Within the FAO/Government of Italy Cooperative Programme, the annual voluntary contribution provided by the Government of Italy in the last five years has averaged US$15 million. In 2003 the annual voluntary contribution amounted to US$13 million for multilateral projects and US$4.5 million for multi-bilateral projects. In 2004 the contribution totaled US$15.8 million of which US$3.8 million for multi-bilateral projects. At present the contribution for 2005 stands at US$13 million, of which US$0.8 million to be implemented under the multi-bilateral agreement.
Until 1992, the FAO/Government of Italy Cooperative Programme was being carried out within a very broad range of geographical areas and technical fields. As it became clear that such a dispersion of effort was not assisting in maximizing results, a process of concentration over technical sectors and countries was promoted in order to achieve complementarities, economic efficiency, and greater impact. Presently over 50 percent of the on going projects implemented in the field are concentrated in Africa and in regions of the Mediterranean and the Near East. The geographical distribution of the 37 projects under implementation, four of which under the multi-bilateral scheme, is as follows:
|Geographic distribution of total ongoing projects (both multilateral and multi-bilateral) compared to total budget [september 2005]|
|AFRICA||(9 projects)||18 389 651|
|ASIA||(5 projects)||5 918 439|
|EASTERN EUROPE||(2 projects)||9 667 867|
|INTER-REGIONAL||(13 projects)||17 011 056|
|LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN||(4 projects)||2 796 008|
|MEDITERRANEAN & NEAR EAST||(4 projects)||23 600 746|
|TOTAL BUDGET||(37 projects)||77 383 767|
In terms of technical sectors, the FAO/Government of Italy Cooperative Programme is now based in three main areas: Environment and Sustainable Development with 15 projects and a share of 50 percent of total contribution; Food Security, seven projects with a budget share of 12 percent of total contribution; and Institutional Support and Policy Assistance, 15 projects with a budget share of 38 percent of total contribution.
|Technical sector distribution of total ongoing projects (both multilateral and multi-bilateral) compared to total budget [september 2005]|
|ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT||(15 projects)||38 278 312|
|FOOD SECURITY||(7 projects)||9 501 242|
|INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT & POLICY ASSISTANCE||(15 projects)||29 604 213|
|TOTAL BUDGET||(37 projects)||77 383 767|
Accounting for 50 percent of the entire allocations, the Environment and Sustainable Development sector plays a significant role in the FAO –Government of Italy Cooperative Programme. Action in this sector has been based on evidence showing that in several Mediterranean and African countries a circular process of high population pressure on land, environmental degradation and poverty is at work, which results in high migratory pressure. Several projects in a number of these countries aim to improve the management of natural resources, including forestry, rangelands, wildlife and water. The Italian funded projects in this sector are linking the issue of environmental degradation to sustainable development within the wider objective of enhanced food security.
Project GCP/BOL/034/ITA ‘Information, Communication and Training for Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Agriculture – Bolivia’, is promoting sustainable natural management and rural development in an area comprising eleven municipalities. Project’s first priority is to establish a Communication and Training Centre for Natural Resources Management and Sustainable Agriculture. Subsequently by integrating different media such as video, radio and the Internet, the project is also expected to enhance the capacity of local institutions, communication centres, local experts and farmers in implementing efficient rural communication activities.
Project GCP/BOL/037/ITA ‘Strengthening of the Germoplasm Banks within the National System of Genetic Resources for Agriculture and Feeding’ intends to strengthen the infrastructure and the activities of three active germplasm banks of Bolivia (Cereal Bank, Tubercle Bank and Bank of Andean Grain) and to support their capacity in the conservation and evaluation of the native varieties of cultivated species and in developing higher scientific activities. It will also contribute to monitor the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
In Cuba, the Havana University is assisted by project GCP/CUB/009/ITA with setting up sustainable and more productive models of animal production, and in strengthening linkages among research, production and education. More specifically the project seeks to increase the production and quality of milk, honey and meat, as well as to improve the infrastructure of the university and provide better services both to the community and the students.
Another project which is worth mentioning is project GCP/INT/945/ITA ‘Information Products for Decisions on Water Policy and Water Resources Management’. The project will contribute to suitable cooperation and management of the Nile waters among the riparian countries of the Nile River Basin (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) that rely heavily on water supply. One of the project’s main objectives is to build capacity for developing information products that integrate technical water resources data with socio-economic and environmental information. To this effect, the project assembles information and data and produces cartographic products, widely using geographical information system (GIS) technology, already established in the region. The project is directly linked to GCP/INT/752/ITA, which has significantly fostered collaboration and dialogue between the riparian countries terminating activities in October 2004.
Project, GCP/INT/934/ITA ‘Topic Centre for the Global Land Cover Network (GLCN) – A Blueprint for Land Cover and Land Cover Dynamics’ is being implemented by FAO in collaboration with the Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare (IAO) in Florence and is based on the land cover mapping technologies which have already been developed and operationally tested by GCP/INT/RAF/287, the Africover East Africa module. The project’s overall objective is to facilitate harmonization of land cover products from diverse national, regional and global projects, to increase the availability of reliable and standardized information on land cover and its changes at the global level and bridge the data gap by making data easily accessible and affordable to developing countries. Such information is urgently needed by policy-makers and planners responsible for food security activities, mitigation of natural and human-induced disasters, and environmental protection.
The focus of GCP/LAO/013/ITA ‘Improvement and Development of Fruit and Vegetable Crops in Lao PDR’, is to strengthen sustainable basic fruit and vegetable farming systems in the People’s Democratic Republic of Lao (Lao PDR) thus encouraging diversification of crops and promoting generation of income for the people living in the project area. Initially the project will focus its activites on the Mekong Corridor i.e. Champassak Province and Luang Prabang Province. The project focuses on strengthening locally based trainers as these are crucial to ensure project’s sustainability.
Cooperation between Italy and FAO in Albania developed more as an integrated package rather than a series of projects. Project GCP/ALB/005/ITA ‘Agricultural Production Support in Albania’, funded by the Government of Italy under the multi-bilateral programme is the extension of a successful project implemented in 1995, namely GCP/ALB/003/ITA. The present project aims to assist farmers and farmers groups in the development of four important food chains in Albanian agricultural system: milk and diary products; fresh/processed fruits and vegetables; grapes and wine; olive fruits and oil. Project’s objective is also to strengthen the links between individual farms, farmer organizations and food processing and marketing and to provide capacity building to all sectors.
Another country where projects under the Italy/FAO Cooperation are complementary to each other is Tunisia. Currently there are two on-going projects in the country. The first, project GCP/TUN/028/ITA ‘Water and Soil Conservation Programme in the Governatorates of Kairouan, Siliana et Zaghouan’, which started in September 2000, intends to support the conservation of water and soil resources and to maintain biodiversity within the broader scope to increase food security through a long-term programme of sustainable agricultural development. The second GCP/TUN/030/ITA ‘Upgrade of refrigeration infrastructure in the fishing ports of Tunisia’, targets the coastal area of the country and comprises of a series of actions aiming at supporting the fish marketing activities in the major commercial Tunisian harbours, by providing appropriate conservation technology. Both projects are under the multi-bilateral programme.
Within the context of the multi-bilateral programme, it is also worthwhile to mention project GCP/BIH/002/ITA ‘Inventory of Post-War Situation of Land Resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, which is due to complete its second Phase by June 2005. The project’s overall objective is to contribute to the development and dissemination of an operational land evaluation system to support land use decision-making at various levels. Furthermore, the project seeks to provide tested methodologies for action-oriented land resources management at local level to guide rural investment and development, and to strenghten the capacity for land resources management.
It is also relevant to mention that, following previous experiences in Viet Nam, two projects are currently operational. GCP/VIE/027/ITA ‘Capacity Building, Extension, Demonstration and Support for the Development of Market-Oriented Agroforestry in Quang Nam Province – Viet Nam’ aims at assisting the government in maximizing the benefits of forest land allocation by also supporting environmentally sound and commercially profitable agroforestry systems on lands that are currently marginal. On the other hand, project GCP/VIE/029/ITA ‘Integrated Management of Lagoon Activities in Thua Thien Hue Province’ will apply an Integrated Management of Lagoon Activities (IMOLA) in the Thua Thien Hue province, by promoting a participatory sustainable management of the hydro biological resources in the lagoons, in accordance with the socio-economic and production systems requirements of the population and with particular emphasis on the gender roles, the achievement of food security and the alleviation of poverty.
