136. The Council recalled that at the Fourteenth Session of the Conference (November 1967) a problem had arisen which had drawn the attention of the delegates to the question of the quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference. At that session of the Conference, a situation occurred in which one of the Commissions could not obtain the necessary quorum for it to take a vote on a motion for the closure of the debate on a particular item under discussion and, as the result, one delegation has suggested that the quorum requirements for commissions be reduced.
137. At its Fifty-First Session (October 1968) the Council had considered document CL 51/11, submitted by the Director-General, relating to “Arrangements for Conference Sessions and Methods of Organization of Council and Council Committee Sessions.” In paragraphs 61 to 63 of this document, reference had been made to the question of quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference. After discussing this matter, the Council had agreed “that the whole question of quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference should be referred to the CCLM” 1.
138. The Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) examined the question of the quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference at its Twentieth Session (March 1969), and its recommendations 2 were placed before the Council.
139. In considering the conclusions reached by the CCLM, the Council noted that the existing provisions relating to the quorum requirements for commissions of the Conference were contained in paragraph 5 of Rule XIII of the General Rules of the Organization which read as follows:
“The procedure in a commission shall be governed by the provisions of Rule XII, so far as applicable. One third of the members of a commission shall constitute a quorum. The presence of a majority of the members of a commission is, however, required for a question to be put to a vote.”
140. The CCLM had observed that in accordance with the provision quoted above, a quorum of one third of the members of the Commission was required for the discussion of an item on the agenda whereas a majority of the members of the Commission had to be present for the purpose of voting both on substantive and procedural matters. It was for this reason that the CCLM had considered the quorum requirements for commissions in so far as they affected the opening of a meeting and the discussion of items on the agenda and also in so far as they related to voting.
141. The Council endorsed the conclusions of the CCLM and decided to recommend to the Conference that the second and third sentences of paragraph 5 of Rule XIII of the General Rules of the Organization be amended to read as follows 3:
One third of the members of a commission shall constitute a quorum for the consideration of items on the agenda of the commission and for decisions on questions of procedure with the exception of a motion for the closure of the debate on the item under discussion. [The presence of] A majority of the members of a commission [is, however required for a question to be put to the vote] shall constitute a quorum for decisions on substantive questions and for a decision on a motion for the closure of the debate on the item under discussion.”
1 Report of Fifty-First Council Session, para. 127.
2 CL 52/20.
3 Words underlined added; words in square brackets deleted.
142. The Council further recommended to the Conference that it approve the drafting amendments to the Spanish and French texts of the first sentence of paragraph 5 of Article XIII proposed by the CCLM 1. These amendments were as follows:
In the Spanish text, substitute the words “El procedimiento” for the words “Los trámites.”
In the French text, delete the words “dans toute la mesure du possible” and add the words “dans le mesure où elles sont pertinentes” at the end of the sentence after the words “du présent Règlement.”
143. When discussing the report of the CCLM, the Council noted that the amendments to paragraph 5 of Rule XIII of the General Rules of the Organization recommended by the CCLM did not introduce any fundamental changes to the existing provisions. In fact, the quorum requirements would only be reduced for voting on questions of procedure - with the exception of a motion for the closure of the debate on an item under discussion. However, the Council considered that the CCLM had most appropriately stressed the importance of certain practical rather than legal measures that might be taken to overcome difficulties that could arise in connexion with the quorum requirements for the commissions of the Conference. In particular, reference was made to the exercise by the Chairman of the commissions of the wide authority vested in them under the General Rules of the Organization, and to action by the General Committee in cases where the Chairman of a commission reported difficulties arising out of the quorum requirements.
144. In addition, the Council agreed with the CCLM that it would be desirable to resort to all possible means for alerting delegations on occasions when a quorum could not be obtained in a Commission particularly bearing in mind that some delegations at the Conference were relatively small. The Council requested the Director-General to give consideration to measures that might be taken to that effect.
145. One member expressed the view that in order to make the commissions work flow more smoothly, greater flexibility in the quorum requirements, even the relaxation of all quorum requirements, might have offered the best solution. However, taking into account the considerations set out in paragraphs 143 and 144 above he felt that there was reason to hope that the commissions would be able to conduct their activities satisfactorily if the CCLM's proposals were adopted by the Conference.
