FAO and Islamic Development Bank strengthen partnership with new cooperation agreement
Joint efforts will focus on improving conditions of the most vulnerable in rural areas
JOINT NEWS RELEASE
22 July 2020, Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) today strengthened their long-standing partnership through a new agreement and action plan, focusing on agriculture-related business development, technical assistance and capacity development.
The Memorandum of Understanding – the first to be signed virtually by the IsDB – will also focus on project design/implementation, policy advice and knowledge-sharing to increase the joint impact of both FAO and the Bank’s work in the agricultural sectors.
At today’s signing ceremony, FAO Director-General, Dr. QU Dongyu expressed his appreciation for the support from the Islamic Development Bank to FAO, noting that it was “a good time to renew and refresh our collaboration”. “FAO and the Islamic Development Bank, together with other financial institutions can through FAO’s new Hand in Hand Initiative, act as a driving force to involve more member countries in scaling up and speeding up food systems’ transformation,” he added, noting that the Hand-in Hand Initiative shares the IsDB’s vision of catalysing private and public investment for economic and social development.
Dr. Qu also noted how the opportunity to increase cooperation comes at a time when there is an urgent need to build back better in the context of the impacts of COVID-19 and the IsDB’s US$ 2.3 billion commitment to the Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme to help address the global pandemic. He pointed to areas where FAO can be of support to the IsDB, including innovation – such as digitalisation of agriculture, engineering and automation – and ensuring that new opportunities are created, particularly for women and young people in rural areas.
The FAO Director-General also emphasized the importance of joint rigorous follow-up to ensure that the signed agreement is translated swiftly to tangible results on the ground. In that respect, both Principals agreed to have a yearly review of the IsDB-FAO collaboration.
Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of IsDB said, “Food and water security are strategic priorities for IsDB member countries, most of which are located in arid and semi-arid areas, and we look forward to intensify cooperation with FAO to address these priorities through Agri Business Value Chains; Science, Technology and Innovation; Economic Empowerment; and South-South and Triangular Cooperation”.
The joint Action Plan, covers the period 2020-2022 and will support the implementation, monitoring and reporting on progress of joint work by the two institutions. The MoU provides a general framework to facilitate collaboration in joint cooperation areas. In particular it will continue to focus on scaling-up ongoing initiatives, and exploring new opportunities to collaborate on global, regional and country-level priorities for the effective realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas including:
- project development, implementation and support capacity development in key areas, such as (i) Agribusiness Value Chains; (ii) Water; (iii) Agricultural Research and Development/Science and Technology and Innovation (STI); (iv) Statistics; as well as (v) Climate Change, Crisis Response and Recovery, Poverty Reduction, Women’s and Youth Empowerment, Disaster Risk Reduction, amongst others; and
- promoting systematic institutional cooperation, from broadening channels of information exchange, research, analysis and contacts, to promoting Economic Empowerment, South-South and Triangular Cooperation through Reverse Linkage and Technical Cooperation at regional and national levels, staff exchange opportunities, key events and joint monitoring and communications to operationalize the MoU and Action Plan.
The Action Plan outlines priority partnership initiatives for 2020-2022, but is not meant to be an exhaustive list of IsDB-FAO cooperation. It remains a ‘live’ document that will be jointly reviewed, reported on and updated annually to allow IsDB and FAO to spotlight success stories and identify challenges as well as new opportunities to scale-up joint efforts based on where added value and clear development impact from working together has been achieved.