Development finance leader Alvaro Lario takes the helm of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development on Saturday with an urgent mission to battle poverty and hunger among the world’s rural poor as they face existential threats of climate change and food insecurity.
Lario, a Spanish national who has served as IFAD’s chief financial officer since 2018, has led efforts to harness private sector investment to boost the resilience of millions of small-scale farmers and rural communities who are among those most affected by global shocks.
“Our mission has never been more urgent as food insecurity, climate change and conflict threaten the lives and livelihoods of the world’s rural poor,” he said. “But our power to shape the future has never been greater if we muster the commitment and resources to make lasting change.”
Lario remains committed to IFAD’s goal to double its impact on poor rural communities by 2030. This will be done in part by driving forward climate change adaptation as a priority for the Fund.
Poor small-scale farmers produce one-third of the world’s food, but receive less than two percent of climate finance and are the least able to adapt to changing circumstances like drought, extreme weather, and crop failure.
IFAD, a UN specialized agency that is also an international financial institution, has invested more than US$23 billion since its inception in 1978 in low-interest loans and grants, reaching more than a half-billion people through projects that increase food security and food production, improve nutrition and build resilience in the world’s poorest and most marginalized rural communities.
In 2020, under Lario’s stewardship, IFAD became the first UN fund to receive a public credit rating. That AA+ rating, through the Fitch agency, has enabled IFAD to secure private sector investment, with two initial private-placement bonds in 2022 totaling US$150 million, and more to come.
Lario will serve a four-year term from 1st October. He has a Ph.D. in financial economics from Complutense University in his native Spain, and a master’s degree in finance from Princeton University. Previous to the Fund, he worked on local capital markets development and emerging markets investments in the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, and also in various roles in the private sector asset management industry and academia.Source: EIN News