The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency within the United Nations, striving to alleviate poverty and hunger by ensuring better agricultural development, food security and nutrition for all. FAO was founded in 1945 with a mandate to raise nutritional levels and living standards, to improve agricultural productivity and better condition of rural people.
The Organization main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and sustainable management of natural resources including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations. FAO provides direct development assistance to the communities as well as supports policy and planning advice to governments, and acts as an international forum to facilitate dialogue on food and agriculture issues.
The focus of FAO programme in Ethiopia is to support; improved food and nutrition security with aim of hunger eradication; reduction of poverty through livelihood diversification and promotion of rural employment especially youth and women; increased production and productivity under sustainable management of natural resources; contribution to agricultural growth and development focusing on small scale production transformation and commercialisation; and resilience building for the vulnerable communities and people.
Main strategic functions:
In 2009, FAO undertook a review of its strategic framework to improve quality delivery, efficiency in the use of resources and more and result-oriented action and identified five Strategic Objectives:
1. Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition;
2. Make agriculture (crops/livestock), forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable;
3. Reduce rural poverty;
4. Enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems; and
5. Increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters.
Within the FAO’s Renewed Strategic Framework, the main tool for defining priority areas of focus at the country level is the Country Programme Framework (CPF), which is based on jointly agreed prioritization between the Government and FAO, outlining the main areas of interventions for a period of five years. The FAO CPF in Ethiopia is aligned to Government priority policies through GTP and specifically to strategies in the agricultural sector through Policy Investment Framework, (PIF).The CPF is consistent and aligned to the strategic objectives within the UN development Assistance frameworks (UNDAFs).
FAO Ethiopia Country programme is informed by the CPF and focusses on institutional strengthening at regional level and on policy support at Federal level. The programme is being implemented under three main Africa Regional Initiatives, for examples:
Renewed Partnership for a Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025, under the Framework the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (RI1)
Sustainable Production Intensification and Commercialization through Integrated Management of Agricultural Landscapes (RI2);
Building Resilient Livelihoods (RI3).
1. Putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture. FAO serves as a knowledge network aiming at collecting, analyzing and disseminating relevant data and information to support informed agricultural development and food and nutrition security policies and strategies.
2. Strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise. FAO lends its years of experience to member countries in devising agricultural policy, supporting planning, drafting effective legislation and creating national strategies to achieve rural development and hunger alleviation goals. The policy work also comprises advocacy work for the implementation of these policies and programmes.
3. Bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture. As a neutral organisation, FAO provides the setting where Member Countries can come together to build common understanding to improve support and services to farmers and facilitate greater public and private investments in strengthening the food sector.
4. Bringing knowledge to the field. FAO’s breadth of knowledge is put to the test in thousands of field projects throughout the world. FAO mobilizes and manages millions of dollars provided by industrialized countries, development banks and other sources to make sure the projects achieve their goals. In humanitarian and emergency contexts, FAO works with the World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies to protect rural livelihoods and help people rebuild their lives. Supporting countries prevent and mitigate risks. FAO develops mechanisms to monitor and warn about multi-hazard risks and threats to agriculture, food and nutrition by informing countries on successful risk reduction measures that they can include in all policies related to agriculture; and by coordinating disaster response plans at all levels.