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Informal Briefing to Members of FAO Council

Further Adjustments to the PWB 2020-21

Remarks by Director-General

26 June 2020

Distinguished Permanent Representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to see all of you at this informal briefing again within 4 weeks.

Last week, we had very meaningful JM-PC/FC on the further adjustments proposed for the Programme of Work and Budget 2020-2021.

As the last Council, in December 2019, I had adjustments that are necessary to make FAO more dynamic, inclusive, efficient and deliverable.  I had promise to go further.

The driving force behind these further adjustments continues to be my vision of attaining zero hunger and improving the livelihoods of people through better production, better nutrition and a better environment for a better life, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

FAO senior team have answered so many questions openly and to the best of their knowledge. That is a way to improve transparency and accountability among senior management of FAO. That is I hope to do so as FAO DG elected by the Conference. You are aware that it is first time in the history by Webcasting PC/FC in FAO intranet. All staff could reach your comments and suggestions directly in order to improve the deliveries. The debate and your contributions were followed by many observers.

This is in line with my policy of 3-Dimension transparency that I stand for, from day one as Director-General.

I hope that this strong push for a transparent Organization continues to strengthen your trust in my leadership.

And I count on Members giving Management the time and the space necessary to deliver.

I will continue to ensure that the authority you vested on me is used to bring the necessary changes to FAO, I come to Rome for mission to fulfill our mandate on 2030 agenda on SDGs.

Internal management arrangements

To improve the Organization’s efficiency and effectiveness while avoiding silos and establishing transparency and accountability at the optimal levels, we propose a number of structural and programmatic adjustments.

A more modular and flexible Organigramme is proposed, to allow for optimal cross-sectoral collaboration and to enable adjustments to managerial assignments and reporting lines to respond to emerging needs and priorities.

This is the cornerstone for an agile FAO.

The core leadership team consists of the three Deputy Directors-General, the Chief Economist, Chief Scientist and Director of Cabinet. They support me in all areas of the Organization’s mandate.

This core group exemplifies the new collaborative approach of FAO. No more silos, no more small kingdoms – One strong team that works in harmony and synergy.

The ADGs in Headquarters will be involved in pre-coordination of big projects and visible external activities of key importance and less in internal daily management issues.

We strengthened the accountability of the Heads of Offices, Centres, and Divisions, in line with best practice given their role as experts in their respective areas. They will report to a DDG or one of the Chiefs as A line and to another member of Core leadership following B line at same time or directly to myself.

This change allows for the D2 level to play a relevant role as real experts and push for cross-cutting sharing of information they must report to the Core leadership following A line and B line at the same time. Carbon Copy (cc) to relevant directors at D2 or D1 level.

This will build consensus, strengthen internal synergy and avoid the creation of silos. The proposed structural and programmatic adjustments are to improve the Organization’s efficiency and effectiveness while avoiding silos and establishing transparency and accountability at the optimal levels.

I will establish the specific reporting lines taking into consideration the background, skills, and knowledge of the individuals in the leadership team.  There will be a primary (“A”) and a secondary (“B”) reporting line, with the “B” reporting line to play a complementary role and mutual regular support.

These reporting lines will be made public to Members and Staff, keeping update once changed.

This flat, accountable and cohesive structure will be established for a more efficient and accountable FAO by minimizing exchange costs and less bureaucracy.

Organizational structure - highlights

A new Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is proposed, which would coordinate the corporate engagement in the 2030 Agenda follow-up and review, working closely with concerned units across the Organization. I will look at the SDG office. I will put all comprehensive efforts to strengthen FAO decentralization at Country offices, Regional offices and others for the frontlines (talent, resources and services and responses from HQ). The grass-roots level is not solid and has no ability to serve, The people have no sense of access and satisfaction.

This will ensure a stronger focus of FAO on the SDGs and end a situation where SDG related efforts were scattered across the Organization.

We propose the strengthening of three Centres, where FAO works in close collaboration with other UN agencies or with International Financial Institutions.

Following positive exchanges with the relevant entities, I was encouraged to design bigger and do more concrete.

We need to think and plan bigger in order to deliver more and better for our Members.

Working in partnerships is increasingly critical to address complex and multifaceted issues and by strengthening the Centres we proposed to make catalytic use of FAO’s limited net appropriation resources (Big, old and poor):

The Investment Centre (service center) supports public and private investment in member countries to help them achieve the SDGs.  An increase of USD 8 million is proposed to harness its catalytic role in supporting countries and enabling financing at scale;In that respect, it is important to highlight the excellent collaboration we have with the World Bank, our longstanding strategic partner.Not only is there a strong interest from the World Bank Leadership to cooperate with us, we see concrete results in current activities, such as the desert locust response. We want to scale up not only with World Bank but also other IFIs.

The Joint FAO/WHO Centre (platform or coordination) would house two important joint efforts: The Codex Alimentarius Commission as well as all of FAO’s work on zoonotic diseases and others (One Health, AMR, food safety…).  Expertise on zoonotic diseases is brought together to ensure this work continues in a focused and coordinated manner within FAO and in close consultation and collaboration with WHO, OIE and other global partners;

Clearly, we need to have a good discussion with WHO and also with OIE, to define our collaboration after the pandemic. But more urgently we have to prepare ourselves first. 

The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, which (physical center)reflects the longstanding strategic partnership between FAO and IAEA in sustainable agriculture development and food security using nuclear science and technology, is proposed for strengthening by USD 1 million.

Here again, there is very strong interest to further strengthen the cooperation from the IAEA, starting with their Director-General, and solid funding from their side to our collaboration is the proof of that. They gave 4 million US Dollars extra in the last two months.

We propose a new division on Food Systems and Food Safety, which would provide strategic leadership in the development of more sustainable food systems.

The Division would integrate FAO’s scientific and economic analysis to provide improved policy guidance and targeted investment in food systems.

This is directly linked to one of FAO’s important future-oriented mandates: transforming the global agricultural food systems.

Here again, we are taking a concrete step to strengthen focus and abolish silos. Fragmented work is not an option anymore.

All proposals are made within the biennial net appropriation approved by Conference of USD 1 005.6 million.

We continue our policy of transparency and dialogue.

In that respect, a number of information notes were posted in the past days.

These notes provided further information on

    • budgetary shifts and revised budgeted post establishment,
    • the Evolution of budgeted posts by location and category,
    • Key activities and resources for the Hand in Hand Initiative,
    • the proposed organizational structure, and
    • the revisions to the Updated Results Framework 2020-21.

I also decided to go further and voluntarily share with you about information on the internal reporting lines, a matter that is within my decision power as per FAO’s Basic Texts.

A power that you vested in me at the election exactly one year and three days ago when it is UN public service day (June 23).

And I will continue working to create a new FAO.

A demand and challenge driven, professional and innovation-based, results and impact-oriented FAO.

The Organization, with mutual trust between Management and Members, defines a new mind-set.

Let us share FAO’s mission and build more solidarity, by thinking together, learning together, working together and contributing together.

Beth Crawford will present you now with the details of the proposed adjustments.

Thank you