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By: Hamid Safi, Knowledge Management & Policy Specialist, RMLSP & CLAP

Representatives from the IFAD-supported Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Program (RMLSP) and the Community Livestock and Agriculture Project (CLAP) actively participated in the Spring AgFair held in Kabul, Afghanistan on 20 - 23 March 2016. The agricultural fair is organized biannually by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

The CLAP and RMLSP project staff, in collaboration with implementing partners, set-up an exhibit booth to showcase many of the projects’ activities and achievements in working with poor rural farmers in Afghanistan. A number of government officials, representatives from the donor community, and people working with NGO’s visited and interacted with project staff at the exhibit booth. Curious Afghan citizens from across the country stopped by the booth to gain information and interact with project staff. 

President Ghani, the third from the right, and Minister Zamir of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, (left of President), visit the IFAD-supported projects booth

Most notably, Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, and his delegates visited the CLAP and RMLSP exhibit booth. The CLAP and RMLSP teams briefed the President on the projects’ activities and stages in the implementation process. President Ghani and his delegates expressed their appreciation of the work and especially of the progress that both projects are making in country. 

Sharifa Mohammadi (center), an extension worker from Bamyan Province, speaks about women’s participation in the projects with a 24 TV Channel reporter
Among the activities highlighted at the booth were those focusing on women’s empowerment. The booth displayed products and information pertaining to women’s production groups, rural microfinance packages, improved crop seeds, dairy and backyard poultry products, and animal health services. As visitors stopped by the booth, project experts and implementing partner representatives provided extensive information and explanations to address all questions. 

Emadudin (center), agriculture expert from the First Micro Finance Bank (FMFB), provides information on microfinance packages to visitors
In Afghanistan, the AgFair provides a good opportunity to share lessons learned, best practices, and implementation successes in the agriculture and rural development sector. It offers participants a platform to share their experience with various stakeholders including representatives from NGOs, the private sector, sectorial ministries, and the general public. Similarly, these participants get to know each other, to network, and to exchange ideas with one another. 

Visitors gather around the Khatiz Dairy Union booth
The AgFair is a unique festival where men, women and children can come together to see agricultural products, enjoy live music and entertainment, have a meal and do some shopping. It is hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation Livestock and held twice a year in March and October in Afghanistan. The spring 2016 AgFair welcomed approximately 185,000 visitors over four days.

IFAD Directors in Rwanda to visit IFAD achievements

Posted by Christopher Neglia Tuesday, March 29, 2016 0 comments

By Viateur Karangwa

Kigali-Rwanda: From 20th to 23rd March 2016, the Government of  Rwanda, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), hosted IFAD’s Mr. Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory (PTA) Division and Sana Jatta, Director of the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Division.

The officials were received by the IFAD country office before their meeting with  Rwandan  Government Officials including the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana, and Mr. Innocent Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary of MINAGRI. Also in the delegation were IFAD country staff, represented by Mr. Francisco Pichon Javier, Senior Country Manager and Aimable Ntukanyagwe, Country Program Officer.

On 21st March 2016, the IFAD  team held meetings with the Ministry. The discussions were centered around delivering the same level of project support for implementation that IFAD has always provided, said Claver Gasirabo, the IFAD Project Coordinator.

On 22nd March 2016, the team  conducted field visits to IFAD-supported investments in Ngoma and Kirehe Districts, where the Climate Resilient Post Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) and Kirehe Community based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) are intervening respectively.

These investments include the industrial drying grounds with the capacity to store between 50-100 MT of dried maize throughout the year. The drying grounds are in Murama Sector, Ngoma District, and managed  by  the KOREMU Cooperative, which is working to improve the quality of maize and reduce post-harvest losses.

In Kirehe, the Directors and the Ministry delegates visited irrigation investments including the Sagatare dam and marshland, with capacity to store 282,000 m3 of water, usable to irrigate 205 ha of rice in Sagatare and Rwabutazi. They also met with smallholder farmers receiving support from the KWAMP project in livestock and biogas development. Finally, the team visited one of the five communal cattle sheds built by the KWAMP project to enhance veterinary services, peer learning and collective marketing.

On 23rd March 2016, the Directors announced IFAD’s renewed commitment to support the Rwandan Government’s initiatives to invest in rural people. 

Visit of rural investments- Rice milling Plant in Kirehe.

By Marie-Lara Hubert Chartier and Elisabeth Steinmayr

Ethiopian farmers Mulgeta Amas (left) and his wife Tesfar Kasin (right) show their land certificate for their 0.75
hector landholding. Listing his wife in the land certificate entitles her to inherit the land and be acknowledged
as a joint owner for their plot. ©IFAD/Wairimu Mburathi

Rome, 29 March – Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. There is a growing recognition that secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty.

However, do we understand why land tenure security is so important? We often hear about buzzwords such as “land grabbing” – but do we know who the world’s main land grabbers are? Women’s role in food systems being crucial to global food security – do we know what percentage of the world’s land is owned by women? To what extent is land claimed and managed by communities? Who are we referring to as the “youth” in IFAD’s projects?

Harold Liversage and Elisa Mandelli, land tenure experts from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Sabine Pallas and Jan Cherlet from the International Land Coalition Secretariat vividly unpacked global trends on land and gave some answers to the questions above in their joint session Land – Unpacking global trends during the 2016 Global Staff Meeting.

Participants discuss during the joint session Land – Unpacking global trends during the 2016 Global Staff Meeting.

Some key messages:

• Often the main challenges IFAD projects face with regard to land grabbing are grabs within families or communities, the competition between different land users (e.g. pastoralists vs crop farmers) and national and local elites as land speculators.

• Women's secure land rights contribute to their empowerment, to household welfare and to the improvement of the land and a better environment. To achieve this, it is important on the one hand to help women become aware of their rights and able to claim them, but also on the other hand to create an enabling policy environment to guarantee those rights.

• Up to 2.5 billion people depend on lands and natural resources that are held, used or managed by indigenous peoples and local communities. They are the best custodians of their land and their existing traditional models of tenure function well if their rights are secure. Communities with secure tenure rights enable sustainable development, foster gender equality, and make the land more productive. Further, community control reduces uncertainty and conflict. A Global Call to Action 
aims to double the amount of land controlled by indigenous peoples and communities by 2020.

• There is no cookie-cutter solution for strengthening youth's access to land, as "youth" is a very heterogeneous group. Taking into account their sex, marital status, stage in life cycle, etc., it is necessary to strengthen local institutions and youth organizations, foster off-farm activities, give targeted economic incentives, raise the youth's awareness and support policy dialogue.

• There is a growing or revived recognition of the importance of tenure security and equitable access to land and natural resources. Good examples therefore are the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance for Tenure or the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.

• To address many of the issues above, it is fundamental to strengthen the land rights of poor and vulnerable people, to develop accessible, affordable and transparent land administration systems, to promote sustainable community-investor partnerships and to engage in policy dialogue and M&E.

Engaging discussions with our colleagues from the field illustrated the wide variety of perceptions and realities in which concepts apply.

Looking forward, the IFAD land tenure desk aims to create more space for dialogue and sharing experience among peers, so that we can learn from each other.

These questions were at the center of discussions at the Regional Implementation Forum for IFAD-supported projects in West and Central Africa. The meeting took place from 14 to 18 March in Abuja, Nigeria and was jointly organised by IFAD and the Government of Nigeria. It brought together more than 300 representatives from IFAD-financed projects, governments and development partners in the region.

Group Picture © IFAD | D. Paqui
Young rural people represent a significant portion of the agricultural workforce and they play a major role in the development of rural areas. With their innovative ideas and motivation, young women and men have a great potential to contribute to the well-being of their communities. But young people are increasingly abandoning agriculture and rural areas in search of better livelihood options in cities or abroad. The opportunities available to young women and men in rural areas are often restricted, and unemployment, underemployment, poor working conditions and exploitation are serious concerns. Young rural people are often involved in the informal sector and as unpaid family workers with no social protection and limited opportunities for advancement.

In addition, a range of access gaps constrain the productive potential of young rural people. Difficulties in accessing land is a major factor inhibiting young people's participation in agricultural activities, and young women in particular, have few opportunities to access land. Constraints in accessing financial services prevents young women and men from investing in land or starting their own businesses in the rural non-farm sector. And limited access to markets and new technology makes it equally difficult for young people to participate in agricultural value chains or set up new businesses.

Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and IFAD's President © IFAD | D. Paqui
IFAD's programme of work is increasingly reflecting the needs and views of young rural people. IFAD-supported projects and activities focus on enabling the transition to employment by involving young rural people in skills and vocational training, supporting an environment that generates decent jobs for young people on and off the farm, and by providing support to young entrepreneurs. They also aim to enable young rural people to gain access to the resources, inputs and services they need to be productive. And through its work, IFAD aims to improve the participation of young rural women and men at all levels of society and facilitate the organization of young people. When young people participate in community decision-making and take management roles in local organizations, they improve their own situations while contributing their energy and creativity to their communities.

There was a consensus that IFAD’s de facto target group in West and Central Africa are young rural women and men. Youth inclusion will increasingly be mainstreamed in IFAD-funded projects by:

- Involving youth representatives in design, supervision and evaluation of IFAD-supported projects
- Building capacities and skills
- Improving access to assets, inputs, agri-services and finance
- Promoting youth role models to make agriculture more attractive
- Facilitating networking between young people

WCA Director with youth role models © IFAD | D. Paqui
One full day of the Forum was also dedicated to IFAD’s work on climate and environment in the region. Poor rural people in West and Central Africa face a series of interconnected natural resources management challenges. They are in the front line of climate change impacts; the ecosystems on which they rely are increasingly degraded, their access to suitable agricultural land is declining, their forest resources are increasingly restricted and degraded, many produce on marginal rain fed land, with increased water scarcity; and declining fish and marine resources threaten essential sources of income and nutrition. Participants agreed to mainstreaming environment and climate change action by:

- Raising awareness and strengthening capacity
- Dedicating more financial and human resources to ECC
- Integrating tools for vulnerability analysis
- Developing simplified M&E systems to enable timely decision-making
- Enhancing implementation of GEF and ASAP projects

Finally, discussions were held on how to improve portfolio performance. Effective and efficient project management is key to achieving results and impact. Participants committed to building a management-for-sustainable-results culture by:

Group discussions © IFAD | D. Paqui
- Ensuring the selection of competent teams
- Strengthening leadership skills of project coordinators and fiduciary management
- Building capacity for strategic planning (including procurement and realistic AWP&B) to ensure sustainability of results
- Developing simple M&E systems as a management tool for documenting results, learning and timely decision-making
- Strengthening local institutions
- Promoting the scaling up of best practices

Written by Nerina Muzurovic, Audrey Nepveu, Tarek Kotb, Abdelhaq Hanafi, Hani Elsadani and Mohamed Abdelgadir

“Producing more food with less water and energy” was the topic covered by the well-attended thematic session, held as part of the 2nd IFAD Global Staff Meeting in Rome on 22 February 2016.

Organized by the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division in collaboration with the Policy and Technical Advisory Division, the thematic session explored the relationships and trade-offs within the water, energy and food security (WEF) nexus.

Why is the WEF nexus so important?

Globally, the agrifood sector uses about 80 per cent of the world's freshwater resources, and accounts for some 30 per cent of total energy consumption. In the coming 30 years, global food production is expected to rise by 60 per cent, accompanied by the respective increases in the use of water for irrigation by 10 per cent and in energy consumption by an astounding 80 per cent .

These statistics are of the utmost relevance to the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region, as this is the most water scarce region in the world. The region is heavily populated (with some 170 million rural people out of a total of 390 million people in 2015), and, with the highest population growth in the world (of an estimated 250 million by 2050, including 40 million rural people ), will experience great increases in demand for water, food and energy.

By 2050, the per capita share of water as well as crop production in NENA are expected to decrease by 50 per cent, compounded by a rising cost of energy. These trends will affect some 34 per cent of rural people currently making their living from agriculture and livestock.

Considering the growing challenges in the region, there is an urgent need for innovations to optimize the use of water and energy, and to secure food production.

How can we produce more food —using less water and less energy? 

In looking at IFAD's work in the NENA region, the discussion focused on what has proved to work on the ground so far, in terms of boosting agricultural production and productivity while sustainably managing the region's limited natural resources.

From renewable energies (e.g. solar irrigation pumps with a higher initial investment cost but lower running costs) to non-conventional water resources (grey water treatment, integrated aquaculture systems, hydroponic systems, etc.) to the promotion of smart agriculture and a value chain approach, a vast array of strategies are available to foster agricultural and rural development, starting with a focus on increasing productivity while lowering energy and water use.

How can we put the nexus approach into practice?

The session explored additional factors to be considered in a nexus approach.

