Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Banjul forum: Ifad-funded projects share best practices

Participants at the official opening of the Ifad-Banjul Forum 2012/PHOTO:M.E. NJIE

This year’s 7th Regional Forum for Ifad-funded projects (12 to 15 November, 2012) is meant to highlight and share the knowledge, experience on best practices and lessons learned during projects implementation, including areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities  and the threats to further and sustained progress.

Organized and co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) projects and Gambia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the forum brought together Ifad-funded projects in West and Central Africa Division (WCA).

The Forum is also intended to strengthen the knowledge base for effective project delivery and renewed trust, relationships, shared commitment and common ground; and to agree on approaches and needed actions necessary in a more comprehensive implementation and scaling-up process for sustained effort and far reaching impact. 

“Monitoring and evaluation is indeed key to project sustainability and success,” Gambia’s Agriculture Minister Mr. Solomon Owens said during the opening at the Kairaba beach hotel in Gambia on Monday, while describing as “important” the theme: “Results-based management for sustainable Rural Poverty Reduction: Lessons Learned and Challenges.”

He said emphasis should be placed on effective coordination of policy and result. The beneficiaries should be adequately empowered to have tools that would enable them to actively participate in result and evidence-based systems. 

This will ensure the critical masses are met, increasing the viability of the agricultural sector, he added.
Since 1982, the Gambia has enjoyed funding from Ifad for nine projects worth US$53.6 million and a new project, the national agricultural land and water management development (Nema) which is estimated at a record US $34 million is in the process of being approved.  

The Government of The Gambia (GoTG) is fully aware of the fruitful partnership and assistance provided by Ifad, says Minister Owens, while urging participants to apply new skills and knowledge from the forum to improve the pro-poor impacts of Ifad-funded projects in West and Central African countries.

“Ifad’s programme of work in WCA supports production and productivity based agricultural-led poverty reduction,” Mr. Ides de Willebois, Ifad’s director for WCA said. “The WCA lending programme is increasingly focused on supporting agricultural productivity growth, and continues to support the development of strong rural institutions.”  

 7th RĂ©gional forum for IFAD-funded projects to Banjul. Sharing experiences and knowledge for change.
The West and Central African region currently comprises of 58 projects in 23 countries with a total Ifad-financing of US$990.5 million, of these, 44 projects (US$796.9 million) concentrated in West Africa and the other 14 projects (US$193.5 million) in Central Africa.

According to Mr. Willebois, Ifad operations in the WCA region are contributing positively to sustainable rural livelihoods across the region, targeting poverty and gender - the hallmarks of Ifad’s approach and operations and performance of WCA projects which continue to be “generally satisfactory.”  

Speaking on behalf of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator Ms. Chinwe Dike, a Programme Specialist Mr. Abdou Touray said the topic at the center of the forum is relevant and timely for the UNDP as a development partner. 

“It reflects the way a project applies processes and resources to undertake interventions to achieve commonly agreed results,” Mr. Touray said.

 “The outcome of the forum will contribute immensely to both the attitude and practice of project design, implementation and monitoring within the participating countries and above all build capacity of managing for results leading to a more effective use of development resources,” he added.

Some of the key activities at the forum are portfolio session, presentations, plenary sessions on project experiences, working groups, share fair, field visits, and lessons learned from field visits among other things. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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