FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

A specialized agency of the United Nations working to achieve food security for all - to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.


To improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural populations and contribute to global economic growth.


An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union.

Its Governing Bodies comprise:

Besides its headquarters in Rome, FAO is present in over 130 countries through its decentralized network of offices.


The current Director-General is José Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian national. As of 1 July 2012, FAO employed 1847 professional staff and 1729 support staff. Approximately 55 percent are based at headquarters in Rome, while the remainder work in offices worldwide.


The Interpretation Group is part of the Conference, Council and Protocol Affairs Division, directly overseen by the Deputy Director-General Operations. The Group provides interpretation in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. There are currently six staff interpreters: the Chief Interpreter (P5 English/French booth) and one Chinese (P4), one English (P4), one French (P3), one Russian (P4), one Spanish (P4). Three staff are AIIC members. Contracts are fixed-term up to six-years of service, then become “continuing”. Staff work according to UN rules, with the exception of eight sessions maximum per week rather than seven, and are required to be present for other duties, including translation and terminology work in periods with no meetings (usually late July-August and late December-January).

The Group recruits a large number of free-lance interpreters in Rome and abroad, a great majority of whom are AIIC members. Freelance interpreters' terms of employment are determined by the UN-wide, the CEB/AIIC Agreement, to which FAO is party.

Nature of the work

In addition to general policy, financial, administrative and legal issues, “food and agriculture” covers a vast range of subjects, including areas as diverse as climate change, consumer protection, economic and social development, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry...

Working conditions and benefits

FAO staff enjoy similar benefits to other UN-system staff:

  • dependency allowances
  • affiliation to the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund
  • health insurance
  • tax-free commissary privileges, fuel coupons and car purchase

And when recruited from outside Italy:

  • assignment grant and removal costs
  • education grant
  • home leave travel every two years
  • separation payments and repatriation grant on retirement


Rome enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The weather during summer (June to August) can be uncomfortably hot, with temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F) at midday. Winter (December to February) is mild, with the average temperature in December around 13°C (55°F).

The cost of living is relatively high as European cities go and infrastructure and services are often below western European standards. This is compensated for by excellent food, stunning historical monuments and proximity to the sea, beautiful villages and countryside!

Recommended citation format:
Staff Interpreters. "FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations". aiic.net August 16, 2013. Accessed March 19, 2018. <http://aiic.net/p/6580>.

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