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Program Activities

Department of Fisheries

79. The Council reviewed the program activities of the Department of Fisheries (document CL 47/10), together with the comments of the Program Committee (Report of its Eleventh Session, CL 47/29-paras. 65–81 and page 31, paras. 7, 8 and 9). The Council also considered the Report of the First Session of the Committee on Fisheries (CL 47/5).

80. The Council, in general, associated itself with the comments of the Program Committee cited above, and it addressed itself to the two items identified by the Program Committee in paras. 7 and 8 on page 31 of its Report. The first concerned the program implications of the Report of the Committee on Fisheries, and the Council deferred consideration until the Director-General's proposals were presented for the Program of Work and Budget for the Organization as a whole for 1968/69.

81. The second point related to the general structure of the Department of Fisheries concerning marketing, statistics and regional structure. This was held over pending the completion of the work of the Ad Hoc Review Team on the Organizational Structure (see paras. 234 to 238 below).

82. The Council noted the Department's progress with the implementation of its Program of Work and expressed the hope that the Department's pace would not be forced beyond that set by the availability of highly qualified staff.

83. The Council stressed that special emphasis should be given in future planning and programming to training in all its aspects; it noted with satisfaction the success of the FAO/UNDP-SF Deep Sea Fishing Training Center in Pusan, Korea, and also the special studies of training needs being carried out in Africa, the Near East and elsewhere. The Council further stressed the importance of products development, of marketing, of statistics and also of problems of inland fisheries generally and of beneficial transplantation of fish. In these, as in other sectors of the program, the Council felt that a practical approach should be made to the problems of Member Nations.

84. The Council noted the Committee on Fisheries' recommendation to proceed with a world appraisal of fishery resources. It emphasized that this work ought to be based on statistical and economic information which was, however, still very imperfect and needed to be developed. The Council also noted the relevance of this work to the contribution of the Department of Fisheries to the Indicative World Plan. There would be special difficulties in making forward projections because of the common property nature of the resources and the uncertainty of the fishing effort which different nations from different parts of the world might apply to these resources in the future.

85. The Council noted the close liaison with IBRD in identifying and preparing fishery development projects, and hoped that similar joint work would be undertaken with the Regional Banks.

86. The Council felt that some consideration should be given to the mode of presentation of the reports to be submitted to it by the Committee on Fisheries. In the present instance, it agreed that it was convenient to consider this Report in conjunction with the Program Review but this could not be repeated regularly in the future. The Report of the Committee on Fisheries should therefore each year be a separate item on the agenda of the Council.

87. The Council agreed that the Department's programs should in future be presented with more emphasis on objectives. This view had also been expressed by the Committee on Fisheries.

88. The Council gave consideration to the possible overlap of functions between the Technical Committee on Fisheries of the Conference and the Council's own Committee on Fisheries. The Council felt that there was a role to play for each of the Committees and agreed that the matter should be kept under review. The Technical Committee on Fisheries was one of six Conference Committees, open to all Member Nations of FAO, which met immediately before the Conference to review, from the technical viewpoint, the Program of Work presented by the Director-General for the ensuing biennium. The Committee on Fisheries, on the other hand, consisted of thirty Member Nations, which normally met once a year; during the inter-Conference years, it would be able to discuss the Director-General's tentative ideas for the Program of Work for the ensuing biennium before they were formulated and at a time when new ideas and shifts of emphasis could readily be accommodated. The Committee on Fisheries, moreover, was competent to consider in depth urgent international problems in the field of fisheries, which were not being dealt with by other competent international bodies; these were not within the terms of reference of the Technical Committee on Fisheries of the Conference.

89. In commenting on the subsidiary bodies established by the Committee on Fisheries at its First Session, the Council appreciated the urgency of the problems which had to be dealt with respectively by the Sub-Committee on the Development of Co-operation with International Organization concerned with Fisheries, and the Working Party on the Rational Utilization of the Fishery Resources of the Indian Ocean. However, the Council expressed its desire that proliferation of fishery bodies within the structure of FAO be avoided, that such bodies should only be established to meet urgent and patent needs, and that close liaison should be developed and maintained, especially at working level, with existing effective fishery bodies.

