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Medium-Term Activities and Programmes

88. The Council noted that documents CL 55/9 and CL 55/15 had been submitted in accordance with Conference Resolution 9/69, which had called for “a more detailed statement” on medium-term activities and programmes and for a summary of the recommendations of the Regional Conferences in 1970.

89. The Council further noted that CL 55/9 had to be prepared well in advance of CL 55/36 on the Format of the Programme of Work and Budget, and that a major element in the revision of CL 55/9 which the Director-General had already decided to provide to the next Conference would be the omission of the classifications of FAO's current activities. These would be available with explanations and costs in the Programme of Work and Budget 1972–73.

90. The Council welcomed CL 55/15 as a satisfactory summary and analysis of the recommendations of the Regional Conferences. It endorsed the contents of paragraph 33 of CL 55/15 while noting that the priorities listed therein were not in strict order of precedence. Many members stressed the value and importance of the procedures adopted and the results of consulting the Regional Conferences.

91. In a lengthy discussion, a large number of points were made about the form, scope and content of CL 55/9. The greater part of the discussion was on the question of priorities and resources.


92. While noting the information in paragraph 89 above, many members criticised the document for being too general and comprehensive and referred to the need to define priorities rather than to describe everything that FAO might do. This was felt to be desirable not merely in relation to foreseeable resources but also to the need for forward planning, efficiency in operation and the availability of expertise from different sources.

93. A number of members criticised the omission of quantification in the form of programme and sub-programme costs. It was however noted that considerable difficulties arose from the situation regarding the Capacity Study (Jackson Report) and other unknown factors; also that any quantification, whether in costs or man-year estimates, must be progressively aggregative in character for a series of biennia following the one covered by a fully documented programme budget. Some members felt that a picture of the trends in programme activities - whether they would increase, remain stable or decrease in future - would be more helpful in relation to the fact that requirements should be reviewed as dynamic rather than static.

94. In general, the Council welcomed CL 55/9 as a valuable step forward and endorsed the Director-General's intention to revise it for the next Conference, and biennially thereafter, in the light of the views expressed by Council and Conference.


95. Many members referred to the future role of FAO's medium-term programmes in the context of the world agricultural situation, the implications of the Second Development Decade, the developments arising out of the decisions taken on the Capacity Study particularly as regards country programming, the availability of various sources of extra-budgetary funds, and cooperation with other agencies and bodies.

96. There were a number of different approaches to this wider context, but it was generally agreed that FAO had a vital role to play in the Second Development Decade, that its responsibilities and functions had a global character as well as a direct role in development action in regions and countries, that the Regular Programme should not be considered in isolation but in relation to FAO's diverse functions, and that the revision of CL 55/9 should reflect this. It was however generally agreed that many important Regular Programme activities provided an essential policy and infrastructural basis for development activity financed in the main from other sources and should be shaped accordingly.


97. A number of comments were made on the content of CL 55/9 apart from the question of priorities dealt with below.

98. The approach based on the Areas of Concentration and other chapters was generally endorsed, but some members referred to the necessity for flexibility in the approach in accordance with changing situations. A large number of members stressed that while progress was necessary under all the Areas, progress would not be achieved unless solutions were reached as regards justice and equity for developing countries in their trade and exchange earnings, agrarian reform and proper attention paid to other aspects of mobilizing human resources. In this connexion, FAO was strongly requested to give high priority to training and subsequent further specialized training for higher qualifications in foreign member countries. Noting that the André Mayer fellowsh were insufficient for this purpose, it was requested that FAO should provide the necessary resources as a result of reviewing less important activities. In this connexion, some members referred to the importance of the integrated development approach and to the need to overcome structural hindrances within FAO to interdisciplinary effort. It was however stressed that the Areas of Concentration could only be regarded as a useful general guide and must be interpreted and applied by countries in accordance with their own circumstances, policies and priorities and that FAO's programmes should be responsive to these. In this connextion, the importance of the regional approach, and thus of the Regional Offices, was stressed by a number of members, although others stressed the country approach, based on country programming and the country representatives.

99. As regards the content of the individual Areas, these had been endorsed by the last Conference. The discussion was mainly on priorities (see paras. 101–109 below), but it was suggested that misleading terms such as “agricultural break-through” or “the Green Revolution” should be avoided and that too much emphasis was being given at this stage of development to “second generation problems” since the high yielding varieties were confined to a few crops only in some developing countries. But others attached importance to attention to second generation problems.

100. As regards other chapters, some members felt that the references to the First Development Decade were misleading and should be revised to reflect the disappointment of the hopes of developing countries. Many felt that FAO could not develop successful programmes to deal with the problems of employment and income distribution unless there was more success in industrialization, agrarian reform and trade. Some stressed that, as regards agrarian reform, cooperatives, etc., FAO should only be ready to respond insofar as countries themselves had strong national policies and programmes and help could be effectively given, but others felt that FAO should also help in advising countries on what policies to adopt and in stimulating the initiation of programmes. On conservation, attention was drawn to the differing needs of developed and developing countries, although these were to a certain extent interrelated, especially in helping developing countries to avoid in time mistakes which had been made elsewhere. The need for interrelation of production and conservation activities was mentioned and various aspects of conservation such as marine pollution were also raised. As regards research, objections were raised against the proposal to provide modest research grants but the main lines of FAO's approach to research were generally endorsed.

Priorities and Resources

101. There was general agreement that priorities had to be related to foreseeable resources. It was therefore necessary to maximise the resources available for concrete development activity, particularly in the technical and economic fields, in every possible way. In this connexion, it was suggested that the fullest possible use should be made of extra-budgetary funds and activities left or handed over to other agencies. Stress was laid on FAO receiving full reimbursement for the impact of projects on the Regular Programme. Reference was also made to the possibility of a change in the financing of Senior Agricultural Advisors/FAO Country Representatives arising from the results of the independent review.

