The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations plays a key role in worldwide co-ordination, technical support and networking of research in the areas of food security, basic living conditions of rural communities and sustainable use and management of natural resources.

Objectives of the FAO
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, is a specialized UN agency with headquarters in Rome, which was founded in 1945. The FAO has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organisation – the European Union. Since 1 January 2012, the FAO has been headed by the Brazilian José Graziano da Silva.
The core objectives of the FAO include efforts to give every individual access to food security. The FAO defines the concept of food security as follows in its global strategic framework for food security: «Food security is the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.» The four pillars of food security are availability, access, use and stability. The dietary component is a strong element of the concept of food security.
In order to achieve this goal worldwide, a co-ordinated approach is essential. This is where the FAO plays a central role. The FAO pursues the following strategic objectives to achieve this aim:

  • 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.

    The FAO’s main tool in reaching these objectives is technical support. The organisation is also active as a research network in the area of agricultural and food sciences and advises states on matters of agricultural and development policy. Last but not least, it also acts as a platform for international exchange on agricultural and food sector themes.
    Switzerland has been a member of the FAO since 1946. The government office responsible for the FAO in Switzerland is the FOAG (Federal Office for Agriculture). Switzerland sits on several FAO committees, namely the Committee on World Food Security, the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on Forestry, the Committee on Commodity Problems and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
    The programme of work of the FAO is funded through obligatory and voluntary contributions. Its budget for the period 2016–2017 totals 2.6 billion US dollars. 39 per cent of this is financed by contributions which are raised in the Member Nations and 61 per cent by voluntary contributions from Member Nations and other partners.

Further Information

Last modification 07.11.2019

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