FACT SHEET on the three UN Organizations in Rome


The most important figures at a glance: Find out about the three UN agencies in Rome.


Global problem

  • Population development: By 2050 the world population will rise to almost 10 billion people, which will require a 50% increase in food production.
  • Combating extreme poverty (SDG 1): 736 million people currently live below the extreme poverty line (USD 1.90 per day), 80% of them in rural areas.
  • Food insecurity (SDG 2): 821 million people are considered chronically hungry (increase of 37 million since 2014, i.e. back to the level of 10 years ago). Achieving “zero hunger” by 2030 will require investments of USD 180 billion p.a. in rural areas, two-thirds of which will be in agriculture alone. 
  • Climate resilience: USD 463 bn is invested annually in climate activities, of which only USD 22 bn is invested in sectoral climate adaptation.
  • Sociological indicators: Most of the extremely poor living in rural areas earn their income from agricultural activity. Agriculture is the world's largest source of income and currently provides “bread and butter” for 40% of the world's population. 47% of the labor force is provided by women. 90% of farms are family farms. 500 million of these small farms produce about 80% of the world's food. 60% of young Africans under the age of 25 are unemployed. By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa will have more young people than any other region of the world, and 70% of the global increase in labor force will be in Africa by then.

L3 - Emergency countries

(Countries rated “L3” or “Level 3” are the most serious emergencies in the World Food Programme's classification system for global crises).

  • Yemen: Largest global humanitarian crisis, 20 million people affected by food insecurity, of which about 10 million are at high risk. WFP is currently expanding capacity to serve 12 million people.
  • Syria and neighbouring countries: Within Syria, around 6.7 million people are affected by food insecurity. WFP has supported between 3 and 3.6 million people in each of the past months. In the neighbouring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, WFP supports around 3 million people.
  • South Sudan: Almost 7 million people (60% of the population) have no secure food supply. WFP has provided food to 2-3 million people each in recent months.
  • Nigeria: In the north-east of the country, 2.7 million people have no secure access to food, and around 440,000 children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished. WFP has supported 700,000 - 1 million people in each of the past months.
  • DR Congo: Around 13 million people are affected by food insecurity, and around 2.2 million children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished. WFP supports around 1 million people.
  • Sahel: In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, 2.4 million people are affected by food insecurity and 5 million need food aid. WFP plans to support 2.1 million people affected.


Challenge: The World Food Programme is the largest humanitarian actor in the UN system and forms the logistical backbone of the international humanitarian system. WFP supports 87 million people in 83 countries with 15 billion food rations annually.

In addition to humanitarian food aid, WFP also focuses on building local resilience to prevent the impact of natural disasters and shocks on the population.

In addition to the direct delivery of food aid, WFP's food aid activities increasingly focus on the distribution of vouchers and cash transfers to the local population (USD 2.1 bn, 37.6% of total WFP food aid), which has the advantage that recipients can purchase essential goods on the local market and strengthen the local economy.

The primary objective is to ensure food supplies for people in need while at the same time combating malnutrition. The focus here is on supporting the needy in crisis regions, with two-thirds of the work being carried out in countries with acute conflicts. The logistics department, which moves 5,600 trucks, 92 aircraft and 20 cargo ships every day, supports the fulfilment of the missions.

Germany as a donor: In 2019 alone, the German government contributed USD 886.5 million to the fulfilment of WFP's mandate, making Germany the second largest bilateral donor to the organization. The European Commission also showed strong commitment with contributions of USD 685.9 million.


Challenge: The Food and Agriculture Organization is the largest specialized agency of the United Nations. Its goals are the global fight against hunger and poverty, the strengthening of agricultural production and rural development and the promotion of sustainable resource management. The FAO has 194 member states. Its regular budget is around USD 500 million/year.

Priority topics: The right to food and other strategies for sustainable food security, Voluntary guidelines for the responsible management of land and land use rights, fishing grounds and forests, support for sustainable production and site-adapted production methods, the importance of bioenergy for food security, combating undernourishment and malnutrition, nutrition Systems.

Germany as a donor: The Federal Republic is the fourth largest contributor to FAO with a volume of around USD 29 million per year. In addition, the FAO receives voluntary contributions of around USD 950 million per year. Germany also provides FAO with voluntary funds: Since 2002, Germany has paid around 142 million euros for a total of 118 FAO projects via a bilateral trust fund. The aim of the voluntarily funded projects is to support states in ensuring a qualitatively and quantitatively balanced diet for each individual.


Challenge: The International Fund for Agricultural Development is also a UN specialized agency with 177 member states and the only international financial institution worldwide that has the exclusive mandate of promoting small-scale agriculture.

Since its foundation in 1977, a total of USD 20.8 billion in low-interest loans, grants and extension services have been provided to developing countries, mobilizing USD 31.9 billion in co-financing and contributions from recipient countries.

The programme portfolio 2019-2021 (= IFAD 11) comprises USD 3.5 bn. More than half of the commitments go to Africa and 53 % to fragile states.

The primary objective is to provide the rural and especially the young population with sustainable prospects for life and food security through innovation, infrastructure, networking and empowerment.

In 2018, 2.6 million people were trained in cultivation methods; 3.11 million hectares of cultivated land were better managed; 8,645 kilometers of roads were built or repaired; 163,637 micro-enterprises were given access to economic development; women and young people are particularly in focus. The share of female users is 50%.

Priority topics: IFAD sets overall priority themes that clearly support our political priorities: Climate, food, youth employment in rural areas and gender.

Germany as a donor: Germany is one of the largest donors to the Fund. The core contribution amounts to EUR 63.206 million, plus project financing, e.g. in the thematic area of climate (EUR 20 million) or youth (EUR 10 million), and high-volume loans through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

Status: April 2020

Top of page