FAO Takes Action to Assist Small Islands

Linked to a tweet from FAOSIDS:

#UNFAO Council: Use of FAO Technical Cooperation Programme 2 help #smallislands adapt to #climatechange bit.ly/1xVcMP6 @FAO4Members

It looks as though much of the programme activity listed below actually took place a year or two before the SIDS Samoa Pathway, but that probably makes more sense to those working in agricultural promotion in SIDS and the Caribbean SIDS. . .

from the FAO web site at <http://www.fao.org/3/a-mn211e.pdf>, based on documents for the FAO Council, this week.

C 2015/3 – Medium Term Plan 2014-17 (reviewed) /

Programme of Work and Budget 2016-17

Information Note no. 5 – March 2015

Use of FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme to help Small Island Developing States adapt to climate change

Summary: This note provides information on FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme and how it is being used and can be enhanced to help Small Island Developing States adapt to the challenges posed by climate change, as requested by the Programme and Finance Committees.

I. FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP)

1. The FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) was established in 1976 by a Resolution of the Conference, as a Programme funded from the Organization’s Net Appropriation. The purpose of the TCP is to make FAO’s technical knowledge available to support development efforts of member countries and their regional organizations as well as provide emergency assistance in the case of disasters that affect rural livelihoods. More information on the TCP is provided in Annex 1.

II. Increasing TCP appropriation to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Proposal in PWB 2016-17

2. In the PWB 2016-17, the Director-General proposes a 0.6 percent (USD 6.1 million) increase in the TCP so as to bring it to 14 percent of FAO’s Net Appropriation, as recommended by the FAO Conference (CR 9/89) initially in 1989 and reiterated on several occasions.

3. This increase is aimed at supporting the 40 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) members of FAO, the group of countries most affected by climate change. SIDS are distributed across FAO regions as follows: Africa (6); Asia and the Pacific (17); Latin America and the Caribbean (16); Near East and North Africa (1).

4. As an indication of the scale of the proposal, for the 2012-13 biennium, 15.3 percent of the TCP appropriation was committed for SIDS, i.e. 66 projects (TCP and TCPf)1 were approved. TCP projects support a wide range of activities in the SIDS from support to national statistics, capacity development for implementation of international guidelines and treaties, monitoring and control of pests and diseases, and adaptation to climate change. Examples of recent and ongoing TCP projects in support of SIDS to address the challenges of climate change are provided in Annex 2.

5. An additional USD 6.1 million for the TCP would mean that on average an extra
USD 150 000 could be made available per eligible SIDS country. As seven SIDS are also classified as high-income economies and thus have more limited access to TCP projects (Emergency and TCPf only), this average per country could rise slightly.

Increased international financing to support SIDS sustainable development

6. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted the extent to which SIDS are vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. As their population, agricultural land and infrastructure tend to be concentrated in coastal zones, any rise in sea level can have a significant and profound effect on their economies and living conditions. For some low-lying SIDS, their very survival is threatened.

7. The effects of climate change – rising sea level, air and sea surface temperatures, extreme weather events, and changing rainfall patterns – are affecting countries worldwide, but there is no doubt that SIDS are more vulnerable to these external shocks. The recent dramatic impact of tropical cyclone Pam on Vanuatu illustrates the vulnerability of these nations to extreme weather events.

Climate change conditions the development of SIDS. It affects their food security, livelihoods and economies – and SIDS already face a multiple burden of malnutrition ranging from undernourishment to obesity.


1 TCP facility (TCPf)


8. At the UN Conference on SIDS which took place in Samoa in September 2014, a wide partnership involving 166 countries, 85 international organizations and 1,200 major groups (including from civil society and private sector) agreed to address the long standing challenges of the islands. The outcome document of the conference recognized the need to support and invest in these nations so they can achieve sustainable development. It also recognized that financing, from all sources, is critical for the sustainable development of SIDS, and UN Member States reaffirmed their commitment to help these countries gain access to financing for development.

