PC 83/4 (a)

Programme Committee

Eighty-third Session

Rome, 8-12 May 2000

Programme Evaluation of Food and Agricultural Policy
(Programme 2.2.4)

Table of Contents


ES Department Management Response to the Evaluation


(i) The evaluation of Programme 2.2.4 was carried out by the Evaluation Service from September l998 through February 1999, covering its performance during 1992-98. It was originally scheduled to be published in the Programme Evaluation Report (PER) 1998-99, but in the event it was not included due to the need to keep the PER's volume within its allocated wordings. In accordance with the decision of the Programme Committee at its session in September 1999, the evaluation is now presented to the Committee for its review in line with the revised procedures approved by the Committee for reporting to the Governing Bodies on programme evaluations. This note provides a summary (with update) on the evaluation.

(ii) Programme 2.2.4 consists of the following functions: (a) monitoring and assessing major global problems and issues on food and agriculture; (b) serving as a window to the outside world in disseminating main FAO policy work in these areas; and (c) providing substantive support to the related statutory bodies: the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as well as other international fora. The programme was divided into three sub-programmes addressing related but different areas ( - Global Perspective Studies; - Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Action; - World Food Security Analysis). Each of the sub-programmes were executed by separate units, making it a complex task to ensure the cohesion of the Programme as a single entity.

(iii) The evaluation concluded that:

(iv) In the process of reviewing an earlier draft with the programme staff concerned, several observations and recommendations were immediately acted upon by FAO management, notably the one related to the structure of Programme 2.2.4 and another concerning staffing of the Global Perspective Studies Unit (Sub-programme Regarding the latter issue, the post of Unit's Chief was filled without delay with a well-qualified staff member, following the retirement of the previous incumbent.

(v) The issue of programme structure was addressed through the then ongoing Strategic Framework and programme planning exercise and the results may be seen in the restructured Programmes 2.2.3 and 2.2.4 presented in the Programme of Work and Budget 2000-01. In particular, the Global Perspective Studies work has been moved to Programme 2.2.3 which is thus firmly focused on food and agricultural information (monitoring, assessments and outlooks), while Programme 2.2.4 (now retitled as Agriculture, Food Security and Trade Policy) has been substantially expanded by incorporating some of the policy-oriented work under other programmes within the Major Programme 2.2. Thus, the new programme has a broader and more coherent focus on agricultural policy issues, aimed at the reduction of poverty and food insecurity, while addressing main policy issues arising from international trade and globalization process. The new structure also has a better potential to facilitate more effective inter-governmental policy cooperation through CFS (including monitoring and follow-up of the WFS Plan of Action) and CCP.

(vi) Further noteworthy achievements have been made since the evaluation was carried out, in particular:

(vii) Nevertheless, many of the conclusions and recommendations made in the programme evaluation remain valid today. These include:

a. Regarding the Programme as a whole: there is a continuing need to develop a more integrated approach and collaboration between the sub-programmes targeted at the achievement of the Organization's strategic objectives. Another concern is the weakening trend in FAO core staff resources, as available expertise continues to shrink in some areas.

b. Regarding Sub-programme Issues relating to:

c. Regarding Sub-programme Issues with regard to:

d. Regarding Sub-programme Issues with regard to:

Programme Features


1. As the lead technical agency for food and agriculture in the UN system, FAO monitors agricultural development, analyzes in depth major global and regional problems with direct implications for food and agriculture, and makes available its policy advisory services to Member Nations and other partners. These functions, as affirmed repeatedly by FAO Conferences, are implicit in Article I of the Constitution and may be carried out independently or in partnership with other organizations. A major aim of FAO's policy work is to promote and facilitate agreement among Member Nations on norms, standards and strategies, and to support their application by individual countries or groups of countries in their policies and programmes. FAO, with its in-depth knowledge of food and agriculture, its world-wide field experience and networks, its multidisciplinary staff and its international status as an honest broker, is expected to have the required comparative advantage for this work.

2. A number of significant international developments affecting Member Nations' policies and strategies for the food and agriculture sector have marked the period covered (1992-98) by this review, including macro-economic reforms introduced by many developing countries and economies in transition as well as trade liberalization promoted under the Uruguay Round and more generally the process of globalization. At the same time, FAO has taken several initiatives for concerted international action in its priority areas, in particular the International Conference on Nutrition and the World Food Summit, which together with the UNCED, have substantially expanded FAO's work in this area.


3. There are broadly three dimensions to FAO's policy work. One is analytical, covering problem identification and assessment, leading to recommended courses of actions. The second is direct assistance including policy advice to individual Member Nations, especially the LIFDCs. The third relates to FAO's role in providing an international forum for policy and strategy examinations with a view to building consensus among the membership and external partners.

4. Programme 2.2.4 (Food and Agricultural Policy) is concerned with all three of the above-mentioned dimensions of FAO policy work. It covers some of the main policy-related work under Major Programme 2.2 (Food and Agriculture Policy and Development) but policy analysis is also carried out under a large number of other technical programmes, and direct policy advisory assistance is increasingly channelled through Major Programme 3.1 (Policy Assistance), using the Policy Assistance Branches in Regional Offices. The programme in its present form was re-constituted in the 1996-97 biennium from previous Programme 2.1.8 with the same title, mainly by transferring its other two main components dealing with "agricultural policy analysis" (Sub-programme and the operational aspects of "agricultural policy assistance" ( to Programme 2.2.3 (Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis) and Major Programme 3.1 (Policy Assistance), respectively.


5. The Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99 states that the aim is "monitoring developments and assessing the short-medium and long-term prospects of agricultural production, trade and food security, and providing and servicing inter-governmental fora in which global food and agricultural policy issues can be debated." Thus, the programme is intended to monitor and assess major global problems and issues on food and agriculture, to serve as a window to the outside world in disseminating main FAO policy work in these areas, and to provide substantive support to the related statutory bodies: the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as well as other international fora.

6. The programme comprises three sub-programmes:

  1. Sub-programme (Global Perspective Studies) - to prepare and update a well- informed and knowledge-based long-term perspective of world food and agriculture;

  2. Sub-programme (Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Action) - to promote trade in agricultural commodities. This is by far the largest of the three sub-programmes, covering research and policy-oriented analyses in support to the CCP and its Inter-government Commodity Groups (IGGs), Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (ECDC) in trade, collaboration with WTO and other international organizations, and assistance in strengthening national capacity for commodity and trade policies;

  3. Sub-programme (World Food Security Analysis) - mainly (as reformulated in the present biennium) to service the CFS, particularly in monitoring the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action, and alerting the international community to issues underlying the world food security, including contributing to food security debates in other UN and international fora.


7. The three sub-programmes under the programme are executed by separate units in ES Department: the Global Perspectives Studies Unit (ESDG) for Sub-programme; the Commodities and Trade Division (ESC) for Sub-programme; and the Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service (ESAF) for Sub-programme

8. Sub-programme (Global Perspective Studies): Because of the highly inter-disciplinary nature of the work, ESDG maintains close working relationships with other ES divisions: ESA on economic policy and food security issues, ESC on trade policies and commodity projections, ESN on nutrition-related issues, and ESS on statistical information. Likewise with several units in other technical departments (AG, SD, FO, FI): for example, AGL on land evaluation and irrigation development, AGP on land use and yield projections, AGP on pesticides, AGL on fertilizer use, AGS on mechanization, AGA on livestock sector, SDR on sustainability and on technology issues, SDA on rural poverty and institutions issues and TCI on investment. FI and FO Departments make substantive contributions regarding their inputs to food projections as well as long-term perspectives.

9. Close cooperation has also been maintained with a wide network of outside organizations that also undertake long-term studies on food and agriculture or make projections on an ad hoc basis. Among these are: the World Bank, USDA, OECD, EU, FAPRI (Iowa State University), IFPRI , the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA in Vienna), and various other universities on specific aspects.

10. Sub-programme (Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Action): The ESC Division complements its own commodity database on production, consumption, trade and prices for current seasons with information obtained from ESS and WAICENT for historical statistics. On Uruguay Round matters related to agriculture, the Division collaborates with several other FAO units, including: ESN in the organization of workshops and seminars on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), AGA on animal health measures related to livestock trade, AGP on plant quarantine and phytosanitary measures and the trade-related work of IPPC, TCA in field projects related to the Uruguay Round and training for Multilateral Trade Negotiations and FI and FO departments primarily in the Inter-Departmental Task Force on the Uruguay Round. ESC also provides the Secretary for the Inter-Departmental Task Force on Follow-up to the Uruguay Round.

11. Work with external partners has focussed on Uruguay Round commodity development measures and the analysis of longer term market prospects and commodity-specific trade policy issues. Regarding the former, major partners include WTO, UNCTAD, ITC, World Bank, IFPRI, the CFC and various international commodity organisations and regional bodies. Regarding the latter, major partners include: OECD, the World Bank, the International Grains Council, the International Dairy Federation, the International Sugar Organisation, the International Coffee and Cocoa Organisations and the International Cotton Advisory Committee and the CGIAR system. In addition, there is frequent contact and exchange of information with the International Jute Organisation and the International Rubber Study Group. The Division collaborates with bilateral sources in assisting developing countries in Multilateral Trade negotiations. There is also active collaboration with NGOs on the Uruguay Round.

12. Sub-programme (World Food Security Analysis): Work under this sub-programme, much like, is highly interdisciplinary and draws on many sources both inside the ES Department (ESA, ESC, ESS, ESN as well as ESDG) and outside. On the theme selected for discussion by the CFS at each session, technical contributions from other departments (AG, FI, FO, SD) are also required. Thus, the documentation prepared for consideration of the CFS is highly dependent on the quality of technical contributions outside of ESAF proper. Similarly, the quality of agricultural statistics made available to FAO by Member Nations inevitably affects the related analytical papers.

13. Collaboration with other organizations has been fairly limited but they are given the opportunity to present the results of relevant work on a case-by-case basis (recently a World Bank presentation on its strategy for rural development and a report of the UN Commission on Human Rights on actions taken to implement WFS recommendations).

Programme Objectives and Design

14. The programme deals with functions relevant and useful to the priority concerns of the Organization, both in terms of the thematic subjects covered and services provided, especially regarding food security, including WFS follow-up, and trade in agriculture. Each of the component sub-programmes has a clear specific role, with fairly well-defined purpose and design. However, the programme as a whole lacks coherence in terms of its structure and objectives - its coverage is partial even within the policy-oriented work under Major Programme 2.2 and the stated aim is vague. Furthermore, as the programme's three main components are executed by three separate units, it has been difficult to manage the programme as a single entity, although informal and formal coordination exists to ensure a reasonable degree of practical cohesion.

15. In terms of its structure, the justification for placing these three particular sub-programmes together appears to be that they all contributed to FAO's policy work of global scope in selected priority areas, and particularly in facilitating discussion of policy-related issues by the Governing Bodies. However clear links across the three sub-programmes are difficult to discern and they all have strong links with programmes other than 2.2.4 (particularly 2.2.2) as befits their interdisciplinary nature. The global perspectives study work under Sub-programme is highly multi-disciplinary and receives inputs from virtually all substantive programmes. Sub-programme is focused on commodity market and trade policy issues, including policy work and direct advice/assistance to countries and has direct links with many activities under other programmes, especially 2.2.2 (Food and Agricultural Information). Likewise, Sub-programme, an equally highly multidisciplinary programme, has more direct links with some activities under Programmes 2.2.2 and 2.2.3. Being multidisciplinary programmes, therefore, makes them more difficult to appear as one integrated whole.

