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Environmental and Social Standards

FAO is at the forefront of work towards sustainable agriculture by promoting protection and sustainable use of natural resources while meeting society’s growing needs for decent and resilient livelihoods.

In this context FAO has updated its Environmental and Social Management Guidelines to support the implementation of the Environmental and Social Standards. The objective of the Guidelines is to identify, evaluate and manage the environmental and social risks of a project, adopt a mitigation hierarchy and promote sustainable agriculture and food systems.

FAO's vision, strategic objectives, key principles for sustainability, and environmental and social standards establish a boundary for FAO programs and projects. Within the boundary are potential FAO projects where the environmental and social risks need to be managed in order to deliver expected outcomes for each individual project while mitigating potential negative environmental or social impacts.

FAO Environmental and Social Standards relate to the following areas:

  1. Natural Resource Management
  2. Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Critical Habitats
  3. Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  4. Animal - Livestock and Aquatic - Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  5. Pest and Pesticide Management
  6. Involuntary Resettlement and Displacement
  7. Decent Work
  8. Gender Equality
  9. Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Heritage

Compliance Review Mechanism

FAO is committed to ensure that its programmes are implemented in accordance with the Organization’s environmental and social obligations. In order to ensure that beneficiaries of FAO programmes have access to an effective and timely mechanism to address their concerns about non-compliance with these obligations, the Organization has entrusted the Office of the Inspector-General with the mandate to independently review the complaints that cannot be resolved at the programme management level.

The mechanism set out in the guidelines is designed to be independent, transparent and effective so as to provide programme beneficiaries with a means to have their complaints resolved and to keep them informed of what is being done to address their concerns throughout the compliance review process.