200. The Council was informed that, in 1978, the Istituto Nazionale di Previdenza per i Dirigenti di Aziende Industriali(INPDAI), the landlords of the premises that the Organization rented in Via Cristoforo Colombo, known as “Building F”, brought two actions against FAO. These were, respectively, for arrears of rent claimed by the landlord and for FAO’s eviction from Building F.
201. The Organization had drawn the attention of the Italian Government to the fact that it enjoyed “immunity from every form of legal process’T, in accordance with Article VIII, section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement between FAO and Italy. However, on the written suggestion of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FAO put in an appearance in the proceedings and retained a locallawyer to represent it before the Italian courts. On instructions given to him, the lawyer only pleaded FAO’s immunity from legal process, pointing out at the same time that the dispute with INPDAI could be settled by arbitration in accordance with the terms of the relevant lease.
202. When the Tribunale Civile di Roma, which was considering the case concerning eviction, rendered a decision holding that FAO did not enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the Italian courts in that particular case, FAO made a direct application to the Corte di Cassazione, the highest court in Italy, for a determination on the issue of its immunity. The proceedings in the lower courts, in both cases, were then suspended.
203. The Council noted that because of the possible financial, administrative and legal consequences for FAO that might flow from a judgement that did not, or did not fully, recognize the Organization’s immunity from legal process as laid down in Article VIII, Section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement, the Director-General had kept the Finance Committee informed of developments and had requested the advice of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM).
204. The Council had before it the Reports of the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Sessions of the Finance Committee 2 and Report of the Forty-second Session of the CCLM 3, Since the judgeirient rendered by the Corte di Cassazione only became available in October 1982 after these sessions of the Finance Committee and the CCLM, the Director-General had submitted a further document to the Council to inform it of the situation as it appeared in the light of the Corte di Cassazione’s judgement.4
205. In this document the Council was informed that the Corte di Cassazione bad decided that the Italian courts had jurisdiction - and hence FAO did not enjoy immunity from legal process - with respect to the action brought by INPDAI against FAO with a view to its eviction.
206. The Council was of the opinion that the question of the scope of FAO’s immunity from legal process turned principally on the text of Article VIII, section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement, which read as follows: “FAO and its property, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except insofar as in any particular case FAO shall have expressly waived its immunity. It is, however, understood that no waiver of immunity shall extend to any measure of execution.”
207. The Council agreed with the CCLM that the wording of section 16 was clear and unambiguous and that the phrase “immunity from every form of legal process” should be given its full literal meaning. In other words, the only case in which FAO could become subject to the jurisdiction of the Italian courts was when it expressly waived its immunity in accordance with sectibn 16.
208. The Council considered that the literal meaning of section 16 must be deemed to have reflected the intentions of the parties at the time when the Headquarters Agreement was onc1uded. It was also felt that the governing Bodies could not at that time have envisaged that FAO’s immunity from legal process could be limited in the manner subsequently held by the Corte di Cassazione.
209. The Council further considered that its conclusions regarding the meaning of section 16 were borne out by the fundamental purposes for which immunity from legal process was accorded to intergovernmental organizations, especially those in the United Nations System. These purposes were to ensure that the intergovernmental organizations concerned could carry out their aims smoothly and independently. To do this, it was essential inter alia that the Organization should not be exposed to litigation before the national courts of its various Member Nations; that the confidentiality of its internal procedures and records be safeguarded; and that actiVities of the Organization should be carried out exclusively under the supervision of its governing bodies and should not be subjected to decisions of the national authorities of any single Member Nation. In this connection the Council - noted that the Organization’s immunity from legal process did not tesult in a denial of justice, since (as in the case under consideration) alternative methods of settling disputes were provided for.
210. The Council noted that the Finance Committee and the CCLM had considered the question of FAO’s immunity from legal process before the Corte di Cassazione’s judgeinent and had expressed their serious concern as to the implications for FAO if its immunity from legal process was not fully recognized.
211. Having been informed that the Corte di Cassaziones judgement was couched in terms from which it appeared that the Italian courts would have jurisdiction over any FAO activity that they considered as not having a direct and necessary connection with the achievement of FAO’s constitutional aims, or even as being a transaction of a private law nature, the Council decided to place on record its serious concern at both the immediate and the longer term consequences of the situation as it had arisen.
