The world faces unprecedented challenges in agriculture and food security due to escalating global temperatures and climate-related shocks. The impacts are far-reaching, but the greatest peril lies in rural communities and small-holder farmers in developing countries, home to approximately 80% of the world’s poorest.
The crux of the matter is clear—without a substantial increase in investment in these rural areas, the ambitious goal of eradicating global hunger and poverty by 2030 remains elusive. Small-scale farmers, who contribute a third of the world’s food and up to 70% in low and middle-income countries, play a crucial role in global, national, and local food security. Paradoxically, they often find themselves among the world’s most impoverished and hungry individuals.
Compounding this issue are the ravages of climate change and conflict, exacerbating the vulnerability of rural populations. Droughts and extreme floods can plunge a family into poverty unexpectedly. While emergency aid is essential in crisis situations, the true catalyst for lasting change lies in sustained investment in small-scale farmers. Such investments empower and stabilize rural communities, enhancing resilience for the long term, fostering inclusive growth, and promoting sustainable development.
Throughout the year, the governments of Angola and France have championed the cause of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to investing in rural development and food systems. By hosting the fourth replenishment consultation with IFAD Member States in Paris, they are not only calling for an ambitious replenishment of IFAD’s financial resources but are also leading by example, announcing substantial contributions ($4 million from Angola and $150 million from France).
Over 48 IFAD Member States have rallied behind this call to mobilize $2 billion in new financing, a crucial step toward improving the lives of over 100 million rural people and doubling IFAD’s impact by 2030. Notably, a significant $1.076 billion has already been secured, with more announcements expected before IFAD’s Governing Council convenes in February.
IFAD’s unique ability to leverage contributions across 100 countries and turn every dollar of core contributions into six dollars of on-the-ground investment sets it apart. With an AA+ credit rating, IFAD has successfully mobilized additional funds through private borrowing and global capital markets, marking it as the first UN specialized agency to do so.
The impact of IFAD’s work is tangible and irrefutable. In a world dominated by technology, the majority still depends on the food sector for their livelihoods. With the right funding, rural communities can adapt to global challenges, ensuring food security on a global scale. IFAD’s work not only strengthens the resilience of rural economies but also underscores the pivotal role of strategic policymaking in charting a sustainable and inclusive course for rural regions.
Today, IFAD, joined by Angola and France, issues a global call to action. We urge nations worldwide to increase their support for rural areas and future global food security. The call is urgent, with projections indicating that 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty, and 670 million will face hunger by 2030. Alarming climate trends underscore the need for immediate action, as a 3-degree temperature rise looms, and the critical 1.5-degree target slips away.
Investing in rural communities today through IFAD is an investment in a better tomorrow for us all. The time to act is now.
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