A project which has recently been declared operational is GCP/NEP/056/ITA ‘Promotion of olive production and consumption in Nepal’. The project seeks to establish a functional system for the production and the distribution of olive plants also through the introduction of agro forestry and to develop a national strategy for promotion of olive production and consumption.
Finally, GCP/GHA/029/ITA ‘Establishment of a Tomato Processing Promotion Centre’ seeks to develop proper agronomic practices, in tomato processing, quality control and marketing, in Ghana. The project foresees intensive and diversified training activities for the beneficiaries and will serve as a research resource by providing needed information and practical know-how to farmers and potential processors.
Within FAO/Government of Italy Cooperative Programme, Food security projects account for 12 percent of the total budget, and range from early warning to post-harvest losses, as well as support to agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development aimed at household food security. Due to the diversified character of food security its achievement depends on a number of underlying causes, like the empowerment of people, the equitable distribution of income, the support of research and extension. This sector is therefore strongly linked to the other thematic areas covered by the contribution of the Government of Italy. In preparation of, and further to, the two World Food Summits of November 1996 and June 2002, food security has definitely become a major area for cooperation. With particular reference to the Special Programme on Food Security (SPFS), on 11 November 1996 a Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and the Government of Italy on the Special Programme on Food Production in Support of Food Security in Low-income, Food-deficit Countries (LIFDC) was signed. According to this Memorandum, Italy provided US$12 million to support the Pilot Phase of the SPFS Programme in a number of countries jointly identified. As a follow-up to the World Food Summit held in 1996, it was initially decided to support five pilot phases in Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Senegal. Angola and Ethiopia still with ongoing activities. Five other projects within this Programme became operational in: the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (Korea DPR) in 2001, the Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau in 2002, and in Guatemala in 2003. The status of these programmes is synthesized as follows:
GCSP/ANG/005/ITA ‘Rehabilitation of Food Security in the Bengo Province - A Joint FAO-IFAD-WFP Initiative’ aims to bring sustainable improvement to the livelihoods of rural people in Angola and enhance food security through the application of existing improved productive technologies. The longer term goal of the project is to strengthen Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development institutional capacities, in order to implement similar programmes of rural development on a larger scale.
Through the financial support of the Italian Government and technical assistance from FAO, project GCSP/DRK/003/ITA ‘Special Programme for Food Security in Korea’ aims to strengthen food security, revitalize rural economy and alleviate rural poverty in Korea DPR. The project seeks to improve water control and sustainable intensification of crop production, while strengthening the capacity of three cooperative farms numbering around 2000 families in the area of Pyongyang.
Since July 1998 the Government of Italy also provides support to the Government of Ethiopia, under project GCSP/ETH/057/ITA ‘Special Programme for Food Production in Ethiopia, Irrigation Component’, in the effort to increase productivity and income through water control activities in different drought prone areas of the Tigray and Amhara regions. More specifically, the project focus is on improving irrigation techniques to avoid irrigation-related problems such as salinity and alkalinity, and to replicate the techniques on a wider scale by also providing training programmes to farmers.
Projects: GCSP/GAM/021/ITA ‘Special Programme for Food Security in The Gambia’, GCSP/GUI/015/ITA ‘Special Programme for Food Security in Guinea’, GCSP/GBS/026/ITA ‘Special Programme for Food Security in the Guinea-Bissau’ were formulated to support the components of the SPFS, namely: water management and control; diversification and intensification of horticultural products; and constraint analyisis.
The Italian Trust Fund project in Guatemala, GCSP/GUA/011/ITA ‘Institutional Support to National Policies and Programmes for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation’ was developed to provide assistance to the Government of Guatemala in reducing poverty and increasing national and households’ food security through the formulation and implementation of food security policies and national plans.
