60. The Council had before it the Joint Report by the Director-General and the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization (CL 51/9) 1 which, in accordance with Conference Resolution 1/67, presented a reorganization plan sufficiently detailed to be used as a basis of presentation of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1970/71.
61. In the lively discussion of the issues involved, members of the Council put forward a large number of suggestions or comments 2. In many cases these were divergent or conflicting. The point was raised by some members that the plan presented did not fully follow the directives expressly agreed upon by the Conference 3, since economic and social activities had not been strengthened, since the steps taken in connexion with operations were not far reaching enough and since a pragmatic solution had not been adopted in respect of field organization. However, the Council generally agreed that the proposals put forward in the Joint Report represented the best possible solution in the given circumstances, and also with regard to the directives issued by the Conference, it being understood that such agreement did not necessarily connote approval on a permanent basis, especially as reorganization was a continuing process that must evolve in response to the changing demands and opportunities that FAO will be required to meet in the coming years.
62. The Council therefore authorized the Director-General to proceed with the reorganization on the basis proposed in the Joint Report, taking into account as far as possible the views expressed by the Council. It recognized that some of the views would require further study and the consideration of the governing bodies, namely the Programme and Finance Committees, the Council and the Conference as appropriate.
63. In this context, the views expressed in the discussions may be summarized as follows:
64. With regard to the Policy Advisory Bureau, several members were of the opinion that the lines of demarcation between its role and that of the assistant-directors-general, and the regional representatives in relation to policy making and policy advice, were not clearly spelt out in the report. Some members felt that the Policy Advisory Bureau should not be separated from the Economic Analysis Division and should be placed either in this division or in the Office of the Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Department (ESD).
1 See Appendix F to the present report.
2 See CL 51/PV-11 to CL 51/PV-15.
3 See paras. 39 – 54 of the Report of Fourteenth Session of the Conference.
65. The Director-General said that, as outlined in the Joint Report, the responsibilities of the assistant directors-general were as follows: policy making together with the Director-General and Deputy Director-General; implementing established policies; general supervision of work of divisions and ensuring coordination among divisions; ensuring interdepartmental coordination. Those of the regional representatives were: acting as Director-General's representative in the region on broad policy matters; assisting in formulation of regional policy; acting as the link between FAO and various regional bodies; following and reporting on the work of country representatives and assisting them where appropriate. Those of the Policy Advisory Bureau, to be located in the Office of the Director-General were: completing the first phase of the Indicative World Plan (IWP) by November 1969; cooperating with the United Nations in integrating Indicative World Plan for agriculture into the World Plan under the Second Development Decade; advising the Director-General on major policy issues and recommending strategies for world-wide and regional action. The proposals thus provided for the Policy Advisory Bureau to have only an advisory function on major policy issues, and for the assistant directors-general and regional representatives to participate directly with the Director-General and Deputy Director-General in policy and decision making. While it would be responsible for completion of the first phase of the Indicative World Plan, follow-up work on the Plan should be mainly assigned to the Economic Analysis Division in order to avoid duplication of effort. However, the up-dating of the Plan should take place under the supervision of the Policy Advisory Bureau.
66. Some members felt that the staff of the Policy Advisory Bureau should be small in number and composed of highly qualified advisers, perhaps on a fixed-term basis with rotation on a 2 – 3 year basis. Others felt that in this Bureau, in addition to a few highly placed officers, there should also be medium and lower grade professionals.
67. Some members stressed the important task of the Economic and Social Department and felt that this department and in particular the work for the development of human resources and rural institutions should be considerably strengthened. Other members felt that the Agriculture Department was the most important part of the Organization since it played a major role in the formulation and execution of field programmes and projects.
68. Some members felt that the role proposed for the Development Department (DD) with respect to formulation and implementation of projects would increase bureaucracy and interfere with the functions of the technical departments.
