14-15 February 2019: Exploring the link between rural innovation and entrepreneurship at IFAD's Annual Meeting

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14-15 February 2019: Exploring the link between rural innovation and entrepreneurship at IFAD's Annual Meeting

Pope Francis to give keynote address

Mark Your Calendar

Rome, 22 January 2019 – Pope Francis will address heads-of-state, government ministers, and policy and development leaders during the opening ceremony of the 42nd annual Governing Council meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 14-15 February 2019 in Rome.

The Pope joins other notable speakers, including Gilbert F. Houngbo, the President of IFAD, Danilo Medina Sánchez, the President of the Dominican Republic, Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Special events, panels and interactive sessions will also take place during IFAD's annual meeting. Notable personalities taking the stage include:

  • Midori, world-renowned violinist and UN Messenger of Peace
  • Sherrie Silver, actress, dancer and choreographer
  • Greta Thunberg, 15-year-old Swedish climate activist 
  • Carlo Cracco, Italian celebrity chef

The theme of this year's Governing Council -- "Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship" -- will explore how investing in technology, innovation and small enterprise development can address the challenges of poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.

Special press events will be announced.

Both days will be webcast.

This year, the IFAD Governing Council meeting and media accreditation will take place at FAO headquarters in Rome, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla. Deadline to request accreditation is 17.00 on 12 February 2019. Accreditation to be specified for 14/02, or 15/02 or both days.

Please send:

  • a copy of a valid press card or letter of assignment on company stationery;
  • a copy of a valid ID (passport, identity card);
  • email to FAO-Newsroom@fao.org and include "Press Accreditation" in the subject line.

Please have all ID materials with you to gain access to FAO premises.

For more information about the accreditation process:

FAO media office, (+39) 06 570 53625, FAO-Newsroom@fao.org

For further information on IFAD’s work, visit the website www.ifad.org.


IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

Media contact

Image of Jessica Thomas

Jessica Thomas

Communication Associate, Communication Division