FAO + Switzerland: An innovative partnership for global challenges

Partnership at a glance

FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Since 1946, Switzerland has been among the Organization’s foremost partners, cooperating in a vast range of fields in support of shared goals.

The resources provided to FAO by Switzerland are a significant contribution not only to progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and SDG2 in particular, but also to improving the way we get there, as required by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. From 2008 to 2018, Switzerland supported FAO in facilitating normative work on agriculture and sustainable food systems, as well as rapid emergency response through FAO’s resilience programme. During the same period, the country contributed CHF 165 million (USD 168 million)1 to FAO’s efforts in achieving Zero Hunger through food loss and waste reduction, food safety, governance of tenure, resilient rural livelihoods, genetic resources, nutrition, sustainable livestock, plant production and health, water management, and sustainable mountain development. Its contributions also extended to providing FAO with world-class technical experts at headquarters and in the field, channelled through eight Associate Professional Officers (APOs) for the period 2017–2019, as well as numerous Swiss FAO staff around the world.

Through its own activities and those that it funds, Switzerland has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to sustainable development. This has taken place through the complementary support provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture. These assisted FAO in enhancing sustainable production and equal access to adequate food by helping farmers and their families mitigate the impacts of changes to their social, economic and physical environments. In addition, Switzerland contributed to FAO’s global initiatives that foster multisectoral cooperation towards ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources — including soil, water and biodiversity — as well as gathering and disseminating agricultural knowledge, strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships and promoting global food governance.

Switzerland was among the first resource partners to fund the consultation, negotiation and initial implementation of the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. Likewise, a recent increase in Swiss funding to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) was used to prepare case studies aimed at improving the implementation of the Convention’s standards.

What is more, as one of FAO’s strongest partners, the country has been a champion in supporting global initiatives that foster multisectoral cooperation and partnership, flexible funding modalities, and the gathering and dissemination of knowledge, thereby acknowledging that complex global challenges can only be overcome through innovative partnerships. These include the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, the One Planet (10YFP) Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme, the Global Soil Partnership, the Mountain Partnership, as well as innovative funding approaches, such as the Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism. Recently, FAO brokered new partnerships with Swiss non-state actors from the private sector (the Kuehne Foundation) and from academia (the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the World Food System Center at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich).