LE PRESIDENT: Nous abordons maintenant le point 16 de notre ordre du jour où nous avons à examiner le Rapport d'évaluation du Programme 1992-93. Nous avons deux documents : le rapport d'évaluation, sous le sigle C 93/4, ainsi que les paragraphes 2.6 à 2.29 du rapport de la soixante-septième session du Comité du Programme(CL 103/17).Ce sont le deux documents qui nous sont
soumis. Nous discutons du rapport d'évaluation et du rapport établi par le Comité du Programme.
V.J. SHAH (Deputy Director - General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation) : I am honoured to present this document to you on behalf of the Director-General.
The document, Programme Evaluation Report, is the first of a new series of documents which the Conference at its last session decided to introduce. Before that, as distinguished delegates will recall, we had a Review of the Regular Programme and a separate Review of the Field Programme. On a series of documents related to the Programme budget process, the Conference decided that it was better to have one document dealing both with the Regular and with the Field Programmes. For that reason, this Programme Evaluation Report covers both.
The Conference also decided that a distinction could usefully be made between an Evaluation Report which really is a report which reflects upon the experience, the lessons to be learnt, and on the future corrective measures which should be taken, as distinct from a Programme Implementation Report which will be factual and which sets against what the Organization was expected to do, what has been done.
The Conference also decided that, in order to give more time to the Council to consider this Report, the Programme Evaluation Report be submitted to you at this session. In the past, Mr Chairman, you will recall that the Reviews of the Regular and Field Programmes went to the session of the Council preceding the Conference and in those three days the Council could not see its way to doing justice to them, so the discussion was left entirely to the Conference. With this new arrangement, the Conference felt the Council should have the time, and hopefully at this session you will be able and will wish to give the document the attention that you choose to do.
Let me now cover only two aspects in my presentation in order to keep it brief. Firstly, the document itself. While it is a new document in a new series, we have built on the past. The work reflected in this document, therefore, covers our evaluation experience which goes back many years, and which you used to see in the Review of the Regular Programme. Building on the past means that evaluation does not begin today. The analysis submitted to you covers, with this document, fifty percent of all the technical sub-programmes. It covers also a special topic which cuts across programmes. On this occasion we submit to you the Chapter on International Trade. Taking all the thematic evaluations done in the past we have covered thirteen special subjects.
The particular chapters which constitute this document were carefully chosen, and perhaps I might give a few facts to indicate the special interest that the Council might have. The First Chapter deals with crop production. This is one of the most important sub-programmes under Major Programme Agriculture. It covers such work as the International Plant Protection Convention, the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, Integrated Pest Management and emergencyinfestation such aslocust
operations. It is a good sub-programme, if I might suggest, to see the work of FAO under the Regular Programme in relation to the Field Programme. There is a synergy and a dynamism which translates from one to the other, and vice versa.
The Second Chapter, the one dealing with statistics, covers one of the most important areas of work of the Economic and Social Policy Department. It covers the basic function which you and the Conference have so clearly stressed, the function of data collection and analysis on food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. It covers the work essentially under the Regular Programme while relating it to the work in the field, but the balance is different - naturally, because of the nature of the work. It covers the very important developments which have been and are being pursued by WAICENT, the World Agriculture Information Centre.
The Third Chapter dealing with small-scale fisheries again gives an important activity, this time of the Fisheries Department, covering both the Regular Programme in terms of conceptual development methodologies and the related work in the field, but again this chapter is radically different from the others because it shows the very problems of small-scale fisheries development are problems not only of technology or of economics, but are problems of social structure within countries, and how the small-scale fisheries sector can be assisted. It should not be surprising that given the very nature of these problems the chapter highlights the difficulties that we face and the fact that we realize the problems the Member Countries concerned themselves face.
The next chapter is in Part Two of the document which deals with an assessment of field project evaluation. We have covered these field project evaluations in previous reviews of the Field Programme but always on a rather limited scale, dealing with those projects evaluated during the biennium. This time, in order to carry the analysis deeper we have taken a total of five hundred and seventy nine projects evaluated over the last six years. I will not repeat the analysis, and I have nothing to add to it. I will respond to your questions.I hope the chapter speaks for itself.
That brings me to the last chapter. This is an in-depth review of our work on agricultural trade. I hope the Council will find this chapter as stimulating as it was for us to prepare. May I here offer a comment? When you look at our work under the Regular Programme, so often you draw our attention to specific outputs; what are individual meetings, what are the individual publications, what advice is given to governments, what missions are undertaken, how does this relate to what happens in the field, and so on.I believe this chapter can show very clearly the spread of impact.
The work of FAO on agricultural trade covers a very large span of our activities. It covers our work on the Codex Alimentarius Commission; our work on the Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides; our work on the International Plant Protection Convention, on the Intergovernmental Commodity Groups reporting to the CCP. It covers our work on statistical analysis of international trade; our work in support of the Uruguay Round. It covers our work in collaboration with all the organizations which have been listed in this chapter, once again showing that FAO works with others.It
takes the lead where it has the mandate and competence to do so and is given the resources to do so. It works with others in promoting the ends desired in common with Member Nations.
This brings me to the second issue I wanted to raise briefly - that is, the help that the Council may wish to consider in connection with this document. You yourself pointed out, Sir, that it is the Programme Committee which reviewed this document in depth and drew the attention of the Council to its Report. I am sure you will permit me to point out that the Finance Committee also considered this document, although more briefly. The Report of the Finance Committee in document CL 103/17 covers this Programme Evaluation Report in 3.17 and 3.18.
That concludes my presentation. My colleagues and I look forward to your assessment, your reactions, and we are, of course, in your hands to provide any clarification that you may desire.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie très vivement le Directeur général adjoint de sa brillante introduction. Le document qui nous est soumis est un primeur en ce sens qu'il s'agit du premier Rapport d'évaluation du Programme couvrant à la fois le Programme ordinaire et le Programme de terrain, et qui a été attentivement examiné par le Comité du Programme.
Je demanderai maintenant à tous les membres du Conseil désireux d'intervenir de bien vouloir se faire inscrire sur ce point 16 de notre ordre du jour.
Christodoulos CHRISTODOULOU (Cyprus): Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mr Shah for his excellent introduction to this important issue.
My delegation welcomes the submission of the first Programme Evaluation Report following the relevant decision of the 26th Session of the Conference. As the Director-General notes in his introductionto the document "the period covered by the Programme Evaluation Report... has been a period of challenges and difficulties for the Organization and the Member Nations". Government has been curtailed in many countries, in some cases profound structural adjustments have had to be made.
The Organization has experienced, during the same period, 1986 to date, a considerable financial crisis and for the first time in its history had to borrow from external forces to cover its obligations. In this negative environment a considerable number of activities have been carried out and a description of many such activities can be identified in the document under review. Although the report has only a partial coverage of the wide range of FAO activities nevertheless the topics and issues selected represent the main areas of work and priority concerns of the Organization. My delegation believes that the Programme Evaluation Report will contribute to further strengthening the Organization's system since it provides in-depth evaluated information on FAO programmes and activities.
The report also contains information on concrete results and achievements. From the results of the evaluation we wish to highlight the big share of programmes relating to integrated pest management in the field projects.
Therefore, from 579 projects back-stopped by the sub-programme for crop protection with a total budget of US$265.6 million IPM projects accounted for 43 percent of the total number and 57 percent of the total budget. This allocation is both justified and correct. It is well known that the continued use of pesticides for pest control is not the solution to sustainable food production. Alternative methods have to be developed and such a method is the IPM. We are therefore in agreement with the increased emphasis put on this programme which in our opinion must be continued.
Similarly, international activities fostering global or regional coordination, like the grasshopper and locust campaign must be further promoted since such activities have a catalytic effect for the promotion of cooperation between countries of the same region or between regions.
Another important programme to which I would like to refer is that of control of parasitic weeds. It is known that considerable reductions to production are the results of the presence of the parasitic weeds in many fields. Box 4 of page 16 of the document under review provides information on striga, the parasitic weed causing considerable damage to food and other crops in many African countries. The problems of these parasitic weeds were considered to be intractable up to a few years ago but through an intensive mobilization of resources with the cooperation of many countries of the region and with the general supervision of FAO it has become possible to define many stricken control measures which, although they do not control entirely the weed they cause considerable reductions in the damage caused by it. Such activities must be continued and expanded in the future to cover other parasitic weeds and other areas.
The document also gives many other examples of successful programmes all relating to the main role of FAO, which is to provide policy advice, information and technical cooperation support. I wish to repeat my delegation's satisfaction for the quality of the document and to commend the Secretariat for the considerable amount of the information contained therein. Such information makes the efficiency and effectiveness of the FAO programme. We support its submission to the Conference for its consideration by the supreme body of this organization.
Jacques LAUREAU (France): Je voulais évidemment tout d'abord féliciter notre ami M. Shah pour l'excellence de sa présentation et dire également qu'avec les travaux menés par le Secrétariat et sous son autorité nous commençons à disposer d'un système complet qui permettra des prises de décisions au niveau du Conseil puisque, entre le Rapport d'évaluation, le Plan à moyen terme et le document budgétaire, nous commençons à y voir plus clair et par conséquent à mieux parler de l'ordre des priorités. Nous y reviendrons bien entendu à propos des autres points de l'ordre du jour.
Nous avons donc trouvé le document C 93/4 extrêmement intéressant et nous tenons à saluer les efforts qui ont été menés à cet égard car ce n'est pas
une tâche facile. Cette évaluation apparaît scrupuleuse et impartiale, ce qui motive précisément l'intérêt que nous devons porter à ses conclusions. A cet égard, la délégation française voudrait marquer son inquiétude à la lecture des appréciations portées sur la capacité de conception de projets au paragraphe 37 du résumé et au tableau 3, chapitre IV puisqu'il apparaît sur ce plan là mais c'est une preuve d'honnêteté que seulement 18 pour cent des projets sont considérés comme bons. Nous nous interrogeons aussi sur l'efficacité du Programme de terrain puisque le tableau 6 du chapitre IV indique en effet que seulement 11 pour cent des projets sont de bonne qualité quant à leurs résultats directs et à leurs effets induits. C'est encore une fois une preuve d'honnêteté. Je n'émets pas une critique, je constate.
Le document met également assez bien l'accent sur l'efficacité de l'Organisation dans des programmes horizontaux qui sont ceux qui correspondent à des missions prioritaires, la protection des cultures, les statistiques. En revanche, dans les domaines plus techniques les résultats sont mitigés, le rapport pourrait peut-être à l'avenir expliciter les avantages comparatifs de l'Organisation par rapport à d'autres organisations précisément dans ces domaines et permettre non seulement de prendre des mesures correctives au cours de l'exécution des projets et programmes mais aussi de fournir des éléments de stratégie et de réorientation des actions prioritaires à long terme en fonction de l'efficacité relative de l'OAA par rapport à d'autres organisations. Notre délégation estime très utile que le Conseil soit informé de la manière dont l'OAA tire parti des expériences décevantes et des recommandations faites, notamment celles qui concernent la collaboration entre les unités de l'Organisation, la concertation avec d'autres institutions et la révision de stratégies comme par exemple le Programme des pêches artisanales l'indique au paragraphe 31 de l'introduction. A cet égard deux points nous paraissent devoir retenir l'attention, d'une part les mesures prises par le Secrétariat pour améliorer ses performances en matière de conception de projets, d'autre part les efforts entrepris pour accroître la capacité nationale d'exécution. L'OAA dispose de toute évidence, avec ses unités d'évaluation, d'un instrument de première importance dont elle doit consolider la crédibilité.
