FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations)
Specialised Agency of the United Nations
FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is committed to achieving food security for the global population. Their mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity and better the lives of rural populations, thus contributing to the growth of the world economy. FAO was created in 1943 following President Franklin D Roosevelt’s decision to call a United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture. It was during this meeting of 44 governments in Hot Springs, Virginia that a permanent organisation for food and agriculture was created; the FAO. After the first session in Canada, the FAO was established as a specialised UN agency. In 1960 the FAO launched the Freedom from Hunger Campaign in order to mobilise non-governmental support for food security. Two years later, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission that set international food standards became operational. FAO then established a Technical Cooperation Programme, which allowed them greater flexibility and the ability to respond to urgent situations in a faster manner. In 1981 the FAO initiated the first World Food Day, which was observed by more than 150 countries and due to the success of this, in the following years, FAO’s programmes began directly targeting world hunger. This was illustrated by the launch of the Special Programme for Food Security to target low income food deficit countries and the hosting of The World Food Summit where 186 Heads of State and government representatives met to discuss the issue of world hunger. In 2007 FAO’s Committee on Fisheries in Rome, attended by 119 countries, agreed on a proposal to develop a measure to combat illegal fishing practices. In 2010 FAO played an important role following the Pakistan floods, which destroyed seed stores and killed millions of livestock. They distributed wheat seed to 500,000 farming families as well as providing feed, medicine and shelter for the animals of a further 235,000 families. FAO’s world headquarters are currently located in Rome and it has 191 member states, along with the European Union, Faroe Islands and Tokelau, which are associate members.