212. In the context of immediate implications for FAO, the actions before the Corte d’ Appello (in the eviction case) and the Pretura Civile di Roma (the claim for retroactive rent increases made by INPDAI which had been suspended pending the determination by the Corte di Cassazione, could be resumed. In this connection, the Council gave the Director- General its full support for his position that FAO was immune from the jurisdiction of the Italian courts, and considered that he should avoid any participation in the proceedings before the Italian courts that was inconsistent with this status. In this context, the Council considered that any attempt to enforce any measures of execution against FAO would involve a breach of Article VIII, section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement which specifically provided for immunity from such measures.
213. The Council was assured by the Representative of the Italian Government that the Organization would be fully protected from any measures of execution resulting from judgements of the Italian courts, in the light of Article VIII, section 17 of the Head- quarters Agreement, 5since the implementation of such measures was the responsibility of the Executive.
214. The Council noted the above assurance with appreciation. At the same time, the Council agreed with the CCLM that the Host Government should find a suitable method of solving the problems arising out of the lease, in consultation with INPDAI, without any further recourse to the Italian courts.
215. The Council was aware that even if the Italian Government found a solution to the above-mentioned problem, the judgement rendered by the Corte di Cassazione would be followed by the Italian courts. Consequently, the status and activities in Italy of FAO and other organizations in the United Nations System would be seriously compromised. The Council concluded that if, owing to the independence of the Judiciary, the Host Government could not at the moment guarantee the application of Article VIII, Section 16, of the Headquarters Agreement in accordance with its clear wording, it should take the necessary action, for example through the enactment of appropriate legislation, to ensure that FAO’s immunity from legal process was fully respected in the future.
216. The Council was informed by the Representative of the Italian Government that whereas the Government was bound by the interpretation given to Section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement given by the Corte di Cassazione, an exchange of letters, approved by Parliament, might be envisaged in order to ensure FAO’s immunity. He also mentioned the possibility of implementing Article XVII, section 35, of the Headquarters Agreement, which provided for arbitration. The Council noted with satisfaction that the Host Government was ready to find a solution to the longer-term consequences flowing from the judgement, and expressed the hope that action would be taken expeditiously to safeguard FAO’s immunity from legal process.
217. The Council was also informed that the definition of the headquarters seat contained in the Headquarters Agreement did not cover a significant part of the premises occupied by FAO at Via delle Terme di Caracalla or the leased premises known as Building F, and that a supplemental agreement had been negotiated with the Government formally extending the definition to include all the premises currently occupied by FAO. The Council, noting that the supplemental agreement would not take effect until the Host Government had completed its internal procedures, invited the latter to do so at the earliest possible date so that no doubt could subsist as to the respective rights and obligations of FAO and the Government relating to these premises and, especially, as to their inviolability.
218. On the proposal of its Independent Chairman, the Council adopted the following resolution:
FAO’S IMMUNITY FROM LEGAL PROCESS
1. Reaffirms the sanctity of Article VIII, Section 16, of the Headquarters Agreement concerning FAO’s immunity from every form of legal process;
2. Appreciates and welcomes the assurance of the Representative of Italy on the Council that the Government of Italy will ensure through appropriate executive action that FAO’s immunity from measures of execution is protected, and that it is ready to take appropriate remedial action, if necessary through an exchange of letters supported by legislative approval, to safeguard the Organization’s immunity;
3. Requests the Host Government to find a suitable method of solving the problem in consultation with the landlords, with a view to the settlement of the dispute out of court;
4. Authorizes the Director-General to take such steps as may be necessary to protect FAO’s legitimate rights under Article VIII Section 16, including refusal to submit to legal process;
5. Invites the Independent Chairman of the Council to convey to their Excellencies the President of the Italian Republic, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the concern of the Council in this matter and to seek their help in ensuring that FAO enjoys the status envisaged under the Headquarters Agreement both in letter and spirit;
6. Requests the Director-General to keep the CCLM and Council informed of the steps taken.
219. The Council was informed that, in accordance with Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution, the Conference, at its Eleventh Session (November 1961), authorized the Director-General to establish an “Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research” (ACMRR). In conformity with the authorization given to him by the Conference, the Director-General established the Committee and promulgated its Statutes in January 1963.
