New Paradigm for Partnerships

Four-fifths of the developing world’s food is produced by its most vulnerable households. These farmers often subsist on meager earnings derived from small, depleted plots that are far-removed from markets. Despite their often singular devotion to food production, one in eight is undernourished. As increasingly erratic and extreme climate changes disproportionately affect these under-resourced farmers, food insecurity is projected to worsen dramatically. By 2050, the world’s population will increase by 2 billion, causing demand and food prices to spike — yet food production is projected to decline significantly in every region.

Now imagine if farmers, industry, government, universities and research institutions, NGOs, and donors rose above their individual interests and collaborated to promote sustainable production and consumption, and by extension reduce hunger and food insecurity? Imagine if they took a holistic approach to investing resources that not only increased agricultural productivity, but also household income and farmers’ resilience to life’s uncertainties? The benefits could include better health, increased educational opportunities, an improved environment, increased rural development, and inclusive economic growth. This level of cooperation would require each stakeholder to apply the best known strategies for the greatest possible good.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we in the development community have yet to adopt this approach in a concerted way. This is what makes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so promising. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals that preceded them, the SDG agenda — by which public, private, and civil-society actors will steward their resources and measure their results over the next 15 years — is finally integrated and inclusive. In fact, it is underpinned by Goal 17, a new paradigm for partnerships that promotes collaboration, efficiency, transparency, and accountability. While we will all benefit, those who stand to gain the most — the 1.2 billion people currently —> Read More