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23 March 2015, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today opened a week-long session of the organization's executive council, with an appeal to its members to approve a proposal including more funds to be directed at nutrition and climate change issues.
He expressed hope that FAO's member countries would reach consensus this week on the agency's programme of work and budget prior to formal approval by the entire membership at the FAO Conference in June.
The budget proposed for FAO's programme of work for 2016-2017 is $1.044 billion dollars.
FAO members have recognized the unprecedented efficiency savings introduced by Graziano da Silva since he took office in January 2012. The Director-General warned, however, that it would be "irresponsible" to claim that the Organization could still deliver its programme of work in the same way if the trend for budget cuts remained unchecked.
"I am not asking you to give money away. I am asking you to invest in your organization so that we can do what you are asking us to do, to the benefit of everyone, especially, the poor, hungry and vulnerable," the FAO Director-General said addressing delegates.
He noted that the proposed budget represented a real funding increase of 6.1 million dollars - the equivalent of 0.6 percent of the current budget. This amount would be fully allocated to FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme to increase assistance to Small Island Developing states in adapting to climate change.
"The importance of this support has become painfully more evident with the devastation caused in Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam a week ago," the FAO Director-General said.
Transformational change at FAO
Graziano da Silva told delegates that since he took office in 2012, "transformation has been a central element of my work".
"Now, consolidation with flexibility are the keywords," the FAO-Director-General added.
He noted how trust in the organization has been strengthened and how it has sharpened focus, a fact recognized in a recent report by the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) - a network of 19 donor countries.