CL 115/8


Council


Hundred-and-fifteenth Session

Rome, 23 - 28 November 1998

REPORT OF THE EIGHTIETH SESSION OF THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE
Rome, 21 - 26 September

 

Table of Contents


 

 


 

MATTERS REQUIRING ATTENTION BY THE COUNCIL

Matters requiring discussion and/or decision

Paragraphs

FAO Strategic Framework 2000-2015

6 - 21

Developments for the Medium-term Plan and Preliminary Programme
Priorities 2000-2001

22 - 27

Programme Implementation Report 1996-97

28 – 52

 

Matters for information

Review of Programmes

53 – 67

UN Joint Inspection Unit Reports

68 – 70

Progress Report on the Follow-up of Past Programme Recommendations

71 – 74

Review of Working Methods of the Programme Committee

75 – 78

 

 


 

 

REPORT OF THE EIGHTIETH SESSION OF THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE

Rome, 21 - 26 September 1998

 


 

INTRODUCTION

1. The Committee submits to the Council the following report of its Eightieth Session.

2. The following Members were present:

Chairman: Mr. D.F.R. Bommer (Germany)
Members: Mr A. Pearson (Australia)
Mr R. Rose (Canada)
Mr G. Redai (Ethiopia)
Mr E. Kitahara (Japan)
Mr G. Mansour (Lebanon)
Mr P. Paredes Portella (Peru)
Ms M.R. Castillo (Philippines)
Mr V. Moe (Trinidad and Tobago)
Ms S. Nyamudeza (Zimbabwe)

3. Mr. S. Baharsjah, the Independent Chairman of the Council, was present at the meeting.

4. Mr. M.M. Seghayer of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Member of the Programme Committee was not present at the meeting.


 

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE
[Docs.: PC 80/1; PC 80/INF/1]

5. The Agenda and Timetable for the meeting were approved with the inclusion of one item under Any Other Business.


 

FAO STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK 2000-2015

General

6. The Committee was informed that various steps of the preparatory process had unfolded since early 1998, in accordance with the progress report it considered at its last session. Version 1.0 of the Strategic Framework built on extensive analytical work and discussions within the Organization.

7. A substantial number (77) of replies to the questionnaire addressed to Member Nations had been received in time to be taken into account in the analysis. The Committee noted the resulting synthesis of returns provided in Annex II. Further replies, the total number of which has increased meanwhile to 100, will be considered when preparing subsequent drafts of the Framework.

8. The Committee noted the on-going broad consultations with key external partners on the basis of Version 1.0, including UN System Organizations, international financial institutions, academic institutions and influential NGOs active in the World Food Summit preparations. The results of such consultations would be covered in subsequent versions of the Strategic Framework. The Committee recommended that the next Council could be apprised of the general tenor of the reactions from partners.

9. The Committee was informed that efforts had been made to limit the size of the document which consequently resulted in sometimes overly brief formulations. For instance, the quite voluminous analysis of the external environment, had been drastically reduced to present only summary findings in Part I. Similarly, considerably more detailed information was available on the intended partnerships under each proposed strategic objective. The Committee stressed, in this connection, that it was important to distinguish between those partnerships where the Organization was expected to play a lead role, and those where it acts as a partner or facilitator.

10. The Committee recalled that the Strategic Framework was an integral part of of documents and Programme of Work and Budget) which that embodied the revised programme budget process discussed at previous sessions and endorsed by the Conference. It recognized, however, that the present transitional phase would continue until the Strategic Framework could be formally approved by the next Conference following which all components of the new programme process could be gradually put into place.

Part I

11. In addressing Part I, Looking Towards 2015, the Committee felt that the twelve major trends with potential bearing on FAO’s work over the long term that had been identified were generally acceptable. It stressed, however, that adjustment of language was required in several areas, for instance in paragraph 2.

12. The Committee also highlighted some issues which would have deserved more elaboration. These included the implications on agriculture and food security of the current financial and economic crises in many parts of the world, the increasing role of women in agriculture, the political tensions increasingly resulting from competition for natural resources use, the role of aquaculture, the changing importance of agriculture in national economies, and the multipolar nature of the emerging global system.

