PC 91/8 - FC 107/24a)

Programme Committee and
Finance Committee

Ninety-first Session of the Programme Committee and
Hundred and seventh Session of the Finance Committee

Rome, May 2004

Possible New Format for the Programme Implementation Report

Table of Contents


Purpose of the Paper

1. The purpose of this paper is to present proposals to revise the format of the biennial Programme Implementation Report (PIR) to more fully reflect the results-based principles now underlying FAO’s programming and budgeting approach.

Introduction of the Strategic Framework and New Programme Model

2. The Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015 provides the broad context for results-based planning and reporting through five corporate Strategies to Address Members’ Needs facilitated by six Strategies to Address Cross-organizational Issues (SACOIs).

3. The Strategic Framework was first reflected in FAO’s programming processes in the Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2002-2007. Technical programmes in Chapter 2 and Major Programme 3.1 were reformulated according to a New Programme Model comprising specific objectives, outcomes and outputs. To promote interdisciplinarity, a system of priority areas for interdisciplinary action (PAIAs) was established. The results-based programme formulations were then operationalized in the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2002-2003 making possible, for the first time, the application of a more results-based approach to reporting in the forthcoming Programme Implementation Report (PIR) for the 2002-2003 biennium.

Governing Body Review of Previous Programme Implementation Reports

4. A more results-based approach to implementation reporting has been noted as a priority by the Governing Bodies in their review of the PIR 2000-2001:

5. The regional dimension in implementation reporting was the subject of an earlier information paper presented in 1999 to the Programme and Finance Committees5. The Committees noted the statistical nature of the breakdown of Headquarters-based expenditure by region and recognized that accounting for such expenditure on a regional basis was not a practical proposition. They looked forward to further improvements in programme implementation reporting from the perspective of each region.

Summary of Areas for Improvement

6. Summarizing the above guidance, there are five areas of expected innovation in the PIR presentation:


Objectives of the PIR and Relationship to Other Programme Documents

7. Sound planning principles require that lessons learned during the implementation cycle should be fed back into subsequent planning cycles6. In a results-based context, “lessons learned” would relate not only to the status of output delivery, but also examine progress toward the achievement of desired programme outcomes.

8. The purpose of the revised PIR, therefore, would be to demonstrate to Members and other external stakeholders that FAO monitors the implementation of its programmes in accordance with results-based principles, and utilizes implementation results in its forward planning processes. In doing so, FAO provides Members with tangible evidence that achievement of programme objectives specified in the Medium Term Plan has become the focus of FAO efforts, in accordance with results-based principles.

9. Specifically, “lessons learned” through annual assessment and reported through the PIR will be a direct input into the MTP process. In the current biennium, in-course corrections, if justified, can be introduced through “tactical” adjustments of the work plan at the biennial output level.

10. In addition, the PIR, and the annual assessment processes that support it, will contribute directly to auto-evaluations, the Programme Evaluation Report (PER) and other evaluations covering multiple biennia7.

11. Finally, the PIR will continue to address biennial output delivery and present financial information as well as other important data dimensions provided in previous editions of the document.

Reporting of Impact/Outcomes with Respect to Strategic Objectives

12. Two reporting innovations are proposed with respect to the Strategies to Address Members’ Needs. First, each 2002-03 biennial output has been linked to the relevant strategic objective, so it will be possible to statistically analyze and comment on the biennium’s results with respect to the corporate strategies.

13. Second, a more results-based narrative will be provided for each technical programme. While the programme output delivery tables will be retained, the programme-level textual summary will highlight significant achievements within the programme with respect to entity-level outcomes defined in the MTP 2002-07 and summarizing the “lessons learned” (as will have emerged from the annual assessment process) to be incorporated into forward planning.

Reporting of Regional Dimensions

14. A programme of improvements in implementation reporting along a regional dimension can be proposed for the next several biennia. First, beginning in 2002-03, the PWB presents a discussion of regional dimensions, thereby providing a basis for summary-level reporting in the PIR 2002-03.

