1) The Director-General’s Review of the Programmes, Structures and Policies of the Organization presented a comprehensive package of reforms to the FAO Council in May 1994. Decentralization was defined as one of “Guiding Principles” in that reform, underlying proposals for change to assure a reinvigorated and more effective Organization. The Guiding Principle envisaged “The largest possible measure of decentralization of technical activities to regional, sub-regional and country levels……… FAO Headquarters is too remote from the rural masses of Asia, the small-island states of the Pacific, the immense problems of the fragile countries of Africa, the specific issues of interest to Latin America and the Caribbean, the Near East and Eastern Europe. It is imperative that the Organization remain relevant and visible and be seen to act in proximity to the problems. The positive spin-offs of an active decentralization policy are to enhance the use of national, sub-regional and regional capacities, achieve substantial economies in implementation modalities and shorten the time lag between the expression of needs of Member Nations and their satisfaction by the Organization”32.
2) The process of increasing decentralization has been implemented over the period since 1995, adjusting and evolving with experience. Measures have included:
- Expansion of the technical staff of regional offices serving the five developing regions;
- Establishment and staffing of policy assistance branches in each of the regional offices, which also address field programme development;
- Establishment of regional Management Support Units to provide administrative and human resources services to the regional offices, and the field programme;
3) Senior management decided that eight years on from the decision to further decentralize important functions of the Organization, it was timely to undertake a comprehensive independent evaluation of the results so far. The need for such an evaluation was also emphasised in the Governing Bodies33 as well as by the External Auditor34 and the Joint Inspection Unit.
4) In this context decentralized functions are considered to be all those functions which are undertaken away from FAO Headquarters in the regional, sub-regional, country and liaison offices. The relationships will be examined between centralized and decentralized structures and functions as well as among the latter. An assessment will be made of what functions can be most effectively centralized as well as decentralized. It is recognised, in carrying out this analysis and drawing conclusions that execution of functions centrally and through decentralized offices is not a static process, but one that moves forward with the evolving needs of member states, advancing technology and resources available to FAO.
5) Within the orientation provided by FAO’s Strategic Framework, the evaluation will be formative, with its primary purpose being to suggest how to enhance the benefits of decentralization to member countries, while correcting any negative impacts and also ensuring increased cost–efficiency. Thus, the central purpose of the evaluation will be to further the aims encapsulated in the Guiding Principles quoted above, i.e. while ensuring the coherence of FAO as a unitary organization to increase the:
6) The evaluation will focus on assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the decentralization with respect to organizational structures, functions and procedures as they have been established to the present. While the various steps of the decentralization process will be reviewed, the emphasis of the evaluation will be very much on identifying adjustments in the decentralization as it exists today that would be important to better meet the needs of the future.
7) The evaluation will also analyse the validity and effectiveness of the overall decentralization strategy to the evolving global environment and needs of member countries, drawing attention to relevant changes in those needs. The workings of the decentralized structures are seen as having a key role to play in each of the five FAO strategies to address cross-organizational issues35.
8) In assessing this, account will be taken of the views of member countries on the services they require and receive, their quality and effectiveness. In addition, experience of other organizations of the UN system, in particular other specialized agencies will also be considered.
9) A key element of success for decentralization is adjustment of processes, procedures and supporting infrastructure, including for information technology. Several ongoing and completed internal working groups and reviews have examined financial and administrative procedures, levels of authority, lines of reporting, support cost reimbursement, staffing and IT requirements, particularly but not exclusively with respect to the development and operation of the Field Programme. Reports of the Office of the Inspector-General have also addressed FAORs and regional Offices. The evaluation will thus, not itself examine these aspects in detail but will draw on the work of these groups to form its judgements.
10) The evaluation will be comprehensive but in the course of the work the evaluation team will define and focus on those areas in which it feels there are particular strengths to be built upon and weaknesses to be addressed. Within the scope of the terms of reference, the evaluation team will thus, have the independence and a degree of flexibility to explore in greater depth those issues which it identifies as being of importance.
11) The analysis will be approached from the point of view of identifying key needs and concerns, in a situation of limited resources where not all expectations can be met. To the extent possible satisfaction of member countries and work with development partners will be assessed both for FAO as a whole and disaggregated for Headquarters and the decentralized structures. Arrangements in other agencies will provide a useful bench-mark. Among the factors to be examined in assessing the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the decentralization, are:
- Identification and prioritisation of response to their needs;
- Provision of technical cooperation services;
- Emergency preparedness and response;
- Assistance in developing programmes and participation in country planning and strategy development work such as the CCA/UNDAF and PRSP processes;
- Policy and technical analysis, advice and dialogue at national and regional levels (including international issues);
- Information provision and dissemination;
- Fostering and providing a framework for national, regional and global dialogue;
- Support for sub-regional and regional economic and political integration; and
- Resource mobilization.
