Previous PageTable of ContentsNext Page


Developments Regarding the Ad Hoc Committee on the Restructuring of the Economic and Social Sectors of the United Nations System 1

93. The Council noted that the Ad Hoc Committee had not completed its work in May 1977 as foreseen. It also noted that the report being prepared by the Chairman through informal consultations with delegations would be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee in early September, and submitted to the Thirty-Second session of the General Assembly through the resumed Sixty-Third session of ECOSOC.

94. The Council expressed its concern at the absence of definite information on the recommendations which the Ad Hoc Committee would make to the UN General Assembly. The Council noted that there would in practice be no opportunity for the FAO Governing Bodies to examine these recommendations prior to their consideration by ECOSOC and the General Assembly. It urged that the specialized agencies be given an opportunity to comment on any recommendations having major implications for them, before a decision was taken by the General Assembly.

95. The Council welcomed the action taken by the Director-General, in response to an invitation by the Ad Hoc Committee to Executive Heads, to make available to the Ad Hoc Committee his views on the areas of inter-agency coordination, secretariat support services and operational activities. The Council supported the Director-General's approach parti cularly on the adoption of the "lead agency" principle, which could avoid the proliferation of new bodies. A large majority concurred with the Director-General's view that consolidation of operational activities and funds would not be a desirable goal as it would increase the vulnerability of the system; furthermore as the example of IFAD showed, it was possible for new funds to attract additional resources.

Further Developments in Relations with UNDP, WFC and IFAD 2

United Nations Development Programme

96. The Council noted that since the last session of the Programme and Finance Committees there had been further developments concerning estimates of delivery this year of the FAO/UNDP programme and future prospects, and on the relations between UNDP and FAO and the other agencies.

97. According to the latest forecasts the downward trend in delivery under the FAO/UNDP programme, which had been set in motion as a consequence of the UNDP liquidity crisis in late 1975, was continuing from 1976 into 1977. Agriculture would maintain its relative share in the UNDP programme but FAO delivery in 1977 would most likely not exceed $90 million, compared to around $100 million in 1976 and $122 million in 1975. For the future it was clear that the crucial question was the actual level of UNDP resources.

98. As regards general relations with UNDP, the Council noted that certain questions had been discussed at the meeting of the IACB which would now be considered by the UNDP Governing Council beginning on 13 June 1977. Among them was the Administrator's paper on "The Role and Activities of UNDP", which touched on areas of major concern to the Specialized Agencies. Other important issues were the possible establishment of an Inter-Agency Task Force at UNDP Headquarters and the future of Overhead Costs reimbursement.

99. On the question of the role and activities of UNDP the Council fully supported t he Director-General's statement that fundamentally only governments can coordinate all inputs to technical assistance. The Council agreed that working relations at the country level between FAO and UNDP, in regard to programming and execution, were very close and that governments received the full benefit of this partnership.

100. Some members were glad to note that in the dialogue with UNDP, sometimes dealing with controversial issues, the Director-General's efforts were directed at obtaining a mutual partnership and understanding in favour of developing countries. Some members said that after seven years' experience the Consensus might need certain adjustments. There was general support for the continued validity of the Consensus. Stress was laid on those aspects of it regarding mutual respect by the partners in the UN System for the autonomy of each other, and for the specialized contribution each could make to the work of the UN group of organizations.

101. It was also said that UNDP should limit to the minimum its own role as an executing agency, a role that should be resorted to only in those cases where obviously there was no agency with the necessary capacity.

102. In discussing the problems of financing of technical assistance there was recognition that UNDP should be the main source of funding in the UN System. It was, however, considered that flexibility should exist for other funding channels. In this connexion reference was made to FAO's own Technical Cooperation Programme, which enjoyed wide recognition in the Council as an essential part of the Organization's work. The complementary nature of the Programme to UNDP's funded and other activities and its quick response to governments' needs were acknowledged.

103. As regards arrangements for ensuring proper inputs from the agencies into the work of the system at the policy level, the majority supported the Director-General's doubts about the idea of having a permanently established Task Force at UNDP Headquarters. The question might have to be explored further, i.e. in connexion with the forthcoming Governing Council session.

104. On the question of Overhead Costs, it was recalled that the present arrangement whereby Executing Agencies receive a reimbursement calculated at 14 percent of project delivery had been agreed after a long period of consideration and on the basis of cost measurement studies specially adapted to UNDP needs, to which FAO had devoted very substantial time and effort. The Council went on to express serious concern over the financial consequences that would result front any lower level of cost reimbursement by UNDP, including the unfavourable impact of such a decision on the activities carried out in the Regular Programme and under other extra-budgetary funds. Some members suggested that the Council should request the Director- General to present to the FAO Conference a report on the implications of various alternative solutions to the overhead cost problem for FAO's management and its total administrative budget. Nevertheless, the majority of the Council concluded that the Organization should request the continuation of the present arrangements for a reimbursement calculated at 14 percent of delivery. Stability of this formula was necessary to allow the agencies to plan the use of their resources and to avoid wasting money and efforts in time-consuming assessments of levels of reimbursement, which could instead be used for the benefit of developing countries. The present solution had the added advantage of recognizing in financial terms the partnership which is the basis of UNDP/Agency's activities.

