FORMER FAO AND OTHER UN STAFF ASSOCIATION FFOA PROVISIONAL REPORT

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1 FORMER FAO AND OTHER UN STAFF ASSOCIATION FFOA FFOA/GA/2011/03 PROVISIONAL REPORT Fortieth Session of the General Assembly Wednesday 26 th May 2010 at 09:45 hours The Auditorium, WFP Headquarters 1. Opening of the Fortieth Session of the General Assembly by the President of FFOA The President of FFOA, Mr Anton Doeve, opened the session at 09:45 hours. He addressed the Assembly as follows. Respected Guests, Members of FFOA, Dear Friends and all those who, with their presence, enhance the significance of this General Assembly. I warmly welcome you all and thank you for attending this special meeting which, for the first time, takes place in the hospitable headquarters of the WFP. On behalf of the Executive Committee of the FFOA as well as on behalf of all its members, I would like to express our deeply felt appreciation for all the valuable assistance the various services of the WFP have performed and are still performing for our Association and its members. Thanks to their generous collaboration you have received the past issues of our Newsbrief and all documents for this General Assembly entirely free of charge. We consider ourselves exceptionally lucky that we may call upon the future FFOA members, who are now still serving the WFP, to assist us with the creation of the various documents which are of fundamental importance for the members of FFOA, because they maintain the essential links between the Association and its members. Therefore, a warm and loud Thank you WFP is certainly appropriate! (applause) When the horrors of Haiti engulfed our Television screens I made a modest contribution to the efforts of WFP to lessen the needs of that unfortunate country which I repeated when the calamities struck Chile. I was pleasantly surprised by the swift reaction which arrived, not only did I receive thanks but also detailed information about the various phases of WFP s activities, one such message was signed by Ms. Sheeran herself. What struck me was that it showed there was a well organized and effective team behind the messages I continue to receive from time to time. It showed also that valid and lasting results can be achieved if a group of dedicated and capable people have decided to change the calamitous course of events, be they natural or manmade, which left death and destruction in their wake. That realization reminded me of what pensioners had been able to achieve during the time they served the UN Organization of their choice. The members of FFOA who are present in this auditorium will all remember the satisfaction and pride which filled them when they had achieved another target of the humanitarian objectives. to which their Organization had committed itself. Those efforts and achievements have added value to the years they spent in serving the humanitarian causes of their Organization. Only a pensioner can feel the quiet satisfaction of being able to look back on a career filled with achievements that have improved the lives of those less fortunate than we were. I am convinced that many of our members would welcome the opportunity to participate in the efforts of the World Food Programme and that is why I am proposing to examine the ways in which their energies and enthusiasm could be channelled into activities which support the goals of the Wonderful Food Programme, the

2 Page 2 of 16 pages WFP. My colleagues and I would be quite willing to collaborate with the appropriate services of WFP to find out how the members of FFOA can contribute to the achievements of the Programme. And, let us not forget that the services of pensioners are free of charge! 2. A. Establishment of a quorum and announcement of the number of proxies Mr Doeve announced that a quorum was present in accordance with the Association's Statutes. About 100 members were present. 17 proxies were officially held by 9 members. Mr Giorgio Eberle, Mr Maurice Purnell and Ms Annemarie Waeschle were nominated rapporteurs. Ms Marta Bochicchio and Ms Rosa Maria Buri provided simultaneous English-Italian interpretation. Mr Alex Van Arkadie and Ms. Alexandra Morris, a WFP photographer made photographic records of the meeting. 2. B. Election of the President of the Thirty-ninth Session of the General Assembly Mr Doeve proposed that Mr Bronek Szynalski, a well-known member of the FFOA Executive Committee and former senior official of WFP, should chair this Assembly, and he was elected by acclamation. Mr Szynalski then took the Chair, thanked the participants for the confidence in electing him as chairperson of the Assembly and welcomed Ms Bertini, the keynote speaker, former ED of WFP and Honorary President of FFOA, who made a particular effort to attend this meeting at her own expense. He also apologized for the delay in starting the proceedings, commenting that the trouble with being punctual was that there was no one to appreciate it. He advised that the Executive Director of WFP, Ms. Josette Sheeran will address the Assembly, although it was possible to say exactly when this will be. He indicated that he will interrupt the discussions as soon as he gets notice of her coming. 3. Adoption of the Provisional Agenda As no proposals for changes to the Provisional Agenda had been received, it was adopted. 4. The Draft Report of the 39 th Session of the General Assembly held on 27 th May 2009 The Draft Report had been circulated in 2009 with Newsbrief 73. It was adopted without comment by the General Assembly under resolution FFOA/GA/2010/07/A. 5. Proposal to confer the title of Honorary President Mr Aurelio Marcucci had been proposed as an Honorary President of the Association, in recognition of his many years of service as an acknowledged expert on pension matters. He was elected by acclamation and Mr Doeve presented him with an inscribed brass plaque. He expressed his thanks for the honour bestowed on him. He recalled that, while in service, he had been elected as a participants representative in the FAO/WFP Staff Pension Committee. He very much appreciated the confidence posed on him by the colleagues who honoured him by reelecting him in that position for over twenty years. After retirement he continued to deal with Pension Fund matters as a member of the Executive Committee of FAFICS, the Federation of the Associations of Former Civil Servants. Mr Marcucci expressed his gratitude to the FFOA Executive Committee for the initiative to confer on him the title of Honorary President and to the General Assembly for the unanimous approval: he really appreciated the honour. 6. Address by the Representative of the Director General of FAO Mr Tony Alonzi, Director CHH, spoke on behalf of the Director-General of FAO: Chairperson, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to be here with you today to address the Annual Assembly of FFOA. I should like to thank Mr Doeve, the President of the Executive Committee of FFOA for his kind invitation and to express my best wishes for a successful 40 th Session of your Assembly. Your Association unites former civil servants from FAO, IFAD, WFP and a number of other UN Organizations represented in Rome. The occasion of the Annual Assembly provides the opportunity to former UN staff to meet and discuss issues of common interest. Many of you continue to have a keen interest in the activities of our Organization, and I should like to take this opportunity to update you on some important developments that have taken place in FAO since your last meeting in May The World Summit on Food Security was organized from 16 to 18 November last year by FAO, in collaboration with IFAD and WFP. It led to several major commitments towards: i) better governance of world food security; greater investment in agriculture and rural development; ii) a redoubling of efforts to halve hunger by 2015 and to eradicate it as early as possible; and, finally, iii) a strategy of adaptation and mitigation of the impacts of climate change.

