Collaboration among the Rome-based
United Nations agencies
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) collaborate in many ways to further the global community's goal of eliminating hunger and poverty.
Each agency has a unique mandate – technical expertise, international financial assistance and food aid, respectively. By working together, they give Member Countries the benefit of their complementarities and combined strengths. Increasingly, FAO, IFAD and WFP coordinate their activities at international, national, and regional/local levels, including under the “Delivering as One” pilots. In this way they contribute to the broader effort of UN system-wide coherence and coordination.
In the spirit of “Delivering as One”, the three organizations have been working together in Mozambique on building commodity value chains and market linkages for farmers’ associations – a joint programme within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. WFP purchases maize and beans directly from stallholders’ organizations in Mozambique. FAO provides technical expertise to help reduce post-harvest losses, upgrade product quality and put quality monitoring procedures in place. IFAD is involved in mobilizing funds through financial partners to improve access to credit for the targeted producers’ organizations.
The Rome-based agencies share a common approach to reducing hunger and poverty: the “twin-track approach”. First proposed in 2002, the twin-track approach addresses the problem of immediate access to food while simultaneously considering longer-term food security. To improve the results of development work, programmes tackle both urgent needs and medium- to long-term interventions at the same time and on parallel tracks.
In Pakistan, the three agencies collaborated extensively in response to the 2005 earthquake and the 2007 floods in the southern part of the country. Together they planned operations in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border areas, with WFP providing extensive logistical support for FAO’s activities.
In addition to technical projects and emergency response, the joint work of FAO, IFAD and WFP includes advocacy and communication. Whenever possible, the three organizations speak in a united voice in international policy meetings and events, including within the framework of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis. They delivered joint messages at the Doha International Conference on Financing for Development and at the substantive session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2008, and at the UN High-level Panel on the Right to Food in spring 2009. They made a joint contribution to the Outcome Document of the UN Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis in June 2009.
The commitment to working together is reaffirmed in the agencies’ joint policy document, ”Directions for Future Collaboration.” The paper identifies a four-pillar framework for collaboration:
- policy advice, knowledge and monitoring
- operations, improving collaboration at field level
- advocacy and communication
- administrative collaboration.
In the technical and operational areas, collaboration among the agencies currently is focused on: (1) analytical and policy support for governments and national development plans, including rural development strategies, (2) the food crisis and implementation of the Comprehensive Framework for Action, (3) climate change and its links to natural resource management, (4) the Millennium Development Goals Africa Initiative, and (5) helping countries make the transition from relief to development.
Representatives of the three Rome-based agencies meet regularly to discuss work plans, and to explore possibilities for expanded cooperation.