Rome, 9 – 13 May 2005
Evaluation of Livestock Production, Policy and Information
1. The External Peer Review Panel broadly accepted the recommendations of the Final Synthesis Report; this management’s response is, therefore, based on the recommendations in the Synthesis Report and refers to the Panel Report only where it provides amendments to specific details. The majority of the recommendations are of a wide-ranging nature, covering the entire Livestock Programme, despite the fact that this evaluation has not covered the Animal Health part of this Programme (having been evaluated externally in 2001-02). This incongruence is relevant to recommendations 1, 2, 6 and 7.
2. The evaluation generally endorsed the conceptual and strategic orientation chosen by AGA in developing its portfolio on Livestock Production, Policy and Information (LPPI). In particular, the international public goods approach adopted by AGA was endorsed and some high profile initiatives led by AGA were highlighted and commended for their strategic innovativeness [Conservation and Management of Animal Genetic Resources, Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI) and the Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative (LEAD)]. In addition, Management welcomes the endorsement of the shift from a ‘technology transfer’ to a ‘policy advice’ orientation.
3. It is recalled that the external evaluation of the Animal Health Programme in 2001-02 was also generally supportive. However, the latter review focused on operational effectiveness and efficiency of field programmes rather than on normative and policy advisory elements. Given these differences in approach, some of the recommendations here which address Programme 213 as a whole need to be taken with caution. The External Peer Review Panel expressed some unease about this partial analytical approach and the Panel’s suggestion to undertake future reviews preferably on a whole Programme basis is fully supported.
4. The evaluation focussed on the Programme’s direction, strategy and conceptual orientation more than the on operational aspects of the work programme dedicated to LPPI. It is, therefore, more in the nature of a strategic programme and management review. This wider approach is welcomed in that it provides important conceptual guidance on the further development of the Livestock Programme in serving the dynamically changing and growing global livestock sector.
5. After commenting below on some general findings and on the eight main recommendations, including eventual reservations, a “roadmap” is suggested for the implementation of these recommendations, as accepted or qualified.
6. The evaluation recognized (paras 2 & 11) that AGA significantly restructured its programme in the 2000-01 biennium, now organised on the basis of development goals instead of the previous production systems orientation. This new approach focuses on the role of livestock development in affecting three key "global public goods”, i.e. equity (in particular poverty alleviation), sustainability of the environment and natural resources, and veterinary public health. The evaluation endorsed this approach which enables the Programme to relate its objectives and outcomes to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and also serves the further strategic enhancement of the Programme’s portfolio (in the context of the MTP 2006-11; paras 15-17).
7. In the course of five regional missions, the field programme carried out by FAO's Livestock Division (AGA) was first assessed. An “unusually high (for FAO) concentration” of donor-funded Headquarters projects (para 3 & 27) was stated: “has commendable benefits for the normative programme”. This is a welcome encouragement to AGA to attract further extra-budgetary support to its core normative programme (not least to compensate for the continuously eroding regular budget base). At the same time, Management agrees with the evaluation when it calls for more effective resource mobilisation strategies for the field programme. The evaluation has identified strengths in the AGA field programme while, on the other hand, pointing out weaknesses in (TCP) project formulation and design (para 11); this is of concern to Management and will be addressed under Recommendation 5.
8. The evaluation has subsequently undertaken an analysis of the regular programme, thereby establishing a balanced picture of the overall LPPI portfolio and its design and resourcing, both at Headquarters and in the Regions. It found a good coherence with the objectives in the FAO’s Strategic Framework. In paragraph 38, AGA was: “found to have also been a leader” in certain of the Cross-Organizational Strategies [(1) "Enhancing Interdisciplinarity" - Programme Entities which cut increasingly across groups and services within the Division; (2) "Improving Management Processes" - assigning early on the responsibility for programme entities to entity managers, making efforts to incorporate results-based approaches in their design and using consultative processes in making changes and improvements; (3) "Leveraging Resources" – especially by attracting multi-donor support for normative work]. These positive assessments are, of course, appreciated.
9. It is noted that the evaluation invested comparatively more analytical effort on the two Programme Entities led by the Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch (AGAL; 213P1 – Information; 213B1 - Policy) than on the four Programme Entities led by technical services: AGAP (213A3 – Poverty Reduction, 2135 – Animal Genetic Resources; 213A8 – Intensive Livestock Production) and AGAH (213A6 – VPH). The thrust of the recommendations also refers to these two AGAL Entities (which both scored highest when analysed against the evaluation criteria – Table 8). Management needs to point out that AGAL disposes of only four regular programme posts while the other four Entities are served by three times as many officers in AGAP and AGAH. A more in-depth analysis might have yielded more guidance: (1) as to how the technical services, in particular AGAP, might have better defined their particular strengths and comparative advantages in technical work, and (2) as to how AGAL might be supported in implementing the substantive recommendations with reference to its area of responsibility.
