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Keynote speech by His Majesty Tupou VI, King of Tonga

Où: Rome

15 février 2015

Mr President,
Chair of the Governing Council,
Honourable Ministers and Governors,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for the invitation to address this 38th Session of the Governing Council and since this is my first visit to the International Fund for Agriculture Development, I take this opportunity to extend sincere congratulations to you, Mr President, for your able leadership in advancing IFAD's strategic goal of enabling rural people to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes and strengthen their resilience.

My congratulation also goes to the Chair of the Governing Council.  I also recognise my co-speakers, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, and His Excellency Pier Carlo Padoan, the Minister for Economy and Finance of Italy.

I should like to convey my support to this year's theme entitled ‘Rural Transformation: Key to sustainable development'. 

Mr President, Tonga aspires to pursue and benefit from the core guiding principles of IFAD, especially the ones that promote the following:

  • Climate-smart approaches to rural developments;
  • Promotion of greater attention to risk and resilience in order
    to manage the Environment;
  • Promotion of engagement in value change to drive green
  • Promotion of livelihood diversification to reduce vulnerability and build
    resilience for sustainable natural resource management; and
  • Promotion of increased access by rural communities to  Environment and
    Climate finance.

These principles can be far reaching in making a positive impact towards rural transformation and sustainable development across the international, regional and national level.

Mr President, like many small island developing countries in the Pacific Region, Tonga depends primarily on the agricultural sector as the main source of livelihood as well as food security. 

Tonga has been running an annual event for many decades now, known as the Agriculture Show.   This is the only national event that I am able to reach the outer remote islands on and, meet the different communities there and witness the various displays of the Agriculture Show.    

The annual Agricultural Show has been a driving force in the promotion of sustainable development in Tonga.  

Mr President, Tonga values its cooperation with the IFAD through Regional programs like MORDI, the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovations and the Country programs such as the past rural credit and presently the Tonga Rural Innovation Project (TRIP).

It is my sincere hope that the successful partnership between IFAD and the Pacific including Tonga, will expand and improve further in the future.

May I take this opportunity to extend my sincerest gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Italy, the President and staff of IFAD for hosting me and my delegation during our visit to Rome.

Finally, may I wish you all a successful and fruitful deliberation.