COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
Rome, 18-21 September 2000
PROGRAMME EVALUATION OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL POLICY ( Prog. 2.2.4)
1. The Programme Committee at its 83rd Session (8-12 May 2000) under its agenda item Programme Evalution, provided the conclusions reproduced below from its report (CL 119/10):
31. The Committee recalled that at its Eighty-second Session, it had endorsed the Secretariat's poroposals regarding a revised evaluation regime in the context of the Strategic Framework and the New Programme Model, including changes in reporting on evalutations to the Governing Bodies.
a) Programme Evaluation of Food and Agricultural Policy (Programme 2.2.4)
32. The Committee broadly agreed with the findings, assessments and recommendations of this evaluation. It recognized the relevance and importance of the programme in addressing the Organization's thematic priorities covering the global perspective analysis, agricultural trade and food security. It considered that the programme played a productive and useful role by providing analytical frameworks and information for policy formulation as well as by supporting policy debate among the membership, especially at the Committees of Commodity Problems (CCP) and World Food Security (CFS). In particular, it appreciated the value of the Global Perspective work and assistance given to the developing member countries in enhancing their capacity to participate effectively in the multilateral trade negotiations.
33. At the same time, the Committee highlighted the importance of ensuring the coherence of the programme so that its resources are focused on selected priority areas with adequate critical mass. It also encouraged more proactive efforts for disseminating the analytical and information products under the programme and for greater joint workplanning among the various technical units concerned, with a view to ensuring the necessary multidisciplinary inputs, especially for the global perspective studies. Regarding evaluation methods, the Committee called for further improvements in the analysis and assessment of the programme impact, although it appreciated the complexities involved. It also felt that the recommendations should have been more specific with operational suggestions for addressing the issues identified. Finally, the Committee stressed the importance of systematic monitoring of follow-up actions on the evaluation recommendations.
34. In view of its potential interest to the CCP and CFS, the Committee recommended that this programme evaluation, together with its comments, be proposed to the relevant Bureaux for inclusion on the agenda of their next sessions.
2. The Summary of the Programme Evaluation (document PC 83/4 (a) ) is reproduced hereafter. The full text of PC 83/4 (a) is available on FAO internet site at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/X4676e.htm
(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 (188.8.131.52 - Global Perspective Studies; 184.108.40.206 - Commodity Market Development, Commodity and Trade Policy Advice and Intergovernmental Action; 220.127.116.11 - 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 18.104.22.168). 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 22.214.171.124: Issues relating to:
- how to capture adequately new developments in agricultural sciences and socio-economic events in future versions of global perspective studies, requiring more multi-disciplinary skills; and
- how to address weaknesses in country data, particularly in the developing countries.
c. Regarding Sub-programme 126.96.36.199: Issues with regard to:
- extent to which the number of IGGs can be further reduced in the interest of economy;
- effective functioning of the CCP/IGGs in addressing more inter-disciplinary issues arising from WFS Plan of Action and concerns regarding the Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTNs);
- the low level of compensation for CFC project supervision; and
- reduced resources which hampered support to the developing countries for future MTNs.
d. Regarding Sub-programme 188.8.131.52: Issues with regard to:
- the quality of technical information available and how to present meaningful annual assessments of the food security situation; and
- the methods that may be available to the CFS to exercise a greater influence on policy decisions of Member Governments. "