Partners in development key to drive change : Chinese Vice Premier, Italian Economy and Finance Minister to address IFAD annual meeting

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Partners in development key to drive change : Chinese Vice Premier, Italian Economy and Finance Minister to address IFAD annual meeting

Election of IFAD President on agenda

Rome, 11 February 2013 – Against the backdrop of a world confronted with unprecedented challenges of food insecurity, volatile food prices, climate change and financial instability, representatives of 169 Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will meet in Rome on 13-14 February for the 36th session of its Governing Council. The new partnerships required to respond to the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries is the theme of the annual meeting. The Governing Council is the highest decision making body of IFAD.

One of the key points to be deliberated at the meeting is how to build the coalitions for scaling up. IFAD is recognized as a leader in developing solutions to food insecurity and rural poverty and has a distinct convening capacity. Since its establishment, IFAD has been an example of a broad development partnership, with a unique combination of members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) playing an active role in the Fund's governance. Both developed and developing countries support and benefit from the work of the Fund. IFAD also brokers partnerships between development actors – particularly among governments, farmers' organizations and private-sector players, and for South-South cooperation.

This year's meeting will be addressed by leaders and development planners from around the world, including Hui Liangyu, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, and Vittorio Grilli, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic. The objective, however, is to engage the entire developing world community in squarely addressing the growth issues of the day.

IFAD aims to reach 90 million people by 2015, moving 80 million out of poverty. To achieve this, dynamic partnerships with governments and donors will be key to scale up the most innovative and effective projects and programmes. Delegates will explore how partnerships – from the field to the boardroom – can achieve IFAD's core objectives, that of enabling poor rural people to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes and strengthen their resilience. Among others, these discussions will be led by Ingmar Streese, Director Global Programs and Partnerships, Mars Incorporated, James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Equity Bank in Kenya and 2012 Forbes Magazine African of the year, who will share their experiences on how partnerships can lead to success.

Scaling up successes with partners is a key element of the global development agenda. During the 2011 consultation on replenishment of IFAD's resources, Member States underlined that there can be no global answer to food insecurity that does not have as one of its pillars the strengthening of the small rural producers who provide up to 80 per cent of the food in the developing world. They also acknowledged that IFAD has a unique experience and capability in ensuring this inclusion, also recognizing that IFAD's job is not only to use its own resources well but also play a leading role in helping other partners use their resources effectively. Currently for every dollar that IFAD invests in rural development, donors and developing country governments provide US$1.50. From now until 2015, the target is $1.60 for every dollar – a clear signal of confidence in the Fund by its Member States.

Throughout 2012, IFAD relentlessly advocated for smallholder farmers at global policy fora. Today, the role of smallholder farmers in economic growth and food security is widely recognized including at G8 and G20 discussions. Policy makers attending the Rio+20 conference, the African Green Revolution Forum, Grow Africa, and the World Economic Forum heard from IFAD on the issues affecting poor rural people. IFAD will continue to be part of the global dialogue including the post-2015 development agenda.

As a global player, IFAD's operations in 2012 reached more than $1 billion in new loans and grants as compared to $556 million in 2007. In response to the challenges of climate change, IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme became effective, providing a direct entry point for climate and environmental finance to reach smallholders. Overcoming gender inequalities and empowering rural women is a cornerstone of IFAD's work. A new policy on gender equality and women's empowerment was put in place as part of the Fund's ambitious strategic plans for reducing rural poverty.

Appointment of IFAD President

The Governing Council will appoint the President of IFAD for a four year term -2013-2017. Kanayo F. Nwanze, is concluding his first term as President of IFAD and is eligible to serve another four year term.

Notes to Editors:

Throughout 2012, IFAD continued to seek innovative solutions to rural poverty, promoting public-private partnerships, boosting farmers' organizations, helping create off-farm enterprises, ensuring technology and knowledge are shared, and increasing value chain development for poor small farmers. At the end of 2012, IFAD was financing 256 ongoing programmes and projects in 97 countries for a total value of US$12.1 billion.

Examples of IFAD work in 2012

  • Two IFAD-supported programmes in Burkina Faso focus on managing soil fertility in areas suffering from increasing drought and erratic rains. Improvements in indigenous soil and water conservation techniques have restored agricultural fertility, increasing millet and sorghum yields by up to 50 per cent. This has also enabled farm households to concentrate on new income-generating commodities such as livestock, cowpea and non-wood forest products.
  • An IFAD-funded project supporting markets in Sierra Sur, Peru, entered its second phase in 2012. Initial reports from the first phase indicate increases in annual incomes of about 150 per cent, with a 40 per cent reduction in chronic malnutrition for project participants. The project also helped some 9,000 women open savings accounts. They now have combined savings of more than $1 million.
  • In Viet Nam, a project in Ha Giang raised rice productivity from 2 to 5 tons per hectare, while maize increased from slightly more than 1 ton to over 3 tons per hectare. The percentage of households suffering from food insecurity decreased from 49 per cent in 2006 to 18 per cent in 2011.
  • An IFAD-supported community resource management project in Al Dhala Governorate, Yemen has been providing vocational training for young people since 2008. Following intensive training as mechanics, carpenters, electricians, metalworkers, plumbers or mobile phone technicians, 50-80 per cent of the participants found work in their chosen field. Annual demand for this training has quintupled, from about 50 trainees in 2008 to 260 in 2012.

Press release No.: IFAD/04/2013

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-interest loans 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 169 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).