Contents -

VII. PART III - Activities and programmes of the organization

A. Review of the work of the technical committees of the conference: Review of FAO's Field Programmes
B. Review of the Organization's Activities and Programmes with Special Reference to the Areas of Concentration
C. Programme of work and budget, 1970-71

D. Agriculture department
E. Economic and Social Department
F. Fisheries department
G. Forestry department
H. Development department
I. Investment centre
J. Regional and Country Services
K. Miscellaneous chapters
L. Office of General Affairs and Information
M. Administration and Finance Department

N. Common services
O. List of Sessions of FAO Commissions, Committees and Working Parties, Panels of Experts, and Conferences and Consultations under the Regular Programme
P. Appropriations for the Biennium 1970-71
Q. The work of FAO, 1968-69
R. Proposals for medium-term activities and programmes
S. Inter-agency relations and consultations on matters of common interest (including FAO/UNIDO Relations and UN Joint Inspection Unit)

A. Review of the work of the technical committees of the conference: Review of FAO's Field Programmes

Development Trends and Prospects
Direction of and Strategy for Field Programmes
Identification, Appraisal and Formulation of FAO/Special Fund Projects
Project Emphasis
Coordination with Other Aid-Giving Programmes
Operational Problems
Operational Structure for Development Assistance in the Field
Senior Agricultural Advisers/FAO Country Representatives
Regional Offices
UN Regional Economic Commissions
Follow-Up Investment

Development Trends and Prospects

197. The Conference welcomed document C 69/18 (Review of FAO's Field Activities) as constituting a frank and systematic assessment of the Organization's field activities and expressed the hope that FAO would consolidate and extend the evaluation of its field activities on these lines in its future reports.

198. The Conference noted that there was now a greater realization of the important role of agriculture (in the broadest sense) in development and that more substantial funds were now being made available, both by multilateral and bilateral aid-giving agencies, to agricultural development. Moreover, there was a considerable degree of agreement between these agencies regarding the appropriate strategy to be pursued in order to accelerate such development. That process was now envisaged as a continuous one, extending from the preparatory studies and technical advice to feasibility studies and other pre-investment projects and ultimately to investment itself. There was evidence of a much greater degree of coordination between the various aid-giving agencies, and of a clearer realization of the interrelation of the parts to be played by each of them in the overall effort. It was realized that, in addition to the coordination effected at the agency programming level, the key to success in development lay in securing the best possible use of the resources available at country level and the integration of aid into each country's national programme. The recipient countries themselves, since they were most closely concerned, should assume major responsibility in this matter and should play an increasing part in this effort to obtain a better focus of and coordination for aid, both at the multilateral and bilateral level. It was vital to strengthen the planning machinery in these countries in order to enable them to realize and put into practice their own priorities.

199. It was further realized that, if the developing countries were to progress rapidly, they must have at their disposal sufficient trained staff of their own. Human resources were usually even more important than the material ones. Training at all levels, particularly of counterparts, should be given very high priority.

200. The aim of development was not merely to ensure maximum economic growth but above all to promote human welfare and the quality of living. The human factor was therefore vital for success in operations. It was essential to mobilize the enthusiasm of the local population, particularly at the medium and lower staff levels, since it would be their responsibility to follow-up the project. The Conference noted that FAO was implementing the UNDP arrangements for development support information whereby greater efforts were made to explain the purposes of the operations to the local population affected and involve them in the work.

201. FAO was seeking to mould its activities in such a way as to conform with these general principles and aspirations. It conceived of agricultural development as a unified process in which the operational arm and the regular programme converged on the same objectives. The Conference attached great importance to technical assistance provided under the regular programme. The effectiveness of this activity would be considerably enhanced by the use of the Director-General's fund for consultants. FAO was laying great emphasis on effecting a searching evaluation of its field operations with a view to affording recipient countries more effective service by improving formulation, the quality and effectiveness of its projects (in particular by reducing delays), and the coordination between the aid-giving agencies of the United Nations family and between these agencies and bilateral aid. The need to attract investment was now being taken into account at the formulation stage, and FAO had contributed actively in the effort to obtain investment funds through the Investment Centre, the FAO/Industry Programme, the World Food Programme and other organizations.

