1. In response to the suggestions of the Programme and Finance Committees and the Council, this Annex summarises the analysis carried out by the Secretariat during the first half of 1998 to prepare the first version of the Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015, as well as the rationale for the corporate strategies proposed in the document.
2. Much of this material was contained in the body of the text of Version 1.0 or in the supplementary document presented to the Council (CL 115/INF 22). Further information has been added on the results of the internal analysis, and to the extent possible comments and views of Members and of external partners.
3. As part of the process of identifying major trends which would need to be taken into account by the Organization in defining its Strategic Framework, the Secretariat reviewed, more specifically, the global perspectives for food security towards 2015. FAO is currently in the process of taking a fresh look at the long-term assessment of its Agriculture: Towards 2010 (AT2010) study, mainly in order to better evaluate the prospects for progress towards the World Food Summit (WFS) target. For this reason, the time horizon of the analysis is being extended to 2015. It is too early to report in detail on this new assessment, but preliminary findings suggest that the broad dimensions of the major food and agriculture variables would not be very different from those depicted in AT2010 and in the technical documentation prepared for the WFS.
Primacy of policy reforms
4. In spite of unprecedented progress in technical and economic potential, the close of this century witnesses a continuing slowdown in the growth of world agricultural production while hundreds of millions of people, in particular children, continue to be chronically hungry and malnourished. The coincidence-incidence of these two tendencies does not, in any way, reflect a lack of capacity of the world as a whole to produce the additional food required to eliminate undernutrition. Rather, the persistence of hunger is due to development failures. In many low-income countries with high dependence on agriculture, this includes in particular lack of promotion of local food production and rural development. With appropriate policy reforms and institutional adjustments and with due attention to social and gender-based equity, incentives can and should be provided to stimulate innovations and investments towards a sustainable path of agricultural development which would ultimately provide enough food for all. What are the prospects that progress may be made during the next 10 to 15 years?
Further improvements in average food and nutrition indicators
5. Population growth is the main determining factor for growth in aggregate food demand. The absolute annual additions to world population, which peaked at nearly 90 million persons in the second half of the 1980s, are now slowly declining, and are at present about 80 million, over 90 percent of which are in the developing countries. In parallel, the latest World Bank assessment of economic growth prospects indicates some improvement in the overall outlook of the developing countries for the next decade, though with considerable differences between countries. These prospects indicate that further improvements may be expected in the average food and nutrition indicators for the world including the developing countries as a whole, but also that the food insecurity and undernutrition problems will persist (possibly at slightly attenuated levels) in many countries.
Modest declines in the numbers of undernourished
6. Per caput food availability, in the developing countries as a whole, is expected to increase. The incidence of undernutrition in the developing countries may decline in relative terms (as a percentage of population) but, given population growth, if past trends continue there would be only modest declines in the numbers of undernourished from the current level of over 800 million persons. High rates of undernutrition may persist in sub-Saharan Africa, and be somewhat reduced in South Asia. Therefore, the efficiency of policies to address the issue of poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods among the vulnerable groups will be a major determining factor in the fight against undernutrition.
Local production as main source of food in developing countries, but imports also expected to rise
7. To meet the growth in effective (i.e. as expressed in the marketplace) food demand, world agricultural production will have to grow at an annual rate of approximately 1.8 percent. Local production will be by far the main source of the increases in the total food supplies of the developing countries. For many of them, agricultural and rural development is not only essential in generating food supplies, but also to the livelihood of large numbers of rural people.
8. Nevertheless, net food imports of developing countries are expected to continue to grow. Net imports of cereals may grow from the 100 -110 million tons of recent years to more than 160 million tons by 2010 and increase further thereafter. Part of these food imports would have to be supplied as food aid.
9. The rest of the world (mainly the major exporting OECD countries) should face no major constraints in generating these additional exports of cereals (and of livestock products), given that (a) their own demand will grow very slowly in volume, and (b) part of the additional exports to developing countries will probably be offset by strongly declining exports to Eastern Europe and countries of the former USSR. This latter region will probably become a modest net exporter of cereals.
10. The group of developing countries (as currently defined) could in the longer term turn from being a net exporter of agricultural primary products into a net importer, with the consequence that they will have to pay for their food imports partly with earnings from exports of non-agricultural goods and services and higher value-added agricultural products.
Lower stocks and firmer but more volatile prices
11. Regarding world market prices for agricultural products, and cereals in particular, there are reasons to expect that the secular decline, in real terms, may not continue in the medium term. There will be less downward pressure on prices as the Uruguay Round Agreements are implemented leading to declining structural surpluses and lesser distorting support to agricultural production and trade. There is also an expectation that lower public stock holdings, together with geographical shifts in global stocks, may enhance the risk of higher volatility in world market prices and of reduced availabilities for food aid.
