II. Corporate strategies




The corporate strategies that make up the Strategic Framework include both strategies to address Members' needs and strategies to address cross-organizational issues. The former cover what FAO will do to help Members achieve their goals, while the latter deal with the way in which it will carry out its tasks.


Both sets of strategies require consideration of the means of action at the Organization's disposal. These may be roughly grouped into "normative" and "operational", including technical cooperation, activities. However, there is often no rigid demarcation between them because of the synergies inherent in a multidisciplinary programme executed through a decentralized structure.


FAO's Regular Programme is the basis and starting-point for formulation of the Strategic Framework. The strategies to address Members' needs are rooted in normative work, complemented by operational activities, requested by member countries, maintaining an appropriate balance between the two.


The Regular Programme will continue to provide inputs for operational work, notably through the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) and the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). Nevertheless, the bulk of funding will have to come, as in the past, from extrabudgetary sources. Measures to enhance the effectiveness of the Organization's technical cooperation activities, and to leverage resources for them, are dealt with in the strategies to address cross-organizational issues.


Strategies to address Members' needs


Two basic principles underlie the approach taken in formulating the following five corporate strategies and related strategic objectives:

  • interdisciplinarity, to address multisectoral issues through the mobilization of contributions from all relevant disciplines within the Organization, and
  • partnership, both among FAO units - at headquarters and in the decentralized offices - and with governments, other organizations (UN and non-UN) and civil society.

The purpose of these corporate strategies is to give clearer focus and direction to the Organization's work in serving its Members, concentrating on the areas in which it has comparative advantages. The assumption underlying the definition of the strategic objectives is that their achievement will depend on the action of member countries as well as on that of FAO. While the Strategic Framework is "resource-neutral", the amount and type of resources made available will be major determinants of success.


Although the strategic orientation of the Organization's work between the years 2000 and 2015 requires interdisciplinary programmes, it does not preclude the formulation of sectoral strategic plans, such as FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry. The global goals referred to in Part I of this document will continue to have sectoral thematic goals contributing to them and, in many cases, specific plans or programmes of action agreed by countries. Examples include the Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, the Leipzig Declaration and Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Cross-cutting thematic goals and plans, such as the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development, will also continue to guide FAO's approach


A- Contributing to the eradication of food insecurity and rural poverty


If the global target set by the World Food Summit is to be met, special efforts will have to be made by and on behalf of those countries where the problems are greatest. Generally, these countries are characterized by: widespread poverty, mainly in rural areas; low growth of per caput food production; low and variable per caput food availability; and uneven access to available food. The group also includes countries vulnerable to, or suffering the effects of, natural disasters and humanitarian crises, which are important causes of food insecurity.


This corporate strategy addresses key factors that contribute to certain preoccupying trends in the external environment - the persistence of poverty, the widening of the gap between the affluent and the poor, the inequality in access to the benefits of economic and technological progress, and the continued risk of disaster-related and complex emergencies. Normative means of action will include identification and dissemination of policy and decision support tools, guidelines and information on best practices, and capacity building for both public and non-governmental sectors. In its technical cooperation with member countries, FAO will focus on actions that are both urgent and appropriate in the light of its mandate and comparative advantage. In the response to emergencies, for example, support for aid coordination and planning of rehabilitation in the agricultural sector may be expected to assume increasing importance.


A.1 Sustainable rural livelihoods and more equitable access to resources


Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity. Efforts to increase food supplies and accelerate economic growth will bring overall benefits to the country and society but, unless accompanied by complementary targeted measures, they are unlikely to completely eliminate poverty and food insecurity among rural populations. People living in economically and environmentally marginal areas are at the greatest risk of being left behind, but poverty and food insecurity also exist among the resource-poor in more favourably endowed areas.


More sustainable livelihoods and food security can be ensured for these populations only through efforts to increase individuals' opportunities and choices and improve resource productivity, thereby resulting in higher rural incomes and improved access to food. The promotion of equitable access to natural and economic resources and social services is crucial and may require specific action to address gender disparities. The challenge is to improve rural livelihoods, farm incomes and food security, both in food-deficit and economically marginal areas and among the resource-poor in more favourably endowed areas.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • improving the opportunities available to the rural poor to strengthen, diversify and sustain their livelihoods by taking advantage of the potential synergies between farming, fishing, forestry and animal husbandry, including through pre- and post-production income-generating enterprises (e.g. through the TCP and the SPFS);
  • supporting efforts to strengthen local institutions and to enact policies and legislation that will provide for more equitable access by both women and men to natural resources (particularly land, water, fisheries and forest) and related economic and social resources;
  • improving the efficiency and effectiveness by which the public and private sectors respond to the multiple and differing needs of disadvantaged rural populations, notably of women and youth;
  • promoting gender-sensitive, participatory and sustainable strategies and approaches, based on self-help, capacity building and empowerment, to improve the skills of the rural poor and local, civil society and rural people's organizations; and
  • assisting in the targeting of investment in the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors - from public and private, domestic and international sources - that contributes to food security and poverty eradication.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


In the sphere of integrated rural development, FAO has competence in major areas (food and nutrition, crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry) that are basic to improving rural incomes and employment opportunities. It is the only international agency that deals with all aspects of rural land tenure. It has developed specific capabilities for capacity building and institutional strengthening, developing and applying participatory processes and methods to help the rural poor capture available opportunities and have access to the necessary resources. Particularly innovative approaches have been developed, through the SPFS, for the identification of constraints and the testing, demonstration and replication of strategies for rural livelihood improvements. FAO also has proven expertise in mobilizing investment in the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors.


Considering that poverty eradication is a major goal of Members, and that it has stimulated a UN system-wide response, FAO's contributions focused on the rural sector are not provided in isolation but are an integral part of the broader effort. Critical to the attainment of better rural living standards will be investment in improved access to safe water and sanitation, power supplies, health services and education. From this vantage point, FAO will seek further integration of its action within the UN system (notably with WFP, IFAD, WHO, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNEP, UNDCP and UNIFEM). The ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security will be an important means to promote this at both the headquarters and field levels. Partnerships will also be reinforced with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system and academic and national research institutions. New alliances, based on shared objectives and complementarity of action, will be sought with organizations operating in the sphere of rural development and poverty alleviation, including specialized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (particularly those of farmers, rural people, women and youth), as well as with the private sector. Building on the longstanding cooperation with the World Bank, regional development banks and IFAD, attempts will be made to stimulate increased official development assistance (ODA) flows in support of food security.


A.2 Access of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food


While poverty eradication should theoretically result in food security for all, there are compelling reasons for focusing directly and immediately on addressing undernourishment and malnutrition. Inadequate dietary intake that persists over time poses a serious threat to health, prevents normal growth and development in children, reduces mental capacity and lowers productivity of able-bodied adults, thereby contributing significantly to the conditions that prevent individuals from moving out of poverty. Meeting the World Food Summit target implies that countries will need to adopt special measures aimed directly at achieving and sustaining nutritional improvements among the poor and socially disadvantaged. Failure to do so will result in large segments of their populations passing their entire lives underfed and malnourished and unable either to contribute to, or benefit fully from, the development process.


