FAO fears economic downturn could affect future contributions, after mobilizing $538m

Category: Africa/International 17

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says it has mobilized some $538 million to support programmes during the first eight months of 2012.

The funds represent a 28% increase on the same period last year, the UN food agency announced October 5, 2012 in a statement.

The amount, according to the Rome-based organization, includes voluntary contributions of $498 million as well as FAO’s own Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), at $40 million. Of the voluntary contributions, $70 million is from the European Union, $77 million from Unilateral Trust Funds (UTF) projects and over $50 million from the United States of America, it added.

The FAO’s Somalia programme was the the largest beneficiary with $82.7 million in new approvals from various sources.

It added that during the same period, through its cooperative programmes with international financing institutions, it has assisted its member countries in programming almost $2.8 billion in investments for agriculture and rural development projects.

The share of Official Development Assistance (ODA) going to agriculture, the statement indicated, fell from 17% in 1980 to 3.8% in 2006 but however, since 2007 in the wake of food price volatility, “spending on agriculture saw a steady increase to 5.8% in 2010”.

But recent economic downturn can affect contributions to the FAO.

“With the global economic downturn not only affecting traditional ODA providers but also developing countries, there is a risk of these positive trends encountering a decline,” said Laurent Thomas, Assistant Director-General of Technical Cooperation.

“We have to be vigilant, monitor trends and scale up our advocacy efforts,” he says.

While some of FAO’s traditional bilateral resource partners had to reduce their overall aid budgets and voluntary contributions to the Organization, partners such as the European Union, US, Germany, Norway and the UK are maintaining or increasing their voluntary contributions to FAO, the statement said.

FAO’s top ten resource partners in 2012 include, in order of funding importance, the European Union, USA, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Norway, Japan, Australia, the United Nations Development Programme, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain.

By Ekow Quandzie

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