9. SIDS have consistently taken the leadership on climate action over the last two decades, as evidenced by the outcome documents from the three global SIDS’ summits: Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) 1994; the Mauritius Strategy 2005; and the SAMOA Pathway 2014. FAO participated actively in these summits and undertook to assist in implementing the outcomes. It is now time for the international community to take up the calls for concrete action when the post-2015 development agenda is being negotiated and for the FAO membership to step up its effort in this regard.

FAO support to the SIDS: from commitment to action

10. FAO is already providing support to SIDS in the areas of policy advice; technical assistance in agriculture, fisheries, forestry; and natural resource management to support resilient livelihoods and enhance food security. The FAO Web site Small Island Developing States provides ample illustrations of the Organization’s activities and good practices to support SIDS. There is also a growing portfolio of projects funded through voluntary contributions, aimed at strengthening climate resilience in agriculture at large (including forestry and fisheries) and preserving the oceans and fragile islands ecosystems.

11. FAO’s support, delivered through the TCP and voluntary contributions, addresses specific challenges, prioritized in the Country Programming Frameworks (CPFs), that SIDS face with respect to climate change in terms of disaster risk management and resilience, food and nutrition security policy support and agricultural development, and sustainable use and management of natural resources. Annex 2 lists some examples of recent and ongoing TCP projects that support SIDS in addressing these challenges with concrete results, also helping to mobilize additional resources through upscaling or replication of good practices.

12. FAO, through its corporate priorities and delivery mechanisms at global, regional and national levels such as “Climate-Smart Agriculture”, “the Blue Growth Initiative”, “Improving Food Systems in the Caribbean”, and “Value Chains for Food Security and Nutrition in the Pacific islands” (see Annex 3),2 as well as its CPFs, is already working to replicate and upscale good practices to help SIDS meet the challenges faced, drawing on the immediate availability of catalytic resources from the TCP and mobilizing the necessary voluntary contributions.

13. Increasing the TCP allocation to support SIDS will be a sound investment, i.e. an investment for results, with potential for high returns in terms of sustainable development, to help these countries adapt and cope with the impact of climate change and improve their resilience to shocks.


2 Detailed information is available at Investing for Results


Annex 1: FAO Technical Cooperation Programme


1. The FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) was established in 1976 by a Resolution of the Conference, as a Programme funded from the Organization’s Net Appropriation. Through the TCP, FAO is able to provide technical assistance to its Members without having to first raise funds. Since its creation, the TCP has allowed the funding of projects for a total value of over USD 1.4 billion.

2. The purpose of the TCP is to make FAO’s technical knowledge available to support development efforts of member countries and their regional organizations, as well as provide emergency assistance in the case of disasters that affect rural livelihoods. TCP projects should produce tangible and immediate results in a cost-effective manner. Within the Programme, the TCP facility (TCPf) is available as a flexible tool to support local field activities and strengthen programme development processes. A TCPf project is an umbrella project under which several requests for specific and very short-term technical assistance can be addressed. Each TCP project has a budgetary ceiling of USD 500 000 while the maximum budget for an umbrella TCPf is USD 200 000 per biennium.

3. All FAO member countries have access to TCP assistance. FAO’s governing bodies instructed however that the TCP should give special attention to those countries most in need, especially Low-income, Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs); Least Developed Countries (LDCs); Land-locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The governing bodies further indicated that high-income countries can access TCP development assistance but on a full cost- recovery basis.

4. The TCP addresses needs from FAO’s Members for technical assistance in all areas of action that pertain to FAO’s mandate in alignment with its Strategic Framework, and to the CPFs agreed with governments at country level. Rules and criteria approved by Members govern the use of TCP resources and ensure that projects:

i) are aligned to FAO and national priorities defined in the CPF;

ii) address a critical gap;

iii) ensure sustainable impact;

iv) act as a catalyst for change and for promoting the mobilization of resources to continue or scale-up results;

v) build upon government commitment; and

vi) are gender sensitive.

