1. The Hundred and Twenty-first Session of the Council was held in Rome from 30 October to 1 November 2001 under the Chairmanship of Sjarifudin Baharsjah, 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 elected three Vice-Chairpersons for its Session: Murray A. Cobban (Australia), Tourad Ould Mohamed Ahid (Mauritania) and Philippe J. Lhuillier (Philippines).
4. The Council elected Nahi Al-Shibani (Syria) as Chairperson of the Drafting Committee with the following membership: Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Madagascar, Peru, Sri Lanka and Syria.
5. In Accordance with Rule VII of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO) the Council agreed to put the following nominations before the Conference:
Chairperson of the Conference:
Saeed Bin Mohammed Al Raqabani (United Arab Emirates)
Chairperson of Commission I:
Acisclo Valladares Molina (Guatemala)
Chairperson of Commission II:
Karl-Josef Weiers (Germany)
6. In accordance with Rule VII GRO the Council agreed to put the following nominations before the Conference:
Francis Montanaro Mifsud (Malta)
Majzoub Al-Kalifa Ahmad (Sudan)
J.N.L. Srivastava (India)
7. In accordance with Rule VII GRO the Council agreed to put the following nominations, provided for by Rule X-1 GRO, before the Conference:
Congo (Republic of)
| Iran (Islamic Republic of)
United States of America
8. The Council recalled that the Director-General had proposed that, due to force majeure, the arrangements for the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) be postponed and that Council Members had agreed to the postponement.
9. The Director-General's proposal for new dates for the WFS:fyl and related events in June 2002, with the rationale for the proposal and its financial implications, was covered in document CL 121/LIM/3. While many Members supported the proposal by the Director-General, some Members expressed concern that other options could have been submitted to the Membership.
10. Council Members appreciated that the proposal followed the approach of building on and creating synergies with already-budgeted meetings. They noted that it was proposed to advance the dates of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) already scheduled for September to June 2002. This would make available to the WFS:fyl the results of the first full cycle of reporting by the CFS on the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action. The CFS session would provide the occasion for the Open-ended Working Group established by the Council at its Hundred and Twentieth Session in June 2001, to finalize the draft outcome document of the WFS:fyl. Concerns were expressed regarding the effects of the proposal on the 2002 Session of the Committee on World Food Security, especially with respect to the preparation of the national reports on the commitments in the World Food Summit Plan of Action. In order for the CFS to receive the inputs from all the Regional Conferences scheduled in 2002, the Asia and Pacific Regional Conference would need to be brought forward to an earlier date. In this connection, the Council noted that such arrangements would provide an opportunity for taking into account the contribution of NGOs/CSOs.
11. With regard to the financial implications, the Council recognized that some costs had been incurred in 2001 in connection with activities already undertaken. The Council welcomed the proposal to shorten the World Food Summit: five years later to four days. It noted that the direct meeting costs to be incurred in 2002 related to the convening of the Open-ended Working Group and to the event itself, and that some of these costs would be offset by shortening the CFS Session.
12. The Council was unanimous in its determination to ensure the best possible conditions for the full success of the WFS:fyl, maintaining the basic purpose and principles originally agreed. It expressed its firm conviction that the rescheduling of the WFS:fyl and related events should maintain the momentum generated by the preparatory process in 2001 and ensure that the issue of food security remained high on the international agenda.
13. The Council underlined the need to reach the broadest possible agreement on the arrangements for the postponed WFS:fyl. After hearing the views expressed by different Members, the Council considered that there was a need for further deliberation, and decided to establish an informal consultation among regional groups, in order to facilitate an open exchange and full understanding of the issues among FAO Members, with a view to reaching consensus.
14. The consultation received clarification regarding the fact that the WFS:fyl was proposed as a separate meeting back-to-back with the CFS, so as to be able to approve its own final outcome; that its rules of procedure would need to be adapted to the particular nature of the participation in the WFS:fyl which would include non-FAO Members; and that the use of the term "resolution" to designate the outcome of the WFS:fyl could now be reconsidered, as the event would no longer be a segment of the FAO Conference. The consultation was also satisfied with the explanations presented by the Secretariat concerning the financial implications specified in the document.
15. After a thorough examination of the issues and of other possible options presented by various delegations, the consultation reached consensus on the dates of the WFS:fyl and on the rescheduling of related events, and it made clear that the venue of the meeting would be FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.
16. Accordingly, the Council approved the proposal for the convening of WFS:fyl from 10 to 13 June 2002, according to the arrangements outlined in CL 121/LIM/3 as further clarified above. It also agreed to reschedule the Twenty-eighth Session of the CFS to 6 to 8 June 2002, and requested the Secretariat to consult with the Host Country of the Asia and Pacific Regional Conference, to reconsider the timing of the Conference to a suitable date prior to the CFS.