102. As regards the Regular Programme, it was pointed out that resources could only come from two sources: Member Nations' obligations, and savings achieved from lower-priority activities. Considerable concern was expressed about the continual and rapid rise in salaries and other costs at Headquarters. Reference was made to the burden of rent arising from non-provision of the accomodation promised to FAO.

103. A number of members felt that the so-called “mandatories” should not rise at the expenses of the technical and economic work of the Organization. Some members expressed disappointment that the Director-General had not asked for a 5 percent per annum increase in the real programme in addition to mandatory costs in 1972–73 as envisaged in the report of the last Conference, and had asked for only a 1.58 percent per annum in the real programme. The point was also made that the effect of inflation had not only been to increase mandatory costs but also to reduce the real value of programme increases.

104. Other members did not however accept that all cost increases were mandatory, nor that they could not be absorbed and therefore considered that the Director-General's indicative figure for the total of the next Programme of Work and Budget was too high and should be reduced.

105. There was however general agreement that the resources available for development over the medium-term must be maximised, that it was necessary to concentrate resources on practical and effective priorities, and to achieve economies in lower-priority activities and administration costs. It was suggested that consultants assist in identifying areas of higher or lower priorities. It was also suggested that consultants could not do this and that a small group of Governments might assist in identifying areas of low priority. Others felt that it was for the Director-General to apply certain criteria, namely demand, capacity, possible transfer to other agencies, practical effect and cost. Nevertheless a number of suggestions, both general and specific, were put forward as to those activities which should be regarded as having high or low priority.

106. As regards high priorities, there was considerable stress on agrarian reform, trade and planning as deserving the highest priority. Others stressed the importance of various activities under Increasing Yields, the Protein Problem and War on Waste. Specific mention was made not only of agrarian reform, commodity projections and other trade work, but also expansion of pre-investment activities, promotion of soft loans, operational efficiency, education and training, cooperatives, cattle breeding, management and disease control, pasture survey and development, high yielding variety seeds, second-generation problems of high yielding varieties, the Protein Advisory Group, inland fisheries, rural infrastructure, fertilizers, integrated pest control, pesticide residues, extension and other government services to the farmer.

107. In connection with rural infrastructure and government services, stress was laid on the need for effective FAO programmes to deal with the problems of small tenants, share-croppers and landless labourers who were not benefiting from the credit and other services available to the large farmers. The failure of cooperatives and experience of various programmes in this field in Asia might be examined by a special FAO team with a view to devising effective schemes of assistance.

108. As regards low-priority activities, which it was suggested could be reduced or dispensed with, were remote sensing, “glossy” publications, much information work in developed countries, additional languages, the central Freedom from Hunger Campaign unit, youth activities, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Atomic Energy in Food and Agriculture, the Policy Advisory Bureau (PAB), staff travel to meetings, the verbatim records of the Council and the number of clerical General Service staff.

109. It was however recognized that the Council could not adequately consider nor reach agreement on priorities in such a debate, particularly as priorities were bound to differ from region to region and country to country, and that it was the Director-General's responsibility to shape his programme for the consideration of Member Governments. In doing this, however, he should attempt as far as possible to reflect the consensus, to have regard to the different regional needs and to the internal priorities in the light of the capacity of the staff and its structure. He should then propose the Programme of Work and Budget and revise the Medium-Term Programme accordingly.

Report on the World Conference on Agricultural Education and Training, Copenhagen, July-August 1970 1

110. As a joint undertaking by FAO, Unesco and ILO the World Conference on Agricultural Education and Training also provided a good example of effective interagency collaboration in this field. Discussions at the conference had served to emphasize the fundamental role which agricultural education and training was required to play in the whole process of economic, social and cultural development of rural communities in many countries. This implied the need for a strengthening and modification of agricultural education and training in order that it could play a broader and far more dynamic role in the whole process of development.

111. In view of the fact that the final report of the conference would be published shortly, the Council agreed that this item should be again placed on the agenda for its Fifty-Sixth Session to allow a fuller and more detailed discussion of this very important subject in the light of the report as a whole and that of the Rapporteur General of the conference in particular.

112. In the brief discussion held emphasis was placed upon the importance of effective follow-up of the main conclusions and recommendations of the conference which the Council endorsed in principle. Attention was drawn to the important role which should be played in effective follow-up by FAO, and especially the Rural Institutions Division, in collaboration with other international agencies. The Council stressed the need to assist member countries in the building up of strong and effective national rural institutions whereby, through better education and training, peasants, farmers, farm families and the rural community generally would be enabled to play a full and effective role in the whole of development. The Council expressed its appreciation to the Government of Denmark for providing host facilities for the conference.

1 CL 55/11.

Programme Activities

Review of Programmes of Selected Divisions of the Organization

113. The Council completed a six year cycle of reviews of programmes of selected Divisions of the Organization by considering reviews of the Commodities and Trade Division, the Economic Analysis Division, the Rural Institutions Division and the Statistics Division, all of the Economic and Social Department.1 The Council expressed appreciation of the assistance given to it in this task by the Programme Committee which had reviewed the activities of these four Divisions at it Seventeenth Session, and had made its comments available to the Council in its report.2

114. Commodities and Trade Division3. In reviewing the activities of the Commodities and Trade Division over the past five years, the Council welcomed the increased emphasis being given in the work of the Division on trade, especially regional trade and study of trade barriers; this was reflected in the new title of the Division.

115. The Council welcomed the considerable expansion in the servicing of intergovernmental commodity consultations, the fact that some subsidiary bodies of the CCP had developed informal commodity arrangements, and that in general their work showed a trend toward more concrete action in the commodity trade field as well as the work on export promotion. The Council looked forward to intensification of this work.

