The Organizational Structure:
The organizational structure of AOAD is considered an important working tool, since it is the channel through which the organization achieves its objectives. Upon its establishment, AOAD''s organizational structure was suitable for the period under consideration.However, with the regional and international changes which have occurred since, and in light of the newly set Development and Modernization Program, there proved to be a need for a new organizational structure through which AOAD''s program is to be implemented in the upcoming period.
The Structure of the Organization:
It consists of the General Assembly members (Council of Arab Ministers of Agriculture), and on a smaller scope, the Executive Council members, elected by the GA and consisting of seven Ministers of Agriculture.
B. Executive Authority:
It consists of the organization''s Administration, represented by The Director General assisted by a Deputy Director General, a Technical Advisor and a Legal advisor, in addition to a technical structure of departments, units and centers with their relevant personnel and technical experts at AOAD Headquarters, implementing different projects, and at the regional offices.
Each one of the above-mentioned authorities has a specific mandate and rules by which to abide. They also have decision-making authority, and demonstrate the required flexibility and transparency.
The General Assembly:
It consists of the Arab Ministers of Agriculture, and is considered the highest authority in the organization. It is the body which sets the strategy and policies to be followed by the organization, the overall planning of activities, and is responsible for monitoring the technical, managerial and financial performance of the organization. The General Assembly approves the development and work plans of the organization as well as its internal structure. It elects the members of the Executive Council, appoints the Director General and his/her deputy and has the authority to amend the organization''s constitution. Furthermore, the General Assembly has the right to coordinate the ways of cooperation between the organization, the member states and the international organizations.
The Executive Council:
It consists of seven Arab Ministers of Agriculture elected by the General Assembly members for a period of two years. The Executive Council meets twice a year. The Council implements the resolutions passed by the General Assembly, monitors the performance of the Management of the organization, and overviews the work plan, schedule, and resolutions that are to be presented to the General Assembly. Furthermore, the Executive Council takes decisions on proposals made to it by the Administration.
The General Administration is the implementing body for the organization, with the responsibilities and authorities bestowed upon it by the organization''s charter. It is responsible for the delivery of the work plan approved by the General Assembly and the Executive Council. The General Administration is headed by a Director General, assisted by a Deputy Director General, a Technical Advisor, a Legal Advisor, administrative personnel, as well as technical and managerial experts.
The organizational chart clearly defines the different departments, units and centers in the organization, the horizontal and vertical levels, the reporting lines, the positions in each department, the in-house facilities, the external links, etc.
Certain units report directly to the Director General.
Monitoring and Evaluation unit
Public Relations unit
Internal Audit unit
The day-to-day management process is set by the Director General, in conjunction with the management team. Furthermore, in the decision-making process, the Director General relies on the active participation of the management team as well as the entire body of staff in their respective positions. As such, the work undertaken by the organization -in terms of planning, implementation, reporting, etc- is based on a true team effort.
An annual general meeting brings together the Administration with the managers of the AOAD regional offices, and liaison officers in the Arab region.
The Director General:
The Director General reports directly to the General Assembly and the Executive Council, and is considered the main person responsible for the organization''s work. He is appointed as per the procedures set in the organization''s charter.
The Director General''s duties are mainly to achieve the organizations objectives, by the day-to-day management process. he ensures that the resolutions and work plan approved by the General Assembly and Executive Council are implemented. Furthermore the Director General is the official representative of AOAD. As such, he attends international meetings and conferences, signs bilateral and multilateral cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding, and undertakes other tasks as conferred to him by the General Assembly and/or the Executive Council.
The internal prerogatives of the Director General include:
Appointing staff and experts, as well as terminating contracts as seen necessary and in line with the rules and regulations of AOAD.
Specifying the functions of each department, unit and center, and monitoring their performance.
Ensuring the smooth running of the workflow, including sound synchronization between departments, information-sharing, delegation of authority, and clearly set responsibilities and functions.
Submitting to the Executive Council, followed by the General Assembly, an annual auditing report, approved by the external auditors or the auditing department of the League of Arab States.
Preparing a development plan for the organization, and ensuring its implementation.
Preparing and submitting to the Executive Council and General Assembly the organization''s work plan and its financial implications.
Proposing, when and as needed, amendments to the rules and regulations for the approval of the Executive Council and the General Assembly.
The Director General Assistant:
The Director General Assistant''s main responsibility is to assist the Director General in the day-to-day management of the organization. He reports directly to the Director General, and act on behalf of the Director General in his absence. The Deputy Director General is appointed as per the rules and regulations of the organization. Should the position of Director General become vacant, the Deputy Director General acts on his behalf until the General Assembly appoints a new Director General.
The Technical Advisor:
The Technical Advisor reports directly to the Director General. He has a number of responsibilities, namely:
Supervising the work of the specialized centers of AOAD and the other departments, to ensure that the work is implemented correctly and within the given timeframe.
