by Member States set three main priorities for the Fund: IFAD will increase its focus on fragile contexts, scale-up investments in biodiversity and climate resilience for small-scale farmers, and further leverage engagement with the private sector. Priorities have been determined based on a year-long consultation process with its Member States and stakeholders and careful analysis of today’s multiples global crisis.

About 3.1 billion people, nearly half of the global population, live in the rural areas of developing countries. These areas are home to over 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor.

Violent conflict has spiked dramatically in several regions. By 2030, almost 60 percent of the world’s poor will live in countries classified as fragile or affected by conflicts.

Climate change and biodiversity extinction are accelerating. As global temperatures continue to rise, leading to worse living conditions for millions of people worldwide, the poorest are the most vulnerable and will be the most severely impacted. Today close to 700 million people live in extreme poverty.

Official Development Assistance and developing countries’ financing will not suffice to close the finance gap for climate adaptation, to end hunger and make food systems more sustainable, resilient and equitable. Engagement and financing from private sector stakeholders ranging from global investors to local small and medium enterprises will be necessary. Estimates find that between US$33 and US$50 billion in additional finance per year until 2030 will be needed to fight hunger globally.

The priorities and business model for IFAD’s 13th replenishment benefited from insights from the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) with the aim to ensure a successful implementation of IFAD’s programme of work from 2025-2027. The MOPAN report on IFAD was launched during the Governing Council. Overall, MOPAN rated IFAD as well-positioned and agile to respond to critical global challenges and recognised its niche and critical role in the global architecture system.

Innovation driven by and for rural people

Governors also immersed themselves in rural communities through a virtual field trip to Ghana to discover how rural people manage ecosystems, cope with climate change and produce nutritious foods in a challenging environment.

Kevin Perkins, Executive Director of Farm Radio International and Hélène Papper, Director for Global Communications and Advocacy at IFAD presented IFAD’s Rural Voices initiative and described how radio can help put rural people at the center of innovations and capture the ideas of those who may otherwise not have been heard.

“At IFAD, we see innovation as a two-way process, a partnership with rural people. We can use our expertise to bring new innovations to rural areas but, equally, rural people can share their unique knowledge and innovations with us so we can better design projects to serve their needs,” said Papper after the event.

Governors also heard the testimony of food writer and chef Sophie Grigson who cooked with rural communities as part of IFAD’s Recipes for Change programme.

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