3 Page 3 of 16 pages At its 36 th session, held from 18 to 23 November 2009, the FAO Conference approved a profound reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to strengthen it considerably, as a global platform, for the coordination of expertise and action in the fight against hunger. FAO Reform. Last year we informed you about the Immediate Plan of Action for FAO Renewal (IPA) which was adopted by the FAO Conference in November During 2009 good progress was made in implementing many of the over 260 individual actions contained in the Plan. I should like to mention the following areas of major achievements: 1) the establishment of results-based management and the change towards a results-based culture; 2) the ability of the Organization to function as one, entailing progress in the decentralization process, the delegation of responsibility and the organizational restructuring and streamlining; 3) greater efficiency in the delivery of administrative services; and 4) improved Human Resources Management. With regard to the latter, FAO adopted the Human Resources Management Strategy and Policy Framework that guides future HR initiatives and aims at generating a favourable environment for attracting and motivating a top-level workforce. FAO strives to achieve gender balance while addressing other critical issues such as an ageing workforce, and the need for new skills, knowledge and expertise. Enhanced human resources policies are being introduced, such as a) a staff mobility programme to expand career opportunities and foster a dynamic working environment, and b) a Junior Professional programme to facilitate succession planning and rejuvenate the existing workforce. Following the completion of a successful pilot involving 500 staff, the new FAO Performance Evaluation and Management System (PEMS) will become fully operative in PEMS provides the essential link between the FAO Strategic framework, organizational results and individual staff performance and is an essential element of the managing for results framework. In 2009, the Culture Change Team, consisting of staff members from headquarters and decentralized offices developed FAO s Internal Vision Statement which was launched by the Director-General at the beginning of November last year. All FAO staff are now called to put into practice the principles and values of how we would like to work together and make the Vision Statement a living document. During the coming years, FAO has a very ambitious IPA implementation programme, which provides the opportunity to make the Organization better equipped to face the challenges of the 21 st century. Pension and Medical Insurance. Let me now briefly turn to some of the social security issues that might be of interest to you. In the course of this meeting, Mr Gangi, Chief, Social Security and his team will address social security matters followed by a Question-and-Answer session on pensions and medical insurance issues. Active participation in the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, in which 23 member organizations participate, increased by 7,5% during A mid turmoil in the financial markets, the Pension Fund remains healthy. Following the decline of the market value of the assets of the Fund during the global financial crisis, during 2009 the market value of the assets increased to US$ 37,544 million, against US$ 31,3 billion at the end of The Pension Board is meeting in July to review, among several issues, the results of the most recent Actuarial Valuation as well as the report of the Working Group on Plan Design. The Pension benefits were reviewed in April and increased by 2,8% for those on the US track equivalent to the Consumer Price Index for the US. As the Consumer Price Index for Italy amounted only to 1%, the increase in pension was postponed to be combined with next year s CPI. The Medical Insurance Plan benefited from the macroeconomic environment as well as the various cost containment measures put in place. With the response of all plan participants, the Plan was able to retain the same level of premiums for both the US Dollar as well as the Euro Schemes. The unprecedented results have been achieved as average claims were held constant and with more than US$ 11 million of savings by the Plan measures which countered the inflationary pressures. Chairperson, Ladies and Gentlemen, FFOA acts as FAO s partner in providing valuable information and assistance to you. Over the years, the collaboration between FFOA and the Organization has been excellent, and we would like to assure the Association that FAO will continue to cooperate with FFOA for the benefit of the retiree community.

