130. The Council commended the important service provided by AGRIS (International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology), especially in sharing information among developed and developing countries. The Council noted in this regard that many developing countries were able to strengthen their agricultural information capacities with FAO's assistance. AGRIS, which was coordinated by FAO, had become operational in January 1975 and to date comprised 131 centres. The number of bibliographical references in the data base had passed the one-million mark. Thus the AGRIS data base, covering all fields within FAO's competence, constituted an important intellectual resource and an economically valuable asset.
131. The Council agreed with the Programme Committee that the flexible arrangements under which cooperation in the AGRIS system had proceeded up to now should be consolidated and a policy defined to clarify the modalities of cooperation and the rights and obligations of the participating centres and of FAO.
132. The Council noted that the terms of the proposed AGRIS Data Base Utilization Policy were based on a consensus reached at the Third Technical Consultation of AGRIS Participating Centres (1982), attended by representatives of the participating institutions selected by their governments. The Programme Committee had examined the draft Policy at its Forty-sixth Session and, with one amendment as incorporated in the text, recommended its approval by the Council.
133. The Council agreed with the recommendation of the Programme Committee and endorsed the text of the AGRIS Data Base Utilization Policy as given in Appendix E to this report.
134. The Council noted that the Programme Committee had pursued its mandate, as stated in Rule XXVI of the General Rules of the Organization, to review the current activities of the Organization and to advise the Council on the long-term objectives of its programmes. At its Forty-sixth Session it has reviewed Programmes 2.1.6 Nutrition, 2.1.7 and 2.1.8 Food and Agricultural Information and Analysis and Policy, as well as Major Programmes 2.2 Fisheries and 2.3 Forestry. At its Forty-seventh Session it had reviewed Chapters 3 and 4, including FAO Representatives and TCP (Technical Cooperation Programme), the responsibility for which rested mostly with the Development Department. The Council recalled that this review concluded the four-year cycle of review of programmes, which had been agreed to by the Council, at its Seventy-eighth Session in 1980.
135. The Council appreciated the thorough review carried out by the Programme Committee, which had examined these activities in depth, down to the subprogramme level. It considered, moreover, that these programme reviews were not only useful to apprise the Council of the most essential aspects of FAO programmes, but that they also enhanced the capacity of the Programme Committee itself in reviewing proposals contained in the Sum mary and full Programmes of Work and Budget for consideration by the Council and Conference.
136. The Council noted that the Programme Committee had made use of existing documents, i.e. the Programme of Work and Budget including Medium-Term Objectives, and Reviews of the Regular and Field Programmes. However, additional detailed and specific information and explanations had been provided to satisfy the needs of the Committee. In particular, the Committee had reviewed detailed information on the Technical Cooperation Programme and on major aspects of FAO's training activities under field programmes. The Council accordingly endorsed the conclusions of the Programme Committee to the effect that the substantial growth in the number of people trained, the increase of women trainees, the increasing importance given to the training of primary producers, and the emphasis given to issue-oriented training were in the right direction to develop further what it considered a primary responsibility of the Organization.
137. Specific mention was made of a number of views which had been expressed by the Programme Committee with regard to a variety of programme activities. The Council endorsed the comments of the Programme Committee on these and other subjects covered in the review.
138. The Council more particularly supported the continued reorientation of FAO activities to take more thorough account of nutritional considerations, especially in field projects. It singled out the comprehensive study of agriculture price and incentive policies, currently being prepared for submission to the Twenty-third Session of the Conference, as a major and timely contribution of FAO to the solution of problems of universal concern to the international community. It also commended the clearly apparent and gradual permeation of ECDC and TCDC concepts and approaches into the whole spectrum of FAO programmes,which was responsive to internationally agreed mandates in those areas.
139. While recognizing that the Programme Committee normally refrained from expressing views on resources levels during its cycle of programme reviews, the Council took note of the wish expressed that the provision of additional resources be considered in future biennia for selected programmes in such areas as statistics, fisheries and forestry.
140. The Council endorsed the schedule of programme reviews by the Programme Committee for the period 1986-88.
141. The Council endorsed the views expressed by the Programme and Finance Committees which had conducted an in-depth review on the basis of the second report on the subject. It recalled that it had earlier expressed its concern at the reliance on consultants from a few countries and had recommended that a better balance needed to be established between different groups of countries.
142. The Council accordingly welcomed the trend toward increased use of consultants and institutions from developing countries as experienced in 1982-83. It supported the continuing efforts of the Director-General to provide the Organization with a pool of qualified outside expertise by maintaining a judicious balance between several conflicting requirements.