The challenge for countries affected by widespread undernourishment, and for FAO in its efforts to assist them, is to address this need in an era of diminished state intervention and to obtain, allocate and administer resources for "safety nets" and related programmes that ensure access to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food in both urban and rural areas. In this regard, progress made in further developing a rights-based approach to food security would be taken into full account. There is an immediate need to identify more clearly who the food-insecure are, where they are located and why they are food-insecure. On the basis of this information, action programmes can be targeted much more effectively.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • promoting the incorporation of nutrition objectives and considerations into national and sectoral policies and plans;
  • assisting in establishing national food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping systems that facilitate the design and implementation of well-targeted programmes to relieve chronic and transitory food insecurity;
  • carrying out conceptual and methodological work on social safety net policies and programmes, so as to ensure that they are conducive to fulfilling the minimum nutritional requirements of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
  • promoting direct action to improve household food security and nutrition, including through community and food-based approaches that foster people's participation and the use of traditional or underutilized foods that add nutritional value to the diet; and
  • supporting programmes to improve the quality of, and maximize the nutritional benefits derived from, available food supplies, through proper handling (for hygiene and safety), preservation and preparation within households and communities, and in the informal commercial sector (street foods).

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO possesses a critical mass of expertise in the areas of national nutrition policy and planning, nutrition assessment, and programme development focused on the needs of vulnerable and food-insecure groups and on the improvement of food quality and safety at the household, community and municipal levels. Furthermore, FAO is well situated to develop and adapt social safety net concepts and methods, making use of a multidisciplinary approach that combines social and economic as well as technical and legal expertise. Drawing on information systems maintained by various units, the Organization also has a strong capacity in measuring, monitoring and assessing food insecurity and vulnerability at the global, regional and country levels. Complementing its work in policy advice and information systems, FAO has a long experience in promoting food-based improvements to nutrition at the household and community levels.


The Inter-Agency Working Group on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) brings together the UN organizations, bilateral agencies and international NGOs most concerned with the various aspects of the issues that FIVIMS addresses. The ACC Subcommittee on Nutrition, in which FAO participates, provides the natural framework for the establishment of a constructive set of collaborative relationships, in particular for promoting follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition. Collaborative arrangements exist with IFAD, on rural poverty eradication, and with WFP, on food assistance programmes, that complement longer-term development efforts. The potential exists within this strategy for further strengthening of the cooperation and joint work between the Rome-based food organizations. Considering that undernourishment is often also the result of disease, continued partnerships with WHO and UNICEF are crucial. Efforts will be made to encourage other UN agencies as well as international financing institutions (IFIs), academic and research institutions, parliamentary associations, NGOs and committed elements of the private sector to join in specific targeted programmes.


A.3 Preparedness for, and effective and sustainable response to, food and agricultural emergencies


While the preferred means of dealing with emergencies is prevention, food and agricultural emergencies will continue to occur as a result of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, fires, and pests and diseases and human-induced disasters such as war and internal conflict. Unforeseen disruptions to financial and economic systems can also result in emergencies that have similar adverse impacts on local populations. Often the people most severely affected by disasters live in rural areas, but the disruption of agricultural and food systems can have serious consequences for both rural and urban populations, and it is generally the resource-poor who are most vulnerable.


The challenge is to increase the resilience and capacity of countries and their populations to cope with the impacts of disasters that affect national and household food security and, when disasters do occur, to contribute to emergency operations that foster the transition from relief to recovery of the food and agricultural sectors.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • strengthening disaster preparedness and the ability to mitigate the impact of emergencies that affect food security and the productive capacities of the rural population;
  • forecasting and providing early warning of adverse conditions in the food and agricultural sectors and of impending food emergencies, including monitoring plant and animal pests and diseases;
  • assessing needs and formulating and implementing programmes for agricultural relief and rehabilitation, and formulating policies and investment frameworks favouring the transition from emergency relief to reconstruction and development in food and agriculture; and
  • strengthening local capacities and coping mechanisms through guiding the choice of agricultural practices, technologies and support services, to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO's comparative advantage in humanitarian assistance is directly derived from the expertise, knowledge and experience it has accumulated as a technical agency. It has a demonstrated technical capability for natural resource monitoring and for facilitating, with others, international efforts in forecasting, prevention and mitigation of natural calamities. Within the UN system, it has recognized leadership for early warning of food shortages through the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS), as well as for its Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases, including control of locust and other migratory pests. It has the expertise required to assess relief needs and provide assistance for the early recovery of food and agricultural productive capacities, which is vital for affected countries with a predominant agricultural sector. It can therefore take the lead in the preparation of targeted rural sector recovery and development options and the identification of priority projects for investment. By focusing at the same time on the household food security and nutritional well-being of affected populations, FAO is in a position to provide a comprehensive approach to recovery and rehabilitation.


FAO conducts, jointly with WFP, crop and food supply assessments, as well as household food security and nutritional status assessments, and has well-established links with all UN agencies concerned with humanitarian assistance, including OCHA, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNEP and UNHCR as well as with regional organizations, national governments and international and national NGOs, particularly for early warning and food and nutrition assessments. Response to emergencies and early post-disaster recovery assistance is provided within the framework of emergency aid coordination and management mechanisms established within the UN system (including the Security Council), based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Assistance (ECHA) and including major cooperating humanitarian aid agencies (governments, UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement, NGOs and donors). In the field, NGOs are also included as FAO's main implementing partners, particularly in complex emergencies. Resources for this type of work will continue to be sought from bilateral and multilateral funding sources as well as from regional and international financing institutions committed to providing support to reconstruction efforts.


B- Promoting, developing and reinforcing policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry


Policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, at the international and national levels, are assuming ever more crucial importance in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world economy. This corporate strategy builds on the Organization's long-established role as a global and neutral forum, and as the depositary for a number of international instruments, as well as its close cooperation with other organizations working in the areas of natural resources for food and agriculture, environment and trade. It also recognizes the growing demand by Members for assistance in developing their policy, regulatory and standard-setting capacities.


Tools to implement this strategy include: provision of secretariat assistance, including coordination of activities; technical advice and analyses and support for negotiations; sharing of information and experience through studies, guidelines and other publications; capacity building to facilitate the participation of countries in international negotiations and in follow-up mechanisms; and support to commodity development activities. For the implementation of international instruments at the country level, assistance in mobilizing resources from major multilateral and bilateral donors will be provided.

B.1 International instruments concerning food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and the production, safe use and fair exchange of agricultural, fishery and forestry goods


The present international policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry needs to be further developed, as it is an important prerequisite for achieving food security for all. The framework should facilitate the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of natural resources; help ensure adequate and safe food supplies; and promote food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies conducive to food security through a fair and market-oriented world trade system.


Among the challenges addressed is that of facilitating the full and informed participation of all FAO Members in the further development of an appropriate regulatory framework in the areas of the Organization's mandate, with due regard to the special concerns of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • within the spheres of FAO's competence, providing a forum for policy debate and negotiations on the international regulatory framework at the global and regional levels, and servicing international instruments as required;
  • developing international standards and other measures for the implementation of the international regulatory framework, in the areas of food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry;
  • ensuring that with respect to natural resources, environment and trade, the specific needs and concerns of the food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors are adequately reflected in international instruments, and that appropriate sectoral policy advice is provided to the relevant fora;
  • enhancing the contribution of international agricultural trade to food security, by monitoring and analysing trade information, addressing issues of trade and market development for food and agricultural products; and
  • improving Members' capacities, with particular reference to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to participate actively in negotiations in relevant international fora dealing with natural resources, environment and trade.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO is ideally placed to provide a global and neutral forum for the further development of the international policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The Organization draws on a wide range of multisectoral technical and legal expertise and extensive experience in the development and adoption of international agreements, codes of conduct, undertakings, standards and other instruments on matters within its mandate. Through the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO has recognized competence in facilitating negotiations by governments of international instruments on aspects of biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) provides a neutral forum for international cooperation in the negotiation and harmonization of policies for protection of plants and plant products from pests. Food safety standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and plant health standards developed under the aegis of the IPPC are recognized by WTO as reference points for the international trade system. FAO also has a unique structure of intergovernmental commodity groups through which governments consult on agricultural commodities.


