1. The Hundred and Twelfth Session of the Council was held in Rome from 2 to 7 June 1997 under the Chairmanship of José Ramón López Portillo, Independent Chairman of the Council.
2. The Council noted the Declaration of Competence and Voting Rights presented by the European Community and adopted the Agenda and Timetable for the Session. The Agenda is given in Appendix A to this Report.
3. The Council welcomed five new members: Denmark, Mauritania, Pakistan, Senegal and South Africa and was informed that two members were deemed to have resigned from the Council in accordance with Rule XXII-7 of the General Rules of the Organization.
4. The Council elected three Vice-Chairmen for its Session: Nasreddine Rimouche (Algeria), Roberto O. Villambrosa (Argentina) and Constantin M. Grigorie (Romania).
5. The Council elected Daniel Berthery (France) as Chairman of the Drafting Committee with the following membership: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Senegal, Syria, Uganda, United States of America and Uruguay.
6. The Director-General delivered his statement to the Council. The full text of this statement is given in Appendix D to this Report.
7. The Council assessed the current world food situation on the basis of the documents presented. A number of Member Nations reported on their own agricultural situation and outlook and on progress toward implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Council expressed general satisfaction with global agricultural production performance in 1996, and particularly the noteworthy expansion in Africa. Concern, however, was expressed over persistent and emergency food shortages in many countries and the slowdown in production growth rate in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The Council appreciated the Secretariat documents while at the same time it noted some alternative projections and interpretations of the near-term outlook. The Council suggested that in future reporting, the Secretariat should take a more future-oriented view, increase its monitoring of prices, stocks, stock to consumption ratio, export earnings and the broad food security situation.
8. Concern was expressed over the decline in food aid, while at the same time it was recognised that food aid was not a long-term answer to sustainable food security.
9. The Council recognised the importance of the reform process underway in world agricultural trade policy. It noted the need for improved access for the exports of all countries, especially the developing countries as a way to increase countries' capacity to import their food needs. The need for improved price transmission to producers was also recognized. Many members stressed that despite the fall in international cereal prices during the past year, food import bills were still a major drain on their balance-of-payments. The Council noted that various steps were planned or underway following the Marrakech Agreement on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries.
10. The Council noted that a continuing problem for the food security of many developing countries was the fluctuations of food production associated with climate variability, which also led to variation in the required volume of food imports. Access to sufficient food was also a continuing problem for food security. The Council recognised that food production fluctuations in developing countries could be reduced by better control of water, especially through appropriate use of irrigation, reducing post harvest losses, strengthening research and extension, and improving agricultural infrastructure.
11. The Council recognised that food production would need to be boosted in many developing countries to support a reasonable degree of self-reliance. Many members welcomed the fact that several key indicators of food security monitored by FAO were moving in a positive direction. While welcoming the rise in cereal stocks in 1996-97, many members noted that the global stock-to-consumption ratio was below the 17-18 percent minimum safe level as estimated by the FAO Secretariat. Other members felt that there was not a close correlation between global food security and this particular indicator.
12. The Council endorsed the report of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on all aspects of the World Food Summit and the follow-up to the Declaration and Plan of Action, prepared in compliance with Conference Resolution 2/95, and decided to transmit this report to the Twenty-ninth Session of the Conference, with its own views as reflected below.
13. Conscious that this was its first session following the Summit, which had constituted a milestone in the life of the Organization, the Council reaffirmed its satisfaction that the Summit had met the objectives of sensitizing public opinion to the importance of achieving food security for all, of providing a framework for concerted action to achieve it, and of moving food security higher on the national and international political agenda.
14. The Council stressed the crucial importance of maintaining the momentum generated by the Summit, and reaffirmed the catalytic role of FAO, in supporting this follow-up process in cooperation with all organizations in the UN system, as well as other competent international institutions. The primary responsibility of national governments for ensuring sustained implementation of the Plan of Action was stressed, as was the importance of international support to their efforts. In this connection, regret was expressed by numerous Member Nations that resources for official development assistance and food aid, as well as for international agencies such as FAO, continued to decline.
15. The Council noted with satisfaction steps taken by a number of countries to prepare national plans of action as a follow-up to the Summit, engaging in the process all stakeholders. It also took note of FAO's initiative to encourage preparation of national agricultural development strategies for developing countries and countries in transition and of country food security briefs for developed countries. Stress was placed on the importance of ensuring that the process was demand-driven, and undertaken only with the full participation and agreement of the concerned governments.
16. The Council endorsed the monitoring and reporting process proposed by the Committee on World Food Security.
17. The Council noted with satisfaction the progress already made in launching the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) in collaboration with concerned UN system organizations, competent national institutions and non-governmental organizations. It stressed the need for the process to be country-driven and for governments and their respective societies and stakeholders to be closely involved in its development. The Council approved the proposed workplan for the gradual development and establishment of FIVIMS at national and international levels, building upon existing information systems and mechanisms. It noted the need of developing countries for technical assistance to improve the quality and interpretation of statistical data related to FIVIMS.
18. Consistent with the integrated follow-up mechanisms for UN Conferences adopted by ECOSOC, the Council welcomed the arrangements endorsed by the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), for inter-agency follow-up to the Summit. It was noted that the mechanism established would operate, at the country level, within the framework of the UN Resident Coordinator system, with support provided, at the global level, through the ACC network operated jointly by FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with the close involvement of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other concerned organizations. The Council also noted with appreciation the cooperation established with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Centre to promote work related to the right to food consistent with the mandate of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Committee in full accord with Objective 7.4 of the Plan of Action.
