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Implementing Country Food Security Programmes

As specific investment projects and supporting programmes are being formulated, it is crucial both that funding mechanisms be created to ensure that proposals can be effectively implemented and that a sound institutional framework be created to oversee implementation and monitor progress.


It is likely that there would need to be substantial funding of larger sectoral and subsectoral food security-related projects and programmes through the conventional channels of bilateral grants and concessional loans. Such projects would need to be processed in the usual way, through the pipelines of the different funding agencies.

In order to make sure that projects reach the food-insecure themselves, it will be necessary to create new and innovative funding mechanisms or to strengthen existing ones. Such new mechanisms would be aimed at simplifying resource transfers and disbursements and empowering communities through providing more flexible and direct access to funding through decentralized trust funds for community-based initiatives. These mechanisms, which might take the form of trust funds, could provide grants to communities for a wide range of investments that could be shown to contribute directly or indirectly to improved food security. Such investments at the community level might include water supplies, schools and telecentres, health services, access roads and bridges, energy generation, activities leading to improved use of land and water resources (including farmer-led experimentation, small-scale irrigation and water harvesting, soil conservation, afforestation and integration of crop/livestock systems), activities that support employment diversification, and safety nets, especially directed nutrition programmes.

There would also need to be a source of funds during the formulation and implementation of CFSPs, in order to meet the government demand for supplementary technical services. Such services might be supplied by local consultants, NGOs or, indeed, UN agencies, and every effort would need to be made to decentralize such resources so that responsibility for contracting services could be transferred to the provincial or district level and to communities themselves.


The overall responsibility for implementing CFSPs would be with the governments of the region. The precise institutional framework for this would, of course, need to be tailored to the structures and capacities of each country concerned. However, a basic structure would need to be put in place to underpin the central role of government and the effective engagement of UN agencies, donors and civil society in the process.

Government coordination mechanism

The process of CFSP formulation and implementation would need to be overseen at the national level by some form of coordination group in which all the principal line ministries would be represented. Day-to-day implementation would be the responsibility of the different line ministries involved, utilizing normal procedures and supported by appropriate capacity building measures delivered by UN agencies and donors. A national focal point institution would need to be selected, and support provided to ensure that it is professionally staffed and properly equipped to fulfil its responsibilities, which would be to:

There would need to be coordination at the provincial or district level, utilizing existing structures wherever possible. A national mechanism would need to be constituted to oversee the management and utilization of funds committed for the implementation of the CFSP, which would need to reflect the interests of line ministries, the UN Resident Coordinator, the main donors, NGOs and the communities themselves.

UN agency support

The role of UN agencies in the design of CFSPs and in the identification and formulation of projects would be to support government initiatives at all levels. The process must be driven by the governments themselves. The types of support that might be provided would be specific to the needs expressed by different governments. At one level it might include methodology transfer of techniques for vulnerability profiling, for the design, collection and analysis of information from formal and informal surveys and for the targeting of programmes and the setting of priorities. It might also include support for study tours among the countries of the region, in order that they could exchange experiences in the formulation of poverty reduction strategies and food security programmes, the design of disaster preparedness and drought prevention and mitigation programmes, and the management of strategic grain stocks and alternative methods of famine prevention.

The arrangements for providing support to the national agency selected to take charge of the formulation process and to coordinate efforts on the part of the UN agencies would rest with the Resident Coordinator, who would draw on the resources of the Country Team. In view of the focus of the work, it is envisaged that FAO would take the lead in this task, through its role as chair of both the UNDAF Thematic Group on Food Security and Agriculture and the ACC Rural Development and Food Security Network. The Thematic Group would oversee the process and provide specific technical support by drawing on staff and consultants provided by the appropriate specialized agencies. The responsibilities of the Thematic Group would be to:

Conflict resolution mechanism

Mechanisms to promote conflict prevention and resolution would need to be created in each country, including the setting up of systems for conflict early warning. The focus would need to be on national problems, dealing with intercommunity or zonal conflicts. Strong links would need to be forged with NGOs and UN agencies that are active in this field and with the OAU Conflict Management Centre, to which early warning information would be supplied and from which advice and technical assistance could be provided.

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