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Report of the Fifty-seventh Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (Rome, 21 - 23 October 1991)1

115.        The Report of the Fifty-seventh Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters (CCLM) was presented by its Chairman, Ambassador Fotis G. Poulides (Cyprus).

116.        The Council noted that this Session of the CCLM included a wide range of matters which could have a significant impact on the future activities of the Organization.

- Proposed Amendments to Constitution and GRO to Allow for a Form of Membership for REIOs in FAO, including the Report of the Committee Established Pursuant to the Decision of the 99th Session of the Council2

117.        The Council recalled that, at its Ninety-ninth Session (10-21 June 1991), it had decided to propose draft amendments to the Basic Texts of the Organization to allow for membership by Regional Economic Integration Organizations in FAO on the understanding that such proposals did not constitute a political commitment on its part, since this was a matter within the competence of the Conference. The Council had agreed to transmit the text of the proposed amendments to the Conference for consideration at its Twenty-sixth Session (9-28 November 1991), including alternative texts, where no consensus had yet been reached. In accordance with the provisions of Article XX.4 of the Constitution, the Director-General had given notification to the Member Nations of the proposed amendments.

118.        The Council also recalled that it had established a Committee consisting of a limited number of Member Nations selected by the Director-General, after consultation with the regional groups, to review the texts, and in particular, those provisions on which consensus had not been reached, and for which alternative texts had been proposed. The Council had further decided that the texts should be subsequently reviewed by the CCLM at its Fifty-seventh Session and that the CCLM and the Committee should report thereon to the Council at its current Session.

119.        The Council noted that the Committee of Member Nations Established to Review the Proposed Amendments to the Basic Texts of the Organization to Allow for Membership of Regional Economic Integration Organizations in FAO (REIOC) had held its First Session from 9 to 13 September 1991 and its Second Session from 2 to 4 October 1991 under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Bula Hoyos (Colombia), and that their Reports had been transmitted to the CCLM.

120.        The Council also noted that the CCLM had recognized that the primary role of negotiating an acceptable compromise text had been entrusted to the REIOC in view of the need to involve a wider range of countries than those represented on the CCLM. Thus, the CCLM had concluded that it would not be appropriate for it to attempt to resolve the outstanding substantive issues on which a single compromise text had not yet been achieved. Consequently, the CCLM had restricted itself to a review of the texts from a legal and formal drafting point of view, as well as consideration of possible procedures which might be adopted to bring to the attention of the Conference any agreed changes to the original proposals transmitted by the Council.

121.        The Council noted further that the CCLM had decided that, although the texts transmitted by the Council to the Conference were the only official proposals presented to the Conference, the Compromise Text in the report of the Second Session of REIOC reflected the extent of agreement on a possible single text at that time. The CCLM thus based its discussion largely on that Compromise Text, bearing in mind that the Compromise was ad referendum and should be considered in conjunction with the texts of the amendments which had been transmitted by the Council to the Conference as well as the Report of the First Session of REIOC.

122.        The Council was informed that, subsequently, further informal consultations had been held by the Director-General with members of the REIOC concerned and representatives of the European Economic Community and that the consultations had focused on Article II.2 bis, Article II.3 and Rule XLIV. Finally, subsequent informal consultations had taken place and as a result thereof the Chairman of REIOC had proposed a single text of the foregoing Articles.

123.        Some members said that they did not have an opportunity to refer the Chairman's text to their capitals and therefore could only give preliminary comments on the text on an ad referendum basis. There was general acceptance of the principle of membership in the Organization of Regional Economic Integration Organizations (REIO) meeting the required criteria. However, a few members considered that certain legal points still required further clarification and consideration before they could adopt definitive positions with respect to future amendments of the FAO Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization. They also noted the importance of the whole issue and the precedent which would be created for other organizations in the United Nations system, as well as other REIOs. Among the major concerns which those few members mentioned were the precise definition of the respective competence of the REIO and its Member States and the clear recognition of the sui generis status of a Member Organization. In this connection, these few members raised the question whether or not the term "Member Organization" should be used and whether or not it should be required that competence to enter into treaties and to take decisions binding on its Member States be transferred to the REIO. In the latter context, reference was made to the legal opinion of the United Nations Legal Office.

124.       The Council concluded that, at this stage, the single text proposed by the Chairman of REIOC represented an extremely important contribution to arriving at an eventual consensus on an acceptable text.

125.       Consequently, the Council unanimously agreed to transmit to the Conference the Second Report of the REIOC as modified and completed by the single text proposed by the Chairman of REIOC (see Appendix F) for consideration by the Conference as possible amendments to the texts already transmitted to it by the Council.

