Switzerland to increase its aid to fight rural poverty

Switzerland increases its support for the fight against poverty in rural areas of developing countries. On Wednesday 27 June 2012, the Federal Council decided to contribute CHF 28.5 million over the next three years to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

In spite of substantial progress in recent years, 1.4 billion people in the world still live in extreme poverty. More than 70% are in rural areas of developing countries and almost 925 million are undernourished. Following years of under-investment in the agricultural sector, a number of less developed countries will not achieve the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), which aims to end poverty and hunger in the world, without a substantial increase in support for the agricultural sector, especially small family agricultural holdings.

Both as an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations, since its creation in 1977, IFAD has been a multilateral partner of choice for Switzerland in the fight against poverty in rural areas. Up to now, IFAD has provided loans and donations to support innovative projects in agricultural and rural development for a total value of 12.9 billion dollars.

IFAD’s mandate and its activities aim specifically to develop the autonomy of poor rural people in developing countries and help them increase their incomes and improve their food security. IFAD invests in particular to enable these countries gain easier access to natural resources, especially water and land, as well as to new agricultural technologies and a wide range of rural financial services.

As a result of IFAD’s support, millions of people living in rural areas have been able to make sustainable improvements to their living conditions (through increased revenue, improved availability of food, professional training, etc.). IFAD is active in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Several recent external evaluations testify to the efficacy and efficiency with which IFAD carries out its mandate.

For all these reasons, the Federal Council has decided to increase to CHF 28.5 million its participation in the 9th replenishment of IFAD’s resources for the period 2013-2015. Since 2002, Switzerland’s contribution had remained at CHF 21.3 million per three-year period.

The proposed increase in Switzerland’s contribution is also expected to enable our country to exercise a stronger influence in the Fund’s strategic decision-making.

Source: Switzerland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Press Release – 27 June 2012