Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
What is FAO
Structure and finance

FAO is governed by the Conference of Member Nations, which meets every two years to review the work carried out by the organization and approve a Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium.

The Conference elects a Council of 49 Member Nations to act as an interim governing body. Members serve three-year, rotating terms. The Conference also elects a Director-General to head the agency. The current Director-General, Jacques Diouf, began a six-year term in January 1994.

In a restructuring proposal approved at a special session of the Council in June, 1994, FAO was divided into eight departments: Administration and Finance, General Affairs and Information, Economic and Social Policy, Technical Cooperation, Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development.

The Organization's work falls into two categories. The Regular Programme covers internal operations, including the maintenance of the highly qualified staff who provide support for field work, advise governments on policy and planning and servi ce a wide range of development needs. It is financed by Member Nations, who contribute according to levels set by the Conference.

The Field Programme implements FAO's development strategies and provides assistance to governments and rural communities. Projects are usually undertaken in cooperation with national governments and other agencies. More than 60 percent of Field Programme finances come from national trust funds and 22 percent is provided by the United Nations Development Programme. FAO contributes about 16 percent - drawn from the Regular Programme budget - through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP).

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