146. The Council also noted the CCLM's recommendation that a distinction be made between the quorum required for voting on substantive questions and that required for voting on questions of procedure. Some members sought clarification as to whether a definition existed whereby it would be possible to determine whether a particular question was substantive or procedural. The Council was informed that although no precise definition had been laid down in the Organization's Basic Texts, the matters specified mainly in Rules XI and XII of the General Rules of the Organization were procedural and that other matters should be considered as being substantive. The Council considered that Rules XI and XII would provide the Chairman of the commissions of the Conference with adequate guidance in this respect.
1 CL 52/20, para. 11.
147. During the Fourteenth Session of the FAO Conference, the Credentials Committee had discussed in some detail the problems connected with formal requirements for credentials of delegations attending the Conference. Among the questions which arose, two were related to the status of Permanent Representatives; namely
Whether credentials issued by Permanent Representatives could be recognized as valid; and
whether Permanent Representatives require special credentials to participate in sessions of the Conference on behalf of their respective countries.
148. Following a proposal made by the Chairman of the Credentials Committee of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference, the Director-General referred the matter to the CCLM particularly as the terms of reference of the CCLM specifically include “standards for credentials and full powers” (Rule XXXI-3(j) of the General Rules of the Organization).
149. The CCLM considered the relevant provisions of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), (i.e. Rules III-2 and XXI-4 GRO), the practice regarding credentials followed by other organizations, and the conclusions reached on the subject by the International Law Commission. Having examined the various problems involved, the CCLM reached the conclusion that:
Rule III-2 GRO in its present wording, read in conjunction with Rule XXI-4 GRO (which relates to full powers in connexion with the signing of conventions and agreements), did not provide appropriate guidance to the Credentials Committee, particularly because these Rules did not contain any reference to Permanent Representatives;
according to the constitutional provisions and practices of the United Nations and other Specialized Agencies, Permanent Representatives accredited to these Organizations were required to present special credentials for representing their governments in the governing bodies of such organizations unless it was specified in their letters of accreditation as Permanent Representatives that they were authorized to represent their governments at sessions of governing bodies; and
under the draft articles on representatives of states to international organizations elaborated by the International Law Commission, accreditation as a Permanent Representative does not entitle such a Representative to participate in the proceedings of any organ to which he is not specifically accredited and with respect to which special requirements as regards credentials have been laid down.
150. In order to clarify the legal situation and provide the Credentials Committee with the guidance it had solicited, the CCLM had proposed an amendment to Rule III-2 GRO 1. The Council carefully considered the amendment proposed by the CCLM and decided to submit it to the Conference with a view to adoption, subject to certain modifications which had been suggested in the course of its deliberations.
151. Accordingly, the Council recommended to the Conference for adoption at its Fifteenth Session, the following draft amendment to Rule III-2 GRO 2:
“The Credentials of delegates, alternates, [and] associates [and the names of other persons in their delegations] and advisers, and of the representatives of the participating international organizations shall, insofar as possible, be deposited with the Director-General not less than 15 days before the date fixed for the opening of each session of the Conference. The credentials of delegates, alternates, associates and advisers shall be issued by, or on behalf of, the head of state, the head of government, the minister of foreign affairs or the minister of the department concerned. A permanent Representative to the Organization does not require special credentials if his letter of accreditation to the Organization specifies that he is authorized to represent his government at sessions of the Conference, it being understood that this would not preclude that government from accrediting another delegate by means of special credentials.”
152. The proposed new text of Rule III-2 GRO consists of three sentences. The first sentence contains only a minor amendment designed to bring the terminology of paragraph 2 into line with that used in paragraph 1 of the same Rule. The second sentence has been taken over, virtually without any change, from Rule XXI-4 GRO which deals with full powers to be issued to a government representative to sign a convention or agreement; this provision had already been applied, by analogy, by the Credentials Committee at previous Conference sessions. The third sentence deals specifically with credentials of Permanent Representatives.
153. With regard to the second sentence, it should be noted that this provision would enable an Ambassador or Minister Plenipotentiary of the Accrediting government to communicate over his own signature the credentials of his Government's Delegation, on condition that it was stated in the communication that the credentials were being issued on instructions from, or on behalf of, one of the authorities enumerated in the Rule as having the power to issue credentials.
