109. The Council heard introductory statements by the Director-General and the Chairmen of the Program and Finance Committees with respect to the Program of Work and Budget for 1968/69, as presented in document C 67/3. It expressed its satisfaction at the clarity of presentation of the Program of Work by the Director-General in this document, and its appreciation for the work carried out by the Program and Finance Committees. The Council noted that the program was presented in an integrated manner, taking into account both the Regular Program and the activities relating to management and supervision of field programs. The Council expressed the view that it would like the future presentation of the Program of Work and Budget to continue along these lines.
110. The Council noted that the greater part of the increase related to program expansion. The program was well balanced and the main items of expansion proposed had been well selected in terms of priorities and urgency imposed by the current and prospective world food and population situation.
111. The Council noted that no major changes in the structure of FAO were proposed pending the completion of the review of FAO's general structure, and that no large reorientation of programs was proposed.
112. The total budget proposed by the Director-General was $59,861,000, an increase of $9,462,000, or 18.8 percent over the 1966/67 approved budget, after having added $425,000 by withdrawal from the working capital fund as explained in C 67/3. Before this addition to the 1966/67 Budget, the increase over the Budget approved by the Conference was $9,887,000, or 19.7 percent. Of the $9,462,000, the increase of mandatory nature amounted to $3,462,450, or 6.9 percent. The substantive increases and strengthening of program amounted to approximately $6 million, or 11.9 percent.
113. The Council took note of the observation in the joint report of the Program and Finance Committees that the amount to be assessed against Member Nations, after deduction of the amount estimated to be received from UNDP/TA as a lump-sum contribution to FAO, and after deduction of the estimated amount from Miscellaneous Income, would amount to $54,871,000, taking into account the adjustment recommended by the Finance Committee in the Miscellaneous Income in para. 311 of document CL 48/6, as against $47,660,000 in 1966/67, an apparent increase of $7,211,000 or 15.1 percent. However, the amount assessed in 1966/67 included $2 million for an increase in the level of the Working Capital Fund and $45,660,000 for the Program of Work and Budget. Therefore the assessment increase for the Program of Work amounted to 20.2 percent.
114. The Council noted the Finance Committee's observations on the mandatory increases and agreed that the practice of including expected increases in salaries in a reserve chapter is on the whole preferable to dealing with them by way of submission of supplementary estimates.
115. The Council noted that the Committee's examination of the Program of Work and Budget for 1968/69 had indicated that the following five items were sources of possible further budgetary increases:
Possible changes in the Organization's general structure arising out of the review under way by the Review Team in accordance with Thirteenth Conference Resolution 11/65.
Co-operative Programs with Banks, particularly with the Area Development Banks.
Food Production Resources Program.
World Food Congress.
Indicative World Plan.
116. Some Members felt that it was important and desirable that the program should have sufficient flexibility, so that it could accommodate the necessary adjustments in the organizational structure of FAO which were decided upon by the Council and the Conference, and that these adjustments might not necessarily require increases in the budget. In this context, the Director-General said that although minor changes might well be accommodated, it would not be possible to absorb any large scale increase which might result from the recommendations of the Review Team on FAO's general structure, since the Program of Work and Budget that he has presented was an integrated one and could not be disturbed too much. The Director-General agreed that any administrative expenses in connection with the proposed Food Production Resources Program should be expected to be covered by the Program itself. Should the other three items require additional funds, it should, in his view, be possible for them to be absorbed within the proposed ceiling.
117. Some Members were critical of the way the Organization's administration seemed to be growing top-heavy at Headquarters, in that it appeared to deny proper emphasis to those technical divisions with responsibility for increasing production in the field. Many Members noted the concern expressed by the Program and Finance Committees regarding the additional 13 posts in the D-1 grade. Some Members expressed the view that these posts concerned specialized disciplines in which high level expertise was desirable, and further, that several studies had shown that a substantial proportion of the time of the Headquarters' staff was devoted to field programs. The Council, however, noted that in the opinion of the Director-General, the strengthening of the staff at the senior level was essential in view of the increasing demand from Member Nations for technical assistance and advice from FAO, and that this unusual staffing pattern followed inevitably from the Organization's many external commitments. The Council in this connection agreed with the Committee's view that it would be important to recruit and train a cadre of young professional officers who could later develop the ability and the experience to occupy more responsible posts either in FAO or in their own countries. The Council noted with satisfaction that the Director-General was in full agreement with the need for a Junior Training Program and would like to initiate such a Program in 1968–69 if the necessary funds could be found. Although the total cost of such a program for the biennium was estimated to be $250,000, a beginning could be made with the amount of $100,000 available from the reduction suggested by the Committees out of the total travel funds proposed, and additional funds could perhaps be found from other savings within the 1968/69 biennium.
