Home > Partnerships > UN and Rome-based Agencies

UN and Rome-based Agencies

UN System

The United Nations is a family of organizations. Also known as the United Nations system, it is made up of the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations programmes and funds, and the UN specialized agencies. The programmes, funds and agencies have their own governing bodies and budgets, and set their own standards and guidelines. Together, they provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help in virtually all areas of economic and social endeavour.
FAO is a United Nations specialized agency, accountable to the FAO Conference of member governments.  Over its more than 60 years of existence, FAO has always maintained special relationships with other UN entities, with whom it shares a vision inspired by the internationally agreed development goals, and particularly the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and MDG 7 concerning environmental sustainability. The Organization contributes to UN system-led initiatives through intergovernmental processes such as the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC.

The Director-General of FAO is a member of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), which brings together on a regular basis the executive heads of the organizations of the United Nations system, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The CEB is the prime instrument for supporting and reinforcing the coordinating role of United Nations intergovernmental bodies on social, economic and related matters. The CEB aligns the strengths of a decentralized system of specialized organizations into a cohesive and functioning whole. It ensures that the UN system delivers as one at the global, regional and country levels on the broad range of commitments made by the international community.

The development cooperation environment in which FAO operates is evolving rapidly however, with current and future major outcomes such as those emerging from the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), and the International Conference on Nutrition+21,  providing renewed impetus for a system-wide UN collaboration. Furthermore, the ongoing debate on the post-2015 development agenda and  the development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is providing the opportunity for a paradigm shift in international development to build and expand on the strengths of the MDGs.

Rome-Based Agencies

FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) collaborate in many ways to further the global community's goal of eliminating hunger and poverty.

In 2009 the three agencies have approved a strategy for collaboration approved by the 3 governing bodies that identified areas for future collaboration in the medium-term around a four-pillar framework for collaboration: (i) policy advice, technical collaboration, knowledge and data sharing; (ii) operations; (iii) advocacy and communications; and (iv) administrative collaboration.

More recently, this collaboration is focusing on developing  policy orientations offered by the new strategic frameworks of the three organizations and shared strategic priorities

By drawing on the specific strengths and areas of expertise of each agency, FAO, IFAD and WFP collectively work to ensure food security and sustainable agricultural development in the longer term. The three agencies collaborate with a common vision to address world food security on the basis of the “twin track approach” to alleviating hunger through food assistance, nutrition support measures and social safety nets; and by eliminating the root causes of hunger and poverty through long-term support to agricultural development and smallholder farmers.