154. The third sentence is intended to bring the practice of FAO into line with that applied by the United Nations and other Specialized Agencies. The last phrase reflects a general diplomatic practice according to which special credentials supersede general credentials; accordingly, if a government has empowered a Permanent Representative, by letter of accreditation to the Organization, to represent his government at sessions of the Conference that government would not be precluded from accrediting a delegation to the Conference which might not include the Permanent Representative or might assign to him the function of alternate, associate or adviser.
155. The Council also endorsed the recommendation of the CCLM that in the Spanish text of Rule XXI-4 GRO, the term “el titular del departamento interesado” should be replaced by the term “el ministro interesado.”
156. Finally, the Council, following the recommendation of the CCLM, decided to invite the Director-General to draw the attention of governments of Member Nations and Associate Members, by an appropriate circular letter, to the recommendation of the Council and to the pertinent paragraph of the Report of the CCLM.
1 CL 52/20, para. 31.
2 Words underlined added; words in square brackets deleted.
157. In conformity with Conference Resolution 23/67, the Council, at its Fiftieth Session had appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to examine the questions relating to the procedures for the appointment of the Director-General and to suggest possible alternatives to the present procedure and to the timing of the election. At its Fifty-First Session, the Council had considered the procedure at present in force in FAO and the procedures followed in other Specialized Agencies, 1 as well as the report submitted by the Ad Hoc Committee 2. The recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee and the conclusions of the Council on the matter appear in paragraphs 136 to 140 of the Report of the Fifty-First Session of the FAO Council.
158. According to these conclusions, the Conference should retain authority with respect to the appointment of the Director-General and the appointment should take place in such a way as to avoid disruptive effects on the other work of the Conference. Furthermore, nominations of candidates should continue to be submitted by Member Governments, such nominations to be circulated one month prior to the “June session” of the Council.
1 CL 51/12.
2 CL 51/13.
159. With respect to the question of balloting and the difficulties that might arise in the event of numerous candidates, the Council, following the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations, had referred this matter to the CCLM, and had requested the CCLM to submit its report and recommendations to the Council at its Fifty-Second Session. The views expressed by the CCLM on the various methods of electing the Director-General which would reduce the number of ballots are embodied in its Report to the Fifty-Second Session of the Council 1.
160. From among the possible approaches envisaged by the Ad Hoc Committee, the CCLM had expressed itself clearly in favour of the procedure whereby candidates with the smallest number of votes would be gradually eliminated. To give effect to this procedure, it was felt that the first two ballots should be held among all candidates and that elimination should only begin as a result of the second ballot. This would give all candidates an equal chance during the initial stage of the election and would also afford any candidates having received a small number of votes during the first ballot the opportunity to withdraw of their own accord.
161. Likewise in each of the subsequent ballots, the candidate having obtained the smallest number of votes should be eliminated until only three candidates remained. This elimination would take place irrespective of whether any candidates withdraw between two ballots. In the event of a tie between two or more candidates having received the smallest number of votes during a ballot at this stage of the election procedure, a separate ballot should be held between these candidates with a view to determining who should be eliminated.
162. Once only three candidates remained, two ballots would take place among these three candidates and the candidate obtaining the smallest number of votes in the second of these ballots would then be eliminated. In the event of a tie between the two candidates having received the smaller number of votes in this second ballot or in the unlikely case that all three remaining candidates should receive the same number of votes, successive ballots should be held among all three candidates until one candidate obtained the smallest number of votes and would thus be eliminated.
163. In the final, phase, one or more ballots would be held among the two remaining candidates until one candidate obtained the required majority.
164. The CCLM felt that the last two phases - i.e. when three or two candidates only remain - were critical and that it might be desirable to leave delegation time for reflection and consultation before proceeding to further ballots.
165. The Council after having considered the various situations which might arise in connexion with the procedure for election of the Director-General and the implications of the voting system recommended by the CCLM, decided to endorse the system outlined above.
166. Since the General Rules of the Organization do not contain any provisions to be applied specifically to the election of the Director-General, the Council, following the recommendation of the CCLM, reached the conclusion that it would be desirable to introduce such provisions into Rule XXXIII-1 of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO) and to amend Rule XII-10 GRO by excluding from its scope the election of the Director-General.
