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26. The overall objective of the proposed reform is to boost the effectiveness of the Organization in “contributing towards an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger”. Reform must enable FAO to respond better to the needs and expectations of its Members in a fast-moving international environment which confronts both them and the Organization with new challenges and opportunities. The draft strategy outlined in the paper FAO and the Challenge of the Millennium Development Goals: The road ahead has significant implications for the work of the Organization, both in producing global public goods and in furnishing advice and assistance to its Members in the context of an evolving UN reform process. It has been an important input in defining the guiding principles which underlie the reform proposals in this document.

Guiding principles underlying reform

27. Preserving Members’ Priorities Deliberate action has been taken to ensure that the highest priorities identified by Members for increased resources within the Organization’s technical and economic programmes have been preserved under the reform proposal. Thus the importance accorded inter alia to international regulatory frameworks and their application, to work on plant genetic resources and animal diseases, and to the specific priorities in the forestry and fisheries programmes, would remain and the activities in question would be further enhanced through adjustments in the organizational structure aimed at providing better coherence.

28. Enhancing FAO’s Role as a Knowledge Organization A pervasive consideration built into the reform proposal is that they should reinforce FAO’s role as a knowledge organization. The generation and dissemination of knowledge has always been part of the core business of the Organization, but rapidly evolving communication technology creates new opportunities for FAO to become more effective in this area, including capturing and rapidly disseminating, through the development of a new interactive service called “Ask FAO”within WAICENT, information on best practices emerging from exchange with experts and other institutions through thematic networks, and from the experience of FAO’s own programmes in member countries.

29. Focussing on Capacity-Building Apart from harnessing the power of modern communications systems and new forms of networking and interactive information exchange to enhance the availability of relevant information to decision-makers and technical specialists in member countries, the reform proposals deliberately seek to strengthen and impart a new sense of direction to FAO’s training and capacity development work.

30. Strengthening Interdisciplinarity and Policy Assistance A further guiding principle underpinning the reform process is that it should enhance opportunities for strengthening inter-disciplinarity in technical and policy assistance work, both at Headquarters and at decentralized levels.

31. Working Together with UN Partners The proposed reforms also recognize that FAO can greatly increase its impact by harmonizing its programmes, especially at national level, with those of other UN agencies and programmes which subscribe to similar goals. There is, therefore, a strong emphasis on developing partnerships, including through joint programmes, secretariats and divisions, in order to create a stronger and more durable basis for inter-agency collaboration as well as to eliminate possible duplications and hence contribute to improved cost-effectiveness within the UN system.

32. Reinforcing Alliances with Civil Society and Peoples’ Organizations The same principles underlie the importance given to supporting the International Alliance against Hunger (IAAH) and to expanding collaboration with civil society and non-state actors at national and international levels in order to strengthen the Organization’s effectiveness in assisting Members in attaining the MDGs, especially the goal of halving hunger and poverty by 2015. Work on mainstreaming of gender issues, on child nutrition, on the problems of indigenous people and on the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases should contribute also to a common UN system approach to addressing other MDGs.

33. Marshalling Resources to Support Members The proposed reforms explicitly recognize the need for the Organization to adopt a broad view of its resources mobilization functions. The goal is not primarily to raise resources specifically for FAO-implemented programmes but for the Organization to play an advocacy and catalytic role in leveraging the resources required by Members to embark on large-scale programmes, especially those related to the attainment of the MDGs. The approach in mobilising resources for FAO-implemented programmes will focus increasingly on strategic partnerships with donors to enhance the impact and outreach of work rooted in the Organization’s core activities, implemented in the context of nationally-led programmes.

34. Deepening Cooperation with Members’ Organizations The proposed reforms recognise the growing importance of Regional Economic Integration Organizations (REIOs) in assuming leadership in agricultural and food security issues amongst their member countries and hence the need to deepen cooperation with them, building on work already underway and seeking new ways to maximize potential synergies.

35. Reinforcing the Country Focus The principle of subsidiarity implies that activities must be located at the level (HQs, regional, sub-regional and country) at which they can be most effectively implemented within the resources available. This implies focusing, inter alia through agreed medium term priority frameworks, on enhancing the coherence of FAO’s assistance at country level, supported by increased multi-disciplinary capacity at the sub-regional level in order to enhance the range and quality of FAO services to which developing member countries can have ready access.

36. Universality in Serving Members, Selectivity in Allocating Resources The principle of universality, one of the foundations on which the UN system is built, must be respected in terms of assuring access to FAO’s work by all Members. The proposals are also based, however, on the recognition that countries at different levels of development have different needs for services, and hence the need for a special focus on the groups of countries identified by the international community as having the greatest needs. In line with UN prioritisation and FAO’s particular responsibilities, special attention would be given to responding to the requirements of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-locked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Low Income Food -deficit Countries (LIFDCs).

37. Linking Structural Reforms to Better Management Processes Reforms in the programmes and structure of the Organization need to be linked with simultaneous improvements in management processes and procedures, with the aim of maximizing gains in performance as well as in efficiency and cost effectiveness, including, in particular, better use of the human resources of the Organization, including increased delegation of authority while ensuring appropriate control, and increased recourse to the technical capacity present in developing member countries.

38. Providing for More Flexible Means of Action The proposals are based on the conclusion that more successful service delivery to Members will require an increase in the proportion of non-staff relative to staff resources in the overall regular budget, and an increase in the provision for non-staff human resources compared to established posts.

39. In approaching reform with these principles in mind, it is necessary to look towards simultaneous adjustments in a) the programme structure and content, b) the organizational and management structure both at Headquarters and the decentralized network; and c) internal processes. The next section covers the reform proposals under these three headings.

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