In presenting to the member governments of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations the Report on the work of its Ninth Session, the Council wishes to draw particular attention to the special character of this Session, which has had to deal in much more detail than is generally the case, with problems of an administrative and financial nature. The Council has devoted a large part of this report to these problems since it feels under an obligation to submit specific proposals for consideration and discussion at the next session of the Conference.
Member governments will note from the report that the financial situation of the Organization is unsatisfactory. If, as against a budget of $ 5,000,000, all contributions from member governments are not collected, the present financial year is likely to end with a deficit which will weigh heavily upon next year's program. The Organization has no reserves beyond its working capital fund of $ 1,500,000 which may be insufficient to meet its requirements. It appears that in 1951, budgetary allowance may have to be made, not only to live within the actual income, but also to reimburse the possible deficit in 1950.
It is, therefore, to be anticipated that FAO may have to curtail its program of work in a manner which will undermine the whole basis upon which the Organization was conceived, unless an assured income of at least $5,000,000 a year is received by FAO. Having regard to the obligations assumed by governments, and the great humanitarian and economic objectives embodied in the Constitution of FAO, this is unthinkable, and the matter must be drawn very forcibly to the attention of governments which are in default in the payment of their annual contributions. In the last analysis they have compelled the Council to request the Director-General to prepare for a possible serious reduction in the program of the Organization.
The additional expenditure involved in the transfer of headquarters to Rome is not of a recurring character, and will ultimately be compensated by savings. The Council has suggested that unless governments are prepared to make extraordinary contributions it should be met by way of a loan to be reimbursed through appropriate provisions in the budgets of subsequent years. The repayment of this loan would not interfere with the ordinary program of FAO as the savings resulting from the transfer would at least offset the annual instalments. In this connection the Council desires to record its appreciation of the co-operation and most generous assistance of the Italian authorities.
Consideration must be given to the problem of those countries which have failed to furnish the contributions they had undertaken to provide. Many of the difficulties FAO is facing are due to the action of those governments that have not paid their subscriptions. Therefore, the Council has requested the Committee on Financial Control to suggest ways of dealing with it, including the penalties that should be applied.
The following twelve months will be a transition period during which it will be desirable to carry out a detailed review of the fundamental policies and trends of the Organization, as well as of its financial procedures. This would make it possible, in the light of the experience of the last four years, to make FAO even more effective, to realize all possible economies, and to attain the greatest possible benefit from available resources. It is, however, quite clear that member governments cannot expect all the assistance which they have requested from FAO so long as the present budget obtains and so long as some governments do not pay their contributions.
The Council held its Ninth Session, 8–17 May 1950, in Rome at the FAO European Regional Office in the Villa Borghese.
The inaugural meeting was held at the Capitol, (Palazzo dei Conservatori) at the invitation of the Italian authorities and was opened by the Deputy-Mayor of Rome, on behalf of the Mayor. His Excellency, Antonio Segni, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry for Italy, greeted the delegates on behalf of the Italian Government.
The Council wishes to record its appreciation for the hospitality and many courtesies extended by the Italian Government and the National FAO Committee during the Session.
Adoption of Agenda
The Council approved its Agenda, as set forth in Annex A.
Approval of the Minutes of Seventh and Eighth Sessions
The Council approved the summary records of its Seventh and Eighth Sessions.