Mario Arvelo at the Executive Board of IFAD

Mario Arvelo with the Director General of Multilateral Cooperation of the Dominican Republic Ambassador Antonio Vargas and the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert Houngbo, in the office of the latter at the Fund’s headquarters. Arvelo, Vargas, and Houngbo met on the sidelines of an Executive Board session, where the Dominican Republic holds a seat representing Latin America & the Caribbean.

In 2015 —for the first time in history— the Dominican Republic was elected to a seat at the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the governing body of the global financial institution specialized in fighting hunger and malnutrition in the rural areas.

Entering IFAD’s Executive Board is one of Mario Arvelo‘s achievements at the helm of his country’s Permanent Mission, having also attained election to the Executive Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP). In February 2021 the Dominican Republic was once again elected to the Board for the 2022-23 biennium.

Mario Arvelo, located in the upper-left corner in the image —the Secretary of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Luis Jiménez McInnis is seen in the main picture— intervenes during the 129th session, in April 2020. The meeting took place virtually because of measures stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his speech, Arvelo underlined that this crisis shows all countries the importance of multilateralism, because the common problems of humanity can only be faced and resolved by the international community. The structures of the United Nations system, like all human works, are not perfect. But we cannot do without any of them in the midst of a crisis that does not respect borders. When we overcome the pandemic, we will have the opportunity to assess what we did well and what are the opportunities for improving the system. In the meantime, all member States must join in the coordinated global action that the IFAD President, the UN Secretary-General, and the leaders of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, and other specialized agencies are telling us about. We welcome IFAD’s initiative to set aside 40 million dollars as an initial fund for rural recovery, but are concerned that the planned mobilization of 200 to 300 million will prove insufficient for IFAD to be in a position to support governments in rescuing the rural poor from the disaster that is threatening their livelihoods. The IFAD President tells us that “unusual times call for decisive action”; Indeed, the rural areas of the world’s most developed countries are receiving financial support, including direct cash transfers, in volumes never seen before in history. Developing countries on all continents, including upper- and middle-income countries, need IFAD today more than ever. Solving extraordinary problems requires extraordinary solutions, and my country will support IFAD without reservations, so that it can have maximum flexibility in managing this critical moment. I will conclude by reaffirming my country’s position towards IFAD and the entire international system: it is imperative to strengthen the pillars of peace, development, environment, health, and humanitarian assistance of our United Nations.

Mario Arvelo speaks during the 127th session of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in September 2019. In his interventions at the governing body —where the Dominican Republic holds a seat representing Latin America & the Caribbean— Arvelo has been on the frontline, defending the Fund’s universal character, as well as the relevance of its support for all member States, affirming that the 2019 SOFI Report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world, of which IFAD is a co-author, shows that the number of people suffering from hunger and chronic malnutrition has risen for the third consecutive year, putting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal # 2 of zero hunger at risk, especially in rural areas of developing countries, in the so-called Global South. In this context, member States wish IFAD to redouble its support to all countries in the areas of its mandate. This demand requires that the flow of financial resources to the Fund be expanded, not to remain stagnant or go backward. This need for an IFAD with renewed strength in human and financial resources is incompatible with a zero real growth budget, not to mention a zero nominal growth scenario, which would represent an unacceptable regression: a pullback that would jeopardize the institution’s ability to fulfill its mandate. It would be a grave mistake for this Executive Board to sacrifice IFAD’s ambition for greater project implementation in its quest to respond to growing demand from its member States, who see in the Fund a knowledge entity whose concrete action bestows prestige to the international system, and constitutes a generator of prosperity across the rural sector in countries of all continents. A spiral of gradual erosion of the financial resources available to support projects for sustainable rural development would constitute a challenge to IFAD’s very existence.

Mario Arvelo speaks at the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), where he stated that, in addition to highlighting the successes we have attained, there are still challenges to be faced, especially as we enter the final stretch towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals listed in the 2030 Agenda, at a time when the challenges of hunger are not only concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, but also threaten middle- and upper-middle income countries. In implementing the Fund’s work program, more and better efforts should be made to improve the quality of the project portfolio, including rural transformation, greater incorporation of climate, gender, nutrition, and youth perspectives into the country programs, as well as the execution of an effective operational model that guarantees an optimal use of resources.

Mario Arvelo examines a working document during the 125th session of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), where the Dominican Republic holds a seat representing Latin America & the Caribbean.

Other links to the work Mario Arvelo performs at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


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