99. The Council noted the four main points of decision which had emerged from the deliberations of the Fifteenth Session of the Conference on this subject, as summarized below:
“ i The Conference generally agreed that no substantial changes should be envisaged in the functions of the Independent Chairman; it also generally agreed that being in government service should not be regarded as incompatible with the appointment to the post of Independent Chairman.
The general view expressed was in favour of maintaining the election of the Independent Chairman by the Conference itself, but for a term of office of two years non-renewable, it being understood that this limitation would not apply to the present incumbent.
A number of Conference delegates stressed that provision for rotation among regions with regard to the post of Independent Chairman should be inserted in the Basic Texts of the Organization.
With regard to the inter-sessional functions of the Independent Chairman, the view was expressed that these should only in exceptional circumstances entail his attendance at sessions or meetings of FAO bodies other than the Programme and Finance Committees.” 2
100. The Council requested the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters to draw up such amendments to the Basic Texts of the Organization, for submission to the Sixteenth Session of the Conference, as might be necessary to clarify the functions and to define the term of office of the Independent Chairman of the Council in the light of the above Conference decisions.
101. In so doing, the Council noted that, while the question of the non-renewability of the term of office of the Independent Chairman would require an appropriate amendment, the remaining questions were possibly already sufficiently covered by the present wording of the Basic Texts.
102. The Council recalled that, at its Fifty-Fifth Session, attention had been drawn to certain disadvantages of the provisions of Article VII of the Constitution, pursuant to which the Director-General of the Organization is appointed for a term of four years with the possibility of reappointment for two successive terms of two years. A suggestion had been put forward by one member either to replace the two successive two-year terms by a further four-year term or to provide for a term of six years not renewable 5; with regard to the latter alternative it had been suggested that, as a transitional measure, the present incumbent should be eligible for reappointment for a single four-year term 1. Subsequently sixteen members had introduced a proposal for a six-year term without the possibility of reappointment; this proposal would not apply to the present incumbent2.
1 CL 56/PV-12.
2 CL 56/17, para. 6.
3 The Representative of France requested that his reservations on the whole of this section of the Report, including the draft resolution, should be recorded.
4 CL 56/PV-11, CL 56/PV-12, CL 56/LIM/3 and CL 56/PV-18.
5 Report of the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council, paras. 243 and 244.
103. The Council, at its Fifty-Sixth Session, had before it a report of the CCLM 3 to which the matter had been referred for consideration of the legal and constitutional aspects and the preparation of any relevant draft amendments. The CCLM considered that the introduction of a single six-year term would eliminate a situation where the submission of the Programme of Work and Budget by a Director-General coincided with elections at which he was eligible for reappointment; it would, furthermore, ensure stability and continuity in the work of the Organization by a reasonably long term of office of the Director-General, and would reduce the frequency of elections.
104. The Council examined in detail the implications of the present system and of the new solutions that had been envisaged, and there was general agreement that the present provisions were unsatisfactory and should be amended. Some members pointed out that a single six-year term without any possibility of renewal would prove to be too rigid, and therefore expressed their preference either for a four-year term with the possibility of reappointment for a further four-year term, or for an initial term of six years with the possibility of extension at the discretion of the Conference. The majority, however, endorsed the views of the CCLM, and the Council recommended to the Conference the adoption of an amendment to Article VII of the Constitution, providing for a single six-year term; the provision would apply to any Director-General appointed after the present incumbent.
105. The Council also considered how the provisions relating to an appointment in the case of a vacancy occurring before the expiration of a Director-General's term of office could best be adapted to the principle of a single six-year term without possibility of reappointment. The Council noted that certain difficulties would arise if a successor were to be elected first for the unexpired portion of his predecessor's term of office and then for one further period up to a total period of six years. The Council therefore endorsed a recommendation of the CCLM4 that where an unforeseen vacancy occurs, the successor should be appointed for a single term of office which might, however, vary between four and six years in order to ensure that it will expire at the end of a biennium.
106. The Council further examined the question of the rule to be applied to the present incumbent who had been appointed under a provision allowing for a total term of office of eight years of which he will have served four by the end of 1971. Two alternatives were considered in this respect: either to continue in his case the application of the present provisions under which he could stand for a two-year term in 1971 and again in 1973 as provided for in the proposal submitted at the Fifty-Fifth Session 5 and reflected in the draft resolution prepared by the CCLM 6; or to provide that, as a transitional measure, he should be eligible in 1971 for reappointment for one single four-year term.