Sustainable intensification as main source of production growth
12. It is expected that about four-fifths of the projected crop production increases in developing countries will come from intensification of agricultural production with two-thirds in the form of higher yields and the remainder as a result of increased cropping intensity (more multiple cropping, shorter fallows), particularly in countries with appropriate agro-ecological environments and little or no potential to expand land in cultivation. Achievement of this yield growth depends on high priority being accorded to investment in primary agriculture and in agricultural research and extension, making a wide range of modern technologies accessible.
13. Some of the environmental and sustainability implications of the foreseen increase and intensification of agriculture are that (a) the limited agricultural land expansion need not be associated with the rapid rates of tropical deforestation observed in the past provided sustainable land use is achieved; (b) water is rapidly becoming a severe limiting factor and policies need to be introduced for effective water management, including increasing the cost to users; (c) there will be further increases in the use of agrochemicals (fertilizer, pesticides) in developing countries, though at declining rates compared with the past; and, (d) safe use of external inputs (fertilizer, pesticides and improved varieties) is indispensable for sustainable agriculture.
14. The achievement of sustainable agricultural and rural development will be critically dependent on the concerted application of a combination of appropriate policy instruments. Considerable potential exists for the efficient use of existing, and the development of new, technologies for sustainable intensification of production. With appropriate incentives that induce innovations and investments towards the full use of this potential, it should be possible to keep any trade-offs between food production growth and protection of the environment to a minimum.
15. The paragraphs above present the "most likely outcome." However, a number of factors, about which it is not possible to be certain at this stage, may cause future developments to be different. An important departure from foreseen developments would be the successful implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the World Food Summit, and in particular, achievement of the target of halving the number of hungry by no later than 2015. Present trends point to a further reduction, but not a halving, of the number of chronically undernourished by that year. Hence, a major effort will have to be made if the Summit target is to be achieved. Globally, the additional amounts of food to be produced and traded would be minor. The objective is also feasible at the individual country level provided that those countries experiencing widespread undernutrition accord high priority to their agricultural development and engage in a much more rigorous policy effort to enhance the access of the poor to income earning opportunities. It is also estimated that investment in agriculture in these countries should be 20 to 30 percent above what it would otherwise be.
16. Preliminary analysis suggests that, even assuming exceptionally high rates of income and demand growth as well as feasible combinations of domestic production and imports, meeting the WFS target will be extremely difficult for many countries unless they succeed in achieving significant improvements in their intra-national distribution of food. Typically, such countries currently have high population growth rates (over 2.0 % p.a.), low per caput calorie availability (less than 2000 Kcal per day), and a rather unequal food distribution. Efforts to overcome inequities of access to food through a broad range of poverty alleviation measures, including better access to means of production and employment, will represent a key policy problem for these countries if they are to achieve the WFS target.
17. To conclude, the world food security situation seems, by and large, to be developing along the lines of slow and uneven progress as foreseen in the FAO technical documentation for the WFS. In practice, and as far as can be determined so soon after the WFS, progress is not yet being made at anywhere near the rates required for meeting the WFS target. Unless major efforts are made to improve food supplies as well as to overcome inequities, some countries may still have an incidence of undernutrition ranging from 15 to 30 percent of their populations. It was precisely this kind of outlook, particularly the realization that undernutrition would decline at too slow a rate, that fuelled the WFS debate which led to the adoption of the target of halving undernutrition by 2015.
18. One of the first steps undertaken within the Secretariat in preparing the draft Strategic Framework was an analysis of the external environment in order to identify those political, economic, social and technological trends or factors which were likely to have direct implications for or bearing on the Organization's future work. Twelve major trends were identified; these are summarised very briefly below:
Changes in the role and functions of the state
19. It is expected that governments will continue a progressive disengagement from productive functions, in favour of provision of public goods and of a framework conducive to sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. However, policy instruments available to the state will be increasingly conditioned by international agreements. It is expected that public administrations will be downsized and decentralized, with major emphasis being placed on accountability and efficiency, and privatization of some government services. Within public services, increasing reliance on the principle of subsidiarity will also result in devolution of more authority, in many countries, to sub-national, provincial or municipal levels.
Continuing globalization and trade liberalization
20. The growing integration of trade and financial markets is likely to continue, further limiting domestic policy options. Agricultural trade liberalization is expected to continue in line with the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture and international regulatory frameworks, conventions and other legal instruments. The experience of the economic recession following the regional/global instability in 1997/98 has demonstrated that excessive openness and volatility of financial markets may adversely affect employment, agriculture and food security. It is envisaged that lessons will be drawn from this and mechanisms put in place at international and national levels to increase the transparency of financial markets, ensure greater sustainability of investments and recognise the importance of social safety nets for periods of transition. More technology transfer will be made through private investment and trade.
