Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the world's largest specialized agency ot the United Nations with approximately 12,5000 employees (staff/consultants).  

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The FAO was founded in October 1945 in Quebec, Canada, and is based in Rome since 1951. Currently, FAO counts 194 member states and one member organization, the European Union (EU).

Tasks and goals

The aim of the organization is to combat hunger worldwide and improve the standard of living of people, in particular in rural areas.

As a specialized organization of the UN for food and agriculture, the FAO wants worldwide

  • to a higher standard of living,
  • contribute to better nutrition and overcoming hunger and malnutrition;
  • improve efficiency in the production and distribution of agricultural products;
  • create favorable living conditions for the rural population
  • and thus to promote world economic development.

The FAO, as a UN specialized agency, has a global mandate for food and agriculture. In order to complete this mandate, the FAO essentially performs the following tasks:

  • Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on the development of the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food industries worldwide;
  • Performing global normative tasks (eg international food standards in partnership with the WHO under Codex Alimentarius, Crop Protection, Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, International Forest and Fisheries Issues, Animal Health, Climate Change and Bioenergy);
  • Development of decision-making bases for global, regional and national agricultural development together with the Member States and other international organizations;
  • Development of agri-food strategies, in particular as policy advice to developing countries, respecting sustainability and the protection of natural resources;
  • Participation in food aid activities under the FAO / UN World Food Program (WFP).

Institutional structure

The supreme body is the FAO Conference, which includes all 194 members. It decides on all fundamental issues of the organization such as the programmatic orientation (strategic framework and medium-term plan (MTP), structure (constitution, “Basic Texts”) and the Work and Budget Programme (PWB). The Conference meets every two years.

Between meetings of the Conference, the FAO Council exercises the control and oversight function over the organization. It consists of 49 members and is chaired by an Independent Chair of the Council (ICC).

The work of the Council is supported by numerous committees.


The FAO works on the basis of a two-year Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) . The regular budget is funded by member states' assessed contributions. In addition, voluntary contributions (extrabudgetary funds) are being made available. While the regular budget for the 2020-21 biennium amounts to approx. USD 1 billion, the voluntary contributions in the current biennium are expected to reach ca. USD 1,9 billion.

The members'share in the assessed contributions is based on the scale of contibutions of the United Nations adapted to FAO. Germany is the fourth largest contributor (6,09%) after the USA, China and Japan.

The voluntary contributions are granted by member states and other public and private bodies.

FAO and Germany

Germany is a member of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 1950. Currently, Germany is a member of the FAO Council and the Finance .

Germany is also a founding member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex Alimentarius Commission, CAC), in which international food standards are agreed.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the FAO have concluded a framework agreement on food security project cooperation. Based on this agreement Germany transfers each year around € 10 million into a bilateral FAO Trust Fund to fund projects aimed at improving food security in priority countries.

Additional German voluntary funding for FAO is provided  mainly bythe Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

As of March 2020


FAO Director-General
Qu Dongyu (China), since August 2019

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
I - 00100 Rome, Italy
Tel .: (0039-06) 25852/10181
Fax. (0039-06) 57053152

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