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.
The Sustainable Agriculture Transition: Technology options for low- and middle-income countries
This report reviews how technology is transforming food systems and how policy-makers and investors can best harness the use of modern technologies to bring transformative change.Read More
COVID-19 and Food Export Restrictions: Comparing today’s situation to the 2007/08 price spikes
This policy brief draws on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker to compare how governments have reacted to the current crisis with how they did during the 2007/08 food price spike.Read More
Could Food Export Restrictions Worsen a Looming Food Crisis?
This policy brief draws on analysis in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker to examine how food-importing countries could be affected by recent measures to restrict exports.Read More
Solving Our Food Crisis Requires a Fundamental Transformation of the System
Global food supply is at an all-time high, yet so is hunger and malnutrition. The right policy changes can account for such complexity and set us on a sustainable path, but we must act now.Read More
Tomorrow Needs Us Today: IISD’s 2020-2025 Strategic Direction
We are guided by five core priorities—Climate, Resources, Economies, Act Together and Engage—which form our CREATE strategy, presented in this document.Read More
Foreign Investment in Decline: An opportunity for more responsible and sustainable food systems
UNCTAD predicted last month that COVID-19 would cause a 40% drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020. Developing regions will be the worst hit given their heavy reliance on extractive industries and global value chains, which have been impacted by the pandemic. A dramatic drop in FDI could worsen the situation and lead to a race to the bottom as low- and middle-income countries compete for dwindling levels of FDI in agriculture.Read More
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