Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis receives IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo
Bern, 30.03.2021 - Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis met with the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Houngbo, on Tuesday 30 March 2021. Both sides reaffirmed their joint commitment to further reducing rural poverty and hunger worldwide.
Mr Cassis, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Mr Houngbo discussed possibilities for strengthening the relationship between Switzerland and IFAD, both are committed to sustainable agriculture in low and middle-income countries. They also addressed IFAD's role in further reducing hunger and malnutrition worldwide. IFAD contributes to building more inclusive, productive and resilient rural economies. As a specialized financial institution, it encourages entrepreneurship among farmers and implements progressive forms of development investment. During the meeting, Mr Cassis reiterated Switzerland’s and IFAD's common efforts in strengthening support to public-private partnerships in this area.
IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was created in 1977 in response to the food crisis in the 1970s. It is the smallest international financial institution and the only one tasked exclusively with assisting rural populations such as women smallholders, fishing communities, landless households and indigenous people. IFAD aims to improve their food security and nutrition in order to build resilience against related risks. The Fund is aiming to double its impact in this area by 2030.
The Federal Council will decide this summer on Switzerland's contribution to IFAD for the 2022–24 period (IFAD12). As a founding member of the Fund, Switzerland supports IFAD in its implementation of innovative methods and mechanisms that improve access to financial services in low and middle income countries. It also backs IFAD's engagement in the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 and the promotion of agroecology. The transformation towards sustainable food systems requires concrete results and the adoption of new paradigms. IFAD is one of the 16 priority multilateral organizations for Swiss international cooperation. Switzerland's contribution to IFAD is in line with Swiss development policy priorities and its international cooperation strategy 2021–24.
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