Table Of Contents


Towards 2015

1. In the year 2015 FAO will celebrate its 70th birthday. What will it be doing then? What should it be doing between now and then? At the turn of the century, and the millenium, FAO's Members have decided to address these questions through the development of a Strategic Framework to guide the Organization's work over the coming 15 years.

2. The question of where FAO should be going and what it should be doing by 2015 is inextricably linked to the question of what kind of world it will be part of. In anticipating what the future will hold, the only real certainty is uncertainty. Demographic and economic projections only indicate the likely scenario based on current trends.

3. According to the latest population projections of the United Nations, the world's population is expected to grow on average by about 75 million per year until 2015, when it is foreseen to reach 7.2 billion. Populations living in what is today the developing world will account for over 90 percent of the increase. In 2015 it is estimated that Africa's population will be 55 percent above its 1995 level, while that of the other developing regions combined will be close to one-third above.

4. Economic growth in the medium term (to 2005) is expected to be more sustained in the developing world as a whole than in the developed countries, though with considerable differences between countries. However, change in the global balance of wealth among nations is likely to be slow; at present 78 percent of world GDP is accounted for by high-income countries, which have 15 percent of the world's population, while only 2.5 percent comes from low-income economies, which have 35 percent of the world's population. Moreover, as recent events leading to regional/global financial instability in 1997/98 have demonstrated, there is a risk of economic recessions with consequent adverse effects on employment, agriculture and food security.

5. Hunger is expected to persist, though at slightly attenuated levels. The number of chronically undernourished people in developing countries is now estimated at 828 million for the 1994-96 period. The region with the largest absolute numbers of undernourished (512 million) is Asia, while the region with the largest proportion of the population that is undernourished (39 percent) is Africa. Unless major efforts are made to improve food supplies and to overcome inequities, in 2015 the incidence of undernourishment in some countries may still be as high as 30 percent of the population.

6. A growing number of the chronically undernourished are likely to be among the urban poor. The world's current population of 6 billion is still predominantly rural. However, the total number of people living in urban areas is expected to increase by more than 60 million per year, and by 2010 urban areas are expected to have surpassed rural areas in population. By 2015, 26 cities in the world, most in countries now categorized as developing, are expected to have populations of 10 million or more.

7. National and international action can avert or mitigate the negative consequences of some of these trends, particularly for food security. Political, economic and social systems will be expected to provide the enabling environment necessary to ensure equitable access to food. Agriculture-in the broad definition including fisheries and forestry-will have to meet the needs of growing and increasingly urbanized populations, while at the same time protecting the natural resource base for the benefit of future generations.

Box 1. FAO's Constitution

The Preamble states:

"The Nations accepting this Constitution, being determined to promote the common welfare by furthering separate and collective action on their part for the purpose of:

  • raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdictions;
  • securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products;
  • bettering the condition of rural populations;
  • and thus contributing toward an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger;

hereby establish the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, hereinafter referred to as the "Organization" through which the Members will report to one another on the measures taken and the progress achieved in the field of action set forth above."

Article I defines the mandate of FAO as follows:

"1. The Organization shall collect, analyze, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture. In this Constitution, the term "agriculture" and its derivatives include fisheries, marine products, forestry and primary forestry products.

2. The Organization shall promote and, where appropriate, shall recommend national and international action with respect to:

    (a) scientific, technological, social and economic research relating to nutrition, food and agriculture;

    (b) the improvement of education and administration relating to nutrition, food and agriculture, and the spread of public knowledge of nutritional and agricultural science and practice;

    (c) the conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production;

    (d) the improvement of the processing, marketing and distribution of food and agricultural products;

    (e) the adoption of policies for the provision of adequate agricultural credit, national and international;

    (f) the adoption of international policies with respect to agricultural commodity arrangements.

3. It shall also be the function of the Organization:

    a) to furnish such technical assistance as governments may request;

    b) to organize, in cooperation with the governments concerned, such missions as may be needed to assist them to fulfil the obligation arising from their acceptance of the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture and of this Constitution; and

    c) generally to take all necessary and appropriate action to implement the purposes of the Organizations as set forth in the Preamble."

8. Within this general scenario, a number of major trends and forces can be identified which are likely to have a bearing on FAO's future work which can be summarized as follows:

9. Each of the trends presents both risks and opportunities for the Organization. A Strategic Framework for FAO's response to the challenges implicit in this scenario must begin with consideration of the Organization's purpose.


10. The fundamental purpose of FAO is set out in the Preamble to the FAO Constitution (Box 1), which affirms the determination of Members "to promote the common welfare by furthering separate and collective action on their part for the purpose of:

raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdictions;

securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products;

bettering the condition of rural populations;

and thus contributing toward an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger".

11. The order of the elements in the Preamble, and the name given to the Organization, associating food and agriculture, were significant, in that they recognized both the imperative of ensuring adequate nutrition and standards of living for all, and the importance of agriculture to doing so. In a report to the first conference, in Quebec City, which established FAO on 16 October 1945, the drafters of the Constitution stated: "If there is one fundamental principle on which FAO is based, it is that the welfare of producers and the welfare of consumers are in the final analysis identical." It was to be the business of FAO to seek and to emphasize the "larger framework" within which the interests of the consumers of food and the interests of agricultural producers were seen to be the same. And as was made clear in Article I of the Constitution, the term "agriculture" was to be understood in a broad sense, to include fisheries, marine products, forestry and primary forestry products.

12. That the purpose of FAO remains relevant, vital and valid was reaffirmed at the time of the celebration of FAO's Fiftieth Anniversary, in 1995. This was an occasion for both a review of past experience and a look ahead. Two things were clear. The first was that considerable progress had been made in food and agriculture generally and in reducing the proportion of chronically undernourished in the population of the developing world. The second was that, despite all the progress, the undernourished still amounted to one-fifth of the total, and this in absolute terms meant over 800 million people without access to enough food to meet their basic requirements.

13. In the Quebec Declaration, approved by the Ministerial Meeting convened in Quebec City, Canada, and subsequently formally adopted by the FAO Conference, Members recalled each of the specific elements of the Preamble, and reaffirmed their political support to the Organization in carrying out "its mission to help build a world where all people can live with dignity, confident of food security".

14. They emphasized the promotion of agriculture, forestry and fisheries as key sectors in the quest for sustainable economic development, the empowerment of food producers and consumers, the sustainable use of natural resources for development and the need to build a global partnership for sustainable development. In its substance the Quebec Declaration reaffirmed the basic principles on which FAO was founded. It was formulated, however, to reflect changes in perspective based on fifty years of experience, and on new paradigms emerging or accepted as a result of that experience.

15. The new paradigms emerged even more clearly in the outcomes of the series of international conferences and summits convened in the Nineties. These generated a broad-based international consensus on development, as a common response by the international community to the situation at the end of the Twentieth Century. They drew attention particularly to the need for a concerted attack on poverty and environmental degradation. Still to come, however, was a clearer focus on the imperative of addressing hunger, as the most extreme and unacceptable manifestation of poverty, and on the twin necessities of producing enough food for the people while protecting and sustaining the resources of the planet. It remained for the World Food Summit to build on agreements reached in earlier fora, in order to add the essential dimension of food security to the agenda for action in the Twenty-first Century.

The World Food Summit-a new point of reference

16. At the same session in 1995 at which it adopted the Quebec Declaration, the FAO Conference decided to convene the World Food Summit. The Summit, held one year later, was the first global gathering at the highest political level to focus solely on food security, and in adopting the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action it renewed the commitment of the international community to ensuring food for all. The Declaration enunciates both the ultimate goal and the immediate target: "We pledge our political will and our common and national commitment to achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015."

17. A common thread which runs through the declarations and action plans adopted by the global conferences is that of national responsibility and international solidarity. The goals defined are goals which only states can achieve, but the multilateral institutions, each within its own mandate and sphere of competence, are called upon to help and support them in that effort.

18. Thus FAO has a major role to play in assisting countries to implement the provisions of the World Food Summit Plan of Action which fall within its mandate, as well as to monitor, through its Committee on World Food Security (CFS), overall progress in achieving the Summit's goals. In defining FAO's own goals, therefore, the Plan of Action is fundamental.

19. At the same time, the Organization has significant responsibilities, within the UN system, for assisting in implementation of parts of Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and for aspects of the outcome of a number of other United Nations conferences, dealing inter alia with women, children, population and social development.

Global Goals

20. Keeping in mind the Basic Texts of FAO, it is possible to define three inter-related global goals which the Organization is specifically dedicated to helping Members achieve:

Access of all people at all times to sufficient nutritionally adequate and safe food, ensuring that the number of chronically undernourished people is reduced by half by no later than 2015.

The continued contribution of sustainable agriculture and rural development, including fisheries and forestry, to economic and social progress and the well being of all.

The conservation, improvement and sustainable utilization of natural resources, including land, water, forest, fisheries and genetic resources for food and agriculture.

21. These goals have been formulated taking into account a number of texts agreed at various international conferences, and in particular the World Food Summit and the UN Conference on Environment and Development. It should be stressed that they should not be seen as reopening debates which took place in those fora, nor as encompassing all aspects discussed in them. Rather the intention is to highlight those aspects of the issues for which a contribution is expected from FAO in view of its mandate and sphere of competence.

22. In the pursuit of these goals FAO must rely on a strong set of values which define it as an institution ( Box 2). It must also have a clear sense of its mission and a vision of success.


23. FAO's mission, in fulfillment of the purpose for which it was established (Preamble to the Constitution) and in full respect of its mandate (Article 1 of the Constitution), is to help build a food-secure world for present and future generations.

24. In the coming 15 years it will assist Members to: reduce food insecurity and rural poverty; ensure an enabling policy and regulatory framework for food and agriculture, fisheries and forestry; secure sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food; conserve and enhance the natural resource base; and generate knowledge on food and agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Box 2. Values

FAO's field of action touches upon the most basic of human rights and needs--that of freedom from hunger--as well as on crucial sectors of the world economy--agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Certain fundamental values underlie the Constitution which Members accept on joining the Organization, and which are enunciated in the Oath of Office by which the staff of the Secretariat is bound:

    Commitment: With broad global membership, the Organization is dedicated to promoting the common welfare through cooperation among nations; integrity and devotion to this ideal are required of those who serve in the Secretariat.