69. Special attention was drawn to the importance of the Area Services Division in the Development Department, and to the necessity for it to work in the closest possible harmony with the Economic Analysis Division and other substantive divisions. Because of its dominating role in project formulation, lines of responsibility would have to be clearly drawn up and caution would have to be exercised in ensuring smooth working relations with other segments of the Organization. While the Assistant Director-General, Development Department, would normally try to resolve any differences of opinion arising between the Area Services Division and the other divisions and departments, the Deputy Director-General or the Director-General himself might, at times, have to make the final decisions.
70. Several members expressed the view that multidisciplinary projects should be implemented by creating an operations office in the Development Department, which was the only logical unit that could effectively deal with all the substantive segments of the Organization. The view was also expressed that because of the overriding importance of the economic aspects in projects of an integrated development nature, consideration should be given to their being administered by an operations office for the Economic and Social Department as a whole. Another view was that because of the growing importance of multidisciplinary projects, they should be handled by the Development Department. This would provide a good opportunity to test the form in which a single unit within the Organization could undertake the combined functions of project formulation and execution.
71. Some members emphasized the important role marketing, storage and processing have in the agricultural development process and wished that greater emphasis be given to this work in the structure of the Organization. Consideration should be given that marketing, storage and processing be combined into a division, into which home economics could also be added. Others indicated that this division could also assume responsibility for work in cooperatives, credit and production economics. It could best be located in the Economic and Social Affairs Department. Again other members expressed the view that marketing, cooperatives and credit should be added to the Agricultural Services Division, because of their close connexion with processing. Some other members were of the opinion that these activities should be placed within the Rural Institutions Division.
72. Some members felt that the composition of the Agricultural Services Division, although recognizing the importance of each segment, was too heterogenous and that the Division should preferably concentrate its activities on agricultural management, input supplies and the technical problems of rural infrastructure. Others felt that these fields of activities were not broad enough to deal with the manifold aspects of multidisciplinary projects which could more appropriately be handled in a centralized operations office either in the Development Department or in the Economic and Social Department.
73. In the discussion on the Agriculture Department some members felt that a single branch for field and food crops and industrial crops in the Plant Production and Protection Division did not give sufficient recognition to the importance of industrial crops for the developing countries and the view was expressed that industrial crops, and food and field crops, each warranted branch status.
74. Several members emphasized the important role of agricultural research in agricultural development. The Organization, although not carrying out agricultural research itself, should give a greater focus to this field of work so that countries could be effectively assisted in their own research activities.
75. The Council considered the increasing importance of the role of forestry and forest products in national economies, particularly in developing countries. Many members felt that work in this area would receive more attention than in the past with the establishment of the new Forestry Department 1. A few members, however, felt that the Forestry and Forest Products Division should not be upgraded to a department, but remain a division. Another view expressed was that a more logical solution would be to combine the Land and Water Development Division and the Forestry and Forest Products Division into one department.
76. With regard to the Fisheries Department, some members felt that more emphasis should be placed on inland fisheries, and that this area may well warrant a separate division.
77. Some members felt that the selection and servicing of fellowships was not a purely administrative or financial matter, but that considerable technical judgement was required in their selection and in determining their course of studying. For that reason they supported that this activity should be transferred from Administration and Finance Department to the Development Department, and returned to its previous status as a branch.
78. In the discussion of the Office of General Affairs and Information, some members felt that the importance of the functions of the divisions involved and the placement of the coordination of FFHC in this segment of the Organization could well warrant a departmental status headed by an assistant director-general. Other members felt that FFHC would be more suitably placed in the Development Department than in the Office of General Affairs and Information.
79. In answer to a question raised by a member with regard to the transfer of agricultural information to the Rural Institutions Division, the Director-General explained that the subject matter aspect and the institutional arrangements for agricultural information services would be the responsibility of the Rural Institutions Division, while the information techniques and the utilization of mass communication media would remain the responsibility of the Information Division. Close working relationships between these two divisions would be necessary in this particular field.
1 See paras. 115 and 189 below.
80. To complement the structural improvements, many members emphasized the need for a thorough and critical review of traditional activities in order to eliminate or adjust programmes of the Organization as dictated by the continuously changing conditions.
81. In the context of the general discussion as reported in paragraphs 60 – 62 above, many members made comments or suggestions on the field structure.
