Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.
FAO's mandate is to end hunger and malnutrition across the globe through sustainable agriculture sustainably managing, preserving and restoring natural resources and ecosystems.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, recognizing the role of food and agriculture systems in addressing the complex set of challenges of sustainable development, provided the opportunity for better integration across different dimensions of FAO's work, and improvement of its programme of work, policy deliberations, and mobilization of resources and capacities, as well as for identifying and strengthening of partnerships with different stakeholders. FAO technical and governing bodies have played a key role in providing guidance and identifying priorities of FAO contribution to the SDGs.
The FAO Conference, main decision making body, ultimately approving the FAO vision, policies and programme of work, was informed by Technical (thematic) bodies (Committees on Fishery, Forest, Agriculture, Trade and Commodity), The Committee on World Food Security, the FAO Regional Conferences, and other intergovernmental platforms of/hosted by FAO such as the Commission on Genetic Resources for food and agriculture, the Codex Alimentarius, the International Treaty of plant and genetic resources, all discussing policy, programmatic and financial priorities of FAO work on SDGs in specific agenda items during 2016/2017 sessions. Technical and regional bodies, as well as the programme and finance committees also discussed ways to fully integrate SDGs into the programme of work and the results framework of FAO.
The Medium Term Plan 2018-21 and Programme of Work and Budget 2020-21, approved by FAO Conference in July 2019, fully incorporate SDGs at targets, outcomes and outputs level and monitors results achieved by the Organization through a wide set of SDG indicators. These two core documents will guide the contribution of the Organization to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the next four crucial years through a holistic approach to address the complex and interconnected challenges posed by the SDGs.
2. The Conference recommended FAO to further strengthen support provided to national stakeholders, so as to ensure that food and agriculture are prominently reflected in the nationally identified priorities, as well as to enhancing national stakeholders' capacity on monitoring and reporting and encouraged the Secretariat to monitor progress on engagement in the 2030 Agenda, including through provision of reports to the United Nations High-level Political Forum.
3. As mentioned before, the Technical Committees and the Regional Conferences of FAO have discussed and provided policy guidance vis a vis the Agenda, sharing a common position along the following lines: Food and agriculture are critical to achieving the SDGs, allowing for integrated approaches and addressing challenges of sustainable development in its three dimensions. In fact, the sustainable development of food and agriculture systems is recognized as a key enabler for SDG implementation, and identified as priority cross-cutting issue in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, identifying the financial and non-financial means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda, and complementing SDG 17, dedicated to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development and Means of Implementation.
4. A strong focus on rural development ensures that no one is left behind, contributing to eradication of poverty, still mainly concentrated in rural areas; sustainable rural development also contributes to environmental sustainability, substantially contributing to restoration and sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity, as well as ensuring economic growth, with agriculture development identified as the most effective. In fact, although agriculture can be the lead sector for overall growth in the agriculture- based countries, it has been vastly underused for development.
2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:
2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;
The FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, since his arrival in August 2019, has already taken significant steps to ensure that FAO is fit-for- purpose. His focus is to build a dynamic, inclusive, transparent and efficient FAO which is demand and challenge driven, science and professional based, and results and impact oriented. The Hand-in-Hand Initiative, as an evidence-based, country-led and country- owned initiative, continues to be carried out with considerable urgency, providing key services at country level.
The Organization has enabled cross-fertilization of new knowledge, approaches and ideas including through the establishment of a new Office for Innovation to consolidate and strengthen FAO’s innovative spirit, and a new Office for SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs to ensure that the special needs of these vulnerable populations and countries are met.