19. The Council noted FAO's initiative of launching Telefood in conjunction with World Food Day 1997 to keep the decisions taken at the Summit in the public eye, and to collect additional funds aimed at contributing to the alleviation of hunger in the world. Some members indicated their desire to receive detailed information following the event on costs and use of the funds generated in order to determine whether similar activities should be considered in the future. Other members were concerned by the fund-raising aspects of this event and were worried the effect should not be to reduce contributions to other appeals. The Council was informed that all funds collected would be used to foster food security and would be subject to audit by reputable international firms.
20. The Council re-confirmed its support for the objectives of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), and welcomed South-South and extra-budgetary support to the SPFS from members, multilateral institutions, international and regional financial institutions. Members from participating countries reported on their positive experiences and results achieved so far, which they considered were fully in accord with the WFS commitments. Certain members encouraged an expansion of the SPFS coverage to include all the Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs), while other members considered that the SPFS should be made available to all developing countries where there were pockets of food insecurity. Other members questioned the approach of the Special Programme. The identification of the resources involved in the SPFS was also requested. The essential role of national and international research organizations and institutes was stressed, as was the necessity for evaluation of the pilot phase results and constraints before moving to the expansion phase of the SPFS. Some members requested and received further clarification on the relationship between the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and the SPFS. Many members requested the strengthening of the TCP as an indispensible tool for international cooperation within FAO, stressing that this programme should maintain its independence.
21. The Council considered and adopted the Reports of the Twenty-second and Twenty-third Sessions of the Committee on World Food Security, noting that the Committee had worked diligently and well to prepare the World Food Summit and to lay the foundations for monitoring implementation of its undertakings.
22. The Council considered and adopted the reports of the Third Extraordinary and Seventh Regular Sessions of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Council noted the process of the broadening of the mandate of the Commission to all genetic resources of interest to food and agriculture.
23. The Council welcomed the decision of the Commission to establish geographically-balanced, inter-governmental technical working groups on farm animal and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, to carry out specific tasks assigned by the Commission.
24. The Council emphasized, in particular, the importance of developing the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources and supporting national efforts to implement the Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources. It reiterated the priorities set by the Seventh Session of the Commission: the convening, as a first priority, of an Extraordinary Session of the Commission devoted solely to the continuing negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking; as a second priority, of the Inter-governmental Technical Working Group on Farm Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; and as the third priority, of the Inter-governmental Technical Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It noted that the Organizations ability to meet these priorities would depend upon the budget allocations under the current and the 1998-99 Programme of Work and Budget and urged the Director-General to allocate the necessary funds in the budget and, if necessary, seek extra-budgetary resources to ensure the holding of the meetings agreed by the Commission.
25. The Council called for the timely conclusion of the negotiation of the revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, keeping in mind the recommendations of the Leipzig Conference. The Council agreed on the urgent need to convene the proposed Extraordinary Session of the Commission, but no agreement was reached on whether this session should be held before or after the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
26. The Council welcomed the contributions that had been made by Switzerland, Sweden and Norway to support the participation of developing countries in the negotiations and to support regional meetings, and invited donor countries to provide further funds to ensure developing country participation in future negotiations.
27. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Sixty-first Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CL 112/6). It was informed that, at the request of the CCP at its Sixty-first Session, the Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal (CSSD) had agreed on its revised Report.
28. The Council took note of the confirmation given by the delegate of Thailand of his Government's offer to hold the First Session of the Sub-group on Tropical Fruits, in Pattaya, 21-24 April 1998. It also took note of the planned meeting of the Intergovernmental Group on Tea to be hosted by Indonesia, 2-4 July, 1997 in Bali. The Council was informed that this meeting would be held back-to-back with a meeting of the International Business Conference, sponsored by the Indonesian Tea Association and the Ministry of Agriculture.
29. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Twenty-second Session of the Committee on Fisheries. In particular, the Council:
a) reconfirmed the importance of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries if fish stocks were to be managed in a sustainable manner and reiterated the need for guidelines to be established on the relevant articles of the Code;
b) reaffirmed the need to increase the contribution of aquaculture to employment and income of rural populations and thus to food security, and called for priority to be given to the sustainable development of environmentally-sound aquaculture;
c) stressed the need for effective regional fishery organizations and arrangements and agreed that FAO regional fishery bodies should be reviewed and evaluated by their respective members on a case by case basis, with a view to strengthening each body as appropriate.
d) stressed that excessive fishing capacity and fishing effort leading to overfishing continue to require special attention by FAO and Member Nations.
30. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Thirteenth Session of the Committee on Forestry. In particular the Council:
a) supported FAO's activities in the promotion of sustainable forest management, especially in the follow-up to UNCED as Task Manager for the Implementation of Agenda 21 and in support of the Inter-governmental Panel on Forests (IPF);
b) agreed that in view of the post-UNCED importance of Forestry, FAO should allocate additional resources to the Forestry Programme;
c) supported the recommendation of COFO for the further prioritization of FAO's activities in forestry;
31. The Council took note of the statement by the Turkish delegation regarding progress in preparations for the Eleventh World Forestry Congress, to be held in Antalya (Turkey) from 13 to 22 October 1997.
32. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Fourteenth Session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG). In particular, the Council stressed the conclusions and recommendations relating to plant and animal genetic resources, the role of livestock in rural development and food security, agricultural research, global information and early warning, women in agricultural and rural development and follow-up to the Uruguay Round agreements, including Codex and IPPC standards. In line with COAG's recommendations, it decided to transmit the two draft phytosanitary standards - "Guidelines for Surveillance" and "Export Certification System" - to the Twenty-ninth Session of the Conference for adoption as International Phytosanitary Standards.