Part II

13. The Committee stressed that Part II, Corporate Strategies and Objectives, was at the core of the strategic planning exercise. As such, its progressive refinement required due attention by the membership with the assistance of the Secretariat, while also benefiting from advice of the Organization’s partners.

14. Considering the present structure of this chapter, the Committee recommended that it should start with a well focussed, brief vision and mission statement. It also felt that further improvements in the clarity of the present text were required to facilitate understanding.

15. Suggestions were made by members of the Committee as regards the content, structure, sequence and presentation of the proposed five corporate strategies (labelled A to E) and attendant twelve strategic objectives.

16. Some members felt that there was merit in merging corporate strategies towards a smaller number. One possibility was, for instance, to link A and B, given the common policy dimension underlying both of them, although the fundamental difference between the target groups was also highlighted. integrating Another possibility was the integration of C and D, as production, use and maintenance of resources are closely related. E, referring to one of the core functions of the Organization, could retain its separate status.

17. On the other hand, members also proposed a further breakdown which they considered might be possible in the present clustering of objectives within the five corporate strategies. For instance, work on emergencies did not appear to fit ideally under A, whereas the advocacy function shown under E was only loosely connected with the other proposed objectives in that area. Others supported maintaining the proposed structure of five corporate strategies. The inclusion of an additional strategy on management excellence, drawing on the elements of Part III, was also proposed, as was the inclusion of production and productivity in strategy C.

18. The Committee recommended that greater prominence be given in future versions to such aspects as the role of women in development, technology transfer, rural development and capacity-building in Member Nations.

Part III

19. The Committee supported the emphasis put on inter-disciplinarity and the inter-disciplinary approach in the formulation of the strategic objectives which will also be followed in the subsequent formulation of the Medium-term Plan. At the same time, it drew attention to ensuring adequate accountability mechanisms in the inter-disciplinary projects to be formulated. The Committee stressed in this context the continued relevance of a discipline-based underlying structure to maintaining FAO as a centre of excellence.

20. The Committee also welcomed the emphasis put on expanding partnerships, while recommending the development of clear guidelines to govern cooperation with potential partners, such as the private sector and NGOs, ensuring at the same time that FAO’s independence is not compromised.

21. The Committee appreciated that due mention had been made of maximum leveraging of resources by FAO, in the context of budgetary stringency currently experienced by the Organization. Beyond that, it recalled that issues of resource levels and attendant priority-setting and criteria would be particularly relevant to address in the Medium-term Plan and the Programme of Work and Budget. The Committee endorsed in this connection the importance given to enhancing the image of the Organization, in order to generate support for its actions. It stressed that one of the best means to achieve this was to demonstrate FAO’s effective impact through well-targeted programmes.


 

DEVELOPMENTS FOR THE MEDIUM-TERM PLAN AND PRELIMINARY PROGRAMME PRIORITIES 2000-2001

22. In considering the tentative ideas offered on the possible content of the next Medium-term Plan document, the Committee recognized the difficulties inherent in providing such a document in the present transitional phase prior to the full-fledged application of the revised programme-budget process. It underlined that the raison d’Ítre of the Medium-term Plan was to provide an effective bridge between the Strategic Framework and the successive Programmes of Work and Budget. It concluded that, until the Strategic Framework had been itself finalized and adopted by the Governing Bodies, the Medium-term Plan could not be satisfactorily formulated.

23. The Committee was of a view that an attempt to provide a "hybrid" version in the next year as proposed, would not be a productive use of resources. It felt that the energies of FAO units should better concentrate at this stage on the development of the new programming model. This would enhance the Programme of Work and Budget with more adequate information on expected outcomes.

24. The Committee was informed that the present information systems used to produce the Programme of Work and Budget document would be able to accommodate presentation of activities both in terms of the new entities (e.g. technical projects) contemplated in the model and in terms of the existing format. It concurred with the suggestion to focus full application of the model on mostly innovative activities proposed for the next biennium, as well as on those instances when this application was reasonably straightforward.

25. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the Council consider dispensing with the preparation of a separate Medium-term Plan document in this transitional phase. In this case, the Programme of Work and Budget could contain an appropriate medium-term perspective section, which would seek to map proposed entities which, although relying on existing authorities such as Conference decisions, could, in a tentative manner, demonstrate the links to the then available version of the Strategic Framework.

26. In responding to the invitation to provide views on priorities to be reflected in the next Programme of Work and Budget, members indicated those areas to which their countries attached particular importance, including those they would like to see protected or even allocated increased levels of resources. These included:

27. The Committee recognized that pressures to limit the growth of assessed contributions were likely to continue in the immediate future. This climate should dictate rigorous attention to priority selection and active search for partnerships to maximize the impact of FAO’s actions. Some members indicated their expectation of realistic proposals in terms of budget level, which in their view should be compatible with zero-nominal growth. One member indicated that there should not be a real growth option. Other members had different perceptions.


 

 

PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION REPORT 1996-97

Format

28. The Committee noted the concise format of this Programme Implementation Report.which stemmed inter alia from the fact that the Programme of Work and Budget for the same biennium included comprehensive information on planned outputs under various categories It received an audio-visual presentation of a new initiative, whereby a data-base covering the 1996-97 biennium’s outputs and their implementation status had been placed on FAO’s Internet web-site in order to facilitate access to this information and to limit the size of the printed document. The Committee observed that in some respects the information in the document was not easy to grasp and invited attention to greater clarity in the future.

29. data-base covering the 1996-97 biennium’s outputs and their implementation status had been placed on FAO’s Internet web-site in order to facilitate access to this information and to limit the size of the printed document. The Committee noted that the scope and format of this report would change considerably, as the result of the full-scale implementation of the revised programme-budget process. Under this revised process, while outputs would still be reported, emphasis should be given to a link with impact.

Chapter 1: Executive Summary

Chapter 2: Organizational Performance

30. The Committee appreciated the range of primarily quantitative information contained in these sections. It considered that the record of implementation of FAO programmes which transpired from the report was noteworthy, given the particularly difficult context of the last biennium.

31. The Committee received additional clarifications on the budgetary transfers and the instances of underspending against appropriations, which had been an unusual feature of this biennium. The Committee recalled that these were linked to a number of factors, including the significant restructuring and savings measures introduced as the result of the 1995 Conference decisions on the Programme of Work and Budget 1996-97. It recalled that substantial savings on vacant posts had been reflected in reduced allotments to many units, so as to meet unbudgeted staff redeployment and separation costs. This factor had been recognized by the Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees when they approved the adjustments to the Programme of Work and Budget 1996-97 at their session in May 1996.

32. The Committee addressed the data provided on the cost of supporting field activities and attendant reimbursements. It observed that changing contexts, including the both quantitative and qualitative evolution of the field programme, the recent decentralization measures in FAO, including favourable cost differentials with Headquarters and the modalities of Support Cost reimbursement being discussed with funding sources, made decentralization a particularly pertinent issue to revisit in the future.under active consideration by the Finance Committee.

33. The Committee, in this connection, stressed the need to continue to reduce support costs to the maximum extent possible to reduce the gap between effective costs and reimbursements. It was advised that the forecast for 1998-99 showed a substantial reduction in the percentage of support cost to delivery.

34. In discussing the field programme more generally, the Committee took note of a number of important trends or factors which called for appropriate responses from the Organization. One of these was the move towards smaller-size and shorter-duration projects than in the past and the consequent need to develop appropriate cost-effective evaluation methodologies. Also, FAO was now more deeply involved with projects of a policy advisory nature, requiring essentially inputs of an "intellectual" type, rather than "material" project inputs (e.g. equipment or training supplies).

35. In considering the synthesis of project evaluations traditionally included in the report, the Committee considerable improvement although it observed with concern the indicated factors which continued to impact negatively on project sustainability, e.g. poor project design and weaknesses in national institutions. It recognized that these were problems experienced by all organizations involved in development and related technical cooperation and not specific to FAO’s operational work. The Committee welcomed the efforts to strengthen project design and appraisal, encouraged further attention to the matter, and was advised that the assessment of project design, implementation and results showed considerable improvement. It stressed the need for more comprehensive ex post assessments of projects’ impact after completion of FAO’s involvement in their implementation, thereby providing useful feedback of lessons.

