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TCPs are targeted short-term projects that:

Respond to demand: A TCP project responds to a priority request for technical assistance, accompanied by information on the nature of the problem, the policy and legislative framework surrounding it, the activities already undertaken to resolve it and foreseen follow-up.

Transfer technical know-how: TCP projects provide technical, not financial, assistance. They promote a transfer of FAO’s technical knowledge and know-how to solve the problem identified by the beneficiaries or stakeholders during the project's duration.

Promote sustainability: TCP projects aim to create a critical mass of technical knowledge and skills among counterparts or stakeholders.

Assist in mobilizing resources: TCP projects should have catalytic or multiplier effects, such as the mobilization of investment funds. Over the years, many projects have played that role, providing assistance that galvanized greater support and enabled larger-scale activities.

Types of TCP projects

Projects must meet the TCP criteria in order to be eligible for funding; however, the emphasis on each criterion can vary depending on the nature of the project. Projects are categorized either as development support or as emergency assistance and support to early rehabilitation.

Development support
The TCP may be used in all areas related to FAO’s mandate and competence that are covered by the Strategic Framework. At country level, TCP assistance should contribute to at least one of the country development priorities as expressed in the Country Programming Frameworks. This category includes projects approved as part of the TCP Facility (TCPf), which aims to provide critical technical expertise and short-term assistance, and strengthen field programme planning and development processes. TCPfs cannot be opened to address emergency assistance. The FAO decentralized structure closest to project implementation is responsible and accountable for the approval and quality of non-emergency TCP projects.

Emergency assistance and support to early rehabilitation
Emergency TCP projects are intended to provide an immediate reaction to a disaster situation, and early rehabilitation of the productive capacity of affected rural communities. These projects provide technical assistance to catalyse government or donor response. Given the geographical unpredictability of emergencies, the TCP unit in FAO headquarters manages the TCP appropriation for emergencies, and the Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation, is responsible and accountable for the projects' approval and quality.