Growth in the number of countries in the middle income group, and increased reliance on regional blocs
21. It is envisaged that there will be further differentiation between countries in the middle income and poorest groups. Middle income countries will experience a rapid evolution from subsistence to commercial agriculture even though pockets of urban and rural poverty may persist. They will also be less reliant on the international community for technical assistance in agricultural development. A strengthening of regional and sub-regional groups, and an increase in their influence in global affairs, may be expected.
Persistence of poverty and mounting inequality -- a widening of the gap between the affluent and the poor
22. Present trends indicate little congruence between stated goals (such as equity in human, social and economic development) and actual results. The disparity between the rich and the poor, both globally and nationally, is being exacerbated. Economic growth, per se, is generally not reducing food insecurity in the poorer segments of societies. Likewise, increasing disparities in access to resources, education and technology are widening the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots". Persistent inequalities, along gender, age and ethnic lines, in access to and control over productive resources, information, employment, public education, technology and decision-making processes, if not corrected, could have a serious effect on household and national food security.
Continued risk of disaster-related and complex emergencies
23. The number of disaster-related and complex emergencies may continue to be high, with the potential for further exacerbating problems of food insecurity, migration, and social, economic and political instability, as well as the continued diversion of scarce resources away from assistance addressing the root causes of these emergencies. Emergencies may have natural or human causes, but in any case the affected countries are often among the poorest and most vulnerable, with predominantly agriculture-based economies. Increased vulnerability to economic/financial crises and over-dependence on a limited range of commodities and technologies present additional risks for many countries.
Changing demands on agriculture in increasingly urbanized societies
24. A rapidly increasing share of the population of developing countries will live in cities, having major implications for the role of agriculture both in rural and peri-urban areas. Access to food will become more complex as an increasing proportion is acquired through market exchange. Agricultural production will become more intensive and commercial, requiring further increases in productivity of agricultural labour and land. The multi-functional role of the agricultural sector, extending beyond economic aspects to include social, cultural and ecological dimensions, may be expected to raise various policy implications. The recognition of the crucial role of women, as producers and consumers, will also entail reorientation of policies to address their special needs, enhance their already considerable contribution to food security and agricultural production, and enlist their support for the responsible use of natural resources. The growing proportion of youth in developing country populations will also require attention in agriculture sector policies and programmes.
Changing consumer perceptions and increasing public awareness of food and environmental issues
25. Changes in consumer preferences and dietary consumption patterns, already evident in developed countries, may continue and become more widespread also in middle income countries. Greater demand may be expressed for fish, fruits and vegetables and non-staple products as well as for "organic" products. Increased consumer awareness, particularly among women, of food safety and environmental issues will give rise to requirements for further science-based standards in national and international trade, and greater attention to questions of food quality and safety at the national and local levels.
Increasing pressure on natural resources and competition for their use
26. The risks arising from pressure on natural resources, in particular water and land, and degradation of the natural resource base are likely to increase as competition for resource use intensifies, particularly where markets fail to ensure efficient management of these resources. The average per caput availability of freshwater will continue to decline. Problems of water quality will continue, causing increased risk of diseases and salinization of irrigated land. Competition for freshwater resources, including across national boundaries, will increase. Degradation of land and competition between agriculture and other sectors, in particular through urbanization, will increase. Land use will become even more intensive. Biological diversity will continue to be threatened as traditional crop cultivars are abandoned, deforestation continues and habitats are lost. Some 30% of livestock breeds are already at the point of extinction while, in fisheries, introduced species threaten to erode natural genetic diversity. An increase in demand for wood products will provide the engine for commercial forestry development although conversion of sub-tropical and tropical forest to agriculture will continue. Widespread depletion of marine and inland fisheries resources is feared. Climatic fluctuations, the main cause of variability of agricultural production, will probably increase. By 2015 it should be possible to have a much clearer picture of climate change and the extent to which it has anthropogenic causes.
Steady progress in research and technological development, and continued inequality in access to its benefits
27. Technological developments will occur in all areas, but will not be equally accessible to all countries, which may influence countries' ability to compete in global markets. Technological advances are likely to be important in the areas of energy, transportation, biotechnology and information technology. Agricultural research will become increasingly globalized with the private sector conducting most biotechnology research. The needs of resource-poor farmers in developing countries are unlikely to be addressed adequately by the private sector, with a need for the public sector, including international institutions, to fill the gap.
