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Effective policymaking that helps reduce rural poverty

Policies affect every dimension of the institutional and legal context in which poor rural people pursue their livelihoods, and so shape the economic opportunities that are open to them. 

Supportive policies can go a long way towards providing the conditions in which people can lift themselves out of poverty. 

For IFAD, country-level policy engagement is about collaborating, directly and indirectly, with partner governments and other country level stakeholders, to influence policy priorities or the design, implementation and assessment of formal policies that shape the opportunities for inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. 

We see policy engagement as critical to expanding IFAD’s development impact; ensuring sustainable project results; and enhancing our relevance in the growing number of countries where the government looks to us for knowledge, experience and lessons, as well as financial resources.

Our country-level policy activities help to strengthen the capacity both of national governments to develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of their policies, and of organizations of rural people to engage in policy dialogue with their governments. They help to create the space for policy dialogue between the different players. Above all, they draw upon successful models piloted under IFAD-supported projects and promote their adoption through national policies and programmes. 

IFAD also engages directly in policy processes, wherever possible working in the established fora of sector working groups. We engage throughout the policy cycle: when issues are being identified; when policies are being drafted and approved; when they are being implemented; and when they are being evaluated for impact and effectiveness. 

The country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) and project design documents assess the policy and institutional aspects that affect the outcome of IFAD-supported projects and their impact on the poor and, wherever appropriate, they offer clear and realistic plans for supporting national policy processes. IFAD does not, however, utilize policy conditionality in any of our programmes of loans and grants.

Our team of policy experts help to design COSOPs, projects and grants to enable IFAD-supported projects to contribute more effectively to national policy processes. 

We also conduct policy engagement training for country programme managers and other operational staff, hold workshops to increase understanding, share experiences and lessons learned, and work to develop improved approaches for monitoring and measuring policy engagement and impact.

Related publications

Country-level policy engagement-opportunity and necessity

September 2013

Describes what IFAD and the Policy and Technical Advisory division are supporting country-level policy engagement.

It also summarizes past experience and explains how Country Programme Managers can access funds to engage in country-level policy dialogue.

IFAD’s approach to policy engagement

April 2017
Typically, IFAD’s approach to policy engagement is one of facilitating, supporting and informing nationally-owned policy processes, so as to enable governments and other national stakeholders to determine themselves the policy change required. 

Policy case study - Benin: Farmers’ organizations interview presidential candidates on agricultural development

November 2016
In Benin, agriculture plays a central role in the national economy, contributing 32 per cent of GDP and employing a large part of the workforce. Despite significant productive potential and a diversified agricultural sector (crop production, livestock, non‑timber forest products, fisheries), the country relies heavily on imports of food products, which represent 25 per cent of the total value of imports.