Focus on Poverty and Hunger
The Hand-in-Hand (HIH) Initiative prioritizes countries and territories where poverty and hunger are highest, national capacities are limited, or operational difficulties are greatest due to natural or man-made crises. It seeks to eradicate poverty (SDG1), end hunger and malnutrition (SDG2), and reduce inequalities (SDG10) by accelerating market-based transformation of agri-food systems to raise incomes, improve nutrition, empower poor and vulnerable populations, and strengthen resilience to climate change.
The HIH Initiative uses geospatial, biophysical and socio-economic data, as well as advanced analytics to identify territories where agricultural transformation and sustainable management of forest and fisheries have the greatest potential for alleviating poverty and hunger. GIS analysts, economists, agronomists, and other experts bring analytics, models, and mechanisms to the Initiative. Numerous partnerships with leading research institutions across the world also enrich the informational and analytical content of these tools. The integration of technical tools informs policymaking and contributes to capacities of countries.
Ensuring Sustainable Development
One of the greatest challenges of the 2030 Agenda is to support simultaneously all three – economic, social, environmental – pillars of sustainable development. The Initiative relies on the most sophisticated technical tools to provide integrated analyses that identify key interactions, synergies, and trade-offs among actions to accelerate economic growth, ensure social inclusion, and promote sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources.
Investment Planning Approach
The Initiative provides an integrative, holistic approach to support investment and interventions in targeted territories. National and local governments, experts, and value chain participants discuss and identify together, building on technical assessments, territories or ongoing projects that are suitable for adaptation to the Hand-in-Hand approach. The outcome of this consultation is agreement on an investment plan.
The Initiative facilitates governments’ efforts to engage with donors and development partners in mobilizing support and operationalizing national agricultural strategies and investment plans. To this end, FAO has developed a “matchmaking” approach, which brings together national and local authorities, donors, international financial institutions, private enterprises, producer organizations, civil society organizations, and research institutions. Partners are sought for their ability to provide critical means of implementation — technology, data and information, capacity development, funding and financing — for identified programmes.
Ensuring national ownership of the programmes is a key principle of the Initiative. As such, the Hand-in-Hand country task force teams integrate technical officers from governments in order to ensure the highest levels of country leadership and transparency in programme development and implementation. To strengthen countries’ capacities to manage a complex programme, participants make commitments and actions through shared information monitoring and evaluation dashboarding platform. The M&E dashboard facilitates coordination, promotes mutual accountability, and enables timely troubleshooting as circumstances change or new information becomes available.
Additionally, the Initiative integrates global standards and methods to support member countries in institutionalizing data privacy and safety frameworks. Countries use performance indicators that are updated regularly to track progress on programme development and execution.