33. The Council established an Informal Open-ended Working Group to consider the remaining bracketed text of the revised International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) which had been submitted to Council by COAG. The Chairman of the Working Group, in his report to Council, listed the agreed amendments and stated that the resulting text remained without brackets.
34. The Council was informed of a proposal for an additional article, provisionally Article II bis, to specify the relation of the revised IPPC to other relevant international agreements. It agreed to the inclusion of this article without brackets and decided that it would be submitted to the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) at its Sixty-eighth Session, to consider its legal implications and to determine its precise wording and place within the Convention.
35. The Council attached great importance to the provision on the reporting of the occurrence, outbreak or spread of pests. It understood that the reports would have to be supplied - as under the current IPPC - to the Secretary of the IPPC. It underlined the importance of establishing relevant procedures applicable to this reporting and urged that high priority be given to this work.
36. The Council endorsed the revised text of the IPPC and unanimously recommended that it be transmitted through the CCLM and the Hundred and Thirteenth Session of the Council to the Twenty-ninth Session of the Conference for adoption.
37. In welcoming the revised text of the IPPC as an important step in facilitating and safeguarding international trade in food and agricultural products, the Council noted that the specific need for developing country contracting parties, in particular the least developed countries, should be provided with technical assistance. Such assistance was required in order to enhance their capacity to fulfil their obligations under the Convention and to facilitate its implementation.
38. The Council also recommended that the Conference, in adopting the revised IPPC, consider the necessity for appropriate interim measures for the period between the adoption of the IPPC and its entry into force, including the establishment of an interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures.
39. The Council expressed appreciation for the new format and the very concise content of the annual report which described, in a comprehensive manner, the activities of the Executive Board and reflected the considerable achievements of WFP in 1996. It welcomed the importance given to the follow-up to the World Food Summit, stressed the importance of WFP for development activities and recognised the usefulness of the synergetic collaboration between WFP and FAO.
40. The Council approved the Executive Board's Report.
41. The Council, after considering document CL 112/13-Sup.1 "WFP Pledging Target", adopted the following resolution:
Target for WFP pledges for the period 1999-2000
Noting the endorsement by the Executive Board of the World Food Programme of a target of one billion United States dollars (2,1 million tonnes) for voluntary contributions to the Programme for the period 1999-2000,
Recalling Resolutions 2462 (XXIII) and 2682 (XXV) of the General Assembly, which recognised the experience gained by WFP in the field of multilateral food aid,
Rome, 7 June 1997
42. The Council congratulated the Open-ended Working Group of the Executive Board of WFP, the Legal Counsel of FAO/WFP and the WFP Secretariat for their valuable contribution to the work and, in particular, for the very positive climate of the debate within the Working Group and the Board.
43. Some members indicated their intention to seek in future WFP Executive Board sessions an improvement to the draft General Rules that would ensure the timeliness of WFP reports, in particular those related to bilaterally-funded projects.
44. The Council expressed its full support for the revised General Regulations and approved the following draft resolution for transmission to the Conference for its adoption:
Draft Resolution for the Conference
Revision of the General Regulations of the World Food Programme
Recalling its Resolutions 1/61, 4/65 and 22/75 concerning the establishment and continuation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, of the United Nations World Food Programme, its Resolution 9/91 concerning the revision of the General Regulations of the World Food Programme and membership of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes of the World Food Programme, and its Resolution 9/95 transforming the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes into an Executive Board of the World Food Programme and approving revised General Regulations for the World Food Programme;
Noting Resolution 48/162 adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December 1993, on further measures for the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields,
Having considered the decision of the Hundred and Twelfth Session of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, adopted on the recommendation of the Executive Board of the World Food Programme, concerning the revision of the General Regulations of the World Food Programme:
45. The Council agreed that following their consideration at the Hundred and Thirteenth Session of the Council the following two additional items would be referred to Conference and should be inserted after item 9 in Part I of the Provisional Agenda shown in Appendix A of the document, with the tentative timetable amended as appropriate:
(a) Negotiation of a Legally-Binding Instrument on Prior Informed Consent (PIC);
(b) Desert Locust Control Situation: Measures Taken and Further Action Required.
46. The Council agreed to submit to the Conference for approval the provisional agenda, the tentative timetable and the arrangements outlined in the draft document as amended above, and in particular recommended that:
(a) the Conference be convened from 7 to 18 November 1997;
(b) three Commissions be established to examine Parts I, II and III of the Agenda;
(c) the deadline for the receipt of nominations for election to the Council be at 12.00 hours on Saturday 8 November;
(d) the statements of Heads of Delegation be limited to a maximum of 5 minutes each;
(e) votes to elect Members of the Council, to appoint the Independent Chairman of the Council and to decide on the budget level, be scheduled for Friday 14 November.
47. The Council decided to establish the deadline for the receipt of nominations for Independent Chairman of the Council at 12.00 hours on Friday 22 August 1997.
48. The Council noted that consultations had taken place among Heads of Delegation represented at the Council session in order to designate the candidates who would be approached to serve as Chairman of the Conference and Chairmen of Commissions I, II and III.
49. The Council considered the Programme Evaluation Report 1996-97, and noted with appreciation the several improvements made in the latest report.
