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13. Financial Matters, including:
13. Questions financières, notamment:
13. Asuntos financieros, en particular:

13.1 Financial Position of the Organization
13.1 Situation financière de l’Organization
13.1 Situación financiera de la Organización

D.H. J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): On item 13.1: at the 49th and 50th Sessions of our Committee, we reviewed in detail the financial position of the Organization with particular reference to the situation regarding payment of contributions for the present biennium, as well as with regard to the payment of arrears relating to previous biennia. In this connexion I refer to paragraphs 19 - 24 of our report of the Spring session held this year, which is in document CL 82/4; and to paragraphs 2.13 - 2.21 of our report of the Fall session, that is document CL 82/11. We noted that the rate of receipts of contributions for the current biennium had been at the lowest level on record from the inception of this Organization: only 27.98 percent of the current assess­ments had been collected by mid-May of this year.

At the September session the position improved slightly and at the end of October it stood at 56.17 percent of current assessments. Since then this information has been further updated and I would refer you to the document CL 82/LIM/1 which gives the latest position.

The latest position, I may repeat, is that as of 22 November, the Organization had collected about 79.95 percent of the current year's assessments. The Committee was provided with statistics on the pattern of payments in previous years and noted with serious concern the deteriorating situation. We discussed at length the implications to FAO if it had to draw on funds from the Working Capital Fund or the Special Reserve Account which were not only interest-earning but they were really giving an income to the Organization.

While we strongly underline the need to remind all Member Nations to pay their assessed contributions promptly, we also recognized that there were many reasons for delays, reasons ranging from hopeless and abnormal economic situations prevailing in certain countries, to those with prolonged civil and political unrest. The Committee also recognized there are other genuine reasons which prevented certain Member Nations from paying their contributions promptly, such as national budgetary appropria­tions which did not coincide with FAO's time schedule of payments; but in the case of some Members there did not appear to be such strong reasons which prevented them from paying regularly. The Committee therefore recommends to Council the view expressed for Member Nations to provide for the FAO contributions in their annual appropriations as a regular feature and to hold such amounts as contingency funds for the release of such payment when they fall due each year. At our September meeting the Director-General, in keeping with the assurance he gave the Council, outlined to the Committee the inevitable need for having to borrow in future if the present situation persists.

I will now come to the current situation. The situation as it prevails now has forestalled the need to borrow immediately. The most recent position relating to contributions, as I said earlier, is given in document CL 82/LIM/1. In addition to that I would like to give the further information which we received up to this morning. Four more members have paid up their assessment and as at 30 November the unpaid assessed contributions remain at $42 321 277.89 and this is due from 77 Member Nations.

The Committee, being apprehensive on the financial implications of borrowing, reiterated serious concern regarding the irregularity of contribution payments and recommends to Council that Member Nations be required most earnestly to be punctual in their payments and also suggests that Member Nations inform the Organization of the timing of their payments. At this particular stage we cannot remain unconcerned bystanders because if the same pattern of payments is to prevail in 1983 the Organization will certainly face serious difficulties.

Before I wind up my introduction on this item I would wish to convey to you that the Committee would wish the Council to note and place on record the deep appreciation of the efforts made by the Director-General and the several permanent representatives with FAO to expedite payments of contri­butions by their governments in that while lauding these efforts, the need to pursue these efforts throughout next year should also be stressed.

P.J. SKOUFIS (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): In view of the details provided by the Chairman of the Finance Committee I can be brief in this intervention. The overall serious implications for all Member Nations of delay and non-receipt of contributions have been set forth in detail in the Chairman's report of both the Spring and Fall sessions of the Finance Committee and also have been brought to the Council's attention by the Director-General in his opening statement last week. While document CL 82/LIM/1 in the Finance Committee Chairman's report reflects a much more improved financial situation than had previously existed during 1982 as a result of substantial contributions recently received,the Council will note from paragraph 5 of that document that about one half of FAO's Member nations still have contributions outstanding for 1982 and previous years. However, in this regard I wish to report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has informed the Director-General that it will remit in early 1983 the amount of $2 100 000 which will significantly reduce its outstanding obligations to the Organization. Likewise, the Federal Republic of Germany has informed the Director-General that its full 1982 contribution will be forwarded soon. Additionally the Director-General was informed that the contributions from the governments of Cameroon and Lebanon will be received shortly. When received these collections will be reflected in the appropriate tables and reports. In contribution in money for the present year in percentage terms it will be similar to previous years' collections.

While welcoming the final outcome for 1982 the Director-General will shortly be informing Member Nations of their obligations for 1983 in compliance with his responsibility under the Organization's financial regulations and it is hoped that in terms there will be timely compliance on the part of Member Nations with regard to their 1983 obligations.

As the Director-General mentioned in his opening statement, the problem of delayed receipt of contri­butions does not relate only to FAO but applies to most of the UN system. The executive heads of UN organizations during a meeting earlier this month of the Administrative Committee on Coordination adopted a statement concerning problems of cash flow and liquidity in the organizations of the United Nations system. The following are three of the points included in that statement: first, as a matter of principle, Member Nations should pay assessed contributions within the deadline estab­lished by the regulations of the organization since acceptance of the provision is an essential aspect of membership in the Organization and the obligations are legally binding having been assumed by international treaty; secondly, intentionally delayed payments based on domestic policies result in an unfair burden on Member Nations who continue to meet their obligations promptly and in full and thirdly, when income is not sufficient to cover current requirements funds must be obtained from other sources. The related cost either of interest earning foregone or interest charges incurred are a burden on all Member Nations, whatever their individual record in paying their contribution.

The Director--General in looking forward to 1983 takes notes of the recommendation of the Finance Committee to the Council that it make a strong appeal to all Member Nations to provide the financial support which the importance of the functions of the Organization merit. This can be done by honouring financial obligations promptly in the coming year and Council members are reminded, in accordance with financial regulations, that 1983 contributions fall due in January.

G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Yo creo, Sr. Presidente, que sobre este tema el Consejo debe tomar nota de la situación financiera de la Organización, que a la luz del Documento LIM/1, es menos preocupante que en otras oportunidades. Esto nos tranquiliza un poco pues seguramente aleja la posibilidad de que se deba recurrir a préstamos que afectarían por igual a todos los Estados Miembros de la Organización, lo cual resultaría injusto en relación con aquellos Estados que pagan oportunamente.

Debemos igualmente reconocer en nuestro Informe los esfuerzos que ha hecho el Director General por estimular a los países a que paguen oportunamente sus contribuciones; pero deberemos reconocer la actitud positiva de aquellos Estados Miembros que han cubierto su contribución oportunamente o están haciendo esfuerzos para cubrirlas a tiempo, no obstante las dificultades que afrontan algunos de esos países.

Finalmente en nuestro Informe haremos una nueva exhortación a que todos los Países Miembros cumplan con la obligación de cubrir oportunamente sus contribuciones a fin de asegurar el eficaz funciona­miento de nuestra Organización.

P.S. McLEAN (United Kingdom): I would first like to thank the Chairman of the Finance Committee for his introductory remarks on this item and amplified by Mr. Skoufis.

On the general financial position we are certainly most relieved that there will not now be immediately need to resort to the authority to borrow, which I think as all members of the Council and indeed, all members of the Organization would realise would be a very serious step and therefore while we applaud those members who have paid in we join in urging others to meet their obligations as soon as possible.

W. MAJOR (Canada): My delegation would wish to comment briefly on the financial position of the Organization. The delay experienced in the payment of contributions by Member countries may reflect not only their economic problems but also the concern over the rising level of the regular budget. We appreciate the Director-General's suggestion during his introductory statement to this Council that these factors would figure in his thinking in preparing the 1984-85 budget.

We have also noted that as in previous years FAO would be seeking by various ways to trim the costs of the Organization and we will await his report on the degree to which this has been successful.

We welcome the intensified efforts of the Director-General to collect contributions, not only for 1982, but also for previous years, of the 50% of the Member nations that we have heard this morning are still owing payments to the Organization.

Finally, I think although the financial position of the Organization seems to have changed greatly for the better over recent weeks we would still wish to reiterate our reservations over the use of borrowing as a mechanism to deal with financial difficulties in general.

S.M. MATIUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh): My delegation has gone through the documents very carefully and also listened with interest to the introduction by Mr. Skoufis and the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

My delegation also shares the concern of the Finance Committee expressed about the receipt of contributions of the Member nations of FAO. The amounts of arrears are about $42 million as against $25 million in the same period last year and this is the improved situation as we heard this morning.

There are some genuine economic and financial difficulties faced especially by the developing countries for which they could not make their payment as early as they should have done. Bearing in mind the financial and other implications of receipts of contributions my delegation would also urge upon all Council member countries to make the payment of their assessed contribution as early as possible in view of the important functions of the Organization.

WU TIANXI (China) (original language Chinese): We have learned from document CL 82/LIM/1 that most of the Member nations of this organization have by now paid their assessed contributions and as a result the financial status of this Organization has improved. We feel happy and relieved for this new development. We are convinced that the just cause to eradicate hunger and malnutrition will inevitably attract wide support. We hope that the Member Nations will continue to render the Organization financial backing so as to ensure the successful implementation of the current biennial Programme of Work approved by the 21st Session of the FAO Conference.

While referring to the financial constraints facing FAO in his opening statement, the Director-General indicated that the reasons for late payment vary but he emphasized that undoubtedly the developing countries are faced with special difficulties. Bearing this in mind he pointed out that as far as possible new programme priorities will be met by the elimination of completed or lower priority activities and the Organizations efficiency must be further improved. We appreciate very much what he said.

DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: There have been one or two comments in the debate which I would like to make some remarks about because they have stimulated my thinking.

First let me say that the Director-General shares the sense of relief that has been expressed in the Council. All of us who are concerned with financial matters share this sense of relief because in times of economic difficulties it is not the best policy to make more profits for the banks, which is what would have been involved had we borrowed. But I would like to assure those who referred to borrowing that if need arises, and it may well do so in 1983, there will be no hesitation whatsoever in resorting to borrowing. This does not mean that the Organization is spending money regardless of circumstances. On the contrary, owing to the measures taken by the Director-General earlier in the year, foreseeing the situation ahead, we are making savings wherever possible so as to slow down the rate of expenditure. Unfortunately those savings arise mainly from the freezing of posts or keeping vacancies for a long time, which is another way of saying we are cutting the Programme. I do not think it was the intention of the Conference when voting for the budget by a very large majority that the Programme should again be cut simply because some Member Nations were paying late. So although the Organization will exercise economy, let there be no mistake, we will resort to borrowing if and when the need arises. The Director-General has been given authority by the Conference to do so and he will do so, because the bills have to be paid every month.

One other remark stimulated concern on my part, and that is that the delay in payments which has been experienced this year may reflect concern over the rising level of the Budget. This is an idea which one might have suspected, but no Member Nation so far which has paid late has declared this to be its motive. Their motives as far as we know them have been parliamentary difficulties rather than economic or political difficulties. In fact those whose contributions have been most lacking for most of the year are the three largest contributors. So I do not think it can be said that those delays were motivated by economic concerns. Nor have they said that they have been motivated by political concerns, such as taking revenge for the vote of the Conference on the Programme of Work and Budget for the last time. But perhaps the delegate who made this point had better information than the Secretariat and we would be interested to discuss it with him privately.

Finally I would like to emphasize that we shall be in the same position again in 1983 unless Member Nations, in particular the 3 or 4 largest contributors, pay up early in the year. Their contributions, unfortunately from their point of view, but in accordance with the scales adopted by the Conference and in accordance with United Nations precedent, weigh more heavily than those of other Member Nations and if they are not forthcoming in the early part of the year we run into financial difficulties. Those financial difficulties are not only connected with the cash flow required month to month, they are connected with the earning of miscellaneous income. There was a point during 1982 when it was feared that the estimate for miscellaneous income in the Programme of Work and Budget could not be reached. You will recall that the Budget adopted cost more than the amount for which Member Nations are assessed, because the total cost of the Programme is reduced by an amount which we estimate will be earned in miscellaneous income, principally derived from interest on contributions. If that estimate proves to be too high because of delay in payments the Budget would cost more than had been required from Member Governments, and so we would have to have an additional assessment from the Conference in 1983. I am sure you all want to avoid that.

But even if that does not happen, and I sincerely hope it will not, there is still some cause for concern, because even if there is some miscellaneous income left over for distribution at the end of 1983, or rather in the year following that, then according to the rules as they stand, it would be divided in proportion to contributions among all Member Nations. Normally the largest contributors would get the largest slices of cash surplus distributed to Member Nations. It seems to be somewhat curious logic that those Member Nations should be rewarded with the largest slice of distributed cash surplus even thought the amount had been seriously reduced by the delay in their payment.

So far we have never had to confront this situation in FAO, but I was interested to see the other day from a report of the proceedings in the Executive Board of ILO that they were taking under active consideration a scheme by which Member Nations will be charged interest on their contributions according to the amount of delay in the payment. I believe the sums mentioned were a 3 percent extra charge for the first 6 months of delay and 6 percent extra charge for the second 6 months of delay. Apparently such a system exists in one or two other international organizations. The Finance Committee may wish to consider, if this situation repeats itself in 1983, whether a similar scheme might not be proposed for this Organization in order to remedy the injustice done to those Member Nations who pay on time, because they are getting a lower amount of miscellaneous income in distributed cash surplus as a result of delay by others. If required to do so the Secretariat will discover from the organizations which have such schemes what the details of those schemes are and put them before the Finance Committee.

R.A. SORENSON (United States of America): After hearing the latest intervention I felt I should take the floor because I do feel that the remarks were a bit unfair. This is a universal organization and we all pay in proportion to our ability to pay based upon a United Nations formula. From that point of view certainly the United States' assessment is no more onerous or burdensome on us, perhaps even less so, than it is on many other countries in this room. Nevertheless we all share an obligation. We have a document before us which indicates that a goodly number of the Members of this Organization have not paid. In fact some who have already taken the floor this morning are nearly 200 percent in arrears of their total contribution, so that when it is inferred that somehow the return to the larger contributors is unfair when money is returned which arises from interest earnings, that is an unacceptable statement as far as we are concerned, because there are many other countries here who have not paid at all and yet would share in any benefit or any return that goes back to the member states.

In the case of my own country, we are just 1 percent in arrears at this point, which I do not think reflects badly on us in comparison with the situation of many others.

I would like to point out that there is a tendency to think that it is easy for some of the larger contributors to pay. In fact the money that we pay this and other international organizations is money that we borrow on the international market. That is not understood by a lot of people, but we have to borrow that internationally. So when we make our payments here we have to go into the market and borrow money to do it, as probably a good many other countries here do, except those that run surplus. in their balance of payments.

Mr.West said that he had not heard any of the Member States who had been late in their payments say that they were doing so because of, or express any concern over, the rising level of United Nations expenditures. In the light of that remark I will say here that our policy of retarding our payments arises from a very real and growing concern in our Congress and in our Government over the rising level of expenditures in the United Nations system as a whole. It is not directed against FAO, but it is directed against the generally rising level of expenditures in the United Nations system. In fact we found it necessary to delay our payments to FAO this year because the Congress simply placed a limit on the amount of money that was available to our Government to pay to the United Nations system all our assessments, so we had either to go into arrears or get out of an organization. In fact we may still have to decide which organization of the United Nations system is least useful to us and get out. From that point of view I would point out that my Government has put it to me that the United States'contribution to FAO amounts to $120 000 a day, day in day out, Saturday, Sunday, Christmas, New Year, every day of the year. They not unnaturally ask how the money is being used and of course I reply that it is being used very well here. But in looking at the utility and the way that money is used they point out to me that an alternative use of that money might be to give every non-OECD member of this Council $1 million and ask them to use it for their own agricultural purposes, or we could give every non-OECD member of FAO $400 000, and that would be an alternative use of that money, and ask them to apply it to agriculture. From my point of view, I think the money is better spent through FAO, but these are the kinds of questions that are being asked. Thus, in the years ahead, until the world recovers from the present economic: difficulties that it is in, we do ask for the forbearance, consideration and understanding of our friends in the developing world, because we are all facing a very difficult situation, which was not of our making. We did not ask for it. It is damaging our primary industries as much as it is damaging those in the Third World. Unfil that situation turns around and we once again have a more buoyant situation in the world, however we are imposing severe restraints on ourselves, taking budgetary cuts in all departments of our government, and very frankly our Congress expects the UN system generally to apply the same sort of budgetary restraints.

I am afraid that over the years ahead, to be very candid with my colleagues here, that unless that sort of budgetary restraint is forthcoming, you could in fact see the United States taking an even more extreme position in some of the organizations.

CHAIRMAN: I think with these remarks now we could again reiterate Council's appeal to the 77 members who are yet to pay a total outstanding of over $43 million to pay their arrears as quickly as possible and to all Member Nations to pay their dues for 1983 promptly.

13.2 Audited Accounts:
13.2 Comptes vérifies:
13.2 Cuentas comprobadas:

(a) Regular Programme, 1980-81
(a) Programme ordinaire,1980-81
(a) Programa Ordinario, 1980-81

(b) UNDP, 1981
(b) PNUD, 1981
(b) PNUD, 1981

(c) World Food Programme, 1981
(c) Programme alimentaire mondial, 1981
(c) Programa Mundial de Alimentos, 1981

D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): In accordance with General Rule XXVII-7 (I) the Organization, the Committee considered the audited accounts of the Regular Programme for 1980-81 during its Fiftieth Session. The Committee's comments in regard to the External Auditors' observations and recommendations appear in paragraph 2.38 to 2.44 of document CL 82/11. In the course of our discussions, our attention was drawn to some of the salient comments made by the Auditor. I wish to draw your attention to a few of them.

The External Auditor commented favourably on the work of the Internal Auditor. As to his recom­mendations for strenghtening of the staff of this office, this would have to be taken up in the context of its overall review of staff at the time the 1984-85 Programme of Work and Budget is being considered. While recognizing that there has been a positive overall impact of FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme on field projects, the need to provide more information to governments regarding the Technical Cooperation Programme projects, particularly those guidelines relating to proper implementation, should be emphasized.

Our comments on the accounts of the UNDP for 1981 and the External Auditors' Report on the UNDP appear in paragraphs 2.46 to 2.50. The Committee agreed with the External Auditors' thorough, operational and administrative evaluation and recommendations and stressed the importance of issuing clear guidelines to field officers regarding their administrative responsibilities.

The Committee also reviewed the World Food Programme account for 1981, and this has been separately reported on to the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes.

After consideration of the three reports of the Committee, the Committee now submits to Council a draft resolution to be forwarded to the Conference for adoption of the audited accounts. The draft resolution appears in paragraph 2.53 of the document under consideration.

W. MAJOR (Canada) : The three documents we have before us give us a picture of how FAO has utilized those resources from the Regular Programme, Trust Funds, and the UNDP, and also how WFP has conducted its field operations. Canada is pleased to support the efforts of the External Auditors not only to audit the activities of FAO and WFP but also to suggest ways in which the management of these programmes may be improved. We are pleased to note that except for a few examples, the External . Auditors' Report is a positive one.

We wish to recall faur of his observations. The Auditor on page 17 of document C 83/5 points to the need for FAO to review its staffing of the Internal Audit Unit. The Auditor has noted some weakness in the controls related to computer purchasing and workloads. We note that FAO is improving the monitoring process for its 1200 TCP projects, and we would urge again that the services of the FAO representative or UNDP Resident Representative be fully utilized in both project approval and implementation.

Finally, it would appear from document C 83/6 that there is a danger - I refer to page 17 - that because of a lack of data there is a risk that UNDP funds are being used to promote some non-viable activities. We hope the Finance Committee's concerns about the length of time taken to assess such projects as the Cotton Project are also heeded.

S.M. MATIUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh): My delegation has studied very carefully the reports of the External Auditor on the accounts of the Regular Programme 1980-81, document C 83/5, UNDP 1981, document C 83/6 and the World Food Programme 1981, document C 83/7.

My delegation has also gone through the report of the Finance Committee with particular reference to its comments and observations under the following subject headings: Review of the Office of the Internal Auditor, Technical Cooperation Programme Field Projects, Trust Fund Activities, Administration of Project Funds, Accelerated Development of Cotton Production, The Use of Air Freight to Transfer Equipment to Field Projects and last but not least, the World Food Programme 1981.

My delegation agreed with the views and recommendations of the External Auditors, and the Finance Committee met on these subjects. My delegation is happy to note that the External Auditors and the Finance Committee were pleased to accord high marks to the Organization in many cases because of good management of the affairs of the Organization.

I have also noted with great satisfaction that the management of the Organization has taken prompt action to implement the recommendations of the External Auditors and the Finance Committee in other cases, such as intensifying efforts to monitor project implementation, administration of project funds, FAO's execution of UNDP projects, etc.

My delegation would therefore agree with the recommendation of the Committee that the Council may submit to the Conference these Audited Accounts for adoption.

A. NAGA (Japan): Although we are prepared to endorse this report, we would like to make a few comments on the following points. After seeing the activities of TCP so far, my delegation would like to mention that it would be most beneficial if FAO could make more efforts to distribute the TCP to the countries which are really in need of aid, such as low-income food-deficit countries, especially from the aspects of utilizing effectively the limited resources available.

P.S. McLEAN (United Kingdom): My delegation would like to offer a few brief comments on two of the reports here before us. On the Regular Programme Audited Reports, we are very pleased to note the generally satisfactory report on FAO's management of its activities in particular. We are encouraged by the evidence of the high standards operating in the Office of Internal Audit, notwithstanding its present staff position.

One thing which appears in the report and which I know has been referred to in the Finance Committee's deliberations is that of poor communication especially between the Headquarters and Field operations. Breakdown, as we all know, is sometimes inevitable, given the distance between Field operations and Headquarters in all organizations. However, we hope that FAO will continue to give close attention to improvement in this matter, since failure to do so would jeopardize the success of an operation, and in particular, we support the Auditors' recommendation that the UNDP Resident Representative should be used as a channel of communication when there are no FAO personnel available.

The third point I wish to make was on TCP, but I can merely say that I support the comments made by Japan.

On the question of the UNDP Report, we are concerned at the high cost of experts which is indicated in paragraph 14 of document C 83/6. I could perhaps seek some clarification separately about whether these figures include only the salary and basic staff costs, as indicated in paragraph 12, or whether additional costs, such as office services and so on, are also included.

CHAIRMAN: Does any other Council member want to speak? Does anybody from the Secretariat want to offer any comments?

Well, with these observations, shall we adopt the Recommendations of the Finance Committee in paragraph 2.53 of document CL 82/11? The draft conference resolution has been appended in paragraph 2.53. We commend this draft resolution to the Conference and forward it to the Conference.

It was so decided
Il en es ainsi decide
Asi se acuerda

14. Headquarters Accommodation
14. Locaux du Siège
14. Locales de oficina en la Sede

D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): Since we discussed this item at the two last sessions, it is only appropriate that we report the position to Council. Item 14, Headquarters accommodation,has two aspects. One is the construction of new premises, and the other, the one of litigation which is being taken up separately under Item 18.

In this connection I would like to draw the attention of Council to paragraphs 28-86 in document CL 82/4 and paragraphs 2.73-2.76 in document CL 82/11. During the 49th Session of the Committee we were informed in a verbal report by the Secretariat of the progress regarding indirect and permanent measures proposed by the Director-General for solving the problem of accommodation at Headquarters, and as you will recall, this was endorsed by the Council at its 79th Session. The Committee thereafter requested the Secretariat to keep this item on its agenda until some definite action was taken in this regard.

The Committee noted with disappointment that there has been little or no progress regarding the construction of new premises. However, it commended the Director-General for the efforts so far made, and advised him to renew his efforts, although it was clear there was no progress.

At the 50th meeting of our Committee we were informed of the most recent proposal to construct a new wing on the land which is immediately adjacent to the main buildings as a permanent solution to the problem. The Committee was informed that FAO had initiated at its own expense, and in agreement with the appropriate local authorities, the Commune of Rome, prior excavation work to ensure that nothing in the way of archaeological remains underground would hinder the work of construction on this proposed new site.

The Committee also noted that FAO would have to bear the additional expenses of approximately $32 000 for the appropriate work.

The Committee now recommends to the Council that the new building to be built on land adjacent to the main building be taken up as a permanent solution to the headquarters problem.

A.G. GEORGIADIS (Director, Administrative Services Division): In addition to informing the Council of the latest developments since the last session of the Finance Committee, allow me, Mr. Chairman, to summarise very briefly the history of this problem. It is a longstanding problem and there is an ever-growing pressing need for a quick solution.

I think it should be stated again and again that the Rome headquarters units have been split into two or more locations ever since 1961. We had to hire premises, apartments in blocks of flats on the Cristoforo Colombo, at times in the EUR about 10 kilometers away from here, and across the street; and abandon them when some more accommodation was made available by the Italian Government. It has to be stated also that the Italian Government has been very generous in providing additional accommodation as the Organization grew.

In 1964 it completed the construction of Building C on this compound. This was not sufficient, and we had to construct a prefabricated building, the so-called Building E, again on this compound, but still we had to hire huge blocks of office space away from here, and until 1980 we were in three locations. In that year the Italian Government had again generously made available Building D which was housing the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. That enabled us to abandon rented accommodation, which was expensive - Building G. Since then we still have to continue operations in two locations, and we still have about 900 staff members in Building F.

I do not think many delegates have seen the loss of time and efficiency caused by this split: the loss of time of many officers, including senior staff, travelling back and forth between two buildings on shuttle buses, the expenditure involved in running these buses, extra transfers, the duplication of services such as medical services, Credit Union and many others which could be translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

A more pressing need arose from the very poor state of repair in which this prefabricated Building E finds itself now. It-has outlived its life. It was built 17 years ago, and such prefabricated buildings are supposed to last ten or fifteen years. The Director-General can no longer take responsibility for what should happen there. Water pipes could burst, fires could start, the electrical system is not in good condition, so urgent repairs have to be undertaken, but where could the staff be put which are now located there?

Another important point that has to be raised is the fact that the proposals to construct additional space on the roof of Building D and a new wing in order to re-group all headquarters staff in one location is not for purposes of expansion. I think all members of the Council have seen the Director-General's policy since 1976, which is to reduce or at least not to expand the headquarters staff.

The Italian Government has been very conscious of these problems, and the idea of building a new complex to house all headquarters units and possibly other organizations in Rome, such as IFAD, if they wish to, was well received by the government and repeatedly announced,by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs right here in this building. But despite the wellknown generosity of the Italian Government in this respect - and there the Director-General has noted that other host governments of other UN agencies have not been that generous - it would be a scheme that would take many, many years to complete and would be very expensive. Therefore, because of the pressures, the Director-General had to examine with the Italian authorities other more practical solutions.

This proposal is now in front of the Council, as recommended by the Finance Committee in its report of the 49th Session, that is, to adopt as a permanent solution to the accommodation problem (1) the construction of about 70 rooms on the roof of Building D and (2) the construction of a new wing adjacent to Building C here on this compound, to enable us to bring over from Building F all the staff that are located there. This would enable us, of course, to abandon Building F and perhaps Building E, or at least perhaps vacate it temporarily in order to build it in a better shape.

It should be repeated here that this solution again demonstrates the intention not to expand the staff at headquarters, as some delegations might fear, since once the new spaces are occupied after we abandon Buildings F and E, there will be no more room for expansion. It will be filled again.

Now if I may turn on to the latest developments; first to the 70 rooms on the roof of Building D. Unfortunately there has been nothing after an administrative meeting held last January. The Ministry of Public Works needs to carry out further studies, but have not even given the authorization to do so. We took up the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week and they kindly undertook to take up the matter again with the Ministry of Public Works, but we are not aware of any results yet. It may be that the delegate of the host government has some later news to give us on this.

But this is urgent. It is also easier to implement this construction of 70 rooms, particularly because of the state of repair of Building E. If we could only have these 70 rooms, we could place that staff of Building E there until we can find some other solution, as otherwise we would have to rent some additional outside space again. However, I am afraid there is no progress on these 70 rooms.

On the question of the new wing, the situation is more difficult. It involves many government departments, many regional and municipal administrations, who have to give their agreement before a building permit can be issued. We have been greatly encouraged, however, by some favourable indications, particularly from the municipality of Rome, the Comune di Roma, to whom we sent a rough sketch of where the building could be, and we received again counter-proposals, rough sketches for further discussion; but the Department of Archaeology is involved, and that is why we undertook these excavations. I am pleased to say the excavations were completed last week. No important archaeological remains have been found except an ancient Roman wall, but perhaps a building could be constructed around it, or the wall could be placed elsewhere. We have to await the report of the Archaeological Superintendency before any further consideration can be given.

However, there are several other difficulties. To obtain a building permit in the historic centre of Rome, to arrange the transfer of land which belongs to the Municipality, to the Central Government, to arrange for a loan for financing the project - which would probably require Parliamentary approval - and any unforeseen problems, would probably delay the project for a long time, or even block it.

The matter is urgent because as time goes on the crisis will develop. Therefore action has to be taken now. It is hoped that the Council will support the Director-General's actions and perhaps ask him to bring the matter before the Council of Ministers. I say the Council of Ministers because there are several ministries involved. There is the Treasury for financing, there is Public Works for the building, and several others, so unless we have a decision by the Council of . Ministers itself the progress will be very doubtful.

It has also to be stated here with reference to the Conference resolution of November 1981, which appointed a Working Party of the Conference to discuss the matter with the Italian authorities at a higher level, that it has not yet been able to meet either the President of the Council of Ministers or the Foreign Minister.

It is therefore suggested that the Council should continue to give priority to this subject and request that the matter be brought to the Council of Ministers with a view to obtaining all the necessary Government decisions for the earliest possible implementation of these two projects - the 70 rooms on Building D, and the new wing. The Director-General would be prepared to arrange for appointments with the President of the Council of Ministers through the Foreign Ministry for himself and the working party of the Conference, in order to convey in detail the problem and obtain an early approval for the construction, together with financing and a detailed timetable for execution.

S.S. BALANZINO (Italie): Avec votre permission, je voudrais brièvement rappeler les faits principaux concernant la question des locaux du siège, en vue de préciser la portée des engagements italiens en la matière.

C'est en 1971 que le Directeur général de la FAO, M. Boerma, demanda aux autorités italiennes la cession du bâtiment D. Le Gouvernement italien, dans l'attente de pouvoir donner suite à cette requête, et à titre de libéralité unilatérale, décida d'accorder des contributions annuelles de 300 millions de lires qui ont atteint, en 1981, 3,3 milliards de lires. Dernièrement, l'Organisation a demandé que cette contribution qui, je le répète, est volontaire, soit mise à jour compte tenu du taux d'inflation du pays.

Le Gouvernement italien a encore une fois accédé aux requêtes du Directeur général de la FAO, et je suis en mesure d'annoncer que pour 1982 la somme versée par mon gouvernement sera de 450 millions de lires, ce qui correspond à une augmentation de 50 pour cent par rapport à l'année précédente.

A cela, il faut ajouter la somme de 7 milliards de lires environ que représente le coût de l'aména­gement du bâtiment D, également soutenu par le Gouvernement italien.

Ayant ainsi complètement honoré les obligations découlant de l'accord du siège en la matière, le -gouvernement italien, pour démontrer sa bonne volonté, a décidé l'année dernière d'examiner avec bienveillance les idées soumises par la FAO concernant la création du Centre mondial pour l'alimen­tation et l'agriculture. L'action conduite dès lors par l'Italie n'a jamais marqué le pas. C'est donc avec surprise que nous lisons les affirmations du rapport du Comité des finances dans les paragraphes 78 à 86 du document CL 82/4, et dans les articles 2.73 à 2.76 du document CL 82/11.

Actuellement, la situation est la suivante :

En ce qui concerne en particulier la construction d'un nouvel étage sur le bâtiment D destiné à accueillir 70 nouveaux bureaux, selon le projet présenté parala FAO aux autorités italiennes au printemps 1982, on a constaté que des progrès ont été accomplis, malgré les difficultés objectives dérivant de limitations de caractère urbain, architectural et technique auxquelles est soumis le centre historique de Rome. A l'heure actuelle, le projet est à l'examen de la Région Lazio où le Ministère des travaux publics a transmis le dossier, après avoir formulé son évaluation. Nous attendons donc les conclusions de la Région.

Quant au projet de construction d'un nouveau bâtiment dans le complexe de Caracalla, complexe qui est soumis à des limitations archéologiques et urbaines très sévères, son dossier marque aussi des progrès, ayant obtenu un avis de principe favorable de la part de la Mairie de Rome. Je me réfère en particulier à l'échange de lettres qui a eu lieu récemment entre le Directeur général et le Maire de Rome. Comme M. Georgiadis l'a dit, des fouilles ont déjà été entreprises pour vérifier la présence éventuelle de restes archéologiques, et nous attendons le résultat de ces fouilles.

Il faut aussi ajouter qu'à plusieurs reprises la FAO elle-même a manifesté aux autorités italiennes sa satisfaction pour le progrès de la question.

M. le Président, je voudrais encore une fois souligner le caractère de libéralité qui est à la base de la position italienne à cet égard et, par la même occasion, je voudrais confirmer l'intérêt de mon gouvernement à ce que le problème des locaux du siège trouve une solution adéquate et rapide, compte tenu des limites objectives dont la nature découle de l'endroit choisi pour les deux projets, endroit qui fait partie du patrimoine archéologique national et dont l'aménagement est strictement réglementé.

T. SADAKA (Liban) (Langue originale arabe): Je voudrais féliciter M. Georgiadis pour son exposé très clair sur la question des locaux du siège de la FAO à Rome, inscrite au point 14 de l'ordre du jour. Il apparaît de cet exposé et des documents CL 82/4 et CL 82/11, que la question comporte deux volets.

D'abord, la construction de nouveaux bâtiments. La délégation libanaise déplore la situation anormale et les retards concernant la construction d'un nouveau bâtiment pour le siège de là FAO à Rome.

Nous voudrions exprimer toute notre gratitude pour les efforts du gouvernement italien en sa qualité de gouvernement du pays hôte du Siège. Nous voudrions exprimer également notre surprise pour tous ces délais malgré les nombreuses promesses du Président du Conseil et du Ministre des affaires étran­gères de fournir de nouveaux bâtiments à l'Organisation. A ce sujet, nous voudrions pourtant exprimer notre surprise. Aucun progrès n'a été réalisé au sujet des 70 bureaux supplémentaires dont il est question au bâtiment D. Un accord avait pourtant été atteint en janvier 1981 pour commencer ces travaux; mais pour des raisons de forme pure, la question des transferts de fonds d'un ministère à l'autre, aucun progrès n'a été réalisé pour la construction de ces bureaux bien que l'Organisation en ait un besoin urgent.

D'autre part, en ce qui concerne la possibilité de construire une nouvelle aile sur le terrain adja­cent aux bâtiments du siège , il existe certaines indications qui nous laissent quelque peu optimis­tes quant à un éventuel progrès mais, en dépit de cet optimisme, les événements nous ont appris que pour une raison ou une autre, telle ou telle administration italienne pourrait refuser ce qu'un autre aurait autorisé. Bien que l'année soit arrivée à sa fin, le problème n'a pas été résolu encore. Nous pourrions nous réunir une nouvelle fois au sein du Conseil pour réaliser que les travaux n'ont pas encore commencé dans la construction de la nouvelle aile. Aussi voudrions-nous prier instam­ment l'administration italienne pour que la question soit soumise au Conseil des Ministres italien afin que le gouvernement puisse prendre une décision officielle en ce qui concerne les travaux de construction, en vertu d'une loi promulguée par la Chambre des députés et tenant compte des crédits nécessaires. Si cette procédure n'est pas suivie il n'y aurait aucun espoir de voir les bâtiments construits et la crise dans laquelle se débat l'Organisation depuis des années définitivement réglée.

S.HASAN AHMAD (Bangladesh): I only wish to make a very brief intervention, firstly to thank the Director of the Administrative Services Division for giving us a very clear idea as to how the Headquarters accommodation position is at present. My delegation feels naturally concerned about the current state of affairs on both alternatives originally conceived for solving the Headquarters accommodation problem which we understand is the construction of 70 rooms on top of Building D, or having a new wing in the new building. I understand the latter is no longer an alternative but is being considered as a substitute for accommodation that has been hired in building F, which is under litigation at the moment.

Having heard also the delegate of Italy, I think things are progressing and we have no reason to feel disappointed. We would, however, wish that further urgent steps be taken to resolve the issue so that FAO can get on with solid work. I am sure everyone agrees that we have lost much time and there is no further room for losing any more time. FAO should be able to get on with the solid work, also since it seems necessary in the interest of the efficiency of the Organization.

In this connexion, we agree, we think that the suggestion made by the Finance Committee that the Italian Permanent Representative be invited to participate in an informal meeting of the Committee on this subject during its next session, is also constructive and we endorse it. We recognize that the Italian Government has so far been extremely generous and considerate, and we have no doubt that in future FAO will be able to draw more on their sympathy and consideration.

Turning now to the question of Building F, I think the suggestion, the steps that are being envisaged of having a new building here to serve as a substitute, is also opportune and would be advisable if funds permit. In this connexion, we would like to take this opportunity also to endorse the initiative and steps taken by the Director-General of FAO in the matter of construction of the buildings and the rooms, and in generally solving the Headquarters problem of FAO.

LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Je voudrais tout d'abord assurer les autorités italiennes de ma conviction que le gouvernement italien est beaucoup plus généreux et libéral que tous les gouvernements, ayant offert l'hospitalité aux Nations Unies, à New York, à Paris ou à Genève. Je veux être clair: d'après l'enquête que j'ai menée dans tous ces pays, les gouvernements n'ont pas fourni ou fait construire gratuitement des bureaux, comme le fait si généreusement l'Italie pour la FAO. Il ne s'agit donc pas du tout de mettre en cause la générosité et la libéralité du gouvernement italien dans les commentaires que je vais faire. En ce qui concerne tout d'abord la construction d'un étage qui comprendrait à peu près 70 bureaux - le 8ème étage du BuildingD - je souhaiterais rappeler que cet immeuble a été mis à notre disposition par le gouvernement italien qui a dû en construire un autre à l'EUR pour abriter le Ministère des postes et des télégraphes, le gouvernement a dû aussi assumer le coût de la réfection du building D, en dépensant 8 à 10 milliards de lires à cet effet. Cependant la question des nouveaux bureaux à ajouter au Building D n'est toujours pas claire. On nous a dit que le dossier avait été envoyé à l'administration du Lazio. Je voudrais savoir quelles sont les prochaines étapes. Nous avons commencé en janvier à discuter de cette affaire et aujourd'hui, en novembre, le dossier est encore au Lazio. C'est une affaire qui m'échappe pour le moment. Je ne peux pas vous dire si dans un an on aura commencé les travaux. Il n'y a aucun indice qui puisse m'autoriser à le dire. Deuxièmement, ence qui concerne la construction d'une nouvelle aile, la question est vraiment très complexe. Voilà un bâtiment qui va coûter 40 à 50 millions de dollars au moins. C'est une grosse, très grosse dépense. On l'a souligné. Tant que je n'aurai pas reçu notification du Gouvernement italien qu'il y a une loi approuvée par le Parlement et allouant une somme donnée pour la construction d'un immeuble à tel endroit, je ne pourrais jamais vous garantir la construction d'une aile nouvelle ici, à Terme di Caracalla. Le Ministère des affaires étrangères fait tout ce qui est en son pouvoir mais cette affaire relève du Gouvernement, c'est-à-dire du Conseil des Ministres et jusqu'à présent, à ma connaissance, je ne dispose pas d'une seule lettre du gouvernement qui constitue un engagement. L'affaire n'est pas encore passée devant le Parlement, ni devant le Conseil des Ministres. Je prie le gouvernement italien de bien vouloir considérer la possibilité de prendre un engagement écrit à cet égard le plus tôt possible. J'insiste aussi auprès du gouvernement italien pour que la délégation des 7 pays membres représentant les 7 régions de la FAO et nommée par la Conférence générale en 1981. puisse lui transmettre les voeux et décisions du Conseil. Cela n'a pas été possible jusqu'ici et j'en comprends les raisons. Si nous n'avons pas été reçus par le premier Ministre c'est, m'a-t-on rapporté, parce qu'il n'avait encore rien de concret et de positif à nous annoncer. Cependant, nous serions satisfaits que cette délégation puisse voir le premier Ministre une première fois pour l'informer de la situation.

En conclusion, je voudrais encore rappeler que la FAO est très redevable au gouvernement italien de sa grande générosité.

S.S. BALANZINO (Italy): I would like first of all to explain that for the question of the seventy bureaux, there are two instances that have to give their approval, the Ministry of Public Works and the Regional Government of Lazio. We have succeeded, and I repeat, succeeded two days ago to get the file out of Public Works and to have it transmitted to the Regional Government of Lazio. So let us say one step has been completed. This is a second step and we will concentrate our efforts on the Regional Government of Lazio to speed up our decision. There are no other instances, these two..

As far as the new building is concerned, the Director-General has asked for a written engagement. I understand his point and I share his concern as I shared the concern of the Committee and the Council but this engagement involves, as the Director-General said, $50 million at least and in these times of tight money and inflation Parliament is not probably very easily convinced, or cannot easily be convinced, to disburse $50 million. This is not to say that hope has to be lost, not at all, but a very special effort has to be undertaken by the Government to have the bill approved by Parliament.

I will certainly convey to my Minister, and through my Minister to the Government, your worries, your requests, your views and at this juncture I can only say that I hope that the reply will be positive and quick.

G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Sr. Presidente, para quienes tenemos el privilegio de residir en este país maravilloso resulta fácil y confortante sumarnos al reconocimiento que ha hecho el Sr. Director General sobre la generosidad y la atención con que el Gobierno italiano ofrece su asistencia a nuestra Organización.

El debate sobre este tema había comenzado con general espectativa, y tuvimos la impresión en primera instancia de que la declaración inicial que hizo el representante de Italia había tranquilizado esa atmósfera de inquietud.

Sin embargo, ahora al oir por segunda vez al representante de Italia tenemos la impresión de que esa situación no se presenta tan favorable como lo hubiéramos deseado.

Parece que, yéndonos muy bien, podríamos lograr la construcción de las 70 oficinas sobre el edificio D, pero que será muy difícil obtener los fondos para construir la dependencia o el ala necesaria en la Sección de Caracalla.

Comprendemos las dificultades objetivas a que ha hecho referencia el delegado de Italia, pero, sin embargo, como él ha dicho que el Gobierno italiano desea una solución adecuada y rápida quisiéramos preguntarle al representante de Italia si él podría darnos una fecha tentativa dentro de la cual pudiera construirse por lo menos las 70 oficinas sobre el edificio D. Quisiéramos preguntarle si hay los fondos para la construcción de esas 70 oficinas o qué otro factor podría estar influyendo en los retardos a que se ha hecho referencia.

Intervenimos en este debate también porque Colombia es uno de los 7 países que fueron elegidos por la pasada Conferencia para integrar un grupo de trabajo que asesorara al Director General y en ese propósito tratara de lograr contactos con funcionarios italianos de alto nivel. Recibimos copia de la carta que en febrero pasado dirigió el Sr. Director General al Primer Ministro italiano solicitando una audiencia para nuestro grupo de trabajo en cumplimiento de lo que había dispuesto la Conferencia y luego no tuvimos ninguna noticia más. Creemos que eso ha sido por lo menos una desatención de parte del Gobierno italiano a la solicitud que le hizo el Director General de la FAO, sobre todo si se tiene en cuenta, como lo saben los colegas de Italia ante la FAO, que se trata de un grupo de trabajo integrado por la Conferencia que es nuestro máximo Organismo Rector.

No conocemos los contactos que hayan podido existir entre la Secretaría de la FAO y los representan­tes de Italia ante nuestra Organización sobre esa carta del Director General al Primer Ministro italiano, pero suponemos que nuestros colegas de Italia hayan debido conocer ese texto e interesarse porque por lo menos se ofreciera una respuesta que no se ha producido hasta ahora.

Nosotros creemos que en esas condiciones el grupo de trabajo elegido por la Conferencia está en dificultades para cumplir lo que dispone la resolución que lo creó, según la cual deberíamos rendir informe a este período de sesiones del Consejo que está para terminar y también al próximo y, naturalmente, no vamos a poder cumplir esa disposición de la Conferencia porque no nos hemos podido reunir y el Director General no nos ha convocado porque esa misma resolución dice que nos convocaría el Director General si lo considerasen oportuno y conveniente y, naturalmente, si no hubo ninguna respuesta del Gobierno italiano el Director General no tenía los elementos indispensables para convocar ese grupo de trabajo. Por lo tanto, la delegación de Colombia propone que este Consejo pida a las autoridades italianas que conceda una audiencia al nivel que ellos lo consideren necesario al Director General y a ese grupo de trabajo, audiencia que debería cumplirse entre el momento actual y antes del verano próximo cuando se reúna de nuevo el Consejo, a fin de que ese grupo de trabajo pueda cumplir la misión que le encomendó la Conferencia.

Esperamos ahora tener un poco más de suerte con el Gobierno italiano; parece que afortunadamente va a ser Primer Ministro una eminente personalidad italiana, el Senador Fanfani, quien el pasado 16 de octubre confirmó el interés que él mismo tuvo en la iniciación de las actividades de la FAO en Roma y quien, además, tiene una trayectoria de brillantes servicios, no sólo a Italia, sino también a la Comunidad Internacional.

S.S. BALANZINO (Italy): I would like very briefly to answer some points that have been raised. First, I forgot in my previous intervention to answer a point raised by the delegate of Lebanon, if the translation from the Arabic was correct. He said that the Italian authorities refuse that progress be achieved in the solution of the question. I would like to make it clear that .our authorities do not refuse any progress. We are struggling with difficulties and problems but certainly there is no ill intention and no desire to refuse the requests of FAO.

Second, to answer the delegate of Colombia, I would like to say that at this juncture it is impossible for me to indicate even a tentative date for the passing of the law or the appropriation of the funds. This is a point that has to be brought up in the Government, and we hope to have a Government as of today, and then from the Government to go to Parliament. It is a procedure that takes some time. Every country has a Parliament and knows how these things go. But I would like to confirm our dedication to the question and our engagement in pushing this through and bringing it to the attention of the minister and trying to have this meeting organized between the Director-General, the Committee and the proper Italian authorities.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Just one word, Mr. Chairman. As the delegate of Italy said, these matters concern several ministers. I think it would be appropriate if the delegation of the FAO Conference and the Director-General should meet the Prime Minister, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of course. We could also later on have a separate meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As soon as Mr. Fanfani is confirmed in office we will approach him officially through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for such an appointment.

I again thank the delegate of Italy very much for the very frank and responsible attitude he has taken. I very much appreciate his assurance that the Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is very well disposed to continue, as it has since 1951, to assist FAO.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Director-General. I think we have had a very detailed explanation of this item. There are three issues. There is the construction of 70 rooms on the 8th floor of Building D. We are very happy to hear the statement of the delegate of Italy that the Public Works Department has already approved this proposal. It has now gone to the regional government and we hope that by the time we meet in June progress will have been made. Also there is the problem of funding. Naturally these are matters that will be looked into. Progress is however poor regarding a new building. Apart from the archeological problems, the financial dimensions of the problem are also mentioned. We would again urge that the Director-General and the working group as soon as convenient to the Prime Minister may call on him and such other ministers as may be necessary and explain the position and the urgency of the request.

Thirdly, I would like on behalf of the Council to record our congratulations to Mr. Fanfani on assum­ing the very difficult position of Prime Minister, particularly in the context of his long asso­ciation with and support for FAO. We are happy to record that he has assumed this position today, though it is a bed of thorns, not a bed of roses, and we wish him all the best in tackling successful­ly the many complex problems.


18. Report of the Forty-second Session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters
18. Rapport de la quarante-deuxième session du Comité des questions constitutionnelles et juridiques
18. Informe del 42° período de sesiones del Comité de Asuntos Constitucionales y jurídicos

T. GLASER (Président du Comité des questions constitutionnelles et juridiques) : Le CQCJ a tenu sa 42ème session du 27 au 30 septembre de cette année. Le rapport a été distribué sous la cote CL 82/5. La première question examinée traitait de l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO en Italie. Cette question s'était posée à cause d'un litige entre la FAO et le propriétaire de l'immeuble F loué par la FAO. Le propriétaire, au lieu de recourir à, un arbitrage comme prévu contractuellement, a saisi d'abord la Pretura civile di Roma et ensuite le Tribunal civil de Rome de cette affaire. La FAO n'est pas entrée en matière mais a fait valoir qu'elle jouit de l’immunité de juridiction selon l'article 16 de l'Accord de siège, mais le Tribunal civil de Rome a prononcé un jugement affirmant que le litige relevait de sa juridiction car le bail entre la FAO et l'INPDAI - c'est le nom du propriétaire - était de caractère privé vu que le siège de la FAO était situé ailleurs; deuxièmement, que la clause d'arbitrage contenue dans le bail était nulle et non avenue aux termes de la législation italienne.

