Rome/Suva, 13 July 2023: The International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Government of New Zealand signed a NZD 5.75 million (USD 3.57 million) agreement to support Pacific communities to ensure sustainable access to water and healthy diets. The Small Islands Food and Water Project (SIFWaP) will reach 50,000 people — or 17 per cent of the population — in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s support demonstrates its commitment to increasing the impact of its climate action, as highlighted in Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, its international climate finance strategy.
With a total investment of USD 19.23 million, SIFWaP aims to strengthen the climate change resilience of small island communities in these countries by improving their food, nutrition and water security and livelihood opportunities. SIFWaP reinforces the strong partnership between IFAD and New Zealand in their efforts to help eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and build adaptation resilience, not only in the Pacific, but across the world. This investment is also a recognition of IFAD’s role in international development as an effective organization that delivers results and improves food and income security, especially for poor rural people.
These countries are among the smallest and most isolated of the SIDS and are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts and natural disasters. High population densities combined with low agricultural productivity contributes to a precarious food and nutrition security situation across the region. As a result, the islands are heavily dependent on food imports and generally lack access to fresh, nutritious food.
At the same time, rising sea levels are leading to chronic coastal erosion and causing social and economic disruption. Extreme climactic events, such as droughts and hurricanes, are becoming more frequent, stressing the islands’ already scarce natural resources, including water for consumption and agricultural production.
“These island states are among the first to be hit — and also the hardest — by crises such as the pandemic and disruptions in the global supply chain due to conflict. They are also more exposed to deeper long-term consequences,” said Donal Brown, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department. “Rural people in remote islands need support to help them produce, consume and market more local foods in environmentally sustainable ways. Climate change and vulnerability to natural disasters threatens the very existence of these extremely isolated communities. This contribution by New Zealand offers a vital opportunity for us to collectively examine the challenges facing by the SIDS, and work with those countries to identify new and innovative solutions to together make a meaningful difference.”
SIFWaP will work with communities to implement a range of climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive measures. These will reflect each country’s priorities and needs, but could include measures such as composting, using renewable energy for poultry incubators, driers and pumps, and reducing the dependence on rainwater for drinking and agriculture by installing sustainable water supply infrastructure. The project will also revive indigenous knowledge on local foods, supporting families to be better equipped to prepare, preserve and store healthy and nutritious foods.
SIFWaP is aligned with IFAD’s SIDS strategy and will support the governments to nurture enabling policy environments to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. The strategy highlights the unique vulnerabilities and development challenges in SIDS because of their small size, remoteness, limited resource base and exposure to climate and natural disasters. In addition to the NZD 5.75 million (USD 3.57 million) contribution, the project will be co-financed by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (USD 11.65 million), project participants’ in-kind contributions (USD 2.34 million) and the four SIFWaP countries (USD 1.83 million). IFAD will supervise the project’s implementation and will provide additional technical support and capacity building on project management fiduciary matters, procurement, audits and reporting.
Since the establishment of IFAD in 1977, New Zealand has contributed USD 22.21 million to IFAD’s work to transform rural economies and food systems by making them more inclusive, productive, resilient and sustainable. Previously New Zealand has also contributed USD 0.79 million in supplementary funds to co-finance an IFAD-funded project on Inclusion of Family Farming in Value Chains Project (PPI) in Paraguay.
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Press Release No.: IFAD/63/2023
IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency. Based in Rome — the United Nations food and agriculture hub — IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided more than USD 24 billion in grants and low-interest loans to fund projects in developing countries.
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