The European Union together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged more than €500 million over the next three years to support agricultural research that will help the world’s poorest farmers better adapt to increasingly challenging growing conditions brought about by climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather patterns (droughts and floods), diseases, poor soil fertility, and attacks from crop pests. This was announced at the ‘One Planet Summit’ in Paris on Tuesday 12 December 2017.
The EU, which is the largest donor for development aid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the larger philanthropist organisation in this field, will work together on a joint initiative to drive research and technical and organisational innovations across agricultural and food systems in developing countries.
The Commission will provide €270 million over the next three years (2018-2020) to foster a strong climate change focus in agriculture and food systems research for development.
The commitment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match this funding with a $300 million pledge over the same period (2018-2020) will boost climate change related innovations through research in agriculture.
Two-thirds of the world’s poorest people live in Africa and Asia, and roughly 800 million of them rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. These smallholder farmers play a negligible role in generating carbon emissions but they suffer some of the harshest effects of climate change. As the climate changes, farmers’ ability to produce crops to feed their families or earn an income will be increasingly threatened. Livelihoods will be destroyed and climate-related pressures could force people to abandon their homes and communities, in search of better conditions.
Poor farmers in developing countries will need the most innovative tools and technologies to adapt to the effects of climate change. There is an urgent need to equip them with the tools that can make their crops more productive, sustainable, and resilient in the face of a rapidly changing environment.
Read more (Press statement Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Read more (Press statement European Commission)