50. The Council endorsed the Programme Committee's views on the Programme Evaluation Report 1996-97, especially those on the inclusion of programme managers' comments on the individual programme reviews and the summary assessment on programme performance based on the criteria for programme analysis suggested by the Council at its Hundred and Tenth Session (Rome, 2-3 November 1995). It agreed that these innovations enhanced the transparency of the evaluation process and promoted interaction between evaluators and programme managers. With regard to the criteria, it considered that these could need to be refined to reflect the experience of their application over the last biennium.
51. The Council also endorsed the Programme Committee's recommendations for further improving the analytical content of the Programme Evaluation Report. It highlighted, in particular, the need for more systematic analysis of the effects and impact of FAO programmes, as well as the use of external expertise in programme evaluation while bearing in mind the cost implications of such approaches. It also stressed the importance of improving the quality of programme design, which should contain clear objectives and priorities, implementation strategy and a set of measurable performance targets and indicators. It stressed that the lessons of experience in this area should be built into new project designs. It also noted that the findings of the Programme Evaluation Report should be incorporated into the Medium-Term Plan.
52. The Council further endorsed the recommendations of the Programme and Finance Committees with regard to FAO publications: (a) that the proposed change in publication distribution from the quota distribution system to that based on "national publication accounts" be accepted in principle for further consideration; and (b) that all major FAO publications be issued, in all five official languages, recognizing the need for flexibility in certain cases.
53. On this basis, the Council agreed to transmit the Programme Evaluation Report 1996-97 to the Conference for its approval.
54. The Council recalled that the submission to each Conference of a rolling Medium-Term Plan covering a six-year period, had been instituted by the FAO Conference through Resolution 10/89. It noted, therefore, that this version was the fourth prepared since then, and that it was a rewrite of the Plan approved in 1995 for the period 1996-2001. The Council observed, in this connection, that due efforts had been made to reflect in particular the outcome of the World Food Summit and the relationship between substantive priorities and the commitments in the Summit Plan of Action.
55. Several members agreed that the Plan included a balanced presentation of priorities, which reflected the varied requirements of the membership and were consistent with the overall goal of sustainable food security. While agreeing that there were positive elements in it, other members felt that this version did not fulfil their expectations, and made clear their perception of gaps and weaknesses. The Council agreed that the Medium-Term Plan should reflect the conclusions and recommendations of the Technical Committees of the Council, in particular the Committees on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
56. Several members offered ideas and suggestions as regarded improvements to the Plan's contents and structure, including that it take account of past achievements and provide a thorough assessment of trends and challenges confronting FAO. Some members suggested that the Medium-Term Plan include concrete proposals for cost-effective actions to increase programmatic and operational savings by expanding collaboration with other international organizations.
57. The Council agreed that the Plan should be a tool for establishing agreement among the membership on broad policy orientations and priorities. It stressed that the prime purpose of the Plan should be to offer a strategic vision of the future work of FAO, taking into account the universal character of the FAO, the synergy between its normative and its operative activities and based on a careful analysis of the operating environment and the strategic choices open to the Organization, together with an implementation programme to carry the vision into effect.
58. In light of this discussion, the Council recognised the force of the recommendation from the Programme Commmittee that the Governing Bodies should revisit medium-term planning practices in FAO. The Council noted that the Medium-Term Plan should be a key component of FAO's overall planning system, incorporating the lessons learned from the Programme Evaluation Report and the Programme Implementation Report, and providing the framework and guidance within which the biennial Programme of work and Budget was developed.
59. The Council also noted that the new programme framework which was being pilot-tested in the Summary and full Programme of Work and Budget was consistent with the key principles which should apply to a revised approach to the Medium-Term Plan. In particular, the concepts of measurable and time-bound targets and indicators should be central to the new programme planning framework.
60. Accordingly, the Council requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper for the Programme Committee at its September 1997 session which reviewed and discussed the options for an adapted medium-term planning process. The Programme Committee would then put proposals to the Council at its session, immediately before the FAO Conference; and the Council would put a recommendation to the Conference.
61. The Council concluded that consideration of the Medium-Term Plan by the Conference together with the proposals for an adapted planning process would facilitate Conference decisions.
62. The Council welcomed the integration of "other" income into the Programme of Work, and looked forward to its further elaboration and refinement in the full Programme of Work and Budget.
63. The Council also endorsed the new programming approach being tested in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget (SPWB) under Programme 2.1.1 Natural Resources. It would reexamine the merits in the full Programme of Work and Budget in the light of more comprehensive information, and would further advise the Conference accordingly.
64. The Council was informed that a revision downwards of about US$ 3 million in the cost increase estimate of US$ 39 million presented in the SPWB was likely in view of the evolution of inflation in the Host Country. The Council also noted the potential favourable impact of the US dollar-Italian Lira exchange rate on the budget level, should present rates continue until the Conference.
65. The Council was informed that the inclusion of after-service medical coverage costs in 1998-99 would incur additional costs in the region of US$ 17 million.
66. The Council noted that the inclusion of US$ 17 million for after-service medical costs would exceed the reductions due to lower inflation and the change in the dollar/lira rate, and therefore would indicate that a zero real growth budget would represent an increase of US$ 42 million above the budget for the current biennium.
67. The largest group of members stressed the importance of the World Food Summit, and the need for an active role of FAO in assisting countries in the implementation of the Summit Commitments and in performing its other functions. It also recalled the reductions in resources experienced by the Organization in the present biennium and its past and present efforts to maximize efficiencies and streamline its operations. It emphasized that this conjunction of factors implied a strengthened FAO in need of increased resources to fulfil its responsibilities and reap the full potential benefits from the reforms. It felt that a further net reduction of resources would send a wrong signal, following the successful conclusion of the Summit. It, therefore, supported the real growth scenario but, in the search for consensus could accept, as a minimum, the zero-real growth proposals.
