CUBATable of ContentsTable of ContentsProgramme Entity 2KP01 Output Status


A. Implementation of Approved Reform Proposals

275.     The Organization was actively engaged in the implementation of reforms that were approved by the governing bodies in two main phases, i.e. by the 33rd Session of the Conference in November 2005 and the 131st Session of the Council in November 200621. Progress was reported to the Programme and Finance Committees and Council, as well as in the PWB 2008-0922.

a) Headquarters

276.     A first set of approved changes to the headquarters' structure was implemented as at 1 January 2006 without an increase in the number of departments. These regrouped various advocacy activities within a single unit in the Office of the Director-General; moved the Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division to the Agriculture Department; grouped security functions in a unit placed under the authority of the ADG of the Administration and Finance Department; and established the Shared Services Centre (SSC) through the merger of administrative services provided by various units at headquarters ahead of phased implementation of a multi-centre structure. The implementation of the SSC and related business process changes are reported under Section II.C: Efficiency Savings.

277.     The new organizational structure for headquarters approved by the November 2006 Council has been implemented as of 1 January 2007. It includes the new departments for Natural Resources Management and Environment (NR) and for Knowledge and Communication (KC). Important advocacy initiatives were integrated into the KC Department, which allowed for additional synergies and efficiencies. Changes to the PWB chapter structure and reformulation of programme entities were presented in the Revised PWB 2006-07.

b) Implementation of decentralization measures

278.     In 2004, the Independent Evaluation of Decentralization23 made a series of recommendations concerning the structure and functioning of FAO’s decentralized offices. Subsequently, the Director-General proposed, as a part of his general reform proposals, revisions to the decentralized office structure and modus operandi to improve the Organization’s capacity to respond to the needs of countries24. In November 2005, the FAO Conference acknowledged the need for strengthened decentralization and agreed that as a first step the Director-General’s proposals be implemented in the Africa region and Central Asia subregional office25.

i) New subregional offices and multidisciplinary teams
279.     During the biennium, FAO established new Subregional Offices for Central Africa in Libreville, Gabon and for Eastern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Subregional Office for Western Africa was established in Accra, Ghana, which also continued to host the Regional Office for Africa. The reconfigured Subregional Office for Southern Africa remained in Harare, Zimbabwe. The new Subregional Office for Central Asia was established in Ankara, Turkey. In the second phase, the Regional Office for Europe was transferred from FAO headquarters in Rome to Budapest, Hungary.

280.     As a result of subsequent governing bodies' decisions26, the reforms have also been extended to Latin America and the Caribbean. A Subregional Office in Panama was established, a multidisciplinary team in Santiago was set up and the Subregional Office in Barbados was restructured. In November 2007, the Council also approved the creation of a new Subregional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen located in the United Arab Emirates. Measures to establish this office, and reconfigure other offices in the Near East region, are under review.

ii) Responsibilities and relationships
281.     A guide for responsibilities and relationships between headquarters and the decentralized offices was designed in a broad participative process in 2006-07 and issued in June 2007. Under this new operating model, FAO’s subregional offices report to the Regional Representative and have technical capacities geared to the needs of the subregion. The FAO Representatives in the subregion are expected to participate, in their technical capacity, in the multidisciplinary teams located at subregional offices. Moreover, substantial levels of non-staff resources have been provided. The subregional offices are the first port-of-call for technical support for country offices.

282.     One of the goals of decentralization is to strengthen partnerships with regional and subregional economic organizations. The objective is to provide better policy and technical support to countries through FAO country representatives. The Council received an update on progress in the implementation of these reforms in November 200627 and June 2007.

iii) Subregional plans of action
283.     The new decentralized model envisages a well-defined subregional plan of action. During 2007, subregional programming workshops were held in the five SROs under the first phase of reforms (Western, Eastern, Southern and Central Africa, and Central Asia). The workshops were co-funded by FAO and the Government of Spain.

284.     These workshops brought together FAO country representatives from the countries in the subregion, the subregional technical officers and resource persons from the regional office and headquarters. Participants identified subregional priorities based on those of subregional organizations and the common features of different national priorities. A subregional work plan was formulated and a ‘road map’ for implementing it was prepared.

285.     After reviewing the workshop reports, governments in the subregion and, in some cases, subregional partners, made specific requests to the subregional office for support. For example, in Central Africa, they agreed on a set of proposals that would address three major areas: i) a subregional initiative on monitoring food security; ii) support to CEMAC for the formulation of a subregional seed strategy; and iii) the development of a common agricultural policy for ECCAS.

iv) FAO’s work at country level
286.     Since the introduction of National Medium-term Priority Frameworks (NMTPF) in 2005, FAO Representatives increasingly entered into a structured dialogue with governments and other partners on priorities for government–FAO collaboration. NMTPFs have also proved very useful to help integrate agricultural priorities in UN development frameworks, particularly in the eight "pilot" countries. The biennium witnessed a trend towards progressively improving the quality of NMTPFs.

287.     Three main lessons can be drawn from the relatively short experience with NMTPFs: i) a good consultation process with national and international partners at the country level is a necessary condition to achieve a meaningful prioritisation; ii) the capacity of FAO field offices to participate in joint programmes still needs to be strengthened by programmable, more predictable and commensurate extrabudgetary resources; and iii) FAO's role and work at country level (as well as that of other UN specialised agencies) needs to be better recognised by the donor community, as it differs fundamentally from those of primarily operational UN Funds and Programmes.

