FAO okays Biennium budget at $ 867.6 for 08-09

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New Delhi, Nov 27: The 34th Food and agriculture Organisation (FAO) Conference has approved a budget of 867.6 million dollars for 2008-09 to continue its work and prepare a plan of action to implement far-reaching reforms in a new world environment, where agriculture has taken centre stage.

The FAO biennium budget for 2006-07 amounted to 765.7 million dollars. The change in the budget mainly covers cost increases and will therefore, allow the organization to maintain its current level of operations and serve its constituents without major disruption during an important period of renewal.

The budget resolution also foresees significant additional efficiency savings amounting to 22 million dollars and includes the phased introduction of Russian as a language of the Organisation.

The Conference adopted the budget resolution by 122 votes to four.

''I am delighted that the membership of FAO has recognised the need for adequate funding and has put an end to the steady decline over the last 14 years of regular programme resources of the Organisation,'' FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, said.

The Conference decided to set up a committee that will review the reform proposals of the Independent External Evaluation (IEE) of FAO over the coming months. A plan of action will address issues such as FAO's vision and programme priorities, reform in governance, culture change, administrative and management systems, restructuring and efficiency measures, according to a FAO released received here today.

The plan of action will be submitted to a special session of the Conference in November 2008, which will re-examine the budget level in view of adjustments required as a result of the implementation of agreed recommendations of the IEE.

The Conference also commended the efforts made by the Organisation to redress geographical and gender imbalances in the Professional Staff structure. It requested the Director-General to pursue actively such efforts in accordance with the basic texts of the organisation and the decisions of the Conference.


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