    Independence: FAO provides a forum in which Members seek to broaden consensus, and an impartial Secretariat is key to assisting them to achieve this.

    Partnerships: FAO belongs to a global family of institutions in the United Nations system dedicated to the promotion of international economic and social cooperation and brought into relationship with the United Nations itself under the provision of Article 57 of the Charter, and its staff belong to an International Civil Service loyal to common principles.

    Competence: FAO is expected to be a centre of excellence in its field, with a Secretariat dedicated to securing the highest standards of efficiency and technical competence.

    Equality: FAO is committed to the promotion of the full and equal participation of women in development and to the achievement of gender balance in the staff of the Secretariat.

    Diversity: FAO's strength derives also from respect for diverse approaches and paths to a common destination; its Secretariat therefore recruits personnel on as wide a geographical basis as possible.

    Unity: By coming together in the Organization, nations affirm their belief in the need for collective action and their willingness to take it, and the Secretariat accepts loyally to carry out the decisions of Members.


25. The Organization's vision of success is to remain fully responsive to the ideals and requirements of its Members, and to be recognized for leadership and partnership in helping to build a food-secure world.

26. In the coming 15 years it will be: a centre of excellence and an authoritative purveyor of knowledge and advice in the sphere of its mandate; a preeminent repository and provider of multidisciplinary capacities and services in the areas of its competence; an active partner of organizations, within and also outside the UN system, which share its goals and values; a well-managed, efficient and cost-effective institution; a mobilizer of international will and resources to assist its Members, as well as a responsible manager of the resources entrusted to it; and an effective communicator and advocate for its own goals and those of its Members.

27. Part II of this document addresses the ways in which FAO will translate this overall strategic orientation into concrete strategies for action. It highlights the challenge facing the Organization, which is to combine continuity of purpose with flexibility of approach in a changing world.


28. The corporate strategies which make up the Strategic Framework include both strategies to address Members' needs, and strategies to address cross-organizational issues. The former cover what FAO will do to help Members achieve their goals, while the latter deal with the way in which it will carry out its tasks.

29. Both sets of strategies require consideration of the means of action at the Organization's disposal. These may be roughly grouped into "normative" and "operational", including technical cooperation, activities. However, there is often no rigid demarcation between them, because of the synergies inherent in a multi-disciplinary programme executed through a decentralized structure.

30. Because FAO's Regular Programme is the basis and starting point for formulation of the Strategic Framework, the strategies to address Members' needs are rooted in normative work. However, they will also involve operational activities, provided that Members request them, that the requisite human and financial resources are available, and that they are practical extensions of normative work and of direct benefit to member countries.

31. The Regular Programme will continue to provide certain critical inputs for operational work, notably through the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) and the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). Nevertheless, the bulk of funding will have to come, as in the past, from extra-budgetary sources. Measures to enhance the effectiveness of the Organization's technical cooperation activities, and to leverage resources for them, are dealt with in the strategies to address cross-organizational issues.

Strategies to Address Members' Needs

32. Two basic principles underly the approach taken in formulating the following five corporate strategies and related strategic objectives:

33. The purpose of these corporate strategies is to give clearer focus and direction to the Organization's work in serving its Members, concentrating on the areas in which it has comparative advantages. The assumption underlying the definition of the strategic objectives is that their achievement will depend on the action of member countries as well as on that of FAO. While the Strategic Framework is "resource-neutral," the amount and type of resources made available will be major determinants of success.

34. Although the strategic orientation to the Organization's work between the years 2000 and 2015 requires interdisciplinary programmes, it does not preclude the formulation of sectoral strategic plans, such as FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry. The global goals referred to in Part I of this document will continue to have sectoral thematic goals contributing to them, and in many cases specific plans or programmes of action agreed by countries. Examples include the Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, the Leipzig Declaration and Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Cross-cutting thematic goals and plans, such as the FAO Plan of Action on Women in Development, will also continue to guide FAO's approach.

A. Contributing to the eradication of food insecurity and rural poverty

35. If the global target set by the World Food Summit is to be met, special efforts will have to be made by and on behalf of those countries where the problems are greatest. Generally, these countries are characterized by: widespread poverty, mainly in rural areas; low growth of per caput food production; low and variable per caput food availability; and uneven access to available food. The group also includes countries vulnerable to, or suffering the effects of, natural disasters and humanitarian crises, which are important causes of food insecurity.

36. This corporate strategy addresses key factors which contribute to certain preoccupying trends in the external environment - the persistence of poverty, the widening of the gap between the affluent and the poor, the inequality in access to the benefits of economic and technological progress, and the continued risk of disaster-related and complex emergencies. Normative means of action will include identification and dissemination of policy and decision support tools, guidelines and information on best practices, and capacity-building for both public and non-governmental sectors. In its technical cooperation with member countries, FAO will focus on actions that are both urgent and appropriate in the light of its mandate and comparative advantage. In the response to emergencies, for example, support for aid coordination and planning of rehabilitation in the agricultural sector may be expected to assume increasing importance.

A.1 Sustainable rural livelihoods and more equitable access to resources

37. Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity. Efforts to increase food supplies and accelerate economic growth will bring overall benefits to the country and society, but unless accompanied by complementary targeted measures, they are unlikely to completely eliminate poverty and food insecurity among rural populations. People living in economically and environmentally marginal areas are at greatest risk of being left behind, but poverty and food insecurity also exist amongst the resource poor in more favourably endowed areas.

38. More sustainable livelihoods and food security can be ensured for these populations only through efforts to increase individuals' opportunities and choices and improve resource productivity, thereby resulting in higher rural incomes and improved food access. The promotion of equitable access to natural and economic resources and social services is crucial, and may require specific action to address gender disparities. The challenge is to improve rural livelihoods, farm incomes and food security, both in food-deficit and economically marginal areas and amongst the resource poor in more favourably endowed areas.

Strategy Components

39. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

40. In the sphere of integrated rural development, FAO has competence in major areas (food and nutrition, crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry) that are basic to improving rural incomes and employment opportunities. It is the only international agency that deals with all aspects of rural land tenure. It has developed specific capabilities for capacity-building and institutional strengthening, developing and applying participatory processes and methods to help the rural poor capture available opportunities and have access to the necessary resources. Particularly innovative approaches have been developed, through the Special Programme for Food Security, for the identification of constraints, and the testing, demonstration and replication of strategies for rural livelihood improvements. FAO also has proven expertise in mobilizing investment in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

41. Considering that poverty eradication is a major goal of Members, and that it has stimulated a UN system-wide response, FAO's contributions focussed on the rural sector are not provided in isolation but are an integral part of the broader effort. Critical to the attainment of better rural living standards will be investment in improved access to safe water and sanitation, power supplies, health services and education. From this vantage point, FAO will seek further integration of its action within the UN system (notably with WFP, IFAD, WHO, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNEP, UNDCP, UNIFEM). The ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security will be an important means to promote this at both Headquarters and field levels. Partnerships will also be reinforced with the CGIAR system and academic and national research institutions. New alliances, based on shared objectives and complementarity of action, will be sought with organizations operating in the sphere of rural development and poverty alleviation, including specialized NGOs and community-based organizations (particularly those of farmers, rural people, women and youth), as well as with the private sector. Building on the long-standing co-operation with the World Bank, regional development banks and IFAD, attempts will be made to stimulate increased ODA flows in support of food security.

A.2 Access of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food

42. While poverty eradication should theoretically result in food security for all, there are compelling reasons for focussing directly and immediately on addressing under-nourishment and malnutrition. Inadequate dietary intake that persists over time poses a serious threat to health, prevents normal growth and development in children, reduces mental capacity, and lowers productivity of able-bodied adults, thereby contributing significantly to the conditions that prevent individuals from moving out of poverty. Meeting the WFS target implies that countries will need to adopt special measures aimed directly at achieving and sustaining nutritional improvements among the poor and socially disadvantaged. Failure to do so will result in large segments of their populations passing their entire lives underfed and malnourished and neither able to contribute to, nor benefit fully from, the development process.

43. The challenge for countries affected by widespread undernourishment, and for FAO in its efforts to assist them, is to address this need in an era of diminished state intervention and to obtain, allocate and administer resources for "safety nets" and related programmes that ensure access to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food in both urban and rural areas. In this regard, progress made in further developing a rights-based approach to food security would be taken into full account. There is an immediate need to identify more clearly who are the food-insecure, where they are located and why they are food-insecure. On the basis of this information, action programmes can be much more effectively targeted.

Strategy Components

44. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

45. FAO possesses a critical mass of expertise in the areas of national nutrition policy and planning, nutrition assessment, programme development focused on the needs of vulnerable and food insecure groups, and on the improvement of food quality and safety at household, community and municipal levels. Furthermore, FAO is well situated to develop and adapt social safety net concepts and methods, making use of a multi-disciplinary approach that combines social and economic as well as technical and legal expertise. Drawing on information systems maintained by various units, the Organization also has a strong capacity in measuring, monitoring and assessing food insecurity and vulnerability at global, regional and country levels. Complementing its work in policy advice and information systems, FAO has long experience in promoting food-based improvements to nutrition at household and community levels.

46. The Inter-Agency Working Group on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) brings together the UN organizations, bilateral agencies and international NGOs most concerned with the various aspects of the issues which FIVIMS addresses. The ACC Sub-Committee on Nutrition, in which FAO participates, provides the natural framework for the establishment of a constructive set of collaborative relationships, in particular for promoting follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN). Collaborative arrangements exist with IFAD, on rural poverty eradication, and with WFP, on food assistance programmes that complement longer-term development efforts. The potential exists within this strategy for further strengthening of cooperation and joint work between the Rome-based food organizations. Considering that undernourishment is often also the result of disease, continued partnerships with WHO and UNICEF are crucial. Efforts will be made to encourage other UN agencies, as well as international financing institutions (IFIs), academic and research institutions, parliamentary associations, NGOs and committed elements of the private sector, to join in specific targeted programmes.

A.3 Preparedness for, and effective and sustainable response to, food and agricultural emergencies

47. While the preferred means of dealing with emergencies is prevention, food and agricultural emergencies will continue to occur as a result of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, fires, and pests and diseases and man-made disasters such as war and internal conflict. Unforeseen disruptions to financial and economic systems can also result in emergencies that have similar adverse impacts on local populations. Often the people most severely affected by disasters live in rural areas, but disruption of agricultural and food systems can have serious consequences for both rural and urban populations, and it is generally the resource poor who are most vulnerable.