Increasing impact of information and communications technology on institutions and societies
28. As the "information and communications revolution" advances and becomes more global, the use of these technologies is likely to become a significant source of wealth. It is expected that inequalities will be exacerbated since developed countries will have at their disposal the bulk of information technology resources. Developing countries will have increasing access to these resources but the amount of investment may be insufficient, due to scarcity of capital, to close the gap relative to developed countries.
Changes in nature and composition of funding for agricultural development
29. The total pool of external assistance resources, excluding IMF support, is not expected to expand significantly and may, in fact, fall. The part of that assistance delivered by private non-profit organizations may grow. Total external assistance to agriculture, both from bilateral and multilateral sources, may continue to fall in real terms. Lending from multilateral financial agencies may, however, be maintained or perhaps expand moderately. There will also be a growing role and competition for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Changing role and public perceptions of the United Nations system
30. It is difficult to predict how the UN system will be perceived in 10-15 years in the light of scepticism in some countries of the developed world. The improvement of the system's image will depend to a large extent on better communication of the results being achieved, as well as on current reforms underway in many UN organizations and on the capacity of the system to forge a coordinated approach based on greater synergies in the work of its component parts. The trend of setting up "parallel" structures involving also non-UN actors, to deal with issues requiring international cooperation and/or global collective action seems set to continue; non-governmental and civil society actors are likely to continue to press for a greater voice in UN affairs.
31. Following the methodology adopted for the exercise, it was considered important to define the basic values of the Organization, as well as its mission and vision for the future. This internal reflection constituted the first step in the iterative process which led to the proposals for corporate strategies and strategic objectives as well as strategies to address cross-organizational issues. On the basis of those proposals, as finally formulated, the text of such statements was refined and presented in Version 2.0. The text proposed in Part I of the present document takes into account views expressed during discussion of Version 2.0 by the Technical Committees.
32. In the light of the conclusions concerning the likely evolution of the external environment, and of FAO's comparative advantages, preparations for the Strategic Framework required an examination of what FAO could and should do to help address the challenges of the future. An important step, at this stage, was to consult FAO's major stakeholders, its Members, on their own goals and on the services which they would wish the Organization to provide.
33. Three "global goals" were identified in the questionnaire sent out to all Members in June, 1998, and respondents were asked to indicate whether they agreed with the goal as stated, agreed with the substance but not as stated, or disagreed. The preliminary analysis of responses received by 27 July 1998 indicated massive support for the substance of these goals, but at the same time concern that the proposed concise formulations might not adequately cover all aspects agreed upon by the international conferences. As the purpose of the Strategic Framework exercise was certainly not to reopen debate on goals already agreed by Members, but rather to guide FAO's response to them, it was judged preferable to refer Members to the texts in question rather than to attempt, in the document, to summarise them. A proposal has nevertheless been made in Part I for a concise formulation of three major global goals to guide the Organization's work.
34. As part of the same questionnaire, Members were asked to rate the priority they accorded to five goal-related areas, or major categories of work, and then to indicate their view of the importance of FAO's role as a supplier of services in that area. The preliminary results of the questionnaire responses were available during July 1998 and drawn upon to further refine the formulation of objectives and strategies, first by individual departments and subsequently at the corporate level. Finally, proposals for corporate strategies both for the five major substantive areas of work, and for five important issues of a cross-organizational nature, were presented as Version 1.0 of the Strategic Framework for the years 2000 to 2015.
35. The rationale for the proposals made in the document, based on the external and internal analyses and the results of the questionnaire to Members, is analysed below.
36. Several options were considered before settling on the approach used. One would have been to take as the point of departure the disciplinary base of the Organization, or its ongoing programmes as expressed in the Programme of Work and Budget, and project them into the future. The risk of this approach, however, could have been to close off avenues of reflection and innovation and thus to perpetuate the status quo in a rapidly evolving external environment.
37. Another approach would have been to use as an organising principle the overall development goals of Members, as expressed, for example, in the World Food Summit Plan of Action. This also could have been misleading. Many of the specific measures called for by the Plan of Action are outside the mandate and competence of the Organization, and defining objectives for which successful achievement depends almost entirely on the contribution of others would have meant that the impact of FAO's own actions might have been too diluted to be measured.
38. It was therefore considered necessary to define major thrusts for FAO's work in the coming years in a manner broad enough to relate them to the real challenges which the international community faces but at the same time sufficiently circumscribed to allow for clear definition of strategies to implement them, and later on for the identification of specific projects and corresponding resource allocations. Each of the five corporate strategies (A through E) was designed to constitute a response by FAO to one such challenge, seen in terms of Members' goals, external factors and internal capacities. Within the five strategies, twelve strategic objectives were formulated, aggregating departmental strategies and indicating in each case the partnerships-internal and external-necessary for implementation.