105. The Council requested that its views on these issues, as appropriate, be made known to the UNDP Governing Council at its forthcoming session.

World Food Council

106. The Council noted that the text of a "supplementary arrangement" concerning the relations between FAO and the World Food Council was currently being finalized at the secretarial level and would be submitted to the CCLM, Programme Committee and Finance Committee in the autumn, and then to the Council and Conference in November. The text would require clearance by the World Food Council in 1978. As noted by the Programme Committee, the text would codify the decisions already taken regarding relationships between FAO and WFC. In this context, the Council reiterated the need for complementarity of action between FAO and WFC, and stressed the importance of cooperation at secretariat level with a view to avoiding duplication of effort.

107. The Council considered that it would not be appropriate for it to engage in a substantive discussion of the Report of the Preparatory Meeting of the Third Session of the World Food Council which had been distributed to it for information. It noted, however, that all the draft resolutions transmitted for consideration by the Ministerial Session in Manila (20–24 June 1977) were directly related to FAO's work. It noted in particular that the recommendations relating to nutrition could have significant implications for the FAO programme of work.

International Fund for Agricultural Development

108. The Council hoped that IFAD would become operational in the near future and emphasized the need for close cooperation between FAO and IFAD. In this connexion, the Council was informed that discussions had been held with the Interim Secretariat of the IFAD Preparatory Commission and that the text of a draft relationship agreement would be ready shortly. It was expected that the draft relationship agreement would be submitted to the Seventy-Second Session of the Council for approval, after consideration by the CGLM and the Programme and Finance Committees. The Council also endorsed the Director-General's proposal to make available an additional $60 000 for the IFAD Interim Secretariat.

UN Joint Inspection Unit Reports

Fellowships in the United Nations System 3

109. The Council took note of and endorsed the views of the Programme and Finance Committees, as well as those of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, on this report. It agreed that the report provided a useful compendium of information about the planning and execution of fellowship programmes in the UN system and it took note of the fact that those of its recommendations which were considered to be feasible were in the process of implementation.

110. With regard to the recommendation on coordination, the Council supported the conclusion of the executive heads, endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees, that coordination could be most effectively achieved by ad hoc meetings of fellowship officers and the establishment of a focal point in the system for exchange of information.

111. The Council agreed with the Finance Committee that there was need for a built-in system of evaluation of fellowships. It also agreed with the Programme Committee that the most important recommendation in this report was recommendation 48, which proposed a re-orientation of training activities to country and regional levels. The Council noted that such a re-orientation was in fact being implemented by FAO through the new emphasis on training at grass-roots level, the training of trainers and the strengthening of national institutions.

Country Programming as an Instrument for Coordination and Cooperation at Country Level 4

112. The Council endorsed in general the views of the Programme and Finance Committees on this report, agreeing that it had contributed to discussions under way between UNDP and the participating and executing agencies. It took note of the fact that many of the matters examined by the Inspectors would be considered at the June 1977 Session of the UNDP Governing Council and subsequently at inter-agency level and that it would have an opportunity of reviewing the progress achieved at its Seventy-Second Session.

113. The Council also agreed with the position taken by the executive heads in respect of this report as recorded in CL 71/15-Sup.1. In particular, it recognized that the report had not given sufficient attention to the primary role of recipient governments in formulating their own development plans and in coordinating external assistance. Further, it had given a disproportionately important role to Country Programming, conceiving it as being an instrument for development planning rather than a means of providing assistance from the UN system in the most efficient manner.

114. At the same time, the Council supported the main thrust of the report which was to ensure the full involvement of the technical agencies in Country Programming and to achieve more effective coordination of assistance programmes at country level. In addition, some members of the Council recognized that the suggestions and conclusions of the report were of interest and deserved to Be borne in mind.

Technical Cooperation Provided to Integration Movements in Asia and the Pacific 5

115. The Council observed that the report provided useful information on existing regional and sub-regional organizations in Asia and the Pacific and made a useful contribution by focussing attention on some of the possibilities for an expanded programme of UN-system assistance to integration and cooperation movements in that region. However, it concurred in the Director-General's view that the report suffered from several general inadequacies, particularly in regard to its coverage of relevant organizations and the needed differen- tiation between integration movements and cooperation arrangements in a region as diverse as Asia and the Pacific.

116. The Council was in accord with the Director-General's comment that the report did not give due recognition to the efforts that FAO had made in the past and was at present making to support the integration and cooperation arrangements in the region. As regards the recommendations for UN-system assistance in strengthening the secretariats of the movements, entering into formal agreements of cooperation with them and elaborating and executing regional projects in collaboration with the relevant groupings and ESCAP, the Council endorsed the Director-General's view that FAO should adopt a sympathetic, but pragmatic and flexible approach, giving due recognition to the lead role of FAO in the field of food and agriculture.

117. The Council supported the view that agriculture should receive its due place in arrangements for regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration. However, it recognized that the integration movements in this region were relatively young, and should be given time to develop. In any case, it was for the governments involved in such arrangements to decide in such matters and approach FAO for any assistance.

