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FAO's work in emergencies is almost exclusively funded from extra-budgetary resources provided by member countries, intergovernmental organizations (such as the European Union, international financial institutions or other United Nations agencies), and private sector partners.

FAO solicits funding on behalf of countries that need critical humanitarian assistance - mainly through the inter-agency Global Humanitarian Appeal and other emergency or flash appeals as well as strategic and thematic response plans. 

Thanks to the continued support of our resource partners, FAO’s emergency and resilience programme received USD 736 million in contributions in 2020. This represents an increase of USD 159 million from 2019. 

Around 32 percent of the contributions received in 2020 was allocated towards addressing the once-in-a-generation threat of the desert locust crisis in the Greater Horn of Africa.

Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities 

The Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) enables FAO to take rapid and effective action in response to food and agricultural threats and emergencies. 

From its inception in 2004 through 31 December 2020, SFERA received USD 311.9 million, of which:

  • USD 152.4 million were allocated to large-scale programmes (e.g. desert locust response, sudden onset disasters, El Niño response, highly pathogenic avian influenza, protracted crises and coronavirus disease 2019);
  • USD 62.6 million were disbursed under the Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity (AIRC) window, channeling funds towards the immediate procurement and delivery of time-critical inputs;
  • USD 32.9 million were used to set up or reinforce country office emergency response capacities and support needs assessments and programme formulation;
  • USD 13.7 million were allocated to the Level 3  emergencies preparedness and response window; and 
  • USD 12.5 million to the anticipatory action window, enabling FAO to act early once impending threats have been identified and before disaster losses are sustained.

Partnership Agreements

FAO has several agreements with stand-by partners which manage and operate large rosters of humanitarian personnel to be deployed to United Nations agencies on an in-kind basis. Through stand-by partnerships, FAO is able to quickly reinforce its country teams in response to complex emergencies. Stand-by partners also cover other functions not readily available in FAO, such as logistics or monitoring and evaluation. FAO’s stand-by partners include:

  • Danish Refugee Council;
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (ex DFID);
  • iMMAP;
  • Norwegian Refugee Council/NORCAP;
  • RedR Australia.

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