167. The Council therefore decided to submit to the Conference, with a view to adoption the following draft amendments to Rule XII-10 GRO and Rule XXXIII-1 GRO:
Rule XII-10 should be amended to read as follows 2:
“In any election for one elective place, other than that of the Director-General, if a candidate fails on the first ballot to obtain a majority of the votes cast, successive ballots shall be taken at such time or times as the Conference or Council shall decide, until a candidate obtains such a majority.”
In Rule XXXIII-1, the following paragraph (b) should be inserted after paragraph (a) and the present paragraph (b) would thus become paragraph (c).
“(b) The Director-General shall be elected by a mahority of the votes cast. Until a candidate obtains the required majority, the following procedure shall apply:
Two ballots shall be held among all candidates;
The candidate having received the smallest number of votes in the second ballot shall be eliminated;
Thereafter, successive ballots shall be held, and the candidate having received the smallest number of votes in any one of these ballots shall be eliminated, until only three candidates remain;
Two ballots shall be held among the three remaining candidates;
The candidate having received the smallest number of votes during the second ballot referred to in sub-paragraph (iv) above shall be eliminated;
A subsequent ballot, or successive ballots if necessary, shall be held among the two remaining candidates until one candidate obtains the required majority;
In the event of a tie between two or more candidates having received the smallest number of votes in one of the ballots referred to in sub-paragraphs (ii) or (iii) above, a separate ballot or, if necessary, separate ballots shall be held among such candidates, and the candidate having received the smallest number of votes in such ballot or ballots shall be eliminated;
In the vent of a tie between two candidates having received the smallest number of votes in the second of the two ballots referred to in sub-paragraph (iv) above, or if all three candidates have received the same number of votes in that ballot, successive ballots shall be held among all three candidates until one candidate has received the smallest number of votes, after which the procedure provided in sub-paragraph (vi) above shall apply.”
1 CL 52/20.
2 Words underlined added.
168. In order to reflect the decisions it had made at its Fifty-First Session, the Council recommended that Rule XXXIII-1 (a) should be amended as follows 1:
“Whenever the office of the Director-General is vacant, or notice is received of a pending vacancy, the appointment of a new Director-General shall be placed on the agenda of the next session of the Conference which opens not less than 90 days from the occurrence or notice of the pending vacancy. Nominations validly made in accordance with Rule XII-5 of these Rules shall be communicated to the Secretary-General by the date set by the Council. The Secretary-General shall circulate these nominations to all Member Nations and Associate Members by the date likewise set by the Council, it being understood that in the case of an election taking place at a regular session of the Conference, such date set by the Council shall be not later than 30 days before the session of the Council provided for in Rule XXV-2(c) of these Rules. 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 Director-General at a regular session shall begin and be effected within three working days following the opening date of such session.”
1 Words underlined added.
169. The Council recalled that the question of the authority and terms of reference of regional conferences had been raised at the Eighth Regional Conference for the Near East (Khartoum, Sudan, January-February 1967) and that the Director-General had submitted to the Fourteenth Session of the Conference (November 1967) two papers on the subject 1 containing the historical and constitutional background relating to regional conferences and certain proposald for their reorientation.
170. The Council noted that the Fourteenth Session of the Conference had discussed the question of the authority and terms of reference of regional conferences and that it had agreed in particular that the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization should carefully examine the reorganization of regional conferences in the context of measures proposed for the reorganization of the regional structure. On the basis of the guidance received from the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization, the Director-General was to prepare a revision of the authority and terms of reference of regional conferences for submission to the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) 2. The conclusions of the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization relating to regional conferences 3 had been considered by the Council at its Fifty-First Session.
171. When considering the Joint Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization and the Director-General, the Council had made certain observations regarding regional conferences in general and in particular had stressed that such conferences should be one of the main instruments that governments should use in arriving at coordinated agricultural policies at the regional level 4.
172. At the Ninth Regional Conference for the Near East (Baghdad, September-Ocober 1968), and the Fifth Regional Conference for Africa (Kampala, November 1968), the question of the authority, terms of reference and constitutional status of Regional Conferences was again raised and, in accordance with the wishes of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference and the recommendations of these Regional Conferences, the Director-General submitted the question to the CCLM.
