Executive summary


The importance of partnerships with non-governmental and civil society organizations was underscored by Member Governments in the World Food Summit Plan of Action and is confirmed in FAO's Strategic Framework.

At the Director-General's request, the Unit for Cooperation with the Private Sector and NGOs (TCDN) coordinated an FAO-wide review of policy and strategy for NGO/CSO cooperation in consultation with the technical departments, which undertook their own assessments, and with decentralized offices and NGOs. In the resulting paper, categories of relevant partners for different purposes are identified, based on their areas of activity and their organizational characteristics. Priority partners are membership organizations representing constituencies such as farmers and consumers, and technically competent NGOs committed to ongoing cooperation.

Strategies and priorities for action

The challenge is to develop cooperation with a rapidly expanding NGO/CSO sector in a period of declining resources. This requires a strategic choice of partners and activities; promoting networks among NGOs/CSOs to multiply outreach; sharing responsibility for programme planning and resource mobilization; and using country offices to reach the organizations closest to rural people. The paper presents a framework for closer collaboration on a long-term programme in four interrelated functional areas:

Information sharing and analysis

The strategy builds on FAO's Corporate Communication Strategy. Priority activities include:

Policy dialogue

The strategy is based on FAO's ability to facilitate government-civil society dialogue and on the increased technical competence of many NGOs/CSOs. Priority activities include:

Field programmes

The strategy is based on promoting NGO/CSO cooperation from the planning stage of country programme frameworks and building partnerships based on shared objectives, resources and clear responsibilities for all parties. Priority activities include:

Resource mobilization

With an increasing share of official development assistance (ODA) channelled through NGOs, the strategy seeks to promote synergies and help NGOs apply their resources effectively. Priority activities include:

Managing NGO/CSO cooperation in FAO

Implementing this strategy will require an Organization-wide commitment and specific management measures, including:

Technical issues

Technical departments have identified the following as some of the areas where NGO/CSO involvement is particularly critical and where there is scope for enhanced partnership: