Mrs. Wafaa Mohamed YOUSSUF (Egypt) : We would like to thank Mr Shah for his brief and succinct introduction of the budget. We would also like to commend the Secretariat for the efforts it has expended in the preparation of this detailed document of the Programme of Work and Budget for the biennium 1994-95. My delegation supports the efforts to increase the allocations for the major agricultural programme. We find it of importance to accord priority to FAO work in the field of plant and animal genetic resources, as well as the assistance extended to the integrated pest management.
We would like to stress the need for the development of country capabilities and the preparation of national CADRES in the development countries to show the responsibility of project execution.
My delegation welcomes the additional one million dollars earmarked for the partial compensations for the decrease in the Technical Cooperation Programme of the FAO and stress the importance of strengthening this programme to cope with the target figures in the Conference Resolution 9/79. The TCP is one of the programmes that have positive impact on the development in the developing countries.
We support the programme of Work of US$676.9 million as a base for the biennium 1994-95 and we agree that with the positive development related to the basic financial criteria and in the Programme of Work and Budget. We welcome the reduction of the allocations for the cost increase of 76 million dollars.
In conclusion we wish the Organization all success in facing all the challenges ahead.
I.G.K. SWASTIKA (Indonesia): My delegation commends the Secretariat for their efforts in preparing the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1994-95 biennium. We appreciate Mr Shah for his clear and substantive presentation in introducing this very important document. My delegation is fully aware of the difficult situation faced by the Organization in preparing the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium due to the considerable challenges that limit availability of funding resources and the increasing demands among member countries to strengthen the Organization to continue to play its role in developing the world's food and agriculture.
The Indonesian delegation considers that the proposed biennial Programme of Work and Budget now presented before us is a reflection of a compromised way-out within the difficult situation. It gives as a clear picture of the incorporation of the recent internationally agreed priorities such as the follow-up of UNCED and ICN into the various major programmes and subprogrammes without significantly restricting the existing programme priorities.
We welcome the additional resources provided to technical and economic programmes. Although not as significant as would be desirable but could help enhancing sustainability and nutritional issues. We also welcome the additional allocation of resources to TCP as this will enhance the prompt response in meeting the immediate needs of developing countries in combating poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
We would like to share the view of the Representative of Canada that in future years and with balanced and appropriate allocations forestry programmes should be increased as this will greatly strengthen the Organization's efforts in saving and maintaining life on earth.
We also appreciate the efforts of the Director-General in increasing the regional appropriations for the benefits of strengthening of regional, technical and economic cooperation.
Let me reiterate our delegation statement at the Plenary Session that this is the realistic Programme of Work and Budget that can be presented within the constraints and in line with the advice of various FAO technical bodies as well as the Programme and Work and Budget that can be presented within the constraints and in line with the advice of various FAO technical bodies as well as the Programme and Finance Committees, and it therefore deserves our full support.
Ray ALLEN (United Kingdom): I would first like to thank Mr Shah for his very detailed and informative introduction, and also to thank the Secretariat as a whole for the production of this document. Clearly a great deal of work and effort has gone into its production.
We have already had the opportunity to comment on the Summary Budget at the June Council and also gave an outline of the United Kingdom's position on this very much fuller and revised document at the Council session last week.
I would now like to elaborate on some of those comments we made last week.
I would also like to preface my comments today by saying that my delegation is acutely aware of the difficult choices that have had to be made in arriving at the recommendations. In his address to the Plenary on Tuesday the Director-General referred to the need for compromise.
In his introduction to the document the Director-General has pointed out that the preparation of the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1994-95 biennium required reconciling greater external demands on the Organization with a realistic assessment of the limiting factors, and that the expectation of budgetary restraint is a fact which must be squarely addressed. He also mentions the need to contain the burden of assessed contributions on Member Nations. Mr Chairman, the United Kingdom delegation wholeheartedly supports these comments. It is with these very comments to the fore that we make this intervention today and we sincerely hope that it will be viewed in the constructive way in which it is intended.
We are very pleased to see that the full Programme of Work and Budget has taken account of some of the concerns expressed by a number of delegations regarding the level of resources directed to the Technical Programmes - in particular the Forestry Programme. These were first in the technical
committees, COAG, COFO and COFI, and again at the June Council and I think it is a vindication of the system of governance in FAO that these views are taken into account in the Programme of Work and Budget presented to the Conference for approval. We must, however, strive to make more information available to these early Committees if we are to succeed in taking the technical experts' opinions fully into account. It is our view that these technical meetings play a key role in setting the direction of the Programmes.
While, as I said a moment ago, we are acutely aware of the difficult choices that must be made, we nonetheless think that a more robust approach could and should have been taken to priority setting. The Organization must review what it can hope to achieve given budgetary constraints, increased demands on the services it provides and the international financial climate.
The document lays heavy emphasis on the additional responsibilities occasioned by the aftermath of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, the International Conference on Nutrition and by the demands of countries in economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe. However, nowhere do we see a clear indication of FAO’s precise role and comparative advantage. FAO does not have a major coordinating role in Agenda 21. The philosophy underpinning Agenda 21 should be a common theme running through all FAO’s programmes. Of the activities on pages 28 and 29 of the document, only subprogrammes 2.1.21 (Conservation and Management of Plant Genetic Resources) and 2.1.33 (Animal Genetic Resources) are obvious candidates for increased expenditure by FAO, post UNCED. While the remainder are important areas, they have been essential components of a coherent food and agriculture strategy for some time.
We welcome the emphasis on protection of the environment, minimization of pesticide use and the promotion of sustainable agriculture. We also welcome the commitment to ensure that standards set by the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS Commission continue to receive high priority. This is particulary important if the role envisaged for Codex Standards under the GATT SPS measures is to be fulfilled.
With regard to Integrated Pest Management, the United Kingdom welcomes the establishment of a Special Action Programme which is to be guided by the FAO/UNEP Panel on Integrated Pest Management. There are a number of international institutions working in the Integrated Pest Management field, and FAO is well-placed to advise Member Nations of promising developments as they arise.
The reallocation of funds for Feed Resources Utilization and Sustainable Feeding Systems and Environment is strongly supported. The utilization of locally available and on-farm animal feedstuffs is now of great importance as land becomes scarce and livestock stall-feeding systems expand. FAO may wish to consider increased funding for animal nutrition programmes at the expense of the animal health programmes.
Under programme 2.1.4, the provision of direct and specific assistance to developing"countries, upon request, to strengthen their national and regional agricultural documentation services is particularly supported. FAO has a unique role in the provision of unbiased advice to government policy and planning units in the formulation of their own development programmes.
The increased participation by rural organizations and non-governmental organizations in field project design, implementation and monitoring, is welcome. The sharing of experiences by Member Nations, attending regional meetings planned for 1994 is also supported.
Regarding the Common Fund for Commodities, it is important to remember that the resources of the Fund are finite and that only projects of the highest quality are submitted and that co-financing is obtained.
The Delegation of Belgium expressed concern for the cuts made in the Investment Centre. We too would like to have some clarification of what the future might hold for the Centre.
Regarding the forestry programme, the United Kingdom were particularly pleased to see that this document has restored some of the cuts proposed in the earlier Summary document. That said, we consider that programmes should not be expanded but narrowed to a sharper focus. Where new priorities have arisen, energies and funds should be redirected to focus on these priorities. We would like to see FAO concentrate on politically important areas such as the follow-up to the UNCED Forest Principles. This follow-up process should link with the work being done by national forestry administrations.
FAO Committees and working groups dealing with topics that are no longer a high priority must be suppressed before new groups can be set up to deal with subject areas of higher priority and more recent provenance. We are concerned at the inclusion of items in FAO’s work programmes which apparently have no fixed timetable. FAO seminars and working groups should work to a fixed timetable in order to reach specific conclusions and make recommendations to their parent bodies.
Turning to the Fisheries programme: at the 1993 COFI meeting, FAO Fisheries Department announced withdrawal of support to the commercial publication of Aquatic Science and Fisheries Abstracts. The draft Report of COFI indicates at paragraph 22 the intention to replace this with a new, wider-based fisheries information network. This would be more accessible to institutions and individuals in developing countries than has proved to be the case with ASFA. This is a key area of service to its members for which FAO is uniquely qualified and in which it often excels.
However, at paragraph 607 of document C 93/3, the programme of work indicates that funds saved by withdrawal from direct support for ASFA and I quote, "will be redirected to ensuring participation of more developing countries in the system". Mr Chairman, the statement could be a little clearer. It might be interpreted as meaning the provision of subsidies for improving access to ASFA. Such subsidies would be unsustainable and no substitute for the new, wider-based fisheries information network highlighted at COFI. I would be grateful for some clarification of intentions towards the improvement of fisheries science and technology information services to developing countries, together with the anticipated date on which a new system is expected to be fully operational.
Regarding the emerging demands for intensification of FAO action in support of management of high seas fisheries, sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources, responsible fishing and environmental interactions must be carefully assessed against the traditional strengths of FAO and those of other agencies. FAO should develop transparent relationships with other
appropriately orientated agencies particularly in addressing environmental issues. In this respect it is somewhat alarming to note the decline in technical support to regional fisheries bodies, an area of particular strength for which FAO is uniquely qualified, in favour of new and substantial initiatives in research and environmental impacts which appear to risk duplicating the strengths of several other international agencies. We would caution FAO against jumping on the band waggon - which might already be quite full.
Mr Chairman, I would now like to turn to the Budget itself.
The document claims to show a zero real growth budget. This, of course, depends on the base figure that one is working from. Not everyone is in agreement that US$676.9 million is the base from which we should be working. My delegation has difficulty accepting the assertion in the document that at the 1991 Conference, approval for the 1992/93 Budget was based on an understanding that there was expected to be a substantial payment of arrears. This implies that Member Nations sanctioned the use of arrears to fund the US$32 million gap between the level of the programme and the assessments on Member Nations. In our view, this was not the case. We have looked again at the verbatim records of the debate in 1991 and there appeared to be a great deal of confusion with a number of delegations querying how this gap was to be funded. While the response does mention arrears, there was certainly no clear message that that was how the gap would be filled.
We are very pleased to see the reductions in the cost increases and urge that these cost increases continue to be absorbed to the maximum extent possible.
We do not consider that real absorption has taken place: currency fluctuations have masked the picture. I would like at this time to support the comments made by the Delegation of Norway.