288.     An extraordinary training effort targeting 44 FAO Representatives and their Assistants for Programme and Administration took place in 2006-07, thanks to the generous voluntary contribution of the Government of Spain. Each target audience indicated that such activities contributed to enhance their office operational capacity and to the better implementation of reform/decentralization.

289.     Finally, the TCP facility has been instrumental in providing resources for formulating NMTPFs and enabling FAO Representatives to be proactive partners in the UN "Delivering as One" pilots.

B. Cost of Field Programme Support

290.     The provision of technical assistance is an important part of the Organization's mandate, specified under Article I 3 (a) of the Constitution, which states: "It shall also be the function of the Organization to furnish such technical assistance as governments request". Technical assistance is provided from the Regular Programme – as for TCP and SPFS – or from extrabudgetary resources under the GCP, UTFs, UNDP or other arrangements for voluntary contributions to the field programme. The Organization makes a further significant contribution to technical assistance through its support to all extrabudgetary activities through: i) technical support services (TSS), generally provided directly to Members; and ii) administrative and operational support services (AOS) provided to ensure the delivery of all activities defined through projects, whether funded from Regular Programme resources (such as TCP projects) or voluntary contributions (extrabudgetary-funded projects).

291.     The Organization has made a consistent effort since 1992 to measure and report in a transparent manner the cost of supporting the field programme (and other extrabudgetary-funded activities) under these two rubrics. This is achieved through the Work Measurement Survey which involves the completion of a detailed questionnaire by close to 1,000 staff each year. This data has been used in a number of ways:

  • in the case of TSS, to provide an estimate of the extent of staff time and cost under the Regular Programme dedicated to the provision of these services; and
  • in the case of AOS, to provide a basis for the establishment of project servicing cost (PSC) reimbursement rates, as well as to help direct actions aimed at reducing such costs or improving cost recovery.

a) Technical support services (TSS)

292.     The overall level of TSS28 is outlined in Table 14, which compares the 2006-07 results with those in the previous biennium.

Table 14: Technical support services (TSS) (USD million)
  2004-05 2006-07
Total extrabudgetary, TCP and SPFS project delivery 747.9 898.3
Total TSS costs 76.6 81.5
Total TSS as a percentage of total delivery 10.1% 9.1%
* The figures include the impact of staff cost variance so as to reflect actual costs at budget rate of exchange between euro and USD

293.     Total extrabudgetary support, TCP and SPFS delivery increased by nearly 20% in 2006-07 from USD 748 million to USD 898.3 million, while the cost of technical support services increased by USD 4.9 million to reach USD 81.5 million. As a result, TSS costs as a percentage of total delivery decreased from 10.1% in 2004-05 to 9.1% in 2006-07.

294.     Reimbursement for technical support services totalled USD 17.4 million in 2006-07, compared to USD 19.9 million in 2004-05. The decline reflected a 50% reduction in TCP delivery and a corresponding decline in TSS reimbursement from USD 12.7 million in 2004-05 to USD 6.0 million in 2006-07. Reimbursements from extrabudgetary projects increased by 57% from USD 7.2 million in 2004-05 to USD 11.4 million in 2006 -07, as the result of a nearly 40% increase in extrabudgetary funds and increased efforts to budget for TSS in such projects.

295.     TSS is mainly delivered by headquarters technical divisions and decentralized offices. A major portion of TSS is in the form of staff time. On average, 29% of total staff time is devoted to TSS in 2006-07, the same as in 2004-05.

296.     In the past, the contribution of FAORs to technical support services was minimal and not reported in the PIR. In 2006-07, consistent with the new decentralized model, FAORs and subregional offices devoted an increased part of their time to TSS, while professional staff time devoted to TSS in the regional offices declined from 50% in 2004-05 to 42% in 2006-07.

297.     The distribution of support across the programme structure is shown in the table below. While TSS is evident in most programmes, during 2006-07 staff time devoted to TSS was particularly important in programmes 3A: Leveraging resources and investment (54%), 4A: UN cooperation, integration and monitoring (39%), 2M: Rural infrastructure and agro-industries (38%) and 3G: Rural livelihoods (38%). Chapter 2: Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems had the highest proportion of professional technical staff time spent on TSS (31%), but 25% or more of the professional staff time in both Chapter 3: Knowledge Exchange, Policy and Advocacy and Chapter 4: Decentralization, UN Cooperation and Programme Delivery, was also devoted to technical support services.