4 Page 4 of 16 pages In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for the contributions you have made during your years of service with the Organization and for your continued interest and support. I wish you all a successful and productive meeting. Thank you for your attention. 7. Mr Szynalski thanked Mr Alonzi for his statement and FAO for the collaboration and support during the year, which have been very helpful to the Association. 8. Address by the Representative of the Executive Director of the World Food Programme Ms Diana Serrano, Director of the Human Resources Division, WFP, made the following statement: Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here today. The WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, sends you her greetings, she may attend your assembly later this morning. For those of you who retired from WFP, I bring you very warm greetings from your WFP family. I want to share with you some news about WFP and the fight against hunger -- something that all of you have been part of -- whether at FAO -- at IFAD or at WFP. This past year proved to be another challenging one. Just as the number of hungry grew to more than one billion people worldwide the highest number on record we also face a shrinking -- humanitarian safe space -- within which we can reach people in need. As you know, there have been an unprecedented number of attacks on relief workers around the world. Last year WFP lost 15 people in the line of duty -- colleagues who were busy at work helping to feed the most vulnerable -- yet whose lives were tragically cut short. The bombing in the WFP Islamabad office in Pakistan -- that killed five staff members and seriously wounded four others -- is a salient reminder of the dangers WFP staff face every day. Despite these attacks, WFP was able to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to just over one hundred million people affected by storms droughts displacement -- financial crises -- and other shocks -- that left them without a means to feed themselves and their families. More than 80 million of these beneficiaries were women and children. We could not have reached them -- without the focus and the dedication of our staff and our partners in the field. The explosion in hunger needs over the past few years have made clear that we are living in a world where risk is the new normal. The food fuel -- and financial crises show just how vulnerable so many nations are to outside shocks -- which can virtually overnight -- cast millions of people into dire hunger, putting an entire generation at risk of stunting. Adding to this, we are living in a world where stunting -- or the failure to grow -- leads to irreversible developmental damage, affecting children s growth, but also their health -- ability to learn and -- their future economic productivity as adults. Surely the answer to this risk is to build resiliency -- we must continue our work with nations to ensure they are ready to withstand shocks -- so that a financial crisis -- a drought -- or a storm doesn t turn into a humanitarian catastrophe. Haiti shows just why working with nations before disaster strikes, is so important. With little resilience and capacity in place -- the earthquake in Haiti was devastating. WFP already had a large operation in Haiti before the earthquake struck. As you know, the earthquake destroyed government offices -- aid agencies and most of the infrastructure on the island. We were in a situation where the first responders in Haiti colleagues from around the UN system -- were themselves -- victims. Most of WFP s staff had lost their homes, and everyone had experienced losses of friends or family. The good news is that we are making some real progress since the earthquake struck. With the support of many nations -- we were able to quickly scale up. Within two weeks, 700,000 people received emergency rations. Within six weeks, we had provided assistance to some 4 million of the most vulnerable people. Our focus now is moving from emergency response, to helping Haiti build back better. We are working closely with the Government to scale up. We provided more than 360,000 mothers and children with targeted nutrition supplementary interventions. Knowing how hard things are for many families and that -- if there is no meal at school -- children likely will not attend -- we have also focused on getting school meal programs up and running -- even if that means meeting in the yard of a destroyed school. We are providing more than half a million school children with meals -- and are scaling that up to 800,000 shortly. WFP has also been instrumental in helping keep the supply chain open for food, water, medicine and other humanitarian goods. To date, more than 1,200 trucks have been dispatched from Santo Domingo to various destinations in Haiti, serving more than 80 humanitarian organizations. The UN Humanitarian Air Service -- which WFP runs -- helped transport some 5,500-relief workers from 250 different organizations. WFP s staff are on the frontlines globally making of this happen, from Haiti to Pakistan to Kenya. Behind every ton of food shipped is a human face and a story of a life transformed -- a hope restored --and the potential of a nation readied again in the wake of disaster.

5 Page 5 of 16 pages I specially want to thank many of you who have helped us in Haiti and in many other duty stations around the world. You have helped us scale up operations or to backfill for other colleagues who had to be urgently deployed to emergency operations it is clear to us that your skills and experience are an invaluable resource. Each of you was part of building - the WFP, the FAO, and the IFAD that today are transforming the lives of millions. Your life s work continues on, and your colleagues around the world thank you for showing us the way. Thank you. 9. Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Serrano for the informative speech and the impressive work described to aid hungry people. 10. Address by the Representative of IFAD Ms Vera P. Weill-Hallé spoke on behalf of the President of IFAD: Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to speak before you, fellow colleagues and partners in international development. It is, indeed, a special honour to represent IFAD s President, Kanayo Nwanze, at the General Assembly of the FFOA. I am personally grateful for this opportunity to interact with many former colleagues from IFAD, FAO and WFP, with whom I ve had the pleasure to work. I should also like to acknowledge FFOA s foresight in inviting Catherine Bertini as our keynote speaker. She has, over the years, been a renowned champion of gender issues and one of the strongest advocates for strengthened collaboration and partnership between the three Rome-based agencies. IFAD remains deeply grateful to FFOA for the good service, assistance, and advice it continues to provide to our retirees. We are conscious of the growing number of IFAD retirees many of whom, we are glad to see, have chosen to remain in the Rome area upon retirement. As you know, IFAD s mission of enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty has not changed. However, we also recognize that development cannot be a static occupation and that we need regularly to refine/fine tune our mission. But that mission will not stray much from the critical role we play to enable smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fishers, nomadic herders, forest dwellers and indigenous peoples to improve their lives and increase their incomes. We are not satisfied with simply reducing poverty. We want to make it possible for poor rural people to have the means to rise above the poverty line and to create greater wealth and opportunities for themselves and their families. In this effort, IFAD will continue to encourage public and private investment in developing countries throughout the entire rural economy so as to make it an attractive business environment in which to engage our partners in development efforts. This is IFAD s vision. It is a message that we take wherever we go: i) that farming at whatever scale is a business, and smallholder farmers must be treated as entrepreneurs, ii) that businesses need clear linkages along the value chain from production to processing, marketing, and ultimately to consumption. Since 1978, IFAD has invested nearly US$12 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 350 million people to break out of poverty. Through the programmes and projects that we support, we are strengthening the ability of smallholder farmers and other rural workers to engage and compete in the rural business environment. At the same time, we are working with governments and the private sector to nurture the overall rural environment to invest in the rural economy and forge strong links with the urban economy. While creating a vibrant rural economy, we recognize that it s also important to invest in young rural people today, giving them the skills and confidence they require to run profitable farms, start businesses and become the community leaders of tomorrow. Ladies and Gentlemen, although we are here today to recognize the work of the FFOA in supporting our former employees, let s not forget that 2010 is the International Year of Youth. While we celebrate today the valuable contributions of those who have now completed their careers, we must not lose sight of the young women and men in developing countries who have barely started theirs. With our support and our commitment, young people living in poverty in rural areas can make the change from being some of the most vulnerable people in today s world, to being active, productive and influential members of society. Today, they need our support. Tomorrow, we will need their contribution, their creativity, their commitment and their leadership. I would like to close by reconfirming IFAD s commitment to continue its collaboration with the FFOA. Please feel free to let us know how best we can support you including by hosting the next assembly if possible.