5. As decided by FAO Members, 82 percent of the TCP appropriation for projects is distributed across FAO’s five regions to support development projects, with the following distribution: Africa (40 percent); Asia and the Pacific (24 percent); Latin America and the Caribbean (18 percent); Europe and Central Asia (10 percent); and Near East and North Africa (8 percent). Fifteen (15) percent of the appropriation is earmarked for emergency projects, and 3 percent for inter-regional projects.

6. The TCP appropriation voted by Conference should be committed into approved projects over the two-year period of the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) and the funds spent by the end of the following biennium. The TCP appropriation for the biennium 2014-15 amounts to 13.4 percent of the PWB Net Appropriation (USD 134.7 million), while for 2012-13 it accounted for 11.5 percent of the PWB (USD 116 million). Overall, as at 28 February 2015, 79 percent of the 2012-13 appropriation was spent and 55 percent of the 2014-15 appropriation committed. Further information can be found in the Programme Implementation Report 2012-13 and Mid-Term Review synthesis report – 2014.3

Enhancements put in place since 2012 to make the TCP better fit for purpose

7. Member countries highly value the TCP, they acknowledge first hand its usefulness and appreciate the concrete results it promotes to address their needs.

8. TCP projects are subject to established auditing and evaluation processes, and Members give particular attention to the performance of the management of the Programme. The Assistant Director- General, Technical Cooperation (ADG/TC), who has the delegated overall responsibility for the oversight of the TCP, reports on a regular basis on the use of the TCP appropriation to the governing bodies who in turn provide advice regarding its enhancement to ensure that appropriate attention be given to results-based, efficient and cost effective management.


3 C 2015/8 PIR 2012-13 paragraphs 336-354, PC 117/5 – FC 157/7 MTR 2014 paragraphs 145-157

9. In December 2013, the 148th session of the Council endorsed the Secretariat’s proposed enhancement measures and related implementation plan, and in particular supported the alignment of the enhanced TCP to the reviewed Strategic Framework and the bottom-up alignment to national priorities through Country Programming Frameworks (CPFs).4 Since early 2014, enhancement efforts to further strengthen the Programme management were directed at:

i) better aligning the TCP to the Strategic Framework and the national priorities through the CPFs;

ii) ensuring a greater role and responsibilities for decentralized offices; and

iii) identifying further simplification of procedures and alignment to the corporate project cycle guidelines.

One effect of these changes was a reduction in transaction time required between identification and approval of projects (currently 74 percent of projects are approved within three months of receipt of request).


4 JM 2013.2/2, CL 148/8, CL 148/REP paragraph 9a

Annex 2: Examples of recent and ongoing TCP projects in support to SIDS

and related to climate change

A. Examples of TCP projects assisting SIDS addressing climate change related issues

Dominica – TCP/DMI/3203 “Assistance to improve Disaster Risk Management (DRM) capacities in agricultural sectors” (from September 2012 to December 2014; budget USD 169 000). Dominica, due to its geographical location in the hurricane belt and its topography, is recurrently threatened by severe natural hazards and disasters. This project was approved to enhance the resilience of Dominica’s agriculture sector (as well as fisheries and forestry) to natural disasters, thus contributing to the promotion of sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. The project established demonstration plots to show soil conservation and sustainable land management practices such as use of grass barriers, strip cropping, contour planting, check dams, to reduce surface and/or gully erosion and loss of nutrients; storm and contour drains to control removal of excess water and compost, green manures and other
organic materials to enhance the physical and chemical characteristics of soils. Capacity building, including the preparation of a training manual and video on soil fertility management and soil conservation methods was completed. A DRM plan for the agricultural sector was developed.

