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News & features archive, 2010


Evaluation finds FAO is providing strong leadership in the prevention and control of highly pathogenic avian influenza

26 May 2010 – Real time evaluations (RTEs), conducted during the implementation of programmes and projects, are aimed to provide programme managers and senior management with rapid feedback and guidance on the outcomes of proposed activities and on the efficiency and efficacy of the structures deployed at global, regional, national, or even sub-national levels. If delivered expediently, RTEs can offer valuable recommendations to programmes as they evolve to improve outputs or outcomes, or avoid pitfalls. Also, RTEs are important as they promote accountability and transparency of the use of resources to those who receive the financial reports and progress updates, such as: donors, beneficiary governments and other relevant stakeholders.

In 2007, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted its first RTE (RTE-1) on the implementation of its global programme of work on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The RTE-1 concluded that FAO had made significant contributions to the monitoring and management of HPAI, in spite of initial resource constraints, operational difficulties and bureaucratic delays. To position FAO as a leading technical agency and to improve delivery and performance of the HPAI global programme, RTE-1 proposed 34 strategic recommendations. These key recommendations were related to organizational, strategic, financial and technical matters, as well as to the overall coherence of the programme in the broader picture of the interventions of other participating organizations, notably the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In August 2009, the second RTE (RTE-2) was carried out by a team of seven experts. While RTE-1 was “process-oriented”, focusing on the relevance and efficiency of the environment and systems put in place to deliver the HPAI Global Programme, RTE-2 was more “result and impact-oriented”, placing greater emphasis on monitoring progress at outcome and impact levels (especially the delivery of country-level assistance through regional and national interventions), and with an accurate assessment of the issues of relevance, efficiency and effectiveness. The RTE-2 paid particular attention to country-focused work and thus included visits to seven countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Viet Nam) and a review of the roles of three regional offices of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) based in Bamako, Bangkok and Nairobi in support of those countries and others in their sub-region.

The outputs of the RTE-2 consisted of one comprehensive, three regional and seven country reports, including recommendations. Overall, it concluded that programme delivery has been satisfactory and that FAO had demonstrated the capacity to provide strong leadership and performance in supporting the countries in HPAI preparedness and response. It recommended that FAO should continue to work in this area to ensure that the important gains so far attained are not lost but further leveraged to bring HPAI under control, and to extend the benefits of these investments into broader areas of improved animal health and human wellbeing. These significantly positive findings, as well as the RTE-2 recommendations, serve as a source of motivation and inspiration for ECTAD to both strengthen and broaden its activities.

In January 2010, in line with FAO evaluation guidelines, a peer review of the RTE-2 was conducted by an external and independent panel of experts. This panel consisted of representatives from private industry, subject matter specialists, academia, and national and regional regulatory veterinary affairs specialists. It acknowledged the quality of the work produced by RTE-2, while also providing comments on some of the criticisms. By April 2010, an ECTAD management response to the recommendations of the RTE-2 was produced, based on a consultative and participative process between the ECTAD technical, thematic and operational teams addressing each of the recommendations provided.

The majority of the recommendations were accepted, which included many which were already being implemented. Key actions and resource needs for implementing all the recommendations over a three year timeframe were also outlined. To monitor the implementation of RTE-2 global-level recommendations, the management team decided to put in place a quarterly follow-up system. Regional and national recommendations will be dealt separately by the ECTAD regional and country offices, who will report twice a year on the status of their implementation processes. The report of the RTE-2 and the Management Response to the RTE-2 are available as Key Documents here.