A cette fin, les évaluations pourraient gagner à s'appuyer aussi sur les consultants externes, les crédits correspondants devant être inscrits au budget ordinaire.
Enfin permettez-moi, Monsieur le Président, d'indiquer - et là je réagis au nom de la francophonie - que certaines erreurs se sont glissées dans la version française, l'une d'entre-elles introduisant un contresens au paragraphe 75 du chapitre III, il faut lire: "heureusement que le programme semble avoir été efficace comme catalyseur" et non l'inverse.
Ruyat WIRATMADJA (Indonesia) : Let me start by expressing our appreciation to the Secretariat for the excellent preparation of the comprehensive document C 93/4 and congratulate Mr Shah for his excellent introduction.
Challenge and chance of FAO work in the future is still to face some constraints especially the lack of availability of budget to alleviate the poorontheone hand, andthe highrequestof activitiesontheother,
especially in the sectors of food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and this still needs high priority currently. Moreover, attention should also be given to the request of some countries which also requires the support of technical assistance. We support the views that for the coming years efforts should be made toward eradicating rural poverty and conserving every rural resource.
We welcome the Report of Regular and Field Programmes which has progressively improved and offered important advantages under discussion. We feel that it is important to focus the work on the policy related to crops management and diversification including integrated approach to all production components. In the aspect of crop protection, we again welcome the effort to protect and decrease production loss due to pests and diseases. In this regard integrated pest management and less use of pesticides implemented in our programme has shown the concrete improvement of production. We acknowledge with thanks the FAO assistance in implementing our IPM programme. However, more efforts should be made not just implementing these techniques for rice only, but also be provided to enhance better production on secondary crops. In this connection, the role of technical assistance to the needy developing countries plays an important role. Although we understand that the decline of budget will negatively influence the works of FAO, Indonesia continues to share its experience in its successful IPM Programme implementation with other developing countries through TCDC and through South-South Cooperation.
We underline the importance of FAO review under sub-programmes on statistical processing, analysis and development which cover many agricultural data including commodities, fishery and forestry products, demography, trade flows and other subjects. We look forward to the Secretariat's cooperation so that the FAO publication in this field, which is currently not regularly distributed to Member Countries, could reach our countries more frequently.
Noting the current state of the progress of fisheries development, we have also noted that the significant increase of fisheries production is much supported through the improvement of rational development and management. This will permit the proper utilization of the resources.
We inform that the post-harvest handling methods and appropriate quality assurance programmes increase the value of world production. We hope that this improvement could contribute a better pattern of nutrition and increase the foreign exchange of developing countries through better market approach.
We underline the highlights of the synthesis of project evaluation for 1985-91 which provide practical lessons from the past. In this regard, project cycle should be well prepared especially the planning and project design. As reported, poor understanding of project made up the negative project performance.
In this connection, we urge the FAO attention on the improving of project planning, design and its implementation through providing more budget assistance perhaps through the TCP project, Trust Fund or Country Programme project.
Charles STOLL (Canada): I would first like to indicate our support for the Secretariat's efforts in undertaking this evaluation. The importance of constant efforts to evaluate programmes is illustrated by a recent World Bank report which outlined studies of the performance of donor countries and multilateral agencies in six African countries. That report found that much of the development assistance provided had failed to deliver the expected results, and pointed to the need to diversify traditional approaches to development assistance.
This is a sobering set of conclusions given contemporary fiscal realities and the never-ending proliferation of new national and global issues and needs which are joined to existing and unresolved problems in the intensifying competition for limited public resources. It is in this context that evaluation, defined, in our view, as an accountability exercise whose primary function is to determine whether resources are spent in a responsible, cost-effective way and provide reasonable rates of return, becomes a critical function of the management process. As such, it is of importance not only to the membership who need to be satisfied that public funds have been well used. It is also a critical tool for management in selecting priorities, taking decisions on activities, and assessing the appropriateness of their choices of strategies and direction.
Our Organization is to be commended for the seriousness of the effort with which it has addressed the function of evaluation as represented by this first Programme Evaluation Report.
In our view, proper evaluation should address at least the following questions :
- What did we set out to do and why?
- How did we propose to do it?
- What were the results expected against which to judge the returns/benefits/efficiencies of the effort made?
- What did we do? - meaning actual results achieved, and a detailing of resources expended in pursuit of these results in order to get a measure of costs and benefits;
- What, if any, were the divergences/deviations between the actual and anticipated results?
- What were the reasons for any divergences that were found? and finally,
- What actions will be/have been taken to correct shortcomings, and what lessons have been learned that might be applicable to future project/programme selection, design and implementation?
Against these criteria, we would offer some comments on the Report that we suggest might be reflected in future evaluation efforts. We think there is room for further improvements in detailing of target results, actual outputs and costs thereof on which to build a cost-benefit analysis, and the identification and analysis of divergences and sustainability of results on which to built appropriate lessons. The relative neglect of analytical treatment of Field Programme activities, and the absence of the Technical Cooperation Programme also are of concern.
That said, we would single out the assistance to small-scale fisheries portion of the Report for the rigour and candour of its analysis, especially with respect to deviations and the operational conclusions that derive therefrom. In our view, this section represents the closest approximation to a model for emulation in other areas.
On the other hand we were less satisfied with the section concerning the in-depth thematic topics. We felt that this section could have been more focused and indicate more clearly what was achieved relative to what we set out to do. Notwithstanding the difficulty of defining measures against which to judge value and performance, it must be recognized that we live in an economy increasingly dominated by producers of services whose continued viability is dependent upon the skilful application of measurement technology to the justification of their production and pricing decisions. The use of such tools is proliferating even as their capacities are being expanded and their contents being refined. We would, therefore, urge the FAO to consider actively the appropriateness of technology imports.
The evaluation of Field Programmes is a most useful synthesis of project performance which we note has been addressed with candour. We were struck by the number of evaluation reports - put at 20 percent - which were considered to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps a time-series describing the evolution in this performance might help dilute any concern. Notwithstanding the generalized improvement in project performance during the period covered by this report, we were also struck by the decline in project performance - notably in respect to project design where FAO has particular responsibility, and we would welcome any elaboration as to the factors underlying this development and of steps taken to reverse this trend.
I would like to raise four observations/questions regarding this section of the Report:
The first question relates to the size of sample. While the ideal situation would be a truly random sample of sufficient size to provide confidence in the results, it seems that about 5-7 percent of projects were evaluated which were biased away from the Regular Programme and towards a continent which is experiencing severe difficulty in some areas. At this point, I am not sure we have a sufficient random sample to speak with confidence on the results. Indeed the FAO may have done itself a disfavour by evaluating problematic projects in particular. Perhaps the Secretariat could look at the proportion of evaluations done in other UN agencies. I understand that COAG and COFO also asked for the proportion of projects evaluated to be raised. In the future, not only projects should be evaluated but also programmes and special action programmes should also be subject to evaluation.
The second question relates to methodology and there I would ask, has the same methodology been applied to all projects? How are the categories good, satisfactory and unsatisfactory arrived at? Are good projects those which reach 70 percent or 80 percent of their milestones, for example? How effective have the outputs been in achieving objectives? How uniformly has the interpretation of results been done?
The third area I'd like to mention is the summary or conclusions. Given that the sample may have been small and not completely random, we would ask what conclusions can usefully be drawn? Chapter 2 does try to draw some conclusions and point out some common problems but seems very general in nature. Given the importance of this function, more attention is warranted, especially for project design, which has only received a good rating in 18 percent of the evaluations so far.
The final question relates to corrective actions. Again as mentioned in the COAG report, the FAO has been asked to provide more details of how the problems are to be fixed up. Section 4 needs more work if the actions of the FAO are to receive their true appreciation.
I would like to conclude by reiterating Canada's full support for the evaluation process as undertaken by the Secretariat. We are particularly pleased with the candid approach as represented in this document by addressing not only successes but also the problems. This demonstrated willingness to build upon the positive and to learn from the negative remains, in our view, the optimal way of preserving the centre of excellence that we wish our Organization to remain.
Harald HILDEBRAND (Germany) : My delegation would like to thank the Secretariat for having presented this comprehensive and instructive Report. Likewise, we fully coincide with the Director-General's introductory comment and Mr Shah's precise presentation of this Agenda Item as to the major advantage of the new reporting arrangement: both Regular and Field Programmes fed from different financial sources are now to be evaluated in an integrated manner because they cover main sectors of activity being closely linked and interactive.
The selective approach chosen and the time frame will allow us to assess the effectiveness of individual programme activities over a longer period. It is to be hoped that this Report and those following will help to better define targets of biennial and medium-term planning.
The report is very voluminous, and therefore I shall try to be brief and will only touch quite scantily on some aspects of the various chapters.
Crop protection: Pre- and post-harvest losses are known to greatly curtail the benefits of the farmers' toil, that is, the crop amount actually available for feeding people and livestock. The figure of US$300 billion lost annually from crops grown remains most alarming. Therefore, my delegation commends what FAO has done over the past years in such important fields as control of quarantine pests, revision and implementation of the International Plant Protection Convention, help to national capacity building for plant protection services, integrated pest management, safe handling of pesticides, and control of migratory pests.
These activities under the crop protection sub-programme have added to efforts aiming at the promotion of international agricultural trade and at the safe use of pesticides, among other things. They are likewise appropriate to foster sustainablefarming practices. Therefore, it would bedeplorableif, as
foreseen in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95, the resources for this sub-programme had to be reduced.
Statistical Processing, Analysis and Development : These sub-programmes produce outputs of utmost importance for FAO to comply with one of its major functions: to process and to spread information. As the successful performance of this duty highly depends on the quality of primary information coming from Member Nations, development assistance to national statistical systems by the Statistics Division is of crucial importance and most welcome, I think.
In view of the need to get WAICENT fully operational, the likely resource reductions in 1994-95 for the two sub-programmes deserve further consideration. The instructive list of statistical publications that have come out between 1986 and 1992 on page 42 of the document gives an idea of the proven value of work in that particular field.
Synthesis of Project Evaluation 1985-91: This part of the Report reflects our Organization's efforts to improve the effectiveness and subsequent impacts of FAO-assisted projects by means of comprehensive and as objective as possible evaluations. My delegation welcomes the critical features of that analysis as well as progress achieved in the four key aspects studied, that is, project design, implementation efficiency, project output and project effects.
In Item 11, a rather high share (20 percent) of poor evaluation reports is mentioned. Canada's delegation has already made reference to this. As the cost of evaluation missions is substantial, could the Secretariat explain the reasons for this deplorable fact? Poor results in the rating of the four key aspects as a result of evaluations are, to some extent, inevitable if we take into account the partly very difficult conditions under which projects must be executed, for example in some African countries.
But notwithstanding the evaluation outcome, be it negative or positive, evaluation reports following, I hope, common guidelines should be of an acceptable quality.
Another question: Which conclusions can be drawn as to the national execution, a tendency in FAO project work to be strengthened?
Finally, a brief remark concerning FAO's activities in support of the development of international trade. My delegation very much appreciates the considerable work developed by the Organization to foster trade in agricultural commodities and, in particular, to facilitate the developing countries' access to export markets. Being aware that FAO's contribution is mostly an indirect one, nevertheless I would like to underscore the need to ensure continuity for this programme area.
John Bruce SHARPE (Australia): May I first thank Mr Shah for his introduction, and congratulate the Secretariat on this, the first Programme Evaluation Report, which is more focused than the previous Reviews of the Regular and Field Programmes. They were becoming large volumes from which it was becoming increasingly more difficult to get an overall picture.
Australia looks forward to considering the Programme Implementation Report at the September Programme Committee meeting which is to focus on progress and accountability.
