1. Can our company partner with FAO? How do we start the process?

FAO welcomes partnerships with the private sector, as all forms of partnership will be necessary to achieve the SDGs. FAO welcomes partnerships in line with its mandate: to eliminate hunger, to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Whether it is simply engaging in dialogue or forging an official partnership with FAO, there is so much that can be achieved together at international and local level.

Because of FAO's role as international broker, formal prospective partnerships will need to undergo due diligence to ensure they comply with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and be able to demonstrate a strong record of human rights and anti-corruption, labour and environmental standards. Entities must also abide by the principles of the UN Global Compact. For more information, please see the different steps on how to initiate a partnership process through the FAO partnership cycle. 

2. Does our company have to sign a formal agreement to engage with FAO?

FAO’s new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement underscores the value of light, informal engagement in addition to fully fledged, formal partnerships. We recognize the value of dialogue, forums and exchanges of views that involve no formal legal arrangement or transaction. Many of FAO's private-sector relationships remain informal; others grow into more formal partnerships. Here, on the CONNECT pages, you can find examples of both. 

If you are interested in engaging with FAO, there are various ways to do so, including through this website or by contacting the FAO representation in your country.

3. Our company would like to invite FAO to speak to a company event. How do we go about it? Can we use FAO’s logo?  

FAO welcomes the opportunity to speak at meetings and workshops, to share its experience and expertise in areas that chime with the Organization’s mandate. To invite an FAO speaker to a meeting or workshop, you must provide a written invitation, including any background information, clearly stating the objectives of the meeting or workshop and its expected outputs and outcomes. Also, please attach a draft agenda so FAO can make an informed decision based on its due diligence process.

The use of the FAO logo by other entities implies endorsement by FAO, so is restricted and subject to FAO’s prior written permission. Authorization is only granted on the condition that FAO is involved in and has control over the activity (including information products) and that the activity is in the Organization’s interest. Hence, the FAO logo cannot be used for meetings or workshops where FAO is invited to speak, unless the Organization is directly involved in or has control over the activity or event and authorization is granted in writing.

4. What is the due diligence review?

Before engaging with any private-sector entity, FAO conducts a due diligence review to identify and manage any potential risks of engaging with an entity that might affect the Organization's intergovernmental character, independence or impartiality. Among other things, the review process involves an assessment of mutual benefits, as well as the potential risks of a proposed partnership. It entails the screening of each proposed entity against FAO’s principles for engagement and exclusionary criteria, the relevance of the proposed engagement to FAO’s mandate and its alignment with country priorities, and the identification of risk mitigation measures. For more information, please see the FAO partnership cycle.

5. How long does it take to establish a partnership?

Establishing a partnership involves six key steps, as set out in the FAO partnership cycle:

  1. an expression of interest and matchmaking
  2. screening
  3. negotiation
  4. clearances and approval
  5. implementation, monitoring and evaluation 
  6. reporting and communicating results

The duration of the process varies from case to case, depending on the nature, scope and complexity of the proposed engagement, as well as the results of the FAO due diligence review and the negotiation process itself.

6. Does FAO engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) and platforms? Does it engage in or support public‒private partnerships (PPPs) in the food and agriculture sector? 

FAO has vast experience of setting up multi-stakeholder partnerships and platforms involving a variety of actors, from policymakers to civil society, from academia to the private sector, engaging and consulting them on issues related to FAO's mandate and the SDGs.

Examples of MSPs and PPPs include:

  • The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) is an open platform that provides a permanent seat for private enterprises in the agrifood value chain at the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The PSM represents private-sector entities, from farmers to input providers, cooperatives, processors, small and medium-sized enterprises and food companies, participating in the CFS Plenary and Advisory Group alongside non-state actors and FAO Members in open-ended working groups (and technical task teams) to develop policy positions and recommendations for consideration and decision by the CFS Plenary.
  • The Mountain Partnership is a voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain peoples and protecting mountain environments around the world. The Mountain Partnership has more than 400 members including governments, intergovernmental organizations, major groups, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. FAO hosts the Secretariat of the Mountain Partnership.
  • Multi-stakeholder platforms for improved governance of tenure ‒ FAO supports 29 multi-stakeholder platforms on governance of land tenure in 14 countries, to foster collaboration on implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs), to monitor and evaluate their implementation and to evaluate their impact on the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests.

7. How can FAO support or advise our company on corporate social responsibility, so that we can boost our triple bottom line for SDG impact?

FAO can support the private sector’s use of internationally endorsed instruments and guidelines aimed at ensuring progress towards the SDGs for which the Organization is lead custodian. These include:

Better production

Better nutrition 

Better environment

Better life

Furthermore, strengthening measurement tools and corporate reporting on the SDGs and sustainability issues in food and agriculture is a key priority for FAO. To this end, FAO can support and advise private-sector entities on sustainability measurement, monitoring and reporting tools in its mandated areas of expertise. FAO is currently establishing an indicator framework for private-sector monitoring and reporting on key sustainability issues and the SDGs.

8. Our company would like to offer free products or technical expertise to FAO, for example, to smallholders and SMEs in developing countries. Are there mechanisms to facilitate this?

FAO welcomes such contributions (for example, storage or cooling facilities, post-harvest or operations management services), but would emphasize the need for value in terms of scope and scale to minimize the transaction costs for small investments and resource offers. Private-sector entities may provide in-kind contributions and/or technical expertise to FAO to support specific activities and the Organization can arrange for this support to be channelled directly to recipient countries. FAO has mechanisms in place for this purpose. The receipt of such contributions must be supported by a legal agreement and must undergo a due diligence to ascertain its compliance with FAO’s principles, rules and procedures.

9. Does FAO offer data and tools to support agricultural production and value-chain development, for example, for forecasting, risk mitigation and financial planning?

FAO has a wide range of data and tools available to support planning, forecasting and decision-making on agriculture production, value-chain development and related fields. The Organization is also developing platforms to integrate multisectoral data from various sources for real-time analysis and forecasting. This includes non-conventional data sources, such as news, social networks, remote sensing, open data and analytical products. All FAO data and tools are global public goods and are open and free to everyone. The Organization looks to the private sector to complement and enhance the various agriculture data streams it monitors and collects on a regular basis. For specific agricultural production and value-chain development-related data and tools and additional information, please visit our websites:

10. As an FAO partner, will I receive periodic performance reports? 

The reporting mechanisms and periods for the implementation of partnership agreements are clearly defined and mutually agreed by FAO and each private-sector entity in their legal agreement. They typically involve semi-annual (six-monthly) reports on the implementation progress of each partnership.

11. My company is an FAO supplier. Can we also engage with FAO as a partner? 

If a prospective partner is also a supplier or contractor to FAO, a thorough due diligence review process is undertaken to ascertain that there is no conflict of interest. Under no circumstances will FAO give preferential treatment, unfair advantage or endorsement to any private-sector entity or their products.

Similarly, under no circumstances will a partnership or voluntary contribution from a private-sector entity entitle that entity to special consideration in FAO procurement or contracting procedures, or be allowed to give the appearance of any such favourable treatment.

If your company wishes to act solely as a supplier, please review FAO’s tender process and tender notices at https://www.ungm.org/Public/Notice.