82. The representatives of Latin American Member Nations of the Council placed particular emphasis on the organization of the Regional Office for Latin America, arguing that the Conference had recommended a pragmatic solution for the different regions, which would be adapted to the special characteristics of each region, and take into account the opinion of the countries concerned. They also felt that the present structure and organization were satisfactory to them, and that the Plan presented in the Joint Report by the Director-General and the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization, particularly through the recommendation contained in paragraph 105 of the Report, weakened the Latin American Regional Office for the present biennium.
83. After an exhaustive discussion, in which attention was drawn to the need to reconcile the interests of the various regions with the general interest of the Organization, with the administrative powers of the Director-General and with the availability of resources, the Council took note of the unanimous view of the delegates of the Latin American countries that the present establishment of officers and experts in the Latin American region should be maintained as approved in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1968–69; of Resolution 30/66 of the Regional Conference held in December 1966 at Punta del Este recommending the maintenance and reinforcement of the regional offices and the creation of task forces; and of the statement of the Director-General to the effect that it was proposed to continue discussion of this problem with the countries of the Latin American region and that the new Regional Representative for Latin America should take into account the opinions which would emerge from the next Latin American Regional Conference to be held in 1968. The Council was of the opinion that the competent bodies would be able to review this matter in the light of the views expressed by the regional conferences, when considering the Programme of Work and Budget for 1970–71.
84. Some members from other regions, in supporting the role that the regional offices could play in the overall programme of FAO, expressed the view that in order to increase their effectiveness, more authority from Headquarters should be delegated to them.
85. The Council further noted that it was the prerogative of the Director-General to allocate resources within approved levels of the budget in accordance with the requirements and needs not only of each region but of the Organization as a whole. The Director-General assured the Council that in making such allocations he would take into full consideration the views of the regional representatives and the views of delegates of all regions as expressed in the Council and in the regional conferences thus hoping to arrive at an acceptable solution.
86. The Director-General informed the Council of his intention to include in his draft estimate for 1970–71 provision for supplying consultants to assist the regional offices, as required, on an ad hoc basis. Some members expressed reservations pending examination of the detailed proposals, but many supported the proposal.
87. With regard to the proposed experimental merger of the functions of the executive secretaries of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions and of FAO regional representatives, a number of members, including all the Latin American and Near East members of the Council, opposed the idea, some did not favour it for their regions but had no objection to the experiment being tried elsewhere, while others favoured it without reservation. The Director-General undertook to place the question, as appropriate, before the forthcoming regional conferences.
88. Some members expressed the view that regional representative posts should normally be filled at the D-2 level but that circumstances of the region and the qualifications of the candidates should play a decisive role as to whether the post should be filled at the D-2 or assistant director-general level. They considered that in the case of the recent appointment of the Regional Representative for Latin America, the rank of assistant director-general was warranted.
89. With regard to the FAO regional conferences it was generally felt that they should be held separately from those of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions. However, coordination between the regional representatives offices and the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions should be such that the FAO regional conference should be one of the main instruments for governments in arriving at agriculture policies in the region.
90. In the view of many members, the country representatives should maintain their own separate identity as FAO spokesmen in the country although they should closely integrate their activities with those of the UNDP resident representatives. Some members felt that this could only be attained if FAO paid all of the cost of country representatives. Some members felt that it could be attained if FAO paid part of the cost of country representatives. Others, however, felt that this could be attained, even if UNDP paid all of the cost, by adjusting the UNDP/FAO Agreement concerning the appointment of senior agriculture advisers, in direct negotiations between the Director-General and the Administrator of the UNDP. The Director-General should review this matter with the Administrator of the UNDP prior to finalizing his budget proposals for 1970–71.
91. In discussing the management issues which would arise from the reorganization proposals note was taken by members of the Director-General's proposal to undertake a review of internal management aspects within the framework of the structure as approved by the Council 1.
92. With respect to the selection of experts, it was pointed out that qualifications were of paramount importance. Among their qualifications, weight should be given not only to their academic training, but also to field experience in developing countries. It noted the information provided by the Director-General that about two thirds of the Headquarter's staff employed in the substantive segments of the Organization either had considerable field experience or were from developing countries.
