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Hand-in-Hand Initiative creates a new business model for partners to work together to end poverty and hunger

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu today pointed to the UN agency’s new Hand-in-Hand Initiative as an innovative business model and a unique opportunity through which partners across the public, private and other sectors can work together to end poverty and hunger and build prosperity in developing countries.

The Director-General said the initiative offered a more coherent way to mobilize the resources of FAO and its partners so they could build the kind of environment required to transform systems and lives in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Qu was speaking to representatives, member states and other participants at the FAO Council side event, New Business Models of Cooperation: Hand-in-Hand and other initiatives in Rome.

He said the Hand-in-Hand Initiative would prioritize assistance in countries where the prevalence of poverty, hunger and malnutrition was high and capacities and resources were constrained.

«Hand in Hand will be owned by the Member countries,» Qu said. «FAO is the facilitator and the promoter and then of course it will become the evaluator for recipients and donors.»

He said Hand-in-Hand aims to create «matchmaking» — between donors and recipients to support tailor-made, targeted efforts to assist vulnerable people in the world’s Least Developed Countries, as well as those affected by food crises.

Through this initiative, FAO will leverage its convening power to lead international efforts towards rural and agricultural development through a comprehensive and multilateral approach.

Hand-in-Hand will reinforce commitments between recipient and donor countries with the support of multilateral development banks, other UN agencies and key stakeholders. In so doing, and in line with the ongoing UN Development System reform, it will promote improved collective action to transform agricultural and food systems.

The success of the initiative hinges on innovation and investment that will accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition. The initiative will seek to use the most sophisticated tools available, including digital technology and advanced geo-spatial modelling and analysis, to identify the best opportunities to improve the livelihoods of rural populations.

Data generated from such activities will allow development partners to make sound, scientific evidence-based decisions on how they would like to invest in countries.

Hand-in-hand will also develop a detailed monitoring and evaluation framework that sets clear targets towards 2030.

The priority is for those countries where large numbers of people are at risk of being left behind in the eradication of hunger and poverty.

The FAO Director-General has been outlining the Hand-In Hand initiative to potential partners at recent events including — one aimed at member states and one at private sector representatives — on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September. To date he has also presented the initiative at around 150 bilateral meetings with government officials, the private sector, civil society and academia.


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