Table 15: Proportion of professional staff time devoted to TSS to the field programme, 2006-07
Chapter Description Headquarters Regional Offices Subregional Offices and FAORs Total
  2A - Crop production systems management 32 54 33 35
  2B - Livestock production systems management 28 43 26 31
  2C - Diseases and pests of animals and plants 28 46 35 33
  2D – Nutrition and consumer protection 17 51 46 22
  2E - Forestry information, statistics, economics, and policy 21 45 45 26
  2F - Forest management, conservation and rehabilitation 34 45 43 37
  2G - Forest products and industry 19 44 43 25
  2H - Fisheries and aquaculture information, statistics, economics, and policy 15 44 34 21
  2I - Fisheries and aquaculture management and conservation 30 47 35 31
  2J - Fisheries and aquaculture products and industry 23 38 34 24
  2K - Sustainable natural resources management 33 51 42 36
  2L - Technology, research and extension 35 39 27 36
  2M - Rural infrastructure and agro-industries 34 55 43 38
2 Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems 27 48 39 31
  3A - Leveraging resources and investment 51 15 50 54
  3B - Food and agriculture policy 25 45 37 31
  3C - Trade and markets 13 43 0 15
  3D - Agriculture information and statistics 20 47 0 22
  3E - Alliances and advocacy initiatives against hunger and poverty 43 0 0 33
  3F - Gender and equity in rural societies 32 40 27 34
  3G - Rural livelihoods 32 68 0 38
  3H - Knowledge exchange and capacity building 9 35 28 12
3 Knowledge Exchange, Policy and Advocacy 21 43 40 25
  4A - UN cooperation, integration and monitoring 25 48 28 39
  4B - Coordination of decentralized services 0 0 22 29
  4C - Food security, poverty reduction and other development cooperation programmes 31 20 21 28
4 Decentralization, UN Cooperation and Programme Delivery 31 26 21 29
  Average 25 42 42 29

298.     The regional distribution of support is shown in the figure below. Generally, the highest proportion of staff time for TSS was spent in the subregional offices in Africa and Europe where the new decentralization model was implemented. The highest level of TSS by FAORs was in the Near East and North Africa (33%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (32%), which were the regions with the lowest proportion of TSS provided by the subregional offices (22% and 35% respectively).

Figure 15: Percentage of professional staff time devoted to field programme support, 2006-07

b) Administrative and operational support (AOS) services

299.     Administrative and operational support costs consist of variable indirect costs that can be associated with the delivery of direct project inputs29.

300.     In the 2006-07 biennium, total AOS costs reached USD 123 million, with an increase of USD 17.4 million compared to 2004-05, but as a percentage of total project delivery, AOS costs declined from 14.1% to 13.7%. Key factors in the rise in AOS costs were the devaluation of the US dollar versus the Euro and other Euro-linked currencies which have affected staff costs in decentralized offices, together with the increase in headquarters staff costs, in particular of support staff. The decline in AOS as a percentage of total delivery is largely due to the sharp increase in the delivery levels, and somewhat to a decreasing share of TCP projects (given the small size and relative complexity of TCP projects, which require proportionally more AOS).

301.     The table below shows the emergency operating costs (incurred in TCE Division) increase from USD 16.1 million to USD 21.4 million. However, as a percentage of emergency project delivery AOS decreased from 6.5% to 5.6%. This is mainly attributable to the fact that costs incurred in TCE units are partly charged as direct costs to the projects and to a lesser extent to efficiencies of scale on account of the project delivery increase by over USD 145 million to USD 385 million.

Table 16: Administrative and operational support costs (USD million)
  2004-05 2006-07
Total extrabudgetary, TCP and SPFS project delivery 747.9 898.3
 Emergency operating costs (incurred in TCE) 16.1 21.4
 All other AOS 89.5 101.5
Total AOS costs 105.6 122.9
Total AOS costs as a percentage of total delivery 14.1% 13.7%
* The figures include the impact of staff cost variance so as to reflect actual costs at budget rate of exchange between euro and USD. Costs have been restated to include Incremental Indirect costs

302.     AOS cost is partially covered by reimbursements from projects through charges for project servicing cost (PSC). The table below shows the extent of reimbursements received for AOS services in total including from emergency projects and TCP/SPFS projects funded from the Regular Programme.

Table 17: Administrative and operational support costs and extent of reimbursement received from field programme and other extrabudgetary-funded activities (USD million)
  2004-05 2006-07 Variance
Administrative and operational support costs 105.5 122.9 17.4
Reimbursements* 78.4 78.9 0.5
Under-recovery of support costs (27.1) (44.0) (16.9)
Net percentage of cost recovered 74.3% 63.2%  
* Include AOS as direct costs recovered through staff secondments

303.     The gap in cost recovery increased from 26% to 37%, on account of the increase in costs. Reimbursements remained constant at around USD 79 million. This is to be considered an achievement, considering that 2004-05 reimbursements included the project support costs income credited to the Organization for support provided in 2003 during the closure of the Oil-for-Food programme. Reimbursements from projects, therefore, reflect the positive impact of increased support cost rates for emergency projects and of extrabudgetary funded activities in direct support of Regular Programme.

C. Efficiency Savings

304.     In the PWB 2006-07, FAO committed to attaining a typical public sector efficiency savings rate of 1.0–1.5% p.a., recognising that the increasing complexity of measures for the attainment of cost savings on an ongoing basis would require investment or readiness to incur transitional costs. The proposals also foresaw the implementation in 2007 of two types of incentives: an innovation fund and an efficiency savings tax to reward particularly good ideas or performers in terms of efficiency savings which was not possible to implement these two mechanisms during the biennium as intended, due to the difficult financial situation that marked most of the biennium, a comprehensive framework to identify further efficiencies was put in place around the five overarching principles presented in the Revised PWB 2006-0730. The main achievements are as follows.

305.     It was recognised that unrecovered variable costs of providing administrative and operational support (AOS) services to extrabudgetary projects are borne by the Regular Budget, thereby straining the Organization’s capacity to implement its Programme of Work. The change in support cost policy and increase in support cost rate approved by governing bodies in November 2005 for emergency and rehabilitation assistance projects and the increase in support cost rates for projects in direct support of Regular Programme activities approved by the governing bodies in 2006, together with increased delivery, resulted in an increase of reimbursements to the General Fund of respectively about USD 1031 million and USD 3 million in the biennium. The Organization also began charging projects for housekeeping and utilities costs related to project occupancy of headquarters office space; reimbursement to the Organization during the biennium was USD 2 million.

