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FAO and EU Partnership

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


About 793 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 prices 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.

A policy assistance mechanism to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition

The European Union is making substantial investments in over 60 countries that are prioritizing food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

When FAO and the European Union decided to join hands to help governments achieve Zero Hunger, they shared one conviction: supporting their commitment to develop policies, strategies and programmes that can effectively support food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture, must be the first step to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition.

This is how the Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation mechanism (FIRST) was born.

Deploying policy officers and technical experts

Policy officers are based at country level within the premises of local authorities, ministries and regional organizations mandated to foster food security, nutrition and/or sustainable agriculture.

FIRST also provides short-term technical expertise based on country needs and demands.

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

  1. Review the existing national policy and institutional frameworks related to food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture;
  2. Identify and fix bottlenecks and opportunities for improving impact;
  3. Advocate and develop human and organizational capacities for change;
  4. Produce evidence-based and inclusive policy dialogues;
  5. Establish coordination mechanisms with relevant stakeholders.

FIRST is focusing where the action is

FIRST is currently working in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and in the Pacific region. Policy assistance and capacity development services are provided on demand to selected number of countries prioritised by FAO and the EU.

The map below shows the breadth of current FIRST support in the priority countries, displaying information on FIRST focus areas for policy and governance support.

Since its inception, more than 45 governments have formally expressed interest in the EU-FAO policy assistance mechanism. Of these, 32 countries, territories and sub regional organizations have been prioritized, and the selection will be expanded over time:

Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon islands, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, West Bank and Gaza Strip and the subregional organization of ECOWAS.

Improved food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture

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