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Director-General says FAO is changing to face today’s challenges

Governing Council reviews policy proposals

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Director-General (left) addresses Council opening.
3 December 2012, Rome - Addressing the opening session of the governing Council, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva thanked Members for their ongoing support to transformational changes in FAO, which allow the Organization to move forward with renewed focus and purpose.

In his statement, the FAO Director-General said that FAO needed to adapt to face the multidimensional challenges of today and explained what the proposed changes meant to the Organization.

"We are starting to move from a project approach to a programme approach. We are breaking down institutional silos and promoting synergies across the Organization. We are breaking down the separation between FAO's work on knowledge and operations. We are doing away with the artificial separation between emergency, rehabilitation and development. And we are opening FAO to work better with partners," said Graziano da Silva.

According to the Director-General, a recent partnership launched by the African Union and FAO, with the support of Instituto Lula, embodied the "spirit of the changes" that were being made in FAO.

The Director-General also requested endorsement of the draft FAO Strategy on Partnerships with Civil Society so the Organization would have a solid and transparent foundation to work with. He informed the meeting that the partnerships strategy with the private sector would be submitted to the governing bodies in the first quarter of 2013.

Strategic objectives

The FAO Council is expected to give its final endorsement this week to the new set of crosscutting strategic objectives that are designed to address emerging challenges and priorities faced by FAO in its future work.

Emphasizing that he had found over $26 million in savings and efficiencies this year and with Council's approval reallocated over $19 million in savings from administrative areas to support technical work, the FAO head asked for an increased budget of the Organization for the 2014-2015 biennium.

"Even a small, real increase in the next budget level will help ensure that the new cross-cutting Strategic Objectives may be achieved, in addition to acting as a catalyst for mobilizing further extra-budgetary resources," he said.

Finally, Graziano da Silva asked Council to endorse proposed amendments to the General Rules of the Organization that would smooth the transition when new administrations took over.

"I am voluntarily pursuing a course that would in effect mean giving up part of my own powers to introduce the concept of an orderly transition in FAO," said the Director-General.

Mourning

The Director-General also offered his condolences to the family and friends of former FAO Director-General Edouard Saouma, who has passed away. Saouma headed the Organization from 1976 to 1993.