IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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President's speeches

Mr Chairman,
Mr President of IFAD,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Governors and Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


On behalf of my government and the Portuguese delegation here today, I would like to welcome IFAD's Council of Governors to its 25th session and express the desire that the work schedule proceed in the best possible manner. We should always bear in mind that it is becoming increasingly necessary to intensify and concentrate efforts to more effectively help combat rural hunger and poverty in the world.

I would also like to greet IFAD's new President, Mr Lennart Båge, to whom we extend our heartfelt congratulations and encouragement in successfully accomplishing the difficult, complex mission of leading IFAD over the years to come, by asserting his irreplaceable role in combating poverty and hunger throughout the most diverse regions of the globe, particularly in the rural areas of the African continent, where extremely disturbing, totally unacceptable human development indicators continue to exist.

In fact, when we recall that some 1.2 thousand million people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than one USD a day, and roughly three quarters of the poor of the world continue to work and live in the rural zones, we cannot help but rethink strategies and adjust the means to increase effectiveness in combating such intolerable injustices in the world of today.

In this setting I feel it is worth stressing that the Member States of the United Nations, in their Millennium Declaration, adopted in September 2000, decided that the aim would be to "reduce by half the number of poor in the world living on less than one US dollar per day, besides the proportion of hunger-stricken persons, before 2015".

Following the events of 11 September and, more recently, the crisis in Argentina, what is more important is to make stronger efforts to consolidate commitments to unremittingly combat hunger and poverty throughout the world.

On the whole, available indicators point to a significant worsening of these phenomena in the developing countries. Not only through its mandate, but also by virtue of its new guidance, IFAD may, and, I am sure, will play a fundamental role in setting up new partnerships among the Member States of the OECD, OPEC and remaining states, so as to become more effective in combating poverty and hunger in the world.

My country has resolutely engaged itself in this combat, and figures on different fronts involving work and international co-operation. This commitment is mirrored in its participation in international initiatives and organisations, at bilateral as well as multilateral level.

In fact, Portugal has pursued its co-operation policy with the less developed countries, namely the Portuguese-speaking countries and territories. Its main goal has been to stimulate economic growth, reduce poverty and promote sustainable management of natural resources.

We are present in different multilateral organisations, of which IFAD is one. This effort to co-operate in the interests of development extends to these organisations, and the aim is to further sustained development in the most underprivileged rural zones, in this way helping to assist in investing a negative trend which often encourages cycles of successive degradation of the living conditions of the populations concerned.

We are determined to work more earnestly, more closely and more diligently with IFAD, to help to effectively fulfil the objectives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

In this way, our country will continue its commitment to actively participate in the 6th Replenishment of IFAD's Resources, so as to both rigorously and effectively engage in all programmes and projects concerned with combating poverty that may produce visible results within an acceptable time limit.

Besides this, today we can announce that the Trust Fund, which materialised following the negotiation that took place in May of last year with IFAD is now active. Its aim is to make available supplementary financial resources to ensure close effective collaboration regarding projects of mutual interest.

For this reason, it is with justified expectation that we await the success of this initiative, besides the fact that shortly conditions will be reinforced so as to intensify institutional relations and active co-operation on a basis of mutual understanding.

Following the signing of the Trust Fund with IFAD, Portugal, along with IFAD, participated in the first exploratory mission to Guinea-Bissau. The purpose of this mission was not only to strengthen institutional relations but, above all, to outline a more active co-operation strategy.

May I now remind this Assembly once more of the Timor Lorosae independence process, which will actually take place this year, and of the consequent need to co-ordinate efforts to effectively support the rebuilding of this country.

Today we live in a time when the dominant feature of the world economy's evolution is the speeding up of the globalisation movement, which naturally opens up new opportunities, but also contains important challenges.

One of these challenges, probably the main one, will, undoubtedly, consist in a greater degree of fairness in the distribution of income and in the significant reduction in the levels of incidence of phenomena such as hunger, poverty and social exclusion in many regions of the world. Special reference should be made to Sub-Saharan Africa, whose indicators are truly alarming and intolerable.

One should therefore take a close look at the globalisation phenomenon. The right conditions should be forged to enable society to share the fruits of globalisation, which should not, however, lead to those grievous consequences for a development process which claims to be just and interdependent.

With this perspective in mind, emphasis should be given to the important role of co-operation for development, desirably based on a matrix of broadened, responsible partnerships so as to obtain more visible results and put available resources to good use.

From this standpoint, one must foster a better knowledge and exchange among the different co-operation and development oriented national organisations, with a view to more intense, operative interaction with IFAD, so as to also achieve increased effectiveness in the Programmes to Combat Rural Poverty.

Finally, I would like to express our deepest and warmest gratitude to IFAD and all its collaborators for the invaluable dedication and wisdom they have displayed in supporting full, effective implementation of IFAD's mission. Their considerable support has largely contributed to the international prestige and recognition of this United Nations institution.

Many thanks for your attention.

The Governor for Portugal

Carlos Manuel Inácio Figueiredo