Director-General inaugurates expansion of Budapest facilities
8 October 2013, Budapest, Hungary - On Tuesday, 8 October in Hungary's capital, Director-General Graziano da Silva together with Hungary’s Minister of Rural Development inaugurated the expansion of FAO premises during the fifth anniversary celebration of the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (REU) and the Shared Services Centre (SSC).
This much needed expansion of facilities is being made possible by the generosity of the Hungarian Government and the Ministry of Rural Development.
REU handles all of FAO’s programmatic work for Europe and Central Asia while the SSC is part of the Corporate Services, Human Resources and Finance Department (CS) and is responsible for providing a centralized support function to FAO offices and their employees. Specifically, the SSC handles administrative transactional processes including user support, individual HR servicing, staff and non-staff recruitment, asset management, vendor management, accounts payable, and travel operations. HR and travel operations for Latin American & Caribbean and the Asia & Pacific Regions, however, are provided by two smaller administrative hubs located in Santiago and Bangkok, respectively.
Over the past five years the SSC has gradually increased in capacity, with the off-shoring, consolidation, and streamlining of many administrative tasks to Budapest. During this time, the number of people employed at the SSC, the majority of whom are Hungarian nationals, has increased resulting in the need for additional space.
"The presence of specialized UN bodies in Hungary is extremely important to us", said Minister Sándor Fazekas from Hungary’s Ministry of Rural Development at the press conference held to mark the anniversary and expansion of facilities. The Minister also highlighted that Hungary had received valuable support from FAO as a beneficiary country before becoming a donor country upon joining the EU.
The Director-General reminded the press that cooperation between Hungary and FAO had a history going back to 1996, when the first FAO office opened in the capital. He also emphasized Hungary’s continued support of FAO and to the achievement of the Organization’s objectives.
Prior to the press conference, the Director-General and Minister Fazekas held bilateral talks during which they discussed FAO and Hungary’s deep rooted collaboration and partnership, and the strategic direction of the Organization guided by FAO’s new Strategic Framework.