116. The Council considered that the new procedures for consultations on surplus disposal and other concessional transactions worked out by the CCP were also a substantial achievement. The Council emphasized the need for providing more direct assistance to Governments especially in regional groupings (e.g. Gafica, Andean Pact, ASEAN) aiming at greater economic integration and cooperation in order to increase exports.

117. In this connexion the Council also stressed the importance of close cooperation between FAO and UNCTAD and between FAO and the UNCTAD/GATT International Trade Centre. It was also felt that international price adjustment problems were an important part of the Organization's work in the commodity field. Reference was made to the importance of cost of production studies as an important prerequisite in work aiming at harmonization of national policies, although a doubt was expressed as to whether the Organization was well-advised to pursue such studies. Further work on the effects of the growing use of high-yielding varieties on domestic and international markets was also considered an important activity.

118. Economic Analysis Division. The Council welcomed the increased emphasis being placed by the Economic Analysis Division on agricultural development planning assistance and the need was stressed for exchange of information between this Division and other national and international organizations concerned with development planning methods as well as assistance to regional planning groups. FAO was requested to consider reestablishment of resident assistance to the Latin American Institute for Economic and Social Planning.

119. The Council also noted that the regional economic units of the Division provided basic economic intelligence and sectorial analyses for the FAO field programme formulation work of the regional services in the Development Department. This contribution would become even more important as emphasis on country programming increased. Although the evaluation work had been, to date, largely concerned with individual project evaluations, increased emphasis was being given to evaluations on a subject or country basis. During the past year, country programme reviews were conducted in six countries, where all projects in the country were evaluated.

1 See CL 55/16(a) to (d).
2 See CL 55/3.
3 See CL 55/3, paras. 5–7. See also paras 52–67 above.

120. Rural Institutions Division.1 The Council expressed general support of the programme and organization of the Rural Institutions Division - but there was some criticism of the present effectiveness of the Division. Some members, however, felt that the activities in many of its fields of responsibilities particularly agrarian reform and education should be further expanded and resources should be allocated to do this. Others felt the need for a careful selection of activities of more immediate impact. It was stressed that this Division had a role to play in giving advice on institutional, social and human development matters to all other Divisions and units of the Organization. The Director-General was urged to take measures which would ensure that all FAO programmes bore the imprint of this advice. In order to strengthen this Division both at Headquarters and in the field it was suggested that a special committee representing different experiences and views should be created to assist the Director-General in presenting his recommendations to the Council.

121. The Council noted the political sensitivity of much of the work of the Division and cited land reform as an example. The Council stressed that while it was recognized that countries themselves have the final decision to make on when and how to carry out such programmes, the Organization also had a responsible role to play in initiating discussions and other positive measures to inform Governments and peoples about the benefits of undertaking such programmes. It was felt that more emphasis had to be given to the socio-economic aspects of the subject.

122. The activities in rural sociology were noted with satisfaction but it was believed that it was premature to stop work in this field in Europe, as had been suggested.

123. The Council was informed that inter-divisional working groups on agricultural education and training and on social aspects under the leadership of Rural Institutions Division helped to coordinate activities in these areas with the technical units concerned, and efforts were under way to improve coordination. Cooperation with technical divisions was also established in dealing with research organization programmes.

1 See para. 294 below.

124. Statistics Division1. The Council reaffirmed the importance of the work of the Statistics Division in establishing a factual basis for the programmes of the Organization. The Council was informed that the work of the Division was increasingly user-oriented through regular meetings of the Economic and Social Department Working Group on Statistics, in which the Forestry and Fisheries Departments also participated. Consultations on the reconciliation and consistency of statistical data were carried out through a number of inter-divisional meetings convened by Statistics Division, especially in relation to the preparation of production/utilization accounts for the agricultural commodities. These consultations would be further facilitated once data on production, trade and utilization were stored in an interlinked fashion on computer tapes and programmes finalized for updating them on a current basis.

125. Referring to the work on development of agricultural statistics in the countries, the Council stressed the need for improvement of agricultural statistics on a continuing basis and took note of the Division's new emphasis on promoting census and current statistics as part of a single integrated programme. The Council agreed with the Programme Committee that developed countries with bilateral aid programmes should consider allocating resources to assist developing countries in organizing their statistical work.

126. Priorities and Approach. Some members expressed concern as to the procedures available in FAO for establishing priorities between useful lines of work in the various Divisions under review. In their view it was particularly necessary to select with care the activities and approaches to be followed with regard to rural institutions. The Council took note that the views expressed would be immediately useful in the consideration currently being given by the Director-General to the preparation of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1972–73. The Secretariat recognized the importance of improving the orientation of the work in the Department as a whole with regard to major issues and problems of agricultural development, such as rural employment, the priorities in agricultural development programmes at various stages of economic growth, agricultural sector problems in regional integration schemes, the economic and social aspects of the Green Revolution, and international agricultural adjustment. To this end, the Secretariat was arranging with the Divisions for joint analyses of these problems, with the aid as far as possible of outside academic and research institutions. Such joint analyses should help to improve steadily the selection of priorities in the activities of the departmental units.

1 See para. 294 below.

Format, Guidelines and Procedures for the Preparation of the Programme Review Papers

127. With the review of activities of the above four Divisions, the Council concluded the present cycle of six-year review agreed at its Forty-Fourth Session.

128. Regarding future reviews the Council agreed that:

  1. these reviews were useful and should be continued;

  2. future reviews should be on a programme basis rather than the previous organizational basis, in conformity with the new programme budget;

  3. the reviews should not only provide an evaluation of the recent past but also be forward looking so as to have a greater impact on programme formulation, particularly in the medium term;

  4. the review cycle should be shortened to four years and begin with the spring 1972 session of the Programme Committee;

  5. during the Conference years the agenda for these reviews should be lighter than in non-Conference years.