Reviewing the preparation of the work plan, and in particular all technical aspects included in the organization''s studies, training sessions, seminars, etc.
Preparing reports that may be required by counterparts as well as the General Assembly of the League of Arab States.
Ensuring that the decisions taken by the General Assembly, the Executive Council, and the Economic and Social Council are implemented; as well as reviewing reports submitted to these same entities and proposing changes if needed.
Providing technical advise to the Director General and Deputy Director General, if and when needed.
Units Directly Reporting to the Director General:
The units directly reporting to the Director General are four and consist of:
Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (M&E):
The need for an M&E unit arises out of two main considerations: first, it enables the organization to identify bottlenecks or potential problems in a timely manner, which permits it to clear or solve the problem without negatively affecting the overall work plan. Second, evaluation of the work undertaken, allows the organization to assess its results, outputs and impact, and compare with the targets set in the planning phase. This enables the organization to identify weaknesses, propose solutions for future projects, and learn from past experience.
In particular, the M&E unit undertakes the following functions:
Within the Monitoring function:
Monitor the timeliness of the tasks undertaken by AOAD with local, regional and international entities.
Monitor the timely implementation of programs.
Attend meetings of the General Administration, the Executive Council and the General Assembly, and prepare the relevant minutes of meetings.
Review the monthly reports of each department, and the respective comments made, in order to solve potential problems which may arise.
Within the Evaluation function:
Evaluating the work implemented according to qualitative performance indicators.
Assessing actual results obtained and comparing with targeted results.
Direct and indirect impact assessment on beneficiaries.
Evaluating the work process in terms of its effectiveness, efficiency, and cost, and comparing with results obtained.
Public Relations Unit :
This unit is the liaison between AOAD and many external entities, and undertakes the following work:
Prepares the necessary travel arrangements for AOAD staff going on business trips, including meeting them upon their return.
Makes the necessary arrangements for AOAD''s guests arriving from abroad, in terms of accommodation, transport, visits, return travel arrangements and ''Meet and Assist'' services at the airport.
Coordinates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all arrangements needed by the organization, in particular with regard to duty waivers.
Proposes ways to enhance work of the unit.
Promotes the organization, its objectives, goals, and achievements.
Internal Audit Unit:
Reviews all financial transactions as well as monthly and annual financial reports.
Reviews and compares administrative decisions with the internal rules and regulations to ensure procedures are in order.
This unit is responsible for the promotion of the organization, its activities and achievements, through a number of channels, the most important of which are:
The monthly newsletter which includes the activities, and achievements obtained every month.
The bi-annual specialized magazine, Agriculture and Development in the Arab Region. It includes information, articles and studies written by staff from AOAD as well as by experts interested in Agriculture in the Arab region. These experts come from different academic and scientific entities such as universities, research centers, specialized centers, etc.
The mass media, such as the newspapers, radio and television. Particular coverage is given to activities held in the host country and attended by high-ranking member country officials, such as workshops, conferences, and training sessions.
Furthermore, the unit undertakes the following functions:
Reviews and collects articles published on topics related to agricultural development in the Arab region, and disseminates it internally and externally.
Receives information relevant to agricultural development from AOAD''s regional network of offices, and in particular, the topics which are of interest to member countries. This information is then disseminated as seen appropriate.
Develops good working relationship with the media, especially in the host country.
Subscribes in specialized magazines and publications, to gather information relevant to agricultural development.
The Technical Departments and Specialized Centers:
According to the organization''s structure, there are seven technical departments, each headed by a Department Manager who reports directly to the Director General, or whoever acts on his behalf.
Each department specializes in a field, and within their specialization, the department staff may assist the Director General when necessary. When need arises, they may also represent the Director General in conferences, at meetings with counterparts, as well as with specialized entities in the member states. Department staff partake in the preparation of their section of the generic organization reports that are submitted to the General Assembly and/or the Executive Council. Furthermore, department staff are expected to play an active role within their field of work, namely by:
attending meetings on topics relevant to their work;
following up on the financial aspects involved;
preparing and implementing the work plan;
monitoring the implementation phase and submitting relevant periodic reports accordingly;
involving the financial department if needed;
coordinating with other departments internally; etc.
Food Security and Agricultural Integration Department:
This department focuses on issues related to food security and agricultural integration. In particular, the department works on:
Preparing studies and general plans on the development and improvement of commodities; and implementing related activities.
Preparing plans on the improvement of, and coordination between, different agricultural policies with the aim of encouraging a fully integrated Arab Agricultural policy.
Setting plans for agricultural-related services such as research, credit provision, training, and disease control, among others.
Enhancing the capabilities of Arab countries to respond to food security issues. This includes:
providing foodstuff, either through production or importing;
taking precautions to ensure food provision and securing purchasing ability;
alleviating poverty and aiming for sustainable agricultural development;
encouraging agreements, activities and programs related to the production, marketing and trade of commodities.
