During the last Financial Year, the Economic Wing of the Mission had actively participated in the Sessions of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and at the Thirty-first Session of the FAO Conference which was held in Rome in November 2001, where the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by consensus. However, our signing and ratification of the Treaty is under active consideration of the Ministry of Agriculture.
FAO also provides Technical Assistance Grants in the form of Technical Cooperation Programme(TCP) to member countries to tackle emergency problems in agriculture and to promote agricultural development in general. Due to interventions by this wing at appropriate levels in FAO, Bangladesh has been regularly receiving TCP projects from FAO. In the aftermath of the devastating floods in 1998, FAO approved three TCP projects involving a grant of US$ 7,25,500 to supply vegetable seeds and veterinary medicines and vaccines to flood affected areas. Last year FAO sanctioned two TCP projects anticipating a financial outlay of US$433,000.
The World Food Summit: five years later was held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome from 10-13 June 2002 for which the Economic Wing of the Mission was the focal point. Seventy-four Heads of States and Governments graced the occasion by their presence. Bangladesh delegation to the summit was led by Mr. Motiur Rahman Nizami, Hon'ble Minister for Agriculture and included other high officials. The final outcome of the summit was the adoption of a Declaration which includes concrete steps to further strengthen political commitments and to mobilize additional resources for investment in agriculture and rural development. Bangladesh delegation lobbied hard during the negotiations for inclusion in the Declaration, a reference on the impact of ground water contamination (arsenic problem) on food security (Page-3, Para-3). Four bilateral meetings were held between the Honb'le Agriculture Minster and the Ministers from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and China.
The Twenty-fifth Session of the Governing Council of the IFAD was held in Rome on 19-20 February 2002. Bangladesh delegation to the session was led by Mr. Ayub Quadri, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. The Mission under the leadership of the head of the delegation did participate effectively in all the major events of the Governing Council. Special mention may be made of our participation in the round-table discussion on IFAD's Regional Strategies : Asia and the Pacific.
On November 14, 2001 a Loan Agreement was signed between IFAD and GOB for "Sunamgang Community-Based Resource Management Project." This project will receive US $ 22 million from IFAD. With this project, IFAD will have financed 20 soft loans to the Republic of Bangladesh, for a total amount of approximately US $ 295 million. The Mission had worked hard to finalize other projects in the IFAD pipeline.
Bangladesh was elected for the first time as Chairman of the Governing Council of IFAD for 1997 and 1998. After a cessation of almost ten years, Bangladesh had been a member of the IFAD Executive Board for the year 2001.