CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL MATTERS
Report of the Fifty-third Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (Rome, 16-18 October 1989) 1
- Immunity of the Organization from Legal Process in Italy
93. The Council noted that the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) had been kept informed of events with respect to the two legal actions against the Organization pending in the Italian courts and of the steps taken by the Director-General to ensure that the immunity of the Organization from any form of legal process in Italy be fully respected. The Council further noted that in accordance with the mandate given to the Director–General by the Conference in 1987, the Director-General had requested the services of the Avvocatura Generale dello Stato to defend the Organization's immunity in court, and that a presidential decree had been promulgated in June 1989 giving the necessary authorization to the Avvocatura Generale dello Stato. The Director-General had met the Secretary-General of the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in June 1989 to discuss the question of the Organization's immunity. Subsequently, a first informal meeting had been held with the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in September 1989 to discuss the conclusion of an agreement on the interpretation of the provisions on immunities of the Headquarters Agreement.
94. The Council expressed its hope that a solution would be found rapidly that would ensure the full recognition by the Italian courts of the immunity of the Organization.
- Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency: Accession by FAO
95. The Council noted that the two Conventions before it had both been adopted by the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 1986 in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. This accident had dramatically underlined the global significance of the release of radioactive contaminants into the environment and the importance of international cooperation at the level of the United Nations system. The Conventions entered into force in 1986 and 1987 respectively. Both Conventions were open for accession by international organizations and, in fact, the World Health Organization had acceded to them in August 1988.
96. The Council noted that the CCLM had considered FAO's constitutional mandate in matters covered by the Conventions as well as the legal implications of accession by FAO thereto and had concluded that the subject matter of the Conventions would fall within the competence and constitutional mandate of FAO. The Committee had concluded that FAO's accession to the Conventions would, above all, be a symbolic act, confirming its readiness to cooperate actively with States and other organizations in taking measures within its field of competence in the case of nuclear accidents.
97. The Council also took note of the CCLM's opinion that it would be proper from a legal point of view for the Council to approve FAO's accession to the two Conventions and for the Conference to authorize FAO's becoming a party thereto.
98. One member of the Council stated that his country was not opposed to the conclusion reached by the CCLM that there were no legal obstacles to accession by the Organization to the two Conventions. However, in the opinion of his authorities, accession to the Conventions by international organizations such as FAO could give rise to a number of practical disadvantages and, consequently, such accession was neither necessary nor useful. There was a risk that accession by a number of international organizations could lead to the setting up of parallel systems of information and assistance.
99. The Council noted, however, that there was no intention to duplicate efforts; accession by FAO to the two Conventions would signify the willingness of FAO to become part of the overall information exchange and assistance system set up by the Conventions. The costs resulting from accession would be minimal.
100. The Council approved FAO's accession to the two Conventions and transmitted them to the Conference with a view to obtaining its authorization for FAO to become a party thereto.
European Commission for the Control of Foot–and–Mouth Disease; Amendment to the Commission's Constitution 2
101. The Council noted that, at its Twenty-eighth Session in May 1989, the European Commission for the Control of Foot–and–Mouth Disease had adopted an amendment to paragraph 1 of Article I of its Constitution. The purpose of the amendments was to enlarge the criteria of membership in the Commission. In addition to States situated geographically in Europe who were already eligible for membership, the amendment would also grant eligibility for membership to States participating as members in the FAO European Regional Conference and serviced by the FAO European Regional Office.
102. The Council noted, further, that the proposed amendment was consistent with the Basic Texts of the Organization, and in particular with Section R thereof which described the principles and procedures which should govern conventions and agreements concluded under Article XIV of the Constitution. Accordingly, the Council adopted the following Resolution:
Resolution 2/96AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE CONTROL OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE
Noting that the European Commission for the Control of Foot–and–Mouth Disease, at its Twenty-eighth Session (Rome, 9-12 May 1989), adopted an amendment to paragraph 1 of Article I of the Constitution under which it has been established,
Considering that, in accordance with Article XIV, paragraph 4 of the Constitution, amendments thereto shall become effective only with the concurrence of the Council of the Organization,
Noting further that, in accordance with Article XIV, paragraph 5, of the Constitution, an amendment not involving additional obligations for Members of the Commission shall take effect from the date of the decision of the Council,
Having reviewed the amendment approved by the Commission,
Concurs with the following amendment to the Constitution of the European Commission for the Control of Foot–and–Mouth Disease:
ARTICLE I Membership
1. Membership in the European Commission for the Control of Foot–and–Mouth Disease (hereinafter referred to as "the Commission") shall be open to such European Member Nations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to such States participating as members in the Regional Conference for Europe of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and serviced by the Regional Office for Europe of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , and to such European Member Nations of the International Office of Epizootics that are Members of the United Nations, as accept this Constitution in accordance with the provision of Article XV. The Commission may, by a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Commission, admit to membership such other European States that are Members of the United Nations, any of its Specialized Agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency as have submitted an application for membership and a declaration made in a formal instrument that they accept the obligations of this Constitution as in force at the time of admission. (Amendment underlined).
Invitation to Non-Member Nations to attend FAO Sessions3
103. The Council was informed that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a founding nation of FAO, had requested an invitation to attend its Ninety-sixth Session as an observer. The Council welcomed this request and agreed to the participation of the USSR, in accordance with paragraph B–l of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations".
104. The Director-General informed the Council that during his visit to the USSR in August 1989 he had had discussions with the Soviet authorities which led him to understand that the Government was seriously considering the possibility of taking up its membership in the Organization. This had been further confirmed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR who had declared to the UN General Assembly that his country would join FAO.
105. The Council expressed the wish that the USSR would soon take steps towards becoming a Member Nation of FAO.
106. In accordance with paragraph B–2 of the aforementioned Statement of Principles, the Council was informed that since its Ninety-fifth Session, the Director-General had extended an invitation to the USSR to participate as an observer at the:
- Ninth Session of the Committee on Forest Development in the Tropics, Rome 11-15 Septembet 1989 (F0-733)4
- Technical Consultation on Research in Agricultural Economics and Policy in Europe, Nieborow, Poland, 16-20 October 1989 (REUR–811).
5Invitations to International Non-governmental Organizations which do not have Status with FAO
107. The Council was informed of the names of those International Non-governmental Organizations not having official Status whith FAO which have been invited to technical meetings during the 1988/89 biennium.
6Changes in Representation of Member Nations of the Programme and Finance Committees.
108. As provided for in rule XXVI–4(a) of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), the Council was advised that His Excellency Roberto E. Dalton had been designated to replace His Excellency Carlos 0.
Keller Sarmiento as the Representative of the Argentine Republic at the Fifty-eight Session of the Programme Committee and the Forth Special Joint Session of the Programme and Finance Committees.
109. There were no changes in the representation of Member Nations on the Finance Committee.
110. The Council took note of the afore–mention change and thanked the outgoing representatives for his valuable service.
1 CL 96/5; CL 96/PV/8; CL 96/PV/10.
2 CL 96/5; CL 96/PV/8; CL 96/PV/10.
3 CL 96/INF/8; CL 96/PV/1; CL 96/PV/9.
4 See FAO Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L (Appendix).
5 CL 96/INF/5 ; CL 96/PV/8; CL 96/PV/10.
6 CL 96/INF/10; CL 96/PV/8; CL 96/PV/10.