36. While understanding the practical factors which had limited full-fledged evaluations of individual TCP projects so far, the Committee welcomed initiatives to carry out "thematic" evaluations of clusters of TCP projects. It was informed that the results of one of these covering 25 projects was to be included in the next Programme Evaluation Report.

Chapter 3: Summary of Programme Implementation

PWB Chapter 2: Technical and Economic Programmes

Major Programme 2.1: Agricultural Production and Support Systems

37. In noting the generally satisfactory output implementation rates under the various component programmes, the Committee highlighted several positive achievements connection with water conservation and use in Africa, and other regions, especially within the framework of the SPFS, and in relation to animal health problems. in the areas of water development and management as well as crop and animal production and health in developing countries and other regions. In the latter case, it observed the work of EMPRES on rinderpest, the Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT) as a concerted initiative with other partner organizations, and the reported successful tse-tse fly control using conventional methods and its ultimate eradication in Zanzibar based on the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). gave further evidence of FAO’s on-going leadership role. The Committee took note that FAO and other partners, in assisting countries, should be clear in picking up the effective techniques between control and eradication efforts bearing in mind possible technical options and cost benefit considerations.in plant and animal diseases.

38. The Committee observed with interest a specific instance of pioneering research in simple agro-processing techniques (coconut water) and related patenting to protect and create opportunities for small-scale development efforts in Member Nations. The Committee also enquired about the growing use of electronic conferences under this as well as other Major Programmes, and their viability as supplements or alternatives to more traditional meeting or seminar methods. It received clarifications on activities such as Food into Cities under the sub-programme on Marketing, while ascertaining that a Global Strategy for Farm Animal Genetic Resources was still under refinement by FAO. approved by its Governing Bodies.

39. As a general comment, the Committee recommended that the Secretariat ensure that outputs such as guidelines or seminars had effective impact at field level. It received assurances in the light of specific examples that to achieve multiplier effects at the grassroots level was indeed a preoccupation of FAO staff in designing such outputs.

Major Programme 2.2: Food and Agriculture Policy and Development

40. The Committee noted that due attention had been paid in the past biennium to protecting high-priority activities such as the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS), WAICENT and Codex Alimentarius. Support to the World Food Summit self-evidently had a high profile. areas under the Major Programme.The Committee noted substantial reductions in field activities as well as a decrease in assistance and training activities. Likewise it noted low implementation rates for methodological activities in some areas of the Major Programme.

41. tools and methodologies to improve national statistical data collection efforts in many countries. The Committee highlighted the need for FAO to provide developing countries with appropriate tools and methodologies with a view to making effective use of FAO’s information systems and improving their national statistical data collection systems. It urged FAO to continue assistance in this regard including the ongoing collaboration with the World Bank to strengthen national statistical systems. A similar requirement also existed in connection with training on the Implementation of WTO/Uruguay Round Agreements.

Major Programme 2.3: Fisheries

42. The Committee was advised that there was a high demand for varied uses of FAO species identification sheets, and that they served various uses. Their production was a long-standing activity that had the potential to generate sales income.

43. As regards FAO regional fisheries bodies, which were gradually becoming financially self-sufficient, the Committee welcomed the intent to provide technical support as required. It also urged close cooperation with non-FAO bodies, for instance, ICCAT, which was of importance to such sub-regions as the Caribbean. The relevance of continued support to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and collaboration with such partner institutions as ICLARM was also underscored.

44. The Committee received further clarifications on FAO’s involvement with and work on various issues in the fisheries sector, including overcapacity, marine mammals, multi-species and eco-systems management, shark management and seabird by-catch reduction.

Major Programme 2.4: Forestry

45. The Committee noted the good performance in terms of outputs produced despite constrained resources and stressed a number of key achievements under the Major Programme, including: the now well-established report on the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO), the work of the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources, FAO’s continued active role in the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, contribution to the implementation of the Convention on Desertification, the issuance in draft form of the Global Fibre Supply Study and the World Forestry Congress, held in cooperation with the host Government, Turkey.

