COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Rome, 31 March - 4 April 2003
Evaluation of the Animal Health Component of Programme 2.1.3.
1. Within the new FAO evaluation regime that was initiated in 2001, all programmes and operations are subject to evaluation in the context of the Strategic Framework, with the main frame of reference being the FAO Medium-Term Plan. Such evaluations cover inter alia selected technical programmes, priority areas for interdisciplinary action, thematic topics and increasingly will assess overall progress towards achieving the Organization’s Strategic Objectives. Individual evaluation reports are submitted to the Programme Committee, along with a report from an external peer review panel and a written reaction to the evaluation by FAO’s senior management. The main evaluations considered by the Programme Committee are published in the biennial Programme Evaluation Report, along with the Committee's comments. They are meant to guide future deliberations on the Medium-Term Plan and the Programme of Work and Budget. Recent evaluation reports in relevant areas of interest and the Programme Committee’s comments are presented to COAG for information.
2. FAO’s overall activities in animal health under Programme 2.1.3 (Livestock) were evaluated in 20011. The evaluation examined both Regular and Field Programme activities, with particular attention to country-level work carried out under TCP funding. The majority of this work supported the programme on Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES).
3. The evaluation concluded that significant progress had been made on EMPRES, particularly in the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) and in the dissemination of the Transboundary Animal Disease Information System (TADinfo). Outside of EMPRES, with the exception of work on tsetse control and trypanosomiasis, other animal health activities have had a relatively lower profile.
4. The evaluation recommended continuation of work to improve disease surveillance systems, particularly at national level. It recommended a broader view be applied to EMPRES, recognising transboundary disease situations and events. It pointed out that the success of GREP may be hard to duplicate for other diseases that would be more difficult to control. The evaluation stated that the EMPRES mandate should be clarified and urged that it should go beyond emergency prevention to include improved disease surveillance, epidemiology, control and eradication planning. It urged FAO to address the staff shortage in the EMPRES-Livestock Programme (Infectious Diseases Group) and more actively seek funds for EMPRES. It suggested that FAO’s work on veterinary services should be absorbed into EMPRES with a focus on contingency planning. The evaluation also made recommendations concerning the Programme Against African Animal Trypanosomiasis and FAO’s role in integrated parasite control and drug resistance.
5. The External Review Panel endorsed the recommendations of the evaluation, except that it felt (as did FAO management) that FAO’s work on veterinary services should continue with its separate identity. It noted the heavy demands placed on the staff and recommended a re-examination of priorities, eliminating those of lowest priority. The Panel saw a need for the Animal Health Service to articulate its strategy more clearly within the Medium-Term Plan, in particular that of the Parasitic Diseases Group. It noted a need to address future emerging issues in the livestock sector relating to disease surveillance and reforms of veterinary services.
6. Senior management concluded that the evaluation was fair and objective. In particular, it noted the need to strengthen the early reaction element in EMPRES, to improve and consolidate the activities of the Parasitic Diseases Group and to improve the quality of development-oriented TCP projects to achieve a higher level of impact.
7. The Programme Committee, at its 87th Session in May 2002, appreciated the concise and informative report and that management was already addressing some of the issues through the development of proposals for the Medium Term Plan2. It commended progress made under EMPRES and endorsed virtually all the recommendations of the evaluation, including those for addressing the human and financial resource constraints of the Animal Health Service, the required extra-budgetary support for EMPRES-related field operations, and the need to review the animal health programme priorities in the context of medium term planning. It agreed with the External Review Panel and senior management on the desirability of maintaining a separate Veterinary Services Group. It urged caution in the privatisation of veterinary services and stressed the need for FAO to work closely with international partners in animal health.
1 PC 87/4 b) "Evaluation of the Animal Health Component of Programme 2.1.3"
2 CL 123/11 "Report of the 87th Session of the Programme Committee (Rome, 6-10 May 2002)"