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Origin and Financial Magnitude

On 6 June 1991 FAO and the Commission of the European Economic Communities concluded a Framework Cooperation Agreement in order “to step up their cooperation in the food and agriculture sectors including fisheries and forestry.” The EEC then became a member organization of FAO in November 1991.

Since the conclusion on 27 January 1993 of the “Arrangement on Procedures for Technical Cooperation between the Commission of the European Communities and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations”, cooperation with the EC has developed further, as shown by the following data: in 1991 the Commission had approved four projects, for a total value of US$3 million; in 1992 five projects were approved, worth US$3.6 million. In 1993 eleven project agreements, based on the new procedures, were concluded for a total amount of US$ 4.8 million. In 1994 ten project agreements were approved, worth US$9 million, of which 4 projects for emergency activities, amounting to US$ 6,067,116 (67 per cent of the total). In 1995, eleven new agreements referring to development projects have been concluded, for a total budget of approximately US$ 17.4 million. In 1996, 13 projects for a total budget of US$ 9,849 048 were concluded. In 1997/98, 9 projects for a total budget of nearly US$ 19 million were agreed. In 1999, 12 projects for a total budget of US$20.1 million were approved. In 2000/2002, 14 projects for a total budget of US$18.8 million have been approved. During the period 1993-2002 85 projects have been approved for a total budget of approximately US $ 100 million.

In total, in the period 1991-2002, 97 projects have been approved for a global amount of nearly US$107 million, if we include the financially/operationally closed projects (see annex 2). Presently, 32 projects are under implementation in the field for a total budget of US$ 58 million approximately.

Technical Areas for Cooperation

(see Tables 1, 2, 3 and annexes 4, 5, 6 and 7)

Broadly speaking, cooperation between the European Commission since 1991 and FAO has taken place in five main technical sectors which include Agricultural Production and Support Systems (39 per cent of the total), Food Information and Early Warning System (35 per cent), Animal Health and Production (15 per cent), Forestry (7 per cent) and Fisheries (4 per cent). See (Table 3a). A more detailed analysis shows that cooperation has taken place in a limited number of sub-sectors.

Agricultural Production and Support Systems.

Historically, cooperation between FAO and the EC started in 1991, within the broad sector of Agricultural Production and Support Systems (39 percent of total approvals). In particular, with an emergency project for the provision of seeds in Haiti. Similar projects were approved in the following years in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The good results of these projects made it possible to have a number of follow up phases, which were no longer emergency interventions, for the multiplication and marketing of improved seeds. Thus, in addition to the above mentioned countries, projects of this type were approved for Afghanistan since 1995. In 2002, a Euro six million project has been approved, bringing a total budget in this specific country to over US $ 10 million. The overall value of projects for seeds improvement and multiplication is close to US $ 20 million.

Finally, a special case is represented by a regional project in Asia for Integrated Pest management for Cotton. This project, approved in 1997 for a total budget of US $ 13.7 million, has been particularly appreciated and a follow up phase is now under discussion.

Early Warning and Food Information Systems

Food Information and Early Warning System is the other major sector of cooperation between FAO and the Commission and it represents 35per cent of total approvals. Collaboration in this sector has taken place through a combination of projects in support to both FAO’s normative work and specific country projects. Examples of the first type of projects are provided by the support given by the EC to the system definition and development of computer workstation for Global Information and Early Warning. These projects, started in 1992, have continued throughout 2002 and have contributed significantly to improve the capacity of GIEW in providing the international community with early warning of impending food supply difficulties and more accurate assessment of the food aid requirements in specific geographic locations.

Examples of specific country interventions in this sector are provided by several projects to assist the National Early Warning Systems in Mozambique and Angola, in the CIS and Georgia.

In recent years, cooperation between the EC and FAO in this sector has been further structured with the approval of the 1999 Package on Food Security, which comprises 8 projects in support of both normative and country specific activities, for a total amount of Euro 12 million. The package, which may represent a model for future Strategic Partnership Agreements between the EC and FAO, is characterized by a programme approach, a high degree of consultations on technical and operational aspects, joint assessment and evaluation mechanisms and a comprehensive financial mechanism by which funding of the programme as such does not impede financial management and monitoring at project level.