90. In the context of regional fishery bodies, the Council felt that the land-based geographical concepts normal in dealing with agricultural problems in FAO were generally not suited to marine fishery problems, and that a different approach in the grouping of countries was necessary; it might therefore be preferable to constitute such bodies in relation to the fisheries of a sea region; and open to membership by all nations having significant fishing interests in the area or the species of fish concerned.

1 For Agenda items 11, 12, 15 and 16 see paras. 202 to 207 and 213 to 216 below. For the Agenda, see Appendix A.

Program and Budgetary Service

91. The Council noted that the responsibilities of the Program and Budgetary Service had increased substantially with the years due to the considerable expansion of FAO's activities and the consequent need to improve co-ordination. This co-ordination had become particularly important in relation to the increasing demand on the part of countries for interdisciplinary projects as well as to the many related activities being carried out by other Specialized Agencies of the United Nations or other intergovernmental or nongovernmental organizations. The Council also reaffirmed its interest in the FAO/IBRD Co-operative Program and in the Joint Program with the Interamerican Development Bank and gave its support to FAO's negotiations aiming at establishing co-operative programs with other regional banks.

92. The Council felt that in view of the great expansion of the responsibilities of the PBS, certain organizational changes may become necessary in the future and suggested therefore that the Ad Hoc Review Committee on the Organization's General Structure as well as the Review Team should devote special attention to the structure of the PBS (see paras. 237 and 241 below).

93. Particularly with reference to the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program, the Council noted the difficulties relating to the number of official and working languages of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In addition to the working languages of FAO, Russian and Chinese were involved because of the participation of non-member countries of FAO. The Council recommended that the Director-General should consult with the Director-General of WHO as to how the additional costs of these languages were to be borne by the Organizations. The Council was also of the view that a more equitable arrangement regarding the sharing of the costs of the Food Standards Program should be arrived at between the two Organizations. The Council further noted that the translation and printing requirements of the Program were increasing significantly and requested that the Director-General should ensure that adequate arrangements were made to meet these needs of the Program.

94. The Council was informed by the Director-General that he had agreed with the Administrator of the UNDP on an experimental basis, to move toward the integration of the offices of FAO's Country Representatives and those of UNDP Resident Representatives. Under this arrangement, the financial implications of which were still subject to the approval of the UNDP Governing Council, a start would be made to place in about ten countries an Agricultural Adviser in the office of the UNDP Resident Representative. The Agricultural Adviser would be appointed jointly by the UNDP Administrator and the Director-General, and would continue to carry out the functions normally attributed to FAO Country Representatives (see para. 241 below).

95. The Council noted the statement by the Representative of the United Nations Development Program in which he emphasized the important role FAO was playing in the field of Development Assistance, the measure of co-operation and co-ordination which had been achieved between the Organization and the UNDP, and the need for continued attention to be given to the most effective utilization of international funds available for technical co-operation and pre-investment assistance (see also paras. 118 to 124 below).

Department of Public Relations and Legal Affairs

96. Conference, Council and other Constitutional Services. The Council considered the activities of the Conference and Operations Branch, the Office of Legal Counsel and the Office of Liaison and Protocol (document CL 47/12) and took note of the comments of the Program Committee on these units (CL 47/4, paras. 36 to 51).

97. The Council noted the observations made by the Program Committee at its Tenth Session regarding the wide scope of the activities and responsibilities of the Office of the Legal Counsel. A special feature of the Legal Counsel's role was that he must always be in a position to give legal opinions, not only to the Director-General, but also to the Conference, the Council and other organs of FAO, in a spirit of complete independence and objectivity. The Council welcomed the fact that the Legal Counsel had always been in a position to do this.

98. The Council considered that a short compendium of important precedents in FAO's procedures and practices over the past twenty years would be useful and suggested that, if necessary, the help of Foundations might be sought (CL 47/4, para 47).

99. Attention was drawn to the desirability of preparing, in addition to conference reports, summary records of FAO's most important technical and regional conferences, subject to the availability of funds.

100. FAO Library. The Council expressed the view that high priority should be given to the FAO Library so as to enable it to service the requirements of the growing activities of the Organization. There should be close association between the Library and the new Documentation Center.

