29. The Council took note of the document Relations and Consultations with International Organizations: Other Questions Arising from the United Nations and Other Specialized Agencies, and transmitted it to the Conference for consideration.
30. The Council welcomed the fruitful cooperation which had developed between FAO and other sectors of the United Nations system. It also stressed the importance of FAO's active participation in the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology, scheduled for 1979.
31. Referring to the reports of the Programme and Finance Committees on this item, the Chairmen of the two Committees made brief statements on the current situation as regards the FAO/UNDP field programme as well as on certain policy issues between UNDP and the Agencies, updating information supplied to the Council at its Seventy-First Session in June this year.
32. The Council noted with concern that the UNDP resource crisis continued to have severe effects on the Organization's field programme so that, as opposed to a delivery of over $120 million in 1975 and of $100 million in 1976, this year's figure would not exceed $85 million. The FAO/UNDP long-term expert force had been reduced by a third. The Council expressed the hope that through an orderly and programmed process of project approvals by UNDP in accordance with resources available, the field programme would soon be restabilized at an appropriate level and a resource planning procedure arrived at which would avoid sharp fluctuations in the magnitude of delivery and in the necessary support capacity of the Executing Agencies from year to year.
33. As regards policy issues in the relations with UNDP, the Council gave general endorsemen t to the conclusions and views expressed in the reports of the Programme and Finance Committees. It wished to emphasize its concern on two matters in particular, viz. the questions of overhead cost reimbursements and of collaboration at the country level. Considering the size of the Organization's field programme as well as of the total support costs incurred, including the important subsidy made by the Regular Programme to cover these costs, the Council urged that reimbursement arrangements be arrived at which would ensure stability in the forward planning for an effective use of all resources available to the Organization. Expressing concern over the potential impact on the substance of FAO's Regular Programme of any reduction in overhead cqst reimbursements, the Council thus felt that the present formula of reimbursements being calculated at a rate of 14 percent on delivery should be maintained, also as a tangible reflection of partnership in an equitable burden sharing between UNDP and the Agencies. Noting the joint stand of Agency Heads at the Inter-Agency Consultative Board to this effect, the Council agreed that this solution was probably the one most li kely to gain wide support by the majority of governments in the Governing Bodies of the UN System and by others concerned.
34. As regards activities at the country level, the Council noted with satisfaction that coordination and relations with the UNDP Resident Representatives were in general close, harmonious and effective. It also noted in this connexion that a meeting of minds had been reached between the Heads of UNDP and FAO as regards the respective roles and inter- relationships between the UNDP Resident Representatives and the FAO Representatives appointed under the new scheme approved by the Council last year. The Council reiterated the view that the roles of UNDP and the Agencies on technical assistance were complementary, and that funding by UNDP should not preclude effective utilization of other funding channels.
35. The Council considered that this report provided useful comparative information about evaluation methods and practices in the UN system, noting that FAO was in the forefront in the development of a system of internal evaluation. The Council agreed that JIU could contribute by facilitating the exchange of information about evaluation practices in the system and by undertaking external evaluation of programmes and projects on a selective basis.
36. While in general endorsing the conclusions in this report, the Council agreed with the reservations expressed by the Director-General, and the Programme and Finance Committees about the proposed "advising and overseeing" role of the Unit in respect of internal evaluation. Specifically, it felt that each organization should develop its own system of evaluation, a system which was flexible and pragmatic and adapted to its own particular needs.
37. The Council fully endorsed the comments of the Director-General and the Programme and Finance Committees on this report, the third in a series of JIU studies of this subject. While the report contained some useful information on integration and cooperation movements in these regions, the Council agreed with the two Committees that it had major shortcomings in approach and coverage and that it was of limited value to the Organization.
38. Noting that this JIU Note was addressed primarily to the International Civil Service Commission, the Council noted that in its recommendations it proposed the introduction of a rather complex and presumably costly system of recruitment of junior professional staff in certain occupational categories. As the number of FAO posts in these particular categories was limited, the Council agreed with the Director-General and the Programme and Finance Committees that the participation of the Organization in any centralized system of recruitment which might be introduced should be on fee-for-service basis.
39. The Council agreed with the recommendation of the Finance Committee with respect to this report i.e., that no change should be made in the Organization's policies and practices with regard to first class travel. It noted that FAO had already introduced limitations on its use of travel at this level and that the additional funds involved were nominal. Considering that the amount and purposes of travel was the more important issue, the Council welcomed the intention of the Finance Committee to review this subject in 1978.
40. With respect to this report and the work of the Joint Inspection Unit in general, the Council took note of the observations of the Programme and Finance Committees about the number of reports being issued by the Unit which would likely increase with the expansion in the corps of Inspectors in the future, The Council noted that this could add to the workload of the Secretariat and make it even more difficult for FAO's governing bodies to give full and adequate attention to the subject matter of these reports.
41. Further, the Council observed that many of the reports published by the Unit were unnecessarily lengthy , that they varied considerably in quality, the relevance of their subject matter, and in the feasibility of their recommendations, and that on many occasions they dealt with matters of only peripheral interest to FAO.
42. The Council shared the hope expressed by the Programme and Finance Committees that in future JIU would address itself to the inspection or evaluation of matters of priority and current interest to FAO and the other participating organizations. It considered that the Unit could be more selective in its choice of subjects for enquiry and reduce both the number and length of the reports which it issued.
43. At the same time, the Council confirmed its support of the purposes and objectives of
the Joint Inspection Unit and it welcomed the intention of the Director-General to participate fully in its work. The Council was of the opinion that after the acceptance of the new Statute of JIU by the Conference, the Secretariat should establish close working relations with the Unit, offer as appropriate suggestions with respect to its work programme, and assist, insofar as possible, in improving the services which it rendered to the Organization.
1 CL 72/4,paras 2.175–2.179 and 3.116–3.121; C 77/25; CL 72/PV/4; CL 72/PV/7.
2 CL 72/3. CL 72/4 paras 2.160–2.174 and 3.97–3.114; CL 72/7; CL 72/8, CL 72/9; CL 72/12} - CL 72/PV/4; CL 72/PV/7.