48. The challenge is to increase the resilience and capacity of countries and their populations to cope with the impacts of disasters which affect national and household food security, and, when disasters do occur, to contribute to emergency operations that foster the transition from relief to recovery of the food and agriculture sectors.

Strategy Components

49. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

50.FAO's comparative advantage in humanitarian assistance is directly derived from the expertise, knowledge and experience it has accumulated as a technical agency. It has a demonstrated technical capability for natural resource monitoring and for facilitating, with others, international efforts in forecasting, prevention and mitigation of natural calamities. Within the UN system it has recognized leadership for early warning of food shortages through the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS), as well as for emergency prevention of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases (EMPRES), including control of locust and other migratory pests. It has the expertise required to assess relief needs and provide assistance for the early recovery of food and agricultural productive capacities, which is vital for affected countries with a predominant agricultural sector. It can therefore take the lead in the preparation of targeted rural sector recovery and development options and the identification of priority projects for investment. By focusing at the same time on the household food security and nutritional well being of affected populations, FAO is in a position to provide a comprehensive approach to recovery and rehabilitation.

51. FAO conducts, jointly with WFP, crop and food supply assessments, as well as household food security and nutritional status assessments, and has well established links with all UN agencies concerned with humanitarian assistance, including OCHA, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, UNEP and UNHCR, as well as with regional organizations, national governments and international and national NGOs, particularly for early warning and food and nutritional assessments. Response to emergencies and early post-disaster recovery assistance is provided within the framework of emergency aid coordination and management mechanisms established within the UN system (including the Security Council), based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Assistance (ECHA), and includes major cooperating humanitarian aid agencies (governments, UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement, NGOs, and donors). In the field, NGOs are also included as FAO's main implementing partners, particularly in complex emergencies. Resources for this type of work will continue to be sought from bilateral and multilateral funding sources as well as regional and international financial institutions (IFIs) committed to providing support to reconstruction efforts.

B. Promoting, developing and reinforcing policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry

52. Policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, at the international and national levels, are assuming ever more crucial importance in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world economy. This corporate strategy builds on the Organization's long-established role as a global and neutral forum, and as the depositary for a number of international instruments, as well as its close cooperation with other organizations working in the areas of natural resources for food and agriculture, environment and trade. It also recognizes the growing demand by Members for assistance in developing their policy, regulatory and standard-setting capacities.

53. Tools to implement this strategy include: provision of secretariat assistance, including coordination of activities; technical advice and analyses and support for negotiations; sharing of information and experience through studies, guidelines and other publications; capacity-building to facilitate participation of countries in international negotiations and in follow-up mechanisms; and support to commodity development activities. For the implementation of international instruments at country level, assistance in mobilizing resources from major multilateral and bilateral donors will be provided.

B.1. International instruments concerning food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and the production, safe use and fair exchange of agricultural, fishery and forestry goods

54. The present international policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry needs to be further developed, as it is an important prerequisite for achieving food security for all. The framework should facilitate the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of natural resources; help ensure adequate and safe food supplies; and promote food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies conducive to food security through a fair and market-oriented world trade system.

55. Among the challenges addressed is that of facilitating the full and informed participation of all FAO Members in the further development of an appropriate regulatory framework in the areas of the Organization's mandate, with due regard to the special concerns of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Strategy Components

56. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

57. FAO is ideally placed to provide a global and neutral forum for the further development of the international policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The Organization draws upon a wide range of multi-sectoral technical and legal expertise and extensive experience in the development and adoption of international agreements, codes of conduct, undertakings, standards and other instruments on matters within its mandate. Through the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), FAO has recognized competence in facilitating negotiations by governments of international instruments on aspects of biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) provides a neutral forum for international cooperation for the negotiation and harmonization of policies for protection of plants and plant products from pests. Standards on food safety, adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and on plant health, developed under the aegis of the IPPC, are recognized by WTO as reference points for the international trade system. FAO also has a unique structure of intergovernmental commodity groups through which governments consult on agricultural commodities.

58. In the areas of its comparative advantage, FAO will continue to rely on partnership with relevant international and civil society organizations (including producers' and consumers' associations) to complement its work. Examples are cooperation with WHO in the operation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and cooperation with IPGRI and CGIAR generally in the area of genetic resources for food and agriculture. In other areas, FAO will work with relevant organizations dealing with natural resources, environment and trade. This will involve on-going support, from a food and agriculture perspective, to secretariats of conventions (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Ramsar Convention). Cooperation will also continue with the secretariats of the Convention on Climate Change and of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as will participation in negotiations under the aegis of UNEP on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS). Support on the rights related to food will continue to be provided to the Committee on Economic and Social Rights and to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).

B.2 National policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms which respond to domestic requirements and are consistent with the international policy and regulatory framework

59. It is expected that governments will continue a progressive disengagement from productive functions, in favour of provision of public goods and services and establishment of a framework conducive to sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. Competition for natural resources, together with expanding privatization and globalization, will place increasing demands on the regulatory functions of the state. There is thus a growing need for national policy and regulatory frameworks to respond to domestic requirements and be consistent with the international policy and regulatory framework.

60. It will be essential to respond in particular to the needs of developing countries, or those with economies in transition, to develop and implement the necessary national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms, keeping in mind that resources available to governments are limited and regulatory controls need to be applied in the most efficient way possible. Areas in which specialized legal and technical advice will be provided include: genetic resources, plant protection, food quality and safety, responsible fisheries, animal health, land tenure and rural institutions, environmental protection (including forests, wildlife, water, soil resources and desertification control), and the implications of international trade agreements in food and agriculture.

Strategy Components

61. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

62. FAO possesses a proven capacity for advising its Members on the implications of the international policy and regulatory framework, including for food and agricultural trade, for related national policies and legislation, and for providing technical assistance in the formulation and implementation of such policies and legislation. This capacity is based on FAO's capabilities in analyzing developments and projecting trends in food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and its familiarity with the international policy and regulatory framework, including its application at the national level. It derives strength from the synergy between its normative and operational programmes.

63. The natural partners for the Organization, with regard to national policy and regulatory frameworks, are governments. FAO also maintains a dialogue with civil society and the private sector on these matters and will continue to do so. Cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will be further developed. Partnerships will be maintained with technical and trade organizations on the technical content of the assistance provided. This ranges from arrangements whereby organizations provide technical support to FAO's assistance activities, as for example with WHO on food safety and other health aspects or UNEP on environmental matters, to areas where FAO plays a supporting role to activities conducted by other organizations, such as WTO in the application of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. FAO will also seek to mobilize donor funds to support member governments' action in these fields.

C. Creating sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food and other products from the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors

64. Meeting the needs of growing and increasingly urbanized populations will require for the foreseeable future both substantial increases and qualitative adaptations in domestic supply and availability of agricultural products. A core requirement, especially in developing countries, is to raise productivity in the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors, where the adoption of improved technology can bring about rapid and major increases in production and producers' incomes. In addition, the economic and institutional operating conditions of all agriculture-based activities, including processing and marketing systems, need to be improved, so as to enhance the overall efficiency and adaptability of those activities.

65. The primary thrusts of this corporate strategy are on: improving the policy environment and institutional frameworks and addressing systems management constraints, taking into account changes in the role of the state and the importance of private initiative; and supporting transfer and use of appropriate technology aimed at the sustainable intensification of production systems. In order to provide countries with appropriate policy options and enhance their ability to choose among and implement them, FAO will develop and disseminate normative instruments (guidelines, compendia of `best practices', etc.), deliver policy and technical advice and assistance, and promote capacity building. It will act as a synthesizer and disseminator of information on technology, approaches and decision-support tools, as well as a proponent of particularly successful solutions.

C.1 Policy options and institutional measures to improve efficiency and adaptability in production, processing and marketing systems, and meet the changing needs of producers and consumers

66. The efficiency of production, processing and marketing systems in generating and bringing to consumers a quantitatively and qualitatively adequate supply of agricultural, fisheries and forest products is often limited by market imperfections, weaknesses in support institutions, or an unfavourable policy environment. These factors hamper the mobilization of resources for agriculture and rural development - in particular, they discourage investment in productive assets and services - and impede the adoption of appropriate technology and practices. They also make it more difficult for the systems to adapt to changing circumstances, such as the need to supply burgeoning urban populations.

67. As agriculture is increasingly commercialized, there is a growing need to focus on improving production support services, including input supply and rural finance. A dynamic production sector also requires efficient marketing, post-harvest and processing systems, with associated demand signals guiding farmers' decisions. The challenge is to create a policy and institutional environment that encourages resource mobilization, more efficient support institutions adapted to changing conditions and more accessible to users, and greater responsiveness to the market on the part of farm, fishery and other production units, agri-businesses and marketing enterprises. The focus of FAO's work in this area will be on providing countries with appropriate policy options and enhancing their ability to choose among and implement them. Particular attention needs to be paid to the role of women in production, processing and marketing.

Strategy Components

68. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

69. With competence in agriculture, forestry and fisheries (policy, resources, production, processing and marketing), FAO is a major source of independent advice on policy in these sectors. It plays a leading role in a number of international initiatives on sustainable forestry and fisheries management. It has developed and tested methods for participatory, gender-sensitive support in formulating equitable agricultural policies, and in improving outreach systems. On production and post-production support systems, it is recognized for its normative work, often in partnership with donor agencies, and thus well placed to advise on policies and institutional measures in this area. It has a record of accomplishment in mobilizing resources for agricultural and rural investment, and extensive experience in helping to prepare investment plans and projects (e.g. for land and water development and use) with a view to optimizing resource allocation. It is also well-placed to advise on potential trade-offs and synergies between the productive and other functions of agriculture and land use. Within the UN System it is task manager for Chapter 14 (Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development) of Agenda 21.

