The aim of the reform is to enable the Organization to play an increasingly effective role in assisting its Members to achieve the goals of eradicating hunger and ensuring the adequacy and quality of global food and fibre supplies, produced in ways that safeguard natural resources and the cultural heritage and diversity of the world's rural populations. All of the Organization's activities must contribute to this effort, in fulfilment of the commitments of the 1996 World Food Summit and of the 2002 World Food Summit: five years later.
Evolving priorities and new opportunities, outlined in Section III, require that FAO adapt its programmes and approaches in order to respond better in future to the needs and expectations of countries and the international community. Moreover, as indicated in Section IV, there is an immediate need for a proactive response by FAO to the process of reform of the UN system, as well as to the recommendations of the Governing Bodies, external evaluations and internal reviews, which, taken together, call for far-reaching changes.
These changes must be reflected in the Organization's programmes, which must be targeted more clearly and specifically to the priorities identified by its Members, and in its organizational structure, which must reflect the imperative of creating a unified FAO operating through a more coherent and decentralized structure. Measures to streamline FAO's ways of working are required, to achieve both greater efficiency and gains in performance; these must be accompanied by greater flexibility in resource allocation and by reinforced monitoring, evaluation and oversight systems.
To achieve these aims, the reform proposals involve a substantial re-engineering of the Organization. They:
Redefine the Organization's programmes so that they reflect more closely the principal thrusts of its work, bring together activities that are mutually reinforcing, and shift resources from low- to high-priority programmes, shedding activities that other institutions can do better.
Accentuate FAO's role as a knowledge, learning and capacity-building organization that assists countries, their decision-makers and technical specialists (and their institutions) to develop their own capabilities and to draw greater benefits from FAO's work, including through pilot programmes for transfer of suitable technologies destined for subsequent upscaling to national and regional levels.
Concentrate FAO's global policy work on advocating for greater priority to sustainable agricultural and rural development and food security, and FAO's resource mobilization activities on raising the level of investment, from domestic and international sources, in the rural sector.
Strengthen FAO's coordinating role in supporting countries in preventing and addressing major threats to crop, livestock, fish and forest production and consumption, leading to rehabilitation programmes and rebuilding of productive capacities.
Amplify the Organization's impact by expanding alliances, partnerships and joint activities between FAO and other institutions that share and contribute to similar goals, first and foremost within the UN system.
Focus on making FAO a more transparent, receptive, responsive and outward-looking organization, providing more information to Members and enhancing all forms of communication with FAO's various constituencies and with the public at large.
In order to facilitate achievement of these objectives, the proposals:
Restructure the Organization's headquarters' departments and offices to align the structure more closely with the programmes and arrive at a better balance among units, adopting a "flatter" and less hierarchical structure and allowing greater flexibility in staff deployment.
Re-engineer the network of decentralized offices to strengthen capacities to respond to the policy and technical support needs of developing member countries and Regional Economic Integration Organizations (REIOs) through further decentralization towards subregional offices, a reinforced country focus, improved priority-setting, greater synergy with other players and expanded recourse to South-South Cooperation.
Associate structural reforms with the simultaneous introduction of streamlined business processes and greater delegation of authority, so as to clarify accountabilities, improve staff motivation, raise efficiency in the use of staff resources and facilitate interdisciplinary team work.
Maximize the potential of scarce resources by introducing greater flexibility in their allocation, particularly through increasing the proportion of operational funds compared with those for human resources, combined with a shift in human resources from staff to non-staff resources.
Pervading these proposals is the intent to induce and create space for cultural change within the Organization - a change that will not come overnight but that is fundamental to improving its responsiveness to its Members, establishing its effectiveness as a knowledge organization and enhancing its global impact.
Achieving the goals of the reform requires a redefinition of the overall structure of FAO's programme; the proposed new structure is shown in the box below.
