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Participation in projects and programmes
In addition to contributions to the normative work of FAO such as Governing Bodies meetings and technical and regional meetings, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) also partner with FAO at the country level through projects and programmes. Because CSOs have extensive local networks and contacts with key actors, they are able to give FAO valuable first-hand experience, information and support. In return, FAO is able to provide technical expertise as well as facilitate scaling up and replication of successful projects.
CSO involvement with FAO includes:
Technical assistance programmes
FAO's Field Programme cuts across normative and operational areas. Many technical assistance activities are normative in that they help governments and other national institutions apply accepted technical criteria or codes of conduct. Conversely, fieldwork is an indispensable ingredient of normative work. Thematic programmes, often linked to global conventions, are becoming an increasingly important feature of FAO's activities such as the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and integrated pest management. FAO tries to involve CSOs from the planning phase of technical programmes and is making provision for their involvement in programme budgets.
The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS)
Partnership with Civil Society is a key element of the SPFS, FAO's flagship initiative for attaining the goal of halving the number of hungry in the world by 2015. The SPFS offers opportunities to compare and learn from CSO field experience, and to bring local level opinions and ideas to the attention of policy-makers. In some countries, farmers' organizations have been involved in the early identification and planning phases of SPFS projects, and CSOs are partners in implementing specific activities.
Civil Society Organizations are FAO's main implementing partners in emergencies, particularly in complex emergencies where the state does not have adequate and immediate capacity to provide vulnerable populations with services related to food production, nutrition and food security. The ability to quickly mobilize partners in response to an emergency through the CSO networks has been shown in the work with the Tsunami relief efforts in South Asia. Through the regionalized network of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), FAO's national partners - and in particular fisher folk and farmer organizations - have identified persons and organizations as focal points to coordinate their efforts locally. These CSOs receive and send vital information to their members and respective constituencies. The countries currently covered are India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
To strengthen these partnerships further, FAO is:
International Alliance against Hunger (IAAH)
The IAAH is a global network consisting of organizations dedicated to eradicating hunger. The IAAH was formed to catalyze collaboration among international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations, scientists and academics, and the private sector, building on National Alliances which address local challenges while contributing to the broader, global effort. FAO supports the IAAH in its exchange of ideas and experiences, and to broker partnerships between governments and other actors to maximize efforts to fight hunger.
World Food Day (WFD)
CSOs take part in World Food Day which was established to promote public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world. CSOs are key members of World Food Day national committees which promote plan and execute activities and in some countries, civil society coalitions are solely responsible for organizing World Food Day activities.
Civil Society Organizations help to implement or are the beneficiaries of TeleFood projects in many countries around the world. Telefood is a FAO campaign which raises money for small projects that help small-scale farmers produce more food for their families and communities. The projects, which cost between US $5000 and US $10,000, pay for inputs such as seeds and simple farming tools and no money is spent on administrative costs.
For more info on FAO's strategies in the field, see the FAO "Policy and Strategy for Cooperation with Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations".
Cooperation with Civil Society Home
© FAO, 2013