70. Collaboration will continue with other UN bodies in respect of policy analysis and assistance activities at sector and sub-sector levels, as well as provision on request to member governments of independent information and sectoral analyses complementary to the macro policy work of the Bretton Woods institutions. In helping to formulate policy choices and to develop decision tools, FAO will also continue to strengthen links with the CGIAR, academic and research institutions, bilateral development agencies, NGOs and associations of producers, traders, processors and consumers. Cooperation with civil society organizations and the private sector at large will be of increasing importance, in view of the need to address issues of concern to consumers and to enhance the role of the private sector in ensuring adequate agricultural supplies, including through possible joint initiatives for local infrastructure and agri-business development.

C.2 Adoption of appropriate technology to sustainably intensify production systems and to ensure sufficient supplies of food and agricultural, fisheries and forestry goods and services

71. To meet growing needs while preserving the natural resource base, production must be transformed, especially at the level of small-scale producers. This will require effective intensification of production systems, which in turn calls for broader choices of what to produce, as well as the identification and adoption of more efficient and sustainable agricultural management practices. The adoption of improved technology underpins not only better pre- and post-production enterprises, but also sustainable rural development in the larger context.

72. Production beyond subsistence levels is a competitive business, and fine-tuning of the production system through technology improvement is fundamental for the producer, the economy and for sustainable development. The challenge is generally not to optimize the production of one commodity in isolation, but to promote holistic systems approaches, and to recognize the economic and social, including gender, dimensions related to transfer and adoption of appropriate technology. While advising on new techniques and promoting applied research, emphasis will also be placed on enabling producers to increase productivity to levels commonly obtained in field demonstrations using existing techniques.

Strategy Components

73. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

74. As a cosponsor of the CGIAR system and the host of the TAC and of the NARS Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), FAO plays a key role in helping to plan the direction of international and national research in all areas of food and agriculture. The technical experience accumulated during years of supporting national research and development efforts ensures that FAO has the breadth of experience and skill mix required to assist countries in capturing opportunities and removing constraints, particularly technological constraints, to intensified, sustainable and competitive agricultural systems. Thus FAO can help identify and focus research on the needs of men and women producers and processors, and facilitate and guide research and development in this area.

75. FAO will continue to cooperate closely with academia, the CGIAR and national research systems, other centres of excellence, and other bilateral and multilateral development agencies. The testing and implementation of development strategies, methods, appropriate techniques and standards requires strategic alliances with national and regional institutions and civil society, including the private sector. In this regard, FAO will continue to seek support from traditional funding sources as well as through innovative modalities such as South-South cooperation within the SPFS.

D. Supporting the conservation, improvement and sustainable use of natural resources for food and agriculture

76. The well-being of present and future generations is threatened, particularly in developing countries, by land degradation, water scarcity and pollution and salinization, destruction of forests, overexploitation of the world's marine resources, growth in emissions of greenhouse gases, and loss of genetic resources and biological diversity. Fragile ecosystems in particular are on the frontline of danger. The challenge is to strike an appropriate balance between conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. This implies adopting policies and actions which contribute to efficient and socially desirable management of land, water, fisheries, and forest resources, and which, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture, enhance its positive and mitigate its negative impacts on the environment and natural resources.

77. FAO will continue to assist the global community in addressing natural resource management and conservation issues through implementation of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. This corporate strategy, which focuses on assisting in the practical application of the measures needed, will require assessment of natural resources and provision of policy and technical advice at all levels and across disciplines as well as exchange of information and knowledge. A variety of policy support tools will be developed and used to optimize decision-making, programming, and project formulation. They will include best practices, guidelines, norms and standards, advice on participatory and gender-sensitive approaches as well as natural resource management criteria and indicators, including for the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of restoring degraded environments.

D.1 Integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forestry and genetic resources

78. Programmes and policies directed at conserving and developing natural resources often fail or only partially succeed due to competing developmental requirements for scarce resources. As competition for resources intensifies, it is increasingly necessary to take into account the positive synergies among the various functions of agriculture, and the multiple uses of resources, including conservation for the benefit of future generations. Integrated management of natural resources aims to achieve both conservation and development objectives, in the context of ongoing population change (growth and urbanization in particular).

79. The challenge is to identify and promote integrated resource management systems which are at the same time economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and appropriate both socially and culturally. This will require cross-sectoral assessments of trade-offs and reinforcement of mechanisms for resolution of conflicts over the conservation and sustainable use of land, water, and genetic resources for agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.

Strategy Components

80. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

81. FAO's expertise and wide disciplinary coverage ensures the incorporation of economic, social, legal, and institutional aspects in natural resource management approaches, with proper attention to rural development, gender, population, and related issues. Its global reach enables it to support policy and operational level debates and exchanges on transboundary issues and questions involving many countries; it can thus promote cooperation between various stakeholders to address emerging problems. Examples include the Leipzig Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Global Integrated Pest Management Facility, the Soil Fertility Initiative and the Global Water Partnership. Moreover, FAO's cooperation with ministries of planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water and environment, and experience with developing and promoting participatory approaches for community level natural resource management, contribute to reinforcing the necessary cross-sectoral linkages which are central for the successful implementation of integrated natural resource management approaches. Within the UN system it acts as task manager for implementation of Chapter 10 of Agenda 21 (Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources) and of Chapter II (Combating deforestation) and is a major partner for other relevant chapters.

82. To promote the broad cross-sectoral approaches and collaborative mechanisms required, close cooperation is required between FAO and various organizations within and outside the UN system, including but not limited to international financing institutions (e.g. WB, IFAD, the regional banks), the GEF and UN organizations (e.g. WHO, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA and others). Collaboration with scientific institutions, CGIAR centres and international NGOs (e.g. IUCN, IIED, WRI), is also essential; with national research institutes this will also involve capacity-building. To address natural resource issues at community level, collaboration with various civil society stakeholders including NGOs will be pursued. For transboundary issues in particular, partnership with regional and sub regional commissions and institutions will continue to be important.

D.2 Conservation, rehabilitation and development of environments at greatest risk

83. Focused actions to support conservation, rehabilitation, and development of environments at greatest risk are needed to ensure a balance between immediate human needs for food and livelihoods while at the same time preventing unnecessary and irreversible degradation of resources in these areas.

84. Adequate monitoring of fragile ecosystems and identification of trends and threats to these systems are major challenges that need to be addressed. Particularly in developing countries, there is also an urgent need to assess and address the economic, social and environmental costs of managing and developing these ecosystems.

Strategy Components

85. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

86. FAO is well positioned to address conservation and rehabilitation concerns with a multidisciplinary perspective and help public and private sector and civil society institutions and organizations in member countries adopt practical solutions for fragile ecosystems. As a result of its institutional capacity and expertise for monitoring natural resources, FAO can also ensure compatibility of natural resource data with other related food and agriculture data. In advising on practical measures to deal with environments at risk, FAO can rely also on its institutional role as depositary for a number of international conventions such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, as well as the fact that it is a task manager or major partner in the implementation of the chapters of Agenda 21 relevant to fragile ecosystems (e.g. deforestation, mountains and drylands). Within the UN system it has leadership on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

87. Particular emphasis will be given to international, regional, national, and local partners that are involved in the implementation of Agenda 21 chapters on fragile ecosystems and the related international conventions. Strong partnership will be required with major UN agencies such as UNEP and UNESCO and IFIs such as IFAD working in the areas of conservation and rehabilitation of fragile ecosystems. FAO will also collaborate with research and academic institutions in developing methodologies for monitoring and assessment of fragile ecosystems. Because of its neutrality, FAO can work closely with NGOs and civil societies in balancing conflicting demands on resources and fostering the participation of local communities in conservation and development.

E. Improving decision-making through provision of information and assessments and fostering of knowledge management for food and agriculture

88. Knowledge management is vital for effective decision making. It involves the acquisition, synthesis and sharing of insight and experience, and their systematic integration with factual statistical information and analyses. This corporate strategy derives its legitimacy from Article I of the Constitution, which mandates FAO to "collect, analyze, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture." The assignment of responsibility to FAO's Committee on World Food Security (CFS) for monitoring World Food Summit follow-up adds further to the Organization's responsibility for global monitoring and assessment of all aspects of food and agriculture and of progress towards achieving food security for all.

89. The advent of new technologies including the Internet has brought new opportunities, and also new challenges, for FAO in this sphere. The Organization is now in a position to provide better management of the information and knowledge which it produces, to ensure their wide and timely dissemination and also to exploit the potential of the Web for facilitating partnerships in information management. Nonetheless, limitations in access to new technologies remain widespread in developing countries. The challenge is therefore to continue to be pro-active in this area and, at the same time, to adapt FAO's tools to the different levels of communications infrastructure in member countries, so that countries with relatively poor infrastructure receive information most effectively and at minimum recipient cost. It is also essential to maintain and increase the Organization's effectiveness in raising awareness of pertinent issues in rural development and food security, in order to stimulate decision-making and action. Particular care will be taken to tailor the provision of information outputs to clients' needs.

E.1 An integrated information resource base, with current, relevant and reliable statistics, information and knowledge made accessible to all FAO clients

90. FAO's information clients (its Members, the international community and the public at large) will continue to require timely and relevant information in support of decision making and policy development. It is therefore essential to maintain and improve the coverage, quantity, utility, timeliness and accessibility of the information collected and disseminated. Moreover, the communications revolution creates an ever more quality-conscious external environment, requiring greater attention to improving information products and/or preventing their deterioration.

91. The quality of FAO's information is closely correlated to the capacity of FAO member countries to provide reliable and complete data. There is thus a need to support and/or improve the capacity of member countries for data collection and analysis. Quality improvement of data will also be sought by relating cross-sectoral data and information generated from the different disciplines represented in FAO. Normative work on data disaggregated by gender and other parameters will continue. The Organization will seek to establish more active exchange of information with other networks now in place, which can add to FAO's own capacity.

Strategy Components

92. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

93. FAO, as a neutral forum, enables the development of internationally agreed standards and methods to ensure compatibility and excellence of information. FAO has a network, supported by its Members meeting their statutory obligation to the Organization, which ensures a reciprocal flow of information between FAO and countries and permits continuing national capacity enhancement to generate useful, reliable information and to manage knowledge. It is this wealth of experience and knowledge, in conjunction with its multidisciplinary capabilities and technical capacity, which makes FAO an authoritative source of information.

