Technical Cooperation Programme

Created in 1976, the TCP allows FAO to draw from its own regular programme resources and respond to countries’ most pressing needs for technical assistance. Through the TCP, the Organization provides access to a wide range of technical expertise related to agriculture, food and nutrition, and plays an important role in knowledge-sharing, as well as exchange of experiences, good practices and lessons.

The Programme was originally designed to address the unforeseen and urgent needs that were not being addressed efficiently through more traditional channels of aid or regular programme activities, agreed upon through FAO’s biennial planning processes. In 2005, the FAO Governing Bodies decided to change the unprogrammed nature of the TCP. The funding criteria were adjusted to require all projects to be aligned with the Strategic Framework of FAO and linked to agreed priorities reflected in the Country Programming Frameworks (CPF). In making these adjustments, it was emphasized that all assistance would continue to be demand driven by Member Countries, not FAO.

The TCP provides two broad types of support:

  1. Development assistance to address areas related to FAO’s mandate and competencies that are covered by the Strategic Framework and the CPF; and
  2. Emergency assistance to support early action, response and early rehabilitation in disaster or crisis situations.

The TCP appropriation for the 2020-2021 biennium amounts to USD 140.8 million, i.e. 14 percent of FAO’s Regular Programme budget. Funds for emergency projects (15 percent of total) and inter-regional projects (3 percent of total) are managed from headquarters, while the bulk of resources (82 percent of total) is allocated and managed by Regional Offices, in line with shares established by Governing Bodies.

A TCP project can have a budget of up to USD 500 000 and should be completed within 24 months. Simplified procedures apply to projects with a budget of below USD 100 000, also referred to as the TCP Facility, which are typically limited in scope (e.g. specialized training, conduct of sector-related studies or assistance in the formulation of project proposals for donor funding).

Indicative regional appropriation of TCP funds for national, subregional and regional non-emergency projects:

Eligibility for TCP Assistance

All FAO member countries can request TCP development assistance, with special attention given to Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and/or Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Middle-income economies can receive TCP funding on a grant basis, with activities focused on providing technical expertise and developing capacity. High-income economies can access TCP funding on a cost-recovery basis only.

All FAO member countries are eligible for TCP emergency assistance on a full-grant basis.

TCP project criteria

To be eligible for TCP funding, all project proposals must meet the TCP criteria set by FAO's Governing Bodies. In particular, TCP projects must:

  • align with national priorities and FAO’s mandate    
    TCP assistance contributes to one or more of the country priorities in the Country Programming Framework. TCP assistance at subregional, regional and interregional level is aligned to the Strategic Framework, regional priorities and/or initiatives as expressed in Regional Conferences, regional technical commissions and other relevant political processes and agreements.
  • address a critical gap
    TCP assistance aims to fill a gap in one of the technical domains in which FAO has a recognized competence and comparative advantage that cannot be provided more effectively by others.
  • ensure sustainable impacts
    TCP projects lead to concrete and tangible outputs, which should lead to a broader impact. TCP assistance should be used as a catalyst for change, as well as a tool to attract funding from resource partners or to enter into co-financing arrangements. The project document should indicate how counterparts intend to follow up activities to ensure sustainability and impact.
  • build government commitment
    Requests for TCP assistance are signed to ensure the government's full commitment. At implementation stage, the government nominates a national project coordinator to manage the project and coordinate activities, in collaboration with FAO, at no cost to the project.