The FAO DG is proposing to the Council (Spring 2020) the creation of the Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Office will coordinate the corporate engagement in the 2030 Agenda follow-up and review, working closely with concerned units across the Organization. The Office will ensure consistent messaging and communication on key priorities for food and agriculture to achieve sustainable development; provide information to Members, partners and other stakeholders on FAO’s engagement in the 2030 Agenda; and collect and disseminate lessons learned and make proposals for improvements. Other specific functions include providing guidance and modalities to FAO country offices to ensure food and agriculture are reflected in voluntary national reviews, supporting the Office of the Chief Statistician in the consolidation of FAO’s input to the Global Sustainable Development report; providing guidance to FAO regional offices on priorities to be reflected in Regional Forums on Sustainable Development; coordinating engagement of FAO in the preparatory meetings to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; and ensuring wide dissemination of evidence, analyses and outcomes of the fora to Members and other stakeholders
Specific mention is due to the dedicated resources devoted to assisting countries in developing capacity towards the complex SDG monitoring system. In January 2017 a new Office of Chief Statistician was created, to better focus on the 21 SDG indicators for which FAO is custodian, and mandated to directly assist countries, mobilize technical and financial resources, and coordinate and support the work of regional bodies with evidence and reliable data, assist and coordinate with the UN Statistical Commissions and the UN Regional Economic Commissions, develop indicator standards and methodologies, monitoring the quality of statistical processes, build capacities in countries in generating, collecting and analysing data, and report annually on SDG progress.
Furthermore, FAO has recently launched The Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIH) continues to move forward as a comprehensive approach to territory-based development carried out with considerable urgency. HIH is a strategy for delivering a highly integrated package of four key services at country level, using all streams of the Organization and the public goods provided by FAO to leverage the resources of governments, IFIs, private sector, civil society and research institutions, among others. The four services, which are derived from the UN Secretary-General’s System Wide Strategic Document, are: i) improved data and analysis; ii) integrated policy and technical support; iii) multistakeholder partnerships that deliver means of implementation; and iv) scaled up public and private finance and investment – all designed to promote transformational change at the territorial level. 65. As part of the COVID-19 response, the HIH focus is on the very short-term with an emphasis on rapid response to changing needs, while avoiding harm to long-term development values. Actions are now largely delivered virtually, but in powerful and nimble ways
2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;See reply to question 2.1
2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;See question 1
2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;
FAO developed in 2019 Corporate Framework on Rural Extreme Poverty has been established to orient the relevant work of the Organization towards reaching Target 1.1 of the SDGs. The Framework is in line with and reinforces the application of other Corporate Frameworks, particularly those related to gender equality, social protection, sustaining peace, and migration. This framework constitutes an essential corporate tool to guide the Organization in enhancing the leaving no one behind principle.
2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;FAO has recently launched The Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIH) continues to move forward as a comprehensive approach to territory- based development carried out with considerable urgency. HIH is a strategy for delivering a highly integrated package of four key services at country level, using all streams of the Organization and the public goods provided by FAO to leverage the resources of governments, IFIs, private sector, civil society and research institutions, among others. The four services, which are derived from the UN Secretary-General’s System Wide Strategic Document, are: i) improved data and analysis; ii) integrated policy and technical support; iii) multistakeholder partnerships that deliver means of implementation; and iv) scaled up public and private finance and investment – all designed to promote transformational change at the territorial level. 65. As part of the COVID-19 response, the HIH focus is on the very short-term with an emphasis on rapid response to changing needs, while avoiding harm to long-term development values. Actions are now largely delivered virtually, but in powerful and nimble ways
3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:
3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;
FAO has started collaborating with national governments on the alignment of SDGs with relevant regional development strategies and national sectoral strategies. In Africa, FAO advocated with countries for the inclusion of SDGs in the key regional strategies related to agriculture, such as CAADP/Malabo commitments, as well as their inclusion in respective national strategic and investment plans. At national level, FAO has been advocating for mainstreaming the SDGs in relevant sectoral national strategies, policies and development plans. For example, in Jordan FAO has been providing technical support on developing a national vision of agriculture in the context of the SDGs.
In Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines) the efforts focused on the preparation of national plans of action to localize SDGs both at national and provincional levels.
