Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • At present, what are the most significant challenges CSOs face in their engagement with FAO?  What could FAO do to address some of those challenges? Please provide concrete examples.

      As of my knowledge update in February 2016, CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) engaging with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations face several significant challenges. These challenges vary depending on the specific context and region, but some common issues include:

      Limited Access and Inclusivity:

      Challenge: Many CSOs, especially those from marginalized or underrepresented groups, may find it difficult to access FAO's decision-making processes or engage in meaningful dialogues.

      FAO Action: FAO can enhance inclusivity by creating more accessible channels for CSOs to participate, such as online consultations, webinars, or dedicated forums. They can also actively seek out and involve CSOs representing diverse perspectives and communities.

      Lack of Funding and Resources:

      Challenge: CSOs often struggle to secure adequate funding and resources to participate effectively in FAO activities or research projects.

      FAO Action: FAO can allocate resources to support capacity-building programs for CSOs, helping them develop the skills and knowledge needed to engage more effectively.

      Bureaucratic and Complex Procedures:

      Challenge: CSOs may face complex bureaucratic procedures when trying to collaborate with FAO, which can be time-consuming and discouraging.

      FAO Action: FAO can simplify and streamline the administrative processes for CSO engagement, making it easier for them to collaborate. Clear guidelines, online resources, and dedicated liaison officers can facilitate smoother interactions.

      Limited Influence on Policy and Decision-Making:

      Challenge: CSOs may feel that their inputs are not adequately considered in FAO's policy and decision-making processes.

      FAO Action: FAO can establish mechanisms to ensure that CSO recommendations and perspectives are genuinely integrated into policy discussions. This could involve regular consultations, advisory committees, or partnerships for joint research and projects.

      Information and Communication Gaps:

      Challenge: CSOs may struggle to access timely information and updates about FAO activities, limiting their ability to engage effectively.

      FAO Action: FAO can improve communication with CSOs by providing regular updates, newsletters, and access to relevant reports and data. Establishing a dedicated online platform for information sharing and collaboration can be beneficial.

      Accountability and Transparency:

      Challenge: CSOs often seek greater transparency and accountability in FAO's activities and decisions.

      FAO Action: FAO can enhance transparency by publishing more information about its decision-making processes, budgets, and project outcomes. Regularly reporting on the outcomes of CSO engagements and the impact of their input can build trust and accountability.

      Concrete examples of FAO addressing these challenges might include:

      Establishing a CSOs liaison office or focal point to facilitate communication and coordination with CSOs.

      Launching a dedicated online portal or platform where CSOs can access information, submit proposals, and engage in discussions.

      Offering capacity-building workshops and training programs for CSOs on topics such as sustainable agriculture, food security, and policy advocacy.

      Actively involving CSOs in the development and implementation of FAO projects, ensuring that their expertise and local knowledge are valued.

      Creating an advisory committee composed of CSOs representatives to provide regular feedback on FAO policies and programs.

      Providing small grants or seed funding to support CSOs-led initiatives that align with FAO's goals and objectives.


    • Based on your partnering experience, can you share a good example of meaningful engagement with FAO or another UN agency/development partner? Please highlight what/why it worked well in your opinion.

      Example: Sustainable Agricultural Development Project with FAO

      Context: A non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on sustainable agriculture wants to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to improve food security and livelihoods in a rural community in a developing country.

      What/why does is work?

      Key Elements that Make this Engagement Meaningful:

      Needs Assessment: The NGO conducts a thorough needs assessment in the target community to understand the specific challenges, local agricultural practices, and socio-economic conditions. This data collection phase ensures that interventions are tailored to the community's actual needs.

      Alignment with FAO Goals: The NGO's project aligns closely with FAO's mission and priorities related to food security, sustainable agriculture, and poverty reduction. This alignment is crucial for gaining FAO's support and endorsement.

      Capacity Building: The partnership focuses on building the capacity of local farmers and communities. Training programs are developed to empower farmers with modern, sustainable agricultural techniques that improve crop yields and resilience to climate change.

      Local Ownership and Participation: The project actively involves the local community in decision-making and implementation. Local farmers are encouraged to participate in designing and managing the agricultural initiatives, ensuring their ownership of the process.

      Sustainability: The partnership promotes sustainable practices, such as crop diversification, organic farming, and water conservation, to ensure long-term food security and environmental stewardship.