In the areas of its comparative advantage, FAO will continue to rely on partnership with relevant international and civil society organizations (including producers' and consumers' associations) to complement its work. Examples are cooperation with WHO in the operation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and cooperation with the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and CGIAR, generally in the area of genetic resources for food and agriculture. In other areas, FAO will work with relevant organizations dealing with natural resources, environment and trade. This will involve ongoing support, from a food and agriculture perspective, to secretariats of conventions (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (also known as the Ramsar Convention). Cooperation will also continue with the secretariats of the Convention on Climate Change and of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as will participation in negotiations under the aegis of UNEP on persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Support on the rights related to food will continue to be provided to the Committee on Economic and Social Rights and to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).


B.2 National policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms that respond to domestic requirements and are consistent with the international policy and regulatory framework


It is expected that governments will continue a progressive disengagement from productive functions, in favour of the provision of public goods and services and the establishment of a framework conducive to sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. Competition for natural resources, together with expanding privatization and globalization, will place increasing demands on the regulatory functions of the state. There is thus a growing need for national policy and regulatory frameworks to respond to domestic requirements and be consistent with the international policy and regulatory framework.


It will be essential to respond in particular to the needs of developing countries, or those with economies in transition, to develop and implement the necessary national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms, keeping in mind that resources available to governments are limited and regulatory controls need to be applied in the most efficient way possible. Areas in which specialized legal and technical advice will be provided include: genetic resources, plant protection, food quality and safety, responsible fisheries, animal health, land tenure and rural institutions, environmental protection (including forests, wildlife, water, soil resources and desertification control), and the implications of international trade agreements in food and agriculture.

Strategy components


The components include assisting countries in:

  • assessing, adapting to and implementing the international policy and regulatory framework in the food, agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors as well as relevant international instruments dealing with natural resources, environment and trade;
  • implementing international standards at the national level, in areas such as food quality and safety, plant protection and animal health;
  • developing sound national legislation and relevant supporting measures in food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and related areas, including biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture; and
  • developing national capacities to respond to, and benefit from, changes in the international trade environment.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO possesses a proven capacity for advising its Members on the implications of the international policy and regulatory framework, including for food and agricultural trade, for related national policies and legislation and for providing technical assistance in the formulation and implementation of such policies and legislation. This capacity is based on FAO's capabilities in analysing developments and projecting trends in food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and its familiarity with the international policy and regulatory framework, including its application at the national level. It derives strength from the synergy between its normative and operational programmes.


The natural partners for the Organization, with regard to national policy and regulatory frameworks, are governments. FAO also maintains a dialogue with civil society and the private sector on these matters and will continue to do so. Cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will be further developed. Partnerships will be maintained with technical and trade organizations on the technical content of the assistance provided. This ranges from arrangements whereby organizations provide technical support to FAO's assistance activities, as for example with WHO on food safety and other health aspects or with UNEP on environmental matters, to areas where FAO plays a supporting role in activities conducted by other organizations, such as WTO in the application of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. FAO will also seek to mobilize donor funds to support Member Governments' action in these fields.


C- Creating sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food and other products from the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors


Meeting the needs of growing and increasingly urbanized populations will require for the foreseeable future both substantial increases and qualitative adaptations in domestic supply and availability of agricultural products. A core requirement, especially in developing countries, is to raise productivity in the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors, where the adoption of improved technology can bring about rapid and major increases in production and producers' incomes. In addition, the economic and institutional operating conditions of all agriculture-based activities, including processing and marketing systems, need to be improved so as to enhance the overall efficiency and adaptability of those activities.


The primary thrusts of this corporate strategy are on: improving the policy environment and institutional frameworks and addressing systems management constraints, taking into account changes in the role of the state and the importance of private initiative; and supporting the transfer and use of appropriate technology aimed at the sustainable intensification of production systems. In order to provide countries with appropriate policy options and enhance their ability to choose among them and to implement them, FAO will develop and disseminate normative instruments (guidelines, compendia of "best practices", etc.), deliver policy and technical advice and assistance, and promote capacity building. It will act as a synthesizer and disseminator of information on technology, approaches and decision support tools, as well as a proponent of particularly successful solutions.


C.1 Policy options and institutional measures to improve efficiency and adaptability in production, processing and marketing systems, and meet
the changing needs of producers and consumers


The efficiency of production, processing and marketing systems in generating and bringing to consumers a quantitatively and qualitatively adequate supply of agricultural, fishery and forest products is often limited by market imperfections, weaknesses in support institutions, or an unfavourable policy environment. These factors hamper the mobilization of resources for agriculture and rural development - in particular, they discourage investment in productive assets and services - and impede the adoption of appropriate technology and practices. They also make it more difficult for the systems to adapt to changing circumstances, such as the need to supply burgeoning urban populations.


As agriculture is increasingly commercialized, there is a growing need to focus on improving production support services, including input supply and rural finance. A dynamic production sector also requires efficient marketing, post-harvest and processing systems, with associated demand signals guiding farmers' decisions. The challenge is to create a policy and institutional environment that encourages resource mobilization, more efficient support institutions adapted to changing conditions and more accessible to users, and greater responsiveness to the market on the part of farm, fisheries and other production units, agribusinesses and marketing enterprises. The focus of FAO's work in this area will be on providing countries with appropriate policy options and enhancing their ability to choose among them and to implement them. Particular attention needs to be paid to the role of women in production, processing and marketing.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • identifying priority issues, emerging concerns and opportunities arising from international and domestic trends, as well as the economic and institutional constraints that may limit the efficiency of production, processing and marketing systems;
  • advising on responses to the issues thus identified in order to ensure remunerative market conditions that enhance production and availability of supplies and to encourage savings and generation of domestic resources for investment;
  • promoting the diversification and specialization of production to take advantage of new opportunities as well as of comparative advantages based on different resource endowments;
  • helping to strengthen agriculture and rural development support institutions and facilitate their adaptation to changing conditions, in consultation with users and giving due importance to gender-based and other inequalities in access to services; and
  • encouraging structural adaptations in production, processing and marketing systems so as to respond to evolving consumption patterns (e.g. with attention to peri-urban agriculture) and to build on complementarities among crop and livestock production, fisheries and forestry.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


With competence in agriculture, forestry and fisheries (policy, resources, production, processing and marketing), FAO is a major source of independent advice on policy in these sectors. It plays a leading role in a number of international initiatives on sustainable forestry and fisheries management. It has developed and tested methods for participatory, gender-sensitive support in formulating equitable agricultural policies and in improving outreach systems. On production and post-production support systems, it is recognized for its normative work, often in partnership with donor agencies, and is thus well placed to advise on policies and institutional measures in this area. It has a record of accomplishment in mobilizing resources for agricultural and rural investment, and extensive experience in helping to prepare investment plans and projects (e.g. for land and water development and use) with a view to optimizing resource allocation. It is also well placed to advise on potential trade-offs and synergies between the productive and other functions of agriculture and land use. Within the UN system, it is task manager for Chapter 14 (Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development) of Agenda 21.


