Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page



13. The Council recalled that the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference (Rome,20-31 October 1995) had agreed to broaden the mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources adopting a step-by-step approach to cover all aspects of genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture, under the new name of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Conference had adopted Resolution 3/95 to this effect, and had requested the Hundred and Tenth Session of the Council to adopt suitable statutes for the expanded Commission on an interim basis and, if necessary, to review them at a future session in the light of relevant developments.

14.The Council adopted the following Resolution, in accordance with the request of the Conference:



Noting the decision of the Conference at its Twenty-eighth Session that the mandate of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources be broadened to cover all components of biodiversity relevant to food and agriculture,

Further noting the request of the Conference that the Council adopt the Statutes of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on an interim basis:

1.Adopts hereby on an interim basis the Statutes of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, set out in the Annex to this Resolution;

2.Decides to keep the Statutes under review at future sessions as necessary;

3.Invites the Commission on Geneti Resources for Food and Agriculture to review the Statutes at its next regular session or earlier if it deems it necessary.


  1. Membership
  2. The Commission shall be open to all members and associate members of the Organization. It shall be composed of those members or associate members which notify the Director-General of their desire to be considered as members of the Commission.

  3. Terms of reference of the Commission

    The Commission shall have a coordinating role and shall deal with policy, sectoral and cross-sectoral matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture. Its terms of reference shall be:


    1. to keep under continuous review all matters relating to the policy, programmes and activities of FAO in the area of genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture, including their conservation and sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their utilization, and to advise the Director-General and the Council and, as appropriate, its technical committees, including in particular the Committees on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, on such matters;
    2. to recommend such measures as may be necessary or desirable to ensure the development, as appropriate, of a comprehensive global system or systems on genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture and to monitor the operation of its/their components, in harmony, where applicable, with the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant international instruments;
    3. to provide an intergovernmental forum for negotiations and to oversee the development, upon the request of the FAO Governing Bodies, of other international agreements, undertakings, codes of conduct or other instruments relating to genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture, and to monitor the operation of such instruments;
    4. to facilitate and oversee cooperation between FAO and other international governmental and non-governmental bodies dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, in particular with the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and to seek to develop appropriate mechanisms for cooperation and coordination in consultation with such bodies;
    5. subject to approval by the Governing Bodies of FAO, as appropriate, to respond to requests from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in the specific area of genetic resources of relevance to food and agriculture, including the provision of information and other services to the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies, especially in the areas of early warning systems, global assessment and clearing house facilities, in particular, and as appropriate, through the Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

  4. Intergovernmental Technical Sectoral Working Groups of the Commission
    1. The Commission may establish intergovernmental technical sectoral working groups ("Sectoral Working Groups"), with appropriate geographical balance, to assist it in the areas of plant, animal, forestry and fisheries genetic resources.

    2. The purposes of the Sectoral Working Groups shall be to review the situation and issues related to agrobiodiversity in the areas under their respective competences, to advise and make recommendations to the Commission on these matters and to consider the progress made in implementing the Commission's programme of work, as well as any other matters referred to them by the Commission.

    3. The composition and terms of reference for each Sectoral Working Group shall be established by the Commission.

  5. Sessions of the Commission and its Sectoral Working Groups
    1. The Commission shall normally hold one regular session each biennium. It may also decide to convene extraordinary sessions as necessary, subject to the approval of the FAO Council. Sessions of the Commission shall normally be held at the Organization's Headquarters.

    2. The Sectoral Working Groups, where established, shall hold no more than one regular session annually.

  6. Other Subsidiary Bodies
  7. The Commission may establish such other Subsidiary Bodies as it may deem necessary for the effective discharge of its functions.

  8. Funding of Sectoral Working Groups and other Subsidiary Bodies
    1. The establishment of any Sectoral Working Group or other Subsidiary Body shall be subject to the determination by the Director-General that the necessary funds are available in the relevant chapter of the budget of the Organization or from extra-budgetary sources.

    2. Before taking any decision involving expenditure in connection with the establishment of Subsidiary Bodies, the Commission shall have before it a report from the Director-General on the programme, administrative and financial implications thereof.

  9. Reporting
  10. The Commission shall report to the Director-General, who 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. As soon as they become available, copies of each report of the Commission will be circulated to members and associate members of the Organization and also to international organizations and agencies that are concerned with genetic resources.

  11. Secretariat and expenses
    1. The Secretary of the Commission shall be appointed by the Director-General and shall be administratively responsible to him. The Secretariat of the Commission will monitor and coordinate the preparations for the Commission meetings and the work for the Sectoral Working Groups, where established. The expenses of the Secretariat of the Commission shall be determined and paid by the Organization within the limits of the relevant appropriations in the approved budget of the Organization;

    2. Secretariat services for each Sectoral Working Group, where established, will be provided by the respective technical division of FAO as part of its annual programme of work.

    3. Expenses incurred by representatives of members of the Commission and its Working Groups, their alternates and advisers, when attending sessions of the Commission, its Sectoral Working Groups or other Subsidiary Bodies, as well as the expenses of observers at sessions, shall be borne by the respective governments or organizations.

  12. Observers
  13. Meetings of the Commission shall be open to observers from members and associate members that are not members of the Commission, from states that are not members or associate members of the Organization, and from international organizations, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the rules and principles adopted by the Conference.

  14. Rules of procedure
  15. 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 (see Basic Texts, Part R).


    1. The Council discussed further steps to systematically pursue the goal of improving the quality of governance while achieving further savings and efficiencies therein. It recalled the measures already taken to reduce meeting and documentation costs, through the scheduling of fewer and shorter meetings, inclusion of fewer items on meeting agendas, production of shorter and more concise documents, shorter and to-the-point introductions to items and meeting reports, and a clearer separation between information and decision items.
    2. The Council concluded that there could be scope for further savings from streamlining Statutory Bodies and reducing further the duration of Governing Body sessions.

