IFAD: South-South Cooperation Partner of the Month

About IFAD

Three quarters of the poorest people in the world live in the rural areas of developing countries. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change, a growing global population, and volatile food and energy prices have the potential to push millions more vulnerable people into extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN’s food and agriculture hub. It is the only multilateral development institution that focuses exclusively on transforming rural economies and food systems. It works in remote regions of developing countries and fragile situations, where few aid agencies or international financial institutions venture.

The Fund invests in rural people, empowering them to increase their food security, improve the nutrition of their families and increase their incomes. The Fund helps them build resilience, expand their businesses and take charge of their own development. Since 1978, IFAD has provided US$22.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 512 million people.

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IFAD & South-South Cooperation

IFAD promotes South-South and triangular cooperation as a key mechanism for delivering demand-driven, relevant, targeted and cost-effective development solutions and other resources to beneficiaries and partners across the globe.  The Fund’s commitment to SSTC is anchored in its Strategic Framework 2016-2025 and embedded in IFAD’s holistic approach to sustainable and inclusive rural transformation. This approach, which includes youth-led inclusive rural transformation, recognizes SSTC as an important instrument for delivering IFAD’s mandate of promoting sustainable and inclusive rural transformation. Among other issues, the Strategic Framework notes that “South-South and Triangular Cooperation is rapidly growing and becoming increasingly important for promoting knowledge-sharing and investments among developing countries”.

The 2016 paper IFAD’s Approach to South-South and Triangular Cooperation highlights IFAD’s comparative advantage for supporting two types of SSTC activities: technical cooperation and investment promotion. Technical cooperation includes activities that identify, promote or otherwise make available solutions (technologies, approaches, methodologies and know-how) that improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and poor rural people. Investment promotion involves activities that leverage IFAD’s role as a broker and facilitate financial, trade and business linkages between Southern actors for rural development. In both domains, IFAD is engaged in SSTC at various levels: integrating SSTC into country programmes (project design and implementation); incorporating SSTC into regional initiatives (both intra- and interregional); piloting and scaling-up innovative SSTC approaches through grant-funded programmes; partnership-building and resource mobilization, and policy support, strategy, and knowledge management.

Considering the evolution of the global development landscape and the increasing demand by Member States for IFAD to increase its engagement around SSTC, the Fund is currently working on the development of a new SSTC Corporate Strategy. It is being prepared four years after the first Strategy and will consider the lessons learned and the main aspects arising from a self-assessment exercise carried out on IFAD’s corporate approach to SSTC.

The new strategy will focus on the achievement of the following three objectives: (i) leveraging and promoting the exchange of knowledge, technologies, and solutions to address rural poverty and transformation; (ii) enhancing the countries’ capacity by engaging with a broad set of partners, including the private sector, to promote investments; and (iii) promoting SSTC as a key development tool in IFAD’s transformational country programmes.

In 2020, IFAD implemented 22 projects with a clear SSTC component in programme of loans and grants. Fifty-one partnerships were established for advancing SSTC and more than US$10 million in South-South investments were promoted. Furthermore, over 30 knowledge sharing & capacity-building workshops were held on themes such as sustainable agriculture, rural finance, water management, market access, etc.

China-IFAD South-South & Triangular Cooperation Facility

In its role as a facilitator of financial and technical assistance to further SSTC, IFAD works in close collaboration with its Member States. To this end, in 2018, the Fund and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) established the China-IFAD SSTC Facility to promote sustainable and inclusive rural transformation, and with specific attention to poverty reduction, fighting malnutrition and promoting rural youth employment in developing countries. With a contribution of US$10 million from the PRC, the Facility now funds 13 SSTC projects and programmes in different geographical regions. As the first Facility in IFAD dedicated to SSTC, the Facility complements IFAD’s SSTC agenda by increasing the volume of South-South exchanges, spurring innovation, and promoting investments in rural areas in support of rural people. Knowledge, technologies, and resources are being mobilized from the Global South to accelerate rural poverty alleviation, enhance rural productivity, and advance rural transformation.

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IFAD South-South and Triangular Cooperation Knowledge Portal

The Rural Solutions Portal is a web-based knowledge-sharing platform that collects rural development solutions. These are innovations, technologies, processes and methodologies for the rural world. The Rural Solutions Platform is SSTC in action. By providing a space for solution sharing, IFAD aims to connect more people and ideas for the benefit of rural communities everywhere. Within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, the aim of the Portal is to make successful agriculture and rural development solutions easily available to a wide-ranging audience to promote sustainable and inclusive rural transformation.

It aimed at anyone involved in the rural development sector, including policy-makers, researchers, private and public organizations, farmers’ associations, smallholders and family farmers and development practitioners.  Some of the recently published solutions address different topics such as Climate and Environment, Crops, Farmer Organizations, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Gender, Indigenous People, Institutions and Organizations, Land, Livestock and Rangeland, Market Access, Nutrition, Rural Finance, Water, and Youth.

IFAD’s Response to COVID-19: Targeting Hunger through SSC

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating major risks for food security at a time when food systems were already under strain from conflict, natural disaster, and climate change. At the country level, domestic food supply chains are affected by movement restrictions, shortages of key agricultural inputs, and loss of income.

In this context, more than ever, the local resilience of producers and households needs support at both country and international levels. To this end, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, is working closely with local and national governments as they undertake measures to ensure social protection and safeguard livelihoods. Through South-South Cooperation, the Fund is tapping into existing expertise, skills, capacities, and solutions to address the effects of the pandemic and other connected challenges on rural populations. In the last decade, South-South cooperation has shown itself capable of providing tailored and tested development solutions that can be adapted to different contexts. Learn more.

Featured Publications

IFAD Featured Publications POM
May 17, 2021

South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Changing Lives through Partnership

IFAD Featured Publications POM
May 17, 2021

Preparing Rural Communities to Cope with Climate Change through SSTC

IFAD Featured Publications POM
May 17, 2021

Technologies for Climate-Resilient Smallholder Agriculture

IFAD Featured Publications POM
May 17, 2021

BAPA+50 Achieving Rural Transformation through South-South and Triangular Cooperation

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