94. Present external partnerships in the area of exchange of data and information sharing include national institutions, IFIs, other UN Organizations, CGIAR institutions, NGOs, and regional bodies. FAO's role in the establishment of statistical and data standards, norms and methodologies will continue to be supportive to the work of the UN Statistics Division. Recent advances in technology allow multiple partnerships for maintenance of single data bases, as in the Global Plant and Pest Information System, and especially in the development and maintenance of distributed databases shared among partners, such as the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS). New partnerships will be established to assure effective dissemination to clients of FAO information. Financial support will be sought from potential donors to improve national capacities to collect and manage information.

E.2 Regular assessments, analyses and outlook studies for food and agriculture

95. FAO is a provider of global assessments and analyses to the world community. The challenge for the Organization is to respond to the increasing, and more diversified, demand for these services, while adapting also to the changing needs of its membership.

96. Major outputs such as Agriculture Towards 2015, the State of Food and Agriculture, the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, the State of the World's Forests and Food Outlook will continue to be prepared, as well as more specific assessments, analyses and outlook studies on food and agriculture based on accurate, up-to-date information. These may be multi-sectoral or sectoral in their focus. Topics addressed will cover priority areas such as food and nutrition, major sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and key cross-sectoral issues such as biological diversity, climate change, and resource degradation. Important socio-economic issues such as gender and poverty will also be addressed. Emphasis will be given to presenting assessments in such a way as to achieve maximum impact on target audiences in order to raise awareness and stimulate action.

Strategy Components

97. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

98. FAO's comparative advantage lies first in its direct, official interface with national governments and their data and information on food and agriculture, and next in its role as a neutral forum for assessment and analysis. Its mandate and its range of expertise, underpinned by both normative and field experience, greatly facilitates the preparation of broadly based, comprehensive studies. FAO assessments cover all phases in the production and consumption cycle and consider a wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues in the agricultural and related natural resource fields. This contributes to making the Organization an authoritative source for such studies, which are internationally recognized for their technical and policy contributions in the sectors concerned.

99. FAO's analytical work depends upon inputs from a wide variety of sources. Hence, external partnerships are critical to reliable and comprehensive assessments and analyses. FAO will continue to strengthen linkages and form alliances with national and international partners, including with IFIs, other UN organizations, the CGIAR and national research systems, academic and research institutions and other centers of excellence, development agencies and civil society
organizations. These partnerships will involve peer reviews, joint assessments and analyses, development and application of common tools and methods including modeling and scenario analysis, and networking to obtain the best data and information available to validate findings and conclusions.

E.3 A central place for food security on the international agenda

100. The World Food Summit served to rekindle awareness that the "problems of hunger and food insecurity have global dimensions and are likely to persist, and even increase dramatically in some regions, unless urgent, determined and concerted action is taken, given the anticipated increase in the world's population and the stress on natural resources." In adopting the Plan of Action to be implemented by countries and the international community, the Summit also invited FAO and other organizations of the UN system to " raise the global profile of food security issues through UN system wide advocacy and sustain the World Food Summit commitments to world food security."

101. The Summit documents include a range of "coordinated efforts and shared responsibilities" essential to attain its objectives and assign to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) responsibility for monitoring implementation of the Plan of Action. FAO therefore has a major responsibility to collect and analyze information from all sources to facilitate the Committee's monitoring task. In addition, FAO has an important role to play in following up to global conferences and summits within a UN system-wide framework. The major thrust of FAO 's action will be to work with its partners in promoting national and international action to meet the Summit's goals and to keep the question of food security high on the international agenda.

Strategy Components

102. The components include:

Comparative Advantages and Partnerships

103. FAO's information and knowledge management capacity in the area of food and agriculture give it a unique capacity to exercise its global responsibilities in regard to monitoring, analysis and promotion of follow-up action for the World-Food Summit Plan of Action. The same comparative advantages allow FAO to play a key role within the UN system, and in relation with civil society, in raising awareness and in supporting international action.

104. In addition to its reporting to the FAO Council and Conference, the CFS provides reports on WFS Follow-up, through the FAO Council, to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is charged with overall monitoring of follow-up to global conferences and summits. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) is assigned responsibility for inter-agency cooperation within the UN system. FAO, with IFAD and WFP, will continue to seek to optimize the synergy between UN partners in follow-up to the World Food Summit through the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, for which FAO provides the secretariat. The UN system has also asked FAO to provide the secretariat for the inter-agency work to develop FIVIMS. The inputs of civil society into global assessment of progress towards achieving the target set by the WFS will be facilitated in the CFS and other fora. Further important examples of outreach include cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and with regional and sub-regional intergovernmental organizations.

Strategies to Address Cross-Organizational Issues

105. In addition to the substantive strategies to provide services to Members, several cross-organizational issues also require attention. This section contains a synthesis of these issues and proposes strategies for dealing with them. Such strategies will relate to the implementation of all of FAO's programmes, and consequently also to the achievement of the strategic objectives covered in the preceding section.

Ensuring Excellence

The Issue

106. A period of shrinking ODA flows and decreasing resources for multilateral organizations has been accompanied by a growth in the number of institutions working in areas touching on FAO's mandate. The Organization thus faces the challenge of retaining and further developing its role as a preeminent and authoritative source of information, advice and assistance in the areas of its competence.

107. FAO is in a unique position to build on its existing strengths, including its global mandate and track record spanning 50 years, recognition of its leadership in a number of technical areas, the wide range of disciplines it gathers under a single roof, its presence in many countries, and its acknowledged neutrality and independence. At the same time, the breadth of its mandate and the limitations on resources made available to it preclude assuming leadership in all cases. Where FAO is not the "lead" player, it is all the more important that its activities be planned in the light of others' work, to minimize overlap and promote synergy, and that partnerships and alliances, based on clear divisions of labour, be strengthened.

108. It is however essential to identify certain areas in which FAO expects to be able to maintain technical leadership and ensure the required action to further enhance its capacity for excellence in those areas. Among the criteria suggested for choosing such areas would be that they are have transboundary implications and the potential for agreements to support international action, that there is a clear and growing demand for work on them and that FAO has a comparative advantage in dealing with them, due to its unique character and strengths. Action to strengthen work in these areas would also involve partnerships with others, but the focus would be on preserving and enhancing the status of the Organization as the recognized source of authoritative information and advice to Members, the international community and the public at large.


109. The strategy is to:

    1. develop operational criteria for identification and selection of areas of excellence, and on the basis of them select an appropriate number of key areas where FAO has good prospects for either reaching or maintaining this status;
    2. address the question in all its dimensions (the information base and "institutional memory," normative and policy aspects, practical action);
    3. put in place the necessary measures for human resource development (including accelerated programmes of technical staff development) and for quality control of outputs; and
    4. ensure monitoring of progress and, as resources permit, build in a component of "organizational learning" to guarantee continuous review and adjustment in the light of results.

Enhancing Interdisciplinarity

The Issue

110. Inter-disciplinary approaches are pre-requisites to successful and sustainable rural development. In FAO's work, inter-disciplinary approaches and cross-sectoral programmes build on the Organization's disciplinary excellence by making it possible to produce outputs which cannot be generated by one division or department working in isolation. Moreover, they are essential to ensure the requisite attention in all programmes and activities to cross-cutting priorities such as gender mainstreaming and promotion of participatory processes in development work.

111. The fundamental challenge for the Organization is to complement the new programme planning process with flexible arrangements which:

112. This strategy addresses measures to strengthen FAO's internal interdisciplinary capacity. At the same time, the issue of interdisciplinarity must also be understood in the wider context of partnerships and alliances, particularly in the UN system context, in which FAO as a sectoral agency needs to ensure that its work contributes to the system's broad inter-sectoral efforts. This question is covered in the strategy for Broadening Partnerships and Alliances.


113. The strategy is to:

    1. strengthen capacity for interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral problem identification, goal formulation, priority setting, planning, monitoring and evaluation, both for the corporate strategies and for priority themes (e.g. gender mainstreaming, participatory processes);
    2. fully develop and implement the new programming model based on cross-sectoral planning and, where appropriate, by formulating interdisciplinary programmes in the Medium Term Plan;
    3. enhance inter- and intra-departmental mechanisms in order to facilitate cooperation and partnership within and between divisions and departments for cross-sectoral aspects of programme implementation;
    4. review and improve resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation procedures in order to increase incentives to work in an interdisciplinary manner;
    5. in introducing indicators of success, recognize benefits to be obtained from inter-disciplinary approaches.

Broadening Partnerships and Alliances

The Issue

114. FAO is first and foremost a member of the United Nations family of organizations, and the partnerships which derive from this status, and which constitute an important comparative advantage, need to be broadened and strengthened, taking into full account the ongoing process of UN Reform. Special attention also needs to be paid to further strengthening the links, and potential for synergy, among the Rome-based organizations--FAO, WFP, IFAD and IPGRI. Such reinforced cooperation could lead to mutually-agreed arrangements for an alliance for agricultural development.

115. The changing global context also requires that further partnerships must be developed with important collaborators, both state and non-state, outside the UN system, in order to ensure complementarity, reduced fragmentation of action, greater leverage on policy issues and cost savings. The emergence and/or strengthening of intergovernmental organizations which promote regional and sub-regional cooperation means that important new avenues may open up for joint or cooperative work. While maintaining its independence and neutrality, FAO needs to build constructive and effective relations with non-state partners, based on its own and their comparative advantages. This will also permit more effective focus on cross-cutting socio-economic issues, including population and gender concerns.


116. General considerations on the nature of partnerships with various categories of organizations are dealt with in Part III below. The strategy for broadening partnerships and alliances has three major components.

117. With regard to the UN system and other intergovernmental organizations, FAO will:

    1. remain an active partner in inter-agency work at the international level, and continuing to cooperate with sister organizations at the country level within the framework of the UN Resident Coordinator system;
    2. maintain responsibility, in cooperation with IFAD and WFP, in running the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, in support of implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and continue to contribute to inter-agency and inter-governmental action to follow up other major conferences and summits,
    3. remain an active partner of funding programmes such as UNDP and UNFPA, in responding to requests by recipient countries, and in participating as a full-fledged partner in exercises such as the Common Country Assessments (CCAs) and UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFS);
    4. further strengthen cooperation with the IFIs, building on their readiness to seek a broader base of cooperation with FAO; ensure closer cooperation with the CGIAR through the established institutional links (World Bank, UNDP, UNEP) and joint activities with the individual centres, and
    5. further develop "bilateral" cooperation and joint work with individual organizations (e.g. with UN organizations like WHO and UNFPA), as well as with regional and sub-regional bodies working in areas of FAO's mandate or complementary to it.

