FAO in Pakistan

A Building to Build Relationships

“The newly constructed building enables us to work as one team,” explains FAO Representative, Patrick T. Evans referring to a new office building FAO completed last year. 

The new building expanded FAO’s office space within the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad from the previous 1,561m2 to 3,361m2, enabling consolidation of FAO staff from four locations in Islamabad. Some 70 FAO staff as well as the office of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) work in the expanded space.

The idea to have FAO’s own building was conceived by former FAO Representative Kevin Gallagher; the building was inaugurated just before his departure, during the hand-over of the office to Patrick.   Space for the building was provided by the Government of Pakistan free of charge. “We are grateful to the Government of Pakistan for the office space, as well as for their continuous support to FAO. 

The US$600,000 building was constructed from FAO’s administrative savings that were generated due to high volume of operations during recent floods.  This investment will pay off in less than four years through reduced rent costs. 

The building boasts a green design: large windows to maximize natural light, LED lights, solar panels to heat water and insulated walls and roof, all of which significantly reduces energy consumption. Outside, the FAO team has established a kitchen garden following a food security technique FAO promotes countrywide.  The kitchen garden produces okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, gourds and a variety of other vegetables that FAO donates to a local boarding school for poor students. 

Being located just out of town, the office remains operational even through demonstrations that often disrupt the work of downtown offices.  For that reason, it serves as an alternative workspace for some of the UN agencies in Islamabad.
The building’s state-of-the-art 50-seat conference room serves as a favorite meeting facility not only for FAO staff, but for the UN and donor community as well.  “Earlier this year, we hosted the annual retreat of the UN Country Team,” says Patrick.  Other spaces feature state-of-the art designs too:  the IT room, which stores servers not only for the FAO office in Islamabad but also for all FAO projects around the country; the surveillance cameras and other security facilities – which have been certified by the UN as meeting the minimal operational security standards. 

The rooftop provides additional space for office gatherings and offers a sweeping view of nearby agricultural fields where NARC conducts crop experiments. “And don’t forget our parking space,” proudly adds Patrick.  The parking facility, provided from the Government, offers a safe and secure location to keep 50 cars and includes drivers’ quarters.

“We have a comfortable, well-planned modern office which will enable FAO to provide quality service to the Government of Pakistan for many years to come,” says Patrick.