- member countries’ requirements;
- capacity and actual performance in carrying out the service in terms of quality and effectiveness of the service provided (including capacity of staff, systems, internal working arrangements and infrastructure); and
- cost and other efficiency considerations.
- Organizational structure;
- Clarity of the functions, roles and responsibilities;
- Planning, programming and budgeting arrangements for regular programme and extra-budgetary work;
- Levels of authority and flexibility;
- Controls (technical, financial and administrative); and
- Overall coordination, management, information flows and communication; and
- Other aspects of systems and procedures.
- Incentives, status and reward structures, practice and conceptions and implications for cooperation, competition and management style;
- Impacts on lines of reporting, information flows and communication;
- Human resource policies, procedures and practices and;
- Attitudes to organizational learning and change.
12) The evaluation team will examine the validity of criticisms and suggestions for improvement made by internal and external reviewers, including the JIU and the External Auditor.
13) Recommendations will be prioritised and clearly identify those improvements which could be made without any additional resources. Indicative costings and savings will be provided for the changes proposed (possibly on a scenario basis).
14) A prerequisite in achieving the evaluation’s purposes is that it be independent but also transparent and inclusive of stakeholders throughout the process.
15) The evaluation will be preceded by a desk review summarising all the available documentation.
16) The evaluation process will be highly consultative and subject to discussion with the evaluation team. The evaluation process is foreseen as:
17) No review by a separate peer review panel is envisaged as the evaluation will be led by an external consultant and incorporates a workshop.
18) As is normal practise on completion of the evaluation, senior management will provide a formal response to the findings and recommendations, which will be provided to the Governing Bodies, together with the evaluation report.
David Sands Smith (UK) served his career in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Africa and Asia and was: Head of the DFID European Community Development Department (including UK representative on development matters during the Lomé negotiations); Director of the DFID regional office for East Africa in Nairobi; UK Representative to the UN agencies in Rome; Head of the DFID Office in Scotland and Head of Services (which included responsibility for the DFID administrative and personnel functions). He concluded his career with DFID as Head of the Development Policy Department.
Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana) is currently a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change. She was previously: ILO Deputy Director-General; UNDP Resident Representative (Sierra Leone, Tanzania, the Seychelles and Uganda); and in Ghana Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and Secretary of the National Economic Planning Council. She also served as Chairperson of the Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational Questions of the United Nations, the Commonwealth Expert Group of Eminent Persons on Structural Adjustment and Women, and the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Review of Progress in the Implementation of the Programme for the Least Developed Countries. Ms. Chinery Hesse was a member of the Council of African Advisers of the World Bank, the Eminent Persons’ Advisory Panel of the African Union, and the Distinguished High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Financing for Development (Zedillo Commission) and the International Civil Service Commission.
Adel Aboul-Naga (Egypt) retired from the position of FAO Representative to Pakistan at the end of 2003. Previous to this, he had been his country’s Representative to the UN agencies in Rome for five years, during which he was also member of FAO Programme Committee, and chairman of both the Group of 77 and the Near East Group. He had been appointed to this post from the position of Under-Secretary for Animal Production in Egypt, when he travelled extensively in the Near East region. Dr. Aboul Naga holds a Ph.D in Animal Breeding.
Minoli Santiapillai (Sri Lanka) has had a career extending over 20 years with UNDP in several Asian countries. She was responsible for UNDP monitoring of FAO projects in Sri Lanka. She also has more recent experience as free-lance consultant for a variety of clients, including the private sector and has worked particularly on gender and social development.
Roberto Cabral y Bowling (Mexico) has had a long academic and research career with the University of Mexico in the field of economic and agricultural development. He has been an economic advisor to the Government of Mexico, including work on the Mexican agrarian reform and on foreign aid for the agricultural sector. He was General Director of Planning in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries and more recently Chief Advisor to the Under-Secretary of State for Hydrocarbons.
FAOR Offices and FAORs
1) Although the functions of FAO country offices are many, the evaluation identified the following roles which are important in determining office competencies:
advocating FAO’s messages;
inputs into, and facilitation of, national dialogue on policy and strategy at all levels;
facilitating coordination and partnership (in a lead or supporting role) among the international community for food security, rural, agricultural, livestock, forestry and fisheries development;
field programme development (for both emergencies and development);
field programme implementation (for both emergencies and development);
2) If these tasks are to be translated into the skill mix required for the office they broadly correspond to:
- policy and strategy development;
- networking and communication;
- promoting FAO’s services in areas of demand;
- management and administration;
- leadership; and
3) The evaluation team concluded that, with variations depending upon the needs and potential of the countries they are serving, FAORs need themselves to possess all the above skills. Although the need for strong management and administration capacity can sometimes be partially offset by the capacities of other staff in the FAOR office, the remainder cannot.
