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The Business Advantage: Mobilizing private sector-led climate actions in agriculture

June 2018
With private contributions becoming increasingly pivotal to global climate finance, it is evident that scaling up and channeling private capital is crucial in meeting the goal of achieving the Paris Agreement and limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.

Toolkit: Engaging with pastoralists – a holistic development approach

June 2018
Pastoralism is a way of life based on territorial mobility, adopted in response to the challenges faced by human communities living in harsh or difficult environments.

Research Series Issue 26 - Exploration of a methodology for assessing the impact of policy engagement. What impact and how to assess it?

June 2018
Policy engagement is a difficult activity to accurately monitor and evaluate, particularly when development agencies are interested in attributing impact to their efforts.

Toolkit: Access to finance for renewable energy technologies

May 2018
The toolkit focuses on end-user finance for renewable energy technologies for rural households, smallholder farmers, and rural micro, small and medium enterprises.

Research Series Issue 25 - Structural transformation and poverty in Malawi. Decomposing the effects of occupational and spatial mobility

May 2018
This paper aims to identify the main drivers of poverty reduction in Malawi. Using an augmented poverty decomposition methodology, it explores in what way the different farm and non-farm economic activities contribute to poverty reduction and income growth.

Research Series Issue 24 - Influence of nutrition-sensitive interventions on dietary profiles of smallholder farming households in East and Southern Africa

May 2018
This paper aims to explore the influence of nutrition-sensitive interventions on dietary profiles of the beneficiaries of IFAD-funded projects.

Research Series Issue 23 - The Effect of the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth on Rural and Urban Poverty

April 2018
This paper analyses the channels through which growth reduces poverty by evaluating the relationship between the sectoral composition of economic growth and the rural-urban composition of poverty.

Research Series Issue 22 - Poverty reduction during the rural-urban transformation

April 2018
This paper analyses the relation between urbanization and poverty reduction, by exploring the role of secondary towns, mega cities and rural non-agricultural sector in relation to poverty reduction.

Toolkit: Supporting smallholder seed systems

March 2018
Agriculture begins with seed. Without seed, there can be no crops and no food production. When harvests fail or seed stocks are lost, seed insecurity ensues, which can reduce food security and livelihoods.

Research Series Issue 21 - Does relative deprivation induce migration? Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

March 2018
This paper challenges the traditional view that portrays income maximization as the main driver of migration and tests whether relative deprivation and social inequality lead to migration in sub-Saharan Africa. Examining data from the Living Standards Measurements Study – Integrated Surveys in Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, the paper finds that a household’s migration decision is based not only on its well-being status, but also on the position of the household relative to the wealth distribution in the local community. Results indicate that relative deprivation of wealth was positively associated with migration, implying a need to renew the discussion of relative deprivation and social inequality as a cause of migration in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Water Advantage: Seeking sustainable solutions for water stress

March 2018
Among ecosystems services, freshwater is one of the most fundamental for life. For smallholders, water means the difference between a decent life and poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

How to do note: Design of gender transformative smallholder agriculture adaptation programmes

January 2018
This How to Do Note (HTDN) is intended to provide guidance on how to design smallholder agriculture adaptation programmes that consider the differential impacts of climate change on women, men and youth smallholder farmers. This includes recognizing that programme interventions – from design to staffing to capacity development of beneficiaries and local organizations – need to consider how gender will affect sustainability and impact. The experiences, social positions and differing access to resources of marginalized populations are fundamental considerations in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of gender transformative smallholder agriculture adaptation programmes.

Research Series Issue 20 - Transformation and Diversification of the Rural Economy in Asia

January 2018
This paper examines the transformation and diversification of the rural economy in Asia, focusing on the role and importance of the rural non-farm economy and employment in economic transformation and related diversification of employment and income opportunities for rural communities.

Research Series Issue 19 - Measuring Women's Empowerment in Agriculture: A Streamlined Approach

December 2017
The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) can be a useful tool to measure the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector. However, computing the WEAI in its current form involves large data requirements, resulting in lengthy surveys with several questions on various dimensions and indicators within each dimension. This paper proposes a reduced version of the WEAI, or the R-WEAI, and examines two possible approaches to reduce the data requirements while ensuring comparability to the full WEAI.

The Marine Advantage: Empowering coastal communities, safeguarding marine ecosystems

November 2017
Agriculture and fisheries, the backbone of food security and nutrition for coastal communities and globally, are under threat.

Research Series Issue 18 - Do agricultural support and cash transfer programmes improve nutritional status?

