220. The Council noted that, at its Twenty-Sixth Session (September 1972), the CCLM had considered the question whether it was possible to define with greater precision the legal and other implications of the terms “official” and “working” language.
221. The Council agreed that no definition of an “official” or “working” language could be reached on the basis of the practice of the organizations in the United Nations family and that FAO's practice regarding these languages varied.
222. The Council noted that FAO's practice had developed over the years on a pragmatic basis with a view to facilitating to the greatest extent possible, and within budgetary limits, the work of the Organization and its individual organs. Since this practice had not given rise to major difficulties and afforded the necessary flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, the Council decided that it was not necessary to amend Rule XL GRO, which referred to “official” and “working” languages in FAO.
223. Reference was made to the recommendation of the 1972 Regional Conference for the Near East requesting the Director-General to study the feasibility of introducing Arabic as a full working language of FAO by the next biennium.
224. The Council noted that the CCLM, at its Twenty-Sixth Session (September 1972) 2 continuing with the examination of the Basic Texts, had considered the question of attendance by States and international organizations in an observer capacity at FAO meetings.
225. The Council noted that the present system governing observer status in FAO was somewhat complex and that the relevant provisions were scattered throughout the Basic Texts. It also noted that there might be possible inconsistencies, ambiguities and lacunae in those provisions.
226. In order to avoid difficulties in the application of the existing rules the Council endorsed the CCLM request that the Director-General undertake a review of the rules of the Basic Texts relating to observer status and submit recommendations for appropriate amendments if necessary. The Council also supported the suggestion made by the CCLM regarding the possibility of incorporating all the provisions relating to observer status in a separate section of the Basic Texts for easy reference.
227. The Council considered the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee 4, which it had appointed at its Fifty-Sixth Session (June 1971) 5 to examine the methods of work of the Council. In doing so, the Council had before it the comments made by the Programme and Finance Committees 6 and by the CCLM 7, as well as a Note by the Independent Chairman of the Council 8
1 CL 59/26 and CL 59/CW/REP
2 CL 59/26 paras. 25–29
3 CL 59/PV/15, CL 59/PV/16, CL 59/PV/17 and CL 59/PV/20
4 CL 59/21
5 CL 56/REP paras. 229–233
6 CL 59/7 and CL 59/22
7 CL 59/26
8 CL 59/1(b)
228. Having referred to the quality of the work of the Ad Hoc Committee the Council proceeded to a general exchange of views on the draft directives contained in the Report. While it was noted that the text submitted to the Council was largely based on existing practice, and that few changes were in effect proposed, a number of members stressed the need to introduce a larger measure of flexibility in such practice.
229. In this connexion, it was noted that directives, which in French were normally drafted using the future tense, should preferably use the conditional “should” throughout the English and Spanish versions, rather than any other more mandatory form. The comprehensive and compact presentation of the directives was otherwise found generally adequate.
230. Regarding the frequency of Council sessions, a proposal was made that two sessions be held in non-Conference years, thereby remedying the present one-year lapse after each Conference session.
231. The Council generally felt that it would not be possible to finalize at this stage the proposed directives. Instead it requested the Ad Hoc Committee, which would be reporting to the June 1973 Council Session on the question of the increase in the number of Council seats 1, also to submit to that session a revised text on the methods of work of the Council fully taking into account the comments made and any amendments proposed by Council members at the present session.
232. The Council then proceeded to review section by section the draft proposals contained in the Ad Hoc Committee's Report. 2
233. With regard to Section 1 (Functions of the Council), it was agreed that the wording of the introductory paragraphs should be amended to take into account those responsibilities of the Council which were of a general policy nature, paragraphs 1 and 1.1 to read:
“1. The Council should concentrate on general policy issues pertaining to the achievement of the objectives spelled out in the Preamble to the FAO Constitution.
1.1 The Council should in particular focus on those of its functions relating to the general policy of the Organization, as set out in Rule XXIV of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), and in particular:
234. With regard to paragraph 1.2, a majority of speakers favoured the continuation of the present practice of establishing a Committee-of-the-Whole, it being understood, however, that a recommendation on this matter would have to be made for each session by the Independent Chairman in the light of the agenda, and that delegations should be warned accordingly well ahead of time. Paragraph 1.2, it was felt, should more logically come at the end of Section 1, after present paragraph 1.5 (which would then become 1.4).
