Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Resource Partner Consultation of the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

24/07/2020

On Wednesday, 24 June 2020, the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism held its first virtual annual FMM Resource Partner Consultation. All FMM Resource Partners were represented at the meeting, including: Belgium, Flanders, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland

The Consultation meeting was kick-started with opening remarks by Mr Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO Resource Mobilization and Private Sector Partnerships Division (PSR), highlighting progress made and the improved performance and expended partnership of the FMM. This was credited to, in part, the repositioning of the FMM as mechanism, the transformation in approach from project-based to programmatic, as well as Resource Partners’ response to the global UN call for more flexible and less earmarked funding. Mr Jones concluded by recalling the increased recognition of the importance of FMM to FAO, attested by the attendance of Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, at the November 2019 Resource Partner Consultation and expressing his appreciation for the generosity of FMM Resource Partners and for the work accomplished.

Mr Festus Akinnifesi, Executive Coordinator, Multi-Partner Initiatives (PSR), who also moderated the event, presented the progress update of the Mechanism as a whole and highlighted the key improvements made in the FMM's new phase, including more streamlined governance arrangement, a more programmatic approach, robust resource allocation criteria and processes, the development of key programming documents, e.g. Project Cycle Appendix for FMM and Operational Guide. He further articulated the development of a detailed Theory of Change, and Results Framework (including log frame and risk analysis at programme and subprogramme levels), for the first time. He also highlighted FMM informational materials, including the 2019 Annual Report, and the introduction of vigorous marketing and visibility items.

Likewise, Mr Kazuki Kitaoka, Head, Outreach, Marketing and Reporting Unit (PSR), gave a presentation on the Flexible Funding marketing campaign and visual identity. This new approach revolves around human interest stories, having a result-oriented focus, and leveraging continuous engagement with target audiences especially through digital channels.

Ms Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Head of Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, commented that it is “good to hear that you’re aiming at more human-centred stories, not only report at the technical issues but focusing on the impact of programmes on lives and livelihoods.” She also recognized flexible funding marketing efforts, “I appreciated the campaign to promote flexible funding, since it’s always a struggle for the multilateral partners to maintain flexible funding.”

Ms Rachel Bedouin, Senior Evaluation Officer, Office of Evaluation (OED), presented the FMM evaluation plans. She explained that, as indicated in the Governance Document, FMM requires one evaluation during a medium-term period. This evaluation is of paramount importance for the design of the next FMM phase (2022–2025). Led by a team of independent consultants, the evaluation will cover all funded subprogrammes. It will also compare with the situation in the last evaluation (2015) as the benchmark, for evaluating the current phase. It will include consultations with Resource Partners throughout the process.  The key objectives, scope, roadmap and timeline to the evaluation were also presented.

During the Consultation, FMM Resource Partners underlined the efficiency of flexible funding in directing funds where they are needed most and success in delivering results. Ms Gunvor Berge, Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Italy, stated: "FMM is a very useful tool to promote the strategic objectives of FAO. Norway is a very strong supporter of the idea of flexible funding." Norway also would like to see the link with other priorities of the Organization such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, data and digital innovation.  Ms Anne Wetlesen, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, would also like to see stronger support for Oceans and Blue Growth in FMM.

Ms Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Head of Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, further reiterated that: "in the particular case of COVID-19 response, flexible funding has shown to be a very successful way of funding because it has enabled us to ensure that funding is used where it’s most needed."

"We would like to underscore the importance of leaving no one behind, including the first behind and with a specific attention to women and youth in agriculture." — Mr Geert De Proost, the General Representative of the Government of Flanders in Italy.

Resource Partners welcomed the development of the Results Framework for FMM. They would like the document to be presented to them once completed. FMM should be reporting at higher levels—Outputs-Outcomes and contribution to SDGs levels.

Ms Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General (DDG), gave the closing remarks, highlighting the strategic importance of the FMM as a key model of the new direction in development funding in the context of the UN Reform, and in particular, the UN Funding Compact. Ms Bechdol commended the substantial progress of the FMM and its essential role in creating cross-sectoral synergies, building new partnerships, and contributing to transformative impact. She acknowledged the importance of resource flexibility, especially at this challenging time. She concluded her remarks by thanking the FMM Resource Partners for their support and generous contributions. She looks forward to more interactions with the FMM Resource Partners in the next months.

About FMM

Now, more than ever, there is a need for flexible funding mechanisms that improve opportunities for resource partners to support results-focused action to mitigate fast-changing challenges, such as the novel COVID-19, Fall armyworm, AMR, that impact on the food security and food systems. The FMM is FAO’s global instrument for receiving and managing flexible pooled funds to support FAO’ Strategic Framework by leveraging the catalytic effects of initiatives to achieve value for money and transformative impacts. The Mechanism has directly benefitted hundreds of thousands of people in rural communities - especially women, youth, and children - while also creating impact through global knowledge products.

Since the FMM was revamped in 2018, an increasing number of resource partners are joining to support the new phase. Both new and continued partnerships allow FAO to invest in key priorities and critical areas, thus fostering more integrated development solutions. FMM is currently scaling up alliances and reaching out to new partners in order to achieve even greater impacts in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. As of July 2020, resource mobilization for the current FMM cycle amounts to about USD 42 million and is supporting five of the six programmes, and 17 of the 24 subprogrammes in over 60 countries. Additional subprogrammes are expected to be funded in 2020.

17. Partnership for the goals