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.