Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 07/2014

Time for FAO to Shift to a Higher Gear

Vijaya Ramachandran

May 2014

Center for Global Development


The FAO is the cornerstone of the international food security architecture with a broad mandate to help govern the world’s food and agricultural system. That mandate is facing new challenges as food security is threatened by climate change, higher energy and fuel process, a global population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and greater worldwide demand for resource-intensive meat. To meet these challenges, the FAO should refocus on its core operational work, favoring the provision of global public goods such as sound statistical analysis and early-warning systems for famine over short-term earmarked projects that reflect donor priorities instead of country needs. Such a refocus will require improvements in the FAO’s governance.