68. Other members supported the zero nominal growth options as the most financially-realistic and likely to prevent further growth in arrears. They recalled the policies of fiscal restraint underway in many countries and throughout the UN system. Some also stressed their expectations that similar efforts be made by FAO for further reform of the Organization. They emphasised the need for FAO to continue the search for efficiency and other savings, including through greater administrative streamlining, governance reforms and operational improvements. These, together with an innovative approach to prioritisation of programmes, would enable achievement of zero nominal growth or less while still ensuring that FAO continued to deliver on its core functions, including reduction of food insecurity, and to enhance its reputation as a centre of international excellence. Some of these members felt that the FAORs was an area where further savings could be sought, particularly given the expanding capabilities of the regional and sub-regional offices. Closer co-operation within the UN Resident Co-ordinator framework should also be utilised. Other members stressed the importance of the FAOR programme to their countries and regions, in complementarity with the Regional and Sub-regional offices. Some members requested that consideration be given to the possibility of establishing a Sub-regional Office for the sub-region of Central America.
69. One member indicated its continued support for a budget level of US$ 610 to US$ 615 million.
70. In the light of the above differing positions, the Council recognised that it was not in a position at the present time to reach a consensus on a budget level for 1998-99, and that further refinement of PWB proposals and inter-governmental dialogue would be required to facilitate the search for a possible consensus at the September sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and its own next session, prior to final consideration of the Programme of Work and Budget by the Conference. In this connection, the Council stressed the desirability of avoiding the problems experienced in the aftermath of the decision on the budget level at the last Conference in October 1995.
71. The Council recalled the importance of fully reflecting the priorities, recommendations and conclusions which had been expressed by the Committees of the Council in their respective sectors in the preparation of the full Programme of Work and Budget, and noted that action was under way in this respect.
72. The Council also stressed the need to protect to the maximum extent possible the economic, technical and policy activities of the Organization and to maintain an appropriate balance by strengthening synergies between normative and operational activities. It was also essential to continue to ensure full complementarity of action with all FAO partners. It was underlined that FAO should ensure that its activities complement those of other international organizations, and that it take fully into account the ongoing reform process in the UN system. Many members identified specific activities on programmes which they judged to be of highest priority.
73. While noting that the priority-setting criteria endorsed at its Hundred and Tenth Session (Rome, 2-3 November 1995) had been widely applied in the formulation of proposals under all Summary Programme of Work and Budget scenarios, the Council underlined the desirability of further refinement of these criteria to facilitate the assessment of priorities.
74. The Council endorsed the recommendation from the Programme and Finance Committees at their last Joint Session, that for analytical purposes the Secretariat:
a) continue to develop the zero real growth proposal with the base level of US$ 650 million and minimizing cost increases, incorporating all the pertinent factors as regarded the revised estimates for cost increases and the impact of the exchange rate, but seeking maximum cost absorption;
b) continue the search for further efficiency and other savings; and
c) within this overall approach, develop clear options for a zero nominal growth budget, based upon sound prioritization among FAO activities, and also identify activities that would be eliminated if the budget were to be below the zero nominal growth level.
75. The Council noted these Reports. In addition to items specifically on its own agenda, it noted that the Programme Committee had considered a number of JIU reports.
76. The Council reviewed the report of the Eighty-sixth and Eighty-seventh Sessions of the Finance Committee, and the latest financial position of the Organization at 30 May 1997.
77. In particular, the Council:
(a) noted that the percentage of current assessments received had improved compared with the previous four years.
(b) expressed concern over the high level of arrears outstanding and while appreciating the often difficult financial situation of some countries, underlined the responsibility of all members to honour their financial commitments towards the Organization in full as soon as possible.
78. The Council noted the comments of the Finance Committee and endorsed the Annual Report of Budgetary Performance to members for the year 1996.
79. The Council:
(a) agreed that it was too early to prejudge the outcome of the discussions being held in the UN Committee on Contributions in New York. It therefore requested the Secretariat to follow the evolution of the matter in New York, and report to the Finance Committee at its September Session and to the Hundred and Thirteenth Session of the Council with an updated situation.
(b) deferred its recommendation of a Draft Resolution on Scale of Contributions 1998-99 until it reviewed the matter again at its Hundred and Thirteenth Session.
80. The Council:
(a) noted that with regard to the Incentive Scheme to Encourage Prompt Payment of Contributions, some members considered that the results of the Scheme demonstrated that it had not produced the desired effects whilst its cost in terms of reduced Miscellaneous Income had been considerable and were, therefore, in favour of its discontinuation. However, many members were in disagreement since they felt that a distinction had to be made between early and late payers. There had been a large increase in the number of Member Nations having paid their contributions before 31 March.
(b) requested that the Finance Committee once again review the issue, as there was no general consensus in supporting the Director-General's recommendation about the continuation or not of the Scheme.
(c) noted the results of the actuarial study on the cost of After Service Medical Coverage and agreed on the need to correctly account for such costs. While it recognised that full service costs for current employees should be included in the budget, it also recognised that certain questions remained outstanding, in particular, as regarded the responsibility for that part of the accumulated liability that related to staff funded by other institutions. The Council requested the Director-General to continue to explore solutions to covering the accumulated liability so as to minimize the negative effects on the substantive output of the Organization, taking into account other approaches being adopted in the UN system. The Council, therefore, concluded that the Finance Committee should again consider the matter at its September session where it should address the proposals of the Director-General in the context of the full Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99.