129. The Council recommended that the Director-General propose a programme of reviews over a four-year cycle for the consideration of the spring 1971 session of the Programme Committee.

130. The Council agreed that the Finance Committee should undertake a similar review of the Administration and Finance Department.

FAO's Publications and Documents Policy

131. At its Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Sessions the Programme Committee had consolidated and brought up to date the guiding principles for FAO's publications and documents approved by the Conference at its Fifth and subsequent sessions, and recommended that the Council adopt them as a comprehensive codification of the Organization's policy on the matter 1.

132. The Council approved these guidelines and requested the Director-General to ensure their application in the future. The guidelines appear as Appendix E to this report.

133. The Council confirmed that the public for FAO publications and main documents consisted of government officials; specialists and persons concerned with economic, social and technical development in both the developing and developed countries; and extension level workers, especially in the developing countries. In addition, public information material should be directed to a broad cross-section of the interested public as a means of fostering general knowledge of the Organization's problems and work and promoting support for its objectives. As stated in the guiding principles, quality is a sine qua non of publications and main documents and must not be sacrificed to quantity. Quality here refers to the completeness and adequacy of the material presented and to the standard of writing, which must be adapted to the public addressed.

134. The Council noted the substitutions and cancellations which the Director-General was proposing to make to the 1970–71 programme of publications and main documents as approved by the Conference in November 1969 2. These were being reported on the request of the Conference at its Fifteenth Session (1969) and in accordance with paragraph 2 (c) of the guiding principles. While the Council recognized that changes were inevitable as a result of shifts in priorities during the biennium to meet new developments, and also because it was only when manuscripts became available that their suitability could be judged, nevertheless the Council felt that the number of proposed changes, ten months after the begining of the biennium was excessive and appeared to show inadequate planning of the publications and documents programme as presented to the Conference. The Council therefore urged that in preparing the Programme of Work for the forthcoming biennium the Director-General pay special attention to realistic planning of publications and documents, which should be directly related to the programmes and sub-programmes of the Organization.

1 CL 55/5 - Annex I.
2 CL 55/LIM/5.

135. The question was raised whether the current programme as approved (106 publications and 131 main documents, excluding reports of meetings) was over-ambitious. It was recognized however that printed sales publications represented a durable store of knowledge, whereas documents, especially ephemeral working papers for meetings, were of limited value. Working papers served primarly the immediate needs of restricted audiences as a basis for consideration, discussion, study or action, or for information. Their circulation was normally limited to those concerned directly with the content, the recipients being determined in advance according to the purpose of the paper. In the case of working papers, especially for meetings, timeliness was therefore more important than completeness. The Council concurred in the recommendation of the Tenth Regional Conference for the Near East 1 that FAO give priority to the publication of manuals for use by research, training and extension staff and other prototype material for the transfer of knowledge. The Regional Conference had, like the Council, expressed the view that working papers for meetings should receive a lower priority 2. This was also one of the guiding principles laid down by the Conference.

136. In connexion with the application of the guiding principles and the drawing up and implementation of the biennial publications and documents programme, the Council was informed of the recent reorganization of the Director-General's internal Publications Committee, which now consisted of a small group of senior staff with organizationwide responsibilities. The Council expressed the hope that this committee would be instrumental in helping the Director-General to implement the guiding principles and exercise control over the execution of the publications and documents programme.

137. The Council endorsed the Programme Committee's proposal that Member Nations (Ministries, National FAO Committees, and other national agricultural and economic agencies) should play a more active role in ensuring more effective and wider distribution of FAO technical material, and requested the Director-General to undertake a new survey in cooperation with Member Governments aimed at bringing about a more effective use of quota supplies of publications and also a more effective distribution of quotas in accord with the needs of the respective Governments. In carrying out this survey, the Director-General should make use of field staff. He should also make use of field staff, national institutes, specialists and technicians in Member Nations to draw attention to the priced publications and main documents issued.

1 CL 55/15, Annex V, Recommendation 6/70.
2 See paras. 161 – 162 below.

Fisheries: Fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries

138. The Report of the Fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries 3 was presented by its Chairman, K. Sunnanaa (Norway). The Council's attention was drawn to a number of matters upon which the Council might give guidance to the Committee.

139. The Council complimented the Committee on Fisheries on the efficient manner in which it was discharging its mandate, both in reviewing and appraising fishery problems of an international character and in reviewing the programmes of work of the Organization in the field of fisheries and their implementation: it noted the guidance given by the Committee to the Department of Fisheries and the resulting wide scope and high quality of work undertaken by it, aimed particularly at assisting the developing countries in the development of their fisheries and in promoting the rational utilization and conservation of fishery resources in general.

140. The Council endorsed the Report of the Fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and placed on record the following comments.

3 CL 55/19.

141. The Council noted that it had considered under Item 21(a) of its Agenda the changing of the character of COFI and had agreed to recommend to the Conference its conversion into a Committee open to all interested Member Nations for a trial period of four years 1. The Council hoped that the proposed enlarged membership of COFI would enhance the quality of its deliberations and the interest of Member Nations in them.

142. The Council noted with interest the work undertaken by the Department of Fisheries pursuant to resolutions of the UN General Assembly concerning marine activities and endorsed the views of COFI on FAO's role in inter-agency collaboration within the UN system with regard to living aquatic resources. The Council made reference to the current consideration by the General Assembly of a United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It endorsed the views of COFI that, in the event of such a conference being convened, the Department of Fisheries of FAO and COFI itself would be the competent organs to prepare any necessary information of a technical nature relating to fisheries, that they would be willing to do so and that the General Assembly of the United Nations should be so informed.