Fiji – TCP/FIJ/3402 “Emergency assistance to support the recovery of agriculture livelihood systems of affected families in Fiji following cyclone Evan” (from April 2013 to January 2015; budget USD 280 000). Agriculture in Fiji is highly vulnerable to destructive cyclones and floods with significant repercussion for food security. One of the predicted impacts of climate change in the Pacific will be more frequent and intense extremes in weather conditions. Following Tropical Cyclone Evan, the most affected farmers were assisted to rebuild their livelihoods by providing planting material and related inputs so that they could restore agricultural production and productivity. In addition, an assessment tool to measure damage in the agriculture sector after natural disasters was developed. This approach responded to an immediate need and strengthened the capacity of the sector to respond to future extreme events.

Seychelles – TCPf – TCP/SEY/3202 “Natural Disaster Insurance Scheme for Farmers and Fishermen” (from November 2008 to December 2009; budget USD 23 840). The Seychelles is battered by heavy rainstorms leading to flooding of low coastal areas, extensive soil erosion on the slopes and damages to socio-economic infrastructure. Since 1997 the Seychelles has been experiencing extreme weather events impacting negatively on the agricultural sector. Damages and losses to the agriculture and fisheries sectors have been a key concern for local communities and the Government, as these activities are very important economic factors in terms of employment and food security. The Government recognizes that mitigation of risks involved is urgently needed to safeguard these important economic sectors. The TCPf helped to develop the type of data required towards designing of a Natural Disaster Insurance Scheme for fishers and farmers.

Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands – TCP/SAP/3404 “Strategies and capacity building in Pacific SIDS to address climate change impacts on jurisdictional claims” (from November 2013 to October 2015; budget USD 414 000). A genuine threat posed by sea level rise is the submergence of physical demarcation points of baselines from which a coastal state’s territorial sea and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) is measured. This could lead to a smaller combined territorial areas and EEZs and inter alia decreasing related control of fishing and access to the resources occurring in those areas. Working with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community and the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, FAO aims to enhance understanding and recognition in the Pacific SIDS region of the full impact of the physical and jurisdictional implications of sea level rise. It will also lead to the development and endorsement of a regional strategy, with policy and legal approaches and options for recognition and preservation of Pacific SIDS jurisdictional claims presented and strategy for ensuring global uptake is developed. The project is expected to provide impetus for early action by Pacific SIDS on the preservation of jurisdictional claims. This will ultimately contribute to achieving sustainable socio-economic development in the Pacific SIDS and to the sustainable conservation and management of the living resources in the EEZs of the SIDS.

Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean – TCP/RLA/3314 “Preparation of National Food and Nutrition Security Policies and Action Programmes in the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)” (from December 2011 to December 2013; budget USD 497 000). The project was approved to contribute to the enhancement of CARICOM countries’ capacities to address the root causes of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. It contributed in particular to: i) the preparation of national food security and nutrition policies and programmes within the subregion; ii) comprehensive gender-sensitive assessment of agricultural and food value chains policies and programmes; iii) development of nutrition security policy plans for member countries; iv) improved DRM and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) policies and strategies; v) improved institutional mechanisms to enhance the coordination and management of food security and nutrition agenda; vi) design and targeting of social protection programmes and safety nets for poor and vulnerable households improved. The project prepared ten food and nutrition policies and ten action plans for different member countries in the CARICOM region. These included attention to Disaster Risk Management policies and strategies.

B. Examples of TCP projects implemented in SIDS with particular catalytic effect

Subregional Office for the Caribbean – TCP/SLC/3402 “Development of integrated programmes and action plans for Black Sigatoka management” (from June 2012 to December 2013; budget USD 112 000). This project in Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines developed national and regional programmes for banana Black Sigatoka Disease management (a major threat to smallholders livelihood systems), as well as prepare proposals for resource mobilization. Utilizing this experience, the countries have raised funds from the European Union, Caribbean Development bank, Government of Taiwan and the International Cooperation Centre of Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD, France) to further increase their disease resistance and prevention capacity.

