The final countdown: 10 more days to #ifadgc

What is #ifadgc? Well, #ifadgc is IFAD's annual event - better known as the Governing Council. On 22 and 23 February 2012,  our member states,  partners, stakeholders, policymakers, world leaders, global movers and shakers, and most importantly the people we work with and for will come together to discuss and debate on  strategic rural development issues.

This year, as the world belatedly turns its attention to the pressing issues of environmental degradation, resource scarcity and climate change, we will focus our attention on sustainability and more specifically on Sustainable smallholder agriculture: Feeding the world, protecting the planet.

And this year more than ever, YOU - our virtual audience - can shape the conversation. Make sure you follow @ifadnews on  Twitter  and join our  Facebook page. A dedicated team of social reporters will keep the outside world informed through blogs, tweets, interviews and pictures.

To stimulate the conversation, YOUR live tweets will be displayed on the Twitter wall in the Plenary Hall, and in our building's lobby. We encourage you to your ideas, views, insights and questions via social media channels and on this blog. Join the  #ifadgc conversation and follow the high-level panels, centre-stage events and the regional events via webcast. Our webcasting application is fully integrated with Twitter and Facebook. Dare I say, it is better than Livestream :)

Getting close and personal
In the coming days, you'll get to know the social reporting team. They are indeed a DREAM TEAM!!!

We'll be sharing the backstory of what it takes to orchestrate such an event. You have to know that this year - we too have been victims of climate change - and were faced with the unusual challenge of heavy snow storm in Rome.

The readers of this blog know that snow is an unusual sight for the Eternal City..... So the beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky, are a great source of excitement, but also source of infinite inconvenience..... More of this to come.

The movers and shakers taking centre-stage at #ifadgc

So who are the global movers and shakers taking centre stage at #ifadgc? Here is a run down:

22 February 2012
At 9.15 a.m. H.E. Paul Kagame (@paulkagame), President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Mario Monti, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic (@presMarioMonti) and IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze (@knwanze) will deliver keynote speeches.

At 10 a.m. (CET) Nik Gowing, international broadcaster, will host a high-level panel to discuss and debate what it will take to ensure food security while protecting the environment. Panellists will share their views on different farming methods. They will highlight the importance of building institutions, investing in research and technology, and adopting and adapting new practices.

At 3.00p.m. (CET) Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, the Chief Executive Officer of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network,  will engage in a conversation with Naga Munchetty, international broadcaster, on “What promise will Rio herald for agriculture?”

And this is just the first day. Here is what we have in store for your on the second day:

23 February 2102
At 9.45 a.m., H.E. Andrea Riccardi, the Italian Minister for International Cooperation and Integration Policies, will deliver a keynote speech.

At 10 a.m. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will take centre stage to share his perspectives, with questions to follow from international broadcaster, Isha Sesay. Mr Gates will discuss the importance of agriculture and how sustainable productivity improvements can reduce poverty in developing countries. He will challenge both global players and national governments to adopt a new approach to supporting smallholder farmers.

At 11 a.m. Naga Munchetty will host a high-level panel composed of policymakers. The panel will discuss how to create a sustainable future for smallholder farmers.

Mark your calendars
I hope you are as excited as the rest of us and have blocked your calendar on 22-23 February with #ifadgc. We look forward to receiving your questions and comments for our questions and  interacting with you in the coming days.

Watch this space and follow us on Twitter  and  Facebook.