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Media reporting on FAO evaluation misleading, team leader says
Reports missing the big picture
31 August 2007, Rome – Media reports covering the first working draft of the Independent External Evaluation of FAO (IEE), published last week, were “highly selective and cited mainly negative observations,” team leader Leif Christoffersen of Norway said in a statement today.

“The IEE draft report appeals to the member countries of FAO to look to the big picture and specifically not to focus on details of our recommendations without fully considering our main messages and the reasons we arrived at our conclusions,” Christoffersen said. “We would like to make the same appeal to the media.”

Keith Bezanson of Canada, former team leader and core team member, commented: “The reports we are referring to did not convey to their readers the big picture or the balance in the central messages of the report.”

He continued: “The big picture is of a vitally important organization, performing vital services and furnishing essential goods, but also of an organization in urgent need of transformational reform in order to rejuvenate itself, re-establish confidence and trust and increase its resources.”

He also said: “Without such a transformation, increased finances will not alone solve FAO problems. But the IEE is also very clear in stating that what is now required is a major package of reform with growth and that FAO cannot fulfil the expectations of its members, exploit its comparative advantages or preserve its core competencies if its budget continues to shrink.”

Christoffersen added: “The IEE concluded that a new international compact must be achieved amongst all members, a compact for transformation with growth. We specifically recommend the establishment of a joint working group of member countries and management to direct and assume shared ownership in an Immediate Action Plan for the implementation of more than 100 recommendations aimed at ensuring that FAO realizes its full potential in the 21st century.”

He went on: “It is true that the IEE found many and major defects in FAO and that recommendations have been formulated to address these. But the main message of the IEE draft report is not what has appeared in some recent press reports. The report is entitled: “FAO: The Challenge of Renewal” and that is the message that we would hope to see conveyed to global citizenry by the media.”

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FAO Media Office
FAO-Newsroom@fao.org
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Media reporting on FAO evaluation misleading, team leader says
Reports missing the big picture
31 August 2007 – Media reports covering the first working draft of the Independent External Evaluation of FAO were “highly selective and cited mainly negative observations,” according to team leader Leif Christoffersen of Norway.
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