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How to partner

Partnerships are firmly embedded in FAO’s way of doing business at global, regional, and country levels. FAO collaborates with a large number of different entities to enhance its Strategic Objectives, operational programming, funding, and advocacy roles. Partnerships can be of a horizontal nature where the Organization and its partners are looking for complementarities, for example on inter-disciplinary issues, or of a vertical nature where the partners share responsibility for research and outreach.

FAO partners with other United Nations agencies, funds and programmes at the headquarters, regional, and country levels, including through participation in the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and its subsidiary bodies such as the HLCP, HLCM, and UNDG.  FAO has a particularly dynamic and strong collaboration with the other Rome-based UN agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). 

FAO collaborates with civil society organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the private sector and foundations, producers’ organizations and cooperatives, academia and research institutions.  FAO engages in a variety of formal institutionalized partnerships and less formalized networking arrangements. Moreover, FAO provides an opportunity for a wide variety of actors to be involved in the eradication of hunger through advocacy initiatives.

Partnerships can be formalized through existing legal arrangements used by FAO:

  • Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) - MoUs establish a framework for collaboration and usually do not entail any financial commitment.
  • Partnership Agreements: partnership agreements are established to enable receipt of financial contributions.
  • Exchange of Letters: in cases where collaboration is limited (to a reduced period of time, or with a more limited scope) and does not entail any financial commitments, an exchange of letters can be used, for example, to carry out a joint assessment or to coordinate actions while implementing field activities.
  • Letters of Agreement (LoA):  The scope of an LoA is generally limited to contracting services from non-commercial entities (e.g. organizing a meeting in regional, subregional or national offices; implementing a transboundary animal disease surveillance programme with local NGOs, etc.).  LoAs entail a transfer of resources from FAO to a registered non-profit organization in exchange for predefined services and are governed by Section 507 of FAO Administrative Manual under the overall responsibility of the Procurement Service and technical units.

FAO encourages unearmarked or lightly earmarked support from the private sector to the Organization’s Programme of Work and Budget through existing mechanisms including the FAO Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM) and new mechanisms that will be established, including a private sector Multidonor Trust Fund. These mechanisms will allow the Organization to receive contributions that can be translated into programmes and activities in line with FAO’s Strategic Objectives. For larger contributions, separate trust funds may be set up, if appropriate. The Organization will establish operational rules and procedures that satisfy FAO and donor requirements for transparency and reporting.

FAO is also developing Multidonor Trust Funds to support partnership and collaboration between FAO and civil society organizations. For example in 2011, a Multidonor Trust Fund was established for donors to allocate resources for the participation of civil society in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). FAO will look at the possibility of establishing Multidonor Trust Funds for civil-society as a tool to build their capacity and their wider participation in FAO’s areas of work.

For further information on how to partner with FAO, please visit the sector-specific pages.