(d) shared the concern expressed by the Finance Committee in connection with the need to transfer resources from the technical programmes to general policy and direction, support and common services and urged that action be continued to reverse this trend to the extent possible.
81. The Council appreciated the information provided in CL 112/20, Review of FAO Statutory Bodies and Panels of Experts, and the conclusions of the Joint Session of the Programme and Finance Committees with respect to Savings and Efficiencies in Governance 25. The Council was informed of the considerable reduction that had taken place in the duration and costs of the Sessions of the Conference, Council and Council Committees26 . The Council noted that a preliminary analysis of Statutory Bodies was now underway in line with the directions given by the Council.
82. With some clarifications and amplifications, the Council broadly endorsed both the conclusions of the Programme and Finance Committees and the suggestions in paragraph 26 of CL 112/20. In doing so, the Council reiterated that the search for increased efficiency and effectiveness in governance and the consultative processes between Member Nations was a continuing process. At the same time, Committees, Commissions and Panels of Experts were an important means through which FAO achieved its objectives. In recognizing the efforts made by Member Nations and the Secretariat to increase efficiency savings through the streamlining of agenda items, reductions in documentation and shortening of sessions, the Council reiterated that the search for further savings should not detract from the contributions of Technical Committees, and in particular the effectiveness of governance and the role of the Council and Conference as unique inter-governmental policy fora.
83. The Council considered that there could be scope for a more clear-cut division of work between the Technical Committees of the Council, the Programme and Finance Committees and the Council itself. The Council welcomed the recommendations that Technical Committee sessions should be held earlier in Conference years, and that the January Joint Session of the Programme and Finance Committees in Conference years be eliminated. While most members emphasised that prolonged discussion of PWB proposals in the Technical Committees of the Council detracted from their role as policy and technical fora for their respective sectors, many stressed their unique capacity to comment in-depth on the subject matter of the PWB proposals. The Council agreed that further consultation among Member Nations was required, with advice from the Programme and Finance Committees, on how further streamlining could be achieved.
84. For Regional Conferences and other regional bodies, the Council agreed that it was important to obtain agreement of the countries of the region before changes were made. Regarding the frequency of Regional Conference sessions, many members expressed their desire to convene them biennially, while others suggested a reduced frequency.
85. The Council welcomed the decision of the Programme and Finance Committees to set up a Contact Group to review in detail the recommendations provided in Annex II of CL 112/14 on Commissions and Committees and Expert Committees and Panels. Those Bodies which had not met for a long time could be immediately eliminated, but the views of the main parent committees should generally be sought on the future of their Subsidiary Bodies. The Council agreed that the Codex Alimentarius Commission should review all proposals pertaining to its Bodies. In preparing its recommendations, the Contact Group should take into account the views and detailed points made in the Council discussion and consult closely with concerned Member Nations. In general, Bodies should not be regarded as permanent and more flexible working arrangements and a task-orientated, time-bound framework, including sunset clauses in the Terms of Reference of new Bodies, were desirable. Greater civil society involvement was generally welcomed, depending on the nature of the various Bodies and with due regard to budgetary constraints.
86. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Sixty-sixth Session of the CCLM.
87. The Council concurred with the proposed amendment to Rule XXXIII of the General Rules of the Organization and recommended that it be referred, together with the following draft Resolution, to the Conference at its Twenty-ninth Session in November 1997 for consideration and adoption:
Draft Resolution for the Conference
Amendments to Rule XXXIII of the General Rules of the Organization (Committee on World Food Security)
Recalling that Rule XXXIII of the General Rules of the Organization establishing the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and its terms of reference was adopted by the Conference at its Eighteenth Session in November 1975 (Resolution 21/75),
Recalling further that Commitment Seven of the Plan of Action adopted by the World Food Summit in November 1996 accorded a substantial role to the CFS in the monitoring of the implementation of the Plan of Action,
Considering that the above-mentioned role should be reflected in the mandate of the CFS as set out in Rule XXXIII of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO),
Considering that further changes to the wording of Rule XXXIII GRO are required in order to reflect the new responsibilities falling upon FAO as a result of the abolition of the World Food Council by the UN General Assembly,
Considering also that further amendments are required in order to reflect changes in institutional organization in the UN system, such as the replacement of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes by the Executive Board of the World Food Programme, and to rationalize and modernize the terms of reference of the CFS in line with recent practice,
Decides to amend Rule XXXIII of the General Rules of the Organization, Committee on World Food Security, as follows:
Committee on World Food Security29
1. The Committee on World Food Security provided for in paragraph 6 of Article V of the Constitution shall be open to all Member Nations of the Organization and all Member States of the United Nations. It shall be composed of those States which notify the Director-General in writing of their desire to become Members of the Committee and of their intention to participate in the work of the Committee.
2. The notifications referred to in paragraph 1 may be made at any time, and membership acquired on the basis thereof shall be for a biennium. The Director-General shall circulate, at the beginning of each session of the Committee, a document listing the Members of the Committee.
3. The Committee shall normally hold two sessions during each biennium. Sessions shall be convened by the Director-General, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, taking into account any proposals made by the Committee.
4. If required, the Committee may hold additional sessions on the call of the Director-General in consultation with its Chairman, or on request submitted in writing to the Director-General by the majority of Members of the Committee.
