ABU DHABI: The UAE has committed US$50 million to the second phase of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund 2.0 (LLF 2.0), a major multi-donor development initiative that supports the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) member countries in building sustainable pathways to lift millions out of poverty.

LLF 2.0 will deploy the funding to support critical projects in health and infectious diseases, agriculture, and social infrastructure in low—and lower-middle-income IsDB member countries. In addition to targeting root causes of poverty, food insecurity, and poor health outcomes, the investments aim to support 32 member countries in achieving 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The financing will be administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and is in addition to the US$50 million the UAE has contributed to the LLF since its launch in 2016.

The announcement was made today during the AVPN Global Conference 2024 in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the International Humanitarian and Philanthropic Council.

Addressing the commitment, Sheikh Theyab said the funding emphasised the UAE’s commitment to working with partners to uplift countries and communities worldwide.

He said, “Under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we are committed to supporting sustainable development solutions that save and improve lives, drive equitable economic growth, and enable countries to thrive. Through this partnership, the UAE furthers its efforts to alleviate poverty and to support countries in building resilient futures.”

He continued, “This contribution also reflects the UAE’s conviction that the greatest progress comes through like-minded collaboration. With the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of ADFD’s Board of Directors, we look forward to working closely with our partners in the Lives and Livelihoods Fund to advance global development goals.”

Established in 2016, LLF is a joint vision of the Islamic Development Bank, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, the King Salman Relief Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, and the Qatar Fund for Development.

LLF is the largest multilateral fund of its kind in the Middle East, focused on breaking down the barriers that prevent individuals, organisations, and governments in the lowest-income countries from obtaining the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

To achieve this, the Fund utilises an innovative financing model that combines the grants of its donors with the lending capital of IsDB to provide concessional finance for much-needed development projects. This contributes to sustainable economic growth within countries, in turn helping to lift the most vulnerable out of poverty.

Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said, “LLF’s ongoing efforts to promote global well-being and stability in IsDB member countries reflect the UAE leadership’s commitment to supporting efforts to promote global prosperity and equality.

“Through LLF 2.0, we will focus on climate-smart agriculture, primary care, underfunded social services, and infrastructure investment. Our blended finance model increases access to concessional financing to bridge investment gaps in meeting Sustainable Development Goals. LLF 2.0 will also optimise its anti-poverty focus, setting grant portions to enhance stability and transparency.”

The Fund in its first phase invested more than US$1.4 billion across 22 IsDB member countries, enabling over three million smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and livelihoods, providing access to quality healthcare for 12.5 million women and children, and is set to provide over 7.5 million people with better water and sanitation facilities.

LLF 2.0 will emphasise climate adaptation efforts and the empowerment of women and girls recognising that climate change and gender inequality disproportionately impact the most vulnerable.

Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of IsDB, said, “We are deeply grateful for the UAE's longstanding support. Their initial role in establishing the LLF in 2016, combined with their continued generosity, has been instrumental in fostering human development in our poorest member countries.”

Dr. Al Jasser continued, “The LLF provides vital support for vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, empowering them to escape poverty and reach their full potential. This renewed commitment will allow us to mobilise even more resources and build upon the LLF's proven success stories. Together, under this unique partnership, we can make significant strides towards achieving the critical goals of socio-economic development.”

Looking forward, Dr. Al Jasser stressed the power of collaboration. “This renewed pledge strengthens the IsDB's ambitious development plans. By working together, we can overcome rising challenges and achieve the noble goals of socio-economic development,” he said in conclusion.

LLF 2.0 was launched in May 2023. At the launch, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development committed US$150 million to the Fund, while the Gates Foundation announced its commitment to pledge 20 percent of the total granted by donors to the LLF, up to US$100 million.