Issues like soil quality, which add further complexity to the model, simply cannot be overlooked. This is something we have observed in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Egypt, where salinity increases due to aridity on the one hand and drainage problems on the other, making it difficult to grow any crops.
Increased income is a key motivation for smallholder farmers to adopt an innovation. For this purpose, it is key for the nexus approach to include an identification of market opportunities. From a project perspective, this translates into the need to improve the economic and financial analysis, in order to be able to clearly demonstrate resource savings and increased benefits both at household level and overall project level.

However, poor smallholder farmers are risk averse and resist devoting their farming exclusively to cash crops, as such a specialization reduces their resilience to shocks. Hence, the governance dimension, accompanying the innovations to be implemented, becomes essential in providing an enabling framework and institutional environment for smallholder farmers. Capacity building is also required to make new farming technologies adoptable.

Balancing incentives and trade-offs as a way forward

The session concluded by recognizing the importance of the WEF nexus approach and by highlighting the next step towards putting it into practice: the need to engage effectively with a wider range of stakeholders than the present practice.

Mainstreaming the WEF nexus approach will require additional efforts to negotiate trade-offs and bring together differing stakeholder incentives, thereby developing tailored local solutions that address the daily challenges of smallholder farmers.

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ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives kicks off in Thailand 

IFAD is deepening his regional engagement with ASEAN. 
With the recent opening of the Asean Economic Community, second worldwide integrated regional market, a discussion has engaged between Farmers Oganisations and Government: How can smallfarmers benefit of this integration and their efforts sustained ? How legal framework and practices from Government can encourage local initiatives? Are the cooperative movement a solution for farmers to engage in market economy?

27 March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand — More than thirty delegates from farmer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and government cooperative authorities of eight ASEAN countries gathered in Kasetsart University Thailand for the start of the first ever ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives, which has the theme “Strengthening the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of the ASEAN Economic Community for the Benefit of the Smallholder Farmers.” #ALRAC #ASEANagricoops

Opening Program of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives. Welcome remarks from ASWGAC, AF, AFA, LVC, PROCASUR, KU, CLT. Rural peoples are the main actors in development. The learning route provides space to showcase local innovations and learn directly from experiences on the ground. The context of the learning route was discussed - where agricultural cooperatives are critical both as a socio-economic movement and as an ideology for food security and agricultural develoment.

MTCP2 is a support program to Farmers Organisations in Asia Pacific covering 25 countries and supported by IFAD, Swiss Develo Cooperation and European Union. In Asean, Asean foundation, AFA and LA Via Campesina are leading the efforts of the national platforms. This learning route is co-organised with Procasur Asia.

Successful first day of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agri Coops, joined by IFAD CPM Benoit Thierry Govt, coops, farmers, academe and private companies exchange experiences and lessons learned in developing, supporting and working with agri coops. The learning route now goes to Chantanaburi to visit Kitchakut Cooperative.

One existing gap in agri coops in Thailand is that they merely collect and do not process products. The government is helping coops move up the value chain thru processing. Agri coops need to be knowledgeable about quality and standards from the production side. The marketing side is to process and link products for domestic and export markets. Dr Donsumran of Coop League of Thai: "We link different kinds coops & need to improve info about our members produce better."

Chuchart Insawang of Si Prachan Agri Coop: " For coops to really grow, you need to rely on no one else but yourselves". Arrut Navaraj of Sampran Riverside: "Fair trade business w/ organic farmers in district w/ highest use of pesticides in the past" . Peechai Dejkraisak of Siam Organics: Success as small biz thru value chain approach w/ small farmers
CPM Benoit Thierry: "IFAD is getting more involved in value chain for small farmers. The ASEAN learning route gives opportunity for ASEAN farmers and governments to cooperate. How can small farmers take the benefits from the ASEAN Economic Community? How to have more refined modalities to give preference to small farmers in market integration process?"

First Experience Fair on ASEAN Agricultural Cooperatives. Farmer/cooperative leaders and government cooperative counterparts discuss initiatives, challenges and opportunities, and learning objectives, expected improvements, among others, on the first day of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives (27 March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand) 
Stay tuned! For the coming week, the learning route is now moving to south Thailand and soon after to Philippines to visit the cooperative movement. 

IFAD Climate Games

Posted by Ricci Symons Thursday, March 24, 2016 0 comments

‘Exciting’, ‘responsibility’, ‘anxiety’, ‘concern’, ‘collaboration’, ‘equity’, ‘conservation of resources’, ‘helplessness’
These are just some of the words used to describe the climate games during the IFAD Global Staff Meeting (GSM). The Environment and Climate Division (ECD), with  help from the Red Cross Climate Center (RCCC), organised two successive days of climate games. The games are normally used to support capacity building at inception workshops of projects for the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). In this case the same games were played at IFAD HQ at the GSM. Climate Games create a simulation of reality whereby the players experience the daily anxiety faced by smallholder farmers because of increasing climate-related disasters. Using dice to signify climate threats, and beans to signify currency, participants have to decide what to invest their capital in - ‘normal’ development versus drought or flood protection. This all happens within one game, which simulates three decades of farming through the seasons.

The games aim to highlight the similarities with real world climate change: being faced with a situation in which you do not have control and you are not prepared. And being dependant on the unpredictable generates anxiety
In partnership with RCCC, the games support the inception and capacity building of project implementation units and government officials through innovative learning approaches. Over 20  people attended per session and played a game called 'paying for predictions'. The game, an innovative and fun learning experience was thoroughly enjoyed by participants.  At the end of the session participants were asked to say which kind of emotions did they feel and what were the ‘revelations’ they got in terms of their real life work.

Throughout the sessions, we saw that people having access to early warning systems (in the form of transparent cups) and disaster risk reduction measures (in the form of green post its) felt much less anxiety.
These kinds of tools and innovations are happening in the real world – a programme such as IFAD's ASAP helps farmers and communities around the world to get more disaster risk reduction and early warning systems, thus reducing that level of ‘helplessness’ generated by the loss of all resources to be invested in protection from climate related events.

The power of water

Posted by Simona Siad Tuesday, March 22, 2016 0 comments

By Sally Martinelli

Rome, 22 March – Water is synonymous with life and integral to sustainable development around the world.

This is why the United Nations General Assembly established World Water Day on 22 March. WWD gives people an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.

At IFAD, we have highlighted why water is so important to rural people and small farmers.

Fetching water is a strenuous, time-consuming, and unpaid responsibility that usually falls to women and girls.

Women in many countries spend hours every day walking to retrieve water and transporting it back to their homes.

When water is readily accessible, studies show that school enrollment and attainment improves for girls – much more so than for boys. And in some places, women spend more time in market-related activities that earn them money when they don’t have to fetch and carry water. This is why bringing safe water supplies close to family homes water is a crucial step in empowering rural women.

Women make up about half of smallholder farmers, yet often are not recognized or paid for their work in the same way than men are. Making water accessible is one way to lessen women's work load and level the playing field.

When women have the tools to improve their lives, they show ingenuity and resilience.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a diverse list of benchmarks that were agreed upon in 2015. The United Nations is using the 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Goals 6 and 14 are linked to water.

Goal 6 is to ensure safe access to clean water for everyone by combating scarcity, protecting water-related ecosystems, and improve water and saline management. IFAD's work with saline water in Viet Nam  is just one example of how we work towards clean water for all.

Goal 14 calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the Earth's oceans, seas and other bodies of water. This will not only preserve our water's biodiversity and fight pollution, it will also address the pressing needs of Small Island Developing States.

Small islands are very vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the over-exploitation of natural resources, and their communities are often remote, rural and impoverished. IFAD is currently supporting numerous small island projects  to help them tap into their potential and build their resilience.

As a specialized agency of the UN, IFAD is committed to making the SDGs a reality. These goals are an essential component of making the world a better place for everyone, and water is a crucial part of this solution.

Climate change is a daunting challenge for the whole of humanity, yet the poorest people are paying the highest price. Without the environment, we have no future within any industry, most especially agriculture.

Smallholder farmers around the globe have to combat extreme weather conditions such as droughts, floods and tropical storms that have a drastic impact on their yields. In addition, hazardous climate conditions affect farmers' abilities to store, process and sell their produce at the market.
IFAD is working to ensure that the programmes it funds give small farmers the information, tools and technologies they need to adapt to a changing climate.

The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is the largest global financing source dedicated to building their resilience to climate change by channelling climate finance directly to farmers.

 One project that IFAD is funding through ASAP is strengthening Mozambique's cassava value chain  through the use of drought-tolerant, pest-resistant and high-yielding varieties of the plant.