118. With regard to civil society and non-governmental organizations, FAO will:
    1. improve information sharing and cooperation with technical and regional NGO networks;
    2. encourage policy dialogue at country, regional and global levels, including improved access to FAO technical meetings;
    3. promote the Food for All Campaign National Committees;
    4. facilitate specific cooperative programmes, i.e. by improving Civil Society Organizations' (CSOs) participation in planning, formulation and implementation of specific programmes and projects, with particular attention to the SPFS; by fostering capacity building for CSOs; and working with CSOs in agricultural rehabilitation efforts;
    5. increase the attractiveness of FAO programmes to multilateral and bilateral donors which attach importance to CSO participation; and
    6. strengthen dialogue with CSOs/NGOs on the use of the resources they themselves invest in agricultural development and food security programmes.

119. With the private sector FAO will:

    1. enter into dialogue to remove any misconceptions that may exist with respect to an institution such as FAO, and also to get a clear understanding of agri-business interests which would be compatible with FAO's objectives;
    2. establish a corporate policy and practice within FAO with regard to private sector partners, to strengthen cooperation without compromising FAO's independence;
    3. explore with the private sector how investments in new technology can be steered to bring greater benefit to developing countries;
    4. obtainprivate sector support for FAO programmes, including both fund raising through sponsorships and revenues from FAO services rendered to the private sector, as well as coalitions and bilateral projects with the private sector;
    5. play an "honest broker" role in increasing private sector investment in agriculture; and
    6. work to enhance the capacities of the private sector in developing countries, especially in providing effective input supply, marketing, processing and financial services.

Continuing to Improve the Management Process

The Issue

120. The underlying issue is to have a management process which meets the needs of the Organization in the context of a changing external environment and, specifically, of the Strategic Framework with its renewed emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches and broadened partnerships. Management imperatives affected by these changes include:

121. It is also important to recognize FAO's status as a public service organization and as a part of the UN system, as well as its existing staffing complement and the particular international environment in which it operates:

122. Human resources are the essence of any service institution. In the case of FAO they make up 84.5% of the Regular Budget, including staff (68.4%) and other human resources (16.1%). The fundamental challenge is to optimize the planning, recruitment, management and development of these resources, in order to attract and retain staff of the calibre required. During the coming 15 years, staff turnover of 70% is projected. While this implies a risk of depletion of capacity and of loss of institutional memory, which must be countered with appropriate measures, it also provides an opportunity to ensure that the Organization acquires and/or strengthens the skills and competencies required to face the challenges of the future.


123. The strategy outlined below reflects the continuation of efforts to improve the management process and thus is largely underway, although it is recognized that full implementation may take several biennia. It has two components.

124. To create a management environment which facilitates the implementation of the Organization's corporate strategies and the achievement of its strategic objectives, FAO will:

    1. design all field projects and Regular Programme activities with clearly defined and, where possible, time-bound objectives including milestones in the form of outputs to be produced, reinforced by the identification of specific performance indicators;
    2. introduce a more comprehensive evaluation regime, including formal auto-evaluation procedures;
    3. realign authority, responsibility and accountability to better reflect the new environment, including assigning of primary responsibility for budgetary management to programme managers;
    4. develop and implement integrated supporting systems in the areas of: financial accounting and management; human resources management; programme planning, budget preparation, work planning and implementation monitoring; this includes creating a data warehouse for validated corporate data, as a primary source of management information; and
    5. provide appropriate analytical tools, so that users can make best use of available data.

125. To foster staff commitment and motivation, and reward innovation and excellence, FAO will take specific measures to:

    1. use entry level recruitment and career and staff development to renew staff capacity, with a view to better meeting the changing needs of programme priorities and supporting language diversity;
    2. further develop flexible and cost-effective arrangements for acquiring and deploying human resources to permit flexible responses to programme priorities and requirements;
    3. continue to build a management culture which fosters gender equality, promotes initiative and teamwork, and clearly defines accountability for human resources management; this will include performance management systems linked to corporate strategic objectives via the Organization's programme planning systems;
    4. keep pace with the UN Common System in human resources management policies, including: salaries and entitlements, gender and geographic distribution, work and family life policies and inter-agency movement; and
    5. continue to foster effective staff-management collaboration through consultation with staff, including with the staff associations on the conditions of employment.

Leveraging Resources for FAO and its Members

The Issue

126. FAO's capacity to perform its mission is conditioned by decreasing availability of resources, both core funds for the Regular Programme and extra-budgetary contributions for technical cooperation. It is not realistic to expect an increase in the level of multilateral official development assistance (ODA) for the coming years in the light of the current trends in donor countries. Moreover, increasing needs for emergency assistance and expected requirements for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities will in all probability be at the expense of resource availability for long-term development. The limited resources likely to be made available to FAO for agricultural development will need to be utilized in accordance with carefully established priorities. The aim will be to increase the synergy between the normative and operational activities, and to enhance the field programme's dual function of, on the one hand, translating into operation and action the concepts and findings developed through normative activities and, on the other hand, enriching normative work through the feedback from field experience.

127. Emphasis needs to be placed on expanding the total resources applied to the principal programmes espoused by the Organization and not necessarily on the amount of resources managed by FAO. In this regard, a key aspect will be mobilizing domestic and external, public and private resources for the agricultural and rural sector, including forestry and fisheries. FAO

can contribute to the attainment of this critical objective through assistance to governments in formulating national development strategies which create a policy environment conducive to private sector involvement and investment. Similarly, it can assist Members in preparing investment programmes and projects with a view to optimizing resource allocation to better reflect priority goals, with due regard to national absorptive capacities. In doing so, FAO must associate all stakeholders at national and international level, so as to ensure ownership, commitment and proper follow-up through funding of high-priority activities by international financing institutions (IFIs) and major multilateral donors.


128. The proposed strategy is to increase the leverage of resources in support of the Organization's mandated functions through efficient and effective programme management; effective targeting of its work to priority areas; and consolidation, diversification and expansion of funding sources. FAO will take advantage of its decentralized offices to ensure appropriate liaison with the decentralized decision-making structures of many donors.

Programme design, efficiency and effectiveness

129. In the case of the Regular Programme of Work, the approach is to improve programme management so that Members remain convinced of the relevance and validity of FAO's activities and focus.

130. For technical assistance and investment programmes, the concentration will be on sound formulation, efficiency and timeliness and will involve:

    1. strengthening of the current country focus system, in full collaboration with member countries, drawing on inputs from the FAORs and the decentralized units;
    2. ensuring adequate resources for well considered programme and project formulation;
    3. wider application of effective systems to permit monitoring of the costs of supporting different types of projects, as well as to systematically track shortcomings in implementation performance, including ensuring timely reporting to donors;
    4. continuing efficiency savings with a view to reducing the cost of supporting field programmes and placing FAO in a better position to compete for resources; and
    5. on-going analysis of donors' ODA policies, sectoral and geographic priorities in order to identify emerging opportunities for enhancing cooperation through the provision of technical assistance and training services in support of programme areas of mutual interest.

Targeting of programmes

131. For the Organization's normative programmes it is important that extra-budgetary resources be mobilized:

    1. to support FAO pilot programmes aimed at testing and proving normative hypotheses in response to emerging issues;
    2. to directly support activities of the Regular Programme so as to increase the total level of resources made available for the normative functions of FAO, ensuring that in doing so, the independence of FAO's work (e.g. in standard setting) is not compromised; and
    3. to maximize the impact of its targeted programmes, and foster the synergy between normative and field activities, utilizing, as appropriate, its own human and financial resources, and promoting joint undertakings with donors.

132. For the field programme, the priority will be on:

    1. ensuring an integrated approach, with projects based on long-term, broad-based strategies which facilitate the achievement of sustainable results;
    2. ensuring inter-disciplinarity in order to highlight FAO's comparative advantage and to enhance the attractiveness of its projects to donors and recipients alike;
    3. giving priority to field programme activities that have a catalytic effect on mobilizing additional technical and financial resources for agricultural development;
    4. concentrating on areas where demand for FAO's services is demonstrable, including in agricultural rehabilitation in the context of response to emergencies, and investment identification and preparation.

Consolidation, diversification and expansion of funding sources

133. Besides the current range of instruments to reach out to the traditional donor community, FAO will:

    1. strengthen the dialogue with newly emerging developing countries, e.g. in Asia and in Latin America, as well as countries in transition, willing to support development cooperation and to use FAO as a channel, in particular for countries in the same regions;
    2. encourage governments of developing countries to use FAO as conduit for technology transfer and know-how acquisition to be funded from their own resources or from the proceeds of loans under Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) arrangements;
    3. further strengthen the partnership programmes FAO has put in place since 1994 and develop new partnerships with the private sector, private foundations and civil society as a whole, that will increase the leveraging effect of FAO's own resources;
    4. act as facilitator for emerging cooperation between municipalities and other sub-national entities of both developed and developing countries; and
    5. mobilize donations from private individuals for small-scale interventions in developing countries.

134. FAO's success in carrying out the above activities will be greatly strengthened if the Organization can project a positive and dynamic image as described in the following section.

Communicating FAO's Messages

The Issue

135. Communication must be regarded as an integral part of FAO's substantive programmes. The effectiveness and credibility of the Organization as a policy-making forum and a unique, multilingual centre of excellence, knowledge and technical expertise depend to a considerable degree on its ability to communicate. FAO cannot rely on the influence of a knowledgeable few to sell the added value of the Organization to others. Its ability to secure the necessary support to fulfill its mandate will depend upon the quality and effectiveness of its communications to maintain a credible, coherent public image, build understanding and support, counter misperceptions and inform key audiences of the services it offers to the international community.

136. FAO needs to communicate general messages related to its overall mandate, as well as specific messages directed towards particular audiences or related to the priorities of the Organization. Delivering these messages effectively involves dialogue and a genuine exchange of information and views both within the membership and the Secretariat and with FAO's other key interlocutors such as the media and partners in the UN system, civil society, the private sector, and the technical and scientific communities. Effective communication will require ongoing adequate commitments of human and financial resources throughout the Organization. Even in times of budgetary stringency, it is necessary to continue investing in the process of sharing information and influencing public opinion.