107. A number of members expressed reservations about the proposed transitional measure inasmuch as it would, inter alia, alter the system under which the present incumbent had been appointed and the basis on which nominations for elections in 1971 had been called for. They also added that this proposal would introduce disturbing political factors at the next Conference, which conflict with the spirit of Rule XXXIII-1(a) GRO. Moreover, considering that there had not been sufficient time for governments to weigh all the implications of the transitional measure, these members felt that, while individual Member Nations remained free to submit proposals to this effect to the Conference, the Council should not take any decision on the introduction of this measure.
1 CL 55/PV, pages 202 and 203.
2 Report of the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council, para. 245; CL 55/LIM/11 and Corr. 1.
3 CL 56/5 Add. 1, and Corr. 1.
4 CL 56/LIM/3.
5 CL 55/LIM/11 and Corr.1.
6 CL 56/5 - Add. 1, para. 16, part II of the draft resolution.
108. A majority of members, however, expressed themselves in favour of including in the draft resolution for the Conference the transitional measure proposed which had already been suggested for consideration at the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council and actually been considered by the CCLM. They felt that it would be inconsistent to continue to apply to the incumbent the present provisions with their generally recognized drawbacks, and that it would be desirable to replace the two remaining two-year terms of the present incumbent by a single four-year term, thus avoiding the need for a further election in 1973 and ensuring for the next four years stability and continuity unfettered by side effects of electoral considerations. They noted that the present incumbent, having pointed out that it would be both anomalous and undesirable for one candidate in 1973 to be standing for a period of two years while other possible candidates were standing for a period of six years, and having stated his belief that a Director-General should be able to devote his energy to the service of the Organization without having his attention diverted by the tensions inevitably created by the prospect of having to participate in another election, had said that under the circumstances he would not be a candidate after the forthcoming session of the Conference 1. They considered, however, that, apart from considerations of equity it would be contrary to the best interests of the Organization if these considerations which they fully endorsed should prevent the present incumbent from serving the full term for which he was eligible from the outset.
109. The Council noted that the proposal for an amendment including a transitional measure applicable to the incumbent would appear to make it necessary for the Conference to consider the amendment before proceeding to the election, and that it would consequently not seem possible to effect the election within the first three working days following the opening date of the Session, as stipulated in Rule XXXIII-1 (a) of the General Rules of the Organization. The Council therefore decided to recommend to the Conference the suspension of this provision in accordance with Rule XXXIX-1, in order to enable the Conference to examine fully and without undue pressure of time all the relevant aspects and implications of the proposals submitted to it 2. The Council further recommended the following draft resolution for adoption by the Conference.
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE 3
Term of Office of the Director-General
Considering the advisability of giving the Director-General a reasonable and sufficiently long term of office to allow him to carry out positive and effective work toward the achievement of the goals of the Organization, by enabling him to concentrate all his attention on the functions of his high position;
Having noted the proposals made at the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council for an amendment of the provisions of Article VII of the Constitution relating to the term of office of the Director-General;
Having examined the relevant draft amendment recommended by the Council at its Fifty-Sixth Session;
- I -
Article VII of the Constitution is amended to read as follows:
There shall be a Director-General of the Organization who shall be appointed by the Conference for a term of six years, after which he shall not be eligible for reappointment.
The appointment of the Director-General under this Article shall be made by such procedures and on such other terms as the Conference may determine.
Should the office of Director-General become vacant during the above-mentioned term of office, the Conference shall, either at the next regular session or at a special session convened in accordance with Article III, paragraph 6 of this Constitution, appoint a Director-General in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article. However, the duration of the term of office of a Director-General appointed at a special session shall be less than 6 years but more than 4 years; his term of office shall expire at the end of the year of a regular session of the Conference.
Subject to the general supervision of the Conference and the Council, the Director-General shall have full power and authority to direct the work of the Organization.
The Director-General or a representative designated by him shall participate, without the right to vote, in all meetings of the Conference and of the Council and shall formulate for consideration by the Conference and the Council proposals for appropriate action in regard to matters coming before them.”
1 CL 56/INF/2, page 6.
2 See para. 222 below.
3 Certain sections of the operative parts of this draft resolution were voted upon as follows:
Part I, para. 1: Votes in favour - 27; against - 2; abstentions - 3; no reply - 2.
Part I, para. 3: Votes in favour - 28; against - none; abstentions - 4; no reply - 2.
Part II, last sentence only: Votes in favour - 19; against - 2; abstentions - 11; no reply - 2.
- II -
The provisions of Article VII as amended above shall apply to the appointment of any Director-General other than the present incumbent of that office. The present Director-General shall be eligible for reappointment for a single term of four years.
110. In connexion with the amendment to Article VII examined by the Council, the following suggestions were also made:
election at a special session during a non-Conference year, thus enabling the newly elected Director-General to present his Programme of Work and Budget at the ensuing regular Conference session;
rotation among regions or requirement of support of candidacies by countries from different regions; analagous term of office, and mode of nomination for regional representatives.
Since it was felt that these suggestions were not of an urgent nature, the Council did not consider it necessary to examine them on their merits at the present stage but felt that they could be taken up by members at an appropriate future occasion.
111. At its Fifty-Fifth Session, the Council had endorsed the Programme Committee's recommendation that a Committee on Agriculture be established under Article V.6 of the Constitution, and had requested the Programme Committee to consider the terms of reference and composition of the proposed Committee on Agriculture. It had also suggested that the Programme Committee's proposals be reviewed by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) and the Council prior to a decision by the Sixteenth Session of the Conference, for implementation in the 1972–73 biennium.
112. At its Nineteenth Session, the Programme Committee had examined in detail the terms of reference and composition of the proposed Committee. 2 In the light of the recommendations of the Programme Committee, the CCLM, at its Twenty-Fourth Session, prepared a draft Conference resolution comprising appropriate amendments to Article V.6 of the Constitution and to Rule XXV.3(a) of the General Rules of the Organization as well as the draft of a new Rule relating to the proposed Committee. 3
1 CL 56/PV-12.
2 CL 56/3, paras. 112 – 122.
3 CL 56/6, paras. 12.
113. With respect to the level of government representation, the CCLM put forward two alternative draft provisions for consideration by the Council. The first alternative, which was similar to the corresponding provisions applicable to the Committee on Fisheries and the proposed Committee on Forestry, provided that members of the Committee should, as far as possible, be represented by delegations consisting of senior officers highly qualified to contribute actively to a multi-disciplinary consideration of the subjects on the agenda of the Committee. The second alternative, formulated in more generic terms, provided that members of the Committee should, as far as possible, be represented by delegations selected by governments with due regard to the multi-disciplinary nature of the work of the Committee.
114. The Council, while realizing that the appointment of delegates to the Council Committees composed by Member Nations was within the discretion of the governments concerned, supported the first alternative in order to emphasize the importance it attached to the matters to be dealt with by the Committee.
115. The Council considered the question whether the Committee should advise only on the medium and longer-term programmes of work of the Organization, or whether its mandate should extend also to “short-term” programmes. Taking into account the purpose for which the Committee was proposed and the timing of its sessions in the biennial cycle, i.e. one session in the first half of the non-Conference years, the Council endorsed the Programme Committee's recommendation to the effect that the terms of reference of the proposed Committee should only mention medium and longer term programmes.
116. The Council endorsed the opinion of the Programme Committee and the CCLM that it would be important to maintain the concept of a single Committee and that subsidiary or ad-hoc bodies of the Committee should only be established in exceptional circumstances.
117. Concurring with the conclusions and recommendations of the Programme Committee and the CCLM, the Council recommended the following draft resolution for adoption by the Conference:
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE
Establishment of a Committee on Agriculture
Conscious of the need for ensuring an integrated approach to the planning and execution of the Organization's programmes in the various fields of agriculture;
Considering that the problems connected with these programmes are of multi-disciplinary nature, comprising technical, economic, institutional and social aspects;
Concurring with the recommendation of the Council that these problems might best be examined at the intergovernmental level by a Committee on Agriculture to be established as a standing committee under Article V-6 of the Constitution;
Further concurring with the recommendation of the Council that members of the Committee on Agriculture be appointed by the Council for a period of two years, and that the Committee be composed of all those and only those Member Nations which notify the Director-General of their interest in the work of the Committee and of their intention to participate actively in the efficient discharge of the Committee's mandate;
Taking note of the view of the Council that members of the Committee on Agriculture should, as far as possible, be represented by senior officers highly qualified to contribute to a multi-disciplinary consideration of issues before the Committee;
Adopts the following amendment to Article V, paragraph 6 of the Constitution (words underlined to be added):
“6. To assist the Council in performing its functions, the Council shall appoint 1 a Programme Committee, a Finance Committee, a Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, a Committee on Commodity Problems, a Committee on Fisheries, a Committee on Forestry 2 and a Committee on Agriculture. These Committees shall report to the Council and their composition and terms of reference shall be governed by rules adopted by the Conference.”