10. The evaluation team recommends that the phrasing of the Mission Statement be reconsidered and further sharpened.
Management response: agreed
11. In an effort to strengthen the visibility of FAO's livestock work and the position of that work in the work of the Agriculture Department as a whole, the evaluation recommends that the presence of livestock as an agenda item in FAO's Committee on Agriculture (COAG) be made permanent.
Management response: agreed
12. The other suggestions on exploring further mechanisms for increasing visibility and integration, such as a strengthened communications and publications and stronger interaction with other parts of the Organization, including PAIAs, are also endorsed.
13. There are two aspects to this issue: technical and staff. On the technical side, the evaluation team recommends that:
14. On the staff side, the team recommends that:
Management response: agreed (within the limits of available opportunities and taking into account institutional constraints and disciplinary staff work load in programme delivery).
15. The evaluation (Panel) also recognized the headway already made by the Division which: “has been a leader within FAO in integrating policy and technical issues”.
16. The suggestions made by the evaluation (Panel) on: “Managerial instruments which could be used to achieve this include shared priority setting and planning, establishment of clear performance goals and evaluation, emphasizing issue-based workgroups and teams, de-emphasizing present disciplinary groups, recruitment of staff with the requisite technical and social skills for the future work-modality, establishment of clear feedback mechanisms such as 360o reviews of senior staff in the division”, are welcomed.
17. With regard to the only structural suggestion made by the Panel, i.e. “Over time the aim should be to establish fewer, larger technical units/groups with broader remits to increase flexibility to adjust to evolving needs”, Management agrees in principle, while stressing the need for a more in-depth analysis of such an adjustment.
18. The evaluation team recommends that:
Management response: part a): rejected
19. Rationale: The Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture serves the Commission in covering policy, institutional and legal aspects. It draws on the Technical Departments (currently AG - for plants and domestic animals) for technical inputs. The recommendation introduces a confusion of respective mandates. What is, however, required is a balanced representation of crop and animal genetic resources backgrounds in the Commission secretariat (which will be a criterion for filling upcoming vacancies).
Management response: part b): agreed
20. Comment: the Animal Genetic Resources Group of AGA is currently absorbed, if not overwhelmed by the task of driving the process of the global resources assessment (First Report on the State-of-the-World’s Animal Genetic Resources) – to the extent that hardly any other tasks, however relevant, can be attended to. Nevertheless, accelerated transition to a more balanced utilization/conservation portfolio will be pursued.
21. The evaluation team recommends that:
Management response: agreed (with some provisos as below)
22. AGA (as any other FAO technical division) is involved in basically three types of field projects: (1) “unprogrammable” ad-hoc development projects, mainly TCPs, (2) emergency projects, and (3) projects that relate strategically to the priorities of the normative programme. The recommendation is interpreted in such a way that the latter should become increasingly more important, so as to increase the “programmed” share of the field programme (project type 3). While the Programme should indeed more clearly spell out field programme development priorities in line with normative work and communicate those in its interactions with Member Countries, it is not likely that type 2 projects could be reduced by such a process.
23. With regards to the second part of the recommendation, the suggested clustering of AGA’s regional officers in RAP, RAF/SAFR, and RLC is intended to better align the operational field programme with the strategic priorities. AGA has also been involved in the design of the pilot undertaking in six countries on the formulation of medium-term Country Indicative Programme Agreements (CIPAs) for FAO to strategize its field actions and improve its impact at the country level.
24. Management further agrees with the evaluation when it suggests the greater use of consultants in the design and delivery of field projects, in particular TCPs (para 115) which would allow AGA core staff to facilitate the transition to a more strategically oriented field programme, while at the same time attending to “traditional” and the emergency TCP requests (which will continue to be important – Table 7).
25. The Evaluation team highly recommends:
Management response: agreed (with one qualification as below)
26. Management agrees with the evaluation team and the Panel that much can be gained for both normative and field programme development through the assembling of regional “core teams” (Asia, Africa, Latin America) having a critical mass of expertise. This should be, however, achieved through the realignment of existing decentralized staff and should not be at the expense of the headquarters staff.
27. AGA has currently nine outposted regional staff posts (plus one post outposted as FAOR in Paraguay). The proposed three regional clusters are suggested to be realized as follows: RLC (the two outposted technical officer/FAOR posts migrate to RLC to join the single officer there – to form a cluster with veterinary, livestock production and livestock policy profiles respectively); RAF/SAFR (transfer of the current RNE – post to RAF to join the single AGA officer there – with veterinary and livestock production profiles respectively; maintenance of the single animal production and health officer in SAFR); RAP (maintenance of three posts – with veterinary, livestock production and livestock policy profiles respectively). The current post of Animal Production and Health officer in the Central and Eastern Europe Region is suggested to be abolished in both the ZRG and ZNG scenarios in the SPWB for the biennium 2006-07 so as to maintain the HQ – regional balance. The needs of the Near East, of Central and Eastern Europe and of Central Asia and the CIS countries would be serviced from Headquarters.
