Rome — Gilbert F. Houngbo, the President of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will meet with high-level government officials in Sweden this week to discuss climate change initiatives in support of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world.
On his first official visit to the country since taking office earlier this year, Houngbo will meet with Ulrika Modéer, Swedish State Secretary, Marie Ottosson, Deputy Director-General for the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and Madeleine Fogde, Programme Director, Swedish International Agricultural Initiative (SIANI). In addition, the President of IFAD will be a keynote speaker at an event hosted by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he will talk about how climate-smart agriculture and rural development can contribute to more resilient, cohesive, and prosperous societies.
Houngbo's visit to Sweden comes at a time when more than 30 million children, women and men are at risk of famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. That figure is in addition to some 108 million people living in 48 food-crisis countries already identified as at high risk of or already facing severe acute food insecurity in 2016. Civil conflict continues to be a main driver of food insecurity, while climate change, droughts, heat stress and flooding have led to a reduction in crop yields and livestock productivity in several developing countries. In Africa alone, climate change will expose 75 million to 250 million more people to increased water stress by 2020.
"Emergency response is essential, but more investment in long-term rural development, including climate-smart agriculture, will be needed if we are to have any hope of averting future crises," said Houngbo ahead of the visit.
"IFAD and Sweden share a long-standing commitment to invest in environmental sustainability, providing small farmers with the tools and skills they need to deal more effectively with a changing climate," he added.
Sweden is one of first contributors to IFAD's US$366 million Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which channels funds to initiatives designed to help smallholder farmers build their resilience to climate change. So far, ASAP funds have assisted more than 8 million rural people in 44 least developed countries - including fragile and conflict-affected states - in building more resilient livelihoods.
As a founding member of IFAD, Sweden has pledged a total of $400 million to the fund since it was established in 1978.
MA No.: IFAD/13/2017
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome - the UN's food and agriculture hub. For more about IFAD, visit www.ifad.org.