Policy Support and Governance
©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

FAO has unique strengths and, as a UN specialized agency, is committed to playing an ambitious and integrative role in enabling its Member countries and their partners to come together to resolve some of the greatest challenges facing the world community today.

FAO Role and Work in Policy and Governance

Through its Strategic Framework, FAO brings together the wide range of knowledge and competencies at its disposal to address the complex and interdependent challenges that link food and agriculture to the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

  • eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty;
  • transforming food systems to make them more inclusive, nutritious, sustainable, climate-adaptive and -mitigating, and resilient;
  • fostering a global transition to enable conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our planet’s natural resources for development;
  • unlocking the potential for food and agriculture to contribute boldly to containing and reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, while enabling adaptation and resilience to the climate change that is already happening; and ending protracted crises and building peaceful, inclusive societies by addressing the roots of conflict and food emergencies in insecurities that are related to the governance of tenure of land and water.

The SDGs and transformational change

FAO’s strategic vision has been adjusted to the transformative vision and ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. 53 SDG indicators have been fully incorporated in FAO’s results matrix. FAO’s Strategic programme shares with the SDGs the understanding that to put the world on a new pathway toward sustainable development, large changes are needed in public policy, in programmes, in patterns of investment, and of production and consumption. Finally, FAO’s vision embraces the overarching commitment of the SDGs to “leave no one behind.”

Ensuring and enabling government ownership

All UN agencies, funds and programmes are challenged to adapt to the goals of the 2030 Agenda. In particular, they are called upon to help governments develop the ambitious policy vision required to achieve the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to provide the intergovernmentally agreed public goods (norms, guidance, data, monitoring, and accountability framework, as well as public infrastructure) that serve as an enabling framework for targeted and well-coordinated collective action.


The 2030 Agenda and the FAO Strategic Programme also seek effective action and mobilization of the resources — including finance and investment, access to technology, access to markets, improvements in productive capacity, and more effective governance. To achieve this, FAO and other UN agencies are committed to working with each other and with other partners far more effectively.

FAO Strategic Framework

This Policy Portal shows how FAO is strengthening its ability to support governments, partners and stakeholders worldwide in all aspects of this urgent policy and governance work. FAO accompanies governments and their designated partners through the full policy cycle, providing evidence to guide policy action; supporting inclusive policy dialogue; mobilizing technical, policy and financial resources for action; and building capacity for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Key Messages

  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the FAO Strategic Framework call upon Member States, citizens, the private sector, social movements, philanthropists, international organizations, experts and people of good will everywhere to join together to achieve the transformational vision of the SDGs to build a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable, climate-friendly and resilient world.
  • Food and agriculture have a decisive role to play in achieving the SDGs by 2030, especially ending hunger and poverty; transforming the food systems that connect every person on earth; sustaining the world’s ecosystems and preserving natural resources; combatting climate change and its impacts; and building inclusive, fair and peaceful societies.
  • Governments have the lead, but they require the support of actors across society and indeed across the globe to be effective. UN institutions such as FAO have a special responsibility in providing the knowledge, norms, standards, advocacy and data that enable coherent, effective and accountable collective action.
  • FAO policy work is focused on supporting Member Nations’ efforts to define national goals and targets; develop, implement and monitor policies, programs, investments and partnerships; and to share information and experiences with others by supporting the global, bottom-up reporting processes.
  • The primary policy role of FAO is to help identify key challenges and facilitate development of solutions based on evidence-based analysis and inclusive public policy dialogue at all levels. FAO encourages innovative and coherent public action, and helps improve the effectiveness of policy decision making, implementation and monitoring. The Organization also assists countries with the collection and evaluation of other countries’ experiences by providing standardized reporting that allows comparison, learning and mutual accountability.

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