International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries and is involved in the development of indigenous peoples due to its targeted approach to rural development. By 2007, it had so far provided a total of US$1,134 million equivalent in loans (or about 12.6% of its total loan portfolio) in support of indigenous peoples, mainly in Latin American and Asian countries. Regarding Africa, although the Fund provided several loans in support of pastoralists and other marginalized groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s, by the end of the 1990s this support had dwindled. Recently, the Fund has shown renewed interest in supporting pastoralists in northern and western Africa, and some of its ongoing projects are also helping hunters and gatherers in central and southern Africa regain their livelihoods.
IFAD-funded projects over the years have addressed several issues of particular relevance to TK, including:
- securing access to ancestral lands and territories;
- enhancing indigenous peoples’ livelihoods through sustainable natural resource management, according to their perspectives and visions;
- valuing and revitalizing indigenous knowledge systems and blending them with modern technology;
- supporting bilingual and cross-cultural education and promoting intercultural awareness;
- enhancing indigenous identity and self-esteem; and
- fostering culturally based microenterprises.
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