World leaders and celebrities call for greater investment to end hunger and poverty

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Heads of state, ministers, development leaders, and celebrities today called for greater investment in rural areas to accelerate progress to achieve a world free from poverty and hunger in the next 10 years.
The call was made at the 43rd Session of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) attended by its 177 Member States. This comes at a time when hunger is rising. More than 820 million people go hungry every day, 736 million people still live in extreme poverty, and the wealth gap continues to widen.
IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo called reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in 10 years “an abstract vision, a distant mirage” unless serious commitments are made to invest more in rural areas where 79 per cent of the world’s poorest people and the vast majority of the hungry live.
“The road ahead is clear: the road to achieving the SDGs must run through rural areas,” Houngbo said. “We must travel to the end of that road and invest in the most marginalized people – small-scale producers, women, youth and indigenous peoples – to deliver on our SDG commitments.”
The President of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, opened the two-day event. Like other countries in the Sahel region, Mali is struggling under the dual scourge of conflict and climate change, which is making bumper harvests practically insignificant against the food shortages the country faces, as farmers abandon their fields to escape the crisis.
“Mali will never give up. Neither us nor the other countries of the Sahel. We are bleeding but we shall prevail,” Keïta said, adding that “IFAD has enabled a people faced with the worst kind of attacks to uphold their values and keep their dignity.”