IFADs Report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development Calls for Greater Investment in the Marginal and Degraded Lands

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IFAD's Report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development Calls for Greater Investment in the Marginal and Degraded Lands

Press release number: IFAD 35/02

Rome- Johannesburg, Tuesday, 20 August 2002 - Lennart Båge, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will arrive in Johannesburg on Wednesday 28 August to participate in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). President Båge is scheduled to address the Summit on Friday 30 August 2002. The Conference will also receive IFAD's Report entitled ''The Rural Poor: Survival or a Better Life?''

On the eve of his travel to Johannesburg, President Båge emphasized the need to translate the vision of Rio, the commitments of the Millennium Summit and the resources pledged at Monterrey, Mexico earlier this year into substantive programs that bring sustainable development within the reach of hundreds of millions of poor who, for too long, have been bypassed. President Båge said: ''IFAD has already shown the way towards enabling the rural poor in marginal and low-potential areas to develop not only in an environmentally safe manner but also to contribute substantially to the process of rebuilding the lost natural resource base, including reforestation and bio-diversity conservation.'' He added, ''the vicious cycle of environmental degradation breeding poverty and poverty aggravating environmental degradation is breakable''

IFAD's Report to the Summit calls upon the international community to focus its efforts on interventions in marginal and low-potential agro-ecological zones where the majority of people, being 40% of the world's poorest, can lead efforts to reverse environmental degradation and bio-diversity depletion while realizing a sustainable local economic development and a better future for themselves. The Report warns that the negative linkages between poverty and environmental degradation are likely to worsen in the future, in view of predicted changes to global and regional climates, affecting rainfall patterns and increasing the frequency and severity of droughts, floods and storms.

The key to halting environmental degradation and promote sustainable development is engaging the active participation of poor farmers, herders and other rural groups, especially women. For this they need material support, greater resources and enabling policies. Unfortunately aid to the rural sector has dropped by nearly 50% over the last decade. To achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals, this trend must be reversed.

Note to Correspondents

IFAD's Report to the Summit and the current strategies and investments to render rural development, poverty reduction and sustainable development will be discussed during a

Press Conference byLennart Båge, President of IFAD
onThursday, 29 August 2002 (at 10:00 a.m.)
WSSD Media Center

IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations with the specific mandate of combating hunger and poverty in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Since 1978 IFAD has financed 603 projects in 115 recipient countries and in the West Bank and Gaza for a total commitment of approximately USD 7.3 billion in loans and grants. Through these projects, about 250 million rural people have had a chance to move out of poverty. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available to low-income countries on very favorable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of up to ten years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.