Amends Rule XXV.3(a) of the General Rules of the Organization to read as follows (words underlined to be added):
“3. (a) appoint 3 a Programme Committee, a Finance Committee, a Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, a Committee on Commodity Problems, a Committee on Fisheries, a Committee on Forestry 2 and a Committee on Agriculture.”
Further amends the General Rules of the Organization, by adding a new Rule, 3 the text of which shall read as follows:
1 The Council proposes that the order in which the Committees are listed should be rearranged in such a way as to group together first the Committees whose terms of reference concern the Organization as a whole (i.e. Programme Committee, Finance Committee and CCLM), followed by the Committees dealing with particular segments of the Organization's activities, enumerated in the chronological order in which they have been established.
2 At its Fifty-Fifth Session, the Council recommended the establishment of a Committee on Forestry and approved, for submission to the Conference, the text of draft amendments to Article V.6 of the Constitution and Rule XXV.3(a) GRO. The reference to the Committee on Forestry in the texts given above has been included on the assumption that the Conference will decide to establish that Committee.
3 At its Fifty-Fifth Session, the Council recommended the adoption of a new Rule XXXI relating to the proposed Committee on Forestry. If the Conference decides to establish both Committee, the proposed Rule on the Committee on Agriculture would become Rule XXXII.
Committee on Agriculture
“1. The Members of the Committee on Agriculture provided for in paragraph 6 of Article V of the Constitution shall be appointed by the Council for a period of two years at the session of the Council immediately following the regular session of the Conference. The Committee shall be composed of those Member Nations which notify the Director-General in writing of their desire to be appointed as members of the Committee in view of their interest in agricultural problems within the Committee's mandate and of their intention to participate actively in the efficient discharge of such mandate. The Director-General shall determine and communicate to all Member Nations a date by which such notifications shall be made and shall submit a list of such notifications to the Council not later than on the day set by the Council for the appointment of the members of the Committee.
2. Member Nations which are members of the Committee should, as far as possible, be represented by delegations consisting of senior officers highly qualified to contribute actively to a multi-disciplinary consideration of the subjects on the agenda of the Committee.
3. The Committee shall determine the date and place of its sessions. Normally, the Committee shall hold one session during each biennium, to be convened by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee. The Committee shall preferably meet early in the non-Conference years.
4. If required, the Committee may hold additional sessions on the call of the Director-General in consultation with its Chairman, or on request submitted in writing to the Director-General by the majority of the members of the Committee appointed by the Council under paragraph 1 above.
5. The Committee shall:
conduct periodic reviews and appraisals, on a highly selective basis, of agricultural problems, with a view to concerted action by Member Nations and the Organization;
advise the Council on the medium- and longer-term programme of work of the Organization in selected fields of agriculture and on its implementation, with emphasis on the integration of all relevant technical, economic, institutional and social aspects;
review specific matters relating to agriculture referred to the Committee by the Conference, the Council or the Director-General, or placed by the Committee on its agenda at the request of a Member Nation in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Committee, and make recommendations as may be appropriate;
report to the Council and render advice to the Director-General, as appropriate, on any other matter considered by the Committee.
6. For the purpose of the present rule, the term “agriculture” does not include fisheries and forestry matters which are within the terms of reference of the Committee on Fisheries and the Committee on Forestry respectively.
7. The Committee shall establish appropriate procedures for determining its agenda in respect of each session, bearing in mind the desirability of ensuring an inter-disciplinary consideration of all relevant aspects of a limited number of major issues and taking into account the basic responsibility of the Committee on Commodity Problems for reviewing commodity and related trade problems of an international character.
8. Any recommendation adopted by the Committee affecting the programme or finances of the Organization or concerning legal or constitutional matters shall be reported to the Council with the comments of the appropriate subsidiary committees of the Council. The reports of the Committee shall also be placed before the Conference.
9. The Director-General or his representative shall participate in all meetings of the Committee and may be accompanied by such officers of the staff of the Organization as he may designate.
10. The Committee shall elect from among its members, its chairman and the other officers. It may adopt and amend its rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with the Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization.
11. The Committee may, on an exceptional basis, establish subsidiary or ad hoc bodies where it considers that such action is conducive to facilitating its own work and will not adversely affect the multi-disciplinary consideration of questions submitted to the Committee for examination. Before taking a decision on the establishment of any subsidiary or ad hoc body, the Committee shall examine the administrative and financial implications of such decision, in the light of a report to be submitted by the Director-General. The Committee shall define the terms of reference, composition and, as far as possible, the duration of the mandate of each subsidiary or ad hoc body.
12. (a) The Committee may include in the membership of such subsidiary or ad hoc bodies Member Nations that are not members of the Committee and Associate Members.
(b) The Council may admit to membership of subsidiary or ad hoc bodies established by the Committee, nations which, while not Member Nations or Associate Members of the Organization, are members of the United Nations.
(c) Former Member Nations of the Organization that have withdrawn leaving arrears of contributions shall not be admitted to membership of subsidiary or ad hoc bodies of the Committee 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 admission.
13. The subsidiary or ad hoc bodies referred to in paragraph 11 may adopt or amend their rules of procedure, which shall be approved by the Committee and shall be consistent with its rules of procedure.”
118. In considering this item, the Council recalled that the Fifteenth Session of the Conference had decided to review this question at its Sixteenth Session, in the light of any recommendations submitted by the Council, with a view to taking a final decision on the balloting system 2.
119. The Council recognized the importance of ensuring the best possible representation of interested countries in the CCP. Some members expressed the view that this could be best achieved by opening membership of the CCP to all Member Nations of the Organization, as was being proposed by the Council for the consideration of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference in relation to the Committee on Fisheries 3.
120. In view of the fact that the CCP itself had not yet considered the extent to which the method of balloting adopted on a trial basis met the intended purpose of providing for greater representation for countries from developing regions, the Council decided to refer the matter to the CCP for consideration at its forthcoming Forty-Sixth Session in October 1971.
121. The Council requested the CCP to report its views on this subject to the Fifty-Seventh Session of the Council, so that it might at that time be able to elaborate a recommendation to the Sixteenth Session of the Conference. The decision taken by the Conference on the basis of this recommendation would be implemented forthwith at the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Council.
1 CL 56/19 and CL 56/PV-12.
2 Report of Fifteenth Session of the Conference, para. 646.
3 Report of Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council, para. 219.
122. The Council recalled that the Conference, at its Fifteenth Session (November 1969), had considered the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution pertaining to the submission of periodic reports by Member Nations and Associate Members 2, and had agreed:
“that the matter should be further considered by the Council, the Programme Committee and the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters with a view to proposing to the Sixteenth Session of the Conference an appropriate amendment to Article XI to bring it up-to-date.” 3
123. The Council examined the matter on the basis of reports submitted by the Programme Committee 4 and the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) 5. It concurred with the view of the Programme Committee that any amendment that may be envisaged should be designed not only to overcome the difficulties encountered in the application of Article XI but also to enhance the value of this constitutional provision as an instrument of planning and implementing the Organization's programmes. While fully recognizing the importance of ensuring a continuous flow of information between the Organization and its Member Nations, the Council also shared the Programme Committee's opinion that, in the light of past experience in respect of Article XI Reports, certain requirements of the present text of Article XI could be dispensed with, in particular the periodicity of submission of reports, determination by the Conference of the form and contents of reports, and submission by the Director-General to the Conference of reports and analyses thereof.
124. As regards the types of information to be provided by Member Nations on matters falling within the competence of the Organization, the Council endorsed the recommendation of the Programme Committee that the Organization should be supplied regularly with laws and regulations and with statistical, technical and other information issued by or readily available to governments of Member Nations, it being understood that the Director-General would indicate the kind of information and documentation required by the Organization. The Council also agreed with the Programme Committee that the information and reports which governments may be requested to compile or prepare should be submitted by Member Nations at such times and in such form as the Conference, the Council or the Director-General may request, and that this might include also reports on the action taken on the basis of recommendations or resolutions of the Conference.
125. The Council noted that the CCLM had fully endorsed, from a constitutional and legal point of view, the conclusions reached by the Programme Committee and prepared a draft resolution setting forth a revised version of Article XI, which incorporated those conclusions.
