FAO seeks US$1.2 billion to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the global food and agriculture sector

GLOBAL – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a call to action for joint coordinated global response to support food and agriculture sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, with a request of an initial US$1.2 billion investment to support the program.

FAO has unveiled the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, entitled “Joint action on COVID-19: boosting our food and agricultural response” aimed at preventing a global food emergency in the face of the pandemic while working on medium to long-term development response for food security and nutrition.

The Programme aims to mobilize all forms of resources and partnerships at country, regional and global level. It is in line with the UN approach to “build back better” post COVID-19, and in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We cannot employ a ‘business as usual’ approach anymore,” highlighted FAO Director-General QU Dongy, “We must work very hard to limit COVID-19’s damaging effects on food security and nutrition. We need to be more country-driven, innovative and work closely hand in hand.”

“This is how FAO has built its COVID-19 comprehensive response and recovery programme, and today we are asking you to join us,” stated QU Dongy.

The programme’s key priority response areas include to reinforce a global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19, improve data for decision-making and ensure economic inclusion and social protection to reduce poverty.

In addition, it seeks to bolster trade and food safety standards, boost smallholder resilience for recovery, prevent the next zoonotic pandemic through a strengthened one health approach and trigger food systems transformation.

In response to the current emergency, FAO is working on convening governments and multiple stakeholders in a call to action, gathering and analysing data to better understand emerging trends and pinpoint any deterioration, and providing prompt technical advice and capacity development across a wide range of disciplines.

In addition, the Organization is offering investment support to leverage all forms of partnerships and finance. 

The new programme is also supported by the COVID -19 Food Coalition, launched by the Government of Italy and led by FAO mobilizing political, financial and technical assistance in support of countries affected by the current crisis.

“The efforts needed to importantly address these seven priority response areas will be immense. The Food Coalition is an exemplary approach to leveraging high-level capital and political will to avoid an escalation of the pandemic from a health crisis to a food crisis”, said Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General.

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