Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization
Event: AISMUN 2003
Student: Fatemah Al Boukhadour
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Food and Agriculture Organization
Of the United Nations (FAO)
"…helping to build a world without hunger…"
Function of the FAO
The Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations (FAO), is a specialized United Nations agency whose main goal is to abolish hunger on a world scale. According to its constitution, the specific objectives the FAO are "raising levels of nutrition and standards of living ...and securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products ...."
At present, the organization has 161 members and it is headed by a director general. Each member nation has one vote in the general conference. The general conference is a "policymaking body" that gathers once every two years to approve programs, budgets, and rules of procedure, as well as to make recommendations on agricultural questions. The 49-member FAO council meets between conference sessions to monitor the world food situation and suggest necessary action. The council's committees deal with problems on agriculture, commodities, forestry, and fisheries. The third organ, the secretariat, is responsible for implementing FAO programs.
Functions of the FAO include collecting, analyzing, and distributing information about nutrition, food, and agriculture; fostering conservation of natural resources; and promoting both sufficient national and international agricultural-credit policies and international agricultural-commodity arrangements. Among the many projects of the FAO are: the development of basic soil and water resources; the international exchange of new types of plants; the control of animal and plant diseases; and the provision to needy member nations of technical assistance in such fields as nutrition, food preservation, irrigation, soil conservation, and reforestation. But as in all optimistic dreams, the FAO too has had its fair share of mishaps.
Numerous projects including the recent mission to Zambia have failed disastrously. The mission did not get to the destination on time, and when it got there, it wasn’t able to do much because it did not have the satisfactory facilities in place. Although the FAO is very well organized and seems to have a plan for everything, they are horrible at implementing their "rainy day" rescues. This does not make any sense at all since they are a well-rooted organization and concentrate
In 2002, World Food Summit: five years later was held, and it reaffirms the international community's commitment to reduce hunger by half by 2015. The summit was attended by delegations from 179 countries plus the European Commission.
In summary, the FAO is practically useless and does nothing. If the FAO attempts at trying to do something or trying to resolve it, the FAO usually fails or does very little. All results have been too small or useless to be considered. The FAO might as well be just another international information database. It mainly distributes information and although it has attempted repeatedly to achieve its goals, it's just does not seem able to do anything. The FAO is virtually useless when it comes to getting anything done.
History of the FAO
The FAO originated at a conference called by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hot Springs, Virginia, in May 1943 in order to commit to the founding of a permanent organization for food and agriculture. The 34 nations represented established the UN Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture. In October 1945 the first session of the FAO was held in Québec. The main headquarters for the FAO is now in Rome.
The FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission was established to set international food standards and became fully operational in 1962. In 1974 the FAO helped organize the World Food Conference, held in Rome, which considered the critical problem of maintaining sufficient food supplies; it recommended the adoption of an "International Undertaking on World Food Security." The FAO expanded its information-gathering services to aid improved worldwide food security by the recommendation of the conference. 1976, FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme established to afford greater flexibility in responding to urgent situations. The first World Food Day was observed on 16 October 1981 by more than 150 countries. AGROSTAT (now FAOSTAT), the world's most complete source of agricultural information and statistics, became operational in 1986. In 1991, the International Plant Protection Convention was ratified with 92 signatories.
The FAO was particularly active in 1994 launching the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), targeting low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs). The Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES), was established. EMPRES aims at strengthening the Organization's existing contribution to prevention, control and, when possible, elimination of diseases and pests. The FAO began the most significant restructuring since its founding in order to distribute operations, streamline procedures and reduce costs.
The FAO launched a campaign against hunger initiative TeleFood in 1997. TeleFood '97 reached a global audience of 500 million. In 2000, the FAO was granted the first-ever UN patent on a process allowing manufacturers to bottle coconut water without losing its flavor and nutritional characteristics. This was a potential boon for developing countries. At the request of the United Nations Secretary-General, the FAO developed a strategy for intensive government and UN agency action to combat the constant hunger in the Horn of Africa.
In recent years, the FAO has worked to develop new plant mutations by using radioactive materials, to aid developing nations in cultivating fast-growing varieties of crops such as rice and wheat, and to establish monitoring networks to warn possible food shortages (like the current potential for widespread starvation in Africa).