Les deux parties ont interjeté appel contre cette sentence. Etant donné l'importance du principe en jeu, la FAO a décidé de demander directement à la Corte di Cassazione de se prononcer sur la question de son immunité de juridiction. En attendant l'arrêt de cette Cour, la procédure tant devant la Pretura civile di Roma que devant la Corte d'Appello a été suspendue.

Le CQCJ a noté tout d'abord que la Corte di Cassazione n'avait pas encore rendu de jugement et qu'on ne pouvait donc en évaluer les effets avant de connaître le libellé et l'exposé des motifs de la sentence. Le CQCJ a cependant estimé qu'il convenait de lui soumettre cette question étant donné que la Cour allait bientôt émettre son jugement et que le Comité devait pouvoir examiner en détail une question si importante et si complexe afin de pouvoir conseiller en temps voulu le Directeur général et le Conseil.

En outre, le CQCJ a fait remarquer qu'étant donné que la FAO et le Gouvernement italien étaient parties à l'Accord de Siège, ils avaient tous deux le droit de faire connaître leur interprétation de la section 16 de cet Accord. En conséquence, le Directeur général a eu entièrement raison de demander l'avis du Comité sur le bien-fondé de l'interprétation adoptée par la FAO au sujet de cette clause.

Ayant examiné les problèmes dont il était saisi, le CQCJ a conclu que les questions fondamentales qui devaient retenir particulièrement l'attention étaient les suivantes : 1) Quelle était l'inter­prétation correcte de la section 16 de l'Accord de Siège ? 2) Est-ce que, en présence d'une clause spécifique d'un traité, les principes découlant du droit international coutumier applicables aux Etats étaient valables pour déterminer la portée de l'immunité des organisations intergouverne­mentales ? 3) Quelles seraient pour la FAO les conséquences juridiques et constitutionnelles de la Corte di Cassazione qui ne reconnaîtrait pas pleinement son immunité de juridiction et quelles seraient les mesures à prendre pour sauvegarder à l'avenir ladite immunité ?

En ce qui concerne l'interprétation de la section 16 de l'Accord de Siège, le CQCJ a noté que cette clause est libellée comme suit (je cite) :

"La FAO et ses biens, en quelque endroit qu'ils se trouvent et quel qu'en soit le détenteur, jouissent de l'immunité de juridiction, sauf dans la mesure où l'Organisation y a expressément renoncé dans un cas particulier. Il est toutefois entendu que la renonciation ne peut s'étendre à des mesures d'exécution." (Fin de citation).

Ayant examiné la libellé de la Section 16 dans le contexte des dispositions analogues de traités et de leur application, le CQCJ a estimé qu'il était clair et dépourvu d'ambiguïté et qu'il faut donner à l'expression "immunité de juridiction" tout son sens.littéral. Ainsi, le CQCJ fait sienne l'interprétation donnée à cette clause par le Directeur général, selon laquelle la FAO jouit de l'Immunité de juridiction dans tous les cas, à moins qu'elle n'y ait expressément renoncé.

A ce propos, le CQCJ a fait observer que l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO n'aboutit pas à un déni de justice car d'autres moyens ont toujours été prévus pour régler les différends et, dans le bail conclu entre la FAO et l'INPDAI, les parties sont expressément convenues de régler les différends par voie d'arbitrage.

Concernant la deuxième question, le comité a été d'avis qu'il n'était pas nécessaire, pour inter­préter ce traité, de recourir à d'autres clauses ou principes juridiques, comme la distinction entre les actes jure imperii et les actes jure gestionis qui sont souvent observés sur la base du droit international coutumier en ce qui concerne l'immunité des Etats étrangers.

En ce qui concerne la troisième question, le comité s'est déclaré préoccupé par les conséquences juridiques qui surgiraient si la Corte di Cassazione rendait un jugement ne reconnaissant pas pleinement l'immunité de la FAO.

Du point de vue juridique et constitutionnel, le CQCJ a noté en particulier qu'un tel arrêt signi­fierait que la FAO serait exposée à des procès et même à des procès vexatoires devant les tribunaux italiens, procès qui pourraient se révéler longs et coûteux et être provoqués à l'occasion d'à peu près n'importe quelle transaction officielle effectuée en Italie. Dans le cas particulier du bail conclu entre la FAO et l'INPDAI, il est à prévoir que les procès concernant les arriérés de loyers et l'expulsion qui sont en cours respectivement devant la Pretura Civile di Roma et la Corte d'Appello seraient repris. Bien plus, le statut de la FAO et celui des autres organisations du système des Nations Unies, qui sont couvertes par des dispositions concernant l'immunité de juri­diction identiques, quant au fond, à la section 16 de l'Accord de Siège, se trouveraient sérieu­sement compromis et l'exercice de certaines activités officielles serait soumis à l'examen des tribunaux d'un seul Etat Membre. En outre, l'interprétation restrictive de l'immunité de la FAO stipulée à la section 16 de l'Accord de Siège créerait un précédent regrettable, car des dispo­sitions correspondantes figurent dans les deux conventions générales sur les privilèges et immunités des Nations Unies et des institutions spécialisées auxquelles sont parties un grand nombre d'Etats.

Pour toutes ces raisons, le CQCJ considère qu'au cas où la Corte di Cassazione rendrait un jugement qui ne reconnaîtrait pas pleinement l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO, le Conseil voudrait sans doute inviter le gouvernement de l'Etat hôte à trouver une méthode appropriée pour résoudre le problème en consultation avec l'INPDAI sans autre recours aux tribunaux italiens et sans tentative d'imposer l'exécution des arrêts au fond, car une telle tentative serait contraire à diverses dispo­sitions de l'Accord de Siège et à la pratique internationale généralement acceptée. De même, le CQCJ envisage que le Conseil voudrait également inviter le Gouvernement hôte et le Directeur général à engager des consultations sur les mesures requises que le Gouvernement hôte devrait adopter sans délai pour sauvegarder à l'avenir l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO.

La dernière question que le comité a examinée concernait la revision des statuts du Comité consul­tatif de la recherche sur les ressources de la mer.

Il s'agit là d'un comité créé il y a près de 20 ans. Il paraît donc opportun de reviser ses statuts afin de les harmoniser avec les dispositions constitutionnelles en vigueur et les décisions adoptées par la Conférence au cours des dernières années, et de mettre à jour la terminologie utilisée dans les textes.

Le CQCJ convient que le texte des status révisés du CCRRM proposé par le Directeur général est conforme aux textes fondamentaux et aux décisions pertinentes de la Conférence. Etant donne que c'est la Conférence qui a autorisé le Directeur général à créer le CCRRM, le comité decide d appeler l'attention du Conseil sur les statuts revisés du CCRRM sans préjuger de leur promulgation par le Directeur général.

Le CQCJ a noté qu'en conséquence, après la promulgation des statuts revisés par le Directeur général, il faudra soumettre au CCRRM, aux fins d'adoption lors de sa prochaine session, des amendements à son Règlement intérieur afin d'harmoniser ce règlement avec les statuts revisés.

En ce qui concerne cette question, le Conseil est prié d'en prendre acte, il n'y a pas de décision particulière à prendre.

Pour ce qui est de la première question, je répète que le CQCJ propose deux actions au Conseil au cas où la Corte di Cassazione rendrait un jugement qui ne reconnaîtrait pas pleinement l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO, c'est-à-dire inviter le Gouvernement de l'Etat hôte à trouver une méthode appropriée pour résoudre le problème en consultation avec l'INPDAI, propriétaire du bâtiment, et inviter le Gouvernement hôte et le Directeur général à engager des consultations en vue de sauve­garder à l'avenir l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO.