In the area of Crop Protection, Australia supports the four major areas of work or thrusts listed at paragraph 9 under Objectives and Priorities - the IPPC, IPM, International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides and Migratory Pest Control.
In the area of Integrated Pest Management, Australia is both pleased and disappointed at what the Report has to say.
We are pleased that it has achieved recognition in many countries as the officially prepared pest control strategy, pleased with the successes it has had with rice in South East Asia, with cotton in the Sudan and with the African Regional Project of Biological Control of Food Crop Pests, but disappointed with the conclusion at paragraph 53 that on a global scale, the implementation of IPM has not yet lived up to expectations, in that in 1990 it was estimated that less than 5 percent of all Asian rice farmers actually practised IPM.
We therefore concur with the conclusion reached in the Report that further efforts are needed to support the practical application of IPM. Global losses in crop production due to pests are estimated at US$300 billion annually. It is therefore important that we persist with our IPM efforts.
Australia has a long history of involvement in the FAO Integrated Pest Management project prior to the implementation of Phase I of the project in 1980. Australia's contribution to the project to date (Phase I, 1980-86 and Phase II, 1987-92) has been in excess of US$5.5 million.
Australia acknowledges the importance of developing further the principles of IPM and having it accepted by farmers through the establishment of a programme which will provide policy advice and guidance.
We support the role of the FAO/UNEP Expert Panel on IPM in facilitating such a development.
Australia is prepared to consider a request for funding to support an increase in the functions of the Panel, and we look forward to receiving details of the proposed Special Action Plan on IPM.
On the question of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides Australia has prepared a list of pesticides, which it will forward shortly.
We are also engaged in the preparation of a country profile providing information on chemical control systems in Australia. When finalized it will be despatched to FAO and UNEP.
Control of pesticides in Australia is effected through registration currently undertaken by the States. Australia is moving to a National Registration Scheme for pesticides and legislation for the scheme is being drafted. The Prior Informed Consent arrangements are included in the draft legislation.
We are pleased to see, as reported on page 19, that in the Asia-Pacific region, two years after the start of the project, 14 countries which had had no national pesticide registration scheme had either established them or were in the process of doing so. Two of these are our near neighbours in the Pacific - Western Samoa and Vanuatu.
On the chapter dealing with Small-scale Fisheries, Australia's interest in this chapter of the Evaluation Report stems from the importance of small scale fisheries to the economies of many of our neighbouring countries in Asia and the South West Pacific Region. We have the honour to represent many of the small island nations of the South West on this Council.
I note from paragraph 51 the promising results achieved in a fish capture programme in the Cook Islands and in particular the success of the pearl oyster programme as a research activity. As a result a comprehensive management plan has been drawn up to provide the framework for an orderly development of that industry.
To us this demonstrates how worthwhile this programme can be in that it can bring direct benefit to one of the smallest members, if not the smallest Member Country, in FAO.
We are also pleased with the report at paragraph 57 that FAO implemented a regional project in 15 countries of the South Pacific. This project showed the importance of consolidating information available on fisheries in the region and on obtaining information from other tropical small island countries, and refers to the Caribbean as an example.
Paragraph 86 refers to Integrated Coastal Fisheries Management and to it putting FAO in a role of interacting with governments in promoting fisheries communities' responsibility and self reliance in managing resources. This is a concept we strongly endorse.
The issues section of this chapter refers to the mixed performance or mixed achievements of this programme over the decade.
It lists as an issue that the programme effectiveness and its underlying strategy should be re-examined.
Paragraph 82 and 83 call for an in-depth review of the Programme of Action. It anticipates that it would result in a more precise strategy for FAO's assistance or intervention in the small-scale sector. It states in paragraph 83 that FAO's interventions, to be cost-effective, must be catalytic and draw upon its comparative advantage.
Paragraph 85 indicates that more work is needed to be done on resource assessment and that more accurate information would be a prerequisite for sustainable management.The relative lack of information directly relevant
to subsectional issues and strategies is identified as an issue for FAO in the design of its strategy and programmes in small-scale fisheries.
I would like to indicate our appreciation for the frankness and openness with which the Fisheries and Evaluation Departments of FAO have approached the preparation of this report. Such an approach only enhances the Report and its value to members. Where results of a programme have been mixed or in certain areas have not lived up to our expectations, these are the areas where lessons learned can benefit our future work.
I would now like to turn to the section of the Report dealing with FAO activities in support of the development of international trade, and indicate how pleased we are at the timely selection of this Review in this, the first edition of the Project Evaluation Report.
Paragraph 10 of Part Β under the heading "FAO's Mandate" refers to the guidance given to FAO in this area provided by Conference Resolution 2/79 "Commodity Trade Production and Agricultural Adjustment and the Guidelines and Target for International Agricultural Adjustment". These were adopted by the FAO Conference in 1975 and revised and updated in 1983.
Paragraph 11 refers to the 12 guidelines which the Organization supports. Australia continues to endorse these, including guideline 7 which emphasizes the importance of trade liberalization, especially in the interest of developing countries, including the diminution of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and the avoidance of export subsidies.
Again in 1987, as pointed out in paragraph 12, the Conference called for the greater liberalization of trade through the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. This is reflected again in 1989 and in the current Medium Term Plan, so there has been a long involvement of FAO in this area.
We have always been a strong supporter of FAO's efforts in this direction.
There is considerable information contained in this chapter and I will resist detailed comment. Australia's views on agricultural trade liberalization are well known and well documented.
Suffice it to say that Australia congratulates FAO on the work it has done in this area and will continue to support it.
One aspect I would, however, particularly like to praise is the work of Codex Alimentarius and its collaboration with GATT. Another is to endorse the conclusion at paragraph 118 that the Committee on Commodity Problems should provide an integrated framework for all FAO discussion on trade issues, including forestry, fisheries and agricultural inputs, especially where issues cut across commodity lines, for example the environment.
Amin ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (Langue originale arabe): Je remercie M. Shah pour son introduction qui est claire, précise et concise. Voilà une introduction qui nous a bien montré de quoi il s'agit. Du reste, nous sommes habitués aux présentations de M. Shah, nous en connaissons la valeur.
Je félicite aussi le Secrétariat pour son innovation, cette nouvelle méthode de présentation. Cela nous permet ici d'étudier le Rapport d'évaluation du Programme plutôt que de devoir l'étudier très rapidement à la session qui précède la Conférence. Nous avons ici eu le temps de bien nous pencher sur ce document qui est d'ailleurs un très bon et important rapport. Il y a un Rapport d'évaluation du Programme et des activités de terrain de la FAO.
Monsieur le Président, la délégation libanaise se félicite des résultats qui figurent dans ce rapport d'évaluation pour ce qui a trait par exemple à la protection des cultures, au traitement et à l'analyse des statistiques, à l'assistance aux pêches artisanales. Nous sommes favorables à ce qui est proposé, à savoir le développement du rôle de la FAO dans les secteurs du commerce international, de l'environnement et du développement agricole durable. Nous sommes favorables aussi à ce que l'on étudie l'impact de la libéralisation du commerce international dans le secteur agricole et dans celui de l'environnement.
D. TROTMAN (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom delegation congratulates FAO on the production of the Programme Evaluation Report and notes that a Programme Implementation Report will also issue shortly which we look forward to receiving.
The information on support to small scale fisheries would have forestalled criticism at COFI had the Report been available to the Committee. We would urge FAO to produce the next Evaluation Report in good time for the 1995 COFI, COFO and COAG Committees as a contribution to the debates upon FAO performance and planning.
Turning now to Chapter 4, page 75 - Synthesis of Project Evaluations for 1985-91, the emphasis in paragraph 1 seems excessively to stress identification, planning, design and implementation, as distinct from impact. The various aspects of the project cycle are important, but primarily insofar as they bear on eventual impact.
We note from paragraph 8 that about 40 percent of the evaluations were midterm and 60 percent terminal with very few ex-post evaluations. The mid-term and terminal evaluations, although certainly not without value, do not normally allow a sufficiently full and broad assessment of impact.
To extract the maximum benefit from an evaluation programme, "synthesis studies" should be prepared which draw together the findings and lessons from evaluation in given sectors or subject-areas. It may be too difficult to distinguish between benefits arising from FAO support and benefits arising from many other donors' support.If so, this should be stated.
There should be formal, enforced procedures which ensure that the findings and lessons of evaluation studies are routinely taken into consideration in current and planned programmes.
There is reference for the need to undertake in-depth technical reviews in paragraph 82 on page 70. "In view of the mixed record (of fisheries projects) an in-depth technical review of the Programme of Action would be useful...".
This is welcome but the review needs to be geared to policy and budget issues at the national level, at the sector level, as well as technical issues.
The United Kingdom delegation wishes FAO well in its endeavours to learn from its experiences, as noted in paragraph 54 on page 96, by focusing attention on:
a) a more multi-disciplinary approach to project planning; and
b) upgrading the skills of FAO staff and consultants.
Inge GERREMO (Sweden) : Let me first compliment the Secretariat for a very interesting report, and the clear and precise introduction by Mr Shah.
The Swedish delegation finds this mix of in-depth studies and reviews on a more aggregated level very useful reading. The results might not always be inspiring. However, the open manner in which the different issues are presented tends to increase my delegation's belief that the FAO members and the Secretariat together will be able to come to grips with many of the negative experiences reported on. We have, of course, also taken note of a number of positive results. We appreciate the thematic way in which some of the issues are presented. This makes it possible to get an overall picture of efforts made both within the Regular and the Field Programmes. The presentation of the activities on Small-Scale Fisheries is a good example.
The performance evaluation within Chapter 2 raises a number of serious questions. It would, according to the Swedish delegation, be worth while to consider a separate and more thorough discussion with members later on concerning this specific issue, as time will not be enough during this Council meeting or the forthcoming conference. Also, other parts of the report could form excellent points of departure for constructive expert discussions on FAO's future work in those areas.
Let me briefly touch upon some specific issues brought up in the Evaluation Report.
As to the review of the sub-programme for crop production, we agree with the conclusions that FAO has a unique role to play in facilitating international agreements and cooperation. The International Plant Protection Convention and the Code of Conduct for Distribution and Use of Pesticides can serve as evidence. We could also see that FAO's activities can be a major factor in guiding and initiating innovative technical and scientific work.
Under Statistical Processing Analysis and Development we would like to see FAO giving increased attention to developing indicators on food security, poverty and malnutrition as well as trying to improve statistics on environment and land use. This work, specifically that on socio-economic indicators on food security, poverty and malnutrition, should be done in cooperation with other relevant UN agencies.
Small-Scale Fisheries is an area where we have closely worked with FAO during the last 15 years. Programmes like the Bay of Bengal Programme, BOBP, seem to have played a very interesting catalytical role.This has been stressed by
many representatives of the countries involved. Still very few national projects seem to have emanated from this, as we believe, excellent starting point. It would be useful to discuss more in depth why promising pilot activities like these often fail to become full-scale programmes with a fair number of host country contributions.
The Project evaluations for 1985-91 could form a very useful basis for necessary revisions of present working procedures within field programmes. Similar disappointing experiences were, a few years back, presented by the World Bank in an ambitious evaluation of the Africa Programme on agriculture. It could be a valuable input to future support, especially for the Africa Region, if these experiences could be jointly examined together with some selected recipient countries in the search for realistic strategies for the future.
Concerning activities in support of the development of international trade, we have had reasons to appreciate many significant contributions by FAO during many years. Some relate to traditional areas within the international trading system of GATT, such as Codex Alimentarius. Others relate to the monitoring and analysis of global markets. All these areas assume an additional importance as we are now approaching an expected, successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round. A rapid and thorough examination of the global agricultural effects of the Uruguay Round on all regions of the world is of course a central task for a global centre of excellence in the area of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Finally, we would like to repeat that the findings in this useful report could be the basis for more thorough discussions in various expert fora. The report is no doubt worth such extended attention.
Vishnu BHAGWAN (India): My delegation welcomes the presentation of the Programme Evaluation Report in its new format in place of the usual reviews of the Regular Programme and the Field Programme.
I also thank Mr Shah for his precise and lucid presentation. We look at this Report as a step toward development of an effective management information system, in order to improve the programming and thus ensuring efficient implementation, with the emphasis on responsibility and accountability. We are appreciative of the selection of the sub-programmes relating to crop protection and statistical data collection, analysis and development, which cover important activities within the mandate of FAO, and where commendable achievements have been recorded by the Organization in the service of its members.
We have also noted with interest the in-depth review of FAO activities in support of the development of international trade.
I had the privilege of participating in the meeting of the Programme Committee which examined this Report and made very useful and constructive suggestions in its Report to the Council. My delegation fully endorses the Report of the Programme Committee on this item as contained in paragraphs 2.6 to 2.29 of document CL 103/17.
I should like to make a few comments on Part Two on Synthesis of Project Evaluations for 1985-91. This part is especially important and has very useful lessons. We have seen and noted progressive improvement over the years in evaluation and we commend FAO for this, but at the same time we notice serious weaknesses still remain, as indicated by the information contained in several tables on pages 79 to 82 and others elsewhere.
Project design appears to be the weakest link and the percentage of projects assessed as poor exceed those assessed as good. This raises the question of the calibre of staff in programme formulation and appraisal process, and also the training of this staff.
Another problem appears to be as regards implementation and the information contained in Table 8 on page 88 is quite revealing. Paragraph 52 mentions realistic planning, which is very important. We hope those involved in project design and implementation, both at headquarters and in the field, and those charged with the responsibility of supervising and directing these programmes are not academicians but persons with grass roots experience in developing countries, who are fully conversant with the problems and constraints facing these countries, and who have not only read about these problems in the text books, but have been through the rough and tumble of the issues confronting the developing world. The question is, how do we bring in practical and realistic advice in the whole programme implementation approach as regards the field programmes.
This leads me to the question of output and sustainability of project results. This is referred to in paragraphs 20 and 21. Further explanations may be needed on the figures in paragraph 21 particularly, which mentions that 18 percent of 437 projects were assessed favourably, whereas a large percentage, 62 percent of 73 projects, had good rating on output performance. I think clarification is needed here.
I raise these points because resources are becoming scarce and competition is fierce. FAO is known for its comparative advantage and excellence. However, it has to demonstrate emphatically that it can do a job in a way which no-one else can do, and I am sure FAO will respond to this challenge.
Winston RUDDER (Trinidad and Tobago): Thank you for your indulgence, Mr Chairman, and thank you also, fellow delegates for yours.
Small resource-poor countries like the thirteen members of CARICOM which my delegation represents understand very well the value of re-examination, reassessment and reflection in order to re-target, re-focus and re-align actions and activities to the priority objectives we are all experiencing and necessarily have to accommodate to the ever-heightened demand for increasing relevance, effectiveness and efficiency in the expenditure of public funds. That is why we congratulate the Secretariat on the nature, scope and timeliness of its response to the decision in Conference in 1991 on this particular matter. Document C 93/4 enhances the accountability of FAO to its membership, and provides the basis for assessing the functional effectiveness of the Organization in delivering service where it is most critically needed.
My delegation therefore unhesitatingly recommends that the Organization continues to build on this excellent effort. We are pleased with the candid nature of the evaluation findings, and do indeed hope that the many lessons drawn from the failures and successes will be reflected in enhanced programme and project identification, development and implementation. For we believe that what we have read provides a sound basis for further reflection and action.
We are particularly happy with the timely review of the work of the Organization in support of the development of international trade. We want to signal our continued support to the identified priority areas of focus indicated in paragraph 14 of Chapter Five.
The document we have before us is not perfect - indeed, it was not intended to be. In that regard, we wish to comment on the need perhaps to reflect a little more on aligning objectives to actions in the evaluation. As one delegation said before us, be a little bit more forthcoming in respect of the impact of the programmes and projects. We understand the dilemma, however, because the question remains to what extent FAO as an inter-governmental organization is responsible for outputs in relation to the development of food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, or is responsible for outcomes in this regard. I know this is an ideological dilemma, but I am sure FAO can solve it.
Harry C. MUSSMAN (United States of America): We, too, want to add our congratulations to FAO, and particularly our thanks to Mr Shah for the excellent introduction he made to this new version of the Programme Evaluation Report. I think Mr Shah and all the rest of the Organization can be justifiably proud of this first effort. It is a major undertaking and we are very pleased to see it. Certainly, it is a step in the right direction.
We will not attempt to comment in detail on all sections of the Report. Instead, we will make some general observations. We have also some specific suggestions to make.
Regarding the document as a whole, my delegation believes it is quite well done from an information stand-point. However, we find the title, Programme Evaluation Report 1992-93, to be somewhat misleading in that only Part Two meets the definition of an evaluation. Part One is a review of several programmatic areas which provides a comprehensive list of accomplishments in the period under review, but fails to provide any yardstick against which to measure their quality or quantity. For example, did the accomplishments under Part One have a cost which was more or less than what may have been estimated when the work was undertaken? Were the accomplishments delivered in a timely fashion? Could they have been delivered more quickly? There are other questions which could be raised, but we believe that those points make our case.
Part Three is a review which, while giving us an excellent overview of the activities in trade-related matters, lacks information which permits the reader to judge just how closely these activities parallel annual work plans, and how efficiently they were carried out. My delegation believes Parts One
and Three, although excellent descriptions of programmes, serve a useful purpose but do not necessarily belong in a document carrying this title unless the nature of their presentation is modified to incorporate an evaluative component. For example, the programmes in Part One could have included a discussion of their role relative to field project, design, implementation and management, therefore tying them into the evaluation of FAO Field Programme delivery.
With regard specifically to Part One, we recognize the strength of FAO's crop protection programme and its recent successes, particularly in migratory pest control in Africa. This has justified our confidence in the programme. We recognize the importance of the International Plant Protection Convention to facilitate the work of GATT and in assessing any necessary sanitary and phytosanitary measures to facilitate trade. We accept the growing demand for FAO activities relating to pesticides, and urge the Organization to work closely and effectively with the United Nations Environment Programme to promote the universal application of the principles in the FAO Code of Conduct on Pesticides and UNEP's London Guidelines.
The financial base of FAO has improved in recent years with the consensus-based budget. With this improvement in management efforts to promote efficiency, we hope resources will be available to undertake the additional information and statistical work outlined in Chapter Two of the Report, especially in respect of natural resource conservation and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
The Third Chapter covers FAO assistance to small-scale fisheries. Given this strong development focus, we are particularly pleased to see this important programme highlighted and given this level of attention. We would like to hear more of this programme as future opportunities arise.
Now to move over to Part Two, that part which is the Evaluation of Field Programmes, or perhaps better said, the 579 projects which were the subject of part of the Report. We want particularly to commend FAO for having incorporated this type of report in this overall Programme Evaluation Report. Certainly, Part Two cannot be characterized as flattering, with less than twenty percent of the 579 projects rated successful and about five percent rated as failures, leaving seventy-five percent somewhere in the middle. Table 4 on page 81 provides a trend in overall assessment of project evaluations which suggests to my delegation that a great deal more attention needs to be placed on the weaknesses associated with the project delivery.
But regardless of these criticisms, I want to commend FAO for providing what is perhaps one of the most candid presentations we have seen in some time. It squarely faces up to the problems encountered in project delivery.
There are several specific points I would make, one dealing with the objectivity of the evaluations. The Report, as everyone has read, notes each evaluation was conducted by an independent mission made up of three parties, the donor, the recipient government and FAO. Although we have no reason to question these evaluators, their objectivity, and so on, it would have been helpful for the Report to explain the criteria used to select the evaluators
from each of these groups. This would lend greater credibility to the findings.
My second point has to do with the key findings and lessons of which note is made in the Report. Many are not new; they have been found in previous evaluations. This suggests to my delegation that future evaluations will likely identify the same problems and the same solutions. Although the Report suggests attention should be focused on four areas in order to address these findings in paragraph 54 it might go a step further and identify modifications for management as associated with these findings.
For example, it would be useful to know what action, if any, FAO management took regarding the projects rated poor, the five percent category reported. Another point - all 579 projects were evaluated in terms of design, implementation, output, effect, and rated as satisfactory or poor according to the FAO methodology projects that had good outputs and good effects for successful results. Using this approach, the Report concludes that some, less than twenty percent, were successful, with 4 percent to 6 percent failures. This is helpful but tends to overlook other important results which should be included in project evaluations. For example, the cost-effectiveness (or economic efficiency if you will) of FAO projects was not examined, nor was long-term impact, nor replicability. Sustainability was only peripherally examined in paragraph 21. Future evaluations targeted by FAO should explicitly incorporate elements such as these for project performance and impact.
Under the heading of common issues an annex is included which summarizes these as they emerge from evaluations completed in 1990. The Annex we find especially useful and should be retained in future reports.
We make the observation that none of the common issues raised in the section on extension, for example, concerns gender. This is surprising since many farmers are women, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and women farmers often do not accept new agricultural technology from extension agents who are typically men.
The lack of target group receptivity referred to in this session may well be gender- related.
Secondly, none of the common issues raised in the section on natural resource conservation and development concerns economic policies or land tenure arrangements, both of which are often associated with environmental degradation. We think those might be looked at in future evaluations.
Turning now finally to Part Three, the chapter on FAO activities in support of international trade, in various FAO fora the United States of America often discussed the crucial role of agricultural trade in relation to economic development. Therefore, we were particularly pleased to see international trade singled out for discussion in this report.
We would like to make several observations. FAO should be complimented for its work to foster trade, especially in the assistance it provides in support of the Uruguay Round. This support is primarily visible in the work of the Committee on commodity problems, in the international commodity organizations
and the Codex Alimentarius. The United States takes this opportunity to compliment the Director-General on his recent statement to the Committee on commodity problems and to this Council, clearly stating the urgency of the need for a successful Uruguay Round agreement, especially for the developing countries. In the years ahead we can anticipate the continued need to deal with non-tariff barriers to trade and with the issues arising from the simultaneous goals of preserving and developing our natural resources in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The need for FAO involvement is likely to grow. For this reason we feel that within existing resources FAO should greatly strengthen its activities related to trade.
One final point I would make that again addresses the report in its entirety, given the priorities with which we are all familiar that have emerged as having the highest level of attention within the Organization and fully supported by the membership priorities, such as the nutrition area, the environmental trade, to name but a few, we believe very strongly that future evaluation should include some observations or comment regarding the level of cooperation that FAO has entered into with other UN agencies, regional bodies NGOs, I think the day has come when to try to go it alone and not involve related agencies who are doing similar type of work would not do a great deal of sense, so we encourage the FAO to move aggressively in working more closely.
TANG ZHENPING (China) (Original language Chinese): The Chinese delegation would like to commend the Secretariat of FAO for preparing the very detailed document, namely C 93/4. The Deputy Director-General, Mr Shah, has also made a concise introduction to this document and we would like to thank him for this.
The document before us is very comprehensive. It contains first examples and analysis; this document will surely help the Member States to understand the activities carried out by FAO since 1986 and the unique role of FAO in the field of food and agriculture the world over.
