China and FAO to boost joint South-South cooperation efforts

Targets include capacity building for developing countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

24/02/2017 - 

24 February 2017, Rome – China and FAO today agreed to strengthen further their joint efforts in South-South Cooperation, an increasingly popular initiative that is boosting technical capacity and is promoting the exchange of agriculture knowledge and techniques across a growing part of the developing world.

Today’s agreements were announced at a bilateral meeting attended by senior representatives from FAO and China’s Ministry of Agriculture to review progress so far and to approve the work plan for the South-South Corporation Programme for 2017.  In particular, China will make available more than $11 million in funds to support three new components of the Programme.  

This includes an arrangement to help developing countries implement the International Plant Protection Convention, a treaty that seeks to protect sustainable agriculture and enhance global food security by preventing the spreading of plant pests and disease, and also safeguarding the environment, forests and biodiversity. This includes ensuring that plants and plant products are handled safely during transport to prevent insects, bacteria, viruses and weeds from infesting fruit, vegetable and other plant and food consignments and spreading across the world. The aim is to facilitate economic and trade development through the promotion of harmonized, scientifically based phytosanitary measures – areas in which developing countries often lack capacity.

Secondly, today’s FAO-China arrangement includes a broader campaign to increase capacity in developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through the South-South format  – notably in areas such as sharing know-how in improving agriculture in a sustainable manner, developing inclusive and efficient agribusiness and value chain, as well as reducing risks and vulnerability. Thirdly, the agreement includes an arrangement to bolster the management unit of the FAO-China SSC programme so that it can better respond to the countries’ needs.

The $11 million announced today is part of China’s longer-term pledge of $80 million to the South-South Programme.

“South-South Cooperation has proven very valuable to help developing countries help each other. It complements traditional international development cooperation,” FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo said at today’s meeting. “We’ve already seen great results through our joint efforts, and thanks to the valuable contribution of China, we will be able to further contribute to global food security and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”


The FAO China South-South Cooperation programme began in 2008 and to date it has supported two global projects and 13 projects in 11 host countries, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia (2 projects), Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda (2 projects).

Since its launch, the South-South Cooperation Programme has achieved some notable results as developing countries have shared knowledge and expertise in ways that offer a complementary model to the traditional relationship between donors and recipients.

In particular, the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme is making a positive impact in agricultural development. Proof of this is how food security has improved in the host countries thanks to the introduction of high-yielding new varieties, advanced planting and breeding technologies. Agricultural development strategies and policies have also been formulated and issued so as to improve the agricultural products’ quality, processing capacity and value addition. This cooperation has enhanced too the livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups of smallholders, including women, through its support to family farming.

FAO-China South-South Cooperation has resulted in over 450 practical agricultural technologies transferred to the host countries while about 300 suitable crops, vegetables and other varieties were tested to assess yield and climate-sensitive potential in new settings, and to boost local knowledge of advanced planting and breeding technologies. In addition, over 30,000 local farmers and agricultural technicians received field training.