18 December 2005

FAO reforms to impact information and knowledge activities

Reform proposals by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf seem set to enhance the Organization's activities in support of knowledge exchange and capacity building. In late November 2005, delegates to the governing Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) authorized the FAO Director-General "to begin progressive implementation of his proposals on changes to the organizational structure of Headquarters."

According to the document setting out the new vision, the FAO Programme will be re-structured to create, among other things, a 'chapter' on 'knowledge exchange, policy and advocacy'will become one of 3 "principal interdisciplinary thrusts of FAO's activities."

Knowledge exchange, communication and capacity building programmes are foreseen that will "open up greater possibilities for sharing experience, harmonizing methodologies, and standardizing information systems, thus contributing to developing the capabilities of national institutions, as well as generating materials for communication to the general public." These activities build on current activities of the World Agricultural Information Centre but are expanded to include "FAO's range of library services and the Global Information and Early Warning System" and the implementation of interactive systems to support Ask FAO services.

A new organization structure is proposed with a "Knowledge Exchange, Communication and Capacity Building Department." Components of this are shown as: Capacity Building; Library and Documentation; IT Systems, Concept, Development, Management and Maintenance Division; Knowledge Exchange Division; and Communication Division.




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