This Programme Implementation Report (PIR) for FAO Governing Bodies sets out the Organization's achievements during the 2000-01 biennium with the resources placed at its disposal, under both the Regular Programme appropriation and extrabudgetary funding. Several developments took place during this period that will have a long-term impact on FAO's activities.
The Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-15, approved by the FAO Conference in November 1999, provided guidance for development of the Organization's future programmes. The planning framework and methodology articulated in the Strategic Framework, including the new programme model, were applied rigorously in the formulation of the Medium Term Plan 2002-07 and the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2002-03, and may have contributed to FAO Conference adoption, by consensus, of a zero real growth budget for 2002-03, following several biennia of negative or zero nominal growth.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2000 estimated that there were 792 million undernourished people in the world, indicating that progress towards reaching the World Food Summit target was proceeding too slowly to halve the number of undernourished people in the world by 2015. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, the Council in November 2000 endorsed my proposal to take the opportunity offered by the FAO Conference in November 2001 to review, at the highest political level, progress in implementation of the World Food Summit (WFS) Plan of Action. Planning for this important event (WFS: five years later) was undertaken in particular through the Committee on World Food Security. Unfortunately, because of security concerns following the tragic incidents of September 2001, the WFS: five years later was postponed to June 2002.
The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) continued to expand. It was operational in over 65 low-income food-deficit countries and other developing countries. In addition, formulation was completed or under way in 17 more countries. The technology packages used on SFPS demonstration plots have shown that yield increases of 200 to 300 percent are possible. To help farmers learn to apply these improved technologies, over 340 field technicians were deployed under South-South Cooperation arrangements. Within the 25 South-South Cooperation agreements reached during the 2000-01 biennium, over 1,350 experts and field technicians have been committed to components of SPFS projects. As a measure of the success of this catalytic programme, total commitments to the SPFS from multilateral, bilateral and unilateral donors and international financial institutions increased to over US$240 million during the biennium.
World Food Day and related events such as TeleFood continued to raise public awareness of hunger and to collect funds with the aim of making "food for all" a reality. The 2000 and 2001 World Food Day themes - A millennium free from hunger and Fight hunger to reduce poverty - drew particular attention to the fact that hunger is the most critical manifestation of poverty and that eliminating hunger is the first step towards reducing poverty and ensuring food security. The FAO Ambassadors programme expanded from four to ten eminent persons from science and entertainment, including a Nobel Prize winner, all of whom committed themselves personally and professionally to use their special positions in society to help raise awareness of the universal humanitarian issues that underpin FAO's mission. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the number of microprojects funded from TeleFood proceeds grew to more than 1,000, assisting small communities in over 110 countries around the world.
Of course, a major part of the Organization's work is less publicized, but just as important. Normative programmes continued to focus on areas of FAO's comparative advantage. Publications such as The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI), The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) and the State of the World's Forests (SOFO), as well as information on the FAO Web site - particularly through the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) - continued to provide authoritative analysis, information and statistics used throughout the world. Similarly, FAO continued to provide a forum for discussion and decisions on topics of importance to food and agriculture, such as the legally binding International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Codex Alimentarius and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, among others. Advisory services and technical assistance to Members also remained central to FAO's work and significant effort went into trying to expand the field programme.
The decentralization process continued to evolve with the decision to place operational responsibility in the hands of the FAO Representative for the implementation of national projects in those countries with an FAO Country Office. To facilitate this process, for which effective communication between Country Offices, Regional and Subregional Offices and headquarters is crucial, a wide area network project was initiated to provide Country Offices with the same level of communication services available to other FAO staff.
While much was achieved, it must be remembered that 2000-01 was a period of continued austerity. The Programme of Work and Budget was again approved by the Conference at zero nominal growth, entailing a decrease in real terms, and included the abolition of about 50 posts, including 30 professional positions. Staff retrenchment was undertaken in consultation with staff associations and was greatly facilitated by the special authority to fund redeployment and separation costs, as approved by the Conference. The Oracle financial system began to demonstrate the significant benefits expected from such a modern system.
Concerning the format of the present document, it should be noted that the Programme of Work and Budget 2000-01, which is the subject of this PIR, was formulated prior to adoption of the Strategic Framework and therefore did not benefit from its guidance. However, many elements of the new programme model were applied to the technical programmes in the PWB 2000-01 to improve programme planning and presentation, and form the basis for reporting on implementation in this PIR. Following the pattern of previous years, the list and status of outputs planned in the PWB 2000-01 are available on the FAO Internet site.
It is pertinent to observe that this type of ex post facto reporting of achievements will undergo significant changes of scope and approach in the next PIR. With inclusion in the Medium Term Plan of indicators for achieving objectives and specification of the means of verification, future PIRs should be in a much better position to report on achievements against intended outcomes. Reporting on strategies to address cross-organizational issues embodied in the Strategic Framework should also be possible and will thus increase the relevance of reporting and demonstrate its contribution to enhanced accountability, as sought by Members.
I trust that Members will find the information in this document of interest, and see it as a further evidence that the Organization provides good value for money and remains conscious of the need to meet the expectations of stakeholders despite budgetary restraint.