The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ADM Capital foundation (ADMCF), a philanthropic foundation headquartered in Hong Kong, have joined forces in 2020 by signing a Statement of Intent to work together to achieve their shared vision of economic, social and environmental development in Asia.

This joint venture could evolve into several collaborative activities: for example, joint common project and initiative development, resource mobilization and implementation, and taking advantage of both organizations’ complementary expertise, networks and resources.

Collaboration is also set to unfold along two levels, both focused geographically on Asia. The first level focuses on unlocking investments that can transform agricultural commodities supply chains towards more sustainable systems. Delivering on national and international development objectives, including the SDGs, will involve adopting new growth trajectories across many sectors. This is particularly urgent in the land use sector in South East Asia, where emissions from the sector greatly exceed global averages. Pressure on land is also expected to increase given high economic growth rates, changing consumption patterns, a rapidly growing middle class, and the physical impacts of climate change.

Many interventions in the real and financial economy are required to transition to more sustainable land use practices. Although these interventions will be context specific, it is generally accepted that access to finance is a key barrier to scaling capital-intensive sustainable land use practices. Through this collaboration, UNDP and ADM will be looking for opportunities to collaborate on crowding-in investments along the regional supply chains of sustainable agricultural commodities and seeking to address the complexities that prevent supply chain actors from accessing finance through traditional channels.

Such opportunities should feature strong sustainability outcomes involving smallholders and will be supported by Agri-technology innovations to support transparency over sustainability outcomes while also lowering cost curves and risk levels. As a result, for example, UNDP and ADM could collaborate around solutions addressing access to finance for independent smallholder farmers for commodities, including the oil palm sector in Indonesia, an important focus of attention to the UNDP Green Commodities Programme and the Good Growth Partnership, with a view to shifting towards reducing deforestation and generally improving the sustainability of the supply chain.

The second level for the collaboration will be a broader regional agreement that involves other sectors beyond agricultural commodities - including clean energy.

Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support in New York, and Lisa Genasci, Founder and CEO of ADM Capital Foundation (ADMCF), were responsible for signing this Statement of Intent in May 2020.

ADMCF is an innovative philanthropic vehicle to support critical research and impact-driven approaches to promoting environmental conservation in Asia. In programmes across five key sectors -marine environment, water security, air quality, wildlife trade and forestry conservation finance - ADMCF contributes to climate action and biodiversity protection, and has been widely recognized for its work on solutions to some of our most intransigent challenges, including depleted oceans, the nexus between forestry and development, air quality, and public health.

By supporting each other’s activities, the UNDP and ADM Capital Foundation seek to boost and improve the results of their respective efforts to reduce deforestation from commodities supply chains.

 

Lisa Genasci is the Founder and CEO of ADM Capital Foundation (ADMCF), and a founder, with the ADM group, of the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF).