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Statement by Bangladesh to the 24th Session of IFAD's Governing Council

Madam Chairman,
Mr. President,
Distinguished Governors,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to take the floor on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and make this statement in the twenty-fourth Session of the IFAD’s Governing Council.

My country’s commitment to IFAD and its activities are well known. We believe that IFAD is fulfilling a unique role in addressing the problems of rural poverty. The Fund has been assisting developing countries including Bangladesh in various development projects relating to crops, fisheries, livestock and rural infrastructure since its inception. Its assistance and contribution, over the two decades, to these programmes have been a remarkable success in uplifting the quality of life of the marginal farmers and landless. Bangladesh as an active member of IFAD since its beginning has been benefited immensely from resources from IFAD. I strongly believe that the cooperation between Bangladesh and IFAD will expand and deepen in the coming years in alleviating poverty.

Madam Chairman,

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the President of IFAD for providing dynamic leadership to IFAD as an effective international financial institution. His commitment to IFAD’s mandate and the resourcefulness, with which he met the Fund’s challenges and opportunities, deserve appreciation. The President’s visit to Bangladesh reflects his deep personal commitment to the goals of the Fund. The Government of Bangladesh was highly appreciative of the President’s interactions with concerned officials and fully shared his concern over how to integrate the rural poor, especially the women, in the mainstream of rural development.

Madam Chairman,

The rural poor in Bangladesh suffered further because of the devastating flood in October – November 2000. The last year’s flood had been ferocity affecting south-west districts of the country and some 3 million people. Almost one million people had been rendered homeless and there had been very large losses of food crops and cattle as well as heavy destruction of rural roads and embankments. However, due to the government’s relentless effort and efficient management of rehabilitation programmes and internal resource mobilization, there had been no reports of poor people dying of starvation. Moreover, the quick response by international donors’community also helped receiving immediate relief including food aid. All these efforts were commendable.

Madam Chairman,

Bangledesh has made considerable progress in reducing poverty. Yet, significant challenges lie ahead. Provision of micro-credit to the poor has been identified as one of the most effective means to fight poverty and Bangladesh’s experience in this area has been acclaimed through out the world. We find that motivation, skill development, training, provisions of credit facilities and marketing outlets can radically transform the lives of the village poor from misery to healthy life. We hope that IFAD will expand its micro-credit programmes in Bangladesh.

Madam Chairman,

The long-term growth in agricultural production of developing countries is faltering, yields of food grains, with current level of technological intervention, have stagnated or fallen in recent years; per capita availability of arable lands is on the decrease; the sector remains vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. The major option available to us for programmes of poverty alleviation as well as food security appears to be diversification and intensification of cropping system with high value crops and harnessing the full yield potentials. IFAD may consider these options while designing projects for its financial support. Besides, IFAD may develop long-term projects-portfolio for countries like Bangladesh with the broad objectives as already indicated. I hope, IFAD with its renewed emphasis on development of agricultural potential and poverty eradication can help us in achieving these goals. In this connection I would like to express my whole hearted thanks and gratitude to the outgoing President for his remarkable achievements and to welcome the incoming President with the hope that he will carry on with the programmes for proper implementation of IFAD policy.

Madam Chairman,

Despite significant progress made in reducing poverty during the last two decades, Bangladesh still has a large concentration of the poor. My government is committed to continue with the work that has led to this reduction of the number of the poor in the past. We need resources and support and we expect that IFAD and other agencies will stand by us and the rural poor in our fight for reducing poverty and attaining the global target.

Thank you Madam Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to speak in this august gathering on behalf of my Government Bangladesh.