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It has been one year, that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) established its office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The office serves as a hub for the wider sub-region, covering the Fund's portfolios in  Indonesia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Earlier this month, IFAD commemorated this anniversary with a Forum on Empowering communities, strengthening resilience in Jakarta.

Partners and stakeholders, including government representatives from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, development partners, civil society and private sector, followed the invitation extended by IFAD, the Indonesian Ministry for National Development Planning and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. Having all partners in one room provided an opportunity to explore enhance cross learning and strengthen linkages within the portfolio: As Island states, the countries in IFAD’s portfolio in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific share a number of similar characteristics related to social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition related opportunities and vulnerabilities.

We are living in a fast changing and interconnected world today.  This new world calls for joint efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable development. For joint efforts to work, we need trust and an understanding of our shared interests. We have the global level commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our gathering today is not independent from this work, but it should complement or even catalyse the process.
H.E Bambang Brodjonegoro
Minister for National Development Planning
Indonesia
  
Indonesian Minister Bambang adressing the South-South Forum


In two sessions, participants explored good practices, common challenges and collaboration opportunities. The Project Forum Empowering communities, strengthening resilience focused on exchanging good practices and innovations from project implementation. Bringing together project partners from Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as regional networks and farmers’ organizations.

We at IFAD are firm believers in the power of partnerships. And our partnership with the Government of Indonesia, with the Governments of the Pacific Islands, with the Government of Papua New Guinea, and the Government of Timor-Leste, and all of you was taken to a new level when we opened the office here. I cannot think of a better way to mark this important step, and to honour the subregional character of our office, than assembling together to facilitate cross-learning and partnership not only within but among our countries.
Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes

Participants of the Project Forum
 Key messages emerging from the conversation were:
  • Empowering communities and creating ownership in programmes and processes for all stakeholders and giving rural people a voice and control over decisions that affect their lifes is crucial for development success.
  • Special attention should be placed on engaging young people to build tomorrow’s successful rural producers by bringing in innovative technologies, and most of all, make farming a solid business.
  • Partnerships create opportunities to leverage additional resources. Programmes must put structures and capacities in place so that these can be sustained beyond project completion.
  • Rural women and men’s resilience to increasing risks, such as by the impacts of a changing climate, can be strengthened by better natural resource management, diversifying income sources and mitigation measures such as insurances and savings.

Discussing how to ensure market access for remote rural villages.


Empowering our people and strengthening resilience is much more relevant today than yesterday, and much more so in the future, particularly with the increasing challenges through climate change, sea level rising and increasing severity of natural disasters. 
Balwyn Fa’otusia
CEO, Ministry of Finance and National Planning
Tonga

The key is to activate the community to run with the programme. When programmes do not belong to the community, they will not be sustainable.
Lottie Vaisekavea
Programme Manager Rural Development Project
Solomon Islands

Introducing coastal resource management practices mot only created additional income opportunities through eco-tourism and better coastal ecosystems. It also enhanced the villages protection from beach erosion and floods.
Sapta Putra Ginting
National Project Coordinator
Coastal Community Development Project
Indonesia



The High-Level Roundtable Transforming Rural Areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific centred around the status of rural areas and how they can be transformed into vibrant economic and social centres. Building on the good practices and common challenges identified by the project-level forum, the high-level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, also explored opportunities for South-South collaboration.

The Indonesian Minister of Villages sharing his vision for rural areas.
We have the dream to turn villages into economic growth centres.
H.E. Eko Putro Sandjojo
Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration
Indonesia

We need to change the way we do development and partnerships if we want to address the challenges that we are facing. More mitigation now means less adaptation in the future.
H.E. Inia Batikoto Seruiratu
Minister of Agriculture
Fiji

IFAD has been instrumental in designing processes to strengthening communities and giving them a voice in development planning.
H.E. Tevita Lavemaau
Minister of Finance and National Planning
Tonga

Ministers and high level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu with IFAD Associate Vice President


In outlining the way forward, Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes, stressed the need to change mindsets in order to change practices, the importance of sharing knowledge and resources and the need to de-risk the agriculture sector. He recognised the expectation by IFAD’s member states to deliver faster and highlighted IFAD’s approach to develop tailored solutions—together with respective governments and communities. Findings of the forum will be reflected in IFAD’s work going forward.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the next chapter for IFAD in Southeast Asia and the Pacific



Indonesian Minister of Finance delivering her remarks.

The day concluded with a reception to celebrate the office anniversary. In her opening remarks, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, H.E. Sri Mulyani, appreciated the IFAD’s partnership with Indonesia as well as the Fund’s contributions towards Indonesia’s rural development. She further expressed her expectation that with IFAD being on the ground, this partnership can be further strengthened.





from the left: IFAD Asia and Pacific Director Hoonae Kim, IFAD SEA and Pacific Country Director Ron Hartman, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes Perin Saint Ange, Secretary Department of Agriculture and Livestock PNG Vele Pat Ila' Ava, Minister of Agriculture Fiji Inia Batikoto Seruiratu, Minister of Finance and National Planning Tonga Tevita Lavemaau, Minister of Finance Indonesia Sri Mulyani, Senior Advisor to the Minister and IFAD Governor Indonesia Rionald Silaban



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