Chapters 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9 contain the budgetary provisions necessary to discharge the Organization's governance and management responsibilities. (The former Chapter 7, Contingencies, becomes Chapter 6 owing to the reduced total number of chapters, but Chapters 8 and 9 are not renumbered because they are specifically referred to with the numbers 8 and 9 in connection with the Basic Texts.) Chapters 2, 3 and 4 cover the three principal interdisciplinary thrusts of FAO's activities, and each of these three chapters brings together several groups of related programmes. Within all of these programmes, activities have been identified for elimination, for implementation through different means, or for reduction in resources to permit shifts towards work of higher priority. In addition, new cross-programme priorities - the use of thematic knowledge networks, the identification, synthesis and dissemination of best practices, and a focus on capacity building for individuals and institutions - will profoundly influence the choice and implementation of activities in all three chapters.
FAO will promote the emergence of knowledge networks at two levels: one axis will be to improve knowledge sharing and exchange among staff in different locations while the other will be between FAO and experts in centres of excellence in member countries. By deliberately extending its involvement in theme-based knowledge networks, FAO will strengthen its links with the global knowledge community and thereby have a greater influence in debates on global issues. In relation to best practices, the Organization's experience acquired in programmes and projects, and that of partners and member countries, needs to be synthesized and made more widely available in forms appropriate to various types of users - not only those within the Secretariat and in FAO's technical cooperation programmes, but also policy-makers and practitioners in member countries.
The thematic focus of capacity-building activities will vary over time, but one of the underlying objectives will be to offer training opportunities related to themes of major and emerging significance. The main areas of focus will include:
fellowships - adopting a proactive approach to identifying and filling fellowship opportunities for postgraduate and work-related training in both the North and South;
setting up learning programmes on policy, consisting of courses, seminars, workshops and symposia, some to be held in Rome and some using distance-learning systems, targeted at senior policy-makers and analysts;
extending the availability of adult education opportunities for rural people, including through farmers' field school programmes and other extension methods;
institution-building for cooperatives, farmers' organizations, chambers of agriculture, etc.;
theoretical and practical courses on production, conservation, storage and processing of agricultural products for extension staff, ensuring a multiplier effect through training of trainers.
Chapter 2 includes areas of work that lay the foundation for sustainable food and agricultural systems, including forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. It brings together most of the Organization's activities relating to the food chain - from crop, livestock and food production, through infrastructure and industries to ensuring consumer protection. It also emphasizes programmes that contribute to the responsible management and conservation of natural resources and their sustainable use. Within this overall field, the Organization will increasingly concentrate its resources on those areas of work for which it can retain a capacity for excellence because of its convening powers and multidisciplinary staffing. These will include promoting, developing and reinforcing policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, in particular through international instruments.
Chapter 2 Sustainable food and agricultural systems
Under Agriculture, biosecurity, nutrition and consumer protection, FAO will address the range of issues involved in the food chain, or "farm to table", approach. This new focus will contribute to realizing the original vision of FAO's founders that the Organization must emphasize the larger framework of producer and consumer interests. Specific programmes will address:
production, management and conservation of crops and livestock, including follow-up to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;
prevention and eradication of transboundary pests and diseases of livestock and crops, including but not limited to desert locusts and avian influenza, with emphasis also on the International Plant Protection Convention;
stepped up work to address emerging challenges related to all aspects of food quality, biosecurity and consumer protection, including FAO's contributions to the joint programme with WHO servicing the Codex Alimentarius Commission;
biotechnology applications, including the work of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division.
Work on Forestry will involve internal adjustments to reflect the importance of forest economics and forest management and conservation. Cross-cutting thematic work will be done on forest fire prevention and control and on reforestation. In Fisheries and aquaculture, increased importance will be accorded to aquaculture, given its growing significance in global fish output and rural livelihoods. Cross-cutting priorities will include promoting the uptake and implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in particular the monitoring of fishing vessels and measures to ensure the safety of fishers, as well as other initiatives to ensure a better balance between marine fish stocks and capture levels.