      Monitoring and Evaluation: Both partners establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to track progress and measure the impact of their interventions. Regular assessments help in making necessary adjustments and ensuring accountability.


      Resource Mobilization: The NGO collaborates with FAO not only for technical expertise but also for resource mobilization. FAO can help attract additional funding or resources from other development partners or donors.

      Knowledge Sharing: Knowledge and best practices are shared not only within the community but also with other similar projects and organizations. This promotes learning and replicability.

      Advocacy and Policy Influence: The partnership engages in policy dialogues at local and national levels to advocate for favorable policies that support sustainable agriculture and food security.

      Long-Term Commitment: Both partners commit to a long-term engagement rather than short-term interventions. This allows for sustained impact and the cultivation of strong relationships with the community.

      In summary, a meaningful engagement with a UN agency or development partner, such as FAO, involves careful planning, alignment of goals, community involvement, capacity building, sustainability, and a commitment to monitoring and evaluation. Such partnerships work well when they are based on shared values and a clear understanding of the local context and needs.


    • Q3. 

      The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play crucial roles in addressing the challenges posed by climate change to global food security, poverty eradication, and sustainable development. To maximize their collective impact, they can collaborate on various initiatives and strategies:

      Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Promotion:

      FAO can provide technical expertise, research, and resources to support CSOs in promoting CSA practices among smallholder farmers.

      CSOs can work at the grassroots level to educate farmers about climate-resilient farming techniques, facilitate access to CSA technologies, and promote sustainable land management practices.

      Data Collection and Sharing:

      FAO can assist CSOs in collecting and analyzing climate-related data, including weather patterns, crop yields, and vulnerability assessments.

      CSOs can help disseminate this information to local communities, empowering them to make informed decisions and adapt to changing climate conditions.

      Policy Advocacy and Implementation:

      FAO can collaborate with CSOs to advocate for climate-resilient policies at the national and international levels.

      CSOs can provide valuable grassroots insights to inform policy development and work to ensure policy implementation at local levels.

      Capacity Building:

      FAO can offer training programs and capacity-building initiatives to enhance the skills and knowledge of CSOs and local communities in climate adaptation and mitigation.

      CSOs can then deliver this training to farmers and vulnerable populations, increasing their resilience to climate change.


      Promotion of Sustainable Practices:

      FAO and CSOs can jointly promote sustainable agricultural practices, such as agroforestry, organic farming, and efficient water management, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance food security.

      Knowledge Sharing and Awareness:

      FAO can support CSOs in developing and disseminating educational materials and campaigns to raise awareness about climate change and its impacts on food security and poverty.

      CSOs can engage with local communities and stakeholders to ensure that climate-related knowledge is accessible and actionable.

      Resource Mobilization:

      FAO and CSOs can collaborate in mobilizing financial and technical resources to support climate adaptation and mitigation projects, especially in vulnerable regions.

      Monitoring and Evaluation:

      FAO and CSOs can work together to monitor the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, ensuring that they are effective and making necessary adjustments as needed.

      Participation in International Forums:

      FAO can engage CSOs in international climate negotiations and forums, ensuring that civil society perspectives and voices are heard in shaping global climate policies.

      Community-Based Adaptation Projects:

      FAO and CSOs can jointly implement community-based climate adaptation projects that empower local communities to take ownership of their resilience-building efforts.

      By working together, FAO and CSOs can leverage their respective strengths and resources to tackle the multifaceted challenges of climate change and its impact on food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. Collaboration at various levels, from policy advocacy to grassroots engagement, is essential to maximize their collective impact in addressing these critical issues.




    • Q1. 

      Addressing socio-economic inequality and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a complex and ongoing challenge that requires collaborative efforts from various stakeholders, including international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). To regain momentum and effectively work together to "leave no one behind," they can consider the following strategies:

      Enhance Collaboration and Partnerships:

      FAO can actively engage with CSOs by forming partnerships and collaborations to leverage their local knowledge, grassroots networks, and community-level insights.

      Establish joint committees or working groups to facilitate regular communication, coordination, and information sharing between FAO and CSOs.

      Capacity Building:

      FAO can provide training and capacity-building programs to empower CSOs with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute effectively to SDGs related to agriculture, food security, and rural development.

      CSOs can also provide FAO with valuable on-the-ground insights and feedback on the impact of FAO's programs, helping to make them more responsive and relevant.

