Turkey’s Relations with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Turkey has been a member of FAO since 6 April 1948 and her relations with FAO have developed stronger in recent years. Until recently Turkey was a country only benefiting from FAO's technical capacity, whereas today Turkey has taken important steps as regards to providing technical and financial contributions to FAO.

In line with the development of Turkey-FAO relations, the Sub-Regional Office for Central Asia, which is operating under the framework of the European and Central Asian Regional Office in Budapest, was established in 2007 in Ankara. With the entry into force of the Turkey-FAO Partnership Programme (FTPP) created in the context of the Sub-Regional Office, FAO-Turkey relations have been further strengthened. The work and projects undertaken in this framework are still going on and following a productive course. The abovementioned Partnership Agreement and the work of the Sub-Regional Office made it possible to formulate and implement projects and programmes in the field of agriculture especially for Central Asian countries. Renewal of the said Agreement, the first stage of which will end in 2011, is currently underway.

For the time being, the Partnership Agreement includes cooperation in the fields of agriculture, rural development and food security. However, the inclusion of the on-going strong relationship in the field of forestry into the framework of the partnership agreement, through an additional partnership protocol is also under consideration.

FAO's technical expertise is usually transferred to our country through the projects formed in the context of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). There are currently 24 on-going projects in Turkey supported or coordinated by FAO. Seven of the projects carried out in the context of the FAO - Turkey Partnership Programme (FTTP) are regional, 10 of them are multi-national and 7 of them are national projects.

The rate of financial contribution of Turkey to FAO’s general budget until 2011 was 0.383%. Due to the increase of our national income, this rate was determined as 0.62% by the United Nations, for 2012 and subsequent years. In addition to her membership contribution, Turkey has also made voluntary contributions to various projects. Moreover, Turkey has provided 10 million USD in 5 years for the Partnership Programme, which is created to support the projects formulated for Central Asian countries. An additional 300.000 USD contribution is also provided annually for expenses of the Sub-Regional Office. In this context, financial contribution of Turkey to the FAO surpasses 4 million USD annually.

Turkey is included in the European Regional Group and is an observer in the Near East Regional Group, in the structural context of FAO. Within this framework, Turkey is represented in FAO’s technical committees, commissions, consultative meetings etc. by participants from relevant Ministries and by the Turkish Embassy in Rome as the Permanent Representation. There is also an Agricultural Counselor in the Turkish Embassy in Rome, to follow the work of the FAO.

Active participation in FAO’s work is aimed in order to increase the visibility of Turkey. Turkey is member to Committees such as the Committee on Agriculture, Committee on Commodity Problems, Committee on Food Security, Committee on Fisheries, and Committee on Forestry. In addition, Turkey is a party to several international and regional agreements and commissions. Some of them are as follows:

- European Commission on Agriculture (ECA),
- European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease ,
- General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM),
- European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission (EIFAAC),
- European Forestry Commission (EFC),
- Codex Alimentarius Commission,
- Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA),
- Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).

Furthermore, Turkey also served as a member of the FAO Council between 2008 and 2010. During her FAO Council membership, Turkey made important contributions to the efforts aiming at strengthening global food security and strongly supported the work of the FAO. Participation of the Turkish Prime Minister in 2009 at the Food Security Summit and the 36th FAO Conference and his inaugural speech, are an indication of the importance given to FAO’s work.

Within the context of representation of Turkey in the FAO, the recent responsibilities undertaken by our country in different committees and commissions can be listed as follows:

o Working Group Membership in the Conference Committee- Independent External Evaluation follow up-CoC-IEE (2009).
o FAO Council Membership (2008-2010),
o Committee on Food Security (CFS) Vice Presidency (2008 - 2009),
o Committee on Forestry (COFO) Vice Presidency (2009 – 2010),
o Committee on Agriculture (COAG) Presidency (2009-2010),
o Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) Vice Presidency (2009-2010),
o Vice Presidency during the 139th FAO Council Meeting(2010),
o European Commission on Agriculture (ECA) Executive Board Membership (2009 -2012),
o Vice Presidency of the First Commission during the 36th FAO Conference (2009).