Transforming food systems in times of crisis

2022 was an extraordinary year for the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.

First and foremost, we continued to pay extremely close attention to the food systems agenda, focusing on the efforts of the donor community to support countries in developing national pathways to transform their food systems.

Second, we published an important white paper on donor coordination, Transforming Food Systems: Directions for enhancing the catalytic role of donors, which offers clear directions, options and recommendations for enhancing the catalytic role of donors.

Third, we responded quickly to the unforeseen war in Ukraine, tracking the consequences for food supplies, and for the costs of farm inputs, fuel and fertilizer.

Aid has partly become a contest for influence. The GDPRD is one of the few opportunities to talk informally to others in similar positions.

– Tristan Armstrong, GDPRD Co-Chair

As we move into 2023, donors are strengthening their alignment with the priorities of the countries and people we are trying to help. Platform members will be sharing their knowledge and experience with countries in order to design national pathways for developing rural areas as they reshape their food systems, and to help the countries achieve various objectives determined by their national situations. Access to land will be a common issue, and the needs of youth and women will be in sharp focus as donors confront the challenges of building food security, especially in Africa.

We need to engage more with the people we are trying to address. They know best what is needed. I have particular confidence in young people and women.

– Conrad Rein, GDPRD Co-Chair (May 2020 to July 2023)

The Platform will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023 – and that is proof of its value as a forum for sharing information, ideas, and new and better ways of achieving donors’ goals. But it is also a moment to think about the contribution the Platform makes and its strategic direction.

We should reflect on what we do well and identify any gaps that need to be filled. We must continue reaching out to potential members, including in Asia. We should reflect on the ways in which security underpins development and a lack of development contributes to insecurity. Furthermore, we should continue to build closer connections with those we are seeking to help.

Similar to rural communities, the donors and the Platform are constantly learning about how to advance rural development, a goal we all share.

Highlights of Platform events:

  • SDG 2 Road Map Working Group virtual workshop: “Ceres2030: Stocktaking and brainstorming on future action and initiatives”

  • High-level event “The increasing imperative for resilient food systems in times of conflict and crisis: What can donors do?”
    Launch of white paper Transforming Food Systems: Directions for enhancing the catalytic role of donors

  • Round table on the food, fuel and fertilizer crisis

  • The Global Donor Working Group on Land celebrates the ten-year anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

  • Annual General Assembly with special high-level session on donor crisis response initiatives

  • Thematic Working Group on Rural Youth Employment webinar “Green jobs for rural youth in agri‑food systems”

  • Round table on what drives donor commitments when reshaping food systems financing in a crisis and post‑crisis environment

  • Senior Managers Meeting

  • Launch of new website and recommendations database

  • Virtual seminar and new workstream: “The emerging needs and opportunities for a coordinated donor response to food systems transformation in difficult times”



More Publications


Maurizio Navarra

Secretariat Coordinator at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome/Italy


Michelle Tang

Secretariat Communications at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome/Italy