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Social Policies and Rural Institutions (ESP)

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The Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division (ESP) coordinates FAO’s work on social protection, gender equality, decent rural employment, rural institutions and people’s empowerment. It is responsible for working with member countries and other partners to reduce rural poverty through strengthening social protection systems, reducing gender gaps and other social inequalities in agriculture and access to rural services. It empowers people through strengthening rural institutions and organizations and promoting decent rural employment.


The functions of the Division are performed through the Office of the Director and Deputy Director; the Social Protection (SOCPRO) Team; the Gender Team; the Decent Rural Employment (DRE) Team; the Rural Institutions and People’s Empowerment (RIPE) Team and the Right to Food Team.

The Office of the Director and Deputy Director
coordinates and leads the work of the ESP Division, ensuring a direct link with the Economic and Social Department (ES). It also provides administrative oversight of the Division's work.

Contact: Ms Brave Ndisale

The Social Protection (SOCPRO) Team
contributes to strengthen social protection linkages with agriculture, food security and nutrition, and resilience. It supports countries in extending social protection to rural areas and it produces relevant knowledge based on evidence generated by the From Protection to Production (PtoP) project. 

Contact: Ms Natalia Winder Rossi

The Gender Team
is responsible for strengthening the capacity of governments and other stakeholders to formulate gender-sensitive agricultural and rural development policies and programmes. The team also coordinates FAO's cross-cutting theme to empower women and
reduce gender inequalities in agriculture and rural development.

Contact: Ms Regina Laub
              Ms Susan Kaaria

The Decent Rural Employment (DRE) Team
works with governments and partners to create decent farm and non-farm employment, providing technical support and informing policy dialogue. In particular, the Team promotes innovative approaches at global, regional and country level to address key issues such as youth employment, child labour, women and decent work, migration, green jobs, working conditions and availability of data and evidence. 

Contact: Mr Peter Wobst

The Rural Institutions and Peoples’ Empowerment (RIPE) Team
supports countries in strengthening rural institutions and organizations and in empowering rural women and men through participatory and community-driven approaches.

Contact: Mr Vito Cistulli

The Right to Food Team
in collaboration with FAO technical units and decentralized offices, supports Government, Parliamentarians, CSOs and other stakeholders with the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines. As part of FAO’s contribution to the human rights mandate of the UN, the Right to Food Team provides technical and capacity-building assistance in the areas of assessment, institutional analysis, policy dialogue and monitoring; all of which are relevant for the right to adequate food.

Contact: Mr Juan Carlos García y Cebolla