The delegation of China has taken note that since 1986, while facing financial constraints, FAO has managed to adjust the priority areas and respond in a timely manner to various challenges through its Regular and Field Programmes. FAO has done a great deal of work and continues to play its important role in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information concerning world food and agriculture, policy advisory and technical assistance. For this we would like to express our sincere appreciation.
This document shows that FAO's Field Programme and the Regular Programme are inter-related. For instance, in crops protection FAO has formulated International Plants Protection Convention, International Code of Conduct for the distribution of use of pesticides and the prior informed consent clause to standardize international activities in plant protection, pesticides use in the market. At the same time through the relevant field activities FAO has provided to its Member States assistance to strengthen their activities in integrated pest-management, plant quarantine and implementation of the related agreement which are mutually complementary and are very important in fostering the development of plant protection in the world.
The document also shows that FAO's Field Programme is not only conducive to the better implementation of Regular Programme and strengthening the professional capability of FAO but also has played a very important catalytic role in the development of food and agriculture in FAO Member States, especially for developing Member States. This has enabled the Member States to practically feel the presence of FAO.
The evaluation and analysis of the Field Programme contained in this document has made it clear that FAO, with its expertise effectively carried out a large amount of field projects and played an important role in assisting Member States to overcome key technical problems, to handle emergencies and to combat natural disasters. It is our wish that FAO will seek new ways to continue strengthening activities in this field when facing the new and changing international situation.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie très vivement le délégué de la Chine de son intervention et de la façon brillante dont il a souligné ce point qui me parait capital, à savoir l'interdépendance entre le Programme ordinaire et le Programme de terrain.
Vous avez bien précisé les liens essentiels qui existent entre ces programmes. Je vous remercie.
Joemari GEROCHI (Philippines): My delegation's intervention about this Agenda Item will be a bit longer than our usual remarks as we feel strongly about FAO programmes and activities.
With regard to the Programme Evaluation Report 1992-93, the Philippines wishes to forward the following comments and recommendation: on FAO assistance to small-scale fisheries, we agree on the general findings of the report and its implicit recommendations. In case of resource provisions where accurate information is a prerequisite for sustainable management we strongly suggest that FAO give priority to giving assistance to developing countries in the development of cost-effective methodologies for collection and analysis of production statistics and other information on small-scale fisheries which meet the basic requirement for sustainable management. This becomes much more relevant in the case of the Philippines where we have already initiated a country-based resource management in several cases under the fisheries sector programme.
In the areas of integrated coastal fisheries management FAO should develop more expertise in finding viable options in managing the resources where the local and national interest are not in harmony.
On the synthesis of projects evaluation for 1985-91, the regional distribution of projects, Chapter 4 of the Programme Evaluation Report of which an extensive number of FAO's projects evaluation studies, of which only 30 percent are considered of inferior quality, although the sample size is quite large, it was noted that the regional distribution of the evaluated projects does not parallel the overall regional distribution of FAO's Field Programmes. In the report the share of projects in some columns is higher than
that of the overall Field Programmes. We suggest that in the future Programme Evaluation Report the regional distribution of projects evaluations reflect a similar distribution as the actual number of Field Programmes being implemented. Other options we include, focusing on just one continent or structuring the report in such a way that the results of these studies are presented on a per-continent basis. These options will facilitate later use of the evaluations' findings and recommendations since they will be more location and logistic specifics with concentration on continents' specific problems and weaknesses which may necessitate regional solutions and sharings of lessons learnt.
On the evaluation findings and recommendations one of the most striking results of the Evaluation Report is the project design and implementations were related and satisfactory as compared with the attainment of the project output and effect. It is suggested that part of the Report's recommendations should include a strategic session of mid-stream programmes. Such an exercise will help in incorporating the strategic lessons learnt during the course of projects implementations and in the process incorporate features into project design that were not incorporated during the project inception stage.
As regards FAO's role on international trade my delegation wishes to make the following remarks: first we commend the FAO's work on agricultural trade and we are of the opinion that FAO should continue its role as the forum of developing countries to articulate concerns on agricultural trade. It should continue to assist developing countries in commodity and market analysis and related work. Our specific concerns include the following: on related GATT consistent tariffication; under the ongoing Uruguay Round the concern of the developing countries is the compliance to tarif fication of non-tariff barriers to trade. To our view the pre-conditions for the tariffications in the context of the Philippines is an efficient domestic farm structure, hence, the mystic inefficiencies in the farm sector must first be addressed before tarif fication and other trade reforms. It is claimed by FAO that coverage in this assistance to developing countries are related to trade on a broad context. FAO should therefore continue to extend support to areas which address the inefficiencies in the farm sector and which tend in the farm support structure and therefore enhance production. These are measures which should be in place for tariffication to be rationalized.
On the Codex recommendations, where the Codex seeks to unify the standards of food the Philippines feel that developing countries are at a disadvantage because they lack the resources to comply with such standards set forth for both developed and developing countries. The same lack of resources precludes or prejudices the regular attendance of developing countries in the various Codex fora which result in food standards that may be too high for less developed countries to comply with.
Finally, on plant quarantine practices, may we suggest that the Philippines receive assistance under the programme on integrated pest management as this area is considered critical in raising agriculture productivity.
Chadli LAROUSSI (Tunisie): Je tiens d'abord à remercier le Secrétariat et particulièrement Monsieur Shah pour la présentation claire et succincte du
document, comme il nous en a donné l'habitude en d'autres occasions. Nous sommes particulièrement heureux, Monsieur le Président, de voir la FAO procéder à une évaluation approfondie de certains de ses programmes et en notre qualité de membre du Comité du Programme, nous adhérons pleinement aux conclusions auxquelles nous avons abouti aux termes de débats francs et fructueux au sein de ce Comité, qui a considéré que "le choix des programmes évalués représente un bon échantillon de l'action menée par la FAO en ce qui concerne les disciplines techniques couvertes par les orientations du Programme".
S'il est évidemment nécessaire que l'évaluation demeure un outil très précieux pour améliorer les performances de l'Organisation, il faudra néanmoins se garder de faire de l'évaluation une fin en soi, d'autant plus qu'elle est souvent réalisée par des experts dont l'expérience et les qualités en augmentent le coût. Il faudra donc prendre garde que cette évaluation ne dépasse pas des limites raisonnables et qu'elle puisse contribuer de manière réelle et concrète à l'amélioration de l'efficacité de notre Organisation.
Monsieur le Président, concernant le sous-programme protection des cultures, nous voudrions mettre l'accent sur l'avantage comparatif de la FAO pour assister les Etats Membres dans la lutte contre les ravageurs et les grands fléaux qui ne connaissent pas de frontières et peuvent se propager avec une rapidité fulgurante d'un pays à l'autre.
Pour lutter contre de tels fléaux, la FAO a un rôle à jouer en favorisant la coopération entre ses Etats Membres. Je tiens à ce propos à saluer le rôle de catalyseur qu'a joué la FAO dans l’eradication de la lucilie bouchère et à remercier les grands donateurs qui ont contribué à alimenter le fonds nécessaire à ce programme qui a été réalisé avec succès par la FAO. Grâce à ce programme, mon pays a été préservé d'un risque majeur qui pesait sur le patrimoine animal national.
Il est de même important que la FAO puisse garder un rôle de premier plan dans les campagnes de prévention et de lutte contre le criquet pèlerin, et j'ai déjà attiré l'attention du Conseil, Monsieur le Président, sur le risque potentiel que représente ce fléau pour notre région à l'heure actuelle.
Les autres domaines où la FAO possède un avantage comparatif sont également des domaines où il y a une interaction entre les Etats Membres et je note plus spécialement les trois domaines suivants: le commerce international des produits agricoles, l'environnement et le développement agricole durable. Nous invitons donc la FAO à jouer un rôle plus actif dans ces domaines, notamment dans le cadre des négociations en cours au sujet du GATT, d'une part, et de la mise en oeuvre des recommandations de la CNUED (Conférence des Nations Unies pour l'environnement et le développement), d'autre part.
A cet effet, nous invitons le Conseil à faire siennes les conclusions auxquelles nous avions abouti au sein du Comité du Programme telles que résumées dans le paragraphe 2.29 du document CL 103/17-
Antonio BAYAS (Chile): Mi delegación, en primer lugar quiere agradecer la presentación hecha por el Sr.Shah quien indiscutiblemente lo ha hecho con
su acostumbrada claridad. Dado que varios de los aspectos que nos interesan particularmente ya han sido mencionados por otras delegaciones que me antecedieron en el uso de la palabra y no entraré en menores detalles, pero si quisiera enfatizar la especial atención que hemos puesto en la Parte III del documento que nos ocupa relativo a las actividades de la FAO en apoyo al comercio internacional.
Solamente quiero felicitar a la FAO por la estructuración del documento C 93/4 e instar a la Secretaría para que se continúe entregando este tipo de evaluaciones de los diferentes programas que, además de útiles y prácticos son reveladoras respecto a la eficacia de la Organización.
LE PRESIDENT: J'ai reçu mot de l'Angola qui propose de déposer le texte de son intervention pour qu'il figure in extenso dans le verbatim. Merci de procéder de la sorte.
Michel MOMBOULI (Congo): Monsieur le Président, nous serons brefs dans la mesure où la plupart de ceux qui nous ont précédés ont abordé l'essentiel de ce que nous voulions nous-mêmes exprimer. Toutefois, nous voudrions remercier le Secrétariat pour avoir bien voulu donner suite à la décision prise par la Conférence en 1991, consistant, dans le cadre des changements apportés à la procédure du Budget Programme, à rationaliser les rapports sur l'exécution du Programme, notamment en remplaçant l'examen des Programmes ordinaires et des Programmes de terrain par un rapport d'évaluation unique sur l'exécution, ceci sans doute en raison des liens étroits qui caractérisent les deux programmes.
Cette nouvelle formule de présentation qui nous est soumise aujourd'hui a certainement ses inconvénients, mais elle a aussi le mérite et surtout l'avantage d'établir une distinction plus nette entre l'évaluation du Programme et les résultats obtenus dans la mise en oeuvre. Pour cette raison principalement, nous appuyons cette formule.
Nous voulons exprimer la satisfaction qui est la nôtre de constater que cette nouvelle formule ne sort pas du néant. Elle prend pied sur l'expérience acquise par la FAO dans le cadre des examens antérieurs des deux programmes, à savoir le Programme de terrain et le Programme ordinaire.
Sans être parfaite, puisque nous n'en sommes qu'à la première édition, cette nouvelle formule n'en n'est pas moins un bon départ qu'il nous faudra améliorer au fil des années.
Voilà nos commentaires d'ordre général. Nous voudrions à présent, faire quelques commentaires d'ordre spécifique sur les différentes sections de ce rapport d'évaluation.
En premier lieu, nous pensons que compte tenu des déclarations que nous avons déjà entendues de la part de ceux qui nous ont précédé, nous n'avons pas à répéter ce qui a déjà été dit. Nous n'avons donc rien de particulier à ajouter concernant cette première partie. Ceci nous amène à aborder la deuxième partie. Concernant celle-ci, nous avons noté avec satisfaction, que, comme pour les examens antérieurs, le caractère tripartite, que nous avions exigé
et obtenu, a été également respecté dans cette nouvelle formule de présentation puisque nous avons constaté que l'on y associait bien sûr les bénéficiaires, les donateurs et la FAO.
J'ai entendu tout à l'heure certains demander que les détails soient donnés sur les représentants sur chaque catégorie de participants. Je ne sais si cela est nécessaire mais mon collègue de l'Inde, qui est intervenu avant moi, a insisté sur la nécessité de mettre l'accent sur la formation et sur ceux qui participent à ces évaluations en tant que représentants des pays bénéficiaires.