17. The Council decided not to reconvene the Open-ended Working Group at its present session, and delegated to the Committee on World Food Security the responsibility to reconvene the Group on behalf of the Council, and to receive and forward to the WFS:fyl the outcome of the work of the Group.
18. The Council noted that the present Report represented the first such report under the revised evaluation regime in the context of the Strategic Framework and the new programme model, which the Council approved in November 1999. The Report was in a new, concise format, providing summaries of the individual evaluations and reviews which had been considered by the Programme Committee during the biennium. It included the comments of the Committee which was now the primary recipient of all individual evaluations and thematic reviews. The Council welcomed the Report in its new format and appreciated the improvements made in evaluation reporting to the Governing Bodies. It also appreciated the pro-active role played by the Programme Committee in enhancing the use of evaluation in the Organization, including advising the Director-General on evaluation topics, reviewing the quality of individual evaluations and in promoting management follow-up actions to issues and recommendations. The Council also welcomed the topics included in this Report, and expressed interest in the new set of topics the Programme Committee had suggested for coverage in the next two biennia.
19. The Council stressed the importance of evaluation in the Organization as a key management tool. While it was generally satisfied with the progress being made by the Secretariat in this field, it also endorsed the Programme Committee's call for further improvement in the analysis of programme results and impact. In this connection, it underlined the continuing need to ensure the independence of the evaluation function, while ensuring effective integration of evaluation results into the programme management process. On this basis, the Council decided to forward the Programme Evaluation Report 2001 to the Conference for its deliberation.
20. The Council considered the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) proposals for the 2002-2003 biennium, with the benefit of the comments of the Programme and Finance Committees.
21. The Council appreciated the clarity of the document, recalling that more details were available for consultation on FAO's Website, as per established practice. It invited further efforts in this direction, so as to make the document as concise as possible. The Council underlined the pertinence of adding a section on Regional Dimensions, as well as the expanded explanations of the links with extra-budgetary funded activities. While welcoming the comprehensive information provided on the two scenarios included in the document, i.e. Real Growth and Zero Real Growth, some Members expressed regret at the lack of a Zero Nominal Growth scenario, as they had requested.
22. Some Members requested that the Secretariat develop preliminary information on PWB proposals and submit this information to the Committees on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
23. The Council observed that, for the first time, the new programme model had been comprehensively applied to the PWB proposals which had been developed using the Planning Framework endorsed by the Conference. They were in particular consistent with the orientations in the Strategic Framework 2000-2015, and with the substance of the Medium Term Plan 2002-20077 which the Council itself had endorsed at its Session in November 2000. The Council also welcomed the coverage of the Priority Areas for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIAs) selected in the Medium Term Plan. However, it requested that consideration be given to including the budgetary aspects of the Strategies to Address Cross-organizational Issues in the next version of the PWB.
24. Among key aspects, the Council noted the beneficial impact of the forward purchase contract of Euro requirements for 2002-03, as entered into in July 2001. It observed that this action had especially removed the uncertainty linked to fluctuating exchange rates, and also significantly reduced the cost increase estimate for the next biennium. The Council noted that the Finance Committee had reviewed and endorsed the cost increases calculations, as well as the assumptions on which these were based. In order to address monetary uncertainty deriving from foreign exchange fluctuations, some Members requested that the question of the adoption of the Euro as the functional accounting currency should be examined by the Finance Committee.
25. The Council noted that a number of changes had been introduced since the Summary Programme of Work and Budget it had considered in June. In particular, it welcomed the increases in the relative share of the fisheries and forestry programmes, while also expressing the view that these increases should have been even higher.
26. Many Members indicated priority areas such as the above-mentioned areas of fisheries and forestry, the Technical Cooperation Programme, agricultural production improvement programmes, work on genetic resources, animal health and EMPRES, food safety and Codex standards, the IPPC, FIVIMS, Gender Mainstreaming, addressing the negative impact of HIV/AIDS, assistance to Members on the Multilateral Trade Negotiations, the SPFS and FAOSTAT. At the same time, it was underlined that the requirements for an effective administrative infrastructure of the Organization should not be overlooked.
27. In reiterating the importance of a reinvigorated Field Programme, especially in order to reverse the declines in the delivery of non-emergency field activities experienced in the recent past, the Council called for further determined efforts in this direction, including the active involvement of the decentralized offices in the development of sound regional and country proposals, worthy of support by the donor community. At the same time, the Council re-emphasised the need to maintain an appropriate balance between normative and operational activities.