202. In a wider context, however, certain delegates emphasized that aid should be complemented by measures to facilitate international trade, such as reducing restrictions on the import of agricultural products by industrialized countries and other measures designed to increase the earnings of developing countries from the export of such products.

Direction of and Strategy for Field Programmes

203. Technical Assistance. The Conference reaffirmed the importance and value of the small scale projects provided under the Technical Assistance sector of the UNDP, and expressed the wish that these should receive an increased share of the total resources made available to UNDP. The Conference welcomed the increasing integration of the TA and SF sectors of the UNDP, whereby TA experts provided valuable assistance to Special Fund projects at the pre-project stage, for example in project formulation and training, and on the completion of the project.

204. TA experts, moreover, could make a substantial contribution to the training of local staff, particularly but not exclusively of the counterparts attached to them. Technical Assistance projects offered the advantage of being small, inexpensive and flexible and of being in a position to provide rapid solutions to specific problems.

205. The Conference recognized the importance of recruiting a high proportion of experts from the developing countries themselves, particularly from countries with conditions similar to those of the recipient country, but felt that there might in some cases be a danger of thereby depleting the resources of skilled manpower of the developing country providing the experts.

206. The institution of continuous programming of projects had removed the need for a hurried allocation of funds at the end of each year to projects which were sometimes unsatisfactory. Any savings at present effected continued to be at the disposal of governments. The fears that the new system might result in over-centralization at UNDP Headquarters had proved unfounded, since considerable latitude was granted to the UNDP resident representatives in recasting programmes to meet the needs of recipient governments. In addition, the UNDP Governing Council had unanimously decided to abolish fixed agency shares for the regional and inter-regional programme as from 1971. Thereafter, this type of project would be approved by the Administrator and the Governing Council of UNDP on the basis of direct requests by groups of governments.

207. TA experts should submit regular reports to, and have frequent meetings with, the host governments covering, among other things, difficulties encountered, and suggesting remedial action.

208. The Conference felt that it would be useful, in future reviews of action in this field, to give particulars about the length of projects, the numbers thereof and some idea of the average cost and a breakdown by subject matter area, taking account of the work done by TA for Special Fund projects.

209. Certain delegates urged that a larger proportion of technical assistance under FAO's regular programme should be given to developing European countries, of which there were some.

210. Freedom from Hunger Campaign. The Conference commended the Freedom from Hunger Campaign on its operations. Certain delegates suggested that a revolving fund should be set up in order to enable an early start to be made on those operations for which a specific promise of finance had been received from a donor.

211. The Conference felt that the work of the FFHC Fertilizer Programme was acquiring increasing importance and should continue to be expanded. It welcomed the spread of the Programme's work and considered that it should be coordinated with the work of FAO on other inputs such as pesticides and insecticides. Fertilizers should be used on all crops which showed immediate benefit from the application thereof and not only on food crops. Some delegates felt that the Fertilizer Programme would be more effective if FAO's participation was extended to include assistance to member governments in developing efficient distribution systems in order to ensure easy availability of supplies at the farm level.

212. FAO/UNICEF Programme. The Conference expressed approval of the work carried out by the FAD/UNICEF Programme, and welcomed the increasing integration of its activities in such other operations as UNDP projects of various kinds. It recognized the important part played by the Programme in helping to close the protein gap but felt that more attention should be paid to achieving production of milk products at economic prices and ensuring adequate markets for them.

Identification, Appraisal and Formulation of FAO/Special Fund Projects

213. The Conference welcomed the tendency for projects to be formulated to an increasing extent in an inter-agency, intersectoral context, thus making possible a smoother integration of United Nations assistance as a whole in national programmes An approach on these lines had already been made in two countries, and similar arrangements were envisaged for others. Inter-agency cooperation of this kind was of particular importance in those countries where the overall volume of United Nations assistance constituted a substantial portion of total aid from all sources. The Conference noted with satisfaction an increasing tendency for recipient countries to regard aid as an integral part of their resources, and to absorb such aid completely into their national planning arrangements. Partly as a result of that trend, government authorities were being more and more closely involved in the preparation of projects.