J'appuie ce point de vue même s'il est tripartite car il est évident que souvent les niveaux de ceux qui représentent les différentes catégories ne sont pas les mêmes et je crois que la FAO a intérêt à accorder une attention particulière et surtout son appui concret pour la formation de ceux qui participent à ce genre d'exercice qui, somme toute, est très important.
Monsieur le Président, ceux qui sont intervenus ont dit que cette évaluation a révélé un certain nombre de lacunes que j'ai moi-même évoquées plus haut, lacunes portant surtout sur l'aspect conception des projets. C'est une évidence et je pense que le fait d'avoir identifié ces faiblesses facilite sans doute les possibilités de les corriger à l'avenir.
Monsieur le Président, ceci m'amène à aller de l'avant et à relever ce qu'a dit notre ami de la Chine lorsqu'il a parlé de la troisième partie de cette évaluation qui traite des questions thématiques en rappelant - cela semble avoir été oublié - que les projets dont il s'agit ici ont été menés dans une conjoncture où l'organisation était dans une situation financière difficile.
Ce faisant, il faut reconnaître que l'Organisation a fait preuve de clairvoyance et d'une certaine maîtrise, notamment en réalisant cette évaluation, bien qu'assujettie à une pression financière importante. Je crois que c'est un fait qu'il ne faut pas ignorer et, comme tout le monde, nous espérons vivement que pour l'avenir, la situation de l'évaluation pourra s'améliorer et que nous serons saisis d'évaluations faites dans des conditions beaucoup plus sereines et plus acceptables.
Monsieur le Président, l'Organisation a fait beaucoup d'efforts pour évaluer plusieurs activités. Au stade où nous en sommes, l'essentiel est de pouvoir tirer de cette évaluation les leçons qui s'imposent à l'issue de la mise en oeuvre des deux programmes et c'est sur ces quelques mots, Monsieur le Président, tenant compte de ce qui a déjà été dit, que nous voudrions mettre fin à cette brève intervention en vous remerciant d'avoir bien voulu nous accorder la parole.
Elias REYES BRAVO (México): Estamos ante uno de los documentos, señor Presidente, que suele abordar el Consejo y la propia Conferencia. Una visión retrospectiva, inmediata, nos permite situarnos no sólo cronológica o temáticamente, sino en relación también con la incidencia de las acciones en la solución efectiva de los problemas.
La valía de un documento como este que nos ocupa nos permite considerar también que quizás debieran derivarse ejercicios similares en la medida de lo posible a nivel regional y principalmente a nivel de los países miembros de esta Organización.
Esto nos hace considerar también la necesidad de que se establezcan esquemas programáticos regionales y nacionales de cooperación con la FAO que nos permitan encauzar mejor el proceso de cooperación en un espíritu de corresponsabilidad y que no caigamos en la atención meramente mecánica o formal de un documento que es de vital importancia junto con el que nos presenta el programa inmediato bienal de plazo medio.
Así pues, una programación a nivel nacional y regional acorde con las necesidades operativas, permitirá una ejecución libre de improvisaciones que paradójicamente nos llevará a una evaluación mejor.
Por otra parte y tocando un punto muy particular, señor Presidente, mi delegación ha tenido noticias de que durante este bienio estaba en proceso una evaluación externa sobre el sistema de redes de cooperación técnica, y nos gustaría saber qué estado guarda, ya que consideramos que es un mecanismo importante aun para la cooperación técnica entre países en desarrollo.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchísimas gracias por su intervención y por su última cuestión. Vamos a contestar a esa cuestión tan precisa. Quisiéramos preguntar primero si hay otros miembros u observadores del Consejo que quieran intervenir. No hay.
Kiala Kia MATEVA (Angola): Monsieur le Président. Nos félicitations s'adressent en premier lieu à M. Shah pour la présentation très claire des documents C 93/4 et CL 103/17 et à laquelle nous sommes habitués. Ce rapport nous brosse un tableau complet des divers programmes et activités de la FAO et ces évaluations constituent pour nous un élément important qui démontre l'efficacité de l'Organisation.
Nous félicitons aussi le Directeur général des améliorations apportées dans la présentation de ce rapport et nous ne pouvons qu'exprimer notre satisfaction d'une manière globale.
S'agissant du sous-programme protection des cultures, nous sommes très satisfaits de l'évaluation qui a été effectuée au paragraphe 9. Nous regrettons seulement les fortes réductions enregistrées des différentes activités décrites au paragraphe 17 suite aux difficultés financières. De toutes les façons, nous notons quand même avec satisfaction que des fonds extrabudgétaires ont été trouvés.
Ma délégation se félicite de la place accordée aux activités liées à la lutte intégrée contre les ravageurs, ainsi que la mise en place d'un Secrétariat de la Convention pour la protection des végétaux qui permettra le maintien d'une coopération étroite entre les organisations régionales de protection des végétaux, et de favoriser l'harmonisation des réglementations phytosanitaires et des directives qui s'y apportent.
Nous souhaitons que la FAO continue à jouer pour ce sous-programme le rôle de chef de file pour favoriser la coopération internationale et sensibiliser les pays d'accepter et d'appliquer les mesures de protection des plantes.
Les sous-programmes de traitement, analyse et développement des statistiques jouent un rôle primordial en matière d'information sur l'alimentation et l'agriculture. Il est l'ombre d'aucun doute que la FAO est l'une des organisations qui possèdent une grande expérience sur les données statistiques.
Nous appuyons les objectifs prioritaires stipulés au paragraphe 8 et nous nous félicitons, malgré les difficultés financières et le surcroît de travail, pour la mise au point de l'AGROSTAT et du CMIA. La division a pu s'acquitter de ses tâches fondamentales.
Nous exprimons nos inquiétudes, Monsieur le Président, pour le ralentissement de la réalisation de certaines activités telles que exprimées au paragraphe 63.
Nous sommes aussi d'avis que soient allouées des ressources adéquates aux cinq domaines prioritaires décrits au paragraphe 64, d'où la nécessité des ressources extrabudgétaires pour la mise en oeuvre d'innombrables activités que le sous-programme s'est assigné. Nous nous félicitons de l'assistance technique que la FAO accorde à nos pays dans ce domaine. Mais une attention très particulière doit être accordée à la formation.
Monsieur le Président, un autre domaine non moins important est l'assistance de la FAO aux pêches artisanales. C'est avec satisfaction que nous accueillons l'évaluation faite et les résultats obtenus ainsi que les ressources extrabudgétaires qu'on a pu rassembler pour les 44 projets exécutés par la FAO. Nous nous associons à l'idée exprimée au paragraphe 86 sur la mise en place des systèmes d'aménagement communautaire des zones côtières.
En ce qui concerne l'examen des évaluations des projets, nous pouvons dire que des progrès ont été réalisés au niveau de l'exécution. Dans son ensemble, l'efficacité des projets est satisfaisante. Beaucoup de faiblesses, dans la conception et l'exécution des projets ont été identifiées comme stipulé au paragraphe 40. A cet égard, diverses mesures ont été prises pour corriger les faiblesses identifiées. Nous souhaitons que des efforts soient poursuivis. Une attention particulière doit être donnée aussi aux domaines cités au paragraphe 54.
Pour ce qui est des activités de la FAO à l'appui du développement du commerce international, nous approuvons les priorités définies aux paragraphes 14 et 15. Malgré les difficultés financières, la FAO réalise beaucoup d'activités dans ce domaine. On peut le découvrir dans la Résolution 2/79 de la Conférence relative au commerce des produits, au protectionnisme et à l'ajustement agricole.
Nous appuyons ce qui est stipulé au paragraphe 119 sur l'aide que la FAO doit accorder aux pays en développement. Puisque les ressources du Programme ordinaire ne pourront pas appuyer ces activités, celles-ci ne se réaliseront que grâce à un appui extrabudgétaire.La FAO doit toujours jouer un rôle
prépondérant dans le domaine du commerce international. Elle doit renforcer ses activités aux négociations de l'Uruguay Round.
Pour terminer, Monsieur le Président, ce rapport riche en informations constitue une base solide pour les futurs rapports d'évaluation du Programme1.
LE PRESIDENT: Je voudrais rappeler que la déclaration de compétences de la Communauté économique européenne prévoit que le point 16 de notre ordre du jour est de la compétence des Etats Membres et que le vote est réservé à ceux-ci. Il s'agit donc d'une matière qui échappe à la compétence de la Communauté.
V.J. SHAH (Deputy Director-General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): First of all, it is my very pleasant duty to thank the Council for the debate which you have had, and for the response which you have accorded to this first Programme Evaluation Report. We are grateful, and we are greatly encouraged. It is in the nature of human effort to find that appreciation is always welcome. It is also in the nature of human effort that improvements must constantly be striven for, and many interventions have indicated ways in which distinguished delegates would like to see this Programme Evaluation Report improved in the future. I am also very grateful for that.
We shall pay the utmost attention to these suggestions, and I hope that in future versions of this Report you will recognize the improvements that you yourselves have suggested.
Since it seemed to me that the reception was so positive, it is a great personal pleasure for me to introduce to you - for those who do not know him -my close collaborator Mr Kato, who is the Chief of our Evaluation Service, because it is he and his group in the Evaluation Service who are responsible for the text which you have studied. My pride in my colleagues is not only a personal one, because I find that the work that they do has to be based on professional competence, on integrity, on honesty, on credibility, and on acceptance by other colleagues throughout the house.
I am very proud to know that those particular qualities, which result in the sort of work which you see, is also recognized elsewhere in the UN system. The Joint inspection Unit had, a long time ago, characterized our Reviews of the Regular and Field Programmes somewhat as models for other organizations - documents which they considered very seriously done, and well done. I am not aware of such a Programme Evaluation Report in other organizations of the UN system, but you may of course rest assured that we will also try to learn from others, as they do from us.
Since collaboration with other organizations is an issue to which you rightly attach importance, I should also mention at this time that in the field of evaluation we do collaborate with others. We collaborate with evaluation units__________
1 Texte reçu avec demande d'insertion aux procès-verbaux.
or services of national governments' Departments of Development Cooperation. We are always glad to get their findings - and may I make an appeal through you, Mr Chairman? We shall be very grateful if governments who have such evaluation services in their ministries and Departments of Development Cooperation would share their findings with us, because after all that will not only assist us, but it will assist us in reporting to you.
How do our findings compare with those of others? As far as other organizations in the UN system are concerned, the FAO Evaluation Service is one of the oldest, and others, including the UN itself, have looked to us when they have set up their own central evaluation services. In the present biennium, my colleagues have been contacted by the International Maritime Organization on the development of their internal evaluation system, by the GATT/UNCTAD International Trade Centre in the development of Regular Programme evaluation and on staff training on evaluation, by the UN International Drug Control Programme on the development of programme evaluation and training, by the International Civil Aviation Organization on the development of an international evaluation system, and most recently - in fact, a week ago - by UNESCO on the development of an evaluation data base.
So, by way of background, I hope the Council will be satisfied by this information.
L'une des premières questions a été posée par l'Ambassadeur de France qui a souligné les liens entre ce document, le Plan à moyen terme et les propositions de Programme et budget que vous allez discuter. Je voudrais tout d'abord dire combien j 'apprécie cette reconnaissance, cette acceptation de ces liens parce que c'est l'optique dans laquelle nous avons préparé ces documents et j'espère que vous verrez vous-mêmes les liens de conception et de décision que vous suivrez entre ces trois documents.