235. With regard to the present paragraph 1.4, it was noted that delegation of Council authority to subsidiary bodies composed of individuals was already foreseen in the case of the Finance Committee under GRO XXIV.3(m), and that the Ad Hoc Committee had “suggested that the Council request the Programme and Finance Committees to make specific proposals for delegation of authority from the Council, for the purpose of saving sessional time on matters of detail and routine” 3.
1 See paras. 250–260 below
2 CL 59/21
3 CL 59/21, para 8(b)
236. With regard to Section 2 (Facilitation of Discussion), the Council agreed that all agenda items should be tentatively classified in two categories only; (a) those for “decision or discussion”, and (b) those for “information”. When a formal proposal for decision had been prepared, this would be indicated. It was understood that any such classification would of course remain subject to approval by the Council itself. Concerning more specifically paragraph 2.2, it was agreed that any member wishing to open the discussion on an item presented for information only, should inform the Secretary-General of the Council as soon as possible, and in any case before the opening of the debate on that item.
237. Concerning Section 3 (Documents), a number of members stressed the desirability of being presented with one comprehensive document only per agenda item. The Council noted, however, that this would not always be feasible in view of the necessity to consider, on a number of items, the comments made by the Programme and Finance Committees. Regarding paragraph 3.1, the Council stressed that every effort should be made to dispatch documents at least two months in advance of Council sessions. In the first line of paragraph 3.4, the word “consideration” should read “decision”.
238. Turning to Section 4 (Programme of Work and Budget), the Council had before it the proposals submitted earlier by the Secretariat concerning the early presentation of a summary draft of the Programme of Work and Budget 1. General support was voiced for this proposal, and it was agreed that the word “preliminary” in paragraphs 4.1 and 4.3 should therefore be replaced by “summary”. It was understood that such summaries would not be broken down to sub-programmes, and that mention would be made in the Council directives of their previous submission to the Programme and Finance Committees.
239. In Section 5 (Introductions), paragraph 5.2 was felt to be too rigid as the Independent Chairman should make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Paragraph 5.4 should be reworded to read: “Committee Chairman and the Secretariat should have the right of reply to the points made in the debate”. It was also felt that where possible one introduction only should be made for items covered by the Programme and Finance Committees.
240. Under Section 6 (Interventions and Records), it was felt that the last part of paragraph 6.2 should be reworded to read: “they should as far as possible inform the Chairman before discussion of that item begins”.
241. The Council agreed that no mention of “representatives” should appear in paragraph 6.4, and that this paragraph should be redrafted to fully take into account the Organization's “Policy Concerning Relations with International Non-Governmental Organizations”, as laid down in the FAO Basic Texts. Any reference to official languages should also conform to the Basic Texts. The Council also agreed that an additional paragraph should be inserted as new paragraph 6.5 to read: “The participation of representatives of organizations of the United Nations System in FAO sessions will continue to be governed by existing procedures and practices”. The existing paragraphs 6.5 and 6.6 should be renumbered accordingly.
242. With regard to the present paragraph 6.5, one member expressed the view that the Drafting Committee should be guided by the Chairman's summaries if these had not been contested in Plenary.
243. The Council debated at length the desirability of having records of its sessions. While it was agreed that summary records did not offer a satisfactory solution, opinions were divided regarding the continuation of the present system of verbatim records. When summing up the debate and concluding on the need for a redraft of Section 6 in the light of the comments made, the Independent Chairman gave notice, in accordance with Rule VIII.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Council, of his intention to propose at the opening of the Sixtieth Session of the Council that the publications of the verbatim records be suspended on a trial basis for that session.
1 See Appendix G to this report
244. When considering Section 7 (Council Reports), the Council was reminded of its own responsibilities and of those of its Drafting Committees in ensuring that Council reports faithfully reflected the decisions reached and debates held, including any relevant constructive criticisms expressed. The Council agreed to amend paragraph 7.7 to read: “The Secretary-General should prepare, keep up to date and make available to Member Nations an Index of decisions of the Conference and Council”. The Secretary-General was further requested to inform members of the Council regarding the implementation of the decisions taken at the preceding Council session.
