|Regular Programme||US$ `000|
|Over/(Under) Spending, US$ `000||(4 313)|
|Over/(Under) Spending, %||(7%)|
|Field Programme||US$ `000|
|Extra-Budgetary TF and UNDP Delivery||1 713|
|Extra-Budgetary Emergency Project Delivery|
|TCP and SPFS Delivery|
|Total Field Programme Delivery||1 713|
|Ratio of Field to Regular Programme|
|Technical Support Services, Prof. Staff Cost|
|Technical Support Services, % of delivery|
292. The network of FAO Representatives (FAORs) continued to maintain an effective FAO presence in the host countries and to ensure that these countries have access to the technical and institutional resources of the Organization at all levels. The FAORs were also instrumental in conveying to the rest of the Organization the needs and issues of the agricultural sector of the countries of assignment. Country coverage through full-fledged offices or other arrangements totalled 108 in 1997.
293. The responsibilities of FAORs increased significantly as the result of decentralization and new initiatives including: WFS follow-up, SPFS, Telefood and private sector partnership/contacts. In order to facilitate day-to-day technical advice to countries, the required profile of new FAORs was modified to include technical competence in one or more areas of agriculture, fisheries, forestry and the food sector. FAO Representatives also received greater delegation of authority to rapidly respond to local situations. A small-scale initiative to provide FAORs with funds to meet unplanned or emergency requests from Governments for technical or policy support was launched on an experimental basis.
294. Intensive efforts were made to optimize the efficiency of the FAOR network and to pursue cost reduction. Conversion of 65 international programme officer (IPO) posts to national programme officer (NPO) posts was well under way, with selection and recruitment procedures completed for 49 posts, with most being filled by seasoned professional officers familiar with the agricultural sector of their countries and with proven managerial, technical and research capabilities. The use of NPOs for the expansion of country coverage where there is no resident FAO Representation continued, and with the implementation of the National Correspondents Scheme under which 8 national correspondents were selected. General Service (GS) posts were reduced from 687 in 1994-95 to 620 in 1996-97. Particular attention was paid to staff development to enhance productivity and output both for newly recruited NPOs and GS staff. Changes in the staffing pattern and levels are shown in Table 3.4-1.
295. Concerning non-staff expenditures, savings were achieved by curtailing temporary assistance, duty travel, replacement of equipment including vehicles and general operating expenses. Technological improvements in the areas of communication and office automation were further introduced, within available resources, to increase the cost-effectiveness of these offices. The implementation of the communication infrastructure project in the decentralized offices allowed comprehensive Email connectivity throughout the Organization and 40 FAO Representations received Internet access. As an interim step pending the implementation of the new financial system (Oracle), a computerized Imprest Return Information System (IRIS) was introduced in 62 country offices to facilitate and improve accounting management and expeditious processing of FAO's accounts. Overall, staff and non-staff expenditures in 1996-97 were reduced by more than US$ 8 million from the 1994-95 level. Regrettably, security measures due to civil strife in a number of countries had negative financial repercussions for some FAORs.
296. Efforts were also made to increase the contribution of the host countries to the running costs of the FAO Representations. The response of the host countries was very encouraging with Government counterpart cash and in-kind contributions increasing from US$ 3.66 million in 1994-95 to US$ 4.69 million in 1996-97. The provision of rent-free premises increased from 37 countries in 1994-95 to 42 in 1996-97.