Public funding alone is not enough to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) said participants in the Global Forum organized Tuesday in Marrakech by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD), FAO and EU.
They also called on international financial institutions to leverage private investments to tackle global challenges in food and agriculture.
The Forum has brought together over 200 investors, business leaders, representatives from multilateral development institutions, policymakers and government officials from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
“Investing in high-value chains and quality improvement will further strengthen the competitiveness of Moroccan agribusiness in global markets”, said Claudia Wiedey, EU Ambassador to Morocco.
“Today’s event is an example of the EU’s support to the Moroccan private sector, notably through investment facilities such as those implemented by the EBRD. It equally provides opportunities for additional social and environmental benefits in the agribusiness ecosystem”, stressed the EU diplomat.
“With the 2030 deadline approaching fast, development and international financial institutions must work together with the private sector to find durable solutions to major development challenges such as poverty, climate change and migration”, said EBRD’s President Suma Chakrabarti.
Food and agriculture systems face daunting challenges – from having to produce more with less to feed a growing planet, to shrinking the sector’s carbon footprint and creating decent employment opportunities, especially for youth in developing countries.
“FAO is custodian of 21 of the SDGs’ indicators and can play a key role in helping the private sector to shape and monitor their contributions to these sustainability goals,” said FAO’s Deputy Director-General Daniel Gustafson.
“We are also committed to promoting more enabling environments for private investment in sustainable agrifood systems while also making sure those funds reach where they are needed most,” added Gustafson.
The Forum also made a strong case for greater investment in innovation. Digital technologies are transforming every sector of the global economy, including agriculture. New technologies are improving agricultural productivity, lowering carbon emissions and making better use of the earth’s natural resources. They are also making information more accessible to small-scale producers across the globe.
While the private sector is largely driving the development of such technologies, the public sector can help facilitate their adoption and keep an eye on technologies that have the power to bring positive outcomes, especially to small-scale farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Discussions at the Forum focused on the private sector’s views on investing in emerging markets and managing risks in value chain financing, and on the importance of making agrifood systems greener as well as more inclusive, especially for women and youth