IFAD’s 33rd Governing Council Addresses Climate Change, Food Security and Smallholder Agriculture

18 February 2010: The Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) held its 33rd session from 17-18 February 2010, in Rome, Italy, to discuss: the Eighth Replenishment of IFAD's resources; IFAD's budget; revisions of IFAD's lending policies and criteria; progress on the performance-based allocation system; progress on the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and a synthesis of the global meeting of the Farmers' Forum 2010.

In an opening speech, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze stated that agriculture at all sizes should be viewed as a business and called for a focus on young farmers, women and entrepreneurs. He noted the growth in IFAD's programme of work and highlighted the strong ties between IFAD and other Rome-based agencies, namely the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). In concluding, he outlined future challenges, including that of climate change, and called for finding "new and creative ways both to mitigate it and to help smallholders adapt to changing conditions."

In a statement delivered on his behalf by the Chair of the Governing Council, UN Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon underscored the need to better address the interconnections between climate change and agriculture.

On 17 February, a high-level panel discussion on "From summit resolutions to farmers' fields: Climate change, food security and small holder agriculture" addressed the challenges of: creating better market conditions to promote private investment in smallholder agriculture; developing policies that support smallholder farmers; and allowing smallholder farmers to compete for scarce agricultural resources.

On 18 February, side events addressed, inter alia: natural resource management in sub-Saharan Africa; small holder agriculture and family farming in Asia and Latin America; adapting management of water resources to climate change; and highlights from the IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2010. [Meeting Website]