IFAD Asset Request Portlet

ناشر الأصول

Statement by President Lennart Båge

Signature of Memorandum of Understanding by the Government of Italy, Inter-American Development Bank and IFAD

Milan, 21 March 2003

President Iglesias,
Under-Secretary of State Baccini,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am aware that you have had a long and fruitful day of discussions regarding key challenges and new approaches related to rural development in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and we are now prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between IADB, the Government of Italy and IFAD.

Let me put this in context from an IFAD perspective.

Over the past 20 plus years we have funded some 600 programmes and projects, with a total value of over 20 billion US Dollars, reaching some 200 million people. Over 100 of these programmes have been in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Yet there is no place for complacency. Poverty, and not least rural poverty, is still with us.

There has been much discussion about which are the correct figures in Latin America. There has been no question of the fact that poverty has not gone down. On the contrary, we see increases in many parts of the region.

We see that while east Asia has had a 6% growth over the past decades, and China alone has lifted over 150 million rural people out of poverty, rural poverty, inequities and the plight of the indigenous communities have not eased in Latin America.

Over the last 10-15 years, attention and funding for rural development and agriculture had waned and declined. Practically all governments, bilateral donors and international institutions have decreased their allocations for rural development – in many cases this has more than halved.

But now we have the opportunity of a second chance. There are many reasons for this. The MDGs have focused on poverty and the halving of poverty and hunger by the year 2015. Since the bulk of the poor in many countries are living in rural areas, depending upon agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods, you can not reach the MDGs if you don’t engage more in rural development.

Monterrey added the success of the commitment for greater resources for development.

We have seen it translate into more policy interest, more allocations for rural development in many donor budgets, and also an increase in the funding of IFAD.

The theme for more and more meetings is Rural Development. It is the theme for this year’s High-Level Ministerial segment of the ECOSOC, and it is a component in the planning of the G-8 Summit.

Against this background of renewed interest we want to stress the need for:

  • Sharing lessons learned
  • Strengthening our system for knowledge sharing
  • Strengthening our policy dialogue, and
  • Building stronger partnerships with governments, international development organizations, the private sector and civil society.

The Memorandum of Understanding that we are to sign today is an expression of such a partnership. We already team up on one out of every five projects in Latin America, and I hope others will join this partnership for rural development and rural poverty reduction.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to the strong and committed interest to do more in this vital area that President Iglesias and the Italian Government have shown, and not least by the Under-Secretary of State for Latin America, Mario Baccini.