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PWB Chapter 4: Technical Cooperation Programme

Major Programme 4.1: Technical Cooperation Programme

Regular Programme   US$000  
  Programme of Work 98,645  
  Adjustments to Programme of Work arising out of Budgetary Transfers 0  
  Final Programme of Work 98,645  
  Expenditure against Final Programme of Work 98,771  
  Variance of Expenditure (Over)/Under Final Programme of Work (126)  
  Budgetary Transfers as percent of Programme of Work 0.0%  

362.     The major programme responds to urgent and unforeseen requests for assistance from countries, in close association with other components of the Regular Programme. It aims at providing a rapid response to requests for technical assistance that fill a critical gap and are specific and practical in nature. Emphasis is given to increasing production in agriculture, fisheries and forestry and increasing the incomes of small producers. TCP-supported projects typically:

  • are of short duration, with a limited budget;
  • are by nature unprogrammed;
  • require follow-up action by governments;
  • are designed to have a catalytic effect;
  • complement other sources of assistance.

363.     In November 2005, the FAO Council approved a range of measures to strengthen the policy and operational framework of the TCP. These included measures related to: country eligibility; strategic focus; strengthened national processes; the role of FAORs and decentralized offices; emergency TCP assistance; regional and inter-regional TCP projects; TCP impact and sustainability and modified TCP criteria. The effect of these changes will be reported for the 2006-07 biennium.

364.     TCP assistance is provided in the areas of: emergencies; investment; training; project and programme formulation; advisory services; assistance to development; and intercountry cooperation.

365.     All projects funded from TCP resources during the reporting period satisfied the criteria established by governing bodies and stated in the Programme of Work and Budget 2004-0540. The achievements of TCP assistance are reviewed as part of the thematic evaluations that are undertaken periodically at the request of the Programme Committee and are reported to the Committee through the arrangements for handling evaluation reports.

Project Approvals
366.     During the biennium, the Organization received 611 requests from governments for possible TCP support, approximately half the level in 2002-03. 53% of these requests were approved for TCP funding during 2004-05, while 24% of the requests received did not qualify for TCP assistance. The lower number of requests reflected efforts to reduce the overall demand for TCP resources to a level commensurate with the TCP Appropriation, through, inter alia, raising awareness at the national level of the overall level of resources available and asking governments to prioritise their requests for TCP assistance.

367.     The number of projects approved is shown in the table below. 499 TCP projects with a total value of US$ 99 million were approved in 2004-05 (equivalent to the entire Appropriation for the biennium), as compared to US$ 141.1 million41 in 2002-03. It should be noted that the figure for 2002-03 was the result of extraordinary one-off measures taken to absorb previous return flow and minimise future return flow, on the one hand42, and to reduce the carry over of obligated but unspent commitments to the next biennium, on the other hand, as part of a broader strategy to improve the delivery of the TCP Appropriation.

Table 4.1.1: Number and Value of TCP Project Approvals and Revisions*

Biennium of approval Number of projects Total value of projects (US$ million) * Average cost per project (US$)  
1994-95 496 92.6 186,700  
1996-97 422 93.3 221,100  
1998-99 430 92.1 214,200  
2000-01 463 100.1 216,200  
2002-03 652 141.1 216,500  
2004-05 499 99.0 198,300  
* The number of projects and the total value of projects for each reporting period include approved TCP projects, TCP Facility activities, and advanced allocations for TCP project formulation. In addition, the total value of projects includes financial adjustments resulting from the return flow exercise.

368.     Table 4.1.1 also indicates that the average TCP project budget was lower in 2004-05 as compared to 2002-03 and earlier biennia. This change was largely due to an increase in the number of TCP Facility projects, which have average budgets of less than US$ 18,000. A more detailed breakdown of average project size is shown in Table 4.1.2 and indicates that the average approved budget for national TCP projects (US$ 210,000) was also considerably lower than the average budgets for regional TCP projects (US$ 288,00).