November 2017
Cash transfer and agricultural support programmes are both used to improve nutrition outcomes in developing countries. This paper examines previous reviews of the impact of these programmes and compares the evidence between the two. The paper finds that, although there are about the same number of programmes of each type, many more papers have been written about the cash transfer programmes than the agricultural programmes. While evidence suggests that both programme types improved the quality of food consumption, the paper concludes that both types show weak evidence of improvements in anthropometric outcomes.

Impact Assessment: Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP)

October 2017
The Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) aimed to foster market-driven development of the informal dairy sector in Kenya.

Impact assessment: Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaky Regions

October 2017
In Madagascar, the Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaky Regions (AD2M) aimed to improve the livelihoods of poor farmers by strengthening their tenure security and access to well-functioning irrigation systems.

Research Series Issue 17 - Population age structure and sex composition in sub-Saharan Africa: A rural-urban perspective

October 2017
This study describes the shifting age and sex patterns of populations across rural and urban sectors in sub‑Saharan Africa from 1980 to 2015. It examines the relationship between the slowdown in urbanization and rural and urban age structure gaps, sex composition and dependency ratios. Findings show that rural-urban migration of young adults plays a key role in explaining dependency ratios and sex compositional gaps in rural and urban areas. Results also highlight the value of taking into account local age and sex structures to better prepare for the demographic dividend and other consequences of demographic shifts in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Nutrition Advantage: Harnessing nutrition co-benefits of climate-resilient agriculture

September 2017
Climate change and malnutrition are among the greatest problems in the twentyfirst century; they are “wicked problems”, difficult to describe, with multiple causes, and no single solution.

IFAD Results Series Issue 2

August 2017
This issue presents and analyses experiences from the following IFAD-funded projects and programmes: Ethiopia: Pastoral Community Development Project; Nepal: Leasehold Forestry and Livestock Programme; Palestine: Participatory Natural Resource Management Programme; Peru: Project for Strengthening Assets, Markets and Rural Development in the Northern Highlands (Sierra Norte); Sierra Leone: Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction Project

Research Series Issue 16 - Getting the most out of impact evaluation for learning, reporting and influence

July 2017
This paper describes the Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) which was developed and piloted by IFAD. The approach aims to produce rigorous qualitative and quantitative evidence that can be used not only to identify and assess the impacts of development projects, but also to promote learning and improved understanding of the associated processes and pathways of socio-economic change. Illustrated with cases from Viet Nam and Ghana, the paper assesses the value of the approach for collaborative learning and reporting for IFAD’s country programming and global policy engagement, as well as for the wider development community.

Research Series Issue 15 - Remittances, growth and poverty reduction in Asia

July 2017
Remittances have increased in low-income and lower- middle-income countries in recent years, playing an important role as a stable source of finance at the macro-level, and in poverty reduction at the micro-level. Drawing on a critical review of the literature and econometric analyses based on cross-country panel data, this study examines the relationships among remittances, growth and poverty reduction in Asia and the Pacific and highlights policy implications to be considered by governments and policy-makers.

Research Series Issue 14 - Disbursement performance of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

June 2017
This paper investigates the trends and the influencing factors of IFAD’s project disbursement performance over the past 20 years. Based on data from 577 projects in 111 countries, the study finds that disbursement of funds are often delayed and time-consuming. Using econometric analysis, the study assesses the internal and external factors affecting the amount and timeliness of disbursements, and provides important lessons on how international financial institutions such as IFAD can better monitor and manage this important aspect of their development effectiveness.

Toolkit: Poverty targeting, gender equality and empowerment

June 2017
This toolkit explains how to identify and address the diverse needs, constraints and opportunities of poor rural people through IFAD-supported projects and policy engagement.

Research Series Issue 13 - Graduation models for rural financial inclusion

May 2017
Graduation out of chronic poverty has recently been receiving considerable attention by the global development community for its potential synergies with social protection, microfinance and livelihoods development approaches to poverty reduction. This paper examines the evidence regarding the effectiveness of graduation strategies in reducing extreme poverty, with a focus on rural households, and proposes a new analytical framework to support future work on graduation as a learning and adaptation process in development practice.

Research Series Issue 12 - An evidence-based assessment of IFAD’s end-of-project reporting

May 2017
Project Completion Reports (PCRs) are a critical tool for development organizations, both for accountability purposes, and as a means of learning from project experience to inform the design of future operations. This paper analyses a sample of PCRs from IFAD to assess the extent to which evidence is used to determine a project's effectiveness in bringing about development. The report finds that most claims on results are not supported by evidence, and discusses implications for the objective measurement of development effectiveness.