46. The Committee also noted the intention to continue or expand information dissemination in relation to such aspects as forestry institutions or Non-Wood-Forest Products, as well as further analytical work on community forestry. It was informed that FAO’s lead role in connection with mountain development within the framework of UNCED follow-up could take an added dimension in the light of the possible proclamation of an International Year of the Mountain in 2002.

Major Programme 2.5: Contributions to Sustainable Development and Special Programme Thrusts

47. Bearing in mind its extensive discussion of this Major Programme under item 5, the Committee underlined the very limited and often indirect references to gender aspects throughout the entire document, beyond Programme 2.5.2 which provided the focal point function for women in development and gender issues. This did not facilitate assessment of the extent to which mainstreaming of gender issues had been successfully implemented in line with the Plan of Action on Women in Development adopted by the Conference. The Committee recommended due attention to highlighting sectoral contributions to this Organization-wide priority in programme-oriented documents, as well as in its general policy. It was informed of the mechanisms for in-house coordination and criteria to assess gender mainstreaming in FAO’s activities.

48. The Committee took note that the relatively low rate of output delivery experienced under Programme 2.5.3 (then labelled Rural Development and Agrarian Reform) was due to a combination of special factors, including the incidence of staff decentralization and internal reorganization, reorientation towards more normative work, transfer of responsibilities related to the Onchocerciasis Control Programme to the AG Department, and postponement until 1998 of the effective implementation of the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security.

PWB Chapter 3: Development Services to Member Nations

49. The Committee stressed the importance of policy assistance to Member Nations (Major Programme 3.1) and of support to investment project preparation carried out under Major Programme 3.2.

50. In addressing Major Programme 3.3 Field Operations, the Committee observed with concern the declining trend in extra-budgetary resources. It encouraged efforts by the Organization to reverse this trend by attracting additional extra-budgetary resources from a broad range of sources, including the private sector, foundations or regional administrations in Member Nations.

51. Under Major Programme 3.4, the Committee recalled the multiple contributions of the FAO Representatives to the implementation of the programme of work of the Organization, as well as in ensuring active two-way links with the countries to which they are accredited. This also had to be seen in the context of the UN system team at country level. It received clarification on the use of the small-scale facility introduced to assist FAORs in meeting requests from governments, particularly for technical or policy support through recourse to local expertise. The Committee also noted the role of FAORs in the project cycle, particularly for in-country appraisal of requests, although they were not directly responsible for project formulation. This role took added relevance in the context of increased delegation of authority given by several bilateral donors to their own country offices or embassies.

PWB Chapter 4: Technical Cooperation Programme

52. In reiterating its support of the TCP, the Committee enquired regarding about the catalytic impact of TCP projects. It welcomed the increasing trend in the use of national consultants and TCDC/TCCT experts and urged further expansion of such use in the future. The Committee also received clarification of the so-called return flow and modalities of reimbursement of services provided by FAO technical units to the TCP. The Committee felt that a tabular presentation by major subject matters of TCP projects would increase the usefulness of the Implementation Report on this matter.


 

REVIEW OF PROGRAMMES

53. The Committee continued its review of programmes, as laid out in General Rule XXVI and in line with the established timetable, by considering Major Programme 2.5: Contributions to Sustainable Development and Special Programme Thrusts.

54. The Committee examined in the first instance the three programmes under the responsibility of the Sustainable Development Department (SD), namely Research, Natural Resources Management and Technology Transfer (2.5.1), Women and Population (2.5.2), and Rural Development (2.5.3).

55. The Committee appreciated the Department’s role in coordinating interdisciplinary work, both within FAO as well as in working with other organizations in areas which are central to attaining sustainable development. At the same time, it noted the implications of these coordinating activities on the time and resources of the Department.

56. The Committee highlighted the improved collaboration established with the CGIAR and other national and international research institutions. It noted a positive recent development, i.e. the hosting of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) Secretariat of the Global Forum for Agricultural Research in the SDR Division, to be funded by extra-budgetary resources. The Committee recommended increased work on natural resource management, aiming at technology transfer and improvement in related research. This was most pertinent in the context of poor countries increasingly faced with the degradation of natural resources on which the livelihood of the majority of rural people depends. The Committee took special note of FAO’s role as a facilitator in assisting NARS in the areas where the gap between developed and developing countries was critical, such as biotechnology and genetically-modified varieties of crops.