28. In noting the measures planned to ensure a more balanced use of FAO languages in the work of the Organization, the Council stressed the need to pursue more serious efforts in this area, including in relation to WAICENT and FAO's Website, and looked forward to further progress in the next biennium.
29. The Council recalled that the Conference had adopted in 1999 a Resolution for the use of arrears for specific purposes in the event of a significant payment by the main contributor in the current biennium, but the validity of which would lapse at the end of 2001. As this payment was very likely to materialise in the next biennium, the Council noted the updated Resolution prepared by the Secretariat on the subject, noting that it proposed use of arrears for broadly similar purposes, and recommended it for consideration by the next Conference.
30. In relation to the budget level, many Members supported the Real Growth proposal, which they considered the only way forward for FAO to be able to respond adequately to expressed requirements. They stressed the problems experienced in various regions, and the urgency of pursuing concerted action to achieve the commitments made at the World Food Summit. In underlining the resulting pressing demands for FAO's assistance and services, they considered that it was not possible to expect further efficiency savings of sufficient magnitude to generate the resources needed. They emphasised the important role of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) in this context of high demands.
31. Other Members supported Zero Nominal Growth (ZNG). They felt that this was achievable at this juncture not only in view of the favourable impact of exchange rates, but also by seeking further savings and efficiencies, e.g. through further administrative streamlining and technological innovations. They also stressed the need to focus FAO's work on areas of recognised comparative advantage. Some of these Members recalled the current domestic difficulties which led to their Governments' support of ZNG, an objective which some were also seeking throughout the UN System as a matter of policy.
32. The view was expressed that the ZRG scenario was only marginally greater than ZNG.
33. The Council noted that the capacity of the Organization to give justice to a number of important activities appeared to be contingent on the budget level to be approved eventually by the Conference.
34. Other Members did not express a firm preference for a given level at this stage, but expressed the view that the budget level should be considered in relation to the content of programmes and priorities proposed.
35. In recognizing the range of positions still prevailing on the budget level, the Council expressed the hope that a consensus position could be achieved during consideration of the Programme of Work and Budget proposals by the Conference in the following week.
36. The Council welcomed the fact that the Programme and Finance Committees had kept the evolution of FAO's field activities under close scrutiny and would continue doing so, in view of the interest of the whole Membership in a reinvigorated Field Programme. Among key aspects in this direction, the Council reiterated the importance of concentrating the Field Programme in these areas of comparative advantage with clear linkages to the Strategic Framework endorsed by the Conference; of seeking further competitiveness and increased efficiency; of ensuring an active dialogue with donors; and of facilitating the effective participation of FAO Offices in system-wide, country-level programming exercises.
37. As regarded savings and efficiencies in governance, the Council recalled that this was a standing item on the Committees' agenda, as mandated by the Council itself, and it noted that the Committees would continue to address issues within their mandate as appropriate.
38. The Council endorsed the Report of the Committee, bearing in mind that this Session was mainly involved with evaluation matters and the Programme of Work and Budget 2002-2003, and that the Committee's comments thereon were taken up in connection with the pertinent items on the Council agenda.
39. The Council considered the financial position of the Organisation at 23 October 2001, which compared favourably with that of recent years at the same date. The Council noted, however, that 82 Member Nations had made no payment towards their 2001 assessments. In addition, 82 Member Nations still had arrears outstanding from 2000 and previous years and 53 owed arrears in such amounts as would prejudice their right to vote at the Thirty-first Session of the Conference. While appreciating the often-difficult financial situations of some countries, emphasis was nonetheless placed on the importance of all Member Nations, irrespective of size, to honour their financial obligations towards the Organization. The Council urged all Member Nations to pay their contributions in full and on time in order to enable the Organization to continue to fulfil its mandate.
40. The Council recalled that at its Hundred and Twentieth Session in June 2001, it had considered the proposed Scale of Contributions for 2002-2003 (document CL 120/15-Add.1). While many Members of the Council had been prepared to recommend this Scale to Conference, other Members had expressed concern that transitional measures should be applied when introducing it, as was the case at the United Nations for 2001. Other Members had also expressed concern regarding the criteria used by the United Nations Committee on Contributions to establish the level of assessments upon which the FAO Scale of Contributions was based.
41. The Council further recalled that, in light of the diversity of views expressed, it had concluded at its Session in June 2001 that it would be unable to reach a consensus on the Scale of Contributions in the same Session. It had, therefore, requested that the Secretariat prepare an Explanatory Paper on the Criteria Used to Establish the UN Scale of Assessments for the September 2001 Session of the Finance Committee and that following the Finance Committee Session, a briefing on the matter for interested Permanent Representatives in Rome should be organized.
