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Press Release 99/66


Rome, 10 November - The Ministerial Conference that governs the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) begins a nine-day session on Friday, 12 November that will elect the Agency's Director-General for the next six years and decide the funding the Organization will have to carry out its work through the year 2001.

The biennial Conference brings together Agriculture Ministers and other senior officials from FAO's 175 Member Countries in a working session that charts the future of the UN's largest specialized agency.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf will open the Conference on 12 November when former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali will deliver the McDougall Lecture. The lecture was instituted in October 1958 to commemorate the late Frank L. McDougall of Australia who was instrumental in founding FAO.

The Conference will vote on application for membership from five countries: Niue, the Republic of San Marino, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Kiribaty. Admission as an FAO member country is by secret ballot and requires a two-thirds majority. Admission of the five countries would bring total FAO membership to 180 countries plus one Organization, the European Community.

On Saturday, November 13, the Conference will vote to appoint a Director-General of the Organization to a six-year term beginning 1 January 2000. Two candidates have been nominated by their countries. They are Argentine Ambassador to Sweden, Juan Carlos Vignaud and the current FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf from Senegal.

According to FAO's Basic Texts, the Organization's Director-General is elected by a majority of votes cast by Member Nations. Voting is carried out by secret ballot.

The Conference will also approve a two-year Programme of Work and Budget for FAO. The Director-General has submitted three budget scenarios to the Conference. One, put at $687 million, envisions real growth for the Organization, the second at $664.9 million is a zero real growth budget providing funds to meet only inflationary increases calculated at the new lower exchange rate of 1800 Italian Lira to the dollar. The third, a zero no growth budget, holds FAO to its current biennial budget of $650 million, requiring FAO to absorb cost increases of some $14.9 million.

During the Conference, delegates will review the State of Food and Agriculture and progress on the Follow-up to the World Food Summit, as well as Gender Mainstreaming at FAO. A special edition of Food Outlook will be released to delegates on Monday 15 November.


Many of the documents under discussion at the Conference are available on the FAO Web site at:


John Riddle, FAO/Rome
Tel. (39) 06 5705-3259


FAO General Conference (12-23/11/99): In addition to the election of the Director General of FAO for six years and the vote on the 2000-2001 Budget, Member States will examine the World State of Food and Agriculture.

This is a Radio release (2'40") by Liliane Kambirigi including an interview with Chief Christopher Agbobu, Minister of state in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development of Nigeria, on food security.

In RealAudio (Instant play but lower quality than mp3):

In Mp3 :


1/ To listen a mp3 Sound file, you need an mp3 player,Quicktime 4.0, RealJukebox player or Windows Media Player, all free available on the Web
2/To listen a RealAudio Sound file , you need Realplayer G2(free on the Web)

For more information, contact:

Liliane Kambirigi, Radio, tel: 00 39 06 57 05 32 23

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