REPORT OF THE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEENTH SESSION OF THE COUNCIL


INTRODUCTION - PROCEDURE OF THE SESSION

INTRODUCTION

1. The Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council was held in Rome from 9 to 11 November 1999 under the Chairmanship of Sjarifudin Baharsjah, Independent Chairman of the Council.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE1

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.

ELECTION OF THREE VICE-CHAIRPERSONS, AND DESIGNATION OF THE CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS OF THE DRAFTING COMMITTEE2

3. The Council elected three Vice-Chairpersons for its Session: Mohamed Abd El Hamid Khalifa (Egypt), Dietrich Lincke (Germany) and P.W. Misika (Namibia).

4. The Council elected Ms Hedwig Wögerbauer (Austria) as Chairperson of the Drafting Committee with the following membership: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Italy, Korea (Republic of), Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of), South Africa and Syria.

 

ACTIVITIES OF FAO

PREPARATIONS FOR THE THIRTIETH SESSION OF THE FAO CONFERENCE3

Nominations of the Chairperson of the Conference, and of the Chairpersons of the Commissions of the Conference (Recommendations to the Conference)4

5. In accordance with Rule VII-1 of the General Rules of the Organization the Council agreed to put the following nominations before the Conference:

Chairperson of the Conference: Benalia BELHOUADJEB (Algeria)
Chairperson of Commission I: Luigi M. FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy)
Chairperson of Commission II: Bhaskar BARUA (India)

Election of the Nominations Committee5

6. In accordance with Rule XXIV-5(b) GRO, the Council elected the following 11 Member Nations to the Nominations Committee:

Belgium El Salvador Libya
Congo (Republic of) Iran (Islamic Republic of) Tanzania (United Republic of)
Czech Republic Italy United States of America
Democratic People's Republic
   of Korea
Korea (Republic of)  

Margarita Lizárraga Medal6

7. The Council endorsed the nomination of the non-governmental organization (NGO) National Fisheries Solidarity of Sri Lanka, and recommended that the Medal be presented to the Head of the Delegation of Sri Lanka by the Director-General as part of the proceedings of the Thirtieth Session of the Conference.

OUTCOME OF THE CONFERENCE OF PLENIPOTENTIARIES ON THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION ON PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT (PIC)7

8. The Council noted with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the negotiations for the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and its adoption in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in September 1998. It favourably viewed the cooperation of FAO and UNEP, which was an example of how UN Organizations should complement each other. The Council supported the primary role of FAO and UNEP in the Interim Secretariat and the Convention Secretariat.

9. The Council noted the joint implementation of the interim measures and the preparation for the first Conference of Parties by UNEP and FAO through the joint operation of the Interim Secretariat. It noted the necessity to provide technical assistance to developing countries to implement the Convention. It also expressed its appreciation for the outcome of the Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in July 1999, including the establishment of an Interim Chemicals Review Committee and the inclusion of two pesticides in the interim procedure. In this respect, one Member drew attention to the interpretative statement it had made during the Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on the composition of the Interim Chemical Review Committee and the usage of languages in the Committee.

10. The Council expressed concern about the fragile funding basis for the Interim PIC Secretariat and the Convention Secretariat and urged FAO to seek ways to make the funding for the Secretariat more secure, through additional Regular Programme funding which could imply corresponding savings in other areas.

OUTCOME OF THE CONFERENCE ON THE MULTIFUNCTIONAL CHARACTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND
(MAASTRICHT, SEPTEMBER 1999)
8

11. The Council was informed that the Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land, held in Maastricht, The Netherlands, in September 1999 provided a high-level international technical forum to identify new practices and enabling environments necessary for increased agricultural sustainability and rural development.

12. The Council examined a Summary Report (C 99/INF/20-Rev.1), as recommended at the Hundred and Sixteenth Session of the Council in June 1999.

13. A number of Governments expressed their appreciation to the Government of The Netherlands and to FAO for the preparations and the organization of the Conference. Reference was made to the benefits of the innovative approach taken in the Conference preparations and at the Conference itself regarding electronic communications and the Web Forum, as well as to the usefulness of the case studies and database developed by FAO.

14. The Council confirmed the status of the Summary of the Maastricht Conference as prepared by the Secretariat (C 99/INF/20-Rev.1) as an information document to the Conference.

15. The Council encouraged FAO to continue its work on sustainable agricultural and rural development as part of its commitments under the World Food Summit Plan of Action, Agenda 21 and, in particular, Chapters 10 (Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources) and 14 (Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development), while noting the preparatory work done at the Maastricht Conference.

REGIONAL REPRESENTATION AT THE CGIAR (CONSULTATIVE GROUP ON INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH)9

16. The Council took note of document CL 117/INF/10 and the decision by the CGIAR to endorse a proposal for phasing out the current system of regional representation at the CGIAR in consultation with FAO.

17. The Council endorsed the phasing out of the regional representation at the CGIAR as it has operated until now. Member Nations would be formally informed about this decision during the forthcoming Regional Conferences and the current elected Representatives would complete their terms.

 

PROGRAMME, BUDGETARY, FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

PROGRAMME OF WORK AND BUDGET 2000-200110

General

18. The Council considered the Programme of Work and Budget proposals for the 2000-2001 biennium, with the benefit of the comments of the Programme and Finance Committees. It welcomed the concise format of the document, and the improved understanding of activities stemming from the application of the new programming model.

19. The Council invited continued attention to enhancing the focus of FAO programmes, including through the specification of time-bound objectives for constituent activities and the identification of appropriate performance indicators. It looked forward to the development of the Medium-Term Plan for better prioritization of proposed activities and stressed the relevance of the Strategic Framework in assisting in the process of improved programme formulation.

20. The Council welcomed the comprehensive information provided on the three scenarios, in response to its request at its last session. It noted that the cost increase estimate of US$ 14.6 million was based on an exchange rate of Lira 1,800 to US$ 1, and reflected updated facts since the Summary Programme of Work and Budget. It further noted that the Finance Committee had considered and endorsed the cost increases calculations, as well as the assumptions on which these were based.

21. The Council observed that, at the time of its present discussion, the rate had moved to around Lire 1,860 to US$ 1, implying a reduced cost increase estimate of about US$ 8 million. If sustained until the following week when the Appropriations Resolution would be approved by the Conference, this development would entail lower budget levels under both the Real Growth (RG) and Zero-Real Growth (ZRG) options, and a significant narrowing of the difference between ZRG and ZNG (Zero-Nominal Growth), and would release additional resources for programme activities under the Zero Nominal Growth (ZNG) scenario.

Substance

22. In addressing the substance, the Council noted the proposed adjustments to organizational structures in the administrative and operational areas and the related anticipated savings that had been incorporated under the various scenarios, while bearing in mind the potential risks of early implementation. It endorsed the intent of the Secretariat to protect the technical programmes of the Organization to the maximum extent possible and encouraged it to proceed along this direction. The Council requested the Secretariat to identify further efficiency savings, which would be compatible with the orderly implementation of the approved activities of the Organization.

23. The Council highlighted the importance of the measures to ensure a more balanced use of FAO languages in the work of the Organization, as reflected under all scenarios included in the budget submitted to the Conference. It reiterated its concern that progress be monitored in future biennia.

24. The Council further took note of the concern of several Members about the need to reestablish a post of Secretary to the Near East Desert Locust Control Commission for the Central Region in the 2000-2001 budget if possible.

25. The Council endorsed the protection in all scenarios offered to a number of high priority areas, including FAO's work on Fisheries and Forestry, Genetic Resources, Codex, the IPPC, Gender Mainstreaming, the GIEWS, FIVIMS, assistance to Members in the context of FAO-related aspects of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, the TCP and the SPFS. Many Members regretted that additional allocations had not been possible to these priority areas. Regret was also expressed that it had not been possible to fully accommodate the requests of the Ministerial Meetings for Fisheries and Forestry. The importance of a proactive role of FAO in providing scientifically-based contributions to the debate on biotechnology and genetically-modified organisms was also mentioned by a number of Members. FAO was also urged to assist Member Nations, especially the developing ones, with their biotechnological research and dissemination of technology.

Budget Level

26. Many Members stressed the problems of hunger and malnutrition experienced in various regions, and the urgency of pursuing concerted action to achieve the commitments made at the World Food Summit. They underlined the continuing challenges faced by the Organization in this context and the pressing demands for its assistance and services. Consequently, they saw full justification for the adoption of the RG scenario. They supported ZRG as a strict minimum with financing other priority areas given under the RG scenario in case additional resources would be available on account of efficiency savings or payment of arrears.

27. Many Members supported ZNG. Some of them recalled that this was a general policy pursued by their Governments throughout the UN System reflecting, among others, the stringent approach to public expenditure in their own countries. It was noted that this policy had been adopted in ILO and WHO.