137. The Organization's Corporate Communication Policy and Strategy, introduced in 1998, provides the blueprint for managing FAO's diverse communication resources and needs. Its cardinal principles - participatory planning, corporate focus and decentralized implementation - offer a framework for coordination and cooperation among all units of the Organization. The strategy involves:

    1. concentrating on priority issues and opportunities and identifying and targeting strategic external audiences, utilizing a variety of channels to reach and interact with defined target groups in a planned, coordinated fashion;
    2. reaching out directly to civil society and the general public to raise awareness and understanding of the issues related to FAO's mandate, including strategic use of all branches of the media as channels to communicate key messages on the theme of food security, and to promote the important role of FAO in helping countries to achieve the goals of the World Food Summit;
    3. pursuing World Food Day, related special events, and Food for All Campaigns as means of raising public awareness and generating additional resources for food security and agricultural and rural development work;
    4. reviewing, coordinating and monitoring implementation of the communication policy, strategy and programmes; this will include, in particular, the publication of information products which are of the highest quality, and which project a consistent and appropriate corporate image of the Organization;
    5. ensuring a proactive and systematic approach to communication planning and budgeting, to enable a well planned and funded public information effort which supports, and is consistent with, the Organization's substantive programme of work; and
    6. establishing and sustaining a "communication culture", based on a shared foundation of knowledge in which FAO staff become informed and convinced partners in its communication efforts.


138. The Strategic Framework forms an essential part of the enhanced programme-budget process now approved for the Organization. When fully implemented, this process will include the Strategic Framework, with its 10 to 15 year time dimension, a Medium Term Plan (MTP) for a six-year period and a biennial Programme of Work and Budget (PWB). The Medium Term Plan will ensure the link between the agreed strategic objectives and FAO's programme of work. It will thus become FAO's Corporate Plan for a six-year period, while the Programme of Work and Budget will essentially become FAO's short term Business Plan.

139. The essential functions of implementation monitoring and programme evaluation will continue in the new process. In particular, a new evaluation regime is being developed in consultation with the Programme Committee. The proposed regime is more comprehensive and will realign the thrust of certain evaluation studies so that they address, to the extent possible, progress towards the achievement of the strategic objectives established in this framework. The new regime also envisages streamlined reporting arrangements allowing the submission of a more concise Programme Evaluation Report to Council and Conference.

140. The following table shows the elements of the new regime:





Strategic Framework

10-15 years

about every 6 years

To set the strategic direction

Medium-term Plan

6 years

rolling plan every two years

To establish programme priorities and project resource requirements

Programme of Work and Budget

2 years

2 years

To appropriate resources and seek approval for the two year programme

Programme Implementation Report

2 years

2 years

To provide quantitative post facto reporting on programme implementation

Programme Evaluation Report

6 years or more

2 years

To provide selective qualitative analytical evaluation of programme implementation

Planning Framework

The Strategic Framework

141. The Strategic Framework establishes the overall definition of those areas in which Members of the Organization require FAO's services. It does this in the form of twelve strategic objectives with associated strategies which become the basis of all programme planning within the Organization. It also defines the key cross-organizational strategic issues which need to be addressed in order to ensure that the Organization has or acquires the optimum capacity to provide the services sought by Members. In addition, the Strategic Framework, includes definition of the criteria for priority setting with a view to their application in the Medium-term Plan as described below.

142. While the Strategic Framework has a time frame of 10 to 15 years, it is recognized that it may need to be updated periodically - either because of major events on the international scene (e.g. key international conferences, etc.) or because of the changing internal and external environment. In this regard, it is considered that the time-frame for the strategies addressing cross-organizational issues is generally shorter than for those addressing Members' needs. Therefore, without intending to be too prescriptive, a revision every six years or so may be appropriate but this would be subject to review closer to the time.

The Medium Term Plan

143. The Medium Term Plan will propose programmes which address each strategic objective in the Strategic Framework. These will be accompanied by information on the results planned to be achieved, including outputs, effectiveness criteria and indicators. It will be a rolling plan, to be updated every two years by deleting completed programme entities and including the new ones which are proposed to be commenced in the new planning period. The revision will also take account of the outcome of evaluations and implementation performance reporting although it will not, in the interest of economy, seek to replicate these reports.

144. The programme entities constituting the Medium Term Plan fall into three categories: Technical Projects (TP), Continuing Programme Activities (CP) and Technical Service Agreements (TS), the latter two concerning outputs and services which the Organization is committed to provide on a fairly constant or continuing basis (for a detailed definition see "Planning Methodology" below). As Technical Projects can be for any period up to six years, only one third will, on average, be "new" in any one biennium, thus reducing the volume of work involved in reviewing the Plan. The document will concentrate on justifying the "new" entities proposed to be introduced in the upcoming biennium, while at the same time presenting the complete picture for each strategic objective. Each of the new entities will be accompanied by a more detailed explanation of the objectives, outputs, related time-frames, inputs and estimated lifetime costs.

Programme of Work and Budget

145. Rather than serving as the principal foundation of the planning and budgeting system of the Organization, as it does at present, the PWB will become less of a programme and more of a budgetary document and will represent the detailed implementation plan for a two year time-slice of the Medium Term Plan. As such, it will become a vehicle for fine-tuning agreed activities to match available budgetary resources.

Programme Evaluation Report (PER)

146. While the precise form of this report is currently under review by the Programme Committee, it is expected that the coverage will tend to be driven more by the new process inherent in the Strategic Framework and the Medium Term Plan. It is also expected that, while detailed evaluation reports will continue to be submitted to the Programme Committee, a more concise PER can be envisaged as a synthesis of all of reports submitted to the Committee, thus meeting the request of the Council for a shorter PER.

Programme Implementation Report (PIR)

147. Some Members have suggested that the Programme Evaluation and Implementation Reports be integrated into a single document. However, given the difference in their time frames and their scope, the general feeling is that the Programme Implementation Report now needs to be redesigned and integrated with the hitherto separately issued Certified Audited Accounts and FAO Annual Review to produce an FAO Biennial Report. This would both avoid duplication and reduce overall costs. It also implies a somewhat more concise and attractive document. The preliminary thoughts are that this might best be accomplished by putting the quantitative data concerning outputs achieved on WAICENT, rather than by including them in the document itself.

Planning Methodology - New Programme Model

148. The MTP and PWB documents will be based on a new programme model, with the following features:

149. The advantage of the new programme model is that these features, taken together, will provide a mechanism for harnessing a critical mass of resources, within a clear time horizon, in order to achieve an intended and precise result. Such results will be designed to contribute to the achievement of one or more of the strategic objectives established and agreed in the Strategic Framework.

150. While the planning model will evolve with experience in its application, it currently foresees formulation of Technical Projects (TP), Continuing Programme Activities (CP), and Technical Service Agreements (TS), defined as follows:

151. For each of the above-mentioned entities, the following will be stipulated:

Rationale: Contribution to the corporate strategy in question, identifying the need to be met and stating why it is important that FAO - rather than another agency or organization - meet the need.

Objectives: Expressed in terms of relevance to the strategic objectives and of benefits to the users, with quantified targets when possible.

Outputs: The major outputs which will allow the stated objective to be achieved will be identified, not only in terms of the product but also the time period in which they are to be produced thus establishing milestones for monitoring purposes. These will probably be divided, to the extent possible, between the following categories:

For major outputs, it will be necessary to identify:

User focus - who is the output going to be used by? (e.g. technical staff of government and private sector institutions concerned);

Efficiency - was this the lowest-cost way to deliver outputs of desired quality at the required time?; and

Effectiveness criteria and indicators - was the output used and how? e.g. adoption of standards by countries is an effectiveness criterion, publication of standards is not.

Links: Links of three types will need to be identified and defined:

Managerial arrangements: a clear indication of management arrangements envisaged, particularly where various units are involved.

Appraisal: Each technical project and continuing programme activity will be subject to a specific appraisal aimed at determining the priority of the proposal using the criteria which are further described below.

Priority Setting in the Context of the New Planning Framework

152. While Members have differing views on the relative importance of each of the twelve strategic objectives, the proposed framework does not rank them or apply lower or higher priority between them. This is because the importance of priorities comes into play at the resource allocation stage which occurs first in the development of the Medium Term Plan.

153. Criteria will be used to determine the priority to be accorded to the medium-term programme entities which will contribute to the achievement of the strategic objectives. The Strategic Framework is the appropriate place to establish the criteria for priority setting, and this in turn, requires an examination of FAO's comparative advantages and consequently its potential partners and their capacities.

Criteria for Priority-Setting

154. Development of practical and effective criteria will be an evolutionary process, but with the initial coming into force of the Strategic Framework the following criteria, drawn on experience, will be applied:

155. More detailed procedures and internal mechanisms for development and appraisal of programme entities will be established for the first Medium Term Plan, responding to the objectives set in the Strategic Framework.

Major Comparative Advantages

156. Clearly comparative advantage is an important criterion in priority setting and therefore it follows that this criterion needs to be more fully defined. FAO's major comparative advantages are derived from an analysis of the Organization's general strengths, recognizing that while they are considerable, they constitute comparative advantages only when appropriately brought to bear on problems for which the intervention of an Organization such as FAO is needed.

157. Clearly, the comparative advantages briefly described below could be applied to most United Nations Specialized Agencies, and in this case should be understood to apply to FAO within the sphere of its mandate, and in line with the division of labour among the organizations of the UN system. With regard to other "comparator" organizations or groups of organizations (e.g. non-UN intergovernmental organizations, academic/research institutes, non-profit or voluntary organizations, private consulting firms) the comparative advantages of FAO will apply even in cases where the field of action of the comparator is similar to that of the Organization.

Authority and status as a global inter-governmental organization

158. FAO has the mandate and membership to enable it to take a global view of problems in its domain of competence. As an inter-governmental organization, it is able to address issues at both the national and international levels, both directly and in partnership with other organizations. In this regard, FAO can both furnish technical, economic and legal expertise.

FAO as an "honest broker"

159. FAO can act as an "honest broker", identifying and advocating common solutions independent from specific ideological and national perspectives. In this regard, it can provide a neutral forum for the negotiation and development of international agreements, codes of conduct, technical standards and other instruments.

