IFAD Asset Request Portlet

Asset Publisher

Statement by India to IFAD Governing Council

I wish to convey the felicitations of the Government of India to IFAD on completion of 25 years of its remarkable existence. We deeply appreciate IFAD's role in drawing attention to the problem of poverty in the world and its committed efforts at addressing this burning issue. By launching projects valued at $ 22 billion in 115 countries over the past 25 years benefiting an estimated 250 million people, IFAD has emerged as a premier financial institution in the sphere of agriculture and rural development.

It is now time to reflect on the experience of the past 25 years, to reaffirm organisational objectives and renew the resolve to play the lead role in the development debate. Despite its comparatively small size, IFAD has played a crucial catalytic role in the battle against rural poverty. In the light of experience gained, we must now aim to extend and strengthen this role and seek to influence the other players involved in this battle.

The task of achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 is a mammoth one. In the light of the slow progress in the last few years in the war against hunger, the Goal of overcoming hunger appears to be a distant vision. The impact of globalisation on developing countries has not yielded the results that were expected. Indeed, we may say that the prevailing international environment has broadened the gap between rich and poor and made the task of bridging the chasm even more onerous. The task before us, therefore, involves action at both the national as well as international levels. While stressing the importance of good governance and appropriate policy environment at the national level, it is equally important that governance at the international level should also be addressed in terms of reform of financial and monetary systems, establishment of an equitable trade regime, removal of market distortions, increase in official development assistance, extension of external debt relief, and so on.

We are pleased that the Monterrey Consensus recognised the need for substantial increases in ODA and debt relief, together with reforms to strengthen international monetary, financial and trading systems. The World Food Summit: five years later and the World Summit for Sustainable Development also reiterated this commitment. It is estimated that an additional $ 50 billion is needed each year as ODA if the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved by 2015. However, despite the realization that poverty is largely concentrated in the agricultural and rural sector, ODA to this sector has been declining, and today only 12% of total ODA is targeted at this critical area.

In this context, we are somewhat disappointed at the outcome of the Consultation for the Sixth Replenishment of IFAD's resources. We had hoped that the expressions of concern and intent of developed countries at various fora would result in significant expansion of IFAD's programme of activities. Although many countries have announced substantial increases in their contributions, the overall lending programme of IFAD is, however, not expected to increase significantly.

India is one of the largest recipients of IFAD's funding, and we have found the impact and utility of IFAD's programmes to far exceed their money value. To reflect our faith and trust in the Organization, we have pledged $ 15 million to the Sixth Replenishment – an increase of 25%. We are happy that President Bage had the opportunity to visit India last year and to see at first-hand the impact of IFAD interventions on women and indigenous populations.

We are concerned at the prospect of IFAD being starved of resources and becoming increasingly marginalised. In 2002, in view of the resource constraint, only 25 projects, worth $ 365 million, were submitted to the Board for approval – less than originally planned. We hope this trend will be reversed and that IFAD can build upon the valuable experience and credibility it has acquired. It would indeed be a great loss if IFAD's unique strengths were to be wasted, and if it were converted into a mirror image of other financial institutions.

IFAD's strength lies in the experience that it has gathered over the years in working with and empowering the poor, its participative approaches and the good-will it has won among beneficiaries, its support for innovation and demonstration of replicable development models, its ability to build partnerships and influence national and international policies through dialogue and advocacy. This is the essence of IFAD's uniqueness and specificity; and it is this facet that needs to be nurtured and expanded so that, through IFAD`s example, assistance to rural development comes to be recognized as a viable and essential strategy not only for sustained poverty reduction, but also for enhanced economic growth.

The Government of India would like to see IFAD build upon its unique strengths and expand its activities in coming years, so that it can play a lead role among financial institutions in the mission for achieving the MDGs. On our behalf, we assure our full cooperation and support to the Organisation.