Major Programme 2.2: Food and Agriculture Policy and Development

(all amounts in US$ 000)
  Programme 2004-05 Programme of Work ZRG Programme Change ZRG 2006-07 Programme of Work RG Programme Change RG 2006-07 Programme of Work
220 Intra-departmental Programme Entities for Food and Agriculture Policy and Development 6,603 1,242 7,845 500 8,345
221 Nutrition, Food Quality and Safety 20,626 (109) 20,517 1,308 21,825
222 Food and Agricultural Information 33,917 (98) 33,819 1,500 35,319
223 Food and Agricultural Monitoring, Assessments and Outlooks 15,119 (467) 14,652 300 14,952
224 Agriculture, Food Security and Trade Policy 13,024 (922) 12,102 1,214 13,316
229 Programme Management 11,258 534 11,793 0 11,793
Total 100,547 180 100,727 4,822 105,549
ZNG Impact     (6,836)    
Total     93,891    

Substantive thrusts under ZRG conditions

206.     Major Programme 2.2 is heavily involved with global and regional priorities set by major international conferences or pronouncements, including the World Food Summit: five years later, WTO38 Ministerial Conferences, the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, the Fora of Food Safety Regulators, the Millennium Declaration and the World Summit on the Information Society. Follow-up includes analyzing reasons for insufficient progress in combating hunger and malnutrition, and proposing and supporting actions that can be taken, nationally and internationally, to improve the situation while stressing the various contributions of agriculture and rural development to overall socio-economic development. Other thrusts include: ensuring greater participation of developing countries in the formulation of a rules-based food and agricultural trading system, improved quality and safety of food for consumers, assisting commodity-dependent economies with commodity development and diversification strategies, providing early warning of impending food crises, natural resource management strategies for poverty alleviation, the implications of globalisation and urbanisation on the food economy, and addressing the information gap that separates the poor and hungry in rural areas from the world's information and knowledge resources, thus bridging the rural "digital divide".

207.     The modernised Corporate Database for Substantive Statistical Data (FAOSTAT), and its country version CountryStat, will come into operation with revised methodologies, domains, model parameters and dissemination tools. Similarly, improved access to FAO information resources under the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) framework and coherence in agricultural information will be pursued. Continued work aimed at promoting access to and consumption of nutritionally adequate and safe food, particularly through nutrition education and national development policies will also be among achievements of this major programme. Complementary activities on methodological and conceptual frameworks, coupled with empirical research through strengthened inter-institutional collaboration among varied stakeholders, will also support policy analysis and dialogue.

Programme 2.2.0: Intra-departmental Programme Entities for Food and Agriculture Policy and Development
208.     Shifts of resources are made from other programmes to fund new analytical entities, as included in the Medium Term Plan 2006-11. Resources will also be allocated under a new programme entity for follow-up action on the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.

209.     Beyond continuation of its major activity - the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS), this programme will cover the analysis of structural changes in international value chains for agricultural commodities. It will trace the implications of these changes for developing countries dependent on international commodity trade whether as commodity exporters or food importers. Special attention will be given to two key aspects. First, the scope for commodity-dependent exporters to diversify their production and exports, especially vertically into value-added products, and the strategies needed for success. Secondly, the particular implications of structural changes in global food markets for low income food deficit countries. The programme will also seek to identify upcoming problems associated with long-term developments in world food and nutrition due to changes in population composition and in the location of population.

210.     Activities in the 2006-07 biennium will also analyse the formation and functioning of information networks among stakeholders, identifying the major issues and influences on small farmers based on historical and current trends. A conceptual framework will be further developed, through at least three case studies to analyse and document changes in the food economy, including the rapid spread of supermarkets, and the resulting opportunities and threats posed by these changes to small producers in developing countries. Two Sessions of the Committee on World Food Security will be held; the session in 2006 will focus on the mid-term review of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.

Programme 2.2.1: Nutrition, Food Quality and Safety
211.     By promoting access to and consumption of nutritionally adequate and safe food to all based on a “Right to Food” approach and with high priority given to assuring the quality and safety of food, Programme 2.2.1 makes a direct contribution to the achievement of several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It will maintain its prime emphasis on Codex Alimentarius and Codex-related issues of food safety and quality, nutrition information and education, household food security and nutrition interventions, as well as due reflection of nutrition considerations in national development policies.

Programme 2.2.2: Food and Agricultural Information
212.     This programme will continue to be implemented by the Statistics Division (ESS) and the Library and Documentation Systems Division (GIL) which are jointly responsible for the Organization's principal corporate information systems under the WAICENT framework (e.g. FAOSTAT and the Corporate Document Repository).

213.     It is expected that the modernised FAOSTAT will come into operation in the next biennium, with revised methodologies, domains, model parameters and dissemination tools. It is also expected that CountryStat (the country version of FAOSTAT) will successfully pass the pilot phases and be ready for full operation. Complete alignment of FAO's statistical classifications to the international norms is planned. A new quality assessment scheme will be part of the statistical system. The new FAOSTAT will enable a revised data compilation system with enhanced communication tools to be put into effect, including questionnaires, focal points, active follow-up and editing. The Programme for World Census of Agriculture 2010 will be fully operational in 2006 with a new approach to agricultural censuses.