101. Legislation Research Branch. The Council noted the findings and recommendations of the Program Committee which included the deletion of the word “research” from the title of the Branch. The Branch has already been placing more stress on operational activities. While recognizing the usefulness of the Branch's publications of a general and specialized nature, this shift of emphasis in the Branch's activities and its more direct participation in development.

102. Public Information Division. The Council expressed its general agreements with the report of the Eleventh Session of the Program Committee (CL 47/29) and noted that document CL 47/15 prepared by the Secretariat had been duly amended (CL 47/15 Corr. 1) to take into account the discussions of the Program Committee.

103. In regard to Information, the Council recognized that in planning FAO's policy, it was necessary to take into account the different requirements of the developed and developing countries. In the first place, it was necessary to assist developing countries to increase their agricultural output and productivity through the strengthening of their agricultural information services. At the same time, the public in the developed countries needed to be more fully informed of the results obtained in the field with the funds made available under the various multilateral and bilateral development programs designed to raise agricultural output and productivity. Bearing in mind the limited resources at the disposal of FAO for information work, it was essential to strike a balance between these various and often competing requirements. This, in turn, affected the allocation of staff between Headquarters and the Regions, between the various disciplines involved and between the requirements of language.

104. In the field of assistance to developing countries, priority should continue to be given to helping them to introduce and build up farm broadcasting, which was considered to be the most rapid and practical mass communication medium to penetrate the barrier of rural illiteracy. In this connection, the Council noted that there was an urgent need in developing countries for low-powered medium-wave transmitters and economically priced transistorized receivers and stressed the value of village group listening to farm broadcasts. The Council also attached importance to increasing the production of instructional films and other visual aids for the benefit of farmers in the developing countries. While it was financially difficult for FAO to produce educational films of this kind, the Council recommended that FAO should encourage their production by manufacturers of agricultural equipment and inputs together with their dubbing into the various languages and dialects of the developing countries. The possibility should also be explored of assisting developing countries in the exchange of instructional films through the facilities offered by the FAO film library, and in increasing and improving the production of films by such of those countries in which basic facilities were available.

105. The Council commended the success obtained in bringing to the attention of both Governments and general public the gravity of the world food situation and outlook through the recent publication of FAO's 1966 Review of the State of Food and Agriculture. It pointed out, however, the danger of continually stressing the gravity of the world food situation, without giving due emphasis to the result obtained through the implementation of field programs.

106. The Council endorsed the view of the Program Committee of the need to establish a balance in the information output in the three working languages of the Organization and called for further efforts in this respect.

107. The Council noted that an attempt to evaluate the overall impact of FAO's information work would be made for presentation to the Fourteenth Session of the Conference. In this connection, the Council noted that the purpose of analyzing press clippings was primarily to assess the effectiveness of the various information activities undertaken and to help the Director-General in setting priorities and emphases accordingly.

108. Publications Division. The Council considered the work of the Division as described in two documents: CL 47/16 (Program Activities - Publications Division) and CL 47/36 (Program Activities - Documentation Center). The Council also had before it the report of the Eleventh Session of the Program Committee (CL 47/29). It recognized the importance and long-term impact of FAO publications as a source and medium of authoritative worldwide information on agriculture.

109. The Council noted that in recent years several publications had been issued through commercial or other publishers and considered that, as a general rule and irrespective of the substantial savings that might be obtained through co-publishing arrangements, works prepared by the Organization should be published by the Organization itself.

110. At the same time, the Council recognized that in certain instances, when funds were not otherwise available, there was merit in association between the Organization and publishers for the purpose of making available to the interested public the results of technical work sponsored by the Organization. The Council further noted that facilities may be available in extending the use of the publications of the Division among researchers, field workers and farmers.

111. The Council stressed that no change should be made in the present quota system for the supply of publications to Member Governments and was satisfied with existing arrangements for the distribution of documents.

112. The Council noted that expenditure from the Publications Revolving Fund on sales promotion had been justified by the steady increase in the sale of FAO publications.

113. The Council welcomed the measures taken by the Director-General to control the volume of documentation and emphasized that this matter needed continuing attention. It considered that a reduction in the quantity of documentation should be made by setting a maximum word limit not only for the authors of papers prepared for conferences and sessions of statutory bodies but also for reports of such sessions. In addition, the number of conferences and sessions should be reduced (see also paras. 172 to 199 below).

