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This coming year could determine not only whether the world rises to the considerable challenges now facing it—climate change, persistent hunger, increasing inequality, stubborn poverty—but also affecting the fate of generations to come. With a growing population that will exceed 9 billion by 2050, the increasing effects of climate change, a widening gap between rich and poor, and growing competition for resources, the major issues facing humanity cannot wait. Deliberation must give way to deliberate action. But the global political will to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition within a generation, and the conviction that this is achievable, are growing. An ambitious agenda is emerging in the process of identifying post-2015 development goals. It aims to end poverty everywhere in all its forms, and to end hunger and achieve food security. And it plans to do so sustainably. This would perhaps be one of the greatest steps ever taken to secure the future of humanity and the life of the planet.
Scaling up note: Gender equality and women’s empowerment
IFAD has achieved significant results in promoting innovative gender mainstreaming and pro-poor approaches and processes in its operations, making this an area of IFAD’s comparative advantage.
Gender and rural development brief: West and Central Africa
Three quarters of the poor population in West and Central Africa – about 90 million people – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. More than 60 per cent of the active population work in the agriculture sector. Women’s share – estimated at 70 per cent in the region as a whole and 89 per cent in the Sahel – continues to rise. Socio-politically, West and Central Africa is still very fragile, with the highest concentration of countries with IFAD operations. Despite this fragility and the poverty that affects over half the population, virtually all countries in the region have made considerable progress over the past decade, particularly in education, health and income redistribution.
Reviving Tradition, Boosting Employment
In Tunisia, young women managed to set up their own small enterprises that produce and sell Al margoum, a traditional embroidery of Berber origin that was on the verge of disappearing.
Managing natural resources comprehensively and sustainably to combat poverty in pastoral communities
In Djibouti, pastoral communities have made a clearimprovement in their living conditions with better access to water and strengthened capacity in natural resources conservationa and management.
Starting Rural Businesses after the War
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a project co-sponsored by IFAD helped the war-ravaged country make the transition from immediate relief and rehabilitation to long-term sustainable development.
A gender-balanced model for community development
In Yemen, a community-led project for fostering women's empowerment has imporoved the food security of thousands of landless and smallholder famers living in the poorest areas of the country. From 2004 to late 2012, the Dhamar Participatory Rural Development Project, cofunded by IFAD and the Government of Yemen, addressed the needs of the rural population in the Dhamar Governorate. By ensuring the participation of rural people in the decision-making processes and income-generating activities, the project improved the food security of substience farmers and their families in the villages of Dhamar.
Reclaiming Land through De-Rocking
In Syria, large areas of degraded land have been turned into arable land thanks to several IFAD projects that managed to combine the sheer power of bulldozers with the long-term commitment of farmers.
Sanduq: A Rural Microfinance Innovation
In Syria, a sanduq – a local microfinance institution owned and managed by its members – provides much needed loans to poor rural people, with particular attention to women.
New Techniques Help Locate Groundwater
In Somalia, much-needed sources of underground water were identified by using advanced geophysical surveys in those same areas where previous trial-and-error drilling had delivered no results.
Refinancing Connects Banks to Rural Clients
In Armenia, Macedonia and Moldova, low-cost refinancing capital makes rural investments attractive and profitable for local banks, and reduces rural poverty by stimulating economic growth.
Supporting Private Agricultural Consulting
In Macedonia, IFAD trained individuals to become agricultural advisors and assisted them in establishing private companies that today operate in the market for agricultural development services.
Financing microenterprises led by women
In Jordan, the success of a project co-funded by IFAD largely rested on how quickly rural women were able to learn about borrowing money and setting up and running their own small enterprises.
A Holistic Approach to Farming Research
A Holistic Approach to Farming Research In Egypt, land productivity was improved by an IFAD project that created strong links between farmers, research and extension, and raised resource-use efficiency by integrating crops and livestock. The governorates of Fayoum, Beni Sueif and Minia in Upper Egypt extend for about 200 km along the Nile. In this area, land productivity is low and the potential for bringing additional land into production is limited. The only options available to raise the incomes of rural people living in the area are to improve land productivity and intensify land use. This is what an IFAD project has done through a project consisting of three main elements: 1) agricultural research; 2) the dissemination of research findings through extension activity; and 3) the provision of credit necessary to adopt new technologies. The project established an innovative Farming System Research Unit (FSRU), which operated with a holistic approach. That is to say, the FSRU carried out research activities that were adapted to farmers’ real needs and closely linked to extension delivery, and broadened its focus to include livestock – a relatively neglected area in Egypt.
Smart ICT for Weather and Water Information and Advice to Smallholders in Africa
The primary objective of the project was to promote innovative approaches and ICT-based technologies for timely transfer of weather, water-and crop related information and advice to relevant end users in Africa for informed decision-making and enhanced negotiation capacity with water and farm-related service providers.
IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
This policy reinforces IFAD’s position as a leader in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in agricultural and rural development. It builds on IFAD’s experience and achievements in field operations and in the broader policy arena in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The policy will provide IFAD with strategic guidance in systematizing, intensifying and scaling up its efforts to close gender gaps and improve the economic and social status of rural women in rapidly changing rural environments.
Investing in rural people in Ghana
Ghana has the third largest IFAD country programme in the West and Central Africa region. The programme contributes to building inclusive and sustainable institutions, backed by pro-poor investments and policies as well as relevant innovation and learning. IFAD supports the main thrusts of the government’s Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda – including accelerated agricultural modernization, sustainable natural resource management and enhanced private-sector competitiveness. Its work also aligns with Ghana’s Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan on food security, income growth and other programme areas related to rural poverty reduction.
Investing in rural people in Somalia
Somalia’s poverty and food security situation remains critical after years of conflict and natural disasters. Since the 1980s, IFAD has supported nine programmes in the country for a total of US$140 million. There is currently no country strategic opportunities programme for Somalia. However, the strategic objectives of IFAD interventions in Somalia can be summarized as follows: • Increase incomes and food security by supporting agriculture and related activities, improving access to water, sanitation and health care, strengthening the natural resource base and building rural financial services; • Identify and promote pro-poor investment mechanisms in rural areas for dissemination, replication and scaling up; and • Build the capacity of the diaspora and promote the transformation of people in the diaspora into agents of development through remittances – the portion of their earnings that migrants outside the country send home.
Enabling Land Management, Resilient Pastoral Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Africa
The World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP) is a global knowledge and advocacy network that promotes understanding of sustainable pastoral development for both poverty reduction and sustainable environmental management. WISP was executed by the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN). The Programme built the capacity of pastoral institutions to engage in advocacy based on state-of-the-art global learning on sustainable pastoralism, enabling pastoralist institutions around the world to network and shared experiences and opportunities, and ensured that the voice of pastoralists remained central to policy discourse and learning.
Land tenure security and poverty reduction
Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. It is a source of food, shelter, income and social identity. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world’s poor rural people in developing countries, access is becoming more tenuous than ever.