ROME, ITALY — In a first-ever partnership, the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) plan to help countries achieve Sustainable Development goals with a focus on safeguarding water and soil.

K V Kamath, president of the NDB, and José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the FAO, met in Shanghai to pave the way for a formal agreement, which is expected to be finalized soon. It would mark the first such cooperation between the NDB and an UN agency.

Graziano da Silva said it will take incremental resources of up to an estimated $265 billion a year to end poverty and hunger by 2030 — two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the international community.

“In order to achieve SDGs on time — there are less than 12 years left — we need consistent, committed financing,” Graziano da Silva said. “Food and agriculture, water and sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure can — and must — contribute enormously. This is why FAO is pleased today to join forces with the New Development Bank, so that together we can draw on our combined strengths and deliver tangible results for the countries we support.”

Kamath said strengthening the collaboration between the NDB and the FAO is an important step toward further aligning the activities.

“This partnership will leverage the development expertise of FAO as a custodian of 21 SDG indicators, within the NDB’s capacity and mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging and developing economies,” he said.

Through the partnership, the FAO and the NDB would aim to develop and implement joint programs and projects in food and agriculture and rural infrastructure, including in water and irrigation; sustainable land use; soil management; and, the fight against desertification.

Activities could include knowledge and experience sharing and the promotion of innovative solutions as well as joint research and technical cooperation.

The NDB, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states — Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa — in July 2015 and fully operational since February 2016.