Research Series Issue 11 - Food safety, trade, standards and the integration of smallholders into value chains

March 2017
This paper analyses how food safety challenges and requirements affect smallholder farmers' access to markets. High food safety standards in destination countries force governments of developing countries to make strategic choices about establishing domestic standards and upgrading the infrastructure and knowledge base of smallholder farmers. The paper suggests mechanisms that can be used to respond to these challenges, to enable smallholder inclusion in different markets.

IFAD Results Series Issue 1

March 2017
This issue presents and analyses experiences from the following IFAD-funded projects and programmes: Brazil: Sustainable Development Project for Agrarian Reform; Settlements in the Semi-arid North-east (Dom Hélder Câmara Project); China: South Gansu Poverty Reduction Programme; Ghana: Rural Enterprises Programme; Morocco: Rural Development Project in the Mountain Zones of Al-Haouz Province; Uganda: Vegetable Oil Development Project.

Research Series Issue 10 - Inclusive finance and inclusive rural transformation

January 2017
This paper provides an overview of concepts, issues and research on the relationship between financial inclusion and inclusive rural transformation. It demonstrates how changing demand for financial services, innovations in rural finance, and different investment strategies affect the interplay of supply and demand.

Research Series Issue 9 - Social protection and inclusive rural transformation

January 2017
This paper analyses how different types of social protection interventions affect rural livelihoods. It examines how these interventions can help rural transformation by increasing productivity and asks how they can influence inclusiveness. Using country-level evidence, it suggests that the effectiveness of social protection depends upon specific contexts and combinations of interventions, and asks what this means for building policy.

Research Series Issue 8 - Fostering inclusive rural transformation in fragile states and situations

January 2017
This paper seeks to answer three main questions: (i) What are fragile states and situations and how do they relate to issues of inclusive structural and rural transformation? (ii) In three selected case studies of diverse fragile situations (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Haiti and the Republic of the Sudan – drawing on IFAD financed programme and country experience), what have been the key elements of structural and rural transformation and to what extent has rural transformation been inclusive? (iii) In these cases, how does fragility affect the inclusiveness of rural transformation? Which policies and approaches can successfully promote inclusive rural transformation in fragile situations?

Toolkit: Designing and implementing conservation agriculture of IFAD investments in sub-Saharan Africa

December 2016
Conservation agriculture (CA) in sub-Saharan Africa has multiple, but often very specific, niches for investment that need to be understood to support its inclusion and implementation in projects.

Toolkit: Engaging with farmers’ organizations for more effective smallholder development

December 2016
Smallholder farmers use different strategies to improve their market presence and to capture more value added in the agricultural sector. These strategies include the creation of cooperatives and other farmers’ organizations (FOs).

Research Series Issue 7 - Measuring IFAD's Impact

December 2016
This paper examines the impact of IFAD-supported projects so as to learn lessons for future projects. It analyses the different methods used by IFAD to measure a project's impact, finds that IFAD is improving the well-being of rural people, and recommends that impact assessments be built into future projects from their inception.

The Biodiversity Advantage: Global benefits from smallholder actions

November 2016
Biodiversity is about more than plants, animals, and micro-organisms and their ecosystems – the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992) recognizes that it is also very much about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment. Biodiversity is also essential for the maintenance of ecosystem-based services, such as the provision of water and food for human, animal and plant life. When we make an effort to conserve biodiversity, we are helping to maintain critical global biological resources to meet our needs today as well as those of future generations. Biodiversity conservation is therefore central to achieving recent global commitments for sustainable development under “Agenda 2030”, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recognizes that losing biodiversity means losing opportunities for coping with future challenges, such as those posed by climate change and food insecurity.

The Economic Advantage: Assessing the value of climate-change actions in agriculture

November 2016
This report is aimed at readers who seek to build economic evidence in support of the inclusion of actions on agriculture in climate change plans and programmes, particularly at the national level under the umbrella of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the December 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to restrict a rise in global temperatures and manage risks. Agriculture is a sector especially sensitive to climate change. It also accounts for significant emissions and is, therefore, a priority for both adaptation and mitigation plans and actions at global, national and local levels.

The Drylands Advantage: Protecting the environment, empowering people

November 2016
Present in each continent and covering over 40 per cent of the earth, drylands generally refer to arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, and are home to more than 2 billion people.

