The Asia and the Pacific region is a rural development paradox: it is has seen some of the most dramatic economic transformations, but bears some of the most enduring challenges.
Vast and densely populated, the region remains home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people. As income inequality widens, poverty is becoming a more rural and acute phenomenon.
Social deprivation and high rates of malnutrition and stunting are reducing the physical and mental capacity of vulnerable groups across the region, at a significant human and economic cost. Across the region, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted.
Vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and a gradual degradation of the productive resource base are growing problems. In some cases, climate change is already posing an existential threat, with a number of Pacific islands severely threatened by rising sea levels.
Inequality between urban and rural areas
Small farm businesses across the region are struggling in the face of rural-urban migration, land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.
Much of the region lacks the basic infrastructure to ensuring integration with the global economy through efficient market linkages. Such integration is vital for strengthening intra- and interregional trade through emerging common markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
These are all formidable challenges which the region must overcome to continue to be a powerful engine for global prosperity and growth.
Partnering against poverty
IFAD is empowering smallholders through its loan and grant programmes, policy engagement, and pro-poor partnerships across the policy spectrum, working with local people, governments, donors and the private sector.
By the end of 2019, IFAD had invested US$2.6 billion in the region’s ongoing portfolio for 59 projects in 20 countries.
IFAD is especially active where problems are most acute. We work in Pacific island nations, such as Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, where ongoing projects are combating the impact of climate change, and supporting community-led development processes.
In the fight against climate change and the struggle for the enhancement of rural productivity, prosperity and quality of life, collaboration is key.
China and India are the world’s most populous nations, together accounting for some 37 per cent of the global population in 2019.
Across the Asia and Pacific region, 560 million people live on less than $1.25 a day, with about 260 million of those people living in India.
In spite of rapid urbanization, more than half of the population in the region still lives in rural areas, and most are engaged in agriculture.
Where we work
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Projects and programmes
UN food agencies to visit Lao PDR to support efforts to boost nutrition
Productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers increased through IFAD and Nepal partnership – new report.
Rural development projects financed and supported by IFAD have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a new report presented today.
IFAD, together with ASEAN invests in reducing transboundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia
Investing in rural people in Indonesia
Over the last 40 years, IFAD and the Government of Indonesia have invested more than US$1 billion in rural people to strengthen inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth.
Investing in rural people in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
IFAD began operations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1978. Our strategy is to ensure that poor rural people have more opportunities for sustainable food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods.