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November 2003


                                               Thirty-second Session

                              Rome, 29 November – 10 December 2003

                       PRESENTATION OF THE B.R. SEN AWARDS
                                  (2002 AND 2003)

1.      The FAO Conference, at its Fourteenth Session (November 1967), decided that in
recognition of former Director-General Mr B.R. Sen’s role in transforming FAO from a study
organization to a development agency, a “B.R. Sen Award” be established for presentation at the
beginning of each regular session of the Conference. The Council, at its Fifty-first Session
(October 1968), ratified the proposal that a yearly award be given to the field officer who had
made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of the country or countries to which
he or she had been assigned, in particular in the fields of sustainable agricultural and rural
development or food security.
2.      Any FAO field officer who has served under any of the programmes operated by FAO
during the year for which the Award is made, is eligible for nomination.
3.          The Award recipient is entitled to:
           a medal engraved with the name of the recipient;
           a scroll describing his or her achievements;
           a cash prize of US$5 000;
           round-trip fare to Rome and associated travel expenses for the Award recipient and
4.      Prior to the Conference, the B.R. Sen Award Selection Committee, chaired by the
Director-General, and comprising the Independent Chairman of the Council and the Chairpersons
of the Programme and Finance Committees, makes a final decision on the basis of the shortlists
submitted by the inter-departmental Screening Committee1, supplemented by the endorsements
received from the Governments where the nominees are serving or have served.

 The B.R. Sen Award Screening Committee is chaired by the Deputy Director-General, and comprises the Assistant
Directors-General of the headquarters’ departments as well as the Legal Counsel, and the Directors of TCO and TCA.
    For reasons of economy, this document is produced in a limited number of copies. Delegates and observers are kindly requested to
                   bring it to the meetings and to refrain from asking for additional copies, unless strictly indispensable.
                                   Most FAO meeting documents are available on Internet at www.fao.org

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5.       The Awards for 2002 and 2003 will be presented during a special ceremony, at the
beginning of the Thirty-second Session of the FAO Conference. For 2002, the recipient of the
Award is Mr Narendra Singh Tunwar from India, and for 2003, the recipient is Mr James William
Everts from the Netherlands. Brief notes on the two Award winners and their achievements
Mr Narendra Singh TUNWAR
1.     Mr Narendra Singh Tunwar was born on 2 August 1942 in India. He holds a Master of
Science (M.Sc.) degree in Agronomy and a Postgraduate diploma in Seed Technology from
Massey University in New Zealand.
2.      Prior to joining FAO, Mr Tunwar served for 14 years as Seed Offficer with the National
Seed Corporation in India. He was subsequently designated Deputy Commissioner and Secretary
of the Central Seed Certification Board in India, positions he held from 1979 through 1992.
3.     In 1991, Mr Tunwar joined FAO and served as Chief Technical Adviser/Senior Technical
Adviser on several UNDP-funded projects:
    AFG/86/010 - Seed Production and Training;
    AFG/94/002 - Integrated Crop and Food Production;
    AFG/96/004 - Food Security through Sustainable Crop Production; and
    AFG/00/015 - Food Security through Sustainable Crop Production and Livestock
        Development (PEACE-II: Poverty Eradication and Community Empowerment
He is presently Senior Technical Adviser for project GCP/AFG/018/EC - Strengthening National
Seed Production Capacity, and Chief Technical Adviser of project GCP/AFG/025/GER -
Development of a Sustainable Seed Programme in Southern Afghanistan.
4.       Mr Tunwar has worked over a decade under trying and difficult conditions in Afghanistan
to train and build a cadre of dedicated national staff (over 50 national professional officers). In
2002 his work resulted in the production, by the project and its implementing partners, of more
than 10 000 metric tons of Quality declared seed (QDS) for internal use. These seeds were
produced from the 27 improved seed varieties/lines of outstanding quality that had been
established by the project, 15 of which for wheat.
5.       Prior to the arrival of Mr Tunwar, the seed sector of Afghanistan was in need of
development. Mr Tunwar is responsible for setting up, with the Ministry of Agriculture and
Animal Husbandry, the Improved Seed Enterprise (ISE). This parastatal organization was created
to produce outstanding local varieties of wheat seed, which are in demand today by farmers. More
than five seed units are functioning in the country and others are being established. This has
permitted the ISE to coordinate seed production activities and to accumulate more than
US$ 4 million from the proceeds of the sale of seed under the Fund Management Committee
(FMC). The FMC was initiated by Mr. Tunwar to ensure transparency of financial transactions
and oversee the proper utilization of proceeds generated from the sale of seeds and fertilizer under
the project. In addition, this led to the expansion of the seed programme and the purchase of
needed equipment. Mr Tunwar also laid the foundation for the preparation of a national seeds
policy, seeds legislation and a seeds act.
6.     Other accomplishments include the following:
      In 2002 the project had 5 000 contract seed producers producing Quality declared seeds
       throughout the country. Of the total QDS produced that year, some 8 500 metric tons of
       quality wheat seed were distributed to 80 000 farmers, including 4 500 metric tons that
       were procured by FAO’s Emergency Programme and other international seed relief
       agencies through local producers. (These figures do not include the farmers who received
       quality seeds under the farmer-to-farmer exchange programme.) Farmers now ask
       specifically for seeds produced by ISE, by their local varietal names. The FAO/WFP
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        Crop and Food Supply Mission to Afghanistan reported that “wheat yields measured by
        and reported to the mission were as high as 6 tonnes per hectare”, which is remarkable.
       This presents a unique example of a crisis country which will be able to meet most of its
        entire seed requirement from its own internal production, with its own varieties.
       The accomplishment of Mr Tunwar, the ISE, and the various projects he manages,
        extends beyond irrigated wheat. They have continued to test varieties under rainfed
        conditions to increase the quantity of breeder and foundation seed. Over the past decade,
        the programme has produced more than 4 000 metric tons of breeder and foundation
        seeds of some 27 crop varieties.
       Mr Tunwar heads the Seeds Review Group (SRG) in Afghanistan, which comprises all
        NGOs, UN Agencies such as FAO, UNOPS, UNDCP, WFP, UNHCR and others. The
        activities of the SRG have recently been taken over by the National Seed Committee to
        which Mr. Tunwar is a special Adviser.
7.        Mr Tunwar’s understanding of the problems of agricultural development in Afghanistan,
and his ingenuity in finding solutions to diffficult situations have earned the respect and
admiration of his colleagues, both from within and outside government circles. His achievement
in facilitating the screening of more than 1 400 genetically diverse varieties of various crops in
Afghanistan and subsequent selection and eventual release of improved varieties for cultivation
by farmers, has led to improved productivity of crops, wheat in particular.
8.       This was all achieved during a period of conflict and hostilities. Mr Tunwar’s
accomplishments have been noted by all concerned, especially as they have benefited many
Afghan farmers throughout the country. His outstanding technical capabilities, commitment, and
desire to assist in the development of the agriculture sector during a difficult period, are
Mr James William EVERTS
1.     Mr James Everts was born on 12 February 1947 in the Netherlands. He has several
academic degrees from universities in that country: a degree in Tropical Agriculture from the
School for Tropical Agriculture in Deventer, a degree in Biology from Groningen University, and
from Wageningen University, a Master of Science degree in Biology and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in
2.       He began his career as a project manager in the field of ecotoxicology of tsetse control in
West Africa, under the auspices of Wageningen University. Following this field work, Mr Everts
served as a lecturer in the Department of Toxicology of that university for the next ten years, with
several consultancies for FAO, WHO and IAEA during this period. In 1990, he was named Head
of an ecotoxicological research unit for the Ministry of Water Management in the Netherlands.
3.     Mr Everts joined FAO in 1994 as Project Manager/Chief Technical Adviser for several
consecutive projects in Senegal:
    ECLO/SEN/003/NET - Chemical Locust Control Environmental Assessment (Phase II);
    GCP/SEN/041/NET - Environmental Impact Assessment of Chemical Locust
       Control(Phase III); and
    GCP/SEN/053/NET - Observatoire des Risques des Pesticides dans l'Environnement
       Sahelien (Phase IV - Locustox follow-up).
He recently joined the Plant Protection Service in FAO’s Agriculture Department.
4.       Mr Everts helped to establish a research and training centre in Senegal, in a field that was
virtually new to the country: the environmental toxicology of pesticides. The centre (Locustox)
has trained a group of Senegalese experts in environmental ecotoxicology (chemical analyses,
aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology, and human toxicology), with an emphasis on operationality
in the field; established a fully equipped chemical and biological laboratory, linked to the Plant
Protection Directorate of the Ministry; trained a team of extension workers to train (in turn)
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farmers, technicians and decision makers in ecotoxicology; and evaluated, for their side-effects,
through field studies and local bioassays, all pesticides recommended by FAO for use against
Desert Locust. The results of this work have been published and integrated into the
recommendations by the Pesticide Referee Group of FAO.
5.      Mr Everts and his co-workers have extensively published their research, which is of great
value to scientists and government workers dealing with ecotoxicology in the Sahel. They have
also applied valuable judgement in making recommendations on pesticide use and
ecotoxicological effects of pesticide use, in particular in FAO-led locust control operations in
6.      After the establishment of this centre of expertise, Mr Everts was instrumental in
obtaining the support of the Government, the donor and FAO to privatize it as a foundation with a
public mission; extend its scope of expertise to all pesticides; and meet international quality
7.       The newly created Foundation CERES-Locustox/Centre de Recherches en Ecotoxicologie
pour le Sahel is operational, and has partners and clients at local, national, regional and
international levels, including farmers’ organizations, international NGOs, the Global
Environmental Facility (GEF), a regional IPM programme (with the Global IPM Facility – GIF)
and a regional programme on community-based water biodiversity conservation in the Senegal
River and the Niger.
8.      The Foundation has the infrastructure, equipment and capability to provide scientific
advice and information on ecotoxicology not only to the Government of Senegal, but also to the
other CILSS (Comité Inter-Etat de Lutte contre la Sécheresse au Sahel) member countries. This
information is required when evaluating pesticide use, taking into account human health and the
9.       Today, the Foundation CERES-Locustox is the only African institution of its kind that
has been certified as a Laboratory of Good Practices (“Domaine 6”) of OECD by the Comité
Français d’Accréditation (CORAC/GIPC). The Foundation now holds a key position in the area
of certification of agricultural exports to international markets, not only within Senegal, but also
in the sub-region.
10.      The establishment of this Foundation in Senegal was made possible thanks to the
effective interaction of a highly qualified national team with the support of international project
staff. Mr Everts played a crucial role in realizing these achievements, owing to his unique
intellectual, managerial and leadership skills. He has shown a high level of professional ability
and interpersonal skills. Through his personal commitment, this innovative programme has
become an example for other regions in the world.