Research Series Issue 6 - Why food and nutrition security matters for inclusive structural and rural transformation

September 2016
This paper challenges current thinking on the connection between rural transformation and food security & nutrition. It advocates that improving rural and structural transformation has a positive cyclical effect upon communities by improving food availability, access, supplies and utilization which in turn improves the health and education of communities. Using evidence from across the developing world, the paper creates a policy agenda to maximise potential for smallholder farming to transform local economies.

Toolkit: Formalising community-based microfinance institutions

September 2016
Microfinance institutions (MFI) take various forms these days, among them: projects, credit union or village banking networks, savings and credit cooperatives and mutual institutions, associations, capital companies, etc.

Research Series Issue 5 - Rural-urban linkages and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa

July 2016
This paper examines the role of rural-urban linkages in fostering inclusive and sustainable food systems and how these contribute to rural transformation and, more broadly, to sustainable and inclusive development. Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the paper analyses the interdependencies between rural and urban areas and points to the key roles played by rural-based populations and producers, particularly smallholders, in promoting inclusive, mutually beneficial and sustainable urbanization.

The Adaptation Advantage: the economic benefits of preparing small-scale farmers for climate change

June 2016
It is now beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth’s changing climate is a result of human actions. The expanding total volume of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is precipitating higher global surface temperatures and sea level rise. The effects of human-induced climate change threaten the very existence of numerous species across the planet, including our own.

Research Series Issue 4 - The effects of smallholder agricultural involvement on household food consumption and dietary diversity: Evidence from Malawi

May 2016
This paper investigates how household agricultural involvement affects food consumption and dietary diversity in rural Malawi. It analyses the relationship between on-farm income shares and the caloric consumption levels and shares across food groups. It finds that while food consumption and dietary diversity increase with agricultural involvement, the quality of diets does not improve. It highlights the importance of income diversification to dietary diversity and the need for investments in nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains, nutrition education and crop diversification programmes.

Toolkit: Reducing rural women’s domestic workload through labour-saving technologies and practices

April 2016
Labour-saving technologies and practices promote inclusive development by reducing the domestic workload and freeing up time to perform productive tasks, to participate in decision-making processes and development opportunities, and to enjoy more leisure time.

The Traditional Knowledge Advantage: Indigenous peoples’ knowledge in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies

April 2016
Higher temperatures, wildlife extinction, rising sea levels, droughts, floods, heat-related diseases and economic losses are among the consequences of climate change. Climate change disproportionally affects the poorest and most marginalized communities living in vulnerable regions, among them indigenous peoples, whose livelihoods depend on natural resources.

Research Series Issue 3 - Fostering inclusive outcomes in African agriculture: improving agricultural productivity and expanding agribusiness opportunities

April 2016
This paper looks at the role of agriculture in fostering inclusive and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It discusses how improving agricultural productivity, smallholder access to markets and expanding agribusiness opportunities can accelerate transformation, investment and industrialization. The paper presents key investment and policy elements to be considered and points to the centrality of smallholders for the rural transformation process to be inclusive.

Toolkit: Digital financial services for smallholder households

March 2016
Recent advances in technology and telecommunications have the potential to make financial services more accessible and affordable for smallholder households in rural areas. With digital platforms such as mobile phones, smallholders can now use financial services without having to visit a bank branch.

Research Series Issue 2 - Migration and Transformative Pathways

March 2016
This paper analyses the role of migration in promoting rural livelihoods and discusses how migration interacts with transformative economic processes. Focusing on migration out of rural areas, it examines the impacts of migration on rural livelihoods and challenges the perspective that sees rural outmigration as a failure of rural development.

Research Series Issue 1 - Agricultural and rural development reconsidered

January 2016
This paper is a guide to current debates about agricultural development. It analyses the changes in development approaches and thinking in recent decades and explores today's critical issues in agricultural and rural development policy. With the main focus on Africa, the paper also includes insights from Asia and Latin America.

The Policy Advantage: Enabling smallholders’ adaptation priorities to be realized

December 2015
Policies affect every dimension of the institutional and legal context in which poor rural people pursue their livelihoods. They shape the world they live in and the economic opportunities open to them. This means that supportive policies can go a long way towards providing the conditions in which people can lift themselves out of poverty. Conversely, policies that do not create opportunities, or that exclusively reflect the interests of other economic players, can be an insuperable barrier or an unbridgeable gulf – roadblocks barring the way out of the poverty trap.

