Edouard Saouma - Legacy


Saouma's tenure at FAO was marked by dedication to (and support from) third world countries, his independence from major donor countries, US, Canada, Australia, and his numerous initiatives.. Yet many food experts believe that Saouma was more successful than he might have been otherwise in identifying the F.A.O. with the fight against global hunger.

Saouma's controversial leadership was assessed by an unclassified State Department message to American diplomatic posts which stated of Saouma: He has done an excellent job managing the organization and keeping internal program discipline. He has increased F.A.O.'s capacity to deliver technical assistance and strengthened its early warning system. Under his leadership, F.A.O. has steadily decreased the proportion of its budget which is devoted to administrative expenditures.

However, under Saouma's leadership FAO lost a substantial share of support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and from several industrial nations. This was caused by Saouma's withdrawing FAO Country Representatives from UNDP offices the world over and establishing separate FAO offices; UNDP reacted by executing its own agriculture projects, instead of financing their execution by FAO. Saouma also allowed FAO Fisheries Department to focus efforts and publicity on promoting and supporting the 200-mile "exclusive economic zones" of coastal nations. This led to exclusion or increasing the operational costs of major distant-waters fishing fleets that as a rule belonged to industrial nations and major FAO donors. The consequence was substantial reduction of donor-financed FAO fisheries projects. Finally, Saouma considerably increased the number of professional staff from developing countries at the expense of professionals from developed ones, which resulted in certain decline in FAO's general level of experience and expertise.

In recognition of his decisive role, the FAO Conference established in November 1993 the Edouard Saouma Award

Read more about this topic:  Edouard Saouma

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Famous quotes containing the word legacy:

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