143. The Council noted that according to the procedure it had adopted, the Programme and Finance Committees had analysed on its behalf five JIU Reports during their 1984 sessions. It was appreciative of the fact that in several of these reports as well as in some earlier reports, FAO was consistently emerging as either one of the most active organizations of the UN system or as the most favourably depicted in relation to the area which had been the object of the JIU'S attention.
144. In connection with the report on the Office for Projects Execution (OPE) of the UNDP (JIU/REP/83/9), the Council fully agreed with the concern expressed by both Committees. The operations of the OPE currently accounted for around 7 percent of total UNDP delivery but were mainly carried out by subcontracting and little training was involved. The Council was particularly concerned that the guidelines which had been developed by UNDP jointly with the agencies of the UN system prescribing prior consultation on projects executed by OPE in the areas of competence of the specialized agencies were not being consistently followed and that, frequently, FAO was informed only after a decision had been taken to resort to OPE execution of a project involving food and agriculture. The Council accordingly urged that these agreed consultation procedures between UNDP and specialized agencies such as FAO be consistently followed.
145. The Council took note of the Director-General's Annual Report on Budgetary Performance to Member Nations as attached to the Report of the Fifty-third Session of the Finance Committee. It expressed its appreciation of the attention paid to enhancing both economy and efficiency and commended the Director-General for his prudent management of the resources at his disposal.
146. The Council noted the status of contributions at 27 November 1984, compared to the same date in 1983, as follows, as well as the details of receipts in 1984 and outstanding contributions of Member Nations as shown in Appendix F to this report.
|Amounts outstanding at 1 January|
|Current assessments||197 940 000.00 b||177 707 600.00 c|
|Contributions in arrears||19 286 724.23||23 380 254.77|
|Total||217 226 724.23||20l 087 854.77|
|Receipts 1 January to 27 November|
|Current assessments||180 563 532.41||158 094 756.36|
|Contributions in arrears||3 083 934.10||13 994 808.08|
|Total||183 647 466.51 d||172 089 564.44 e|
|Amounts outstanding at 27 November|
|Current assessments||17 376 467.59 d||19 612 843.64|
|Contributions in arrears||16 202 790.13 d||9 385 446.69|
|Total||33 572257.72 d||28 998 290.33|
a Contributions in arrears include arrears payable under Conference authorizations by instalments due in 1984 (in 1983 in comparative figures) and in future years (on 1 January 1984, $27 562.31 due in 1984 and $138 118.31 due in future years).
b Of which $650 000.00 relate to the Tax Equalization Fund.
c Includes amounts relating to four new Member Nations admitted at the Twenty-second Session of the Conference (November 1983).
d Appendix F sets out full details of receipts during 1984 and amounts outstanding relating to each Member Nation.
e Receipts include release on 1 January 1983 of cash surplus of 1980-81 biennium: $345 595.00 applied to current assessments (0.19%) and $26 664.00 to arrears.
147. The month-end cumulative percentages of 1984 assessments received, as compared to receipts during the four prior years, were as follows:
148. The position at 27 November 1984 of the 1984 assessments of Member Nations as well as the number with arrears outstanding, with comparative figures at the same date during the previous four years, was as follows:
|Number Of Member Nations||Current Asset||Arrears||% Received||Paid In Full||Part Paid||No Payment||Total|
a To facilitate comparisons, applications of the cash surplus (0.19%) to the current assessments of 54 Member Nations are excluded from the number of Member Nations.
b To facilitate comparisons, applications of the cash surplus (1.65%) to the current assessments of 91 Member Nations are excluded from the number of Member Nations.
149. The Council noted that the authority delegated to the Eighty-sixth Session of the Council by the Twenty-second Session of the Conference, in Conference Resolution 14/83, to decide to withhold the cash surplus of the 1982-83 biennium was now void, since total receipts of contributions to date in 1984 had exceeded 75 percent of 1984 assessed contributions. As a consequence, the cash surplus would be distributed in accordance with Financial Regulation 6.1 (b) and applied as of 1 January 1985 against amounts due from Member Nations.
150. Notwithstanding the improved status of contributions, the Council noted that 79 Member Nations had not yet fulfilled their 1984 financial obligations to the Organization, and 50 continued to have arrears outstanding relating to 1983 and prior years. In addition, the Council was informed that the rate of receipts during 1984, especially during the first five months, had been disappointingly low, since all Member Nations were required by the Financial Regulations of the Organization to pay assessed contributions in full within 30 days of the receipt of the Director-General's notification. The Director-General had sent the notification to Member Nations on 14 December 1983.
