PC 91/INF/4



Rome, May 2004

Major Events in the FAO Calendar and Strategic Planning and Budgeting Documents

Table of Contents


1. During the discussion of Priority Setting1 at the Ninetieth session of the Programme Committee in September 2003, the suspension of the cyclical Programme Reviews, traditionally carried out by the Committee in non-Conference years, was proposed in the document2 to make more time available for the discussion of relative priorities. Many Members expressed reservations about this course of action and the Committee agreed that an attempt should be made to accommodate both requirements in the time available. However, recognizing that this may pose a workload problem over the longer-term, the Committee requested a programme of major events and documents to be reviewed which might bear upon the priority setting process. This, together with experience gained over the year, would allow for a more precise assessment of whether the Committee should propose changes to its methods of work.


2. The Calendar shown in Table 1 below identifies FAO meetings and the relevant strategic planning and budgeting documents which are presented to those meetings in the course of a typical biennium. It also indicates when the Review of Programmes occurs, based on these documents. The timings shown are for illustrative purposes but correspond to those approved by the 126th Council3 for 2004 and 2005. As well as informing the Committee of the production cycle of the documents, they are also briefly described here for ease of reference. The descriptions will also assist the Committee in the assessment of its workload and that of the Secretariat.


3. The Committee will recall that one of the key elements in the successful introduction of results-based budgeting in the Organization was the Strategic Framework, a document in its own right but also incorporating a planning framework consisting of a suite of documents: the main planning documents - the Medium Term Plan and the Programme of Work and Budget, and the post-facto accountability reports, the Programme Evaluation Report and the Programme Implementation Report.

4. The Strategic Framework document has a 15 year cycle but is intended to be updated about every six years. The next update should take place during the 2006-07 biennium. The Strategic Framework 2000-15 establishes the overall policy orientations and the broad areas in which Members of the Organization require FAO’s services. It contains 12 strategic objectives for FAO’s substantive work with associated strategies. It also covers criteria for priority setting, with a view to their application in the Medium Term Plan.

5. The Medium Term Plan (MTP) has a 6 year cycle but is a rolling plan, revised every two years. As shown in Table 1, it is submitted to the September sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees in non-Conference years and to the subsequent Council for approval. It is presented to the Conference for information. The MTP proposes results based programme entities that address each strategic objective in the Strategic Framework, with information on the planned outputs, expected outcomes, indicators, timeframes and indicative resource estimates. It also takes account of the lessons learned from evaluations and implementation performance reporting.

6. The Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) has a two year cycle and, as shown in Table 1, is first prepared as a summary document for the May sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and for the June Council in the second year of the biennium. It presents the detailed implementation plan for a 2 year time slice of the MTP including the inputs required and outputs to be produced.

7. The Programme Implementation Report (PIR) has a two year cycle and provides comprehensive quantitative reporting on programme implementation for each biennium. It is submitted as a post facto report in the year following the biennium being reported upon and, as shown in Table 1, is presented to the September sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees in non-Conference years and to the subsequent Conference for approval.

8. Completing the suite of documents is the Programme Evaluation Report (PER) which also has a two year cycle. It provides a qualitative and analytical in-depth evaluation of the implementation of selected programmes and activities. The Programme Committee is the primary recipient of evaluation reporting. It reviews the quality of evaluation, including the methodology and process involved as well as the performance and achievement of the programmes concerned. It provides its own comments on individual evaluations to the Council. The PER, comprising a synthesis of individual evaluations reviewed by the Committee and its comments, is reviewed by the Council. Its comments are submitted to the Conference, together with the report. Its primary purpose is to lead to an approval of a budget level and a programme of work by the Conference.

Table 1. Calendar of selected Governing Bodies Meetings and Key Strategic Planning and Budgeting Documents

2004 2005
Month Meeting Document Meeting Document
March COFI
Extracts of MTP/SPWB as relevant
April COAG Extracts of MTP/SPWB as relevant
May PC Evaluation Reports, Review of Programmes PC SPWB, Evaluation Reports
September PC MTP, PIR, Evaluation Reports, Review of Programmes PC PWB, Evaluation Reports
November CL MTP CL


Legend for Meetings Legend for Documents
C Conference MTP Medium Term Plan
CL Council PIR Programme Implementation Report
COAG Committee on Agriculture PWB Programme of Work and Budget
COFI Committee on Fisheries SPWB Summary of Programme of Work and Budget
COFO Committee on Forestry
FC Finance Committee
PC Programme Committee


1 PC 90/4 Priority Setting in the Context of Programme Planning

2 ibid, paragraph 19

3 CL 126/Report