Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people.

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A short history of FAO

2010
As the worst floods ever to hit Pakistan wiped out seed stores and killed millions of head of livestock, FAO responded with distribution of wheat seed to half a million farming families in time for the planting season. An additional 235 000 families received feed, medicine and shelter for their animals.

2010
A major communication campaign called "The 1billionhungry project" kicked off in May and reached millions of people worldwide using live events, television, internet, social media and outdoor advertising. The campaign's anti-hunger petition gathered over three million signatures in its first six months.

2009
As the number of hungry reached 1.02 billion, FAO holds a World Summit on Food Security on 16-18 November to inject new urgency into the fight against hunger. Sixty heads of state and government and 192 ministers unanimously adopt a declaration pledging renewed commitment to eradicate hunger from the Earth at the earliest date

2008
FAO holds a high-level conference on 3 135 June on the impact of climate change and the biofuel boom on food security and food prices. Attended by 43 heads of state and 100 government ministers, the conference adopted a resolution to increase assistance and investment in developing world agriculture.

2007
All 119 countries at FAO's Committee on Fisheries in Rome agree on a proposal to develop a legally binding measure to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices, which cause severe economic, social, biological and environmental damage.

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2006
FAO unveils its high-tech Crisis Management Centre to fight bird flu and other animal health or food safety emergencies. The service monitors disease outbreaks and dispatches experts to any hot spot in the world in under 48 hours.

Representatives of 96 FAO member countries at the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, in Brazil, make a joint declaration recognizing the role of agrarian reform and rural development for sustainable development.

2005
The 60th anniversary of FAO 19s founding celebrated in a solemn ceremony attended by Heads of State and Government, Ministers and other dignitaries from all regions of the world.

Director-General Jacques Diouf re-elected for a third six-year term. FAO Conference approves additional reforms including further decentralization of staff.

2004
FAO announces the entering into force of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, an essential legally binding agreement that encourages sustainable agriculture through the equitable sharing of genetic material and its benefits among plant breeders, farmers and public and private research institutions.

2002
World Food Summit: five years later, attended by delegations from 179 countries plus the European Commission, reaffirms the international community's commitment to reduce hunger by half by 2015.

2001
FAO Conference adopts the legally binding International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which supports the work of breeders and farmers everywhere.

2000
FAO develops a strategy for concerted government and UN agency action to combat chronic hunger in the Horn of Africa, at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General.

1999
FAO's Committee on Fisheries adopts plans of action on fishing capacity, sharks and seabirds.

1998
An FAO-brokered legally binding convention to control trade in pesticides and other hazardous trade in chemicalsis adopted in Rotterdam.

1997
FAO launches campaign against hunger initiative TeleFood. TeleFood '97 reaches a global audience of 500 million.

1996
FAO hosts 186 Heads of State or Government and other high officials at World Food Summit in November to discuss and combat world hunger.

1995
FAO celebrates its 50th birthday.

1994
FAO launches the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), targeting low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs).

The Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES), strengthening the Organization's existing contribution to prevention, control and, when possible, eradication of diseases and pests, is established.

FAO begins the most significant restructuring since its founding to decentralize operations, streamline procedures and reduce costs.

1991
International Plant Protection Convention is ratified with 92 signatories.

1986
AGROSTAT (now FAOSTAT), the world's most comprehensive source of agricultural information and statistics, becomes operational.

1981
The first World Food Day observed on 16 October by more than 150 countries.

1980
FAO concludes 56 agreements for the appointment of FAO Representatives in developing member countries.

1978
The Eighth World Forestry Congress, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the theme "Forests for people", has a profound impact on attitudes towards forestry development and FAO's work in this sector.

1976
FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme established to afford greater flexibility in responding to urgent situations.

1974
UN World Food Conference in Rome recommends the adoption of an International Undertaking on World Food Security.

1962
The FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission established to set international food standards becomes operational.

1960
Freedom from Hunger campaign launched to mobilize non-governmental support.

1951
FAO headquarters moved to Rome, Italy, from Washington, DC, the United States.

1945
First session of FAO Conference, Quebec City, Canada, establishes FAO as a specialized United Nations agency.

1943
Forty-four governments, meeting in Hot Springs, Virginia, the United States, commit themselves to founding a permanent organization for food and agriculture.

My Life Story in Short:

FAO's activities comprise four main areas:

Putting information within reach. FAO serves as a knowledge network. We use the expertise of our staff - agronomists, foresters, fisheries and livestock specialists, nutritionists, social scientists, economists, statisticians and other professionals - to collect, analyse and disseminate data that aid development. A million times a month, someone visits the FAO Internet site to consult a technical document or read about our work with farmers. We also publish hundreds of newsletters, reports and books, distribute several magazines, create numerous CD-ROMS and host dozens of electronic fora.

Sharing policy expertise. FAO lends its years of experience to member countries in devising agricultural policy, supporting planning, drafting effective legislation and creating national strategies to achieve rural development and hunger alleviation goals.

Providing a meeting place for nations. On any given day, dozens of policy-makers and experts from around the globe convene at headquarters or in our field offices to forge agreements on major food and agriculture issues. As a neutral forum, FAO provides the setting where rich and poor nations can come together to build common understanding.

Bringing knowledge to the field. Our breadth of knowledge is put to the test in thousands of field projects throughout the world. FAO mobilizes and manages millions of dollars provided by industrialized countries, development banks and other sources to make sure the projects achieve their goals. FAO provides the technical know-how and in a few cases is a limited source of funds. In crisis situations, we work side-by-side with the World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies to protect rural livelihoods and help people rebuild their lives.

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