Established by the Director-General in 1949 on the recommendation of a preparatory meeting of representatives of European Member Nations (Paris, 1949) as the "European Committee on Agricultural Technology"; formally recognized as an Article VI-1 Body and its functions defined by the Conference at its Sixth Session (1951, Resolution 87).
The title was changed to "European Committee on Agriculture" by decision of the Council at its Fifteenth Session (1952) and in 1956 changed again to the present title. The Commission's terms of reference were broadened by the Conference at its Ninth Session (1957, Resolution 26/57).
The 31st Session of the ECA in Rome in 1999 suggested to revise the organization of the sessions and following the request by the 22nd FAO Regional Conference for Europe in 2000, the 119th Session of the Council approved the Commission’s revised mandate of the ECA in the way that the ECA Session is servicing the Regional Conference for Europe as a technical preparation meeting. This implies that the deliberations of the ECA will be directly reported to the Regional Conference for Europe. (see CL 119/PV). The results of discussions and recommendations stemming from the ECA, are submitted to the FAO Regional Conference for Europe for policy discussion and adoption. The Commission also monitors the activities of the European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (ESCORENA) and the Working Party on Women and the Family in Rural Development (WPW).
To assist Member Governments to undertake joint action and to cooperate in technological agricultural problems, including research, education, extension, review of all nutrition questions, questions relating to agricultural economy not under the purview of the Committee on Commodity Problems, and related activities in or by Member Governments in Europe, as well as to encourage and facilitate cooperation between international governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned with agriculture in Europe; and to make recommendations on all matters within its geographical and technical competence.
The ECA holds its regular sessions every two years back to back with the European Regional Conference. In between the Sessions of the Commission acts the Executive Committee of the Commission as an executive body.
Membership in the European Commission on Agriculture
Open to all Member Nations in the FAO European Region. The Sixth Session (1954) recommended that Member Governments should designate representatives to the Commission who could serve in a continuing capacity.