UN agency seeks higher investments to eradicate poverty, hunger by 2030

Charmie Joy Pagulong (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2020 - 12:00am

ROME — The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has called on its member states to increase investments in rural development to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger during the 43rd Governing Council held in Rome this week.  

Gilbert Houngbo, president of IFAD, made the appeal on its 177 member states to help the fund reach its goal in doubling its impact on the lives of the world’s most marginalized people by 2030. IFAD has proposed $30-billion program over the next 10 years.   

“With extreme weather, conflict, fragility and migration threatening our food systems, we need to invest more in the rural people who grow our food,” said Houngbo. 

 “We have just 10 years to reach our global targets of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. That means stepping up our investments where poverty and hunger is concentrated – in rural areas,” he added. 

IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency.

The institution invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. 

Liam Chicca, lead portfolio advisor of IFAD in Asia and the Pacific, told The STAR that IFAD has a very active relationship in the Philippines. It has 16 projects to date in the Philippines worth $865 million, IFAD financed over $300 million of that total amount. 

Currently, there are five active projects in the country, worth $177 million, in investments from IFAD, spanning across various sectors:  agriculture resource management, environmental management, fisheries and coastal resources, and enhancement for rural growth and empowerment projects as well as rapid agro enterprise with focus on private sector linkages.  

He said that the projects in the Philippines started in 2017 and would last up to five years and would be extended by one year. 

“IFAD is trying its very best to leave no one behind and this is the scope of 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Chicca said. 

 “We sincerely hope that the implementation of these projects will be successful as possible… We are actively to continue our engagement in the Philippines,” he added. 

IFAD has 60 active projects in Asia and the Pacific region. 

At a global scale, IFAD aims to raise the production of more than 200 million small-scale producers, improve the resilience of more than 100 million rural people, and increase the incomes of about 260 million rural women and men by at least 20 per cent by 2030. 

IFAD also announced during the meeting that it will step up its impact and capacity in assisting developing countries, thus, launching a new financial model that enables resources to be channeled to the poorest countries and people. 

“This will ensure that IFAD can continue to offer a strong return on investment for its donors, and multiply the impact of their contributions,” IFAD said in a statement. 

“With more than 40 years’ experience on the ground, we know the last mile can be the hardest,” said Houngbo. 

“We can still deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – but not if we continue on our current trajectory. We need more funding, new partnerships and financial instruments, and more inclusive approaches,” he added. 

Among those new financial models are the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) and the new Private Sector Financing Program.

ASAP, IFAD’s flagship program for channeling climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers, will “expand to provide more funding to lower-income countries, especially those with high levels of malnutrition, and to fragile situations where climate adaptation investment is lacking. It will focus more on the interlinkages between climate change and its impact on women, young people and nutrition.”

On the other hand, the Private Sector Financing Program “will aim to bring private sector investment and know-how to bear on the development of rural small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers’ organizations.”

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