Finding a Joint Answer to COVID-19

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development sets up a task force

Policymakers under pressure to make quick decisions

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development has established a task force on coordinated donor response to the pandemic and launched a new thematic page on its website.

As the lockdowns continue worldwide and impacts of the pandemic keep unfolding, policymakers get under pressure to make quick decisions and also have to justify their support to agriculture and 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.

Setting a new focus on ​​the COVID-19 response

In March the Platform added to the thematic working groups on Agenda 2030/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, 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, gaining 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. Networking with other COVID-19 response platforms and websites is being supported in order not only to inform the members, but also to achieve greater effectiveness through new alliances.

In April, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development hosted a virtual informal dialogue with 12 donor organisations and the CGIAR that aimed to promote an exchange on how to better coordinate and streamline information gathering on COVID -19 implications on 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 to carry out a review of existing analytical work and promote coordinated efforts. Providing policymakers with easier access to the right information in a suitable format remains the key priority. There was also consensus to keep the discussion ongoing and 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 another one country deep dives and another one on scalable actions. The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development will continue to support such dialogues now and post-Covid-19.

About the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

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 Platform’s core activities are networking, knowledge exchange and advocacy for rural development. It was launched in 2003 on 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 GIZ with its implementation. In July 2019, per decision of the Board, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a long-standing Platform member, took over the secretarial responsibilities from GIZ. The

Platform currently has three Co-Chairs: David Hegwood (USAID), Paul van de Logt (The Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Corad Rein (European Commission). BMZ is actively collaborating in the Platform’s Board. GIZ continues to be strongly engaged in various of the Platform’s Thematic Working Groups.


Oliver Hanschke,
Jörg Lohmann,
Sylvia Otieno,