Young people have big dreams, and they will often move to pursue them if they think their homes do not offer them the opportunities they seek.

Impoverished areas with inadequate water supplies see the young men and women who are their hope for the future migrate away. Communities struggle without their creativity and the energy that would spur development. When safe and reliable water supplies are brought to an area, it is revitalized.

Young people will stay and grow with their home as water brings in new opportunities, and with young people comes economic growth, political stability and social harmony.

The farmers of the future will have to feed nine billion people. IFAD strives to draw young people into agriculture by providing the tools and training they need to build successful farms and businesses.

In the Niger Delta, an IFAD-funded project worked to provide profitable jobs for young people in fish farming.  It helped provide over 20,000 jobs, stemming migration and strengthening social stability.

Agriculture is dependent on water. Without access to water, farmers will not be able to grow enough food to feed the world's population. About 70 per cent of all freshwater withdrawals are used to irrigate farmlands, and this percentage will need to increase by 10 per cent to feed the world in 2050.

Water is especially important to small farms in sub-Saharan African and parts of Asia, which provide up to 80 per cent of the regions' food.

As the food industry depends on small farmers, small farmers rely on agriculture. The agricultural sector is the main source of employment and income for many people in developing countries.

When crops fail and farmers are unable to work due to restricted access to water and unreliable rainfall, small farmers are forced to abandon their livelihoods. IFAD's mission is rooted in supporting smallholder farmers so they can improve the quality of their lives.

Working with water, like an IFAD-supported project in Ethiopia that helped farmers feed their families, is a vital part of IFAD's work.

Why do we need climate finance?

A world that is out of balance with atmospheric carbon is a world that must adapt.

I know what you are thinking – an increase of two degrees – it doesn’t sound like much, right? But two degrees is the average worldwide. It will be higher in some places, and lower in others. Dry places in Africa will get drier. Wet places in Asia will get wetter. A two degrees warmer world is a world with a 50/50 risk that coral reefs will bleach, and fish stock will migrate. For many small island states, this means that they would lose most of their economic revenues from tourism and fisheries. Mountainous countries such as Bhutan, which experience the melting of glaciers, would experience water shortages and severe difficulties with their hydropower production.

We live in a very uncertain world. A world that needs investment, but in things we haven’t invested in before, or at least never as a priority. Adapting to a world that is two degrees warmer will cost money. Green technologies are expensive.

''We don’t know what climate finance is…but we are sure we need a lot of it''.

So what is climate finance?

There are three prevailing rationales for providing climate finance:
       Climate justice: Transfer of public resources from north to south to cover the costs of dealing with the long-term impacts of Climate Change.

       UNFCCC: “New and additional financial resources” by developed countries for the “full incremental costs” of climate change in developing ones.

       Broadly: Financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programmes.

In 2014, global climate finance amounted to approximately US$391 billion. It is made up of public and private money. The money is split between financial flows to climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation projects. To date, there is far more investment in mitigation (related mostly to energy and transport systems): US$361 billion versus US$25 billion.

Investing in the climate is fast becoming a popular notion in the private sector. Big businesses like Google and The Rockefeller Foundation are both providing it. But it is by no means mainstreamed. Other foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have thus far stayed out of climate finance.

IFAD partner countries tap into climate finance from multiple sources. The Fund receives donations from a subset of member states who contribute to the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). There is also the Global Environment Facility, Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the Adaptation Fund. IFAD uses this money to ''Climate-proof'' its projects, which effectively means these projects are investing in specific activities to reduce risks from extreme weather events, adopt environmentally sustainable landscape and natural resource management practices, and sequester organic carbon.

The amount of money pledged by governments has the potential to make an incredible difference. 
But it needs to be accessed, used judiciously, and replenished.

How does this help smallholder farmers?

For IFAD, climate finance is used to analyse new and emerging risks. The current generation of smallholder farmers are facing a level of threats and uncertainties they’ve never experienced before. Understanding the risks that are emerging in a changing climate is the first step towards preparing for, and adapting to it.

Climate finance can also help to finance new and innovative technologies to manage climate risks, which have not been widely considered in the agricultural sector before. Such technology can take many forms: Solar panels to power lights and heat water; biogas units, that can turn human and animal waste into cooking gas and fertilizer; half-moon- shaped contour bunds that help arrest erosion and turn degraded dry-lands into arable land again; early warning systems, allowing farmers to know when a flood or monsoon is coming; improved storage infrastructure, so that farmers can safely store their harvests before the rains are coming. The list is long, and these are just some of the ways that smallholders can benefit.

