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FAO + European Union: Investing in a sustainable and food secure future

21/03/2021 - 13:04
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The latest FAO + European Union Report provides highlights on the cooperation during the 2018-2020 period, detailing the results achieved in areas such as resilience and food crises, climate change and natural resource management, agricultural investments and value chains, as well as nutrition and food systems.


The EU is the largest provider of voluntary contributions to FAO’s budget. Between 2018 and 2020, the EU contributed approximately EUR 541million to more than 250 projects undertaken around the world, supporting FAO in implementing programmes and projects in line with the Paris Agreement on climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

EU’s support to FAO is essential to addressing the immense challenges that biodiversity loss, climate change, forced migration, protracted conflict and crises, and transboundary pests and diseases continue to pose today.

The FAO-EU partnership has been crucial in bringing technical knowledge, public goods and convening power to support critical humanitarian and development actions throughout the world.

EU and FAO joint work remains vital to step up efforts to support the fight against hunger in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

YouTube Link to 'Thank you video by FAO'

The video is also available in French and Spanish.

FAO + European Union supported Projects




Promoting sustainable landscape management in the Ecuadorian Andes 

In order to promote sustainable production practices in the Ecuadorian Andes, the European Union jointly with the FAO, and the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock, and of Environment and Water of Ecuador implement the project "Andean Landscapes: Promoting the integrated management of landscapes for sustainable livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Andes".

This initiative, that has a EUR 5 M financing, will give the communities the opportunity to solve the problem of deforestation, land degradation and mismanagement. It will promote collaboration between sectors, creating synergies for climate change, biodiversity, food security and poverty reduction. In addition, the communities will have technical assistance and facilities to access new markets, with an inclusive approach that takes into account the rights of rural women.

Agustín Zimmermann, FAO Representative in Ecuador: “Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi and Bolívar are four provinces of the Ecuadorian Andes where agriculture generates around 26% of employment and represents more than 20% of the income of its inhabitants. This is the scenario where the project will seek to improve the quality of life of the páramo communities, and responsibly manage the areas to avoid degradation of land and water sources.”

The integrated management of the Andean Landscapes is an engine of innovation, new investments and better jobs for family farming in Ecuador. Based on cleaner, climate-smart and more resilient production, it promotes not only human well-being but also the environment. The inhabitants of the area have traditionally focused towards a subsistence economy with products such as: corn, wheat, potatoes, medicinal plants, legumes and extensive livestock. However, this mode of production is detrimental to conservation areas.

The project contributes to the reduction of the poverty rate, which is currently, on average, 78% among the population of these Andean provinces. Charles-Michel Geurts, European Union Ambassador to Ecuador: “This initiative promoting good agricultural and conservation practices is part of a broader EU thematic program at global level for the environment and climate change. EU action for sustainable landscape management is linked to the Global Climate Change Alliance + GCCA + initiative that seeks to help developing countries face this challenge”.



Protecting wildlife through sustainable hunting in Guyana

In the Rupununi savanah in Guyana, Asaph Wilson recalls how his grandfather used to see many deer, many armadillo, many kinds of animals but now they are gone. Roads, commercial hunting and uncontrolled fires are threatening wildlife of the savanah.

By developing ecotourism and conservation, by planting fruit trees to attract animals, Asaph's village is trying to gain back what was lost and is hoping that they can go back to their great grandfathers time. Read the full story here.

Asaph - A Guyanese hunter and wildlife conservationist

Wildlife conservation by Indigenous People in Guyana - #SWM Programme



Proyecto Integración de las Áreas Protegidas del Bioma Amazónico (IAPA)

The initiative is part of the Vision for conservation based on the Amazon ecosystem, proposed in 2007 by the Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation in National Parks (REDPARQUES), to develop a regional agenda of joint work for the protection of this important area of the continent.

The general objective of the project is to strengthen by 2020 the systems of protected areas in the Amazon region, as well as the maintenance of the provision of environmental goods and services for the benefit of biodiversity and local economies. Find more information here and explore the video gallery of the project here.

Protect what Protect us - Project IAPA


Supporting pastoralists in Eastern Africa


South Sudan

EU-FAO Cooperation in South Sudan boosts livelihood


Strengthening the resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in South Sudan and across border areas with Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda” is a project implemented by FAO. With a budget of €28 million, it aims at improving household food security, nutrition and income, and enhancing livelihood resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities, particularly in cross-border areas of South Sudan. It entails vaccination and deworming of livestock and provision of seeds, tools, training and equipment to its beneficiaries to increase quality of livestock and their productivity.

European Union Ambassador to South Sudan, Christian Bader, explains that cattle vaccination is key to control and eradicate serious animal diseases. Outbreak of animal diseases have devastating effects on the subsistence economies of the agro-pastoral communities and may jeopardize the lives of thousands of vulnerable people in the country.

From 2017, the project has supported 7608 households. Yaka Moge, 65, in Gasmalla village in Upper Nile State who before this intervention used traditional beehives and could barely make ends meet, thanks to this EU-FAO partnership, can now fend for his family.

“I can finally buy food for my family and pay the school fees of my two grandchildren,” he happily said of the project. “I bought these chickens, thanks to my honey. If I need extra money to buy something now, I can sell a chicken.”

With support from the European Union through FAO, the South Sudan Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries planned to vaccinate and treat 11 million animals in all counties of South Sudan to protect more animals against priority diseases.



FAO, EU donate Peste des Petis Ruminants (PPR) vaccine machine to Ethiopia

With funding from the EU, the FAO has procured a USD 921 000 machine that will enhance the production of thermo-tolerant Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) vaccine in Ethiopia. The vaccine filling and labelling machine has been installed at the National Veterinary Institute (NVI). The new machine could also be used for the lyophlization of other vaccine types if needed. It complements the USD 810 000 lyophilizer machine that FAO procured, also with EU funding, and handed over to the NVI in October 2018. The NVI now has the capacity to produce 50 million doses of the thermos-stable PPR vaccine per year.

A threat to food security and livelihoods of rural poor

Peste des Petis Ruminants, also known as goat or sheep plague, is a highly contagious animal disease affecting domestic and wild small ruminants. Once newly introduced, the virus can infect up to 90 percent of an animal herd and the disease kills anywhere up to 70 percent of infected animals. Since its clinical confirmation in Ethiopia in 1991, the disease has dramatically affected the country's small ruminant population's health and well-being, thereby jeopardizing the livestock owners' food security and livelihoods.

Small ruminants - totalling 40 million sheep and 50 million goats (CSA, 2020) are the primary livestock resource of many poor rural families. For these households, sheep and goats are a source of food, regular income, and a means to capitalize on savings and a safety net during times of hardship.

“Controlling and eventually eradicating PPR means fighting rural poverty, ensuring food security and nutrition, and strengthening the resilience of the national economy," said Ms. Fatouma Seid, the FAO Representative in Ethiopia.

Vaccine production equipment in line with national commitment to eradicate PPR

Ethiopia has developed a National PPR Progressive Control and Eradication Strategy, which aligns with the international and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)'s PPR control and eradication strategies. The Strategy targets explicitly to progressively reduce the incidence and spread of PPR infection through risk-based vaccination and other control approaches, thereby enhancing small ruminants' productivity and production, improve trade, and eventually leading to the eradication of PPR. It also aims to enhance the national veterinary services by addressing the gaps identified during the Performance of Veterinary Services Evaluation and lessen the negative impact of other small ruminant diseases through complementary risk-based vaccination.

The PPR vaccine filling and labelling machine was purchased as part of the implementation of FAO's Project. The Project aims to contribute to increased food security and build a more robust livelihood for pastoralists in Ethiopia's lowlands by supporting animal health services, developing, and implementing a strategy to control and eventually eradicate PPR. It was implemented in Afar, Tigray, and Amhara, Somali, the southern lowlands of Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regional states.



Science combatting desertification in the Sahel


Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change in Blantyre, Zomba, Neno and Phalombe Districts

The project aims at strengthening resilience of vulnerable communities to climate variability and change through sound safety nets and productive investments. It is based on the holistic approach of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), addressing multiple threats to livelihoods with short- and medium-term interventions. A transformative community empowerment outreach process is put in place to help community members to diversify and accumulate assets. Read the full story here.



Helping refugees in Kalobeyei Settlement to grow their own food

WFP and FAO, with funding from the EU Trust Fund for Africa, have introduced dryland farming methods as a first step to in improve food production and nutrition and increase self-reliance among refugees. Since its opening in 2016, 38,000 refugees have settled in Kalobeyei, which is supported by WFP cash transfers, called Bamba Chakula, Swahili slang for ‘get your food’. Refugees use the cash to buy food at the local market where host and refugee communities trade side by side. Find out more here.



150 bulls distributed to Borno’s youth to provide them with a much-needed source of income and prevent radicalization

Youth in Borno – Nigeria’s worst affected northeastern state – have had their livelihoods uprooted due to a decade-long crisis. In response to the overwhelming recovery needs of livestock-based households in the State, FAO is collaborating with the European Union to reestablish livelihoods in the sector. On 13 February, UN Organization distributed 150 bulls to youth in Jere and Konduga local government areas (LGAs) of Borno State as part of a plan to provide 1 600 youths with bulls between 2018 and 2019. Read the full story here.