126. Having carefully considered the findings and recommendations of both Committees and the text of the proposed amendment, the Council felt that Article XI, if amended in accordance with the recommendation of the CCLM, would be both clear and flexible and would not impose undue burdens on Member Nations and Associate Members.
1 CL 56/CW/REP and CL 56/PV-18.
2 For previous discussions of the same problem, see:
CL 55/21 and Report of the Thirteenth Session of the Conference, paras. 138–144.
CL 47/4, paras. 85–92, and Report of the Forty-Seventh Session of the Council, paras. 56–62.
C 67/24 and Report of the Fourteenth Session of the Conference, paras. 208–213.
CL 51/5, paras. 122–127 and Report of the Fifty-First Session of the Council, para. 269.
3 Report of the Fifteenth Session of the Conference, para. 196.
4 CL 56/3, paras. 149–157.
5 CL 56/6 paras. 13–15.
127. In view of the above considerations, the Council recommended the following draft resolution for adoption by the Conference:
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE
Amendment of Article XI
Recalling the conclusions reached at its Fifteenth Session concerning the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution pertaining to the submission of periodic reports by Member Nations and Associate Members;
Recalling further its decision that the matter should be considered by the Council, the Programme Committee and the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters with a view to proposing an appropriate amendment to Article XI, designed to bring that constitutional provision up-to-date;
Having considered the draft amendment submitted by the Fifty-Sixth Session of the Council, in the light of recommendations made by the Programme Committee at its Nineteenth Session and by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its Twenty-Fourth Session;
Decides that the text of Article XI shall be amended to read as follows:
1. All Member Nations and Associate Members shall communicate regularly to the Director-General, on publication, the texts of laws and regulations pertaining to matters within the competence of the Organization which the Director-General considers useful for the purposes of the Organization.
2. With respect to the same matters, all Member Nations and Associate Members shall also communicate regularly to the Director-General statistical, technical and other information published or otherwise issued by, or readily available to, the government. The Director-General may indicate from time to time the nature of such information and the form in which it would be most useful to the Organization.
3. Member Nations and Associate Members may be requested to furnish, at such times and in such form as the Conference, the Council or the Director-General may indicate, other information, reports or documentation pertaining to matters within the competence of the Organization, including reports on the action taken on the basis of resolutions or recommendations of the Conference.”
128. With regard to paragraph 3 of the draft amendment, the Council noted that, also in the absence of a specific request under this provision, Member Nations and Associate Members remained free to submit reports on the progress made in the field of agriculture and towards achieving the purposes of the Organization.
129. The Tenth FAO Regional Conference for the Near East (September 1970) noted the decisions taken by the Conference at its Fourteenth and Fifteenth Sessions regarding the introduction of Arabic as a working language for limited purposes, and expressed the view that certain consequential amendments to the Basic Texts should be made in order to reflect these decisions.
130. This matter was submitted by the Director-General to the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM), which examined it at its Twenty-Fourth Session (May 1971). The CCLM considered the question whether it was necessary to amend Rule XXXVIII of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), relating to the official and working languages of the Organization, and the two principles in Volume II of the Basic Texts relating to the authentic languages of conventions and agreements approved by the Conference or Council pursuant to Articles XIV and XV of the Constitution. In the Report of its Twenty-Fourth Session 2, the CCLM submitted its conclusions and recommendations to the Council.
131. The Council noted that Rule XXXVIII GRO provided that: “English, Chinese, French and Spanish shall be the official languages of the Organization. English, French and Spanish shall be the working languages”. As pointed out by the CCLM, two separate questions arose in connexion with Rule XXXVIII GRO, namely:
whether, as a result of the adoption by the Conference of an authoritative Arabic text of the Constitution, Arabic should be added to the list of “official” languages; and
whether reference to Arabic being a working language for limited purposes should be inserted in the text of the Rule.
132. With respect to the reference to Arabic as a working language for limited purposes in Rule XXXVIII GRO, the Council agreed with the CCLM that an appropriate amendment should be made to that effect.
133. With respect to the addition of Arabic to the list of official languages referred to in Rule XXXVIII GRO, the Council noted that the governing bodies of FAO had never defined the term “official language” or indicated the legal or other implications which flowed from the determination that a language should be considered as being “official”. Moreover, there was no generally accepted definition of this term, and the practice in the various organizations in the United Nations family was not uniform.