39. Definition of the challenges started from the analysis of the likely developments in the external environment, used as a mediating principle the Organization's mandate and comparative advantages, and tested the resulting hypotheses against the goals defined and the strategies proposed by the FAO departments. The result was then compared to the responses to the questionnaire to Members.
40. The sequencing proposed for the five Corporate Strategies did not represent an order of priority. If anything, it appeared to represent a logical progression; the sequence begins with the specific response to an urgent problem, identified by the World Food Summit; it proceeds to three Strategies (B, C and D) addressing different facets of crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry management and development; it concludes with the strategy to address the global community.
Corporate Strategy A-Contributing to the eradication of food insecurity and rural poverty, and addressing food, agriculture and natural resource emergencies.
41. The World Food Summit Plan of Action recognises that "extraordinary efforts" will be required to reach the Summit's target of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015. Both the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action state that poverty is a major cause of food insecurity, and that sustainable progress in poverty eradication is critical to improve access to food.
42. Commitment Two calls for policies aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality, and improving physical and economic access by all, at all times, to sufficient nutritionally adequate and safe food and its effective utilization; it envisages both measures to maximise the incomes of the poor and ensure safe and accessible food supplies, and measures targeted to assist the neediest, most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Commitment Five commits countries to endeavour to prevent and be prepared for natural disasters and man-made emergencies and to meet transitory and emergency food requirements in ways that encourage recovery, rehabilitation, development and a capacity to satisfy future needs.
43. The analysis of the external environment foresees the persistence of poverty and a widening gap between the affluent and the poor, both among countries and within many societies. It notes that present trends support general economic growth but only a slow reduction in food insecurity. A conclusion of the external analysis is that many of the actions required are made more difficult by a number of trends external to agriculture and rural economies, and that the magnitude of the problems to be addressed justifies a particular focus on assisting the poor countries and vulnerable groups, where the needs are greatest.
44. The internal analysis identified, as a major strength, FAO's authority and status as a neutral global organization able to address such issues, at both the international and national levels, directly and in partnership with other organizations. Also cited were its range of relevant disciplines and technical expertise, and its fifty years of accumulated experience and institutional memory.
45. The external and internal analyses noted the persistence of crises and emergencies, both man-made and natural disaster-related, and a consequent exacerbation of current problems of food insecurity, migration, instability and diversion of scarce resources away from the type of assistance needed to address root causes. FAO's capacity, within its sphere of competence, to address all phases of the emergency cycle, from early warning and disaster preparedness through relief and rehabilitation to development, was seen as a strength and an indication that the Organization should strengthen its partnerships with others to contribute to an increasingly well-targeted and coordinated international emergency preparedness and response system.
46. The questionnaire results indicated the importance Members assign to this area of work, with all but a handful assigning it the highest, or high priority. With regard to FAO's role as a provider of services, the majority of respondents saw it as major if not of central importance. The formulation of the three strategic objectives takes into account comments made by several Members in the questionnaire responses.
47. The strategic objective covering emergencies was included in this Corporate Strategy because, although it addresses problems which are generally caused by specific events and in some cases may be transitory, it nevertheless involves targeted action to assist particular countries and population groups facing food insecurity and loss of livelihoods.
Corporate Strategy B-Promoting, developing and reinforcing policies and regulatory frameworks for food and agriculture.
48. The globalization of the market economy, increasing competition for resources and the withdrawal of governments from production and marketing entities all accentuate the need for the development of regulatory frameworks at the international and national levels which are equitable, sustainable, conducive to economic development, and which allow for conflict resolution. This has been amply recognised in the outcomes of global conferences and summits of recent years, and most recently by the World Food Summit, particularly in Commitments One, Three, Four and Seven.
49. The analysis of the external environment confirms that domestic and international trade in agriculture, fisheries and forestry is an important factor of food security. It also underlines the increasing recognition of the relevance of regulatory frameworks both among and within countries. The internal analysis notes that at the international level, FAO can furnish technical, economic and legal expertise and provide a neutral forum for the negotiation and development of international agreements, codes of conduct, technical standards and other instruments, as well as injecting food and agriculture interests into negotiations in other fora, in particular those relating to trade and the environment. It is uniquely well placed to provide support for the adoption of national policies and legislation that meet national needs and international requirements.
50. The responses to the questionnaire indicated the importance attached to this issue by Members, with all but a few according it highest, or high priority. With regard to the role of FAO as a provider of services at the international level, the consensus was equally high. For FAO's role in assisting individual countries, the responses were spread more evenly across the spectrum, reflecting the fact that the extent to which Members will need FAO assistance depends to a great extent on the state of development of their national capacities.
