IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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Statement of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the 29th Session of IFAD's Governing Council

Distinguished Chair, Mr President, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

2005 was a year in which the world took stock of progress being made in reaching the MDGs. We all agreed that progress is not fast enough. And we made important promises and commitments. We must all now deliver on these priorities and commitments.

The United Kingdom believes that IFAD can play an important role in helping many of the poorest people in rural areas to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Its role should be to develop and test innovative approaches in partnership with poor rural dwellers, governments and other partners, and to assure that lessons learnt are scaled up. Easy to say, harder to do.

We welcome IFAD's openness in handling the Independent External Evaluation (IEE) and the management response which lead to the development of the Action Plan agreed at the end of last year. This is an important document that sets out how the organisation will meet the challenges that it faces. We strongly support this and urge President Bage and his team to ensure that it is implemented. The UK's Institutional Strengthening project that is designed to help IFAD improve in key areas is now being fully incorporated into the Action Plan.

The UN Millennium Project last year focussed on key challenges if we are to reach the MDGs. Indeed one of the task forces targeted "Innovation" and the United Kingdom is pleased that this was chosen as the theme for this year's Governing Council. We believe that innovation must be at the centre of what IFAD does and this is why we are contributing $10 million to the Initiative for Mainstreaming Innovation under the Sixth Replenishment. The UK welcomes the fact that innovation is a key area of focus in the Action Plan and one which helps to define the comparative advantage of IFAD. We found yesterday's panel discussion very interesting and trust IFAD will build on the work it has begun in the mainstreaming innovation initiative.

We look forward to working together with IFAD in partnership as it implements all aspects of the Action Plan and increases its effectiveness in reaching some of the world's poorest people. IFAD must deliver on its commitment to driving up portfolio performance, including targeting; working with national poverty reduction processes and to ensuring that the ratio between programme and administration costs is tightly controlled. Full implementation of IFAD's HR policy will be essential if IFAD is to succeed in its Action Plan.  

On the subject of PBAS, we have heard a number of concerns and believe that this will require further mature reflection - and flexibility on all sides - to reach a genuine consensus.

The United Kingdom welcomes IFAD's constructive engagement in wider UN reform, as referred to in the Action Plan, Replenishment report and the President's opening statement.

The IEE showed that there are many ways in which IFAD needs to do better. The Action Plan now points the way forward. But in recent months, important issues in governance have also been raised. The UK stands ready to work with our friends and colleagues in the Governing Council and Executive Board to address these fairly and effectively.

Mr Chairman, the United Kingdom would like to wish IFAD every success in its fight against rural poverty.