114. The Council agreed with the comments of the Program Committee on translation problems to the effect that the solution to existing difficulties should not be sought by increasing the number of translations, but in the production of a larger number of texts written directly in each of the three working languages. It noted the Director-General's determination to maintain parity among the working languages of the Organization.

115. The Council welcomed the establishment of the Documentation Center, which had been recommended by the Thirteenth Session of the Conference, and that it was collaborating with similar institutions of Member Governments and with other members of the United Nations family. At a later date, when the Documentation Center was fully operative, further consideration should be given it its definitive location within the Organization. Consideration should also be given to establishing regional documentation centers.

116. In reviewing the activities of the Department of Public Relations and Legal Affairs, the Council noted that while the total budget of the Organization had substantially increased in the past years, the share of the Department of Public Relations and Legal Affairs in this budget had declined from 13 percent to 6 percent.

FAO/Industry Co-operative Program

117. The Council noted the report of the Program Committee at its Eleventh Session regarding FAO/Industry Co-operative Program (CL 47/29 paras. 87–95) and agreed with the comments of the Committee.

Future Conference Review of Development Programs 1

118. In accordance with the decision of the Thirteenth Session of the Conference and the Forty-Sixth Session of the Council, the Program Committee had at its Tenth and Eleventh Sessions considered in detail appropriate ways of implementating Resolution 8/65 (documents CL 47/4 and CL 47/29). After weighing all the factors involved, the Program Committee had recommended that for future sessions of the Conference a comprehensive Accountability Report on the Organization's Development Program be prepared, composed of three main chapters as follows: (i) a first part dealing with the main problems and achievements of FAO's field program, including basic statistics and similar information; (ii) a second part containing a series of case histories of field projects; (iii) a concluding chapter consisting of a restricted number of country evaluations prepared by the authorities in the country concerned in close co-operation with FAO.

119. The Program Committee had also suggested a suitable procedure for the review of such a report, which in the first place would be considered by the Program Committee at its Spring Session in a Conference year, and, following this, by the Council, which should highlight for the Conference important matters arising out of the Report. The Committee had further proposed that during the Session of the Conference the technical details of the report should be reviewed by the Technical Committee of Commission II, prior to a review of the report as a whole by the Plenary of Commission II.

120. The Program Committee had also reviewed the minimum requirements in terms of staff resources and finances for the preparation and printing of this Report as proposed by the Director-General (document CL 47/17 Rev. 1), and had agreed that an amount of $121,500 as suggested by the Director-General in document CL 47/17 Rev. 1 would be the minimum required for the biennium 1968/69 to produce a well prepared and well documented report. In view of the various purposes which this report was intended to serve, the Program Committee had agreed in principle that the cost relating to the preparation of the Accountability Report during 1968/69 biennium would be borne equally by the Regular Program Budget and the UNDP Agency Costs.

121. The Council endorsed the conclusions and proposals of the Program Committee, both with regard to proposed arrangements for the review and analysis by the Organization's governing bodies of the report, and with the organizational and financial aspects involved. As regards the contents of the Report the Council felt that the proposals by the Program Committee should be regarded by the Director-General as a broad objective and that experience would indicate how in fact it could be achieved. In this connection the view was expressed that in preparing the country evaluation studies care should be taken to establish proper criteria for the selection of and co-operation with the countries concerned. Account should also be taken of the evaluation work done by the United Nations in co-operation with the Specialized Agencies and similar work of other bodies or institutes.

122. The Council agreed that the contents of the Report should, in the first place, be directed toward satisfying the needs of the Conference, but it hoped that such a Report would also be of value as a public information document. The Council realized that there would be no time for the Director-General to prepare a full-fledged report for submission to the Fourteenth Session of the Conference in 1967. It noted, however, that the Director-General would make arrangements to prepare a limited report.

123. With regard to the wider implication and objectives of a proposed Evaluation Program, which might form in future the basis ofr the preparation of the Director-General's Report, the Council requested that the Director-General consider the following steps:

  1. develop terms of reference for an Evaluation Program encompassing both historic and evaluation aspects;

  2. develop within these terms of reference a pilot program of evaluation priorities;

  3. carry out a limited number of pilot evaluations;

and if these steps could be taken he could report to the 1968 Session of the Council, on both substantive findings of the evaluations and on his recommendations for the future development of the Evaluation Program.