214.     Improved access to FAO information resources under the WAICENT framework will continue to be sought, with due emphasis on greater coherence in agricultural information and extension of the WAICENT corporate model components to national levels. Coherence will be achieved inter alia through electronic publishing guidelines based on best practices and international standards, improved resource descriptions through multilingual ontologies and metadata, establishment of semantic standards relevant to food security and rural development, standards for the multi-lingual digitisation of FAO information, and coordination through the applicable Priority Area for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIA) to maintain quality in corporate systems and content management tools. Dialogue with FAO Members will be maintained to better mobilise, access and exchange information and knowledge; to assess Members' needs, and to monitor and evaluate the impact of information. The preferred methods of implementation will be: technical expert consultations to discuss and agree on normative frameworks; electronic fora and meetings for information exchange between Members and the international community; and meetings of FAO governing bodies to discuss and decide on policy issues.

215.     Within the framework of the Programme for Bridging the Rural Digital Divide, information management expertise will be transferred to Members through the implementation of distance learning modules (IMARK), facilitating access to information and knowledge networks (AGORA, AGLINET, AGRIS), regional expert consultations and technical workshops on information management, and advisory and technical services under the field programme. The physical renovation of the David Lubin Memorial Library, made possible thanks to substantial voluntary contributions from the Host Country, will lead to state-of-the-art services and facilities, both as a physical and digital library centre for the Organization, including areas for user consultation, briefing and research and a digital resources laboratory. The full range of Library and Virtual Library services will be consolidated and enhanced through consortia approaches (e.g. the UN Library Consortium), and enhanced library tools will be implemented.

Programme 2.2.3: Food and Agricultural Monitoring, Assessments and Outlooks
216.     Programme 2.2.3 will give emphasis to analytically based commodity outlook work, development of primary databases (prices, quantities, policies, etc.), and provision of information and early warning on food security at global, regional, national and subnational (household) levels. Thematic commodity studies will be undertaken on issues identified as important, including international and national commodity risk management strategies and instruments for both exports and imports, and strategies for diversification and value addition in domestic and export markets. The development of the model of world agricultural commodity markets will continue, and analyses of policy reforms will be undertaken. Preparatory work for a new long-term perspective study Agriculture Towards 2050 will be initiated, while publications on thematic topics of global significance will be issued.

Programme 2.2.4: Agriculture, Food Security and Trade Policy
217.     Programme 2.2.4 covers key aspects of commodity policy and development strategies, and their linkages to national and household food security. With respect to international agricultural trade policy, it includes analyses, technical assistance to countries and capacity-building to support effective participation in international trade negotiations and implementation of multilateral trade agreements. Analyses will be undertaken in connection with strategies to cope with increased vulnerability to commodity shocks at both macro and household levels and of the food security implications of import surges. With respect to commodity development, analyses will be undertaken and technical assistance provided to countries on policies and programmes for increasing export earnings and diversification.

218.     The other main thrust in the biennium 2006-07 will be enhancing understanding of the impact of agricultural, rural development and environmental policies on poverty and food security through methodology development and empirical case studies. This will be accomplished by further analytical work and policy research on a number of relevant subjects, including: the role of non-farm activities in rural development and its linkages to agriculture; commercialisation of agriculture and its welfare impact on smallholders; the importance of migration in rural development and poverty alleviation; the potential for environmental service payments for poverty alleviation; and the impact of seed supply systems on the access to crop genetic resources, on farm diversity and household welfare. Furthermore, emphasis will be put on conducting analytical work and strengthening inter-institutional collaboration in a number of countries to facilitate the inclusion of food security concerns in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and integrating the voluntary guidelines on the right to food in policy advice.

Real Growth Scenario

219.     There would be increased work under Programme 2.2.0 to build national capacity in dietary surveys and nutrition assessments. Further work would be carried out on the application of vulnerability group profile methodologies and specific case studies collated and shared with partners. Work would also be carried out on methodological guidelines on the design of national FIVIMS that specifically address institutional issues.

220.     Under Programme 2.2.1, RG would strengthen the capacity of the Codex Secretariat for information dissemination and communication on standards development and the adopted texts, including advanced Internet documentation facilities, timely translation and publication as well as increased presence of Secretariat staff in international and regional fora. Three new posts would assist in the proposed work. Resources would also be used to meet the growing demand for capacity-building in Codex-related activities, including: i) the establishment and strengthening of national codex committees and focal points to improve the participation of developing countries in international food standard setting; ii) more effective national regulatory systems for food control; and iii) tools for capacity-building in food safety. RG resources would also enhance scientific advice to Codex and countries on the safety assessment of foods derived from biotechnology, of microbiological hazards in food and of emerging food contaminants (two technical officer posts could be added, including for a specialist on genetically modified foods).

221.     Under Programme 2.2.2, the RG resources would be used to expand FAOSTAT to countries through CountryStat. A second area would be the development of new domains in the statistical database, namely agricultural resource, price and income statistics. A third area would be coordinating statistical activities in FAO to improve the consistency and the coverage of different databases, improve their quality and reduce the burden on countries from data compilation activities. As regards WAICENT and associated areas, RG resources would be applied to: enhancement of WAICENT access tools for Members, such as the WAICENT Information Finder; increased digital content to the Corporate Document Repository in support of the Virtual Library, affording Members access to more readily available multi-lingual information on agricultural and rural development; electronic publishing guidelines to cover additional agricultural domains and for enhanced search functionality of the FAO Web site; more timely multi-lingual distance learning modules on information management (IMARK); and additional regional workshops for transfer of WAICENT methodologies at the national level.

222.     Programme 2.2.3 would seek improved methodologies for Crop and Food Supply Assessments. Analyses would be undertaken and technical assistance provided to countries on strategies to address foreseen food shortages and emergencies. The impacts of food aid on commodity markets and affected households would be assessed.

223.     Incremental resources would be used under Programme 2.2.4 on: the methodology for measuring the economic cost of hunger and empirical studies in selected countries; assessment of the role of non-farm income in development, rural poverty reduction and links to agriculture; and support to the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, as well as meetings on methods for valuation of environmental externalities. Furthermore, it would be possible to more fully meet the increasing requests for information, timely analyses and capacity-building to deal with an increasingly complex international trade environment.

Zero Nominal Growth Impact

224.     Under Programme 2.2.0, while frequency of CFS sessions would not be modified, there would be a need to re-adjust the structure and duration of the meetings, in addition to reducing the amount of documentation. Additional reports to be examined by the Special Forum 2006, as well as participation from civil society would need to be covered by extra-budgetary funds. FAO’s contributions to the monitoring of MDGs would be significantly reduced.

225.     FIVIMS objectives would also be negatively affected by, for example: reduced statistical data collection and analysis, as well as reduced technical assistance to countries for the production and use of food security-related statistical information; necessary curtailment of support to inter-agency collaboration; and difficulties in the production and publication of SOFI. Another area that would be affected is the FIVIMS work on nutritional assessment and consequent impact on the production of country nutrition profiles.

226.     Several planned new entries would have to be eliminated or drastically reduced, i.e. those dealing with: Managing Nutrition in a Transforming Food Economy, Evolution of Commodity Value Chains and Impact on Markets, Trade and Food Security, and Demographic Change and Urbanization: Impact on Consumption Patterns, thereby undermining FAO’s capacity to influence decision-making in the face of fast-changing external contexts.

227.     Under Programme 2.2.1, ZNG would imply a rather drastic reduction in work related to food composition, publications, capacity-building and training activities. FAO’s contribution to joint normative work with other UN agencies on nutrient requirements would not be met. Two expert consultations, one on fats and oils and the other on carbohydrates in human nutrition, would need to be postponed or cancelled. Country-level work on household food security and nutrition would not benefit from the planned training guides, manuals and educational materials, and workshops in nutrition education, as well as manuals for need assessments and response in emergency situations. A regional training workshop on food safety risk management, one expert consultation on the risk assessment of microbiological hazards in food and a technical meeting on chemical hazards would be cancelled. Regarding Codex, a ZNG budget would mean the elimination of six sessions of FAO/WHO regional Coordinating Committees.

228.     Under Programme 2.2.2, ZNG would entail cancellation of work on environmental statistics, as well as income and investment statistics. The same scenario would: limit capacity to monitor governments’ expenditures on agriculture; delay work on developing additional indicators for measurement of food security; delay compiling, publishing and dissemination of statistics; and reduce the number of new CountryStat countries. Direct assistance to countries would have to be limited. On information systems, the high expectations from the modernised FAOSTAT would not be met. ZNG resources and potential loss of posts would negatively impact the further development of the WAICENT corporate framework and the Programme to Bridge the Rural Digital Divide, addressing regional priorities. ZNG would necessitate reduction of indexing, cataloguing and other services. The more limited corporate resources for library subscriptions would have to be supplemented by users, based on demands.

229.     Under Programme 2.2.3, work on SOFA would rely on reduced inputs by external experts and stakeholders, while expenditures on promotion and dissemination of the publication would also be severely reduced. Analytical work on prospective changes in food consumption patterns would be curtailed, together with other analytical studies (under other programmes). This would clearly affect the underpinning of Global Food and Agricultural Perspective Studies.

230.     Under Programme 2.2.4, ZNG would lead to postponement of work on the methodology for measuring the economic cost of hunger. Similarly, reports in support of the implementation of environmental agreements as well as meetings on methods for valuation of environmental externalities would be postponed, in particular as relates to the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification. In connection with activities on diversification and competitiveness of agricultural commodities, which involve mainly project preparation and supervision of Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) projects which are submitted by Members to the various IGGs, fewer projects would be processed for submission to the CFC. Therefore, increased dependency on extra-budgetary funds would be necessary to maintain this activity. Fewer, and/or shorter documents and analyses would be prepared for the IGGs.

38 World Trade Organization