245. The Council noted that Section 8 (Briefing of Member Nations), did not refer specifically to Permanent Representatives. The Council however decided to retain only the first sentence of the Section it being understood that the Director-General would submit to the next session of the Council a document outlining the present situation of Permanent Representatives appointed by Member Nations to the Organization, i.e. the question of their legal status, and their role at headquarters, with a view to ensuring the best cooperation between their Governments and FAO. In this connexion, it was noted that the expression “evaluate” used in paragraph 8(e) of the Ad Hoc Committee's Report was not meant to imply a review of their activities, which was the exclusive prerogative of the appointing governments. The Council did not consider it appropriate at this stage to appoint any working group to deal with these matters. The Director-General stressed the desirability of maintaining on its present informal basis the system of periodic meetings which he had with Permanent Representatives; and stated that he would have no objection to sending invitations for those meetings to the Rome Embassies of those Member Nations which had not appointed Permanent Representatives. In the same way, the Secretary General was requested to prepare a document containing in an orderly way all the rules of procedure currently in force.
246. When reviewing Section 9 (Attendance), the Council agreed that the word “actively” in paragraph 9 and 9.1 should be replaced by “fully”. It was also reminded that the attendance lists mentioned in paragraph 9.2 did in fact already exist, and that it was only a matter of publishing them.
247. The Council agreed to the wording of Section 10 (Adherence to the Present Decisions) as proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee.
248. Throughout the lengthy debate many members had referred to the need for Council members to be provided with office accommodation and secretarial facilities at Headquarters during Council sessions, at least on a regional basis. In view of the present shortage of available space, it was agreed that small meeting rooms should instead be made available.
249. Finally, the Council agreed that the Ad Hoc Committee should continue its work with its present membership, although three of its members would not be on the Council in 1973.
250. By Resolution 20/71, the Sixteenth Conference Session had requested the Council “to examine the advisability of increasing the number of Council seats, taking all aspects of the problem into consideration” and “to prepare and submit to the Conference at its next regular session a detailed report on the matter, all relevant recommendations and, if appropriate, a suitable draft amendment to Article V-1 of the Constitution”.
251. The Fifty-Eighth Council Session had “requested the Programme Committee, the Finance Committee and the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters to examine the question of increasing the number of Council seats and to report to the Fifty-Ninth Council Session”. It had also “agreed that the Ad Hoc Committee on the Methods of Work of the Council should examine the question, and, in addition, should transmit to these Committees any comments on the matter received from Member Nations” 2.
1 CL 59/7, CL 59/21, CL 59/22, CL 59/INF/8, CL 59/CW/REP and CL 59/PV/19
2 CL 58/REP, para. 13
252. The Council agreed that its membership, might be increased especially since the size of the Organization had been increasing. It therefore requested the Ad Hoc Committee on the Methods of Work of the Council to seek formally the views of all Member Nations on the question, and to formulate appropriate recommendations.
253. The Council requested the Programme and Finance Committees to carry out a detailed study in the light of the Ad Hoc Committee's report and to put forward recommendations to its Sixtieth Session, bearing in mind the importance of finding a lasting solution to the question of Council membership.
254. The Council also requested the CCLM to submit to its Sixtieth Session, in the light of the recommendations put forward by the Programme and Finance Committees, suitable draft amendments to the Basic Texts.
255. Among the broad questions for detailed study were (a) the extent to which it would be desirable to increase the number of Council seats, bearing in mind the need to keep the Council efficient; (b) the distribution of seats by regions; (c) the question of whether it would be appropriate to provide for permanent representation on the Council on the basis of certain criteria.
256. In the preliminary exchange of views on the number of seats, reference was made to the proposal put to the Fifty-Eighth Council Session for increasing its membership by five 1 to 39 members. This received wide support. Other proposals were also made: one for increasing membership by six 2 to 40; one member wished the Council to continue having 34 members and streamline its work since the open membership of four of its standing committees (the Committee on Commodity Problems, the Committee on Fisheries, the Committee on Forestry and the Committee on Agriculture) gave all Member Nations an opportunity to participate in the Organization's technical work.