At the Council meeting last week, we, along with a number of others, asked that in future years the document be refined to include expenditure details. Our rationale for this was that the inclusion of expenditure details would assist us in making comparisons. A detailed picture of what actually happened alongside what is being planned would, in our view, go a long way towards seeing planning against implementation and assist the Member Nations to make policy decisions accordingly. A number of reasons were cited as to why this would not be possible. With all due respect, Mr Chairman, we believe that ways can be found around these difficulties. We are also told that expenditure figures can be found in the Audited Accounts. While this may, to some degree, be true, they are not in a format that enables comparisons to be made.
Regarding the absorption of posts into the Regular Programme from extra-budgetary funds: again, I can fully support comments made by the Norwegian delegation on behalf of the five Nordic countries, and I fully support the call for a review of administration.
I would now like to turn to the thorny question of the lapse factor. We have continually and consistently argued that the lapse factor should be adjusted upwards to more accurately reflect the real position in the Organization. I will not attempt to re-open the debate on this issue, but simply note that in their report the Finance Committee report on the fact
that the Joint Inspection Unit intends to carry out a system-wide study on lapse factor practices, and that the Committee themselves agreed that there would be merit in further examination of this issue at their future sessions. We very much welcome these comments, and also fully support the suggestion in this report, and as mentioned by Dr Shah in his introduction, that the external auditor reviews this aspect and reports back to the Finance Committee.
In his introduction the Director-General stated that "the expectation of budgetary restraint is a fact which must be squarely addressed" . He goes on to stress "the burden of assessed contributions on Member Nations". Again, my delegation fully concurs with these sentiments BUT we have been forced to conclude from the document that neither the budgetary restraint nor the burden on Member Nations has, in reality, been "squarely addressed". What we have in this document are solutions based simply on expediency. The assessments on Member Nations are kept down - but for this biennium only. The proposals in this document merely delay the fateful day when every member of this Organization will be faced with a massive increase in their assessed contributions. We for one would certainly not find that attractive. The proposals currently before us are an attempt to avoid having to increase Members' Assessed Contributions, by relying instead on the windfalls from currency fluctuations and the use of expected arrears to fund the gap between the level of the programme set and the assessed contributions requested from Member Nations.
"So what is wrong with this?" you may ask.
First, there is an assumption that arrears will be paid in the quantities suggested in the document. I fully appreciate that this Organization has every right to expect that these arrears will be paid. But what happens if they do not materialize? Will the Organization draw on the Working Capital Fund or the Special Reserve Account to plug the gap? If so, will this entail further assessments on Member Nations to reinstate these Accounts in later biennia?
Second, the windfall in currency fluctuations. What we have at the moment is really quite unique. We have seen a drastic weakening of the lire against the dollar. This level of currency movement is not likely to happen again - at least not in the near future.
There is a circle here that has to be squared. The new Director-General, when and if arrears are paid up, will have absolutely no alternative but in future biennia to either drastically cut the programme or substantially increase assessments on Member Nations. However we choose to dress this up, these are the only choices. This will happen even with the zero real growth in budgets for future biennia. It would be compounded were we to see any growth whatsoever.
The issue for us is essentially one of sound financial planning. Short-term remedies can be risky and tend to rely on uncertainties. As in our own national budgets, where tough decisions have to be faced, we want FAO to adopt a similar approach to its budgetary difficulties. We are disappointed that the budgetary proposals before us today do not address fully these major concerns.
Jürgen OESTREICH (Germany) (Original language German): What should, and what can, FAO do to meet the manifold needs of its mandate and to satisfy the many justified requests from Member Nations? This is a very complex question. Once again, we are facing it here at this 27th Conference of the FAO in dealing with the Programme of Work and Budget for the next two years.
The premises are of course clear priority setting and utmost economy in planning and in the use of financial and staff resources, and my delegation wishes to stress that this is indeed the essential approach. Looking from this point of view at the result of the work of the Secretariat, the Programme and Finance Committees and the FAO Council Members States since the 103rd and 104th Council Sessions, I think we can say that in general terms we can be satisfied with the results. Many proposals from Member Nations have been taken into account. The strengthening of the Major Programmes on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in a number of key areas clearly reflects the unanimous wish of Members Nations and the endeavours of the Organization to ensure that there is proper follow-up to the decisions of UNCED and of the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN).
The proportion of 44.7 percent of the proposed budget for global-type activities, which we can see from Annex 1/3 in C 93/3, makes this thrust quite clear.
FAO's role in policy advice and coordination in connection with essential tasks relating to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, the increase in sustainable food production of deficit countries, the promotion of rural development to overcome poverty, hunger and malnutrition, is something that has been given sufficient attention in the view of my delegation. In this connection I would like to support the initiative of the Canadian delegation, to the effect that the 27th Conference Session should adopt a resolution requesting the Director-General to provide adequate funds from the budget for the leading role of FAO in the forestry area.
We also welcome the fact that in the budget resources have been taken into account to provide for the report on the world situation and for the Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources, which are in fact a substantive input for the planned Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. In connection with this, we hope that efforts will soon be successful to make progress with this programme.
Document C 93/LIM/23 calls upon us to speed up work on an international code of conduct for responsible fishing. My delegation would express support for the Secretariat's efforts in this field.
Taken altogether, it seems to us that the Programme of Work is now quite adequately balanced. This judgment is due to the transparency and accuracy of the figures that we find in document C 93/3. I must express gratitude and recognition to the Secretariat for this work. Despite its volume the document is suitable to support the desired transparency of the work of FAO.
We are aware of the narrow limits set by the proposed budget. You can only spend the money that you have.
Over the last two planning periods FAO had to overcome quite a number of acute financial problems. We hope that the 1994-95 biennium will no longer suffer from gaps in financing. Favourable developments, in particular the often requested settlement of arrears by a number of Member Nations, and gains due to the dollar/lire exchange rate have contributed to making it possible that the present volume of activities can be kept up.
We believe that in adopting the 1994-95 budget we should have an exact correspondence between the programme volume and budget appropriations so that there is no gap between them. In view of the serious national budget problems, also in my own country, many Member Nations are convinced of the need for zero growth in real terms. Indeed, the budget level proposed to us is a zero growth budget. But the proposed volume of programme activities should be covered through payment of arrears and hopefully a favourable dollar/lire exchange rate.In the understanding of the Secretariat this is, the basis for the 1994-95 budget level; but of course - and I must say "of course" - this is not free from certain ambiguities.
I would like to thank the Secretariat for a detailed presentation of the historical development of the lapse factor.
We feel that the justification for keeping the lower lapse factor of 3 percent instead of 5.5 percent, which would reflect the actual vacancies more realistically, is not convincing. The budget savings which will happen in 1994-95 if we have a "normal" vacancy rate - in other words, without any "planned" vacancies because of the restrained financial situation - should be reflected in a realistic level of the lapse factor. This would mean that, without cutting back on the overall scope of the Programme of Work, the budget to be financed from the contributions of members could be relieved through a higher lapse factor. Like other delegations who have spoken before, my delegation supports Dr Shah's proposal that this whole question of lapse factor should be submitted to the external auditor for examination. Perhaps it would then be possible to reach an agreement at last between Member Nations and the Secretariat on the question, which has been much debated in the past.
The budget proposed for 1994-95 provides for expenditure to the tune of US$752 729 000 million and, this includes a cost increase of 11.2 percent as compared with 1992-93. The Nordic States, and the United Kingdom just now, have said - and we think rightly - that this figure for cost increase is too high. If we are going to finance the budget there is one essential precondition there. The promised income of arrears, amounting altogether to US$38 million, must be assured. The total contributions for 1994-95 should be reduced by this amount according to the Budget Appropriations Resolution.
It depends a lot on whether countries in arrears pay their arrears, whether the Programme of Work can in fact be fully funded or not.
Allow me to close with a basic statement of principle. Already at the 103rd Session of the Council my delegation expressed doubts about the budget base level, which through the explanations of the Secretariat could not yet fully be removed. We realise that the Appropriations Resolution for 1992-93 was a unique one, and we support FAO’s efforts to draw up its programme activities, wherever possible, for the greatest benefit of Member Nations at this time when there are tremendous global challenges in connection with food, agriculture and the environment. At the same time, we are, however,
convinced of the fact that pragmatic action comes to limits if you do not respect existing valid provisions. Even if we try to interpret financial regulations and the Appropriations Resolution 1992-93 in the fullest possible way, we still doubt whether something else than the appropriations for the current budget should be the basis for the new budget 1994-95. For this reason we look forward with interest to the response from Mr Shah on this very important issue. In spite of these doubts my delegation will hopefully be able to ultimately join a consensus on the budget carried by a broad majority.
Thomas YANGA (Cameroun): Monsieur le Président, ma délégation prenant la parole pour la première fois, permettez-moi de vous adresser nos vives félicitations pour votre élection à la tête de cette importante Commission de la Conférence.
Je voudrais aussi féliciter M. Shah pour l'introduction qu'il nous a faite de cet important document et nous voudrions précisément adresser, à lui-même et à son équipe, nos sincères félicitations pour les améliorations qualitatives qui ont été apportées à ce document du Programme de travail et budget qui est plus volumineux et plus détaillé. Nous espérons que ces améliorations vont dans les sens d'une réponse aux exigences de nombreux Etats Membres et qu'elles contribueront aussi à rassembler le consensus tant souhaité sur ce Programme de travail et budget.
Cela dit, pour aborder quelques questions spécifiques soulevées dans le document C 93/3, ma délégation voudrait exprimer d'abord son appui au principe de la croissance zéro qui a servi de base à l'élaboration de ce programme de travail. Toutefois, nous tenons à préciser que cet appui, qui est valable pour le moment, ne veut pas dire que ce devrait être la base pour les prochains budgets à venir ni que nous sommes d'accord sur ce principe de la croissance zéro ou que nous souhaiterions avoir un budget à croissance négative.
C'est pourquoi nous appuyons le Directeur général pour la base qu'il a utilisée afin d'élaborer les propositions budgétaires.
