Opening a world of knowledge

Celebrating open access on World Book Day

On World Book Day, we encourage you to read and download FAO’s many resources. There is something for everyone in our library of over 45 000 publications! ©Blackroom/


If you are an avid reader, then you might know that today is World Book Day. You also probably know the word prolific and when it comes to books, FAO is nothing short of prolific. In fact, a library was at the origins of FAO. David Lubin, a Polish-born American citizen, saw the struggles that farmers face and helped to start the pre-cursor to FAO, the International Institute of Agriculture. Here he amassed the largest collection of agriculture-related publications at that time and this became part of FAO when the organization was formally created 40 years later.

Since its founding in 1945, FAO has produced over 45 000 publications on a multitude of topics that address hunger: from agricultural traditions and man-made conflicts to forests and bees.

FAO has always made its resources accessible to and free for the public. However, we are formalizing the Open Access policy under a Creative Commons standard, which will allow users worldwide to download FAO’s online publications and reuse this content for non-commercial uses, giving proper attribution. FAO sees this as part of its commitment to distributing its expertise, knowledge and data to the world at large, particularly for those populations where it may not be easily accessible.

FAO’s library has something for everyone. Here are 5 of FAO’s most unique publications to start reading now:

Open access is vital to making expertise, knowledge and data available to the world at large. FAO is committed to making its information accessible for all. Left: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano / Right: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

1. For the FAO-groupie: Produced every year since 1947, FAO’s flagship publication, the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report, aims at assessing the important issues in the field of food and agriculture. Each edition of the report contains a comprehensive, yet easily accessible, overview of a selected topic of major relevance for rural and agricultural development and for global food security.

Love FAO but have no time? You might be interested to know that last year we also made this into an easy-to-read digital report: SOFA 2017 Digital Report

2. For the Foodie: It is not enough just to combat hunger; people also need nutritious food to lead healthy, active lives. FAO promotes nutrition in a variety of ways from trainings and sharing recipes to farmer field schools and cookbooks. One of our latest cookbooks, Health, Knowledge and Flavours, shares recipes prepared by rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean and highlights the important role that women have traditionally held in their families’ health and nutrition.

FAO’s library contains publications on a multitude of topics that address hunger. These resources are helping to spread the knowledge of food and agriculture that can help us create a #ZeroHunger world. ©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

3. For the Historian: This book tells the story of the seven decades of FAO’s history. Featuring black and white images from the Organization’s archives, this publication talks about the historical landscape upon which FAO was created and world events from which it has evolved. The 70 Years of FAO (1945-2015) is a book for history lovers.

4. For the Emerging Leader: Young people are the ones who will lead our future. More and more the younger generations are getting involved at an early age. The Young Global Citizens series challenges and motivates young leaders to change their own behaviours and to help shape their communities. Written on 13 different topics, these activity books provide specific actions and information on how to make the world a more sustainable place.

5. For the Photographer: FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems programme recognizes outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide goods, services, food and livelihoods for millions of farmers. Through a remarkable process of coevolution of humankind and nature, such sites have emerged over centuries, representing the accumulated cultural and life experiences of rural people. Featuring photos by George Steinmetz, award-winning photographer for National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine, this brochure displays amazing photography of the designated sites around the world. 

Knowledge is power. FAO strongly believes in this statement and promotes dissemination of this knowledge to empower citizens across the world. We hope that you use our resources to grow your understanding of agriculture, food and global issues and help us in creating a #ZeroHunger world that provides for its people while also safeguarding its resources.

Learn More

Search: Search FAO Publications
Catalogue: FAO Publications Catalogue 2017
Website: FAO Publications



4. Quality education