In parallel to the changes in the international development agenda, a number of donor agencies have already changed their focus and policy priorities leading towards more investments into trade and inclusive agribusiness as well as adaptation to climate change. At the same time, existing Platform work streams like the Global Donor Working Group on Land governance have been instrumental in the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries (VGGT) and making sure that secured tenure rights were part of the SDGs. Changing the policy focus also means keeping abreast of issues in rural development. For example, in response to our members’ policy agendas, the Platform’s Annual General Assembly in 2018 focused on youth under the title “Young and Ready to move: Empowering the New Generation in the Rural Space.” And in the area of finance, the Finance for Development agenda talks about ‘blended finance’ and SAFIN, Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network approaches its third year of existence.
Over the years, encouraging initiatives like the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) have seen African heads of state commit to 7 declarations on accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods, including a commitment to spend at least 10% of their public budgets for ARD. The first CAADP biennial review in 2018 documents the progress so far. The donor communities have fully supported such initiatives, however, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report in 2018 contains new evidence to signal a continuation in the rise in world hunger and a reversal of trends after a prolonged decline. In 2017, the number of undernourished people is estimated to have increased to 821 million – around one out of every nine people in the world. The future holds challenging times for ARD; the Platform membership will pro-actively strive to keep food security and rural transformation at the top of the policy priorities of development.