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Sixty per cent of the developing world’s population is currently under the age of 25 and the majority of these young people are in rural areas. Given the emerging challenges and opportunities faced by young people in rural areas, both within agriculture and in the rural non-farm economy, the potential returns of investments in young rural people are significant; equally, the consequences of not taking advantage of this demographic transition could be dire. In recent years, a number of IFAD projects have shown positive results in creating livelihoods for young rural women and men, though there is a need to learn from these successes and develop systematic approaches to scale up youth programs.

To inform discussions on this topic, Felicity Proctor, international development consultant and co-author of Small-scale farming and youth in an era of rapid rural change will make a presentation on “Why the debate on small-scale farming and youth matters today?” Following this, Rosemary Vargas-Lundius, Senior Research Coordinator, SSD, and David Suttie, Youth Consultant (SSD) will present the United Nations’ System Wide Action Plan (SWAP) on Youth and how IFAD is engaging with the UN SWAP to promote decent and productive employment of young people in rural areas.