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Monday / April 22. 2024
HomeAgrotechGates Foundation and UAE partner to accelerate action on climate and strengthen food systems

Gates Foundation and UAE partner to accelerate action on climate and strengthen food systems

Foundation calls for donors to support global agriculture research network CGIAR’s 2025-2027 investment need to reach 500 million farmers by 2030.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has joined the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accelerate the development of innovations that will help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia build resilience and adapt to climate change. Together, they made new commitments totalling US $200 million in response to immediate and long-term threats to food security and nutrition caused by climate change.

The announcement was delivered at the World Climate Action Summit by foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates, who was joined by H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, minister of climate change and environment of the UAE. Gates also called on global leaders to elevate agriculture as a focus of global climate finance initiatives and support the global agriculture research network, CGIAR.

The foundation’s US $100 million investment announced, which matches the UAE’s commitment of US $100 million, will support organizations, like the CGIAR, that are on the forefront of developing agricultural innovations. Additional foundation funding will support the work of AIM4Scale, a new climate adaptation initiative to be launched by the UAE. The foundation will also join partner countries, philanthropies, and financial institutions to help accelerate access to high-impact agricultural innovations for small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by reducing policy and funding-related barriers.

Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 60 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for food and income, accounts for only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, a surge of extreme climate events, such as devastating droughts in East Africa and catastrophic flooding in West Africa, has contributed to reduced economic growth and increased income inequality with wealthy countries—primarily by eroding crop and livestock production. While numerous innovations exist to help smallholder farmers in the region, less than 2 per cent of global climate finance is devoted to meeting their needs.  

“We need to make big bets on innovation to ensure smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the tools they need to adapt their practices, feed their people, and build resilience in the face of climate change,” said Gates. “The needs of farmers are an integral part of the global climate agenda.”  

“We are ready to quickly scale up proven innovations that already are helping farmers in vulnerable regions like Africa and South Asia adapt to more challenging climate conditions,” said Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, chair, CGIAR System Board. “That includes increasing access to improved varieties of naturally stress tolerant crops like cassava and millets, employing new tools and strategies farmers are using to support healthy ecosystems by reviving degraded lands, and providing long-range climate forecasts that help farmers anticipate and navigate weather extremes and shifting rainfall patterns.”

With the foundation’s commitment announced, it has exceeded its current pledge to CGIAR of US $315 million and joins a growing global movement for action on climate adaptation. This includes new funding from donor countries to CGIAR totaling over US $800 million for the 2023-2024 funding cycle. 

The foundation’s support for agriculture adaptation at COP28 builds on previous commitments dating back to 2017 to help smallholder farmers cope with climate change. To learn more about the foundation’s work to create a pipeline of climate-smart agricultural solutions, new applications of digital technologies, low-emission approaches to small-scale livestock farming, and innovations that address the neglected needs of women farmers,

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