The United States supports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Response to COVID-19

A general view of FAO Headquarters.

The United States supports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 3, 2020

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is playing an important role in assessing and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s life and livelihoods around the world, the global food trade, markets, food supply chains and livestock.

As far and away the largest contributor to FAO, The United States supports this work and is monitoring results.

FAO is working closely with WHO, WFP, IFAD, OIE, IAEA and other partners, harnessing broad networks to drive further research, support ongoing investigations, and share critical knowledge.

Understanding how the new coronavirus emerged and spread is an important part of FAO’s contribution to help prevent, contain and mitigate the epidemic. Other coronavirus outbreaks, including SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV were found to have an origin in animals. However, the source of the new virus has not been confirmed. Through its veterinary laboratory network in 69 countries, the Joint FAO and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture  supports potential diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 virus in animals and surveillance of the virus’ circulation in the environment.

Diagnostic equipment and training are being provided to laboratories, specialist networks are assessing the risk of animal exposure, and guidelines are available for farmers and animal health workers. By coordinating actions and facilitating information sharing, FAO supports countries to react appropriately, prevent disruption of food systems, and help prevent future outbreaks.

This work  helps countries to anticipate and mitigate possible disruptions the pandemic may trigger for people’s food security and livelihoods, avoiding panic-driven reactions that can aggravate disruptions and deteriorate the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable.