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

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Partnership at a glance

In 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 FAO welcomed a Member Organization. The European Union–FAO partnership has since been sound and growing, as evidenced by the upward trend of the European Union’s voluntary contributions in recent years. This has enabled FAO to work extensively across the globe and in those regions where assistance is most needed.

The technical dialogue and cooperation with the European Union started in 2004 with a Memorandum of Understanding 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 extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

The European Union is a solid and leading resource partner for FAO. In 2018–2020, it contributed approximately USD 635 million (EUR 553 million) to more than 250 projects around the world, supporting the Organization in providing policy guidance and technical advice, and in implementing programmes and projects in line with the Paris Agreement on climate action and the globally endorsed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most of these contributions were directed towards increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises (49 percent), followed by initiatives to make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable (25 percent) and to enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems (18 percent). Moreover, the majority of European Union-funded projects supported vulnerable populations in Africa (32 percent), across the world through interregional projects (32 percent) and in Asia and the Pacific (13 percent).

The European Union also supports FAO through a collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, which provides science and knowledge services, and works closely with experts from FAO and universities. More recently, JRC scientists have provided information and contributed to the 2018 UN report on “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” (SOFI) with research to establish a link between climate variability, food security and nutrition, as well as to the 2019 report “The State of the World Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” with a comprehensive assessment for soil biodiversity management. In addition, JRC and FAO envisage to jointly draft and publish, in 2021, the final second edition of “The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture.”