Addressing Natural resources, technology and sustainable development involves bringing together and reinforcing the Organization's work on:
climate change, including both agriculture's contribution to climate change processes and their impacts on farming;
sustainable natural resources management, with particular reference to the vital role of water for secure and productive systems, soil degradation and depletion, land-tenure issues and mountain development and biodiversity, and their interaction with crops, livestock, forestry and aquaculture production;
research and technology development and dissemination, including issues relating to promotion of the international research systems and strengthening national agricultural research institutes through postgraduate training of their staff and internships in relevant research institutions; strengthening of national extension services, which will be supported through policy assistance and training in theoretical knowledge acquisition and practical field experience;
rural infrastructure and agro-industries, considering that the lack of water control, rural roads, storage and conditioning facilities, markets, slaughterhouses, fisheries ports, fish hatcheries/aquaculture ponds and cold chains for agricultural products are some of the most important factors limiting the development of productive and competitive agriculture, and that value addition through agro-industries is fundamental for generating employment and income.
Chapter 3 brings together FAO's economic and social development programmes and highlights the importance attached to enhancing the Organization's activities in support of knowledge exchange and capacity building, which are central to the work of the Organization but have not been explicitly recognized in the programme before now.
Chapter 3 Knowledge exchange, policy and advocacy
Programmes in the area of Economic and social development will continue to provide the analytical and statistical underpinning for policy assistance. They will encourage cooperation among centres of excellence to explore frontier knowledge as well as the lessons from historic and geographic experiences of agricultural development and the interface between the primary sector and the other components of the macro-economy. Areas of work will also include long-term perspective studies, reporting on the state of food and agriculture and of food insecurity, trade and marketing issues, the economics of food and agricultural systems, and statistics, all of which will be drawn upon to furnish policy advice and capacity-building assistance. With regard to the mobilization of investment funds for members, through the Organization's joint programmes with the IFIs, and through cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other specialized institutions, the emphasis will be on assisting developing member countries to formulate national Medium-term Investment Programmes and related investment projects that address their most pressing needs. The follow-up to the 1996 and 2002 World Food Summits will include continued servicing of the Committee on World Food Security, as well as other efforts to ensure a central place for food security on the international agenda, and to promote policies and strategies to achieve the MDGs, particularly MDG 1. Support to member countries' participation in the international trading system will continue and be reinforced, particularly through capacity-building and training initiatives.
The set of programmes for Alliances and rural livelihoods responds to the importance that must be attached to engaging with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, within member countries as well as at the international level, in order to amplify the Organization's impact, recognizing that success in achieving the MDGs will depend not only on the actions of governments but also on those of non-state actors and peoples' organizations. Work under this heading will involve mainstreaming attention to gender issues, equity in rural society, community and child nutrition, as well as the special needs of indigenous people and those suffering from disease. These important activities will be closely associated with support to rural peoples' organizations and addressing the issues of rural employment. Partnerships and joint programmes will be particularly crucial in these areas, which address various MDGs and cut across the mandates of a number of UN organizations. With regard to advocacy for food security and rural development, FAO's cooperation with the other Rome-based UN agencies as well as with partners from civil society, parliaments, economic and social councils, national associations and decentralized national entities will be consolidated in a programme that will also provide the secretariats for the IAAH and the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security. The programme will promote adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security, and will manage activities related to World Food Day and TeleFood.