151. In this connection, the Council endorsed the view of the Finance Committee that those governments which were late in remitting contributions because of the dates of their fiscal years should initiate action to adjust appropriation requests to an earlier fiscal year, to permit payment within the time provided by the Financial Regulations. The Council shared the view of the Committee also with regard to the timely payment of contributions by those developing countries which were facing serious financial difficulties; since these members derived significant benefits as a result of membership in the Organization, they should, notwithstanding their difficult financial circumstances, make every effort to meet their financial obligations as members.
152. The Council noted with concern the significant increase in the amounts and number of Member Nations with arrears of contributions relating to 1983 and prior years. In this connection, it observed that many of the poorest countries had met their financial obligations to the Organization and therefore it supported the suggestion of the Finance Committee that it was appropriate for all members with outstanding arrears to endeavour to make the necessary arrangements to pay the overdue amounts without further delay.
153. The Council endorsed the intention of the Finance Committee to review possible solutions to the long-term problem of late payments of contributions and arrears. The Committee's review would take into consideration possible incentives for early payment or penalties for late payment, in an effort to ensure on a continuing basis a cash flow adequate to permit the Organization to implement fully the approved Programme of Work and Budget, and at the same time to redress inequitable treatment of Member Nations under current Financial Regulations depending on the timing of payment of their contributions.
154. The Council considered the accounts for the Regular Programme 1982-83, the United Nations Development Programme 1982-83, and the World Food Programme 1982-83.
155. As regards the Regular Programme, the Council noted with satisfaction the positive overall assessment of the Trust Fund activities in the External Auditor's report and fully endorsed his recommendations. The Council noted the new approach to audit being adopted by the External Auditor, after consultation with the Director-General, and endorsed his proposal to carry out a review of the monitoring and evaluation systems applying to Regular Programme activities during the 1984-85 biennium.
156. As regards the accounts for the United Nations Development Programme, the Council noted the findings and endorsed the recommendations of the External Auditor. It noted in particular the suggestions for improvements in project formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation and was satisfied with the action being taken by the Secretariat to implement these recommendations.
157. In accordance with the provisions of Rule XXIV. 3(b) of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), the Council forwarded these accounts to the Conference and recommended the following draft Resolution for adoption by the Conference:
Having considered the report of the Eighty-sixth Session of the Council,
Having examined the following audited accounts and the External Auditor's Reports thereon:
|Regular Programme 1982-83||C 85/5|
|United Nations Development Programme 1982-83||C 85/6|
|World Food Programme 1982-83||C 85/7|
Noting the issues raised in the Representation of Financial Statements of the World Food Programme by the Director, Financial Services Division and the External Auditor's comments, and the reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and of the Eighteenth Session of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes thereon,
Noting further that the External Auditor had drawn attention to matters affecting the World Food Programme Accounts,
Adopts the above audited accounts.
158. The Council endorsed the decisions taken by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) at its Twentieth Session (July 1984) in respect of cost-of-living surveys, the resulting overstatement of the post adjustment for Rome by 1.7 percent as of March 1983 and the measures to be applied to absorb this difference.
159. The Council reviewed the recommendations made by the International Civil Service Commission and by the Director-General, following a survey carried out by the Commission in March and April 1984 of the General Service salaries in Rome. It noted that these recommendations had been carefully reviewed by the Finance Committee which had recommended them for approval.
160. In approving the recommendations, the Council decided that:
(a) Salary scale: (i) a revised salary scale for General Service staff appointed for one year or more in Rome, as given in Appendix G to this report, be introduced with effect from 1 March 1984; (ii) an additional biennial increment (step XV for grades G-l through G-6 and step XII for the G-7 grade) be established with effect from 1 January 1985;
(b) Interim Adjustment Procedure: the interim adjustment procedure, for revising the salary scale until the next salary survey was due, be based on the periodic movement of either the composite salary index, 10 as currently applied, 11 or the average of the composite salary index and the consumer price index for Rome, whichever index moved faster, using as a base for each index the value of 100 as of March 1984. Application of the index should be to net salaries at the rate of 4.2 percent for each 5 percent movement of the index;
(c) Separation Payment Scheme: the Separation Payment Scheme 12 should continue to operate according to the modalities established by the Council at its Seventieth Session;13(d) Structure of the Scale: studies should be carried out jointly with the ICSC Secretariat for the possible implementation of a salary scale based on biennial steps.