In recent years the FAO has been able to sustain a high and increasing budget; however, this is transferring the great responsibilities of forming new plans and their implementation, programme development, monitoring and evaluation of countries in and not in crises, along with greater accountability.
The FAO may seem to have a considerably large budget that is able to support countries in devastation, but it cannot be very flexible with it since it always has to save some money for the next other "rainy day". Countries may face lethal problems such as starvation when least expected. And the FAO needs to be ready to contribute help and or send a missionary to the area as aid. In addition, staff salaries must also be considered, and I have seen their L-O-N-G list of staff members ranging from translators to messengers. The United States is considered to be the main budget contributor as it provides with 20% of the budget. Then comes Japan as the second most significant contributor that contributes about 18% to 19% of the FAOs budget. Contributions made by organizations are usually indirect (either by supplying the FAO with food/supplies or by sending staff or of the such). If direct, the organization would usually be in the region/country the FAO missionary is or is cooperating with the FAO on a certain project having to do with its organization. The budget is mainly funded by contributions from member countries, UN-Sub Organs/Organizations, the World Bank, other ally organizations and a few other sources.
Key Political Allies (Nation or Nations)
The FAO consists of member nations from all regions which include:
(Member Nations: 48 - Council seats: 12)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CONGO, DEM. REP. OF
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
REPUBLIC OF TOGO
(Member Nations: 22 - Council seats: 9)
KOREA, REP. OF
(Member Nations: 43 - Council seats: 10)
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REP. OF MACEDONI
IV. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
(Member Nations: 33 - Council seats: 9)
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
V. NEAR EAST
(Member Nations: 21 -Council seats: 6)
IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF
SAUDI ARABIA, KINGDOM OF ·
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
VI. NORTH AMERICA
(Member Nations: 2 - Council seats: 2)
VII. SOUTHWEST PACIFIC
(Member Nations: 14 - Council seats: 1)
NEW ZEALAND ·
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The FAO key political allies (and the main contributors) are as the following:
As they are the most powerful members in the organization. The USA and Japan, especially, have a strong link with the FAO.
The FAO usually cooperates with the following organizations and considers them key political allies too:
1. World Food Programme
2. World Bank
3. United Nations
4. World Health Organization
Strengths and Weaknesses:
It is now more obvious than ever that problems in the area of food and agriculture have to be approached in the perspective of the world's overall economic situation. Concrete policies are greatly affected by the strengths and weaknesses and crises of the world's economy. Only in this perspective is it possible to formulate and implement possible economic, monetary, social and political processes of growth internationally and in individual countries.
` We have to change FAOs perspective of things and how to solve them by considering the worlds overall economic situation. By this, the FAO might be able to accomplish considerable POSITIVE changes internationally and nationally.
A reform of the FAO is necessary not only in response to the changing global atmosphere, but also to adjust changes in the Organization's internal environment. Members have been searching for a wider range of services and programmes, while the organization's resources and capacity have been negatively affected by a limited budget.
A better position for the FAO to serve its Member Nations is by restructuring the Organization, refocusing its priorities, increasing its global outreach, improving resource management and enhancing its efficiency. Against this background the FAO's strengths include the confidence that member nations have in the organization's expertise, its experience in working towards the goals of its command and its ability to take a global view of problems. In addition to the FAO's capacity to identify and argue for common solutions out of specific or national perspectives, the organization's worldwide networking capacity - based on direct links with government departments, academic and research institutions and other national and international bodies is also another plus. Furthermore, the FAO has the privilege of having experienced, dedicated staff all equipped with the necessary managerial, technical and linguistic skills. Lastly, the technical assistance that the organization offers to countries, without commercial or political bias is a strong point of the FAO.
To do what? To help solve the problem in the country. This is one of the FAOs strong points that encourages the member nations trust.
Despite these strengths, certain weaknesses need to be addressed in the reform process. Terribly fragmented organizational structure is preventing the organization from concentrating on key areas and is minimizing its ability to achieve high-quality results. There is a need to set clearer priorities and to clarify the harmony of its activities. The FAO is too centralized, with a large percentage of staff based at headquarters and therefore too far away from the complex problems experienced in the field. The organization is poorly prepared for delivering services to its members in a cost-effective way. The reason for this is its centralized procedures and resistance to change, including the adoption of modern offices and communication technologies and new approaches to human resource management which has declined its working power efficiency.
Delegation: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Delegate: Fatemah Boukhadour
Question of: Comprehensive implementation of the dispersion of FAO staff and offices for increased coverage especially in crisis-prone regions.
Defining the dispersion of FAO staff, offices and resources as the only practical way to provide full coverage for crisis-prone regions (namely undeveloped countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East),
Deeply Concerned with the fact that only approximately 80 FAO offices are operational many of which are understaffed and overwhelmed,
Deeply Disturbed that many missions that were sent by the FAO have failed because of their inability to reach the area in time and without satisfactory facilities in place,
Noting with particular reference to the Director-General that explained that it is intended to put FAO in a better position to serve its member nations; by increasing its global outreach, improving resource management and enhancing its efficiency (1994; http://www.fao.org),
Applauds the FAO for recognizing the problems arousing because of its centralization and bureaucratic procedures,
Taking into Account that many countries, especially in Africa, are crisis-prone and are dependant on organizations such as the FAO for their recovery efforts and support,
Proposing that with the distribution of FAO offices proportionally, the FAO will be able to fulfill its goals adequately, and more sufficiently be able to concentrate on key areas in need of aid,
Emphasizing the importance of the FAO providing easier and more economical means of transporting their employees to the crisis-stricken area on time, such as the Mission to Zimbabe,
1. Declares the formation of a committee in the FAO that will be in charge of establishing central stations and skeleton sub-stations;
2. Specifies that the committee should inspect the successful hub and spokes model of the airline industry and study its feasibility;
3. Suggests the formation of reasonably independent regional central hubs that:
A) Provide most of the aid to their regional sub-stations,
B) Are fully equipped with expert staff and aid,
C) Have specialized staff that are needed in the specific region,
D) Have a steady transportation system,
E) Have fast methods of distributing food and aid to the sub-stations,
F) Have sufficient methods of supplying the experts and specialists to striven areas;
4. Additionally suggests the formation of stripped-down substations (spokes) connected to the central hubs that:
A) Are staffed with skeleton staff that are there for administrative purposes in order to keep the substation functional and going,
B) Can be quickly equipped by the central hubs with expert staff (ex. doctors and specialists) in crisis situations,
C) Have direct means of communication and transportation to the central hubs,
D) Form a loose ring that surrounds a central hub in each region, providing greater coverage and reach into the region,
E) Provide an existing infrastructure for use by the FAO/FAO staff in cases of emergency;
5. Affirming that such a model can provide greater dispersion and better management of resources;
6. Designates that the committee formed in Clause #1 shall have the following additional responsibilities :
A) Assigning the locations of the central hubs and substations to the regions based on research collected from the FAO database,
B) To decide on the types and quantities of equipment and aid distributed to the central hubs depending on the regional atmosphere and crisis-probability of the locale,
C) To provide guidelines to determine the number of staff necessary in each central hub/substation including specialists, doctors, experts, administrative staff, etc.
D) To establish the operative area for each central hub/substation;
7. Resolves that the hubs and spokes model is the most efficient way for the FAO to provide economical and fast moving support to crisis-stricken areas;
8. Further Resolves that each country’s appreciated vote on passing this resolution will increase the FAO's coverage area, as well as speed up distribution of resources to strife-stricken areas thereby increasing the chances of successful aid and increasing the number of civilians helped.
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Honorable chair, fellow delegates, and most distinguished guests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sends you warm greetings from Rome. The FAO is a UN organization based in Rome, Italy that is dedicated to solving food and agricultural defects in the most effective and quickest way possible. Originated at a conference called by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hot Springs, Virginia, in May 1943, the FAO fulfilled the 34 countries wish of commitment to the founding of a permanent organization for food and agriculture. Now, after 60 years of service, it is more apparent than ever that the FAO is in great need of overcoming its weaknesses. Failure to reach crisis-stricken areas on time and without satisfactory facilities is becoming a horrible habit of the FAO and is causing the suffering of hundreds of people.
We must conquer this problem now before it is too late. The only way to do so is to implement better distrubution of FAO staff and officies and covering a greater operational area. The hub and stoke method is very successful and I'm confident that it can help us save more lives. Help put a smile on the peoples faces and please consider our suggestions. Thank you for your time and patience!