April 20, 2024

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IWMI and WFP to start new partnership for food, land and water security in fragile communities

Model farmer in Uganda, Serere, 2013. Rein Skullerud / WFP

The World Food Programme (WFP) launched a partnership with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center, at COP28 on December 8. The partnership will support private-sector innovators who are scaling climate-smart solutions across food, land and water systems in fragile and conflict-affected communities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, as part of the CGIAR Initiative on Fragility, Conflict and Migration (FCM). 

The CGIAR FCM Innovation Accelerator will be implemented jointly by the WFP Innovation Accelerator and IWMI. The ultimate purpose of this collaboration is to demonstrate how the WFP Innovation Accelerator and CGIAR can jointly leverage their expertise and resources to rapidly scale innovations that promote the resilience of food, land and water systems and social inclusion in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS), including situations with high migration. Partnerships with the private sector, civil society, development partners and research partners will be fostered to encourage the long-term sustainability of innovations. The accelerator will develop collective experience and knowledge in leveraging private sector resources in the design and scaling of innovations in FCAS and build the skills of local innovators. 

The objective of the program will be to accelerate eight innovations that can deliver tangible impact to strengthen the resilience of communities in FCAS through the provision of financial, technical, business and investment readiness coaching, as well as marketing skills.  


WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives. Building on WFP’s legacy of innovation, the WFP Innovation Accelerator was launched in 2015 to identify, support and scale high-potential solutions to reach zero hunger and address the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by connecting them with WFP’s global network in over 120 countries and territories. The WFP Innovation Accelerator will oversee the operational execution of the FCM Innovation Accelerator Program, leveraging its existing best practices, processes and track record of scaling ventures, in-house grant management, curriculum design and event delivery expertise. 

“This partnership shows WFP and CGIAR’s commitment to an innovative, sustainable future. WFP’s climate action prioritizes supporting vulnerable communities in fragile areas.  Through our joint ‘Fragility, Conflict and Migration Programme’ with CGIAR, we are looking forward to enabling climate-affected communities to scale their solutions and become climate-resilient” said Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of WFP Innovation Accelerator.  

Meanwhile, the CGIAR — as the world’s largest publicly-funded group of agrifood systems research centers — possesses a vast network of expertise, resources, research findings, and capacity. CGIAR will contribute with the definition of challenge areas via a market assessment, coordinate partner network participation, contribute to the selection of teams, and avail technical CGIAR scientists to support selected innovations to generate empirical research which will be incorporated into one results report per team. 

A science-based methodology has been developed and validated under the World Bank-funded project called ‘Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa’ (AICCRA). Its agribusiness acceleration models have proven to be highly successful in supporting innovation scaling as well as agribusiness growth, so much so that IWMI has adapted the model for fragile and conflict-affected settings, now being implemented through the Fragility, Conflict and Migration Innovation Accelerator.  


The FCM Innovation Accelerator will issue a series of calls for applications, which will be launched in 2024 and 2025. The first call will focus on four countries in Africa and the Middle East Jordan, Nigeria and Yemen. Subsequent calls will focus on Asia and South America. Innovations will focus on water, risk and resilience, anticipatory action, refugee and host communities; migration, mobility and displacement, digital solutions; and crop production, agricultural value and supply chains, sustainable intensification, livestock, food markets.

“So far, the market potential for private sector innovation to increase resilience and catalyze sustainable development in fragile and conflict-affected settings has remained widely untapped,” said Hauke Dahl, Scaling Lead for East and Southern Africa at IWMI. “Our new partnership intends to spotlight these agents of change and to become a benchmark for sustainable development in the humanitarian, development, peace nexus.” 

In addition to joining hands to elevate the voices of affected humanity, Sandra Ruckstuhl, Senior Researcher at IWMI and FCM Co-Lead, asserted the need to showcase solutions at COP28 from development finance, agricultural research, and the humanitarian sector to catalyze investments into African food, land, and water systems. She added that their collaborative session will also strive to address systemic issues related to access to finance for green entrepreneurship in Africa.


The World Food Programme (WFPis the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives. WFP delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change. WFP supports these communities by improving nutrition and building pathways to peace, sustainability, and prosperity. In 2021, WFP reached 128.2 million people with lifesaving and resilience-building programmes.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI): IWMI is an international, research-for-development organization that works with governments, civil society and the private sector to solve water problems in developing countries and scale up solutions. Through partnership, IWMI combines research on the sustainable use of water and land resources, knowledge services and products with capacity strengthening, dialogue and policy analysis to support implementation of water management solutions for agriculture, ecosystems, climate change and inclusive economic growth. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, IWMI is a CGIAR Research Center with offices in 15 countries and a global network of scientists operating in more than 55 countries.

The CGIAR Initiative on Fragility, Conflict and Migration addresses challenges to livelihood, food, and climate security faced by some of the most vulnerable populations worldwide. The Initiative focuses on building climate resilience, promoting gender equity, and fostering social inclusion.

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