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Statement by the German Governor to the 30th Session of IFAD's Governing Council

Last year was a year of decisions and achievements for IFAD. The 7th Replenishment of the Fund was concluded, with a respectable rise of some 20% in donor funding compared with the last replenishment. This gives IFAD a sound basis for tackling the tasks of the coming period. A whole number of reform plans show that IFAD has taken on board the criticisms expressed in the external evaluation. It is tackling the reorganisation of its structure and its work with great ambition and motivation.  The first decisions have paved the way for the rapid implementation of the reform programme. And IFAD has a number of new faces in key positions. Germany congratulates the new management team – which we are glad to see is a "reform team". Expectations are undoubtedly high. Germany has every confidence that the team will lend new momentum to IFAD and will guide it safely and surely through what is not an easy phase in its development.

One challenge facing the new management team will be to find IFAD's position and role within the new aid architecture. IFAD, it can rightly be said, has a unique mandate. It is the only development organisation exclusively devoted to reducing poverty in rural areas. But I am sure we all agree that a unique mandate does not necessarily amount to a comparative advantage. It is important that IFAD should assert its identity by having a proven impact. IFAD needs to provide clear proof that a specialised agency can achieve better results than other organisations which deal with rural development as only one of many areas. IFAD needs to demonstrate that it can show the large IFIs new approaches – and warn them against straying into the wrong approach. So, once more, we urge IFAD to assert its position as a specialised agency that is bold enough to engage in innovative projects that are unafraid to take risks.

Another major reform has been occupying our thoughts over recent months. Last November, the High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence unveiled its proposals for strengthening the UN's development work. Germany supports the "Delivering as One" initiative. We are urging the UN special agencies to participate in the reform process as far as they are able. President Lennart Bage was actively involved in mapping out the process as a member of the High-Level Panel. So IFAD, as a UN special agency, must ask what conclusions it should draw for its own process of reform. At the centre of the proposed reforms is the idea of a more unified system at country level.  Can IFAD sign up to the idea of the "four ones" (one country programme, one leader, one budget, one office)?

This year, Germany holds the presidencies of the EU and the G8. One focus will be strengthening our partnership with Africa. Africa is the place that will determine whether or not the fight against poverty succeeds and the Millennium Development Goals are achieved. That is why IFAD is also so intensively involved in Africa. In some African countries, IFAD now has a much larger portfolio than many others. We welcome this. We also welcome IFAD's close cooperation with the African Development Bank. This year will see a joint evaluation of ADB and IFAD projects. We expect that this review of the past will open up a new future of close cooperation on new rural development projects and programme. IFAD can be assured of Germany's support in this.