93. Some members placed particular emphasis on the need to have adequate representation of developing regions in the higher positions at FAO Headquarters, which would ensure their participation in the formulation of the general policies of the Organization. The Director-General should have among his immediate advisers persons from developing countries who could provide him with a full view of the requirements of their region and who were well acquainted with its people and its leaders. In this connexion the Director-General indicated that this was a matter which he had very much in mind and that he had been making efforts to this end since assuming his new functions.
1 See paras. 321 – 333 below.
94. Consideration should be given to meritorious promotions of outstanding technicians so that such technicians could be properly remunerated and retained by the Organization. If this could be achieved, the tendency to create new administrative posts of higher rank in the Organization would be substantially diminished. Some members suggested that a special scale of remuneration for outstanding technicians should be considered which would not affect the administrative structure. Such an arrangement should also make it possible to attract outstanding technicians who could not be easily employed within the present salary scale. The Director-General stated that he would make proposals on meritorious promotions for the consideration of the Programme and Finance Committees.
95. The Council supported a system of in-service training both for technicians who are serving with the Organization and for the training of new junior professionals. In this connexion some members suggested that consideration should be given to sabbatical leave to FAO professional staff so that they could keep abreast of current developments in their field of competence.
96. With regard to the creation of operations offices, some members expressed the view that those at the divisional level constituted a fist step toward the consolidation of operations in the Organization. The next step would be to have operations offices only at the departmental level.
97. Some members emphasized the need for close cooperation between the operations office and the technical branches, in order to ensure the technical soundness of the Organization's field activities. In this connexion a suggestion was made to rotate officers between the operations offices and the technical branches.
98. Several members expressed the need for clear guidelines and instructions concerning responsibilities and lines of communication between the segments of the Organization responsible for planning, execution, evaluation and control of activities in the field and at Headquarters.
99. The Council welcomed the delegation of authority to country representatives and project managers, but again emphasized the need for clear instructions. Special attention was drawn to the fact that the execution of projects was influenced not only by the quality of the experts but especially by the spirit of team work existing between the project manager and his team workers.
100. The Council expressed the view that the Organization's structure, however good it may be, or however well conceived, would only function effectively to the extent that the Director-General was able to establish a spirit of cooperation, team work and dedication throughout all segments and at all levels of the Organization; the effective cooperation of Member Nations was of equal importance. The Council therefore particularly stressed the introductory part of the Joint Report which dealt with a number of personnel matters that were to be examined further by the Director-General and the competent bodies of the Organization.
101. Finally the Council expressed its unanimous appreciation to Mr. A.C.B. Maiden, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization to the other members of the Committee and to the Director-General for completing such a difficult and complex task within the time limits set by the Fourteenth Session of the Conference.
102. The Council had before it a note by the Director-General on arrangements for Conference sessions and method of organization of Council and Council Committee sessions1, together with the relevant parts of the Report of the Programme and Finance Committees on their Joint Session in May 1968 2, of the Report of the Fifteenth Session of the Programme Committee 1 and of the Twentieth Session of the Finance Committee 2.
1 CL 51/11 and CL 51/11 - Sup.1.
2 CL 51/5, paras. 38 – 53.
103. The proposals contained in these documents were considered by the Council under three main headings: General Statements in Plenary and Work of Commission I; Functions and Timing of the Technical Committees and their Relationship to Commission II; and Other Issues.
(a) General Statements in Plenary and the Work of Commission I
104. With regard to the timing of general statements in Plenary, the Council agreed that the present arrangement under which ministers and heads of delegations were invited to make statements during the first week of the Conference session should be continued. These statements helped to set the tone for the session and were of particular value in giving an orientation to the subsequent discussions in the commissions.
105. As regards the content of these statements, the Council noted the Director-General's proposal, endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees, that ministers and heads of delegations be invited to give particular attention not only to the State of Food and Agriculture, but also to some major policy issues on which the Director-General believed an expression of goverments' views would be helpful, and to which he would have drawn the attention of governments some months in advance. While recognizing that some concentration on a number of selected topics was desirable, the Council stressed that there should be no attempt at excessive regimentation. Freedom to range over such areas as were considered relevant to the Agenda and vital to the work of the Organization offered the best possibilities of ensuring lively and imaginative contributions from ministers and heads of delegations.