Grenada – TCP/GRN/3302 “Assistance to develop a methodology for national and local level land degradation assessment” (from June 2011 to December 2012; budget USD 140 000). This project evaluated the type, extent and severity of land degradation, the impact on productivity and the presence and effectiveness of sustainable land management measures. National land degradation maps and a manual on local land degradation assessment methodology for SIDS were prepared. A land degradation information and monitoring system was established and workshops held on local and national assessment methods for SIDS. As a result, the Government has been able to mobilize funding to develop a functional Land Degradation Monitoring Network as part of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) funded Ridge to Reef project to improve the provision of ecosystems services in and around protected areas. Additional funding was obtained from European Union, along with government funding, to

survey and map severely affected watersheds. Funding is being sought from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to conduct detailed degradation assessments of two local area sites which were deemed severely degraded under the TCP project and expand the network to include drought and develop the land degradation and drought monitoring network.

Annex 3: FAO Delivery mechanisms to support sustainable development of SIDS

1. Climate-Smart Agriculture: Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is a conceptual framework that aims to simultaneously address food security and climate change challenges. As such, it also helps translate the post-2015 development goals related to agriculture, food security and rural livelihoods into action and scale-up impact. It will also contribute to the changes needed in order to improve resilience of food systems for growing cities. CSA supports the adaptation of the agricultural sectors to cope with the expected changing climatic conditions and builds improved resilience of production systems and local communities to adverse and extreme weather conditions.

2. Blue Growth Initiative: this initiative aims at restoring the potential of the oceans and wetlands by introducing responsible and sustainable approaches to reconcile economic growth and food security together with the conservation of aquatic resources. It aims to create an enabling environment for people employed in fisheries and aquaculture to act not only as resource users, but also as stewards. Fisheries and aquaculture make a significant contribution to food security and livelihoods of millions of people. Likewise, some 200 million direct and indirect employment opportunities occur along the value chain from harvesting to distribution, making the livelihoods of some 880 million people dependent on the sector.

3. Building Resilience in Protracted Crises and Natural Disasters: disasters and crises undermine development. More people face hydro-meteorological hazards (for example, floods, droughts, storms and wildfires) and geological hazards (for example, earthquakes and landslides) than ever before. The intensity and frequency of natural disasters is increasing, compromising sustainable development by affecting livelihoods and threatening food security and nutrition. Agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture are among the most exposed and affected sectors. Existing risk reduction and management measures need to be improved and scaled up. Many countries are poorly equipped to prevent, prepare and mitigate the impacts of current extremes and risks, including climate change, let alone those projected for the future. Natural hazards also occur in protracted crises, which represent extremely challenging contexts that affect over 350 million people globally.

4. Asia and the Pacific’s Blue Growth Initiative: this initiative focuses on supporting sustainable management of natural resources for better production efficiency. This will be done through improved governance, ecosystem approaches and participatory processes in planning and management and action to improve implementation at different levels, which contribute to reduction of poverty, increased food security and improved nutrition of rural communities. It emphasizes promoting good production practices, applying appropriate tools for effective monitoring ecological and social and economic impacts, improved resource rents, supporting management of transboundary issues and adaptation to climate change to ensure the sustainable intensification in aquaculture production.

5. Value Chains for Food Security and Nutrition in the Pacific Islands: Pacific institutions and national partners will be supported to improve the capacity of local food producers and related businesses to supply more food to domestic and tourist markets to meet demands for a balanced and nutritious diet. This includes supporting the development of policy and regulatory frameworks which, in turn, rely on improvements in capacity to assemble, integrate, analyse and disseminate information on food, nutrition and natural resources. In addition, capacity to participate in the development of international standards relevant to the food systems of the Pacific Islands will be enhanced and national systems to assure compliance with such standards will be strengthened.

6. Improving Food Systems in the Caribbean: the initiative will address two fundamental problems faced by countries across the Caribbean region: limited value chain development of food and feed crops; and low utilization of domestic agricultural products. Priority countries are expected to develop and establish sustainable food systems through improved policy and governance for increased investment, production, employment, trade and consumption. This will result in improved access to quality food and improved nutrition through changed consumption patterns. Priority countries: the poorest, most food insecure and vulnerable member countries of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), especially Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see Kincey.org). President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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