“IFAD’s impact is undeniable.”
These are the words of Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, referring to the work of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), during the UN agency’s member state meetings in June this year.
And Egypt matched these words with action, making early and symbolic pledges during the meetings that were added to by low- and lower-middle-income countries; helping fund the agency’s work to address poverty and hunger in rural areas — vital amid rising rates of poverty and hunger around the world.
South Sudan, Cambodia, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tajikistan all stepped up in a bid to provide early funding and highlight the urgency of IFAD’s work ahead of the organization's fast-approaching fourth replenishment meetings, being held in Paris this December.
As recipients of development funding, as well as funders, the six nations represent a symbolic call to action for all countries to stand together and take action to address the global food crisis.
IFAD’s work to solve the growing global hunger crisis is about tackling the issue at its source and acting at the community level — supporting the rural and farming communities across the developing world that form the bedrock of the global food system, and who are responsible for producing a third of the world’s food.
Through financial pledges to the organization, 483 million people have been able to grow more food, better manage their land and natural resources, learn new skills, start small businesses, and build strong organizations.
But in order to support another 100 million more people over the next three years, IFAD needs to mobilize $2 billion in funding at the last consultation meeting for its 13th replenishment this December in Paris, championed by Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
Over the past year, Global Citizens have been taking action to urge high-income countries, like Australia, and other IFAD member states to support the organization through dozens of campaigns, petitions, and calls on world leaders to increase pledges by at least 50% from their last pledge, amid back-to-back global crises, of which France and Norway have committed.
More than 122 million more people have experienced extreme hunger since 2019, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the impacts of the climate emergency, and more. In Africa, one in five people are hungry — roughly twice the global average.
🇳🇴 Norway 's @AnneBeathe_ announced a commitment of $90M to @IFAD at #GlobalCitizenFestival to help address poverty by working to end hunger by supporting agriculture! Thank you from @GlblCtzn's everywhere! pic.twitter.com/RlENcaBc6D— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) September 24, 2023
But the actions of Global Citizens are helping to make an impact, as we saw at Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 23 in New York City.
As well as the many actions taken in the lead up to Global Citizen Festival, actor, singer, and dancer Jordan Fisher then rallied Global Citizens to take action during the festival itself, calling on viewers and audience members to snap selfies and sign a petition urging world leaders to tackle hunger by doubling climate adaptation funding and boosting investments in IFAD.
Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim took to the Global Citizen Festival stage to announce a $90 million pledge to support IFAD — representing a 50% increase on the nation's previous contribution.
"We will invest 150M dollars in @IFAD for the years to come in rural areas, the poorest rural areas. This is our biggest commitment ever to IFAD — (Global Citizens) I count on you." @EmmanuelMacron at #GlobalCitizenFestivalpic.twitter.com/Pwsl9BcngV— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) September 24, 2023
A record pledge of$150 million was then announced by France's President Emmanuel Macron in a video broadcast during Global Citizen Festival — representing a 60% (in euros) increase on France’s previous funding.
“France is fully committed to the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, collectively forged last June to fight poverty, climate and protect biodiversity,” said President Macron in his video message. “We decided to invest $150 million in IFAD to fight poverty and hunger in rural areas. This is the highest commitment ever to an IFAD replenishment.”
Earlier that week, at the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, pledged €20 million (about $21.2 million) to IFAD — four times the amount of the nation's previous contribution.
There’s still more to be done in the run up to the IFAD replenishment meetings in December, co-hosted in Paris by President Macron and Angola’s President João Lourenço, alongside U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
But the pledges made so far show promising support for IFAD’s life-saving work ahead of December, with IFAD’s President Alvaro Lario urging global leaders to follow suit and help meet the urgent $2 billion in funding the organization hopes to raise.
“We need to ensure tomorrow’s food security and the very existence of millions of rural people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by climate change,” said Lario during the June meetings in Rome. “There will be no global stability without stemming the growing hunger and poverty trend.”
In the lead-up to the December IFAD replenishment event, Global Citizens are campaigning alongside IFAD and as part of the Hungry for Action campaign to call on world leaders to take action to address the growing global hunger and food security crisis.