Collaboration will continue with other UN bodies in respect of policy analysis and assistance activities at the sector and subsector levels, as well as provision on request to Member Governments of independent information and sectoral analyses complementary to the macro policy work of the Bretton Woods institutions. In helping to formulate policy choices and to develop decision tools, FAO will also continue to strengthen links with CGIAR, academic and research institutions, bilateral development agencies, NGOs and associations of producers, traders, processors and consumers. Cooperation with civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector at large will be of increasing importance, in view of the need to address issues of concern to consumers and to enhance the role of the private sector in ensuring adequate agricultural supplies, including through possible joint initiatives for local infrastructure and agribusiness development.


C.2 Adoption of appropriate technology to sustainably intensify production systems and to ensure sufficient supplies of food and agricultural, fisheries and forestry goods and services


To meet growing needs while preserving the natural resource base, production must be transformed, especially at the level of small-scale producers. This will require effective intensification of production systems, which in turn calls for broader choices of what to produce, as well as the identification and adoption of more efficient and sustainable agricultural management practices. The adoption of improved technology underpins not only better pre- and post-production enterprises, but also sustainable rural development in the larger context.


Production beyond subsistence levels is a competitive business, and fine-tuning of the production system through technology improvement is fundamental for the producer, the economy and for sustainable development. The challenge is generally not to optimize the production of one commodity in isolation, but to promote holistic systems approaches and to recognize the economic and social, including gender, dimensions related to the transfer and adoption of appropriate technology. While advising on new techniques and promoting applied research, emphasis will also be placed on enabling producers to increase productivity to levels commonly obtained in field demonstrations using existing techniques.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • monitoring advances in technology, including biotechnology, and analysing their possibilities for enhancing production systems in member countries; this will include actively influencing the international research agenda to address issues of food security and sustainability;
  • promoting and assisting in the evaluation of promising techniques for the intensification and diversification of crop, livestock, fisheries and forest production systems, capturing opportunities for subregional specialization; risk assessment analysis associated with the application of new biological technology will also be addressed;
  • promoting applied research aimed especially at underpinning the adoption of improved techniques, including integrated plant nutrition and pest management, through participatory (producer-level and farmer-driven) approaches;
  • encouraging linkages among research and development experts as well as user organizations within and across regions for problem solving and opportunity identification, and enabling producers (men and women) to participate in and have access to results of applied research; and
  • enhancing sustainable production and processing of crop, livestock, fishery, wood and non-wood forest products, focusing on reducing differences between research results and actual productivity, notably through key initiatives in the context of the SPFS and related follow-up mechanisms.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


As a cosponsor of the CGIAR system and the host of its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, FAO plays a key role in helping to plan the direction of international and national research in all areas of food and agriculture. The technical experience accumulated during years of supporting national research and development efforts ensures that FAO has the breadth of experience and the skill mix required to assist countries in capturing opportunities and removing constraints, particularly technological constraints, to intensified, sustainable and competitive agricultural systems. Thus, FAO can help identify and focus research on the needs of men and women producers and processors, and facilitate and guide research and development in this area.


FAO will continue to cooperate closely with academia, CGIAR and national research systems, other centres of excellence and other bilateral and multilateral development agencies. The testing and implementation of development strategies, methods, appropriate techniques and standards require strategic alliances with national and regional institutions and civil society, including the private sector. In this regard, FAO will continue to seek support from traditional funding sources as well as through innovative modalities such as South-South cooperation within the SPFS.


D- Supporting the conservation, improvement and sustainable use of natural resources for food and agriculture


The well-being of present and future generations is threatened, particularly in developing countries, by land degradation, water scarcity and pollution and salinization, destruction of forests, overexploitation of the world's marine resources, growth in emissions of greenhouse gases and loss of genetic resources and biological diversity. Fragile ecosystems in particular are on the front line of danger. The challenge is to strike an appropriate balance between conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. This implies adopting policies and actions that contribute to efficient and socially desirable management of land, water, fisheries and forest resources, and which, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture, enhance its positive and mitigate its negative impacts on the environment and natural resources. However, as FAO's Members have noted that there is currently no consensus on the meaning of the concept of the multifunctional character of agriculture, nor on a role for FAO with respect to work on it, they agree that the Organization should pursue and further develop its work on sustainable agricultural and rural development.


FAO will continue to assist the global community in addressing natural resource management and conservation issues through implementation of Agenda 21 of UNCED. This corporate strategy, which focuses on assisting in the practical application of the measures needed, will require the assessment of natural resources and provision of policy and technical advice at all levels and across disciplines as well as an exchange of information and knowledge. A variety of policy support tools will be developed and used to optimize decision-making, programming and project formulation. They will include best practices, guidelines, norms and standards, advice on participatory and gender-sensitive approaches as well as natural resource management criteria and indicators, including for the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of restoring degraded environments.


D.1 Integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forest and genetic resources


Programmes and policies directed at conserving and developing natural resources often fail or only partially succeed, owing to competing developmental requirements for scarce resources. As competition for resources intensifies, it is increasingly necessary to take into account the positive synergies among the various functions of agriculture as well as the multiple uses of resources, including conservation for the benefit of future generations. The integrated management of natural resources aims to achieve both conservation and development objectives in the context of ongoing population change (growth and urbanization in particular).


The challenge is to identify and promote integrated resource management systems that are at the same time economically viable, environmentally sustainable and appropriate both socially and culturally. This will require cross-sectoral assessments of trade-offs and reinforcement of mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts over the conservation and sustainable use of land, water and genetic resources for agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • developing and promoting integrated resource management systems in such areas as watershed and coastal zone management, transboundary resources, management of aquatic and forest resources and genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • promoting cross-sectoral and subsectoral policies and collaborative mechanisms among relevant institutions (ministries, research institutions, private sector and CSOs) and building institutional and human resource capacity for integrated resource management;
  • serving as a point of reference and source of knowledge on key issues of natural resource management, and facilitating the sharing of experiences at the national, regional and global levels; and
  • developing and strengthening monitoring, assessment and valuation of natural resources to optimize decision-making for the efficient management and sustainable use of natural resources.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO's expertise and wide disciplinary coverage ensures the incorporation of economic, social, legal and institutional aspects in natural resource management approaches, with proper attention to rural development, gender, population and related issues. Its global reach enables it to support policy- and operational-level debates and exchanges on transboundary issues and questions involving many countries; it can thus promote cooperation between various stakeholders to address emerging problems. Examples include the Leipzig Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources, the Global Integrated Pest Management Facility, the Soil Fertility Initiative and the Global Water Partnership. Moreover, FAO's cooperation with ministries of planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water and environment, and its experience in developing and promoting participatory approaches for community-level natural resource management, contribute to reinforcing the necessary cross-sectoral linkages that are central to the successful implementation of integrated natural resource management approaches. Within the UN system, it acts as task manager for implementation of Chapter 10 (Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources) and of Chapter 11 (Combating deforestation) of Agenda 21 and is a major partner for other relevant chapters.


To promote the broad cross-sectoral approaches and collaborative mechanisms required, close cooperation is required between FAO and various organizations within and outside the UN system, including but not limited to IFIs (e.g. the World Bank, IFAD and the regional development banks), the Global Environment Facility and UN organizations (e.g. WHO, UNDP, UNEP and UNFPA). Collaboration with scientific institutions, with the International Water Management Institute and other CGIAR centres, and with international NGOs (e.g. the World Conservation Union, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the World Resources Institute), is also essential; with national research institutes, this will also involve capacity building. To address natural resource issues at the community level, collaboration with various civil society stakeholders, including NGOs, will be pursued. For transboundary issues in particular, partnership with regional and subregional commissions and institutions will continue to be important.