The imperative for FAO of adopting a more proactive approach to creating and sharing knowledge and best practices within the Organization and with Members and other centres must pervade all of FAO's substantive programmes. Although specialized activities will continue to be undertaken under the relevant programmes, there is nevertheless a need for planning, coordinating and facilitating this effort, as well as monitoring, reviewing and evaluating its results, through Knowledge exchange, communication and capacity building programmes. These must open up greater possibilities for sharing experience, harmonizing methodologies, and standardizing information systems, thus contributing to developing the capabilities of national institutions, as well as generating materials for communication to the general public. Work on the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) - as a major instrument in fostering knowledge exchange and capacity building in the handling of information - and associated tools would be particularly prominent under this programme, including extension of the WAICENT corporate model components to national levels. The programme would also include FAO's range of library services and the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). Another important task would be to spearhead the progressive implementation of interactive systems to support "Ask FAO" services, providing more direct and timely access by all potentially interested individuals or institutions to the wealth of information accumulated by the Organization and in Member Nations, in particular the dissemination of best practices. This activity would also feed into the outreach programmes of the Organization.
Chapter 4, under the heading Coordination and decentralization, acknowledges the priority that the Organization will give to strengthening cooperation with other UN bodies, both internationally and at the national level. It should foster the programmes of cooperation, undertaken within the framework of various FAO technical programmes, with other UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes. It will also be responsible for promoting and coordinating interaction with intergovernmental organs, particularly the UN Economic and Social Council. FAO's advocacy to raise the profile of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors needs to be carried out not only in its own fora, but also through continued participation in meetings of these other bodies, if it is to convey the message convincingly to decision-makers outside the specific realm of FAO's traditional counterpart ministries. These actions need to be complemented by involvement in policy dialogue and support at the national level, in the context of a coherent UN system approach facilitated by country teams and the Resident Coordinator system. The chapter also provides the framework for coordinating FAO's decentralized services to Members, for monitoring FAO's contributions to the MDGs, for encouraging and facilitating development of further joint arrangements with other UN system organizations in various areas of common concern, and for forging, through the decentralized network, stronger links with regional and subregional organizations.
Chapter 4 Decentralization, UN cooperation and programme delivery
FAO's Outreach programmes include both normal technical cooperation activities and emergency and post-crisis management interventions. The relevance, coherence, quality, content, scale and financing of these programmes will be assured and monitored closely, through overseeing and backstopping the design and implementation of all technical cooperation and emergency interventions, especially in support of complex National and Regional Food Security Programmes and other undertakings related to the MDGs and Poverty Reduction Strategies. This area of work will also involve assembling and analysing information on country and subregional development objectives and strategies relevant to priority-setting for the Organization. Technical cooperation activities serve a dual function of, on the one hand, translating into action and operation the concepts and knowledge developed through FAO's global and norm-setting activities and, on the other hand, enriching the global work through feedback from field experience. An important aspect of the reform proposals is the introduction of a series of measures designed to enhance the sustainability and impact of all of FAO's technical cooperation activities. These will include adjustments to the design of programmes, the provision of planning for sustainability towards the end of the implementation phase, and the preparation of an obligatory report three months after the end of programme operations on the measures taken to ensure sustainability.
Mobilizing resources for the implementation of FAO's and related national programmes will include managing the Technical Cooperation Programme and handling relations with donors and national funding sources, to ensure that FAO's work is responsive to priority national needs and is carried out within the framework of national development efforts. Because of budget cuts, the amount of technical assistance provided by FAO has declined over the years. The Organization has tried to address this problem by mobilizing more experts with the same resources, through recourse to the retired experts scheme, to programmes of technical cooperation among developing and transition countries, and also through using scientists under the programmes of cooperation with academic and research institutions. In addition, the South-South cooperation component of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) has permitted mobilization of more than 600 technicians and experts, and thousands more could be mobilized for field work with farmers, livestock and aquaculture producers, fishers and foresters, at marginal cost thanks to the solidarity among developing countries, with support from multilateral financing institutions and bilateral donors. Donor support would also be crucial to allow the use of young professionals from developing countries, as is already the case with the programme for Associate Professional Officers (APOs) from developed countries.