173. The CCLM examined the question of the authority, terms of reference and constitutional status of Regional Conferences at its Twentieth Session (March 1969) and its recommendations are set out in its Report 5:
174. The CCLM suggested a draft resolution for consideration by the Conference, recommending that if it were endorsed by the Conference it should be inserted in Volume II of the Basic Texts of the Organization. One member of the CCLM, while finding the draft resolution to be generally acceptable, nevertheless considered that the Constitution and other basic texts of the Organization should be amended in order to give Regional Conferences a status appropriate to the role they should play.
175. The recommendations of the CCLM were also considered by the Programme Committee at its Sixteenth Session (April 1969).
1 C 67/43 and C 67/43-Add.1.
2 Report of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference, paras. 629–637.
3 CL 51/9, paras 110–116.
4 Report of the Firty-First Session of the Council, para 89.
5 CL 52/30, paras 37–44.
176. The Council considered the recommendations submitted by the CCLM, the observations thereon in the Report of the Programme Committee 1, and in particular the draft Conference Resolution submitted to it by the CCLM. Some members stressed the importance of providing that Regional Conferences should be held regularly in each year in which the Conference did not meet in Regular Session. Other members pointed out the desirability of maintaining some flexibility in this respect in order to meet the requirements of different regions. The Council agreed that Regional Conferences for Africa, Asia and the Far East, Europe, Latin America, and the Near East, should be held in non-Conference years before the October session of the Council.
177. One member questioned the appropriateness of Regional Conferences making recommendations to the Conference and Council, pointing out that these bodies should consider the Organization's activities from the view point of the interests of Member Nations as a whole rather than from the view point of regional interests. Some members questioned the desirability of Regional Conferences making recommendations direct to governments or to the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions. It was agreed that as far as governments were concerned, Regional Conferences would make recommendations only to Member Nations in the Region. However, the Council noted that the whole question of the bodies to which Regional Conferences could make recommendations and the action that should be taken by the Director-General with respect to recommendations made to him, as contained in the draft resolution proposed by the CCLM, was based on the relevant passage of the Joint Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Organization and the Director General which was adopted by the Council at its Fiftieth Session, and that there was no reason for a change.
178. The Council agreed that the work of the Regional Conferences should, to the extent possible, be coordinated with that of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions and that mutual consultation was desirable with regard to the drawing up of the agenda of the Regional Conferences and as to results achieved. It was pointed out that such coordination would normally take place as a matter of course through the joint divisions set up by FAO with the Regional Economic Commissions.
179. The majority of the members supported the view already expressed by the majority of the CCLM and by the Programme Committee to the effect that, to give Regional Conferences a status befitting their role, it was desirable to include the Draft Conference Resolution referred to in paragraph 176 above, if adopted by the Conference, in the Basic Texts of the Organization, but that it was not necessary to amend the Constitution or the General Rules of the Organization. However, a number of members considered the amendment of the Constitution or the General Rules of the Organization to be necessary in order to reflect the important role that Regional Conferences should play in the activities of the Organization.
180. Some members, while being aware that the General Rules of the Organization applied mutatis mutandis to the conduct of business at Regional Conferences, felt that it might nevertheless be useful for Rules of Procedure to be drawn up to apply specifically to Regional Conferences. These members suggested that such Rules of Procedure might be submitted to the CCLM.
1 CL 52/3, paras. 319–323.
181. The Council decided to recommend to the Conference, with certain amendments, the draft Resolution that had been submitted by the CCLM. The text of the draft Conference Resolution as amended by the Council is set out below
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE
FAO Regional Conferences
Noting the growing importance of the role of Regional Conferences in the elaboration of the general policy of the Organization; Considering the value of laying down, as provided in Article VI-5 of the Constitution, the terms of reference of the Regional Conferences bearing in mind in this connexion the part they should play;
Considering further the recommendation of the Ninth Regional Conference for the Near East (Baghdad, September-October 1968) and the resolution of the Fifth Regional Conference for Africa (Kampala, November 1968);
Decides that Regional Conferences for Africa, Asia and the Far East, Europe, Latin America and the Near East shall have the following functions:
to hold consultations at a high level;
to indicate the special conditions of the regions in question and the priority areas of need which should be taken into account in preparing the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium as well as in relation to longer-term programme objectives;
to examine the adaptation of the policy objectives of the Organization to the needs of the region;
to undertake consultations on the means by which the countries in the region can help solve their own problems from the use of their own resources and on the volume and nature of the external aid required to implement their food and agricultural development plans.
