CL 128/15 |
Hundred and Twenty-eighth Session
Rome, 20-25 June 2005
Independent External Evaluation of FAO
Progress Report to the Council of the Inter-Sessional Working Group for the External Evaluation of FAO (IEE)
1. At its 127th Session in November 2004, the Council agreed to launch an Independent External Evaluation of FAO (IEE). In its report, the Council stated1: “The evaluation aims at strengthening and improving FAO, taking into consideration FAO’s performance in conducting its mandate. In doing this, the evaluation process represented FAO’s contribution to the overall efforts of the international community to strengthen the UN System through appropriate reform. The Evaluation would consider all aspects of FAO’s work, institutional structure and decision processes, including its role within the international system. It could also be a resource for the review of the Strategic Framework.
2. The Council thus decided to establish an Inter-Sessional Working Group (ISWG) to formulate proposals for the scope, conduct and institutional arrangements for the evaluation for consideration by the Council. The ISWG would consist of a core group of up to three members of each regional group and the coordinator of the Group of 77. All Member Nations would be entitled to participate in the ISWG. ......”
3. “The Council decided that the ISWG would prepare proposals for:
4. The ISWG would present its proposals preferably to the Hundred and Twenty-eighth Session of the Council in June 2005, and in any case not later than the Hundred and Twenty-ninth Session in November 2005.
5. All phases of the evaluation process, commencing with the work of the ISWG, would be financed from extra-budgetary resources, in full accordance with the financial rules and regulations of the Organization.”
6. In line with the Council decision, the ISWG was convened for the first time on 14 January 2005 by the Chairman of the Council, and appointed Ambassador Flávio Perri of Brazil as its Chairperson. Mr. Willem Brakel of the USA was subsequently appointed as vice-chair. While the ISWG makes all substantive decisions, members agreed to establish a Bureau2 to “act as a clearing house to facilitate the ISWG’s work, making proposals to the ISWG for its consideration”. It was also established “to provide the interface with the FAO Secretariat for expenditures to be authorised from the trust fund for the work of the ISWG (GCP/INT/962/MUL)”3. The Bureau meetings are open to any FAO member but only Bureau members normally speak.
7. In presenting its interim report to the Council, the ISWG stresses the positive collaborative spirit in which it has carried out the tasks for preparation of the Independent External Evaluation of FAO (IEE). This has established a sense of ownership of the process among the members and the ISWG will continue its work in this fully open and transparent manner. The basis is progressively being laid for an independent, comprehensive, analytical and evidence-based evaluation. The ISWG is convinced that the attention being given to ensuring the evaluation is designed in line with current best-practice and its wide stakeholder support will be instrumental in ensuring that it makes a major contribution to ensuring the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of FAO’s future service to member countries.
8. After receiving nominations from the regional groups, the ISWG has appointed two independent external experts with wide experience in evaluation to advise it in developing the terms of reference for the IEE (summary curriculum vitae attached as Annex 1). These are:
9. A seminar (17-18 May 2005) was held by the ISWG to facilitate information gathering and interaction among the FAO membership as a whole and to brief the experts on their task4. It was addressed by the Deputy Director-General on behalf of the Director-General and by invited speakers representing the UN Secretary-General, business and NGO/CSO interests. The seminar also received information on other evaluations of multilateral institutions, including FAO itself. Prior to the seminar, the ISWG elaborated an extensive check list of points on the possible coverage and methodology of the IEE for discussion with the experts. The membership participated actively through scheduled interventions by regional chairpersons and IEE coordinators, which covered the political positions of the regional groups on substantive matters and their expectations for the drafting of the terms of reference.
10. The experts’ tasks were agreed to be preparation of an approach paper for the evaluation, followed by the drafting of terms of reference for consideration by the ISWG. The approach paper will present the consultants’ views and issues for consideration by the ISWG on all aspects of the terms of reference and methodology of the evaluation, including alternatives for consideration by the ISWG where appropriate.
11. The ISWG is also initiating preparation of recommendations on:
These will be prepared following discussion of proposals in the approach paper and finalised once the terms of reference are received.
12. Thus, the ISWG proposals on terms of reference for the evaluation are expected to be available in September, followed shortly thereafter by the recommendations on a committee to oversee the IEE and on an appropriate supporting role for the Secretariat.
13. It has become evident to the ISWG that if the IEE is to be initiated within a relatively short period after the 129th Session of the Council in November 2005, further preparatory work will be necessary. In order to allow the Council at its November session to consider all aspects of the IEE, the ISWG is continuing its work, including preparing:
14. The ISWG is drawing up a recommended budget for the IEE, including the timing of expenditures. In this context, it may be noted that it would not be possible to conduct the IEE without sufficient guaranteed resources. Under Financial Regulation 6.7, the Organization cannot incur expenditures against extra-budgetary resources prior to receipt of funds or at least a legal guarantee that such funds will be paid to the Organization. The Council may thus wish to request the Director-General to immediately open a multilateral trust fund for the IEE itself as successor to the trust fund for the ISWG. Contributions to this trust fund would be solely for the conduct of the IEE and administered under the overall supervision of the Committee of the Council for the IEE in full accordance with the financial rules and regulations of the Organization.
15. The Council may also wish to authorise the ISWG to make initial arrangements to facilitate the rapid and careful selection of evaluators and any supporting experts required for the IEE (such as quality advisers).
16. The 127th Council Session in November 2004 noted that the IEE could also be a resource for the review of the Strategic Framework. The Council may thus wish to decide that review of the Strategic Framework await the findings of the IEE report.
Horst Breier (Germany) is currently a consultant in evaluation. Prior to his retirement in 2004, he was head of evaluation in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany. He has also served as a director in the Development Cooperation Directorate of OECD and held a number of senior posts in BMZ. During his work with BMZ and, more recently as a consultant, Mr. Breier had substantial experience of multilateral evaluations.
Dunstan Spencer (Sierra Leone) held senior research and management posts in CGIAR institutions (WARDA, ICRISAT, IITA), where he dealt with a wide range of issues including farming systems, crop production, marketing and technology transfer. He has been the team leader for several major evaluations of development programmes for international agencies, including the World Bank and DFID. He has evaluated CGIAR centres and in 2001 Mr. Spencer was the team leader for the independent evaluation of FAO’s Special Programme on Food Security.
1 CL 127/REP paras. 113-117
2 Bureau of the Chairman and seven members (one from each of the regional groups) - Africa: H. Bedeir (Egypt); Asia: M.Q. Beg (Pakistan); Europe: E. Wermuth (Netherlands); Latin America and Caribbean: M. Arvelo (Dominican Republic); Near East: A.R. Ayazi (Afghanistan); North America: W. Brakel (USA); South West Pacific: J. Barfield (Australia)
3 Chairman’s Aide Mémoire Meeting of the ISWG, 21 February 2005.
4 The seminar was attended by 68 member countries and the European Community.