L'Ambassadeur de France a également soulevé une question sur l'utilisation de consultants externes indépendants, et souhaité voir les évaluations de programmes d'action spéciaux. Il a aussi souhaité que les crédits nécessaires soient pourvus dans le budget. Je partage entièrement ses sentiments et ses souhaits. Nous avons toujours eu recours à des consultants indépendants externes et nous nous efforcerons de continuer. Les évaluations de programmes d'action spéciaux ont eu un essor particulier dans les bienniums passés et je parle avec un intérêt personnel parce que j'étais chargé des évaluations des programmes de semences, par exemple, des programmes de sécurité alimentaire, ou de la trypanosomiase en Afrique et aussi des programmes de recherche et de formation agricole. Ce sont des exercices qui ont été aussi ajoutés au sujet du Programme de coopération technique et le distingué représentant de la Suède y a fait référence. Nous avons eu deux évaluations majeures du Programme de coopération technique, la première en 1978 et l'autre en 1985. Ces deux évaluations ont été conduites par des consultants externes. Cela me ramène au troisième point qui concerne les ressources.
Il faut reconnaître que ces évaluations majeures avec des consultants externes imposent des charges budgétaires assez importantes. Dans les cas que j'ai cités, a savoir les évaluations de programmes d'action techniques, chaque évaluation nous a coûté à cette époque entre 250 000 et 350 000 dollars E.-U. Aujourd'hui il faut compter environ un demi million de dollars.
Vous comprenez très bien pourquoi nous n'avons pas pu envisager de telles évaluations ces dernières années.
I would now like to turn to a comment which was made. I am thinking of the words of the distinguished representative of the United States, but I am also attentive to similar comments which have been made by other distinguished delegates.
This concerns the nature of the evaluation which is submitted to you in this report.
Let me be absolutely clear at the beginning that the Secretariat fully shares the importance which all of you attach to the choice of what is done, how it is done, with what cost benefit, in order to assure that all we do is needed and valid, that it has impact, and that it is done in a most effective, economical and efficient manner. There is no quarrel on this at all: but I would point out that when we come to you with an evaluation report, we would for our part suggest that we have to very much determine the scale of the programme or activity which is being evaluated. If we are evaluating a training course, fine: take the number of trainees, their level, the suitability of the curriculum, the way the training was imparted, what the trainees did with what they had learned, how they implemented in practice what they had learned, and what the impact was of what they had learned and implemented.
There is a clear line of concept, action and effect. But in these evaluation reports we try to go beyond a micro cost-benefit assessment. We try to give you a broad policy evaluation, a broad policy assessment.
Why is FAO doing what it is doing? If I may give an example, take Table 4, FAO Internal Arrangements for Support to International Trade Development. In the English text it is on page 117. If you take the work related to basic statistics, imports and exports, agricultural commodities, fisheries, trade, forestry products and if we apply these concepts to that work, why is FAO doing this work? Becauseit is our mandate. Becauseyou want us to do it. Because we are the only global organization which can do it. We do it well. You are satisfied with it. You use the results for establishing government policies, for establishing government development plans, for carrying out development activities.
Now if a question is put to me in terms of - take the amount of money which is used for the basic statistics - what is the cost benefit? I would say that the cost benefit of such an activity and effort and resource utilization is not just a matter for evaluators, with all respect to my friend; nor is it a matter for accountants. It is a question of policy governance. You, the Member Nations, want FAO to do this. You want it done well, and we should do it as well as it can be done. We should do it because we do have a comparative advantage in doing it, and we demonstrate that. We should always do it economically, more economically and more efficiently.
I will not give other examples, but I hope my thoughts will be understood, that it is not that evaluation should not be pursued. Of course it should be pursued, and pursued in the most intelligent way, in the most meaningful way
that we can with your guidance, but I appeal to you that your own interests will not be served if you only pursue it, or ask us to pursue it, in terms of dollar cost benefit, because the nature of our work, the nature of your programmes, is too broad to permit an examination only from that one aspect.
I have carefully noted all the comments and suggestions which were made on the first three chapters and on the last one. Not surprisingly, there was much more discussion on Chapter 4, on the results of the field projects evaluations. Let me try to answer those aspects which I feel I can, and then when I have finished, perhaps you would kindly give the floor to Mr Kato. I know he wishes to respond to some of the questions which have been raised.
Firstly, the project evaluations covered a question was raised - I think among the first delegates to raise it was the distinguished delegate of Canada - about the sample. The projects evaluations which are reported on in Chapter IV were not a sample selected by us. These were the project evaluations which were carried out. Of course, as is recognized by the distinguished delegates, which projects you cover in a particular evaluation also affects what kind of lessons, what kind of findings, you have. So it may help to spend a couple of moments on this.
All these project evaluations, as we indicate, were either mid-term or terminal, in a ratio of 40-60 percent, as the representative of the United Kingdom pointed out. These field project evaluations are tripartite. They must include, and they do include, the donor of the funds, the government concerned whose project it is and in whose territory the project is carried out, and FAO as the executing agent. Provision for these evaluations is included in the project budgets. I personally regret that donors, whether it is UNDP or trust fund donors, although they like to talk about impact evaluation, do not include funds for impact evaluation. I should love to see it. If such funds were made available, and the exercise were done seriously enough, I think it would be well worth doing and we would be interested in doing it. The tripartite nature of these missions also determines, as was pointed out in another intervention, on what criteris the participants are chosen. I am sure that you will appreciate that the designation of each participant is a responsibility and a right of the party involved. The donor decides whom he or she wishes to include on an evaluation mission. The government concerned, of course, nominates its representative on the mission, and FAO does the same.
As a matter of principle, and as a matter of conscience, I would say that I would refuse to characterize the level of participation. It is a matter of the responsibility and the right of each party. What we do however - and I think we can be permitted to do this - is to try to assess the solidity, the value, the consistency, the application of criteria in the evaluation mission reports, and there again we are open with you. We say that in about 20 percent of the cases the evaluation missions, the reports themselves were not good, according to the criteria which we describe and share with everyone.
What can be done about that? We share a common responsibility for each party in making its best effort. On the part of the FAO secretariat, we also make efforts to help others. For example, we carry out training activities on project design, project formulation, project appraisal, project monitoring,
project evaluation, and these training activities are not only for our own colleagues but also for the staff of governments.
We also assist, and the Evaluation Service directly supports, a number of field projects where governments themselves have established or wish to strengthen their evaluation services.
Seeing Brazil reminds me that it is with the Government of Brazil that we have a very long-standing collaboration in which Mr Kato has personally assisted.
With regard to the tables in Chapter 4, I now feel with hindsight and after listening to the debate, that when we do this chapter again next time I shall want to revise them, because in so many of these tables we concentrate on the poor and the good. Of course it was left unsaid or it was left to be interpreted that the balance was acceptable. We are not afraid to say what was poor. We are not afraid to say what was good. The rest should not be ignored. The rest was acceptable work, acceptable quality of project design or project performance or quality of output, but Mr Kato is much more a master of this than I am, so I will refer it to him.
Two other aspects have arisen from the debate from this chapter: first, the lessons from project evaluation and, second, what is done about them.
The value and the impact of evaluation work, in my humble view, depend very much on systems, on the competence with which these systems are implemented and on the integrity of those who implement them in terms of observance and follow-up. Evaluation reports are not just important for themselves. They are important if you do something with them. The problem is not only for FAO, the problem is for every other organization, and if I may so, for every government. In our case we have consciously tried to do the following: firstly, to have criteria for evaluation which are established, which are disseminated both internally and externally, which are always open for review and for amendment, correction, but they are criteria against which the evaluation can be measured.
Secondly, the Evaluation Service has the right to brief every evaluation mission, all participants, and to de-brief them when they finish their work, and to assess their report without interfering with the findings. The findings are of the evaluation mission and that has to be respected, but the Evaluation Service does have the right to assess the quality of that evaluation.
Thirdly, the results of the evaluation build up a data base which is maintained by the Evaluation Service and fed to all technical and operational units.
Fourthly, the results of the evaluation, as you have seen from this Report, particularly the project evaluations, are synthesized on an annual basis and that synthesis is not only made available to the FAO divisions and to external parties as interested, but is drawn to the attention of our Steering Committee on Field Activities and to its Field Programme Committee, which is then obliged, at the level of the Assistant Director-General, Development Department, and all the headsoftheoperationalservicesandtheother
Services concerned, to examine the synthesis and to indicate clearly how they intend to follow-up.
A question was raised by the distinguished delegate of Mexico about the evaluation of technical cooperation networks, I would be happy to refer him to the last Review of the Regular Programme, where we had a Special Chapter on technical cooperation networks. Following that chapter, as he is very well informed, we do intend to carry out a more in-depth study of the networks in Latin America and the Caribbean region.
It has not been possible to do so so far, but we do intend to pursue that.
May I now turn to another question which was raised about the document and ways in which it could be considered in other fora by other people at different times. I am extremely grateful for all the suggestions made.
First of all, I can start by agreeing that a document such as this should have a value beyond that of being considered at a meeting of the Programme Committee of Council or Conference. Nothing lasts for too long, but it should have somewhat of a lasting value. There is a problem about having it formally considered by each of the technical committees. The delegate of the United Kingdom asked the question whether it could not be considered by COAG, COFO and COFI. Let me tell you the problem as I see it.
The document itself is prepared for you and is finalized in April. It is a pressure to finish it in time for April in order to have it processed for submission to you. COAG, COFI and COFO meeting either in March or April of that year would force us to complete the document certainly by the end of the preceding year. Nothing is impossible, of course. I think I would want to examine this - not the whole document, but the chapters likely to be of interest to COAG might be completed beforehand, and similarly for fisheries and forestry. This is a suggestion I would want to pursue. I hope my positive response can be accepted in that spirit.
There is another use of this document which I hope the Council will recall. In the non-Conference years - that is next year - the Programme Committee carries out its in-depth review of programmes. This in-depth review of programmes is based, and will be based, on the Programme Evaluation Report, the Programme Implementation Report and the Programme of Work and Budget as the Conference will approve. It is this detailed in-depth review by the Programme Committee which is not only valuable to the Secretariat, but I venture to suggest it is extremely valuable to Council because it is through this in-depth review that the Programme Committee advises the Council. While it has looked at this document now and submitted its comments to you, it will go back to do that with a completely different outlook and approach in saying, "All right, what have been the findings of the Programme Evaluation Report and how are they being taken into account?" I hope this clarification will also satisfy members of the Council who wish this Report to receive all due consideration.
This brings me to my last point, and I thank you for your patience. I wish to assist the Conference. When this Report goes before the Conference, with your permission and if the Council so agrees, we would propose to submit to
the Conference the extract of your report on this item so that the Conference will have a ready reference and will be easily able to see your reaction to this Programme Evaluation Report. In that same document, if you agree, we can attach the views of the Programme and Finance Committees. I think this involves little effort and little cost, and the convenience may be of value to the Conference. Thank your very much for having given me this time. May I now turn to my colleague and ask him to continue.
CHAIRMAN: I thank you, Mr Shah, for that brilliant intervention, and I will now ask Mr Kato if he will wind up.
M. KATO (FAO Staff): Mr Shah, as usual, has covered quite a lot of questions and has made my task much easier, but I have a few points to raise with reference to Chapter Four. Particularly there were some very detailed points raised by the delegate of Canada, and I will try to address some of these.
I might preface my remarks by saying that we are trying to do a synthesis exercise like this on the basis of a very large number of projects which are individually very different in terms of subject matter all the time. In fact, each project has its own life, its own story, its own dynamics to deliver. It is a very important but also a very difficult and complex subject, so we are always looking for better ways of making this sort of synthesis. In that context, I found the number of suggestions put forward by delegations very useful. Certainly, we will pursue that in the future.
Regarding the size of the project evaluations we have reported here, as Mr Shah clarified a total number of project evaluations were conducted during the seven-year period.