D.2 Conservation, rehabilitation and development of environments at the greatest risk


Focused actions to support conservation, rehabilitation, and development of environments at the greatest risk are required to ensure a balance between immediate human needs for food and livelihoods and the need to prevent unnecessary and irreversible degradation of resources in these environments.


Adequate monitoring of fragile ecosystems and identification of trends and threats to these systems are major challenges that need to be addressed. Particularly in developing countries, there is also an urgent need to assess and address the economic, social and environmental costs of managing and developing these ecosystems.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • monitoring and assessing the state of fragile ecosystems, developing criteria and indicators for their sustainable management and building capacity for environmental impact assessment and risk analysis;
  • enhancing institutional and planning capacity at the local, national, regional and international levels and incorporating consideration of the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of natural resource use into polices and programmes, in order to respond to degradation and competition for natural resources in fragile ecosystems;
  • promoting the sustainable development, conservation and rehabilitation of fragile ecosystems and areas (dryland, mountain and coastal and marine ecosystems); and
  • assisting in the practical implementation of those chapters of Agenda 21, and of international conventions and agreements, relevant to fragile ecosystems (e.g. desertification, mountain development, responsible fisheries).

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO is well positioned to address conservation and rehabilitation concerns with a multidisciplinary perspective and help public and private sector and civil society institutions and organizations in member countries adopt practical solutions for fragile ecosystems. As a result of its institutional capacity and expertise for monitoring natural resources, FAO can also ensure compatibility of natural resource data with other related food and agricultural data. In advising on practical measures to deal with environments at risk, FAO can rely also on its institutional role as depositary for a number of international conventions such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, as well as the fact that it is a task manager or major partner in the implementation of the chapters of Agenda 21 relevant to fragile ecosystems (e.g. deforestation, mountains and drylands). Within the UN system, it has leadership on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.


Particular emphasis will be given to international, regional, national and local partners that are involved in the implementation of Agenda 21 chapters on fragile ecosystems and the related international conventions. A strong partnership will be required with major UN agencies, such as UNEP and UNESCO, and IFIs such as IFAD, working in the areas of conservation and rehabilitation of fragile ecosystems. FAO will also collaborate with research and academic institutions in developing methodologies for monitoring and assessment of fragile ecosystems. Because of its neutrality, FAO can work closely with NGOs and civil societies in balancing conflicting demands on resources and fostering the participation of local communities in conservation and development.


E- Improving decision-making through the provision of information and assessments and fostering of knowledge management for food and agriculture


Knowledge management is vital for effective decision-making. It involves the acquisition, synthesis and sharing of insight and experience, and their systematic integration with factual statistical information and analyses. This corporate strategy derives its legitimacy from Article I of the Constitution, which mandates FAO to "collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture". The assignment of responsibility to FAO's CFS for monitoring World Food Summit follow-up adds further to the Organization's responsibility for global monitoring and assessment of all aspects of food and agriculture and of progress towards achieving food security for all.


The advent of new technologies, including the Internet, has brought new opportunities and also new challenges for FAO in this sphere. The Organization is now in a position to provide better management of the information and knowledge it produces, to ensure their wide and timely dissemination and also to exploit the potential of the Internet for facilitating partnerships in information management. Nonetheless, limitations in access to new technologies remain widespread in developing countries. The challenge is therefore to continue to be proactive in this area and, at the same time, to adapt FAO's tools to the different levels of communications infrastructure in member countries, so that countries with a relatively poor infrastructure receive information as effectively as possible and at the minimum recipient cost. It is also essential to maintain and increase the Organization's effectiveness in raising awareness of pertinent issues in rural development and food security in order to stimulate decision-making and action. Particular care will be taken to tailor the provision of information outputs to clients' needs.


E.1 An integrated information resource base, with current, relevant and reliable statistics, information and knowledge made accessible to all FAO clients


FAO's information clients (its Members, the international community and the public at large) will continue to require timely and relevant information in support of decision-making and policy development. It is therefore essential to maintain and improve the coverage, quantity, utility, timeliness and accessibility of the information collected and disseminated. Moreover, the communications revolution creates an ever more quality-conscious external environment, requiring greater attention to improving information products and/or preventing their deterioration.


The quality of FAO's information is closely correlated to the capacity of FAO member countries to provide reliable and complete data. There is thus a need to support and/or improve the capacity of member countries for data collection and analysis. Quality improvement of data will also be sought by relating cross-sectoral data and information generated from the different disciplines represented in FAO. Normative work on data disaggregated by gender and other parameters will continue. The Organization will seek to establish a more active exchange of information with other networks now in place, which can add to FAO's own capacity.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • developing norms, definitions, methodologies and tools for the improved collection and use of data and information in order to make available the best analytical and decision support tools; this includes introducing a wider range of technological reference frameworks (e.g. georeferenced spatial information management systems);
  • assessing clients' current and new information requirements (e.g. farm income and productivity, agricultural population and labour force dynamics, including sex and age composition, land tenure data and environmental indicators) and adapting information systems in consequence;
  • maintaining and augmenting FAO's basic data series on food and agriculture, particularly with regard to its quality and its processed outputs (codification, analysis, synthesis, aggregation, etc.);
  • building capacity at the national level to improve data collection and information and knowledge management, including assisting clients in making the best use of available sources;
  • promoting the exchange of information among clients, including opening up and adapting FAO's technical information systems where appropriate to interactive data exchange; and
  • continuing the development of WAICENT as the key international information service providing the framework for the harmonization and dissemination of data falling within FAO's mandate.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO, as a neutral forum, enables the development of internationally agreed standards and methods to ensure compatibility and excellence of information. FAO has a network, supported by its Members meeting their statutory obligation to the Organization, which ensures a reciprocal flow of information between FAO and countries and permits the continuing enhancement of national capacities to generate useful, reliable information and to manage knowledge. It is this wealth of experience and knowledge, in conjunction with its multidisciplinary capabilities and technical capacity, which makes FAO an authoritative source of information.


Present external partnerships in the area of data exchange and information sharing include national institutions, IFIs, other UN organizations, CGIAR institutions, NGOs and regional bodies. FAO's role in the establishment of statistical and data standards, norms and methodologies will continue to be supportive of the work
of the UN Statistics Division. Recent advances in technology allow multiple partnerships in the maintenance of single databases, as in the Global Plant and Pest Information System and, especially, in the development and maintenance of distributed databases shared among partners, such as the Global Terrestrial Observing System. New partnerships will be established to assure effective dissemination of FAO information to clients. Financial support will be sought from potential donors to improve national capacities to collect and manage information.


E.2 Regular assessments, analyses and outlook studies for food and agriculture


FAO is a provider of global assessments and analyses to the world community. The challenge for the Organization is to respond to the increasing and more diversified demand for these services while also adapting to the changing needs of its membership.