Sur la question du coefficient d'abattement, nous constatons que le taux qui a été utilisé relève d'une décision souveraine de la Conférence en 1989 et sachant que cette question a souvent, pour ne pas dire presque toujours, fait l'objet de débats ou de divergences entre les Etats Membres, nous souhaitons que des mesures soient envisagées par les instances appropriées, en l’occurence le Comité financier et le Conseil, pour soumettre ou pour chercher une solution si possible définitive à cette question, et nous nous félicitons du fait que le Corps commun d'inspection des Nations-Unies soit en train d'étudier la question. Le rapport de cet organisme extérieur à l'Organisation pourrait servir de base à une réflexion future sur ce problème du taux d'abattement.
Au sujet de l'estimation des coûts, il s'agit là encore d'un autre sujet de discorde entre les Etats Membres et notre expérience, notamment au sein du Comité financier et des autres organes de l'Organisation, nous montre que tout en contestant parfois les chiffres qui sont avancés par le Secrétariat, il y a je crois une certaine unanimité pour reconnaître qu'il n'existe pas de méthode infaillible et parfaite pour les estimer, donc nous appuyons la méthodologie qui a été proposée et les coûts qui ont été avancés dans le document.
Nous nous félicitons par ailleurs du fait que le Directeur général ait économisé, depuis le Sommaire du Programme de travail et budget, un montant significatif de l'ordre de 5 millions de dollars sur ces coûts.
La délégation du Cameroun prend note des dispositions prévues pour l'application des décisions relevant des conférences internationales qui se sont tenues en 1992, à savoir la CNUED et la CIN. Toutefois, nous pensons d'une part que le secteur des forêts, qui a bénéficié d'un accroissement des allocations budgétaires, ne reçoit pas toute l'attention nécessaire et suffisante et, d'autre part, nous constatons depuis un certain temps que la FAO est progressivement un peu marginalisée dans l'examen des questions forestières dans les enceintes internationales.
Nous pensons et souhaitons que le Département des forêts pourra prendre les dispositions nécessaires pour non seulement bénéficier des allocations de budget plus importantes, mais aussi pour permettre à la FAO d'occuper et de jouer pleinement le rôle de chef de file dans ce secteur que lui confère sa Constitution.
Sur les questions de nutrition, nous nous félicitons des efforts fournis et de ceux qui sont prévus par l'Organisation pour aider les pays à mettre en oeuvre leurs plans d'action nationaux. Cela dit, nous pensons qu'une plus grande attention devrait être accordée, dans l'objectif d'une plus grande sécurité alimentaire, aux cultures autres que les céréales. A notre avis, l'Organisation attache une trop grande importance aux céréales. Nous pensons que celles-ci sont importantes, mais nous souhaitons que la même attention soit accordée aux autres cultures et ici je me réfère par exemple aux tubercules et aux plantains.
De même, une plus grande attention devrait être accordée à l'apport des produits d'élevage dans la sécurité alimentaire et dans la solution des problèmes nutritionnels que rencontrent nos pays. C'est pourquoi nous serons d'avis d'appuyer la proposition du Mexique sur la création d'un comité d'élevage.
Avec ces quelques remarques qui sont d'ordre général, nous appuyons le projet de résolution figurant à la page 21 du rapport C 93/3.
Jacques LAUREAU (France): Je voudrais tout d'abord remercier le Secrétariat à propos de ce document et dire que celui-ci est aussi bien fait que celui concernant l'exécution du budget actuel; je tiens à souligner 1 ' interrelation entre ces deux documents et, évidemment, le troisième qui est la Planification à moyen terme que nous avons analysé hier.
Je tiens d'emblée à défendre la base budgétaire prise en compte par le Secrétariat dans ce document car son niveau déterminera toutes les activités futures de l'Organisation.
La base de 676,9 millions de dollars est, tant pour des raisons juridiques qu'opérationnelles, la base dont il faut partir.
Souvenons-nous, en effet, qu'en 1991, la Conférence avait, à titre de compromis, approuvé un programme de travail de 676,9 millions de dollars et ouvert un crédit de base limité à 645,5 millions de dollars. Cette mesure "exceptionnelle", c'était bien précisé, ne devait pas constituer un précédent pour de futurs programmes de travail et de budget.
En revanche, adopter la base de 645,5 millions aboutirait à ce type de précédent que la Conférence avait rejeté puisque le budget marquerait en réalité une croissance négative et entraînerait un réduction par rapport au programme voté lors de la Conférence de 1991, en vertu même du Règlement financier.
J'en appelle donc solennellement à la compréhension de tous les membres de la Conférence et à leur sens des responsabilités. C'est aussi l'occasion pour ma délégation de redire son inquiétude concernant l'accumulation d'arriérés de contributions puisque 27 pays ont encore des arriérés supérieurs à deux années de contribution ordinaire et qu'il faut trouver une solution à ce grave problème.
Bien entendu, comme la Belgique, nous pourrions nous inquiéter toutefois que le financement du budget de l'Organisation devienne plus difficile une fois tarie la source de remboursement que contituent les arriérés. Mais précisément si tout le monde paye à temps sa contribution, nous rattraperons très largement le montant de la base budgétaire actuelle et c'est donc là que se situe le problème. Il faut voir celui-ci d'une manière dynamique et non pas négative.
Je réitère également une mise en garde contre toute dérive vers une utilisation spécifique de certains de ces arriérés, ce qui serait, comme l'a rappelé ma collègue belge, contraire aux textes de base de la FAO et à la déontologie du système des Nations Unies, dérive qui pénaliserait le Budget ordinaire de notre Organisation.
Ma délégation interviendra en Commission III sur un point qu'elle considère comme très sensible, qui est la question du remboursement des dépenses d'appui et des modifications éventuelles des modalités de versement des contributions, lorsque ces points de l'ordre du jour seront examinés.
Je souhaite maintenant faire quelques brèves remarques sur certains points particuliers du Programme de travail et budget de l'Organisation.
Comme l'avait demandé le 103ème Conseil en juin dernier, les priorités affichées pour 1994-1995 en faveur de la CNUED, de la nutrition et des pays d'Europe centrale et orientale ne se traduisent heureusement plus désormais par un recul au niveau des deux grands programmes Forêts et Pêches. Nous constatons que des ressources ont été dégagées au bénéfice des sous-priorités que sont les ressources phytogénétiques et zoogénétiques dans le grand programme agriculture. A ce propos, ma délégation estime, suite à une remarque faite par un autre délégué, que les questions relatives à l'agriculture et à l'élevage sont indissociables et intégrées et qu'il convient de continuer à les traiter dans le cadre du seul Comité de l’Agriculture.
Je fais une brève parenthèse: pour des questions techniques comme l'aménagement intégré, l'expérience que j'ai eue moi-même dans ce genre de pays indique que lorsqu'on isole les problèmes d'élevage du reste de l'environnement, on aboutit à une dégradation de ce dernier.
Nous félicitons le Secrétariat d'avoir mené à bien cet exercice difficile et d'avoir trouvé les ressources supplémentaires qui corrigeaient, en quelque sorte par l'annulation d'autres programmes, l'orientation générale du prochain budget.
Cela étant, peut-être peut-on examiner plus en profondeur les programmes et sous-programmes pour voir s'il n'y a pas d'autres actions à annuler, ce qui dégagerait des moyens supplémentaires pour les priorités définies en matière d'agriculture, de forêts et de pêches.
Nous appuyons totalement la proposition de résolution faite par le Canada pour mettre parmi les priorités le problème des forêts.
Le Secrétariat est parveu à un équilibre budgétaire notamment en proposant une réduction des moyens mis à la disposition du Centre d'investissement, à hauteur de six millions de dollars; or le Centre d'investissement est une unité technique dont les partenaires apprécient la multidisciplinarité et je crois pouvoir affirmer que la Direction du développement a beaucoup servi l'image de l'Organisation par la qualité de ses expertises, c'est là notre régiment d'élite. Il faut préserver cet outil et sa compétitivité auprès des institutions de financement.
Nous souhaiterions donc que le Secrétariat nous fasse part de l’impact attendu de ces mesures sur les activités futures du Centre d'investissement.
En conclusion, Monsieur le Président, nous pensons que le plan à moyen terme a montré les efforts de l'Organisation pour mieux cerner ses priorités. Ces efforts pourraient être encore plus productifs si les résultats de l'Evaluation étaient mieux valorisés et utilisés pour éclairer les choix futurs.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie l'Ambassadeur Laureau de son intervention claire et extrêmement positive. Usant de mon privilège de membre du Comité financier, il me souvient, à propos du rappel que vous avez fait sur la question de l'interprétation, que nous avions eu une discussion assez ouverte et qu'il avait été dit à l'époque que l'on considérait que la base des 645,5 millions ne correspondait pas à la possibilité de recouvrement des arriérés. C'est là une chose, mais je ne crois pas nécessaire de s'attarder longuement sur l'interprétation de la décision de la Conférence de 1991. D'ailleurs, je rappelle que nous avions eu recours aux services du Conseil juridique pour cette interprétation. Encore une fois, merci, Monsieur l’Ambassadeur.
Antonio BAYAS (Chile): Mi Delegación quisiera unirse a la felicitación al Sr. Shah por su excelente y concisa presentación del tema que nos ocupa, y deseamos sumarnos a lo expresado por otros países en varios aspectos del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto, especialmente en lo relativo a los temas sobre pesca responsable, asuntos forestales y desarrollo rural. Particularmente queremos apoyar lo mencionado hace un momento por la distinguida Delegación de España y otras delegaciones en cuanto a los acuerdos pesqueros.
En esta oportunidad no nos vamos a referir a observaciones ya mencionadas por Chile en instancias anteriores, tal como se hizo en el último Consejo, donde expresamente apoyamos el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto presentado por el señor Director General.
Mi Delegación quiere hacer algunos comentarios respecto a la reducción presupuestaria propuesta por el Programa de Apoyo a la inversión, del
Centro de Inversiones. Queremos unirnos a la preocupación manifestada por varios países en el Comité del Programa, donde se esperaba mantener los servicios de preparación de proyectos, tal como se expresa en el Documento CL 104/4, párrafo 2.28.
No nos parece oportuno introducir cambios en una División de la FAO que funciona satisfactoriamente, en un momento en que está por asumir un nuevo Director General de la Organización. Creemos que sería mejor reestudiar la materia hasta que la nueva autoridad haya tenido tiempo de elaborar su programa de trabajo. La Conferencia podría recomendar al nuevo Director General que presente una propuesta, respecto a los programas futuros del Centro de Inversiones, a la próxima reunión del Consejo.