306.     With regard to other areas of efficiency savings and productivity gains, the Director-General established an interdepartmental working group that identified 55 specific opportunities for streamlining administrative procedures. This process led to the issuance on 5 May 2006 of the Director-General’s Bulletin “Delegations of Authority and Streamlining of Administrative Procedures” which covered 19 streamlining initiatives and 31 delegations of authority on a range of management and administrative actions. These measures contributed to productivity gains, by redirecting effort to higher priority activities.

307.     The Organization continued to streamline decision-making and promote empowerment by eliminating layers of management through the reduction of Director-level and associated General Service posts at headquarters. Savings from the elimination of 21 Director-level and associated support staff posts, most of which were reallocated to the same units, amounted to some USD 9 million in 2006-07.

308.     Changes to headquarters' organizational structure led to: i) the abolition of the Office of World Food Summit Follow-up and Alliances (OFA) with most of its activities transferred to other units; ii) an adjustment in the non-staff resources of communications and public information activities; and iii) the elimination of a post in the TCP unit, without loss of output through redistribution of work. Taken together, these actions yielded savings of USD 1.3 million in 2006-07, which were utilised to bolster high-priority areas.

309.     Outside of headquarters, the Organization was able to successfully "offshore" administrative and information systems development work related to the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) and other projects, to the less costly location in Bangkok. Furthermore, the streamlining of policy and operations groups in regional offices yielded savings of USD 2.9 million in 2006-07.

310.     Complex business process changes were set in motion in 2006-07 with respect to the full implementation of the Shared Services Centre (SSC), where savings of USD 8 million are anticipated after a period of transition during the 2008-09 biennium. The positioning of multidisciplinary teams in new geographical locations, recognising that the cost of inputs varies substantially between geographical locations, also began to yield savings arising from favourable staff-cost differentials for which savings of USD 4.1 million are expected to accrue from 2008-09 onwards. Establishment of additional subregional offices opened up opportunities for the Organization to benefit from substantial contributions in kind and in cash by host governments, towards one-time and running costs of these offices. On average, biennial contributions towards running costs in excess of USD 300,000 per office were negotiated and foresee the provision of some 7 junior technical officers and 8 support staff in every subregional office. The benefit of these services and contributions, largely to be realised from 2008-09, is estimated at approximately USD 15.9 million per biennium.

311.     The implementation of the HRMS in March 2007 provided the foundation for further streamlining of business processes, including the remote processing of administrative actions. Development of electronic personnel records and electronic workflows were initiated to derive maximum benefit from the new system. During 2007, the Organization began to deploy the HR Management Model – a new arrangement for managing HR processes and supporting managers in HR matters – that will improve the overall quality and efficiency of HR management while achieving cost savings. However, like the SSC, this complex deployment will continue to require investment in 2008-09.

312.     The Finance Division prepared a new banking structure for headquarters which will generate cost savings in 2008-09 by consolidating transactions through one bank, increased automation of the banking process and the phasing out of manual payment methods. The Finance Division also continued to improve efficiency through the conversion to electronic workflows such as with the electronic payment request form and improved consultant payment functionality.

313.     At the inter-agency and UN system level, the Joint Meetings of the 97th Session of the Programme Committee and the 118th Session of the Finance Committee32 in September 2006, and of the 99th Session of the Programme Committee and the 122nd Session of the Finance Committee in May 200833, received progress reports on the extent of close collaboration on “back-office” administrative and processing work between the Rome-based agencies, as well as other areas of cooperation, which could lead to overall efficiency savings. These areas, highlighted in the boxes below, illustrate the wide range of services across the three organizations, where back-office service delivery is provided on a joint basis, and indicates the close and effective working arrangements in place between the managers of the back-office functional areas.

314.     In order to ensure continued coordination at a senior level, an Inter-Institution Coordination Committee (IICC) was established, composed of the heads of administration and finance departments and heads of units responsible for interagency affairs of FAO, IFAD and WFP, with responsibility for reviewing, approving and prioritising the overall programme of inter-organization activities, provide authority for the necessary resources, and ensure that approved initiatives were included in each institution’s overall management plan.


There was joint development of specifications for purchase of goods, of tender documents, contract templates and terms and conditions, shared with the objective of converging towards common standards amongst the three agencies. Clauses were included in tender documents to extend the validity of bids to all sister institutions, and joint training courses on procurement were offered. Through the above and monitoring the contractual performance with the contractor jointly, savings of 9-15% were achieved on the cost of procurement. There was also a joint tender for the contract for travel services between FAO and IFAD, and joint negotiations with airlines for travel pricing for IFAD, FAO and WFP. In addition there was considerable cooperation in procurement activities relating to IT acquisitions. For example, in mobile telephony, FAO and WFP jointly prepared the Request for Proposal text and tendered at the same time to the same bidders with a common aggregated volume, thereby achieving better rates than either institution would have attained if tendering alone.

Human Resources

The Management Development Centre was established for the Rome-based United Nations institutions as a joint project that arose from the WFP, FAO and IFAD HR Network, receiving significant ongoing support from the UK Department for International Development. The three institutions also collaborated with the UN Staff College in the design, development and delivery of a UN system-wide programme for leadership development for the proposed Senior Management Network. IFAD and FAO have recently supported the launch of the Local Expatriate Spouse Association (LESA) in Rome, which is chaired by WFP.


