The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialised UN agency established in 1945. Its headquarters are in Rome. The FAO has 194 member countries, two associate members and one member organisation, the European Union. The FAO plays a key role in global coordination, technical assistance and research networking on food security, rural livelihoods and sustainable use and management of natural resources.
Switzerland has been a member since 1946 and sits on several FAO committees, including the Committee on Agriculture, the Sub-Committee on Livestock[MAB1] [PPB2] , the Committee on Commodity Problems, the Committee on Forestry, the Committee on Fisheries and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) coordinates Switzerland's FAO-related work, in which other federal offices participate (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Office for the Environment, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office). This work is supported by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations organisations in Rome.
Switzerlandʼs thematic priorities are:
Sustainable food systems including biodiversity, agroecology, soils, genetic resources and animal breeding
The FAO plays a central role in globally coordinating food security. To this end, it has set itself the following strategic goals:
Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition
Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable
Reduce rural poverty
Enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems
Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.
In 2022, the FAO adopted a new strategic framework for the period 2022–2031, which sets out the fundamental direction of the organisation.
FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA)
The FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) is the only permanent body in which member states can discuss and negotiate issues related to biodiversity in food and agriculture. It adopts guidelines and action plans for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture, and for the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. Switzerland is a member of the CGRFA in order to help shape the framework conditions for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and thus contribute to the transformation of food systems towards greater sustainability.
Since it was established, the Commission has carried out global assessments on the state of genetic resources of forests, plants and animals in order to subsequently develop action plans for the conservation and sustainable use of these genetic resources. In 2019, the CGRFA published its first global assessment report on The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.