15. In addition, there are opportunities to improve reporting of regional dimensions by closer coordination of the PIR with the reporting of FAO activities to the Regional Conferences. These coordination mechanisms could be designed and implemented in the current biennium and reflected thereafter in the PIR 2004-05.

16. Finally, for the longer term, there is scope for better integration of Regional Conference inputs into the planning process in general. For example, in the MTP process, regional priorities based on inputs from the Regional Conferences are formulated by FAO’s Regional and Subregional Offices to provide guidance in development of the technical programmes. It would be appropriate that these regional priorities also be reflected in implementation reporting. That is, the PIR (and the equivalent report to the Regional Conferences) could report progress against these priorities, by Major Programme, for each of the FAO regions. If this approach is endorsed by the Programme Committee, the regional priorities would be more formally reflected in the MTP 2006-11 and, subsequently, in the PIR 2006-07 but at a more summarized level than as formulated for the Regional Conferences.

Reporting of Interdisciplinary Activities

17. The PWB 2002-03 provided a quite specific statement of planned achievements for each of the PAIAs. Thus, the PIR will provide, for each PAIA: (i) a commentary of the most significant achievements during the biennium and (ii) the emerging issues and lessons learned for future work within the PAIA.

Reporting for SACOIs and the Non-technical Programmes

18. The implementation of the New Programme Model in the non-technical programmes is being undertaken in the MTP 2006-11, so there will not be a fully articulated results-based programme formulation until the 2006-07 biennium. Until then, the reporting of activities in the non-technical programmes will be maintained as in the PIR 2000-01. Nonetheless, a brief cross-programme summary of significant achievements for each SACOI is envisaged for the PIR 2002-03.

19. Also, as part of the MTP 2006-11, more formal mechanisms to support the implementation of the SACOI structures will be put in place. Thus, it will be possible to report more progress against specific planned achievements, in a manner similar to PAIAs, beginning with the PIR 2006-07.

Extensions to Financial Analysis to Address Cost Efficiencies

20. The Organization’s approach to implementing the New Programme Model and the SACOI mechanisms in the non-technical programmes places great emphasis on the definition of service level and efficiency indicators. Defining efficiency targets against those indicators is feasible and is being encouraged in many areas of the non-technical programmes. Thus, the general issue of cost efficiency in support services is being addressed as an integral part of the planning process for the non-technical programmes beginning with the MTP 2006-11.

21. The technical programmes, on the other hand, present a much more difficult problem for defining and monitoring cost efficiencies, particularly for normative activities of a global nature. In any case, the breadth and depth of analysis required to reach conclusions about efficiency in the execution of a technical programme implies that such considerations are best taken up to the extent feasible in the context of programme evaluations rather than the PIR.


Changes to be Implemented in the PIR 2002-03

22. The required supporting data required for reporting in the PIR 2002-03 is available to permit the following innovations to be reflected:

Longer-term Changes

23. The other proposed areas of reporting innovations would be implemented as follows:


24. The Secretariat seeks Programme Committee endorsement of the proposed evolution of the PIR format.


1 Report of the 123rd Session of the FAO Council (28 October - 1 November 2002).

2 Report of the 88th Session of the Programme Committee (9 - 13 September 2002).

3 Report of the 104th Session of the Finance Committee (15 - 19 September 2003).

4 Report of the 32nd Session of the FAO Conference (29 November - 9 December 2003).

5 Regional Dimensions to Budgeting and Implementation Reporting in FAO, information paper noted in the Report of the Joint Meeting of the 82nd Session of the Programme Committee and the 93rd Session of the Finance Committee (15 September 1999).

6 This principle is reflected in the FAO Strategic Framework (Paragraph 143): “[The MTP] will be a rolling plan, to be updated every two years [....]. The revision will take account of the outcome of evaluations and implementation performance reporting although, in the interest of economy, it will not seek to replicate these reports.”

7 Background on the Organization’s approach in this regard was defined in Guiding Principles for Pre-Evaluation Monitoring and Annual Assessment and Periodic Auto-evaluation of the Technical and Economic Programmes, available at http://www.fao.org/pbe/pbee/en/how-e.htm.