- Revision of Conference Resolution No. 46/57 and the Appendix thereto (Section R, Volume II of the Basic Texts)3

126.       The Council recalled that Part R of the Basic Texts of the Organization sets out a number of 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 VI of the Constitution. These principles and procedures were adopted by the Conference in 1957 under Resolution 46/57. The provisions of Part R of the Basic Texts introduced a measure of uniformity into constitutive agreements of Commissions established under Article XIV of the Constitution on the basis that the functioning of those Commissions should be tied very closely to the functioning of the Organization, partly on the assumption that such Commissions would be financed wholly or in large measure by the Organization itself.

127.       The Council noted that a number of developments had taken place both in the Organization and more generally in the world scene, that called for a review of the provisions of Part R of the Basic Texts with the aim of introducing greater flexibility into those provisions. Among these was the development of Article XIV commissions with independent budgets financed directly by the parties to the agreement, outside the framework of the Regular Programme of the Organization. Moreover, other commissions now being envisaged should be given a broader range of responsibility and increased authority.

128.          The Council noted further that a number of proposals to amend Conference Resolution No. 46/57 had been put forward, in particular to amend the Appendix to that Resolution, both of which were set out in Section R of Volume II of the Basic Texts.

129.       The Council agreed that it would be opportune and legally acceptable to modify Conference Resolution 46/57, particularly with respect to agreements establishing bodies which would have autonomous budgets. The Council noted that the matter had become quite urgent since new commissions were being discussed, in particular in respect of fisheries management. Moreover, the Member Nations which were interested in establishing such commissions had specifically requested that the Secretariat take measures to amend the Conference Resolution in the sense that was being proposed.

130.       The Council decided that the amendments proposed by the CCLM, as set out in Appendix G to this Report should be transmitted to the Conference for adoption.

- Observations on the Terms of Reference of the CCLM4

131.   The Council noted that the last four years had witnessed a marked increase in the number and importance of items which were referred to the CCLM. The CCLM had discussed the matter at its Fifty-seventh Session and suggested that the terms of reference could usefully be reviewed in due course.

132.   The Council also noted the personal remarks of the Chairman of the CCLM on this subject that, in the light of his experience as Chairman for the last two biennia, the Committee had been restrained in many instances by the limits of its Terms of Reference. Therefore, he was convinced that these Terms of Reference should be reinforced in order to allow the CCLM to deal with a broader range of subjects and to allow it to make recommendations on certain matters as was the case in respect of the Finance Committee.

133.   The Council noted that some members of the Council had underlined that the composition of the CCLM should take due account of regional representation.

134.   The Council decided to refer the matter to the Conference for consideration.

Invitations to Non-Member Nations to Attend FAO Sessions5

135.    In accordance with paragraph B-l of the "Statement of Principles relating to the Granting of Observer Status to Nations",6 the Council considered the requests made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of South Africa to attend as observers the Hundredth Session of the Council and agreed to their participation.

Invitations to International Non-Governmental Organizations which do not have status with FAO7

136.   The Council was informed of the names of those international non- governmental organizations not having official status with FAO which had been invited to technical meetings during the 1990/1991 biennium.

Change of Title of the Latin American Forestry Commission8

137.   The Council noted that, at its Seventeenth Session held in Venezuela in February 1991, the Latin American Forestry Commission, established in 1948 under Article VI.1 of the FAO Constitution, had recommended that the name of the Commission be changed to "Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission".

138. The Council agreed with the proposal and adopted the following resolution:




Considering that the Twenty-second Session of the Conference in November 1983, following a request made at the Seventeenth Regional Conference for Latin America in 1982, endorsed the Council's proposal that the title of the Region be changed to "Latin America and the Caribbean", that the Regional Conference for Latin America be called the "Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean", and the Regional Office for Latin America be renamed "Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean",

Considering further that the Seventeenth Session of the Latin American Forestry Commission, held in Venezuela in February 1991, recommended that the name of the Commission be changed to read "Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission":

Decides to amend the title of the Commission as reflected in its Statutes to read: "Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission".

1CL 100/5, CL 100/5-Corr.1 (E only); CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

2CL 100/5; CL 100/5-Corr.1 (E only); CL 100/9, CL 100/9-Sup.1; CL 100/LIM/2; CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

3CL 100/5, CL 100/5-Corr.1 (E only); CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

4CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

5CL 100/INF/8; CL 100/PV/1; CL 100/PV/6.

6See FAO Basic Texts, Volume II, Section L (Appendix).

7CL 100/INF/5; CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

8CL 100/8; CL 100/PV/5; CL 100/PV/6.

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