New DFID-FAO agreement paves way for stronger, easier collaboration

Supports ongoing and future work on food security, climate adaptation, forests

21 December 2015, Rome -- The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DfID) and FAO are strengthening their partnership with a new agreement that will benefit future collaborations on a multitude of fronts.

"FAO and DFID share a vision for a world where communities are food secure, their productive assets are protected and the world's natural resources are managed sustainably," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, said today.

"Thanks to the UK's ongoing support to many areas of FAO's work, we have been able to build toward that vision together and will now be able to do so more strategically and efficiently moving forward," he added.

The new FAO-DFID framework agreement serves as an overarching legal umbrella for collaboration between both partners that will cover all future projects for at least ten years. By eliminating the need to negotiate individual trust fund agreements for each new project, the new arrangement will save costs and time and make collaboration easier.

Between 2012 and 2015, the UK government has been the third largest overall donor to FAO with contributions exceeding $360 million. It has also been one of the few global resource partners able to increase its overall development assistance funding despite financing constraints.

DFID has supported a diverse set of FAO projects over a number of years, targeting problems ranging from the illegal timber trade to a lack of comprehensive agricultural data in many parts of the world.

Supporting food security in Zimbabwe

FAO has played a key role in supporting the country's most vulnerable people to produce more food, access new markets and expand into new agricultural enterprises

To support these efforts, DfID is contributing $48 million to an FAO project under the Zimbabwe Livelihoods and Food Security Program (LFSP) that aims to raise smallholder

farm productivity. The project introduces farmers to climate-smart agricultural practices, increases their access to finance and markets, and encourages communities to grow and consume more nutritious foods.

Helping countries implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure

DfID is currently supporting the effective implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry (VGGT), with a $7.5 million contribution (£4.9 million) for research and participatory activities in China, Nigeria and Uganda.

Secure land and property rights are essential to support sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. But in most developing countries land tenure rights are ill-defined and ill-enforced, land administration systems are corrupt and markets lack transparency.

The three-year project supports activities to increase transparency in the land sector in Nigeria, design a tenure-reform roadmap in Uganda, and raise awareness about the VGGT among Chinese investors seeking to make land purchase abroad, particularly in rural areas in Africa.

Strengthening food security information  and resilience building in crisis

DFID has also shown continued commitment to strengthening information for action in crisis situations, including contributions of close to $10 million (£5.4 million) to improve and expand the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) used for food security assessments.

Between 2012 and 2015, some 1900 national experts were trained as IPC analysts to assess and classify food insecurity based on common international standards. The DFID project has strengthened the way governments in 20 countries apply the IPC and helped develop and apply new protocols for analysing chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition. This, in turn, has increased demand for the IPC tools among decision-makers working on emergency and development programming.

DFID has also been a steady contributor to FAO's emergency operations that help communities rebuild and strengthen their livelihoods during or directly after conflict and natural disasters with close to $100 million over the last decade. These funds have supported crucial resilience-building efforts in countries such as the Central African Republic, Pakistan, the Philippines, , Somalia and South Sudan.

Strengthening forest governance to counter illegal timber trading

Recognizing the serious risks that the trade of illegal timber poses to forest landscapes, the environment and the economic health of international markets, DfID in 2014 joined other donors in supporting the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Programme (FLEGT) that seeks to bring about sustainable forest management and ensure wood imported into the EU is legally sourced.

The UK's contribution of over $2.1 million (£1.4 million) supports a dozen projects in timber-producing developing countries such as the Congo, Ghana and Indonesia to strengthen local forest governance and build wide buy-in across the industry -- from loggers to timber company executives -- to adhere to national and international rules and standards.

Photo: ©FAO/Believe Nyakudjara
Villagers from Gwaseche, Zimbabwe, are helping their livestock get water from a borehole in Chiredzi, as part of an emergency livestock drought mitigation programme funded by the UK Department for International Development, in April 2014.