Agriculture, Water and Investment
Agriculture is on the frontlines of nearly all urgent global challenges, from hunger to climate change to rising inequality.
We provide high-quality advice to governments to help transform public and private investment into a vehicle for change: strengthening food security and livelihoods, while protecting land rights and responsibly managing natural resources.
Over 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, 70 per cent of whom live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Agriculture provides a livelihood for more people globally than any other sector, representing almost 50 per cent of total employment in poor countries. Investment in agriculture has a greater poverty reduction effect—especially amongst the poorest people—than investment in any other sector.
This is why increased investment in agriculture and food systems in low- and middle-income countries is desperately needed. When done right, increased investment can help boost production, generate employment, increase incomes and promote economic development. But when done badly, it can exacerbate existing inequalities, undermine the livelihoods of small farmers, particularly women, and significantly deplete land, water, soil and other natural resources.
Ensuring positive impacts from foreign investment requires robust policies, laws and practices. IISD works with governments and policy-makers to build the laws and policies needed to maximize the benefits—and minimize the risks—of foreign investment.
We also work to improve the flow of public investment to agriculture. We joined forces with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to measure the scale of public spending needed to end hunger. We found that it will cost an extra USD 11 billion per year from now until 2030 to largely eradicate hunger, a central part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Along with IFPRI and Cornell University we have now embarked on a new project, Ceres2030: Sustainable solutions to end hunger, which combines state-of-the-art modelling techniques with expert evidence to build consensus on the best way to end hunger sustainably, with costs and effective solutions.
Ensuring a Balance of Power in the Face of COVID-19
Half the world’s population is subject to varying degrees of lockdown in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with an unprecedented crisis, should governments offer solutions that sidestep requirements of transparency, accountability, and responsibility?Read More
We Can Prevent a COVID-19 Hunger Crisis if We Look Back and Learn
The world now faces the risk of a dramatic rise in hunger, barely 12 years after the devastating food price crisis. What can be learned from the past?Read More
What National Farm Policy Trends Could Mean for Efforts to Update WTO Rules on Domestic Support
This report examines trends in agricultural domestic support across a dozen World Trade Organization members and sets forward recommendations about how global trade rules should be reformed.Read More
IISD Contributes to Inclusive and Resilient Food Security
Food systems are on the front lines of nearly all urgent global challenges. That is why agriculture and food security are such a vital part of IISD’s work.Read More
Can Responsible Contracts Help Improve Farmer Incomes and Productivity?
This commentary explores some of the issues raised by rice farmers from the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan; coffee farmers from Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Vietnam; and sugarcane and fruit growers from Cambodia during a workshop held in late October 2019.Read More
ASEAN Guidelines and Action Plan on Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry: Workshop on Operationalizing the Action Plan
This report captures the main elements of a workshop held in July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, devoted to the lessons learned and next steps for the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry, as well as the associated Action Plan.Read More
Agricultural Bias in Focus
This paper provides further details and explains how to measure and understand the source of agricultural bias in a country, including examples and country case studies.Read More
A Policy Taxonomy for Agricultural Transformation
This taxonomy is derived from the original framework of four broad categories and nine sub-categories used in Transforming Agriculture in Africa & Asia: What are the policy priorities?Read More
What's Next for the ECOWAS Gender Network: From dialogue to action
After a week full of dialogue and knowledge exchange, parliamentarians who are part of a new network on gender equality and agriculture now face the important task of turning lessons into long-term engagement.Read More
Learning from Experience: How an African parliamentarians' network is looking to mainstream gender considerations into agriculture
The challenges to women’s participation in agricultural production and economic opportunities are often deeply nuanced and specific to their regional, national and local contexts. This is the first part of a series covering ECOWAS network meetings on gender considerations in agriculture.Read More