106. For similar reasons, the Council felt that no excessively stringent time limits should be set for general statements in Plenary, as had been suggested by some members.
107. The Council endorsed the proposal that a rapporteur be appointed to inform Commission I of the salient points made by ministers and heads of delegations in Plenary, although some delegates expressed doubts as to the efficacy of such an arrange-ment.
108. Turning to the work of Commission I, the Council emphasized that this Commission was the main forum for the discussion of broad policy questions in the light of the general statements made in Plenary, and especially for the consideration of certain questions that did not lend themselves to detailed discussion in Plenary such as the Indicative World Plan.
109. In this connexion, the Council considered the advisability of Commission I setting up, under Rule XV-1, a committee of selected Member Nations to examine the Indicative World Plan. Some members felt that such a committee would serve a useful purpose in preparing the way for a full debate in the Commission, whilst others considered that, since the Indicative World Plan would previously have been placed before other interested bodies, such as the CCP, whose views would be available to the Conference, the IWP should come directly before the Commission. The Council agreed that it would be for Commission I itself to decide whether or not to set up such a committee.
1 CL 51/6 - Part I, paras. 39 – 52.
2 CL 51/6 - Part II, paras. 100 – 108, and CL 51/6 - Part II - Corr.l.
(b) Functions and Timing of the Technical Committees and their Relationship to Commission II
110. There was general agreement that this was a crucial issue in the organization of Conference sessions and that there was much scope for improving the organization of the work of the Technical Committees and of Commission II. Some members felt that the Technical Committees overlapped with Commission II, were not efficient and were not sufficiently representative in their composition, because many developing countries were unable to ensure adequate attendance at the sessions of these committees owing to the scarcity of technicians and lack of travel funds. They proposed accordingly that the Technical Committees should be abolished.
111. Other members felt that the existing pattern of Technical Committees should be retained, with such modifications as might appear desirable in the light of experience, but that they should be convened several months ahead of the Conference session, so as to give Member Governments an opportunity to take their findings into account in drawing up instructions for their delegations to the Conference. It was, however, recognized that such an arrangement would impose an additional financial burden on Member Nations.
112. After an exhaustive discussion, and in an endeavour to reconcile the various views expressed, whilst taking into account the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the work of FAO and for fuller consideration of the Organization's field programmes, the Council approved the adoption, on a trial basis for the Fifteenth Conference Session, of the following arrangements proposed:
The number of Technical Committees of the Conference should be reduced to two, i.e. a Technical Committee on Field Programmes and a Technical Committee on Areas of Concentration;
the first committee would be concerned with a detailed examination of the field activities of the Organization, the second with the consideration of the five areas of concentration on a multidisciplinary basis and with emphasis on the strategy for development;
the discussions in the Committee on Areas of Concentration should take place, as far as possible, in the full committee;
each of the two committees would have a separate rapporteur who would be responsible for preparing the committee's report to Commission II, together with a summary of the main issues arising from the committee's discussions and requiring the special attention of Commission II.
113. The Council requested the Programme Committee, in cooperation with the Director-General, to examine in greater detail, at its forthcoming session, how the two committees would operate. In considering procedures, it was suggested that particular attention might be paid to providing an opportunity during the meetings of these committees for an adequate examination of the Director-General's Programme of Work proposals for the ensuing biennium.
114. As regards Fisheries, the Council agreed that the existence of the Committee on Fisheries1, which reviews the programme of work of the Organization in the field of fisheries and conducts periodical general reviews of fishery problems of an international character, made it unnecessary to establish a technical committee of the Conference on fisheries.
