IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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Statement by IFAD President to the MDG 3 Torch ceremony

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you, Minister, for presenting me with the MDG 3 torch. It is indeed an honour.

This torch represents a significant responsibility to those who bear it. More than a hundred have already accepted this torch and have done so with a commitment to "do something extra" for gender equality and women's empowerment.

Without significant progress worldwide on gender equality and women's empowerment, we will not make progress in reducing global poverty and food insecurity.

Across the developing world, poor rural women have a major role in agriculture, from production to processing and marketing. They carry the main responsibility in providing for the food, water and fuel needs of their families. And the quality of the care that mothers give to their children and other household members influences the prospects for healthy and productive lives for all.

The programmes and projects that IFAD supports demonstrate that – when their assets and capabilities increase - women can become powerful agents of change in their communities. Women can indeed play critical roles in overcoming rural poverty and hunger.   At IFAD we know that without women we will not achieve the First Millennium Development Goal.

That is why gender equality and women's empowerment have always been at the core of IFAD's efforts to reduce rural poverty.

But we recognise that there is more that needs to be done, and more that IFAD can do. That is why we have drawn up four commitments "to do something extra":

  • First, we commit to better integrating gender equality and women's empowerment concerns into our strategic framework;
  • Second, we commit to strengthening rural women's leadership and decision-making influence;
  • Third, we commit to lending our voice to encourage greater investment in rural women.
  • And fourth, we commit to bolstering our grants programme to support technology development and capacity strengthening for gender equality and rural women's empowerment.

So in conclusion, may I say how grateful I am to you, Ms Tørnæs, for this unique opportunity to join the illustrious ranks of MDG 3 torch bearers, and so reinforce IFAD's long-standing commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment among poor rural people.

4 October 2009, Istanbul, Turkey