214. All the above developments were greatly facilitated by the work of the senior agricultural advisers/FAO country representatives in collaboration with the resident representatives of UNDP. Certain delegates felt that governments could improve their project formulation if these officials, and also outposted regional staff, were in a position to devote more time to this form of activity. It was important to provide recipient countries, on request, with assistance in improving their economic planning machinery, especially as regards perspective planning. The reorganization of FAO, particularly as it affected the Development Department 2/had made it possible to achieve a sharper focus on the adaptation of project formulation to the varying needs and absorptive capacities of recipient countries and their different levels of development. While it was necessary to formulate the project within the existing framework of the recipient country, it was unavoidable that, in some cases, development should lead to the restructuring of agriculture, since growth and change were indivisible. In addition, FAO was increasingly striving to ensure, in project formulation, rational articulation as regards phasing, a proper balance of inputs, the adjustment of inputs to the objectives envisaged, and the concentration on those projects which would achieve maximum impact with minimum expenditure. The Conference recommended that projects should be formulated as an integral part of the institutions of recipient countries, with a view to complementing and underpinning their activities and training their personnel, and thus avoiding the creation of organizations duplicating and competing with existing bodies and complicating the provision of counterpart facilities.

215. The Conference welcomed the growing importance attached to project preparation and the increased flexibility of UNDP procedures which enabled such preparations to be carried out by the dispatch either of missions or of key project experts in advance, or by the provision of advice by local TA experts or outposted staff. The special role of the senior agricultural adviser/FAO country representative was noted in ensuring a continuing dialogue between the recipient country, FAO Headquarters and UNDP. Efforts should be made to interest financing institutions, including multinational industry, in projects at the preparatory stage.

216. Certain delegates stressed the need for a typology of projects covering the varying subject matter areas or geographical regions. The Conference noted that FAO had prepared models of certain types of project' but had felt that it was preferable to let each country work out the projects best suited to its needs and priorities. However, these models were being used in cases where bilateral donors wished to obtain projects which they could either implement, or ask FAO to implement on their behalf.

Project Emphasis

217. Parallel with the advance in the standards of the developing nations, there had been an evolution in the emphasis attached to various subject areas. Thus, there was a growing tendency to adopt the more sophisticated and comprehensive formula of regional planning instead of the more specialized types of project which had prevailed hitherto.

218. The Conference stressed the importance of building cooperatives and other farm organizations. There should also be greater emphasis on and integration of agricultural extension, credit, storage and marketing, with particular attention to the performance of such services by farmers' organizations themselves.

219. The Conference expressed the hope that as high a proportion as possible of project funds would be allocated to equipment. Special importance was also attached, in view of the role of high-yielding varieties, to increasing the supply of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides in projects and, to the extent that it was technically feasible and economically desirable, to setting up production facilities in the developing countries themselves. It also recommended that greater attention be paid to the establishment on an appropriate scale of industries for the processing of agricultural materials and for the production of simple agricultural instruments.

220. The Conference attached great importance to the intensification of research by the creation of regional institutes oriented toward the solution of practical problems, provided that every effort was made to avoid duplication and that the importance of long-term research, wherever it was carried out, was not underestimated. Certain delegates felt, however, that the main emphasis should be on adaptive research at the national level, including for example, the creation of facilities for testing high-yielding varieties locally.

Coordination with Other Aid-Giving Programmes

221. The Conference noted that coordination was constantly improving not only with other multilateral agencies but also with bilateral programmes and that regular consultations took place with certain bilateral programmes at headquarters level covering both general and specific issues. Coordination at country level had also improved considerably, partly as a result of the appointment of certain senior agricultural advisers/FAO country representatives.

222. An agreement on cooperation regarding field operations had been reached with UNIDO, and cooperation was being intensified with other United Nations agencies. The Conference welcomed these developments, but urged that, since the major focus of coordination was on the country level, recipient countries should be to the fore in efforts to promote this tendency, since their planning machinery offered a better focus for coordination.

Operational Problems

223. Delays. The Conference noted that there had been a reduction in pre-operational delays and that it was hoped to effect a further improvement in this respect. It also noted that, in the opinion of the recent management survey, the efficiency of project operations was expected to improve as a result of the implementation of the recommendations thereof (such as the introduction of the use of network analysis in project planning and of a computerized management reporting system). The Conference, however, felt that one of the major causes of delays consisted in excessive control of operations from Headquarters and that the present difficulties might be at least attenuated if a greater degree of authority was granted to project managers and other key personnel in the field as appropriate. The Conference welcomed the information that a substantial measure of authority was in fact now being granted to project managers, and recommended that the Director-General should continue to extend the scope of such authority. The Conference considered that the recipient country should be accorded a greater share of responsibility in the management of projects.

