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An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union. Its employees come from various cultural backgrounds and are experts in the multiple fields of activity FAO engages in. FAO’s staff capacity allows it to support improved governance inter alia, generate, develop and adapt existing tools and guidelines and provide targeted governance support as a resource to country and regional level FAO offices. Headquartered in Rome, Italy, FAO is present in over 130 countries.

Structure and finance

Governance 

Representatives of members meet at the biennial FAO Conference to review global governance policy issues and international frameworks, as well as to evaluate work carried out and to approve the budget for the next biennium. The Conference elects Council Members, to serve three-year rotating terms to carry out executive oversight of programme and budgetary activities. The Conference also elects a Director-General to a four year term of office, renewable once. The current Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, assumed his functions on 1 January 2012 for a term which expires on 31 July 2015.

FAO’s new focus on governance is driven by the recognition that mission-critical development-related processes affecting food security and nutrition, livelihoods, and the management  and sustainable use of natural resources confront increasingly complex governance challenges. Broader, more flexible and responsive, and more capable governance institutions and mechanisms are necessary to improve effective coordination among diverse stakeholders, enabling  problem-solving while working towards the achievement of multiple, and sometimes  conflicting, objectives.

FAO promotes good practice in addressing governance challenges across its Strategic Objectives by strengthening its contribution to global governance, identifying mission-critical governance issues at national, regional and multilateral levels, strengthening staff capacity to support improved governance   and monitoring and evaluating its interventions assessing its experiences for lessons learnt  with a view to build our governance-suport capacities.

Departments

FAO is composed of six departments: Agriculture and Consumer Protection; Economic and Social Development; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Forestry; Corporate Services, Human Resources and Finance; and Technical Cooperation.


Offices

FAO’s decentralized network includes five regional offices, 10 subregional offices, two multidisciplinary teams, 74 fully fledged country offices (excluding those hosted in regional and subregional offices), eight offices with technical officers/FAO Representatives, and 38 countries covered through multiple accreditation. In addition, the Organization maintains five liaison offices and four information offices in developed countries.

Staff

As of 1 November 2013, FAO employed 1795 professional staff (including Junior Professional Officers, Associate Professional Officers and National Professional Officers) and 1654 support staff. Figures only refer to staff holding fixed term and continuing appointments. Approximately 58 percent are based at headquarters in Rome, while the remainder work in offices worldwide. During the last 15 years, the proportion of women in the professional staff category has nearly doubled, from 19 percent to 37 percent.

Programmes and projects

In 2010-11, FAO implemented programmes and projects with a total value of US$1,707 million. About five percent are funded by assessed contributions through the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). The remaining 95 percent are funded from voluntary contributions, through the Government Cooperative Programme (25 percent), Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) (six percent), other forms of Trust Funds (64 percent), that include UN Joint Programmes.

Funding and expenditure

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 total FAO Budget planned for 2014-15 is USD 2.4 billion. 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.