5. The Committee shall:
(a) keep the current and prospective demand, supply and stock position for basic foodstuffs under continuous review, in the context of world food security, and disseminate timely information on developments;
(b) make periodic evaluations of the adequacy of current and prospective stock levels, in aggregate, in exporting and importing countries, in order to assure a regular flow of basic foodstuffs to meet requirements in domestic and world markets, including food aid requirements, in time of short crops and serious crop failure;
(c) review the steps taken by governments to implement the International Undertaking on World Food Security; and
(d) recommend such short-term and longer-term policy action as may be considered necessary to remedy any difficulty foreseen in assuring adequate cereal supplies for minimum world food security.
5. The Committee shall contribute to promoting the objective of world food security with the aim of ensuring that all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
6. The Committee shall serve as a forum in the United Nations system for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security, including food production, sustainable use of the natural resource base for food security, nutrition, physical and economic access to food and other food security related aspects of poverty eradication, the implications of food trade for world food security and other related matters and shall in particular:
(a) examine major problems and issues affecting the world food situation and the steps being proposed or taken to resolve them by Governments and relevant international organizations, bearing in mind the need for the adoption of an integrated approach towards their solution;
(b) examine the implications for world food security of other relevant factors, including the situation relating to the supply and demand of basic food stuffs and food aid requirements and trends, the state of stocks in exporting and importing countries and issues relating to physical and economic access to food and other food security related aspects of poverty eradication; and
(c) recommend such action as may be appropriate to promote the goal of world food security.
7. The Committee shall serve as the forum in the UN system for the monitoring of the implementation of the Plan of Action adopted by the World Food Summit in accordance with the relevant commitment of the Summit.30
6. 8. The Committee shall report to the Council of the Organization and tender advice to the Director-General, and relevant international organizations as appropriate, on any matter considered by the Committee, it being understood that copies of its reports, including any conclusions, will be transmitted without delay to interested governments and international organizations.
7. The Committee shall submit periodic and special reports to the World Food Council.
9. The Committee shall provide regular reports to the Economic and Social Council of
the United Nations (ECOSOC), through the Council of the Organization.
exceptional circumstances, reports may be submitted directly to the World Food Council,
such action being notified to the following session of the Council of the Organization.
8. 10. Any recommendation adopted by the Committee affecting the programme or finance of the Organization or concerning legal or constitutional matters shall be reported to the Council with the comments of the appropriate subsidiary committees of the Council. The reports of the Committee, or relevant extracts therefrom, shall also be placed before the Conference.
9. 11. The Committee shall draw on the advice, as necessary, of the
Committee on Commodity Problems and its subsidiary bodies,
and the Committee on
Food Aid Policies and Programmes. In particular, it shall the Committee on
Agriculture and other technical committees of the Council as appropriate, and the
Executive Board of the World Food Programme. In particular, it shall take full account
of the responsibilities and activities of those two these Committees
and other intergovernmental bodies responsible for aspects of food security, in
order to avoid overlapping and unnecessary duplication of work.
10. The International Wheat Council shall be invited to participate in the proceedings of the Committee and to cooperate in servicing the Committee.
12. The Committee shall invite relevant international organizations to participate in the work of the Committee and the preparation of meeting documents on matters within their respective mandates in collaboration with the secretariat of the Committee.
11. 13. In order to ensure the effective discharge of its functions,
the Committee may request the Members to furnish all information required for its work, it
being understood that where so requested by the governments concerned, the information
supplied shall be kept on a restricted basis
, as foreseen in the relevant
provisions of the International Undertaking on World Food Security.
12. 14. The Director-General or his representative shall participate in all meetings of the Committee and may be accompanied by such officers of the staff of the Organization as he may designate.
13. 15. The Committee shall elect, from among its Members, its Chairman and the other officers. It may adopt and amend its rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with the Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization.
14. 16. The Committee may decide to establish subsidiary or ad hoc bodies where it considers that such action would expedite its own work, without duplicating the work of existing bodies. A decision to this effect may be taken only after the Committee has examined a report by the Director-General on the administrative and financial implications.
15. 17. When establishing subsidiary or ad hoc bodies, the Committee shall define their terms of reference, composition, and, as far as possible, the duration of their mandate. Subsidiary bodies may adopt their own rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with those of the Committee.
88. The Council concurred with the proposed amendments to the Agreement and Rules of Procedure of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) as reflected in Appendix F to this Report.
89. The Council approved the proposed Cooperation Agreement between FAO and the Regional Centre on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development for the Near East (CARDNE) as set out in Appendix G to this Report and recommended its transmission to the Conference at its Twenty-ninth Session in November 1997 for confirmation.
90. The Council approved the proposed Cooperation Agreement between FAO and the Intergovernmental Organization for Marketing Information and Technical Advisory Services for Fishery Products in the Asia and Pacific Region (INFOFISH) as set out in Appendix H to this Report and recommended its transmission to the Conference at its Twenty-ninth Session in November 1997 for confirmation.
91. In accordance with paragraph B-1 and B-2 of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations"35 , the Council agreed that:
a) the Russian Federation and Kazakstan attend the Hundred and Twelfth Session of the Council in an observer capacity.
b) the Russian Federation attend as an observer the Tenth Session of the General Fisheries Council of the Mediterranean (GFCM), Rome, 17-20 June 1997 (FI-720).
92. The Council was also informed that since its Hundred and Eleventh Session, the Director-General, on being so requested, had extended an invitation to the Russian Federation to attend: (a) Twenty-seventh Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Grains, Rome 5-7 February 1997 (ESC-709); (b) Twenty-second Session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, 17-20 March 1997 (FI-701); (c) Thirty-second Session of the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Rome, 2-4 April 1997 (AGA-701); (d) Fourteenth Session of the Committee on Agriculture, Rome, 7-11 April 1997 (COAG-701); (e) Fifteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP), Rome, 7-9 May 1997 (ESC-716); (f) Seventh Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 15-23 May 1997 (AGP-725).