We also may recall the assistance provided by the Government of Italy and FAO to the Government of Eritrea through project GCPS/ERI/002/ITA ‘Strengthening and Expansion of the National Food Information System in Eritrea’. This project aims at supporting the Government of Eritrea in the establishment and implementation of effective national and subnational food information systems, recognized as an essential mean to combating food insecurity and monitoring vulnerable population groups. The project is in direct support to SPFS yet it also has a strong component of institutional support.
Projects under the cooperation area of Institutional Support and Policy Assistance respond to the needs of specific governments to enhance their capacities, both at a central and decentralized level, in designing appropriate policies that will support economic and agricultural development. Presently, this area accounts for 38 percent of the total budget.
It is worth mentioning here a number of significant initiatives.
In Eritrea, project GCP/ERI/006/ITA ‘Strengthening the Agricultural Research and Extension Division in Eritrea’ has the overall goal to improve the quality of the research services by strengthening the human resource capacity of the National Agriculture Research Institute within the Ministry of Agriculture. The research aims at improving the productivity and sustainability of horticultural crops and animal production, developing integrated land and water management systems and looking at moisture conservation and utilization techniques. The dissemination of the findings through on-farm participatory technology development is expected to improve the livelihoods of small farmers and rural workers.
Project GCP/INT/811/ITA ‘Support to Livestock Exports from the Horn of Africa’, which operates in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, aims at establishing a credible system of livestock health control and at harmonizing the livestock export examination and certification process among the countries of the Horn of Africa while contributing to improve the livelihoods of pastoralists and of those involved in livestock trade.
GCP/INT/825/ITA ‘Promoting, Coordinating and Implementing Observance of the International Year of the Mountains’ seeks to enhance the sustainable development of mountain regions and the well-being of mountain and lowland communities through more effective collaboration and cooperation among various stakeholders and through the establishment within countries of long-term institutional arrangements to deal effectively with mountain issues.
A similar interregional initiative, GCP/INT/933/ITA ‘Promoting, Coordinating and Implementing Observance of the International Year of the Rice (IYR)’, has assisted low-income, food-deficit countries in their participation to the IYR -2004 activities and to increase global awareness on the importance on rice with relation to food security, environmental management and cultural preservation.
Another interesting interregional project is GCP/INT/938/ITA ‘Facility for Sustainable Development and Policy Implementation Assistance – Pilot Phase’. This project intends to promote good practices related to Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development thereby reducing the vulnerability of rural communities.
The Italian Government is an active member of the Partnership for the Education of Rural People (ERP), and is already supporting the initiative through GCP/INT/847/ITA ‘Capacity Building in Education for Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security’. Further support to ERP is represented by GCP/INT/944/ITA ‘Strengthening Partnership on Education for Rural People’. Both projects aim at reducing food insecurity by empowering rural people through basic education.
Project GCP/INT/927ITA ‘Assistance to the NEPAD Member Countries in the Review/Update of National Strategies for Food Security and Agricultural Development, and the Preparation of Medium–term Investment Programmes and Bankable Projects in Support to the CAADP Implementation’ and project GCP/INT/911/ITA, which has recently terminated activities, are both part of the effort of the organization and of the Government of Italy to assist national policy makers in New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) member countries in the formulation of sound agricultural policies.
In its third phase, GCP/SYR/006/ITA ‘Agricultural Planning and Policy Analysis’, aims at further improving the technical and institutional capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform of the Republic of Syria, through the establishment and support to the National Agriculture Policy Centre. The Centre will perform agricultural formulation and policy analysis functions within the Ministry, as well as training activities. Concerning this last point, adequate attention is being paid to involve Italian Academic Institutions, with specific reference to the delivery of post-graduate studies.
Project GCP/SYR/010/ITA ‘Participatory and Integrated Forest Fires Management Plan’ intends to support the forest development strategy of the Syrian Government, addressing issues related to participatory forest fire management. Moreover, the project attempts to restore the biodiversity in the degraded forest ecosystems in the coastal region of the country and to protect and improve the afforested areas. It focuses on three main areas: institutional, administrative and technical development, capacity building, and the involvement of local communities in forest fire control.