Lifeline for Rural Communities Cornered by Climate, Hunger — Global Issues

Research associate, Tania Eulalia Martínez Cruz from Oaxaca, Mexico shows how intercropping assists communities remain self-sufficient. Credit: Conrado Perez/IPS
  • by Joyce Chimbi (nairobi)
  • Inter Press Service

As small-scale farmers and communities in rural areas—where 80 percent of the world’s poorest live—edge even closer to the epicenter of climate-induced disasters, there is an urgent need for world leaders to increase funding to provide much-needed tools for rural communities to adapt to and mitigate these challenges.

To address these challenges, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) received record-breaking pledges in support of its largest replenishment ever, putting the organization on track to positively impact the lives of millions of rural people across the globe.

“This is a clear sign of the confidence member states have in IFAD and the importance they place on our ability to deliver results and impact through targeted investments that transform agriculture, rural economies, and food systems. They understand that investing in rural people and small-scale producers, who produce one-third of the world’s food and up to 70 percent of the food in low- and middle-income countries, is the only path to a food-secure future,” said Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD, following the pledging session in Paris.

The fourth replenishment session, which Angola and France hosted in Paris, saw an increase in pledges. IFAD is both a UN organization and an International Financial Institution (IFI), working in remote rural areas where poverty and hunger are at their deepest, so that rural populations are not left behind and are equipped to lift themselves out of poverty.

A replenishment session is the process by which IFAD mobilizes its core resources—an exercise in accountability by which IFAD reports to its Member States on its strategy, reform, and performance, usually at the mid-term of the previous replenishment period.

To date, 48 Member States have pledged USD 1.076 billion to replenish their core resources. Ten countries have increased by more than 50 percent from their previous contribution, and 31 countries have committed to their highest contribution ever, marking a record level of financing achieved for IFAD’s 2025–2027 programme of work.

IFAD launched its 13th replenishment in February 2023, calling for increased investments in small-scale farmers and rural people across developing countries. Every three years, member states replenish IFAD’s resources. The consultation culminated in a pledging session in Paris. Fundraising will then continue in 2024. Typically, over 100 countries contribute to IFAD’s replenishments, making it the most widely supported of all the major IFI replenishments.

“I am humbled by the positive momentum from today’s session and confident that IFAD’s ambitious call to mobilize USD 2 billion in new funding to support a USD 10 billion programme of work impacting over 100 million rural people will be achieved in the coming months,” said Lario.

To address today’s complex challenges facing rural communities, IFAD urged world leaders to increase rural investments. IFAD’s Member States have demonstrated their record-breaking support and IFAD’s pivotal role in revitalizing the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals through investing in rural people.

“We rely on IFAD to ensure the resilience we seek to build, taking into account climate change and all other factors that hinder our development,” said Carmen do Sacramento Neto, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Angola, at the opening of the session.

“There has been an improvement in the living conditions of rural and fishing populations where the IFAD project was implemented, and it has had a significant impact. We announce that Angola will maintain its contribution and increase it in the coming years as a clear sign of our commitment.”

“With four in five of the world’s poorest people living in rural areas, the road to a prosperous, resilient, and food-secure future runs through rural communities. As multiple crises converge, rural people need us to invest in them more than ever before. As countries scramble to respond to unforeseen crises, development budgets are stretched, making the right investments is urgent and critical.”

Collaborating with member states, IFAD invests in rural development and across food systems to help small-scale farmers produce more food in greater variety, access markets, apply new technologies, and adapt to climate change. IFAD ensures that member state contributions reach those who need them the most, with 45 percent of total concessional financing going to low-income countries and at least 30 percent of core resources dedicated to fragile situations.

Pledging funds towards SDGs 1 and 2 today means spending less on development tomorrow. For every USD 1 spent on resilience, it now saves up to USD 10 in emergency aid in the future, not to mention avoiding hardship for millions of people the world over. IFAD’s work achieves measurable impact.

Between 2019 and 2021, IFAD’s investments improved the incomes of 77.4 million rural people, while 62 million rural people increased their production, and 64 million rural people improved their access to markets, enabling them to sell their production.

Additionally, thanks to improved agricultural practices, access to technical assistance and credit, as well as the diversification of their income sources, IFAD assisted 38 million people in building their resilience, which is a measure of their capacity to recover from climatic and non-climatic shocks.

IPS UN Bureau Report

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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