Against the backdrop of rising global hunger, Pope Francis will join world leaders at the opening ceremony of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development's governing council - its major annual meeting - on 14 February next year, IFAD stated on Tuesday.
Pope Francis will be taking part in the opening ceremony of IFAD's governing council for the first time, said the IFAD statement.
Eradicating rural poverty and hunger, the UN agency's core global mandate, remains a crucial issue that is of constant concern to the pontiff, who has called for nations to eliminate the scourge of hunger, the statement said.
The governing council's 42nd session, focusing on the theme "Rural innovation and entrepreneurial spirit", will explore how investing in technology, innovation and small enterprise development can address many of these challenges.
IFAD's governing council – which meets annually with all 176 of IFAD's member states in attendance – provides an opportunity for heads of state and government to tackle some of the world's most intractable challenges around poverty and hunger in the most remote areas of developing countries.
Since its founding in 1977, IFAD has implemented projects that have helped millions of rural women and men to grow more food, feed their families better and raise their incomes, the agency stated.
IFAD-supported projects have demonstrated that with access to financing, markets, technology and information, rural people can build resilience, expand their activities and take charge of their own development, the agency said.