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FAO and EU Partnership

Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST)


About 815 million people still suffer from chronic hunger. The human, social and economic costs to society as a whole are enormous in terms of lost productivity, health, well-being, decreased learning ability, and reduced fulfilment of human potential. The food price crisis in 2007–2008 and the subsequent period of food price volatility sparked a global rethink on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (FNSSA).

In a world where many people are still prevented from growing and developing into healthy human beings, the commitment of governments to produce a positive change in their lives is essential.

During recent years, in response to the deteriorating food security and nutrition situation in many countries, governments have increased their commitment to achieve food security and nutrition for all.

Policy assistance facility contributing to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition

Sustainable Development Goal 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” is at the heart of FAO and EU mandates. Supporting countries to achieve this goal through the creation of an enabling policy and institutional environment FNSSA is the primary focus of FIRST Policy Assistance Facility.

FIRST represents a strategic partnership between FAO and the European Union (EU), whereby the EU is making an investment of nearly €8 billion in over 60 countries during the 2014–2020 period to improve FNSSA, and FAO is providing support to create a more enabling policy and institutional environment in which investments made by government, EU, and other partners will have a more direct and tangible impact.

FIRST is a facility that provides governments with policy assistance and capacity development support to:

  1. Review current national policy and institutional frameworks for FNSSA;
  2. Identify bottlenecks and leverage opportunities for improving impact;
  3. Develop options to improve delivery and impact;
  4. Advocate for and develop human and organizational capacities for change;
  5. Facilitate evidence-based and inclusive policy dialogue and stakeholder coordination.

For the delivery of policy assistance and capacity development services, FIRST relies on a network of policy officers and technical experts who are based at country level within the premise of government institution mandated to foster FNSSA.

FIRST focuses where the action is

FIRST is currently working in the regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Near East.

The scope and modalities of the policy assistance and capacity development support under FIRST is driven by the demands expressed, and a clear window of opportunity identified jointly by the governments, the EU Delegations and the FAO Representations.

Since its inception, more than 45 governments have formally expressed interest in the FAO-EU policy assistance facility. Of these, FIRST is currently active in 32 countries, a territory, and a sub-regional organization with plans to expand the list of priority countries over time. The map below shows the breadth of current FIRST policy assistance support in the priority countries. Please click on the countries for more information.

Improved food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture

FIRST directly contributes to two of the main strategic objectives of FAO: