Programme Committee: Hundred and Thirty-second Session (8-12 November 2021) - Real time Evaluation of FAO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Phase 1

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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  • Designed in July 2020, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme (RRP) aims to enhance coordination of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) response to the crisis and its related resource mobilization. Conceived as an “umbrella programme”, it includes a range of initiatives, projects and activities related to FAO’s response in seven priority areas ranging from humanitarian response to long-term recovery and agri-food systems transformation.

  • This interim report of the real time evaluation (RTE) identifies good practices and lessons learned emerging from programme implementation, specific to the humanitarian response and the provision of knowledge products and data services in support of recovery efforts within the COVID-19 pandemic context. These good practices and lessons learned are context specific and care must be taken not to generalize beyond the two topics examined (see annexes for the respective reports).

  • Among the good practices, the RTE found that FAO’s promptness in defining the strategic objectives and put in place processes to address emerging issues was key to provide an appropriate response to the crises. In addition, leveraging in-house expertise, networks and partnerships enhanced the outreach of FAO’s efforts. Likewise, applying lessons from previous crises, such as from the Ebola virus outbreak, showed the need to anticipate and address the continuity of the food supply chain. Adopting measures that fostered collaboration resulted in improved coordination, planning and alignment of efforts within the Organization.

  • Among the lessons learned, the RTE noted that a timely response is critical to increase the uptake of knowledge products by decision makers, and that linking “data for action” and “data for resilience outcomes” is required for humanitarian assistance to have sustainable results. Similarly, a systematic and nuanced understanding of the circumstances and needs of beneficiaries, in particular vulnerable groups is essential for adjusting interventions.

  • The RTE advises that the identified good practices and lessons learned be considered and mainstreamed, when appropriate, by Management, technical teams and relevant offices into the Organization’s workflows and processes, and future similar crisis/scenarios.