Decides further that Regional Conferences may make recommendations to Member Nations in the region, the Conference, the Council, the Director-General and, through the Director-General to the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions. Recommendations addressed to the Conference, the Council and the Director-General will be studied by the Director-General, who will inform the Council and the Conference as to how far he has been able to take them into account in framing his draft Programme of Work and Budget and, where he has been unable to do so, state his reasons, and
that the Regional Conferences be held for Africa, Asia and the Far East, Europe, Latin America and the Near East at intervals of not less than two years, in the years in which the Conference does not meet in regular Session;
that, with a view to strengthening collaboration among regional development agencies, the drawing up of the agendas for the Regional Conferences and for the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions should be made the subject of mutual consultations between FAO and these commissions.
182. At its Fifty-First Session, the Council had given consideration to a proposal to the effect that a review of the functions of the Independent Chairman of the Council and of the future of the post be undertaken 1. After a preliminary exchange of views, the Council had decided to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee consisting of representatives of seven Member Nations to conduct a review on the broadest possible basis, including any aspects that had a bearing on the nature and degree of independence of the function of the Chairman of the Council, as well as 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 had further decided that the views of the present Independent Chairman and of Member Nations not serving on the Ad Hoc Committee should be solicited and taken into consideration by the Committee.
1 CL 51/LIM/4
183. In its Report to the Council 1, the Ad Hoc Committee analysed the various questions relating to the functions of the Chairman, in particular the meaning of “independence” considered in the light of the historical background of the post of Independent Chairman, the distinction between functions exercised by the Chairman during and between Council sessions, the methods of nominations and election, the organ responsible for appointing the Chairman, the term of office, and the principle of rotation as between regions.
184. During the deliberations of the Council on the statements contained in the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee and in a working paper on the subject 2, the majority of members favoured maintaining the present procedure whereby the Independent Chairman is elected by the Conference. However, most of these members expressed the view that the two-year term of office should not be renewable, it being understood that the Chairman who was to be elected by the Conference at its Fifteenth Session would be eligible for reelection.
185. Many members stressed the need for maintaining the principle of rotation which had been applied in practice, and the view was also expressed that this principle should be incorporated in the FAO Basic Texts. The Council was unanimous in the view that the principal qualities to be sought in an Independent Chairman were competence and objectivity. With regard to the principle hitherto recognized that the Independent Chairman should not be in active government service, some members felt that government service should not be considered a bar to eligibility for the post of Independent Chairman, as this might restrict the avaliability of suitable candidates. The Council endorsed the sessional and intersessional functions of the Chairman, listed in the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee 3. The Ad Hoc Committee had expressed the view that it was not necessary for the Chairman to attend meetings of FAO bodies other than those of the Programme and Finance Committees. Some members of the Council endorsed this view, but the opinion was also expressed that it would not be desirable to lay down a specific rule in this respect.
186. Some members, who had favoured the introduction of a system whereby the Chairman of the Council would be elected annually by the Council from among the representatives of Council Members, stated that they would not oppose the retention of the present system provided that, in the future, the term of office of the Independent Chairman was non-renewable. Some members felt that the question of the status and functions of the Independent Chairman might be reviewed again at a later stage.
1 CL 52/22
2 CL 52/31
3 CL 52/22, paras. 10–13
187. The Council recalled that at its Fifty-First Session it had concurred with the recommendations of the Programme Committee that the Director-General should ensure a strict application of the criteria for the establishment of any new permanent body as defined in paragraph 616 of the Report of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference. The Council had stressed that these criteria should apply not only to any proposals for the establishment of new bodies but also in considering the continuation of existing ones with a view to achieving a gradual but substantial reduction in the number of such bodies and in the overall number of FAO meetings.
188. However, the Council noted that at that time no precise instructions had been given to the Director-General to undertake a review to bring about reductions in the number of existing statutory bodies and it concurred with the request of the Programme Committee that he should further study the matter and report in detail to the next session of the Programme Committee, where the necessary time would be set aside for an exhaustive study of the matter.
189. The Council recognized that, although the initiative would in practice usually lie with the Secretariat, a reduction in the number of Statutory Bodies could not be accomplished by the Director-General himself, and that the assistance of the Programme Committee, the Council and Member Nations themselves would be needed in identifying those bodies whose usefulness had become marginal. The Council also recognized that in considering reductions various factors would have to be taken into account and the particular characteristics and usefulness of each body would have to be considered.
