ROME, JULY 7 – FAO’s governing Conference today closed a week-long session during which Member States unanimously approved the UN agency’s biennial programme of work and budget while commending its ongoing efforts aimed at the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Conference formally approved a regular budget of $1,005.6 million for delivery of FAO’s programme of work over the period 2018-2019 as proposed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
“I am particularly honoured to notice that the PWB (programme for work and budget) was approved by all countries present in this Conference, without abstention,” Graziano da Silva said.
“We need to implement sustainable food systems that provide nutritious and accessible food, ecosystem services and climate-change resilience to all, now and in the future,” the FAO Director-General said. “We heard your call for FAO to reinforce its work on climate change. And from now on, nourishing people, must go hand-in-hand with nurturing the planet.”
The Conference endorsed FAO’s proposed 2018-2019 Biennial Theme – Climate Change and its impact on the work activities of FAO underscoring “the timelessness of the proposal” in light of global development such as the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”.
The Conference noted the important role FAO has to play in supporting countries to implement the nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, and in their general efforts to adapt and increase resilience to climate change while contributing, where possible, to mitigation.
The Biennial Theme is in line with the adoption of the FAO Strategy on Climate Change and the launch of the Global Action Programme on Food Security and Nutrition in Small Island Developing States, the Conference stressed.
The Conference expressed its satisfaction at FAO’s increased efficiency and value for money under the leadership of the Director-General.
It also appreciated FAO’s progress in the decentralization process that has enabled the Organization to strengthen coordination with national partners, and the development of strategic partnerships with other stakeholders, especially the private sector, academia and key civil society development actors.
The Conference also indicated its appreciation for the mainstreaming of gender across FAO’s activities.
Graziano da Silva noted that over the past five years FAO has sharpened its focus, adopted a holistic approach to address complex and interconnected challenges, while simultaneously strengthening its presence in the field and its global technical capacity.
He underscored the centrality of food and agriculture to the sustainable development agenda means that FAO’s efforts are inherently relevant to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and that the realization of a Zero Hunger world is at the heart of FAO’s work.
The Director-General described FAO’s medium term plan and programme of work and budget 2018-2019 which has been developed around four main principles:
- Maintain a flat nominal budget, with no change in the level of assessed contributions and net budgetary appropriation compared with 2016-17, by absorbing cost increases and reinvesting savings in priority areas.
- Identify areas of programatic priority and de-emphasis, and highlight other priority areas for voluntary contributions.
- Increase the share of the Technical Cooperation Programme to 14% of the net budgetary appropriation, as called for by the Conference.
- Use the programme management arrangements to accelerate the delivery of effective and demonstrable results.
High level attendance
A total of 1,150 delegates from 181 countries, including the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson, 105 ministers and 25 vice-ministers and many parliamentarians attended this year’s meeting of the biennial Conference.
The Conference also elected Khalid Mehboob the Advisor/Alternate Permanent Representative Pakistan to FAO, as independent Chairperson of the FAO’s executive Council. Mr Mehboob is currently the Chairman of the FAO Finance Committee. (@OnuItalia)