Dado que la devaluación que ha sufrido la lira ha significado un importante ahorro para la Organización, creemos que se podría adoptar cierta flexibilidad en esta materia.
James Owade OTIENO (Kenya) : Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for giving my delegation this opportunity and my comments will be very brief. I would like to convey through you our appreciation of the fact that some of the questions I asked yesterday seem to have been answered. I have the Director of Fisheries here with me, and he has pointed out that, following consultation between Dr Shah and his Group, there will be a Fisheries Liaison Officer stationed in East Africa to look after the affairs of Lake Victoria. We would like to put on record our appreciation of that. We would also like to put on record our appreciation of the fact that Dr Shah has agreed that some of the points we raised yesterday on the Medium-term Plan may also be discussed, and we look forward to having that opportunity.
My delegation would like to join with other delegations in congratulating you on the hard work you have done on the Programme of Work and Budget. We very much appreciate those efforts and we believe the Programme Budget is in line with the principles in the Medium-term Plan. However, we should mention one perplexing aspect of this Programme, which has been echoed by the distinguished delegates of both Canada and the UK. In the words of the .distinguished delegate of Canada, the idea is for FAO to do more with less. I am inclined to believe that FAO has tried. It is not an easy thing. When you have to tighten your belt, a lot of problems arise. I am satisfied that FAO has made the effort to do better with less. I am also reminded by my colleague from the United Kingdom of the realities facing us. If I remember correctly what he said, it was that the new Director-General will have to deal with either a reduced budget or ask Member Nations to increase their pledges and assessments. This is the challenge for the delegations here. It is probably not a challenge for the Secretariat but it is something that the Secretariat should think about.
I have two other brief comments. The strategies FAO is going to adopt in this biennium with regard to capacity building do not appear clear to us, as we mentioned yesterday. They are scattered all over the Programme under different headings: at one point it is Human Resources Development, at another time it is called something else, but there needs to be a way in which capacity building can be made a distinct activity. This is particularly critical for the developing countries and we would like to see it given more emphasis.
The second comment I would like to make is that along with capacity-building goes the need to use modern methods of data acquisition and processing. I have been to FAO several times, and this time I picked up a brochure dealing with the Agrostat Programme, and on looking at it we find certain information which is not even known in Kenya but which exists in FAO. One wonders how this facility could be made accessible to other countries. I understand we have to pay a fee for it, but would it not be possible for the Secretariat to facilitate access to such a sophisticated system of data acquisition to enable us to do proper planning?
Hand in hand with that, this morning I happened to make a small request to the Secretariat, and I would like to repeat it to Dr Shah, that if there is computerized information to which some delegations can have access, please let us know so that we can take it away with us.
There are three things which I do not seem to see FAO giving emphasis to in the context of Agenda 21. One, in Agenda 21 it was emphasized that each country must prepare a National Environmental Action Plan upon which donor financing and other forms of collaboration would be based. We have started that process in Kenya and, with due respect to Dr Shah and his colleagues in FAO, we do not seem to have any FAO input in this process. The reason for this is obvious. FAO has been in the field much longer than some of the UN agencies now becoming involved in the preparation of Environmental Action Plans. Secondly, it does not appear to us from this text that resources are being given to improving and enhancing the capabilities of countries in the area of environmental assessment processes and monitoring and evaluation of activities which input negatively on sustainable agriculture. We feel FAO is uniquely placed to work along with ofher agencies of the UN to develop appropriate indicators. After all, in our view, it is only FAO which can tell us the threshold above which developmental activities become unsustainable. We would like to see FAO involved in this particular activity.
Lastly, in the same vein, we have been informed that the United Nations Statistical Office is currently working on a statistical framework so that the national accounts can be modified to reflect sustainable development concepts. Once again, we believe FAO is much better qualified to do this and we would like to see FAO become involved in this exercise. Part of the Technical Corporation Assistance FAO can give countries like ours is to begin to think about how this can be done.
LE PRESIDENT: J'aimerais insister sur un point qui me paraît important. Comme tout le monde l'aura compris, il convient de situer nos discussions sur deux voies: le cadre du programme et le cadre budgétaire. Il convient de s'exprimer sur le cadre budgétaire également, d'abord pour faciliter la tâche au Secrétariat, et ensuite pour nous permettre de parvenir à une décision consensuelle.
J'aimerais savoir si d'autres délégués souhaitent intervenir. J'ajoute à ma liste les Pays-Bas, Cuba, la Croatie et l'Ethiopie.
Shri Vishnu BHAGWAN (India): I would like to begin by thanking you for your guidance, your guidance that the delegates, the Members expressed very clear views about the relevant issues pertaining to this Programme of Work
and Budget and you mentioned about the level, about the lapse factor and the line.
I would like to begin by the level of budget. This whole exercise assumes a no real programme growth budget. That means that we stick to the same level which was approved by the Conference in 1991 and this has been stated over again, that the level of budget approved by the Conference, I mean the 26th Conference, was US$676 million. My delegation supports that level and that too for this time not to become a precedent because we believe that this is a realistic level to be suggested keeping in view the stringent financial conditions facing the member countries. So this is where we are and I think we should have a level which is equivalent to the last biennium and that is the level of US$676.9 million.
Coming to the related issue of lapse factor, this document assumes a figure of 3%. This also we have discussed many a time in the Council, in the Programme Committee, in the Finance Committee and for the last two bienniums this is the figure which has been adopted. My delegation supports this figure. However, there are doubts, there are reservations about this factor and my delegation has said it earlier and I have no hesitation in reiterating it again that as proposed by some delegations, by some Member States, this may be looked into by the External Auditor of the Organization and we can take a decision for the next biennium that is 1996-97 based on the information received from the External Auditor but for the time being we can accept this figure of 3 percent.
My delegation is very pleased to note the decrease in cost increases and we congratulate the Secretariat for their efforts because the cost increases, the figure has come down from 85 to 81 and now it is projected to be US$76.7 million, which is 11.7 percent of the total. I should however like to add that the Secretariat has to make efforts to increase the efficiency, to be on the look out for increasing the efficiency and decreasing the costs. As the Kenyan delegate, just now, just before me pointed out, to do more with less. We cannot lose sight of that and we have constantly to review and keep a watch on this so that we are able to deliver more with less resources.
My delegation also welcome the increased allocations to the forestry, fishery and TCP. I am very happy to note that they have reframed the proposals keeping in view the desire expressed by the COFO, COFI and the membership in general in the Council. The level of TCP increases only marginally and this is far less than the target fixed by the Conference Resolution in 1989. I would also like to mention that the TCDC share in the TCP should increase. Right now it is at a very very low level of about 1.6 to 2 percent and keeping the possibilities the potential of this programme, I think we should strive to increase the TCDC allocations out of the TCP Programmes.
My delegation also supports the priorities in the areas of agriculture, forestry and fishery and the follow-up action of the UNCED and ICN, the Special Action Programmes which are so clearly and elaborately illustrated in this Programme of Work and Budget.
In this connection I should also like to support the proposal from the Canadian delegation for increased allocations in forestry. If we can find more resources through savings achieved by better efficiency that will be very good.
I shall also like to mention about the Investment Support Programme. I have mentioned this earlier and I would like to reiterate it that this is a programme which is very important and even if the Organization has to find resources from the Regular Programme and increase them it is good because it attracts investment into the area of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, through various projects from the financing institutions. I gather during the Programme Committee that overall investment through this Investment Centre the figure has come down this year but the Cooperative Programme with the World Bank and the ISP with the other financing institutions has to be stagnant to attract more investment in agriculture. My delegation therefore will urge that the cuts which are indicated in this Chapter should be restored or attempted to be restored.
Finally my delegation supports this Budget and supports the Resolution on page 21 of this document.
Tiberiu VASIESCU (Romania): The Romanian delegation appreciates the introduction of the Deputy Director-General to this important document.
As regards Chapter 2, Sub-Programme 188.8.131.52 Water Development Management and Conservation, at the paragraphs 234 and 235, page 110, English version, for countries such as Cyprus, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Yemen on irrigation technology, Romania can through FAO's aegis provide consultancy, experts, studies, expertise.
In cooperation with the donors we can also undertake execution of specific projects, irrigation, land reclamation, cropping on sandy soils, etc. At the same time in its turn Romania needs FAO's assistance as regards the transfer of state-managed irrigation systems to water users' association, private ones, paragraphs 248, page 113.
As regards Sub-Programme 184.108.40.206 Seed Production and Plan Improvement, paragraph 288, seed and planting material introduction and exchange of informatic systems on seed and genetic resources. On paragraph 288 it is mentioned that main beneficiaries of these services will be national and international research centres, plan breeders and FAO field projects.
Romania has experience in seed production and planting material for wheat, maize, sunflower, potatoes, horticulture, viticulture, vegetables and can be of help with the experience of her experts for taking part in various programmes of FAO in certain countries. At the same time Romania is asking for FAO's support as regards updating a research centre in Romania; some laboratories, some equipment for the experimental plots. Our well-known experts work nowadays with obsolete and hand tools in the experimental plots, seeding, cropping, harvesting of experimental plots. We are also interested in 2.1.5. Programme of Rural Development.
The Romanian delegation also supports the proposal entered by the delegates of Austria and Portugal on today's meeting as regards the actions of FAO directed to assist the Eastern European Countries.
Morad Ali ARDESHIRI (Iran, Islamic Republic of) : In the name of God, I wish to start my statement by expressing my warm appreciation to Mr Shah, Deputy Director-General, for his as usual very clear and excellent introduction to the subject under our present discussion.
In general, we support the Director-General's Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 and we believe that this programme could provide that the Director-General be granted the authority to suggest new plans for transferring credits between chapters.
As I stated in my intervention on several occasions, including the 12th Session of COAG and 103rd Session of FAO's Council, due to several economic and environmental reasons the management and conservation of Arid and Semi-Arid Grazing Resources is vitally important in developing countries, particularly in those countries which are located in arid and semi-arid parts of the world. In this regard, we fully support the programme element, Integrated Management of Arid and Semi-Arid Grazing Resources, and we also believe that more attention should be given to this programme element in the Programme of Work and Budget in the next biennium.
Although we are not satisfied with the amount of budget increase for the Forestry Major Programme, we fully support the Director-General's Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 on this issue, and we also believe that more attention should be given to this programme in the next biennium.
