1. The Ninety-first Session of the Council was held in Rome from 15 to 26 June 1987 under the Chairmanship of Lassaad Ben Osman, Independent Chairman of the Council.
2. The agenda and timetable of the Session were adopted The agenda is given in Appendix A to this report.
3. The Council elected three Vice-Chairmen for its Session: John Glistrup (Denmark), Nestor Avendaño (Nicaragua) and Dato’ Seri Mohd. Khalil Hj. Hussein (Malaysia).
4. The Council elected V.K. Sibal (India) as Chairman of the Drafting Committee with the following membership: Egypt, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States of America, Zaire and Zambia.
5. The Director-General, after welcoming Council members, commented on broad global issues. He welcomed the prospects of an agreement on nuclear armaments, the promise held out by the Venice Summit, and the initiation of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations in GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).
6. The Director-General underlined the continuing paradox of increasing hunger in the midst of plenty. Measures must be taken to ensure access to food by vulnerable groups, while the industrialized nations needed to align agricultural production with commercial requirements, while protecting farm incomes and conserving the rural environment.
7. The Director-General then gave a brief review of the situation in the various regions. He considered the increase in food production in Africa in 1986 most encouraging, but felt that the prospects for 1987 were unclear. He called attention to the effects of temporary surpluses, and suggested that the international community should make arrangements for the organization of swap facilities and triangular transactions on a greater scale than in the past.
8. For Asia and the Pacific, the latest information for 1986 suggested a downward trend in food production, while prospects for 1987 were also uncertain.
9. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Director-General noted that the fall in food production, indebtedness and deterioration in terms of trade posed serious problems. Against this background, FAO was undertaking a major in-depth study on agricultural problems as well as on future prospects in the region.
10. In the Near East, generally 1986 had been particularly good, and food production had increased. Prospects for 1987 were somewhat uncertain. FAO would continue its efforts to assist governments in priority areas for agriculture in the region.
11. The Director-General commended the developed countries for maintaining their generous response to food aid needs and for their support to the campaigns against locusts and grasshoppers in Africa.
12. The Director-General expressed his deep concern over the erosion of the terms and conditions of service of staff, which was making it increasingly difficult to attract and retain good personnel. He observed that the unprecedented financial situation facing the Organization was common to the United Nations (UN) System. Despite Its gravity it was not a fundamental crisis. Programme adjustments of the order of US$25 million were being made.
13. On his Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1988-89, the Director-General said that the document followed the guidance of the appropriate FAO bodies as well as his continued effort to streamline and reduce management and support costs in favour of technical and economic programmes.
14. Concerning relations with the Host Government, the Director-General informed the Council that satisfactory practical solutions had been found for the problems which had arisen over the interpretation and application of the Headquarters Agreement and the issue of the Organization’s Immunity from Legal Process in Italy. He expressed his thanks to the Permanent Representative of the host country for his role in these developments.
15. The Director-General ended by expressing his confidence that the UN system would emerge strengthened from its current period of difficulty, and that FAO would overcome its problems with the full support of all its Member Nations.
16. The full text of the Director-General’s statement is given in Appendix D to this report.
1 CL 91/1; CL 91/INF/1; CL 91/PV/1; CL 91/PV/18.
2 CL 91/PV/1; CL 91/PV/2; CL 91/PV/4; CL 91/PV/18.
3 CL 91/INF/5; CL 91/PV/1; CL 91/PV/18.