Joint Briefing by FAO and IFAD for Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow

Coordination between the United Nations Rome-based agencies - the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP), is integral to all three organizations. Such a collaboration, at local, regional and global level, is necessary in order to deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, a framework for global action. The three agencies possess a combined force of knowledge, technical assistance and financial support systems. Solutions to global issues must also derive from partnerships between the Rome-based agencies and governments, policy makers and the private sector. The core UN strategic objectives in promoting development are social inclusion, resource sustainability and economic sustainability.

A  Joint Briefing by FAO and IFAD for Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow  was held in July 2018 as a result of a visit from guests of Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) programme. ALOT is a two year leadership development programme designed to provide leadership tools for those in agribusiness in Missouri, USA. The event at FAO headquarters was facilitated by Boubaker Ben-Belhassan  (Director of Trade and Markets Division, FAO), and brought together speakers Guilherme Brady (Coordinator of Civil Society/ Producer/Cooperatives, FAO), Michael T. Clark (Senior Coordinator of  Governance and Policy, FAO), Abdelkarim Sma (Regional Economist for Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD) and Shantanu Mathur (Lead Adviser of  Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, IFAD).

The first speaker, Guilherme Brady presented a general overview of FAO's mission and objectives. Michael T. Clark highlighted the importance of the RBA’s vocation aimed at supporting development and the 2030 agenda. He noted that rural areas are home to 80 per cent of people living in extreme poverty who directly and indirectly depend on agriculture. The SDGs, brought to fruition in 2015, are delineated by a distinctive set of assumptions and commitments: 
  • Demand  for transformational change
  • Recognition that inequality is systemic and growth is not inclusive
  • Recognition that there are different policies for different contexts and levels of development and capacity 
  • Acknowledgement of a need for innovation 
Michael T. Clark established that structural transformation is key to achieving sustainable development and countries that attempt to skip this process do not succeed in accomplishing a successful sustainable development scheme. 

Abdelkarim Sma, from IFAD, provided an account of the framework,  operations and objectives of IFAD. With 176 member countries made up of contributors and beneficiaries , IFAD has developed a six billion dollar investment portfolio.  Sma asserted that, only with the support of agriculture  we can overcome poverty. At the core of IFAD's work is investment  in rural people. This UN agency partners with governments and private sector bodies to encourage sustainable economic and  social transformation.  

Shantanu Mathur also spoke on behalf of IFAD. He said that IFAD's self-help, self-reliant, inclusive and  transformative agenda is a bridge to long term development. Mathur gave an overview of the Rome-based agencies and highlighted the importance of the collaboration, which was instigated by donor countries, given their common work on food and agriculture. These commonalities, combined with a collaborative effort will create a powerful synergy with the ambition of ending poverty and achieving zero hunger. 

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