224. Contracting. The Conference felt that one means of palliating the shortage of skilled experts would be to have greater recourse to contracts with consulting firms, specialized institutes and universities for the execution of projects, since it considered that, in many cases, contracting offered certain advantages over implementation by direct recruitment. It noted that FAO already availed itself of contractors' services to a substantial extent, particularly in such fields as land and water development in which highly specialized skills were required, and would, wherever possible, seek to expand the range of operational work for which it relied on contractors.

225. Recruitment. The Conference noted that one of the main considerations impeding the rapid initiation of implementation was the difficulty of securing promptly adequate numbers of experts possessing the necessary qualifications and a suitable personality for posts in the field. It realized that there was no simple solution of this complex issue. It recommended that FAO should base its recruitment policy on urgent and sustained action concentrating on the categories of experts in short supply as listed on page 102 of document C 69/18.

226. The Conference further considered that the best possible use should be made of the services of associate experts, who, during their assignment, should be closely guided by senior experts, and that such measures should be geared to the policy of building up a reserve of field personnel. It felt that better procedures should be elaborated for the recruitment and supervision of associate experts, of which FAO employed by far the greatest number in any Specialized Agency. The Conference agreed that the Council should review the Associate Expert Scheme.

227. It was recognized that while certain recipient countries expressed a marked preference for top level experts, others were placing more emphasis on practical experience, which often compensated for the lack of formal qualifications for certain types of post. It was accordingly necessary for FAO to adopt a flexible approach in this matter. The rotation of staff between headquarters and field assignments should be adopted to the extent possible, especially since it offered the additional advantage of enabling headquarters experts to obtain a deeper insight into the problems underlying project operations. Certain delegates felt that FAO should submit to the recipient country concerned several names of candidates for expert posts, instead of only one as at present.

228. Certain delegates proposed that one or two courses, given by a specialized centre in each of the various official languages, should train high level experts with an obligation to work for the Technical Assistance Programme for a minimum period of, say, five years. This approach was expected to give good results in the provision of experts, especially of Spanish experts, who would be able to take up assignments in Latin America without any need for a period of acclimatization.

229. Considerable numbers of experts might be obtained from certain areas which, because of the ignorance by the technical personnel of the working languages of FAO, were at present largely untapped. The linguistic difficulty could be overcome by the provision of advance short-term training courses for experts in one or other of these languages, the cost being met by FAO out of project funds. There was a precedent for such a measure, since facilities were already available in FAO at the Organization's expense for the provision of certain types of linguistic training.

230. Efforts should be made to improve recruitment procedures. The Conference looked forward to seeing the beneficial results of the measures taken to strengthen the Organization's machinery dealing with recruitment, including the outposting of personnel officers to operational units. The Director-General was requested to ensure that post descriptions were issued simultaneously in the working languages of the Organization, and given the widest possible publicity. Greater reliance should be placed on national FAO committees for assistance in recruitment.

231. Training. The Conference emphasized the vital importance of training at all levels, especially in-service training, so as to build up the necessary expertise in developing countries and enable them to expedite their economic progress. It was important to include medium and lower level personnel in this process, since the task of ensuring the follow-up of pre-investment projects fell largely on their shoulders. Indeed, development could only be regarded as successful if, through extension and other means, the new technologies were transmitted to the farmer himself, thus making him an active participant in the development process.

232. The Conference noted that a UNDP Inter-Agency Working Group was subjecting to a complete review the numerous problems involved in training, and looked forward to learning of the Group's findings at an early date.

233. The Conference urged the intensification of the policy whereby FAO experts under all operational programmes trained the greatest possible number of experts, counterpart staff were granted fellowships well in advance of the start of project operations, and, wherever necessary and possible, fellows were given prior training needed in the languages which they would be employing during their fellowships. Member governments should carry out a careful follow-up of the activities of counterparts after their fellowship, since cases had arisen where, for a number of reasons, fellows were transferred to a different career, with the result that neither the project nor the country had benefited from their training.

