Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC)

FMM Resource Partner Consultation, June 2021: evaluation of the Mechanism and record growth


On Tuesday, 8 June 2021, the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism held its first Resource Partners Consultation of the year. Resource Partners represented at the meeting included: Belgium, Flanders, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Consultation began with opening remarks from Mr Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO Resource Mobilization and Private Sector Partnerships Division (PSR), which on behalf of the Deputy Director General, Beth Bechdol, highlighted the progress made, improved performance and expanded partnerships under the FMM. These advancements were credited, in part, to the transformation of the FMM’s approach, from project-based to programmatic, which is in line with the call for more flexible and less-earmarked funding from the United Nations. Mr Jones explained the importance of less-earmarked funding, as it allows for better coordination and greater impact, while reducing fragmentation and transactional costs. He further illustrated that tightly earmarked funding approaches may delay responses to emergencies, create fragmented solutions and make it harder to keep up with ever-evolving threats, such as the current pandemic, pests and conflicts. The PSR Director concluded by expressing his appreciation for the generosity of FMM Resource Partners and the work accomplished, and highlighted the importance of “Focusing on achieving the transformation of our agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, and leaving no one behind.”

Mr Festus Akinnifesi, Executive Coordinator of Multi-Partner Initiatives (PSR), who also moderated the event, presented an update of the progress made by the Mechanism and highlighted the key achievements made in 2020. Despite the challenges faced around the world in 2020 as a result of an unprecedented pandemic that affected the implementation of all programmes and aggravated challenges across agri-food systems, FMM saw an all-time high in resource mobilization. Mr Akinnifesi thanked Resource Partners for their trust and generosity, affirming that, thanks to their commitment, resource mobilization metrics increased, including financial volume of FMM, the number of resource partners and multi-year contributions. He also highlighted the development of FMM’s first-ever Theory of Change and Results Framework in September 2020. The 2020 Annual Report of FMM, which was favourably received by Resource Partners has used a results-based approach for showcasing performance of both Fund and the Programmes. He also highlighted the key challenges faced and lessons learned. He concluded by clarifying that, despite the low expenditure in 2020—spending improved in the first half of 2021 due to monitoring and innovative measures taken, nearly all initiatives adapted successfully to the situation, most notably through the use of virtual implementation methods and by strengthening capacities at the national level, adjusting to country needs and fostering innovation.

Likewise, Mr Kazuki Kitaoka, Head of the Outreach, Marketing and Reporting Unit (PSR), gave a presentation on the Flexible Funding marketing campaign. In his presentation, Mr Kitaoka provided an overview of how the FMM brand has evolved. Beginning as fragmented communications that only highlighted specific events in the past, the campaign has successfully transitioned into an “always-on” approach, whereby communications flow constantly, stressing the importance of flexible funding, recognizing existing Resource Partners and telling compelling human impact stories from the field. In his concluding remarks, Mr Kitaoka thanked the Resource Partners and stressed that “We have come a long way together, we see that our efforts are bearing fruits in terms of brand recognition, visibility and growth of the Fund.”

Ms Angela Bester, FMM Evaluation Consultant, presented the emerging findings of the FMM evaluation. She highlighted the preliminary results of the evaluation process that was conducted in early 2021. Overall, Ms Bester and colleagues from the FAO Office of Evaluation (OED), stressed the positive outcomes, and highlighted what could be further improved in the next phase. However, the Evaluation main Findings, Recommendations and Conclusions are yet to be finalised, which will be formally shared with Resource Partners in the FMM Evaluation Report over the summer.

The first Resource Partner Consultation of 2021 was marked by active engagement from Resource Partners. This dynamic participation included warm welcoming remarks by most Resource Partners to the newest FMM Resource Partners, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as positive observations on the success and growth of the Mechanism. According to Ms Anne Wetlesen, Senior Advisor, Norad “Norway is happy to see that the Mechanism is successful in attracting more funds and that more countries have been attracted to the Resource Partners group.”

Comments were provided on the 2020 FMM Annual Report, which was generally well received and lauded. Ms Anne-Laure Roy, Focal Point for International Organisations, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of France congratulated the FMM Coordination “For a very comprehensive report, which used the FMM Results Framework developed in 2020.”

The progress update and the overview of the flexible funding campaign were appreciated. Resource Partners also expressed their concern for the alarming number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihood assistance throughout the world in 2021, and the constatation that urgent action must be taken to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Ms Nathalie Cassiers, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Belgium to FAO recognized the innovation-oriented programmatic approach of the FMM. She said, “It was important for Belgium that FMM could adapt during the COVID-19 crisis by finding some innovative solutions.” Likewise, Ms Madeleine Kaufmann, Federal Office for Agriculture, Government of Switzerland, stated that “FMM’s programmatic strategy, cross-sectoral approach and flexibility constitute an important contribution to the UN reforms call for more flexible, predictable and less-earmarked funding.”

Resource Partners also provided their strategic guidance. They enquired on the links between FMM and the new FAO’s Strategic Framework. In particular, Mr Mats Ǻberg, Senior Programme Manager, Sida recommended that “it is important to continue dialogue on how the FMM in the best possible way will align to the new FMM Strategic Framework.” In addition, Ms Katrien de Pauw, Head of International Cooperation at Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of Flanders emphasized the “Importance of working alongside strong local implementing partners, especially the inclusion of the country offices, but also in a broader sense, the inclusion of local implementing partners within the countries.” Lastly, Resource Partners commended the FMM’s focus on innovation and enquired whether there are any prospects for the collaboration between FMM and the private sector.

Resource Partners shared their appreciation for the tremendous work accomplished during the evaluation process and expressed their sincere condolences to the family of Mr Subramanyam Divvaakar, former lead person for the evaluation, who recently passed away. The participants of the Consultation observed one minute of silence in his honor.

Ms Beth Bechdol, the FAO Deputy Director-General (DDG), gave the closing remarks, highlighting the strategic importance of the FMM as a key model of the new direction in development funding. She warmly welcomed Ireland and New Zealand to the FMM and thanked all Resource Partners for their generous contributions. Ms Bechdol emphasized the importance of continuing to communicate the needs that exists at the programmatic, country and regional levels, which gravitate around the Programmes that the FMM supports. Moreover, she stressed the importance of advocating and communicating the value of flexible funding. Lastly, she advised that continued efforts are required to demonstrate the impact of the work that is done by the FMM. She looks forward to more frequent interactions with the FMM Resource Partners.

17. Partnership for the goals

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