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FAO and Belgium discuss next steps in their long and fruitful partnership


13/12/2018 - 

Today, at FAO headquarters in Rome, representatives of FAO met with the Directorate General of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid of the Kingdom of Belgium during the bi-annual, bilateral consultations. The partners took stock of results, challenges, and opportunities, and outlined common priorities for the next two years, building on best practices and good experiences ‘on the ground’. A particular focus was put on strengthening the collaboration with private partners and on innovation.

In a results-oriented and constructive meeting, FAO and Belgium covered a wide range of topics, such as:

  • development and humanitarian results achieved in the Belgian Cooperation’s focus countries;
  • multi-partner coordination in partner countries in the agricultural domain, and experiences collaborating with the private sector;
  • innovation in the management of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases; and
  • progress on implementing the UN Development System reforms.

Both partners recognize the centrality of the partnership in addressing the immense challenges that food insecurity, climate change, forced migration, poverty and conflicts continue to pose. “We have a solid and longstanding partnership - both on development and humanitarian aspects. We appreciate FAO as center or expertise and knowledge, with which we can exchange best practices and experiences.” stated Ambassador Bruno van der Pluijm, Director-General, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Belgium.

The strategic alignment between Belgium’s and FAO’s priorities is strong, and is the foundation of the partnership. It rests on the understanding that:

  • food security is a catalyst for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • promoting the role and rights of women is key to thriving rural economies;
  • placing farmers at the center of agriculture development, and promoting their full and equitable participation to value chains is paramount to sustainable development; and
  • harnessing the benefits of innovation and new technologies will be key to supporting rural development and food security.

With a total contribution of almost USD 34 million in 2016 and 2017 - of which USD 23 million were voluntary contributions - Belgium is one of FAO’s major supporters. What is more, Belgium’s commitment to provide unearmarked funding through mechanisms like FAO’s Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM) and the Special Fund for Emergency Activities (SFERA), has boosted the Organization’s capacity to pioneer more impactful ways of working, and respond faster to emergencies.

“We aim to create space for innovation”, added Ambassador van der Pluijm. “Belgium has already provided EUR 2 million to FAO and EUR 2 million to WFP to fund innovative interventions - and FAO has established itself as an important implementing partner in this area. In the context of development cooperation, providing unearmarked funding allows us to give flexibility to FAO to manage for the best outcomes.” This position is not just in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, but it is also fully coherent with the commitment to effectively and rapidly achieve the SDGs. Belgium’s longstanding support to multilateralism and the United Nations system remains of vital importance today.