208. The Council examined six proposals on the question of the number and distribution of seats on the Council put forward by the Working Party. These proposals were, respectively, to leave the Council at its present membership of 42, or increasing the membership by 3 seats, by 6 seats, by 7 seats, by 10 seats or by 11 seats.
209. The need to keep the Council to a manageable size in order to retain efficiency was noted. However, the Council recognized that the increase in the Organization's membership since the present size of the Council had been established and the need for improving the geographical representation of certain regions, especially that of Africa, would call for a limited increase in the size of the Council. In this connexion, it was also pointed out that equitable distribution did not relate solely to the number of Member Nations in any region.
210. The majority of Council members finally agreed that the Council be increased by 7 seats, giving a total of 49 seats. These additional seats would be distributed as follows: 3 to Africa, and one each to Asia and the Far East, Europe, Latin America and the Near East.
211. Bearing in mind that this proposed increase in the number of Council seats would require an amendment to Article V of the Constitution, the Council requested the Director- General to inform in due time all Member Nations of the proposed amendment, in accordance with Article XX of the Constitution, so as to enable the Conference to adopt the amendment at its Nineteenth Session.
212. The Council noted that, in connexion with the functions of the Council, the Working Party had considered a proposal concerning the role of the Council and the Conference in the election of the Director-General 3. The essence of this proposal was that the Council b e given the function of proposing a single candidate for appointment by the Conference, for a period of six years in the first instance, and without limitation on eligibility for re-appointment. In order to assist the Council in considering these matters, the Working Party had "requested the Secretariat with assistance as appropriate from the CCLM, within its terms of reference, to report to the Council at its Seventy-First Session on the practices of other organizations in the United Nations system and on the different arrangements that could eventually be made in relation to the issues raised in connexion with the proposal ..." 4
213. As suggested by the Working Party, the questions of the method of election of the Director-General and of his eligibility for re-election were submitted to the CCLM. In its Report 5, the CCLM analysed the law and practice of other organizations in the United Nations system and set forth the draft amendments to the Basic Texts which would be requ ired if the Council endorsed suggestions that had been made in the course of the Working Party's deliberations.
214. The Council unanimously agreed to recommend that the Conference should provide f or the eligibility of the Director-General for re-appointment. The great majority of the Council fully supported the case for ensuring eligibility of the Director-General for re - appointment without limitation on number or variation in length of terms. It was pointed out that, in this respect, FAO was the only organization in the United Nations system in which the supreme governing body was precluded from re-appointing the incumbent and that there was no reason for a. departure from the law and practice of other organizations resulting in Member Nations of FAO being deprived of their freedom to re-appoint a Director-General if they considered that it was in the best interests of the Organization and the implementation of its programmes that he should continue in office. It was also emphasized that the exclusion of the incumbent from eligibility would be discriminatory.
215. A few members felt that, since it was only in 1971 that a single term of office of six years had been introduced, it was premature to take a new decision without further study of the issues involved, or that, in case of re-eligibility, it should be limited to a single term of 4 years, following an initial term of equally 4 years without prejudice to the initial 6-year term of the present incumbent.
216. The Council, in the light of the views expressed, accordingly recommended the fo llowing draft resolution, containing amendments to paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article VII of the Constitution, for adoption by the Conference:
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CONFERENCE
TERM OF OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
Recalling its Resolution 3/75, 6
Having noted that the Working Party on the Composition and Terms of Reference of the Council, the Programme Committee, the Finance Committee and the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, established by the Council at its Sixty-Eighth Session, had found that the constitutional provisions of FAO concerning the term of office of the Director-General were essentially different from the law and practice prevailing in other organizations forming part of the United Nations system,
Convinced that the constitutional provisions of FAO governing this matter should be m ore consistent with such law and practice,
Concurring with the view of the Council that it would be in the best interests of the Organization if Member Nations of FAO were not precluded from re-electing a Director-General if they should so desire,
Having examined the draft amendments to the Constitution of the Organization, recomme nded by the Council at its Seventy-First Session,
Adopts the following amendments to paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article VII of the Constitut ion 7:
1. 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 re-appointment]. He shall be eligible for re-appointment.