IFAD worked directly with FAO and WFP on a joint tender for the new actuary for after-service medical coverage and a joint Actuarial Review of the after-service staff benefits plan. There have also been in-depth discussions and exchanges between the three institutions regarding the UN General Assembly decision to move to internationally accepted accounting principles (IPSAS).

Knowledge Exchange

Collaboration in Web site design and development and the exchange of experiences, has enhanced knowledge and Web technologies, allowing the re-use of structures, solutions and platforms. A common platform was developed for collaborative work-space and knowledge exchange as well as guidelines for document scanning and conversion, and for Web publishing.

"Delivering as One"

FAO has been an active participant in the “Delivering as One” process in all eight pilot countries (Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam). One of the main focuses of FAO’s participation has been to contribute to the shaping of the new operational environment. During 2007, the "Delivering as One" initiative set up new working modalities for the UN Country Team (UNCT), creating new accountability frameworks and setting up a new operating mechanism at country level.

D. Capital Expenditure

315.     Conference Resolution 10/2003 established a Capital Expenditure Facility to integrate capital expenditure planning into FAO’s budgeting and financial framework and designated Chapter 8 of the PWB for the purposes of defining and authorising capital expenditures34. The revised PWB 2006-07 included resources totalling USD 13.6 million across several programme entities under Chapter 8 including:

  • Corporate Administrative Applications
  • Server Software and Client Access Licenses for HQ and ROs
  • IT Support to Meetings
  • Human Resources Management System Project (HRMS)
  • Field Accounting System Replacement Project
  • Electronic Document Management System35.

316.     A further USD 1.7 million was subsequently transferred from other budgetary chapters in 2006-07 to cover excess expenditure under HRMS.

317.     During 2006-07, the Organization successfully implemented many of the projects that had been foreseen under the Capital Expenditure Facility. Expenditures under Chapter 8 amounted to some USD 12.5 million, with USD 2.8 million transferred to the Capital Expenditure Account for use in a subsequent financial period36. Key projects are highlighted below.

318.     In line with guidance from the Finance Committee, the HRMS project was the top priority under Chapter 8, accounting for more than two-thirds of the Capital Expenditure budget for the biennium. Implementation of the HRMS was a prerequisite for a large number of streamlining and efficiency savings initiatives, and activities in the biennium included: one-off post-implementation support, resolution of initial problems and some parallel processing with legacy systems, integration of HRMS with existing systems and introduction of the HR Management Model (HRMM) capitalising on the foundation laid by the HRMS to reform HR management. More detail is provided in the box.

319.     In order to reduce the Organization’s exposure in terms of functionality, security and IT service continuity, investment was made in Server Software and Client Access Licenses for both headquarters and the regional offices. IT support to meetings allowed the Organization to find efficiency through increased video-conferencing, Web-casting and the digitisation of audio from meeting rooms, as well as the upgrade of simultaneous interpretation systems in the meeting rooms themselves. Recognising that the technology and business needs of the FAO representation offices have significantly evolved in recent times, the Field Accounting System upgrade sought to ensure that financial information was timely and accurate to facilitate decision-making. This complemented work undertaken within the Corporate Administrative Applications which targeted information and communications technology in the subregional offices in Africa and Central Asia in order that FAO’s technical, administrative and operational applications be accessible to these offices, as well as the planned replacement of obsolete servers that support administrative systems.

Capital Expenditures Highlight

In March 2007 the Organization implemented the Oracle-based Human Resources Management System (HRMS), a major capital project. The go-live of HRMS represented an important milestone in one of the largest information systems projects undertaken in the Organization – a project that had begun in May 2002 and was implemented nearly on schedule in 2007. During the entire period 2006-07, considerable effort was expended by the Organization on HRMS, both in the run-up to its implementation, and in further expanding its functionality.

The HRMS functions implemented during 2006-07 cover all aspects of HR servicing and include all payroll related activities. HR servicing covered by the HRMS begins at engagement and extends through all changes in employment history to separation. FAO now has in operation one of the most up-to-date and extensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in the UN system, covering the full range of financial, procurement and human resources processes (cf. FC 118/18, paras. 4-5).

Deployment of the HRMS was scheduled based on a phased approach linked to location functional-specific requirements and transaction volumes. Deployment to departments in headquarters began in July 2007, and deployment to the regional offices began in October 2007. The number of end-users is in excess of 2,200 at headquarters and 1,060 in decentralized offices (cf. FC 118/18, para. 7).

As a result of the HRMS implementation, administrative processes have been streamlined as follows:

  • HR service delivery has been rationalised so as to realise efficiency gains;
  • a single point of contact for clients has been introduced; and
  • resources have been shifted from low value-added transaction-processing functions to higher value-added advisory and policy functions.

The benefits of the implementation of HRMS were realised partly in 2007, but more fully in 2008 and the following years in line with the HRMS deployment plan.

The costs associated with the HRMS during the period 2002 through the go-live in March 2007 amounted to some USD 19.7 million, which was financed through a combination of FAO Regular Programme funds (USD 3.5 million), arrears funding (USD 8.9 million), and the Organization’s Capital Budget (USD 7.3 million) (cf. FC 118/18, paras. 12-15).

