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II. Corporate strategies

Strategies to address Members' needs

Five corporate strategies to address Members' needs are identified, each supported by several strategic objectives. All derive from FAO's mission and are underpinned by two basic principles:

The strategic orientation of the Framework necessarily requires interdisciplinary programmes, but it does not preclude the formulation of sectoral strategic plans, such as FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry, or specific plans or programmes of action to address sectoral or cross-cutting issues.

The corporate strategies to address Members' needs are rooted in the Organization's 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), with additional funding coming, as in the past, from extrabudgetary sources.

The corporate strategies concentrate on areas in which FAO has comparative advantages, and it is assumed that their achievement will depend on action by member countries as well as FAO. Although the Strategic Framework is "resource-neutral", the amount and type of resources available will be major determinants of its successful implementation.

Reducing food insecurity and rural poverty

Halving the number of undernourished people by 2015 requires special efforts by, and on behalf of, those countries where the problems are greatest, i.e. those with widespread poverty, low growth in per caput food production, low and variable per caput food availability, and uneven access to food supplies. Also included in this group are countries afflicted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises, which are important causes of food insecurity.

Sustainable rural livelihoods and more equitable access to resources

Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity. More sustainable livelihoods and food security for rural and resource-poor populations can be ensured only if individuals' opportunities and resource productivity are increased as a means of raising rural incomes and improving 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.

This strategic objective focuses on:

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 undernourishment and malnutrition. To meet the World Food Summit target, countries will need to adopt special measures, including "safety nets" and related programmes that ensure access to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food in both urban and rural areas affected by widespread undernourishment. The challenge, both for countries affected by undernourishment and for FAO in its efforts to assist them, is to accomplish this in an era of diminished state intervention.

This strategic objective focuses on:

Preparedness for, and effective and sustainable response to, food and agricultural emergencies

Food and agricultural emergencies will continue to occur as a result of natural and human-induced disasters. 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 are those living in rural areas, but the disruption of agricultural and food systems can have serious consequences for both rural and urban populations. It is generally the resource-poor who are most vulnerable.

This strategic objective focuses on:

Ensuring enabling policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry

Policy and regulatory frameworks are ever more important in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world economy. This strategy builds on FAO'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 in the areas of natural resources for food and agriculture, environment and trade.

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

Developing the international policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry 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 and agricultural trade and overall trade policies conducive to food security through a fair and market-oriented world trade system.

This strategic objective focuses on:

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

Competition for natural resources, together with expanding privatization and globalization, will place heavier demands on the regulatory functions of the state. Consequently, there is a growing need for national policy and regulatory frameworks to respond to domestic requirements and be consistent with international frameworks. In particular, developing countries and countries in transition will require assistance in developing and implementing the necessary national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms. Areas in which FAO will provide specialized legal and technical advice include: genetic resources, plant protection, food quality and safety, responsible fisheries, animal health, land tenure and rural institutions, environmental protection, and international trade agreements in food and agriculture.

This strategic objective focuses on assisting countries in:

Creating sustainable increases in the supply and availability of agricultural, fishery and forest products

Meeting the needs of growing and increasingly urbanized populations will require substantial increases in domestic supply and availability of agricultural products. A core requirement, especially in developing countries, is therefore to raise productivity in the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors. This strategy concentrates on improving the policy environment and institutional operating conditions of all agriculture-based activities, addressing systems management constraints and supporting the adoption of appropriate technology aimed at the sustainable intensification of production systems. To assist countries in these areas, FAO will develop and disseminate normative instruments, deliver policy and technical advice, disseminate information on technology and decision support tools, and promote capacity building.

Policy options and institutional measures to improve efficiency and adaptability in production, processing and marketing systems

As agriculture is increasingly commercialized and under pressure to supply burgeoning urban populations, there is a growing need to improve production support services - including input supply and rural finance. A dynamic production sector also requires efficient post-harvest, processing and marketing 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, and greater responsiveness to the market, with particular attention to the role of women.

This strategic objective focuses on:

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 a growing demand while preserving the natural resource base, production must be transformed, especially at the level of small-scale producers. This will require the intensification of production systems, which in turn calls for broader choices of what to produce, and more efficient and sustainable agricultural management practices. Production beyond subsistence levels is a competitive business, and fine-tuning the production system through technology improvement is fundamental for the producer, the economy and sustainable development.

This strategic objective focuses on:

Conserving and enhancing sustainable use of the natural resource base

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 greenhouse gas emissions, and loss of genetic resources and biological diversity. Fragile ecosystems in particular are in the frontline of danger. FAO will continue to assist the global community in addressing natural resource management and conservation issues through the implementation of Agenda 21, and in particular through the promotion of sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forest and genetic resources

As competition for scarce natural resources intensifies, it is increasingly necessary to consider the various functions of agriculture as well as the multiple uses of resources, including their conservation. The integrated management of natural resources aims to achieve conservation as well as development objectives. The challenge is to identify and promote integrated resource management systems that are also 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 use of such resources.

This strategic objective focuses on:

Conservation, rehabilitation and development of environments at greatest risk

Focused actions to support the conservation, rehabilitation and development of environments at 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. Threats to fragile ecosystems need to be identified and the economic, social and environmental costs of managing and developing these ecosystems need to be assessed.

This strategic objective focuses on:

Generating knowledge of food and agriculture, fisheries and forestry

Knowledge management is vital for effective decision-making. FAO has a mandate to "collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture," and the responsibility assigned to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) for monitoring World Food Summit follow-up adds further to the Organization's role in global monitoring of all aspects of food and agriculture and of progress towards the achievement of food security for all. The challenge is to continue to be proactive in the development of information management and dissemination, while also adapting the Organization's tools to the different levels of communications infrastructure in member countries and tailoring information outputs to clients' needs.

An accessible, integrated information resource base, with current, relevant and reliable statistics, information and knowledge

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. The communications revolution has created an ever more quality-conscious external environment, requiring greater attention to the improvement of information products. As the quality of FAO's information is closely correlated to the capacity of member countries to provide reliable and complete data, there is a need to support and/or improve their capacity for data collection and analysis.

This strategic objective focuses on:

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 is to respond to the increasing and more diversified demand for these services, while adapting to Members' changing needs. 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. Emphasis will be given to presenting assessments in a way that raises awareness and stimulates action.

This strategic objective focuses on:

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". FAO has the major responsibility of collecting and analysing information to facilitate the World Food Summit monitoring task assigned to the CFS, as well as an important role in follow-up to other global conferences.

This strategic objective focuses on:


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