234. The Conference agreed with the Review's analysis of these problems and with the solutions proposed. It was clear that the removal of the present constraints on progress would be a lengthy process. Many developing countries simply did not have the necessary qualified candidates for fellowships. However, the Conference felt that, in view of the overriding importance of obtaining an increase in skilled personnel, developing countries should make every effort to take advantage of the opportunities offered to obtain fellowships within UNDP programmes.

235. The Conference agreed that pre-project training at medium levels and crash programmes offered a short-term complementary solution of that problem. Financial incentives might also be provided by governments, but these would often entail serious repercussions on the salary scales of the civil service. It was suggested that financial measures of the kind contemplated might be incorporated in the project provision for counterpart services.


236. The Conference noted that there was increasing appreciation by the United Nations family of organizations and bilateral assistance agencies of the role of evaluation in depth as an essential management tool which could provide a feedback making it possible to avoid past errors and improve methodology and performance. This growing interest in evaluation had resulted at times in a somewhat uncoordinated series of missions, inspections and studies. The Conference emphasized the importance of putting evaluation on a systematic basis, and welcomed the establishment of a separate unit in FAO for this purpose. The Conference recommended that the evaluation of field projects should be undertaken in close cooperation with UNDP and the recipient nations. It could not be expected that evaluation could cover more than a proportion of operational programmes and projects. The Conference felt that the findings of FAO's evaluations should be made available to the recipient countries, and also, wherever possible, to the donor nations. The Director-General was further requested to ensure that the findings and recommendations of the various evaluation missions were expeditiously considered by all concerned and then acted upon, in the case of both on-going projects and (at the formulation stage) of new projects and programmes

237. The Conference noted that the approach adopted for evaluation so far had been largely empirical and qualitative, and that considerable research work was needed to evolve a scientific approach in this regard. The Conference felt that it was desirable to introduce quantitative criteria, subject to the difficulties inherent in assessing the results of pre-investment projects in such terms The Conference further welcomed the proposed shift toward grouping of projects for evaluation on a subject matter or country basis.

238. The Conference noted that evaluation in depth was (a) distinct from but complementary to the process of current management supervision of operations, and (b) was carried out after the termination of operations or at certain given points during implementation. The Conference recommended that overall assessment comprising both evaluation in depth and current management supervision should constitute a continuous control of operations. It also considered that FAO procedures should ensure that information from the field on specific problems was reviewed in a wider context in order to enable the Organization to take any general remedial measures thought necessary.

239. The Conference recommended/hat the valuable work initiated by the Evaluation Branch be intensified, and that adequate staff resources should be provided to the branch for this purpose. The Conference also proposed that greater independence within the Organization's structure be given to the branch in order to enable it to carry out its exacting task with impartiality.

Operational Structure for Development Assistance in the Field

240. The Conference fully endorsed the concept underlying the Director-General's proposals for strengthening the Organization's field establishment, i. e. to focus programme planning and execution at the country level and to achieve a unified approach of multilateral assistance toward the recipient government. In this connexion, the need to improve the channel of communications between the field experts, the regional and country representatives was stressed. The Conference considered that a strong field establishment was essential if the Organization was to discharge effectively its functions in the various phases of development assistance from the setting of overall development strategies and priorities to project execution, follow-up investment and evaluation of results. The Conference noted with appreciation that in many developing countries strong coordination for the effective utilization of development assistance was offered from various sources. In order to match the improved planning system at the national level, the Conference considered that close cooperation with the UNDP resident representative was essential and that further efforts within the United Nations system of organizations might be required in order to streamline the provision of multilateral assistance irrespective of the source of funds.