57. The Committee welcomed the on-going preparations for the "Den Bosch II" Conference under the leadership of SD, including the transparent consultative process with all stakeholders. Several members, however, expressed reservations about the title of "Multifunctional Agriculture", recommending the search for alternatives.

58. The Committee sought clarification on present shifting paradigms and new approaches to extension and was informed of ongoing collaboration with the World Bank and IFAD on this matter. It reiterated the importance of effective extension programmes, which could reach subsistence-level and women farmers and invited use of participatory mechanisms to gauge how extension and research programmes can reach resource-poor and women farmers effectively.

59. analysis and mainstreaming into FAO programmes and projects, tThe Committee considered that more needed to be done in mainstreaming gender in key areas of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, economic and social policy, and more generally food security. The Committee emphasized that access to education, training and information was a key to the empowerment of women and should be taken into account in the design of FAO’s programmes. It appreciated efforts to generate gender-disaggregated data, but cautioned that lack of such data should not discourage the Organization from undertaking projects that could benefit women at field level. The Committee commended the close collaboration and joint work with UNFPA on population issues and encouraged further coordination of activities at the country level.

60. The Committee supported the thrusts of the rural development programme. It drew attention to the fact that FAO should work with other agencies to address the major urbanization phenomena that were taking place in many countries, particularly as they relate to food security, keeping in mind the need to balance the provision of goods and services between the rural and urban worlds and ensuring technology transfer relevant to marginal rural areas. The Committee endorsed the importance of the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, noting its key role of co-ordinating system-wide follow-up while stressing the need for strong mechanisms to ensure in-house collaboration the follow-up of the World Food Summit, as well as as well as to share widely the lessons learned from this experience. The Committee emphasized work on land tenure, which was an issue of importance to rural development in many countries. It pointed to the need for FAO to support more transparent and equitable land administration systems in Member Nations to help the poor and women to obtain equal access to land.

61. The Committee was informed about the impact of reduced budgetary levels on the implementation of the above programmes. It reiterated support for the Department’s programme and appreciated efforts to implement the programmes in spite of budgetary constraints.

62. The Committee concluded its review by addressing Programme 2.5.6 covering the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), under the overall responsibility of the Technical Cooperation Department (TC).

63. Programme Implementation Report (PIR). In noting that the PIR covered the SPFS implementation up to end 1997, the Committee recommended that an up-date be prepared and submitted to the Council during its forthcoming session in November 1998.

64. The Committee reiterated its support for the SPFS and its essential characteristics of being nationally owned and multidisciplinary. While appreciating the role played by FAO in the implementation of the Pilot Phase, the Committee invited broad mobilization of partners to support national action for the Expansion Phase.

65. The Committee noted the limited allocation provided to the SPFS from Regular Programme resources. It welcomed the efforts made by FAO to mobilize funding from extra-budgetary sources in support of the SPFS implementation, including the Memoranda of Understanding signed by the Director-General and the Presidents of the World Bank, African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. While appreciating the efforts made in this regard to date, the Committee urged FAO to continue assisting the participating countries in mobilizing resources, in particular for the Expansion Phase.

66. While considering the achievements of the SPFS Pilot Phaseselected countries, the Committee was advised of various performance indicators usednamely by FAO including increase in yields, net income increase, cost benefit ratio and adoption rate of technologies. It recommended that future performance evaluations could also include indicators on environmental sustainability, social equity and gender mainstreaming.

67. The Committee welcomed the innovative initiative of South-South Cooperation launched within the framework of the Special Programme which, in addition to promoting solidarity among the developing countries, would have a positive impact on implementation and cost reduction.


 

UN JOINT INSPECTION UNIT REPORTS

[ Docs.: CL 115/INF/13; PC 80/6-FC 90/18a; CL 115/INF/17.]