E. Security Expenditure Facility: Ensuring the Safety and Security of FAO Staff and Assets Worldwide

320.     The Security Expenditure Facility (SEF) was approved by the FAO Conference at its 33rd Session in November 2005, recognising the need for consolidated and comprehensive coverage for costs of safety and security of staff and assets within a single budgetary provision37. Prior to the establishment of the SEF, due to the fluctuating and unanticipated nature of many security items, it had been difficult for the Organization to ensure adequate funding for security, while concomitantly protecting the Programme of Work. The SEF improved financial management within a results-based context and gave needed visibility to the efforts of Members and the Organization to ensure a safe and secure working environment.

321.     With the establishment of the SEF in the 2006-07 biennium, the budgets and expenditures for safeguarding staff and assets at headquarters and in the field have been grouped under a new, dedicated chapter of the PWB and managed by the consolidated Security Service in the Department of Human, Financial and Physical Resources. Thus, programming and implementation of the security budget has been made more effective and financial management and control of this important area of expenditure has been strengthened. In fact, 2006-07 marked the first biennium in which budgeted security resources matched requirements.

322.     In 2006-07, resources amounting to USD 20.1 million were budgeted under Chapter 9: Security Expenditure to provide comprehensive coverage of staff and non-staff costs directly related to headquarters and field security at FAO38. During the biennium, expenditures amounted to some USD 19.3 million39 and covered items including:

  • FAO’s participation in the UN Department of Safety and Security (UN-DSS), which includes benefiting from the UN unified security management system in non-headquarters duty stations worldwide and a field-based team of international Field Security Coordination Officers;
  • headquarters security equipment and guards;
  • provision of Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) equipment and facilities in accordance with policy established by UN-DSS for FAO duty stations in each of the five security phases;
  • provision of Minimum Operating Residential Standards (MORS) equipment and measures to strengthen security at the residences of FAO personnel and their families; and
  • training of staff in security awareness, preparedness and use of security-related equipment.

323.     More details on resources and summary achievements can be found in Annex 4.

F. FAO Language Policy

324.     In 1999, the 30th FAO Conference reaffirmed "the imperative of ensuring parity and balance in the use of all FAO languages and the need for supervision of the quality of translation and interpretation. In looking forward to further improvements in the future, the Conference agreed to the need for Members to monitor progress closely through periodic follow up and evaluation ".

a) FAO meetings

325.     The number of PWB approved sessions in 2006-07 represented a 16% decline compared to 2004-05. Unscheduled and cancelled sessions also declined resulting in a total of 229 sessions being carried out in 2006-07 compared to 263 in 2004-05, a 13% reduction.

Table 18: Sessions held at headquarters and in decentralized locations
Description 2002-03 2004-05 2006-07
Sessions approved in PWB 232 231 193
Cancelled Sessions, Regular Programme 6 62 23
Unscheduled Sessions, Regular Programme 26 27 25
Unscheduled Sessions, Trust Funds 12 67 34
TOTAL 264 263 229
Headquarters 101 115 92
Decentralized locations 163 148 137
TOTAL 264 263 229
Percentage decentralized meetings 62% 56% 60%

326.     An indicator of language balance for FAO meetings is the percentage of meetings held in all FAO languages (Figure 16). In 2006-07, the percentage of meetings held in five languages decreased to 14%, while the percentage of meetings in four languages increased to 14%, the combined 28% of all meetings was similar to 2004-05. The percentage of meetings held in three languages increased to 25%. Overall, meetings in more than two languages increased to 52% compared to 50% in 2004-05.

Figure 16: Proportion of meetings by number of languages (%)

b) Publications

327.     Publication of documents in FAO’s languages continued to be a major priority for the Organization. All flagship titles were made available in the five languages with versions of more technical titles being published in languages appropriate to the needs of key target audiences.

328.     The 2006-07 biennium saw some fluctuation in the percentage of titles issued in various languages (Figure 17). The proportion of publications in English increased from 46% in 2004-05 to 49% in 2006-07, Arabic increased from 4% to 7% and Spanish increased from 18% to 19%. Conversely, the proportion of publications in Chinese declined from 13% in 2004-05 to 7% in 2006-07, mainly due to reduced production during the second year of the biennium, while arrangements for the FAO Chinese Publishing Programme were re-negotiated with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. The proportion in French also declined, from 19% to 15%. In anticipation of Russian becoming an official language in 2008, documents published in Russian in 2006-07 accounted for about 3% of total publications.

Figure 17: Priced and main publications by language

c) Electronic material (WAICENT and the FAO Internet site)

329.     The World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) continued to improve its language coverage both for Web sites and electronic documents. Through document scanning and OCR activities, additional content in Arabic and Chinese was added to the Corporate Document Repository (CDR) and the proportion of information disseminated in those languages increased. The introduction of new Web publishing tools (Content Management Systems) facilitated the preparation and management of Web content in multiple languages, especially Arabic and Chinese. The FAO Corporate Document Repository language content is shown in Figure 18. In 2006-07, 41% of its content was in English, down from 48% in 2002-03, while Chinese content increased from 6 percent in 2002-03 to 11 percent in 2006-07. Other languages remained relatively stable at about 20% for French and Spanish and 10% for Arabic.