      Data Collection and Analysis:

      Collaborate on data collection efforts to better understand the specific challenges faced by marginalized and vulnerable communities in different regions.

      Jointly analyze data to identify trends and disparities, allowing for targeted interventions.

      Advocacy and Awareness:

      CSOs can serve as advocates for marginalized communities, using their voices and networks to raise awareness about the importance of addressing inequality and leaving no one behind.

      FAO can support CSOs in advocacy efforts by providing data, research, and technical expertise.

      Community Engagement:

      Involve CSOs in the design, implementation, and evaluation of FAO projects and programs to ensure they are tailored to local needs and priorities.

      Conduct community consultations and involve CSOs in decision-making processes to promote inclusivity.

      Innovation and Technology Transfer:

      FAO can facilitate the transfer of appropriate agricultural technologies and innovations to marginalized communities through CSOs, ensuring they have access to the tools and knowledge needed to improve their livelihoods.

      Collaborate on pilot projects that test innovative approaches to addressing inequality in agriculture and food systems.

      Resource Mobilization:

      Collaborate on fundraising efforts to secure resources for projects and initiatives aimed at reducing socio-economic inequality.

      FAO can assist CSOs in accessing funding opportunities and grants.

      Monitoring and Evaluation:

      Establish joint monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact of collaborative efforts in reducing inequality and achieving SDGs.

      Use the results of these evaluations to make evidence-based adjustments to programs and projects.

      Policy Advocacy:

      Work together to advocate for policies at the national and international levels that promote equity, social justice, and inclusive development.

      CSOs can play a crucial role in bringing the voices of marginalized communities to policy discussions.

      By fostering a strong partnership between FAO and CSOs, both organizations can contribute their unique strengths and resources to accelerate progress towards SDGs and ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of a more equitable and sustainable future.

    • Q2. 

      Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can play a crucial role in accelerating the transformation of agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. Here are some concrete actions that CSOs can take to boost their impact on the ground in alignment with the FAO's 2023 agenda:

      Advocacy and Policy Influence:

      Lobby for policy changes at local, national, and international levels that support sustainable agrifood systems.

      Advocate for the inclusion of small-scale farmers, women, and marginalized communities in decision-making processes related to agriculture and food systems.

      Capacity Building and Education:

      Provide training and education to farmers on sustainable and resilient farming practices.

      Raise awareness among communities about the importance of biodiversity, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable food production.

      Promote Sustainable Practices:

      Encourage and support the adoption of sustainable farming techniques, such as organic farming, agroforestry, and permaculture.

      Promote the use of drought-resistant crops and climate-smart agricultural technologies.

      Community-Led Initiatives:

      Facilitate the establishment of community-based organizations and cooperatives to empower small-scale farmers and enhance their access to resources and markets.

      Support community-led initiatives for food security, including community gardens and seed banks.

      Research and Data Collection:

      Conduct research on local agrifood systems to better understand their strengths and weaknesses.

      Collect data on agricultural practices, food security, and nutrition to inform evidence-based decision-making.

      Promote Inclusivity:


      Advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment in agrifood systems.

      Ensure that marginalized groups have access to resources, credit, and markets.

      Collaboration and Partnerships:

      Collaborate with governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to implement sustainable agrifood system initiatives.

      Build partnerships with the private sector to support small-scale farmers and promote sustainable supply chains.

      Advocate for Sustainable Consumption:

      Educate consumers about the impact of their food choices on agrifood systems and the environment.

      Promote sustainable and local food consumption.

      Climate Resilience and Disaster Preparedness:

      Assist communities in developing climate-resilient farming practices and disaster preparedness plans.

      Advocate for policies and resources to address the impact of climate change on agrifood systems.

      Monitoring and Evaluation:

      Establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the impact of CSO interventions on agrifood systems.

      Use data and feedback to continually refine and improve strategies.

      Media and Communication:

      Utilize media campaigns and social platforms to raise awareness about agrifood system issues.

      Mobilize public opinion in support of sustainable practices and policies.

      Capacity for Negotiation and Dialogue:

      Build the capacity of CSOs to engage in meaningful dialogues with governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to influence decision-making processes positively.

      By taking these concrete actions, CSOs can contribute significantly to the transformation of agrifood systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable in line with the FAO's 2023 agenda. Collaboration and adaptability will be key to achieving lasting impact on the ground.