Arrears

28. The Council reiterated the importance of prompt settlement of arrears due to the Organization. It noted the Secretariat's expectation for a significant payment of arrears by the Main Contributor in the next biennium.

29. The Secretariat introduced a Draft Resolution to permit use of a portion of expected arrears payments to meet important one-time expenditures and therefore enhance the capacity of the Organization to implement its programmes in the future. Members stressed the need for in-depth review of this Resolution by experts in capitals to facilitate its consideration by the Conference.

Conclusion

30. The Council expressed the hope that a consensus position on the budget could be achieved during consideration of the Programme of Work and Budget proposals by the Conference.

FAO STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK 2000-2015
(VERSION 4.0)
11

31. The Council addressed Version 4.0 of the Strategic Framework (C 99/12), together with the observations made by the Programme and Finance Committees. It noted that as recommended at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session, supporting material containing the Secretariat's Analysis was presented in C 99/12-Sup.1, but that C 99/12-Sup.2, covering Regional Perspectives, had not been issued, as the comments called for by the Council had not so far been received from all Groups.

32. The Council reaffirmed the importance of the Strategic Framework in providing general orientations for the work of the Organization over the coming fifteen years. It appreciated the participatory nature of the process followed in the formulation of successive versions of the document.

33. The Council also recalled that the Strategic Framework was a key component of the enhanced programme planning process endorsed by the Conference, and looked forward to its positive impact on the formulation of revamped and complementary Medium-Term Plan and Programme of Work and Budget documents.

34. The Council agreed that Version 4.0 incorporated many of the comments it had made during its discussion of Version 3.0. In particular, it welcomed the more concise format and the enhanced focus in the proposed Corporate Strategies and Objectives, and the consolidation of Strategy Components. The Council also stressed the need for further treating comparative advantages of FAO in harmony with its mandate and of the partnerships envisaged. In this context, it underscored the need for maintaining an effective balance between FAO's normative and field operations. It underlined the need for inter-disciplinarity in the Corporate Strategies and Objectives. The Council noted the previous guidance given by the Governing Bodies on refining criteria for priority-setting. Some Members expressed satisfaction with the criteria agreed by the Council at its Hundred and Tenth Session, and others asked for a further refining of these criteria.

35. During the discussion, remarks were made on the need for introduction of different emphases, in line with regional or national perceptions of problems or interests. In this connection, one Member mentioned the important role of the public sector in ensuring food security within a market economy framework and the need for a closer link between agricultural and nutritional policies.

36. Some Members mentioned issues including specific changes to the text which should be incorporated in or removed from the document during the Conference. One Regional Group indicated that it had submitted to the Secretariat a written text with a number of amendments and suggested that, considering the importance of the Strategic Framework in the orientation of FAO's activities over the next fifteen years, it was necessary to establish a Working Group in order to have a compromise document that would consider all the interests and aspirations of the Members of the Organization. Other Members thought that the establishment of a Working Group was an impractical idea.

37. The Council discussed the reference to "a rights-based approach to food security" in paragraph 43 and, more extensively, the phrase "considering the multifunctional character of agriculture" in paragraph 76, on which consensus could not be reached by the Programme and Finance Committees.

38. As regards both concepts, divergent opinions were expressed, requesting either retention or deletion.

39. In the latter case, some Members underlined that the expression "multifunctional character of agriculture" was contained in the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the World Food Summit, and stressed the importance of the concept. They, therefore, requested its retention. Other Members stressed that they saw no merit in referring to a concept which was not universally understood or accepted and, therefore, requested its deletion or replacement with other language.

40. One group of Members signalled its intention to present to the Conference, under its Agenda Item 6, a Draft Resolution on an Alliance for Food Security. One Regional Group and other Members acknowledged the importance of the afore-mentioned Draft Resolution. Nonetheless, they mentioned the need for a more in-depth study of this draft and its contents.

41. Many Members underlined that approval of the Strategies set out in the Strategic Framework, while important per se, would represent only a theoretical exercise if a minimum and acceptable budget were not defined for the Organization which would facilitate its implementation within the period covered by the Strategic Framework.

42. The Council agreed that the Strategic Framework should not be seen as a static document, as experience in implementation, as well as changes in the external environment, might entail the need for revision at appropriate times, as foreseen in Part III of the document.

43. The Council concurred with the view of the Programme and Finance Committees that a Summary Version of the Strategic Framework should be prepared after its approval by the Conference, in order to facilitate the dissemination of its key messages to broader audiences. Some Members regretted that no Executive Summary was presented during Council.

