RAP Publication: 1999/18
|Table of Contents|
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|Soon after my arrival in Bangkok in the middle of 1998, I realized that the regional office has a need to communicate general messages related to its overall mandate as well as specific messages directed toward particular audiences or related to the programme priorities for the Asia-Pacific region. Delivering these messages effectively involves a genuine exchange of information and views with FAO's constituency and key interlocutors such as the media, NGOs and national and community leaders. Taking these dimensions into account, communication concerns everyone at the regional office, even though roles and responsibilities differ.|
|I, therefore, have taken a number of initiatives to further enhance the focus and effectiveness in the areas of information and communication. These initiatives are in line with the new FAO corporate communication policy and strategy as approved by the Director-General last year. A regional Communications and Publishing Committee, already established, will be advising me on the strategy and planning for all information products of the FAO regional office in Bangkok. Covering the beginning of 1999 the quarterly newsletter Maliwan, has been issued while a new leaflet, RAP: What it is, what it does, is being prepared. The present publication, Highlights 1998, supplements the currently planned general information products.|
|In the area of specific messages, a working paper on the Asian economic crisis was distributed recently, and a whole range of working papers on the Asian Perspective is under preparation, such as on crop, livestock and fisheries production, forestry, food and nutritional security, women in development, and rural development.|
|This publication is a joint effort of all staff members in the regional office. A special mention is to be made of Diderik de Vleeschauwer, who put all contributions together in the present form and in timely manner.|
|It contains selected highlights of the major activities carried out by the regional office during 1998 only. Of course, much more work was performed at the regional office during the year that could not be featured here for lack of space. Nevertheless, I hope the reader will appreciate the information provided.|
and Regional Representative
of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
The Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in 1945 with the mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the conditions of rural populations.
Today, FAO is the largest specialized agency in the United Nations system and the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 175 member nations plus a member organization, the European Community.
In November 1947 the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) was opened in Bangkok, Thailand. Since those beginnings, RAP has not ceased to grow and thrive. Its membership more than quadrupled and now stands at 34 countries. Similarly, the scope of activities steadily expanded, and the office increasingly hosted technical assistance projects, complementing the work carried out by the rest of the regular staff.
With the implementation of the decentralization policy, initiated by the current Director-General, Dr Jacques Diouf, the Sub-regional Office for the South-Pacific Islands was established in 1996. This office is located in Apia, Samoa, and is an integral part of RAP.
The 220 staff members of the sub-regional and regional offices work together to alleviate poverty and hunger in the region by promoting the pursuit of food security - the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healthy life.
A specific priority of the regional office is encouraging sustainable agriculture and rural development, a long-term strategy for increasing food production and food security while conserving and managing natural resources. The aim is to meet the needs of both present and future generations by promoting development which does not degrade the environment and is technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable.
With the coming in of a new Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative during 1998, a review, of the decentralization procedures and the organizational and administrative arrangements currently in place was undertaken by him. The aim was to ensure that adequate and efficient mechanisms were in place to respond to emerging issues and priorities in the region. The review concentrated on a few key aspects of the decentralization process:
multidisciplinary approach and team spirit: technical department groups, branches and units at the regional office are now meeting periodically;
streamlined identification and formulation of regional priorities: the preparation by individual staff members of the 1999 workplan and of the Programme of Work and Budget for the 2000–2001 biennium have involved extensive consultation with technical counterparts at headquarters. These plans were further discussed within each Technical Department Group and screened by local inter-departmental group meetings against regional priorities and integrated by RAP management into comprehensive regional plans and programmes before submission to headquarters;
enhanced focus on country needs and requirements: Country Task Forces (CTF) have been formed, consisting of staff members with relevant expertise, which has led to improved country focus and co-ordination within the office, and to more effective lines of communication with FAO country representatives, particularly in programme development matters. CTF have been established for all the countries of the region, and started functioning for Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam;
enhanced analysis of emerging trends in food, agriculture and related sub-sectors in the region: important and far-reaching policy shifts in response to the regional financial and economic crisis and to unusual weather phenomena have necessitated the preparation of forward-looking documents analyzing medium-term trends of relevance to FAO activities. For the benefit of member nations, RAP professional staff members have embarked on the preparation of a series of working papers on the perspectives in Asia and the Pacific for crop, livestock and fishery production, forestry, food and nutritional security, women in development, and rural development;
increased staff participation on important management issues: in addition to the established management team meetings, several committees and working groups were set up. Nominated staff members debate on management issues and formulate recommendations for management consideration. Subjects covered up to now are the RAP newsletter, publications, the library, project formulation, and accommodation and renovation;
greater collaboration with relevant UN agencies and regional institutions: at the regional level, RAP is a member of the Regional Interagency Committee for Asia and the Pacific (RICAP), which meets twice a year under the chairmanship of the executive secretary of ESCAP. The main function of RICAP — to ensure a unified UN presence through more effective collaboration and cooperation at regional level — is effected through the work of 14 subcommittees. RAP participates in the subcommittees dealing with environment, water, poverty alleviation, population, advancement of women and disability-related concerns. The regional office also undertook or continued joint regional programmes with ESCAP (on rural development and population), with ILO (on co-operative development, work and employment), and with UNICEF and WHO on regional nutrition and health programmes. At the national level, RAP is a founding member of the Thailand-UN Cooperative Action Plan (Thai-UNCAP). Recently, technical support has focussed on the Poverty Strategy Initiative, aimed at improving the condition of the poor and creating an enabling policy environment for poverty alleviation in Thailand.
