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U.S. Senators urge Treasury Secretary to Support International Agricultural Development

Janet Yellen is poised to become a key part of Biden's economic team.
Janet Yellen is poised to become a key part of Biden's economic team.
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:12 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Co-chairs of the Senate Hunger Caucus, Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rob Casey (D-Pa.) led a group of Senators in urging Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, to vow support from the United States for the International Fund for Agricultural Development to aid in reducing global hunger.

The senators wrote, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated global food insecurity and poverty, which had been made worse in recent years due to widespread incidences of conflict and economic disruption...In order for the United States to continue to demonstrate strong leadership, we urge you to issue a robust pledge to IFAD12 at the pledging conference on February 16, 2021. Taking such action will benefit and enable the world’s most vulnerable populations to generate more income and improve nutrition and food security.”

The IFAD works to provide grants and loans for agriculture development projects aiding farmers in developing countries. Pledges for the12th replenishment will occur on February 16, 2021, while replenishment for the fund takes place every three years.

Among those that joined in sending the letter were, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Ver.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The full letter is below:

Dear Secretary Yellen –

We write to express our support for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)and urge Treasury to pledge or indicate its intention to pledge, to the twelfth replenishment of IFAD’s resources (IFAD12) at the pledging session that will take place on February 16, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated global food insecurity and poverty, which had worsened in recent years due to widespread incidences of conflict economic disruption and climate events. The United States, IFAD’s largest historical contributor, did not pledge to support the eleventh replenishment of IFAD’s resources (IFAD11) during the previous administration. Nevertheless, Congress continued to appropriate funds for IFAD with bipartisan and bicameral support. We believe it is important that our Nation stands at the forefront of efforts to reduce global hunger and rural poverty with a robust pledge to the upcoming replenishment cycle.

The United States’ long history of bilateral development assistance programs have thrived with complementary efforts in multilateral institutions. This is particularly true with mechanisms that deliver financing to targeted sectors such as agriculture and small- and medium-sized enterprises. IFAD extends loans to low income and lower-middle income countries on concessional terms that provide on-lending to entrepreneurs and investment in rural infrastructure, markets and improved agricultural production practices. The IFAD strategic objectives complement the agricultural programs that the United States provides bilaterally through the Feed the Future and Food for Peace programs.

A robust pledge to IFAD will strengthen the complementary relationship between these programs, while at the same time reaffirming the United States’ commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly ending hunger (SDG2), by the year 2030. Increased food security and prosperity in the developing world is key to increasing U.S. national security, as well as benefitting U.S. agricultural and other export growth.

In recent years, IFAD has implemented reforms and achieved increased impact and greater efficiency in programming. IFAD’s beneficiaries include rural women and youth, indigenous people and people who live in the most remote rural areas of the world. The United States has been consistently engaged in the development of the reform agenda and remains an active leader among the institution’s 176 member countries.

In four replenishment consultation sessions held in 2020, the IFAD membership developed the parameters of the IFAD12 strategic objectives, performance targets and cross-cutting themes that articulate the institution’s objectives for IFAD12. The estimates of the specific financial objectives to carry out this plan will require leading donors to increase their pledges by 60 percent, up to doubling their pledges to IFAD11. All IFAD member states have acknowledged that in order to achieve the impacts needed for small-scale farmers and their communities, financial resources must be committed to carry out an equally ambitious plan of operation. IFAD has prepared for this by restructuring the organization and decentralizing its staff to achieve more with each dollar of funding provided to the institution.

In order for the United States to continue its strong leadership in global food security efforts, we urge you to issue a robust pledge to IFAD12 at the pledging conference on February 16, 2021. Taking such action will benefit and enable the world’s most vulnerable populations to generate more income and improve nutrition and food security.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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