CL 127/LIM/4


Hundred and Twenty-seventh Session

Rome, 22 - 27 November 2004


Paper Submitted by Canada and the United States of America on Behalf of the North America Group

Table of Contents

I. Background and Justification

1. The global context within which FAO works is changing fast. There are many competing demands on FAO’s resources, but these resources are finite and FAO’s budget has been tightly constrained in recent years. The past few years have also seen significant changes to the international development architecture, and FAO’s Member Nations are facing increasing competition for funds to meet a variety of global challenges. A comprehensive external evaluation (hereinafter “the evaluation”) that considers FAO’s performance and impact and how effectively and efficiently it is discharging its mandate could achieve the following objectives:

  1. Provide the governing bodies of FAO and the Secretariat with an up to date and objective assessment of FAO’s strengths and weaknesses, and thereby help FAO to build on the former and find ways to remedy the latter;
  2. Provide a valuable input into the 2007 Review of FAO’s Strategic Framework (2000-2015);
  3. Provide evidence-based information for Member Nations to draw on as they account to their Governments and people for the resources they contribute to FAO;

  4. Send a powerful signal to its Members that FAO is committed to transparency, to learning from experience and to using that knowledge to improve its performance;

  5. Provide further input for the definition of FAO’s future resource requirements;

2. In order to achieve the above objectives the evaluation will need to be both comprehensive – i.e. cover all of FAO’s activities, including at a regional and at a country level – and external – i.e., it should be mandated, commissioned and supervised by the Council, but conducted by independent professional evaluators in line with international best practice. The Secretariat should provide support for the evaluation as requested by the Council and its organs.

II. Timing

3. The Council has already decided to undertake a Review in 2007 of FAO’s Strategic Framework (2000-2015). In order to provide useful input to that Review this evaluation will need to be completed in time for submission to the November 2006 Council. That Council should have the opportunity to consider simultaneously the recommendations of the evaluation and the Secretariat’s response to it.

III. Modalities

4. It is proposed that the November 2004 Council set up a Committee of the Council, which will be jointly chaired by the Chairs of the Programme and Finance Committees. It will be comprised of the joint chairs plus two Member Nation representatives from each Regional Group (these nations may or may not be members of the Council). The Committee will be empowered to take all the decisions necessary to enable the evaluation to be carried out effectively and in a timely way. These decisions will include approval of the terms of reference for the evaluation and the selection of the evaluation team to carry it out. The Council will maintain oversight through receiving progress reports from the Committee every time the Council meets. The following is also envisaged:

  1. The direct costs of the evaluation will be financed by Member Nations through voluntary contributions. The total cost is estimated to be $2.0 – $3.0 million. The Committee of the Council will decide how contributions will be received, managed and disbursed;
  2. The evaluators will be expected to travel to all regions to ensure that their findings are well grounded;
  3. The evaluation will be carried out by a team that includes professional evaluators and consultants from different regions;
  4. The Committee of the Council will be responsible for ensuring that the evaluators submit their report and recommendations to the Committee in time for the Committee to forward them (a) to November 2006 Council, and (b) to the Secretariat in time to enable it to submit its response to the same Council; and
  5. The Committee of the Council should begin meeting within one calendar month of the decision to establish it in order to agree procedures and modalities.

IV. Action to be taken

5. The Council is invited to approve the draft resolution attached.

Draft Council Resolution ../127
A Comprehensive and Independent External Evaluation of FAO


Re-affirming FAO’s mandate as expressed in its Constitution, and the objectives established in the 2000-2015 Strategic Framework;

Noting the outcomes of important international meetings including the World Food Summit, World Food Summit Five Years Later, the Millennium Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the High Level Forum on Harmonisation, and the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey;

Further noting the UN Secretary General’s ongoing Programme for Reform of the UN;

Recognising that periodic comprehensive external evaluations can provide valuable insights for their Member Nations into the effectiveness and efficiency with which UN organisations are discharging their mandates, and provide useful suggestions for strengthening their performance;

Recalling the need to review progress in implementing the Strategic Framework (2000-2015) in 2007, and recognising that a comprehensive external evaluation of FAO would be an important evidence-based input to that review;

Decides that there should be a comprehensive external evaluation of FAO, to be managed under the auspices of a Committee of the Council, to be conducted by a team of independent evaluators and consultants, and to cover the full range of FAO’s activities, including at the regional and country level;

Further decides that extra-budgetary resources will finance this evaluation;

Further decides to establish a Committee of the Council (hereinafter “the Committee”) to take the necessary measures to launch and supervise such an evaluation, and that the Committee will:

  1. Be jointly chaired by the Chairs of the Programme and Finance Committees, and comprised of the joint Chairs plus two Member Nation (which may or may not be members of the Council) representatives from each Regional Group;
  2. Be convened by the Joint Chairs within one calendar month of this decision being taken;

  3. Agree on modalities for receiving contributions to meet the costs of the evaluation and for disbursing such contributions;

  4. Approve the terms of reference for the evaluation within three calendar months of this decision being taken;
  5. Ensure that appropriate arrangements are put in place to select, contract, manage, guide and supervise independent evaluators who will carry out this evaluation;
  6. Approve the selection of the evaluators and the contracting arrangements that will be made with them;
  7. Report regularly on how the process is progressing to each successive session of the Council until the evaluation is complete;
  8. Send the evaluators’ final report and recommendations (a) to the Council in time for the November 2006 Council and (b) to the Secretariat in time for it to prepare and send its response to the same Council.

Requests the Secretariat to (a) facilitate and support the Committee in the discharge of its mandate and (b) submit its response to the evaluation and its recommendations in time for the November 2006 Council.