Promoting investments in the field of food production and processing.
Department of Natural Resources and Environment:
This department focuses on the following activities:
Gathering, sorting and analyzing information on the natural resources available in the Arab region in terms of water, land, forestry, animals, and pastures.
Creating a database on the natural resources available in the Arab region.
Promoting the efficient use of natural resources.
Preserving the rights of the Arab states to their natural resources.
Monitoring the socio-economic, legal and environmental factors affecting Arab natural resources, on the national, regional and international levels. " Collecting and evaluating data on Arab environmental affairs.
Identifying detrimental environmental factors and finding methods to combat them.
Partaking, on behalf of the Arab region, in the national, regional and international activities related to natural resources and environmental preservation.
Training and Capacity-building Department:
This department is concerned with developing and upgrading the technical and managerial capabilities of Arab cadres working in the field of agriculture. This entails assisting the member countries in identifying their training needs; exchanging experiences and expertise between member countries; capacity-building; as well as providing assistance to training centers and training providers within the region.
The Projects Department:
The projects department undertakes all necessary arrangements for the implementation of national, regional or joint development projects in the Arab region. Focus is on agricultural technology transfer projects since the use of updated technology is considered one of the most important means of increasing and improving productivity. Upon review, and according to current priorities, the functions of the department have been redirected towards greater field presence within the member states. This entails the following:
direct involvement in the project implementation process;
provision of scientific consultancies and emergency technical assistance;
arranging scientific tours and assessment of field trips;
Supervising and monitoring the work undertaken by the project officers and consulting experts.
The International Cooperation Department:
The main function of this department is to network, create and develop linkages with Arab, regional, and international institutions and organizations working in the Arab region. It is the responsibility of the International Cooperation Department to prepare cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding between the AOAD and its counterparts, in accordance with the set rules and regulations. Accordingly, the International Cooperation Department gets involved in activities jointly undertaken by AOAD with other Arab, regional or international entities. Furthermore, this department is to actively promote AOAD, its activities and objectives to counterpart organizations and entities working in the same field.
Administrative and Financial Affairs Department:
This department takes care of all administrative and financial affairs of the AOAD. As such, it acts on behalf of the AOAD with respect to the financial auditing authorities. Furthermore, it prepares the annual financial reports, the end-of-year budgets, and keeps an inventory of the organization''s assets.
Information and Documentation Department
Today more than ever, with the technology-based resources widely available, obtaining accurate and up-to-date information has become a priority. This is particularly the case with the Arab agricultural sector. Accordingly, AOAD established the Information and Documentation Department to identify, gather and sort data relevant to Arab agriculture. This information would then be used to create reliable databases made available to interested users. This department is made up of a number of units and sub-departments.
The functions of this department include:
Creating and maintaining different databases.
Managing and maintaining the computer-based network within the organization.
Developing and managing the organization''s website on the worldwide web.
Electronic dissemination of information, through databases, to users.
Creating and managing the Arab Network for Agricultural Information.
Collecting, documenting and disseminating new concepts emanating either from the organization itself, or through it, from local, regional or international entities including academic and scientific bodies.
Exchanging published documents with other entities.
Promoting Arab, regional and international cooperation between academic libraries, documentation, information and research centers.
Improving collaboration and coordination among Arab, regional and international documentation centers.
Obtaining and updating bibliographical databases.
Providing AOAD staff with the necessary information upon request.
Obtaining the documents, publications and references needed.
Publishing the annual Arab Agricultural Statistical Yearbook.
Taking part in the preparation of the annual report on the Development of Agriculture in the Arab Region.
Preparing an annual report on the organization''s statistical activities.
Publishing flyers and leaflets with statistical information on the production, consumption and trade of the main commodities, including the observed trends and expected forecasts.
Building and enhancing the capacities of persons working in the field of Arab agricultural statistics, in order to increase the accuracy and unification of statistical methods within the region.
Arab Center for Studies and Consultation:
In light of the increase in demand on AOAD in the preparation and implementation of fee-based agricultural studies, the General Assembly approved the creation of a specialized center to cater to this emerging need. Consequently, the Arab Center for Studies and Consultation was created with the dual-objective of improving the cooperation between AOAD and the Arab Ministries of Agriculture on one hand, and between the organization and other developmental entities and the private sector on the other hand. More over, the Center aims at expanding its activities to cover the African and other regions, in addition to the Arab region.
The Arab Center for Studies and Consultation provides the opportunity for the exchange of experience amongst Arab professionals, as well as between them and their regional and international counterparts. This ultimately leads to an improvement in performance.
By contracting these studies, the Center has become an income-generating unit, which provides the organization with additional resources to undertake its work.
The Center includes a number of units and sub-departments. The main functions of the Arab Center for Studies and Consultation are:
Conducting technical and financial proposals for development projects.
Implementing or supervising the implementation of agricultural development projects.