93. The Council was informed of the application for membership received from the Republic of Kazakstan.
94. Pending a decision by the Conference on this application and pursuant to Rule XXV.11 of the General Rules of the Organization and paragraphs B-1, B-2 and B-5 of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations", the Council authorized the Director-General to invite the Republic of Kazakstan to participate, in an observer capacity, to appropriate Council meetings as well as regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to it.
95. The Council agreed that its Hundred and Thirteenth Session should be convened inRome from 4 to 6 November 1997.
96. The Council noted the recommendations of the FAO Advisory Committee on Occupational Health and Safety on the use of tobacco in FAO buildings and agreed to the progressive introduction of a smoke-free environment policy within FAO.
1. CL 112/1; CL 112/INF/1; CL 112/INF/11; CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/9.
2. CL 112/INF/9; CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/4; CL 112/PV/9.
3. CL 112/INF/5; CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/9.
4. CL 112/2; CL 112/6 (paras 7-11); CL 112/15 (paras 21-27); CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/2; CL 112/PV/9.
5. CL 112/6; CL 112/7; CL 112/8; CL 112/15; CL 112/PV/2; CL 112/PV/3; CL 112/PV/9.
6. CL 112/10; CL 112/15; CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
7. CL 112/17; CL 112/18; CL 112 PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
8. CL 112/6; CL 112 PV/8; CL 112 PV/9.
9. CL 112/7; CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
10. CL 112/8; CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
11. CL 112/9; CL 112/9-Sup.1; CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/9.
12. CL 112/13; CL 112/13-Sup.1; CL 112/13-Corr.1; CL 112/PV/8; CL 112 PV/9.
13. CL 112/19; CL 112/19-Sup.1; CL 112 PV/8; CL 112 PV/9.
14. CL 112/11, CL 112/PV/8, CL 112/PV/9.
15. C 97/4; CL 112/14 (paras 2-7-2-22; paras 3.22-3.28); CL 112/PV/3; CL 112/PV/9.
16. C 97/9; CL 112/7 (paras 40-54); CL 112/8 (paras 38-44); CL 112/14 (paras 2.23-2.32; paras 3.17-3.21) CL 112/PV/3; CL 112/PV/4; CL 112/PV/9.
17. CL 112/3; CL 112/3-Sup.1; CL 112/7; CL 112/8; CL 112/9; CL 112/14; CL 112/PV/4; CL 112/PV/5; CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/9.
18. CL 112/4; CL 112/14; CL 112 PV/6; CL 112/PV/9.
19. CL 112/4; CL 112/14; CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/7; CL 112/PV/9.
20. CL 112/14 (paras 3.35-3.40 and 3.66-3.69); CL 112/LIM/1; CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/7; CL 112/PV/9; Appendix E of CL 112/REP.
21. CL 112/14 (paras 3.29-3.34); CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/7; CL 112/PV/9.
22. CL 112/14 (paras 3.60-3.65); CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/7; CL 112/PV/9.
23. CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/7; CL 112/PV/9.
24. CL 112/20; CL 112/PV/6; CL 112/PV/9.
25. CL 112/14.
26. CL 112/INF/12.
27. CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
28. CL 112/5 (paras 2-6); CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
29. Text in shading to be inserted and text underlined to be deleted.
30. The relevant provisions of the World Food Summit Plan of Action are set out in Commitment 7, Objective 7.3, which reads as follows:
To monitor actively the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
To this end, Governments, in partnership with all actors of civil society, in coordination with relevant international institutions and, in conformity with ECOSOC Resolution 1996/36 on the follow-up to the major international UN conferences and summits as appropriate, will:
(a) Establish through the CFS a timetable, procedures and standardized reporting formats, which do not duplicate similar reports to the UN, FAO and other agencies, on the national, sub-regional and regional implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action;
(b) Set out in the CFS a process for developing targets and verifiable indicators of national and global food security where they do not exist;
(c) Report to the CFS on national, sub-regional and regional implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, drawing on a food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system, once established, as an analytical aid;
(d) Invite the Secretary-General of the UN to request the ACC to report to ECOSOC in accordance with established procedures progress on the follow-up by UN agencies to the World Food Summit;
(e) Monitor through the CFS the national, sub-regional, regional and international implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, using reports from national governments, reports on UN agency follow-up and inter-agency coordination, and information from other relevant international institutions;
(f) Provide regular reports on implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action through the CFS via the FAO Council to the ECOSOC;
(g) Encourage the effective participation of relevant actors of civil society in the CFS monitoring process, recognizing their critical role in enhancing food security;
(h) By 2006, undertake in the CFS and within available resources a major broad-based progress assessment of the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and a mid-term review of achieving the target of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015. This progress assessment and review should be in the context of a special forum of a regular session of the CFS and involve active participation from governments, relevant international organizations and actors of civil society.
31. CL 112/5 (paras 7-12); CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
32. CL 112/5 (paras 13-15); CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
33. CL 112/5 (paras 16-18); CL/112 PV/8; CL/112 PV/9.
34. CL 112/LIM/2; CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/9.
35. See FAO Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L (Appendix).
36. CL 112/16; CL 112/PV/1; CL 112/PV/9.
37. CL 112/INF/8; CL 112PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.
38. CL 112/INF/21; CL 112/PV/8; CL 112/PV/9.