Home > Policy Support and Governance > Governance
Policy Support and Governance
©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

Governance at all levels is defined by the processes through which public and private actors articulate their interests; frame and prioritize issues; and make, implement, monitor, and enforce decisions.


Governance is more than ever a driving concern in FAO’s work and is critical to achieving FAO’s Strategic Objectives

At the global level, FAO works to build institutions and mechanisms that provide international norms, standards and data, promote international cooperation, and support an enabling environment for effective collective action to solve problems that cannot be addressed, or as effectively addressed, working at national level alone.

At country level, the governance lens looks beyond purely technical issues to highlight how people, institutions and authority interact to influence political decision-making. Using political economy and stakeholder analyses, FAO helps governments identify their most important governance challenges related to food and agriculture, and improve the inclusiveness of their policies and programmes to address them more effectively.

Working on many levels

FAO works at the global, regional and national levels providing coherence on governance issues.

Key policy messages

  • Governance work is problem-driven, context-specific and people-centric. It seeks to clarify the political nature of a problem, identify the primary issue (s) and involve all relevant stakeholders to arrive at workable solutions.
  • FAO works at all levels of governance—national, regional and global—to improve capacities for effective collective action and to solve problems as diverse as ending hunger, malnutrition and poverty; minimizing climate change; enabling transition to sustainable agriculture and sustainable use of natural resources; ensuring the health and safety of food and agriculture systems; and contributing to peace through food security.
  • Governance is not simply “what governments do”. A robust concept of governance recognizes that state-society relations are constantly evolving in ways that are both cooperative and competitive. The outcomes of this dynamic are new policies, new roles, and new institutional arrangements shaping the behaviour and interests of all actors.
  • Governance analysis helps to understand how structures, institutions and unequal relations of power interact in the deliberation over ideas, interests and preferences to shape institutions, policies and programmes, create or remove incentives, and condition political outcomes related to food and agriculture.

Governance tools

Featured resources

Share this page