The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is one of the largest specialized agencies of the United Nations. Founded in 1945, it is responsible for raising levels of nutrition and standards of living, increasing agricultural productivity, and improving rural living conditions throughout the world. The FAO is an international organization that has 183 member countries, plus one member organization, the European Community. The FAO Conference, which meets every two years, is the governing body of the FAO.
The FAO is comprised of eight departments: Administration and Finance, Agriculture, Economic and Social, Fisheries, Forestry, General Affairs and Information, Sustainable Development, and Technical Cooperation. Funding for the FAO's work falls into two categories: the Regular Program, which covers internal operations, and the Field Program, which implements projects that are usually undertaken in cooperation with national governments and other agencies.
Special programs and activities of the FAO include: (1) the World Food Summit, which strives to reduce worldwide hunger; (2) the Special Program for Food Security, a program for advancing food technologies; (3) Tele-Food, an annual campaign to help poor families produce more food; (4) the Technical Cooperation Program, which promotes the sharing of technical expertise between countries; and (5) EMPRES (Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases) which strives to eradicate pests and diseases.
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. <http://www.fao.org>