220. The Council noted that the Committee had been established almost 20 years ago, and that the Director-General believed that it would now be appropriate to revise the Statutes of this body in order to bring them into line with current constitutional provisions and decisions adopted by the Conference in recent years, as well as to bring up-to-date the terminology used in the text.
221. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule XXXIV, paragraph 3(e), of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), the Director-General decided to refer proposed revised Statutes for the above-mentioned Committee to the CCLM for consideration prior to their promulgation by him.
222. The Council noted that, following examination of this matter, the CCLM agreed that the text of the Revised Statutes of the ACMRR as proposed by the Director-General (reproduced as Appendix J) was in conformity with the Basic Texts and relevant decisions of the Conference, The Council endorsed the CCLM’s conclusions.
223. Finally, the Council noted that, after promulgation of the revised Statutes by the Director-General, consequential amendments to the ACMRR’s Rules of Procedure, designed to bring them into harmony with the revised Statutes, would have to be submitted to that Committee’s next session with a view to their adoption.
224. The Council took cognizance of the applications for membership submitted by Antigua and Barbuda, and Belize.
225. An observer nation expressed reservations concerning the admittance of Belize to membership of the Organization. A member of the Council expressed regret that this political issue should be introduced into FAO and urged that both applicant nations be granted observer status.
226. Pending a decision by the Conference on these applications, and pursuant to Rule XXV-ll GRO and paragraphs B-l, B-2 and B-5of the “Statement of Principles on the Granting of Observer Status to Nations”, the Council authorized the Director-General to invite Antigua and Barbuda and Belize to participate, in an observer capacity, at appropriate Council meetings as well as regional and technical meetings of the Organization of interest to them.
227. 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 paragraphs B-1 and B-2 of the “Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations" 8, and agreed to the requests of the German Democratic Republic and the USSR to attendin an observer capacity the Seventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture which would take place in Rome from 21 to 30 March 1983.
228. The Council approved the Director-General’s proposal to invite to the World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development, which would take place in Rome in 1984, all States members of FAO, the United Nations, any of its specialized agencies, or the International Atomic Energy Agency.
229. The Council considered the abolition of the Regional Commission on Farm Management for Asia and the Far East which it considered to be a question independent of the establishment of a new regional commission.
230 The Council considered that farm management was essential to rural development and that the decision on the abolition of the Regional Commission on Farm Management for Asia and the Far East should be deferred until the next Regional Conference could examine the matter as part of general review of all Commissions in the region.
231 The Council also decided unanimously to change the name of the Asia and Far East Commission on Agricultural Statistics to Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics”.
232. The Council considered Resolution 82/1 adopted by the Sixteenth Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific which invited the Director-General to take the necessary steps to establish a Commission on Food Security for Asia and the Pacific within the existing legal and administrative framework of the Organization. The Director-General proposed that the new regional commission should be established by the Council under Article VI.l of the Constitution.
233. The Council recognized that the Asian and the Pacific area was one of the regions most vulnerable to food insecurity as it was very heavily populated, food consumption levels were low and crops were heavily dependent on the vagaries of weather. Notwithstanding the progress made in increasing food production, the region remained a food deficit area and was subject to natural and man-made disasters.
234. The Council shared the concern expressed by the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific over the lack of a specialized forum at the regional level to coordinate and promote regional and sub-regional food security efforts. It considered that a regional commission could serve a useful function by keeping under review the food security situation in the region, by assisting member countries in the formulation and implementation of action programmes, and by promoting collective self-reliance in food supplies at regional and sub-regional levels. It was suggested that the Commission could draw on the experience of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in pioneering food security arrangements at a sub-regional level and that special attention should be given to the food security problems of South Pacific countries.
235. The Council noted with satisfaction that the new Commission would be financed within the existing budgetary levels by the redeployment of staff and the shift of resources from lower priority activities.
236. The Commission would draw on the services of the FAO special action programmes including the Food Security Assistance Scheme (FSAS) and the Action Programme for the Prevention of Food Losses (PFL). The extent of the Commission’s involvement in special field programmes would depend on the availability of extra-budgetary resources.
