Thursday, February 19, 2015

Make ‘rural transformation a reality,’ IFAD President tells Member States at annual meeting

Governing Council also endorses International Day of Family Remittances



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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 same day.

The Governing 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.

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