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Presentation of the Mission
The Permanent Representation (PR) of Switzerland to FAO, IFAD and WFP in Rome is representing Switzerland at the United Nations Rome based agencies. Rome is the headquarters of the United Nations’ three main international organisations dealing with food and agriculture (FAO founded in 1945, WFP founded in 1961 and IFAD founded in 1977).
In the Swiss Federal Constitution dated 18 April 1999, the five objectives of Swiss foreign policy are laid out. The Swiss Confederation shall strive:
- To preserve the independence of Switzerland and its welfare,
- To contribute to alleviate need and poverty in the world,
- To promote respect for human rights and democracy,
- To promote the peaceful coexistence of nations,
- To promote the preservation of natural resources.
Switzerland wants to play an active role in formulating problem-solving approaches to international issues and commit itself to building a strong international multilateral network. Multilateral fora and institutions do play a key role in establishing norms and principles for international action, in devising solutions to address new issues, in channelling financial resources and expertise, in promoting dialogue between actors at all levels (local, national and international) and in advocating for issues of concern.
Switzerland works within the multilateral system by building close relationships with partner organisations - supporting mandate implementation, promoting excellence, development and reform and creating synergies - at three levels:
- As a shareholder it contributes financially to partner organisations, participates in governing bodies, contributes to strategy formulation, takes part in joint decision-making and coordination, influences objectives, policies and working methods, and participates in donor support groups.
- As a stakeholder it represents concerns of partner actors, articulates positions on issues and strategies, advocates to create awareness of and commitment for the issues at stake, and represents Swiss interests and policies.
- As an operational actor it contributes conceptually to operational approaches and makes expert personnel and material supplies available.
The PR works contributes face growing challenges due to food insecurity, poverty, environmental degradation, scarcity of natural resources, natural disasters, technological disasters, armed conflicts and overall unfairness affecting agriculture, rural and urban livelihoods. The assistance and protection of the victims, as well as the development of a sustainable agriculture, are crucial to reach the well being of society, including future generations.
The PR supports Switzerland's efforts towards reducing the absolute number of people suffering from hunger, eliminating poverty, alleviating sufferings and promoting sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.
Meeting these objectives requires, among others, a multifunctional agriculture capable of:
- Increasing productivity with a special emphasis on small-scale family farms,
- Ensuring environmental sustainability,
- Ensuring long term prospects and livelihoods to farmers in developed and developing countries.
Specific areas of Swiss interest are:
- Norm and standard setting and implementation for improved food quality, safety and sustainability along the whole food value chain,
- Improved knowledge generation and dissemination for sustainable agriculture and natural resources management,
- Improved preparedness for food security related threats and effective response.
Role of the PR
- To bridge knowledge for developing a balanced and coherent set of policies, institutions, operations and processes with the relevant Swiss Agencies and international organisations present in Rome,
- To present, promote and defend the interests of Switzerland within and beyond the Rome-based agencies,
- To assist the relevant federal Agencies in their functional, financial, operational and institutional tasks related to the UN Rome based agencies and agreements,
- To early identify the need for new actions / tools / mechanisms to cope with new challenges,
- To act as a driver for a coherent behavior of Switzerland among the Rome-based agencies,
- To contribute to improving efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the Rome-based agencies within the UN-Multilateral System, through reform processes,
- To facilitate exchanges of experiences and knowledge amongst interested stakeholders
- To promote the presence of Swiss citizens in the three Rome-based Organizations.
The PR is placed under the responsibility of the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to FAO, IFAD and WFP. The Permanent Representative, who holds Ministerial rank, is appointed by the Government of Switzerland on a 4-year-rotating basis between the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the Federal Office of Agriculture.
On the basis of the major fields and functional tasks FOAG and SDC (Global Cooperation Corporate Domain and Humanitarian Aid Department) and the PR Rome agree on the following work programme for the period 2010 and 2011.
The PR works contributes face growing challenges due to food insecurity, poverty, rural and urban livelihoods, environmental degradation, scarcity of natural resources, natural and technological disasters and armed conflicts. The strengthening of a sustainable agriculture and rural development, is crucial to reach the well being of society, including future generations. To reach this challenges the improvement of the efficiency, the effectiveness and the transparency of the work of the Rome-based agencies as well as within the UN-Multilateral System is important.
- Sustainable agriculture (includes agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forest) and its contribution to rural development. Improved, balanced and coherent policy arrangements in this field at global as well as at national level (Agriculture, Development, Environment, Trade, Finance) take into account the economic and social needs (exp. secure access to land and water, agricultural infrastructure) of smallholder and family farmers, women, rural households, the requirement of fairness between and among future generations, public goods and the needs of consumers.
- Food security by supporting initiatives aiming at improving both short term as well as long term equitable access to food. The focus is on better managing livelihoods assets both in term of access to productive factors for family based farming, post-harvest handling, access to markets within a food chain approach, as well as improved availability for consumers by providing safety nets to manage breakdowns in food supply and through implementation of the Right to Food approaches.
- Food emergencies by providing protection and humanitarian assistance (via financial contributions, secondment of specialized staff and food products) to save lifes in conflicts and natural cum technological disasters, to prepare for an effective response to food emergencies and to promote economic and social development. To prepare for an effective response to agricultural threats (e.g. land grabbing), emergencies on the farming level and threats in the food chain.
- Nutrition and Food-Safety by providing normative instruments and processes for improving food and agricultural products’ quality, safety and sustainability along the entire value chain from the primary production, trade, retailing to consumption (Codex Alimentarius, International Plant Protection Convention, Codes of Conduct, Good Agricultural and Good Management Practices); implementation of norms and standards through institutional alliances, including through PPPs (public-private partnerships).
- Sustainable management of natural resources used in food and agriculture with consideration of both positive and negative externalities (grasslands and pastures; mountain agro-ecologies; forestry; incorporation of agriculture in international frameworks for the governance of natural resources, environment and climate; genetic resources for food and agriculture with focus on international instruments and programmes for enhanced use and conservation).
- Plant and animal health: Detection, management and communication of risks to plant, animal and related human health (Crisis Management Framework for the Food Chain, including EMPRES – Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases).
- Knowledge, Agricultural technologies, CGIAR: Global agricultural and natural resource knowledge generation and knowledge management (facilitating science and technology research for development, linking research with development, human resources and institutional capacity building).
- Private-sector investment in the rural economy, enhanced capacity for programme development and implementation (government, NGOs and the private sector)
- Thematic innovations: Development of new products such as cash for programmes, protection programmes, remuneration for services on public goods that can be scaled up or replicated by multilateral or bilateral agencies.
- Bridge knowledge for developing a balanced and coherent set of policies, institutions, operations and processes with the relevant Swiss Agencies and international organizations present in Rome,
- Represent, defend and promote the interests of Switzerland within and beyond the Rome-based agencies, promote the presence of Swiss citizens in the three Rome-based Organizations
- Assist the relevant federal Agencies in their functional, financial, operational and institutional tasks related to the UN Rome based agencies and agreements,
- Early analysis on need for new actions / tools / mechanisms to cope with new challenges and to act as a driver for a coherent behavior of Switzerland among the Rome-based agencies. It includes also the harmonisation between the Rome based agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP) and the rest of the UN system, including the Bretton Woods Institution as well as the implementation of the “One UN concept”.