Technical Regional/Sub-regional Officers
4) With the implementation of the recommendations in this report, the responsibilities of technical officers would become broader in terms of the issues to be covered and their policy and strategic roles at both country and regional levels. They would also be expected to work more as members of inter-disciplinary teams. Roles would thus include:
5) If these roles are to be translated into the skill mix required for the role, competences required are as follows:
6) The responsibilities for the regional and sub-regional representatives would include:
7) In performing these roles, competences required include, at a very senior level:
|ACP||African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States|
|AFI||FAO Information Systems and Technology Division|
|AIDS||Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome|
|CAP||Common Agricultural Policy|
|CCA||Common Country Assessment|
|CIS||Commonwealth of Independent States|
|COIN||Country Office Information Network|
|CTA||Chief Technical Adviser|
|ES||FAO Economic and Social Department|
|ESA||FAO Agricultural and Development Economics Division|
|ESC||FAO Commodities and Trade Division|
|FAS||Field Accounting System|
|FI||FAO Fisheries Department|
|FIVIMS||Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems|
|FPMIS||Field Programme Management Information System|
|GDP||Gross Domestic Product|
|GII||FAO Information Division|
|GMO||Genetically Modified Organism|
|HIV||Human Immunodeficiency Virus|
|IFAD||International Fund for Agricultural Development|
|IFI||International Financing Institution|
|IICA||Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture|
|ILO||International Labour Organization|
|JIU||Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System|
|LDCs||Least developed countries|
|LOBR||Liaison Office with European Union and Belgium|
|LOGE||Liaison Office with the United Nations (Geneva)|
|LOJA||Liaison Office in Japan|
|LONY||Liaison Office with the United Nations (New York)|
|LOWA||Liaison Office for North America|
|MDG||Millenium Development Goal|
|MSU||Management Support Unit|
|NAFTA||North American Free Trade Agreement|
|NEPAD||New Partnership for Africa’s Development|
|OCD||Office for Coordination of Normative, Operational and Decentralized Activities|
|OCHA||UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs|
|OTO||Outposted Technical Officer|
|PAHO||Pan-American Health Organization|
|PPRC||Programme and Project Review Committee|
|PRSP||Poverty Reduction Programme|
|PWB||Programme of Work and Budget|
|RAF||FAO Regional Office for Africa|
|RAP||FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific|
|REU||FAO Regional Office for Europe|
|RLC||FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean|
|RNE||FAO Regional Office for the Near East|
|SAD||Special Adviser to the Director-General|
|SAFR||Sub-regional Office for Southern and East Africa|
|SAPA||Sub-regional Office for the Pacific Islands|
|SDA||FAO Rural Development Division|
|SEUR||Sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe|
|SLAC||Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean|
|SMM||Senior Management Meeting|
|SNEA||FAO Sub-regional Office for North Africa|
|SPFS||Special Programme for Food Security|
|TBT||Technical barriers to trade|
|TCA||FAO Policy Assistance Division|
|TCAP||FAO Field Programme Development Service|
|TCAR||FAO Policy Coordinating Service|
|TCAS||FAO Agricultural Policy Support Service|
|TCDC||Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries|
|TCE||FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division|
|TCI||FAO Investment Centre Division|
|TCO||FAO Field Operations Division|
|TCP||FAO Technical Cooperation Programme|
|UNCTAD||United Nations Conference on Trade and Development|
|UNDAF||United Nations Development Assistance Framework|
|UNDP||United Nations Development Programme|
|Unesco||United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization|
|UNFPA||United Nations Population Fund|
|UNICEF||United Nations Children’s Fund|
|UNIDO||United Nations Industrial Development Organization|
|WFP||World Food Programme|
|WHO||World Health Organization|
|WTO||World Trade Organization|
32 CL 106/2, paragraph 24 and Executive Summary, paragraph VI, e.
33 86th Session of the Programme Committee and 97th. Session of the Finance Committee
34 C/2001/5 Audited accounts 1998-1999, para 174
35 Ensuring excellence; Enhancing inter-disciplinarity; Broadening partnerships and alliances; Continuing to improve the management process;, Leveraging resources for FAO and its members; and Communicating FAO’s messages.