6 Page 6 of 16 pages And thank you again for giving me the opportunity to address you here today and to share with you IFAD s focus and future directions. I wish you a successful meeting today and continuing success over the years in providing such valuable services to our retirees. 11. Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Weill-Hallé for her presentation, support to FFOA and the suggestion that the next General Assembly be hosted by IFAD. 12. Keynote address by Ms Catherine Bertini, Former Executive Director of WFP and Honorary President of FFOA Ms Bertini said how honoured she was to be here today after more than eight years and to see so many old friends but also so many new faces. She was missing the place, the weather, the wine and especially her colleagues and friends. In the meantime, she had several work opportunities where she was able to continue a mission, as follows: i) For two years, Under-Secretary General for Management, with Kofi Annan, responsible for the physical, human and financial resources in the United Nations, including the investments in the pension fund. During this time and in the absence of precise figures at hand, the value of investments may have increased by up to 30 percent. ii) For five years, teaching, first at the Public Policy School of Michigan University (one semester) and then at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University) where she gave courses for graduate students, many of whom were of international origin, on managing change, including how UN organisations manage this change, as well as on the principles of humanitarian action and girls education. (iii) For two years as Senior Fellow on the agricultural development portfolio at the Bill Gates Foundation (BGF), a new player, very serious and generous. She worked for one of its projects, namely the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. One project dealt with integration, with several topics such as a proposal for changes in domestic US agriculture, and another to encourage the US Government to give high priority to agriculture. While the first proposal did not receive much attention by the Government, the second was more successful in Washington. A paper sponsored by the Chicago Council Project had already been prepared in 2008 with a view to influencing the electoral campaign of both the Republicans and Democrats. The report Renewing American Leadership in the Fight against Global Hunger and Poverty was issued by an Independent Leaders Group on Global Agricultural Development, with Catherine Bertini and Dan Glickman as co-chairs. It is considered to be the backbone of the new Administration s programme Feed the Future. President Obama s Senate speech to the poor people of poor countries, we pledge to work alongside you, to make your farms flourish, provided the required political support. The Republican Senator Richard Lugar has a bill sponsored by Democrat Senators and others. It is the Global Food Security Act to put in place in law some of these concepts. Its impact goes far beyond what US policy may be. More on the Chicago Council Project can be found in its weekly Newsbrief Food for Thought, a compilation of worldwide articles on agricultural development. To be on the mailing list, send an to the following address: What is happening in agricultural development? In spite of all the efforts to date, there are still one billion hungry people. Agriculture as part of Official Development Assistance went down to four percent., now the time has come to do more, building on your work. International organizations, governments, NGOs now stand up to do more for development. The following are new initiatives: (i) The Maputo Agreement elaborated by African governments foresees that every government should work towards the goal of spending 10 per cent on agriculture. (ii) The Aquila Agreement reiterates that governments should put more money into agricultural development. Pledges for over US$22 billion have already been received. (iii) A Trust Fund operated by the World Bank, complemented by pledges from Canada, Republic of Korea, Spain, the Bill Gates Foundation and the USA. Furthermore, that there are now new players: (i) KADEC, an African Organization, created two years ago to promote agriculture and aiming at catalyzing support for African countries by providing a technical base background and knowledge, and making connections to obtain this knowledge. (ii) AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa) has been created by African Organisations on the top of the existing structure of the Rockefeller Foundation for Africa. The President is Kofi Annan and WFP s Ex- Deputy Director Namanga Ngongi is the Chief Executive Officer. The Headquarters are in Nairobi and the sub-

7 Page 7 of 16 pages office in Accra. AGRA is jointly funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates Foundation, DFID, DANIDA and Japan s Development Agency. (iii) Foundations such as the Bill Gates Foundation, which has allocated US$2.5 billion for agriculture in recent years. First, it had prioritized health and vaccines, but later it combined it with agriculture directed towards smallholder farmers in Africa and South Asia with the highest number of poor people. There is also the Nikky Foundation, it is rather small and generally looking for areas which are under-funded and where it can contribute to the biggest impact. Its focuses on girls. There are also new approaches as follows, some of which may not sound new but include new action and review. Hopefully, all of this will make a difference. (i) Integration when looking at the necessary requirements and putting them together, starting at the ground up with an integral approach, as illustrated in the following example: Work with poor farmers, most are women and many are in cooperatives. If grouped in cooperatives, they can receive technical support and ask for small loans. AGRA and IFAD give money (US$5.0 million) to the banks thus ensuring that the loans are protected. Agro-Dealers trained by USAID advise cooperative members on how to manage business and to use finances, fertilizer, seeds, etc. In some countries, FAO and WFP can also help, the former through seed pools and WFP as potential buyer of the harvest (P4P project). (ii) Another difference is that there is now the private sector with many new players. The public sector is not the answer to effective agricultural development, but together with the private sector, it can make a difference. (iii) And the third old/new idea is that project planning must include in particular information on who are the farmers, and what are the women s needs. And this goes beyond training. (iv) Finally, more emphasis is now being given to nutrition, school feeding, country-led processes, legal matters (land tenure, seed, inheritance, and credit). Ms Bertini closed her statement by saying: All of this is exciting news, so much is happening, so much interest, support and new ideas, and all builds on your careers. When you and I were working in our organizations, it was as if we planted orchards on barren land. We had to deal with issues of bad weather, seeds, fertilizers and not enough water. We gave water, seed and fertilizer, and kept the vandals away. We saw progress, we saw fruit. If all these things work, the orchards will become even bigger and give more fruit. There will be so many more people to consume the fruit that we will be rewarded for the incredible careers we had, when we were able to touch so many people. And so many governments are paying more attention to this development work. The orchards will be flourishing as peoples farms will be flourishing. Thank you. 13. Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Bertini for a very encouraging statement, which included a number of issues that could lead to a lively debate. Referring more particularly to AGRA, he said that this organization had been criticized last January by the Italian Newspaper La Repubblica questioning AGRA s mission in Africa, particularly its reference to the green revolution in India. Mr Szynalski had shared the article with Mr N. Ngongi (AGRA s Chief Executive Officer) who replied that India now produces more food than ever and could feed half the World while Africa is still at the beginning in terms of use of seeds, fertilizer and contacts with farmers. Mr Ngongi would be ready to answer questions from the press, if and when in Rome. Mr Szymalski felt that a press conference could be organized by WFP, FAO or IFAD, preferably when Mr Ngongi visits Rome next. Mr Prien thanked Ms Bertini for her statement and lighting up the meeting. With regard to the pension fund, he advised that during Ms Bertini s tenure at the UN, the fund s assets increased from US$22.0 billion to US$26.5 billion, an increase of some 20 percent. Ms Vera Weill-Hallé (IFAD) thanked Ms Bertini for this positive picture and agreed that there was indeed a change in government attitudes in terms of agriculture and its importance in the development agenda of countries. She was however concerned by the present financial crisis and its impact on development progress and asked Ms Bertini about the potential consequences of this financial crisis on donor pledges. Ms Bertini replied that the impact is unknown. Although the Obama Administration intends to keep the US$3 billion commitment, final figures may be lower, once the law is approved. The Administration will need to find ways to fill the gap. This may slow down the progress but probably won t have a significant impact on local farmers. Mr Maurice Purnell asked if Ms Bertini had been able to convince people over the years to make more commitments for long-term investments. Referring to his experience with UNDP and FAO-funded projects, which are generally limited in time, Mr Purnell said that after the projects have ended, without follow-up they often fall to pieces.