The coverage on on-going projects and on many project evaluations varies. We do not always have precise statistics each year, but. over the years we estimate about twenty percent to twenty-five percent, slightly higher for UNDP and slightly lower for Trust Fund projects.
In terms of methodology, of course, the methodology applied here for project evaluation is based on a very common approach used by all UN agencies. We have guidelines based on that which are applied to both UNDP projects and Trust-funded projects. There may be some difference in the format of the guidelines but FAO guidelines are practically the same as those used by UNDP. So in terms of methodology there is system-wide uniformity and each evaluation mission has its own terms of reference. We insist very much on that. That is why, as Mr Shah mentioned, our Service spends probably forty percent of its time making sure the project evaluations are planned in advance, and the terms of reference are properly prepared. We brief mission members, and screen the process of appointing mission participants for FAO, UNDP and Trust fund donors to make sure they meet essential criteria in terms of background and relevant expertise the participant will bring to bear on the mission work. Therefore, we clarify the purpose of the evaluation work, how it will be used after the evaluation in the management of the project, what the important issues involved are - these are the basis for deciding the detailed modalities of project evaluations. So we operate on two levels.
In terms of the methodology for this synthesis, I must admit we are not as solid as that, in the sense that these analyses are based on the summaries and findings of the evaluation missions. Within FAO sometimes we have a problem because our technical colleagues do not agree with what the evaluation mission says. This is debated in the process of finalizing the evaluation report. Sometimes FAO has to make its own observations on the evaluation report to be considered by the three parties in a management meeting. But I must emphasize that this is a summary of what evaluation missions have said.
In the process of aggregating these summaries we use a coded way of matching information from each evaluation mission. Evaluation staff read the draft reports, not to change the text but to make sure in the first instance of what is summarized on the sheet that we ask the evaluation mission to fill in and return to us. That is consistent with what the Report says. It is the process of that aggregation, when we ask questions like, "what do you mean by 'good'?" and "what do you mean by ' satisfactory ' ?", "what do you mean by 'poor'?". We have no absolute criteria numerically but we do suggest to each evaluation team that the basis for expressing their assessments is really our guidelines on project design, our guidelines for project implementation and our cooperation on project evaluation in particular. All these are covered in these guidelines, but individual evaluation missions make their own judgements.
Some delegations referred to the proportion of evaluation reports whose quality is not good. As we reported here, over the last several years there has been a gradual yet steady improvement in that regard. I think this is common experience. UNDP also reports similar progress. I have been talking about the same rate of progress and this reflects a more concerted effort among UNDP, FAO and other agencies where we have collaborated intensively to improve project guidelines, the number of workshops in Headquarters as well as in the field on the subject of project design work and evaluation matters.
So I hope we can keep up the progress, but sometimes due to procedural problems we may end up with an evaluation team which does not have represented in it adequate evaluation expertise. As Mr Shah says, each of the three parties involved in the project implementation nominate their own participants in the light of terms of reference and to cover the specific expertise needed. This condition is not always met a hundred percent of the time, so occasionally one may have a mission with two technical experts and both of them lacking in evaluation experience. We have been fairly stringent in screening the quality of evaluation reports, so I hope we can make further progress here.
A number of delegations mentioned the problem of project design. This is certainly a major preoccupation, a common problem experienced by UN agencies engaged in field operations and technical cooperation. For instance, UNDP reports that for 1991, on the basis of something like 950 projects from all the agencies, they experience something like 30 percent of these are poor in design.
We are a little bit lower than that and they are about 20 percent good. We have a similar way of scoring so I am not saying that we are much better or anything but just make a point that it is a very difficult problem area and
if I may give my personal observation, I think compared to investment type of projects, technical assistance projects sometimes are not given adequate attention by donors, recipient governments and also UN agencies, particularly in the case of UNDP. We may have a certain weakness in the sense that the UN system is to serve the government; if the government insists on certain priorities, unless it is a very serious problem. In this case we have to say no but we try to make do, so when we come to evaluation we look at the project design; we may find the project design very optimistic and realistically so in the terms of the logic of the timing, the achievements, inputs required, etc. So as I said I think the project design is a very difficult area and it is progressively becoming so because in FAO projects are moving more and more in least developed countries, poorer countries, particularly some countries in Africa and the projects that are evaluated particularly tend to concentrate on these areas because evaluations are called because of management problems. So the expertise needed for project formulation, the requirements for that are becoming more and more diverse rather than narrowly based technical expertise. We really need to look at more and more the institution of expertise, socioeconomic expertise and really requires multidisciplinary approach and think we are making progress but I think in FAO our strength has been technical input and I think this is the area somewhat handicapped for us and as you noted, as we reported here, we are trying to make up for that by very intensive staff training on the project design work.
In the terms of corrective action on the project design, Mr Shah has mentioned the training staff, this is done about twice a year, both at Headquarters, sometimes in the field through associated field colleagues, also the other agencies staff in these countries, also partly through the feedback from the evaluation process, there are fairly intensive efforts going on to improve further the various guidelines, the procedures process for projects, planning formulation and appraisal within FAO. Also our service participates very intensely in the staff training relating the project design evaluation matters and we pay a great deal of attention to the feedback from the projects evaluation as well as the Programme evaluation. Trying to provide effectively feedback from very large numbers of diverse projects like this, it is not so easy, even for the recipients, so in recent years we are concentrating more and more on Programme evaluations. There we can see the projects in the very specific context as various delegations said, we have to look at more and more the extra project context in order to have a clearer understanding of the impact and the reason for the impact of the project in the field. So this is the one way we try to improve the feedback process in discussion with programme managers.
LE PRESIDENT: Comme l'a souligné l'Ambassadeur de France, nous avons examiné ce matin une des pièces d'une trilogie: le Rapport d'évaluation du Programme. Cet après-midi, nous examinerons le Plan à moyen terme et lundi le Programme de travail et budget.
Le nombre et la qualité des interventions font qu'il m'est quasiment impossible d'en faire une synthèse. Ou j'y consacre une heure, et les interprètes ne seront certainement pas d'accord, ou en cinq minutes j'essaie de souligner les aspects les plus importants. Je m'en tiendrai à la seconde hypothèse et j'essaierai d'être bref.
Le Représentant de l'Inde et celui du Congo ont souligné à juste titre l'importance dans les missions tripartites d'évaluation du rôle et de la responsabilité incombant aux Gouvernements. Je crois qu'il s'agit d'un aspect essentiel car il incombe aux Gouvernements, qui connaissent les réalités de leurs pays et populations, de savoir quels sont les résultats et quel peut être l'impact d'un certain nombre de projets du programme. Je crois que s'il y a une participation des donneurs et de la FAO aux missions d'évaluation, le rôle clé et essentiel incombe toujours aux pays ou organisations régionales où se développent certains programmes. Ce point doit être répété et ce, avec force.
Il est évidemment très difficile de savoir ce qu'est exactement une évaluation parce qu'il faudrait pouvoir à chaque fois évaluer les évaluateurs, or c'est une tâche impossible. Chaque organisation essaie de trouver" les évaluateurs les plus compétents, et je vois que la FAO a fait un effort considérable. A juste titre, le Représentant des Etats-Unis a souligné l'importance d'intégrer les évaluations dans le cadre large des actions menées non seulement par la FAO mais par d'autres organisations de la famille des Nations Unies, et il serait intéressant également dans l'avenir d'intégrer un certain nombre de programmes bilatéraux parce que dans les statistiques qui sont données en ce qui concerne la qualité des projets, je crois que dans le secteur multilatéral, on a tendance - et c'est une très bonne chose - à faire des évaluations de budgets et programmes qui présentent des difficultés, qui sont difficiles et délicates, alors que les projets qui ne posent aucun problème et qui se déroulent bien ne sont pas nécessairement évalués de la même façon. Dans le bilatéral - et là, je parle d'expérience - on a tendance au contraire à faire des évaluations de ce qui marche bien de façon à faire une apologie de l'action menée par l'administration compétente en jetant très souvent un voile pudique ou impudique sur ce qui ne fonctionne pas et qu'on a trop tendance à oublier.
Ce genre de statistiques sur le nombre et les résultats d'évaluations sont très sujettes à caution, comme l'a dit le Représentant de la Suède. La discussion qui a eu lieu ce matin, particulièrement passionnante, est probablement l'amorce de discussions plus larges à venir.
Je crois, de fait, que nous sommes au début d'un nouveau processus. La FAO a eu le courage de présenter différemment son rapport en intégrant - et c'est un aspect essentiel - le Programme ordinaire et le Programme de terrain. On a beaucoup parlé d'avantages comparatifs, on parle souvent du centre d'excellence, mais les avantages comparatifs de la FAO seront toujours fonction de la qualité et de l'importance des Programmes de terrain parce qu'il est impossible pour des experts en chambre, des experts cantonnés à Rome, d'avoir une qualité d'expertise s'ils n'ont pas les contacts avec les Bureaux régionaux, les Bureaux nationaux et les autorités locales de façon à connaître les réalités des pays. Il n'y a pas de programme possible sans contacts avec cette réalité, et je crois que la qualité de l'expertise et des travaux de la FAO, comme la qualité de son Programme ordinaire seront toujours fonction de l'importance de ses Programmes de terrain; or, si pour le Programme ordinaire, il semble, davantage possible dans l'avenir de pouvoir compter sur un financement programmé, en ce qui concerne le Programme de terrain, nous sommes toujours dans une situation plus délicate puisqu'il n'y a pas d'assurance en ce qui concerne le financement des Programmes de terrain.
Là, il est important que tous ceux qui ont des programmes bilatéraux importants se rendent compte de l'impérieuse nécessité, dans la vision du monde de demain, de s'engager résolument dans des programmes multilatéraux. Qu'on le veuille ou non, les programmes bilatéraux appartiennent au passé. Les programmes d'avenir doivent être conçus dans le cadre des grandes organisations de la famille des Nations Unies. Tous les Membres de ce Conseil et tous les Membres de la FAO, de notre Organisation, doivent être exigeants en ce qui concerne la qualité des programmes et projets, mais il est important de savoir que ceux-ci ne seront de qualité que dans la mesure où une certaine programmation financière et une certaine assurance quant au financement d'une masse de travail suffisante et de qualité pourront être assurées.
On a parlé d'éléments de rentabilité économique. L'élément le plus important a toujours été, tout au moins en ce qui me concerne, la rentabilité sociale, et il est parfois extrêmement difficile de juger de la valeur des transferts de connaissances, de l'amélioration des techniques, de tout ce qui peut être communiqué ou transféré au niveau des hommes et des femmes de l'ensemble des pays du monde.
En conclusion, je voudrais dire simplement que ce débat a été de très grande qualité, que l'évaluation - le Mexique y a fait allusion - notamment de certains aspects des Programmes de terrain, en particulier le PCT, doit toujours rester multilatérale. Je crois mauvais que certains Etats - quels qu'ils soient - mènent des enquêtes à propos de certains programmes. L'essence de notre Organisation est de sauver cet esprit multilatéral. Je vous ai dit hier ce que je pensais du consensus. J'aurai l'occasion de le redire. Nous devons tendre à nous mettre d'accord, mais cela dans le cadre d'un état d'esprit qui doit être commun à tous.
Merci de la participation de tous les Membres du Conseil à ce débat passionnant; je suis convaincu que cet après-midi, nous aurons un débat encore plus passionnant, parce qu'ici nous avons vu une situation reflétant une expérience du passé et que cet après-midi, tous ensemble, je souhaite que nous puissions construire l'avenir.
The meeting rose at 12.45 hours
La séance est levée à 12 h 45.
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.45 horas.