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Finance in Common Summit - Closing the Gap for Resilient Food Systems Finance

Keynote Statement by Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD

Location: Cartagena, Colombia

05 September 2023

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Honorable Ministra

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Quisiera comenzar en castellano, agradeciendo al Gobierno de Colombia, y a la Ministra en su nombre, por la organización del evento y la calurosa acogida.

Following on the New Global Financial Pact and the recent Food Systems Summit stocktaking, this 4th Finance in Common Summit is a critical opportunity to shine a spotlight upon the imperative need of transforming food systems to make them productive, inclusive and resilient.

In Latin America, during the last three years, the COVID crisis, the war in Ukraine and the rising inflation have impacted the most vulnerable women and men.

Moderate and severe food insecurity has increased from 31 to 37% and the poverty rate has also increased from 28% to 32%.

The current food crisis has made even clear that food security and climate changed are interlinked and need to come together in all policies and programs, as well as in all investments.

PDBs, especially those dedicated to agriculture, have long played an essential role in financing different sectors around food systems: from inputs to processing, transportation, storage and distribution.

And yet, agricultural investments remain underrepresented in Public Development Banks (PDBs) portfolios when compared to agriculture’s contribution to GDP and job creation in many low- and middle-income countries.

Climate adaptation is structurally underfunded and by public and private actors and is impacting massively the lives of the rural communities and even more so in small islands states.

And especially in rural communities, where agricultural smallholders only receive 1.7% of all climate finance.

We have a challenging path ahead. But, it is a challenge that we have no choice but to overcome.

Food price inflation is pushing more vulnerable people in all countries into hunger. Rising costs of food are already fuelling social conflict, political turmoil and forced migration.

There is an urgent need to scale up action against food insecurity and climate change and this calls for a greater role for PDBs investments in promoting inclusive and resilient global food systems that can withstand economic and climate-related shocks.

For PDBs, addressing this challenge entails greater technical support and new instruments to finance food systems and agricultural investments.

We need to explore how PDBs $2.5 trillion annual investments can finance the needs of unserved communities, such as rural infrastructure to connect rural communities to markets, or smaller dams or storage facilities or bank seeds.

The members of the PDB coalition on green and inclusive food systems have expressed three very specific needs on how the platform can support them:

1. Sharing practices around CA financing.

2. Financing agroecology.

3. How to measure economic and social impact.

Through the platform, we have also learned that only 40% of PDBs are using adapted tools to measure their green investments.

The time is ripe to strengthen national policies for productive, inclusive and resilient food systems, and empowering public development banks with augmented resources and tailored tools.

There is also a need to explore how PDBs, MDBs, DFIs and the PS can collectively tackle the challenge of climate change in connection to food security.

Let me reiterate and highlight my own institution’s strong support to the FICS process. IFAD has proved its effectiveness in investing in projects bolstering small-scale family agriculture. Our investments increasingly rely on innovative financing tools, and several of them entail collaboration with public development banks, to reach the most vulnerable with critical support.

This month, we signed an agreement with the Brazilian PDB, BNDES, to support an investment of over $200m that will support the adaptation to the arid land and scarcity of water of 1 million rural women and men in the north-east of Brazil.

The Platform of Public Agricultural Development Banks, led by IFAD along with AFD, unites over 130 members across 98 nations. This platform can serve as a forum to deliver change at a great scale by sharing of best practices support on technical assistance and in the future even share pipelines around food systems.

We can make real progress here, right now. Today’s panels will discuss various innovative tools that could pave the way for real change.

Let me finalize by extending my appreciation to the IDB, AFD, and the European Commission as the first external donors to the PDB platform. And, take the opportunity to invite others to do the same. 

PDBs, MDBs, DFIs, Government, civil society and philanthropies. Together can make sure that rural communities do not have to choose between planting or eating and have the tools and means to adapt RIGHT NOW to the extreme weather events they are suffering.

Thank you.