Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC)

FAOs’ Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism - Strategic Dialogue: Transforming our food systems is now more important than ever


FAO hosted the virtual Resource Partner Strategic Dialogue of the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM) on 27 November 2020. All eight contributing FMM Resource Partners were represented at the meeting, including: Belgium, Flanders, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Strategic Dialogue meeting began with inspiring opening remarks by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, highlighting the importance of joining forces to address major challenges in food and agriculture systems at the country level, through flexible funding. In particular, strong partnership and joint efforts are needed at this unprecedented time when the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable are increasingly at risk. “Flexible funding mechanisms like the FMM provide an opportunity to leverage and create synergies with other funds to achieve catalytic results, and to make an even greater impact” stated the FAO Principal. The Director-General’s speech was followed by a short video, which showcased the achievements of the FMM since its creation one decade ago.

In her opening remarks, Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General, who moderated the event, welcomed all FMM Resource Partners and expressed her appreciation for their commitment, unflinching support and generosity at this difficult time. According to Ms Bechdol, “Mechanisms such as the FMM are of strategic importance to tackle today’s complex challenges, at a time when sustainable development is in dire need of more flexible and less-earmarked funding.”

This annual FMM consultation meeting provided an opportunity for FAO to update Resource Partners on key highlights of progress and engage with Resource Partners in a strategic dialogue, receive feedback on the strategic direction and key issues of mutual interest. In his opening remarks, H.E. Morten Aasland, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Norway to FAO, expressed that Norway is pleased to be part of the FMM. His Excellency further said, “Achieving more sustainable food systems is a global challenge that requires global action. FAO, together with the other United Nations Rome-based Agencies is absolutely central in the work to achieve the goals on food security and nutrition, and combat climate change.”

Ms Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Head of Global Economy Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), reiterated the importance of Flexible Funding to address devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to her: “As we all know, we are very much behind the ambitious 2030 agenda. Flexible funding is incredibly important, especially during this particular COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, the timing of this FMM meeting is ideal in order for us to discuss our future work to protect food security and achieve the 2030 Agenda. In addition, we are very much looking forward to participating in the upcoming Food System Summit next year.”

Likewise, H.E. Céline Jurgensen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to FAO affirmed that: “We are not on track to achieve zero hunger by 2030. We must ensure that farmers everywhere in the world can make a decent living, we must transition towards more resilient food system.” Her Excellency also reiterated that FAO’s flexible action will be decisive for eliminating hunger, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

H.E. Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to FAO underlined that: “The Netherlands is proud to be part of the FMM” and looking forward: “More discussions are needed to make sure that the pillars of the FMM, flexibility and focus on innovation, are maintained and that priorities for the Mechanism are set by all FMM Partners to enable a strong and effective funding mechanism for the future.”

The importance of flexible mechanisms to mitigate global emergencies was also recalled by Mr Geert De Proost, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in Italy: “We are facing difficult and challenging times, and in the light of the global pandemic old and new conflicts and climate related disasters, it is more than ever relevant to join forces and pool funds, in particular through flexible funding.” Mr Proost provided strategic advice for the Mechanism: “We encourage FMM to sustain its focus on the integration of innovative approaches, digital technologies, private sector engagement and to continue laying its catalytic role regarding fundraising and new partnerships.”

Similarly, H.E. Pio Wennubst, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to FAO, provided an advice that: “Following the Evaluation of the FMM, a discussion should be held on how to further strengthen the Mechanism, so that more Partners could join FMM in the near future.”

The second session on technical updates featured key presentations starting with Mr Máximo Torero, FAO’s Chief Economist, who presented key updates on FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative. The Chief Economist noted, “Hand-in-hand is a bridge to bring resources and capabilities when and where they are most needed, to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 10.”

This was followed by presentations on Child Labour and Women’s Empowerment, SDGs Monitoring, Closing Agriculture Data Gap, Conservation Agriculture in Southern Africa, Forest and Farm Facility, Sustainable Food Systems, Governance Innovation, Empowering Women in Food Systems, Migration and Future Face of Agriculture, as well as feedback from Resource Partners.

Technical updates were appreciated by Resource Partners, including Ms Nathalie Cassiers, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium to FAO, who commended the presentation on FMM subprogramme Generational Gaps, Women Empowerment and Decent Rural Employment. In particular, she also highlighted the importance of the presentation on Women’s Empowerment, noting that: “Dimitra Clubs give great value for limited money.”

The second part of the meeting was devoted to strategic dialogue, with general overview presented by the FMM Coordinator, Festus Akinnifesi, updating on what had been accomplished since the last consultation of 24 June 2020; the status of financial contribution to the FMM in the current phase, the impact that COVID-19 has had on programming, spending and implementation, as well as the mitigation measures put in place. Festus Akinnifesi showed that total contribution to the FMM has reached approximately USD 57 million and has surpassed the total amount for the last phase 2014-2017 (USD 47.7 million). The number of resource partners have also doubled compared to the previous phase—from four to eight.

Likewise, Kazuki Kitaoka, Head of the Outreach, Marketing, and Reporting Unit at FAO gave details on the marketing campaign, outreach and digital transformation of the FMM global presence. A new reporting template for reporting on progress to resource partners was also presented by Jeremy Braude, PSR Reporting Specialist. Resource Partners greatly appreciated the new template, highlighting the importance of receiving updates on the impact of FMM programmes on human lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resource partners also suggested that FMM reports should focus on higher-level results.

In his concluding remarks, Alexander Jones, Director of Resource Mobilization and Private Sector Partnerships at FAO noted that: “We have started to see that despite the COVID-19 pandemic situation, there has continued to be substantial progress. The Mechanism is transforming the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable women, men, and children around the globe by strictly adhering to the FMM’s core principles.”

This year’s event was especially important given the Mechanism’s potential to support the seven thematic areas of FAO’s recently launched COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme as well as other FAO corporate priorities, such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative and the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

About the FMM

The need for flexible funding mechanisms that provide opportunities for Resource Partners to support results-focused action that mitigate fast-changing challenges - such as the  COVID-19, Fall armyworm, and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) - is even greater now than ever and have a profound impact on food security and sustainable food systems. The FMM is FAO’s global instrument for receiving and managing flexible pooled funds to support FAO’s Strategic Framework, by leveraging the effects of initiatives to achieve value for money and transformative impacts. Ever since its creation ten years ago, the Mechanism has directly benefitted hundreds of thousands of people in rural communities - especially women, youth, and children - while also creating impact through global knowledge products.

Since the FMM was revamped in 2018, an increasing number of Resource Partners are joining to support this new phase. Both new and continued partnerships allow FAO to invest in key priorities and critical areas, thus fostering more integrated development solutions. The FMM is currently scaling up alliances and reaching out to new partners in order to achieve even greater impacts in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. As of December 2020, resource mobilization for the current FMM cycle amounts to around USD 57 million, supporting programming in over 60 countries through five out of the six current FMM programmes, and 17 subprogrammes. Additional subprogrammes are expected to be funded in 2021.

17. Partnership for the goals

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