Because it is through the organizational structure that accountability is ensured for the implementation of programmes, the proposal involves a reorganization of the departments and offices at headquarters. As shown in Annex 3, the proposed structure consists of ten departments, with the Offices of the Inspector-General and of Programme, Budget and Evaluation, together with the Legal Office, continuing to report to the Director-General. The names of departments reflect at the general level the scope of the work they are expected to carry out. The aim in defining departmental responsibilities has been to assemble the relevant expertise within the Organization in entities that will address, and be accountable for the achievement of, core corporate objectives in the proposed revised programme structure. This will bring together staff working on common or closely related problems, and will thus facilitate greater synergy in programme implementation.
For example, in the Agriculture, Biosecurity, Nutrition and Consumer Protection Department the two divisions dealing with production, management and conservation of crops and livestock will address all on-farm aspects of production systems up to the farmgate, while a new division for diseases and pests of plants and animals will bring together work on issues at national and international levels - policies, standards, prevention measures and transboundary questions - with responsibility for ensuring a coherent response by the Organization to national and international crises. Placed within the same department, the Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division will bolster work on Codex Alimentarius, food-safety assessment, and food-quality control as part of the holistic food chain, or "farm to table" approach.
The Land and Water Division will move from the former Agriculture Department to the new Natural Resources, Technology and Sustainable Development Department, in recognition of the department's responsibility for natural resources on which forestry and fisheries as well as agriculture depend. For the same reason, the department will house the division dealing with research, technology and extension, and a division responsible for rural infrastructure and agro-industries; both are areas in which FAO needs to develop its own work, and closer links with partners in the public and private sectors, to promote the action and the investment needed for sustainable development in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries/aquaculture sectors.
In any organizational structure, there is a need for effective mechanisms for facilitating interdepartmental and interdivisional work that can successfully harness multidisciplinary skills to address complex issues. The proposed structure allows for the functions of several Priority Areas for Interdisciplinary Action (PAIAs) to be converted into programmes located within defined structural entities, with a programme framework that ensures ex-ante rather than ex-post cooperation in planning, programming, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation, and reorientation of interdisciplinary activities. Sector responsibilities will continue to be assumed by the relevant technical departments. The formal responsibility for coordinating the remaining PAIAs would be assigned to specific units within the structure, with greater responsibilities being given to coordinators.
For the same reason, the proposals also envisage "institutional homes" within the structure for catalytic units to address the horizontal priorities. These comprise the thematic networks to strengthen communications with external individual specialists in centres of excellence within member countries, the cross-organizational work on best practices and the new emphasis on capacity building. In relation to these priorities, the relevant units in the Knowledge Exchange, Communication and Capacity Building Department will be responsible for consolidating and maintaining corporate information, as well as planning, advising on methodologies, monitoring, evaluating and reorienting activities based on results, while the technical departments will provide the necessary intellectual and scientific framework for the work undertaken.
Finally, the composition and functions of a number of internal committees - which serve as advisory panels, assist in oversight or coordinate work transcending the responsibilities of individual units - are under review with the aim of streamlining or strengthening them. The Programme and Project Review Committee (PPRC) will be reviewed to ensure a focus on the MDGs and also a critical appraisal of project and programme proposals based not only on their individual merits, but also on their synergies with other projects and programmes, both of the Organization and of the countries concerned. This appraisal will cover all projects and programmes to be initiated by FAO.
With regard to the committees, commissions and other statutory bodies of the Organization, proposals would be made to streamline procedures for meetings and assist in focusing debates among Members, for instance by limiting the number of items for discussion, the others being for information. Secretariat presentations would be shortened. When necessary, side events could be organized.
The findings of the Independent Evaluation of FAO's Decentralization, coupled with the results of FAO's internal review of its contribution so far to the MDGs and the UN reform process, indicated the imperative of making FAO's decentralized network more effective in responding to Members' needs and ensuring more efficient use of staff resources in so doing. Based on the principle of locating activities at the level at which they can be most efficiently and effectively implemented, the main focus of the changes is on raising the capacity of the Organization to deliver services at country and subregional level, with the aim of assisting members to attain the MDGs, establishing the priorities for FAO assistance within existing frameworks including Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, CCAs and UNDAFs.
