It is with regret that I would like to announce to you that I have decided to resign from the Organization on June 1. Although I am very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to serve FAO, I find myself in such disagreement with the Organization's course that I have no other option than to draw the consequences. I hope you will allow me to explain some of my concerns below.
There is no single cause that explains the crisis that has affected FAO for several years. The role of agriculture is changing, demands on our specialized expertise are growing and there is no doubt that we have a unique global role. But the Organization has been unable to adapt to a new era. We are caught in a vicious circle where appreciation by most member countries for specific normative subjects such as Animal Health, Codex Alimentarius or IPPC contrasts fundamentally with their negative appraisal, and hence the funding, of the Organization as a whole. FAO has been reluctant in adjusting to the shifting views on development assistance and in building coalitions. In major international fora such as the Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the CGIAR, our contribution and reputation have declined steadily.
Unfortunately, its leadership has not proposed bold options to overcome this crisis. The way the budget has been allocated in the last biennia undermines the Organization's credibility and thus confirms the members' impression that FAO is unable to manage its priorities. There has been no serious questioning of the Organization's comparative advantages, in particular the balance between the field program and the upstream (normative) work and the division of labor with other UN agencies, NGOS, the private sector and national programs.
Whatever is done now is too little and too late. The current intent at reform does hardly anything to alleviate these problems. On the contrary, the most recent PWB is alarming, not only because of the reduced allocations to the substantive programs, but also by the arbitrariness of some of the structural decisions. I have written to you about this earlier, without receiving a reply.
Not once have you consulted me on the restructuring of the Agriculture Department. Yet the budget cuts could have provided an opportunity for real change, for reducing the number of departments and selectively strengthening the field program. Above all, they could have provided a chance for a true dialogue. I am sad that you have isolated yourself so much from most senior managers. Combined with a lack of transparency in decision making, you have stimulated a culture of silence, rumors and even fear.
Indeed, FAO deserves a reform, but a fundamental reform which does not limit itself to hastily moving units across departments or dispatching generalist decentralized teams. FAO needs visionary leadership to move itself out of its bureaucratic paralysis. But such leadership can only flourish if it builds on the commitment of all staff. We need to become an exemplary body, not only technically but also in our mode of operation: committed, compassionate and critical.
I believe in an organization which is not afraid to make clear and precise choices, learning from the past without taking the past as a recipe for the future. I believe in an organization where we worry less about rules and more about the impact of our work. I believe in an organization which sees its staff as a source of inspiration and allows them to be mobile and grow.
Unfortunately, today FAO is far from this. I am no longer able to bear the responsibility of a senior manager of an organization that gives me too little freedom and resources to achieve its goals and at the same time makes me an accomplice of management methods I cannot agree with.
For nine years, it has been a great honor to work with many highly esteemed colleagues within and outside FAO. I would like to reassure you and all my colleagues that in resigning I will not abandon the ideals of the Organization and I will continue to contribute with the same energy to building a sustainable and just world.
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