FAO Press Release 97/68

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Press Release 97/68


Rome, November 14 -- The governing Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today adopted without opposition a $650 million zero nominal growth Programme of Work and Budget for the Organization for 1998-99, the same as for 1996-97, forcing the Organization to absorb cost increases estimated at about 4 percent.

The vote in the plenary session of the Conference was 103 votes in favor, none against and one abstention (Germany).

The Conference also authorized “the Director-General to spend up to $12 million for the purposes of meeting redeployment and separation costs over and above the net budgetary appropriations approved.” It also invited FAO members to contribute additional funds for this purpose voluntarily.

For 1998-99, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf had proposed a budget of $675.3 million sufficient to maintain FAO’s programmes at the same level as 1996-97. At the request of the Organization’s interim governing Council, Dr. Diouf also included detailed information showing the extent of programme cuts if the Conference voted for a zero nominal growth budget of $650 million.

The Conference “recognized the importance of FAO programmes responding to requirements for assistance and the expectations of the membership in the wake of the World Food Summit, as well as to the calls for action stemming from major conferences or international agreements dealing with matters related to FAO’s mandate.”

The Conference also “recognized the importance of continued efforts to strengthen the efficiency of FAO activities. It recalled the notable progress made in terms of efficiency saving over the past 4 years. Many members underlined that there was a limit to achieving additional savings, lest they would be detrimental to the sound implementation of approved programmes.” It added, “Other members considered that FAO should explore further measures in this direction, including administrative streamlining and efficiency improvements, and proposed a significant shift of resources from administrative and financial services to technical and economic programmes.”

The Conference accepted that FAO should adjust its scale of assessments if a new scale is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly for the year 1998 to 2000, before 31 December 1998.

The budget will fund FAO’s efforts to help provide sufficient nutritious food as well as to support its work in the sustainable development of the world’s plant, animal, soil and water resources, including fisheries and forestry.


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