Resources and Management


16. During the eight-year period 1992-98, the programme, as defined here (covering the present components in earlier biennia), absorbed Regular Programme resources totalling US$ 51.7 million (in expenditures): for the 1998-99 biennium, it has appropriations of US$ 12.5 million (see Table 1). The expenditures increased substantially during 1994-97, especially under Sub-programme, reflecting the priority on food security, including work related to the preparation and organization of the World Food Summit in 1996. The reduced level of appropriations in the 1998-99 biennium is explained, apart from overall FAO budget constraints, by the transfer of two activity components from Sub-programme to Sub-programme (Agriculture in Economic Development also handled by ESAF) as well as elimination of resources for the WFS. Thus, the programme's share in the Major Programme 2.2. declined from 22% in 1996-97 biennium to 14 % in 1998-99 biennium.

Table 1: Programme 2.2.4 - RP Resources* (in US$ `000)

Sub-programmes 1992-93 1994-95 1996-97 1998-99
  app.** exp.*** app.** exp.*** App.** exp.*** app.** exp.*** 2,339 2,810 2,439 2,357 1,530 1,753 1,508 N.A. 12,002 9,684 12,954 9,765 9,237 9,207 9,260 N.A. 4,150 2,982 3,538 5,278 5,775 7,854**** 1,682 N.A.
Total 18,491 15,476 18,931 17,400 16,542 18,814 12,450 N.A.

* the structure of the programme underwent changes in biennium 1996-97 from Programme 2.1.8 to this form. Data for Sub-programmes and represent estimates for the first two biennia.

** biennial PWB appropriations

*** expenditures - not yet available for 1998-99.

**** includes expenditures for the preparation and organization of the World Food Summit (some US$ 2.1 million)


17. Since the 1996-97 biennium, both Sub-programmes and experienced declines in allotted resources by about US$ 500,000, but proportionately with larger impact on the former, with appropriations for this biennium being nearly half of expenditures in 1992-93, in nominal terms. Sub-programme is by far the largest, with 50-70 percent of the total programme resources, with over half the resources being used for research and policy analysis work on commodity and trade in support of the CCP/IGGs. For the programme as a whole, the declines in the RP resources have adversely impacted on staff and non-staff costs, including publications, meetings and consultancy support.


18. The professional staffing post structure has been largely stable during the period covered. In the current biennium, there are 4 posts for ESDG, 31 for ESC and 4 for ESAF, but not all devoted to Programme 2.2.4: for example, ESC staff also devote a significant part of their time to work under Programme 2.2.2 ( Food and Agricultural Information). However, due to the decline in resources, ESDG lost one professional post and ESC two over the period, and experienced prolonged staff vacancies. However, professional staffing at the regional level has been strengthened, and the number of officers working primarily on food security matters (and to a limited extent ESC activities) has doubled (from 3 to 6 and now covering SAFR, RAP, RNE and RLA). Similarly, there have been sizeable reductions in the number of GS posts under the programme as well as downgrading.

19. In the ongoing strategic planning process (1998/99), the ES Department has been reviewing the existing structure of Major Programme 2.2 and proposed a reformulation, partly as a result of this programme review.

Implementation Results and Effectiveness


20. During the period under review, the main activities have been the preparation of AT:2010, work related to the World Food Summit and meeting ad hoc requests from other organizations for FAO's contribution on specific developmental topics. The most important output, Agriculture:Towards 2010 (AT:2010), was submitted to the Twenty-seventh Session of the FAO Conference and subsequently revised and published commercially in 1995.

21. AT:2010, like its predecessor AT:2000, has distinct qualities. Firstly, the scope of the study is global as regards country coverage and comprehensive as regards commodity coverage and topics. Secondly, it is the end product of an integrative analysis, involving the interplay of several dynamic factors (economic development, population growth, natural resources, etc.) and their aggregate effect on the long-term prospects of food and agriculture in developed and developing regions. This analysis is based on inter-disciplinary work within FAO and dialogue with outside peers, allowing a uniquely comprehensive global approach to perspective studies. In this respect FAO's comparative advantage cannot be disputed, particularly as the cost of the study has been modest.

22. AT:2010 was well-received by the Twenty-seventh Session of the FAO Conference, which found it unbiased and of great interest to member countries and non-governmental organizations. The subsequent debate on the findings of AT:2010 set the stage for the preparation of the World Food Summit, for which much of the AT:2010 material was used. The AT:2010 data and projections were also used by the TC Department in the preparation of country strategy papers as part of follow-up to the WFS.

23. The revision of AT:2010, extending the time horizon to 2015 (to address the issue of what progress in food security can be expected in relation to WFS target of halving under-nutrition by 2015) and to 2030 (to address wider issues of long-term sustainability and climate change), is currently in progress. This involves a number of methodological improvements, such as the extension of the agro-ecological evaluation to include China, the use of more recent data, the taking on board of more recent information on technology development, the use of new demographic data and projections, and the assessment of future trade flows in food taking into account the latest developments in trade policy.

24. Up to 1995, periodic progress reports to the Conference on the implementation of the International Agricultural Adjustment (IAA) Guidelines was a major activity. However, as the topics were also dealt with in other reports to the Governing Bodies, since 1987, following a Conference decision, the reporting period has been reduced to once every four years. Consequently, the sub-programme has spent less time on this activity, and in the current biennium, it no longer has resources for it: reporting was shifted to (Comparative Agricultural Development). Similarly, other traditional work, such as substantive contributions to the United Nations International Development Strategy, has declined due to reduced demand : for contributions to UNCED and UNCED-related events, the lead is taken by the SD department.


25. The effects of the sub-programme can be gauged from the use made of AT:2010. It is a major work of reference for FAO, providing the background for other analytical studies, for policy papers submitted to major international fora as well as providing a framework for articulating the Medium-Term Plan and the Strategic Framework, and particularly in the run up to the WFS. Outside of FAO, the study has constituted a main source of data and assessment for debates on long-term prospects in food and agriculture, food security, natural resources and sustainability.

26. The impact of the sub-programme is more complex and difficult to assess with any precision. However, AT:2010 study has undoubtedly enhanced the image of FAO as a world authority on agriculture, as evidenced by the following quotations in reviews of the book in major professional journals:

"The presentation is analytical and judicious in discussing the major demand, supply and policy forces....Full weight is given to natural resources and environmental degradation...". 2

"... a treasure of information that will usefully inform debate... In spite of its price, it should be held at least by every decent agricultural library in the world...". 3

"Its broad approach combines (i) a quantitative base which systematically focuses attention on the key factors... ; with (ii) a series of sectoral and cross-cutting analyses".4

"It belongs on every reference list...Any effort that attempts to confront the issue of future food and population balance that ignores[this work] cannot be regarded as serious".5


27. The sub-programme has continued to support the promotion and expansion of trade through four areas of work: (i) commodity and trade policy research and analysis in support of the CCP and the Inter-governmental Groups (IGGs), including the Consultative Sub-committee on Surplus Disposal (CSSD); (ii) collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO); (iii) the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and other organizations; (iv) support to ECDC and Commodity Policy at National level, which involves assisting regional economic organizations in expanding agricultural commodity trade and providing advice and assistance to the developing countries on national policies related to agricultural commodities (excluding forestry and fisheries).

Serving the CCP and the IGGs, including the CSSD

28. As one of the Standing Committees of the Council, the constitutional mandate of the CCP is to: (i) monitor and review the developments of agricultural commodities which have an international character ; and (ii) make recommendations to the Council on policy issues concerning trade in major agricultural commodities. In carrying out its mandate, the CCP works through its subsidiary bodies for specific commodities, presently comprising a number of Inter-governmental Groups (IGGs) and the Consultative Sub-committee on Surplus Disposal.

29. Over a period of 30 years (1955-85), eleven IGGs and one Sub-Group on Hides and Skins were established - these complemented a number of specialist agricultural commodity organizations that had been created outside FAO by 1985 covering cotton, sugar, coffee, cocoa, grains, jute, wine, tropical timber, natural rubber, olive oil, meat and dairy. In 1997, another Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits was established by the 1997 FAO Conference. With respect to agricultural commodity groups, FAO is unique as such formal arrangements do not exist in the United Nations system. The IGGs provide a fora for the exchange of basic information to improve market transparency and to provide an analytical framework by which economic issues relevant to the trade of specific commodities can be debated and appropriate decisions taken. Thus IGGs are set up with the purpose of promoting mutual cooperation between producing and consuming countries on commodity and trade, and seeking venues of assistance for solving specific technical and marketing problems of commodities, to clarify the impact of trade policy developments and to facilitate trade expansion.

30. In the period under review, the IGGs have focused their attention on in-depth market analysis and outlook,6 medium term projections, analysis of the impact of the Uruguay Round on their commodities, qualitative product improvements, stimulation of consumption in producing and importing countries, solution to key problems related to environment, biotechnology, sanitary and phytosanitary issues with potential impact on trade, and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) project-related work. Regarding the CFC, nine of the IGGs and sub-groups have been particularly active in their role as CFC-designated International Commodity Bodies (ICBs), especially in developing strategies and sponsoring projects.

31. The CCP has increased over time, reaching (as of January 1999) 107 members (including EU). Meetings, held every two years in Rome, are well attended (with 70-85 percent of the members present), and CCP documentation is generally appreciated. The up-to-date commodity market information and analysis is particularly valued as many developing countries do not have the resources to undertake such work on their own. In the period under review, the CCP has been called to appraise the impact of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations on the prospects of major traded agricultural commodities with special regard to the exports of the developing countries and other matters (Conference Resolution 2/79) as well as to assess the linkages between trade, environment and sustainable agricultural development and other technical subjects.

32. Major CCP achievements during the period covered include:

33. FAO's Principles of Surplus Disposal seek to protect commercial trade and domestic agricultural production from the negative effects of surplus disposal through the mechanism of Usual Market Requirements. This is a mechanism which requires of countries receiving agricultural commodities on concessional terms as defined by the Catalogue of Transactions, that they undertake to import a "usual" amount of the commodity so that the volume received on concessional terms is additional to "usual" market requirements. The possibility exists for countries which face balance of payments problems to be exempted from this requirement. Likewise, emergency food aid is excluded from the Usual Market Requirements. The forum to review these matters is the CSSD, which since 1954 monitors international shipments of surplus agricultural commodities used as food aid with the view to minimizing their harmful impact on commercial trade and agricultural production. The CSSD revised the Catalogue of Transactions in line with the new disciplines on export subsidies under the Uruguay Round, and the revised Register of Transactions was adopted by the FAO Council in 1997 (Resolution 1/113).This is expected to be helpful in avoiding circumvention of WTO disciplines on export subsidies on agricultural products.

34. Regarding reform of the IGGs, the CCP, at its Sixtieth Session (April 1995), decided on: (a) holding of IGG meetings every two years and not to exceed 2-3 days; (b) improved criteria for documentation and conduct of the meetings, including trial testing of back-to-back meetings within one week; and (c) possibility of hosting meetings outside Rome and further exploration of other sponsoring arrangements. The proposed measures were implemented for the 10 IGG meetings held between April 1995 and February 1997. The CCP at its Sixty-first Session (February 1997) welcomed the reported overall halving of the session costs, encouraging further implementation of these measures. The subject was again reviewed by the CCP at its Sixty-second Session (January 1999), and it was satisfied that further declines in average session costs were reported. The abolition of the IGG on Wine and Vine Products (the IGG on Cocoa had already been abolished)) and ten commodity sub-groups was approved, and the convening of joint meetings of related IGGs to deal with thematic issues of common concern was endorsed. Similarly, several additional reforms were adopted, including arrangements for decision-making on urgent matters by IGGs in their inter-session period, more task-oriented methods of work and more expeditious procedures for finalization of the meeting reports. As a result, the total costs of IGG sessions have dropped drastically: in the 1998-99 biennium, the total cost of 11 sessions amounted to US$ 266,000 compared to a total cost for 10 sessions in the 1992-93 biennium of US$ 836,000.

Uruguay Round

35. FAO has established a close and growing working relationship with WTO, particularly within the framework of the various Uruguay Round agreements (on Agriculture, the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade and in connection with Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - TRIPS). Apart from providing WTO with information and assessments on major agricultural commodities, FAO has also been assisting the developing member countries in becoming better informed on the Uruguay Round related issues. Many units of FAO are directly or indirectly involved with the various aspects related to the Uruguay Round, and this work is coordinated by a Task Force chaired by the ADG/ESD.

36. Main achievements include:

  1. 50 publications on the Uruguay Round completed and distributed (up to September 1998) in addition to a large number of special papers on commodity market analysis and outlook which are also of value to WTO members;

  2. eleven regional and sub-regional expert consultations to familiarize developing countries with the provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture and their implications, covering a total of over 90 countries (between March 1993 and December 1998);

  3. seven workshops or expert consultations held on the application of WTO's Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (between 1995-97); and

  4. a training programme for officials from developing countries on issues related to the Uruguay Round agreements with a view to assisting developing countries in the forthcoming Multilateral Trade Negotiations.

Collaboration with the CFC

37. As mentioned above, FAO's relation to the CFC, an inter-governmental financial institution operational since 1989, is a function of the nine IGGs (as well as the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade and Sub-group on Tropical Fruits) designated as International Commodity Bodies (ICBs). Whether prepared by FAO or any other technically competent organization, only projects sponsored by ICBs are eligible for funding by the CFC. Funded projects may be executed by FAO or any other technically competent organization. In the latter case, the ICB (in effect, FAO) assumes the responsibility for supervision; in the few cases executed by FAO, the responsibility for supervision is assigned to another body.

38. As of December 1998, the number of agricultural and fisheries projects sponsored by ICBs at FAO and approved by the CFC reached 23 with a total allocation of US$ 57.1 million, of which US$ 27.6 million came from CFC's own resources (mainly in the form of grants), US$ 11.6 from co-financing and US$ 17.9 million as counterpart contributions from countries associated with the projects: another 27 projects are in the pipeline with an estimated total cost of over US$ 40 million. While focussed primarily on applied research for improving product quality, enhancement of productivity, upgrading technical and economic efficiency, promoting vertical diversification and enhancing consumer demand, priority is given to projects which assist the LDCs. Out of the 23 projects approved, 3 have been completed, 1 fishery project is suspended because of the change in location, 11 are currently under implementation and the remaining projects have yet to commence. FAO has been executing only 3 projects (palm oil, coir and meat), and the remainder are executed by other organizations. Box 1 presents the profile of a CFC project executed by national teams in the beneficiary countries with technical assistance provided by FAO.

39. However, in recent years, CFC project funding to agriculture and fisheries has declined, particularly co-financing. The portion of CFC projects under grant is not keeping pace with the demand and recipient countries, mostly LDCs, find it difficult to make use of the CFC loan facilities. The CFC has also been unwilling to compensate FAO for project identification and formulation work and in the absence of any other source, such costs are currently absorbed by the institutions expected to implement the projects. For project supervision, however, the CFC makes available to FAO a fixed sum (US$ 15000 per project per year) regardless of project size or complexity. As a result it may fall short of the cost of supervisory services actually delivered. In cases of heavy workload associated with project supervision, some IGGs have delegated the task to a small Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which normally includes one FAO staff member. This mechanism, if proved successful, may be an appropriate way to reduce the cost of project supervision for FAO.

Support to ECDC and Commodity Policy at National level

40. In view of rising trends in agricultural trade among member countries of various economic groups, assistance on Economic Cooperation among the Developing Countries (ECDC) has been given higher priority in the period under review. A number of workshops were organized for various regional groupings, including the SADC countries, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) and the Consejo Agropecuario Centroamericano (CAC), and contributions were made to international conferences on specific commodities, e.g. the Asia Pacific Sugar Conference.

41. Commodity policy at the country level (CPCL), a continuing feature of the sub-programme focussed on assistance to the development of specific commodities, has expanded in recent years to broader questions related to the Uruguay Round and food security within the context of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. The bulk of the work is conducted through field projects mostly funded by TCP7, implemented by TCA and ESN, with technical backstopping by ESC, although ESC has also implemented a few of these projects itself. Another area of support has been training in market analysis involving participants from several countries - for example, a workshop on the "Restructuring of the Agricultural Sector with an Emphasis on the Role of the Private Enterprise in Food Security, Agricultural Economics and technology Innovation" held in Prague in 1997, attended by 45 participants from Belarus, Estonia, Moldova and the Russian Federation.


42. The sub-programme's effectiveness can be assessed by FAO's capacity in meeting the needs of Member Nations on commodity and trade policy issues, particularly in the context of the Uruguay Round trade negotiations. Through the sub-programme's work, FAO stands as a major, often the only, source of up-to-date and comprehensive information on major traded agricultural commodities and the world authority for analysing the specific features of individual commodities within the broader context of world trade. The sub-programme has also facilitated FAO's considerable contribution to some mechanisms implemented by WTO, especially regarding SPS and TBT measures.

43. The work of the CCP/IGGs structure plays a key role in this. In many cases, the CCP and IGGs represent the only global specialized forum dealing with specific commodities, facilitating the process of building international consensus on key commodity and trade issues from food and agriculture perspective. Thus, for example, the IGG on Wine and Vine Products was the first international body to launch the warning of an impending "wine lake", which resulted in international and national responses to adjust production capacities. In recent years, both the IGGs on Citrus Fruit and on Tea have been in the forefront in developing a consensus on how to address the potential market difficulties likely to arise as a result of structural surpluses. This has led to the development of practical market-oriented programmes which have received strong government and private sector support (see Box 2). Recent examples of action initiated by the IGGs include an amendment to the EC Packaging Directive which avoided an unfavourable impact on the use of jute bags, and current action to change the international trade classification for hides, skins and leather. Also worthy of note is the readiness of member countries to host IGG sessions, a pattern indicating commitment on their part: since 1993, this has been the case for six IGGs, involving 12 sessions in eight countries (Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand and South Africa).

44. FAO's capacity to assist in Uruguay Round follow-up activities is built on its accumulated knowledge about major traded agricultural commodities. It is well recognized, in particular, with respect to technical subjects such as the measurement of protection and the problems of the food-importing developing countries. There has been a large and growing demand by Member Nations and sub-regional trading groups for technical assistance and advocacy on; follow-up to the Uruguay Round, regarding the implementation of the Agreement on Agriculture, obligations as WTO members, and preparation for entry negotiations for non-WTO members. Developing countries in particular look to FAO for guidance and assistance in preparing for multilateral trade negotiations as well as for ways and means of strengthening their competitive position. Response, through a range of research, analysis and training activities, is made in collaboration with organizations such as WTO, UNCTAD, World Bank, OECD and with the support of some bilateral aid agencies.

Box 2: Examples of Successful Market Development Programmes Sponsored by IGGs:

1. Health benefits of black tea consumption: Under the auspices of the IGG on Tea, a programme to enhance demand through research and the promotion of health benefits of black tea consumption, attracted funds from a variety of sources: US$ 1.95 million in funds from the tea association of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, US$727,000 from the Tea Boards of India, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka and US$1.93 million from the CFC. This led to an international seminar on tea and health held in September 1998 at USDA in Washington DC and the development of a "Tea Mark" protected by international registration as the property of FAO on behalf of IGG members.

2. Diversified Product Development from Jute and other Fibres: the IGG on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres spearheaded the move to build awareness of potential market opportunities, which culminated with the organization of an International Consultation on Diversified Products funded by the Government of the Netherlands and the Rockefeller Foundation. The guidance provided by this work was taken up at national level, for example, in the US$ 20 million programme funded by the Government of India and UNDP to develop diversified products from jute and cotton blends.

3. Problem solving, including shortcomings in quality, default on contracts, disorderly production growth, market access difficulties and trade policy. For example, under the auspices of the IGG on Bananas, intensive consultations on the impact of recent trade policy developments contributed to a better understanding of the positions of the various groups of importing and exporting countries and helped improve transparency in the overall negotiating process.


45. During the period under review, the CFS, serviced by this sub-programme, held eight sessions8 - generally lasting four or five days each, with the exception of the WFS preparatory meetings which required considerable more time and effort . A standard item on the agenda of CFS sessions has always been the "assessment of the current world food security situation and recent policy developments". The original purpose was to assess the short-term food security situation at global level, inform Member Nations about food security policy developments and as needed, assist them with appropriate recommendations. Over time, the interest of the Committee has shifted to an assessment of factors affecting chronic as well as short-term food insecurity. This has necessitated a broadening of the commodity coverage of the assessments, and incorporation of indicators that would shed greater light on access as well as availability issues. This work has been considered a very useful and integral part of the role of the CFS. Methodological work to further improve the assessment in light of WFS recommendations, in particular for the development of a coordinated food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system at global level, is continuing also under Programme 2.2.2.

46. A major achievement has been the preparation work for the WFS and the drafting of the WFS Plan of Action at its 22nd Session (1996). Furthermore, the WFS itself entrusted the CFS with the task of following up on the progress made in the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action on a continuing basis. Hence, these issues have dominated the CFS agenda since 1995, and the Committee's rules and procedures have been amended to reflect its new responsibilities. In 1997 and 1998, substantial efforts and resources were devoted to methodological work on future reporting formats and arrangements to enable the Committee to monitor the implementation of WFS Plan of Action and progress made towards achieving the WFS goals. This work entailed, as requested by the CFS, a wide-ranging series of consultations with members governments and representatives of civil society, in close consultation with the CFS Bureau.

47. Topical issues addressed by the Committee during the period include a series of studies on the opportunities for productivity improvement and enhanced food security in both high and low potential areas; on the Special Programme for Food Security (since 1995); on the effect of structural adjustment and market liberalisation on food security, and policy recommendations regarding management of food security reserves and food aid to reduce market instability. The results of this work have also been used as a basis for formulating guidelines for management of food security reserves at local, national and regional levels (Sub-programme Since 1995, a standing item on Nutrition has been included in the Committee's agenda every two years, following transfer of this item from COAG to CFS. However, this item is prepared under Sub-programme 2.2.1.


48. The sub-programme's potential effectiveness depends critically on the importance the CFS has in the eyes of the FAO membership. One indicator of the level of interest in CFS work is the number of FAO and UN members that request membership in CFS each biennium, and the proportion of the membership that actually attends the Committee's annual sessions. Over the period under review, requests have varied from around 110 to 140, and generally around 90 percent of these attended the sessions - indicating a satisfactorily high attendance level . These sessions were also attended by several observers from those countries that are not members and about 20 to 40 representatives from UN agencies and observers from intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations.

49. In terms of the effectiveness of the CFS itself on the WFS Plan of Action follow-up, it is too early to form judgement, although progress has been maintained on this priority work. It is noteworthy, however, that both in preparation for and during as well as following the WFS, the CFS has set some important precedents as an FAO committee: first, the effectiveness of the CFS in Summit preparations was generally recognized; second, a more proactive role has been assigned to the Bureau to work with the secretariat in carrying forward the Committee's work programme between sessions; and third, there are ongoing efforts to define a more collaborative role for representatives of civil society in preparing and conducting the Committee's sessions, within the existing statutes and rules of the Organization.

50. To learn more about the level of satisfaction of CFS members with the services provided by the secretariat, the FAO Evaluation Service contacted past and present CFS members of the Bureau who were available in Rome (Representatives from Australia, Iran, Senegal, Tanzania, Japan, Canada and Malaysia). On the main aspects of CFS servicing, it was learned that:

Summary Assessment

51. The overall assessments are summarized in the table below.

Table 2: Summary Assessment of Programme 2.2.4. Performance

(a) Criteria

(b) Assessment

a. Programme Relevance

(i) FAO's basic mandate

(ii) Food security and nutrition

(iii) Sustainable agriculture and rural development

  • area of work under Article I of the Charter.
  • Contributes to inter-governmental coooperation in policies especially for food security and trade.
  • Monitoring and follow-up on the WFS Plan of Action implementation.
b. Coherence of Programme Design

(i) Clear definition of objectives

(ii) Usefulness of outputs planned

(iii) Realism and feasibility

(iv) Adequacy of strategic perspective

Overall Programme Design: poor
  • overall programme level objective is not clear and is without adequate strategic perspectives.
  • each sub-programme has a different focus and is often more closely linked to other programmes in Major Programme 2.2 than to each other.

Sub-programme Design: Satisfactory

  • objective is generally clear for each sub-programme.
  • outputs are generally well-planned.
  • feasibility of achieving outputs is generally good.
  • outputs are useful and consistent with FAO's mandate.
c. Implementation Efficiency

(i) Degree of achieving targeted   outputs

(ii) Quality of programme management

(i) Good: outputs on time, and some of high technical quality (for the 1996-97 biennium 92% of planned outputs were delivered with high rates in meetings and publications).

(ii) Good management quality at sub-programme level, but overall programme management less satisfactory because of programme design weakness.

d. Effects/Impact Achievements

(i) Overall effectiveness

(ii) Likely sustainability

(iii) Contribution to FAO's priority areas

Generally Satisfactory:
  • satisfactory contribution to FAO's global policy function;
  • outputs regularly demanded by users:
  • outputs comprehensive, serve as a major reference, with evidence of their use for a variety of purposes, both inside and outside FAO;
  • important contribution to the Uruguay Round process, both to WTO and member countries, unique source of information and assessment on trends in key agricultural commodities, and success in securing CFC project funding;
  • issues addressed by CFS help focus attention of the international community on global food security.

However, difficult to assess overall impact.

e. Overall Cost-effectiveness Difficult to assess: evidence suggests it has generally been improving with past efforts to overcome budgetary constraints being successful, but the limit is probably now reached with further reduction likely to reduce cost-effectiveness.

Main Issues and Recommendations

52. The programme as a whole faces two major constraints: (a) a weak programme structure, as Programme 2.2.4 has not successfully developed as a cohesive whole, and (b) the weakening trend in FAO core staff resources, as available expertise continues to shrink in some areas. The first constraint is being addressed through the current Strategic Framework and revised programme planning exercise and therefore no specific recommendation in this regard is formulated here. The second constraint is long-term and goes beyond this programme, and in some respects even beyond the ES Department itself. Its resolution is linked to the strategy that needs to be put in place to solve one of the Cross-organizational Issues identified in the proposed new Strategic Framework (see Version 2.0, Strategy on Continuing to Improve the Management Process).

53. Sub-programme (Global Perspective Studies) The main output of the sub-programme, AT:2010, needs to be periodically updated to continue to meet expectations and needs of the FAO membership and other users in development agencies and research-oriented institutions. Issues include:

54. Based on the above, it is recommended that:

  1. the number of professional staff assigned to the Global Perspective Studies Unit (ESDG) should not be further reduced in order to maintain the minimal level of critical mass;

  2. measures be taken to fill with the minimum delay possible staff vacancies of the Unit with highly qualified persons with expertise in perspective studies; and

  3. adequate funds be provided for the recruitment of short-term consultants in specialized fields not available in FAO.

55. Sub-programme (Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Action): In view of the relevance of the sub-programme in serving one of FAO's priority areas, of its generally satisfactory performance in delivering substantive outputs and the improved cost-efficiency of the CCP/IGGs operations, as well as the importance of maintaining satisfactory partnership with outside organizations, especially WTO and CFC, the following issues arise:

56. The following are recommended:

  1. further implementation of economy measures for the IGGs should be based on in-depth analysis of the experience with the measures already introduced as well as of their potential impact on the IGGs' effectiveness. In particular, care is needed to ensure that not only reduced activities of IGGs do not result in reduction in FAO's commodity work in the areas affected but also sufficient resources are available to facilitate the IGGs to adapt to new challenges;

  2. compensation for CFC project supervision should be sought on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the type of project. Similarly, as the CFC shifts to loan funding with opportunity for co-financing by other funding institutions, greater collaboration may be sought with TCI Division;

  3. protection, to the extent possible, of assistance on Uruguay Round follow-up activities from resource reductions.

57. Sub-programme (World Food Security Analysis): Issues facing the sub-programme include:

58. While specific recommendations are difficult to make, the following points merit attention:



Programme Evaluation of 2.2.4: Food and Agricultural Policy

ES Department Management Response to the Evaluation


The limitations on the overall composition of Programme 2.2.4, as noted in the review, led to a restructuring of programmes within Major Programme 2.2 in PWB 2000-01. Departmental and divisional management welcomed this.

The evaluation was found clear and balanced and management, in general, agrees with the findings of the review and its main issues and recommendations.

Global Perspective Studies

Regarding the first issue mentioned in paragraph 53, namely how to adapt and fine- tune future versions of the study to capture new developments; experience has shown that it is difficult to obtain contributions of technical Divisions and Departments of the quality required. This is due, in part, to the gradual reduction in the number of professional staff with suitable skills but also to the fact that, in spite of repeated requests to do so, very few Divisions made, in the past, an explicit provision in their budgets for such contributions. The underlying problem may be that Divisions often do not perceive contributions to global perspective studies as an integral part of their normal work.

It would have been useful if the report had made an additional recommendation to this effect, namely, that technical Divisions establish and/or maintain a permanent capacity to undertake analyses and to make statements of a global perspective nature in their field of competence. For this purpose, Divisions need to make the appropriate provisions in their PWB. It should be noted that some improvement in this respect has been achieved in the preparation of the PWB 2000-01, in which all technical Divisions concerned now acknowledge a contribution to Agriculture: Towards 2015/30.

Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Actions

There is one major point of substance that could be misinterpreted, namely, the apparent identification of this sub-programme, almost in its entirety, with the servicing of the CCP and its IGGs. For example, under paragraph 6 (b), sub-programme is described as the largest of the three sub-programmes and covers support to the CCP and its IGGs, ECDC, collaboration with WTO and national commodity policy advice. Also in paragraph 17, it is mentioned that over one-half the resources of sub-programme are used for support of the CCP/IGGs.

This analysis does not adequately reflect the actual scope of sub-programme and the use of its resources. In fact, the main thrust of the sub-programme is for commodity and trade research and policy analysis work, for which the CCP and its IGGs represent just one vehicle for dissemination of information, and deliberation and building of international consensus. For example, the sub-programme also supports other types of producer/consumer consultations as well as an intensive programme of policy analysis and advice to developing countries. It also includes training activities in preparation for multilateral trade negotiations and supports commodity development activities for which extra-budgetary funding has been secured. All these activities are particularly important for countries not having resources for national and international market analysis.

The actual costs of the CCP/IGGs have declined sharply over the review period from US$ 836 000 for 10 sessions in the 1992-93 biennium to only US$ 266 000 for 11 sessions in the 1998-99 biennium. This was achieved through a range of cost reduction measures and has allowed the shift of resources to innovative approaches such as commodity conferences organised by member countries in partnerships with FAO. Examples include the Asia-Pacific Sugar Conference, Fiji, 1997, the International Cotton Conference, China, 1999, the Advisory Consultation on ACP Sugar Policy and Trade, Swaziland, 1999, and the Latin American Sugar Conference, 1999.

The impact and relevance of the IGGs will be further strengthened in 2000-01 through a series of multi-commodity sessions, focussing on cross-cutting priority issues, held in conjunction with commodity conferences to broaden interaction with private sector stakeholders, academic institutions, etc. Following the successful joint session of the IGGs on Hard Fibres and on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres, a second joint session will be held in late 2000 in conjunction with a Conference on Fibres, including cotton, flax and other fibres. In 2001, it is proposed to hold a conference on the feed-livestock complex encompassing the IGGs on Meat, Grains, Rice and Oils and Oilseeds. The IGG on Tea will be held in conjunction with a Conference on Health and Tea Consumption. In addition, sessions of various other IGGs will be hosted by member countries in order to strengthen exposure of national commodity sectors and enhance interaction/exchange among technical experts. All of the above "means of delivery" as well as the analytical publications and training materials under this programme will be better publicized and disseminated through electronic and other means.

In view of the above, it is felt that para 55, which gives a summary evaluation of 224.2, should also mention specifically some of the substantive areas of satisfactory performance, e.g., in the area of commodity and trade policy work designed to enhance trade performance of developing countries and to strengthen their participation in multilateral trade negotiations. Likewise, paragraph 56, is not sufficiently clear in differentiating further economy measures in relation to the CCP/IGGs from the need to maintain core functions in the areas of commodity and trade research and policy analysis and assistance, for which the bulk of the resources are used.

World Food Security Analysis

With respect to the Summary, (paragraph vii-a), management shares the view that cross-disciplinary collaboration is important. It also shares the concern regarding the trend towards diminishing resources for technical and normative programmes. In this context, it underlines that the resources allocated for servicing the CFS can only be effectively utilised if the other related programmes, which provide inputs to the CFS Secretariat, are themselves endowed with sufficient resources. The documentation required by the CFS can only be effectively and meaningfully elaborated if based on solid data, assessment and analysis to be performed by these contributing units.

With regard to the main issues and recommendations (paragraph 57 - third bullet), ESA management considers that greater influence of CFS deliberations on the policy stance at national and international levels could be obtained if, inter alia, the country (and other) reports to CFS would receive open dissemination. This would, however, also increase resource requirements at a time of declining resource availability.

With respect to recommendations in paragraph 58, and noting that the full definition of the workplan and methods for monitoring the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action have been elaborated by the CFS, action has been undertaken by the Secretariat to implement several of these recommendations, as follows:

Management considers that these changes have greatly benefited from the active collaboration that has been developed with the CFS Bureau. This distinctly enhances the ability of the CFS Secretariat to prepare for and follow-up to CFS sessions and, accordingly, to better meet the requirements of its membership.


1  These activities included an expert consultation on developing countries implementation experience with the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, a symposium held in Geneva on agriculture, trade and food security, a joint FAO/WHO/WTO conference, (held in Melborne, Australia) on food quality and safety issues as they affect trade and the development of FAO's agricultural trade web site (www.fao.org/ur).

2  Pierre Crosson (Resources for the Future) Agricultural Economics, No. 14 (1996), pp.61-66

3  Jock R. Anderson (World Bank), American Journal of Agricultural Economics, No. 78, February 1996, pp.246-247.

4  Alex Duncan (University of Oxford), Food Policy 22/1. February 1997, p.102.

5  Vernon W. Ruttan (University of Minnesota), Population and Development Review, Vol. 22, No.3, September 1996, pp. 566-569.

6  Between 1995-98, some 70 market analysis and outlook papers were issued: Grains (10); Rice (6); Meat and Livestock (7); Tropical Fruits (11); Bananas (6); Oilseeds, Oils and Fats (4);Citrus (2); Tea (6); Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres (5); Hard Fibres (4); Hides and Skins (3).

1995 2 projects ( Czech Republic, Pakistan)
1996 1 project ( Sudan)
1997 5 projects (Ethiopia, Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Turkey)
1998 8 projects (Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Syria, Yemen).

8  17th Session (23-27 March 1992); 18th Session (29 March-1 April 1993); 19th Session (22-25 March 1994); 20th Session (25-28 April 1995); 21st Session 29 January 2 February 1996 ; 22nd Session (23-30 September; 8-9 October; 28-31 October 1996); 23rd Session (14-18 April 1997); 24th Session (2-5 June 1998)