8 Page 8 of 16 pages Ms Bertini replied that this was indeed an important issue. The Bush agriculture has been pushing the long term and would like to pass it into congressional law. This would help. Furthermore, the Chicago Council Project has tried for the past two years to go for the long-term and keep people reminded about long-term investments. The Council had sponsored a paper on how to renew American leadership in the fight against hunger and poverty. There are on-going discussions with the Bill Gates Foundation to extend the Chicago Council Project (initially formulated for two years) for another three years to keep the issue going in Washington. This is critically important. For example, the P4P project, managed by WFP is a longer-term project aiming to help reorganise the way the US is purchasing food in developing countries. Dealing with smallholder farmers raises issues of quantity, liability and quality. The project has just started, and ways of making it self-sustaining will need to be found. Otherwise it will fail. Mr Tony Alonzi (FAO) thanked Ms Bertini for a very interesting speech and asked what feedback she was getting from the young people in Universities and elsewhere about the work of the UN. Ms Bertini replied that the students she teaches are of very high quality and many are international in origin. They are highly committed to getting into helping the world but complain that it is hard to enter. They are very motivated and eager to learn and are keen job seekers. Some were invited to The Gambia, one student has created an association to attract more girls to school, and another has constructed a school. It is exciting to work with these people. Ms Elvira Tomassetti, taking the floor, referred to the negative press with regard to AGRA and felt that there was a negative attitude the UN in general in the Italian media and that food aid agencies should give more attention to the media to educate them with regard to issues of hunger and development. Ms Bertini replied that few governments do a good job of advertising the UN, not about the vacancies for employment either. That applies to the USA as well. The German Government has agreed to pay for training for UN work with the media. Mr Szynalski added that a lot of work is needed to change attitudes. The Friends of WFP in Italy try to convey the message to the public, but to achieve real impact, formal channels through the communication units of FAO, WFP and IFAD should be mobilised. Mr Francesco Strippoli suggested that pensioners should help more and invited them to join the Friends of WFP in Italy. There is good potential not only for information but also for tapping resources from the private sector. Mr Alex Van Arkadie remarked that the media is state-controlled in many places. In Sri Lanka, WFP has an outstanding reputation (as elsewhere). Criticisms from the people arise because of lack of transparency in local government bodies. How could closer monitoring of disbursements be arranged? Ms Bertini replied that this is a constant issue, to be sure that aid is distributed to the right people at the right time and that it is well documented. The best way is to build a transparent system. In North Korea for example, everything was numbered and public interest was encouraged. Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Bertini for her presence, her address, for the lively debate and replies to questions from the audience. In reflecting on the state and attitude of the retirees from activity in general and bearing in mind that the audience was composed of UN agency pensioners, he said that one hardly thinks that the only time we want to get old, is when we are kids. If you are below ten, you are so excited about aging that you think in fractions: How old are you? I am four and a half. You never say, you are thirty-six and a half. Quoting from a 102 year old veteran (George Calin) who provided a recipe for keeping young, he advised: laugh until you grasp for breath... never keep your mind idle, keep learning, an idle mind is the devil s workshop, and always remember that life is not measured by the breath you take but by the moments which take your breath away. 14. Statement by the Representative of the Staff Bodies Ms Margaret Eldon, Chairperson of the Union of General Service Staff (UGSS), spoke on behalf of the Staff Representative Bodies. Thank you Mr Chairperson, dear Friends, I want to say how much I appreciate being here and having the opportunity to address so many friends and colleagues. I do not know whether it is the effect of my growing older or some elixir of FFOA, but the faces of the retired seem to be younger to me every year. I also want to congratulate FFOA for maintaining the contact between retired friends and colleagues and the organizations for which each of you worked. When we retire, we walk out from under the UN umbrella and could feel disoriented or rather insecure as we are left to our own devices international people suddenly in a national context. FFOA provides the important link to the international context that has formed a large part of our