28. On AGA's policy assistance role, the Evaluation recommends that:
29. And on its technical assistance role, the Evaluation recommends that:
Management response: agreed (with some qualifications as below)
30. Comments: The evaluation and the External Peer Review Panel both support the progressive shift of emphasis from technical assistance (technology transfer) to policy advice. In fact, this recommendation explicitly endorses the conceptual transformation initiated by AGA in 2001 with the creation of the Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch with the explicit mandate to better situate and guide technical work in the relevant policy and institutional context. However, Management would have expected somewhat more in-depth analysis and guidance as to what this shift implies for a technical division such as AGA. This division has a technical mandate and it has to develop the suggested enhanced policy advice function from its technical expertise.
31. On the basis of the results of the field missions, which invariably scored the SPFS livestock projects poorly for sustainability, the evaluation recommends that:
Management response: agreed
32. Additional remarks by the Panel:
33. The External Peer Review Panel submits two additional remarks: one on the need for more pro-actively managing the Livestock Programme within an increasingly comprehensive, policy advice orientated approach in the international institutional framework; and one on the adoption of the value chain approach to programme design and management. Both remarks are accepted.
34. The response to the evaluation’s main recommendations is translated in the following action plan.
Main action to be taken (including additional actions
not envisaged in the Evaluation report)
|Recommendation (no.)||Timing||Responsible FAO Unit|
|The current Mission Statement has been prepared in an externally facilitated retreat of all AGA Programme Managers in May 2004 in preparation of the MTP 2006-11. The recommended reconsideration of the Mission Statement is scheduled to be undertaken after the 2005 FAO Conference (when the impact of the approved appropriation on the Programme can be gauged). This will be done involving all AGA (not limited to LPPI).||1||first quarter 2006||AGA|
|The recommendation to have a permanent livestock agenda item in all COAG sessions is submitted to the Committee.||2||2007||COAG Secretariat|
|Inter-disciplinarity is being promoted throughout the Organization by various instruments, predominantly through PAIAs (Priority Areas for Inter-Disciplinary Action) and various cross-organizational Working Groups. The PRODS (Production Systems) PAIA, is of particular importance in implementing the recommendation. There are, however, a considerable number of further PAIAs and WGs with actice AGA participation. An internal assessment will be made of staff participation in such groups and regular reporting at the Management Team meeting introduced. The option of a divisional fund to support (on a competitive basis) inter-disciplinary action will be investigated. This will be done involving all AGA (not limited to LPPI).||3||first quarter 2006||AGA|
|A professional staff position is being filled with the recommended animal genetic resources utilization / breeding profile.||4(b)||May 2005||AGA|
All Programme Entity (PE) Managers are requested to prepare a field programme strategy which best complements the normative work programme of the PE. These strategic statements are consolidated at divisional level as a basis for the development of the ‘strategic’ component of the divisional field programme. Regional AGA officers are involved in this design and consolidation process.
This strategic AGA field programme concept will be shared with FAO country offices to guide the country – submitted requests for assistance; it will also help reduce ad-hoc project initiation by officers when interacting with national colleagues. Similarly, this concept will also be used in the intended pilot to assist FAORs to design and negotiate Country Indicative Programme Agreements (CIPAs).
AGA officers will increasingly assume facilitating/supervisory roles in the design and implementation of field projects thereby making use of AGA’s “corps of external experts”; this will allow a better balance of time used for normative and operational activities.This will be done involving all AGA (not limited to LPPI).
|5||first semester 2006||AGA|
RAP cluster is in place.
RLC cluster suggested to be assembled by moving two OTO/FAOR posts back to RLC.
Africa ‘cluster’: transfer of RNE – post to RAF (to have two RAF-based posts), SAFR post remaining in Harare.
[established outposted AGA officer posts are nine; the Paraguay-based OTO/FAOR is a headquarters post; in the eventuality of a lower resource appropriation in November 2005, the balance between HQ and Region-based posts is maintained by abolishing the SEUR-post which is currently vacant].
In filling vacant technical officer posts, experience and qualifications in institution-building, programme management and livestock policy aspects are systematically introduced in Vacancy Announcements to broaden programme scope. Officers are advised to play more facilitating functions in field programme design and implementation (s. 5 above).
Design of guidelines for livestock role in SPFS.