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Enhanced MTP Process

1.      As stressed in the Director-General’s Introduction, the MTP has a central role in the “suite” of FAO programme planning and reporting documents since the adoption of the Strategic Framework in 1999. Behind the document itself, lies a complex formulation process involving the application of results-based budgeting (RBB), supported by the Programme Planning, Implementation Reporting and Evaluation System (PIRES).

2.      One can say in a nutshell that the MTP embodies FAO’s main programme planning process under results-based planning and budgeting principles. As such, it focuses primarily on the formulation of programme proposals, including their rationale, contribution to Strategic Objectives and Cross-Organizational Strategies, intended outcome and related performance indicators; and on the prioritization of such proposals. Other dimensions included in the document, such as resource estimates, are specified to the extent necessary to support overall programme prioritization and formulation.

3.      So far, as was evident in the first two versions of the MTP, the main accent was on applying RBB to technical activities. This tended to create an artificial dichotomy between technical work and the remainder of FAO activities which can be referred to as the non-technical and technical cooperation (NT/TC) programmes. The latter were in effect only very obliquely addressed in the previous MTPs, if at all.

4.      Therefore, changes to the process and to the format of the document in the context of this MTP 2006-11 have been guided by:

Application of results-based principles to non-technical and technical cooperation (NT/TC) areas

5.      The NT/TC areas comprise all PWB Chapters and Major Programmes except for Chapter 2 and Major Programme 3.1. It is recalled that three types of “entities” are used in connection with the latter: Technical Projects (TPs), Continuing Programme Activities (CPs) and Technical Services Agreements (TSs).

6.      Recognizing the particular nature of the NT/TC areas when compared to the technical programmes, three broad categories of work were identified: i) on-going services delivered to internal users; ii) discrete packages of services designed to deliver a benefit directly to member countries or other external users; and iii) large-scale projects generally designed to improve internal services.

7.      Accordingly, three entity types, somewhat analogous though not identical to those used in the technical programmes, have been defined in the context of NT/TC programmes: continuing services (CSs); support services to Members and other partners (SPs); and projects (PRs).

8.      In addition to the eventual extension of other results based management practices including annual assessment and auto-evaluation, the application of the new model in NT/TC programmes has also been geared:

9.      An additional dimension worth noting, in particular for the non-time bound entities (CS and SP mentioned above), is the use of a periodic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) as an integral part of the conceptual design.

Sharpened focus of entities in technical programmes

10.      Further refinements to the design of entities under technical programmes were encouraged. These were principally aimed at ensuring clearer relationships with Strategic Objectives and a prime focus on the achievement of results. These innovations, as well as other improvements to the MTP process in general, were facilitated by a substantially revamped version of the MTP module of the computerized system PIRES and supported by a series of training sessions, distance learning materials and one-to-one tutoring arrangements for programme managers.

11.      In view of the importance of incorporating feedback from implementation monitoring into forward planning, programme managers were invited to improve current entity formulations, in particular for performance indicators and related targets. This conceptual effort was able to build for the first time on information from annual summary assessments and gathered to support the production of an enhanced Programme Implementation Report (PIR).

12.      Further, to allow for increased focus on the specification of primary user groups, intended outcomes and associated indicators, a simplification of planning requirements at the Major Output (MO) level was introduced for this MTP. Linkages to Strategic Objectives, PAIAs and Partner Agencies, formerly to be specified at the MO level, have been aggregated to the programme entity level, and are therefore shown at this level in the associated MTP database posted on FAO’s Web site.

13.      It may be noted that while the PIRES system had generally been accessible only at headquarters during the MTP 2004-09 formulation process, it was used by Regional Offices to prepare and submit proposals on medium-term priority areas for technical work in their respective Regions. Other system enhancements have been made to support analysis of the regional dimensions of programmes and activities.

14.      Also worthy of note is that the data collection exercise which was part of the MTP 2004-09 leading to the section in that document entitled: "Extra-budgetary resources for FAO Normative and Operational Activities" was not carried out again, as experience subsequently proved that this forecasting effort did not prove of much value in dialogue with potential donors. However, those extra-budgetary resources, which are treated as "Other Income" in the PWB continue to be included in the resource projections for the MTP. An updated narrative for the SACOI on "Leveraging Resources for FAO and its Members" is provided in Part I below.

Implications of a "rolling" Plan

15.      The Strategic Framework (Paragraph 143) sets forth the rolling nature of the MTP, which is “…to be updated every two years by deleting completed programme entities and including new ones that are proposed to be commenced in the planning period. The revision will also take into account the outcome of evaluations and implementation performance reporting…”.

16.      Therefore, as regards technical work, the focus for this third version of the revamped MTP was on identifying any changes necessitated by: i) the findings of programme, thematic or strategic evaluations, or auto-evaluations; ii) major conclusions drawn from summary assessments performed for 2002-03; iii) material changes in the external environment (e.g. new programmatic requirements, a lower assigned priority); iv) the continued application of the Council criteria for priority setting, and/or v) significant resource adjustments. All proposals for changes to entities were closely scrutinized and evaluated for conformity with one or more of the above factors.

17.      Accordingly, this document provides detailed information only for the new entities introduced in 2006-07 or for those existing entities that were substantially reformulated. Full details for all programme entities active in the MTP 2006-11 can be found on the Web site at the address A total of 33 new or substantially reformulated entities are presented with the required details in this document. The same number of entities in the MTP 2004-09 are to terminate at the end of 2005, either because they were initially planned in this manner or because of deliberate action and replacement with new work (often as the result of recent evaluations). There are a few cases of conversion from TP to CP status and extensions of original timeframes for a few other TPs. There are several changes in titles for increased clarity over the MTP 2004-09 (but no change in scope implied) which have generally been effected already in the current PWB 2004-05.

18.      Technical Departments were also allowed, although not formally required, to identify potential new programme entities to initiate in 2008 or later in the planning period. However, in order to properly assess their feasibility, significant additional information currently not available would be needed, including inter alia the results of auto-evaluation of existing related entities. Therefore, they are not presented in the document.

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