Country-level capacities will be built up through providing enhanced technical and administrative support to FAORs, staff training, the establishment of additional national professional officer posts, and greater delegation of authority to FAORs. While the principle of universality implies that FAO must make every effort to ensure that all Members can participate in the life of the Organization and draw benefit from it, the need for selectivity in allocation of resources requires that priority be given to assisting the neediest among the Members. Accordingly, FAO proposes to meet the full costs of country representation in the least developed countries (LDCs), low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS), which at present number 114. In this group of countries, multiple accreditation arrangements will be used where relevant. In other member countries, however, the Organization would expect governments to meet any cost beyond the direct costs of one professional and one support staff member to be funded by FAO.
Each country office will be able to access the services of a multidisciplinary team of policy and technical specialists located in one of 16 subregional offices. The heads of the subregional offices will be appointed at D1 level (most of these coming from lateral transfers following the flattening of the headquarters organizational structure) and will be responsible for the coordination of the multidisciplinary teams. The staffing of the subregional offices will be drawn from headquarters and decentralized offices. FAORs will be expected to allocate up to 30 percent of their time to contributing within their areas of technical expertise to the programme development and implementation work of the subregional offices and to transferring experience among countries. Refresher courses for FAORs, and updating of information in their areas of specialization, will be organized, drawing, inter alia, on telecommunications technology.
The regional offices will focus on regional activities, including liaison with regional bodies, formulating regional policies and strategies, servicing regional commissions and coordinating or implementing regional programmes. They will also continue to make arrangements for regional conferences. Subject to the agreement of REIOs, FAO officers would be appointed to facilitate cooperation with these organizations. FAO focal points would also be posted in selected developed countries to strengthen advocacy and awareness-raising activities.
In general, FAO headquarters is best placed to deal with global issues and programmes, while decentralized offices have a comparative advantage in shaping, providing and channelling responses from the Organization to regions, subregions and countries. Therefore, the Regional Representatives, the Subregional Coordinators and the FAO Representatives are to be entrusted with providing pertinent and timely responses to demands for FAO services and inputs from member countries, as well as REIOs, in a coordinated and complementary fashion. They will also advise headquarters on the most appropriate way to integrate regional, subregional and country concerns in FAO's strategies, policies, programmes and projects. Effective coordination mechanisms and structures will be put in place to maintain unity of purpose and synergy between the Organization's global public goods functions and the provision of assistance to its Members. Coordination and team work will be promoted through, inter alia, country and project task forces, country-level National Medium-Term Priority Frameworks (NMTPFs), the participation of FAORs in the multidisciplinary teams of subregional offices, staff mobility, and the establishment of knowledge management networks.
In brief, the main responsibilities will be:
FAORs will lead FAO's response to country assistance needs, supported primarily by the subregional offices;
Subregional Coordinators and their multidisciplinary teams will support FAORs, and also lead FAO's response to the needs of the subregions, including those of the REIOs;
Regional Representatives will address regional issues and lead the support to regional organizations and bodies.
Subregional offices will continue to be part of regional offices and FAORs will continue to follow the current line of reporting. The subregional offices will be delegated the authority and resources to provide policy and technical assistance to the countries they cover, upon request from the FAORs, without having to refer to the regional office or to headquarters. An adequate financial, administrative and operational system will be put in place to ensure information, planning, monitoring and reporting on activities with the relevant control and audit.
Reporting lines from the decentralized offices to headquarters will be carefully defined, taking into account the functions of the headquarters departments. The Coordination and Decentralization Department will be responsible for maintaining unity of purpose between headquarters and decentralized offices; reporting on the performance of decentralized offices and the factors affecting such performance; providing guidance to all units on coordination matters and emerging issues, and the delineation of responsibilities between headquarters and various levels of decentralized structures. Technical departments and divisions at headquarters will be responsible, in addition to their work on global issues, for the technical soundness and quality of FAO's programmes and projects, irrespective of location, and for monitoring their continued relevance, results and impact. They will advise the regional offices, subregional offices and FAORs with regard to the most appropriate technical and policy approaches and methodologies, and provide specialized technical expertise on request. The Outreach Programmes Department is responsible for the scale, content, coherence and quality of the Organization's outreach activities, including both technical cooperation activities and emergency programmes. The department will therefore provide advice, guidance and support to those responsible, in the decentralized offices, for the execution of such programmes. All programmes and projects to be implemented at field level will be channelled through the Outreach Department for execution by regional, subregional or FAOR offices, as appropriate.
Achieving further efficiency gains and greater improvements in performance requires implementation of a new business model, aimed at introducing a flatter, less fragmented management structure, linked to a strengthening of accountabilities and a greater delegation of authority and responsibility to managers, especially the managers of decentralized offices. Most importantly, it calls for a move away from an institutional culture that is based on risk-aversion and deeply embedded hierarchies and discourages individual initiative by requiring multiple layers of approval, to one that encourages and rewards creativity and motivates staff to share experiences and knowledge. The new model will be based on a determination to learn both from the Organization's successes and its failures, and to be transparent in the disclosure of the results of this learning process. It calls for a shift in concern from reporting on activities carried out to assessing the impact and sustainability of the Organization's work. And it will require new mechanisms that allow and provide incentives for staff of different disciplines, working on related themes but in different units or locations, to work together collegially towards the development of best practices and the achievement of shared goals.
Increased decentralization and delegation of authority, if they are to secure efficiency gains, imply the need to move towards ex-post monitoring rather than ex-ante controls. This, combined with a shift to the use of electronic forms, will reduce transaction costs, speed up decision-making and reinforce the accountability of managers. A reduction in the number of units and locations at which administrative actions are processed will also cut management costs, allow for staff economies and facilitate corporate standardization of transaction processing. These improvements in management systems are an essential element of the reform process. They will be translated during the biennium into a series of measures for improving human resources management, motivating and training staff (including staff rotation between headquarters and field posts), introducing greater flexibility into the staffing structure, and introducing strengthened mechanisms for enhancing staff collaboration and knowledge sharing on priority themes across departments, divisions, locations and disciplines, taking full advantage of the power of ICT systems to ensure excellence and a shared understanding of best practices.
Other efficiency measures will permit the reduction of travel costs, prompt accounting for expenditures incurred by decentralized offices, and framework agreements with suppliers for procurement of non-specialized frequently needed goods. New documents management software will be introduced, along with measures to reduce the printing of publications in Rome in favour of making publications available in electronic form for local reproduction in member countries. The Department of Human, Financial and Physical Resources, charged with providing the Organization's administrative services, would include a consolidation of human resource and administrative support functions, currently scattered in different locations, into a single Shared Services Centre. Some of the Centre's activities would be subject to offshoring and/or outsourcing to other UN and Bretton Woods organizations, the feasibility of both of which is under study.
The adjusted reform proposal that the Director-General is submitting to the Conference foresees measures to improve several important ratios, which are tabulated in Annex 4.
One is further transfer of human resources to the decentralized network to shift expertise in order to optimize the delivery of technical and advisory services to Members. Table 1a summarizes the evolution of posts under each of the distinct organizational structures (i.e. headquarters, regional offices, subregional offices, liaison offices and FAO representations). However, to mitigate the impact of restructuring on existing staff, four subregional offices would be hosted in the regional office locations, and the outcome is summarized in Table 1b. These tables show that, in the adjusted proposal, 40 percent of the Regular Programme-funded professional posts (including National Professional Officers) would be located in decentralized offices, compared with 30 percent in the current biennium.