143. The Council shared COFI's satisfaction with the notable progress made in collaboration between the interested organizations of the UN system on the coordination of ocean science activities. It requested that the Sixth Session of COFI be informed more fully of the activities of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) which relate to FAO's work in fisheries. This would include a report on FAO's support for, and work in connexion with, these activities. The view was also expressed that work on the fundamental scientific aspects of oceanography should be left to Unesco and that FAO should concentrate on its specific work relating to fisheries.

144. The Council expressed its strong concern about problems of the environment and its support for FAO's work concerning aquatic pollution which was of value to all countries, developed and developing. It welcomed the arrangements for the FAO Technical Conference on Marine Pollution and its Effects on Living Resources and Fishing, to be held in December 1970 which would bring together a large number of scientists and administrators in the first international meeting of this scale on the subject. It urged that FAO give prompt and comprehensive consideration to the recommendations of that conference. Some members also urged that every effort be made to strengthen the Department of Fisheries with staff of high competence to deal with problems of aquatic pollution. It noted with interest that a Training Centre on Marine Pollution would be held in 1971, in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency.

145. The Council stressed the need for updating and refining the estimates prepared for the Perspective Study on World Agricultural Development relating to fisheries. It emphasized the value of FAO's work in the assessment of stocks and its role in promoting fishery management. It noted the prerogative of nations in the choice of specific regulatory measures and in their implementation and agreed that FAO's future role in promoting action in this field should be further discussed by COFI at its Sixth Session with a view to defining it more clearly. It expressed particular support for FAO's work in fishery statistics on which all development and management action was based.

146. The Council supported COFI's views on the general trends and organization of the work of FAO in the field of fisheries during 1972–73 and in the medium-term. It stressed, in particular, the importance of work in surveying resources and assessing stocks with a view to optimum utilization of stocks presently exploited as well as stocks presently unutilized, like horse mackerel; assistance to developing countries in fishing, processing and marketing with special attention to the problems of artisanal fisheries; the promotion of fish culture and the utilization of inland waters for fisheries; increased work on education and training; the mobilization of capital for fishery development and further assistance through the FAO regional fishery bodies in fishery conservation and development.

147. The Council, while agreeing with COFI on the desirability of strengthening the Department of Fisheries to allow activities in the fields and on the scale recommended to keep pace with growing demands, noted that at the time of the COFI Session the budgetary prospects had not been as unfavourable as they appeared presently.

1 See paras. 210–219 below.

Junior Professional Trainees and Fellowships - Policies and Programmes

148. The Council noted the Reports of the Eighteenth Session of the Programme Committee and the Twenty-Fourth Session of the Finance Committee, and endorsed their request that the Director-General should present to the Council an evaluation of this programme following the completion of the first four years of its experience.

149. The Council looked into the question of whether the selection of candidates for this programme should be restricted to developing countries. It was felt that all Member Nations should continue to be entitled to nominate candidates. While the Director-General should give preference to nominees from developing countries, emphasis should be put upon the necessity for making the qualifications and the potential of the candidates the main criteria for the final selection.

150. The Council also examined the question of whether participants should be trained for posts in the Organization or rather for service within their own countries. It was agreed that junior professionals should not exclusively be chosen with a view to serving the Organization on the completion of their training year, but that some of them should be chosen with a view to subsequent employment in their own countries, as far as that might be available.

151. It was noted that lack of funds had prevented the provision of field training on the scale originally intended. The Council agreed that field training was essential to the programme, and that the situation should be put right as soon as the necessary funds could be obtained.

152. The Council noted with regret that all the junior professionals who had attented the first 1969/70 course had been offered posts in the Organization, and that several of them came from over-represented countries. Nevertheless the Council recognized that there was Conference authority for allowing junior professionals either to stay with the Organization or to go back to their home countries, but the Council expressed the hope that in future a more equitable balance be maintained. If participants were government officials, FAO should not offer them posts without the consent of their Government.

153. The Council considered the programme to be a valuable training tool for young people and that it should be expanded. The Council requested that further details be presented to the next session of the Finance Committee on the training curriculum for the programme.

Fellowships 1

154. The Council endorsed the Report submitted by the Eighteenth Session of the Programme Committee which requested the Director-General to present to the Council at a future session a report providing more substantive information on the policy and programming part of the fellowships scheme including the development of the training policy of the UNDP and its impact on FAO's fellowships activities. The Council discussed briefly various aspects of the Organization's fellowships activities, and put particular emphasis upon the planning aspects of fellowships programming. It felt that the fellowships and training components of field projects should be given more attention in order to ensure that the countries' needs were being fully met and to improve the timing of awards and the placing of fellows. The Council noted that the Organization's Fellowships and Training Branch was now being restructured so as to give better service to Divisions in the planning of fellowships. The Council accepted the Secretariat's assurance that the suggestions from Member Nations would be taken into account in a more thorough and more detailed future report. This report would also deal with the André Mayer Fellowships and include an evaluation of past experience and results of this programme.

1 CL 55/20.

Review of Associate Expert Scheme 1

155. The Council noted the Report of the Eighteenth Session of the Programme Committee 2 which “considered that the Associate Expert Scheme had proved to be an appreciable contribution to FAO's work in development assistance.” In this respect, certain members from donor countries stated that their countries were prepared to continue the Scheme provided FAO and the recipient countries agreed.

156. The Council requested the Director-General to publicize more extensively the objectives and the scope of the Scheme in member countries, to gear it particularly to the needs of recipient countries, and to provide to the next session of the Council a fuller report on the Scheme.

1 CL 55/21.
2 CL 55/5, para. 29.

Organization of Conference Sessions

Technical Committees and Conference Session

157. The Council noted that the Programme Committee had made a comprehensive examination of this subject at its Seventeenth and Eighteenth Sessions in the light both of the Joint Inspection Unit Report on the FAO Conference Session 3 and of the Director-General's detailed proposals 4.

158. The Council approved the Director-General's proposals on the Organization of Conference Sessions and the additional comments and recommendations by the Programme Committee 5.