In our view, Programme 2.3.1. Forest Resources and Environment, particularly the Sub-programme, Development and Management of Forests, Tree Planting and Forest Reproductive Material and Conservation and Wildlife and Programme 2.2.3., Forest Investment and Institutions, could play the most important role in conservation and sustainable utilization of forest resources in developing countries.
Concerning the programme element, Arid Zone Forestry and Desertification Control, it is imperative that FAO should get benefit from the output of the International Convention on Combatting Desertification which is going to be finalized by June 1994 under General Assembly Resolution 47/188, and from the other follow-up measures of UNCED and its Agenda 21.
The Technical Cooperation Programme, which is defined in Chapter 4 of the document before us, plays a considerable role in response to the needs of developing countries. I would like to express our full support to this programme and ask for elimination of any reduction of its real budget.
TCDC also creates very significant areas of collaboration among developing countries. This collaboration leads to the achievement of communal self-sufficiency. Strengthening of regional cooperation as a vehicle to counter difficulties that have arisen from current world economy can be employed to expand national and regional development. In this regard, we propose allocation of some appropriated amount of funds to be used by Regional Offices of FAO for the initiating and expanding of this activity, and when it is necessary to establish a type of arrangement for exchange of experts for short-term consultancy, with providing only travel expenses including air ticket and pocket money.
Marian PIOTROWSKA (Poland): First of all the Polish delegation would like to congratulate the Director-General and the Secretariat for the excellent quality of Document C 93/3 and compliment the Director-General on presenting us with budget proposals for the 1994-95 biennium which is without net budget increase over the present biennium.
We also welcome the modest internal shifts which have been made in order to emphasize some high-priority areas.
While we agree with the priority given to follow-up activities to UNCED and ICN, we want to emphasize that FAO’s role in policy advice and as a source of vital food and agricultural statistics must not be neglected.
We regret that a number of technical and economic programmes under Chapter 2 have suffered some cutbacks to accommodate the priority areas and that the reduction in support costs has caused some problems. However, we are pleased that the budget proposals for Chapter 2, contained in this document, are more favourable than those which were presented in the earlier summary, particularly for fisheries and forestry, as well as for work on plant and animal genetic resources.
We are pleased to see the new Special Action Programme on Sustainable Development for Rural Households and the increases for work on natural resources and crop protection. We also welcome the increased support given to women' s role in environment and sustainable development.
Of particular interest to my Government is the increased emphasis given to Global Perspective Studies and assistance to agricultural and fisheries planning and policy developments.
Aside from sustainability issues, we support the increased attention being given to the role of nutrition following the highly successful International Conference on Nutrition in 1992.
My Government particularly welcomes the added support given to the Regional Office for Europe, and especially the very important role this Office will play in meeting requests from the countries in transition, including my own. We are grateful for the initiative already taken by FAO in this respect and look forward to cooperating in the increased activities planned.
I should like to recall in this context the agreement reached during the .103rd Session of the Council that because of the Organization's universality and the impact of countries of Central and Eastern Europe on policy concerns of global significance FAO should be prepared to respond to future requests for assistance stemming from these countries.
The Organization should, in our view, develop a coherent approach to countries in transition and a much more tangible contribution to transformations in their respective economies. I should like to point out that the new sub-regional policy for Central and Eastern Europe should help identify their growing potential to assist the developing countries, starting from better use of expertise and research capacities already available in the sub-region. We in Poland readily place at the disposal of the Organization these largely untapped opportunities.
It is important for FAO to maintain also its world leadership as a technical organization in agriculture. The great success in combating such emergencies as screw-worm, locust, foot and mouth disease and rinderpest in Africa has shown the technical capabilities of the Organization.
It is unfortunate that funds could not be increased at this time for strengthening the technical capability to assist developing countries in
applying modern biotechnologies and nuclear techniques in their efforts to increase food supplies and meet the challenge of feeding an additional two billion people in the next 20 years.
With those comments, my government approves the Programme and Budget proposals for 1994 and 1995.
Igor MARINCEK (Suisse): Monsieur le Président, je n'ai pas encore parlé sous votre présidence, aussi j'aimerais vous féliciter et vous remercier pour l'éloquence et la bonne conduite des travaux dont vous faites preuve.
Je remercie d'abord Monsieur Shah de son introduction au point 12, excellente comme toujours.
Comme ma délégation a déjà eu la possibilité d'examiner le document devant nous dans le Comité financier, je pourrai limiter mon intervention à trois points.
Premièrement, ma délégation votera pour le budget proposé, malgré certaines critiques que nous avons à l'égard de quelques aspects concernant la technique budgétaire. J'y reviendrai dans mon troisième point.
Ma délégation note que le Secrétariat a fait un effort en direction d'un budget de croissance réelle zéro. Selon les dires de Monsieur Shah, nous avons devant nous une proposition pour un Programme sans croissance. C'est exact en ce qui concerne le Programme. Si nous considérons cependant le niveau du crédit proposé, nous nous rendons compte qu'on nous propose une croissance de quelque 30 millions de dollars par rapport aux crédits votés à la dernière Conférence au niveau de 645 millions de dollars. Le délégué de l'Allemagne a soulevé tout à l'heure le problème.
Ceci dit, nous souhaitons participer à un consensus sur le budget.
Je viens à mon deuxième point: de l'avis de ma délégation, malgré les efforts déployés pour concentrer les ressources sur des priorités, le programme proposé est trop vaste, trop dispersé pour permettre une utilisation efficace des ressources. Le programme cherche à donner une réponse à presque toutes les demandes qui sont adressées' à notre Organisation, un programme qui cherche à couvrir la totalité de son mandat. C'est difficile de faire plus avec des ressources limitées, d'augmenter l'efficacité de l'utilisation des ressources si on doit couvrir un programme trop vaste.
Je donne raison aux délégués du Kenya et de l'Inde sur ce point.
Si la FAO était la seule organisation internationale dont nous disposons pour faire face aux défis qui nous sont posés: c'est-à-dire l'élimination de la faim, de la malnutrition et de la pauvreté, ainsi que la réalisation d'un développement durable, d'une agriculture durable, ce serait peut-être la seule approche possible. Heureusement notre organisation n'est pas seule aujourd'hui face à ces défis. Depuis sa création, d'autres organisations importantes ont vu le jour: la Banque mondiale, les banques régionales, le FIDA, les centres internationaux de recherche agricole, le PNUD et les autres membres de la famille onusienne; et puis il y a aussi l'assistance bilatérale, l'action des organisations non gouvernementales et surtout les efforts propres des gouvernements concernés. Aujourd'hui, la FAO doit
définir son rôle dans le contexte des actions des autres. Sur cet aspect, nous n'apprenons rien de significatif dans le document proposé. Ma délégation a déjà soulevé ce point dans son intervention d'hier sur le plan à moyen terme. Une information brève et concise sur les domaines d'action et sur les ressources engagés par les acteurs mentionnés plus haut dans les domaines du mandat de la FAO nous permettrait de mieux saisir la contribution qui doit être assurée par notre organisation, de mieux comprendre les possibilités et les limites pour une coopération et division de travail avec les autres acteurs.
J'ai une autre remarque concernant le programme. Ma délégation propose que l'on procède à une évaluation de l'utilisation des différentes publications de la FAO comme nous l'avons déjà dit dans un autre contexte, un exercice similaire a été fait dans le cadre de la Commission économique pour l'Europe, avec des résultats très intéressants.
Quant à mes autres remarques concernant le programme, permettez-moi de rappeler les interventions de ma délégation sur les trois précédents points de l'ordre du jour. Je n'ai pas besoin de les répéter.
J'en viens à mon troisième point: les aspects techniques du budget. J'aimerais limiter mes commentaires à trois d'entre eux. Premièrement, le taux d'abattement pour mouvements de personnel et délais de recrutement, abaissé il y a 4 ans contre toute logique à 3 pour cent, est beaucoup trop bas, vu les taux de vacance réels qui se situent aux alentours de 10 à 15 pour cent, suivant la catégorie du personnel. Le délégué du Canada et d'autres ont déjà attiré notre attention sur ce problème. Il a aussi mentionné la contradiction qui existe entre le niveau de vacances de postes d'une part et la demande de transferts de postes financés par des dépenses d'appui aux programmes réguliers.
Mon deuxième commentaire concerne les augmentations des coûts. Nous estimons que le chiffre proposé est élevé et nous pouvons l'accepter.
Nous aimerions cependant faire remarquer qu'on ne peut pas parler d'augmentation de coûts sans parler également de baisse de coûts grâce aux améliorations de productivité surtout quand nous cherchons à améliorer l’efficacité.
Mon troisième commentaire concerne le financement du budget. Il est proposé que 14,3 millions de dollars proviennent de recettes accessoires, que 38 millions de dollars soient pris sur des paiements d'arriérés de contribution, le reste étant à financer par les contributions des Etats Membres.
Permettez-moi une première observation qui concerne les arriérés. Ma délégation aimerait rappeler que chaque pays membre a l'obligation de payer sa contribution dans les temps prévus. Nous avons cette obligation vis-à-vis de l'Organisation. Nous l'avons aussi vis-à-vis des autres pays membres. La Suisse a toujours honoré son obligation de payer sa contribution et elle continue à le faire, ceci malgré les grandes difficultés budgétaires que nous connaissons actuellement. Mon pays attend la même attitude de tous les autres pays membres. Il n'est pas normal qu'une organisation qui a pour mission de combattre la faim et la pauvreté ait des arriérés importants et que la moitié de ses membre ait des arriérés. Ma délégation n'est pas favorable à l'affectation des arriérés au financement du budget. On nous dit que cette affectation permet de
maintenir les contributions des Etats Membres au même niveau en valeur nominale que pour le biennium en cours. C'est vrai au niveau actuel du taux de change dollar/lire. Mais comment allons-nous financer le budget dans deux ans, quand cette source supplémentaire de financement sera épuisée et quand il faudra faire face à de nouvelles augmentations des coûts. A l'instar du délégué du Royaume-Uni et d'autres, ma délégation se demande s'il ne serait pas plus judicieux de financer le budget de manière traditionnelle, solide et transparente. C'est-à-dire par les contributions des Etats Membres, déduction faite seulement des recettes accessoires. Cela aurait l'avantage d'envoyer aux pays membres les signaux nécessaires pour l'inclusion de la contribution à la FAO dans leurs budgets nationaux. Qu'est-ce que cela change? Les paiements d'arriérés de contributions, une fois effectivement arrivés, nous seraient retournés sous forme d'excédent des exercices passés. Comme il y a eu des coupures d'activités dans le passé, en raison des contributions déficitaires l'effet net pour les pays membres pourrait être plus ou moins le même qu'avec la proposition du Directeur général, ceci bien sûr à condition que le paiement des arriérés atteigne ou dépasse les 38 millions de dollars dont il est question.
