The SFE work programme is continously evolving but in line with the philosophy behind decentralisation, the programme is geared towards eventually reflecting greater responsiveness in delivering service to member countries by focusing on issues that are most important for its eight countries. The consultative process for achieving this is already underway and is driven by a desire to: increase focus of SFE activities on the sub-region; enhance multi-disciplinary work; and stress the policy/strategic dimensions of interventions. While SFE can engage in “practical” work on the ground, it is expected that its utmost value addition will be helping countries to make better developmental choices and adopting more effective ways of doing business. Communicating international best practice will be important too and therefore SFE staff are encouraged to continue to also work outside their own backyard.
With collective analysis by staff done, the four main areas which SFE selected to concentrate on for the next biennium (2008/09) are:
- Support to sustainable agriculture (in terms of natural resource use) that is intensified, market-oriented and integrated. This type of agriculture should be promoted in selected productive zones (agricultural modernisation is a recurring theme in almost all SFE countries);
- Helping with coping mechanisms of vulnerable communities to enable them be better prepared for facing disasters/shocks;
- Promoting coordination among sectors (e.g. agriculture, finance, trade and commerce, water, nutrition.) to avoid duplication of effort and increased efficiency;
- Promote improved in trade share of commodities produced in the sub region, based on competitive advantage globally and regionally.
Implementation of the work programme will draw upon the international expertise available in SFE Addis Ababa in the following areas:
- Agribusiness and enterprise development
- Animal production and health
- Plant production and protection
- Policy Assistance (sector and macro-policies)
- Investment in Agriculture
- Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Land and Water (soil and natural resources in general)
- Programme development and support to UN reform
In addition, the Federal Government of Ethiopia (the host government) has offered up to seven Ethiopian professionals for recruitment to complement the MDT. SFE’s multidisciplinary team can also draw upon the skills of FAO Representatives in each country for application in other SFE countries.