FAO, being a custodian UN agency for 21 SDG indicators, has been providing enhanced assistance to countries in various sectors, related to data and statistical capacity development for SDGs monitoring, including by developing guidelines, delivering training programmes and organizing awareness raising workshops and seminars in the countries. For instance, in Africa, FAO working directly with national statistics offices, raised awareness and developed capacities of countries and regional institutions on statistical tools for estimating SDG-2 indicators and their relevance for food security policies. In Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) national workshops were organized to develop capacities on SDG indicators. In the Near East, data and capacity building support was recently provided to Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, focusing in particular on modernizing the national agricultural statistics systems.
FAO has been using actively the multi-stakeholder partnership platforms at regional and country level to support governments in the implementation of the SDGs. FAO engages with a variety of resource partners, such as Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GFC), African Development Bank (AfDB), private sector and foundations.
In the Near East, FAO has been engaged in productive collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS) on SDG-2, aiming at monitoring developments in food security and nutrition sectors in LAS countries and identifying countries for joint UN support. FAO also committed to supporting the proposed new coordination committee on SDG-2 within the League of Arab States.
In Asia, FAO supported national governments to adopt a whole-of-society approach, thereby involving stakeholders and civil society, but also media to out to society more broadly, and sharing lessons learned, best practices and experiences.
FAO has supported countries through regional SDG workshops in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, South Asia and North Africa to promote sustainable agriculture and food sectors in the on-going processes of nationalizing SDGs. In total, more than 70 countries have received support through these workshops—raising awareness, promoting dialogue and empowering countries to enhance the role of agricultural and food sectors in SDGs (and Paris Agreement) implementation. The meetings brought together representatives from agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other key sectors, including environment, trade, rural development and health, as well as engaging with civil society, private sector and academia to help build multi-stakeholder partnerships that are needed to achieve the SDGs. These regional workshops were complemented by country level support and has taken various forms according to national priorities (awareness raising, policy review and revision, capacity development, support to Voluntary National Reviews, etc.) and funding (TCPs, LoAs, National Consultants). Support focuses on integration and collaboration in the context of wider UN country support.
3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;See question 3.1.
3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;See question 3.3.
3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;
The average proportion of SDG indicators under FAO custodianship reported by countries increased from 32% in 2018 to 43% in 2019. A number of interlinked actions have led to this result. Firstly, FAO through its active engagement in the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG) progressively ensured the methodological development and successful endorsement of all 21 SDG indicators under FAO’s custodianship, which are now either in the Tier I or Tier II categories. The formal approval of SDG indicator methodologies by the IAEG-SDG has opened the possibility for countries to begin reporting on these, and also revealed the need for capacity support to do so.
3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;
FAO supported countries to enhance the use of technologies and innovations to generate evidence for informed decision-making for the sustainable management of agricultural production systems and natural resources.
Capacity development was provided in the collection of statistics and geospatial information, and qualitative information to underpin the extent, quality, use and productive capacity of land, water, forests, oceans and inland waters. Key activities include training on harmonization of census instruments for Pacific Island Countries, and the coordination of a joint population and agricultural census in Belarus. New methods to evaluate the sustainability of farms and other production units highlighting factors that can improve sustainability were developed, such as the Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE), and training was provided in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.
FAO provided capacity development to 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean, on the use of new tools and technologies for data collection and monitoring, such as, Mobile Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing, georeferenced technologies and plotting of satellite data on land and forest area. Institutions were trained on Open Foris, which is a set of free and open-source software tools that facilitate flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting on land assessments and monitoring. For example, using these tools, Papua New Guinea conducted its first-ever National Forestry Inventory with FAO support. It collected data on flora and fauna, soil and socio-economic indicators, contributed to the formulation of national policies, and facilitated international reporting on climate change and forestry through key milestones, such as submission of Nationally Determined Contributions
3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;Key strategic partnerships have been consolidated with international organizations, including OIE, WTO, ITC, UNEP, UNIDO, UNCTAD, WHO and relevant regional bodies, as well as with the World Bank, EBRD, IFAD29 and other international financing institutions (IFIs) to support countries in: standard setting processes, development and implementation of trade agreements, and mobilizing public and private sector investments in agricultural and food systems development. Further engagement with the private sector has been visible through FAO’s increased involvement in the One Planet network Sustainable Food Systems Programme and with the World Economic Forum in the preparatory process towards the UN Food Systems Summit.