42. The Council noted that in accordance with its request, the Ninety-seventh Session of the Finance Committee had considered the Explanatory Paper prepared by the Secretariat on the criteria used to establish the UN Scale of Assessments; had agreed that the paper should be forwarded to the Permanent Representatives in Rome; and had recommended that the Secretariat should provide a briefing on the matter to interested Representatives, providing the following additional information:
43. The Secretariat also explained to Council Members that the briefings requested by the Council had been duly provided during the month of October.
44. The Council, decided to recommend that the Conference adopt the Scale in document CL 120/15-Add.1.
45. The Council endorsed the following enabling resolution for transmittal to the Conference, as contained in paragraph 36 of the Report of the Ninety-sixth Session of the Finance Committee presented at the Hundred and Twentieth Session of the Council (Rome, 18-23 June 2001):
Having noted the recommendations of the Hundred and Twenty-first Session of the Council,
Confirming that as in the past, FAO should follow the United Nations Scale of Assessments subject to adaptation for the different membership of FAO,
46. The Council took note that several Members were not in agreement with the proposed Scale, given the increase in contributions for many of the developing countries. The Council recommended the setting up of a Working Group to study ways of alleviating the burden on Members as a result of changes in the Scale of Contributions.
47. The Council endorsed the following Draft Resolution for transmittal to the Conference:
Having considered the report of the Hundred and Twenty-first Session of the Council,
Having noted the unfunded liability for past services,
Having noted the progress made to date in funding the liability for After-Service Medical Coverage (ASMC) since the application of the Conference Resolution 10/99,
Approves to extend the application of Conference Resolution 10/99 to cover the Termination Payments liability in the event that the liability for ASMC becomes fully funded, so that
48. The Council was informed that the ICSC reviewed the Salary Survey Report submitted by the Secretariat at its Fifty-third Session (June 2001), and recommended to the Director-General of FAO a Revised Salary Scale (Appendix E) for the General Service Category which showed an across-the-board increase of 4.25 percent in net salary. The Director-General agreed with the conclusions of the ICSC and recommended the adoption of the Commission's recommendation.
49. The Council noted that the Finance Committee had endorsed this recommendation and approved its adoption with implementation effective 1 November 2000.
Report on Human Resources Management Issues
50. The Council welcomed the Report and noted the many challenges facing the Organization in the coming years, in particular, the issue of retirement of key personnel and other demographic changes, the need to remain competitive and the importance of improved performance management.
51. The Council welcomed the Organization's review of the policy on employment of spouses and it recalled that in the recruitment process the paramount consideration for FAO lay in the candidates' technical skills and competence, although gender and geographic balance were also important factors.
52. The Council noted the crucial importance of an efficient and functioning human resources management information system and, in this regard stressed the importance of providing adequate resources for the Oracle HR Project.
53. The Council noted that the Finance Committee had requested that a Progress Report on Human Resources Management Issues be submitted at its next Session.
Strengthening of FAO's Response to Emergency
54. The Council reviewed the proposal to convert the Special Relief Operations Service (TCOR) into a new Division for Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation (TCE), including the establishment of a Division Director (D-2) and a Service Chief post (D-1) for programmes in Iraq. The Council approved the proposal, which called for no additional resources from the Regular Programme.
55. The Council noted concerns expressed that the Finance Committee was not being allowed sufficient time for its work.
56. The Council considered and adopted the Report of the Seventy-second Session of the CCLM.
57. The Council adopted the Amendments to the Agreement for the Establishment of a Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Eastern Region of its Distribution Area in South-West Asia attached to this Report as Appendix F.
58. The Council approved the proposed Agreement with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development attached to this Report as Appendix G and recommended its transmission to the Conference for confirmation.
59. The Council agreed that the question of the arrears of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia be decided at a future Session of the Council in the light of the decision taken at the United Nations and upon advice of the CCLM and the Finance Committee, subject to confirmation by the Conference at its first subsequent Session.
60. The Chairperson of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Ambassador Gerbasi (Venezuela), who had chaired the Open-ended Working Group established by the Council to negotiate the outstanding issues that remained in brackets in the text of the revised International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (entitled the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture), reported on the results of its work. He expressed satisfaction that all brackets had been removed, except in the case of two linked definitions - "plant genetic resources for food and agriculture" and "genetic material" - where one Member had opposed the removal of the brackets, and Article 12.3.d, where the two options had been reduced to a single text in brackets. Some Members expressed their unresolved concerns with the text in brackets. Ambassador Gerbasi informed the Council that all the recommendations of the Seventy-second Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) had now been taken into account in the text of the Treaty. He requested the Council to forward to the Thirty-first Session of the Conference, for its final consideration and approval, the text of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the associated resolution.