Strengthening Field Representation of the UN System and Further Information on FAO Field Office Structure

68. The Committee welcomed the additional information provided on FAO’s field offices. It therefore formally concluded its consideration of the JIU Report, which had helped to call its attention to an important issue.

69. In noting the extensive information requested by the Finance Committee regarding the general area of decentralization, the Committee felt that this information would also serve its own planned discussion of the subject. There was therefore merit in consolidating the requested study to serve the needs of both Committees. The Committee asked that the effectiveness of programme implementation in the context of enhanced decentralization and the criteria for establishment of country offices also be covered.

Training Institutions in the UN System: Programmes and Activities

70. The Committee took note of this report and the positive references to FAO activities therein. It drew attention to the JIU recommendations that Governing Bodies review training activities. It was agreed that this could be carried out, at some future stage, for instance in connection with forthcoming Programme Implementation or Evaluation Reports.


 

 

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE FOLLOW-UP OF PAST PROGRAMME COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

71. The Committee welcomed the review made of recommendations at past sessions and agreed to the proposed tabular format to be used in future reports of this type. It expressed particular satisfaction that the four-week deadline for the receipt of documentation by members had been achieved at the present session.

72. The Committee received clarification on the status of actions reported under such headings as recruitment or distribution of publications. While recognizing the competence of the Finance Committee on the matter of recruitment, the Committee nonetheless reiterated its interest in being apprised of developments in this regard. In the case of publications distribution it was advised of the reasons for delays in the submission of proposals for a revised quota system, which it would consider together with the Finance Committee at its next session. As regards decentralization, the Committee was informed of the request of the Finance Committee to address the issue at its next session, which made the issue appropriate for joint discussion (see paragraph 81).

73. The Committee also reiterated its desire to keep progress in gender mainstreaming under review, including the development by FAO of appropriate criteria and indicators of success.

74. An enquiry was made as to the status of the Corporate Communications Strategy developed in the Organization, in terms of formal consideration by Governing Bodies. Members requested that a copy of the strategy be made available to them.


 

 

REVIEW OF WORKING METHODS OF THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE

- Selection of Topics for Future Programme Reviews

75. The Committee addressed a proposed schedule of the programme reviews, which it is expected by the Council to carry out in the non-Conference years 2000 and 2002.

76. The Committee decided that it was premature to recommend to the Council a fixed calendar and list of programme areas to be addressed over such an extended time-frame, given the considerable changes expected to stem from the revised programme process and the adoption of the Strategic Framework by the Conference in November 1999. It therefore agreed to return to the matter at a subsequent session.

77. It noted, nonetheless, that the TCP was not shown in the proposed schedule, and agreed that it should be included, preferably in conjunction with a thematic evaluation of clusters of TCP projects, as may be undertaken in the near future. Conversely, it might not be worth including such areas as Major Programme 1.1 Governing Bodies, which was under review through other arrangements.

78. Bearing in mind the need for cost containment, the Committee discussed the preparation of short documents, covering main developments since the last Programme of Work and Budget was approved, under each Major Programme area to facilitate discussion. However, it agreed to review this idea in the context of the reconsideration of all post facto implementation and evaluation reporting, when the form of the new programme model and the impact of the Strategic Framework had become clearer.


 

POSSIBLE ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION AT THE NEXT SESSION

79. The Committee recognized that three important documents were scheduled for discussion at its next session:

80. In addition, the Committee would need to consider standing items, such as JIU reports. This heavy agenda put limitations on the number of additional items which could be accommodated.

81. The Committee suggested the following subjects, some of which could be included on the agenda of its next session, also depending on time available and on the Secretariat’s capacity to prepare adequate documentation:


ANY OTHER BUSINESS

82. The Committee recognized the difficulties experienced in giving full justice to a particularly heavy agenda, which called for due attention to limiting the number of items to a manageable number. The timing of joint meetings was also an aspect to consider in order to facilitate mutual feedback between the two Committees, while recognizing that practical considerations might limit options in this regard.


 

 

DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT SESSION

83. The Committee noted that the Eighty-first Session of the Programme Committee would be held in Rome from Monday 3 May to Friday 7 May 1999.