The objectives defined in the Agreements of Establishment are to help eliminate hunger and malnutrition all over the world as well as to improve production and distribution of agricultural products, create favourable conditions for people living in rural areas and to promote global economic development.
To achieve these objectives in the fields of nutrition, food products and agriculture it deals with
- basic scientific, technological and socio-economic research,
- the improvement of education and administration,
- the conservation of natural resources and improved cultivation methods,
- improvements in processing, marketing and distribution and
- all international agro-political issues.
The FAO lends the expertise it gains to target countries in the form of project-bound technical assistance.
To accomplish its work, the FAO had a total budget of USD 2.2 billion for the 2010-2011 biennium. Of this amount, around 1 billion USD come from assessed contributions paid by member states (the amount depending on economic power) while the rest comes from voluntary contributions paid by member states and other partners, usually for clearly defined projects.
In the FAO, various Governing Bodies ensure that the member state's visions and policies are carried out: At the Conference (the highest body in the FAO), all 191 member states (including Faroe Islands and Tokelau, which are associate members) meet every two years and decide on all of the basic matters, such as financial issues, the admission of new member states or the election of the Director-General who is head of the Administration. The Council acts on behalf of the Conference and meets about twice a year. It has 49 members (its composition is based on a regional allocation formula) and takes care of day-to-day work. The Council is assisted by three equal Committees (Programme Committee, Finance Committee, and Committee on our Constitutional and Legal Matters) as well as by technical committees in charge of particular areas (COFI on Fishery, COFO on Forestry, COAG on Agriculture and CCP on Commodity Problems) and the regional conferences.