FAO partnering with UN Volunteers


Since 1971, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been partnering with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to combat food insecurity and global hunger. Over the past ten years, 130 UN Volunteers have served with FAO in 49 countries, supporting FAO’s mission to "eliminate hunger, fight poverty, and ensure that global and national food and agriculture systems are environmentally sustainable".

Firoj Ahmed (Bangladesh, right), UN Volunteer Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, consulting with village leaders in the North Delta, Kassala, Sudan. (UNV, 2016)

UN Volunteers are experienced personnel available to support FAO’s mandate. UN Volunteers in the field contribute to FAO goals of eradicating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, supporting the elimination of poverty and the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources. UN Volunteers within FAO’s projects contribute to improving livelihoods and nutrition status in Eastern Sudan, creating agricultural employment opportunities in Mongolia, and enhancing rural livelihoods and food security in Viet Nam. They promote food security, reduce rural poverty and support more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems.

Tapping the spirit and inclusive nature of volunteerism is vital in our fight against hunger and rural poverty. FAO’s efforts to support countries in fostering resilience and sustainability will benefit greatly from the UN Volunteers’ contributions and skills. --Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director-General (Programmes), FAO

Through their service, UN Volunteers help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition where it is needed most. They make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable, which contributes to reducing rural poverty. Working at the community-level, UN Volunteers support inclusive and efficient agriculture and food systems that increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters and climate shocks.

The first FAO Volunteer-Specialist (wildlife conservationist) was sent in October 1971 to Chad to work on a project entitled “Protection of the wild life and development of its habitat”. By the beginning of 1991, the total number of UN Volunteer assignments within FAO’s project had almost reached a thousand. Throughout its partnership, FAO has maintained some of the highest numbers of UN Volunteers. In June 2017, a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed to invigorate the partnership and create a mechanism for rapid deployment.

More information: