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Press Release 98/39 IFAD/FAO






Rome, May 29 --The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at assisting the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and desertification, particularly in Africa, the two Organizations announced today.

IFAD and FAO, according to the memorandum, will collaborate in support of activities to implement the CCD, drawing on the comparative advantage of FAO as a Technical Assistance Agency and IFAD as Multilateral Financing Institution which has crucial links with the Convention.

The agreement will encourage cooperation in normative work related to sustainable dry land development, including analytical work, organizing workshops, producing publications and drawing up guidelines to help in the fight against desertification. The two Organizations will also assist countries with Action Programmes aimed at combatting desertification, investment programmes, and with the technical review of CCD-related activities. IFAD and FAO will prepare data bases, geo-referenced maps and information systems at the local, national, regional and global level and strengthen the capacity and participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and rural peoples' organizations in connection with the CCD Action Programme.

FAO will also cooperate with IFAD in resource mobilization and other aspects related to CCD finance, including monitoring the magnitude and effectiveness of resource flows to the drylands, exploring innovative sources of finance, and developing financing coalitions with NGOs, the private sector and other institutions.

IFAD was selected by the First Conference of Parties of the CCD, held at FAO Headquarters in October 1997, to house a "Global Mechanism" to direct the process of mobilizing, channeling and allocating resources for the purpose of implementing action programmes and activities to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought in developing countries, particularly in Africa. The Global Mechanism will pursue its mandate within the framework of a collaborative institutional arrangement between the Fund, as lead institution, the UN Development Programme and the World Bank to support the Global Mechanism.

Most of the low-income food-deficit countries receiving priority support from IFAD and from FAO's Special Programme for Food Security are in drylands and covered by the Convention to Combat Desertification. Successful implementation of the convention will depend on sustainable agriculture and the alleviation of rural poverty. Both are areas where IFAD and FAO have years of expertise and a long-standing cooperative relationship in promoting sustainable agriculture and rural poverty alleviation in developing countries which began with an earlier agreement signed in March 1978.

The FAO-IFAD agreement was signed by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf and IFAD President Fawzi H. Al-Sultan.




IFAD - Media Relations:- Mr. Taysir Mustafa Tel.: (39 6) 5459 2034 Fax: (39 6) 5193328

FAO - Press Room: Mr. John Riddle Tel.: (39 6) 5705 3259 Fax: (39 6) 5705 3699 (or) 5705 5924





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