1 Established by Resolution 13/65 of the Thirteenth Session of the Conference, under Article V of the Constitution.
115. Divergent views were expressed concerning the Programme Committee's recommendation that the Council might consider establishing, on an ad hoc basis, a Committee on Forestry, to be convened in the early part of 1969, to examine the implications of the proposal to be placed before the Fifteenth Session of the Conference for the creation of a Forestry Department as well as the Director-General's suggestions for any strengthening of work in the forestry field. Some members felt the convening of such a committee might be taken as implying a favourable view of the proposal to create a Forestry Department, thus prejudging the issue. Other members were of the view that such a committee was not necessary. However, a majority was in favour of the Programme Committee's recommendation and the Council accordingly authorized the Director-General to establish under Article VI-2 of the Constitution, on an ad hoc basis, a Committee of the whole on Forestry to meet in the early part of 1969, so that its report would be available to the spring sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and to the Fifty-Second Session of the Council. 1
116. In considering the establishment of a Committee on Information during the Conference Session, the Council agreed that it would be for Commission II to decide whether it was necessary to set up such a committee in accordance with Rule XV-1 of the General Rules of the Organization.
117. In regard to the organization of the work of Commission II, the Council endorsed the following recommendations of the Director-General as contained in paragraph 28 of the document on arrangements for Conference sessions and as already endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees at their Joint Session in May 1968:
The discussions in Commission II should follow the Agenda and not divisional lines.
matters throughly debated in the Technical Committees should not be redebated in Commission II at the expense of consideration of other aspects of the work of the Organization;
the basic documents for Commission II should be the Work of FAO and the Review of FAO's Field Programmes (surveying current activities), the draft Programme of Work and Budget (covering the immediately ensuing biennium), and a document setting out medium-term programme proposals (four to six years ahead);
the content and method of presentation of these documents should be given particular consideration and should contain all the important material which is to be discussed in Commission II. The Work of FAO should describe clearly and precisely the current biennium's activities. In this way the necessity for lengthy introductory statements and the circulation of additional material by the technical divisions could be avoided both within the Technical Committees and in Commission II;
while Commission II has to recommend upon the forthcoming biennium's Regular Programme of Work and Budget for adoption by Plenary, it should also pay especial attention to the medium-term programme proposals.
(c) Other Issues
118. The Council considered a number of other aspects of the organization of Conference sessions, as follows:
119. Commission III. The Council concurred in the Director-General's suggestion, also endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees, that, in principle, Commission III should start its work in the second week of the session.
1 See paras. 60 – 62 and 75 above, and 189 below.
120. Secretariat Participation. The Council agreed that there was a need for drastically reducing the time taken up by members of the Secretariat in introducing Agenda items, interventions and summing up. Introductions should be limited to bringing up to date the relevant documents, and time should be allowed at the end of the debate for replying to questions.
121. Documentation. The Council approved the Director-General's proposals, endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees, for improving the Conference documentation and for limiting the number of documents issued, especially those issued immediately before, and, as far as possible, those issued during the session. The Council stressed that documents should include a clear statement listing the points for decision or comment.
122. Resolutions. The Council agreed that resolutions should be confined to matters requiring a formal decision by the Conference, and they should fully reflect the decisions reached by the Conference. A document setting out the criteria for the formulation of Conference resolutions similar to that which had been circulated prior to the last session of the Conference should again be distributed to all Member Nations and Associate Members in advance of the Fifteenth Conference Session. The Council also agreed that a Resolutions Committee of the Conference again be established at the Fifteenth Session, similar to the one which had functioned well during the last session.
123. Quorum. The Council recommended that, although there had been certain difficulties at the last Conference in some of the commissions in obtaining a quorum, the requirements for formal voting in commissions as set out in the General Rules of the Organization should be maintained. It noted that in any event the votes taken in commissions were indicative only and that formal voting on resolutions took place in Plenary.
124. As regards voting in Plenary, and in order to facilitate the achievement of a quorum, the proposal was made that all voting should, if possible, take place on the same day. If this was not possible, measures should at least be taken to group votes as far as possible on days and at times which should be announced well in advance to facilitate attendance.
