C 99/INF/8


Conference

Thirtieth Session

Rome, 12-23 November 1999

PRESENTATION OF THE EDOUARD SAOUMA AWARD 1998-1999

 

1. The Twenty-Seventh Session of the FAO Conference in November 1993 adopted Resolution 2/93 and decided to institute, as a new permanent feature in FAO, an award to a national or regional institution which - in the course of the biennium preceding the Conference - has implemented with particular efficiency a project funded by the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). The award bears the name of Dr. Edouard Saouma and is directed towards the goals he served. It is conferred every biennium.

2. The elements of the Award are (i) a medal inscribed with the name of the recipient institution; (ii) a scroll describing its achievements; (iii) a cash prize of US$ 25,000; (iv) travel to FAO headquarters in Rome by a representative of the winning institution to participate in the Award ceremony and to receive the award on behalf of the institution.

Selection of the Winning Institution

3. The Edouard Saouma Award Selection Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Director-General selects the Award winning institution; it comprises the Independent Chairman of the Council, the Chairman of the Programme Committee and the Chairman of the Finance Committee. The selection has been made from a short-list drawn up by an Ad Hoc inter-departmental Screening Committee, chaired by the Deputy Director-General and comprising the Assistant Directors-General of all the Headquarters Departments, the Director of the Field Operations Division, and the TCP Coordinator as Secretary.

4. Nominations are submitted by national institutions to FAO Representatives or UNDP Resident Representatives, as appropriate, for endorsement and eventual submission to the technical Department in charge of the project's technical backstopping. FAO Representatives, FAO Regional Representatives or UNDP Resident Representatives, as appropriate, may also submit nominations directly to the technical department concerned.

Conferment of the Award

5. The Award is normally presented by the Director-General at a special ceremony held at the beginning of each regular session of the Conference to the representative of the winning institution. The Award for the 1998-1999 biennium will be presented by Mr. Edouard Saouma, the former Director-General, at the Thirtieth Session of the FAO Conference, at a ceremony to be held on Friday, 12 November 1999.

6. On this third occasion, the Award is given to two national institutions that excelled equally in the implementation of the respective TCP assistance; giving the price to only one institution would have been unjust to the other one given the outstanding contribution of both. For this reason, the Organization proposes to confer the Award exceptionally to two national institutions, who will share the cash prize.

7. Each of the national institutions nominated has had remarkable achievements in terms of impact, catalytic effects and follow-up. From the twenty three nominations, these two national institutions stand out due to the commitment and enthusiasm with which they implemented and transformed an initially modest contribution by the Organization's Technical Cooperation Programme into a success that well exceeds the amount invested by FAO.

8. The performance of these two projects has been outstanding in terms of efficiency of project implementation as well as impact and catalytic effects, which are well described in the documentation attached. The personal commitment and enthusiasm of the Directors and the staff of these institutions have been vital for the achievements of the two projects and is at the origin of their success, not only in terms of immediate objectives but also with regard to the sustainability of their achievements.

Forestry Department (Dirección Forestal), Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio de la Agricultura), Republic of Cuba
TCP/CUB/5612 Formulación de una nueva Ley Forestal)

9. Cuba's forests have a high economic potential, in addition to their important social functions and environmental values. To manage them properly, it became necessary to amend the forestry legislation in place, in light of the structural and economic changes that the country has undergone in recent years. The TCP project helped design Cuba's new Forest Law, which offers an improved framework for sustainable forest management, providing for people's involvement in forest activities, as well as incentives for private forestry. Cuba's Forestry Department's main asset is its professional staff, technically well trained and fully dedicated. Before the project started, the Forestry Department had taken the initiative to prepare the initial version of the forest law, which was later used as a basis for further drafting. Besides being instrumental in making perfect arrangements for the operation of the project, the Forestry Department's role was crucial in the whole drafting process. In addition to the Director himself, three senior staff members were assigned to the task, worked full time with the project team during its stay in Cuba, and remained actively involved in the process until its completion, through an intense electronic exchange of correspondence with FAO HQs for the refinement of subsequent drafts. Upon finalization of the bill, the Minister concerned took the necessary actions to obtain its approval, first at the Cabinet level, then formally by the Parliament. Following the enactment of the law, the Forestry Department began a new drafting exercise for the preparation of implementing regulations (a process which is now completed, with the official adoption of the Forest Regulations). Moreover, it undertook a similar exercise in a forestry-related area: a review of existing wildlife legislation with a view to reforming it. The commitment and professionalism of the Forestry Department have decisively contributed to the success of this project.

General Department of Plant Protection, Republic of Yemen
(TCP/YEM/4555- Emergency Assistance for Control of Aphid)

10. Yemen's stone and pome fruit sector was confronted with an outbreak of an accidentally introduced insect pest, the Brown Peach Aphid, causing severe losses to the fruit sector. An attempt to control the situation through the use of cover sprays with insecticides proved not to be sustainable and dangerous for man and the environment. Therefore TCP assistance was sought. The project used, as a first emergency action, an effective and safe chemical control strategy based on the use of a systemic insecticide that could be applied directly on a small surface of the bark of the tree. As a longer sustainable solution, a natural enemy of the Peach Aphid was released in the infested areas. Prior to the project, production of stone and pome fruits, in particular almonds, had dropped severely, in certain areas by 50%. Now yields in this sector, which includes around 200 000 farming families, are back to normal. The impact is seen in particular among small-scale producers who were not able to obtain or to afford insecticides for short-term control.

The General Department of Plant Protection (GDPP) provided the crucial contribution to the success of the project, and made facilities, personnel and local resources available for the proper implementation of the activities. It skilfully carried out insecticide trials and, after the results were known, treated large parts of the affected areas during many months of long working hours. The personnel involved in the biocontrol component of the project has demonstrated much commitment, initiative and capability in developing a rearing, release and monitoring technology of the natural enemy. It converted laboratory rooms into a very practical and productive mass-rearing facility. The GDPP core extension personnel effectively trained extension workers and farmers in this new concept of biological control and continues to organize field days on this topic. The dedicated work of the GDPP has contributed towards the firm establishment of an "IPM culture" among policy makers, researchers, extensionists and farmers. This is a major achievement because till now use of pesticides was seen as the only solution for pest problems. The natural enemy of the Peach Aphid is presently well established in all affected areas, making it unlikely that this pest will again reach damaging levels. Moreover, the GDPP is now able to independently multiply, release and monitor the impact of the natural enemy, should this pest occur again in future. GDPP has established good working relations with international institutions working in biological control, which will be useful for the continuation of sustainable management of pests in the country. This provides a strong basis for the sustainability of Plant Protection in Yemen. The GDPP is playing a key role in making full use of the potential of biological control to curb other pests in cotton, fruits and vegetables, within the framework of an IPM strategy.