Major outputs such as Agriculture towards 2015, The State of Food and Agriculture, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, State of the World's Forests and Food Outlook will continue to be prepared as well as more specific assessments, analyses and outlook studies on food and agriculture, based on accurate, up-to-date information. These may be multisectoral or sectoral in their focus. Topics addressed will cover priority areas such as food and nutrition, major sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and key cross-sectoral issues such as biological diversity, climate change and resource degradation. Important socio-economic issues such as gender and poverty will also be addressed. Emphasis will be given to presenting assessments in such a way as to achieve maximum impact on target audiences in order to raise awareness and stimulate action.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • analysing and assessing the state of, trends in and outlook for nutrition, food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and related natural resources, wherever possible basing assessments on diversified data sources and carrying them out in participation with external partners;
  • identifying and analysing current and emerging issues and drawing them to the attention of the international community; this will include the development of improved indicators for use in assessing progress towards sustainable agriculture and rural development; and
  • facilitating the participation of countries in assessments and outlook studies, including through regional and global information networks, and providing technical support to countries in carrying out their own strategic assessments.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO's comparative advantage lies first in its direct, official interface with national governments and their data and information on food and agriculture, and next in its role as a neutral forum for assessment and analysis. Its mandate and its range of expertise, underpinned by both normative and field experience, greatly facilitates the preparation of broadly based, comprehensive studies. FAO assessments cover all phases in the production and consumption cycle and consider a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues in the agricultural and related natural resource fields. This contributes to making the Organization an authoritative source for such studies, which are internationally recognized for their technical and policy contributions in the sectors concerned.


FAO's analytical work depends on inputs from a wide variety of sources. Hence, external partnerships are critical to reliable and comprehensive assessments and analyses. FAO will continue to strengthen linkages and form alliances with national and international partners, including with IFIs, other UN organizations, CGIAR and national research systems, academic and research institutions and other centres of excellence, development agencies and CSOs. These partnerships will involve peer reviews, joint assessments and analyses, development and application of common tools and methods, including modelling and scenario analysis, and networking to obtain the best data and information available to validate findings and conclusions.


E.3 A central place for food security on the international agenda


The World Food Summit served to rekindle awareness that the "problems of hunger and food insecurity have global dimensions and are likely to persist, and even increase dramatically in some regions, unless urgent, determined and concerted action is taken, given the anticipated increase in the world's population and the stress on natural resources". In adopting the Plan of Action to be implemented by countries and the international community, the Summit also invited FAO and other organizations of the UN system to "raise the global profile of food security issues through UN system-wide advocacy and sustain the World Food Summit commitments to world food security".


The Summit documents include a range of "coordinated efforts and shared responsibilities", essential to attain its objectives and assign to the CFS responsibility for monitoring implementation of the Plan of Action. FAO therefore has a major responsibility to collect and analyse information from all sources to facilitate the Committee's monitoring task. In addition, FAO has an important role to play in follow-up to global conferences and summits within a UN system-wide framework. The major thrust of FAO's action will be to work with its partners in promoting national and international action to meet the Summit's goals and to keep the question of food security high on the international agenda.

Strategy components


The components include:

  • global reporting and monitoring through the CFS of national, subregional and regional implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and developing targets, verifiable indicators and analyses to support the global monitoring process;
  • providing regular reports on the state of world food insecurity and coordinating the international component of FIVIMS; and
  • working with other organizations in the UN system and with civil society to raise the global profile of food security issues and help ensure that the results of intergovernmental assessments and decisions stimulate the necessary follow-up action.

Comparative advantages and partnerships


FAO's information and knowledge management capacity in the area of food and agriculture give it a unique capacity to exercise its global responsibilities in regard to monitoring, analysis and promotion of follow-up action for the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The same comparative advantages allow FAO to play a key role within the UN system, and in relation to civil society, in raising awareness and in supporting international action.


In addition to its reporting to the FAO Council and Conference, the CFS provides reports on World Food Summit follow-up, through the FAO Council, to ECOSOC, which is charged with overall monitoring of follow-up to global conferences and summits. The ACC is assigned responsibility for interagency cooperation within the UN system. FAO, with IFAD and WFP, will continue to seek to optimize the synergy between UN partners in follow-up to the World Food Summit through the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, for which FAO provides the secretariat. The UN system has also asked FAO to provide the secretariat for interagency work to develop FIVIMS. The inputs of civil society into global assessment of progress made towards achieving the target set by the WFS will be facilitated in the CFS and other fora. Further important examples of outreach include cooperation with IPU and with regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations.


Strategies to address cross-organizational issues


In addition to the substantive strategies to provide services to Members, several cross-organizational issues also require attention. This section contains a synthesis of these issues and proposes strategies for dealing with them. Such strategies will relate to the implementation of all FAO's programmes, and consequently also to the achievement of the strategic objectives covered in the preceding section.


Ensuring excellence

The issue


A period of shrinking ODA flows and decreasing resources for multilateral organizations has been accompanied by a growth in the number of institutions working in areas touching on FAO's mandate. The Organization thus faces the challenge of retaining and further developing its role as a pre-eminent and authoritative source of information, advice and assistance in the areas of its competence.


FAO is in a unique position to build on its existing strengths, including its global mandate and track record spanning 50 years, recognition of its leadership in a number of technical areas, the wide range of disciplines it gathers under a single roof, its presence in many countries and its acknowledged neutrality and independence. At the same time, the breadth of its mandate and the limitations on resources made available to it preclude assuming leadership in all cases. Where FAO is not the "lead" player, it is all the more important that its activities be planned in the light of others' work so as to minimize overlap and promote synergy, and that partnerships and alliances, based on clear divisions of labour, be strengthened.


It is, however, essential to identify certain areas in which FAO expects to be able to maintain technical leadership and ensure the required action to further enhance its capacity for excellence in those areas. Among the criteria suggested for choosing such areas are that they have transboundary implications and the potential for agreements to support international action, that there is a clear and growing demand for work on them and that FAO has a comparative advantage in dealing with them, owing to its unique character and strengths. Action to strengthen work in these areas would also involve partnerships with others, but the focus would be on preserving and enhancing the status of the Organization as the recognized source of authoritative information and advice to Members, the international community and the public at large.

The strategy


The strategy is to:

a) develop operational criteria for identification and selection of areas of excellence and, on the basis of them, select an appropriate number of key areas where FAO has good prospects for either reaching or maintaining this status;

b) address the question in all its dimensions (the information base and "institutional memory", normative and policy aspects, practical action);

c) put in place the necessary measures for human resource development (including accelerated programmes of technical staff development) and for quality control of outputs; and

d) ensure monitoring of progress and, as resources permit, build in a component of "organizational learning" to guarantee continuous review and adjustment in the light of results.


Enhancing interdisciplinarity

The issue


Interdisciplinary approaches are prerequisites to successful and sustainable rural development. In FAO's work, interdisciplinary approaches and cross-sectoral programmes build on the Organization's disciplinary excellence by making it possible to produce outputs that cannot be generated by one division or department working in isolation. Moreover, they are essential to ensure the requisite attention in all programmes and activities to cross-cutting priorities such as gender mainstreaming and promotion of participatory processes in development work.


The fundamental challenge for the Organization is to complement the new programme planning process with flexible arrangements that:

  • promote a more interdisciplinary approach, while preserving the advantages of the disciplinary organizational structure essential to ensure continued excellence in the Organization's main spheres of competence;
  • reinforce and, where appropriate, formalize collaborative working relationships across the organizational structure - including between headquarters units and decentralized units - for programme planning and implementation.

This strategy addresses measures to strengthen FAO's internal interdisciplinary capacity. At the same time, the issue of interdisciplinarity must also be understood in the wider context of partnerships and alliances, particularly in the UN system context in which FAO, as a sectoral agency, needs to ensure that its work contributes to the system's broad intersectoral efforts. This question is covered in the strategy for broadening partnerships and alliances.