3. Should the office of Director-General become vacant [during the above-mentioned term of office,] prior to the expiry of his 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 the Director-General appointed at a special session shall expire at the end of the year of the third regular session of the Conference following the date of his appointment.
217. In connexion with the proposals considered by the Working Party to the effect that the FAO Council should play an active part in the procedure for the nomination, selection and appointment of the Director-General, the Council noted that this was the case with comparable bodies in many organizations in the United Nations system. Nevertheless, the majority of the members considered that this function should continue to be exercised by the Conference in which all Member Nations were represented. Other members felt that, while preserving the final authority of the Conference, it would be desirable to provide in some way for active participation of the Council in the selection procedure.
218. The Council noted that, whereas Rule XLI (GRO) provided that Chinese as well as Arabic, English, French and Spanish were "official" languages of the Organization, Article XXII of the Constitution provided that only the texts of the Constitution in the latter four languages were equally authoritative.
219. The Council noted that a Chinese edition of the Basic Texts of FAO had already been published by the Secretariat and considered that a Chinese text of the "Constitution should be equally authoritative as the four texts specified in Article XXII. The Council therefore decided, in accordance with Article XX.3 of the Constitution, to propose that Article XXII of the Constitution be amended by adding the word "Chinese" after the word "Arabic" so as to read as follows:
"Authentic texts of the Constitution
The Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish texts of this Constitution shall be equally authoritative."
220. The Council requested the Director-General to notify Member Nations of this proposal, in accordance with Article XX.4 of the Constitution, at least 120 days before the opening of the next session of the Conference. The Council also requested the Director-General to transmit to all Member Nations, at the same time, the Chinese version of the Constitution, so that they should have an opportunity to study it before the Nineteenth Session of the Conference.
221. The Council noted that the Thirteenth FAO Regional Conference for the Near East (Tunis, October 1976) had recommended an amendment to Rule XLI of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO) 10. The proposed amendment of Rule XLI GRO and the Director-General's programme and budgetary proposals regarding the use of languages had been examined by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM), the Programme Committee and the Finance Committee, and their observations were contained in their respective reports 11.
222. In connexion with the amendment of Rule XLI GRO, the Council noted that this Rule 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".
The Regional Conference's recommendation was that Rule XLI GRO be amended to read as follows:
"Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish are the languages of the Organization".
223. The Council recalled that a previous examination of the question of the status and use of languages, carried out by the Conference, Council and CCLM in 1971 and 1972 had shown that the terms "official" or ''working" language, or "working language for limited purposes" did not have a defined meaning from which it was possible to deduce the precise services that would be made available in any particular language. The Council considered that there was therefore no valid reason for preserving the distinctions made in Rule XLI GRO as they were both unnecessary and potentially confusing.
224. The Council agreed with the CCLM's conclusion that the amendment to Rule XLI GRO suggested by the Regional Conference was appropriate and accordingly, decided to recommend to the Conference that Rule XLI GRO be amended to read: "Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish are the languages of the Organization".
225. In making this recommendation it was the Council's understanding that this amendment to Rule XLI GRO would not in itself entail any change in the Organization's use of languages and that the Rule should be interpreted as not precluding the use of languages other than the five expressly mentioned in specific circumstances and within the limits of clearly defined exceptions approved by the governing bodies and the Director-General. In particular, the decisions taken by the Conference at its Fourteenth Session on the introduction of German for interpretation at sessions of the Conference and at Regional Conferences for Europe, and at its Fifteenth Session on the provision of Portuguese interpretation at Regional Conferences for Latin America, would not be affected. The Council also considered that the pragmatic approach to the use of languages, which had already been endorsed by the Conference and by the Council itself, should be maintained.
