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Funding for FAO programmes up 28 percent

Economic downturn could affect level of future contributions

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
FAO field project in Afghanistan.

5 October 2012, Rome - Some $538 million was mobilized to support FAO programmes during the first eight months of 2012, representing a 28 percent increase on the same period last year, FAO announced today.

The amount includes voluntary contributions of $498 million as well as  FAO's own Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), at $40 million. Of the voluntary contributions, $70 million is from the European Union, $77 million from Unilateral Trust Funds (UTF) projects and over $50 million from the United States of America.

The largest beneficiary is the Somalia programme, with $82.7 million in new approvals from various sources.

In addition, during the same period, through its cooperative programmes with international financing institutions, FAO has assisted its member countries in programming almost$2.8 billion in investments for agriculture and rural development projects. 

The share of Official Development Assistance (ODA) going to agriculture fell from 17 percent in 1980 to 3.8 percent in 2006. Since 2007 however, in the wake of food price volatility, spending on agriculture saw a steady increase to 5.8 percent in 2010.

"With the global economic downturn not only affecting traditional ODA providers but also developing countries, there is a risk of these positive trends encountering a decline," said Laurent Thomas, Assistant Director-General of Technical Cooperation. "We have to be vigilant, monitor trends and scale up our advocacy efforts."

While some of FAO's traditional bilateral resource partners had to reduce their overall aid budgets and voluntary contributions to the Organization, partners such as the European Union, the United States of America, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom are maintaining or increasing their voluntary contributions to FAO.

FAO's top ten resource partners in 2012 include, in order of funding importance, the European Union, the United States of America, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Norway, Japan, Australia, the United Nations Development Programme, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain.

Improved partnerships with UN agencies has resulted in quadrupling of funds mobilized by the Organization under UN Joint Programmes to $70 million in the last biennium. Mechanisms such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with an approval of nearly $6.5 million in 2012, are also increasing the level of funding.

"Given the increasingly competitive resource environment, FAO has been working hard to broaden and diversify its resource base and its efficiency, demonstrating  ‘value for money' of the contributions channelled through the Organization," said Thomas.

This is illustrated by the increase of approval of UTFs. In the previous biennium, the total approved voluntary contributions to FAO through these funds reached $159 million. A faster rate of UTF approval is being seen this year with $77 million already mobilized by the end of August. Countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Brazil, Honduras, Libya, Mexico, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have committed funds this way, reflecting trust in FAO's expertise.

Demand for South-South Cooperation (SSC) is also on the increase. Since its launch in 1996, FAO has established over 50 SSC tripartite agreements with 40 recipient countries and two regional organizations. One of the main supporters of FAO's SSC Programme is China. It contributed $30 million to the programme and fielded over 900 experts and technicians to 18 countries. Other providers of SSC are, in order of importance, Viet Nam, Cuba and Morocco, as well as Chile, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Countries such as Japan and Brazil are also sponsoring SSC short-term missions of experts and technicians.

Furthermore, FAO is developing partnerships with private sector entities and foundations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently FAO's biggest partner under this innovative arrangement.

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