237. The Council stressed the need for the new Commission to operate in close collaboration with existing international organisations concer.ned with food problems in the region. In this connection it appreciated the positive response of the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific who had welcomed the establishment of such a Commission as a significant and constructive step.
238. The Council agreed that the recommendations of the Commission should be brought to the attention of the Conference through the Council, as well as to the Committee on World Food Security and to the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific.
239. The Council acoordingly adopted the following resolution:
ESTABLISNENT OFAREGIONAL COMMISSION ON FOOD SECURITY FOR
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Noting that, in spite of the efforts made by governments and international organisations in increasing food production, many countries in the Asia and Pacific Region are experiencing food shortages, and that the problem of hunger and malnutrition continues to persist;
Recalling the International Undertaking on World Food Security adopted at its Sixty-fourth Session (November 1974) and also the Plan of Action on World Food Security approved at its Seventy-fifth Session (June 1979) and endorsed by the Conference at its Twentieth Session (November 1979);
Recognizing the urgent need to take innovative measures for strengthening food security in the Region, taking into account the interests of both food-deficit and food exporting developing countries;
Considering that the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, at its Sixteenth Session (June 1982), adopted a Resolution inviting the Director-General to take necessary steps to establish a Commission on Food Security for Asia and the Pacific, within the legal and administrative framework of the Organization, for the purpose of enhancing action programmes on food security in the Region;
Hereby establishes, under Article VI, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, a commission to be known as the “Regional Commission on Food Security for Asia and the Pacific”, the Statutes of which shall be as follows:
The Commission shall be open to all Member Nations and Associate Members of the Organization whose territories are situated wholly or partly in the Asia and Pacific Region as defined by the Organization or who are responsible for the international relations of any non-self-governing territory in that Region. The Commission shall be composed of those eligible Member Nations and Associate Members that notify the Director-General of their desire to be considered as Members.
2. Terms of Reference
The terms of reference of the Commission shall be
3. Subsidiary bodies
The Commission shall submit to the Director-General reports on its activities and recommendations at appropriate intervals so as to enable the Director-General to take them into consideration when preparing the draft Programme of Work and Budget of the Organization. The Director-General shall bring to the attention of the Conference through the Council any recommendations adopted by the Commission which have policy implications or which affect the programme or finances of the Organization. The Director-General shall also bring the recommendations of the Commission to the attention of the Committee on World Food Security and the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific. Copies of each report of the Commission will be circulated to Member Nations and Associate Members of the Organization and international organizations for their information as soon as they become available.
5. Secretariat and Expenses
7. Participation of International Organizations
8. Rules of Procedure
The Commission may adopt and amend its own rules of procedure which shall be in conformity with the Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization and with the Statement of Principles Governing Commissions and Committees adopted by the Conference. The rules of procedure and amendments thereto shall come into force upon approval by the Director-General.
240. In accordance with Rule XXVI-4(a) of the General Rules of the Organization (CRO), the Council was informed of the temporary substitute representative on the Programme Committee of the Government of Argentina at the Forty-second Session.
241. The Council noted that the Seventeenth Regional Conference for Latin America, which had been held in Managua , had endorsed a proposal to change the name of the Region from “Latin America” to “Latin America and the Caribbean ”.
242. After examination, the Council agreed with the proposal. The Region would thus be known as “Latin America and the Caribbean”; the Regional Conference, “Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean”; and the Regional Office for Latin America “Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean”.
243. The Council invited the Conference to endorse these changes.
1CL 82/5; CL 82/PV/l4; CL 82/PV/l5; CL 82/PV/l9.
2 CL 82/4, paras. 87-94 and CL 82/11, paras. 2.77-2.79.
3CL 82/5, paras. 4-23.
5The text of this section is as follows: “The property of FAO, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action.”
6CL 82/PV/l; CL 82/PV/l7.
7CL 82/LIM/2; CL 82/INF/7; CL 82/INF/7-Sup,l; CL 82/PV/l5; CL 82/PV/19,
8See Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L.
9CL 82/14-Rev. 1; CL 82/PV/l5; CL 82/PV/19.
10CL 82/28; CL 82/11, paras, 1.92-1.96; AFRC/82/REP; CL 82/PV15; CL 82/PV/l9.
11CL 82/PV/l6; CL 82/PV/19.
12CL82/22 CL 82/PV/16; CL 82/PV/19.