Fiji participated this week at the 40th Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – a specialised international agency of the United Nations to work with developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture Hon. Viam Pillay led Fiji’s delegation to the meeting in Rome, which focused on agriculture as a catalyst to reduce poverty and hunger in developing countries.
The outgoing President of IFAD, Kanayo F. Nawanze, in his final address to the Governing Council informed that IFAD has made agriculture as the central focus for Governments to reduce poverty and hunger and that investment in rural sector is not a choice but a necessity. He went on to outline the developments and institutional reforms within IFAD, which led to the decentralisation of IFAD’s operations to regions and bringing the services closer to people living in rural communities.
Hon. Pillay took the opportunity to hold a bilateral meeting at the margins of the meeting with Ms Hoonae Kim, IFAD’s director of Asia and the Pacific Region to discuss issues directly relating to Fiji. This included progress on the uptake of the Fiji Agricultural Partnership Project of 3.5 million Euros. IFAD outlined its plans to appoint a regional coordinator for the Pacific Island states to be based in Jakarta. In this regard it was noted that it would help if the incumbent be from the Pacific region to ensure proper representation.
The meeting discussed Fiji’s presidency for COP 23 and areas where IFAD could assist Fiji’s presidency. IFAD welcomed Fiji’s presidency and offered full support for advancing climate agenda.. It further informed that IFAD has been accredited to Green Climate Fund and looked forward utilizing the fund for needy projects for the rural sector.
Hon. Pillay was supported by Fiji’s Permanent Representative to IFAD, Ambassador Deo Saran.