IFAD teams up with The Lab to build climate resilience for smallholder farmers in Africa

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) today announced a new partnership that will help build climate resilience for smallholder farmers in Central and West Africa by developing and scaling up innovative financial instruments. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.

“Food, farming, and climate are inextricably linked together,” said Charlotte Salford, Associate Vice President of IFAD. “However, the way the world is financing agriculture hasn’t caught up to the reality of climate change, and the world’s poorest have the most to lose.”

The frequency and magnitude of natural hazards triggered by climate change has been increasing globally, leading to $1.5 trillion in economic damages from 2003 to 2013, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. This is in addition to irreversible negative impacts climate change has on human and ecosystem health, as well as threats to local and global food security. However, current investments in adaptation constitute only a fraction of what is needed. According to Climate Policy Initiative’s Global Landscape of Climate Finance report, only 16 percent ($23 billion) of total public climate finance in 2016 can be attributed to adaptation activities. There is an urgent need to spur greater investment into climate action, particularly for the agriculture sector, and particularly for smallholder farmers who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

IFAD will be joining the Lab, a network of public and private investors that identifies, develops, and launches transformative climate finance instruments to complement the organisation’s efforts with its expertise on agriculture financing.

Since 2014, instruments developed by the Lab have mobilized over $1.15 billion for renewable energy, energy efficiency, adaptation, and climate-smart agriculture projects in developing countries.

“The Lab has shown it can unlock capital at scale for the crucial industries that must combat and adapt to climate change,” said Dr. Barbara Buchner, Executive Director of Climate Finance at Climate Policy Initiative and the Lab. “We are thrilled to have IFAD join the Lab so that we can more directly target agricultural resilience in one of the most important regions in the world for it.”

Through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), IFAD will be sponsoring the development of two instruments within a new thematic stream for smallholder agriculture financing in the Lab’s 2018-2019 cycle, starting in October 2018. Following an international call for proposals, Lab members will select the top two ideas for this stream, which will then go on to receive rigorous analytical support.

The Lab will open its call for ideas for its 2019 cycle on 9 October.