Papua New Guinea has strongly supported moves by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to make the organisation work more effectively and efficiently at country level through improved planning and priority setting. PNG has joined most FAO member countries in supporting the UN in proposing to make significant changes to improve its performance.
For the Asia and Pacific region, FAO is taking positive steps to enable it to better serve the small island developing states, enhance the role of large and middle income countries in collaborative partnerships, technical assistance and knowledge sharing, and new arrangements for manaing support to vulnerable populations – integrating development, rehabilitation and emergency assistance.
In recent years new challenges have emerged in the efforts to reduce hunger. These relate to population growth, increased pressure on land and water, climate change and more frequent natural disasters.
FAO is looking at a more flexible decentralised office network with strong country leadership. The region contains a huge variation in country size as well as in the levels of hunger and poverty, both across and within countries. In order to make best use of available resources, FAO staff in the region need to be allocated with flexibility to country, subregional and regional offices on the basis of member countries’ needs and requirements, and the size and complexity of the FAO’s development and emergency programmes.
In the Pacific region, FAO is aiming to strengthen its presence in the least developed or low income food deficit countries. Depending on resource availability, this may include establishing new staffing postings. Greater effort will also be made to mobilize more resources, and there will be strengthened partnerships.
At the 31st FAO conference in Vietnam, Pacific island countries, Vanuatu and Samoa, joined PNG to express their support for the FAO proposal aimed at strengthening its performance, results and impact at the country level.
Head of PNG delegation, Masayan Moat, said PNG accepted the process for decentralisation and looked forward to a more responsive FAO to the regional agendas and country priorities.
“We make reference to the importance that the FAO regional planning should be in close alignment with the national government planning cycle and its priorities as this will greatly assist in the process and the strengthening in the implementation of our Country Programming Framework (CPF).”
He said PNG welcomes the flexibility that will be provided to the decentralized offices, however it wanted more emphasison the issue of public good and the comparative advantages of FAO to delivering results in the regional and country expected outcomes.
“PNG with much greater land mass and population in comparable to the total of all other Pacific island countries, we have much more complex issues and should be considered in its own context. In this regards, PNG greatly welcome and endorsed the proposition for strengthening the National Correspondents system.”
PNG is happy with the current services of the FAO sub-regional office in Samoa. However, PNG needs for FAO assistance at country level is increasing and it also wanted to see an increase in FAO presence at country level.
“Currently there are activities such as climate change, REDD and Global Environment that are occurring at the country level which required full time FAO involvement rather than UNDP which often does not have the technical capacity to deal with these issues.”
FAO’S Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroki Konuma, said the set of proposals presented to the delegates for their consideration are all meant to maximize FAO’s impact on the lives and livelihoods of people at country level.
“The ultimate vision is a world without hunger and we hope to be a key player in facilitating tangible results to achieve this vision.”