14 November 2008, Rome - The Netherlands and Norway have pledged around $12 million to finance one year of FAO's technical and policy assistance in support of developing countries' efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing hunger and poverty.
The new programme will concentrate on sustainable rural livelihoods; equitable access to natural resources; international agreements and regulatory frameworks concerning food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry; the safe use and fair exchange of related commodities; integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forests and genetic resources.
In line with the ongoing FAO reform process, the Netherlands and Norway have agreed to harmonise and align this joint voluntary contribution to FAO with the agency's core programme of work and budget, so as to ensure maximum impact with minimal transaction costs.
In this regard, the Ambassadors signing on behalf of the Netherlands and Norway, Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven and Arne Birger Hønningstad, stressed that their governments consider "participation in this type of multi-donor partnership agreements to be a very good contribution to the reform of FAO".
This view was echoed by Jose Maria Sumpsi, Assistant Director-General of the Technical Cooperation Department, who said that "this multi-donor programme is an important step towards the 'new FAO', as it will allow the organization to reach out to its members in a more flexible and programmatic way, delivering its services to countries in the context of broader development initiatives or programmes that are preferably planned and managed by the countries themselves".
"Its innovative approach distinguishes itself from the traditional project approach, which is based on detailed plans of operation and fully earmarked budgets, often resulting in isolated and unsustainable interventions with limited ownership", he added.