Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Sustainable productivity in agriculture (in the context of Climate-Smart Agriculture [CSA] and agroecology)

Objective

To provide evidence-based guidance and tools to promote a transition to more productive and sustainable agriculture at the national and local levels, in alignment with the SDGs.

Status of the subprogramme
On going

Major results

SET-UP AND PLANNING

  • Having begun in late 2019, the subprogramme focused on laying the groundwork for successful implementation, including hiring a project coordinator and consultants to support specific project activities.
  • The project team sought to involve all relevant technical divisions early on to achieve good consensus on project’s scope and specific normative outputs (namely policy and field-level sustainability assessment tools).
  • Desk research work began, and reviews of existing FAO and non-FAO tools were prepared to inform development of these products and ensure sound buy-in by all stakeholders.

PARTNERSHIP

  • Opportunities to establish new partnerships are being sought and will be informed by the project’s ongoing inception phase. Preliminary contacts have been made with staff at IFAD and the WB that are working on relevant projects.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

  • Capacity development will be an integral part of the project, particularly at the level of the two pilot countries, where relevant stakeholders’ capacities in information and communication technology applications and data collection, assessment and integration will be strengthened. Given the start of the project in late November 2019, results have not yet been achieved.

POLICY ADVICE

  • Providing policy advice is a key project component, where the focus will be to develop tools that can guide policymakers step-by-step in supporting the sustainability transition through policy documents. These efforts are ongoing.

CATALYTIC EFFECTS

  • Several opportunities were identified to link up with ongoing initiatives in the two pilot countries, as well as with work of key technical divisions at FAO headquarters. The project will link to the work of FAO’s SP2 on developing methodologies to ensure that production systems achieve optimal synergies and reduction trade-offs in relation to the SDGs.
  • Work will feed into major FAO programmes including CSA, agroecology and climate and environmental financing such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, likely resulting in substantial upscaling of the activities and products developed under the project.

CROSS-SECTORAL WORK

  • Several FAO technical divisions are being involved in project activities, as they will be key to effective project delivery, ensuring consensus on the new sustainability assessment framework developed. Similar work will be carried out within decentralized offices in two pilot countries.

GENDER

  • Needs assessment questionnaires are being designed to be gender sensitive and provide gender-disaggregated data. The project team will seek to shape all activities and products developed through the project in a way that is attentive to gender equality and issues.

INNOVATION

  • Two project outputs specifically target development of novel tools and methodologies for sustainability assessments, and their operationalization to guide policy work and field-level data collection and guidance for farmers.
  • Project implementation is also innovative, bringing together different teams within FAO and creating partnerships with key external organizations (i.e. the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research [CGIAR] and WB). It will also be aligned with the FAO Director-General’s Hand-in-Hand initiative, building a Geographic Information System (GIS) and data platform that can support national and local decision-making.

CHALLENGES and LESSONS LEARNED

  • The current COVID-19 pandemic interfered with the organization of the inception workshop, which was expected in March/April 2020. Nevertheless, FAO colleagues and external partners identified are being regularly consulted via other means (email, phone, Skype, etc.) to ensure smooth progress with the work plan.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • Finalize the work plan, particularly in terms of assigning responsibilities across the broader project team (i.e. including the different technical divisions involved)
  • Agree on pilot country in the region of Asia and the Pacific (tentatively Lao People’s Democratic Republic, or alternatively Cambodia).
  • Finalize recruitment of senior and junior consultants and interns to contribute to specific activities under the three outputs, as detailed in the previous sections
  • Identify needs for local consultants and interns to be based in the two pilot countries
  • Discuss options to delegate administrative support e.g. to decentralized regional offices
  • Identify external stakeholders to involved in the project inception meeting