Major Programme 5.2: Administration

(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
521 Financial Services 20,813 671 21,484 0 21,484
522 Information Systems and Technology Services 2,036 0 2,036 0 2,036
523 Human Resources Services 18,848 75 18,923 1,000 19,923
529 Programme Management 6,704 1 6,705 0 6,705
Total 48,402 747 49,148 1,000 50,148
ZNG Impact     (3,266)    
Total     45,883    

Substantive thrusts under ZRG conditions

323.     Major Programme 5.2 includes the provisions for the financial, information systems and human resource services provided by the Administration and Finance Department (AF) and the Regional and Subregional Offices. It also includes the Office of Assistant Director-General, AF, and the share of the overall Management Support Service (MSS) cost relating to the provision of services to AF divisions. Following the request of the Finance Committee, resources have been provided to the Finance Division (AFF) reinstating funding of five general service posts which had been cut in the revised PWB 2004-05.

Programme 5.2.1: Financial Services
324.     AFF manages a flow of assets well in excess of US$ 1 billion each year. It processes over 3 million entries in the accounts, many of which are quite complex, with an ever-increasing volume from FAO’s extra-budgetary activities. Under Programme 5.2.1, AFF will continue to maintain the accounts of the Organization to the accepted standards (UN System Accounting Standards and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and provide accurate and timely financial information to all levels within the Organization and to the governing bodies. Despite the reinstatement of five general service posts mentioned above, AFF staffing level would still be less than the minimum recommended by independent consultants. This would have a negative impact on processing of daily payments, project account returns, staff receivables and other receipts, and payroll accounting.

Programme 5.2.2: Information Systems and Technology Services
325.     The provision under Programme 5.2.2 covers only the direct managerial costs of the Information Systems and Technology Division (AFI), with the exception of the Director and a secretary who are shown under Programme Management. The remaining costs for information systems and technology are distributed to the various programmes making use of the ICT infrastructure and computerized applications.

326.     Priorities for information systems and technology services are largely determined by the demands of all FAO programmes. The volume of requests is constantly rising and is driven by the greater use of information and communications technology in the business practices of FAO. For instance, AFI is responsible for the development and support of a wide range of administrative systems, including the Oracle Financials systems, and the Oracle Human Resources system which will replace the legacy mainframe Human Resources and Payroll systems in 2006-07. AFI also assists computer application initiatives such as the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT), Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS), Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS) and the Forestry Information System (FORIS), all of which make heavy use of Internet-based technology. Ensuring the required computer infrastructure for FAO is also a major activity of the division.

327.     It is noted that the current level of funding is already below that deemed by external consultants to be satisfactory to support the current workload and that this exposes the Organization to insufficient service availability and additional information security risks.

Programme 5.2.3: Human Resources Services
328.     Programme 5.2.3 includes the Human Resources Management Division (AFH) and the Medical Unit (AFDM). AFH will continue to address the broad spectrum of human resources management issues, enhancing its advisory role and also providing support to the decentralized offices. In this context, a more integrated approach to Human Resources planning and development will continue to be adopted. The full implementation in the next biennium of a new Human Resources Management System (HRMS), based on Oracle applications, is a major undertaking that will require a significant commitment from the division. Within the UN system, AFH will continue to participate in inter-agency consultations, particularly relating to the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), in order to maintain a common approach on human resources management matters.

329.     AFH will support corporate activities, such as: targeted recruitment (in particular, for under-represented countries) and development programmes for young professional; the establishment of managerial competencies; integration of gender and diversity issues into human resources management; and an evolving programme of staff development.

330.     The Medical Unit will fulfill its mandate relating to health of staff. Further to initiatives already carried out (workstation ergonomic assessment, physiotherapy and extended travel clinic), preventative programmes will be implemented based on data from its Occupational Health Information System.

Programme 5.2.9: Programme Management
331.     Programme 5.2.9 covers AFD, the offices of division directors and the portion of the distributed costs of the Management Support Service (MSS) corresponding to the services provided to the AF Department. The remaining costs of the MSS are distributed to the various management programmes of headquarters departments being serviced by the MSS. It is recalled that the MSS provides a range of administrative support services, advice and management information to departments in the areas of finance, budget, procurement-requisitioning, personnel and travel, in accordance with the established rules and regulations of the Organization.

Real Growth Scenario

332.     RG would accelerate work in three human resources priority areas: i) the establishment of managerial competencies and a complementary development plan; ii) the implementation of the Action Plan on recruitment from under-represented countries (ref. FC 107/16); and iii) the development and improvement of a performance management system linked to the Organization's planning model.

Zero Nominal Growth Impact

333.     The ZNG overall reduction for Major Programme 5.2, including indirect allocations for the Computer Pool Account and the Management Support Services, would amount to US$ 5.6 million. This could equate to a potential reduction of some 30 posts. Continued cuts over many biennia have reduced the ability of the department to provide other than core services.

334.     ZNG would severely weaken the Organization’s internal financial controls and compromise the capacity to produce accurate, timely and complete accounts. Reductions would also affect the Local Audit Programme (LAP) in field offices with the frequency of audit being reduced.

335.     The impact of a ZNG budget on AFI would be widely felt, i.e. on all information systems and technology activities. The division would be required to reduce significantly its information systems development services. The manned hours of the Computer Centre would be reduced from 90 hours each week to less than 50, with adverse impact across the Organization. Server hardware maintenance and software updating would be restricted. Reduced service levels would also be required for the central telephone switchboard, for meeting and conference services, for governance activities, and for the AFI Help Desk.

336.     For AFH many of the elements of the recruitment action plan (organization and participation in recruitment missions, university job fairs, increased use of the Internet, etc.) would not be possible under a ZNG scenario. Reductions in post management and staffing services would also be required leading to an increase in the time taken to deal with establishment proposals and a reduction in the frequency of selection committee meetings. It would not be possible to carry out the planned rationalisation of the Staff Compensation Plan, including the improved management of the process of disbursements. The Medical Service would be obliged to remove all preventative and counselling programmes.

337.     The ZNG scenario would require a reduction of services provided by the Management Support Service. In order to maintain critical line functions such as personnel servicing, travel operations and financial transaction processing intact, the only area which can be considered for reduction is that of the Help Desk. This would mean the elimination of critical support to units across the Organization as they encounter problems or seek advice when executing their budget holder or transaction initiator functions; elimination of training courses; reduction in system testing or initiation of system change requests; and no support for year-end closure processes.