FAO Information, Monitoring and Assessment Strategy

January 1999

1. FAO is developing an Organizational Strategy that identifies five service areas as high priorities for the next 15 years. Among those, one of the five priorities is: Collection of information, monitoring, assessment and analysis of the global state of food and nutrition, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and promotion of a central place for food security on the international agenda.

2. This work area derives from the Basic Texts where the first function of the Organization is stated as:
The Organization shall collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture. In this Constitution, the term "agriculture" and its derivatives include fisheries, marine products, forestry and primary forestry products.

3. FAO's role as a provider of services in the domain of assessments and analyses of trends, has been considered highly important to the global community. FAO's role in the maintenance of an accurate and accessible global set of data is also considered to be of central importance by its Member States.

4. In relation with the area of collection of information, three service goals are proposed, i.e.:

(i) Ensure that a global set of food and nutrition, agricultural, firshery and forestry data is (a) comprehensive and includes all pertinent data, through an inter-linked information system with a wide range of partners; (b) is reliable, accurate, current and consistent; and (c) is disseminated to all Members and accessible to the international community and the public at large.

(ii) Provide regular assessments and analyses of trends in food security and nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, natural resources and scientific knowledge, and draw the attention of the international community to areas needing action.

(iii) Maintain the focus on food security through monitoring implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, global advocacy and inter-action with all partners, including in civil society.

5. FAO's Medium Term Plan for the period 2000-2006, derived from the Organizational Strategy, includes a programme on Environmental Geo-Information Infrastructure and Services. The objective, main components and anticipated outputs of the Programmes are as follows:

(a). Major objective : Continuous assistance in development and operational service of spatial environmental information infrastructure, including various databases of meta-data, satellite imagery, ground observations, cartographic and georeferenced information for food security and sustainable development in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

(b). Main components of this programme are: environmental data acquisition and management; environmental data and information capacity and tool development; environmental information decision support systems development, analysis and dissemination; integrated use of geo-information for environmental monitoring, and natural resources assessment and management for food security and sustainable agriculture .

(c) Main outputs: harmonized ARTEMIS, AGROMET, GIS, AFRICOVER, ICAMS, GTOS databases in accessible formats for operational users and development programmes at global, regional and national levels; documented software tools and guidelines for handling, analysis and interpretation of georeferenced data; environmental information infrastructure (database, standards, models) for natural resources management, agricultural extension, research and land tenure; documented methodologies and guidelines and integrated and dynamic use of geo-information for environmental monitoring in support of sustainable agricultural development.

For the Global Terrestrial Observing System, an element will continue to be undertaken to deal with support to Global observing systems products and services to develop global in situ terrestrial observation networks, to use modelling to analyse issues such as biodiversity, climate change and desertification and the development of and maintenance of meta-databases.

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