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  • Monday, 04 March 2024

In Line With the Signing of the New Country Programme: EverythingAbout Cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization

Under the umbrella of the Egypt - United Nations Sustainable Cooperation Framework  (UNSDCF) 2023-2027, and in accordance with the national priorities within Egypt’s Vision 2030, sectoral strategies and presidential initiatives, H.E. Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, and Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, witnessed the signing of the new Egypt - FAO Country Programme between Mr. Al-Sayyid Al-Quseir, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, and Dr. Abdel Hakim Al-Waer, FAO Assistant Director-General,  and the regional representative for the Near East and North Africa region. This was also in the presence of H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation.

In this context, the Ministry of International Cooperation, as part of its role to strengthen economic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners, regional and international organizations, and the United Nations and its specialized agencies, reviews the most prominent pillars of cooperation between Egypt and the FAO.

What role does the UN’s FAO play?

The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945 and it contributes to international efforts aimed at eliminating hunger and improving local economies by helping UN member countries modernize and improve agricultural, forestry and fisheries practices, as well as supporting governments in promoting food security, food safety and the knowledge capacities of countries in the fields of food and agriculture.

The organization works in more than 130 countries around the world and seeks to fulfill its pledges to eradicate hunger, through close cooperation with relevant United Nations agencies, in order to benefit from the strengths and comparative advantages of each of them, and complement development activities, in addition to close cooperation with bilateral international partners.

When did cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the FAO begin?

The UN’s FAO Country Representative Office was launched in the Arab Republic of Egypt in 1978. Over the course of about 4 decades, the organization has implemented many programs and participated in most agricultural and rural development activities that reflect Egypt’s needs. The technical support provided by FAO to Egypt includes the implementation of a number of national strategies, policies and institutional development, through close cooperation with the Egyptian government and national platforms concerned with enhancing cooperation and joint coordination at the national level. Moreover, FAO also mainly provides support to the Egyptian government in order to encourage agricultural investment.

What are the governing priorities within which the new FAO program in Egypt was prepared?

The new framework program for FAO in Egypt was prepared based on the Egypt - UNSDCF 2023-2027, which was prepared by the organization with the participation of the Ministry of International Cooperation and relevant entities.

Last May, and in honor of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of International Cooperation, in partnership with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, launched the UNSDCF 2023-2027, which organizes the activities and projects of the United Nations and its specialized agencies in Egypt, and whose design and preparation it led; in line with the Ministry of International Cooperation and the United Nations, based on the United Nations joint country analysis, recommendations and lessons learned from the previous framework of work ending in 2022. 

The FAO program in Egypt is in line with Egypt’s 2030 development vision, sector initiatives and strategies, national action plans, and the agricultural development action plan. Sustainable Development 2030, the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as well as the country platform for the NWFE program (nexus of water, food and energy projects), the Women’s Empowerment Strategy 2030, the “Decent Life” initiative, and other relevant strategies and plans.

What are the most prominent pillars of the new national program for cooperation between Egypt and the FAO?

The new FAO country program in Egypt is guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially the SDG 1: Zero Poverty, SDG 2: No hunger, and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. The program’s interventions extend across all seventeen SDGs, within the framework of 4 goals of the FAO, which are (better life, better environment, better nutrition, better production).

The objectives of the new program are integrated with the partnership framework with the United Nations. Within the framework of the first pillar of cooperation with the United Nations: investing in human capital, the FAO country program aims to support the government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and active parties, in order to ensure the development of policies and prepare strategies to follow up on national efforts to transform food systems in Egypt, as well as improving the alignment of food and phytosanitary control systems in Egypt with international standards.

Within the framework of the second pillar of cooperation with the United Nations: comprehensive and sustainable economic development, the country program for cooperation with the FAO aims to establish and support income-generating institutions in order to provide sustainable job opportunities for men, women, girls and youth who suffer from unemployment in rural areas and reduce food losses. This is in addition to strengthening the capacity of actors in national value chains and others within selected agri-food systems through establishing effective partnerships between the government, private sectors and the local community, as well as enhancing, utilizing and effectively supporting innovation, research, development and digitalization through improving access to services. This includes gender-sensitive services, comprehensive programs and mechanisms.

Within the framework of the third pillar related to the sustainability of natural and environmental resources, the new program with the FAO aims to improve the management of land, water, fertilizers, pesticides, other agricultural inputs, wastewater, and agricultural food waste, and make it more innovative and dependent on technology. This is so that production and farming can become more efficient, sustainable and income-generating through good inclusive agricultural practices, as well as strengthening capacities and systems for preparedness, early warning, early detection, response and adaptation of public services, and to reduce the impacts of climate risks, disasters and shocks.

This pillar also aims to accelerate a just and comprehensive transition to an environmentally sustainable economy and job creation, with a focus on resource efficiency, sustainable energy solutions, biodiversity and waste management, while supporting market transfers, using appropriate financial mechanisms, digital transformation, and improved regulatory and institutional frameworks.

How is the organization’s country program organized in Egypt?

The program is implemented in cooperation between the FAO and various relevant entities, and as the Ministry of International Cooperation is the co-chair of the UNSDCF, it works to coordinate between national entities and to follow up on the implementation of projects and achieve integration between the efforts of the organization and development partners. Moreover, this includes mobilizing the development finance required to implement the organization’s programmes, projects and activities from development partners.

The organization also cooperates with other national implementing agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and its affiliated organizations, the Ministries of Environment, Social Solidarity, Water Resources and Irrigation, The Authority for the Protection and Development of Lakes and Fish Resources, the National Council for Women, and the National Food Safety Authority, as well as relevant parties from the private sector and civil society.

The organization also cooperates in implementing the country program with other international organizations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Program and others, to ensure integrated efforts and achieve the best results.

What is the estimated budget for the new framework program?

The estimated cost of the new program is about $71 million to implement the 5-year framework for the period 2023-2027, and this value exceeds the amounts used in the national program for the period 2018-2022, which amounted to $32.6 million.

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