190. The Council noted with approval the provisions made by the Director-General in his Programme of Work and Budget (i) for Arabic interpretation at the Sixteenth Session of the FAO Conference 1971, at the Near East Regional Conference in 1970, and at regional and technical meetings to be held in 1970–71 in the Near east, and (ii) for translation of documents into Arabic up to a maximum of 1.8 million words in the biennium, the selection to be made after consultation with the governments of Arabic-speaking nations. Several members, however, expressed the hope that, in accordance with Recommendation No. 1 of the Ninth FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, the Director-General should further endeavour to obtain the necessary funds in order to provide greater facilities towards a fuller use of the Arabic language.
191. The Council also considered the suggestion made by the Joint Session of the Programme and Finance Committees that, in view of the status of Arabic as a limited working language, the Conference could, without amending Article XXII of the Constitution, adopt an Arabic version of the Constitution, the General Rules of the Organization, the Financial Regulations and the principles and other provisions published in Volume II of the FAO Basic Texts. A few members supported this suggestion, on the grounds that a new version of the Basic Texts would require authentication, a process that necessarily involved a good deal of time, and that it was prudent in such a matter to proceed in stages.
192. On the other hand, the Council generally took the view that the necessary steps should be taken for the Conference at its Fifteenth Session to amend Article XXII of the Constitution. In adopting Arabic as a limited working language, the Conference, it was felt, had intended that the limitation should refer to the quantity of material to be produced in Arabic and in no way to the status of the Arabic language. Most members reemphasized that Arabic was the official language of fourteen Member Nations and of two Associate Members, which together represented over one hundred million people, that it was also an important cultural and communication medium among several other nations in Africa and in Asia, that it was a language used entirely by developing countries and that it was the first Eastern language to receive recognition in FAO.
193. Accordingly the Council, under Article XX.3 of the FAO Constitution, proposed for adoption by the Conference the following amendment to Article XXII therefore:1
“The Arabic, English, French and Spanish texts of the Constitution shall be equally authoritative.”
194. In accordance with Article XX.4 of the Constitution, the Council further invited the Director-General to give notice of the above proposal to all Member Nations and Associate Members, which notice is to be dispatched not later than 10 July 1969. The Council further invited the Director-General to communicate to all Member Nations and Associate Members the text of the FAO Basic Texts prepared by the League of Arab States as soon as that text is available, in order to allow adequate time for its examination before the Fifteenth Session of the Conference.
1 Word underlined added.
195. The Council noted that the Programme of Work and Budget for 1970–71 included a provision of $17 700 to cover one third of the cost of German interpretation at the FAO Conference and at the Regional Conference for Europe, in line with the decision of the Conference at its Fourteenth Session.
196. The Council agreed to the request of the Government of Brazil for Portuguese interpretation to be provided at the Regional Conference for Latin America. The Council noted the assurance given by the delegate for Brazil on behalf of his Government that there was no intention of making any further claims for language services in Portuguese. It was pointed out that the provision of Portuguese interpretation at the Latin American Regional Conference would follow the precedent established by the Economic Commission for Latin America of the United Nations and would enable Brazilian participation in the Regional Conference to be on an equal basis with that of the other countries in the continent.
197. The Council further agreed that the choice between one-way or two-way interpretation in Portuguese could be the object of consultation between the Director-General and the Government of Brazil in each case, including possible arrangements for sharing the cost.
198. Some members expressed the fear that requests for services in yet other languages might proliferate and submitted that such requests should not be entertained unless they were made by at least ten Member Governments, as had been the case for Arabic; if the requests were made by a smaller number of Member Governments, these Governments should bear the added cost. Two members drew attention to the fact that each additional facility creates administrative burdens, and expressed concern over a trend which, if continued, might result in adversely affecting the work of FAO; they therefore urged caution in considering any further requests.
199. The Indian Ocean Fishery Commission, which had been established by Resolution 2/48 of the Forty-Eighth Council Session (June 1967) had, in accordance with paragraph 6 of its Statutes, adopted Rules of Procedure at its First Session (Rome, 16–20 September 1968).
