5 December 2003, Rome -- The governing Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) passed a budget appropriation of $749 million for the Organization to carry out is work in 2004-2005. The budget was adopted unanimously.

While FAO received an increase of almost $100 million on its current budget of $651.8 million, this will only partially offset the cost increases in FAO's dollar-based budget caused by exchange rate movements and inflation. The Organization will still have to absorb $51 million.

To reduce future vulnerability to exchange fluctuations, members agreed to pay their contributions partly in euros and partly in dollars.

The budget supports FAO's efforts to carry out its mandate from the 1996 World Food Summit and reinforced by the World Food Summit:five years later to lead the fight against world hunger by reducing the number of hungry and undernourished people in the world, particularly in developing countries. It also funds FAO's programs in sustainable development of the world's agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf had proposed a budget for 2004-2005 of $845.1 million, but also put forward a second option at $800.3 million, which would maintain constant purchasing power at the 2002-2003 budget level of $651.8 million.

The previous FAO budget, passed in 2001 was based on a US dollar euro exchange rate of $0.88 to1.00 euro, while the 2004-2005 budget is based on an exchange rate of $1.19 to 1.00 euro. FAO's budget was frozen at $650 million from 1994 through 2001.
John Riddle
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53259