Table 4.1.2: Breakdown of TCP Project Approvals and Revisions by Type in 2004-05

Type of TCP Project Approved Budget Total US$ Number Approved Budget per project, US$ Percent of total approved budget  
National TCP Projects 78,631,241 391 201,103 79.5  
Regional TCP Projects 19,614,597 68 288,450 19.8  
TCP Facility (excluding budget revisions) 708,334 40 17,708 0.7  
Total 98,954,172 499 198,305 100.0  

369.     Approximately 79% of the total Appropriation available for TCP projects was approved during 2004, the first year of the biennium. This level of approval was about 37% higher than levels during the equivalent period in recent biennia and was the result of a deliberate strategy intended to reduce the carry-over of uncommitted funds and return flow resulting from obligated, but unspent commitments in previous biennia. While having positive results in terms of delivery, the strategy led to a significant reduction in the TCP resources available to respond to non-emergency requests for technical assistance in the later stages of the biennium. The Organization will closely monitor the impact of this strategy on delivery and return flow in the coming biennium.

370.     The structure of TCP support continued to evolve during 2004-05 as reflected in the pattern of approvals when measured in terms of project “category”, as shown in Table 4.1.3. The share of advisory services in the number of overall approvals (48%) was lower than the level in 2002-03, but consistent with the level in recent biennia. Emergency assistance increased to 28% in 2004-05, as compared to 19% in 2002-03. This reflected the high number of complex emergencies that occurred during the reporting period, including: the Asian Tsunami, avian flu, desert locusts and a higher-than-normal incidence of hurricanes in Central America and the Caribbean.

Table 4.1.3: Percentage of Approved TCP Assistance by Project Category

Type of project 1998-99 2000-01 2002-03 2004-05  
Advisory services 50.0 45.4 54.9 48.1  
TCDC/ECDC 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.2  
Development support 9.7 7.3 5.8 8.3  
Emergency assistance 24.7 27.4 19.1 27.7  
Formulation missions 1.4 3.0 3.9 1.4  
Investment support 0.7 1.1 5.4 1.9  
Training 13.3 15.6 10.5 12.4  
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0  

371.     The regional distribution of the value of TCP project approvals changed in 2004-05 compared to recent years, as shown in Table 4.1.4. These changes were caused by a range of factors, most notably, the higher than normal number of complex emergencies in both Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean that received TCP assistance and the fact that much of the growth in the share of resources allocated to interregional TCP projects was associated with emergency assistance for desert locust control involving several countries in Africa and the Near East (which was not, by its inter-regional character, reflected in the figure for the Africa region). It should also be noted that an increasing number of TCP projects were granted to newer Members of FAO in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia.

Table 4.1.4: Share of Approved TCP Project Resources by Region (percentage)

Region 1998-99 2000-01 2002-03 2004-05  
Africa 42.9 36.8 45.9 31.4  
Asia and the Pacific 17.3 25.0 20.7 24.7  
Europe 10.2 7.7 6.3 9.1  
Latin America and the Caribbean 18.9 18.8 16.3 20.9  
Near East 10.1 11.3 9.6 9.7  
Interregional 0.6 0.4 1.2 4.2  
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0  

372.     The FAO Council agreed in 2005 that, in line with FAO’s strategic focus on reaching the WFS target and the MDGs, special attention in the allocation of TCP resources should be given to the neediest countries, especially the 115 Members of FAO that are Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-locked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Low-income, Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). During 2004-05 (i.e. before implementation of the decision of the Council), these countries received 75% of TCP resources, measured as a share of total approved budgets for national TCP projects43.

373.     The share of TCP resources allocated to the provision of expertise in TCP projects in 2004-05 (i.e. for international consultants, TCDC/TCCT experts, retired experts, national consultants and FAO technical support services) decreased to 33% of the total, as compared to 35% in 2002-03 (Table 4.1-5). The amounts allocated for different types of expertise remained largely unchanged from 2002-03, thereby maintaining the trend in recent biennia away from the use of international consultants.

Table 4.1.5: Composition of Expert Services in TCP Projects*

  1998-99 2000-01 2002-03 2004-05  
  US$ million Percent share US$ million Percent share US$ million Percent share US$ million Percent share  
International consultants 11.0 39 6.2 22 8.8 17 6.2 19  
National consultants 6.5 23 7.2 25 14.0 28 9.1 28  
Partnership experts 5.7 20 8.5 29 14.4 29 8.5 27  
FAO expert services (excludes general backstopping) 4.9 17 7.0 24 12.8 26 8.4 26  
Total expert component 28.1 100 28.9 100 50.0 100 32.2 100  
Total approvals 92.1   100.1   143.6   99.0    
Share of project budget used for experts   30.5   29.0   34.8   32.5  
* Owing to the way that this data is collected, the information in this table refers to initial budget allocations for TCP projects and does not include changes resulting from budget revisions during project implementation.

