For the 77th time, world leaders and the heads of United Nations agencies will come together in New York City for the UN General Assembly. It is hard to think of a time in the UN’s history when this meeting of minds was more needed. As global crises compound and converge—failing food systems, climate catastrophe, crippling conflict—now is the time for global action and common ground.
Against this backdrop, IFAD’s President-elect, Alvaro Lario, will use this opportunity to advocate for rural people and push to transform food systems so they are inclusive, sustainable and recognize the invaluable contribution of smallholder farmers towards feeding the world.
Long-term resilience cannot be secured without transforming food systems
We can no longer wait to transform food systems: already millions of people are facing a food access challenge, but as increased commodity prices and inflation continue to take their toll, millions more will face a food availability crisis in the coming years unless we step up our efforts.
“The world can’t afford another short-term fix to a systemic problem,” says Lario. “We need to transform food systems to be more sustainable, climate-smart and inclusive—starting with small-scale farmers and the rural poor. Only through these longer-term solutions can rural people truly lift themselves out of poverty.”
Throughout the chaos of recent years, IFAD has been consistent in its message: resilience-building is the best insurance against current and future shocks. 100 per cent of IFAD’s funds are invested in building resilient food systems and farmers—and IFAD is ready to scale up.
Climate finance for a sustainable future
High on IFAD’s agenda is the issue—and untapped opportunity—of climate financing. There is universal recognition that we must urgently do more to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. This cannot be achieved without involving small-scale farmers.
Despite producing a third of the world’s food, small-scale farmers receive only 1.7 per cent of climate finance. This represents a huge opportunity to invest in these farmers who are at the forefront of climate change—they not only have the solutions to the climate crisis but are also those most exposed to its risks.
Facing the biggest fight of our lifetime requires an all-of-society approach. This includes the private sector. IFAD will work to incentivize private sector investment in agricultural development and climate adaptation, including delivering climate finance to those who need it most.
IFAD is ready to step up to the challenge
As UNGA77 kicks off, IFAD is well-positioned to be a key actor in addressing the looming food crisis, progressing the 2030 Agenda and shaping our world. For over 40 years, IFAD has helped millions of the poorest rural people lift themselves out of poverty.
More recently, IFAD has shown it is a key part of crisis response, launching the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Crisis Response Initiative in response to the war in Ukraine.
At UNGA, IFAD will reiterate the importance of financing rural development for real and sustainable change, driven by rural people themselves.