Figure 18: Corporate Document Repository content by language

330.     Increased resources were dedicated to Web publishing activities within the "programme for improvement of language coverage" in 2006-07. This assisted in the evaluation and customisation of knowledge sharing platforms and new technology for Web publishing, increasing the number of Web sites and corporate portals in all FAO languages and facilitating the maintenance of the content.

331.     The FAO Multilingual Thesaurus of Agricultural Terminology (AGROVOC) was made available on-line in 16 languages and work began on an AGROVOC "workbench" to manage the semantic content amongst different languages in order to make them coherently searchable. Work was also initiated on mapping AGROVOC to FAO's terminology information system, FAOTERM, in order to streamline the work of translators.

332.     Users searching for information on the FAO Web site benefited from the Organization's corporate WAICENT framework, which efficiently managed the Organization's multilingual information and knowledge internally though information management systems such as the News and Events Management System (NEMS) and the Electronic Information Management System (EIMS). This facilitated decentralized access to multilingual information and knowledge through the FAO Knowledge Forum (Ask FAO, Best Practices and Knowledge Networks).

d) Terminology and language support

333.     In 2006-07, the FAOTERM terminology database increased to more than 70,000 records in English, French and Spanish, and over 50,000 records in Arabic and Chinese, as well as about 10,000 records in Italian (Figure 19). Approximately 2,500 new terminology records were added to the database during the biennium. Further database management developments were carried out to incorporate full workflow capabilities. In addition, efforts were made to develop a Term Portal, providing an overall platform for terminology management and dissemination at the Organization level. This resulted in increased collaboration and contributions of FAO technical staff to terminology work. The level of usage of terminology data remained stable with about 300,000 queries each month, by an average of 12,000 users.

Figure 19: Terms in FAOTERM by language

334.     Translation and related work increasingly relied on computer-assisted translation technologies. In particular, translation memories, corporate multilingual document tools and the adaptation of working methods, enabled the search and retrieval of past translations to improve consistency of FAO’s documentation and expedite delivery of meeting documents.

e) Programme for the improvement of language coverage

335.     Since the 2000-01 biennium, the Programme for the improvement of language coverage (funded within Programme 3J: Communications and Public Information in 2006-07) has provided central support for: investments having an immediate impact for countries at relatively low cost; creating the infrastructure for permanent capacity in the five official languages; and correcting long-standing deficiencies in language coverage. Expenditures for these purposes and to support the continuing arrangement for translation of documents into Chinese in cooperation with CAAS exceeded USD 994,000 in 2006-07.

336.     Other expenditures included improved language coverage of FAO’s internal and external Web sites, audio and video productions and important publications, as well as language training. Investments in infrastructure included translation of HRMS training documentation and Project Cycle Overview into French and Spanish to permit HRMS deployment in regional offices. In anticipation of Russian becoming an official language of the Organization in 2008, the FAO newsroom and a terminology database were developed in Russian. Investments to correct long-standing deficiencies mainly concentrated on the translation of 20 additional titles into Arabic, continuing the effort initiated in 2004-05.

G. Geographical Representation and Gender Balance of Professional Staff

a) Geographical representation of professional staff

337.     The principles of geographical representation of Member Nations followed by the Organization were originally established by the 27th Session of the FAO Council in 1957. At its Thirty-second Session held in November-December 2003, the Conference adopted a revised formula for the calculation of geographic distribution similar to that implemented in the UN Secretariat and in several organizations of the UN common system. Under the new methodology, 40% of posts are distributed on the basis of membership, 5% on the basis of member country population, and 55% in proportion to the scale of assessments. The implementation of the new methodology was effective from 1 January 2004. The application of the new formula resulted in a significant increase in the number of equitably-represented countries.

338.     Summary tables indicating the countries that were not within the range of equitable representation as at 31 December 2007 (67 of 18940 Member Nations), are shown in Annex 2: Geographical Representation of Professional Staff.

339.     At the end of 2005, 11 countries exceeded the top of their range; 17 countries were under-represented; and 31 were non-represented. At the end of 2007, there were 10 countries that exceeded the top of their range; 19 under-represented countries; and 38 non-represented countries41. It should be noted that the Organization continues to attribute priority to the recruitment of professional staff from non-represented countries. In this regard, 3 of the 31 countries that were non-represented at the end of 200542 were represented at the end of 2007, while 28 countries remained non-represented. It is also important to note that of the 38 non-represented countries at the end of 2007, 2 were countries43 that became new Members of FAO in November 2005.

b) Gender balance of professional staff

340.     Increasing the proportion of female staff in the professional category is one of the main human resources policy objectives of the Organization. Efforts during the last six biennia have resulted in the steady increase of women in professional posts at headquarters from 21% at the beginning of 1996 to 34% at the end 2007 and an increase in all locations from 18 to 30% (Figure 20). These percentages are based upon the total number of professional staff with fixed-term or continuing contracts at headquarters and other established offices44. While the percentage of women in professional posts in offices outside headquarters is significantly lower, the rate of increase has been relatively high, growing from 8% in 1996 to 16% in 2007.

