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President’s speech for the High-Level International Think Tank and Media Forum Global Development: Common Mission and Contributions

04 يوليو 2022

It is an honour to be invited to speak to you today at this important forum on the complementarity and synergies of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Global Development Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping.  

Today, the world is facing multiple overlapping crises: the enduring impacts of the pandemic, climate change and conflicts. The path towards the Sustainable Development Goals have met new and exacerbated challenges.

Global food systems are facing unprecedented stress, and consequently one of the most urgent issues facing us is the devastating rise in hunger and dramatic deterioration of food security in many countries.

In this context, initiatives that have the potential to renew efforts towards the SDGs through regional and global partnerships, resource mobilization and awareness-building, are urgently needed.

IFAD particularly welcomes the GDI’s priority areas of poverty alleviation, food security, development finance; and green development.

I welcome a continuous dialogue on best cooperation practices with national, regional and multilateral partners under this initiative, with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as the guiding lodestar.

I would like to emphasise that in our common work addressing hunger and poverty, we must keep a steady focus on building food systems that are resilient, sustainable and that work for all. This means more investment is needed.

That is why together, we must ensure that the most vulnerable are not neglected. Together, we need to build resilient food systems of the future from the bottom up because it is only when the livelihoods of the people working in food systems are resilient will food systems themselves be resilient.

Small-scale farmers produce one-third of the world’s food and when global trade is disrupted, their role becomes even more critical. As global food prices skyrocket, vulnerable people around the world will rely even more on food produced locally by small farmers.

Yet small-scale farmers are facing severe challenges. Fertilizer prices have risen dramatically, while farmers’ access to markets and fair pricing for their products remains a challenge. There is evidence that even before the current crisis, small-scale farmers on average received just 6.5 cents for every $1 of the value of their produced food.

In the short-term, swift action is needed to ensure that small-scale farmers can continue producing for local markets.  This means providing them with essential inputs the infrastructure to store and transport their products, as well as market information systems – including digital platforms.

This is what IFAD is doing with our Crisis Response Initiative. The will help us mitigate the worst impacts of the food crisis on poor rural communities in the countries of greatest needs.

In the long-term, support is needed for small-scale farmers and for the Small and Medium Enterprises that link them with crucial services and markets. We need to prioritize local solutions for global problems and reward small-scale farmers for their work.

It is also essential to make food systems climate resilient. Climate change risks are especially stark for small-scale farmers and therefore call for large-scale investment in transformative adaptation. Yet, small-scale farmers receive less than 2 percent of global climate finance.

Despite the current dire state of global food systems, the situation is not hopeless. Through national, regional and global efforts, and initiatives such as the GDI, with the establishment of the right synergies, the current trajectory can be turned around, and the Agenda 2030 advanced with renewed impetus.

There are enough lessons learnt and knowledge generated in all our efforts, and it will be crucial to bring these together and share them through a strong South-South and Triangular Cooperation modality.  

I wish you a fruitful look forward to follow-up the actions to come.