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Council endorses reforms proposed by FAO Director-General

Governing body supports new strategic planning, decentralization

Photo: ©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
FAO Council meeting this week in Rome.

15 June 2012, Rome - FAO's governing Council has endorsed Director-General José Graziano da Silva's reform proposals to regenerate the Organization by reallocating budgetary savings to strengthen country offices, increase strategic planning capacity and provide resources for interdisciplinary work.

"I feel there is a real engagement of countries and other partners in what is becoming a truly collective process to build a better Organization," Graziano da Silva told the Council's closing session.


"Achieving consensus is the best way to pave the way for moving forward faster. Let me repeat that I will not be able to do anything except what we can do together," he added.


Concentrating on core functions

The body, which meets every six months to oversee programme and budgetary activities, closed its five-day meeting with support for a process begun in January of reviewing FAO's work in order to concentrate on the most strategically important areas of food and agriculture, as identified by member countries and the Organization.


A series of regional conferences held earlier this year of FAO's member countries made a recommendation that FAO focus its efforts on the dissemination of knowledge through policy advice, technical assistance, capacity-building and the facilitation of South-South cooperation, a direction the Council also endorsed.


The Council welcomed the Director-General's initiative of concentrating on the Organization's basic attributes, core functions and comparative advantages. It requested the FAO chief to further elaborate FAO's strategic objectives and develop related action plans, indicators and targets.


The report noted that major change would continue at FAO with efforts to economize further and get better value-for-money, particularly in administration. It said it welcomed further proposals from the Director-General for strengthening the Organization, including better ways to mobilize extra funding for its programmes, to assist member countries in policy making and to enhance internal management of the Organization.


In other matters, the Council welcomed the progress made in the holding of three International Years that touch on FAO's mandate: the International Year of Cooperatives (2012), International Year of Quinoa (2013) and International Year of Family Farming (2014). During the Council opening on Monday, Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, was appointed Special Ambassador to FAO for the International Year of Quinoa, a nutritious traditional grain grown in the Andes.


The Council also called on member countries to increase monitoring of a Desert Locust outbreak in the African Sahel region, which it said was seriously endangering food security.