257. In connection with the distribution of seats by regions, it was pointed out that this varied according to purpose, i.e. distribution for Council elections, for participation in regional conferences or for technical servicing and assistance. It was therefore suggested that the CCLM should, at an early opportunity, examine and clarify the constitutional and legal implications of regional distribution.
258. In the preliminary exchange differing views were expressed about the appropriateness of permanent representation on the Council.
259. The Council considered that any decision on increasing its size was a matter of policy and that financial considerations should therefore not override a reasonable and equitable distribution of seats. In this respect the Council recalled the Finance Committee's suggestion that “the present practice of paying the costs of travel of Council members to the Council, which represented a substantial expenditure to the Organization” should be reviewed.
260. Finally, it was noted that the ratio of Council members to total members in FAO was 34:125, while in some other United Nations agencies the corresponding ratio between the executive body and membership of the supreme governing body was 40:131 3 (Unesco), 24:135 4 (WHO), 48:123 (ILO), 45:132 (UNIDO), 68:142 (UNCTAD), 48:132 (UNDP), 30:132 (UNICEF), 25:103 (IAEA).
1 i.e. one each for the regions of Africa, Asia and the Far East, Near East, Latin America, and Europe
2 i.e. one each for the regions of Africa, Near East, Latin America, and Europe, and two for Asia and the Far East
3 Plus one Associate Member
4 Plus two Associate Members
261. The Council recalled that at its Fifty-Second Session it had requested the Director-General to undertake a review of the existing statutory bodies of the Organization in order to effect a gradual and substantial reduction in their number.
262. It was recalled that the Regional Conference for Europe had recommended that savings resulting from the abolition of certain ECA working parties should serve to finance Ad hoc meetings and other activities of interest to the Region.
263. The Council recommended that the question of statutory bodies be kept under continuous review at the same time as other exercises on sharpening of priorities. It endorsed the recommendation of the Programme Committee that during the review the effectiveness of the work of these bodies should be considered, and a better balance in the number and use of statutory bodies over the different sectors of the Organization should be aimed at. It was also felt Ad hoc meetings or periodic technical meetings with a wider and more flexible range of activities were preferable to statutory bodies covering limited fields.
264. The Council approved the Director-General's action and that of the North American Forestry Commission in abolishing nine bodies, and agreed with the recommendations of the Programme Committee that the further seven bodies proposed by the Director-General should be abolished. These are as follows:
Panels of Experts abolished by the Director-General
Subsidiary bodies abolished by the North American Forestry Commission (NAFC)
Bodies approved for abolition by the Council 2
265. The Council was informed that the United Arab Emirates, the People's Republic of Albania and the People's Republic of Bangladesh had applied for admission to membership in the Organization.
1 CL 59/2, CL 59/7 paras. 52–58, CL 59/CW/REP, CL 59/PV/19 and paras. 269–271 below
2 WHO gave its agreement to the abolition of items (x) to (xiv).
3 CL 59/LIM/3 and CL 59/CW/REP
266. Pending a decision by the Conference on these membership applications, the Council, acting in pursuance of Rule XXV-11 GRO and paras. B-1, B-2 and B-5 of the “Statement of Principles on the Granting of Observer Status to Nations” 1, authorized the Director-General to invite these countries to participate in an observer capacity at appropriate Council meetings, as well as regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to them.
