Home » General » “Coherent coordination” is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

FAO’s José Graziano da Silva and ECOSOC’s Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava in Rome.

2 November 2016, Rome -The “truly universal, comprehensive and inspirational” nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts a premium on “system wide coherence and coordination” across all United Nations agencies, the head of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said today at a meeting in Rome.

“More than ever, the UN system will be required to leverage on the distinct expertise and comparative advantages of its parts in order to ensure cohesion and avoid duplication in implementing this cross cutting Agenda,” said Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, who is Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Nations as well as head of ECOSOC, a governance organ in change of coordinating work done by specialist agencies.

He spoke at an informal seminar attended by permanent representatives to FAO as well as officials from the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. 

FAO’s work in areas such as food security and nutrition, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry go well beyond the cardinal objective of eradicating hunger and are critical “for the achievement of the entire Agenda,” Shava said.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, opening the meeting, agreed that the “overlapping and closely interconnected” nature of the Sustainable Development Goals will require closer and more coherent collaboration among all partners, including within the UN system.

FAO has also agreed to support a preparatory meeting on agroindustry in Victoria Falls,  Zimbabwe, early next year.

Fostering inclusive value chains for smallholder farmers in developing countries, and more decent employment in rural areas, is a cornerstone of FAO’s approach on the ground. It also converges with Shava’s choice to make sustainable industrialization the thematic focus of his ECOSOC presidency.

Monitoring progress on the SDGs

FAO has already overhauled some of its internal processes and intends to further bolster and streamline its contributions to the 2030 Agenda through the creation of a new senior post in charge of coordinating SDG implementation activities.

While ECOSOC is tasked with making sure that efforts to fulfill the SDGs are on track, FAO is the custodian for 21 of the indicators to be used to measure progress.

Graziano da Silva said FAO intends to create a new Office of the Chief Statistician to be in charge of that project and work under the new Deputy Director-General for Programmes. In recognition of the cross-cutting challenges the SDGs present, FAO has organized staff efforts around five goal-oriented strategic programme leadership teams to complement its traditional disciplinary divisions.

“FAO is strongly aware of the importance of deepening our collaboration with other organisms of the UN system, especially between the three Rome-based agencies,” Graziano da Silva said, noting that FAO, WFP and IFAD have produced a joint paper to guide their actions in this regard and will jointly present it to countries before the end of the year.

At the same time, FAO supports the role specialized agencies can play in the UN system, considering specific mandates and expertise to represent forms of comparative advantage.