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VIII. Resolution 6/97

A. Strengthening the FAO 2000 project
B. Programme of work and budget 1998-99

A. Strengthening the FAO 2000 project


Reaffirming the commitment in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action to reduce the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015,

Welcoming the proposals by the Director-General to strengthen the strategic management of FAO, especially the formulation of a long term Strategic Framework and consequently modified Medium-Term Plan and Programme of Work and Budget (the FAO 2000 project):

1. Requests the Director-General to further the process leading to the development of a Strategic Vision for the FAO for the years 2000-2015, including inter alia, a set of core strategic objectives and an Implementation Programme;

2. Decides that the process should be, in the framework of existing structures, a full participatory process, involving not only the Secretariat but also the full membership of FAO;

3. Decides further that this process should recognize that a prime responsibility of the CFS is to monitor the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action;

4. Requests the Director-General to prepare an appropriate progress report for consideration in the FAO Council in November 1998.

(Adopted on 18 November 1997)

B. Programme of work and budget 1998-99

General considerations
Substantive priorities


102. The Conference recalled that the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) proposals for the biennium 1998-99 had been the object of an extensive process of intergovernmental review, initiated by consideration of the Outline PWB in January by the Programme and Finance Committees, and followed by the subsequent review of the Summary and full PWB documents by all concerned bodies. This process also involved advice on priorities in respective sectors from the Technical Committees of the Council such as COAG, COFI and COFO.

103. The Conference welcomed the improved format of the Programme of Work and Budget, and the depth of information therein. It observed that the format was in accordance with the guidance from the Programme and Finance Committees and the Council. This included the integrated presentation of income, which would henceforth constitute an established feature of the PWB documents. However, some concern was expressed at the length of the document and it was felt that efforts should be made to reduce this.

104. The Conference generally endorsed the revised programming approach as illustrated for one selected programme (2.1.1, Natural Resources) in the PWB document, and invited further testing and refinement to facilitate its wider application to the pertinent programmes of the Organization.

105. The Conference further observed that the PWB document explored two main scenarios, reflecting proposals for zero real growth (ZRG) and zero nominal growth (ZNG), as requested by the Council at its June 1997 session. Additional information on possible reductions if the budget were to be below the zero nominal growth level, were presented in a supplementary document (C 97/3-Sup.2).

106. The Conference noted that the proposals in the document incorporated the impact of the exchange rate, as had also been requested by the Council, based on the use of a provisional rate of Lire 1690 to US$ 1. It further noted that the provision for cost increases, had been the object of the usual detailed scrutiny and had been endorsed by the Finance Committee.

107. The Conference was informed that both scenarios involved the net elimination of posts, while recently-revised estimates of staff redeployment and separation costs associated with these post reductions led to unbudgeted costs of approximately US$ 4 million and US$ 12 million under ZRG and ZNG, respectively.

General considerations

108. The Conference observed that due attention had been paid to maintaining a balance between normative and operational activities. It recalled that the desirability of ensuring such a balance had been consistently underlined by the membership, in view of the importance of both the normative and operational activities of FAO and their mutually-beneficial interactions.

109. The Conference recognized the importance of continued efforts to strengthen the efficiency of FAO activities. It recalled the notable progress made in terms of efficiency savings over the past four years. Many Members underlined that there was a limit to achieving additional savings, lest they would be detrimental to the sound implementation of approved programmes. Other Members considered that FAO should explore further measures in this direction, including administrative streamlining and efficiency improvements, and proposed a significant shift of resources from administrative and financial services to technical and economic programmes.

110. The Conference recalled the importance of the decentralization policy which had been vigorously pursued and had led to considerably strengthened technical capacity at regional and sub-regional levels, complemented by the established FAO country offices. The need for preservation of technical competence at Headquarters was stressed. Many Members illustrated the essential contributions of decentralized offices, particularly of the country offices, to support the work of the Organization and to maintain effective links with countries. Other Members considered that the time was ripe for a careful cost-efficiency evaluation of FAO decentralized offices, with a view to their streamlining, and integration of country offices into UN country representation within the UN Resident Coordinator system, bearing in mind proposals for reform in the United Nations.

111. The Conference agreed with the emphasis put on broadened partnerships and alliances in the PWB proposals. It observed that this was fully consistent with the expectation that FAO play a catalytic and synergetic role in mobilizing and coordinating actions in its domain of competence.

Substantive priorities

112. The Conference recognized the importance of FAO programmes responding to requirements for assistance and the expectations of the membership in the wake of the World Food Summit, as well as to the calls for action stemming from major conferences or international agreements dealing with matters related to FAO's mandate.

113. During the discussion, delegates referred to a wide range of substantive priorities of particular interest to their country or region, such as:

a) sustainable agriculture, including the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the integrated management of natural resources and integrated management of pests and diseases

b) forestry, including forest resource assessment and the sustainable management of forest resources;

c) fisheries, particularly the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and sustainable aquaculture;

d) other technical, social and economic aspects including human resource development, capacity building/training, technical support, women in development, and support to trade through IPPC and Codex;

e) other food security activities, including FIVIMS (Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System), policy assistance, including programme development and support to follow-up of the Uruguay Round.

114. In recalling the importance of concrete action in the field, the Conference reiterated its support to the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).

115. Accordingly, the Conference adopted the following Resolution:

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