J'aimerais que Monsieur Shah nous dise quelles seraient, selon ses calculs, les conséquences d'une telle approche pour les contributions nettes des pays membres.
Pour finir, ma délégation a trouvé l'intervention de la Norvège, au nom des pays nordiques, très intéressante et aimerait exprimer son soutien à la plupart des points soulevés par sa délégation.
Ma délégation soutient l'idée d'une résolution proposée par le Canada.
Alhaji Alhassan FAWU (Nigeria): Mr Chairman, as Nigeria is taking the floor for the first time during the deliberations of this Commission, may I first congratulate you on your well-deserved appointment as Chairman, on behalf of the Nigerian delegation. We also wish to thank the Secretariat for the efforts they have put into producing the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95. Mr Shah particularly deserves our sincere appreciation for his . brief but clear and concise comments in the presentation of the document.
We have noted and are happy that, as expected, this document preparation was considered together with the views of the Programme and Finance Committees.
We have noted and appreciate the various demands of other countries as made in their interventions. Certainly the priorities of all member countries can never be the same. This is what makes FAO's job very complex, very challenging and sometimes uneasy. We are happy to note that FAO staff are equal to the task.
It is very important to observe that some member countries, and indeed continents, have natural disadvantages as compared to others. The African continent certainly has a number of natural disadvantages, Previous speakers from similar areas, like Nigeria, have highlighted how disadvantaged the African continent is in comparison with other places. I am sure you are aware of this. You are aware that most African countries are either covered by desert, where irrigational facilities are needed, or are areas of high rainfall, equatorial in nature, and are consequently torn by various forms of soil erosion, and most of the top soil is washed away.
You may wonder why I am giving you this background. It leads me to the main item on the Agenda. This delegation supports those budgetary programmes which are supportive in nature and those with a view to limiting or alleviating poverty and hunger. We therefore support the budget proposals which strengthen technical and economic programmes. We support the TCP Programmes and the Major Programmes highlighted in Chapter 2 and those Support Programmes in Chapter 3. Any programmes under forest and any afforestation actions to prevent desert encroachment of the limited agricultural land are strongly supported and need to be given more weight in the budget.
I do not say this without appreciating the mammoth effort already made by FAO and donor countries. It is more because the world is one big macro-ecosystem and we therefore need to fight all the ills of the world together, because if one part of the world body is sick, the entire world is sick. In conclusion, therefore, Mr Chairman, we strongly associate ourselves with the Budget, which is well done, and as for increased agriculture activities, we support all the programmes in Chapters 2 and 3.
Saleh SAHBOUN (Libya) (Original language Arabic): First and foremost, I would like to thank Mr Shah for his sterling presentation of this excellent document.
During the course of the last few years FAO has worked very hard and has achieved a lot, and many Member States have been inspired by these achievements. All the work done in Economic and Social Planning Policies and Agricultural Programmes should be consolidated. We must create a favourable climate to help our new Director-General guide our Organization. This can only be done with the help of a well-balanced Programme which fosters international cooperation and satisfies everyone.
The document that we are discussing, C 93/3, the Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95, contains most acceptable guidelines. They are effective and in keeping with the decisions and recommendations of the decision-making bodies of FAO. Nevertheless, we have some concern about the new tasks entrusted to us in the wake of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and the International Conference on Nutrition. I am talking about new tasks or duties which are, in our opinion, vital. These are included in the efforts which the international community will have to make to protect resources and help countries develop.
This is why we feel it is absolutely essential to improve the Programmes and Budget as well as the aims of the Organization in order to have a well-balanced approach to our Regular Programme and these new tasks. We feel that the Technical Cooperation Programme should be strengthened and consolidated because the appropriation we have estimated in its budget was approved only because of a favourable exchange rate. We should adopt the very important Resolution 9/89 and we must implement it. The draft Programme should include the criteria and methodology that FAO would like to use for efficient and effective action with a higher level of cooperation so that we can improve the quality of the Budget. We should undertake thorough evaluations and make all the necessary reforms. We could do this through a review so that our decisions can be realistic and our Programmes fruitful and efficient.
As for the Programme of Work and Budget, we note some important changes on the international scene which will require of us some crystal ball gazing in everything we have to decide in this Organization so that our work and activities will bear fruit.
C. KIEMT0RE (Burkina Faso): Le Burkina Faso apporte son appui au projet de Programme de travail et budget pour 1994-95. d'un montant de 676 millions de dollars.
Nous notons avec satisfaction que la proposition du Directeur général a dûment pris en compte, et de manière équilibrée, les préoccupations majeures des Etats Membres qui, à maintes occasions, se sont exprimés clairement sur cette question.
Cette recherche d'équilibre est une nécessité constante pour notre Organisation qui a l'instar de bien d'autres agences spécialisées des Nations Unies, est confrontée à un manque crucial de ressources financières.
La FAO vit cette période de pénurie avec beaucoup de contradiction dans la mesure où elle doit faire face à des besoins alimentaires sans cesse croissants. 780 millions de personnes se trouvent dans une situation de dénuement total. Elle assiste, de manière impuissante à l'un des défis les plus colossal du XXIème siècle et attend que les Etats Membres lui fournissent les moyens adéquats pour réaliser son mandat.
La délégation burkina-be se félicite que les activités essentielles de la FAO aient été préservées, malgré tout, grâce à une redistribution interne entre les Grands Programmes Agriculture, Forêt et Pêche. Nous appuyons le niveau d'activités consacrées au Programme de coopération technique, à la lutte contre les ravageurs, à l'élaboration d'informations statistiques, au développement des ressources humaines, aux programmes de terrain.
Concernant le programme de terrain, ma délégation voudrait affirmer que ce programme constitue la substance du rôle de la FAO et un résultat concret de l'efficience du Programme ordinaire. Il nous semble que c'est seulement à travers une bonne exécution du programme de terrain que les pays en développement apprécient la vitalité de l'Organisation.
Il est clairement établi qu'un nombre important de pays développés, principaux contributeurs, reconnaissent à la FAO des avantages comparatifs certains dans l'exécution des projets de terrain, si nous en jugeons par le nombre de pays qui utilisent les services de la FAO pour mettre en oeuvre des financements bilatéraux dans le cadre des Fonds fiduciaires. Cette initiative devrait être encouragée. Toutefois, il convient d'accélérer le processus de révision des taux de remboursement des dépenses d'appui pour permettre à la FAO d'être plus performante.
A l'avenir, la FAO devra aborder courageusement le problème majeur de la réorganisation administrative dans l'optique de l'application de la résolution 47/199 de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. A ce sujet, ma délégation voudrait insister sur le renforcement de l'exécution nationale et sur la formation de cadres nationaux.
Les augmentations de coûts font l'objet de controverses de la part de certains Etats Membres. Il convient, à cet effet, de noter les conséquences
négatives qui pourraient découler d'une réduction trop importante de ces dépenses, notamment sur les niveaux de qualification et la motivation du personnel.
En ce qui concerne l'utilisation des arriérés pour financer le budget, il nous semble juste que ces fonds soient utilisés pour financer les activités pour lesquelles ils étaient destinés au départ, c'est-à-dire pour financer les programmes de travail de l'Organisation. Si, comme le disent certains délégués, la totalité des arriérés est recouvrée au cours de ce biennium et s'il n'y a plus d'arriérés dans le futur, nous serons d'accord pour revoir les bases de financement du budget de manière à ce que les contributions des Etats Membres soient maintenues à un niveau acceptable. Toutefois, et de toute évidence, la situation des arriérés pourrait se poursuivre au-delà de ce biennium. C'est pourquoi ma délégation soutient la proposition du Secrétariat visant à utiliser les arriérés pour financer le budget.
Mme Sabria BOUKADOUM (Algérie): Etant donné que lors de notre intervention, hier, vous n'étiez pas présent, permettez-moi de vous réitérer mes chaleureuses félicitations pour votre élection méritée à la présidence de notre Commission et de vous assurer de l'appui de mon pays pour la réussite de ses travaux.
Le Programme de travail et budget pour 1994-95 est un document réaliste et nous en remercions le Directeur général et le Secrétariat. J'adresse également mes vifs remerciements à M. Shah pour son introduction pertinente sur ce point.
Le propositions que contient ce document reflètent de manière générale les priorités retenues au plan multilatéral, notamment le suivi de la Conférence des Nations Unies sur l'environnement et le développement de la Conférence internationale sur la nutrition. Nous nous réjouissons particulièrement que certaines de nos préoccupations aient été prises en compte par le Secrétariat, se reflétant par les changements apportés à la répartition des ressources par rapport à ce qui a été proposé dans le sommaire, notamment la suppression des mesures de réduction des crédits alloués aux programmes pêches et forêts, et certaines activités importantes du Grand Programme Agriculture.
Par contre, l'augmentation relative au PCT, si elle est la bienvenue, reste en deçà de l'objectif de 17 pour cent fixé par la Résolution 1/89 de la Conférence, et nous recommandons une augmentation conséquente dans le futur programme.
Passant aux mesures prises par l'Organisation pour accroître le pourcentage des femmes dans les fonctions supérieures et dans les domaines techniques, ma délégation insiste sur l'importance de ces mesures pour permettre une large participation des femmes aux activités de l'Organisation, notamment celles issues des pays en développement qui, comme nous le savons, sont sous-représentées au sein de la FAO.
De même, ma délégation accorde une importance particulière au Programme 2.1.5. relatif au développement rural et à l'intégration des femmes dans ce cadre et souhaite qu'à l'avenir, ce programme se concentre sur la formation des femmes des pays en développement dont les besoins sont les plus pressants.
S'agissant de la collecte et de la diffusion des statistiques et des données agricoles, nous estimons qu'il est nécessaire d'encourager la création de banques de données au niveau régional pour permettre un accès rapide et facile aux données.
