Donor funding doubles for agricultural rehabilitation

Funding from donor governments doubled to nearly US$54 million in 2000 for FAO's agricultural rehabilitation projects to help countries recover from emergencies. Contributions went to support 114 projects in 43 countries and regions. Government donations were up from US$26 million in 1999, continuing the positive trend of recent years.

"There are several reasons for the sustained improvement in donor funding," says Anne Bauer, Chief of FAO's Special Relief Operations Service, who announced the figures recently at an informal donors' meeting. "We have continued to improve our coordination with donors, key international NGOs and other institutions -- mainly through the provision of agricultural inputs, technical advice and information and through joint planning of activities to resume food production. This coordination reduces overlaps and gaps in the delivery of emergency agricultural assistance, and has inspired continued donor confidence."

Among the principal reasons for the increase in funding, Ms Bauer cites more systematic liaison with donor governments and NGOs in the field, which has generated additional support. FAO has also increased its participation within the UN humanitarian community, particularly with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which organizes UN assistance in complex emergencies that go beyond the capacity and mandate of any single humanitarian agency. "The assistance FAO gives in bridging the gap between life-saving activities and rehabilitation is being appreciated more and more," says Ms Bauer.

FAO's ability to initiate an emergency programme immediately when crises occur allows donors to see the Organization's presence on the ground before they allocate funds. "We have acknowledged the importance of being on the spot as soon as possible when disaster strikes," she notes. "This facilitates needs assessment, information sharing and planning of assistance activities. We've seen the advantage of this recently in Kosovo, Mozambique and East Timor, where we quickly established emergency units."

In addition to the funding provided by the donor community, other sources of financing for FAO's agricultural rehabilitation activities are the UN Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq, FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme and other UN agencies.

12 February 2001


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