118. With these observations, the Council endorsed the Director-General's comments as well as the views expressed on this report by the Programme and Finance Committees.

Continuation of the Joint Inspection Unit 6

119. The Council had before it the new Statute of the Joint Inspection Unit which had been approved by the UN General Assembly at its Thirty-First Session. It noted that the General Assembly by Resolution A/RES/31/192 had invited the participating organizations to notify the Secretary-General of their acceptance of this Statute which would come into effect from .1 January 1978. In its examination of this matter, the Council took note of the Director- General's report on the implications for FAO of the acceptance of the Statute as well as the views of the Programme and Finance Committees and CCLM on the substantive, financial and constitutional questions involved.

120. The Council agreed that there was a continuing need for an independent and efficient inspection body in the United Nations system. While joining with the Programme Committee in its expression of some disappointment about the performance of JIU to date, at least insofar as the contribution it had made to the work of FAO, the Council believed that on balance the Unit had rendered useful service. It agreed that the FAO, as a participating organization, should continue its collaboration with the Unit.

121. With regard to the Statute, the Council took note of the opinion of the CCLM 7 to the effect that its acceptance would have to be approved by the Nineteenth Session of the Conference.

122. Considerable attention was given by the Council to the question of whether the Joint Inspection Unit could be designated as a "subsidiary organ" of the legislative bodies of FAO, as proposed in paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the Statute. Taking note of the advice of CCLM on this question 8, the Council suggested that the Organization's reservation regarding acceptance of this particular provision might be phrased in the form of an inter- pretative declaration. In this connexion, the Council observed that, were the Conference to accept the Statute on this understanding, neither the functions of JIU nor its relations with FAO would be affected in any way.

123. The Council accepted the views of the Programme and Finance Committees on other provisions in the Statute. It agreed that the injunction in Article 12 about verification by governing bodies of actions taken by executive heads was somewhat inappropriate, and it also agreed that paragraph 2 of Article 5 appeared to place undue emphasis- on coordination. The Council felt that the Organization's views on these matters should be recorded, but not as reservations in its acceptance of the Statute.

124. The Council considered that the quality of the work performed by JIU was directly related to the competence of its Inspectors. In this connexion, it noted that the new procedures for the selection of Inspectors under Article 3 of the Statute appeared to give less weight than heretofore to the views of the executive heads; however, the Council noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General proposed to consult with his colleagues on the Administrative Committee on Coordination on candidates submitted to him for review.

125. While noting the significant increase in the budget and staff of the Unit, and the corresponding increase in FAO's contribution, the Council considered that it was difficult to make a cost/benefit analysis of the value of the services of the Unit. Nevertheless, the Council felt that it was important that the work of the Unit be kept under review and it therefore welcomed the Director-General's proposal to submit an evaluation of its services to the Council and Conference in 1979. With regard in part to cost, as well as to the need for governing bodies to give adequate attention to JIU reports, the Council expressed the hope that in future the Unit would limit the length of its reports and that in all cases its recommendations would be focussed on major policy issues. The Council also stressed the importance of the Unit avoiding duplicating the work of other bodies in selecting subjects for study.

126. With these observations, the Council supported the continuation of the Joint Inspection Unit and of FAO's collaboration with it as a participating organization. It recommended to the Conference that it accept the Statute of JIU with the understanding referred to in paragraph 122 above.

Other Questions Arising out of the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and ACC 9

127. The Council took note of the document setting out the new institutional arrangements related to Nutrition which would be proposed by ACC to the Sixty-Third Session of ECOSOC. Some members informed the Council that their governments would support these proposals in ECOSOC. The Council also endorsed the Programme Committee's recommendation that, in view of the developments taking place in the field of nutrition, the Second Session of the Committee on Food and Nutrition Policies, scheduled for June 1977, should be postponed to 1978. 10

1 CL 66/REP para. 129, CL 70/4 para. 1.95, CL 71/4 paras. 2.119–2.1–21, CL 71/4-Corr.1 (E only), CL 71/4-Corr.2 (F only), CL 71/INF/14, CL 71/PV/13, CL 71/PV/14.

2 CL 71/4 paras. 2.99–2.118 and 3.34–3.40, CL 71/INF/10, CL 71/INF/11, CL 71/PV/7, CL 71/PV/17.

3 CL 71/4 paras. 2.144–2.149 and 3.98–3.102, CL 71/14, CL 71/14–Sup. 1, CL 71/PV/14.

4 CL 71/4 paras. 2.150–2.157 and 3.108–3.115, CL 71/15, CL 71/15–Sup. 1, CL 71/PV/14.

5 CL 71/4 paras. 2.158–2.161 and 3.103–3.107, CL 71/16, CL 71/PV/14.

6 CL 71/4 paras. 2.130–2.143 and 3.92–3.97, CL 71/5 paras. 46–55,CL 71/17, CL 71/17–Sup. 1, CL 71/17–Corr.1 (English), CL 71/PV/14.

7 CL 71/5 para. 49.

8 CL 71/5 paras. 50-55.

9 CL 71/INF/10, CL 71/PV/13, CL 71/PV/14.

10 See para. 149 below.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page