Animal Health

Cooperation in this sector, which represents 15 per cent of total approvals, really took off in 1995 with the approval of projects in support of the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign, including the development of communication techniques, veterinary vaccine production, strategic planning for the regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Programme. These projects and their follow-up phases, 10 in total, have represented major occasions for cooperation at field level, particularly at the PARC coordination units in Nairobi and Bamako, where the FAO/EC projects were located. Outside Africa, an important project is represented by the support to the emergency prevention and control of main trans-boundary diseases in Pakistan. It is worth to note that animal health is a sector where technical consultations and dialogue between the concerned services of the Commission and FAO has been constant.


In financial terms, approximately 7 per cent of total approvals, this sector is not very significant. However, cooperation has developed with the characteristics of a strategic partnership, thus setting a viable precedent for future cooperation beyond the single project approach.

Cooperation with the EC is increasingly taking place with respect to the National Forestry facility. The Facility is an innovative partnership of European donors and FAO to support the development and implementation of national forest programmes (NFPs) in developing countries. The main modes of operation are capacity development and information sharing. The Facility supports directly the NFP processes at the country level through partnership agreements, following applications from the countries. It has started operating in July 2002, and is already active in a dozen of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Facility is also developing knowledge management initiatives at the international level to enable users to access information and knowledge for any issue that may arise in an NFP process.

In concrete terms, the EC-FAO cooperation programme in forestry has taken place through four projects:

Project B7-6201/97-15/VIII/FOR (GCP/INT/679/EC): “Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in ACP Countries - Linking national and international efforts”.

Project B7-6201/98-08/VIII/FOR (GCP/RAF/354/EC): “Sustainable Forest Management Programme in African ACP Countries”.

Project ASI/B7-6201/IB/98/0531 (GCP/RAS/173/EC): “Information and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management: linking National and International Efforts in South Asia and Southeast Asia”.

Project AML/B7-6201/IB/98/0651 (GCP/RLA/133/EC): “Information and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management: linking National and International Efforts in 13 Tropical Countries In Latin America”

Apart from the first inter-regional project, the other three projects correspond to Strategic Partnership Programmes in specific regions, namely Africa, South Asia and South East Asia, and Latin America. These projects have a number of common characteristics. The first one is the presence of National Forestry Programme Components. Within this framework, country missions are fielded to launch the NFP process, to review the NFP implementation and to assist the country in the preparation of the NFP dossier in the framework of the NFP facility. Studies on “Evaluation of forestry benefits (goods and services) and their importance to the national economy” are also undertaken.

Another common component refers to Fiscal Policy Reviews. In this connection, country reports on fiscal policies and government expenditure on forestry are prepared. Other components include: Forest Harvesting (case studies on forest harvesting practices), Non-wood Forest Products (Workshops, pilot studies), Wood Energy Planning and Policy Development, Forest Research (Databases on forestry research institutions, scientists and programmes/projects), Thematic studies, Forest Policy Reviews and Country reports. A number of Regional activities ensure statistical data collection and analysis on Non-wood Forest Products National statistics on forest products.


In this particular sector, cooperation between the two institutions is not particularly significant (4 per cent of the total). Cooperation between FAO and the EC over the years has taken place with a project in West Africa for the Improvement of the Legal Framework for Fisheries Cooperation, management & development of Coastal States, and another project in Mozambique for the Planning and Coordination of the Fisheries Master Plan. In 2002, a Feasibility Study for a project on “Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP Countries” was approved. Further cooperation is now being discussed with DG Fisheries in such fields as aquaculture, international trade and fish quality and safety, improving information and data collection, fishermen safety, vessel monitoring systems.

Geographic Areas for Cooperation

In terms of geographical distribution, 43 per cent of total approvals were for projects executed in Africa and Near East, 37 per cent in Asia, 16 per cent in Interregional, 4 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean. See (Table 3b).

Africa has been of a particular importance in FAO/EC cooperation. In this region, the Commission’s emergency interventions, supply of agricultural inputs in particular, represented the first area for cooperation with FAO in 1993-94. However, development projects received increased attention after 1996. In this connection, animal health, early warning systems, plant protection, seeds improvement and production, agricultural statistics, have constituted the bulk of FAO/EC cooperation

As to the South and Central America regions, cooperation has focused on food security and nutrition in Peru and Bolivia. A long term effort (1991-97) focused on the provision of improved seeds in Haiti, and on the protection of tropical forests in South America, with a special emphasis on the protected areas of the Amazonian watersheds. In these regions, forest assessment, information and analysis for sustainable forest management, and estimation of deforestation rates constitute the core issues addressed.