226. The Council noted that, if the Conference endorsed the amendment to Rule XLI GRO recommended in paragraph 224 above, certain consequential amendments to the Basic Texts would be necessary. Accordingly, the Council recommended to the Conference the following amendments: 12
GENERAL RULES OF THE ORGANIZATION (GRO).
le IV, paragraph 2
"It shall be the duty of the Secretariat to receive, translate [into the working languages of the Conference] and circulate documents, reports and resolutions of the Conference and of its commissions and committees; to prepare the records of the proceedings; and to perform such other work as the Conference or any of its commissions or committees may require. "
PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES WHICH SHOULD GOVERN CONVENTIONS AND AGREEMENTS CONCLUDED UNDER ARTICLES XIV AND XV OF THE CONSTITUTION, AND COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES ESTABLISHED UNDER ARTICLE IV OF THE CONSTITUTION (Appendix to Section R of the Basic Texts)
16. Unless otherwise decided by the Conference or Council, all conventions and agreements shall be drawn up in [the three working languages of the Organization, i.e.] English, French and Spanish, which languages shall be equally authentic."
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 (Appendix to Section T of the Basic Texts)
"17. Authentic languages
Unless otherwise decided by the Conference, the agreements should be drawn up in [the three working languages of the Organization, i.e.] English, French and Spanish, which languages would be equally authentic."
227. As regards the proposed increase in capacity for Arabic translation, the Council noted that this would meet the needs of the Arabic-speaking Member countries, especially since it would permit production in that language of all important Conference and Council documents. The cost of this expansion ($191 600 at 1976–77 costs) had to be viewed in the light of a much larger cut in the overall programme for publications, documents and translation in 1976. The Council accordingly endorsed the Director-General's proposals.
228. The Council noted that the present practice of drawing up the verbatim records of the Conference and Council in English, French and Spanish only would be maintained.
229. In examining the question of Regional Conferences, the Council agreed that in future these should play a greater part in formulating regional policies regarding cooperation for agricultural development and food production. Subject to the authority of the FAO Conference, they would provide a major opportunity for Member Nations to influence the formulation of FAO's programme in each region.
230. Some members considered that the regional conferences could also prove useful in allowing Member Nations from outside any particular region, whether developing or developed to keep in touch with developments and problems of a region. In this respect, they pointed out that all Member Nations that could contribute to solving the technical and economic problems of a region should be enabled, if they so wished, to attend regional conferences, either as observers or, if justified, as full members. Some members suggested that at appropriate Regional Conferences the developing countries could set up special machinery reserved exclusively for discussing questions that were, according to them, predominantly policy oriented.
231. A large number of members of the Council who spoke agreed with the majority within the Working Party to the effect that participation at each Regional Conference should be confined to the Member Nations that in fact belonged to a particular region. Others could attend only as observers on invitation.
232. The Council concurred with the Working Party's recommendations that the participation of Member Nations in each Regional Conference, including the modalities of attendance by observers, should be decided by the countries that in fact belonged to the region concerned, at the 1978 Regional Conferences, taking into account any special characteristics of the Region as well as, as appropriate, the situation in other UN Organizations concerning their regional conferences.
233. The Council noted the request addressed to the Director-General by the members of the Latin American Group to the effect that as from the next Latin American Regional Conference invitations to attend as members should be issued only and exclusively to those countries which are serviced by the Latin American Regional Office, other countries being invited as observers.
234. The Council agreed with the Working Party that these committees should continue to be consultative organs of the Council and the Director-General.
235. As regards the Programme and Finance Committees there was some discussion on converting them from expert technical bodies into intergovernmental organs: the main considerations in selecting candidates should continue to be personal qualifications,
236. The majority of members spoke in favour of government representatives with adequate qualifications. Some members, however, made a plea for maintaining membership in a strictly personal capacity, as was the case hitherto, since without instructions from their governments or regions, members could give a wider range of advice to the Council. Other members felt that an increase by two instead of four additional members would be preferable.