161. The Council noted that:
(a) the application of the new salary scale would also result in revised levels of dependency allowances as follows:
|for a dependent spouse||Lire 630 700 p.a.||for a dependent child||Lire 846 000 p.a. (and Lire 859 500 p.a. from 1 January 1985)||for a secondary dependent||Lire 192 800 p.a. (but staff members employed before 1 December 1984 will continue to receive 220 000 p.a. for a secondary dependent);|
(b) the application of the new scale from 1 March 1984 would raise General Service salaries in Rome to a level higher than that reached in June 1984 when the last interim adjustment to the old salary scale occurred. For this reason, and for the re-basing from March 1984 of the indices as indicated in para. 35(b) above, the June 1984 adjustment had been superseded.
162. The Council noted that it should be possible to cover the costs of the above decisions from within current budgetary allocations without significant effect on the programme level, unless seriously adverse currency or inflationary trends developed during the second half of the biennium.
163. The Council also noted a number of comments and recommendations of the Finance Committee and agreed that they should be duly considered at the time of the next salary survey in Rome.
164. The Council noted the statistics on established posts and other forms of personnel services which had been provided to the Finance Committee. It further noted that full details were still not available and expressed its desire to have such data obtained as soon as a fully automated personnel system became available.
165. The Council was informed that H.A.A. El-Huraibi (Yemen Arab Republic) and A. Martosuwiryo (Indonesia), Alternate Members of the Staff Pension Committee, appointed by the Conference to the FAO Staff Pension Committee at its Twenty-second Session in 1983 for the two-year term 1 January 1984 to 31 December 1985, had departed from Rome on reassignment.
166. Under authority delegaced by the Eighth Session of the Conference, the Council decided that the unexpired term of these two Alternate Members of the Committee should be completed by Hamid Reza Nikkar Isfahani (Iran) and the replacement for A. Martosuwiryo.
167. The Council noted that Member Nations participating with FAO in the Associate Expert Scheme had requested the Organization to modify the conditions of employment of Associate Experts by reducing certain entitlements.
168. In order to enable the Organization to offer special terms and conditions of employment to this new category as of 1 January 1985, the Director-General recommended that Staff Regulation 301.136 be amended to include the words "Associate Professional Officers".
169. The Council agreed with the Director-General's recommendation and approved a modification to the Staff Regulation reading as follows:
"Other personnel; The Director-General shall determine the salary rates and the terms and conditions of employment applicable to personnel specifically engaged for conference and other short-term services or for service with a mission to Associate Professional Officers, to part-time personnel, to consultants, or to field project personnel locally recruited for service in established offices away from Headquarters."
170. The Council recalled that the Director-General reported to it once a year on the unscheduled sessions approved, on the sessions cancelled and on changes in attendance at approved sessions.
171. The Council noted that between 1 January and 1 October 1984, 22 unscheduled sessions had been approved, 17 sessions had been cancelled and there had been changes in attendance at three sessions. Details are given in Appendix H to this report.
172. The Council approved the revised calendar of sessions as given in Appendix I to this Report.
1 CL 86/PV/12; CL 86/PV/13; CL 86/PV/18
2 CL 86/3, paras. 92-96 and Appendix A.
3 CL 86/3, paras. 7-79; CL 86/6, paras. 1.5 to 1.56.
4 CL 86/6, paras. 1.57- 1.62, paras. 2.8-2.12 and Appendix A.
5 CL 86/3, paras. 80-91; CL 86/4, paras. 81-86; CL 86/6, paras. 1.63-1.76; CL 86/INF/10; CL 86/INF/ll; CL 86/INF/12; 1CL 86/INF/13; CL 86/INF/15; CL 86/INF/15-Sup.1; CL 86/INF/16; CL 86/INF/16-Sup.l; CL 86/INF/17; CL 86/INF/17-Sup.l.
6 CL 86/4; paras. 4-12 and Appendix A.
7 CL 86/4; CL 86/6; CL 86/LIM/l; CL 86/PV/13; CL 86/PV/18
8 CL 86/6 paras. 2.27-2.44; C 85/5; C 85/6; C 85/7; CL 86/PV/13; CL 86/PV/14; CL 86/PV/16; CL 86/PV/18.
9 CL 86/4, paras. 47-53; CL 86/6, paras. 2.46-2.48; CL 86/6,paras. 2.50-2.58.
10 CL 78/REP, para. 191 (b).
11 CL 82/11, paras. 2.66-2.68.
12 CL 66/REP, para.237 (b).
13 CL 70/REP, para. 148.
14 CL 86/4, para. 59; CL 86/6, paras. 2.59-2.61.
15 CL 86/18; CL 86/PV/16; CL 86/PV/18.
16 CL 86/19; CL 86/PV/16; CL 86/PV/18.
17 CL 86/13; CL 86/PV/15; CL 86/PV/18.
18 CL 86/7; CL 86/PV/16; CL 86/PV/18.