FAO has long been on the ground, identifying the needs and challenges of diverse countries and communities, and setting out decisively to meet them. The Organization’s programmatic approach prioritizes work that delivers across the four betters, rippling out from the local level to generate global impact.
Various global initiatives and programmes are galvanizing SDG progress, from sustainable forestry and ecosystem monitoring to social protection for local farmers. The National Forest Monitoring System (NFM) initiative assists more than 50 countries to develop modern, transparent, reliable and accessible monitoring systems, through free and open-source tools for forest data that use remote sensing and field inventories (SDG 13, SDG 15, SDG 17). Indicators of restoration in key ecosystems can be monitored and reported through the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM). The Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), for its part, contains detailed regional and global analyses for 236 countries and territories to meet the needs of the diverse stakeholders (SDG 13, SDG 15, SDG 17).
THE ORGANIZATION'S PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH PRIORITIZIES WORK THAT DELIVERS ACROSS THE FOUR BETTERS, RIPPLING OUT FROM THE LOCAL LEVEL TO GENERATE GLOBAL IMPACT.
FAO’s flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative helps accelerate agrifood transformation and sustainable rural development by pairing up countries with high rates of poverty and hunger with developed countries, in an effort to attract new donors or private sector investments. It also helps identify investment gaps for existing donors or multilateral and bilateral agencies to target (SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 10, SDG 17). Largely thanks to funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, FAO’s Integrated Country Approach (ICA) programme provides policy support for decent rural employment, by spurring job creation for youth in the agrifood systems of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (SDG 5, SDG 8, SDG 17). The Green Cities Initiative aims to improve the livelihoods and well-being of urban and peri-urban populations, by strengthening urban–rural linkages and the resilience of urban systems, services and populations to external shocks; it is also built to strengthen collaboration between local and national authorities, and to foster engagement between rural and urban communities – especially with women and young people (SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13).
For FAO to address complex issues related to food and agriculture effectively, it must be highly flexible. The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme was designed to address the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic by leveraging USD 1.3 billion in initial investments for an agile and coordinated global response during and after the pandemic (SDG 2, SDG 17). More permanently, the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) provides catalytic funding for Africa-to-Africa initiatives on food and agriculture at regional and country level – an innovative, Africa-led instrument to strengthen food security (SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 17). Moreover, FAO’s accreditation to the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund as an implementing partner helps vulnerable countries fight the effects of climate change (SDG 13, SDG 17).
Partnerships are not limited to funding: they also regard common networks and platforms. FAO is an active member of the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B), and a partner in the socialprotection.org platform and the Social Protection and Human Rights platform (SDG 1, SDG 5, SDG 8, SDG 16, SDG 17). The Organization hosts the Family Farming Knowledge Platform, which provides a single access point for international, regional and national information on family farming issues (SDG 2, SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 17). Together with WFP and the European Union, FAO has launched the Global Network against Food Crises (GNAFC), an alliance of humanitarian and development actors set up to mitigate crisis impacts, and to boost resilient and sustainable recovery and rehabilitation (SDG 2, SDG 16, SDG 17). Last but not least, FAO now hosts the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub that collaborates with, and draws upon, wider UN system capacities to support the follow-up to the UN Food Systems Summit convened in 2021: this body seeks to raise global awareness and kick-start actions to transform agrifood systems; eradicate hunger; and reduce diet-related diseases, presenting a unique opportunity to accelerate SDG implementation (SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 17).