Perhaps the most obvious way that smallholder farmers can benefit is through improved yields. Using techniques such as conservation agriculture and agroforestry, farmland can be made more productive. Such techniques protect the agricultural soils from erosion, whilst intensifying production over a small farm area.

Take-away messages

Climate finance is out there. There's a lot of it, and the trend is rising. After Paris's COP21, there is a worldwide commitment to combat climate change and support developing countries in adopting green and resilient development pathways. IFAD is ahead of the curve in making climate finance work for smallholder farmers, but more work is needed. ''Climate finance is most effective when used as an incentive to improve and adjust the approach of other public or private sector investment programmes'', said Gernot Laganda, IFAD's Climate Adaptation Specialist. Basically, you take a rural development project that is under development or already active, and you mould it into a climate-smart programme through the systematic integration of climate finance.

Climate finance is a new source of financing to do development better. Organisations such as IFAD need to adjust their business processes to use it well.

In the pursuit of happiness

Posted by Simona Siad Friday, March 18, 2016 0 comments

By Sally Martinelli

Rome, 18 March – A profound shift in attitudes is underway across the world. People are recognizing that 'progress' is about increasing happiness and well-being, and not only economic growth.

March 20 marks International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

At the first high level meeting on happiness and well-being in 2012 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”

The happiness movement is growing. Every year, celebrations cut across countries and cultures: meditation in Bhutan, happy flash mobs in London and laughter yoga in Hong Kong.

To join in on the fun, IFAD has compiled a list of #happyfacts and stories guaranteed to brighten up your day.

#Happyfact: Cows have best friends

Cows have best friends and become stressed if they are separated, according to a scientist in the United Kingdom.

The research shows cows are very social animals which often form close bonds with friends in their herd.

Cows are partners — even best friends – in many IFAD-supported projects.

In Burundi, an IFAD-supported project is providing farmers with cows and livestock training to help combat poverty.

The programme gives farmers livestock as well as basic veterinary medicines. After one breeding cycle the farmers pass on some of the offspring to other poor rural families.

This exchange, known as a solidarity chain, is expected to reach 560,000 farmers in seven provinces.

#Happyfact: Eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third

As if we needed another excuse to snack on chocolate!

According to researchers, eating a moderate amount of chocolate a day has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease and stroke.

IFAD supports fair trade cocoa producers from areas like Sao Tome and Principe, which not only produce high-quality organic products, but also help families live decent lives and build their communities.

Thanks to IFAD and its partners, nearly 2,200 farmers are now growing cocoa certified as organic or fair -trade for the international chocolate industry.

#Happyfact: The word "coffee" comes from the Arabic word for "wine of the bean."

What would we do without coffee, the third most popular drink in the world?

Most coffee is grown on small, family farms, and 25 million people in over 50 countries depend on the coffee industry for survival.

To ensure that smallholder farmers have a stake in the industry, IFAD works to link producers with consumers so they are creating the type of coffee that is in demand.

#Happyfact: Goats have accents

Goats develop accents from the social group, or ‘creches’ that they hang out with as a way to better identify their friends, according to a study  published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

When they aren't being social, goats and other types of livestock are making a big difference in the lives of small farmers around the world.

Activities related to livestock development – such as the transfer of technology, training, credit for restocking, animal health services delivery, feed and breed improvement – are considered core aspects of many IFAD programmes and projects.

#Happyfact: There are millions of undiscovered species at the bottom of the ocean

Since we have only explored less than five per cent of the ocean floor, scientists believe there is a world of undiscovered marine life. 

A little closer to the surface, artisanal fisheries are catching fish and making waves in Mozambique.

An IFAD-supported project is helping local fishers by sharing new fishing techniques and working with the government to establish protected fishing areas.

#Happyfact: Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people in extreme poverty was reduced by almost 1 billion 

Despite the bleak headlines in the news, the world has made progress in lifting people out of extreme poverty.

Between 1990 and 2010, the number fell by half as a share of the total population in developing countries, from 43 per cent to 21 per cent—a reduction of almost 1 billion people.

Since 1978, IFAD has invested more than US$17.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects in developing countries, empowering about 456 million people to break out of poverty.