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FAO creates and shares critical information about food, agriculture and natural resources in the form of global public goods. But this is not a one-way flow. We play a connector role, through identifying and working with different partners with established expertise, and facilitating a dialogue between those who have the knowledge and those who need it. By turning knowledge into action, FAO links the field to national, regional and global initiatives in a mutually reinforcing cycle. By joining forces, we facilitate partnerships for food and nutrition security, agriculture and rural development between governments, development partners, civil society and the private sector. 

FAO's activities comprise five main areas:

Putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture. FAO serves as a knowledge network. We use the expertise of our staff - agronomists, foresters, fisheries and livestock specialists, nutritionists, social scientists, economists, statisticians and other professionals - to collect, analyse and disseminate data that aid development.

Strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise. FAO lends its years of experience to member countries in devising agricultural policy, supporting planning, drafting effective legislation and creating national strategies to achieve rural development and hunger alleviation goals. We advocate for the implementation of these policies and programmes, encouraging sufficient financial resources to be made available, the right organizational structures to be in place, and importantly, ensuring adequate human capacities. 

Bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture. As a neutral forum, FAO provides the setting where rich and poor nations can come together to build common understanding. We also engage the food industry and non-profits in providing support and services to farmers and facilitate greater public and private investments in strengthening the food sector

On any given day, dozens of policy-makers and experts from around the globe convene at headquarters or in our field offices to forge agreements on major food and agriculture issues.

Bringing knowledge to the field. Our breadth of knowledge is put to the test in thousands of field projects throughout the world. FAO mobilizes and manages millions of dollars provided by industrialized countries, development banks and other sources to make sure the projects achieve their goals.  In crisis situations, we work side-by-side with the World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies to protect rural livelihoods and help people rebuild their lives.

Supporting countries prevent and mitigate risks. FAO develops mechanisms to monitor and warn about multi-hazard risks and threats to agriculture, food and nutrition. We are there to inform countries on successful risk reduction measures that they can include in all policies related to agriculture. When need arises, we make sure disaster response plans are coordinated at all levels.

Funding facts and figures

How is FAO funded?
The total FAO Budget planned for 2014-15 is USD 2.4 billion. Of this amount, 41 percent comes from assessed contributions paid by member countries, while 59 percent will be mobilized through voluntary contributions from Members and other partners.

Regular programme country contributions
FAO's overall programme of work is funded by assessed and voluntary contributions. The assessed contributions are Member countries' contributions, set at the biennial FAO Conference. The FAO regular budget for the 2014-15 biennium is USD 1,005.6 million.

Voluntary Contributions
The voluntary contributions provided by Members and other partners support technical and emergency (including rehabilitation) assistance to governments for clearly defined purposes linked to the results framework, as well as direct support to FAO's core work. The voluntary contributions are expected to reach approximately USD 1,4 billion in 2014-15.