Message from Mr. Lennart Bage, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to H.E. Ambassador Bagher Asadi, Chairman of the G-77 on the occasion of the 10th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-Up and Coordination Committee of the Group 77
IFCC-X, Tehran, 18-23 August 2001)

Mr. Chairman,

I take great pleasure in sending to you, and through you, to the Member States of the G-77, my best wishes for the 10th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-Up and Coordination Committee of the G-77 which the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is hosting from 18-23 August 2001.

The G-77 was the driving force behind the creation of IFAD at the World Food Conference in 1974. IFAD is an International Financial Institution with an exclusive focus on poverty. The Fund, over the 23 years of operations, has provided about USD 7.4 billion in development assistance to member states of the G-77 to finance 584 projects in 115 countries with a total investment cost of over USD 20 billion. In fact, IFAD is one of the major actors in the global effort to overcome poverty and improve the living standards of the rural poor in the G-77 countries. Through IFAD-supported programmes and projects more than 200 million G-77 nationals have been assisted in their struggle to achieve a life of dignity.

The Group of 77 plays a crucial role in international relations and it is particularly important that this role be further strengthened in the future, to fulfil the objectives and goals of the Declaration of the G-77 Summit Conference held at Havana in April 2000.

Following the Havana Summit, at the Millennium Summit in September last year, world leaders agreed on the goal to reduce the proportion of those living in extreme poverty by half by 2015. This Millennium Summit poverty target is of great importance for both South-South cooperation as well as North-South collaboration.

The 10th Session of the Intergovernmental Follow-up & Coordination Committee hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran is the first such meeting of developing countries following the Havana Summit. It has the vital responsibility of giving operational and concrete shape to the policy declarations made by the leaders of the developing countries at Havana.

IFAD is fully committed to supporting these important efforts. Indeed IFAD is itself an expression of South-South cooperation combined with North-South cooperation. The Fund´s operations help to transfer experience and expertise among developing countries, sharing knowledge on the most effective ways to address poverty such as microfinance that opens the door to credit, even to the poorest people, and allows them to increase their incomes and escape from poverty.

The Fund is also in regular dialogue with developing countries on ways to help them to benefit, rather than become the victims, of economic changes such as globalisation, the emergence of new agricultural technologies and the information revolution. We look forward to intensifying these efforts even more in the coming years.

The goal of ending poverty and hunger remains a daunting challenge. At the same time overcoming poverty is vital to help build vibrant societies that can prevent conflict and social strife as well as contain AIDS and other mass diseases. It is a goal that is within our reach if we show the will and determination to achieve it.

IFAD stands fully ready and committed to joining hands with the Member States of the Group of 77 to work together to bring about a World free of poverty and hunger.

Towards this shared goal, may I offer my best wishes for productive and fruitful discussions at the IFCC-X Meeting and the most successful outcome of your deliberations.


Lennart Bage
International Fund for Agricultural Development