Major Programme 2.5: Contributions to Sustainable Development and Special Programme Thrusts

(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
251 Research, Natural Resources Management and Technology Transfer 21,588 34 21,622 169 21,791
252 Gender and Population 6,058 474 6,532 750 7,282
253 Rural Development 8,580 115 8,695 750 9,445
256 Food Production in Support of Food Security in LIFDCs 11,644 0 11,644 400 12,044
259 Programme Management 8,505 373 8,878 0 8,878
Total 56,376 995 57,372 2,069 59,441
ZNG Impact     (3,822)    
Total     53,550    

Substantive thrusts under ZRG conditions

263.     Major Programme 2.5 promotes sustainable development concepts, methods and practices aiming at environmental, social and economic well-being of rural people, especially the poor. It ensures FAO’s leadership in the follow-up to World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as relates to key areas of direct relevance to the Organization, acts as corporate focal point for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD), gender, HIV/AIDS, communication for development, education, training, land tenure, bio-energy and the multilateral environmental conventions on biodiversity, climate change, and desertification. It also contributes to strengthening national capacities in research and technology and ensures close cooperation with regional and international agricultural research systems through the Secretariats of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Science Council and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).

264.     Three component programmes, served by the Sustainable Development Department, are centred on: the environment and natural resources for present and future generations (2.5.1); people, i.e. their knowledge, resources, social relations, equity and equality (2.5.2); and rural institutions, i.e. the norms, values, practices and organizational arrangements that affect how people access and manage land and other resources, implement programmes and govern themselves (2.5.3). The programmes were restructured and streamlined in the Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2006-11, and it is proposed to fine-tune this effort in the PWB 2006-07 by shifting two programme entities from Programme 2.5.1 to 2.5.2.

265.     The fourth programme (2.5.6), implemented by the Technical Cooperation Department, helps to formulate, coordinate and monitor the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).

Programme 2.5.1: Research, Natural Resources Management and Technology Transfer
266.     Through its restructured entities approved in the MTP 2006-11, Programme 2.5.1 will concentrate on environmental and research issues pertinent to FAO’s mandate, including key priorities such as: environmental assessment, remote sensing, multilateral environmental agreements, biotechnology and biosafety. It will provide support to Members to achieve improved planning and decision-making with a view to harmonising agricultural production and environmental concerns. The programme will further strengthen National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) to improve access to information, the development and adoption of appropriate technologies and the safe application of biotechnology. The programme will also support the CGIAR, through the Secretariat of the Science Council, in priority setting, monitoring and evaluation of CGIAR centre programmes and impact evaluation. The incorporation of sustainable development concepts in national research agendas will be emphasised. Improved national capacities for formulating and implementing policies for harmonisation of regulatory frameworks are among the expected achievements. GFAR will facilitate the participation of NARS in regional and international fora and promote interaction among stakeholders in agricultural research.

267.     Work in response to increased demands for policy advice and technical assistance in the area of Education for Rural People (entity 251A7), in line with the lead role assigned to FAO by WSSD regarding this initiative, will be shifted to Programme 2.5.2. Furthermore, the continuing development of conceptual frameworks, methodologies and training materials for information and communication technology (ICT) applications and content development, distance-learning and information dissemination, and impact assessment (comprising entity 251P3) will also be moved to Programme 2.5.2. Work to reform and renew agricultural extension systems will be shifted to Programme 2.5.3.

Programme 2.5.2: Gender and Population
268.     Programme 2.5.2 is based upon the twin pillars of capacity building and policy assistance to Members in the areas of gender, HIV/AIDS and other, often related, diseases and their relation with rural poverty and food insecurity. The programme will build capacity and provide tools and policy advice towards the accomplishment of several of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular regarding gender equality; mitigation of HIV/AIDS; and in the reduction of rural poverty and food insecurity. It will continue to support implementation of the FAO Gender and Development Plan of Action (2002-2007) and the Strategy on HIV/AIDS and other poverty-related diseases. Expected accomplishments include: workshops on gender, gender disaggregated data development and use and HIV/AIDS issues; testing and development of gender-sensitive research and indicators; Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) sector guides and other training materials; policy advisory notes and other policy assistance on gender and the conventions on climate change, biodiversity and desertification, natural resource management, HIV/AIDS impact on food security, and rural ageing; assistance to countries in developing agriculture sector strategies for HIV/AIDS; publications on the gender and social dimensions of globalization and trade, new forms of energy, coping with natural disasters, biotechnology and new information technologies.

