FAO + Italy: Partnering for food security and prosperity


With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, FAO’s mandate has been reinforced and scaled up to a depth and scope that calls for a greater commitment in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Much still needs to be done in order to mobilize sufficient resources and support to meet the global necessities related to the eradication of hunger, malnutrition and poverty globally. Deepening our engagement with key resource partners and fostering new alliances with like-minded players is essential for generating real and far-reaching impact on the ground. This report provides a comprehensive overview of Italy's strong partnership and valuable contribution to the work of FAO in recent years, highlighting concrete results achieved in relation to food security, nutrition, resilience and sustainability at country, regional and international level.

Partnership at a glance

Italy and FAO have a unique and special relationship. As host country to FAO’s headquarters since 1951, Italy has been an integral part of the history and culture of FAO and an active contributor to the Organization’s work and Rome-based events.

The country has also been a staunch supporter of furthering the collaboration between the three Rome based United Nations (UN) agencies, encouraging them to find innovative ways to merge their strengths in joint projects for food security and rural development.
The agencies, in turn, have provided valuable support and advice to Italy on matters of food and agriculture and their relation to peace, security and migration worldwide, particularly during Italy’s presidency of the G7 in 2017.

It is no surprise, then, that Italy has been a crucial partner in FAO’s mission to reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition all over the world. To this end,
Italy has been a longstanding expertise and financial supporter of FAO’s activities to improve food security and contribute to sustainable development, including in the most fragile areas on the planet. This is mirrored in the official development framework that Italy has set itself over the years.

FAO is delighted to see Italy’s priorities embedded in the Programming Guidelines and Directions for Italian Development Cooperation 2016–2018 and its 2017–2019 updated version, which prioritize the environment and use of natural resources, rural development and food security, as well as increasing support for emergencies and fragile states. The Italian development policy framework directly connects with FAO’s mandate to ensure global nutrition, by highlighting sustainable agriculture, along with food security, with a focus on rural areas, women’s empowerment, and support to smallholder farmers and producer organizations.

Additionally, FAO is glad to witness Italy’s continuous role as a leader in international cooperation regarding nutrition issues, which carries on the legacy of the EXPO 2015 in Milan, entitled “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. Italy focuses its nutrition interventions on preserving agro-biodiversity and fostering local crops, with particular attention given to traditional knowledge combined with innovative methods.

These shared priorities have enabled FAO to deliver knowledge, skills and capabilities to the field, through an increased collaboration with Italy over the years.
One example is a project with Tunisia and Ethiopia that aims to mitigate mobility resulting from poverty in rural areas. With a budget of EUR 2.1 million (USD 2.5 million), the project promotes innovative mechanisms and rural development strategies to generate productive employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for rural youth.

Between 2008 and 2017, Italy ranked FAO’s eighth largest resource partner for voluntary and assessed contributions and ninth for voluntary contributions, with EUR 186 million (USD 219 million) approved.
Moreover, after a peak of approvals in 2008 and 2009, when voluntary contributions reached EUR 34 million (USD 40 million) yearly, these started declining in 2010, reaching yearly contributions of EUR 7.7 million (USD 9 million) in the years 2015 and 2016. However, the trend changed in 2017, as Italy contributed EUR 12.8 million (USD 15 million) — the same amount seen in 2014.

Recognizing the crucial role of food security and agriculture around the world, Italy and FAO have been seeking ways to boost their partnership. Our key joint work has enabled us to strengthen livelihoods in rural areas and build resilience to food crises in affected countries. We look forward to getting further engaged with Italian partners and to using our collective energy to bring about the noble goal of a Zero Hunger world, which will change reality as we know it and usher in a much more peaceful, fair and sustainable world.

To read more, visit https://reliefweb.int/report/world/fao-italy-partnering-food-security-and-prosperity.

Katie Martin