Conclusions

44. The Council emphasized that Version 4.0 was the culmination of an extensive process of analysis, consultation, choices, compromise and wide-ranging discussions among Members, in line with the directives of the last Conference. The Council agreed to transmit Version 4.0 of the Strategic Framework to the Conference and noted the comments made by several Members on Version 4.0, which would be taken into consideration by the Conference.

45. In view of the document's potential for strengthening a common sense of purpose among the FAO membership, and fostering continued commitment to the mandate and goals of the Organization, the Council stressed the desirability of consensus approval of a Strategic Framework by the Conference.

46. Noting that further views would be expressed by Members during forthcoming discussions at the Conference, the Council expressed the hope that the strong spirit of compromise shown by Members throughout the process would permit the achievement of an agreed text.

REPORT OF THE JOINT MEETING OF THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE AND THE FINANCE COMMITTEE
(ROME, SEPTEMBER 1999)12

47. The Council took note of the two issues addressed by the Joint Meeting, besides the Strategic Framework and the Programme of Work and Budget. These were: the "regional dimensions to budgeting and implementation reporting in FAO" and the "possible reform of the General Debate at the Conference", as part of the standing item on Savings and Efficiencies in Governance. On the first point, the Council agreed with the Committees' view that accounting for expenditures on a regional basis was not a practical proposition. On the second point, the Council noted that the Committees had postponed consideration of the matter until the following year.

REPORT OF THE EIGHTY-SECOND SESSION OF
THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE
(ROME, SEPTEMBER 1999)
13

48. The Council recognized that the Programme Committee had addressed two important topics, in addition to the usual detailed review of the Programme of Work and Budget proposals and consideration of JIU documents.

49. The Council particularly welcomed the timely discussion of an enhanced evaluation regime in the Organization, given the introduction of the Strategic Framework and the broader application of the new programming model. It noted that this discussion was based on a comprehensive set of proposals prepared at the Committee's own request, and was pleased to observe that these had been endorsed, including the conduct of impact assessment wherever feasible, and the availability of adequate resources for evaluation, as well as the reintroduction of an auto-evaluation system as a built-in element of programme management throughout FAO.

50. Following the Committee's recommendation, the Council agreed with the modified arrangements for reporting of evaluation results to Governing Bodies. It concurred in particular with the fact that the Programme Committee should henceforth be the prime recipient of evaluation reports to be generally spread over the two sessions in the first year of the biennium. The Council was satisfied that a more concise Programme Evaluation Report summarizing those reports reviewed by the Committee would be submitted to the Council and Conference in the second year of each biennium. It also welcomed the intended involvement of its Technical Committees in considering evaluation reports of relevance to their respective mandates.

51. As regards the second topic, the Council took note of the Committee's review of a Progress Report on Gender Mainstreaming in FAO. Given the reported uneven progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action on Women-in-Development adopted by the FAO Conference, it endorsed the Committee's recommendations, including the call for adequate attention to this important cross-sectoral priority and stressed the importance to put in place effective supportive mechanisms and monitoring arrangements throughout the Organization.

Tribute to Dr Bommer14

52. The Council expressed its appreciation to Dr D.F.R. Bommer for his work as Chairperson of the Programme Committee and several Joint Meetings of the Programme and Finance Committees.

REPORT OF THE NINETY-THIRD SESSION OF
THE FINANCE COMMITTEE (ROME, SEPTEMBER 1999)
15

Financial Position of the Organization16

53. The Council considered the financial position of the Organization at 10 November 1999 which compared favorably with that of recent years at the same date. Sixty-nine Members had paid their current assessments in full while a further twenty-five Members had made partial payment, whereas eighty-one had made no payment towards their 1999 assessment. The Council expressed concern over the high level of arrears outstanding and noted that thirty-eight Members owed arrears in such amounts as could cause them to lose their right to vote at the Thirtieth Session of the Conference. While appreciating the often difficult financial situations of some countries, emphasis was nonetheless placed on the importance of all Members, irrespective of size, to honor their financial obligations towards the Organization. The Council urged all Members to pay their contributions in full in order to enable the Organization to continue to fulfil its mandate.

Scale of Contributions 2000-2001

54. The Council reviewed the hypothetical scale provided in document CL 117/4 illustrating the potential impact on the assessments of individual Members of a possible reduction in the ceiling rate from 25 percent to 22 percent for the year 2000. This information was provided in accordance with the request made by one Member at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session. It noted that, in the absence of more specific data, this theoretical scale had been calculated by pro-rating the assessment rates of the United Nations Scale of Assessments for the calendar year 2000 and could, therefore, only be considered indicative of the effects of a reduction of the maximum assessment rate from 25 to 22 percent. One Member stated its intention to present a resolution to the Thirtieth Session of the Conference regarding the Scale of Assessments for 2000-2001. Another Member noted that any reduction in the ceiling rate would lead to an increase in the assessments of other Member Nations.

Other Matters Arising Out of the Report

55. The Council noted that the Finance Committee had approved several budgetary transfers under Financial Regulation 4.5. While recognizing the need for doing so, the Council regretted the need to effect transfers from Chapter 2, which represented the core substantive work of the Organization, to the administrative activities of Chapters 5 and 6. It urged the Secretariat to manage the Organization's affairs so as to minimize or preferably eliminate such transfers in the future.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL MATTERS

REPORT OF THE SEVENTIETH SESSION OF THE
COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL MATTERS
(ROME, SEPTEMBER 1999)
17

56. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Seventieth Session of the CCLM.

Agreement for the Establishment of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution

57. The Council adopted the following Resolution:

Resolution 1/117

Agreement for the Establishment of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI)

THE COUNCIL,

Recalling that a draft agreement for the establishment of a regional commission for fisheries to replace the Committee for the Development and Management of the Fisheries Resources of the Gulfs (the Gulfs Committee), subsidiary body of the FAO Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC), was submitted to a technical Meeting, convened in accordance with Article XIV.3(a) of the FAO Constitution, which met in Teheran from 3 to 5 May 1998;

Noting that when abolishing the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission and all its subsidiary bodies, at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session, in June 1999, the Council encouraged the Gulfs Committee to proceed with the process for its establishment as an Article XIV body under the FAO Constitution;

Taking note that the draft agreement was further considered by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its Seventieth Session held in September 1999;

Having examined the text of the draft Agreement for the Establishment of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) as submitted to the Council by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters;

Approves, in accordance with Article XIV-2(a) of the Constitution of FAO, the text of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) reproduced as Appendix D to this Report for submission to Members concerned with a view to their acceptance.

(Adopted on 11 November 1999)

Amendments to the Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and Pacific Region

58. The Council approved two sets of amendments to the Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and Pacific Region, (Appendices E-G), and agreed that such amendments did not involve new obligations for the Contracting Governments and they should therefore come into force with respect to all Contracting Governments as from the thirtieth day after acceptance by two-thirds of the Contracting Governments. The Council noted the request by the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission, representing the Contracting Governments to the Agreement, to the Director-General, as Depositary of the Agreement, not to circulate the second set of amendments providing for the deletion of the detailed Measures to Exclude South American Leaf Blight of Hevea from the Region, set out in Article XIV and Appendix B of the Agreement (Appendix F of this Report), until such time as a satisfactory regional standard on South American Leaf Blight of Hevea has been adopted by the Commission.

Cooperation Agreement with the Intergovernmental Organization for Marketing Information and Cooperation Services for Fishery Products in Africa (INFOPĘCHE)

59. The Council approved the Cooperation Agreement (Appendix H) and agreed to transmit it to the Conference at its Thirtieth Session for confirmation.

Cooperation Agreement with the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO)

60. The Council approved the Cooperation Agreement (Appendix I) and agreed to transmit it to the Conference at its Thirtieth Session for confirmation.

Cooperation Agreement with the Centre for Marketing Information and Advisory Services for Fishery Products in Latin America and the Caribbean (INFOPESCA)

61. The Council approved the Cooperation Agreement (Appendix J) and agreed to transmit it to the Conference at its Thirtieth Session for confirmation.

Amendment of Financial Regulations 6.9 and 7.1 to provide for the Establishment of a Revolving Fund for FAO Products and Related Services (other than Information Products)

62. The Council endorsed the draft amendments to the Financial Regulations recommended by the CCLM and agreed to forward to the Conference, for adoption, the following Draft Resolution dealing with those amendments and the amendments to Financial Regulation 9.1 (Arrangements for Review of Investments of the FAO Reserve Funds) and to paragraph 5 of the Annex to the Financial Regulations (Additional Terms of Reference Governing External Audit) endorsed by the Council at its Hundred and Fifteen Session in November 1998:

Draft Resolution for the Conference

Amendment of Financial Regulations 6.9, 7.1, 9.1 and
Paragraph 5 of the Annex to the Financial Regulations

