From left: UNDP’s Helen Clark, Netherlands’ Queen Maxima, FAO’s José Graziano da Silva.
1. Your Highness Queen Maxima, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, thank you for hosting this event.
2. Partnerships are crucial. I believe that what we do has a much greater impact when we do it together with our development actors. Working with others also makes it easier to tackle a problem attacking different fronts at the same time.
3. That is why we value and are committed to strengthening collaboration on inclusive finance.
4. There are many examples of good work that is being done, such as the Rural Finance Learning Centre, cooperation between FAO, IFAD, UNCDF, the World Bank and the German Cooperation Program.
5. FAO, IFAD, and WFP are also joining forces to strengthen inclusive rural finance systems at the country level, in response to a request made by Queen Maxima during a visit to Rome earlier this year. This is a promising collaboration.
6. Partnerships, of course, cannot be restricted only to the UN System.
7. Just last week FAO established partnerships with the Grameen Foundation and the Rabobank Foundation.
8. With the Rabobank Foundation we have already identified concrete action in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tenzania.
9. These collaborations will support transformative change in rural areas by making both agriculture and financial systems more inclusive.
10. These partnerships build on the work that FAO already does.
11. For instance, we work directly with banks, cooperatives and microfinance organizations so that their products and services are at the reach of small-scale farmers.
12. And we work to address the policy issues and regulatory frameworks that make this access more difficult.
13. Inclusive finance for development can be a driving force for long-lasting and sustainable development. With the type of support we are offereing, we are helping make that happen.
14. It is important to keep in mind that, today, poor rural populations and small-scale producers have limited capacity to invest.
15. But even in these countreis, they are still responsible for producing most of the food consumed in many developing countries. And they still invest three times more than everyone else together, including governments, international cooperatio and foreign private companies.
16. So everything we do to support small-scale producers is welcome. This includes expanding access to responsible financial products and services.
17. The possibility to invest more allows for many things: production increases, adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices, diversification of livelihoods, and building resilience, to name a few.
18. In turn, this contributes to increase food security and reducing rural poverty.
19. And it can have an even stronger impact when it goes hand-in-hand with improved social protection for the rural poor.
20. We need to help them tap into their full potential. But we also need to provide a buffer for critical times.
21. This two-fold approach is crucial. And is part of how FAO is assisting poor rural populations.
22. Thank you very much.