159. This decision meant, in essence, that the Session of the FAO Conference would continue to comprise, as heretofore, a Plenary meeting and three Commissions, and that Commission II would deal primarily with the Programme of Work and Budget and the Medium-Term Programme, including both Regular Programme and Field Activities. It also meant that Commission I would no longer deal with activities falling within the terms of reference of Commission II. The practice of convening meetings of Technical Committees immediately prior to the Conference Session would be discontinued.

160. The Council agreed that the Agenda of the Conference should be reduced to essential items, so as to allow for the focusing of the debates more sharply on the main issues. At its Fifty-Sixth Session, the Council would scrutinize the draft Agenda for the Sixteenth Session of the Conference in accordance with the directives of Resolution 6/69 of the Fifteenth Conference. In this connexion, it was suggested that an analysis of the effect of the streamlining of the Conference Agenda on the workload of the Council and its subsidiary bodies might be submitted to the Programme Committee for its consideration and appropriate recommendations.

161. On the subject of documentation, the Council stressed that this should not only be reduced to a minimum both in numbers and in length6, but that the cover-page of each document should bear a summary, not more than one page, clearly setting out the points on which Conference action was required, and the exact nature of such action. It firmly stressed the need for all documents to be made available in time.

162. The Council specified that the above principles applied both to Conference and Council documentation, and requested the Independent Chairman to ensure that in the future its working documents were limited to brief and timely statements of the issues before the Council.

163. The Council recommended that introductions by the Secretariat should be made only at the invitation of the Chairman of the meeting. The Council agreed that Secretariat introductions might be warranted in the case of particularly complex subjects.

164. The Council noted that these arrangements would reduce the overall duration of the Conference Session and related meetings to three, instead of five weeks as heretofore. This was in line with the recommendations of the Joint Inspection Unit.

3 CL 55/26(j).
4 CL 55/22.
5 CL 55/5, paras. 35–42.
6 See para. 135 above.

Additional Committee of the Council

165. In view of the need to ensure a broad enough coverage of the Organization's activities in providing the necessary technical inputs at an early stage in the biennial cycle, the Council endorsed the Programme Committee's recommendation that a Committee on Agriculture should be established under Article V-6 of the Constitution 1.

166. The Council agreed that the Committee would need to receive systematically technical material covering many different agricultural specialities and noted that it should ordinarily be able to do so from the many existing technical bodies of the Organization without setting up new subordinate bodies of its own. Bearing this in mind, as well as requirements of flexibility in membership, the Council requested the Programme Committee, at its Nineteenth Session, to consider the terms of reference of this new Committee and its composition. The Programme Committee's proposals would be reviewed by the CCLM and the Council prior to a decision by the Conference at its Sixteenth Session, for implementation in the 1972–73 biennium.

1 CL 55/5, paras. 43–44.

Verbatim Records of Statements

167. The Council endorsed the recommendation of the Seventeenth Session of the Programme Committee 2 that the verbatim records of the Conference should continue to be issued in English, French and Spanish only. It noted that the addition of further languages would have an adverse effect on the speed with which the verbatims were issued, on the intelligibility of the records to later users and on the costs involved in their production. It agreed that the established procedure of allowing ample time for the submission of corrections before the final version was produced constituted a safeguard for the factual accuracy of the records.

168. It was suggested that the elimination of verbatim records might encourage brevity in delegates' statements. In that case, it might be necessary to ensure that succinct records of some kind were available as an alternative. However, the Council felt that, if such a step were to be agreed upon, it should first be introduced on a trial basis at Council sessions before considering its application to the Conference.

2 CL 55/3, paras. 85–87.

Report on Unscheduled Sessions of FAO Bodies in the 1970–71 Biennium (1 January – 15 November 1970)

169. The Council recalled that the Conference at its Fifteenth Session had approved the list of sessions and conferences for the 1970–71 biennium to be financed under the Regular Programme. It was however recognized that in exceptional circumstances certain unscheduled sessions might be necessary and the Fourteenth Session of the Conference had authorized the Director-General to make such exceptions when in his view this was necessary for the implementation of the Programme of Work as approved by the Conference, subject however to these exceptions being reported to the next session of the Council.

170. The Council was advised that 24 unscheduled sessions had been approved between 1 January and 15 November 1970, while 17 approved sessions had been cancelled. However it noted that one of the unscheduled sessions (ESR 850) was subsequently postponed to the next biennium at the wish of the convenors, and one session reported as cancelled (FO 828), would in fact be held in 1970.

171. Although the increasing number of meetings entailed the risk of imposing a burden on Member Governments, the Council took note that up to 15 November 1970 a net total of 23 exceptions had been approved, that 15 approved sessions had been cancelled and that all the additional sessions had involved no expense for FAO or had been financed by adjustments within the budgetary provisions for meetings.

172. A detailed list of the exceptions approved with their justification and of the cancellations made is given in Appendix F to this report.

Interagency Relations and Consultations on Matters of Common Interest

Matters Arising out of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, ACC and UNDP Governing Council

173. The Council had before it document CL 55/24 on matters arising out of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, ACC and the UNDP Governing Council; and also document CL 55/54 on action taken, notably in the CCP on General Assembly Resolution 2462 (XXIII) in respect of multilateral food aid.

174. The Council recalled the growing complexity of the UN system and the interrelationship of action necessary in ensuring enhanced economic and social development throughout the UN's Second Development Decade and noted with satisfaction the importance given by the Director-General to increasing cooperation with other members of the UN system. The Council generally endorsed the manner in which FAO was contributing to such cooperation in various developmental activities. It urged continued effort in the harmonization of activities of FAO with those of other organizations and the promotion of joint action where necessary, with due recognition being however given to the specific role of FAO in such overall developmental endeavour.