THE CONFERENCE,

Recalling that the Council, at its Hundred and Seventeen Session in November 1999, on the recommendation of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its Seventieth Session in September 1999, approved amendments to Financial Regulation 6.9 and 7.1 to provide for the establishment of a Revolving Fund for FAO Products and Related Services (Other than Information Products), as set out in the Report of the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council18;

Taking into account that, regarding the establishment of a Revolving Fund for FAO Products and Related Services (Other than Information Products), the Finance Committee, at its Ninety-third Session in September 199919, noted that the development of such FAO innovated products should continue to be related to the achievement of the institutional objectives of the Organization, that the Organization should not be tempted to duplicate the role of the private commercial sector and that arrangements for the exploitation of such products should be in line with the aims of the Organization, such as ensuring that such products are made widely available to developing countries or sectors at accessible prices;

Taking also into account the wish expressed by the Finance Committee to monitor the implementation of the new revolving fund and to receive periodical reports to that effect, and the desirability of avoiding the proliferation of separate Funds;

Considering, in this context, that the experience in the implementation of the proposed new fund might demonstrate the eventual need to streamline the provisions of Financial Regulation 6.9 relating to revolving funds;

Recalling further that the Council, at its Hundred and Fifteen Session in November 1998 , on the recommendation of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its Sixty-Eighth Session in September 199820, approved amendments to Financial Regulation 9.1 regarding arrangements for review of investments of the FAO Reserve Fund, as well as amendments of paragraph 5 of the Annex to the Financial Regulations to change the format of the External Audit opinion, as set out in the Report of the Hundred and Fifteen Session of the Council21;

Adopts the following amendments to the Financial Regulations:

Regulation VI - Funds

6.9 There shall be established

(a) an Information Products Revolving Fund to which shall be credited the proceeds of sales of information products and the revenue from advertising in and sponsorship of such products, except that where extra-budgetary funds are used to finance those information products, the proceeds of sales may be credited to such funds. The Fund shall be used only for the following purposes:

  1. to meet the direct costs of reproducing those information products for the sale of which there is a demand or reproducing new information products;

  2. to pay, from within the resources available to the Fund, the direct costs, including costs of human resources and equipment, not covered by the Programme of Work and Budget, required for the sale and marketing of all such information products; and

  3. to credit the originating divisions with such proportion of the proceeds credited to the Fund, up to 20 percent thereof, as may be determined by the Director-General, to be utilized within the biennium in which it is credited.

Any balance at the end of each financial period in excess of such sums as may be approved by the Finance Committee to cover commitments in respect of expenditures proposed by the Director-General for the following biennium shall be transferred to Miscellaneous Income.

(b) a Revolving Fund for FAO Products and Related Services other than Information Products to which shall be credited the proceeds of sales of such products as well as proceeds derived from licensing and other arrangements for their use, except that where extra-budgetary funds are used to finance the development of such products, such proceeds may be credited to such funds. The Fund shall be used only for the following purposes:

  1. to meet the direct costs of maintaining and further developing such products and making them widely available, and for developing new products;

  2. to pay for direct costs of the production, sale and marketing of all such products, and protection of the property rights of these products.

Any balance at the end of each financial period in excess of such sums as may be approved by the Finance Committee to cover commitments in respect of expenditures proposed by the Director-General for the following biennium shall be transferred to Miscellaneous Income.

Regulation VII - Other income

7.1 Contributions from Associate Members and all receipts other than:

(a) contributions from Member Nations to the budget

(b) direct refunds of expenditures made during the financial period;

(c) advances by Member Nations to the Working Capital Fund or deposits to Trust and Special Funds and other receipts directly related to those funds; and

(d) proceeds of sales of information products and the revenue from advertising in and sponsorship of such products, and proceeds of sales of FAO products and related services, other than information products, developed by FAO, and proceeds derived from licensing and other arrangements for their use,

shall be classified as Miscellaneous Income, for credit to the General Fund. Interest or other income derived from any Trust or Special Fund accepted by the Organization shall be credited to the fund to which it relates, unless provided for otherwise by the terms of the applicable Trust or Special Fund agreement.

Regulation IX - Investment of funds

9.1 The Director-General may invest moneys not needed for immediate requirements seeking, wherever practicable, the advice of an Advisory Committee on Investments composed of not less than three and not more than five members appointed by the Director-General from persons outside the Organization having substantial experience in the financial sector. The investment of moneys standing to the credit of any trust fund, reserve or special account shall be subject to any directives of the appropriate authority.

Paragraph 5 of the Annex to the Financial Regulation

5. The External Auditor shall express and sign an opinion on the financial statements. The opinion shall include the following basic elements:

a) the identification of the financial statements audited;

b) a reference to the responsibility of the entity's management and the responsibility of the auditor;

c) a reference to the audit standards followed;

d) a description of the work performed;

e) an expression of opinion on the financial statements as to whether:

- the financial statements present fairly the financial position as at the end of the period and the results of the operations for the period;
- the financial statements were prepared in accordance with the stated accounting policies; and
- the accounting policies were applied on a basis consistent with that of the preceding financial period;

f) an expression of opinion on the compliance of transactions with the financial regulations and legislative authority;

g) the date of the opinion;

h) the external auditor's name and position; and

i) should it be necessary, a reference to the report of the External Auditor on the financial statements.

Use of Gender-Neutral Language in the Basic Texts

63. The Council agreed to transmit the following Draft Resolution to the Conference for adoption:

Draft Resolution for the Conference

Use of Gender-Neutral Language in The Basic Texts

THE CONFERENCE,

Noting the importance of gender-neutral language in the constitutive documents of the Organization;

Noting, however, the technical impact and the expenses that would be incurred by amending the entire Basic Texts;

Noting the views and recommendations of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters as expressed at its Seventieth Session in September 1999;

Resolves that in the Basic Texts, in accordance with the generally accepted rules of interpretation, the use of one gender shall be considered as including a reference to the other unless the context otherwise requires.

AMENDMENT TO THE STAFF REGULATIONS22

64. The Council noted that the proposed amendment to the Staff Regulations was being submitted to it at the request of the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), in line with her delegated authority for personnel management relating to the Programme.

65. The Council was informed that WFP had been conducting a review of its personnel policies. The review concluded, inter alia, that WFP should introduce an indefinite appointment for its staff, i.e. an appointment that did not carry a precise date of expiry. This appointment was already used, and being generalized, at UNHCR - for which it was instituted initially at the United Nations - whose activities were similar to those of WFP. The appointment was felt to be more in line with the nature of WFP, as a Programme financed by voluntary contributions and to present a number of other advantages for WFP and its staff. In this regard, the Council noted further that a number of UN Agencies and Programmes engaged in relief activities were considering generalizing the use of this appointment.

66. The Council noted that under Article VII.6 of the General Regulations of WFP, the Executive Director was required to administer the staff of WFP, in accordance with FAO Staff Regulations and Rules and such special rules as might be established by the Executive Director, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of FAO. Thus, as the FAO Staff Regulations did not provide for indefinite appointments, a limited amendment to the Staff Regulations was required, making it possible for the Executive Director of WFP to offer indefinite appointments to its staff.

67. As the amendment to the Staff Regulations for WFP staff members was being adopted, stress was placed on the importance of ensuring that this kind of measure should not harm the pursuit of more equitable staff contracting, especially as regarded the balance between the various regions and countries within them.

68. The Council took due note of the fact that the new provision would not apply to FAO staff. The indefinite appointment would be introduced in WFP with respect to staff in the Professional and Higher categories, from grades P-1 to D-1. When introducing the new appointment type, the acquired rights of serving staff would be respected.

69. The Council concurred with the proposal and approved the amendment to the FAO Staff Regulations to be promulgated by the Director-General.

OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL MATTERS

Invitations to Non-Member Nations to Attend FAO Sessions23

70. In accordance with paragraphs B-1 and B-2 of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations"24, the Council agreed that the Russian Federation attend as an observer the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the FAO Council.

71. The Council was also informed that since its Hundred and Sixteenth Session (Rome, 14 to 19 June 1999), the Director-General, on so being requested, had extended an invitation to the Russian Federation to attend as an observer the High Level Consultation on Rural Women and Information, Rome, 4 to 6 October 1999 (SDW-801).

Applications for Membership in the Organization25

72. The Council was informed of the applications for membership received from the Governments of San Marino, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Kiribati.

73. Pending a decision by the Conference on these applications 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 applicant countries to participate, in an observer capacity, to the present Council session, as well as regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to them.

 

OTHER MATTERS

AMENDMENT TO WFP GENERAL RULE XIII.1: CONTRIBUTIONS26

74. The Council had before it for information a document on Amendment to WFP General Rule XIII.1, and noted that the Rule would henceforth read as follows:

    General Rule XIII.1: Contributions
    Contributions may be:
    (a) pledged at conferences convened jointly by the Secretary-General and the Director-General and shall aim at such target and for such pledging periods as may from time to time be set by the Board;
    (b) announced during periodic resource consultations;
    (c) committed on an ad hoc basis by donor governments and bilateral institutions;
    (d) made in response to appeals;
    (e) through other fund-raising activities, including in the private sector; and
    (f) made in any other manner as may be determined by the General Assembly of the United Nations and the FAO Conference.

