CL 123/8


Hundred and twenty-third Session

Rome, 28 October-2 November 2002

Report of the Joint Meeting of the
Eighty-seventh Session of the Programme Committee  and the
Ninety-ninth Session of the Finance Committee
Rome, 8 May 2002

Table of Contents



Report of the Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees

Matters requiring discussion and/or decision



Reporting System on JIU Recommendations


Matters for information

An Update on the New Arrangements for Enhancing FAO’s Presence at Country Level


Proposed Reform of the General Debate at Conference





Rome, 8 May 2002



1. The Committees submit to the Council the following report of their Joint Meeting.

2. The following Members were present at the meeting:

Programme Committee

Finance Committee



Mr. J. Berteling (Netherlands)

Mr. H.O. Molina Reyes (Chile)



Mr. M. Samatana (Cameroon)

Mr. M. Ito (Japan)

Mr. B.G. Hankey (Canada)

Ms. F.H.J. Hayat (Kuwait)

Mr. Z. Tang (China)

Mr. A.B. Khan (Pakistan)

Mr. A.H. Haidar (Lebanon)

Mr. A. Diouf (Senegal)

Mr. R.B. Khalid (Malaysia)

Mr. R. Gerber (Switzerland)

Mr. M.M. Touré (Mali)

Ms. P.M.S. Hingi (Tanzania)

Ms. A.M. Baiardi Quesnel (Paraguay)

Ms. C. Heileman (USA)

Mr. M.S.M.A. Harbi (Sudan)

3. Messrs. B.J. Hughes (Australia) and B.G. Zuluaga Botero (Colombia), Members of the Programme Committee, and Mr. A. Beattie (United Kingdom), Member of the Finance Committee, were not present.

Adoption of the Agenda1

4. The Agenda and Timetable for the Joint Meeting were approved.

Item 2: An Update on the New Arrangements for Enhancing FAO’s Presence at Country Level

5. The Committees examined the report JM 02.1/2 entitled “An Update on the New Arrangements for Enhancing FAO’s Presence at Country Level”. They welcomed this information on the progress in the implementation of the Council’s decision, taken at its 119th session, to enhance FAO’s presence at country level through the outposting of senior technical officers. They also recalled the Council’s recommendation that “Decentralization of FAO's Programme and Services” be among the evaluation topics addressed in the 2002-2005 period. They were informed that the report of this evaluation was likely to be submitted to the September 2003 session of the Programme Committee.

6. In discussing the options for extending the FAOR network, some countries highlighted their preference for a strong FAO presence at country level as this was complementary to the assistance they provided as donors. A few members believed that the criteria for selecting member countries for the FAOR network, in particular the willingness to absorb administrative costs, led to a less than optimal allocation of FAO resources. Others emphasised the need for budgetary restraint and wondered whether FAORs could be reallocated between countries on a no-loss/no-gain basis, using predefined criteria. Other members expressed concern about inequities created by the present co-existence of fully- and partly-funded FAORs. They highlighted the difficulties, faced by some developing Member Nations, in funding an office under the outposted technical officer/FAOR scheme and hoped that the Organization would be able to cover these costs in the future. The Committees requested the secretariat to submit statistical information on representative offices and their share of total costs paid.

7. The Committees requested that these issues be addressed in the forthcoming evaluation of FAO’s decentralization process and be reflected in the report to be submitted in September 2003.

Item 3: Proposed Reform of the General Debate at Conference

8. The Committees decided to defer further discussion on reform of the General Debate during sessions of Conference until their Joint Meeting in September 2002, by which time they would have benefited from the experience gained from the Round Tables and Multistakeholder dialogue that would form part of the World Food Summit: five years later (10 to 13 June 2002).

Item 4: Reporting System on JIU Recommendations

9. The Committees took advantage of the presence of the JIU Vice-Chairperson to recall a number of key aspects regarding the role of JIU, the scope of JIU reports and their handling in FAO. They highlighted in particular the delegated authority conferred on the Committees by the Council to consider JIU reports, and the attendant responsibility of examining those five or six reports each year which were of relevance to FAO. The Committees also recalled the dispositions of the JIU Statute regarding the timely submission of reports to the concerned inter-governmental organs in the required languages.

10. In this context, the Committees fully endorsed the proposed modalities for an enhanced reporting system on JIU recommendations as set out in the document (paras 14 to 19) and standard forms in Annexes 3 and 4, which together comprised a system of follow-up in accordance with Annex I of the JIU Annual Report for 19972. They welcomed the fact that these had been developed in full consultation with the Unit itself, and with the intent to respond to expectations by both the JIU and the UN General Assembly.

11. The Committee looked forward to these modalities greatly facilitating the consideration in FAO of JIU reports and recommendations and, therefore, enhancing the contribution of JIU to oversight.


1 Doc. JM 02.1/1

2 UN GA document 52/34