125. With respect to quorum requirements in commissions, it was pointed out that, in accordance with the General Rules of the Organization, while the opening of a debate required a quorum of only one-third of the members of a Commission, the presence of a majority of the members of a Commission was however required for the closure of a debate. It was therefore formally proposed that necessary measures should be taken (including amendment of the General Rules of the Organization if necessary) to make it possible for debates in commissions of the Conference to be closed by a decision of the majority of members present.
126. In connexion with the question of quorum in commissions of the Conference, the Legal Counsel drew attention to Rule 69 of the Rules of Procedure for the General Conference of Unesco, which provided for a procedure for waiving of the required quorum when attendance was insufficient.
127. The Council agreed that the whole question of quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference should be referred to the CCLM. The CCLM should make appropriate recommendations to the Fifty-Second Session of the Council.
128. Appointment of Officers of the Conference. The Council agreed that the June session of the Council should also nominate the Chairmen of the Technical Committees, in addition to nominating the Rapporteurs of the Technical Committees. The Nominations Committee should continue to be appointed, as heretofore, at the session of the Council immediately preceding the Conference.
129. Seating Arrangements. The Council noted the Director-General's proposals 1 for new seating arrangements to remove the “classroom atmosphere” in Conference Plenary, costing about $180 000 in the present biennium. Notwithstanding the advantage to be gained by rearrangements in the Plenary Hall as proposed, the Council decided that it was not opportune, in view of the financial position of the Organization, for this to be undertaken in the present biennium and asked the Director-General to continue to explore with the Italian Government the possibility of finding some other solution for the problem.
130. The Council agreed that should it be necessary for the Organization to meet all or part of the costs to carry out modifications to the Plenary Hall, these costs should be included in the Director-General's draft Programme of Work and Budget 1970–71.
131. The Council noted that no changes in the Plenary Hall could be effected for the Fifteenth Session of the Conference but requested that some improvements to seating arrangements be effected for future sessions of the Council in order to provide increased space for Council delegates.
132. Scheduling of Meetings. The Council stressed that informal meetings of regional or similar groups should not be convened during regular Conference hours, to avoid making excessive demands on the time of delegations, especially smaller ones, and overburdening Conference facilities.
133. The Council agreed that its committees should not meet during the period of the Council Session, but should be scheduled to meet early enough to circulate their reports to the Members of the Council in time for governments to analyse these reports and instruct their delegates to the Council session accordingly. The Council recognized, however, that there might be justified exceptions to this arrangement where, as in the case of the Finance Committee or the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, a session of these committees shortly or immediately before or even during the Council would enable them to present up-to-date reports.
134. In conformity with Conference Resolution 23/67, the Council had, at its Fiftieth Session appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to examine the questions relating to the procedure for the appointment of the Director-General and to suggest possible alternatives to the present procedure and to the timing of the election.
135. The Council considered the document prepared by the Secretariat, setting out background information regarding the procedure at present in force in FAO and the procedures applied in other Specialized Agencies 2, as well as the Report submitted by the Ad Hoc Committee 3.
1 CL 51/11-Sup.1.
2 CL 51/12.
3 CL 51/13.
136. The Council agreed with the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee that the Conference, as the supreme body of the Organization, should retain authority with respect to the appointment of the Director-General and that the appointment should take place in such a way as to avoid disruptive effects on the other work of the Conference. The Ad Hoc Committee had suggested that this could be done by devoting the first three days of the Conference session primarily to the appointment of the Director-General and that Rule XXXIII-1(a) of the General Rules of the Organization could be amended to this effect. During the debate in the Council, it was suggested that the same objective could be achieved by the convening of a special session of the Conference, prior to the regular session, for the sole purpose of appointing the Director-General; while some members supported this suggestion, most representatives who spoke on this subject felt that the solution proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee would be preferable. The Council accordingly recommended that the Conference approve an amendment to the last sentence of Rule XXXIII-1(a) of the General Rules of the Organization by the addition thereto of the words underlined below:
“As soon as possible after the opening of the Conference session, the General Committee shall determine and announce the date of the election, it being understood that the appointment of a Director-General at a regular session shall be effected within three working days of the opening date of such session.”