134. The Council noted that there was much support for the view that “official languages” were those languages in which authoritative versions of the constituent instrument of an organization had been adopted, and that at its Fifteenth Session the Conference had adopted an authoritative version of the Constitution in Arabic and had amended Article XXII of the Constitution to read as follows:
“The Arabic, English, French and Spanish texts of this Constitution shall be equally authoritative.”
135. The Council observed that Arabic had not been included among the official languages of the Organization, even though it had been recognized as a working language for limited purposes and an authoritative Arabic text of the Constitution had been adopted. The Council found this omission anomalous considering that another language, which was listed among the official languages, was not used in the Organization for any purpose and was not referred to in Article XXII of the Constitution.
1 CL 56/CW/REP and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 56/6.
136. In the course of the discussion some members expressed the view that, as there was uncertainty concerning the precise meaning of the terms “official” and “working” languages, it would be desirable for the CCLM to study the matter further before reaching any decision on the addition of Arabic to the list of official languages in Rule XXXVIII GRO.
137. While agreeing that the CCLM should endeavour to clarify the meaning of these terms, the Council, in the light of the considerations set forth in paragraph 135 above, and bearing in mind the wide use of the Arabic language, endorsed the view of the majority, and decided to recommend to the Conference that Rule XXXVIII GRO be amended to provide that Arabic was both an official language of the Organization and a working language for limited purposes. Accordingly, the Council recommended the following draft resolution for adoption by the Conference:
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE
Arabic as an Official Language of the Organization and a Working Language for Limited Purposes
Bearing in mind the decisions taken at its Fourteenth and Fifteenth Sessions regarding the use of Arabic as a working language for limited purposes;
Considering that the question whether the Basic Texts required amendment to reflect these decisions had been considered by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters and the Council;
Noting that at its Fifteenth Session it had amended Article XXII of the Constitution so as to provide that the Arabic text be equally authoritative as the English, French and Spanish texts;
Decides to endorse the recommendations of the Fifty-Sixth Session of the Council on this question, and to amend Rule XXXVIII of the General Rules of the Organization by the addition of the words underlined, to read as follows:
“Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish shall be the official languages of the Organization. English, French and Spanish shall be the working languages and Arabic shall be a working language for limited purposes.”
138. With respect to the provisions in Volume II of the Basic Texts relating to the authentic texts of conventions and agreements approved by the Conference or Council pursuant to Articles XIV and XV of the Constitution 1, the Council noted that the CCLM had not considered that there were sufficient grounds for recommending any change in the present texts, but intended to study the matter further at a future session in connexion with its examination of the Basic Texts.
1 Paragraph 16 of the “Principles and Procedures which Should Govern Conventions and Agreements Concluded under Articles XIV and XV of the Constitution”, and paragraph 17 of the “Guiding Principles with Respect to Agreements under Article XV of the Constitution for the Establishment of International Institutions Dealing with Questions Relating to Food and Agriculture”.
139. The Council recalled that it had, at its Fifty-Fifth Session 2:
“ … suggested that the Director-General examine, in consultation with the CCLM, the Basic Texts of the Organization and report to the Council on any inconsistencies contained therein and any problems arising from the application of the Basic Texts”.
140. In response to this suggestion, the CCLM had, at its Twenty-Third Session, first considered the scope of the mandate received from the Council, and the method which it might follow in discharging its functions. It then examined some areas where problems concerning the interpretation and application of the Basic Texts had arisen, and finally recommended certain amendments to the General Rules of the Organization (GRO) and to the Financial Regulations so as to eliminate inconsistencies or ambiguities and to bring the text up to date.
141. The Council noted with satisfaction the successful initiation of the work undertaken by the Director-General in consultation with the CCLM, as reflected in its report 3. It agreed that in view of the importance of the Basic Texts for the proper functioning of the Organization, the examination should be pursued, and that suggestions formulated during deliberations of the Council should also be considered within the framework of that examination.
142. After having considered the amendments to the Basic Texts proposed by the CCLM, the Council decided to recommend to the Conference the adoption of the following amendments to the General Rules of the Organization and to the Financial Regulations:
The term “United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)” should be substituted for the term “Expanded Technical Assistance Programme (ETAP)”, in the following provisions of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO):
Rules II.2(c)(v) GRO
In Financial Regulation 12.5 and 12.6, the term “Assistant Director-General (Administration and Finance)” should be substituted for the term “Director of Administration”.
