Dominik Ziller, Vice President of International Fund for Agricultural Development, attended the 2021 Global Rural Development Forum via video link in Beijing, on October 19, 2021.
Here is the full text of his speech at the forum:
Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to address you today. Rural development has been at the heart of IFAD’s mission for over 40 years.
Even though the world has made enormous progress in reducing poverty in recent decades, today there are still 700 million people living on less than US$1.90 a day. And 1 in 10 people in the world went to bed hungry in 2020.
The commitment of Sustainable Development Goal 1 is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.”
Rural development is at the heart of that goal, because about three-quarters of the world’s poorest and most food insecure people live in rural areas. We must reach the most marginalized and most vulnerable, and rural people need to be at the centre of change.
Since 1977, IFAD has dedicated itself to targeting the root causes of rural poverty, working towards achieving long-term sustainable development results.
This means transforming rural economies and food systems. IFAD focuses on “the last mile,” reaching the most remote rural areas with its investments.
China is a great example of how addressing poverty through rural development is possible. At the end of 2020 China, announced it had eradicated extreme poverty. Impressively, China managed to bring more than 800 million people out of poverty in just four decades.
Agricultural and rural development were at the foundation of this achievement, including rural infrastructure such as roads, waterways and irrigation canals. Investments in agriculture enhanced productivity, increased agricultural commercialization, and made greater rural-urban connectivity possible.
International organizations have accompanied China along its development journey. As the very first International Financial Institution to finance a rural development project in China over forty years ago, IFAD is proud of our partnership for rural development.
Aligned closely with Government’s strategies, IFAD’s project portfolio in China has helped improve the livelihoods of more than 20 million rural women and men in poor and remote rural communities.
China has not only achieved poverty eradication domestically, but it also set an example for other developing countries that eradication of poverty is fully attainable.
Indeed, South-South Cooperation offers an important mechanism to share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and facilitates cooperation among developing countries. Lessons from China’s development experience can be shared with other developing countries that are at different development stages.
International organizations can facilitate such exchanges. In 2018, with a contribution of US$10 million, China was the first Member State to set up a dedicated SSTC Facility at IFAD. The aim was to accelerate the exchanges of knowledge, expertise and resources, and promote business-to-business links and investments across developing countries.
Currently the Facility is supporting SSTC projects in more than 30 African, Asian and Latin American countries in partnership with a diverse range of international and national institutions.
China not only offers development experience that can be shared with other countries, it has increasingly become an important financial contributor to development cooperation.
In recent years, China has become one of the largest contributors to IFAD’s resources.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of China for its trust in IFAD’s mandate. We will continue to work together for the benefit of rural people.