International Organizations: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

FAO Headquarters: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy

FAO Constitution and Important Documents

Governing Body and FAO Composition Indications for the need for a permanent organization for food and agriculture began in 1943, and in 1945 FAO had its first conference. FAO is governed by the Conference of 189 UN Member Nations, which meets every two years to review the work carried out by FAO and approve a Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. The Conference elects a Council of 49 Member Nations to act as an interim governing body. Members serve three-year, rotating terms, and the Conference elects a Director-General to head the Organization. The current Director-General is Dr. Jacques Diouf, of Senegal, who began a six-year term in 1994, was re-elected to a second term which began in January of 2000, and a third term on January 2006.

FAO is composed of eight departments: Administration and Finance, Agriculture, Economic and Social, Fisheries, Forestry, General Affairs and Information, Sustainable Development and Technical Cooperation. They employ more than 500 professional and 200 general service staff. A little over half of them work in Rome at their headquarters, while the others carry out FAO activities worldwide, from offices based in more than 100 countries.

Core Mission: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to eliminate hunger. FAO serves both developed and developing countries, and acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, helping developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Achieving food security for all plays a significant role in all of FAO’s efforts. This entails that all people should have regular access to enough high quality food to lead healthy and active lives. FAO’s activities comprise of four main areas: 1)Putting information within reach of those in need by serving as a knowledge network; 2)Sharing policy expertise; 3)Providing a meeting place for nations, and; 4)Bringing knowledge to the field. Further detail of the four types of activities can be found at the following website:

FAO’s Mandate: FAO’s mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations, and contribute to the growth of the world economy. FAO provides the kind of behind-the-scenes assistance that helps people and nations to help themselves. If a community wants to increase crop yields, but lacks the technical skill, FAO introduces simple, sustainable tools and techniques. When a country shifts from state to private land ownership, FAO provides the legal advice to smooth the transition. When a drought pushes already vulnerable groups to the point of famine, FAO mobilizes action. And in complex world of competing needs, FAO provides a neutral meeting place and the background knowledge needed to reach an agreement or consensus.

FAO’s Budget: FAO’s regular Programme budget is funded by its members, through contributions set at the FAO Conference. The budget for 2006-2007 is 765.7 million U.S. dollars, and covers core technical work, cooperation and partnerships including the Technical Cooperation Programme, information and general policy, and direction and administration. Preliminary information for 2005 indicated that 378 million in U.S. dollars paid for 613 field programme projects, of which 416 were emergency operations amounting to 150 million U.S. dollars across all funding sources and accounting for 40 percent of total delivered aid. The technical cooperation field programme amounted for 228 million U.S. dollars, of which FAO contributed 18 percent with the remainder coming from outside sources: 62 percent from Trust Funds, 18 percent from the Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF), and 2 percent from the United Nations Development Programme.

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Contact Information

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