The following chapters highlight a few milestones in the work and achievements of the FAO regional office during 1998.
This publication contains 67 articles documenting major activities undertaken by staff members from the regional and the sub-regional offices during 1998. Six chapters cover the main areas of work:
♦ advocating support for FAO's goals, vision and policies
A key concern of FAO is to increase the priority given in national and regional development policies and initiatives to the agricultural and rural sector and to the availability of food for all. Hence, the importance of the quality of its communication with external audiences, including the media, policy and decision makers, technical experts, civil society and the general public. Nine articles deal with high-profile public information and representational activities of the regional office.
♦ providing a neutral forum for discussions
The FAO regional office provides a neutral forum where nations from the region can meet to discuss and formulate policy on major food and agricultural issues. It organizes the biennial FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, as well as the sessions of statutory regional commissions. It regularly hosts major consultations, technical meetings and workshops. It also has a well-known publishing programme and the library is open to the general public. This is illustrated by 13 articles.
♦ technical support
More than twenty-five professional officers-grouped in five technical groups (agriculture, economic and social department, fisheries, forestry, sustainable development), together with officers outposted from the Headquarters' Investment Centre and from the World Bank - provide technical support to the countries in the region, to the FAO field projects and to the network of FAO country representatives. They serve as a clearing house, providing farmers, scientists, traders and government planners with the information they need to make rational decisions on planning, investment, marketing, research or training. Twenty-five articles document this type of work.
♦ policy assistance to governments
Drawing on the skills and experience of the staff members in the Policy Assistance Branch, the FAO regional office provides independent advice on agricultural policy and planning. It includes regional, sub-regional and national strategies toward rural development, increased food security and the alleviation of poverty. Four articles are devoted to this subject.
♦ development assistance (field programme)
Giving practical help to countries in the region through a wide range of projects, the FAO regional office encourages an integrated approach, with environmental, social and economic considerations included in the formulation of development programmes. A Field Operations Branch with some 30 staff, in cooperation with staff members from the Management Support Unit, is directly responsible for the implementation of the 200 ongoing field projects in the region. Highlights 1998 contains 12 articles on the field programme.
♦ management of the regional programme
This chapter contains four articles dealing with FAO's decentralized management policy and presents a few concrete examples on how this is implemented now.
Finally, the annexes provide useful listings, such as the lists of RAP publications and meetings, member countries of the region and professional staff members in the office.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION of the UNITED NATIONS
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.
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Advocating support for FAO's goals, vision and policies
Audience with HM the King of Thailand
First audience with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Women Feed the World
New head at the regional office
Crisis forcing Asia to review agricultural policy
Promoting the South-South cooperation programme
The Agriculture Minister of Thailand visits the regional office
Providing a neutral forum for discussions
FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific
A web of concern for livestock health and death
Preparing the 1998 ASEAN summit: the food security angle
Half a century later, the sea is the limit
Forestry sector outlook
Australian Bureau of Statistics hosts a commission meeting
Selected indicators of food and agriculture
Facts on rural women at your fingertips
Asia-Pacific Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting
Gone Astray is going places
Livestock on the Web
Food Security in the Pacific
The success of the Farmers Field School approach
Vientiance workshop on Mekong River floods
Rethinking irrigation system operations
How to get agricultural production to respond to market signals?
Toward a regional network on deciduous fruits in Asia
Surfing the TAMNET in Hanoi
Revised plant protection agreement
Hands off harmful chemicals
Litchi and longan harvesting in China
From food convention to food federation
Making cheap, storable meat products
Launching a major small-scale fisheries study
An update of forestry action programmes in Asia and the Pacific
Decentralization of forest management
Toward a tropical fruit network
FIVIMS: a systematic approach to fighting undernutrition
Kunming workshop on agricultural accounts
How can cooperatives survive financially?
Transferring technology to rural women
Food security for rural women
Decentralized rural development and the role of rural self-help groups
ADB loan for Laos
Shivalik Hills integrated watershed development
Technical support for the Pacific
Reports from other regional bodies located at RAP
Policy assistance to governments
Report on an in-depth study of poverty in Asia
DPR Korea: agricultural investment for recovery
Cambodia's agricultural sector's review draft report
Policy work in the Pacific
Development assistance (field programme)
1998 Field Programme in the region
The fight against hunger
The beauty of Thai silk
Speeding up agrarian reform in the Philippines
Employment in agriculture for the disabled
Improving agricultural statistics
Thailand: a magnet for experts
Kitchen gardens: improving nutrition in Bhutan
A regional centre for meat: the long-term objective
Reviewing projects in Northern Thailand
UN partnership with Thailand
Local predator for plant protection in Samoa
Management of the regional programme
Regional office workplans for 1999
Programme of work and budget
RAP's training facility
1998 list of publications
1998 list of meetings
List of RAP member countries
List of professional staff