Senior Agricultural Advisers/FAO Country Representatives

241. The Conference welcomed the proposal of the Director-General for strengthening the corps of country representatives which it itself had advocated on several occasions since the Eleventh Session of the Conference in 1961. The agricultural sector was of basic importance in the economy of most developing countries and, considering that FAO, both through its regular as well as its field programme, had an increasing impact on policies and action programmes in these countries, the Conference considered it essential that FAO should have its own spokesman in all countries in which it operated a substantive field programme. Considering, however, that most of FAO's resources for field operations were derived from the UNDP, the Conference felt that close coordination and, if possible, integration, at the country level, with the office of the UNDP resident representatives were an essential pre-condition for the successful implementation of this part of the field programme. It endorsed the Director-General's proposal that such coordination should take the form of a "cabinet" constituted of the agency representatives of the main operational United Nations agencies under the chairmanship of the resident representative which would regularly review the total United Nations contribution toward the integrated development of the country concerned. The Conference was satisfied to learn from the Director-General that the basic principles governing the agreement reached in 1966 between UNDP and FAO were to be applied to the full extent to all senior agricultural advisers/FAO country representatives, irrespective of the funds to be used for their employment.

242. As regards the mode of financing the country representatives, the Conference noted that the Director-General's original proposals, as contained in document C 69/3, had been subsequently modified and agreed to, in principle, by the Fifty-Second Session of the Council (June 1969). The Conference further noted that the cost-sharing arrangements, according to which 28 of these officers would be financed by the UNDP and 27 by FAO, had also been found acceptable by the UNDP Governing Council during its session in June 1969. The effectiveness of the arrangements would be reviewed independently at the end of 1970 in the light of experience gained, taking into account possible recommendations on this matter in the "Capacity Study" by Sir Robert Jackson, and the reactions of member governments to these recommendations.

243. Taking into account the detailed discussions which had taken place on the matter, both in the Programme and Finance Committee and in the Council, during the earlier part of 1969, where all aspects of this issue had been closely analysed, the Conference considered that the agreement reached between the Director-General and the Administrator of UNDP was the best possible interim solution under present circumstances. The Conference therefore agreed to the budgetary provisions required for the establishment of 27 senior agricultural advisers/FAO country representatives as proposed by the Director-General For the future, most delegates agreed with the proposal that country representatives should be officials of FAO under the regular programme. Several delegates, however stated that, though they recognized the majority view, it was nevertheless the firm opinion of their governments that a corps of agency field representatives should not be financed by regular programme budgets but rather by UNDP. The Conference further requested the Director-General to keep the Programme Committee and Council closely involved in the joint review of the present arrangement, which was to be undertaken toward the end of 1970.

Regional Offices

244. The Conference took note of the content of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization as it concerned the function and operation of regional offices as well as the report of the Fifty-First Session of the Council in October 1968 Taking into account, in addition, the wishes of Member Nations as expressed at the FAO regional conference in 1968, the Conference considered that the Director-General's proposals for a substantive shift in emphasis of the work of regional offices, as proposed in document C 69/3, was a step in the right direction. On the one hand, it was proposed to strengthen the authority and responsibility of regional representatives with regard to project identification and formulation within the framework of overall regional or national objectives, while on the other hand the Director-General's proposal resulted in a considerable reduction of staff. Several delegates felt that the regional offices should be strengthened by the allocation of more funds and staff and by the grant of a greater degree of technical and administrative autonomy. It was generally considered that the new project management principles to be introduced by the Director-General, which would reach from project formulation to follow-up, should safeguard FAO's operational flexibility and its ability to react quickly to new requests or changing requirements in existing projects. In this connexion, the Conference welcomed the Director-General's proposal for establishing a consultant fund of $750 000 for regional offices to be financed by the reallocation of the present regional offices' resources, which should improve flexibility of operation particularly in response to urgent requests from Member Nations. It was noted with approval in this connexion that 50 percent of these funds, except in the case of the European Region, would be used to assist in financing investment missions, chiefly with the area banks.

UN Regional Economic Commissions

245. The Conference noted that closer cooperation had been established during the past biennium, with the United Nations Economic Commissions. Some disappointment was expressed by certain Members at the failure to establish joint offices which had been proposed by the Director-General. However, there was general agreement that the results achieved so far in cooperative action augured well for the creation of even closer ties between FAO and the commissions. It was noted, for instance, that the FAO regional conferences, which were often held in conjunction with those of Economic Commissions concerned, usually set the policy lines for agricultural development for both FAO and the commission. The Conference was gratified to learn that, in the case of one region, a joint programme of work in the agricultural sector was now being established periodically. The Conference expressed the hope, however, that the Director-General and the Executive Secretaries would continue to strive for closer working relations for the benefit of member countries in the regions.

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