Unparalleled information source and institutional memory

160. FAO's wealth of experience and of information, collected, analyzed and disseminated on a continuous basis, constitutes a unique asset, which is both available to Members and a support to the Secretariat's activities. Without this, it would be virtually impossible to carry out much of the essential work which is expected by the membership, and which depends for its authority and value on FAO's being able to provide a dimension (its institutional memory) not obtainable from other sources.

Broad networking capacity with Members and other partners

161. The Organization has wide access to decision-makers in Member Nations. As part of the UN system, it is involved with many international initiatives and is able to offer an institutional framework for inter-country cooperation, cutting across geographical boundaries and even political or cultural divides. The success of a number of the Organization's past activities has been attributed to this world-wide networking capacity, including FAO's direct access to specialized sources of expertise relevant to food and agriculture, the numerous technical cooperation ventures it sponsors, and its wide array of expert panels and advisory bodies and its multi-lingual mode of operation. Growing links with the world of NGOs and civil society organizations, which facilitate outreach of FAO activities beyond government circles, add a further dimension.

Decentralized capabilities

162. Co-existing with FAO's global vocation and networking capacity are its decentralized capabilities. They facilitate and in many cases provide the major justification for implementation of both single country and multi-country activities requested by the membership. The immediate presence at national level (through FAORs) and at sub-regional and regional levels (through the Regional and Sub-regional Offices) is instrumental in ensuring timeliness in responding to requests and relevance to local needs.

Professional and multi-disciplinary staff

163. The professionalism and dedication of a multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual work force, devoted to the cause of multilateralism and bound by the standards of conduct of the International Civil Service, must count as a major comparative advantage. The existence of a wide range of disciplines within the Secretariat (at Headquarters and in the decentralized units) provides continuity of action and a unique resource for normative activities and for support to technical cooperation and investment mobilization activities.

Capacity to respond to unforeseen needs of Members Nations

164. As a support and adjunct to FAO's Regular Programme activities and its field programmes funded from extra-budgetary sources, the Technical Cooperation Programme provides a valuable mechanism to respond to member countries' immediate and/or unforeseen needs. This, combined with the Organization's contacts with governments and the presence of Permanent Representatives in Rome, enables the Organization to take some immediate action while making efforts to mobilize or leverage resources for further assistance.

Responsible financial and administrative management

165. The Organization has sound and responsible financial and administrative management. Financial and internal controls are highly effective, as is evidenced by the fact that in over 50 years of activity the FAO accounts have always been approved by the External Auditor without qualification and the Organization has avoided any significant financial default.


166. Fundamental to the concept of comparative advantage is the existence of other institutions that can offer similar services. Partnerships with such institutions need to be envisaged proactively in the interest of avoiding duplication and increasing FAO's effective impact by drawing on the capacity of such partners to achieve its strategic objectives.

167. The question of partnership hinges on the reason why FAO, rather than another potential agency, should work to meet any one of the identified needs. To analyze this question presupposes up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge of the comparative advantages, capacities and programmes of other organizations working in the field in question. Effective partnership is predicated on both exchange of information and experience and cooperation, based on a mutually-agreed division of labour, with a wide range of partners. Also, and more importantly, it opens the way for mobilization of the contribution of others to achievement of broad goals which FAO, by itself, could not attain. While much exchange of experience and cooperation already exists, both at the institutional level and at the level of individual technical units, it expected that implementation of the corporate cross-organizational strategy on Broadening Partnerships and Alliances should reinforce the "culture of cooperation" within the Organization.

168. As a general principle, for the establishment of effective partnerships, FAO must seek to ensure that cooperation addresses specific issues and problems and aims at achieving tangible results, particularly at country level. Cooperative relationships with partners will build on established institutional links and intrinsic complementarities, but will entail different practical modalities and instruments, depending on the context.

UN system organizations

169. In respect of the UN system, a key aspect is follow-up to global conferences and summits, including the World Food Summit, which are shaping the agenda for action by the international community. The system must help countries translate commitments, particularly those taken within the framework of international conventions and follow-up to UNCED into effective and practical measures, building on the potential for synergy inherent in the system. In particular, FAO will need to maintain a proactive role in ensuring a coherent UN system approach to the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and participate in other system-wide initiatives from the perspective of food and agriculture issues. Special attention needs to be paid to further strengthening the links among the Rome-based organizations.

International financing institutions

170. FAO can continue to use its multi-disciplinary technical expertise for the generation of investment in food and agriculture, through the fruitful tri-partite relationship it enjoys with the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the concerned governments themselves. In the policy advisory area, the Organization must seek to dovetail its sectoral advice with the overall macro-economic assistance provided by these institutions. It may also build on their readiness to establish a broader base of cooperation to support specific national programmes such as agricultural statistics or aquaculture, as evidenced by new memoranda of understanding signed with them at the highest policy level.

Research organizations

171. In pursuing institutional links with the CGIAR, of which it is a co-sponsor along with the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP, FAO can further develop close contact and joint activities with the individual centres themselves, facilitating outreach of the results achieved by research institutions through catalytic action in support of technology transfer, taking maximum account of local conditions. Collaboration with research-oriented organizations will be well served by the presence of the NARS and TAC Secretariats at FAO, and maximum use can be made of networking modalities.

Intergovernmental organizations

172. A number of other Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), particularly many regional ones, have interest in agricultural issues and may be actively involved with food and agricultural cooperation programmes. In full recognition of the comparative advantages these Organizations may have in specific regional contexts, FAO must continue to explore avenues for cooperation to maximize complementarities in keeping with its mandate.

Civil society

173. FAO must also continue to adjust to the significant changes which are taking place in the respective roles and responsibilities of the state, the market and civil society. FAO cannot match the capillary outreach of Civil Society Organizations, particularly the farmers' and consumers' organizations and the large number of NGOs active in food and agriculture, down to the level of farming communities themselves. However, it can play a useful catalytic role in mobilizing action at national level, supporting coalitions and fostering exchanges of experience. It will, therefore, need to expand constructive partnerships with non-state actors, building on its long experience and institutional memory in joint practical work, e.g. with rural producers' organizations.

Private sector

174. Links with the private sector should include active dialogue to foster mutual understanding of the potential for cooperation, while respecting each other's characteristics. FAO can marry its extensive field experience and knowledge of the requirements of food and agriculture development with the unique entrepreneurship capacities of private sector agents, for instance by playing an "honest broker" role in increasing private sector investment in agriculture and investments in new technology to bring greater benefit to developing countries.

Implementation Schedule

175. The following table describes the proposed implementation schedule leading up to, and following, approval of the Strategic Framework by the Conference in November 1999:







Strategic Framework

Jan to March

May and
Sept 1999

June and
Nov 1999

Nov 1999
(for decision)

Medium Term Plan

Jan and
March 2001

Sept 2000

Nov 2000
(for decision)

Nov 2001
(for information)

Programme of Work and Budget


May and
Sept 2001

June and
Nov 2001

Nov 2001
(for decision)

Programme Implementation Report

Jan to March

Sept 2004

Nov 2004

Nov 2005
(for decision)

Programme Evaluation Report
2005 (covering an approximate period of 1998 to 2003)

As appropriate

May and Sept 2004

June 2005

Nov 2005
(for decision)



ACC Administrative Committee on Coordination
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
CBO Community-based Organization
CCD Convention to Combat Desertification
CCA Common Country Assessment
CFS Committee on World Food Security (FAO)
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
CGRFA Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO)
CIAT International Centre for Tropical Agriculture
CILSS Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel
CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research
CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CSE Consumer Subsidy Equivalent
CSO Civil Society Organization
DFID Department for International Development (UK)
ECE Economic Commission for Europe
ECHA Executive Committee for Humanitarian Assistance
ECOSOC United Nations Economic and Social Council
EFI European Forest Institute
EMPRES Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (FAO)
EUFMD European Commission for the Control of Food-and-Mouth Disease
FAOR FAO Representative
FDI Foreign Direct Investment
FIVIMS Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information Mapping System
GEF Global Environment Facility
GFAR Global Forum on Agricultural Research
GIEWS Global Information and Early Warning System (FAO)
GPA Global Programme on AIDS
GTOS Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS)
IAEG Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group
IARCs International Agricultural Research Centres
IASC Inter-Agency Standing Committee
IBAR Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources
ICARDA International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
ICIMOD International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
ICLARM International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management
ICN International Conference on Nutrition
ICRAF International Centre for Research in Agroforestry
ICRISAT International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
ICRC International Committee for the Red Cross
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
IFI International Financing Institution
IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development
IIASA International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
IITA International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
ILO International Labour Office
ILRI International Livestock Research Institute
IMF International Monetary Fund
IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
INGO International Non-governmental Organization
IIED International Institute for Environment and Development
IPGRI International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
IPM Integrated Pest Management
IPPC International Plant Protection Convention
IPTRID International Program for Technology Research in Irrigation and Drainage
IPU Inter-Parliamentary Union
IRRI International Rice Research Institute
ISME International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems
ISRIC International Soil Reference and Information Centre
ISTRO International Soil Tillage Research Organization
ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization
IUCN World Conservation Union
MRL Maximun Residue Limits
NARS National Agricultural Research System
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
OAU Organization for African Unity
OCHA United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN)
ODA Official Development Assistance
OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OIE International Office of Epizootics
OSS Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel
PAHO Pan-American Health Organization
PIC Prior Informed Consent
POPS Persistent Organic Pollutants
PGRFA Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat
SOFA State of Food and Agriculture (FAO)
SPFS Special Programme for Food Security (FAO)
TAC Technical Advisory Committee (CGIAR)
TBT Technical Barriers to Trade
TRIPS Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
UNCSD Commission on Sustainable Development
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDAFs United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks
UNDCP United Nations International Drug Control Programme
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDRO/IDNDR United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator/International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
UNHCHR United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women
UNITAR United Nations Institute for Training and Research
UNV United Nations Volunteers Programme
UPOV International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
USDA United States Department of Agriculture
UTF Unilateral Trust Fund
WAICENT World Agriculture Information Centre (FAO)
WARDA West African Rice Development Association
WB World Bank
WFP World Food Programme
WFS World Food Summit
WHO World Health Organization
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
WTO World Trade Organization
WTO SPS World Trade Organization - Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
WRI World Resources Institute
WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

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