137. The Council agreed that nominations of candidates should continue to be submitted by Member Governments to the Secretary-General of the Conference. The Council further agreed that, in order to give governments sufficient time to consider the merits of various candidates, circulation of nominations should be effected one month prior to the session of the Council provided for in Rule XXV-2(c) of the General Rules of the Organization - commonly referred to as the “June session” preceding the regular Conference session - it being understood that different deadlines might have to be applied in the event of an unforeseen vacancy which would entail the need for a special session of the Conference.
138. The Council further concurred with the view of the Ad Hoc Committee that it would be desirable to avoid lengthy balloting and difficulties that might arise in the event of numerous candidacies. The election methods set out in the report of the Ad Hoc Committee were commented on during the deliberations of the Council, and several members put forward alternative possibilities for reducing the number of ballots without eliminating prematurely any candidate who might have a reasonable chance of obtaining the requisite majority in a final ballot.
139. The Council in the light of the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendation decided to refer this matter to the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM), for detailed examination in the light of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee and of the additional suggestions made in the course of the Council's deliberations, and requested the CCLM to submit its report and recommendations for consideration by the Council at its Fifty-Second Session.
140. Finally, the Council also considered the proposal made by some members of the Ad Hoc Committee that nominations might be screened by the Council or some other designated body, whereupon a limited number of nominees only would be submitted to the Conference. While this proposal found support among some Members of the Council, the majority of representatives who participated in the debate on this question were in favour of retaining the essential features of the present practice whereby the appointment of the Director-General is made without prior screening of nominations by any other body. They felt that the introduction of the procedural changes suggested by the Ad Hoc Committee and endorsed by the Council - i.e. early submission of nominations, reduction of ballots, and completion of elections within three days of the opening date of the Conference session - would meet the objectives set forth in Conference Resolution 23/67.
141. The Council had before it a proposal by the Canadian Delegation 2 to the effect that it should appoint a small working group to review the functions of the post of the Independent Chairman in relation to the Council, and bring forward recommendations in respect of the future of the post including any necessary proposals for constitutional amendments. The proponent, as well as all other Council members stressed that this proposal was in no way a reflection on the outstanding qualities and merits of the present Independent Chairman of the Council and of his predecessors.
1 Agenda item 9.
2 CL 51/LIM/4.
142. The Representative of Canada recalled that the post of Independent Chairman of the Council had been in existence since the Third Session of the FAO Conference (25 August – 11 September 1947) and had last been reviewed in 1956–57, when the Ad Hoc Committee on the Organizational Structure of FAO recommended its retention. He felt that, in view of the change in the size and nature of activities of the Council during the intervening period, the time had come for a reappraisal of the future of the post of Independent Chairman of the Council, with particular reference to the question whether it should be continued or whether it should be abolished and replaced by a Chairman elected annually from among representatives of members of the Council.
143. In the ensuing discussion, it was pointed out that at a time when the reorganization of the whole structure of FAO was being discussed it seemed opportune to review this important element in the Organization's structure. Furthermore, at this stage when no candidacies were yet forthcoming for the next term of office, it was possible to consider the matter on a purely objective basis. At the same time, any decision to change an arrangement which had served the Organization well for over two decades would have to be very carefully weighed.
144. In the light of these considerations, the Council decided to establish an intergovernmental Ad Hoc Committee of Member Nations, with appropriate representation from the seven regions. The Council selected Australia, Canada, Colombia, Mali, Philippines, United Arab Republic and United Kingdom to serve on this Ad Hoc Committee. The Council decided that the Committee should report to its Fifty-Second Session, and that the recommendations which the Council would make in the light of the Ad Hoc Committee's report would be submitted to the Fifteenth Session of the Conference.
145. The Council decided that the review should be conducted on the broadest possible basis, including any aspects that had a bearing on the nature and degree of independence of the functions of the Chairman of the Council. The Committee should also examine any questions relating to the mode of nomination and election, the organ which should be responsible for the election of the Chairman, and any related matters. The Council further decided that, to assist the Ad Hoc Committee in its deliberations, the views of the present Independent Chairman should be sought and that Member Nations not serving on the Committee could submit their views in writing to the Committee.