26 May 2003,
Rome -- The Netherlands has pledged an additional
6.3 million euros in support of the FAO/Netherlands Partnership
Programme (FNPP), FAO announced today.
FNPP was established two years ago as a flexible funding
mechanism for FAO's interdepartmental and interagency work
in support of food security, forestry and agrobiodiversity
In total the Netherlands'
contribution to the partnership programme totals more than 18
million euros. The additional funds will allow the programme to
continue its activities for another year.
The extension of the agreement was signed in Rome by
the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands
to FAO, Ewald Wermuth, and the FAO Assistant Director-General
for Technical Cooperation, Henri Carsalade.
"This additional contribution reflects the
Netherlands' appreciation of FAO's ongoing reform
process," said Carsalade. "It means that the
Government of the Netherlands recognizes the added value that
FAO brings to the process of long-term development throughout
from the field, for the field
"The technical assistance that FAO offers to
developing countries on themes such as agricultural policy, food
security, management of national forest resources, or during
agricultural trade negotiations within the WTO is
fundamental," Ambassador Wermuth said.
One of the themes that runs through the many FNPP
projects is integration. Projects are carried out alongside
already existing local initiatives, contributing to their
Mozambique, for example, an FNPP activity
applies local knowledge gained over the years to emergency
In February 2000, torrential
rains and a cyclone ruined the crops and houses of some 207 000
Impact on seeds
The FNPP supported the Instituto Nacional
de Investigação Agronómica (INIA) and the International Crops
Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), enabling
them to carry out research with local communities in three
affected districts to analyse the long-term impact of natural
disasters on plant genetic diversity.
results of the research are being used to redesign and improve
seed relief efforts, in collaboration with a large number of
"Understanding the range of variation that
farmers have among their seed collections before a natural
disaster, how that is affected by natural disaster and how the
situation is affected by most traditional disaster intervention
is vital to provide them with the appropiate
assistance," according to Peter Kenmore, an FAO
"If a loss
of genetic diversity occurs, we need to support seed systems to
draw upon farmers' knowledge and make sure that the seed
system provides genetically diverse seeds adapted to local
conditions," he said.
FNPP-INIA team worked closely with local farmers, mainly women,
who were not only growing the crops but also managing the
germplasm and keeping seed collections. Because genetic
resources "are not only what is in the seeds but what
is in the heads, in the hands of the farming
community," said Kenmore.
The Bangladesh example
One of the countries worst affected by climate change
is Bangladesh. Its miles of coastline are the
focus of another FNPP initiative.
million people who live in the country's 19 coastal
districts are at the whim of the elements, suffering when rivers
burst their banks and cyclones and floods drag them into a
vicious cycle of poverty and hunger.
FNPP initiative, carried out by a team of international and
national experts, is being implemented through the Support Unit
for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (SIFAR) based
The work aims to understand the
causes and consequences of poverty and vulnerability in coastal
areas, using appropriate indicator-based methodologies which are
being developed by SIFAR, under the FNPP initiative.
A key objective is to inform local and national
institutions in the development of appropriate policy responses.
"We realized that many of the
previous assessments had focused solely on technical solutions,
such as the availability of fishing material, without examining
the vulnerability in which people live, the structural and
temporal constraints faced by men and women seeking access to
resources," said Fabio Pittaluga, an FAO coastal
livelihoods expert working with SIFAR.
"The process allowed us to work alongside
local experts involved in coastal development and create new
methodologies and tools to analyse the socio-economic situation
faced by many of these communities."
Thanks to this $35 000 initiative, the Government of
Bangladesh improved its capacity to analyse and map levels of
poverty and vulnerability specific to coastal areas.
The new expertise is being used to formulate an
integrated development strategy for the region based on the
reduction of people's vulnerabilities.
Nuria Felipe Soria,
FAO Information Officer,
+39 06 570