ONE VISION, JOINT ACTIONS
Bringing different strenghts to mobilize civil society, governments, FAO, WFP, IFAD
Over 200 CSOs have formal status at FAO. Feeling the need for a common strategy and seeing the advantages of combined effort, the organizations with representatives in Italy established the Ad Hoc Group of International Non Governmental Organizations with formal status with FAO. The committee meets regularly to hare joint positions and to coordinate activities with FAO.
HISTORY AND FUNCTIONS
Over 200 INGOs have official status with FAO. Most of their HQs are outside Italy, away from Rome. Some of these INGOs have over the years felt the need for closer and more continuous contacts with FAO HQ, and have nominated Representatives residing in Rome.These official representatives established themselves as a Group during the 20th FAO Conference, 1979, and the AHG was officially recognized by FAO in 1981. This initiative was the result of the awareness, by those Representatives, of the need for a coordinated approach concerning INGOs cooperation in many fields of FAO’s activities, especially those of common interest.
The purpose of the Group is closely related to the functions and roles of the Representatives and their responsibilities vis-à-vis their Organizations and FAO. Their main task is therefore to act as a two-way channel by (I) informing regularly their HQs of FAO policy decisions and activities in their fields of competence; (II) keeping FAO relevant technical units and member governments informed about the views, programmes and activities of their respective organizations; and (III) identifying areas, ways and means of possible cooperation. The Group meets once a month at FAO/HQ. Individual members of the Group are of course free to develop their own cooperation with FAO in their fields of interest.A Coordinator is nominated by members, with responsibility for:
- organizing the Group meetings and preparing agendas and reports
- organizing briefing sessions with FAO officials
- coordinating the preparation of official joint documents
- presenting official joint statements at FAO meetings
- maintaining links with other civil society organizations
Since its establishment,the AHG has played an active role at FAO. Examples on specific subjects are given as follows:
- “peoples’ participation”: original proposal made to FAO in 1985/1986 to consider the subject in its programme of work; cooperation in preparation of basic document, discussion at FAO Conference, 1989, and in subsequent preparation of plan of action;
- “women in development”: including participation in all FAOs initiatives since 1975, such as Rural Women’s Days, preparation of FAO documents for international conferences (ex. Beijing 1995);
- “nutrition”: direct responsibility in organizing the participation of INGOs in the International Conference of Nutrition, 1992, with the cooperation of INGOs Groups in Geneva and New York; and publishing a Newsletter “Call to Action” with that Group and FAO support from 1993 to 2004, three times a year;
- “water”: discussed at INGOs meeting, 29th FAO Conference, 1997;
- “right to food”: support and participation in preparation of the guidelines;
- Informal INGOs meetings at FAO Conference, every 2 odd years, for which the AHG has been responsible since its beginning, in consultation with FAO, including preparation of agenda, invitation of all INGOs having status with FAO, final preparation of report,etc.;
- participation at the World Food Day every year;
- participation in the World Food Summit, 1996, and WFS: fy1, 2002, including preparation of documents, of official statements, of the NGO/CSO Fora, in cooperation with other civil society organizations;
- preparation of an AHG report on “Implementation of WFS Plan of Action”to the WFS: fy1, 2002;
- participation in the IAAH (International Alliance Against Hunger), launched by FAO in 2003 as follow up of WFS: fy1.