Pour ce qui concerne la question du coefficient d'abattement, ma délégation s'en tient à la proposition contenue dans le document, mais suggère qu'à l'avenir elle devrait faire l'objet d'un examen plus détaillé et à la lumière des avis exprimés par le Commissaire aux comptes et le Corps commun d'inspection des Nations Unies.
Ce matin, la délégation mexicaine a proposé la création d'un Comité sur l'élevage. Mon pays appuie cette proposition qui offre un cadre adéquat pour la prise de mesures visant la promotion de l'élevage particulièrement dans les régions pastorales.
Ma délégation a laissé en dernier la question de la base budgétaire proposée pour conclure son propos. La base budgétaire de 676,9 millions de dollars représente une solution de compromis consistant dans le maintien d'un niveau des ressources presque identique à celui de l'exercice précédent, l'augmentation prévue n'étant en fait que le résultat de l'inflation.
Tout en appuyant cette solution de compromis, ma délégation se préoccupe de la capacité de l'Organisation à faire face au nouveau défi, alors qu'elle dispose de moyens financiers qui, paradoxalement, au lieu de s'accroître, se trouvent de plus en plus réduits. C'est pourquoi nous espérons que dans le futur programme de travail et budget, une nouvelle approche soit adoptée tenant compte des principes d'interdépendance, de solidarité et d'équité. Seule une telle approche permet à notre Organisation de relever son plus grand et exaltant défi qui est celui de contribuer à l'édification d'un monde où chacun mangera à sa faim et jouira d'un niveau de vie digne et décent.
Kenji SHIMIZU (Japan) : I shall be very brief at this juncture because the time is running out and also because my delegation has made clear already in a general way its positions at the Plenary and at the last two meetings of the Council.
This time we have several comments on the programme and the budget. First about the programme I would like to speak to the proposal made by the Japanese Government. The proposal is about the International Conference on Sustainable Contributions on Fisheries for Food Security which was already proposed at the 4th Session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade in October 1993. Also the proposal was taken up at the 104th Session of the Council and got broad support, as recorded in paragraph 13 of the Report of the Council CL 104 REV. 2. Based on the progress of the issue the head of my delegation again proposed the idea in the Plenary of this Conference. My delegation does not wish to repeat the details but believes that the Conference can be linked to the exercise of the International Code of Conduct for Responsive Fishing and will provide opportunities to identify necessary adjustments and changes to the strategy of the 1984 World Fisheries Conference to reflect changing world relations with a view to the sustainable contribution of fisheries to food security. My delegation would appreciate it if the Conference would take note of that proposal.
Now I turn to the budget: my delegation has a few comments. My delegation welcomes the Director-General directive to formulate the Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95 on the basis of zero growth but is still concerned about the payment of increased assessment which seems to us is based on rather an illusion on the availability of resources. In this regard my delegation needs sufficient information about the expenditure of the last biennium if we are to be convinced that the expenditure and the understanding of the proposed budget 1994-95 will be different from the one otherwise.
Secondly, on the transfer of the posts under the support programme costs to regular posts, as a result of the transfer, the ratio of personnel costs in the regular budget increases from 54 percent in the 1988-89 budget to 67 percent in the budget 1994-95 if my calculation is correct. The ratio has reached an historical high which gives rise to the loss of flexibility of the budget and results in the costs increase adding further financial burden on Member States in a rigid manner. My delegation feels that we must take some action to stop the increased trend as such. Desirably the Secretariat should identify the reasonable or appropriate level of personnel costs in the regular budget with the external help. If this is not the case my delegation wishes that we may be able to consider the proposal of the increased regular posts in the context of a fixed-term basis as a temporary measure or in a context of the lapse factor review; a matter which is the issue which I would like to address as my next comment, the lapse factor, my delegation supports the issue should be disposed to the external auditors review.
Yun SU CHANG (Korea, Democratic People's Republic of): Mr Chairman, it is the first time for me to take the floor. However, first of all, I would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this important Commission II, and also I would like to thank Mr Shah for his very clear and brief introduction on the item under discussion.
At the same time I would express my deep appreciation of the work of the Director-General and the Secretariat of the FAO for the preparation and presentation of the comprehensive document on the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1994-95 biennium.
I would like now to make a few brief comments on the above-mentioned document. Firstly, I think that the proposal of zero growth of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 of FAO, contained in the document, is not satisfactory and is unacceptable to us from the point of view of its major leading role in the world of agriculture and its mandate, as well as the many challenges faced by the Member Nations, particularly the developing countries, today. I fully understand that the Director-General and his staff have made every effort to make this a realistic package, as well as balanced proposals, taking into account the interests of all Member Nations on the basis of comprehensive analysis of the requirements of member countries as well as the current world food and agricultural situation.
However, I am in favour of the level of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 of US$676.9 million proposed by the Director-General. I can accept the submitted budget levels for the sake of facilitating consensus. Secondly, Mr Chairman, for more than 15 years achievements and experiences with TCPs of FAO in the developing countries have shown that these are a very valuable and highly effective means of cooperation activities between
FAO and member countries. TCPs play a broad catalystic role in the development programme of many fields.
With regard to the allocation of the budget for TCPs, I think it is regrettable that the TCP allocation rate has not approached the 17 percent level according to Resolution 9/89 adopted at the 1989 25th Conference of FAO. However, I would invite the Director-General to make every effort and to use every possibility at his disposal to restore the resources available to at least approach the 14 percent level for TCPs in the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium.
Thirdly, Mr Chairman, I think that the TCDC is a very important element and plays a significant role in the activities of FAO which enables developing countries to build and strengthen their national capability in agricultural development. In this regard I think that the allocation in the budget for TCDC is at a very low level. However, my delegation invites the Director-General to take every step to obtain additional funds to encourage and inspire the TCDC in the next biennium.
Franco F.G. GINOCCHIO (Italy): The Italian delegation approves the document of C 93/3, the Programme and Work and Budget for 1994-95 in which it is specified that the level of the programme for the next biennium is US$676.9 million.
Secondly, the Italian delegation approves the draft resolution for adoption by the Conference in the text indicated at page 19 of the above-mentioned document. We think the proposal of the lower base of the budget would mean a negative rate of growth of the Programme of Work and Budget and would not allow FAO to reach its objective for the next biennium. We hope that a consensus will be reached for the level of US$676.9 million.
Enrique ROSSL LINK (Perú): La Delegación de Perú reconoce el gran esfuerzo realizado en la elaboración de un presupuesto conciliable con la situación financiera por la que pasa la Institución. Por ello no queremos hacer mayor mención ni discutir el presupuesto, que consideramos satisfactorio. Sin embargo, es necessario que se tomen determinadas medidas precisas para la utilización de parte de los recursos que se asignen a la ordenación de la pesca, concretamente al Subprograma 220.127.116.11, en su elemento 05, teniendo en consideración el apoyo que el Consejo otorgó a la toma de medidas ugentes para la elaboración de los principios generales en el Código de Conducta en Pesca responsable. También en el Subprograma 2.3.9: Montes, se deberá tener en cuenta lo acordado en la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo y en la lia Reunión del Comité de Montes para lograr el fortalecimiento del liderazgo de la Organización en el aspecto forestal mediante la priorización de sus actividades.
John Bruce SHARPE (Australia): My delegation's views on the Programme of Work and Budget have already been given at the June Session of the Council and at the Council last week and are contained in the verbatim reports of those meetings. There are some points, however, made in the Canadian intervention which we would wish to support. The first relates to the comments on C 93/LIM/23 concerning the International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing.
We agreed that the proposals contained in this document do not preempt or conflict with similar work being carried out in other UN fora. We support a review of the lapse factor by the External Auditor and increased future allocations for forestry programmes. We also find the Canadian suggestion regarding the celebrations for the 50 years anniversary of FAO being held in Quebec an attractive one. My delegation is still awaiting our Capital's response to the suggestion but feel confident that it will receive very positive consideration.
Mrs Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): The United States delegation wishes to express its appreciation to Mr Shah for his cogent introduction of FAO's proposed Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 at this Conference. Much work went into the Secretariat preparation of this voluminous, basic framework for FAO's programmes in the next biennium.
Before we discuss the programmatic content of the budget, we would like to make a few general comments. The United States recognizes the efforts of Director-General Saouma to address positively a number of concerns members raised at the 103rd Session of the FAO Council about the lack of increased resources devoted to key programme areas. The shifts, while positive, are marginal.
We also believe, as noted by others, that expenditure data provided in a format that permits comparison with budget planning figures would strengthen the budget preparation process.
The approved budget, however, must offer a base for new leadership in FAO. In order to allow for any changes that may be proposed by the next Director-General, maximum flexibility is required. Moreover, the new Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, may, after due consideration, want to further refine budget priorities, in accord with his vision, while emphasizing FAO's predominant roles in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.
Turning to the proposed programme thrusts for the 1994-95 biennium, we highlighted a number of areas at the June Council Session of critical importance to the International Community as well as to the United States. We will mention only a few here.
We welcome efforts to transfer resources to strengthen priority FAO programmes such as Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) that undoubtedly require additional Regular Budget support. The United States attaches great importance to FAO implementation of Agenda 21. SARD-based activities, through focused programming, exploit FAO's comparative advantage and directly contribute to addressing high-priority post-UNCED needs. More Regular Budget support for SARD will advance this crucial agenda more rapidly.
As the UK and other delegations have mentioned, we have also noted the cuts in the Investment Centre, and we would welcome hearing the Secretariat's views on the Centre's future. The United States has long urged greater collaboration between FAO and the regional and international institutions, including IFAD and IBRD. The Centre remains the focal point for such collaboration. Short cuts could reduce these interactions. We note further that the new Director-General has placed high priority on strengthening FAO
and international financial institution collaboration. Again, cuts impact negatively on that agenda.
We also are encouraged by the allocation of increased resources for the Global Information and Early Warning System. As we have stated on many occasions, FAO's work in standard-setting, data collection and dissemination of information related to food security, agriculture, fisheries and forestry is vital to its other tasks and, to the extent possible, should be accelerated.
As noted by Deputy Secretary Rominger in his Plenary address, FAO's role in trade related activities is very important and will need to expand if a successful GATT accord is concluded. We particularly support expansion of Codex Alimentarius and activities related to the International Plant Protection Convention.
We value highly FAO's technical expertise in plant and animal genetic resources. In this respect, our comments made during the recently concluded Council session bear repeating: Efforts made today to conserve genetic resources for future utilization will pay dividends in the next century; investments not made today will yield nothing - and even, negative returns - at great risk to future food security. FAO's programmes in this area are at a stage where sufficient resources deployed now can pay big future dividends. These activities need more regular budget support.
The Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources planned for 1995 or 1996 affords us an important opportunity to sharpen the focus of FAO's programmes in this area. We look forward to close collaboration and cooperation with other Member Nations and the FAO Secretariat to ensure that the Conference pays more than just lip service to plant genetic resources and achieves tangible results.
As we noted during the Medium-term Plan discussion, a Centre for Domestic Animal Diversity, with its accompanying Advisory Board, will be an essential component of UNCED follow-up requirements in animal/plant genetics. If FAO is to carry out its mandate in animal genetic resources, sufficient programme resources must be directed to developing and sustaining this urgently needed global programme.
Turning to forestry, we note FAO's positive efforts to provide for a relatively modest increase in resources for this important programme. We would hope that, in the future, consistent with FAO's pivotal role in global forest assessments - an UNCED follow-up activity - even greater Regular Programme resources are devoted to forestry. Far too much reliance on extra-budgetary support for forestry could have adverse consequences on the programme, as we have indicated before.
Turning to fisheries, we strongly urge this Conference to adopt the draft Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels which we believe will serve as a fundamental building block for implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing
With respect to the Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), financial information on the TCP pipeline is made available to the Finance Committee long after project expenditures have been incurred, rather than on a more current basis. The unprogrammed structure of TCP, as a whole, may not be
the best way to address the needs of many countries requesting FAO's assistance. While we appreciate the fact that many TCP activities cannot be programmed, a substantial portion of it could be programmed to support activities that complement FAO's post-UNCED agenda. We look forward to meaningful and constructive exchanges with Member Nations and FAO on the best way to structure and manage this highly regarded FAO activity.
On the overall budget level, in these times of budgetary constraints confronting most if not all Member Nations, FAO must redirect its limited resources to meet emerging needs and priorities. Flexibility and a willingness to make difficult decisions in the overall interests of the membership are essential and we appreciate efforts made by FAO in this regard.
Increasing pressures to provide more resources to pursue domestic agendas cannot be overlooked by international organizations, such as FAO. For this reason, the United States believes that any final decision on the budget level should be realistic, sustainable, and supported by the entire membership.
With respect to cost increases, we are pleased to see that downward adjustments of US$5.3 million in cost increases have been made in the 1994-95 Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) as compared to cost increases in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget (SPWB). We note that further refinements and updating of cost increase estimates allowed for such reductions. We believe there is scope for even further containment of cost increases in such budget components as personnel, official travel, meetings and general operating expenses. In this regard, we note many delegates have urged Conference end Council sessions be shortened and FAO's meeting schedule streamlined wherever possible. In the course of this year, all Member States have commented through the sectoral conferences of COFO, COFI, and COAG at least once before on every agenda item. States that participate in Council discuss the various agenda items even more extensively. Agendas can be streamlined, rapporteurs can be used to a greater extent, and statements summarized and submitted for the record. We urge the new Director-General to take these Member Nations' ideas into account in planning for the next biennium.
While extensive, the explanatory comments on the use of the lapse factor remain unpersuasive. Moreover, there is no evidence that a shift of the lapse factor to 5.5 percent would seriously damage FAO's programme. Perhaps a better approach would be to change the methodology used in applying the lapse factor. A comprehensive, early report by the newly appointed external auditor, which could include options for dealing with this budgetary concept, would provide a useful first step toward resolving this question. We would expect such a report to be reviewed thoroughly by the members of the Finance Committee.
With respect to administrative expenses, we strongly support the Nordics' y y call for an entire review of FAO's administrative expenses. We have noted an alarming recent trend, whereby requirements under general policy and direction, programme management, support and common services have increased significantly at the expense of FAO's programme in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. In this connection, support services, common services, and general policy direction are projected to increase in the 1994-95 biennium from the current biennium, by 19 percent, 17.3 percent, and 12 percent, respectively. Similarly, programme management under development support
programmes will nearly triple its budgeted expenditures due to the absorption of posts previously funded from support costs. This budget moves in the wrong direction. Rather than a blueprint for change it offers the status quo. More creativity, imagination, and innovation is required if FAO is to meet its 21st century challenges.
In the United States, through the President's major initiative of reinventing government, we are measuring performance against outcomes rather than inputs; focusing on goals, rather than rules and regulations. We are restructuring the entire federal government to better manage public resources. Over a five-year period, we are eliminating 250 000 federal jobs, about one-tenth of the workforce. In the Department of Agriculture, alone, we are: reducing the number of agencies from 43 to 32; consolidating regional and field offices; reducing agency budgets by as much as 25 percent over the next few years; and we are holding the overall nominal increase in the USDA budget to just over 1 percent - a figure below the inflation rate that includes cost increases. This FAO budget, by contrast, has cost increases exceeding 11 percent.
Despite these cutbacks, the Department of Agriculture is substantially increasing the resources it devotes to food assistance and nutrition to better reach the hungry and the poor. This is but one illustration of how funds can be redirected from administration and lower priority activities yielding real benefits to vulnerable groups.
Since the November 1992 Council, my delegation has urged FAO to take a conservative approach and exercise caution in proposing a programme plan that depends on exceptional revenue flows, such as arrears. The flow of arrears from Member States will undoubtedly be unpredictable. The Clinton Administration is committed to eliminating arrears to the UN system and the Fiscal 1994 budget included a request of US$22.7 million for FAO arrears. The Congress, however, virtually eliminated any funding for UN system arrears in this fiscal year. Thus, we must seek additional appropriations for arrears in the next budget cycle.
By the end of the 1992-93 budget cycle the United States will have contributed a total of US$201 million to FAO, more than half of which was virtually assured by a US budget agreement worked out prior to the 1991 conference. These flows contributed substantially to the resources of nearly US$700 million available to FAO during this cycle. The resource outlook for the 1994-95 programme, however, is not as assured, although the US remains committed to seek appropriations for full funding for our assessments and arrears in the fiscal 1995 budget.
If substantial arrears payments do not materialize, programme cutbacks are a virtual certainty in the next biennium: cutbacks that will impact on FAO's critical agenda, and create an unfortunate environment for the beginning of the new Director-General's term of office.
In sum, we continue to have many reservations about both the structure and the foundation of this budget. We are considering very carefully, however, how best to assure the new Director-General of our support for his programme in the next biennium.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie la Représentante des Etats-Unis pour son intervention très riche en informations, surtout s'agissant de l’avenir et
du montant des contributions que le Gouvernement des Etats-Unis sera en mesure de payer à notre Organisation.
Shahid RASHID (Pakistan) : Mr Chairman, let me first of all say that I am very pleased to see you chairing Commission II.
The delegation of Pakistan would like to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for presenting a Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 which seeks to meet as closely as possible the aspirations of the vast membership. It is a programme that, during its formulation and preparation, has been responsive to the various suggestions of the membership. With all these valuable inputs the proposal has been refined, and we now believe that the programme that we have before us is an appropriate one.
Of course, we do not wish to state complacently that it is a perfect programme. Obviously, we would have been even more pleased to see a programme of real increase, an increase that would have been amply justified not only in the context of the approaching 50th Anniversary of this Organization but also on account of the enhanced role of FAO in its follow-up of landmark decisions reached at UNCED and ICN.
These increasing demands on the Organization have regrettably not been met by a Commensurate Commitment in financial terms and the exhortations to pursue new agendas have not been backed by material support. Given this situation, we can only commend the Secretariat for presenting a Programme of Work and Budget which is realistic and quite balanced. Therefore, we extend our full support to the Programme of Work and Budget at the proposed level of US$676.9 million.
It is also particularly gratifying to note that a serious effort has been made to limit the burden of assessed contributions on Member Nations. This would certainly have a salutary effect on a large number of Member Nations whose economies are going through difficult times. While we are grateful to the Secretariat for taking measures to limit the burden on Member Nations, we would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge the important role of both the host currency as well as the payment of arrears by the largest contributors. We would like to stress that arrears payments, however belated they may be, can be considered quite timely, coming at a crucial juncture to provide necessary sustenance to this Organization.
We believe that this amount should be utilized to fund the Programme of Work and Budget according to the financial rules of the Organization, and no special prescription would be in order, and any such move may create a dangerous precedent. We are therefore of the firm view that the proposed method of funding is most logical and consistent with the financial regulations of the Organization.
We would also like to extend our endorsement to the priority thrusts of the programme, and we are in agreement with the allocations for technical and economic programmes. We are also in agreement with the revised allocations for TCP, even if these are still below the desired levels. We would also like to state that we are in agreement with the proposals to strengthen the administrative infrastructure of the Organization.
Before concluding, I should like to stress that we owe it to the new Director-General that the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 be
approved unanimously so that he can commence his term with the unqualified support of the entire membership. For our part, we do not hesitate to extend this support.
S. RAJASEKAR (New Zealand): I do not propose to take too much time on this issue. In fact, some of my views have been aired by speakers before me.
On the question of the level of the base, New Zealand is aware of the differences that have been around in this Conference, but having considered the issues we are prepared to accept the higher base.
On the question of the lapse factor, on a number of occasions we have expressed our views, and we do not propose to repeat them, but we are pleased to note that the matter is going to be referred to the External Auditor for further examination.
On the question of cost increases, I should just like to mention that we are supportive of the points made by the United States delegate. As an aside, in New Zealand we have for some time not had the luxury of being compensated for cost increases. Our current inflation rate is extremely low and the disciplines that are imposed on government departments have actually resulted in a net reduction in government departmental budgets, and managers are really faced with having to make up for cost increases through efficiency gains and productivity and innovative management practices. I am not suggesting that all these practices are available to FAO, but it is nice to reflect on this point.
Finally, I should like to point out that we share the views expressed by Canada on the question of fisheries. Again, in the Plenary statement this morning we pointed out that New Zealand has been an active participant in international fisheries discussions, both in this forum and elsewhere. From the start we have been a supporter of the concept of a Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries. We congratulate the FAO Secretariat on its work in this area, and we are happy with the timetable currently in place. We would also wish to emphasize that any initiatives in this forum are consistent and compatible with the initiatives and discussions that are taking place in other fora.
The meeting rose at 18.15 hours.
Le séance est levée à 18 h 15.
Se levanta la sesión a las 18.15 horas.