200. Paragraph 6 of the Statutes of the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission, which reflects Article VI.3 of the Constitution, provides that rules of procedure adopted by the Commission enter into force upon approval by the Director-General subject to confirmation by the Conference or Council, as appropriate. The Rules of Procedure of the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission were approved by the Director-General on 10 April 1969 and were placed before the Council for confirmation 1.
201. The Council decided to confirm the Rules of Procedure as approved by the Director-General, set out in document CL 52/25.
1 CL 52/25
202. The Council noted that an application for membership in the Organization had been received from Equatorial Guinea and that this application would be before the Fifteenth Session of the Conference. The Council authorized the Director-General in the interim to invite Equatorial Guinea to attend in an observer capacity the session of the Council held before the Fifteenth Session of the Conference, and those technical and regional sessions of FAO bodies and ad hoc conferences of interest to it.
203. The Council was informed that the agreement of cooperation between FAO and OAU was signed by OAU on 30 April 1969 from which date the agreement had come into force. The Council noted that in accordance with the General Rules of the Organization the agreement was subject to confirmation by the Fifteenth Session of the Conference.
204. The Council was informed that since there had not been time to consult it in advance the Director-General had invited Albania, Czechoslovakia and U.S.S.R. to attend in an observer capacity the Sixteenth Session of the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease held in Rome, 16 – 18 April 1969. The U.S.S.R. had also been invited as an observer to the First Session, FAO Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic, Accra, 24 – 28 March 1969, and the Twelfth Session, Study Group on Grains, Rome, 21 – 28 May 1969. Singapore had been invited as an observer to the Seventh Session of the Plant Protection Committee for South East Asia and the Pacific Region, to be held in Noumea, 15 – 23 July 1969.
205. The Council authorized the Director-General to extend an invitation to the U.S.S.R. to attend in an observer capacity the Technical Conference on Marine Pollution and its effects on Fishery Resources and Fishing which, subject to approval by the Conference of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1970–71, would be held in 1970.
206. The Council had before it a request by the Republic of China to attend Sessions of the Indo Pacific Fisheries Council (IPFC) in an observer capacity. In this connexion th Council noted that at the Thirteenth Session of the IPFC (Brisbane, Australia, 1968) a spokesman for the Republic of China had asked orally that the Government be granted observer status at future sessions of the IPFC. Under Rule XII-2 of the Rules of Procedure of the IPFC, Nations that are not members of the IPFC nor members or Associate Members of FAO, but are members of the United Nations, may upon request and with the approval of the IPFC and the FAO Council, attend sessions of the IPFC in an observer capacity in accordance with the Statement of Principles adopted by the Conference relating to the granting of observer status. At the thirteenth session of the IPFC, a majority of its members agreed to grant observer status to the Republic of China at future Sessions.
207. The FAO Council, in considering whether to endorse the request made by the Republic of China, noted that that Government had withdrawn from FAO in 1952 leaving arrears of contributions. The Statement of Principles adopted by the Conference relating to the granting of observer status to Nations provides that:
“Former Member Nations of the Organization that have withdrawn leaving arrears of contributions shall not be permitted to send an observer to any meeting of the Organization until such time as they have paid up all such arrears or the Conference has approved an arrangement for the settlement thereof, or unless the Council, in special circumstances, decides otherwise with respect to such attendance.” (paragraph B4 Section I, Vol. II of Basic Texts)
208. A majority of the members of the FAO Council were in favour or acceding to the request made by the Republic of China. It was pointed out in particular that it had been recognized on many occasions that it was essential, in order that international cooperation in fishing activities on the high seas be effective, to enlist the participation of as many interested states as possible. It was also stressed that a majority of the members of the IPFC had already expressed the wish that the Republic of China be represented in an observer capacity at sessions of the IPFC, and the fact that participation in that capacity by the Republic of China was desirable on technical grounds.
209. Some other members were opposed to granting the request made by the Republic of China, since in accordance with paragraph B4, Section I of Volume II of the Basic Texts, quoted above, the Council could only authorize former Member Nations having withdrawn from the Organization leaving arrears of contributions to attend FAO meetings in “special circumstances.” These members did not consider that such “special circumstances” existed.
1 CL 52/33.
210. The Council agreed, on a vote by show of hands, to permit the Republic of China to attend sessions of the IPFC in an observer capacity 1
1 The result of the vote was:
24 votes cast
14 in favour