A coalition of donors, aid institutions and philanthropy have promised to invest more than $650 million to help 300 million smallholder farmers in developing countries to cope with climate change. The donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the European Commission, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany.
The investments announced at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday, are part of a broader commitment of more than US $790 million to address the impact of climate change on food and agriculture.
The fund, which will be invested in the CGIAR System Organisation, is expected to help the farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change, which already are eroding crop and livestock production in places like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global research partnership dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources for smallholder farmers in the developing world. Its research is carried out by 15 research centres which are independent, non-profit innovative research organizations such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Earlier this month, the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), co-chaired by by Bill Gates, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, put forward an agenda for adaptation that contains a detailed action plan for confronting climate threats to agriculture and food security and a recommendation to double the scale of agricultural research through the CGIAR System.
Climate change is already increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts that is damaging production of Africa’s most important crop, maize, while increased flooding in South Asia is endangering rice harvests that sustain millions.
“The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) made a solemn promise to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty by 2030, and that simply cannot be achieved unless the world’s smallholder farmers can adapt to climate change,” said Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director of the CGIAR System Organization.
“The new investments announced today are a recognition that we have just 11 growing seasons between now and 2030 and farmers need a host of new innovations to overcome a growing array of climate threats. This new funding is an important start towards a global effort to substantially increase support for CGIAR activities.”
The commitments include $310 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $150 million from the World Bank and $110 million from The Netherlands. While the UK, through DFID, is committing $56 million, Switzerland has committed $33 million) while the European Commission has committed $35 million.
Sweden, which through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), has been a partner of CGIAR since 1973, committed to increase funding to CGIAR to $16 million while Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed to strengthen the resilience of 60 million small-scale farmers, in addition to collaborating with partners of the InsuResilience Global Partnership to scale-up access to micro-insurance for 150 million people by 2025, of which more than 90 percent will be smallholder farmers.
Investments in CGIAR have proven to be highly cost-effective, generating returns ranging from $2 to $17 for every $1 invested, with significant economic benefits for producers and consumers. It work is concentrated in areas of the developing world where most people work in agriculture and farming is the main source of food and income for hundreds of millions of households.
Below is a list of CGIAR’s 15 Research Centers and their headquarters:
- Africa Rice Center (West Africa Rice Development Association, WARDA) – Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire / Cotonou, Benin
- Bioversity International(International Plant Genetics Resources Institute, IPGRI) – Maccarese, Rome, Italy
- Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) – Bogor, Indonesia
- International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) – Cali, Colombia
- International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) – Beirut, Lebanon
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) – Hyderabad (Patancheru), India
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) – Washington, D.C., United States
- International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – Ibadan, Nigeria
- International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – Nairobi, Kenya
- International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) – Texcoco, Mexico State, Mexico
- International Potato Center (CIP) – Lima, Peru
- International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI) – Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
- World Agroforestry Centre (International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, ICRAF) – Nairobi, Kenya
- WorldFish Center (International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM) – Penang, Malaysia