In the following provisions, the term “Secretary-General of the Conference and Council” should be substituted for the term “Secretary-General”:
Rule XXII.10(c) GRO
Rule XXIII.1(a) GRO
Rule XXVI.2 GRO
Rule XXVII.2 GRO
Rule XXIX.2 GRO
Rule XXXIII.1(a) GRO
In Rule XXX.2 GRO, the term “Secretary-General of the Conference and Council” should be substituted for the term “Secretary-General of the Conference or Council”.
Rule XII GRO was entitled “Quorum and Voting Arrangements at Meetings of Conference and Council”. It contained two provisions concerning majority requirements for elections to fill simultaneously more than one elective place, one of which (Rule XII.12(c)) specifically applied to elections in the Council. In order to make it clear that the other provision (Rule XII.3(b)) applied only to elections at the Conference, the Council recommends that this provision be amended as follows, by the addition of the words underlined:
“Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, in the case of an election by the Conference to fill simultaneously more than one elective place …”
Elections to fill more than one elective place were dealt with in Rule XII.11 in respect of the Conference and in Rule XII.12 as regards the Council. Accordingly, in Rule XII.11(h) the expression “Chairman of the Conference” should be substituted for the expression “Chairman of the Conference or Council”.
1 CL 56/CW/REP and CL 56/PV-18.
2 Report of the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council, para. 250.
3 CL 56/5, paras. 38–51.
143. With reference to the amendment proposed in paragraph 142(i) above, the Council decided to substitute the term “United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)” for the term “Expanded Technical Assistance Programme (ETAP)” in paragraph 5(b) and 8 of the Section entitled “FAO Policy regarding Assistance in Establishing Regional Research and Training Institutes”, in Volume II of the Basic Texts. The Council further invited the Programme Committee to consider for adoption corresponding amendments to Rule II.2(a)(i) and II.2(b)(ii) of its Rules of Procedure.
144. The Council was informed that the Director-General, in accordance with paragraph B-2 of the Statement of Principles Relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations 3, had invited the U.S.S.R. to attend FI 878, IOFC Committee on the Management of Indian Ocean Tuna (Special session), Rome, 22–24 April 1971.
145. The Council authorized the Director-General to invite the following non-member nations which are members of the United Nations to attend in an observer capacity the following FAO sessions, provided that they were to request such an invitation:
|U.S.S.R.||FO 831||World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training, Stockholm, 28 September-7 October 1971.|
|Singapore||ESC 818||Committee on Commodity Problems (Forty-Sixth Session) Rome, 4–15 October 1971.|
146. The Council requested that in future the date on which such requests were received should also be provided to it.
147. The Council noted that applications for membership in the Organization had been received from Fiji, the Republic of Maldives and the Sultanate of Oman, and that these applications would be before the Sixteenth Session of the Conference. The Council authorized the Director-General in the interim to invite the three countries to attend in an observer capacity the session of the Council held before the Sixteenth Session of the Conference, and those technical and regional sessions of FAO bodies and ad hoc conferences of interest to them.
148. The European Commission on Agriculture (ECA), at its Seventeenth Session (September 1970), had adopted an amendment to Rule III of its Rules of Procedure which provided for the election by the Commission of two alternate members of the Executive Committee. Upon adoption by the Commission, the amendment was approved by the Director-General and submitted to the Council for confirmation at its Fifty-Fifth Session, in accordance with Article VI-3 of the Constitution.
1 CL 56/CW/REP and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 56/20.
3 FAO Basic Texts, Volume II.
149. After having considered the amendment, the Council had requested the CCLM to study the wording of the draft amendment to Rule III, and to consider whether any further amendments to that text were desirable 1.
150. The CCLM had examined the text of the amendment as adopted by ECA and found that it did not contain any provisions that would be inconsistent with the FAO Basic Texts or with the Commission's Statutes. It also reached the conclusion that no further amendments to Rule III were called for. It felt, however, that it would be desirable to correct the French text of the amendment by the deletion of the word “outre”, appearing in the first line of paragraph 1 of Rule III. 2
151. The Council, following the recommendation of the CCLM, confirmed the amendment adopted by the ECA and approved by the Director-General, subject to the aforementioned correction in the French text.
1 Report of the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Council, para. 233.
2 CL 56/5, paras. 4–8.