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3. the constitutional expression of the FAO idea

The idea behind FAO's creation, and the views of governments as to how that idea should be reflected in the Organization's activities, were set out quite clearly and simply in the Preamble and in Article I of its Constitution.


The Preamble of the FAO Constitution, as adopted when the Organization was founded in 1945, and as amended in 1965 by the addition of the phrase “and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger”, reads:

The Nations accepting this Constitution, being determined to promote the common welfare by further separate and collective action on their part for the purpose of:

raising the levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdictions;

securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products;

bettering the condition of rural populations;

and thus contributing toward an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger;

hereby establish the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, hereinafter referred to as the “Organization”, through which the Members will report to one another on the measures taken and the progress achieved in the field of action set forth above.

Functions of the Organization

The manner in which the broad objectives, as defined in the Preamble, were to be achieved is set out in Article I, which reads:

  1. The Organization shall collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture. In this Constitution, the term “agriculture” and its derivatives include fisheries, marine products, forestry and primary forestry products.

  2. The Organization shall promote and, where appropriate, shall recommend national and international action with respect to:

    1. scientific, technological, social and economic research relating to nutrition, food and agriculture;
    2. the improvement of education and administration relating to nutrition, food and agriculture, and the spread of public knowledge of nutritional agricultural science and practice;
    3. the conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production;
    4. the improvement of the processing, marketing and distribution of food and agricultural;
    5. the adoption of policies for the provision of adequate agricultural credit, national and international;
    6. the adoption of international policies with respect to agricultural commodity

  3. It shall also be the function of the Organization:

    1. to furnish such technical assistance as governments may request;
    2. to organize, in cooperation with the governments concerned, such missions as may be needed to assist them to fulfil the obligation arising from their acceptance of the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture and of this Constitution; and
    3. generally to take all necessary and appropriate action to implement the purposes of the Organization as set forth in the Preamble.

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