EU-FAO Partnership – INTRO / OVERVIEW / HISTORY
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 Climate Law and its mitigation targets;
- the EU Adaptation Strategy aiming at smarter, faster, and systemic adaptation and stepping up international action for climate resilience;
- the Farm to Fork Strategy;
- the Biodiversity Strategy;
- the Circular Economy Action Plan
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.