Ensuring integrity and a results focus

Key steps to formulating a engagement

***For FAO staff, please login for access to additional resources and templates 

Step 1

Expression of interest and “matchmaking”

The private sector and FAO engage in opportunities that arise or in response to specific appeals 

Definition of mutual areas of interest

Management endorses strategic relevance and potential impact of prospective engagement

Partnership Officer support identified

Step 2

Due diligence, risk assessment and approval

Request due diligence on proposal (scope and type of engagement)

Risk assessment and due diligence report (with request for Benefits, Impact and Risk Management Plan for Medium/High Risk)

Decision and approval to pursue engagement by the Engagements and Partnerships Committee (EPC) or Management as per workflow

Step 3

Elaboration of engagement and negotiation

***Only AFTER due diligence process is complete and in line with approval

o Definition of engagement instruments

(Letter of intent, memorandum of understanding,  expert visit, joint proposal, public-private partnership, Hand-in-Hand Initiative, open call for data, etc.)


Step 4

Clearances and approval

Final FAO clearances 

Step 5

Implementation, monitoring and evaluation

Step 6

Reporting and communicating results

All underpinned by FAO's principles for private-sector engagement

FAO’s private-sector partnerships must:

  • demonstrate a clear contribution to achieving the SDGs 
  • respect the values of FAO and the United Nations 
  • not compromise FAO’s neutrality, impartiality, integrity, independence, credibility or reputation 
  • be effectively managed and avoid any conflicts of interest or other risks to FAO 
  • demonstrate a contribution to FAO’s mandate, goals and mission and its Members’ national development goals 
  • respect the intergovernmental nature of FAO and the decision-making authority of its Members, as set out in FAO’s constitution 
  • support and enhance, without compromise, the neutral and independent scientific and evidence-based approach underpinning FAO’s work 
  • protect FAO from any undue influence, especially on processes for setting and applying policies, norms and standards 
  • be based on transparency, openness, inclusivity, accountability, integrity and mutual respect
  • maximize local development impact and number of beneficiaries, particularly smallholder farmers and associations, youth and women
  • embrace the principles to “leave no one behind” and “do no harm”

Engage through multiple channels

Whether it be sharing data, introducing a new innovation or mobilizing finance, we value all forms of engagement to achieve our shared development goals:

(for more information, hover over each icon)

Take part in multi-stakeholder dialogue or public-private platforms to ensure that the private-sector perspective is heard.


Share or pool data for joint goals.

Data-sharing and dissemination

Join us in our training or broad capacity development initiatives to share expertise or technical know-how.

Capacity development 

Provide technical expertise or equipment and innovation.

Technical cooperation 

Share knowledge or research findings and get involved in joint topics of interest for study purposes.

Knowledge and research 

Demonstrate how business is helping to achieve the SDGs.

SDG alignment

Improve the visibility and effectiveness of global and local-level advocacy on sustainability issues, challenges and solutions to achieving the SDGs.

Advocacy and communication, including SDG advocacy

Why partner with FAO?

  • For the latest cutting-edge information, guidance, data and statistics -FAO is a global leader in food and agriculture and a knowledge broker for governments. It has the latest figures and guidance on a wide range of issues related to food and agriculture from production to consumption.
  • For the highest standards - FAO is a provider of global norms and standards and a custodian of global policies, international treaties, codes of conduct and other binding and non-binding instruments, setting appropriate international standards that the private sector can use to improve its development-related activities.
  • For matched interests - FAO has an extensive Regional and Country Office network and a broad array of relationships with diverse actors. FAO can make the necessary connections to realize shared priorities, objectives and investments.
  • For neutrality - FAO is an independent, neutral, objective and honest broker of multidisciplinary alliances, able to facilitate communication between governments and the private sector and other non-state actors.
  • For sustainable development that leaves no one behind - As an advocate for innovation and digitalization in sustainable food and agriculture and to encourage the sustainable management of natural resources, FAO works to ensure food security, to advance sustainable development and to foster rural development worldwide, particularly for smallholder farmers. 
  • For its extensive networks - FAO is a mobilizer of public and private networks, supporting the reinforcement of data, information and knowledge through its ability to rally and convene diverse stakeholders.

Why does FAO need the private sector?

  • For innovation - The private sector can help us to support and scale up innovation, to mobilize scientific and evidence-based expertise. 
  • For investment - We want to engage with the private sector to help  businesses evolve the way they operate in food security development and agriculture, encourage investment in food and agricultural systems and close key financing gaps that are impeding the achievement of the SDGs. 
  • For enhanced capacity - The private sector can be instrumental in developing the capacity of smallholder farmers and MSMEs.
  • For data-sharing - We want to work with the private sector to generate data that can help accelerate innovation, evidence-based decision-making and SDG monitoring. 
  • For joint sustainable development objectives - We want to support the private sector in adopting priorities and business strategies that incorporate and promote sustainable practices and in recognizing its social responsibility to contribute to the food and nutritional security of the world’s population through sustainable methods of production that minimize the impact on the environment.

FAO's exclusionary criteria

The following exclusionary criteria apply to all engagement between FAO and the private sector. They relate to business categories and/or practices considered inherently incompatible with the values of the United Nations, its treaties or other international standards.

FAO's exclusionary criteria

FAO does not engage, in principle, with entities that:

  • are directly engaged in activities inconsistent with the UN Security Council Sanctions, Resolutions, Conventions (for example, climate, biodiversity, or transnational organized crime, terrorist financing) or other similar measures, including the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards of the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF);
  • are complicit in human rights abuses, tolerate forced or compulsory labour or the use of child labour;
  • do not align with the UN Global Compact Exclusionary Criteria*;
  • are involved in the production and wholesale distribution of tobacco products, or whose revenues are derived from gambling (except lottery) or pornography;
  • have systematically failed to demonstrate a commitment to meeting, or failed to meet in practice, the principles of the United Nations, including statements or principles that are consistent with and reflect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Rio Declaration, the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or the United Nations’ system-wide zero tolerance policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.


*The UN Global Compact Exclusionary Criteria are as follows:

  • Subject to a UN sanction;
  • Listed on the UN Ineligible Vendors List for ethical reasons;
  • Derive revenue from the production, sale and/or transfer of antipersonnel landmines or cluster bombs;
  • Derive revenue from the production and/or manufacture of tobacco.

The 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact

Corporate sustainability starts with a business/company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

The 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact

FAO strongly encourages its partners to incorporate the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures.

The ten principles are:

Human Rights

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights;
  • Principle 2: Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: The effective abolition of child labour;
  • Principle 6: The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  • Principle 9: Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.