51. Many such countries are or will be in the "middle income" group, which may be less reliant on the international community for traditional forms of technical assistance but will look to FAO for a specific expertise and experience which is not easily available from others and which the Organization is uniquely placed to provide. Because of the specificity of the questions addressed and the approaches required, it was considered desirable to have a separate focussed strategy in this area.
Corporate Strategy C-Creating sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food and other products from the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors.
52. Commitment Three of the WFS Plan of Action commits countries to "pursue participatory and sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development policies and practices in high and low potential areas, which are essential to adequate and reliable food supplies at the household, national, regional and global levels, and combat pests, drought and desertification, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture." The very substantial needs for investment, especially in technology generation, rural infrastructure, irrigation and agro-industries, were highlighted in the documentation prepared for the WFS. Furthermore, the need for the optimal allocation and use of such investments was taken up in Commitment Six.
53. The analysis of the external trends and forces indicated that, with the state no longer seen as the main executor of development programmes, but rather as providing the enabling framework, progress in the sector will depend even more on the initiative of producers, the private sector and especially small-scale entrepreneurs. Increasing urbanization and growth in the proportion of the population not involved in agriculture and in food production points to changes in the demands on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, including supply of a different range of products and streamlining of the supply chain.
54. The need for sustainable increases in production, particularly in Low-Income, Food-Deficit Countries, pointed to the importance of capitalizing in the short and medium term on technologies already available, adapted to the extent possible, to expand food output by small farmers. FAO would need to assist in closing the gap between yields in research stations and those in farmers' fields in the promotion of ways and means to increase farmers' net income, as well as in identification, analysis and removal of constraints to adoption of appropriate agriculture practices. FAO could transfer knowledge to countries and assist them in making it widely available to farmers, fisher-folk and other rural entrepreneurs, promoting demonstration of comprehensive approaches through the field programme, including the SPFS, as a catalytic tool.
55. In the initial analysis of questionnaire returns, this work area was regarded by a large majority of Members as of highest or high priority. With regard to FAO's role as a provider of services, Members placed more emphasis on assisting countries in making strategic choices than on facilitating adoption of appropriate packages and solutions. The formulation of the two strategic objectives takes into account comments made by a number of Members.
Corporate Strategy D-Supporting the conservation, improvement and sustainable utilization of land, water, fisheries, forest and genetic resources for food and agriculture.
56. Much of the impressive increase in food production which has occurred in recent decades is due to an intensification in the use of natural resources, in particular land and water but also forestry and fishery resources. In future, however, technologies which make more efficient - and sustainable - use of land and water resources must be the principal source of incremental food output.
57. While the production enhancing technologies of the future must pass the test of sustainability, safeguarding the sustainability of the world's food production systems remains a much broader issue. There has been an awakening over the past 10 to 20 years to the threats posed by over-exploitation of the world's marine resources, by the wholesale destruction of forests, by the growth in release of greenhouse gases, by the destruction of the ozone layer, by desertification and salinization, and by the erosion of biodiversity, but the full implications of these human-induced processes on world food supplies are not yet well understood and only limited action is being taken to curb them. A major challenge is, therefore, to ensure that adequate monitoring systems are in place to track the extent of destruction, that instruments are created to induce a more responsible use of global resources and that the means are mobilised to allow for the natural resources on which food supplies are dependent to be husbanded in a sustainable manner.
58. The global community committed itself to tackle these issues as part of Agenda 21, adopted at UNCED in 1992. In the World Food Summit Plan of Action it reaffirmed this commitment, recalling also a number of other international agreements and instruments concerned with the conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources (land, water, fishery, forestry and genetic resources), and called upon international institutions to support the actions of governments and civil society. FAO, assigned a responsibility in this regard by its Constitution "to promote and, where appropriate, ...recommend national and international action with respect to... the conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production," cannot fail to accord high priority to assisting members to meet the challenge.
59. In responses to the questionnaire, the two proposed specific "areas of FAO contribution" received strong support, with most countries seeing FAO's role as "central" or "major". Only a handful of countries gave little support. On the basis of written comments attached to the questionnaire, this seemed generally traceable to the fact that for developed country respondents natural resources management was a national matter for which no assistance from FAO was required.
60. In discussions on Version 1.0 of the Strategic Framework, the possibility was discussed of combining this strategy with Strategy C. However, while they address goals which need not be seen as incompatible, the different nature of the work involved, and the different partnerships necessary to achieve the desired results, suggested that separate strategies would permit a more incisive definition of problems and proposed solutions. For fisheries and forestry, in particular, a combination of Strategies C and D might send the wrong signal regarding the Organization's commitment to resource conservation.