267. The Council was informed that the Director-General, in accordance with Paragraph B-1, B-2, and B-5 of the “Statement of Principles Relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations” had on request invited the following non-member nations to attend FAO sessions:
|- Bangladesh 3||ESC-807||Intergovernmental Group on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres (Fifth Session) Rome, 4–6 September 1972|
|ESC-848||Sub-Group of Exporters of the Intergovernmental Group on Tea (Fifth Session) Rome, 18–22 September 1972|
|CC-811||Eleventh FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Far East, New Delhi,17–27 October 1972|
|FI-808||Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council (Fifteenth Session) Wellington, 18–27 October 1972|
|- United Arab Emirates||CC-810||Eleventh FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, Kuwait, 9–19 September 1972|
|FI-803||Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (Third Session) Colombo, 9–13 October 1972|
|- U.S.S.R.||FI-801||Committee on Fisheries (Seventh Session) Rome, 6–13 April 1972|
|AGA-820||European Commission on the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Nineteenth Session) Rome, 11–14 April 1972|
|FI-803||Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (Third Session) Colombo, 9–13 October 1972|
|FI-808||Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council (Fifteenth Session) Wellington, 18–27 October 1972|
3 On 10 August 1972 the Director-General sought the opinion of all Members of the Council on attendance by Bangladesh, which was not at the time a Member of the United Nations, at FAO regional and technical meetings scheduled prior to the Fifty-Ninth Council Session, and the majority of Council Members indicated their agreement.
268. The Council agreed with this action.
1 FAO Basic Texts, Vols. I and II, 1972 Edition
2 CL 59/LIM/3 and CL 59/CW/REP
269. The Council recalled that, at its Thirty-Ninth Session (October 1962), it had decided that a Regional Food and Nutrition Commission for Africa should be set up jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa (CCTA), and that it had adopted Resolution 4/39 setting forth the Statutes of the Joint Commission. The Council noted that, after the establishment of the Organization for Africans Unity (OAU), that Organization had absorbed the functions of CCTA, and that it became necessary therefore to review the Statutes of the Joint Commission. The Council further noted that, as a result of this review, by way of inter-agency consultations among the sponsoring Organizations, it had been found desirable to introduce some amendments relating to the functions and operating procedures of the Commission and the composition of its secretariat.
4 CL 59/34 and paras. 261–264 above
270. The Council felt that it would be desirable to enable the Commission to continue and reinforce its activities, in consultation, where appropriate, with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and agreed with the Draft Statutes as revised, which had already been approved by the Council of Ministers of OAU, and by the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. It was noted that the omission from the revised Statutes of the provision which had hitherto permitted the participation in an observer capacity, at sessions of the Commission, of States other than Member Nations of one of the sponsoring Organizations, would be reconsidered in due course.
271. The Council adopted the following resolution:
JOINT REGIONAL FOOD AND NUTRITION COMMISSION FOR AFRICA
Recalling the terms of Resolution 4/39 adopted by the Council at its Thirty-Ninth Session whereby it approved the Statutes of a Regional Food and Nutrition Commission for Africa to be established jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa (CCTA), subject to parallel action being taken by the governing bodies of the aforementioned Organizations;
Noting that while the Statutes were approved by the governing bodies of all participating Organizations, the relevant functions of CCTA have subsequently been assumed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU);
Believing that the Commission should continue to carry out the tasks defined in its terms of reference as laid down in Article II of its Statutes;
Noting further that the draft Statutes, as revised, have been approved by the Council of Ministers of the OAU at its 19th Ordinary Session (Rabat, June 1972);
Approves the revised text of the Statutes of the Joint Commission, as set out below, subject to approval by the appropriate governing body of WHO;
Decides that these Statutes shall take effect upon having been approved by the governing bodies of the three sponsoring Organizations.
Membership of the Commission
Membership of the Commission shall be open to all Member States of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and Member States and Associate Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) African Region, as defined by the FAO Conference, or of the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, as defined by the World Health Assembly. Membership of the Commission shall comprise such eligible nations as have notified OAU, FAO, or WHO (hereafter referred to as “the sponsoring organizations”) of their desire to be considered as Members. The sponsoring organizations shall keep each other informed of any such notification.
Terms of reference of the Commission
1. The terms of reference of the Commission shall be:
to provide liaison at the regional level in matters pertaining to food and nutrition, particularly as regards the collection, analysis and dissemination of information;
to review food and nutrition problems in Africa, draw the attention of the sponsoring organizations and the Members of the Commission to priorities and to advise on appropriate solutions to these problems.
