Climate change impacts have increased pressure on already stressed rural communities, food production and ecosystems, exacerbating poverty and food insecurity. Under these conditions, smallholders must sustainably meet the demands of an ever-growing global population.
The Just Rural Transition (JRT) was launched at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2019. It works with developing countries, including Colombia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Togo and Zambia, to promote eco-friendly and productive agricultural practices that will enhance the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, including smallholder farmers and fishers.
JRT focuses on the transformative shift to climate resilient and sustainable food production which will feed the 10 billion people who are predicted to be living on earth by 2050.
Countries and organizations supporting the initiative are taking concrete action, including a Policy Action Coalition that is implementing food and agriculture policy reforms in line with the JRT vision. In addition, Investment Partnerships are identifying innovative financing models and strategies to shift capital flows into climate resilient and sustainable food and land use systems that benefit people, economies, and the future of our planet.
A Champions network, comprising representatives from companies, farmer organizations, governments and civil society, is providing advisory support and guidance on the direction and activities of the JRT initiative.
By 2050 there will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth, according to the World Resources Institute. That is 3 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010.
But the quantity of food produced today falls significantly short of that needed to feed every person in 2050. Scaling up food production needs to be sustainable and fair to avoid the destruction of the ecosystems we depend on, while also enabling increased resilience and better outcomes, especially for communities with fewer resources.
"We have ten years to change the way we produce food and use natural resources, if we are to feed a growing global population"
Eight countries, one state government, and over 45 organizations across the private and public sector have endorsed the JRT vision. The strategy aims to transform the way in which we produce and consume food and use land and natural resources, helping rural areas prepare for a shift towards climate resilient and sustainable food production, land use and ecosystems.
These initiatives will: enhance resilient livelihoods and create jobs in the rural economy; encourage sustainable food production; promote good stewardship of land, forests, oceans and the protection and restoration of critical ecosystems; and reward people for the actions they take to protect the environment.
Realizing the vision will require ambitious and coordinated action from a wide range of organizations. Existing coalitions and initiatives will enable rapid expansion and implementation, offering support to governments, supply chain companies and financial services companies, working to deliver the shift.
New investment and revenue models and partnerships involving donors, development finance institutions, climate funds, commercial banks, institutional investors, informal capital providers, corporate value-chain actors and food producers and retailers will be needed to finance this transformation. Creating these partnerships will be a key focus, alongside providing support to developing countries to build technical and human capacity and designing and implementing reforms.
The JRT initiative is backed by $12 million funding from the UK government and is endorsed by 11 corporate partners; Barry Callebaut, ECOM Agrotrade Limited, Javara, Mars Incorporated, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, SYSTEMIQ, The Touton Group, Unilever, Yara International and Zurich International.
Members and Partners involved in the Platform for Shaping the Future of Global Public Goods are encouraged to engage with the Just Rural Transition.
Governments, multilateral agencies, companies, philanthropic organizations, civil society organizations, local and indigenous communities and representative organizations, farmers’ and fishers’ unions and research organizations are invited to endorse the JRT Vision Statement.