Within the United Nations system, three Rome-based United Nations organizations — the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) — complement and reinforce each other’s activities to address the immediate and long-term challenges of fighting hunger and achieving food security. FAO provides technical expertise and policy guidance. IFAD provides loans and grants to help the rural poor to overcome poverty and gain the means to achieve food security. WFP provides food aid to respond to emergencies and contributes to economic and social development through such programmes as food-for-work and school feeding.

FAO, WFP and IFAD have developed strong collaboration in operational activities and policy development. At the country level, they are joining their respective expertise and resources to help smallholder farmers and other rural producers to increase productivity and incomes and reduce their vulnerability. By addressing the structural causes of food insecurity and poverty, the three agencies are helping to create the conditions for more rapid and balanced development. They support an approach that combines food assistance to prevent malnutrition with longer-term investments in agricultural production. The results of their actions are immediate access to food and improved livelihoods for populations in need.

In the context of emergencies, FAO and WFP carry out needs assessments and help develop a response on food security in coordination with other relief organizations. IFAD supports the efforts of affected peoples to rebuild normal lives by providing assistance to promote the transition to rehabilitation and development.

The three Rome-based agencies are also working together on policy issues to highlight the centrality of agricultural and rural development in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This commitment was reflected in their joint launch, in cooperation with the Government of Italy, of the Millennium Development Project report in Rome.