A little slice of IFAD history

When IFAD’s President learnt that Sartaj Aziz was also in New Delhi for high-level consultations he made it a point to pay a courtesy visit to one of the founding fathers of IFAD. Aziz – a well-known development thinker – is currently Vice-Chancellor of a national university in Pakistan.

It was touching and emotional for those who had known him – Mattia and myself – to see Aziz, in his mid-70s now, fit healthy and sharp as ever.

The two men bonded quickly with Sartaj Aziz sharing with the President some human details about the creation of IFAD, and the complexities and political undercurrents they had to handle to ensure that OECD countries, including the United States, and OPEC nations were all in sync.

Sarjat Aziz, a former finance minister and foreign minister of Pakistan, regaled the President with anecdotes of his encounters with Henry Kissinger, when at one point it seemed talks were near collapse because of disagreement on some issues.

“I still recall well the night of 13 June, 1977, at the plenipotentiary conference, where some of the creators had to thrash out an agreement late at night, bringing all member states to the table with a balanced foundation document for the institution…”

The President remarked that the creators of IFAD were geniuses.

He repeated something he shared in the last Town Hall meeting – that the agreement establishing IFAD covered everything, there was not one thing that could be added or without which IFAD could not proceed in its mission.

Sarjat Aziz congratulated the President on his election. “I am delighted that it is you who has taken on mantle of the organisation that has a noble mandate.

IFAD needs you now, just as it did then, the President told Sarjaz Aziz as he said goodbye.

Farhana Haque-Rahman and Mattia Prayer-Galetti