Evaluation at FAO

Joint evaluation of collaboration among the United Nations Rome-based agencies

A joint RBA project funded by Switzerland: RBA/GLO/002/SWI - Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas. The project aims to improve food security and income-generation opportunities through food loss reduction.

The UN Rome-based agencies (RBAs) – FAO, IFAD and WFP – collaborate in many forms, from joint advocacy, policy and technical work to joint projects. This is the first independent evaluation of collaboration among the RBAs. It has been jointly undertaken by the evaluation offices of FAO, IFAD and WFP. The evaluation’s primary objective was to assess whether and to what extent RBA collaboration is contributing to the achievement of the 2030 agenda, particularly at country level.

The evaluation found that collaboration among the agencies is a daily reality, reflecting the shared strengths and commitment of these distinctly different organizations. Although competition for resources continues in some contexts, there is widespread recognition of complementarity. In some cases, the current collaborative management processes are not the best way to stimulate joint work, with some types of collaboration imposing higher transaction costs. The operating context is dynamic, with significant potential, and where realism and pragmatism are key to meaningful and effective collaboration. Presently, efforts to promote collaboration are not fully grounded in an accurate understanding of the conditions in which it is most effectively pursued and the formal statements of corporate commitment to collaboration reflect this.

The report makes six recommendations, of which five are addressed to management of the three agencies and one of which targets the member states.

  1. Update the MOU among the RBAs. Although the current five-year MOU was only signed three years ago, significant changes since then make an update necessary.
  2. Restructure and reinforce the coordination architecture for RBAC within the framework of UNDS reform to ensure that at all levels, the coordination and evaluation of RBAC includes more proactive efforts to develop and disseminate lessons and knowledge about how to optimize collaboration among and beyond the RBAs, about the costs and benefits of RBAs, and about technical experience that can be usefully shared.
  3. Further embrace the new joint programming mechanisms at the country level and ensure constructive, collaborative RBA engagement with these mechanisms.
  4. Focus administrative collaboration efforts on further embracing the United Nations efficiency agenda.
  5. In considering the development of joint projects and programmes, assess the costs and benefits of the proposed collaboration and only proceed if the benefits outweigh the costs.
  6. The Member States of the RBA Governing Bodies should reappraise and adequately resource their position on RBA collaboration.