17 July 2003, Brussels/Rome -- The
European Commission and FAO today signed an agreement designed
to create a closer strategic partnership between the two
institutions in the fields of development and humanitarian aid.
Poul Nielson, the EC Commissioner for
Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid and FAO
Director-General Jacques Diouf signed the agreement under which
the FAO will adhere to the Financial and Administrative
Framework Agreement (FAFA) recently concluded between the EU and
the United Nations.
commented at the signing ceremony in Brussels: "I see
this agreement as a confirmation of our close collaboration. The
agreement provides us with the tools to further increase the
quality of our collaboration in the pursuit of our common goal:
alleviating poverty in developing countries."
Dr Diouf said: "I look forward to
strengthened collaboration with the EU, an important member of
FAO, as we face up to the urgent challenge of reducing chronic
hunger and undernourishment that afflicts so many hundreds of
millions in the world today."
Current and past cooperation between the EU
Cooperation between the
European Commission and the FAO dates back to 1991, when a
Framework Co-operation Agreement was concluded. The agreement
was further strengthened in 1993 with the conclusion of the
Arrangement on Procedures for technical cooperation covering the
collaboration between the Community and the FAO in the fields of
aid and technical assistance to developing countries.
Since 1993, technical cooperation between
the Commission and FAO has resulted in implementation of 95
projects representing a total budget of approximately Euro 89
Most of the projects have provided
technical assistance to developing countries in the fields of
food security, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Currently,
32 projects are being implemented representing a total budget of
Euro 59,6 million.
The breakdown by sector
for these projects is the following: agricultural production and
support systems (47%), food information and early warning
systems (20%), forestry (20%), animal health and production (9%)
and fisheries (4%).
In terms of
geographical distribution 52% of the projects are being
implemented in Africa and the Middle East, 32% in Asia, 11% in
Latin America and the Caribbean and the remaining 5% are
The projects are financed
from the European Development Fund (EDF), and by Commission
budget lines for Asia and Latin America, for food security and
for forests/the environment.
Since the 1996
World Food Summit the global problem of food insecurity has been
drawing increased attention. The EC has consequently increased
the field operations and activities directly oriented at food
security. The total allocations from the Commission's food
security budget line amounted to Euro 455 million for 2002. It
included Euro 26,5 million for projects implemented by FAO.
The Financial and Administrative
concluded in 1999, the FAFA outlines how European Commission
funds shall be handled by the UN system. The agreement has now
been reviewed in view of facilitating a joint wish of the EU and
UN to see cooperation expand, and to make funding by the
European Commission of UN operations and programmes at the
technical level more flexible.
agreement provides the EU and the UN with an improved tool in
their joint efforts to strengthen global governance and the
principles revised in the agreement are those of moving from
project funding to more long-term programme funding; to shift
from a focus on inputs to one based on outputs and results; to
strengthen the visibility of EU as a donor, and to clarify and
simplify rules on reporting.
consultations will be held between the European Commission and
all members of the UN systemthat adhere to the agreement with
the purposeof identifying ways of further fine-tuning the
functioning of the agreement.
Future EU-FAO strategic partnership
The strategic partnership, to be designed
in the coming months, will involve a closer programming dialogue
between the European Commission and the FAO, and the prospect
for more long-term financing in the case of development
Concretely, the FAFA will
lower the transaction costs of joint projects or programmes,
thereby helping the institutions to make better use of their
resources for development and humanitarian relief to benefit
those in need.
By increasing the
predictability of the rules to be applied for all parties
concerned (the EU, the FAO, other donors and the beneficiary
country), it will contribute to greater transparency, lower
transaction costs and thereby to a greater impact of the
operations on the ground.
specialized UN agencies will be invited to adhere to the FAFA,
in order to facilitate funding of their operations and
programmes. The ILO signed a similar agreement with the European
Commission on 8 July 2003.
Information officer, FAO
+ 39 06 570
Mr Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe
contact, European Commission
+ 32-2-295 60 53