The strategy


The strategy is to:

a) strengthen capacity for interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral problem identification, goal formulation, priority setting, planning, monitoring and evaluation, both for the corporate strategies and for priority themes (e.g. gender mainstreaming, participatory processes);

b) fully develop and implement the new programme model based on cross-sectoral planning and, where appropriate, by formulating interdisciplinary programmes in the Medium-Term Plan;

c) enhance inter- and intradepartmental mechanisms in order to facilitate cooperation and partnership within and between divisions and departments for cross-sectoral aspects of programme implementation;

d) review and improve resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation procedures in order to increase incentives to work in an interdisciplinary manner;

e) in introducing indicators of success, recognize benefits to be obtained from interdisciplinary approaches.

Broadening partnerships and alliances

The issue


FAO is first and foremost a member of the UN family of organizations, and the partnerships deriving from this status, which constitute an important comparative advantage, need to be broadened and strengthened, taking into full account the ongoing process of UN reform. Special attention also needs to be paid to further strengthening of the links and potential for synergy among the Rome-based organizations - FAO, WFP, IFAD and IPGRI. Such reinforced cooperation could lead to mutually agreed arrangements for an alliance for agricultural development.


The changing global context also requires further partnerships to be developed with important collaborators, both state and non-state, outside the UN system in order to ensure complementarity, reduced fragmentation of action, greater leverage on policy issues and cost savings. The emergence and/or strengthening of intergovernmental organizations that promote regional and subregional cooperation means that important new avenues may open up for joint or cooperative work. While maintaining its independence and neutrality, FAO needs to build constructive and effective relations with non-state partners, based on its own and their comparative advantages. This will also permit a more effective focus on cross-cutting socio-economic issues, including population and gender concerns.

The strategy


General considerations on the nature of partnerships with various categories of organizations are dealt with in Part III. The strategy for broadening partnerships and alliances has three major components.


With regard to the UN system and other intergovernmental organizations, FAO will:

a) remain an active partner in interagency work at the international level and continue to cooperate with sister organizations at the country level within the framework of the UN Resident Coordinator system;

b) maintain responsibility, in cooperation with IFAD and WFP, for running the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, in support of implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and continue to contribute to interagency and intergovernmental action to follow up other major conferences and summits;

c) remain an active partner of funding programmes such as UNDP and UNFPA, in responding to requests by recipient countries and in participating as a full-fledged partner in exercises such as the Common Country Assessments (CCAs) and UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs);

d) further strengthen cooperation with IFIs, building on their readiness to seek a broader base of cooperation with FAO, and ensure closer cooperation with CGIAR through the established institutional links (World Bank, UNDP, UNEP) and joint activities with the individual centres; and

e) further develop "bilateral" cooperation and joint work with individual organizations (e.g. with UN organizations such as WHO and UNFPA) as well as with regional and subregional bodies working in areas of FAO's mandate or complementary to it.


With regard to CSOs and NGOs, FAO will:

a) improve information sharing and cooperation with technical and regional NGO networks;

b) encourage policy dialogue at the country, regional and global levels, including improved access to FAO technical meetings;

c) promote the Food for All Campaign national committees;

d) facilitate specific cooperative programmes, i.e. by improving CSOs' participation in planning, formulation and implementation of specific programmes and projects, with particular attention to the SPFS; fostering capacity building for CSOs; and working with CSOs in agricultural rehabilitation efforts;

e) increase the attractiveness of FAO programmes to multilateral and bilateral donors, which attach importance to CSO participation; and

f) strengthen dialogue with CSOs/NGOs on the use of the resources that they themselves invest in agricultural development and food security programmes.


With regard to the private sector, FAO will:

a) enter into dialogue to remove any misconceptions that may exist with respect to an institution such as FAO, and also to develop a clear understanding of agribusiness interests that would be compatible with the Organization's objectives;

b) establish a corporate policy and practice with regard to private sector partners, to strengthen cooperation without compromising the Organization's independence;

c) explore with the private sector how investments in new technology can be steered to bring greater benefit to developing countries;

d) obtain private sector support for FAO programmes, including both fundraising through sponsorships and revenues from services rendered to the private sector, as well as coalitions and bilateral projects with the private sector;

e) play an "honest broker" role in increasing private sector investment in agriculture; and

f) work to enhance the capacities of the private sector in developing countries, especially in providing effective input supply, marketing, processing and financial services.


Continuing to improve the management process

The issue


The underlying issue is to have a management process that meets the needs of the Organization in the context of a changing external environment and, specifically, of the Strategic Framework with its renewed emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and broadened partnerships. Management imperatives affected by these changes include:

  • the need to realign authority, responsibility and accountability;
  • the need to be increasingly cost effective and responsive in the light of competition;
  • the need to provide the management and developmental support required to implement the strategy for enhancing interdisciplinarity;
  • the need for administrative and management information systems to underpin the overall process; and
  • the need for increased flexibility to meet the demands of programmes for new skills, particularly in FAO's areas of excellence.

It is also important to recognize FAO's status as a public service organization and as a part of the UN system, as well as its existing staffing complement and the particular international environment in which it operates:

  • as a public institution, the importance of ensuring adequate custodianship of public funds is paramount;
  • as a member of the UN Common System of Salaries and Allowances, it has agreed to adhere to certain standards established by the system at large;
  • as an international civil service, it is enjoined to give due attention to its advantages of national and cultural diversity, multilingualism and gender diversity both in staffing and in programme planning; and
  • as an employer, to foster staff commitment and motivation.

Human resources are the essence of any service institution. In the case of FAO they make up 84.5 percent of the Regular Budget, including staff (68.4 percent) and other human resources (16.1 percent). The fundamental challenge is to optimize the planning, recruitment, management and development of these resources in order to attract and retain staff of the calibre required. During the coming 15 years, a staff turnover of 70 percent is projected. While this implies a risk of depletion of capacity and loss of institutional memory, which must be countered with appropriate measures, it also provides an opportunity to ensure that the Organization acquires and/or strengthens the skills and competencies required to face the challenges of the future.

The strategy


The strategy outlined below reflects the continuation of efforts to improve the management process and thus is largely under way, although it is recognized that full implementation may take several biennia. It has two components.


To create a management environment that facilitates the implementation of the Organization's corporate strategies and the achievement of its strategic objectives, FAO will:

a) design all field projects and Regular Programme activities with clearly defined and, where possible, time-bound objectives, including milestones in the form of outputs to be produced, reinforced by the identification of specific performance indicators;

b) introduce a more comprehensive evaluation regime, including formal auto-evaluation procedures;

c) realign authority, responsibility and accountability to reflect the new environment better, including assigning of primary responsibility for budgetary management to programme managers;

d) develop and implement integrated supporting systems in the areas of financial accounting and management, human resources management, and programme planning, budget preparation, work planning and implementation monitoring; this includes creating a data warehouse for validated corporate data as a primary source of management information; and

e) provide appropriate analytical tools, so that users can make best use of available data.


To foster staff commitment and motivation, and reward innovation and excellence, FAO will take specific measures to:

a) use entry-level recruitment and career and staff development to renew staff capacity, with a view to meeting the changing needs of programme priorities better and supporting language diversity;

b) further develop flexible and cost-effective arrangements for acquiring and deploying human resources to permit flexible responses to programme priorities and requirements;

c) continue to build a management culture that fosters gender equality, promotes initiative and teamwork and clearly defines accountability for human resources management; this will include performance management systems linked to corporate strategic objectives via the Organization's programme planning systems;

d) keep pace with the UN Common System in human resources management policies, including salaries and entitlements, gender and geographic distribution, work and family life policies and interagency movement; and

e) continue to foster effective staff-management collaboration through consultation with staff, including with the staff associations on the conditions of employment.