Project delivery
374.     The recent upward trend in TCP delivery was maintained in 2004-05: total expenditure during the reporting period reached US$ 115 million, the highest level since the establishment of the TCP in 1976, and represented a 13% increase on the 2002-03 level (Figure 4.1-1). The delivery increases in 2004-05 reflected continuing emphasis on improving delivery through enhanced use of the FPMIS as a monitoring tool, greater training of budget holders and ongoing streamlining of procedures, and the decision to maximise TCP approvals at the start of the biennium. It is expected that TCP delivery next biennium will be lower as a result of both the reduction of return flow and the high level of expenditure against the 2004-05 Appropriation.

375.     The unique attribute of TCP, wherein two appropriations are necessarily available in any one biennium, adds some complexity to performance measurement. The following table provides a simple indicator of percentage expenditure based on the average of the two applicable Appropriations. During 2004-05 the biennium expenditure was 133% of the average Appropriation compared to 121% in 2002-03 and 86% in 2000-01.

Table 4.1.6: Indicator of TCP Expenditure Rate

  1994-95 1996-97 1998-99 2000-01 2002-03 2004-05  
Biennial Appropriation (US$ millions) 82.3 85.5 87.3 89.1 89.2 98.6  
Average of the Biennial Appropriations for the last two biennia (US$ millions) 79.9 83.9 86.4 88.2 89.2 93.9  
Biennial Expenditure including direct operating costs (US$ millions) 78.2 79.4 72.9 76.0 107.7 124.9  
Biennial Expenditure as a percent of the average appropriation 98% 95% 84% 86% 121% 133%  

376.     It is expected that the measures to improve delivery described above and the improvements in TCP project design will set the stage for the TCP programme to be able to deliver an increasing proportion of the TCP Appropriation during the same biennium for which it has been approved.

377.     To illustrate the impact of TCP projects, starting in 2005, a number of TCP success stories were added to FAO's Web site. These examples demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits and different types of impact that have resulted from successful TCP projects. They also illustrate TCP’s role as a catalyst for the mobilisation of additional resources for food security and agricultural development-related investments from both domestic and international sources, as well as for responding to a number of complex emergencies that took place in 2004-05. In the case of both the avian flu and the desert locust emergencies, the TCP enabled the Organization to respond rapidly, effectively and strategically to these emergency situations, and in a way that took into account their special funding requirements. Selected examples are provided below44.

Avian Influenza: Helping to Stop the Disease at its Source

When avian influenza struck in late 2003, FAO responded immediately with an initial US$ 5.5 million from emergency TCP funds. The total funding from the TCP reached US$ 7.2 million by the end of 2005. The first series of projects provided direct support to affected countries to help control the bird flu outbreaks through culling of infected animals and vaccination.

Regional TCP projects helped in creating epidemiologic surveillance and diagnosis networks, upgrading the national disease information systems, improving veterinary services, preventing future outbreaks by improving emergency preparedness and, in the long run, helping rehabilitate the productive capacities of poultry producers after the influenza crisis.

By the end of 2005, TCP projects had helped catalyse an additional US$ 16.2 million of extra-budgetary resources in support of FAO efforts to strengthen the capacity of governments to respond effectively to avian flu.

Supporting Responsible Artisanal Fisheries in Nicaragua's North Atlantic Autonomous Region

A TCP project was launched in 2003 to sustain Nicaragua's Regional North Atlantic Government (GRAAN) in its effort to reinforce and technically improve the different artisanal fishing activities in the coastal fishing communities located in the northern Caribbean area of the country.

Through this project, 2,495 persons from eight selected communities were trained on subjects chosen together with the benefiting community. The community fishers’ knowledge of the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fisheries was reinforced and further developed and the foundations for community co-management systems were laid for the lagoon fisheries.

A number of important project lessons were immediately put into practice and the working methods adapted consequently, thus demonstrating general acceptance of the new techniques. This allowed for an immediate increase in the volume of semi-processed products delivered to the processing plants in the nearby province of Bilwi. Moreover one of the communities will soon benefit from electricity connections and the establishment of an ice plant.

The project strengthened the institutional capacity of the regional government to establish procedural links between the community authorities (Consejo de Ancianos), the fishers’ representatives (associations/unions) and the local Government secretariat.