Corporate Strategy E-Improving data availability and information exchange, monitoring, assessing and analyzing the global state of food and nutrition, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and promoting a central place for food security on the international agenda.
61. The analysis of external trends and forces identified a number of potential implications for FAO. The demand for information, both existing time series and new data elements, is forecast to continue to grow and to change, with an increasing requirement for information in support of policy advice, and to ensure that crucial emerging issues are authoritatively and forcefully placed upon the international agenda. This is particularly the case for natural resource assessment. Similarly, the growth in importance of regulatory frameworks brings with it a concomitant requirement for accessible information on the related standards and norms.
62. The internal analysis demonstrated that despite the success of the WAICENT project in consolidating FAO data in a single repository using common standards, FAO's ability as an Organization to protect the quality of the incoming statistical data is limited. There appears to be a decline in the quality of country level data collection systems which the Organization has limited capacity to correct. The internal analysis saw information as being one of FAO's greatest strengths: "an unparalleled source" - the risk is that the Organization could lose this important strength if it does not make determined efforts to capitalize on it and further expand and improve the quality of its data. In addition, concern is expressed that the traditional closed environment allowing only FAO approved and generated information on WAICENT and related systems may be excluding FAO from the more innovative information exchange networks now in place.
63. Both the external and internal analyses noted the probable increase in demand for FAO's analytical products and the opportunity this represented for the Organization to render services for which it was uniquely suited. A related, but separate, sphere in which FAO should further focus its efforts was that of global advocacy for food security and the achievement of the Summit's target, promotion of the necessary action and monitoring of progress.
64. The questionnaire results also demonstrate that these areas of work are accorded high priority by Members. Scoring highest was work concerning the analysis and assessment of trends where three-quarters of respondents considered this to be of the highest priority and essential. Next was the maintenance of an accurate and accessible global set of data which scored almost as high. The third area of work, which concerned the promotion of food security on the international agenda, had more balanced support between those who considered it to be of the highest priority and essential and those who rather saw it as being of high priority, to be addressed to the extent that resources permit.
65. FAO's role as a provider of services in the domain of assessments and analyses of trends, was considered of central importance to the global community by nearly 90% of respondents in responses to the questionnaire to date, the single most positive score accorded by Members to any of the questions. Predictably fewer countries seek FAO's assistance to do this work at the national level. FAO's role in the maintenance of an accurate and accessible global set of data also scored very high with three-quarters of Members responding indicating that they considered it to be of central importance, while in the case of promotion of food security on the international agenda, two-thirds considered that FAO's role was of central importance.
66. All three strategic objectives contributing to this corporate strategy received the highest degree of support from Members, and in fact the only question raised has been whether or not the third element-promoting a central place for food security on the international agenda-belongs under E or should be moved to Strategy A because it deals with food security.
67. However, Strategy A has been formulated as an FAO response to the need to assist those countries where extraordinary efforts must be made if the Summit target is to be reached. In different ways, Strategies B, C and D would also contribute to the achievement of various objectives in the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and thus also to food security.
68. On the other hand, it needs to be recalled that the Summit committed all countries to ensuring food security for their peoples, and called upon many actors in addition to FAO to assist in reaching its goals. FAO's main contribution to this broader effort is in information dissemination, facilitation of inter-agency cooperation and monitoring of progress through the CFS. These activities are covered under a Strategic Objective which appeared most amenable to inclusion as E.3 because all work under Strategy E is addressed to the entire membership and to the international community at large, and relies on similar means of action at the global level (information, analysis, advocacy).
69. While the strategies referred to above are proposed as responses to challenges facing the Members and the international community, the strategies to address cross-organizational issues concentrate on measures to better equip the Secretariat to provide services to its Members. Their rationale derives primarily from the Secretariat's internal analysis, but draws also on the opportunities and hazards for the Organization identified in the analysis of the external environment, as well as on the views of Members. The strategies to address cross-organizational issues should therefore be seen as an integral part of the Strategic Framework, in that they have implications for the successful implementation of all of the strategies to address Members' needs.
A. Ensuring Excellence
70. The analysis of the external environment pointed to many areas in which FAO may need to strengthen its capacity to meet new needs (e.g. biotechnology) as well as to areas in which its present--often unique--capacity would be in greater demand (e.g. on regulatory and legislative matters, including on land tenure and cadaster, water management and use, commodity and trade support, food quality and safety). These conclusions were taken into account in formulating the elements of the strategies to address Members' needs.