Table 3 of Annex 4 shows that 37 percent of Regular Programme resources would be spent in the decentralized locations in the adjusted reform proposal. However, if overall resources were considered, including Trust Funds, the percentage in decentralized locations is estimated to rise to 52 percent in the adjusted reform proposal.
Other key ratios are presented in Table 2 of Annex 4:
An important measure is the increase in operational funds relative to expenditures on staff, to provide staff with the resources necessary to carry out their work effectively. The percentage of staff resources would fall from 66 percent in the current budget to 60 percent in the adjusted reform proposal, with a consequential rise in the proportion of non-staff resources from 34 percent to 40 percent.
The increase in funding for other human resources (OHR) will provide the flexibility needed for acquiring specialized expertise as, when and where needed. The proportion of OHR in the overall Programme of Work will rise from 17 percent in the current budget to 21 percent in the adjusted reform proposal.
If overall resources were considered, including Trust Funds, the percentage for staff costs would fall to 42 percent and the funding for OHR would amount to 18 percent.
The general service to professional post ratio has evolved from 1.25 in the 2004-05 Programme of Work and Budget to 1.09 in the adjusted proposal.
Other measures to provide greater operational flexibility would be directed towards facilitating the work of units whose effectiveness depends heavily on their ability to engage staff from other departments in implementing their work programmes. They would be provided with the means to receive the required expertise from other units in a predictable way and with a more relevant system of costing. FAO's budget would also now include a separate chapter for the Security Expenditure Facility, proposed in recognition of the need for improved financial management of security arrangements at all FAO and UN system locations. To ensure a coherent contribution to a common UN system response, the two FAO units dealing with security at headquarters and the decentralized offices, respectively, will be merged and situated in the Department for Coordination and Decentralization. The Director-General, as the most senior United Nations official in Italy, has recently accepted the UN's invitation to serve as the Designated Official for UN security in Italy.
The re-engineering of the Organization's programme structure will permit significant strengthening of the results-based management framework, which aims to ensure that the Organization's actions achieve the desired results in a cost-effective manner. The programming model uses a logical framework approach to planning, including establishing rationales, objectives and outputs, and provides for an evolving suite of planning and post-facto reporting documents for comprehensive review of programmes by the Governing Bodies with an emphasis on accountability, evaluation and oversight.
The results-based budgeting and monitoring process will continue to be complemented by a strong evaluation function - covering all activities and designed to examine the Organization's programmes - to analyse what benefits are actually being achieved for Members and how these benefits might be achieved with greater efficiency and impact. Evaluations thus have an accountability function in terms of results, but the emphasis is on organizational and programme improvement. The Evaluation Service, which has an independent function, is located in the Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation for administrative purposes and to assist the feedback of results into programme and organizational improvement. The Service also has responsibility for evaluation of extra-budgetary funded programmes and for supporting auto-evaluation by units of the Secretariat. Additional funding is proposed for auto-evaluation in 2006-07. Moreover, in the reform proposal, a new unit for monitoring and inspection is included in the Outreach Programmes Department. The Programme Committee supervises the evaluation regime and the Director-General is advised on evaluation issues by an Internal Evaluation Committee.
As has been the case to date, the Office of the Inspector-General will remain independent, reporting directly to the Director-General, and at the Inspector-General's discretion to the Finance Committee. It provides assurance to the Director-General and Governing Bodies that FAO's outputs are produced in full respect of its rules and regulations and with due regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The Internal Audit Committee, established in April 2003, advises the Director-General and the Office of the Inspector-General on internal audit matters. The Office conducts comprehensive audits comprising financial, compliance and management or value-for-money audits, and investigations into waste, abuse of authority, fraud, presumptive fraud and undesirable activities. It is supported by local private audit firms in the field. External Audit is the independent oversight authority that reports directly to the Governing Bodies. Financial audit is the most important aspect of external audit; this involves providing an opinion on the financial statements of the Organization. In addition, performance audits of selected areas are conducted.