61. The Council warmly thanked Ambassador Gerbasi for his wise chairmanship, which had allowed great progress to be made in the final phase of the negotiations. The Council also thanked Mr José Esquinas-Alcázar, Secretary of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as well as the Secretariat, for the excellent work done. Many Members informed the Council that informal meetings were still taking place to try to resolve outstanding matters.
62. A concern was expressed that some of the major food crops important for global food security were not included in the List of Crops in Annex I to the Treaty, and that the List should be expanded. One region reiterated its request that other crops and forages should be included in brackets in the List of Crops annexed to the text of the Treaty. One region indicated it maintained a reserve on the text in the Preamble relating to the relationship of the Treaty to other international agreements. Members from more than one region also emphasized the independent nature of this Treaty in relation to other international agreements, and that this Treaty should not be subordinated to them. Members expressed a range of views and concerns regarding the unresolved text in Article 12.3d and the definitions. One Member proposed the insertion in the text of two new provisions: one concerning freedom of contractual opportunity and another on essential security, and noted that the absence of the latter would preclude that country from ratifying the agreement.
63. Many Members pointed out that what was included in the List was sufficient as a starting point, but could be extended by means of negotiations, as what was already included constituted an important donation. Many Members pointed out that a close relationship existed between the scope of the Multilateral System and provisions relating to intellectual property rights, the funding strategy and benefit-sharing arrangements, in ensuring the effective implementation of the Treaty. Members also expressed the need to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Multilateral System with a view to improving its effectiveness.
64. Some Members pointed out that resolving bracketed text harmoniously would contribute to the effective implementation of the Treaty. It would be important to ensure that the new system was workable, unambiguous and promoted innovation for sustainable agriculture and food security.
65. Many Members expressed their opposition to the addition of any new text or brackets in provisions that had already been negotiated.
66. The Council agreed that the Chairperson of the Commission, Ambassador Gerbasi, should present his report and the text of the International Treaty and the associated Resolution to the Thirty-first Session of the Conference.
67. In accordance with paragraphs B-1 and B-2 of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations"19, the Council agreed that the Russian Federation attend as an observer the Hundred and Twenty-first Session of the FAO Council.
68. The Council was informed of the applications for membership received from the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Principality of Monaco.
69. 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, in Council sessions, as well as in regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to them.
70. The Council decided that its Hundred and Twenty-second Session would be convened on 14 November 2001 at FAO Headquarters.
71. The Council was informed of the outcome of the Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland from 1 to 4 October 2001 and jointly organized by FAO and the Government of Iceland with the co-sponsorship of the Government of Norway. It took note of the statements made by some Members supporting the Declaration adopted by the Reykjavik Conference and the concerns expressed by one Member referring to its statement made during the Reykjavik Conference.
72. The Council endorsed the "Reykjavik Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem" and agreed to transmit it to the Thirty-first Session of the Conference for further endorsement.
73. The Council noted the statement by the Chairperson of the Africa Group, Ambassador Costa Ricky Mahalu regarding the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC).
1 CL 121/1-Rev.1; CL 121/INF/1-Rev.1; CL 121/INF/6; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/6.
2 CL 121/INF/9; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/6.
3 C 2001/12-Rev.1; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/6.
4 CL 121/LIM/3; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/4; CL/121/PV/6.
5 C 2001/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
6 C 2001/3, C 2001/3-Corr.1; C 2001/3-Corr.2-Rev.1(Spanish and French only); C 2001/LIM/15; CL 121/PV/3; CL 121/PV/4; CL 121/PV/6.
7 CL 119/17
8 CL 121/2; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
9 CL 121/3; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
10 CL 121/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
11 CL 121/4; CL 121/LIM/1; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
12 CL 121/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
13 CL 121/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
14 CL 121/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
15 CL 121/4; CL 121/PV/2; CL 121/PV/6.
16 CL 121/5; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/6.
17 CL 121/5; CL 121/5-Supp.1; CL 121/5-Supp.1-Corr. 1; CL 121/PV/5; CL 121/PV/6.
18 CL 121/LIM/2; CL 121/PV/1; CL 121/PV/6.
19 See FAO Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L (Appendix)
20 C 2001/10; CL 121/PV/4; CL 121/PV/6.
21 CL 121/INF/8; CL 121/PV/4; CL 121/PV/6.
22 CL 121/PV/4; CL 121/PV/6.
23 CL 121/PV/4; CL 121/PV/6.