There has never been a greater need for coordinated donor investments and collaboration that align with the needs and priorities of partner countries.
This flagship report is the culmination of a year-long workstream on donor coordination conducted by the GDPRD. It provides practical guidance to support donors and their partners in better coordination and alignment in food systems and rural development, particularly at the country level.

Rising food, fertilizer and fuel prices, along with climate change, conflict and COVID-19, amplify global food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty. Resource constraints and weakened multilateral cooperation all pose challenges to donor coordination. With insufficient overseas development assistance, donors will need to optimize their catalytic potential through greater policy coherence and better coordination between development partners and partner countries.

The GDPRD initiated a review of good practices for donor coordination for food systems transformation and rural development in July 2022. The report summarizes the main research that has emerged from this workstream, and puts forth eight recommendations for donors to consider and adopt. There are also background and context chapters on the evolution of donor coordination over the past few decades.

Key messages:

  1. Coordination is crucial but far from optimal.
  2. Food systems agenda brings challenges and opportunities.
  3. Supporting partner governments is fundamental but complex.
  4. Coordination for different modalities of development finance is critical.
  5. Collaborative funding for comprehensive impact.
  6. Balancing crisis response with development.
  7. Inclusive engagement across food systems.
  8. Collaborative planning at the country level.
  9. Effective global-level coordination.
  10. A fundamental shift in thinking and working.

©IFAD/Bernard Kalu

Recommendations for donors:

  1. Develop national food systems transformation pathways.
  2. Support enhanced collaborative planning.
  3. Develop donor-specific coordination policies.
  4. Create effective information systems.
  5. Review funding modalities.
  6. Increase coordinated funding for structural change.
  7. Explore enhanced global-level coordination mechanisms.
  8. Establish mechanisms for effectiveness assessment.

The review underscores the urgency for enhanced donor coordination to tackle the complex challenges facing food systems globally. By adopting these recommendations and working collaboratively, donors can play a pivotal role in shaping a resilient, sustainable, and equitable future for food systems worldwide.

©IFAD/Susan Beccio

Read the report:

Executive Summary

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Context
Exploration of factors that have contributed to an unprecedented rise in global hunger, malnutrition, poverty and distress migration.

Chapter 3. Background to the Donor Coordination and Aid Effectiveness Agenda
Donor coordination has been an essential component of the development effectiveness agenda for several decades.

Chapter 4. Food Systems Agenda and Donor Coordination
When it comes to food systems transformation, the challenge of donor coordination is even more complex. A food systems approach necessitates normative, structural and mindset shifts in how we think and operate.

Chapter 5. Understanding the Dimensions of Donor Coordination
The dimensions of scale, modalities and thematic areas of coordination are outlined in the often complex process of close alignment and coordination of donors and governments.

Chapter 6. Key Messages
The research for this review resulted in 10 key messages for donors on emerging challenges and opportunities. These conversations have highlighted a set of core issues with respect to donor coordination on food systems for donors and partner governments.

Chapter 7. Food Systems, Food Security and Rural Development Architecture
The institutional architecture for food systems, food security and rural development has become highly complex and multifaceted, with numerous different initiatives being implemented.

Chapter 8. Conclusions and Recommendations
The background research for this review, including a series of key informant interviews, resulted in 10 key messages for donors on emerging challenges and opportunities. These conversations have highlighted a set of core issues with respect to donor coordination on food systems for donors and partner governments.

Chapter 9. List of Key Informants

©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello

This report draws on the following activities of the workstream:

  1. A literature review on donor coordination
  2. Key informant interviews and discussions with donors, experts and practitioners working on food systems issues at the country and global levels
  3. A seminar on donor coordination
  4. An analysis of best practices for donor coordination
  5. The high-level dialogue “Donor Coordination for Food Systems Transformation: A Forward Agenda”, held in Rome, Italy, on 27 June 2023, and co-hosted by the GDPRD, IFAD and the European Commission.

Main banner photos: right: ©Adobe Stock; left: ©IFAD/Francesco Cabras



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