2. In the performance of its task, the Commission shall be assisted by the Secretariat referred to in Article III, paragraph 6, and whose role shall be to:
assemble information already available in Africa on food and nutrition matters as, for instance, on food supplies, their consumption, the nutritional status of the population, the distribution, preservation, processing and preparation of foodstuffs, nutrition education and applied food and nutrition programmes;
study and disseminate such information and give advice and assistance as appropriate in order to:
provide a basis for the planning and implementation of food and nutrition programmes in the various Member countries;
promote the adoption of standard methods of food and nutrition surveying in order to obtain comparable results over the entire region;
facilitate the detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of nutritional origin;
facilitate the training of nutritionists and of nutrition workers in research institutions and universities in Africa;
promote food research and facilitate the adoption of up-to-date methods of processing, preservation and storage of foodstuffs; and
prepare reports on all questions relating to food and nutrition recommended by the Members of the Commission or by the sponsoring organizations;
undertake such other relevant tasks in the field of food and nutrition as may be referred to it jointly by the sponsoring organizations.
1. Each Member of the Commission may be represented at its sessions by one delegate, who may be accompanied by an alternate and by experts and advisers. Alternates, experts and advisers at the meetings of the Commission shall not have the right to vote, except in the case of an alternate participating in the place of a delegate. Representatives of the sponsoring organizations may likewise attend sessions of the Commission without, however, having the right to vote.
2. Each Member of the Commission shall have one vote. Decisions of the Commission shall be taken by majority of the votes cast except as otherwise provided in these statutes or in the rules of procedure of the Commission. A simple majority of Members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.
3. The Commission shall, at the beginning of each session, elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman who shall remain in office until the election of their successor.
4. The sponsoring organizations, after consultation with the Chairman of the Commission, shall determine the date and place of sessions of the Commission. A session of the Commission shall be held at least once every two years and, as far as possible, for the sake of convenience, in connexion with other appropriate regional meetings. Sessions of the Commission shall be convened by the Secretary of the Commission.
5. The seat of the Commission shall be at the seat of the FAO Regional Office for Africa.
6. The Commission shall have a Secretariat comprising:
A Scientific Secretary and one or two Assistant Scientific Secretaries each to be appointed and paid for by one of the Sponsoring Organizations after mutual consultation with the other sponsoring organizations;
other professional and supporting staff appointed by OAU, WHO or FAO in accordance with arrangements mutually agreed upon by the three organizations.
1. Any Member Nations or Associate Members of FAO or WHO and any Members of OAU which are not Members of the Commission but have a special interest in its work may, upon request to one of the sponsoring organizations, be invited to attend meetings of the Commission in an observer capacity subject to the constitutional provisions of the sponsoring organizations.
2. International organizations in official relations with FAO, WHO or OAU may be invited to attend meetings of the Commission.
Cooperation with other International Organizations
1. The Commission should cooperate with those international organizations which are in official relations with one of the sponsoring organizations and which have a special interest in its work.
2. The Commission may recommend to the sponsoring organizations that such activities provided for in Article II as are of a scientific character be entrusted to appropriate scientific institutions in or outside Africa.
1. Expenses incurred by delegates, alternates, experts and advisers as well as expenses of observers of organizations and of nations which are not Members of the Commission, in connexion with their attendance at sessions of the Commission, shall be determined and paid by the respective governments and organizations.
2. Staff and operational expenses of the Secretariat shall be borne by the sponsoring organizations in accordance with arrangements mutually agreed by them.
3. Expenses arising out of research or development programmes undertaken individually by Members of the Commission, shall be determined and borne by their respective governments.
Reports and Recommendations
The Commission shall, after each session, present a report, including such recommendations as it may deem appropriate, to the sponsoring organizations. Such reports shall be dealt with in accordance with the constitutional provisions of each sponsoring organization.
The Commission may establish such subsidiary bodies as it deems necessary for the accomplishment of its task, subject to the availability of the necessary funds as determined by the sponsoring organizations.
Rules of Procedure
The Commission may adopt and amend its own rules of procedure, which shall come into force upon approval by the appropriate organ of each sponsoring organization.
Amendments to the Statutes
The Commission may put forward proposals regarding amendments to these Statutes for submission to the competent organs of the sponsoring organizations.