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Make ‘rural transformation a reality,’ IFAD President tells Member States at annual meeting
also endorses International Day of Family Remittances
Rome, 17 February 2015 – The International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) ended its 38th Governing Council meeting today
by renewing its commitment to tackle persistent poverty and continued food
insecurity by transforming rural areas in developing countries through better
quality investments, ensuring greater equality and IFADinclusive growth that
delivers economic benefits for women, youth and other marginalized people.
In his closing
address, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze said that “aid will work itself out of
a job only once we have achieved rural transformation so that rural areas
provide employment, services and opportunities for the three billion people who
live in them, and particularly for those whose lives depend on smallholder
farms.” This echoed Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International,
who spoke about the future of aid at the inaugural IFAD Lecture Series on the
Council– IFAD’s highest decision-making body – focused on the role of rural
transformation in achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which
are to be agreed at the UN General Assembly later this year. At this critical
juncture for global development, IFAD, as both a UN agency and an international
financial institution, underscored the importance of not missing the
opportunity to increase investment in rural areas.
The synthesis of the
IFAD Governors’ round table discussion urged that “actions are needed to
promote sustainable and inclusive rural transformation, or else the sustainable
development goals cannot be achieved”. It called for “a new socio-economic
approach that is sustainable, that prioritizes people living in poverty – three
quarters of whom live in rural areas – and is holistic, including not only
economic but also social and cultural development.”
Over the course of
the two-day meeting, bringing together world leaders, international
policymakers, representatives of indigenous peoples and government ministers,
the call for rural transformation received strong support.
In his keynote address,
John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana shared his vision of a more
diversified, better-integrated and more modern rural economy. And in his
address, His Majesty King Tupou VI of Tonga discussed the guiding principles of
sustainable development and the need to build resilience and expand the
diversification of livelihoods.
On the last day, John
McIntire, IFAD Associate Vice-President moderated a panel of experts focusing
on innovations in financial inclusion. Examples of projects to expand rural
banking, agricultural credit risk management and community-based financial
systems set up in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Sudan were among those
shared. Financing for development is a major topic of discussion for Member
States this year, as they continue working with IFAD and partners on the ground
to sustainably transform rural communities.
Also, the IFAD
Governing Council endorsed the establishment of 16 June as the International
Day of Family Remittances this year. The purpose of marking this international
day is to recognize the fundamental contributions made by migrant workers to
the wellbeing of their families and communities of origin. In addition, it will
raise global awareness on the impact that remittances have in these countries
and on ways to maximize the development impact of these private flows.