Gates Foundation Calls For Bold And Immediate Action At COP27, Announces New Commitment To Meeting Smallholders’ Climate Adaptation Needs

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SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reiterated African leaders’ call for countries to rapidly scale up funding for climate adaptation and pledged to invest $1.4 billion to help smallholder farmers address the immediate and long-term impacts of climate change. The announcement was made by Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27).

For many regions, climate change is an unprecedented food and economic crisis. More than 2 billion people depend on smallholder farmers for food and income, but less than 2% of global climate finance is spent helping these farms adapt to climate change. Food and economic crises will last longer and become more severe as climate threats escalate and further threaten food security by limiting the yields and resilience of smallholder farmers.

“The effects of climate change are already devastating, and every moment the world slows down action, more people suffer and the solutions become more complex and expensive,” Suzman said. “Our commitment will help smallholder farmers adapt today and build resilience for the future. It is essential for this climate summit to make bold commitments that respond to immediate and long-term needs. Leaders need to listen to the voices of African farmers and governments to prioritize and respond urgently.”

The foundation’s commitment will fund immediate action and long-term initiatives over four years to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia build resilience and food security. Funding will focus on driving African-led innovation to build a pipeline of climate-smart farming projects, new applications of digital technologies, climate-smart innovations for small-scale livestock farming and supporting female smallholder farmers to tap into their untapped potential.

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“Rural Women” Africa are the backbone of their food systems, but they have never had equal access to the resources they need to reach their full potential or build resilience against impending climate threats,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As the climate crisis accelerates, the vital role of women in their economies is too important to overlook. With the right funding and marketing support, female smallholders could earn more in a day than they now earn in a month, enabling these regional food systems will ultimately change and unlock a healthier, more sustainable and more prosperous future for families and communities across the continent.”

Improving the livelihoods of rural women in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the foundation deepens its ongoing partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The goal is to scale initiatives that empower women farmers, support innovations at the intersection of gender and climate adaptation, and increase climate finance that gives rural women better access to the climate-smart resources they need to strengthen food systems.

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To accelerate the development of new adaptation innovations, the foundation continues to work with a coalition of partners to double the budget for the CGIAR agricultural research system. the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy initiative partners with African research institutes, local companies and farmers’ organisations. Together, they use big data, analytics and digital platforms to deliver insights that can improve incomes, food security and ecosystem health in small farming communities.

“The climate crisis is causing massive damage every day as it puts entire regions of people and economies at risk,” he said Bill Gatesco-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “More money is needed to ensure that agricultural and technological innovations are on a large scale available for vulnerable communities, helping them adapt to climate change, save lives and boost economic growth.”

Additional investments included in the commitment announced today will support the following:

  • The Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to rapidly build a pipeline of climate-smart agriculture projects in 23 countries in Africa. The funding will provide targeted support for the technical capacity, planning and project development needed to implement programmes.

  • Developing new applications of digital technologies to enable smallholder farmers to anticipate and respond to climate threats. This includes an innovative weather information platform developed through a new partnership between the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and TomorrowNow, which provides climate-smart farming strategies to farmers in East Africa through text messages.

  • Africa-led innovations to develop climate-smart options to improve livestock health and productivity while reducing their climate footprint. This will be done in collaboration with Canada’s International Research Center for Development (IDRC).

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This funding builds on more than a decade of investment and the foundation’s recent announcement at the United Nations General Assembly of $100 million in funding to alleviate the current food crisis Africa and South Asia and address the root causes. It also builds on agricultural adaptation funding commitments made at previous climate summits:

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the opportunity to get out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it aims to ensure that all people – especially those with the least resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and in life. Located in Seattle, Washingtonthe foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzmanled by co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the supervisory board.

Media contact: [email protected]
More about the Gates Foundations agricultural development work
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SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation