C 99/INF/6


Conference

Thirtieth Session

Rome, 12-23 November 1999

PRESENTATION OF THE B.R. SEN AWARDS
(1998 and 1999)

 

1. The B.R. Sen Award was established in pursuance of Resolution 33/67 of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference, as a permanent feature. The Award, which is conferred annually, is named after a former Director-General of FAO, Mr. B.R. Sen, and is directed towards the goals he served. Any officer who has served in a field post in any of the activities of FAO in the year for which the Award is made is eligible for nomination. The recipient of the Award must have a minimum of two years' continuous service in the field and must have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the country or countries to which he/she was assigned. This contribution must be clearly identifiable; it may take the form of technical innovations in agriculture, fisheries or forestry; institutional or development support improvements; discoveries of new resources as a result of surveys or other investigations; establishment of training and research institutions.

2. The elements of the Award are:

(i) a medal bearing the name of the recipient;

(ii) a scroll describing the achievements of the recipient;

(iii) a cash award of US$ 5,000;

(iv) a round-trip travel to Rome for the recipient and spouse.

Selection of Award Recipients

3. The B.R. Sen Award Review Committee, comprising the Deputy Director-General, as Chairman, the departmental Assistant Directors-General at Headquarters, the Director of the Field Operations Division, and the Director of the Personnel Division, reviews nominations received from Regional Representatives, FAO Representatives and Department Heads, and establishes a short-list. The final selection of the award recipients is made by the Director-General, jointly with the Independent Chairman of the Council and the Chairmen of the Programme and the Finance Committees, from the short-list drawn up by the Review Committee supplemented by the views of the Governments where the nominees are serving or have served.

Conferment of Awards

4. The Awards are conferred by the Chairman of the Conference at a special ceremony during the first week of each regular session of the FAO Conference. At the Thirtieth Session of the Conference, the presentation ceremony will be held for the 1998 and 1999 Award winners.

5. For 1998, the recipient of the Award is Mr. Eduardo Seminario Martin of Peru. For 1999, the recipient of the Award is Mr. Abdelouahhab Zaid of Morocco. Brief notes on the two recipients and on their achievements are given below.

Mr. Eduardo Seminario Martin

6. Mr. Eduardo Seminario was born in 1946 in Peru. He holds a degree in agricultural engineering from the National Agricultural University in Lima, Peru, and a doctoral degree in erosion, sedimentation and hydrology from the ENSEEIHT in Toulouse, France. He also carried out post-doctoral work at the University of Arizona (USA) in watershed management.

7. Mr. Seminario has in-depth experience in forest-related assignments during 25 years of involvement in all aspects of soil conservation, forest hydrology and watershed management, working both in the context of research and education as well as development. The use of participatory methodologies and tools in natural resource management and development activities has figured prominently in his professional work in more recent years.

8. Following several years of professional experience as a university professor and free lance consultant in Peru, and project coordinator for CATIE in several Central American countries, Mr. Seminario joined FAO in 1989 as Chief Technical Advisor in Morocco of the UNDP funded project MOR/87/002: "Protection des Infrastructures Hydroagricoles". During his three and a half years in Morocco, he worked with national authorities to establish a series of regional centres with the purpose of carrying out technical studies and developing regional watershed management plans to protect Morocco's important investments in hydro-electric infrastructure and to improve land use management and living standards in rural areas.

9. In 1992 Mr. Seminario transferred to Burundi to start-up and manage the Italian-funded project GCP/INT/542/ITA: "Inter-regional project for participatory upland conservation and development", a pilot process-oriented initiative based on the principles of action-learning, whose main objective was to identify and field-test methods and techniques for promoting and consolidating people's and institutions' partnership in the sustainable management of upland watersheds.

10. In addition to initiating and consolidating a pilot scheme for participatory and integrated watershed management in the Vugizo area of Makamba Province, the project was established to facilitate the incorporation of the participatory and integrated watershed management approach into national policies for rural development and natural resource conservation, and into decentralised planning systems. It was also intended to disseminate throughout the country and the region information on the methods, techniques and tools validated on the field, and replicate the pilot experience carried-out in Vugizo in other areas.

11. From 1992 to 1997, in his role as Chief Technical Advisor, Mr. Seminario provided a steady technical and methodological support to the implementation of this challenging initiative. In particular, his professional, managerial and human contribution was highly instrumental in achieving the following results:

12. These achievements were documented in several publications (technical documents, extension manuals and materials), authored or co-authored by Mr. Seminario, which were disseminated throughout the country. Mr. Seminario's analyses of project action-research findings were also highly instrumental in the preparation of a number of publications issued by project GCP/INT/542/ITA Coordination Unit and disseminated at the global level. Mr. Seminario has also offered his highly appreciated competence and technical assistance to other project components in Tunisia and Bolivia, through technical backstopping missions.