Niger: Agricultural and Livestock Census Helps the Government Prepare Agricultural Development Interventions

A TCP project, with a budget of US$ 322,000, was launched in 2003 to make the preparatory arrangements for the livestock component of the General Census, including methods for enumerating nomadic livestock. When the project closed in 2004, technical documents for the livestock census had been prepared and a pilot census executed. In addition, a project document for carrying out the General Census had been prepared. The project resulted in the approval and implementation of an US$ 8 million project financed by the European Union to carry out the General Census of Agriculture and Livestock. Additional resources were provided by the Government of Niger. The timely transition from the preparatory phase to the implementation phase enabled the project to be integrated with the efforts of other partners (European Union, World Bank) working on agricultural statistics in the country.

Major Programme 4.2: TCP Unit

Regular Programme   US$000  
  Programme of Work 4,382  
  Adjustments to Programme of Work arising out of Budgetary Transfers 0  
  Final Programme of Work 4,382  
  Expenditure against Final Programme of Work 4,308  
  Variance of Expenditure (Over)/Under Final Programme of Work 74  
  Budgetary Transfers as percent of Programme of Work 0.0%  

378.     The TCP Unit is in charge of management and coordination of the Technical Cooperation Programme. It continued to ensure that approved projects adhered to TCP criteria and to coordinate the appraisal and processing of requests for TCP assistance. Improved workflows and procedures introduced during 2004-05 relating to the processing of TCP requests and the preparation of final project agreements enabled the TCP Unit to help eliminate the backlog of pending requests for TCP assistance and to contribute to the Organization’s ongoing efforts to raise TCP project approvals and delivery.

379.     Contact with governments to coordinate and prioritise requests for TCP support was maintained, particularly with the assistance of FAORs and regional and subregional offices. The monitoring of follow-up action and evaluation of the impact of TCP projects continued to be an important component of programme management. In this respect, the Evaluation Service undertook an Independent Review of the TCP, a theme-oriented evaluation in the field of animal production, policy and information (2004) and other evaluations that included TCP activities, such as on the FAO response to the continuing crisis in southern Africa (2004) and on the FAO post-conflict programme in Afghanistan (2004).

380.     The TCP Unit contributed to the redevelopment of the TCP Web site. Detailed information on all aspects of the programme is now available in all official languages. A new section entitled “TCP at Work” provides information on a number of TCP “success stories”. Increased information on lessons learned in the context of TCP projects and on TCP success stories will be made available as an input to the identification, formulation and implementation of future TCP projects, by both FAO technical units and the TCP Unit.

40 C 2003/3 para. 661

41 The unique character of the TCP whereby the TCP Appropriation remains available for obligations during the financial period following that in which funds were voted or transferred (Financial Regulation 4.3) means that the approval figures published in a PIR for the most recent biennium are provisional in character and may be subject to subsequent adjustment. For this reason, the figures for 2002-03 provided in the Table 4.1.1differ from those provided in the PIR 2002-03, as a result of recoding and other administrative adjustments on the one hand, and adjustments resulting from budget revisions for projects approved in 2002-03 that were received by the Organization after the finalisation of the PIR 2002-03. The information for 2004-05 in the table is likewise provisional and may be subject to adjustment in the next PIR.

42 “Return flow” is a procedure for adjusting and reporting TCP expenditures already booked against one biennium to the unspent Appropriation of the previous biennium. Under this system, completed projects financed from the Appropriation of an ongoing biennium are recoded at the end of each biennium to the Appropriation of the previous biennium to prevent lapse of unutilised Appropriations. The approach was sanctioned by the 46th Session of the Finance Committee in 1980 and further endorsed by the 78th Session of the Council which noted that “in view of its nature and importance to the developing countries, every effort should be made to utilize fully the resources appropriated by the Conference. It was recognized that this would require some flexibility in the financial arrangements.”

43 Regional and inter-regional TCP projects are not included in this calculation, given that a number of them involved recipient countries that were in some cases included in the group of 115 Members of FAO that the Council had agreed should receive “special attention” in the allocation of TCP resources, and other recipient countries that were not included in this group. As a result, the percentage share figure provided is calculated on the basis of US$ 79.3 million of TCP resources that were approved for national TCP projects during 2004-05, rather than the full approved amount of US$ 99 million.

44 Further information on successful TCP projects is available in the “TCP at work” section of the main TCP Web site (

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