IFAD conference to feature Imran Khan and Luigi Di Maio

IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo

  ROME - The 44th session of the Council of Governors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is set to take place Wednesday and Thursday as leaders meet to discuss strategies for investment into agriculture and the path towards food security in poor rural areas.

  The two day conference, held virtually, will feature Luigi Di Maio, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs; João Lourenço, the President of Angola; Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan; Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for the 2021 Summit on Food Systems; Gilbert F. Houngbo, the President of IFAD, and Sabrina Dhowre Elba, goodwill ambassador for IFAD and wife of Idris Elba.

  IFAD, based in Rome, describes itself as the only international development organisation that focuses solely on rural economies and food security. A specialised agency of the UN, it acts as a development bank for small farmers all over the world. Since 1978, IFAD, a sister agency of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), also based in Rome, have provided 23.2 billion dollars in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 518 million people, according to IFAD sources.

  This year's edition of the IFAD conference will be titled 'Rural development: a prerequisite for global resilience', and will pay particular attention to the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, and its effect on rural communities. An IFAD press release describes how "Covid-19 has shined a spotlight on the vulnerability of our global food systems, forcing us to urgently re-evaluate how we can sustainably and equitably produce, process and consume food."

  Gilbert Houngbo and Agnes Kalibata will also on Thursday make an important announcement on the upcoming Food Systems Summit – a historic process that calls for all people to contribute to transforming global food chains.

  This year the member states will also nominate the next President, for a mandate of four years.