Global Advocacy - FAO
Boubaker Ben Belhassen
Director, Trade and Markets Division (EST)
Rome 00153, Italy
Tel: +39 06 570 55385
E-mail: Boubaker.BenBelhassen [at] fao.org
The aim of FAO is to raise the profile of the problems of hunger and food insecurity and to try and ensure that trade contributes to the eradication of food insecurity and poverty. This requires, among other things, ensuring that trade rules are supportive of development strategies and goals and that developing countries participate effectively in a growing global trade.
In terms of global advocacy, the services provided by FAO broadly relate to: (i) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implementation of the Agenda 2030 using integrated approaches linking economic, social and environmental benefits; (ii) Moving from a sectoral approach (i.e. Focus on agriculture) to a food systems approach (i.e. focus on all sectors that affect agriculture); and (iii) promoting greater coherence of agriculture and trade policies by mainstreaming trade-related issues into agricultural strategies and investment plans (and vice versa).
It is widely recognized that agricultural trade has considerable potential to contribute to reducing food insecurity, as well as to development in general. The challenge is not only to raise awareness of this potential and then mobilize the necessary resources for the development of agricultural trade, but also to ensure that the objectives and priorities of agriculture strategies and investment plans and those of trade-related policy frameworks are coherent and mutually supportive.
For trade policies to work in favour of food security and nutrition and for agriculture to become an instrument for countries to promote their structural transformation, it is important that agriculture and trade stakeholders engage in a close dialogue with each other, and agree on joint strategies and programmes.
As far as information on and analysis of the role of agricultural trade in reducing hunger is concerned, all FAO member nations are potential beneficiaries. Assistance on mainstreaming appropriate trade policies can be utilized by all developing countries and countries with economies in transition; specific beneficiaries include agriculture and trade policy-makers, policy analysts, trade negotiators, producers’ associations, and industry and trade associations.
The service is provided through global and regional studies, analysis, expert consultations, workshops and technical assistance. Targeted sectors include agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. The service facilitates coordination with the capacity building activities of other agencies, such as the WTO, the World Bank, UNCTAD, and UNIDO.