3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;N/A
3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;N/A
3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;See question 2.4.
3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;The Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIH) continues to move forward as a comprehensive approach to territory-based development carried out with considerable urgency. HIH is a strategy for delivering a highly integrated package of four key services at country level, using all streams of the Organization and the public goods provided by FAO to leverage the resources of governments, IFIs, private sector, civil society and research institutions, among others. The four services, which are derived from the UN Secretary-General’s System Wide Strategic Document, are: i) improved data and analysis; ii) integrated policy and technical support; iii) multistakeholder partnerships that deliver means of implementation; and iv) scaled up public and private finance and investment – all designed to promote transformational change at the territorial level. 65. As part of the COVID-19 response, the HIH focus is on the very short-term with an emphasis on rapid response to changing needs, while avoiding harm to long-term development values. Actions are now largely delivered virtually, but in powerful and nimble ways.
3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;FAO’s work to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises achieved or exceeded the targets for all nine Output indicators. Some 43 countries and 3 regional institutions formulated strategies and plans for risk reduction and crisis management, supported by the finalization of 84 normative global and regional products (Output 5.1.1-B). In addition, coordination mechanisms and resource mobilization strategies for risk reduction, crisis management and resilience building were developed and implemented in 40 countries and 3 regions, overachieving the target.
3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;See question 3.1.
4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:
4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;All technical committees, regional conferenes and the FAO’s Conference have discussed in their respective agendas and item on progress towards SDGs and have reported the policy guidance emerged to the HLPF.
4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;Support included co-drafting technical papers, co-organizing an Expert Group Meeting on SDG 2, senior management participation in Expert Group Meetings on interlinkages, supporting the preparation of VNRs and participation in the Regional Fora for Sustainable Development with the preparation of background notes and the organization of discussion segments 24
4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;Support included co-drafting technical papers, co-organizing an Expert Group Meeting on SDG 2, senior management participation in Expert Group Meetings on interlinkages, supporting the preparation of VNRs and participation in the Regional Fora for Sustainable Development with the preparation of background notes and the organization of discussion segments
4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;During HLPF 2019 FAO was represented by the Director General and took the occasion to present its Flagship publication, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World - SOFI 2019 together with the other co-author agencies, namely WFP, IFAD, WHO and UNICEF. SOFI monitors progress on SDG targets 2.1.1 and 2.1.2
4.5 Supporting the VNR process.FAO provides technical support for the VNR process upon countries' request and trough the UN Country Team
5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.
FAO is fully committed to delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda in collaboration with the rest of the UN system. The Organization's partners with other UN agencies, funds and programmes in the development of statistical methods and the provision of support at country level for monitoring the SDGS.
FAO is also placing particular emphasis on further developing collaboration among the Rome-based agencies. During 2016, the Organization developed with IFAD and WFP a common vision and guiding principles for collaboration among the UN Rome-based Agencies on delivering the 2030 Agenda, which was endorsed by the FAO Council in December 2016 as a useful reference for future joint activities.