118. The Council's attention was drawn by the Committees to the possible additional budgetary implications of establishing new statutory bodies under Articles VI and XIV of the Constitution. The Council approved the Committees' recommendation that attention be given in these cases to the alternative possibilities of convening ad hoc conferences and consultations under Article VI-5 where there was insufficient evidence of the need for a permanent and continuing body to deal with technical matters. The Council wished to draw this point to the attention of the Conference. The Council will consider this matter again at its Forty-Ninth Session (October 1967) when the next stage of the Council's four-year review of statutory bodies is due for consideration.
119. The Council was informed that additional information regarding the number and cost of conferences and sessions in the two biennia would be submitted to the Finance Committee at its next session, prior to the Forty-Ninth Council session, when the Committee would make a positive recommendation on the total amount budgeted for meetings.
120. Regarding the presentation of the Program of Work referred to in the report of the Committee on Fisheries, the Council agreed with the Committees that the Program of Work as presented by the Director-General should continue substantially in its present form without a separate document dealing with the Fisheries program alone. Any statements on accomplishments of the Department of Fisheries should be presented in the accountability report of the Regular Program, “The Work of FAO”. It was pointed out by a Member that the experience of the early examination of the draft Program of Work and Budget showed the desirability of holding meetings of Technical Committees before the meetings of the Program and Finance Committees prior to the presentation of the Budget to the Council.
121. A number of Members commented upon some of the specific program proposals. It was agreed that the Secretariat should examine these suggestions and draw them to the attention of the appropriate technical committees when they meet, just prior to the Conference. There was also some considerable discussion with regard to the problems of centralization and decentralization of FAO's activities, strengthening of regional activities as well as activities in the countries themselves. The Council felt however that no final conclusions could be made until the results of the review of FAO's general structure were available.
122. With regard to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, the Council noted the Director-General's proposal to spend as a first experiment an amount of $35,000 for grants and contracts with the object of making wider use of the specialized knowledge and experience of non-governmental organizations. The Council agreed with the Program Committee that this new departure was worthwhile, but should be carried out with care through contractual arrangements.
123. The majority of Council Members indicated that they supported the general program and the level of the budget recommended by the Director-General, while noting that the details of the program would need to be subject to more careful review by the Technical Committees of the Conference and Commission II. Some Members expressed the view that alterations in the Organization's general structure which might be necessary could also be accomplished without this necessarily involving financial expenditure, although it might involve changes in the Program of Work. Those Members stressed that it was necessary especially to strengthen FAO's activities in the Regions, which could be facilitated by integrated action by the Headquarter's technical divisions in support of field work. The Council was reminded that recommendations of the Regional Conferences held in 1966/67 had been unanimous in this regard.
124. The Council adopted the following resolution (with France abstaining 1):
DRAFT PROGRAM OF WORK AND BUDGET 1968/69
Being aware of its responsiblity to make recommendations to the Conference on policy issues regarding the Draft Program of Work and Budget submitted by the Director-General for the following financial period;
Being aware also of continued effort that will be necessary if the peoples of the world are to be adequately fed, and of the important role of FAO in this effort;
Recognizing the need for maintaining a reasonable balance between the funds Member Countries must devote to their national programs and those they allocate for work though international organizations;
Recommends to the Conference that the level of the Budget for 1968/69 should be $59,861,000, and that any changes that may be made in the Draft Program of Work be accommodated within this level.
1 The Delegate of France considered that some savings could be made, and reserved the position of his Government on the level of the budget.