Draft Statement by Ambassador Maria Laura da Rocha, Alternate Governor and Head of the Brazilian Delegation to the 39th Session of the Governing Council of IFAD in Rome, 17–18 February 2016
Mr. President of the Governing Council,
Mr. President Kanayo Nwanze,
Ladies and Gentleman,
On behalf of the Brazilian government, it is an honour to address the 39th Session of the Governing Council of IFAD.
As we convene to discuss the theme for this year's Governing Council, "Inclusive Investment – Rural People, State and Business," in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Brazil would like to highlight the role of IFAD as a specialized UN agency to combat poverty in rural areas, all over the world. In the last years, IFAD’s engagement with middle-income countries has continuously been at the centre of any debate regarding the destination of the Fund’s resources – that is, in which countries and in which types of projects it should allocate its resources. For some member countries, IFAD should scale back from working in middle-income countries, especially in those with higher average income such as Brazil.
Brazil supports the continuity of IFAD’s work in middle-income countries because we believe that IFAD should focus on the poor, in line with its mandate. Though having average income higher than other developing countries, middle-income countries are very unequal and still suffer a lot of poverty. In fact, most of the poor in the world are in middle-income countries, as a consequence of the large populations in China and India, but also other countries such as Brazil and Mexico.
In our case, Northeastern Brazil, where IFAD works, has average income comparable to least developed countries and a large number of people still live in poverty.
Furthermore, IFAD projects in middle-income countries generate knowledge replicable to other developing countries, which can be instrumental for scaling up efforts on fighting poverty through agricultural development.
One successful example is the Purchase from Africans for Africa program (PAA Africa), which is inspired by lessons learned from Brazil’s Zero Hunger initiative. PAA Africa supports the design and implementation of public policies for local food procurement from smallholder farmers to enhance social protection programmes, such as school feeding.
The Brazilian Government would also like to draw attention to the fact that middle-income countries are essential for IFAD’s financial sustainability as they take loans from IFAD at ordinary terms (and not the subsidized terms available to less developed countries).
Middle-income countries also have been increasing their contributions to IFAD and are expected to continue to do so, thus being central for sustaining or expanding IFAD’s programme of work. Stop working on middle-income countries could be a disincentive to continue increasing financial support to IFAD.
In sum, IFAD should support the rural poor, no matter where they are.
Brazil believes that human rights are fundamental and, therefore, universal. Brazil joins the Nordic countries in calling for IFAD to take concrete steps towards applying a human rights based approach to all its operations. Currently, the Brazilian Congress is discussing a Proposal for Constitutional Amendment that aims at recognizing in Article VI of the Constitution the right to land and water as human right. This shows our continuous commitment in improving the lives of all Brazilians. Attention to the poor should be ensured, regardless of where they are.
Finally, Brazil supports the ongoing efforts to improve collaboration among the three United Nations institutions based in Rome, as well as with other UN agencies, in order to have them efficiently working together, complementing each other and avoiding any unnecessary overlapping. The need for efficiency also applies to governance. Brazil has been actively participating in the discussions on reforming IFAD's list structure. The new structure should reflect present-day realities and facilitate efficient decision-making. An improved governance structure will ensure that IFAD continues to play its fundamental role in supporting countries to implement Agenda 2030 and will serve as an incentive for IFAD's contributors to continue or even to increase their funding.