9 Page 9 of 16 pages lives and to which we are still attached, not only through ties such as the Pension Fund and Medical Health Insurance, but also because our personal commitment to eradicate hunger does not end or diminish the day we retire. Whether we have served WFP, FAO or IFAD, our combined efforts to eradicate hunger in immediate emergency situations, through capacity building for future food security and through investment in agriculture all of us work of have worked to save the lives of people today and of generations that are not yet born. This is one of the noblest UN causes, and we are privileged to have worked for it. Our commitment cannot and does not die the day we retire. What the transition into retirement does mean, however, is that we are in a position to continue to serve that cause in a different way. If some of you are now thinking that I am contradicting myself a few years ago exhorting retirees at an FFOA assembly to avoid being used as a form of cheap labour by our administrations and now hinting at continuing to work for the same cause let me explain. Where a retiree has developed specialized expertise that the UN needs, then there is a role for the retiree to provide that expertise, indeed pass on that expertise to the younger generation through training and on-the-job experience. However, as a staff representative, I have sometimes been saddened to see retirees return to do a job that a younger person should be given the opportunity to carry out. I think it is a question of balance and of supporting our respective organizations to renew their expertise rather than be barriers to that process. To come back to the concept of togetherness, as many of you know, UGSS has never accepted the division between FAO and WFP, and we are still the staff representative body of GS serving both organizations at headquarters. Also, the Association of Professionals in FAO and the Field Staff Association have merged to form a new association representing FAO professional staff worldwide. For UGSS to cover both WFP and FAO staff has made far more work as we relate to two different administrations and different personnel policies and practices, but it has undoubtedly enriched our experience of how different policies and practices can work, what is more effective in which kind of situation, and we believe that it has made us more knowledgeable staff representatives as a consequence. If I were to translate this togetherness into the world of work, a vision of how much more effective could be the combined efforts of WFP, IFAD and FAO to eradicate hunger comes to mind. The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts. There is much more cooperation now between the three agencies than there used to be but I am convinced that much more can be done. However, this will not happen until there is a change of culture within each agency and a genuine desire for mutual collaboration touches the hearts not only the minds of a critical mass of the staff of each agency and true sharing begins. Last year, the representative of the staff spoke about reform. In my experience, the greatest reform of WFP was undertaken under Ms Bertini. She became the Executive Director of WFP at a time when the very existence of WFP was under examination in discussions about whether or not there were too many humanitarian assistance organizations within the UN. When Ms Bertini left, there was no doubt about the need for and the quality of service of the Programme, and it is to the merit of WFP and WFP staff that it has retained that status up to the current time. FAO reform has come much later, but it is no less thorough. Every nook and cranny of how the Organization works has been and is being investigated, and the Member States ceaselessly demand information and have been equally ceaseless in their criticism. And it is paying off. We are now hearing positive comments about FAO s technical work as the Member States begin to leave behind their incorrect perceptions and base their judgments on factual knowledge rather than rumour. We still have some way to go with regard to administrative practices and strengthening the decentralization, but what is exciting is the openness of the dialogue with representatives of the Member States in less formal meetings, with the Independent Chair of the Council and with management. Quite of number of us close to retirement are already saying how sad it will be for us not to experience the positive outcome of the challenges we are currently working through, but even so, just working for the future at this point of time is very interesting. Next June, there will be elections for a new FAO Director- General, and we understand that Brazil a country that has already done much for national food security has declared it will be putting forward a candidate. Yes, these are interesting times. Before closing I would like to say a few words about working together with FFOA. We work together on pension matters and on medical health matters as areas of common interest. We will continue to do so and may need to strengthen our collaboration on security issues as strengthening of security sometimes makes it more difficult for retirees to access buildings they need to enter either for the bank, for medical health claim submission or for pension queries. In a few years I will be joining you, so it is also in my interest to collaborate now. And when I join you, I hope we can discuss how as retirees we can continue to support the noble cause that each of our organizations serves, without jeopardizing in any way the process of renewal and formation of the younger generation to take the places we once held. Thank you.

10 Page 10 of 16 pages Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Eldon for her encouraging and very helpful statement. He expressed his hope that her suggestions would be taken seriously by the member states and organizations, particularly with regard to the engagement of retired staff and their use. FFOA was grateful to the staff representative bodies for their participation in the General Assembly and for their collaboration and work which he hoped would continue in future. 15. Report of the Executive Committee Mr Doeve presented the Statement of Work including activities achieved during 2009 and statistics, which had been circulated, together with other GA documents accompanying Newsbrief 74. He reported that the number of members was declining with obvious repercussions on FFOA s budget, and the reasons need to be identified. An evaluation was needed to find out if the declining numbers were possibly due to decreasing staff numbers retiring (because of staff reduction in the UN agencies). In spite of FFOA s presentations three times a year at the FAO-organized retirement seminar, their impact is relatively marginal. More needed to be done to reach people before they reach retirement age and find out their expectations of FFOA, what they consider the strong and weak points of the Association and their suggestions for the future. To this end, FFOA should work more closely with the staff associations to get the numbers of potential retirees well in advance. Another problem area was that not all members were regularly paying their fee of 25 per year. Recently, 78 members were suspended for not having paid the fees for more than two years. Mr Prien proposed the endorsement of the report. He urged the participants to give their addresses to the FFOA office and to encourage friends to do the same. Increased use would help to save on mailing costs as well as providing early information about social security issues and excursions. Mr John McGhee congratulated the Executive Committee for their work and dedication. He agreed that is was difficult to cut the link to the work environment and that everything needed to be done to convince colleagues and friends to join FFOA. Referring more particularly to the financial report, he emphasized that if more funding is needed to accomplish the activities, the FFOA membership should commit itself to make these funds available. Mr Alex Van Arkadie observed that many pensioners give their free time to services for others. More opportunities should be made available for them. Mr Szynalski reminded the participants that all EC members are volunteers. Agenda item FFOA/GA/2010/05 was adopted. 16. Report of the Association s Financial Transactions (Statements A E) Mr Gianni Monciotti, Treasurer of the Association, presented the Financial Report for He indicated that FFOA s financial situation had been overall satisfactory. There was a slight increase as far as new enrolments and renewals were concerned. The Annual Members payment went up to 11, from 9, of the previous year while contributions received from life members decreased a little to reach 5, as compared to 6, in These voluntary contributions of FFOA members show their respect and consideration for the work of the Association, which - even in the absence of striking actions - does its utmost to defend the interests of its members but also of other pensioners, who are not enrolled. He invited the participants to publize the work of FFOA because United we stand, divided we fall. Regrettably, expenditures increased due to payment of postal charges for the Newsbriefs to FAO. With a view to cutting down on this expenditure, we urge our members to provide the FFOA office with an address. This would also help to ensure immediate and secure receipt of the documents. Mr Monciotti concluded with a positive note: our investments at the end of 2009 show a profit and reached 32, compared to 29, at the end of The above-mentioned accounts have been examined and certified correct by the auditors. The Assembly reconfirmed Messrs David MacFarlane and Ugo Marchetti as Auditors for our 2010 accounts. Mr Szynalski thanked the treasurer. As there were no statements or questions for clarification, the Assembly approved by acclamation the financial report for 2010, the financial status on 31 December 2009, the proposed budget for 2011, and the reappointment of the auditors for our 2010 accounts, Mr David MacFarlane and Mr Ugo Marchetti, under resolutions C, D and E of document FFOA/GA/2010/ Mr Nabil Gangi, Chief of the Social Security Office of FAO, then took the floor and the screen for an illustrated talk on pension matters and medical insurance. He said that WFP was like a second home to him as WFP staff and pensioners are served by his Office which serves four Rome-based Organizations for Pensions, Medical Insurance and Life, Accident and Disability insurance.

