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Empowering youth to drive sustainable development

19 November 2018

17 November 2018, Sharm El-Sheikh – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) released its latest report on the transformation of rural areas, renewing its commitment to empower young people in developing countries as agents of change.                  

The report, The Youth Advantage: Engaging young people in green growth, shows that enabling access to land and other natural resources is fundamental to the success of young women and men working in agriculture.

According to the report, the scarcity of farmland available to youth is increasingly under threat from climate change, making long-term commitments to agricultural even less appealing to them. In addition, young people in rural areas face other challenges, including a lack of vocational training, Internet connectivity and productive technologies.

"Many young people in rural areas view agriculture as the harder option and prefer instead to focus on moving away to cities in search of a better life," said Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD's Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division. "But IFAD is dedicated to stepping up efforts to make sure that young people are an integral part of the transformation of rural areas so that we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

It is the passion that many young people have for their natural environment, as well as their interest in innovation and early adoption of new technologies and approaches, that can boost the use of more sustainable agriculture practices, according to the examples from IFAD projects cited in the report.

IFAD-supported initiatives highlighted in the report

In Bhutan, IFAD's programmes aim to draw greater numbers of young people into climate-resilient agriculture by presenting it as an attractive career option with prospects to generate a good income. Young women and men are introduced to the agriculture sector by meeting successful farmers who regularly use technologies – irrigation systems and electric fences, for example – to manage their farms.

In Chad, IFAD is working with young couples to help them increase their  incomes during the dry season. Young families are being coached to create resilient livelihoods by adopting methods to tackle changes in climate, increase food security and benefit from more nutritious diets. In the Lake Fitri region, IFAD is teaching farming communities new techniques to preserve vegetables and fruit and bolster oil production, in addition to improving bee-keeping and fish drying.

In Egypt, IFAD is working with the government to open up new areas for agricultural production with a focus on the next generation of farmers.

The report concludes that young people will play a crucial role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and, in particular, the first and second SDGs that focus on ending poverty and hunger. 

For a copy of the Youth Advantage Report please go to the following link

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

Press release No.: IFAD/77/2018