Spain and IFAD strengthen relations by signing agreement to co-finance rural development projects and in fight against food insecurity in developing countries

Spain and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have embarked on a new strategic stage to strengthen their relations through the signing of a Co-financing Framework Agreement. This agreement has been signed today by the State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau, and the President of IFAD, Gilbert F. Houngbo, at the end of a meeting by video-conference from their respective headquarters.

The signing of this new agreement to co-finance projects coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Spain-IFAD Trust Fund, entered into in 2010, with 300 million euros from FONPRODE (Fund for Development Promotion). Thanks to this Trust Fund, food security and rural development projects have been financed in 23 countries, together with two priority commitments on international cooperation for Spanish development to fight poverty, hunger, climate change and the settlement of people in rural regions.

Over the last decade, the Trust Fund has helped enhance the adaptation to climate change and the agricultural output of 108,947 hectares, with irrigation in 38,139 of these hectares. It has also provided support for 1,064 rural enterprises, made 918 kilometres of highways roadworthy, built 328 warehouses and ensured the agricultural training of 214,848 people.

IFAD and Spain have also worked together through the INCLUSIFI initiative, which is guaranteed by the European Commission within the framework of the European Foreign Investment Plan, to boost financing services and the entrepreneurship of the local population, as well as the efficient channelling of groups of emigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and European Neighbourhood countries.

The signing of the Co-financing Agreement today is one more step in the range of instruments through which Spain cooperates with IFAD. This will allow Spanish Cooperation to co-finance rural development projects and help fight food insecurity with IFAD, also propitiating the necessary alliances with other bilateral, multilateral and EU institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG2 to fight hunger.

Several agricultural and inclusion projects in different countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are being studied at this time to be co-financed under this agreement, which will mean financing from FONPRODE through State loans with sovereign guarantees for a sum in excess of 40 million dollars.

According to figures from the United Nations, 80% of people on the planet suffering from extreme poverty live in rural communities, where close to half of the world’s population lives. The investment in predominantly family-owned small-holdings in low and medium income countries, together with rural infrastructures and agricultural outreach services that support them, represents a major stimulus to the rural economy and contributes to territorial structure; and hence, to peace and security.

The current crisis caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the unsustainability of current agri-food systems, and hence the commitment by Spanish Cooperation to responses in environmental, climate and socio-economic areas that boost family agriculture, local harvesting and healthy and nutritional diets, thus fostering value chains with a focus on “farm to fork”.

Spanish Cooperation has traditionally been committed to food security and nutrition policies, both as an ethical obligation and because they are policies that act as a driver to achieve the rest of the SDG. By way of example of this commitment, Spain will head up the United Nations Food Security Committee from October, the body that establishes guidelines and fosters international agreements in this field. One example of this is the Voluntary Guidelines on the Use of Land, Food Security Policies in Crises and Agricultural Investments.

Spain is also an advocate of the initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General to organise an International Summit on Food Systems in 2021, which will evaluate, among other issues, the sustainability of systems, the current food crisis exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus and the right focus on health that also takes into account environmental health.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development was set up in 1977 and has 177 Member States. To date, it has disbursed 26.1 billion dollars and another 18.5 billion in contributions; since 2016 it has also made concessional loans and donations for the sum of 3.19 billion dollars.








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