175. In this context, the Council devoted particular attention to the consensus reached on the capacity of the UN system to handle an increasing volume of developmental assistance. It commended the positive role assumed by FAO during the preparation and subsequent consideration of the Jackson Capacity Study, and expressed satisfaction that the UNDP Governing Council had recognized the idea of “partnership” stressed by the Director-General in his presentation of views on the Capacity Study. It was of the opinion that for the success of the programme, the partnership idea should be given meaningful practical expression at all levels notably in policy formulation and country programming, with the Specialized Agencies making appropriate contributions in their respective fields. It endorsed the “country programming” approach and stressed the consequent need for high-level country representatives in affording sectoral guidance to the UNDP Resident Directors. It recognized that the recent reorganization of FAO's own structure had a bearing on the proposal in the consensus that all agencies executing UNDP-aided projects review and adapt their organizational structures to their increased operational activities. It underlined the continuing nature of such adjustments, both at Headquarters and in the regions, while recalling, however, that these should take into account the preservation of the Organization's identity and competence within such a partnership scheme. The Council also stressed the importance of UNDP reimbursing full agency costs with respect to the development and implementation of UNDP projects. The Council requested the Director-General to submit to its Fifty-Sixth Session a report on developments in the implementation of the consensus.

176. The Council then adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 3/55



Welcoming the consensus approved by the Governing Council of the UNDP at its Tenth Session concerning the capacity of the United Nations development system;

Noting Resolution 1530 (XLIX) of the Economic and Social Council endorsing this consensus;

Expressing satisfaction that the consensus recognizes that “The role of the organizations of the United Nations system in the implementation of country programmes should be that of partners, under the leadership of the UNDP, in a common endeavour of the entire United Nations system”;

Welcoming the continuing cooperation and collaboration of the Director-General during the review of the capacity of the United Nations development system;

Noting the recommendation of the 1714th Meeting of the Economic and Social Council to all executing agencies of the UNDP that they review their organizational structures at the headquarters, regional and field levels with a view to adapting these structures to their increased operational activities financed by the UNDP, in the light of the relevant decisions of the UNDP Governing Council and guided by the following considerations:

  1. Within each agency, one organizational unit should have an overall responsibility for the implementation of UNDP projects,

  2. Higher efficiency and speedier implementation of projects should be achieved,

  3. Particularly, improvement should be sought in the swift recruitment and deployment of field staff,

  4. Administrative overhead costs involved in the execution of UNDP projects should be minimized in order to secure increased resources for direct assistance to recipient countries;

Noting that some questions remain to be settled within the framework of the examination of this subject;

Noting with approval that the Director-General has already taken significant steps in line with the objectives stated by the Governing Council of the UNDP and supported by the Economic and Social Council concerning the need for a review of the organizational structures of executing agencies;

  1. Requests the Director-General of FAO to continue to cooperate fully, in a spirit of partnership, with the Administrator of the UNDP and with other appropriate agencies and organizations of the United Nations in the implementation of the consensus approved by the Governing Council of the UNDP and to report to the Fifty-Sixth Session of the FAO Council on measures taken in this connexion.

  2. Requests the Director-General to take all possible steps to ensure that agency or overhead costs necessary for the efficient implementation of FAO's responsibilities for activities financed by the UNDP are adequately covered.

  3. Requests the Director-General to keep under review FAO's organizational structure at the headquarters, regional and country levels with a view to adapting this structure to the FAO operational activities financed by the UNDP in light of the relevant recommendations of the UNDP Governing Council and ECOSOC and to report on his review and action taken and proposals for that purpose to the Fifty-Sixth Session of the Council as well as in the FAO report to the Fifty-First Session of ECOSOC.

177. Turning to other items, the Council agreed with the intensified efforts of the Organization to alleviate protein malnutrition and queried the contribution that could be made by any “protein policy body” as proposed by ACAST 1.

178. Having regard to the number of studies already available in respect of strengthening international cooperation in the rational development and utilization of the resources of the ocean, the Council was sceptical of the need for yet another review of the activities of the UN system in this sector. It, however, endorsed the view that, if such a further study were to take place, FAO should cooperate fully in the interests of safeguarding its role and responsibilities in this field.

179. In noting the decision to establish a UN Standing Committee on Natural Resources - particularly in respect of water, energy and mineral resources development - the Council expressed some concern over possible duplication in the field of water management and expressed the hope that it would not in any way curtail FAO competence and activities in this field.

180. The Council welcomed the importance accorded to strengthening and accelerating technical competence in developing areas through possible establishment of intergovernmental machinery in the field of application of science and technology to development.

181. The Council noted the complexity of the investigations under way on the rationalization and location of the regional structures of the UN system. While endorsing FAO's continued collaboration in this effort, the Council urged that any improvements in the regional arrangements should take into account practical necessities, technical considerations and the role of individual members of the UN system to make the best possible contribution to the economic and social development of the regions.

182. The Council noted the present marginal scope for FAO participation in common computer facilities to be established in Geneva. Whilst recognizing the advantages to be derived from sharing in a common Data Processing Centre, it urged that the cost of such participation be carefully weighed against the merits of keeping to existing arrangements which were working satisfactorily in meeting the Organization's own requirements.

183. Finally, regarding ECOSOC's invitation to the governing bodies of the Specialized Agencies “to consider making arrangements for studies of the use of the staffs of their secretariats”, the Council noted that many of the structural reorganization and management improvement measures adopted by FAO were in keeping with the objectives of this resolution. At the same time, the Council considered that maximum utilization of staff was a matter for continuous review by the Director-General.

1 UN Advisory Committee on the Application of Science and Technology to Development.

Action to Implement UN General Assembly Resolutions on Decolonization and Racial Discrimination

184. The Council had before it a report by the Director-General 2 prepared in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 2555 (XXIV) which inter alia recommended that the Specialized Agencies should examine, on the basis of reports to be submitted by their secretariats, all the problems which they might encounter in their efforts to give effect to this resolution as well as other related General Assembly resolutions; and document CL 55/18 Add. 1 on the measures proposed by the Director-General to participate in the observance of the International Year (1971) to combat racism and racial discrimination.

