#UN; UNEP; #Agriculture; #Forests, #AGRI3; #IDH; #FMO; #Fount; #CimateChange
Davos, Jan 27 (Canadian-Media): The USD 1 billion sustainable agriculture and forestry initiative “AGRI3” has been strengthened by two new cornerstone investors, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DMFA) and Robobank, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)'s news release said last week.
Agriculture and forestry. Image credit: Facebook
At the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23, the DMFA announced that it will become an anchor public investor in the AGRI3 Fund by contributing USD 40 million – an amount matched by Rabobank, a cooperative bank with agricultural roots that has grown to become an international financial services provider. Together these contributions will mobilize commercial finance, which can be used to finance sustainable agriculture and accelerate forest protection.
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment and provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
Rabobank Group has a strong presence in the world’s major food & agriculture countries. As such, we are committed to our motto “Growing a better world together”: improve access to food, promote healthy nutrition and enhance the stability of the food industry.
“AGRI3 and similar land use facilities, catalyzed with the support of UNEP, are the cornerstone of the financial architecture for deforestation-free and nature-positive agriculture,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “We are very grateful to the Dutch government for their crucial contribution to the AGRI3 Fund. It is time for banks, investors, governments and agribusinesses to join institutions like Rabobank in financing sustainable food and forestry value chains, to save the climate, protect biodiversity, and ensure sustainable development.”
Forests are key to mitigating climate change
A growing demand for food is placing land and forests under tremendous strain. Seven million hectares of tropical forests disappear annually and emissions related to agriculture and tropical forest loss contribute 24 per cent to total global greenhouse gas emissions: more than cars and planes combined.
The AGRI3 Fund was created by UN Environment Programme and Rabobank, together with partner the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) -- promoting sustainable agriculture and forest protection through its Landscapes program -- and supported by FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank and investor, to mitigate climate change.
HE Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation: “The AGRI3 Fund provides a unique opportunity to contribute to forest protection and sustainable agriculture at scale, while also helping to transform the financial sector’s attitude towards sustainable investments.”
The AGRI3 Fund will be a role model for banks and other financial institutions and is open for other banks and investors to join. The UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda urgently requires sustainable agriculture initiatives at scale. The Dutch government grant will help unlock further resources from impact investors and financiers. Farmers and food producers who would not normally have access to these resources now have an alternative to finance their investments in sustainable food production.
Start of the AGRI3 Fund
Now that the Dutch government has approved the USD 40 million grant, the AGRI3 Fund will be up and running in the first half of 2020. Mirova Natural Capital, FOUNT -- an impact investment firm based in Amsterdam offering fund and investment management services for various sectors including agriculture -- and Cardano Development -- which empowers frontier financial markets with capital and create innovative and scalable solutions -- will act as investment advisors.
The fund will be open to participation by commercial banks aiming at sustainable agriculture and forest conservation. Linked to the fund, a dedicated Technical Assistance facility will be established, which will be managed by IDH. The AGRI3 TA facility will provide support to help potential projects become investment ready. It will also strengthen impact tracking and knowledge sharing from the AGRI3 Fund and its investees to spur growth of sustainable land use investments globally.