The RBAs signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 together with a Joint Action Plan. The MoU responds to the call by the Secretary-General, in the context of the UN reform, and the repositioning of the UNDS. The RBAs commit to working in the new paradigm by making fundamental shifts, including transcending the humanitarian development divide by working towards collective outcomes, based on comparative advantages and over multiyear time frames. The aim of the MoU is to strengthen collaboration and coordination at global, regional and country levels in order to provide enhanced support to Member Countries. It sets out areas for comprehensive and integrated support including working together on national planning processes with governments, as well as developing joint outcomes, programmes and assessments. It also covers shared data analysis, joint accountability for collective outcomes, continued sharing of corporate services including security, human resources, travel and health services, developing new joint outcome-based financing approaches for projects, and a joint reporting mechanism to measure progress
Building on its policy, normative and standard-setting expertise, FAO works in close collaboration with UN partners, other sub-regional, regional and international organizations, to provide integrated policy advice and capacity development to the member countries in support of the 2030 Agenda implementation across all the regions. FAO collaborates with the Secretariats of the three Rio Conventions and has and active present during their respective Conference of the Parties as well as through their scientifically advisory bodies.
FAO collaborates with WHO and OIE under a tripartite to promote cross-sectoral collaboration and increase convergence towards a One Health approach to address risks from zoonoses and other public health threats existing and emerging at the human-animal- ecosystems interface. FAO is also part of the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.
In 2019 FAO signed a MoU with UNDP that includes areas such as sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, eradicating poverty, improving food security and addressing climate change and the two agencies developed a joint action plan that should deliver its first results during in 2021.
UN Environment and FAO, as requested by the UN General Assembly, are leading the implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) by coordinating partners and providing technical support (guidelines, agreed methodologies, assessments etc) FAO is part and actively engages in all the following coordination mechanisms: CEB (and its HLCP and HLCM), UNDG (FAO is part of the core group of the revamped UNSDG), EC-ESA Plus, RCMs, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT.
6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.
Partnerships with all major stakeholder groups is considered a key to achieving food and nutrition security. FAO members adopted the Strategy for Partnerships with Civil Society Organizations and the Strategy for Partnerships with Private Sector to strengthen corporate and country-focused engagements with private sector, business enterprises, civil society and NGOs, farmer organizations especially women groups, academia, and parliamentarians. The six main areas of collaboration are: Field programme; Knowledge sharing and capacity development; Policy dialogue; Joint use of resources; Normative activities; and Advocacy and communication and South- South Cooperation.
At the global level, FAO involves networks and organizations with the broadest possible representation vis-à-vis their constituency and region. At national level, FAO works through the framework of the Country Programme Framework (CPF) and assists governments in identifying key partners that can contribute to priorities set out in the CPF.
Over 2 000 delegates from civil society, private sector and academia have attended the annual CFS and some non-state actor delegations participate in FAO technical symposiums on topics such as Agroecology, Biotechnologies, Nutrition, Innovation in Agriculture, Sustainable Fisheries or soil among others.
FAO has been using actively the multi-stakeholder partnership platforms at regional and country level to support governments in the implementation of the SDGs. FAO engages with a variety of resource partners, such as Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GFC), regional development banks and regional economic integration organizations, private sector and foundations, research institutions.
7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.Facilitating knowledge exchange and serving as a neutral forum for policy discussions are at the core of FAO's functions and therefore a considerable share of the activities organized by the Organization at global, regional and national level respond to this goal. Therefore providing a detailed account of the events constitutes a difficult task and only some of the events that featured a higher profile.
8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.
FAO's Programe Implementation Report provides a detaield account of FAO's support to its members for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. http://www.fao.org/3/nc390en/nc390en.pdf
FAO Office of Evaluation is undertaking a series of evaluations on FAO's work on the implementation of of SDGs trough its strategic objectives. The reports are available in the link below.
9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?
UN system organizations should take collective efforts to strengthen national capacities for measuring SDG indicators, mostly in developing countries;
UN system organizations should work towards increasing and strengthening the number of UN joint programmes entirely focused on the SDGs, in order to ensure more integrated and coherent support and policy advice to countries, including the implementation of norms and standards.
The UN system should strengthen its collaboration on innovation and data collection and management.