FAO’s Resource Mobilization and Management Strategy recognizes that the external resource environment is constantly changing, as donors and other development partners adapt their policies and approaches to longer term development or emergencies. Click here for a recent article on global resource trends and FAO internal resource trends.
The following trends in the aid environment have a bearing on the state of agriculture and food security and influences FAO's ability to deliver on its mandate:
The global volume of official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture fell by nearly two thirds between 1980 and 2002, despite the increase of total ODA.
The share of ODA to agriculture declined from 17 percent in 1982 to 3.7 percent in 2002. Figures on public spending also declined. However, the trends have since reversed, in the wake of the recent global food crisis, and agriculture’s repositioning on the development agenda. These changes are seen as key to poverty reduction and economic growth, and therefore to meeting important Millennium Development Goals.
Since the turn of the century, new emphasis has been placed on the way in which aid is spent. This has been strongly influenced by the Paris Declaration (2005) and The Accra Agenda for Action (2008), which were the result of High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness. The Forum brought together a wide range of actors including: developing countries, donors of ODA, hundreds of civil society organizations from around the world, emerging donors, global funds and middle-income countries. Most recently, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea further helped to transform aid relationships between donors and partners into vehicles for development cooperation. The five principles that resulted from these fora encourage local ownership, alignment of development programmes around a country’s development strategy, harmonization of practices to reduce transaction costs, the avoidance of fragmented efforts and the creation of results frameworks.
In addition to traditional donors, new donors such as Brazil and China are coming to the fore, while International Finance Institutions (IFIs) are expanding their agriculture development portfolios and new high level global funding initiatives and private sector and foundation initiatives are emerging. Domestic resources are also increasing as more governments can afford to pay for services with their own budgets as income rises through taxation. Initiatives which promote government spending on agriculture, or that encourage the development of plans of action for food security in order to receive loans from banking institutions, have also enjoyed success. A notable example is the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), with 29 African countries having now signed compacts which pledge to dedicate 10% of national budgetary spending to agriculture. While this approach, in existence since 2003, is a strong step in the right direction, few countries have so far managed to come close to this ambitious target.
2012 and beyond
FAO’s ADAM tool shows that development assistance among OECD members to areas in FAO’s mandate doubled between 2006 and 2010. The positive trend is set to continue as a result of disbursements from pledges made at the L’Aquila G8 summit and reinforced at the World Food Summit at FAO in 2009. Countries represented at L’Aquila set a goal of mobilizing USD 22 billion by 2013 and it was confirmed at the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) Meeting in Washington, DC in February 2012 that these pledges are largely being fulfilled.
In the same year, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was also set up. The GAFSP, an AFSI-based initiative, is a multilateral mechanism to assist in the implementation of pledges made by the G20 in Pittsburgh in September 2009. The objective is to address the underfunding of country and regional agriculture and food security strategic investment plans. The GAFSP has generated over USD 1 billion in new funding and has won widespread recognition for its approach.
In May 2012, the G8 met at Camp David and reaffirmed their commitment to agriculture and rural development through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The New Alliance rightly focuses on partnership and private sector involvement, as well as African-led agricultural plans. The meeting, however, did not set any new funding targets and could have done more to involve civil society. A more encouraging initiative in this regard is the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which brings together a wider range of stakeholders. Since its launch at the Muskoka G8 meeting in 2010, SUN has built up a global coalition of more than 100 partner organizations and secured high-level political commitment to nutrition in 26 high-burden countries, with almost USD 6 billion mobilized in support thus far.
With the global economic downturn not only affecting traditional ODA providers but also developing countries, there is a real risk of the positive trends and achievements listed above encountering a decline. While some European ODA providers have admirably underlined their commitment to development by maintaining their aid budgets amid widespread cuts, the fact that the ODA budget is set as a share of GDP means that ODA will shrink as national GDPs contract. The uncertain environment therefore reinforces the need for developing nations to take control of their own agriculture and food security plans and implement them in the most strategic manner possible.
FAO has recently developed the Agricultural Development Assistance Mapping (ADAM) tool. ADAM is a web-based tool, which supports decentralized offices and technical departments in the identification of FAO comparative advantages, strategic prioritization and resource mobilization at the country and (sub) regional level. It also allows users to better understand Government development priorities, who are the major resource partners in the sector, as well as to assess coherence and possible gaps in addressing agriculture sector priorities.