Created in 1993, the EU Delegation works with the UN Rome-based agencies, promoting the Community's interests as embodied in common policies, including agricultural, fisheries, environmental, and health and safety policies. In addition, the Delegation represents the EU in its role of providing external assistance, through programmes of the three UN agencies. The working relations between the EU and the UN are based on a Financial and Administrative Agreement (FAFA)

On 27 June 2011, the European Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a Statement of Intent on Programmatic Cooperation on Food Security and Nutrition [6 MB] to harmonise and coordinate the implementation of their goals related to food security and humanitarian food assistance.

The Delegation is permanently in close contact with the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Directorates-General (DGs) of the European Commission in Brussels and communicate with and reports to headquarters about the most important issues dealt with in Rome. It receives instructions from the various EU services in Brussels to defend and explain the EU's positions at the various meetings in Rome.

The three different situations can be summarised as follows:

  • Member of FAO: the EU is a full permanent member of the FAO Council and Conference, on an equal footing with member countries of FAO, except for voting rights.
  • Permanent observer in WFP: as the name indicates, the European Commission has a permanent seat on the Executive Board, but as an observer. It can speak, but only after member countries of the Board have.
  • Special observer in the IFAD: the EU is not a member.

Work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Work with the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

The CFS was set up in 1974 as a separate technical committee within FAO. It was rather marginal and invisible until a major reform in 2009 reinvigorated the Committee. This reform made the CFS:

  • A Committee supported by all three Rome-based Agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP);
  • More science-based in its deliberations and recommendations through the creation of a High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE), composed of  eminent academics.
  • An inclusive body with full involvement (except for voting rights) of civil society and the private sector.
  • More efficient, through the creation of a professional full-time secretariat to support the work of the CFS.

The CFS is nowadays the most inclusive global multi-stakeholder platform for promoting coordination, policy convergence and support/advice to countries and regions on food security and nutrition.

The CFS meets 1 week per year in plenary format (in October) and in-between sessions through a series of events and Open-Ended Working Groups. The Committee reports to the UNGA through the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and to the Conference of FAO.