The European Union (EU) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today reaffirmed their commitment to tackle common global concerns such as rising hunger, bring about prosperity and peace, and build a more sustainable future for all.
Over the next two years, EU and FAO will focus on: building communities’ resilience to food crises; addressing climate change and better use of natural resources; investing in agriculture and value chains; and improving nutrition and food systems.
“The EU’s ongoing support for multilateralism and the United Nations system is as essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as it is to addressing the immense challenges that forced migration, conflict and food crises continue to pose today,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
“By working together and merging our expertise, I am convinced that we can rise to many of today’s most pressing challenges,” added Graziano da Silva.
“I am extremely proud of what the European Union and FAO have achieved together. Over the years, we have built a solid, strategic partnership with a focus on areas that are high on the EU policy agenda. We remain acutely aware that food security and sustainable agriculture remain pressing challenges. That’s why only last month, at the UN General Assembly, the European Union and FAO signed a €77 million agreement to boost the resilience of millions of people struggling with food crises around the world,” said European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.
EU-FAO cooperation spans a range of areas – from food safety and security, sustainable agriculture, and disease and pest control, to land tenure, soil management, and the fight against illegal fisheries, desertification and deforestation.
The partnership has been an important agent of change for the benefit of millions of people in developing, emerging, and developed countries, including in the EU, and has been growing over the last 10 years.
Between 2007 and 2017, the EU channelled more than €1.5 billion to over 250 FAO-led programmes in 60 countries, scaling up its support in the wake of the 2007-2008 food price crisis, and again in 2017, to address food insecurity and agricultural development issues linked to conflict, migration, environment and climate change challenges.
Over 80 percent of the EU’s support to FAO has come from the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development department, with further contributions from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department and through other EU departments focused on agriculture, fisheries, food safety, plant protection, soils and research.
The EU remains FAO’s main resource partner, representing with its Member States 45 percent of the UN agency’s budget. In 2017, EU’s contribution reached €239 million.
Between 2014 and 2017, almost half of the contributions were rolled out in Africa, with initiatives also across Europe, Latin America, the Near East and Asia.
Photo: Farmers in Yemen where FAO, EU and partners averted famine in 2017. Photo: FAO/Soliman Ahmed