Toolkit: Integrated homestead food production

November 2015
Since its founding, IFAD has focused on enabling smallholder farmers to increase agricultural production and productivity as a means for reducing poverty. However, experience shows that increased productivity and incomes do not automatically translate into improved nutritional status of poor rural people, especially women, young people and children.

How to do note: Fisheries, Aquaculture and Climate Change

November 2015
Fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to food security and livelihoods at household, local, national and global levels. However, while aquaculture production is growing rapidly throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, many of the world’s fisheries are at grave risk from human pressures, including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change. Climate change is compounding these pressures, posing very serious challenges and limiting livelihood opportunities.

The Mitigation Advantage: Maximizing the co-benefits of investing in smallholder adaptation initiatives

October 2015
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted a critical trade-off between agricultural development and climate change mitigation.

How to do note: Climate change risk assessments in value chain projects

September 2015
This HTDN is directed primarily at the design phase of IFAD value chain projects, though it does have some relevance for both pre-design and implementation phases.

How To Do Note: Measuring Climate Resilience

September 2015
This How To Do Note is intended as a tool for IFAD staff and partners involved in investment projects with climate resilience objectives.

How to do Note: Seeking Free, Prior and Informed Consent

September 2015
Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is an operational principle empowering local communities to give or withhold their consent to proposed investment and development programmes that may affect their rights, access to lands, territories and resources, and livelihoods. FPIC is solicited through consultations in good faith with the representative institutions endorsed by communities. It ensures that they participate in decision- making processes concerning a given development project.

How to do note: Mainstreaming portable biogas systems into IFAD-supported projects

June 2015
Access to modern renewable energy services is a key factor in eradicating poverty and ensuring food security.

Toolkit: Youth Access to Rural Finance

May 2015
With the mounting awareness of the unmet demand for youth financial services and the growing evidence that serving young people is viable, there is also a need to assess and document the implications for rural areas. This toolkit on Youth Access to Rural Finance aims to contribute to filling that gap. The Lessons Learned and How To Do Note on this topic provide IFAD country programme managers, project design teams and implementing partners with insights and key guidance on designing and offering appropriate financial services for rural youth. The toolkit on Youth Access to Rural Finance synthesizes best practices and offers examples from around the world.

Toolkit: Strengthening smallholder institutions and organizations

November 2014
The “Strengthening smallholder institutions and organizations toolkit” provides valuable guidance to help practitioners analyze and address issues related to smallholder institutions and organizations during the devopment of country strategies and in the design and implementation of programmes and projects.

The Smallholder Advantage: A new way to put climate finance to work

November 2014
IFAD sees smallholder farmers as more than just victims of climate change: they are a vital part of the solution to the ‘wicked’ climate change problem.

Toolkit: Lines of credit

October 2014
The LOC is a loan to a participating financial institution (PFI) for on-lending to customers who are expected to repay their loans with interest.

Toolkit: Loan guarantee funds

October 2014
This note provides an overview on Loan Guarantee Funds highlighting the main issues, challenges, opportunities and benefits.

Toolkit: Key performance indicators and performance-based agreements

October 2014
This note provides an overview on key performance indicators and performance-based agreements highlighting the main issues, challenges, opportunities and benefits.

Toolkit: Community-based financial organizations

October 2014
This note provides an overview on IFAD's support to community-based financial organizations highlighting the main issues, challenges, opportunities and benefits.

Toolkit: Household methodologies: harnessing the family's potential for change

October 2014
The toolkit on Household Methodologies (HHMs) is composed of three parts.

Toolkit: Commodity value chain development projects

October 2014
Strong links to markets for poor rural producers are essential to increasing agricultural income, generating economic growth in rural areas and reducing hunger and poverty. Every product that is sold locally, nationally or internationally is often part of an agricultural value chain (VC). From a development perspective, VCs are one of the instruments through which market forces can be harnessed to benefit poor rural women and men – not just producers, but wage earners, service providers and others.

Toolkit: Land tenure in IFAD-financed operations

October 2014
The land tenure toolkit offers valuable guidelines to help practitioners analyze and address land tenure issues during the devopment of country strategies and in the design and implementation of programmes and projects.

The IFAD-GEF Advantage: Partnering for a sustainable world

May 2014
In 2001, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council approved the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as an executing agency under its policy of expanded opportunities for executing agencies.

The Gender Advantage: Women on the front line of climate change

March 2014
This publication illustrates IFAD’s experience in closing the gender gap and mobilizing the ‘gender advantage’ in climate change adaptation through ten case studies from across the world.

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