Chapter 3: Cooperation and Partnerships

Major Programme 3.1: Policy Assistance

(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
311 Coordination of Policy Assistance and Field Programme Development 6,841 (16) 6,825 0 6,825
312 Policy Assistance to Various Regions 14,511 1,265 15,776 0 15,776
313 Legal Assistance to Member Nations 3,539 0 3,539 244 3,783
319 Programme Management 4,762 18 4,780 0 4,780
Total 29,653 1,267 30,920 244 31,164
ZNG Impact     (2,239)    
Total     28,681    

Substantive thrusts under ZRG conditions

279.     In cooperation with the various organizational units, this major programme ensures outreach of normative policy work to countries. It provides the interface between the policy analysis by technical departments and the delivery of advice through the Policy Assistance Division (TCA). Most of TCA activities – which include country information, policy advice and support to field programme development – are undertaken by policy assistance branches and units decentralized to Regional and Subregional Offices. With a view to better targeting policy advice and identifying entry points for FAO field programmes, Major Programme 3.1 needs to develop a sound knowledge of the agricultural and food sector, including driving forces for change, major opportunities and constraints. In doing this, FAO seeks to interact closely with leading country planning exercises such as national development plans and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), as well as international cooperation arrangements such as UN system development frameworks.

280.     Given the extensive involvement of countries in regional integration agreements and treaties, policy assistance is increasingly extended to regional economic organizations around the world. Of critical importance is the assistance to secure convergence and harmonisation of development policies, strategies and priorities in areas of FAO’s mandate. Programme 3.1.1 covers TCA activities at headquarters, while Programme 3.1.2 covers the work of the decentralized branches and units – tailored as appropriate to the specific needs of each region/subregion. In order to reduce fragmentation and ensure greater symmetry and synergy, some programme entities will be merged in the full PWB to harmonise FAO policy advice to Members and better support the decentralized policy teams. Programme 3.1.3 is implemented by the Legal Office.

Programme 3.1.1: Coordination of Policy Assistance and Field Programme Development
281.     The programme will continue to backstop, support and coordinate the work of TCA’s decentralized units, seeking inter alia to:

  • enhance country focus by ensuring availability of relevant data on country situations and strategic priorities through a Web-based country information system;
  • ensure effective provision of technical assistance under the field programme related to core issues of agricultural development and food security; and
  • ensure that relevant policy advice and capacity building is efficiently delivered to Members, in particular through interdisciplinary approaches.

Programme 3.1.2: Policy Assistance to Various Regions
282.     This programme covers the work of the decentralized policy assistance branches and units of TCA, aiming at consistent policy advice and programme development support to countries and regional organizations. It plays a major role in maintaining country focus for FAO activities. Sector and subsector reviews and analyses of selected policy issues are conducted to underpin policy advice and targeting of the field programme. An important dimension is to assist countries in adjusting national policy and strategic frameworks, for aspects falling under FAO’s mandate, and to support regional organizations in developing and implementing policies and strategies for food security at regional level.

283.     The increase under ZRG is, in fact, a reinstatement of the above-average resources lost under the budget reduction exercise in connection with the PWB 2004-05. Returning to the resource levels that would have existed, had the average 2004-05 budget reductions been applied, reflects the priority that the governing bodies attach to policy assistance and the concern for capacity loss to serve countries in the field due to the abolition of eight posts under Programme 3.1.2 in 2004-05. This restored amount would allow for more adequate decentralized staffing levels, leading to:

  • improved regional and country sector information and analysis and better targeting of policy advice and field programme interventions;
  • closer adaptation of field programme development approaches to emerging development aid modalities; and
  • harmonised inter-departmental cooperation with FAO country offices as they develop agreements for priority areas of technical assistance.

Programme 3.1.3: Legal Assistance to Member Nations
284.     Programme 3.1.3 is designed to improve the legal and institutional framework for agricultural development and natural resources management in countries. It operates through three principal means: technical advice for law design and legal reform; production and dissemination of legal information; and legal inputs to inter-departmental normative work, in particular through the Priority Areas for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIAs) covering biosecurity, biodiversity, biotechnology, climate change, multilateral trade negotiations and organic agriculture.

Real Growth Scenario

285.     Real growth would permit additional legal assistance to countries, especially the smaller ones, to cope with new treaties, regional integration mechanisms and globalisation challenges (under 3.1.3).

Zero Nominal Growth Impact

286.     ZNG would force a return to the severe budgetary cuts in the revised PWB 2004-05. This would make it impossible to bring the staffing of decentralized branches and units back to critical mass; the Pacific subregion, for example, has only one outposted TCA staff member. FAO’s outreach capacity would be impaired at the very time when the international community is pushing for faster implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and is calling for UN system reforms designed to deliver strategic and policy assistance. TCA capacity to systematically draw the attention of technical departments to field programme opportunities would also be more limited. Legal assistance work would also be negatively affected, including as relates to Right to Food.