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Statement by Pakistan to IFAD's 27th Session of the Governing Council

Pakistan country statement
Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind,
Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. President,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a founding member of IFAD, an active participant in IFAD Executive Board meetings and, not the least, a grateful beneficiary of IFAD assistance, Pakistan has always held IFAD and its pro-poor mandate in special regard. Pakistan delegation is thus privileged to be participating in this 27th Session of the Governing Council. It goes to the credit of its successive managements that IFAD, despite a challenging mandate and constrained resources, has been able to grow into a highly recognised development finance institution. We recall all these managers with particular note and commendation. Further, we feel reassured by the competence and commitment of the present management that is so ably led by President Bage.


Allow me to extend my delegation's falicitations to you and the other members of your Bureau on your respective elections. We feel confident that your able guidance and leadership, that has already marked these proceedings, will ensure a successful conclusion of the agenda.


Pakistan remains essentially an agrarian economy. Also, Pakistan continues to face major poverty issues. The number of people living below the poverty line, especially in the rural areas, remains unconscionably high. Capacity and resource constraints, internal distortions and policy weaknesses contribute to this, as much as the exogenous factors. Pakistan has over the last four years embarked

upon a reforms programme that is as ambitious as it is wide ranging. Shifting to market forces , with its concomitant roll back of subsidies, lowering of tariffs and trade barriers, and the emphasis on fiscal discipline has not been pain free. As so often happens in such cases of structural adjustment it is the rural poor who bear most of the burden, a position that is exacerbated by the International Trading Order. The much promised boom from a liberalized international trading order has just not arrived. While we have opened out markets we see little change in the overall agricultural trading order, particularly in our major markets. It seems to be a cruel reversal of S&D treatment. Domestic support, export subsidies and high tariffs not only seriously affect the income levels of our farmers but also impair the Government's ability to bring certain policy shifts. To give one small example. President Bage rightly exhorted us yesterday to go up the value chains. But how do we do it when we are faced with tariff escalations in our major existing potential markets?


Pakistan continues to play a constructive role, in the WTO and elsewhere, to turn the Doha dream into reality. In the meantime, until we establish a fair global trading order, IFAD's investments are that much more precious. They have been most useful in mitigating the miseries of the millions of our rural poor. We do, however, feel that the size of IFAD's programme in Pakistan needs to be brought out of its declining trend. We of course recognize the competing needs of the disadvantaged elsewhere, but feel economic indicators alone can not be reflective of the distortions and disparities within an economy. A strict application of economic indicators in selection of regions for future IFAD investments would have an adverse bearing on poor populations in countries such as mine.


The UN System elsewhere, more recently at the FAO Conference, have adopted an equitable geographical representation system for their staff positions. We would urge IFAD and its governing bodies to consider adopting the same in its case, so as to ensure that all countries are duly represented on the staff.


Having participated in the deliberations of the Executive Board, Pakistan has no hesitation in endorsing the recommendations of the Board on the Programme of Work 2004 including the amendment proposed to Regulation VI (six) of paragraph 2 of the Financial Regulations with retroactive effect from 2003. We welcome the progress reported on the Sixth Replenishment and reaffirm that we shall be maintaining the level of US$ 2 million that we had committed for our contribution to the Fifth Replenishment of IFAD resources. We recognize the importance of IFAD's activities in context of the ‘Strategic Change Programme' and the priority attached by the Governing Bodies of IFAD to having a ‘Performance Based Allocation System'. We would though like to sound, a note of caution here that system incapacities occur mostly in needy and deprived countries and regions which is often the cause for the poor performance. We must therefore be careful in applying the PBAS so as to ensure that deprived regions within apparently sound economies do not lose the much needed assistance merely for a failure of performance for reasons beyond their control. IFAD's investments and interventions in the pursuance of the ‘Debt Reduction Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries' and its programmes in relation to the ‘International Land Coalition' need to be leveraged not only for poverty mitigation activities but also as a source to develop local capacities to help improve performance and implementation of development initiatives.


Pakistan is cognisant that rural poverty must be reduced to perpetuate rural and in the process, national progress. The core principles of ‘Pakistan's Poverty Reduction Strategy' include, engendering growth, implementing broad based governance reforms, improving income generation opportunities, improving social and economic development and reducing the vulnerability of the poor segments of the society. Empowerment of the poor through development of their assets is envisaged as a primary area of focus of this strategy. Equal opportunities to all irrespective of their status or gender is another corner stone of this strategy. In this process all public service positions have been opened to women with an emphasis on giving women preference in selection. To ensure women have a due role in the policy and decision making process, 30% of the seats in all legislative assemblies and local governments institutions have been reserved by law for women. The ‘Food Support Programme' and the ‘Khushali Bank' for micro-credit are other important steps in this direction. We have taken these and many other measures. We do, however, understand that in the present globalized and inter-dependent world objectives such as these and those that are manifest in the ‘Millennium Development Goals', the ‘Doha Development Agenda' and the ‘Declaration of the World Food Summit', cannot become a reality unless the comity of nations agrees to work on a principle of give and take and in actual fact commit themselves to support the less advantaged and developing countries by allowing liberal transfer of technology, relief programmes for debt reduction, and greater and more genuine market access for their agricultural products.

Would it be too much to hope that our dreams get realized in our life time?

I thank you Chairperson.