124. It further suggested that in developing criteria for an Evaluation Program the Director-General might wish to consult with international and national agencies or institutes, who already have evaluation program planned or in operation.

1 See also para. 95 above.

Matters arising from the July 1966 ECOSOC Session

125. The Council had before it two documents, one CL 47/18 - Matters arising from ECOSOC Session, July 1966 - dealing with important resolutions passed at the Forty-First Session of the Economic and Social Council and the second, CL 47/32, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to Examine the Finances of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies.

126. The Council took note of the decisions reached at the ECOSOC Session on the different matters referred to in document CL 47/18 and generally endorsed the action being pursued by the Director-General on resolutions having a bearing on the activities of FAO.

127. On a resolution adopted by ECOSOC to place on the provisional agenda of its 1967 Session the question of a thorough and objective review and evaluation of the structure, functions, procedures, financing and performance of the Specialized Agencies, the Council, while recognizing the need for strengthening the co-ordination functions of ECOSOC, expressed the hope that no action would be taken on the resolution which might infringe the competence and autonomy of the governing bodies of FAO.

128. The Council recognized that the draft resolution before the General Assembly on the proposed new organization for industrial development (UNOID - since renamed by the UN General Assembly “United Nations Industrial Development Organization,” UNIDO) contained elements which might conflict with the work of other Specialized Agencies. It thought however that as the resolution was the product of protracted negotiations and compromise between different points of view, clear demarcation of functions was hardly feasible. It was confident however that, in spite of such legislative shortcomings, it should be possible to arrive at suitable intersecretariat arrangements, within the framework of ACC, for close and harmonious working relations between UNIDO and FAO without diminishing in any way the work and activities of FAO int its fields of competence in the industrial sector.

129. With regard to the report of the Committee of Fourteen (document CL 47/32), the Council was pleased to note that the first reactions of the Director-General and other members of ACC were generally favorable to the recommendations of the Committee. It noted with satisfaction that should the General Assembly generally endorse the Committee's proposals, every effort would be made by the Director-General to put into early effect as many recommendations as possible which he could implement, and where necessary to present the issues for approval to the appropriate organs of FAO. It recognized the importance of the recommendation concerning a Joint Inspection Unit.

130. The Council recommended that the Director-General should submit to its next Session a progress report on the manner in which the recommendations were being dealt with.

Review of the Current Budgetary Situation

131. The Council considered the adjustments made by the Director-General in the 1966/67 Program of Work and Budget, chiefly in respect of the Indicative World Plan. 1 The Council noted that US $1,850,000 had been estimated as the target for the Indicative World Plan and that adjustments to finance a substantial portion had already been effected and reported to the Finance and Program Committees in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Regulations. However, approximately $470,000 is still needed to finance the Indicative World Plan if the target figure is to be reached.

132. The Council expressed its general agreement with the objectives of and the need for reorientation of the program but expressed concern that program adjustments of such magnitude had not been more clearly presented to the Conference. It was explained to the Council that the Director-General in submitting the Program of Work and Budget for 1966/67 had indicated that to some degree most of the activities of the Organization would tie in with the preparation of the Indicative World Plan and that in many instances work already underway would be reoriented for this purpose. The Council noted that although there has been a redirection of work within the substantive divisions, each of the departments and divisions have substantially the same funds provided for in the Program of Work and Budget.

133. In response to questions raised by several delegates as to the precise plans for financing the balance needed for the Indicative World Plan, the Deputy Director-General informed the Council that although approaches have been made to private foundations and other outside sources, it did not look likely that these sources would provide any substantial sums. The Council was informed that upon reviewing the expenditure and commitment situation at the end of this year funds could be found from savings under the Regular Program to finance a substantial portion of the deficit, after review with the individual divisions and other operating units, as to their needs in 1967 and the needs of the Indicative World Plan.

134. After discussing the provisions of the Financial Regulations with respect to the conditions under which the Director-General may transfer funds appropriated by the Conference, the Council agreed that the Finance and Program Committees should review these provisions at their next session and report back to the Council as to whether any changes were considered to be desirable. The Council also requested that the Committees should in this respect consider and comment upon the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to examine the Finances of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies.

1 See also paras. 23 to 38 above.

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