IFAD Lead Agency on New GEF Programme to Tackle Food Security

IFAD utilises many partnerships to ensure that it can achieve its goal of empowering rural smallholder farmers to achieve food security. Here we talk to Estibalitz Morras Dimas, IFAD's Environment and Climate Division's Portfolio Officer about a new IFAD undertaking.

Can you explain briefly the relationship between IFAD and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)?

For more than 15 years IFAD has been one of the executing agencies of the GEF. The GEF is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. Together IFAD and GEF are working together in 42 countries, with a total portfolio of US$ 253 million.

What is IAP?

The Integrated Approach Program (IAP) is a new way of using GEF funds. For the next four years, IFAD will seek to produce multiple environmental benefits by working with a broad range of organizations and sectors. Currently there are three new "pilot" programmes addressing global commodities, sustainable cities and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (led by IFAD).

In the case of the Integrated Approach for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, the GEF wants the management of natural capital - land, soil, water, vegetation and genetic resources - to be a priority in the transformation of the agriculture sector for food security. This program will support twelve countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) targeting agro-ecological systems where the need to enhance food security is linked directly to opportunities for generating global environmental benefits.

IAP aims to promote the sustainable management and resilience of ecosystems and their different services (land, water, biodiversity, forests) as a means to address food insecurity. At the same time, it addresses various barriers (policy, institutional and knowledge) to emphasize a shift toward safeguarding the natural capital that underpins its sustainability and resilience for food security in the long term.

The programme will adopt a three-pronged approach that:

1) Engages stakeholders across the public and private sectors, and across environment and agriculture to foster collective action and coherent policies,

2) Acts to scale up, diversify and adapt practices for a large-scale transformation of agro-ecosystems, and

3) Tracks impacts on ecosystems services and resilience to assess progress and enable more informed decision-making on agriculture and food security  on many levels.

Why is IFAD the lead agency for coordination of IAP Food Security?

IFAD throughout its African portfolio of projects promotes a "multiple-benefit" approach, building food security and climate resilience, through managing competing land-use systems at the landscape level while at the same time reducing poverty, enhancing biodiversity, increasing yields and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. IFAD is thus well placed to leverage support from its investment portfolio on natural resources management in Africa to scale up investments in integrated approaches for sustainability and to lead IAP-Food Security. Overall coordination of IAP Food Security will be the responsibility of IFAD, in its capacity as the lead GEF agency for the programme, and the GEF Secretariat.

Other GEF Agencies participating in IAP Food Security will be UNEP, FAO, UNDP, World Bank, Conservation International and UNIDO.

What is the next step for IAP?

The 48th GEF Council recently approved in June 2015 $116 million Program for Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total GEF financing of $106.5 million will be supplemented by $805.36 million co-financed from the governments, development agencies, foundations, international organizations, and the private sector

The detailed country design documents will start in the following weeks. It's expected that IAP Food Security will start its implementation around the last quarter of 2016.
For more information on IAP, click here