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17 October 2013

Partnering for Results - Informal Meeting


Permanent Representatives,


Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to this informal meeting “Partnering for Results”.

FAO has undergone important transformations in the past 20 months.

Today, those directly involved in this process will explain how these changes are improving the support we give to our Member States and contributing to their efforts to achieve food security and sustainable development.

We hope that you will leave today’s meeting convinced that our efforts help to:

  • first, sharpen the focus of our work,
  • second, deliver great value for money,
  • third, close the gap between Headquarters and decentralized offices, emergency and development, and
  • fourth, achieve concrete, measurable results and make it worthwhile to increase your investment in the organization.

As you know, we are focusing our work around five strategic objectives and a sixth objective to improve the quality of the public goods that we deliver.

We are already implementing six regional initiatives that act upon this very well defined set of priorities, which have the full support of FAO Members and on which our Program of Work and Budget is built.

The PWB shows where we will center our efforts. Every budget line indicates a result we want to achieve. That is where our resources, human and financial, should be channeled.

But the full delivery of the 2014-2015 program of work does not depend only on the approved regular budget. It also depends on extra-budgetary contributions estimated in the PWB in 1.4 billion dollars.

We hope that this meeting will convince you that the priorities under the Strategic Framework provide a firm foundation and compelling rationale for partnership and the commitment of voluntary contributions.

 We would like to see a shift in resource mobilization, moving away from ad hoc support and towards a more coherent, coordinated and strategic approach.

 FAO is also making an effort in this direction. For instance, we enhanced the Technical Cooperation Program, increasing its funding and linking it to the Reviewed Strategic Framework and Country Programming Frameworks.

 You can further support this coherence by focusing extra-budgetary funding in FAO’s priority areas. Or by contributing non-earmarked funds which we will then invest in the priorities defined by our Members.

My colleagues today will say more about how you can contribute to a more programmatic and strategic approach.

Ladies and gentlemen,

 There are many specific areas in which we need extra-budgetary funding to carry out our work.

 Today I want to mention only one example which falls under our sixth objective, related to our normative work and global public goods.

 It is called Voices of the Hungry.

It will improve the way in which we measure hunger by providing a suite of indicators that allows us to better understand the different dimensions of food insecurity.

As such, it will be an important complement to our current indicator, which is the Prevalence of Undernourishment.

We have already begun this work with funding from FAO’s own resources and from Belgium. The Gates Foundation and DFID have recently confirmed that they will also support this effort. But we still need funding to implement this new and innovative approach to measure hunger in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Moving on to another issue, as you will hear today, the level of voluntary contributions to FAO has remained stable in the past couple of years, despite the difficult economic scenario.

This has been possible because of the continuing support of traditional resource partners, and thanks to new faces that have joined the FAO donor community.

Today, we count among our top resource partners not only the European Union, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and institutions such as the World Bank, IFAD and the Gates Foundation; but also, countries such as Brazil, China, Korea, Mexico and Turkey, and many others that are supporting South-South cooperation programs.

There is a welcome increase in South-South Cooperation, which you will hear more about today.

Recently, Russia has also confirmed it will support the Agricultural Market Information System, AMIS.

At a time when some of our traditional partners have been hard hit by the economic crisis, it is encouraging to see others stepping up their contribution.

We have, for instance, the generous contributions from Guinea Equatorial and Angola to the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund. We hope that we will be able to replicate this experience in other regions.

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund is also an example of non-earmarked multi-donor trust funds, one of the innovative funding modalities that FAO is adopting.

Another example is the Multi-Partner Program Support Mechanism funded by Members such as Belgium, the Flanders International Cooperation Agency, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Another funding innovation is the multi-donor trust fund for the private sector. Many companies that participated last week in the second FAO-Private Sector meeting have already expressed their interest in becoming our partners.

This builds on recent partnerships that we have established with the Rabobank Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, and the International Cooperative Alliance. And tomorrow, we will start a partnership with the food retailer Eataly.

My colleagues will go into more detail on these and other innovative funding modalities later on.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The latest hunger figures show that the number of hungry has gone down by 36 million. However, over 840 million continue to be undernourished – approximately one in every eight human beings.

With two years still to go, 62 out of the 128 countries monitored by FAO have already achieved the first Millennium Development Goal hunger target.

With a final push more countries can get there. However, we will need an exceptional level of collaboration to do this. And to then bring the hunger number down to zero.

We cannot afford not to strengthen our cooperation to meet the challenges that bring us together. There is too much at stake.

Today’s meeting is one more step in the process. And it is an open invitation to do more. 

We have been doing a lot, but we could do more. We WANT to do more.

Thank you.