Although at present there is no meaningful cooperation between FAO and the EC in Latin America, proposal have been identified for production and marketing of seeds by and for small farmers in El Salvador and Honduras and for small agriculture productive projects in Bolivia.

With reference to Asia, activities carried out in the region comprise information and analysis for sustainable forest management in South and Southeast Asia, and a project to establish an early warning system in former USSR independent states, and assessment of food deficit situations. However, the most important activity supported by the Commission is a major integrated pest management programme for cotton, for over euro 12 million, covering five countries. Discussions about a follow up phase will start in the near future. Finally, as mentioned earlier, at the end of 2002 the Commission approved an important project for seed multiplication and distribution in Afghanistan.

Table 1 - FAO/EC On-going projects by technical Sector and Geographical Area


By Technical Sector

By Geographical Region

Table 2 - FAO/EC Pipeline projects by Geographical Area and technical Sector


By Technical Sector

By Geographical Region

Table 3 - FAO/EC projects (1991-2002) by technical sector/region


By Technical Sector 3a

By Geographical Region 3b

Methodology for Cooperation

The EC cannot be considered solely as a financing agency. In fact, the concerned services of the Commission are involved from the early stages of project identification, formulation and monitoring. Moreover, the visibility of the Commission is ensured in all projects it supports.

In most cases, areas for cooperation are identified at field level, with EC delegations, while maintaining a continuous dialogue with the Commission headquarters in Brussels for policy issues. In this connection a Programme Approach has been followed in recent years. This is the case of the 1999 EC-FAO Programme on Food Security, whereby, following a series of technical consultations a “Package” composed of eight projects was approved for a total of EURO 12.5 million. This Programme will end by December 2003 and the follow up package should be submitted for approval by the EC in January 2004.

Type of projects

Generally speaking, FAO initiatives and projects of interest to the Community should be complementary to EC activities and should be in those fields in which FAO can offer comparative advantages. Following the above mentioned principles, there have been three major types of technical assistance projects financed from different EC budgetary sources: a) studies and provision of expertise in the field of sector analysis, b) institution building (human resources, development), c) project implementation in areas in which FAO has comparative advantages. There are several fields in which it is considered that FAO can provide high professional inputs such as, for example, the setting-up of agricultural censuses. Of a particular importance has been the cooperation for regional projects in sensitive fields such as early warning and food information systems, prevention of animal and plant pest diseases, and forestry assessment.

Future Developments

The current portfolio of pipeline projects includes 14 proposals under negotiation for a total budget of US$ 20 million. The present focus is on Agricultural Production and Support Systems (60 per cent), Food Information and Early Warning System (30 per cent), Animal Health and Production (10 per cent of the budget of pipeline projects). (See Annex 6 and Table 2).

In the second half 2003 FAO and the EC entered into the final round of negotiations that will lead to:

a) A review of the existing financial and administrative arrangements; and
b) The definition of a strategic framework for cooperation after 2003.

Concerning the financial and administrative arrangements, the EC has proposed a new agreement that should replace the “Arrangement on Procedures for Technical Cooperation between the EC and FAO” concluded in 1993. This new “Grant Agreement” will be based on the agreement that the European Commission concluded with the United Nations Secretariat in April 2003, which will to be the model for cooperation between the EC and the UN system. FAO has expressed its intention to adhere to this agreement.


In 2002 the EC can be included among the major donors to the FAO field programme. This relationship can be further developed, in the months and years to come. For this purpose, cooperation could be fostered at various levels. At the political level, a policy dialogue will be continued. In operational terms, more information should be shared, within the EC and FAO, on the possibilities for cooperation offered by the new agreement. If cooperation between the two Organisations must be primarily on a decentralised basis, it is important that FAO representations and EC delegations are well informed about the potentialities and tools available.

Discussions on procedures and programming of activities, region by region, will be further pursued, as appropriate, between FAO and the Commission headquarters. However, cooperation and sharing of information at field level is the most effective way of identifying possibilities for cooperation.

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