After decades supporting food and agricultural commodity systems through country-level projects, UNDP is now launching a new Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems (FACS) Strategy to bring everything together, focus its vision, enhance its support and guide the organization's engagement with partners, including sister UN agencies such as FAO and UNEP, to transform these vulnerable systems.

Current production practices and consumption patterns in Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems (from now on, FACS) are on an unsustainable trajectory with multiple impacts on human development, the environment, and the economy. To the rapid loss of biodiversity, conflicts over land and natural resources, and persistent poverty and food insecurity, we must add the new challenges deriving from the COVID-19 global pandemic. FACS are fundamental to the sustainable development of the 170 countries UNDP supports, and are often the largest contributor to their economies. Yet, FACS are in crisis and need to be radically transformed to become sustainable. UNDP, building on its experience, has for the first time consolidated its FACS support and vision into this Strategy.

A profoundly testing and complex year, 2020 called for the urgend need to take a step forward on plans to create a new paradigm of agricultural production, based on resilient; equitable; healthy; inclusive; environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable systems -which will respond to the needs of increasing global food production without undermining the capacity of the world’s lands and seas to meet the food needs of future generations. This calls for a model based on agroecological systems which work simultaneously on achieving economic, environmental, social, and health outcomes, with smallholders as a key part of the solution in their role as the engine of economic development.

UNDP's Vision for FACS 2030 is to transform food and agricultural commodity systems through partnerships, contributing not only to the recovery from the current COVID-19 global crisis by creating sustainable and resilient livelihoods for many along the FACS supply chains, but also to prevent further zoonotic diseases from emerging in the future.

"UNDP already has a current $1.2B portfolio supporting FACS across the globe, most of which has originated from a climate adaptation, ecosystems and biodiversity, forests, and/or water angle, to name a few. The new FACS practice will support the implementation of the strategy through coordination and integration across teams, practices and portfolios to maximize impact, share lessons, crowd in funding and finance and scale up both reach, and impact, on the ground" says Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Director of Nature, Climate and Energy & Executive Coordinator of Environmental Finance BPPS/GPN at UNDP.

Andrew Bovarnick, currently UNDP's Green Commodities Programme Global Head and Lead Natural Resource Economist at UNDP, will lead this new practice. With input of many colleagues across different practices, Bovarnick has been responsible of the formulation of the FACS Strategy and will head the next steps to take it forward.

Covering more than 100 countries, and supporting close to 500 landscapes, the FACS portfolio includes initiatives that focus on increasing the resilience of agricultural systems and food security for more than 3.7 million people in more than 1,000 smallholder farming communities across 40 countries, mainly in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). During the last decade UNDP has joined forces with over 40 international organizations and NGOs to tackle challenges at the roots of unsustainable food and agricultural commodity systems.

The world is calling out for a vision of commodity systems that are resilient; equitable; inclusive; environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. UNDP is ready to answer that call.

Download the UNDP Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems (FACS) Strategy here.

Do you prefer an easier-to-digest summary? Read the UNDP FACS Strategy Summary here.



A UNDP FACS Sustainability Journey: The Twelve Transformative Pathways to the Three Key Results. Image: UNDP/Carlotta Cataldi