185. The Council agreed with the views expressed in the General Assembly resolutions that racism, racial discrimination and colonialism were incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Most members emphasized that members of the UN system should do everything possible within their respective spheres of activity to implement the recommendations contained in the resolutions. The Council noted with satisfaction the assistance being given by FAO to refugees from the various territories concerned, through the World Food Programme and the cooperation extended to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

186. A number of members of the Council pointed to the worsening of the situation in Southern Africa and to the extreme hardships being suffered by the peoples within the colonial territories in their struggle for independence. They urged that, with the cooperation of OAU, ways and means be found to overcome obstacles that existed in assisting people within the territories mentioned and the liberation movements concerned. In this connexion, they referred to FAO's role in food production, including agricultural education and training, nutrition education and the granting of scholarships, as a contribution to the maintenance of peace.

187. With reference to paragraph 7 of the General Assembly Resolution aiming at discontinuing “any collaboration” with certain Governments including Portugal, some members thought that the Council should recommend measures which would result in denial of membership to Portugal. Other members of the Council, while sharing the views expressed on the principles of self-determination for all people, opposed the suspension or expulsion of any Members on purely political grounds. They also cautioned against taking any action based on purely political considerations which might detract from FAO's effectiveness as a technical organization.

188. Some members felt that FAO should have done more, and requested the Director-General to draw up concrete action programmes in collaboration with OAU, which had the appropriate means of ensuring that assistance reached the populations under colonial rule. Others recognized the difficult circumstances presented by the relevant resolution under which the Director-General was endeavouring to take action. The Director-General informed the Council that he had taken this problem very seriously at all times, and had done everything possible to assist refugees from the colonial territories. In this context he had written to the Secretary General of OAU, asking for his comments and suggestions on the best ways to help populations within those territories, as he considered cooperation with OAU essential. He would continue his personal initiative in close cooperation with the FAO Regional Representative for Africa.

189. At the request of the Council, the Legal Counsel explained that suspension or expulsion of a member nation would require an amendment to the Constitution.

190. In the light of these explanations, the Council approved the positive action thus far taken by the Director-General in regard to the implementation of the General Assembly resolution on decolonization, and authorized him to continue and intensify such efforts within the provisions of the FAO Constitution and directives of its governing organs, and to keep the Council periodically informed of further developments.

191. Some members proposed that this whole question be again re-examined at the next session of the Conference.

2 CL 55/18.

FAO's Role in the Preparation of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 1972

192. The Council was informed of the important contribution that FAO had been requested to make by the secretariat of this UN Conference in the documentation and the preparation of proposals for action programmes in the fields of natural resources management and pollution control.

193. The Council noted with satisfaction that the Director-General had already taken the necessary steps to define FAO's policy in the field of environment and to mobilize the existing resources and the expertise available within the Organization in preparation for the Stockholm Conference. It gave its full support to these initiatives.

194. The differences in the nature and the extent of environmental problems in developed countries and in developing countries were recalled. The Council requested the Director-General to keep this difference in mind in formulating action in this respect. More specifically it requested that an item on FAO participation in the UN Conference on the Human Environment be included in the agenda of the Fifty-Sixth Session of the Council and the Sixteenth Conference Session.

195. The Council noted that the Director-General would be able to provide from the present Regular Programme and Field Programme budgets the resources required to ensure an FAO contribution to the UN Conference and also noted that, for the years to come, this area constituted one of the priorities of the medium-term programme which he had proposed to the Council.

UN Joint Inspection Unit Reports

196. The Council took note of the fourteen Formal Reports and Notes received by FAO from the Joint Inspection Unit in the period August 1969 – June 1970, and of the comments by the Director-General on them.

197. Attention was drawn to the report on Selected Ideas for Improving Field Operations, which it was felt offered many valuable suggestions for FAO and for the UN system in general. The inspectors had emphasized the need to strengthen technical ministries in planning, project formulation and control of development activities and it was noted that FAO could provide assistance in this field. Reference was made to the Inspectors' suggestions regarding preparation of detailed work plans for even the smallest projects, the inclusion of information on counterparts in all periodic progress reports and the need for rationalization of methods employed by the UN system in equipment procurement.

198. Attention was also drawn to the report on United Nations Activities and Operations in Nepal and specifically to two matters raised by the Inspectors in this report, i.e. delays in implementation and field personnel problems. It was felt that recruitment was the major cause of delays in project implementation and in this connexion the Director-General was requested to submit a paper to the Fifty-Sixth session of the Council on present FAO recruitment practices, the limitations encountered in following these practices, and measures taken or planned to expedite recruitment in the future. The Director-General was also requested to examine the problem affecting morale of field officers, as described by the Inspectors, as well as his recommendation regarding rotation of staff between Headquarters and the field. The Council noted that the Government had already taken measures to solve certain problems mentioned by the Inspectors as commented upon by the Director-General.

199. Reference was also made to the report on the Work of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Colombia. The Government attached great importance to the ongoing Special Fund projects examined in this report and had taken action where necessary, in line with the Inspectors' observations, to facilitate operations. With respect to COLIO (Institute for Training and Research in Agricultural Marketing), the attention of the Council was drawn to the need to clarify, by means of an addendum, the Director-General's comments on this particular report.

200. Apart from these observations, the Council endorsed the comments of the Director-General and those of the Programme and Finance Committees on the Reports and Notes issued by the Joint Inspection Unit. It fully supported the views expressed by the Committees on the importance of the work of the Unit and approved their decision to review the Unit's activities at their first sessions in 1971.

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