71. The internal analysis highlighted the need to keep technical staff up-to-date with cutting edge developments in their respective disciplines. It also yielded the strong suggestion that the Organization should further sharpen its focus on certain priority areas, in which it could, with recognised authority, take the initiative, propose collective action and exercise leadership (but not exclusivity) in implementing concrete programmes. The need was identified for a strategy focussing on identification of such priority areas and implementation of specific action to maintain and reinforce the Organization's capacity as a centre of excellence.
B. Enhancing Inter-disciplinarity
72. The internal analysis confirmed the need to improve programme planning methodologies. There was strong endorsement of the need to ensure multi-disciplinary approaches, to exploit FAO's comparative advantage in this area to the full. The review of successful activities often highlighted those with a strong inter-disciplinary approach (e.g. AT 2010). As well as greatly increased proactive efforts to carry out joint activities among units, there was the need to ensure adequate application of resources at the proper time, including the appropriate mix of staff and consultants. Often, an additional key to success was to focus on truly innovative approaches.
73. Among the opportunities for FAO identified in the external analysis was the possibility of capitalizing on its multi-disciplinary capacities, within the sphere of its mandate, to help Members deal with trends such as changes in the role and functions of the state, continuing globalization and trade liberalization, changing demands on agriculture in increasingly urbanized societies, changing consumer patterns and perceptions, increasing awareness of food and environmental issues, and increasing pressure on natural resources and competition for their use.
C. Broadening Partnerships and Alliances
74. The analysis of the external environment stressed the role of an enhanced UN system to effectively address multi-sectoral problems. Global conferences and summits, including the World Food Summit, have had a major impact on the way in which goals, strategies and the development agenda are defined by the international community. UN organizations' action to help countries translate commitments, particularly those taken within the framework of international conventions and follow-up to UNCED, into practical action must capitalize on the wealth of expertise and potential for synergy inherent in the system.
75. In the internal analysis, it was noted that FAO has decades of experience and institutional memory in relations with non-governmental organizations working in its spheres of competence, particularly rural producers' organizations, and strong links with some private sector organizations, notably in the food industry. Importance was given to building on established contacts in member countries and in partner institutions. However, in reinforcing external partnerships, a condition for success was to act on the basis of mutually acknowledged comparative advantage, ensuring that each partner had a stake in the process.
D. Continuing to Improve the Management Process
76. The internal analysis pointed to a number of areas where there would appear to be a need for further improvement in the near term:
77. As regards systems support to the management process and its impact upon streamlining of procedures and upon the flow of management information, the internal analysis revealed concern about a number of areas:
78. However, it was emphasized that the other side of the same coin was the effectiveness of FAO's financial control and management. The internal analysis also took note of the fact that the Organization has never had its accounts qualified, it has always managed its resources within approved budget limits and has never suffered a serious financial default. Therefore care has to be taken so that, in improving efficiency and streamlining, this great strength - one which is much valued by donors who consign their resources under trust to FAO - is not lost.
E. Leveraging Resources for FAO and its Members
79. The Secretariat's analysis (external and internal) noted that changes were likely in the nature and composition of funding for agricultural development, and that the trend would probably generate a requirement for more selective targeting of assistance according to emerging priorities, and a need for new partnerships in funding. New directions and approaches for work under the Regular Programme would probably be mirrored in requests for assistance under extra-budgetary programmes (e.g. legal assistance, help with regulatory issues, decentralized rural finance, capacity-building in the areas of policy formulation and monitoring, etc.).
80. Of particular importance would be to help create a policy environment conducive to the sustainable intensification of agricultural production and accelerated rural development, and to mobilisation of increased investment in agriculture generally. Other lines which might be explored include shifting from project to institutional and programmatic approaches and managing increasingly complex partnership arrangements. It was noted that FAO traditionally has looked at Official Development Assistance (ODA) more than at Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and that information and analysis would be needed to take FDI better into account. Possibilities should also be explored for facilitating private sector capital flows and financial intermediation, and mobilizing private sector resources for development activities.
F. Communicating FAO's Messages
81. The external analysis concluded that concerted efforts would be required to reverse the present tide of skepticism about the UN system in some parts of the developed world, and that better communication of results achieved would be a crucial component of these efforts. The internal analysis noted that in the past FAO had operated without a coordinated communication policy, and that as a result some key audiences had been neglected and channels for effective communication had not been established or had been allowed to atrophy.
82. The Corporate Communication Policy and Strategy approved in 1998 was designed to respond to several perceived needs, including: coordination of communication and information activities within a well-defined, focussed programme; identification of key target audiences and strategies to reach them; enlistment of FAO's own staff as informed and convinced partners in communication efforts; establishment of mechanisms to define key corporate messages and to inform staff of them; adequate planning and budgeting for information needs related to major technical publications.