13. By 1994, project field activities started to increasingly suffer because of the turmoil on-going in the country. In this situation Mr. Seminario was particularly active in trying to smooth the social and ethnic strains mounting in Vugizo, by continuously promoting and supporting a constructive dialogue in the framework of the collaborative management forum established by the project. When for security reasons he was asked to leave the project area, he continued to work for peacekeeping in Bujumbura. Indeed, the experience made in Vugizo was a clear proof that the collaborative management approach could make a significant contribution to a better understanding among different ethnic and social groups.

14. These activities continued in the framework of the above inter-regional project until late 1997. Based on the very positive results of this project UNDP decided to assist the Government in extending this approach to the rest of the country. In that context, Mr. Seminario was made responsible for the formulation of the project "Appui la Restauration et la Gestion de l'Environnement" - (BDI/96/001), which became operational in February 1998 under his direction.

15. Until his transfer to Haiti in mid-1999 Mr. Seminario continued to contribute to the re-construction and development of Burundi as CTA for BDI/96/001. In this capacity, he made an outstanding contribution to the development of a national environmental policy closer to people's needs and aspirations, and well integrated into the multi-ethnic social setting of the country. In particular, he contributed to :

- the formulation of the National Environment Sector Policy;

- the National Environmental Strategy;

- the Environmental National Plan; and

- the Environmental Law of Burundi.

16. All these strategic documents and laws have retained the participatory and integrated approach to natural resource management as their key-implementation strategy, based on the original experience of the above FAO/Italy inter-regional project.

Mr. Abdelouahhab Zaid

17. Mr. A. Zaid is a Moroccan national, of 42 years of age.  He holds a degree in Agronomy (1981) from the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute - Morocco, and a PhD in Horticulture (1990) from Colorado State University - USA. He has also undertaken two Post-Doctoral studies sponsored by the Fullbright Foundation (1993) and UNESCO (1994).

18. Mr. Zaid worked for more than 15 years for the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, holding positions of increasing responsibility in research and teaching in the field of date palm propagation and production. From Tissue Culture Specialist, he rose to the position of Head of the Plant Physiology Laboratory at the National Institute of Agronomic Research, and subsequently passed to the position of Director of the National Centre of Biotechnology. In September 1990, Mr. Zaid joined the teaching staff of the Department of Botany at the Faculty of Science - Semlalia - University Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech, and was then elected as the General Secretary of the National Association of Biotechnology. During this period, he served frequently as a consultant for the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development, the World Bank, FAO and other UN agencies.

19. Mr. Zaid's initial technical contribution to the improvement of date production in Namibia was in 1993 when he served as an international consultant - Date Production Specialist - in the context of the project TCP/NAM/2255 "Preliminary Assistance for the Development of a Date Production Industry". The subsequent realisation of the UTF project in Namibia is the tangible outcome of the successful implementation of the TCP project for which Mr. Zaid was a key technical collaborator.

20. Mr. Zaid joined FAO in June 1995 as the Chief Technical Adviser for the Date Production Support Programme in Namibia (UTF/NAM/004/NAM), bringing his background and valuable experience to this programme in order to contribute to food security and nutrition improvement, poverty alleviation, creation of employment, and the fight against desertification.

21. Since his appointment, Mr. Zaid has built up excellent working relations with the national staff involved in the project and has successfully led his team to punctually implementing all the scheduled activities of the Date Project. A hard worker, he has succeeded in transmitting his enthusiasm for his speciality to the national team and to the farmer beneficiaries. He travels frequently to the various sites of the project to provide first hand training and guidance to the national officers as well as to private farmers. Mr. Zaid has devoted particular attention and applied his skills to overcoming technical problems that could otherwise have hampered the implementation of the project. In the course of his work with the project, he has made valuable technical contributions both to in vitro propagation and to production improvement of date palm in Namibia.

22. His work has been greatly appreciated by the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Rural Development (MAWRD) and the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC).  Mr. Zaid has also contributed significantly to FAO's credibility in the country. Indeed, the Date Project is highly regarded by the Government of Namibia and considered as a demonstrative success story in the agricultural development sector.  H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, has expressed his satisfaction for the success of the Date Project during his visit to the project site at Naute Dam. A second phase (2000 - 2003) to introduce date palm into communal farming and settlement schemes is currently being considered.

23. The impact of the project has gone beyond the borders of Namibia, gathering international prestige and recognition. The project TCP/RAF/7826 for Southern and Eastern Africa, and the proposed Project "Dates for the Sahel" are illustrating this recognition, and constitute a further demonstration of the contribution and dedication of Mr. Zaid. The expert has, in addition, assisted ably in the preparation of several TCP projects for other countries (Burkina Faso, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen). He has also contributed significantly in providing technical leadership to regional and international date palm activities in which FAO has been involved.

24. Enhanced food security, job creation, transfer of knowledge and, in general, the setting of a bench-mark of standards that can inspire other development programmes, can be seen to result from Dr. Zaid's substantial contributions - both to Namibia's development and to FAO's efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development and poverty alleviation goals.