11 Page 11 of 16 pages The UN Joint Staff Pension Fund has 23 organizations and invested assets of US$ billion. The long term health of the Pension Fund is checked every two years through actuarial valuations. They verify whether assets balance current and future liabilities. In recent years such valuations have been positive. The result of the latest valuation is marginally lower than a perfect balance but there will be opportunities for making timely adjustments. Mr. Gangi mentioned enquiries from staff and retirees about staying on the US dollar track or moving to the local currency track. He explained the origin of the double-track system. The procedure converts the initial US dollar pension into the local currency using an average of 36 months on the date of separation. From that point on the local currency pension is adjusted with the movements of the local Consumer Price Index (CPI) (unless it exceeds the dollar pension by 10 per cent). It is not permitted to revert from the local track to the dollar track. He also emphasized the importance of returning the yearly Certificates of Entitlement to the Pension Fund; his office could provide assistance in doing this. Mr Gangi said that Medical Insurance covers the staff and retirees of four Rome based organizations (FAO, WFP, IFAD and ICCROM). This is a win-win situation because of the economic logic and the convenience in being together; it is win-win for the smaller parties as well as the bigger parties. By remaining a large group high leverage is exerted, resulting in reasonable fees from providers (for example in Italy where medical costs are not regulated) and reduced premiums to the insurer. The four organizations have BMIP/MMBP in common. The number of retirees (4,742 retirees and 7,805 retirees plus dependents) is getting close to the number of active staff. It is a win-win situation because of economies of scale; for small parties who would not be able to attract reasonable rates from contractors or reasonable fees from providers; and for larger organizations, such as FAO, which gain from the infusion of younger participants joining other organizations. Vanbreda was selected as Claims Handler through an international tender. For after-service coverage the former employer continues to pay at least 50% of the insurance premium, and indeed more because of the caps placed on the contributions from participants. Mr. Gangi gave a brief account of what Reasonable and Customary meant and how to avoid finding oneself in an unpleasant situation when the claim is processed. There is an 800 number now that can be called from anywhere in the world to obtain advice from Vanbreda claims handlers. Response, if the amount is within the capacity of the plans, should come within 5 days if details are furnished on estimated costs. There is a representative in FAO and WFP who regularly visits IFAD, to meet participants and provide clarifications on the spot. Efforts are also being made to encourage expensive doctors and providers patronised by participants to join the network and apply rates that would fall within the Reasonable and Customary range. Networks of doctors agreeing to apply reasonable fees are recorded on the Vanbreda website and are grouped by country and city. In 2005 the Director-General of FAO sent to the JAC/MC a memorandum asking that premiums and claims be contained. After careful consideration a three-pronged strategy was developed based on (a) cost containment of the claims, (b) use of the leverage of having several organizations in the plans to obtain the best terms on the market, and (c) improving the plan design and its structure. Since 2006 the JAC/MC has been working on such a strategy. Thus it was possible to increase the discount from some network providers, such as United Health Care in the USA (over 40,000 providers); the agreement resulted in some 30% discount. Another example is the pharmacy in FAO with a saving of 10% on branded drugs and up to 50% on generic drugs. The travel provision allows participants wishing to be treated outside Italy to receive a monetary incentive if the treatment abroad is much less expensive than in Italy. The arrangement must be pre-authorized by Vanbreda. Through a competitive tender process in 2007 it was possible to reduce considerably the profit margin of the insurer and the claims handling charges. For the last two years of the contract a further reduction of some US$ 2 million has been negotiated. Concerning the plan design and structure, a higher cap has been established for retirees with relatively short contributory service and whose 4% of the full pension is therefore very low. Using the current average years of service, their cap has been raised from 4% of a full pension after 17 years to 4% of a full pension after 25 years. This has made the situation more sustainable for the Organizations. Also pensioners receiving pensions in euro must contribute to the euro scheme and not to the dollar scheme in order to avoid imbalances at times of significant currency fluctuations. This adjustment has already produced savings and reduced unwarranted gains by the insurer.

12 Page 12 of 16 pages All measures combined resulted in savings estimated at some US$ 11 million for the current biennium. This has avoided increasing the BMIP premiums in 2010 for both the dollar and the euro schemes. The GLADI voluntary plan covers staff and retirees until age of 73. The excellent claims experience of recent years triggered a rebate of 44% that will be returned in the coming months. The contract with the insurer has been extended with a 10% reduction. Mr Gangi then showed an organigramme of the Social Security Office and the unit that deals with queries and advice to participants. Questions and Answers on Pension Matters Mr Maurice Purnell said that while it was comforting to have constant assurances that the Pension Fund is secure, most pensioners did not fear that the fund would go broke, but were more worried about their pensions which are fixed in dollars (with indexation for COL) and decline in purchasing power. It would be most interesting if Mr Gangi, or the CEO of the Pension Fund, would publish the base pension on the dollar track of a person retiring over the past 30 or 40 years (with as well the indexed pension if possible). One could thus see, for example, how a 20 year old pension compares with that of a person with the same grade and length of service retiring today. Mr Gangi immediately showed a list of increases to the dollar track pensions caused by cost-ofliving indexation (ranging from zero to 5 per cent per year). However he could not at the moment show the variations in pensions awarded at a selected grade and length of service over the years but would investigate the matter and FFOA would be informed. Mr Kees Tuinenburg asked about adjustments to euro track pensions in different countries of the Euro zone, each having a different CPI. Mr Gangi clarified that the starting pension is calculated in euro, irrespective of the country, using the same 36 month average of the dollar to the euro. Later the application of different CPI s causes pensions to vary. If someone moves from one country to another the pension is recalculated as if he or she had been in that country since retirement. (It seems unlikely that amounts vary significantly from one country to another due to requirements so far imposed by euro institutions on the economies of countries using the euro.) Questions and Answers on Medical Insurance Ms Vera Weill-Hallé (IFAD) enquired why certain provisions were not made known to a larger population. Mr Gangi replied that more efforts will be made in the future, including better communications with all the organizations in the plans. Mr C. Varrone said that he had had problems with the building pass and asked whether all the new and expensive security measures were necessary. Mr Szynalski said that the world had changed and strong security is necessary. Mr Gangi pointed out that we have experts in security and must pay heed to their recommendations. Mr Alonzi said that security applied to everyone and there is no discrimination against pensioners. Mr Kees Tuinenberg asked about the lack of long term care coverage. Mr. Gangi explained that this lack was a fact; only one UN Organization had long term care coverage and there are significant cost considerations. Mr Venema asked about the provision for travel for medical treatment and the limited savings that came from it. Mr Gangi replied that the travel provision had been introduced fairly recently and not many savings were expected from that measure, but it all helps. Mr Szynalski thanked Mr Gangi for his extensive presentation and for the clarifications provided to the varied questions. 18. Address by Ms Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the WFP Ms Sheeran, in spite of her busy day came to deliver a short speech to the FFOA members. She said how pleased she was to welcome members from all the Rome-based Agencies, and the faces of so many who had given much of their lives to the aims of the WFP. WFP is nothing without the people who work there. She recently saw in Haiti the staff members, often with their own homes destroyed, helping the distressed Haitians after the earthquake. She also saw that many of the helpers were pensioners who had been called back at short notice for this extreme emergency. This is more than just a job, it requires also to make sacrifices in life. She is glad to think that FFOA tries to make sure there are no gaps in the system for pensioners and that all are taken care of when necessary. The world is a challenging place and the world must play fair. If food security is not achieved everything may be lost, and the countries recognize that now and approve re-investment in the Rome-based Agencies. The Secretary General of the UN has emphasized food security and the need not only for emergency aid but also continued development the very reason for which the Rome Agencies were established. The first joint team for

13 Page 13 of 16 pages work in Haiti has been established, an indication of the increased integration between the Agencies. The problems can be discussed at one table and responses agreed. They can benefit from advice from the experience of pensioners. Ms. Sheeran closed by saying Thank you for the specific work you do, making sure that family need is taken care of. I know it may sound small, but it is very big in their lives, and the word spreads and gives people hope that they are part of a family. Again welcome to WFP and thanks for all you have done in the past. Thanks also to the two Presidents here - an unusual experience. Mr Szynalski thanked Ms Sheeran for having made time in her very busy schedule to come and give such an inspiring talk to the pensioners. After greeting the senior people on the rostrum Ms Sheeran hurried away. 19. Other Business No proposals had been received, so Mr Szynalski requested the President of FFOA to close the meeting. In his closing remarks, Mr Doeve reassured the participants that they could count on FFOA and that FFOA would continue defending their interests. He then thanked the speakers who have provided a wealth of information which made this General Assembly so interesting and worthwhile. Furthermore, he thanked WFP for excellent facilities provided, the interpreters for their good work, the WFP photographer, Ms Alexandra Morris, as well as the volunteer photographer, Mr Van Arkadie. He took note of IFAD s suggestion for hosting the next General Assembly in Mr Doeve also thanked Mr Szynalski for chairing the General Assembly so well, and everyone present for coming and for contributing to the meeting. He hoped to see all those present on other occasions. He asked everyone to give generously to the traditional collection for the old and poor at the Old People s Home neighboring FAO, which would be made by Ms Eileen Nolan and helpers at the end of the meeting outside the Auditorium. (Contributions amounted to 813 which is less than last year in view of the limited number of participants at the GA, but the collection will be completed at Christmas.) Finally, Mr. Doeve asked the meeting to observe a minute of silence to commemorate all the staffmembers, pensioners, consultants, workers and all those who contributed to the UN activities and had passed away since the last General Assembly. May their souls rest in eternal peace, the President concluded. 20. Closure of the Fortieth Session of the General Assembly The President of FFOA closed the Assembly at 13:45 hours. *************************************************** The Forty-first Session of the FFOA General Assembly is expected to take place on Wednesday 25 May 2011 at 09:45 hours at the IFAD Headquarters, Via Paolo di Dono 44 Please come along and bring this report with you. ********************************************************************

14 Page 14 of 16 pages Photographic record of the Fortieth Session of the FFOA General Assembly, 26 May 2010, which was held for the first time at WFP headquarters Selected photos Mr Anton Doeve opens the Assembly flanked by Mr Bronek Szynalski and Ms Catherine Bertini Mr Aurelio Marcucci thanks the FFOA flanked by Mr Gianni Monciotti and Mr Szynalski

15 Page 15 of 16 pages Ms Diana Serrano and Ms Catherine Bertini and Mr Alan Prien Some of the audience

16 Page 16 of 16 pages Ms Bertini and Mr Marius De Fortman The WFP Auditorium

TD/505. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Declaration of the Least Developed Countries. United Nations

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