IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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Message of the Secretary-General to the 30th session of IFAD's Governing Council

I am delighted to send, for the first time since taking office as Secretary-General, my best wishes to the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

I know you are as eager as I am to see better progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  Considerable advances have been made since the Goals were articulated seven years ago, for example on official development assistance and debt relief.  But progress has been uneven.  Many countries are not on track to meet many of the goals.  And the obstacles ahead are formidable: the global economy remains an uneven playing field, and the international system is flawed and unfair in crucial areas such as trade, finance, technology transfer and migration.

If we are to achieve the Goals by the agreed target date of 2015, we have to see concerted action in 2007.  At the same time, we need to do much more to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to which all nations are vulnerable but which will inflict its greatest damage on the poor.  And we will need to strengthen the capacity of countries everywhere to confront HIV/AIDS, avian flu and other huge challenges in health.

If the United Nations system is to do its part in this work, we must keep up the momentum for reform, and continue building a UN system that is coherent, effective and efficient.  Late last year, the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence made an important contribution to our efforts to "deliver as one", and I expect to report further on this matter in the coming months.

IFAD has an important role to play.  It is a unique and imaginative partnership between OPEC, OECD and developing countries.  IFAD-supported projects not only contribute directly to reducing poverty in rural areas -- where three quarters of the world's poorest people live -- but also generate lessons for all involved in the global effort to end poverty and hunger.  Your deliberations in Rome can give new impetus to this vital work, and it is in a spirit of real partnership that I offer you my best wishes for a productive session.

Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General

14 February 2007