HIGH-LEVEL CONSULTATION ON RURAL WOMEN AND INFORMATION27

75. The Council noted that document CL 117/INF/13, Report on the High-level Consultation on Rural Women and Information, would be submitted to the Thirtieth Session of the FAO Conference, for information.

CALENDAR OF FAO GOVERNING BODIES AND OTHER MAIN SESSIONS (1998-99)28

76. The Council decided that its Hundred and Eighteenth Session would be convened on 24 November 1999 at FAO Headquarters.

___________________________________

1.  CL 117/1-Rev.1; CL 117/INF/1-Rev.1; CL 117/INF/6; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

2.  CL 117/INF/9; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

3.  C 99/16; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

4.  CL 117/INF/9; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

5.  CL 117/INF/9; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

6.  C 99/INF/10; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

7.  C 99/14; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

8.   C 99/INF/20-Rev.1; CL 116/REP; CL 116/PV; CL 117/PV/2; CL 117/PV/3; CL 117/PV/5.

9.  CL 117/INF/10; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

10. C 99/3; C 99/3-Corr.1; C 99/3-Corr.2 (Chinese and English only); CL 117/2 (paras 20 to 29); CL 117/3 (paras 8 to 42); CL 117/4 (paras 5 to 10); CL 117/LIM/3; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/2; CL 117/PV/5.

11. C 99/12; C 99/12-Sup.1; CL 117/2 (paras 9 to 19); CL 117/PV/3; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

12. CL 117/2; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

13. CL 117/3; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

14. CL 117/PV/4.

15. CL 117/LIM/1; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

16. CL 117/LIM/1; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

17. CL 117/5; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

18. CL 117/REP, para 61.

19. CL 117/4 , paras 40-42.

20. CL 115/5.

21. CL 115/REP, paragraphs 88 and 89.

22. CL 117/9; CL 117/INF/16; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

23. CL 117/LIM/2; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

24. See FAO Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L (Appendix)

25. C 99/10; C 99/10-Sup.1; C 99/10-Sup.2; CL 117/PV/1; CL 117/PV/5.

26. CL 117/INF/15; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

27. CL 117/INF/13; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

28. CL 117/INF/8; CL 117/PV/4; CL 117/PV/5.

 


 


APPENDIX A

AGENDA FOR THE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEENTH SESSION OF THE COUNCIL


 

I. INTRODUCTION – PROCEDURE OF THE SESSION

1. Adoption of the Agenda and Timetable

2. Election of three Vice-Chairpersons, and Designation of the Chairperson and Members of the Drafting Committee

II. ACTIVITIES OF FAO

3. Preparations for the Thirtieth Session of the FAO Conference, including:

3.1 Nominations of the Chairperson of the Conference, and of the Chairpersons of the Commissions of the Conference (Recommendations to the Conference)

3.2 Election of the Nominations Committee

3.3 Margarita Lizárraga Medal

4. Outcome of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (Rome, July 1999)

5. Outcome of the Conference on the Multi-Functional Character of Agriculture and Land (Maastricht, September 1999)

6. Regional Representation at the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research)

III. PROGRAMME, BUDGETARY, FINANCIAL
AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

7. Programme of Work and Budget 2000-2001

8. FAO Strategic Framework 2000-2015 (Version 4.0)

9. Report of the Joint Meeting of the Programme Committee and the Finance Committee (Rome, September 1999)

10. Report of the 82nd Session of the Programme Committee (Rome, September 1999)

11. Report of the 93rd Session of the Finance Committee (Rome, September 1999)

11.1 Financial Position of the Organization

11.2 Scale of Contributions 2000-2001

11.3 Other Matters Arising Out of the Report

IV. CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL MATTERS

12. Report of the 70th Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (Rome, September 1999)

13. Amendment to the Staff Regulations

14. Other Constitutional and Legal Matters

14.1 Invitations to Non-Member Nations to Attend FAO Sessions

14.2 Applications for Membership in the Organization

V. OTHER MATTERS

15. Calendar of FAO Governing Bodies and Other Main Sessions (1998-99)

16. Any Other Matters

 


Table of contents Next page