237. In the light of all the views expressed the Council agreed to recommend the following:
238. The Council requested the CCLM to prepare and submit to its next session the amendments to the Basic Texts that would be required to give effect to the recommendations set forth above.
239. A few countries were not in favour of the above changes in the Programme and Finance Committees.
240. The Council agreed that no change should be made in the membership and functions of the CCLM.
241. On other questions, the Council agreed with the following recommendations of the Working Party:
Functions of the Committee-of-the-Whole
Every effort should be made to avoid the necessity of a Committee-of-the-Whole, on the understanding that the decision-making process of the Council should be facilitated by the preparatory work of its subsidiary bodies which in principle should alone report to it.
Role of the Secretariat and Related Services, and Implementation of the Decisions of the Council
The present arrangements should be continued, and these matters lay within the responsibility of the Director-General.
Frequency and Nature of Council Sessions
While agreeing in principle to the present pattern of sessions, they should be devoted to essential matters, and the agenda of the pre-Conference Council sessions should be restricted to the preparation of the Conference. The frequency of Council sessions should also be related to the work programmes and terms of reference of the Council's subsidiary bodies.
The present procedures were satisfactory and should be continued, but the agenda of all Council sessions should remain as short as possible, giving particular emphasis to the consolidation of items around major issues.
The Decision-Making Process, and its Form of Recording, and Method of Preparing and Discussing Draft Reports
Future Council sessions should formulate their decisions as concisely and clearly as possible at the end of the debate on each separate item, and these should be highlighted in the report.
Volume and Quality of Documentation
The Director-General should continue reducing the volume of documentation for Council sessions.
242. The Council also took note of the other matters mentioned, but not considered in depth by the Working Party, in paras. 22 to 25 of the Working Party's report 14.
243. The Council was informed that the Republic of Seychelles had applied for membership in the Organization.
244. Pending a decision by the Conference on this application, 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", authorized the Director-General to invite the Republic of Seychelles to participate in an observer capacity at appropriate Council meetings, as well as at regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to it.
245. The Council took note of the invitations issued by the Director-General on request to non-Member Nations to attend FAO sessions in accordance with paragraph B-1 and B-2 of the "Statement of Principles Relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations" 17.
1CL 71/4, CL 71/4-Corr.1 (E only), CL 71/5, paras. 33–35 (Report of the Thirty-Fourth Session of the CCLM), CL 71/12, paras. 20–21 (Report of the Working Party on the Terms of Reference of the Council, the Programme Committee, the Finance Committee and the CCLM), CL 71/PV/11, CL 61/PV/12.
2CL 71/5 (Report of the Thirty-Fourth Session of the CCLM), CL 71/12 (Report of the Working Party on the Terms of Reference of the Council, the Programme Committee, the Finance Committee and the CCLM), CL 71/PV/11, CL 71/PV/17.
3CL 71/12, paras. 14–19 and App. B.
4CL 71/12, para. 19.
5CL 71/5, paras, 7–32.
6Resolution 3/75, III, para. 9._
7Deletions in square brackets / 7, additions underlined.
9CL 71/4 (Report of the Thirty-Second Session of the Programme Committee and of theThirty-Ninth Session of the Finance Committee), CL 71/5 (Report of the Thirty-Fourth Session of the CCLM), CL 71/PV/10, CL 71/PV/17.
11CL 71/4 paras. 2.186–2.189 and 3.136–3.138, CL 71/5, paras. 36–45.
12Deletions in square brackets [ ].
13CL 71/4, CL 71/4-Corr.1 (E only), CL 71/5 paras. 4-35, CL 71/12, CL 71/PV/11, CL 61/PV/12.
16CL 71/LIM/2, CL 71/PV/16.
17See Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L.