    3. The Council decided that to achieve further savings and efficiencies in governance, the following measures should be pursued:

  16. The Council noted, however, that caution should be exerted in making governance-related decisions, and that the potential benefits and costs should be analysed carefully before action was taken. Care should also be taken to ensure the full operational capacity of all Governing and Statutory Bodies, since alternative solutions might be more costly than currently-employed procedures. In this context, mention was made of the value of the Verbatim Records and the need to ensure that they continued to be produced accurately and efficiently.


  17. The Council expressed appreciation for the document which had been prepared in response to the request of the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference, as expressed in paragraph 3 of its Resolution on Budgetary Appropriations 1996-97.

  18. The Council recalled the circumstances of the adoption of the Budget Resolution by the Conference and noted the summary at the outset of the document of the key financial parameters which would affect the management of the Organization's affairs in the next biennium. In the light of this difficult context, it agreed that all established mechanisms would need to play their due part, including use, if necessary, of the Special Reserve Account within the terms of the Budget Resolution and the Financial Rules of the Organization.

  19. The Council also recalled and adopted as the guiding principle, the decision of the Conference which had "stressed that the approach to dealing with eventually reduced resources should be directed to maximizing efficiencies and reductions in the non-technical programmes, before reducing selectively technical and economic programmes as a last resort". It also emphasized that the critical links within the Programme should be maintained.

  20. The Council welcomed the renewed commitment of the Secretariat to pursue all avenues with regard to maximizing efficiencies and further efforts of cost reduction. It endorsed the intended search for possible reductions in non-technical programmes through systematic elimination of duplicative tasks or adoption of lower-cost alternatives.

  21. The Council considered, however, that it was likely that a share of the required reduction in budgetary provisions would stem from selective screening of the technical and economic programmes. It expressed its broad endorsement of the general criteria for this purpose mentioned in the document, which were based on already established criteria and those opinions on this issue as expressed during the Conference discussion on the Programme of Work and Budget. During the discussion, members provided alternative or supplementary formulations for these criteria.

  22. In conclusion, the Council emphasized that, as directed by the Conference:

    a) the first source of budget reductions must be efficiency savings, i.e. reductions in the cost of inputs without material negative impact upon the outputs. All inputs would be examined with a view to least-cost alternatives such as revised contractual arrangements (e.g. travel), outsourcing (e.g. publications) and elimination of duplication. This would also include steps towards increased recovery of the cost of technical support to field activities.

    b) The second source of budget reductions must be found in the non-technical departments, including governance. In addition to efficiency savings as identified above, the emphasis should be on clarifying the functions and services required to meet client needs and then to ensure that these essential functions are performed in a cost-effective manner including the streamlining of procedures. Non-essential functions should be eliminated and consideration should be given to the scaling down of less essential functions.

  23. The Council endorsed the following general criteria for application by the Director-General in the review of technical and economic activities:

    i) they should fall strictly within FAO's mandate, bearing in mind the need for balance and synergy between normative and operational activities;

    ii)they should reflect priorities, as expressed by Member Nations and in the light of the views of the Governing Bodies, including in their consideration of the Medium-term Plan 1996-2001, the Programme of Work and Budget 1996-97 and other major planning documents;

    iii) they should be of interest and useful to a broad segment of the membership, while bearing in mind the special requirements of individual regions and sub-regions, and those of disadvantaged countries such as the least-developed countries and the small island states;

    iv) they should avoid duplication with activities of other international institutions and be justified by the comparative advantage which FAO has over other institutions active in the same fields;

    v) they should be designed and implemented in a cost-effective manner, e.g. also avoiding duplication within the Organization, making the best use of existing resources;

    vi)they should have a substantive and sustainable impact in the achievement of desired objectives; and vii) they should have a clearly defined time-frame, and should foresee periodic evaluation of results so as to reorient or terminate them as necessary.

  24. The Council discussed the respective roles of the Council itself and of the Programme and Finance Committees in making the necessary adjustments of the Programme of Work, and took note of the Conference's Appropriations Resolution in this regard. It requested the Director-General to provide to the next Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees a substantive report on the results of the review and his proposed revisions to the Programme of Work. It requested the two Committees to examine the Director-General's proposals and to approve resource transfers, as necessary. The Council also requested the Committees to review the application of the agreed criteria and to present their results to the Hundred and Eleventh Session of the Council (Rome, 1-10 October 1996) for its consideration. In the meantime, the Council recognized that the Director-General would need to contain implementation of the Conference-approved Programme of Work within the limits of the approved amount of US$650 million and in line with the general guidance provided by the Council.


  25. The Council a pproved the Provisional Calendar of FAO Governing Bodies and Other Main Sessions 1996-97, as reproduced in Appendix D to this Report, bearing in mind that the dates were indicative.


  26. The Council decided that its Hundred and Eleventh Session should be convened in Rome in principle from 1 to 10 October 1996, subject to the Director-General's review of the Provisional Calendar of FAO Governing Bodies and Other Main Sessions for 1996-97 in consultation with the Independent Chairman of the Council.

    1CL 110/LIM/5; CL 110/PV/2; CL 110/PV/3.

    2CL 110/LIM/7; CL 110/PV/2; CL 110/PV/3.

    3CL 110/LIM/6; CL 110/PV/l; CL 110/PV/2; CL 110/PV/3.

    4CL 110/5; CL 110/PV/3.

    5CL 110/5; CL 110/PV/3.

    Previous Page Top Of Page Next Page