The FAO is one of the largest technical bodies of the UN. A large-scale reform began several years ago that included changes to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), and decentralisation. Ireland and our EU colleagues have been instrumental in ensuring a more focussed strategy and increased budgetary control within the FAO in recent years. A new Programme of Work and Budget was agreed at the recent conference in Rome, attended by the Minister of State, Mr. Tom Hayes, TD. This is available to download at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/027/mf490e.pdf. The programme outlines the five strategic objectives and the main work to be undertaken by the organization in the coming years.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is mainly involved in alleviating hunger worldwide. It is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. The FAO is more involved with setting standards (e.g. via the Codex Almentarius and the various expert committees on genetic resources and animal health) and evaluating global policy for agricultural production. Their work is complementary and they are encouraged to cooperate wherever possible. While such cooperation is to be welcomed it is unlikely that there will be a merger between the two organizations in the immediate future, given their different roles.