As the lockdowns continue worldwide and impacts of COVID-19 keep unfolding, policymakers have not only been put under pressure to make quick decisions, but also to justify their support to agriculture as well as other sectors from an emergency perspective. To act responsibly under the pressure of urgency, donor agencies are required to gain access to the best data available, including country-level and regional impacts, and modelling of likely impacts of COVID-19 on food and agriculture as quickly as possible.
Since March 2020, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development has set a new focus in the area of COVID-19 response, adding to the thematic working groups on Agenda2030/SDG2 Roadmap, Land Governance and Rural Youth and other themes, which the Platform is well known for. Platform members have established a task force on coordinated donor response to COVID-19, which aims at identifying ongoing actions of members and coordinating their regional and thematic approaches.
In addition, in order to support knowledge exchange and dialogue between the members on current activities in response to COVID-19 and to facilitate coordination of activities and programming, a new COVID-19 theme platform has been established on the Global Donor Platform’s website, reaching over 2 000 unique viewers every month.
The COVID-19 Task Force of the Global Donor Platform also holds regular virtual conference calls, to which, in addition to all members, other global players such as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), are invited. Support to networking with other COVID-19 response platforms and websites aims not just to inform the members, but also to achieve greater effectiveness through new alliances.
On 29 April 2020, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development hosted a virtual informal dialogue with 12 donor organisations and CGIAR to stimulate exchange on how to better coordinate and streamline information gathering on the implications of COVID -19 for agriculture and food security. There was consensus that pressure remains high on how to get actionable policy advice on time. Due to the speed in which this crisis unfolds, all donors are facing the risk that programs take too long to be implemented and yield results, due to the scarcity and non-timeliness of available information.
One consequence is that key policy decisions are missed out. It was noted that although there is a lot of evidence coming from previous crises, what can be used remains unclear, because of the level of comparability.
Partners expressed interest in carrying out a review of existing analytical work and intensifying coordinated efforts. Providing policymakers with easier access to the right information in a suitable format remains the key priority. Consensus also reigned on keeping the discussion going and the need to create connections between this crisis and any other crises that might emerge or are already there, e.g. the climate crisis.
The virtual dialogue was recently followed by one on country deep dives and another on scalable actions. The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development will continue to support such dialogues now and post-COVID-19.
The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development is a network of 40 bilateral and multilateral donors, international financing institutions, intergovernmental organisations, foundations, and development agencies.
The Global Donor Platform’s core activities are networking, knowledge exchange and advocacy for rural development. The Platform was launched in 2003 on the initiative of the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ hosted the Platform’s secretariat for the past 17 years and commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with its implementation.
In July 2019, per decision by the Board, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a long-standing Platform member, took over the secretarial responsibilities from GIZ.
BMZ is actively collaborating in the Platform’s Board. As in previous years, GIZ continues to be strongly engaged in various Thematic Working Groups of the Platform.
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Oliver Hanschke, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Bonn-Eschborn, Germany
The Gobal Donor Platform’s task force on COVID-19