Programme 2.5.3: Rural Development
269.     Under Programme 2.5.3, three entities were consolidated into two technical projects in the MTP. The programme will prepare and test appropriate policy materials and develop methodologies for national arrangements for improved land tenure security. It will also support the testing and dissemination of policies and practices to strengthen the implementation of SARD and sustainable livelihoods as well as methods for institutional analysis and capacity-building to strengthen the contribution of public, producer and community-based organizations to SARD and for the reduction of rural people’s vulnerability to natural, economic and political shocks. Policies, institutions and methods will be fostered to strengthen national extension systems, including the promotion of effective linkages among research, extension, private and public sector and farmer organizations. The UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security will continue to support the design and dissemination of rural development and food security policies and practices at country level.

Programme 2.5.6: Food Production in Support of Food Security in LIFDCs
270.     The Special Programme for Food Security will continue to assist and support Low-Income, Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) in their efforts to improve food security, both at household and national levels. South-South Cooperation (SSC) agreements, whereby more advanced developing countries provide technicians and experts to work in the rural communities of the recipient countries, will remain an important feature of the programme. Following the World Food Summit, an increasing number of countries are developing plans for scaling up national food security programmes as an integral part of Poverty Reduction Strategies. Due consideration is also being given to the regional dimension of food security and assistance is provided to the Regional Economic Organizations in the formulation and implementation of regional programmes for food security. These situations are creating new demands on the Organization, while due emphasis will continue to be placed on assisting countries to mobilise resources in support of the SPFS.

271.     The substantially increased number of countries and regional organizations participating in the SPFS will lead to the fielding during the biennium of a number of formulation missions including:

  • initiation of activities in four new countries (bringing the total to 105);
  • extension of Phase I in six countries (bringing the total to 12);
  • starting Phase II in one country; and
  • preparation of two SSC tripartite agreements (bringing the total to 33).

Real Growth Scenario

272.     Major Programme 2.5 would be able to reinforce its normative activities and increase its policy assistance regarding the impact of HIV/AIDS and other diseases on household and national food security. It would play a more strategic role in UN system joint programming efforts on HIV/AIDS and other, often related, diseases. It would support up-scaling of the relatively new adult and junior farmer field and life schools, which target single parent or grandparent-headed households impacted by HIV/AIDS, or HIV/AIDS orphans, respectively.

273.     RG would also permit an expanded programme to build capacities of decision makers in designing and implementing policies and best practices for SARD. It would also allow for an expanded contribution to the work on the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) on energy and climate change, including through increased inter-departmental efforts on bioenergy. The increased resources under 2.5.6 would be used to support one additional national programme and an additional SSC agreement.

Zero Nominal Growth Impact

274.     Under Programme 2.5.1, work under Support to environmental agreements and promotion of integrated environmental planning and management would be scaled down. A loss of technical capacity would also occur in a key area of FAO comparative advantage – geo-spatial data and information systems – particularly to maintain updated technology for Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing data for early warning systems. Furthermore, the provision of technical assistance for capacity building in biotechnology and biosafety, the support to networks among national research bodies and stakeholders to ensure access to appropriate technologies, the advice in action-based research to increase farmer participation, as well as efforts to integrate traditional knowledge in natural resource management, would be severely affected. The provision of information relevant for policy formulation and decisions on biotechnology, as well as other technologies aimed at achieving national food security, would also be reduced.

275.     Under Programmes 2.5.1 and 2.5.2, loss of capacity in Communication for Development would hamper follow-up to the UN Roundtable on Communication for Development and the forthcoming World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD). It would also hinder follow-up to international commitments made on Education for Rural People (ERP), especially policy advice and technical assistance to countries. Moreover, capacity building, policy and advocacy activities on ERP, already planned with international partners such as UNESCO, IICA41 and the World Bank, as well as support to national youth development would be limited, if not eliminated. The programmes' capacity to prepare, test and disseminate policy materials and methodologies to strengthen national agricultural extension systems would be undermined, affecting in the SAFR42 subregion extension capacity for the prevention and mitigation of HIV/AIDS.

276.     Programme 2.5.3 would incur loss of capacity to support countries in improving access by the rural poor to land and other development resources and services. The testing and dissemination of methodologies and adapted materials to strengthen land administration, decentralized public institutions and producer and community-based organizations in several subregions would no longer be possible. The support to policies and practices for SARD would be virtually dependent on the availability of extra-budgetary resources and headquarters support to the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security would be discontinued.

277.     The reduction under Programme 2.5.6 would imply a decreased capacity to meet countries’ demands and an obligation to reduce targets in respect of the up-scaling of the SPFS and support to SSC agreements.

278.     FAO’s financial support to the CGIAR Science Council and its Secretariat would also be affected, weakening the latter’s capacity to undertake prioritising of international agricultural research programmes and the Organization’s technical assistance to NARS.

41 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

42 Subregional Office for Southern and East Africa