Leveraging resources for FAO and its Members

The issue


FAO's capacity to perform its mission is conditioned by decreasing the availability of resources, both core funds for the Regular Programme and extrabudgetary contributions for technical cooperation. It is not realistic to expect an increase in the level of multilateral ODA for the coming years in the light of the current trends in donor countries. Moreover, increasing needs for emergency assistance and expected requirements for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities will in all probability be at the expense of resource availability for long-term development. The limited resources likely to be made available to FAO for agricultural development will need to be utilized in accordance with carefully established priorities. The aim will be to increase the synergy between the normative and operational activities, and to enhance the Field Programme's dual function of, on the one hand, translating into operation and action the concepts and findings developed through normative activities and, on the other hand, enriching normative work through the feedback from field experience.


Emphasis needs to be placed on expanding the total resources applied to the principal programmes espoused by the Organization, and not necessarily on the amount of resources managed by FAO. In this regard, a key challenge will be mobilizing domestic and external, public and private resources for the agricultural and rural sector, including forestry and fisheries. FAO can contribute to the attainment of this critical objective by providing assistance to governments in formulating national development strategies that create a policy environment conducive to private sector involvement and investment. Similarly, it can assist Members in preparing investment programmes and projects with a view to optimizing resource allocation to reflect priority goals better, with due regard to the national absorptive capacities. In doing so, FAO must associate all stakeholders at the national and international levels, so as to ensure ownership, commitment and proper follow-up through funding of high-priority activities by IFIs and major multilateral donors.

The strategy


The proposed strategy is to increase the leverage of resources in support of the Organization's mandated functions through efficient and effective programme management, effective targeting of its work to priority areas, and the consolidation, diversification and expansion of funding sources. FAO will take advantage of its decentralized offices to ensure appropriate liaison with the decentralized decision-making structures of many donors.

Programme design, efficiency and effectiveness


In the case of the Regular Programme of Work, the approach is to improve programme management so that Members remain convinced of the relevance and validity of FAO's activities and focus.


For technical assistance and investment programmes, the concentration will be on sound formulation, efficiency and timeliness and will involve:

a) strengthening of the current country focus system, in full collaboration with member countries, drawing on inputs from the FAO Representatives (FAORs) and the decentralized units;

b) ensuring adequate resources for well-considered programme and project formulation;

c) wider application of effective systems to permit monitoring of the costs of supporting different types of projects as well as to track shortcomings systematically in implementation performance, including ensuring timely reporting to donors;

d) continuing efficiency savings with a view to reducing the cost of supporting field programmes and placing FAO in a better position to compete for resources; and

e) ongoing analysis of donors' ODA policies, sectoral and geographic priorities in order to identify emerging opportunities for enhancing cooperation through the provision of technical assistance and training services in support of programme areas of mutual interest.

Targeting of programmes


For the Organization's normative programmes it is important that extrabudgetary resources be mobilized:

a) to support FAO pilot programmes aimed at testing and proving normative hypotheses in response to emerging issues;

b) to support activities of the Regular Programme directly so as to increase the total level of resources made available for the normative functions of FAO, ensuring that, in doing so, the independence of FAO's work (e.g. in standard setting) is not compromised; and

c) to maximize the impact of its targeted programmes and foster the synergy between normative and field activities, utilizing, as appropriate, its own human and financial resources and promoting joint undertakings with donors.


For the Field Programme, the priority will be:

a) ensuring an integrated approach, with projects based on long-term, broad-based strategies that facilitate the achievement of sustainable results;

b) ensuring interdisciplinarity in order to highlight FAO's comparative advantage and to enhance the attractiveness of its projects to donors and recipients alike;

c) giving priority to Field Programme activities that have a catalytic effect in mobilizing additional technical and financial resources for agricultural development;

d) concentrating on areas where demand for FAO's services is demonstrable, including in agricultural rehabilitation in the context of response to emergencies, and in investment identification and preparation.

Consolidation, diversification and expansion of funding sources


Besides the current range of instruments used to reach out to the traditional donor community, FAO will:

a) strengthen the dialogue with newly emerging developing countries, e.g. in Asia and in Latin America, as well as countries in transition, willing to support development cooperation and to use FAO as a channel, in particular for countries in the same regions;

b) encourage governments of developing countries to use FAO as conduit for technology transfer and know-how acquisition to be funded from
their own resources or from the proceeds of loans under Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) arrangements;

c) further strengthen the partnership programmes that it has put in place since 1994 and develop new partnerships with the private sector, private foundations and civil society as a whole, which will increase the leveraging effect of FAO's own resources;

d) act as facilitator for emerging cooperation between municipalities and other subnational entities of both developed and developing countries; and

e) mobilize donations from private individuals for small-scale interventions in developing countries.


FAO's success in carrying out the above activities will be greatly strengthened if the Organization can project a positive and dynamic image as described in the following section.


Communicating FAO's messages

The issue


Communication must be regarded as an integral part of FAO's substantive programmes. The effectiveness and credibility of the Organization as a policy-making forum and a unique, multilingual centre of excellence, knowledge and technical expertise depend to a considerable degree on its ability to communicate. FAO cannot rely on the influence of a knowledgeable few to sell the added value of the Organization to others. Its ability to secure the necessary support to fulfil its mandate will depend on the quality and effectiveness of its communications to maintain a credible, coherent public image, build understanding and support, counter misperceptions and inform key audiences of the services it offers to the international community.


FAO needs to communicate general messages related to its overall mandate, as well as specific messages directed towards particular audiences or related to the priorities of the Organization. Delivering these messages effectively involves dialogue and a genuine exchange of information and views both within the membership and the Secretariat and with FAO's other key interlocutors such as the media and partners in the UN system, civil society, the private sector and the technical and scientific communities. Effective communication will require ongoing adequate commitments of human and financial resources throughout the Organization. Even in times of budgetary stringency, it is necessary to continue investing in the process of sharing information and influencing public opinion.

The strategy


The Organization's Corporate Communication Policy and Strategy, introduced in 1998, provides the blueprint for managing FAO's diverse communication resources and needs. Its cardinal principles - participatory planning, corporate focus and decentralized implementation - offer a framework for coordination and cooperation among all units of the Organization. The strategy involves:

a) concentrating on priority issues and opportunities and identifying and targeting strategic external audiences, utilizing a variety of channels to reach and interact with defined target groups in a planned, coordinated fashion;

b) reaching out directly to civil society and the general public to raise awareness and understanding of the issues related to FAO's mandate, including strategic use of all branches of the media as channels to communicate key messages on the theme of food security, and to promote the important role of FAO in helping countries to achieve the goals of the World Food Summit;

c) pursuing World Food Day, related special events, and Food for All Campaigns as means of raising public awareness and generating additional resources for food security and agricultural and rural development work;

d) reviewing, coordinating and monitoring implementation of the communication policy, strategy and programmes; this will include, in particular, the publication of information products that are of the highest quality and that project a consistent and appropriate corporate image of the Organization;

e) ensuring a proactive and systematic approach to communication planning and budgeting, to enable a well-planned and well-funded public information effort that supports and is consistent with the Organization's substantive programme of work; and

f) establishing and sustaining a "communication culture", based on a shared foundation of knowledge in which FAO staff become informed and convinced partners in its communication efforts.