Assessment of UNCDF contribution to food security and identification of emerging needs and benchmark for future programming

New Home, TEXAS | 4 days | Deadline: 30 Sep 2020

Job Summary

New Home

Job Description

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” financing models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. UNCDF pursues innovative financing solutions through: (1) financial inclusion, which expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the local economy, while also providing differentiated products for women and men so they can climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; (2) local development finance, which shows how fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion, women’s economic empowerment, climate adaptation, and sustainable development; and (3) a least developed countries investment platform that deploys a tailored set of financial instruments to a growing pipeline of impactful projects in the “missing middle.’’

UNCDF’s Local Development Finance Practice is a Centre of Excellence that helps LDCs to address challenges to local development, to allow fiscal resources and domestic capital markets to invest in local economies that can attract investment finance for catalytic infrastructure projects with high impact in critical themes such as women’s economic empowerment, climate change, clean energy and food security. The UNCDF Center of Excellence supports transformative capital investment through local governments and local banks in the least developed countries by designing, piloting and testing innovative financing mechanisms and policies in the public and private sectors.

In this context, UNCDF developed, in 2015, a global food security (Finance For Food-F4F) program based on its long standing experience in implementing local development programs and projects, with strong FNS components  in Benin, Mali and  Niger..

Finance for Food (F4F)’s underpinning assumption is that, to embrace emerging rural development policy challenges and food insecurity issues faced by many LDCs, innovative governance and investment mechanisms must be fostered. Such new policy instruments should aim to promote territorial and place-based focused approaches able to identify and capitalize on local assets and knowledge, and to enhance vertical/horizontal coordination and multi-stakeholder partnerships between public, private and non-profit sectors. In this view, UNCDF’s F4F programme was conceived as an innovative approach to develop sub-national mechanisms that help Local Governments to catalyze public and public-private investments to fill missing links in the Local Food Systems (LFS), with the ultimate development goal of improving FNS of vulnerable communities in the LDCs. F4F built on UNCDF experience of decades.

F4F applies a territorial framework for intervention. LFS are taken as unite of analysis and intervention to promote sustainable local economic development and address the key determinants of food insecurity and malnutrition at a local level. The concept of LFS is thus used as comprehensive framework to support effective multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral interventions where LGs are ideally placed to adopt territorially-integrated approaches to identify, diagnose, prioritize and effectively support FNS interventions.

F4F uses the Local Finance Initiative (LFI) methodology to identify and support private initiatives that have a transformative impact on food security in Tanzania and Uganda. LFI provides project development and financing support in the form of seed capital, credit enhancements and technical expertise to local economic infrastructure projects that are otherwise un-bankable are de-risked and taken to an investment ready stage where they are prepared to attract equity investors and access commercial capital.

To complement the LFI, UNCDF has developed, in consistence with its Strategic Framework, the Municipal Investment Financing (MIF) Program with the objective to increase the capacity of local governments and other sub-sovereign entities to address key urbanization challenges through access to sustainable sources of capital financing. This approach to municipal financing is critical to create opportunities for collaboration with the private sector and transitioning local governments from traditional pure grant funding to a mix of public and private sources. In this perspective UNCDF developed and put in place an International Municipal Investment Fund (IMIF). The Fund is proposed to fund investments identified by local governments or local government supported entities and to provide financing to a pipeline of high-impact local government investment opportunities including those related to agriculture and food security and other municipal social services.

In line with its Theory of Change, in support of a recent re-orientation of the Local Development Finance Practice (LDFP) Area under the 2018 – 2021 Strategic Framework and following the outcome of the LDFP 2020 Annual Planning and Investment Plan Meeting in Istanbul, UNCDF is seeking to commission an external assessment of the relevance of its F4F program and identify the benchmark of new niche and perspective to address challenges related to agriculture and food security in the urban and rural areas in the LDCs and beyond.