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UN’s IFAD steps up fight against hunger, poverty

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 30 July, 2021 12:00 AM
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UN’s IFAD steps up fight against hunger, poverty

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The United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has increased its support for the most vulnerable and marginalised people including women, youth, disabled persons and indigenous peoples as the pandemic pushing millions more people into hunger and poverty.

The information was disclosed at an annual report of IFAD on Thursday.

With 203 ongoing projects and total financing of $7.5 billion, IFAD was able to reach 123 million people in 2020, said the IFAD Country Office in Bangladesh.

“Doing more to build the resilience of rural people does not only mean scaling up investments. It also means going further to reach the people most likely to be left behind, to ensure the rural women and men IFAD serves are better prepared to overcome the challenges they face,” said IFAD President Gilbert F Houngbo.

IFAD country teams immediately began working with governments to adjust ongoing projects so rural people could maintain their income-generating activities and not be forced to sell their meagre assets as the impacts of the pandemic threatened to roll back years of development progress, disrupt food system and cause a secondary “hunger pandemic”.

IFAD works in 35 countries across Asia-Pacific, with 55 ongoing programmes and projects for a total investment of $2.55 billion. This includes an additional $ 365.8 million approved in 2020, reads a IFAD press statement issued in Rome.

Building resilience to multiple threats is a priority for IFAD in its work in Asia and the Pacific. In April 2020, IFAD launched the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) with support from its Executive Board and member states such as Canada and Germany that made contributions. The Facility has helped rural people hang on to their livelihoods in this difficult period while also maintaining the supply of food. With supply chains and transportation disrupted, small-scale farmers have received seeds, fertiliser and other support to continue planting and production.

Support for digital services like e-marketing and e-money were increased.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Pacific Islands, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea are among the countries to receive assistance from the RPSF.

New grass-roots activities were started and 10 times as many people participated in the Fifth Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum as ever before.

The report outlines how IFAD is revamping its financial infrastructure to be able to invest more and reach more rural people while managing risks.

In 2020 IFAD obtained AA+ credit ratings from Fitch and Standard and Poor’s, creating opportunities to mobilise more resources.

IFAD received record commitments of funding from Member States following the launch of the Twelfth Replenishment of its resources (IFAD12) in February 2020, with the goal of doubling the Fund’s impact by 2030.

With a target programme of work of at least $11 billion for 2022-2024, IFAD expects to raise the incomes of 83 million people by at least 20 per cent.

New programmes will increase attention to climate change impacts and resilience (ASAP+), and leverage new investment by the private sector (the Private Sector Financing Programme, or PSFP).