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close this bookCERES No. 158 March - April 1996 (FAO Ceres, 1996, 50 p.)
close this folderCerescope
View the documentTrade: Bovine hormone stunts growth of cattle trade
View the documentLocal conditions: A middle-class revolt in Mexico
View the documentAgribusiness: Milk's own bacteria works as a preservative
View the documentHome front: Rain shadows offer opportunity
View the documentCommodities: The gathering wheat crisis - Middle-East may suffer
View the documentLab results: Sweetening the bitter fruit
View the documentField findings: Farmers embrace a creeper
View the documentFAO in action

FAO in action


FAO, working in close cooperation with the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), is organizing the most ambitious program ever undertaken in the field of plant genetic resources. At this year's Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources experts and officials of some 140 countries will review a comprehensive report on “The State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources” and consider for formal adoption a pioneering “Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.” The aim is to put into operation the Convention on Biological Diversity approved at the 1992 Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro - particularly as it regards plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. In preparation, each country has spent two years putting together a country report, and scientists and representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector plus independent scientists attended 12 subregional meetings around the world. The conference will be held 17-23 June in Leipzig, Germany. For further information, contact: The Secretariat, Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome. Fax: (039-6) 5225-5533. E-mail:


FAO has honored three national institutions and four individuals for outstanding contributions in the field of food and agricultural development. The awards, named for former FAO directors-general, were announced during the Organization's 28th biennial conference held in Rome last 20 October to 2 November. The Edouard Saouma Award recognizes institutions that have implemented with particular efficiency projects funded by FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme. The 1994-95 award went jointly to the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias of Chile for introducing biological control technology against the immediate threat of a Russian wheat aphid invasion (TCP/CHI/0153), to the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health for creating a process that improved food quality and safety in Calcutta (TCP/IND/0155) and to the Horticulture Crops Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Horticultural Research Station in Kenya for reversing a decline in the production of Asian vegetables and creating a dynamic new sector satisfying local demand and export requirements (TCP/KEN/0054).

The Boerma Award singles out journalists who have helped to focus public attention on important aspects of food problems and stimulated interest in and support for measures leading to their solution. The joint winners for 1994-95 were Fawzia El-Moualled of Egypt “for her strong commitment and significant contribution over the past 40 years, both on radio and in print, to development issues, particularly with regard to the rural population,” and Michael Pickstock of the United Kingdom “for the dedication shown throughout his career to covering agriculture in developing countries, particularly with regard to increasing food production through sustainable agricultural development and for the contribution he made to improving public awareness and understanding.”

The annual B.R. Sen Award recognizes the achievements of FAO field officers. The 1994 award went to Seiichi Etoh of Japan for his work in fisheries development in Eritrea and the 1995 award to Roberto Samanez-Mercado of Brazil for his work on the Amazon Cooperation Treaty in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.


It was more like another sequel to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” than your usual internal audit. In true Indiana Jones style, one intrepid auditor crossed the Congo by boat. Another braved the Syrian Desert in a car. And still another arrived at his destination in the midst of a coup d't. The more fortunate only had to contend with airline strikes, flight cancellations and travellers' ailments. It was all in the interests of completing what G. Peter Wilson, director of the FAO Office of Internal Audit, Inspection and Management Control, calls “perhaps the most comprehensive global internal audit undertaking ever performed in the United Nations system.” In order to assess the overall quality of management of field operations, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf had requested an up-to-date audit of the five FAO regional offices and 75 field offices around the world - in the space of five weeks. It was July, and due to vacations, illness and unfilled posts, only four of the 14 auditors the project required were on hand. Leaves were cancelled, auditors were borrowed from other departments and two were brought out of retirement. Each was assigned a “cluster” of offices according to geographic location, logistics and language. They were briefed, supplied with visas, medical clearance, travel advances and tickets and sent on their way to 54 countries. Twenty days after the office had received the request, the first reports started coming in on a special fax set up for the purpose. Rome staff reviewed and cleared the drafts as they arrived, delivering them to the director-general's office with a daily status report. Not only was the deadline met, Wilson reported in the International Journal of Government Auditing, but “the enthusiasm displayed by the whole audit team has had a powerful impact on other staff members in terms of their acceptance and
support for the changes being made in the Organization.”