Nirina – A Malagasy small-scale businesswoman

Madagascar’s communities support wildlife conservation - #SWM Programme



Conserving wetlands and migratory water birds in Senegal

Assane – An inspiring Senegalese conservationist



Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan



Solar Powered Water Pumps In Yemen


Consultations at core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve to strengthen conservation and sustainable livelihoods



The Kapanadze family quadruple eggplant yield in Kakheti

Under the EU initiative, the Kapanadze family completely changed their land cultivation practices, shifting from traditional farming to modern approaches appropriate for local environmental conditions and needs. The family started with growing eggplant on a half-hectare demo plot. With the help of the FAO experts, they introduced modern approaches for irrigation, use of fertilizers and pest management. The focus was on utilization of methods, such as mulching, that would protect the crops from drought, rain and various pests. Find here the full story.



Land consolidation - benefits for farmers and rural communities



On 26 November 1991, the European Union became the 161st Member of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), marking an institutional breakthrough: it was the first time that the EU became a Member as such of a UN body, and the first (and unique up to now) time FAO welcomed a Member Organization.

The technical dialogue and cooperation with the European Union started in 2004 by establishing a Strategic Partnership Agreement and culminated in the European Union– FAO Strategic Dialogue in 2017 with contributions from ten European Commission Directorates-General. The European Union and FAO agreed on four clusters of work for the 2018–2020 period: Resilience and food crises; Climate change and natural resource management; Agricultural investments and value chains; and Nutrition and food systems. Today, the European Union and FAO are engaged in a strategic dialogue with a strengthened focus on the shared goal of eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

The European Union – FAO partnership over the years has been sound and growing. This is complemented by the very substantial voluntary contributions of the European Union in recent years that enabled FAO to work extensively across the globe and in those regions where assistance is most needed.

In 2018–2020 (the period covered by the latest Report), the EU contributed approximately EUR 541million (USD 621 million) to more than 250 projects around the world, supporting the FAO in providing policy guidance and technical advice, and in implementing programmes and projects in line with the Paris Agreement on climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The European Union also supports FAO through a collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. The JRC provides science and knowledge services, and works closely with experts from FAO and universities, as well as, through the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) — an open forum and a movement for change. GFAR’s focus is to ensure that agricultural innovation systems, encompassing research, extension, education and enterprise, deliver the best development outcomes to resource-poor farmers and rural communities. The EU’s Horizon 2020 programme — one of the largest integrated single research and innovation programmes — has allowed FAO to participate in the implementation of projects in which researchers and stakeholders build stronger solutions together, sharing knowledge and producing results that are ready to be put into practice.

In the years to come, and particularly in the COVID-19 recovery, the European Union will continue to work with the FAO around common priorities to address current and emerging global challenges.

The focus will be on the European Green Deal and its key initiatives such as,

The European Union will partner with the FAO in making agricultural investments more sustainable and ensuring that global food systems are robust, resilient, sustainable and inclusive. Nutrition, food safety and gender-sensitive approaches will remain amongst the partnership’s top priorities.

​​​​​​​FAO-EU Cooperation report scope – Funding

FAO's Regular Programme budget is funded by its Members, through contributions set at the FAO Conference.

In addition to the regular budget, FAO relies extensively on extra-budgetary resources from Members to finance specific programmes and projects. The voluntary contributions provided by members and other partners support technical and emergency assistance to governments, as well as, direct support to FAO's core work. The EU is the largest donor to FAO's extra-budgetary resources. In the last three years, the EU contributed approximately EUR 541million to more than 250 projects around the world.

Most of these contributions were directed towards increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises (49%), followed by initiatives to make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable (26%) and to enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems (18%). From a regional perspective, the most of EU-funded projects supported vulnerable populations in Africa (33%), through interregional projects (32%) and in Asia and the Pacific (13%).

FAO-EU Cooperation report scope – topics

  • Promoting global governance
  • Tackling food crises, supporting livelihoods and enhancing resilience
  • Combating climate change and enhancing natural resource management
  • Boosting agricultural investment and value chain development
  • Working towards better nutrition and sustainable food systems

​​​​​​​FAO-EU Cooperation report scope – projects (2018 – 2020)

The world’s food and agricultural systems are essential to the health and well-being of every woman, man and child on Earth. As globalization has increased the trade in food and agricultural commodities and the task of keeping them safe has become more complicated. Food safety concerns everyone, including farmers, fishers, fish farmers, processors, retailers, consumers and governments. When consistently applied throughout the food chain, internationally harmonized standards based on sound science protect consumers.

The European Union works with and supports FAO in the setting of international standards and frameworks through three major platforms: the Codex Alimentarius (Codex), the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). As host of the governing bodies of these three major covenants, with the EU’s support, FAO assists in these intergovernmental mechanisms and lends its institutional resources and expertise to further their success. Outside of these fora, FAO brokers international guidelines and agreements, as well as supports countries in building enabling environments for food and nutrition security, including in the area of land tenure rights, sustainable soil management, responsible and sustainable fisheries, and gender-sensitive and resilient food systems.