Rome, 14 February 2013 – The 36th Governing Council, the annual meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), ended today with a Rome-based United Nations agency award for outstanding collaboration and a call from leaders to build stronger coalitions to scale up development for rural communities.
“We know that we are stronger and more effective when we work in partnerships,” emphasized Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD President, in his closing remarks. “This is particularly true for poor farmers in developing countries. This is why IFAD encourages smallholders and other poor rural people to work in partnership with each other and with other entities.”
The theme of strengthening partnerships was predominant in deliberations during the Governing Council. Nwanze, with José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme, presented the first Rome-based agency Award of Excellence, recognizing the outstanding collaboration among the country team in Mozambique. The work of the staff of the three agencies with the government focused on improving production quality and reducing post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers.
José António Gaspar, Minister of Agriculture, Mozambique, praised the teamwork and said that “each agency has complemented another. I would like to congratulate them for the award,” he added. “Actually, we also on the government side feel that we are a part of this award because we did the work together.”
This year also marked the launch of the Governors’ Round Table, a high-level event that serves as a forum for representatives of IFAD’s Member States to exchange experiences and share insights on strategic issues impacting smallholder farmers. This year’s session, Partnerships for Financing Agricultural and Rural Development, looked at how to build and finance coalitions that can best support smallholder farmers and their role in transforming agricultural systems and rural economies to achieve greater prosperity, sustainability and equity. Participants reflected upon the critical role of IFAD in brokering sustainable, productive, profitable and equitable partnerships that centre upon smallholder interests and are a means of catalysing more effective investment in agriculture.
“IFAD is increasing trust through fostering dialogue, promoting transparency, and by helping ensure accountability. It can play the role of neutral arbiter, especially when things go wrong," said Michael Gort, Director for the UN, the Commonwealth and Francophonie Division, Canadian International Development Agency.
The Governing Council approved the applications for membership of the Republic of Nauru, Tuvalu and the Republic of Vanuatu. These Pacific Island countries are home to diverse groups of indigenous peoples and cultures, and experience a number of common development challenges due to their geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, and the consequences of global climate change.
In his statement Kalvau Moli, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity of Vanuatu, said that the “onslaught of climate change and its effects on atoll agriculture is a real threat that we cannot ignore in our future plans and strategies.” The membership of the three countries takes effect immediately, bringing the total number of IFAD Member States to 172.
Nwanze welcomed the new members and said that their “concerns about climate change, and its impact on smallholder agriculture, are concerns we all share. We will work with you, looking for solutions to the specific challenges you face, which also threaten livelihoods in too many of our Member States.”
Press release No.: IFAD/10/2013
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$14.8 billion in grants and low-interestloans to developing countries through projects empowering over 400 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD).