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UN agri fund mulls decentralised operations in Asia-Pacific

UN agri fund mulls decentralised operations in Asia-Pacific

Hanoi – Government representatives and agricultural development specialists will gather in Hanoi 6-7 July to discuss the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) approach to decentralizing its operations in Asia and the Pacific. The workshop will inform an independent evaluation of IFAD’s decentralization approach that is scheduled to be released in December 2016. The Hanoi event is one of the four regional workshops being organized by IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) to capture feedback and insights from stakeholders of IFAD-funded operations.With headquarters in Rome, Italy, IFAD began its decentralization process in 2003 and now has 40 country offices worldwide. The process echoes a trend in several multilateral development institutions, such as the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which have strengthened their presence in countries where they run operations. IFAD currently has 11 country offices in Asia and the Pacific.
Previous independent evaluations of IFAD’s operations found that IFAD’s country presence has allowed the organization to be closer to projects and programmes, has given it more visibility and has enabled it to draw on local expertise and talent. Investing in country offices has paid off in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. For instance, benefits have been realized in country programme development and implementation support, partnership-building, policy dialogue, knowledge management and innovation.
“On the basis of the emerging findings of the evaluation, IFAD will be able to strengthen its development effectiveness on the ground and play a more effective role in the countries where it works, strengthening results and impact for project beneficiaries, and building local capacities for conducting its operations,” said Oscar A. Garcia, Director of IOE.
The evaluation will aim to answer key questions such as: What is the relevance of decentralization to national ownership and direction of development assistance? To what extent has decentralization contributed to achieving development results? What contribution did the decentralization of administrative and financial business processes make to efficiency?
“The importance of this corporate-level evaluation cannot be overstated,” said Périn Saint Ange, IFAD’s Associate Vice-President. “By understanding what has and has not worked in our decentralization process, we will be able to improve our individual country operations and, ultimately, be more effective in improving the lives of the rural people with whom we work.”
IFAD has financed 259 agriculture projects and development programmes in Asia and the Pacific since the Fund was established in 1979, for a total investment of US$5.5 billion. – IFAD press release