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.
Leveraging Voluntary Sustainability Standards for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Agriculture: A Guide for Development Organizations Based on the Sustainable Development Goals
Our report, available in English and French, explains how voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) can be used as a tool to meet the SDGs and targets related to gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture.Read More
Canada could take inspiration from U.S. environmental policy preventing algal blooms
Recent US legislation to combat algal blooms and protect fresh water shows bipartisan environmental action is still possible—and sets an example for other countries.Read More
The Farmer and Her Husband: Legal innovations for women in contract farming
Read our policy brief to learn how contracts, if designed with women’s interests in mind, can help foster more balanced relationships between farmers and buyers, as well as female farmers and their husbands.Read More
Should Farmers Who Follow Sustainable Practices Be Rewarded?
Meeting sustainability standards can have valuable benefits for smallholder farmers, but what happens when the product fails to sell?Read More
Case Study Research on Offsets for Water Quality Management
This case study research examines six water quality trading/offset programs from Canada, the United States and New Zealand and provides lessons relevant to offsetting nutrients, specifically phosphorus and nitrogen, in Manitoba.Read More
The Sustainable Asset Valuation of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania (SAGCOT) Initiative: A focus on irrigation
This report discusses the results of the application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) tool to irrigation infrastructure in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania.Read More
Financing Rural Infrastructure: Priorities and pathways for ending hunger
Read our report to discover how new financial instruments can support a decentralized and robust infrastructure base for farmers, food processors and rural communities.Read More
Financing Rural Infrastructure: Priorities and pathways for ending hunger: Investment in Agriculture Policy Brief #7
Read our policy brief to discover how financing infrastructure will help provide food security for the 821 million people estimated to live in hunger worldwide.Read More
How IISD Is Contributing to Inclusive, Global Food Security
We are proud to announce the Canadian Food Security Policy Group (FSPG) recently confirmed IISD as an associate member.Read More
How ECOWAS Parliamentarians are Advancing Gender Equality in Agriculture
How the ECOWAS Parliamentary Network fosters food security, women’s empowerment and investment in agriculture.Read More