42. The Executive Committee discussed this agenda item referring to documents APFIC:ExCo/07/05 and APFIC:ExCo/07/Inf.7. The RFBs established under the FAO Constitution, which are not autonomously funded such as APFIC, rely on FAO regular programme funds to cover their expenses. These funds are not sufficient to cover the work programme of the Commission as agreed by member countries and as a consequence, alternative sources of funding are being investigated.
43. The operational budget for APFIC for the two biennia 2004/05 and 2006/07 was respectively US$257 000 and US$307 000. The increased budget was due to increased funding from sources other than FAO, such as donors' ad hoc support to workshops and activities. Although FAO cash and in-kind contributions remains the most significant source of funding to the Commission, FAO Regular Programme financial support decreased over the two biennia. The Secretariat cost provided by FAO is still highly significant even though the Secretary does not work full time for APFIC.
44. The Executive Committee noted with appreciation that contributions for the RCF Meeting and the APFIC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were approximately US$30 000 from Malaysia for costs related to hosting the meetings and US$10 000 from Republic of Korea. Contributions like these are of crucial importance for APFIC's work. In addition it was noted that a significant proportion of FAO funds to APFIC is via trust fund projects implemented by FAO.
45. Different opportunities exist for improving the ability of APFIC to lever finances to support its activities. Members of the Commission can contribute to the work of the Commission through ad hoc extra budgetary funding. For amounts not exceeding US$200 000, all is required is a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with annexed a simplified project document. There are no project support costs involved as these funds are treated as a direct reimbursement of FAO regular activities. This implies also that there will be no financial reporting. For amounts exceeding US$200 000, funds will be placed under a trust fund and liable to the project servicing costs rate which applies (13 percent) to reimburse additional burden placed on FAO technical and administrative units.
46. The Secretariat clarified that Paragraph 4 in the document APFIC:ExCo/07/05 relating to the possibility of an autonomous budget requires the establishment of mandatory contributions by the members. The member countries have already clearly responded to FAO rejecting mandatory contributions and thus the establishment of an autonomous budget is not an option.
47. The Secretariat took note that the in-kind contribution from members might be an underestimate. The figures only take into account travel arrangements and DSA, not staff time. In addition the cost of the last Regional Consultative Forum was certainly under-estimated. The Executive Committee recommended that the staff time used in all meetings and workshops should also be calculated into the estimates of in-kind contribution. This would provide a clearer picture of the "true value" of the work of the Commission and also emphasize that it is very much actively supported by its members.
48. The Executive Committee suggested that additional funding could be sought from the introduction of registration fees to attend APFIC workshops to cover basic costs. The Committee also requested to the APFIC Secretariat to formally request member government to consider ad hoc contributions based on activities identified in the workplan to be presented at the APFIC session. In this way, members could indicate where their government might be able to provide financial or in-kind support to APFIC activities of the coming biennium.
49. It was noted by the Secretariat that the willingness by APFIC members to support their participants or additional participant at regional consultative workshops was already an excellent indicator of this type of in-kind commitment to the work of the Commission. The official time of resource persons from member countries could also included in estimation of actual in-kind contributions by members.
50. The Secretariat clarified that FAO's secretarial costs are excluded from the
in APFIC:ExCo/07/05 since it is hard to clearly distinguish between the work of FAO RAPI and
the Secretariat responsibilities of APFIC. The Executive Committee suggested that subsequent
the financial reporting should also include recognition and clarification of Secretariat
amount of work
(in-kind and cash), including the work on the APFIC website.
51. The Executive Committee was informed that APFIC can apply for Technical Cooperation Projects with FAO. The Executive Committee also suggested that member countries and the APFIC secretariat could make proposals to donors to provide funding for specific activities or programs. Such proposals should be well targeted and complement the recommendations of COFI as well as be in-line with APFIC member priorities.