A draft agreement was signed by HE Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, the Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and Gilbert F. Houngbo, the President of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to establish an office responsible for relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States.
Al-Fadley said that the agreement aims to further strengthen partnership and cooperation between the Fund and GCC member states and their development and financial institutions, develop the Fund's programs and cooperate with the private sector and charitable associations.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of IFAD's 42nd annual Governing Council meeting, 14-15 February 2019 in Rome, under the theme "Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship". The sessions focus on several topics most important of which are value chain development activities, gender- and nutrition-sensitive; the role of social entrepreneurship and innovation in promoting resilience and addressing global challenges; and the impact of new technology on the future of farming.
The Saudi delegation led by HE Eng. Al-Fadley gathered high-level officials including Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to FAO, Eng. Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Hawish, Director-General of the International Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and Mr. Mohammed Al-Zubin, Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance.
For his part, Al-Ghamdi said: "The signing of this agreement with the Fund will maximize the Fund's benefits by increasing technical cooperation, exchange of experience and knowledge sharing, implementing regional food security programs, including technical assistance and capacity-building ".
Moreover, it is to be noted that IFAD is an agency of United Nations, an international financial institution focusing its efforts to support agriculture and rural development, and that Saudi Arabia played a major role in establishing IFAD in 1977 and has been a major supporter of the Fund over the past 40 years.