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Frequently Asked Questions about results-based management

What is results-based management?

Results-based management is a way of managing whereby an organization ensures that all of its processes, products and services contribute to the achievement of desired results. It depends on clearly defined accountability for results, and requires systematic monitoring, self-assessment and reporting on progress.

How is results based management related to the Immediate Plan of Action for FAO Renewal?

The Immediate Plan of Action includes a series of reform measures relating to the introduction of results-based management at FAO, including better management and development of human resources, alignment of individual and organizational goals and a new Strategic Framework. The Strategic Framework embodies the overall goals of FAO's Members, and sets out measurable indicators for FAO's contributions toward those goals.

How does results-based management differ from results-based budgeting?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but results-based budgeting is really a subset of results-based management. It focuses on the process of linking budgetary allocations to desired results. Results-based management goes significantly beyond, looking at the overall organizational management environment and culture, including human resources management.

Hasn't FAO always been working to achieve results?

Managing to achieve results is not new. But results-based management, provides improved focus and prioritization of all of FAO's work, systematically linking activities carried out by all units at all locations and under all funding sources, with the overall goals of Members. With the Immediate Plan of Action for FAO Renewal, FAO is adopting measures to provide an internal environment that is truly conducive to results-based management for all of FAO's work.

Who is responsible for results-based management?

Results-based management is a way of managing. It is an internal tool that also provides FAO's Governing Bodies with evidence of results. The Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation and the Department of Human, Financial and Physical Resources are actively promoting the new approach.

What difference will this make in terms of the Organization's performance?

In the new planning approach, inter-departmental Strategy Teams, composed of
staff at headquarters and in the field lead the development of planned achievements and performance indicators. In addition to promoting ownership and accountability, this approach leads to more realistic set of plans that can be monitored as part of the overall management process. Critical performance information can be used to make any needed adjustments.

What are the goals of FAO's Members?

FAO's members agree on three Global Goals:

  • reduction of the absolute number of people suffering from hunger, progressively ensuring a world in which all people at all times, have sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life;
  • elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all with increased food production, enhanced rural development and sustainable livelihoods;
  • sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources, for the benefit of present and future generations.


How are priorities set under the new Strategic Framework?

Priorities are set in a consultative process between management and the Governing Bodies. Based on an analysis of FAO's comparative strengths, the expressed needs of Members, FAO's track record, existing capacity, availability of other service providers and other factors, management proposes a set of priorities through the Medium Term Plan. These priorities may be subsequently modified based on input from FAO's Regional Conferences and Technical Committees. Any necessary arbitration occurs at the level of the Programme Committee, which makes final recommendations for decision by FAO's Council.

Which results are measured?

The new strategic results hierarchy consists of high-level goals of Members, a set of Strategic Objectives and Organizational Results. At a corporate level, the focus will be on measuring FAO's achievement against the Organizational Results - providing evidence of how the goods and services that FAO produces have been taken up and used by its clients. A major feature of results-based management is in promoting a client focus. Each unit defines for itself a workplan that contributes to Organizational Results. The performance of individual employees is linked to those results, as is the evaluation of employee performance.