Resource Mobilization

France and FAO reassert their partnership with research institutions for sustainable development

11/02/2020 - 

The 6th High-Level Strategic Dialogue between FAO and France was held from the 5 to 6 of February at FAO Headquarters. Maria Helena Semedo, Assistant Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources, welcomed a French delegation led by Philippe Lacoste, Director of Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Semedo heralded this latest “meeting of friends” and praised France for its continued commitment to the Organization, which was underscored once more in 2019 by a promised contribution of EUR 2 million to the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF).

The first day of the event was dedicated to reviewing the main areas of current and potential collaboration between FAO and French research institutions, which were represented by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD); the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE); the Research Institute for Development (IRD); and Agreenium. “We are here to anticipate tomorrow’s world, and our decisions must be based on science,” said Delphine Borione, France’s Permanent Representative to FAO. During discussions, a number of common positions emerged, in particular in the areas of biodiversity, animal and plant health, innovation systems and soil carbon. Consensus was apparent on the urgent need to, “take the final steps to close the gap separating scientific research from the hands of farmers,” explained Roberto Ridolfi, FAO’s Assistant-Director-General for Programme Support and Technical Cooperation.

Laurent Thomas, Deputy Director-General of FAO, opened the second day of the Strategic Dialogue by reaffirming the crucial need for acceleration and increased innovation in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDGs 1 and 2. He underlined that the Hand-in-Hand Initiative was created to give fresh impetus to the speeding up of sustainable development, and expressed his hope that France would commit to this new cooperation model. The importance of increased private sector participation through responsible investment was also highlighted.

Lacoste then laid out the priorities established by France in its support for development and put forward potential areas for collaboration with the Organization. These included agroecology and pastoralism in the Sahel, strengthening global governance on food and nutrition security, as well as continuing support to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE). Frédéric Lambert, Head of the European and International Service at France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, pointed out the complex and interdependent nature of the issues faced. “If we want to feed the planet, we first need to save the planet,” he said.

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu welcomed the French delegation for a direct and constructive exchange focused mainly on the themes of agricultural sustainability and research, as well as digitization and the .

FAO-France partnership

France has been actively engaged with FAO since its creation, both through its contributions (USD 255 199 326 between 2012 and 2019) and the sharing of its expertise. The country also supports the new flexible funding mechanisms established by the Organization, becoming a resource partner for the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM) in 2019.

More information

FAO and France partnership report

France country profile

Resource Mobilization website