Figure 20: Percentage representation of female international professional staff

341.     The number of female and male staff by grade at the end of 2007 is shown in Table 19. Overall, women constitute half (51%) of the Organization's total staff, 66% of general service staff (G1 - G7), 33% of professional officers (P1 - P5), 35% of other professionals (National Professional Officers and Associate Professional Officers) and 13% of director and higher-level staff (D1 - DDG). Within the director and higher level group, about 16% of both ADG and D-2 level staff are women. Within the professional officers, the proportion of females varies from 56% at P-2, 46% at P-3 to 23% at P-5 levels. The greater number of women at the P-2 to P-3 grade levels reflects the increasing number of qualified young women in the technical fields of the Organization. As older staff retire, it is expected that many of these women will move into more senior officer positions. It should be noted that a draft Human Resources Management Gender Action Plan has been formulated that would enable the Organization to achieve, in the medium term, a better gender balance and, in the longer term, gender parity. It is currently foreseen that this Action Plan should be implemented by the end of 2008.

Table 19: Female and male staff by grade as at 31 December 2007
Grade Female Male Total % Female
DDG 0 1 1 0%
ADG 2 11 13 15%
D-2 7 37 44 16%
D-1 13 97 110 13%
DIRECTOR 22 146 168 13%
P-5 70 230 300 23%
P-4 98 278 376 26%
P-3 119 138 257 46%
P-2 54 43 97 56%
P-1 1 7 8 13%
PROFESSIONAL 342 696 1,038 33%
NPO 33 79 112 29%
APO 27 31 58 47%
G-7 26 16 42 62%
G-6 160 56 216 74%
G-5 328 66 394 83%
G-4 383 134 517 74%
G-3 184 142 326 56%
G-2 50 143 193 26%
G-1 3 18 21 14%
GENERAL SERVICE 1,134 575 1,709 66%
Total 1,558 1,527 3,085 51%

H. Support to the Independent External Evaluation

342.     The Conference in November 2005 approved the Independent External Evaluation (IEE) of FAO, to be carried out in the 2006-07 biennium. The final Report45 was submitted to the Council and Conference in November 2007 and Resolution 5/2007 defined the process and key milestones in the follow-up to the IEE for 2008.

343.     In 2006 and 2007, the Organization actively engaged at all levels in supporting the work of the IEE team. In general terms, this support was provided through: i) participation of senior staff in the preliminary assessment; ii) interviews and focus groups of staff at all levels and locations; iii) support to the IEE team in missions to field offices and donors; and iv) provision of background information, data and analysis.

344.     During the later phases of the process, the Organization also intensely participated in the review of factual data contained in the Draft IEE Report and in supporting the IEE team with the development of the tentative costs and savings associated with the numerous recommendations.

345.     Internal arrangements for reviewing the draft and final report of the IEE and preparing the Management Response in Principle46 were initiated in June 2007 and conducted through September 2007. They included, at a practical level, a team of senior staff members from every headquarters’ department and office, and arrangements for consultations with the decentralized offices.

21 C 2005/3/Sup.1; PC 95/3 - FC 113/14; CL 131/18; CL 132/16 and related Council Reports; C 2007/3.

22 C 2007/3.

23 PC 92/6 a) – FC 108/18

25 C 2005/3 Sup. 1

26 CL 131/REP

27 CL 131/18; CL 132/16

28 Technical support services are defined as: project design and formulation; project appraisal services; project monitoring and technical backstopping at headquarters, regional offices or in the field; project evaluation and audit services; project reporting; and project meetings and tripartite reviews.

29 They include: recruitment, briefing and servicing of project personnel; fellowships placement and servicing and formulation of study plans; selecting and procuring supplies and equipment; preparation and formalisation of contracts; preparation, monitoring and revision of budgets and control of project expenditures; receipt, custody and disbursement of funds; maintenance of project accounts, financial reporting and support to external and internal audits location and recommendation of qualified personnel; coordination and supervision of project implementation (FC 93/4).

30 The overarching principles were: all activities are included; targets are agreed with managers who are then held accountable for delivering and reporting results; appropriate levels of delegation and internal control are defined; effective internal pricing strategy and incentives are established to promote greater interdisciplinary collaboration; and all programmes are auto-evaluated using common criteria and procedures (PC 95/3 – FC 113/14 paragraph 23).

31 This biennium was the first one that foresaw the integration of support cost income from emergency projects into the PWB 2006-07 and reimbursements to support units other than TCE.

32 JM 07.1/3

1 JM 08.1/2

34 PWB 2006-07, C 2005/3, para. 499; Conference Resolution 10/2003.

35 Implementation of Conference Decisions and Proposals from the Director-General, CL 131/18, Annex 5: Allocations at Programme Entity Level.

37 Resolution 5/2005, Amendment to Financial Regulation VI (Security Expenditure Facility); ref: Report of the Conference of FAO 33rd Session, doc. C 2005/REP.

38 Adjusted 2006-07 budget under Chapter 9 as per FAO Statement IV: Status of Regular Programme Appropriations.

39 Expenditure of USD 19.3 million is based on the FAO budget rate; this is equivalent to USD 20.2 million at the UN rate of exchange; the difference is attributed to the currency variance (ref: footnote 7, FAO Statement IV).

40 This does not include Andorra and Montenegro which became Members of the Organization as at PWB 2008-09.

41 Including the Russian Federation which formally became a Member of the Organization in April 2006. The representation status of the Russian Federation was set to Not-represented since its desirable range was determined by the Conference in November 2007, to be in force on 1 January 2008.

42 Excluding the Former Yugoslavia.

43 Including the Russian Federation.

44 Excludes field project staff and staff with contracts of less than 12 months.

45 C 2007/7A.1

46 C 2007/7 B

CUBATable of ContentsTable of ContentsProgramme Entity 2KP01 Output Status