FAO in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Programmes in the Islamic Republic of Iran

In the past twenty years, the major thrust of FAO’s technical assistance to Iran had been in the areas of capacity building, policy and strategy development, water accounting, water governance, crop production, livestock and animal health, fisheries, forest management, and emergency and re-habilitation programme.

FAO is presently reinforcing its Country Programming Framework (CPF) and envisages in this context lending assistance towards implementing a comprehensive integrated strategic approach that addresses the current challenges in the food and agriculture sectors in a holistic and sustainable manner.

FAO has an authority and status as a global intergovernmental organization and has a long-lasting cooperation with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and retains a comparative advantage in the provision of policy and technical assistance in a broad range of disciplines addressing the challenges being faced in relevant sectors by the Islamic Republic of Iran. With its global capacity and technical expertise, FAO is in a position to technically support the country’s initiatives to reinforce its existing institutional structures and capabilities in promoting more comprehensive and cross-cutting interventions, engaging the participation of all pertinent stakeholders and mobilizing support from other external entities so as to enable effective and coordinated development programmes in notably the four priority areas cited under the present country programming framework. This will entail a significant paradigm shift in the manner in which the assistance would be lent, moving away from the traditional project-focused approach and advocating a programme-based framework that is more results-oriented, leverages the synergies between projects, secures inter-linkages and continuity of projects towards clearly defined and measurable objectives, with quantification and measurement of impact rather than mere output, and leads to long-term sustainability of development activities.

FAO’s support to the Islamic Republic of Iran is focused on four priority areas that are in line with the country’s national development plan and addresses the principal challenges for which the Organization’s policy and technical capacities can add value to the on-going and planned governmental programmes. These priority areas are i) Sustainable and Climate-smart Agriculture, ii) Food and Nutrition Security, and Food Safety, iii) Inclusive and Resilient Rural Development, and iv) Knowledge-based Economy and Society. The CPF-I.R. Iran is the result of extensive consultations held with a wide spectrum of national and international stakeholders and partners within the country and the backstopping of the relevant technical units of FAO at the Headquarters in Rome, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) and the FAO Representation in The Islamic Republic of Iran. The objective of the initiative is to align the comparative advantage of FAO in assisting I.R. Iran to promote its agricultural revival programme through a coherent programming framework. The CPF, among other things, identifies and defines Agricultural priority areas, including Fisheries, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Rural Development in which FAO has a lead.

The CPF focuses on four main Priority Areas in line with the 6th Five-Year National Development Plan (FYNDP) as follow:

Priority area 1. Environmentally Sustainable and Climate-smart Agriculture

FAO’s assistance will focus on enhancing agriculture production by promoting agro-ecology and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Combined with long term measures such as increasing biodiversity, conserving watersheds and restoring degraded land, the resilience of agriculture and the livelihoods that depend on it will be significantly enhanced. The capacity to respond to trans-boundary pest and disease attacks will be bolstered through training on monitoring, data collection and integrated pest and disease management.

Priority area 2. Food and Nutrition Security, and Food Safety

Under this priority, promoting mechanisms for integrated action between various state actors will be a cornerstone of the integrated strategic programmes. Initiatives that support the integration of the food system approach into national planning and improve the food environment for consumers will be developed. Furthermore, improving access of poor and vulnerable households to safe, nutritious and diversified diets and building resilience for institutions, individuals, households, communities and agro-ecosystems to anticipate, absorb and recover from the negative impacts of anthropogenic and natural shocks will be addressed.

Priority area 3. Inclusive and Resilient Rural Development

Mitigating and preventing risks that can threaten the production of and access to food and basic services at the country level is extremely important in light of the environmental challenges, potential natural disasters (i.e. earthquakes, drought, floods, and sand and dust storms), and economic changes and sanction. Accordingly, it is vital to provide a safety net for vulnerable population groups by strengthening rural institutions and producers’ organizations, supporting access to markets, and providing social protection and rural services for small-scale farmers and rural communities, while taking into account gender mainstreaming considerations. FAO's role as broker in investments in agriculture will facilitate the forging of new industry development, promote good agricultural practices, and improve capacity building and knowledge sharing among stakeholders. Close collaboration with farmers’ organizations, youth and women as well as community-based organizations, research institutions and private sector entities will be critical. This area of FAO’s contribution is in line with FAO’s regional initiatives for Asia and the Pacific on ‘Climate Change’, ‘One Health’ and ‘Zero Hunger’ which adopt an integrated approach focusing on the promotion of decent rural employment and an inclusive economic growth that will benefit small-scale family farmers.

Priority area 4. Knowledge-based Economy and Society

One of the significant assets retained by Iran is its bastion of human capital, knowledge and skills as well as expansive institutional capabilities in the agricultural and rural sectors. It is crucial that the country optimizes the benefits that derive from such wealth in capacity by institutionalizing a mechanism that would enable it to leverage and channel the available knowledge at the national level in a manner that would reinforce the development work being carried out to reinforce those sectors. Under this priority area, FAO will support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in pursuing technical capacity development and reinforcing the systematic transfer of national capabilities and knowledge both across sectors of stakeholders at the country level and with other countries in the region and beyond in order to bridge existing gaps in technical know-how in the quest of promoting sustainable agricultural development. In particular, this will be done by reinforcing the existing national South-South programmes through triangular and international cooperation by establishing a National Network of Collaborating Academic and Research centres in support of development programmes and by implementing effective and targeted capacity development and extension programmes through inter alia Farmer Field Schools.