Voilà, M. le Président, mon rapport sur la dernière session du CQCJ. Entre-temps, le Secrétariat a distribué le document CL 82/LIM/2 qui met à jour l'évolution de la situation. En substance, il nous informe que la Corte di Cassazione a prononcé un jugement refusant de reconnaître à la FAO l'immunité de juridiction. J'aimerais attirer l'attention du Conseil sur le fait qu'à ma connaissance ce jugement n'a pas fait l'objet d'une communication officielle du Gouvernement italien à la FAO. Du point de vue strictement formel, on peut donc dire que, pour le moment, il n'y a pas de litige officiel entre le Gouvernement du pays hôte et la FAO. Un règlement à l'amiable devrait donc encore être possible. Cela me paraît être une raison de plus pour adopter les mesures que vous propose le comité des questions constitutionnelles et juridiques.

D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee) : Since the subject has been discussed at length, it is appropriate that I should reflect the Committee's views for the information of the Council. The relevant paragraphs in our Report of the Forty-ninth Session are paragraphs 87 to 94 and paragraphs 2.77 to 2.79 in the Report of the Fiftieth Session.

While the legal issues concerning FAO's immunity from legal process are of paramount importance to the Organization, both in regard to its current litigation and the possible consequences in other fields at a future date, the Committee expressed concern on the financial implications of an unfavourable judgement which would entitle the owner of Building F to arrears of rent increases amounting to over $1 million, and of being evicted from the premises, particularly when there is no alternative accommodation available.

LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL : Si je prends la parole sur la question de l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO en Italie, c'est parce que j'y attache une très grande importance et qu'elle me préoccupe énormément.

Il s'agit d'une question qui affecte profondément le bon fonctionnement de cette organisation et risque de le compromettre au détriment de tous les Etats Membres.

Depuis 1969, l'Organisation a dû louer des locaux pour y installer une partie de ses bureaux, car les locaux mis à sa disposition par le Gouvernement italien ne suffisaient plus à ses besoins.

En 1977, les propriétaires du bâtiment, qui est connu sous le nom de bâtiment F, ont réclamé des augmentations rétroactives de loyers. L'Organisation a rejeté cette demande car elle estimait que les augmentations de loyers revendiquées par les propriétaires n'étaient pas légales. Notre bureau juridique a procédé à une consultation avec des avocats civils expérimentés qui ont estimé qu'en vertu de la législation italienne nous n'étions pas tenus de payer ces arriérés.

Au lieu de soumettre ce différend à l'arbitrage, comme cela était prévu dans le bail, les proprié­taires du building F ont intenté deux procès devant les tribunaux italiens : l'un touchant les augmentations de loyers, l'autre visant à l'expulsion de l'Organisation du bâtiment F.

Dès ce stade, la FAO a immédiatement attiré l'attention du Gouvernement italien sur l'immunité de juridiction dont elle jouissait en vertu de la Section 16 de son Accord de siège. Cet Accord de siège est même devenu une loi votée par le Parlement italien. Comme le Conseil le constatera, le libellé de cette disposition qui vient d'être lue par le Président du comité des questions constitutionnelles et juridiques reproduite au par. 16 du document CL 82/5 est tout à fait clair et ne prête à aucune équivoque.

Le Gouvernement italien a aussi été invité à informer les autorités judiciaires compétentes de l'immu­nité de l'Organisation. L'a-t-il fait ou ne l'a-t-il pas fait ? Nous n'en savons rien. Néanmoins, conformément au conseil écrit - car j'ai reçu une lettre du représentant permanent de l'Italie auprès de la FAO me recommandant de présenter la question devant les tribunaux italiens - donc conformément au conseil écrit du Gouvernement italien, l'Organisation s'est fait représenter devant les tribunaux italiens. Certains diront : pourquoi êtes-vous ailé "vous mettre sous la coupe d'un tribunal puisque vous prétendez n'être pas responsable devant les tribunaux italiens? Nous l'avons fait, parce qu'on nous l'a recommandé par écrit et que nous respectons l'avis du Ministère des Affaires étrangères italien.

Nous nous sommes bornés à plaider notre immunité de juridiction, à faire valoir qu'une telle immunité n'entraînerait pas un déni de justice puisque le différend pouvait être réglé par voie d'arbitrage. En effet, dans le contrat entre les propriétaires et la FAO il y a une clause prévoyant qu'en cas de désaccord, les parties auront recours à un arbitrage.

Les propriétaires n'ont jamais voulu avoir recours à cette clause. Ils ont préféré aller devant le tribunal. Le tribunal civil s'est alors déclaré compétent pour entendre l'affaire.

Puisque son immunité de juridiction n'avait pas été respectée, la FAO a porté la question de son immu­nité de juridiction directement devant la plus haute instance judiciaire du pays, la Cour de cassation. Comme vous l'aurez appris par le Président du CQCJ, la Cour de cassation a déclaré que la FAO ne jouissait pas de l'immunité de juridiction dans cette action intentée contre elle par les propriétaires de l'immeuble.

Je ne veux pas vous entretenir ici de subtilités juridiques ni du raisonnement qui a amené la Cour de cassation à nier l'immunité de la FAO. Par contre, j'estime qu'il est de mon devoir de porter à votre connaissance les conséquences extrêmement sérieuses pour la FAO que ce jugement est susceptible d'entraîner.

Mais tout d'abord, pourquoi a-t-on prévu l'immunité de juridiction dans l'Accord de siège? Nous reprenons un texte déjà consacré dans les deux grandes conventions sur les privilèges et immunités des Nations Unies et des institutions spécialisées. Il existe en effet deux conventions accordant aux fonctionnaires et aux institutions des Nations Unies des privilèges et des immunités. Ces conventions sont adoptées par la plupart des pays membres. Elles ont été approuvées par l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, mais nous avions néanmoins, pour mieux souligner la nécessité de jouir de cette immunité, insisté pour avoir avec le gouvernement hôte un accord spécial, bien que le Gouvernement italien ait déjà reconnu les deux conventions. La FAO, comme les autres organisations du système des Nations Unies, sert tous ses Etats Membres et a donc besoin de cette immunité pour être certaine d'être en mesure d'exercer ses fonctions au service de ses Etats Membres d'une manière entièrement indépendante. Pour cela, elle ne doit être soumise aux autorités d'aucun pays membre. C'est bien pour cela que la section 16 de l'Accord de siège est rédigée en termes aussi clairs et aussi précis.

En cela, la FAO ne se distingue pas des autres organisations des Nations Unies. L'Unesco, l'OMS, dont font partie des centaines de pays ne souhaitent être soumises aux autorités d'aucun des pays membres.

Cette indépendance est une question de principe, surtout en raison de ce qui serait susceptible d'arriver sur le plan pratique si l'Organisation ne jouissait pas de cette protection.

Je vais donc passer immédiatement aux conséquences de la décision judiciaire pour la FAO. Dans, l'immédiat, les procédures devant les tribunaux italiens, qui avaient été suspendues, en attendant la décision de la Cour de cassation, vont immédiatement reprendre leur cours. Il s'agit d'un million de dollars. Il n'est pas exclu de penser que les propriétaires puissent parvenir à faire expulser la FAO du bâtiment F. Pourquoi se gêneraient-ils ? Ils peuvent nous mettre dehors et peut-être même nous faire saisir, parce que si nous ne nous présentons pas devant la Cour, la Cour va nous condamner par défaut, et si nous ne payons pas, on va nous saisir. Nous allons au pire dans cette affaire-là.

Comment la FAO pourrait-elle travailler avec l'efficacité nécessaire dans de telles conditions, sous de telles menaces ? Le principe de l'immunité, entériné par un traité international, doit être défendu, et je suis certain que j'exprime la pensée du Conseil quand je dis que l'application de mesures d'exécution contre la FAO constituerait une grave entorse aux dispositions de ce traité et entraverait sérieusement les activités de l'Organisation, parce que la loi italienne de 1951 sur l'établissement de la FAO à Rome stipule aussi que nous sommes exempts de l'exécution des décisions du tribunal. Non seulement nous sommes exempts de comparaître devant les tribunaux mais aussi de l'exécution. Si je comprends bien la décision de la Cour, elle nous enlève aussi cette seconde disposition, c'est-à-dire que n'ayant plus l'immunité de juridiction, nous n'avons peut-être proba­blement plus l'immunité d'exécution. Donc on pourra saisir les biens de la FAO et extrader la FAO de ses locaux.

Mais l'arrêt de la Cour de cassation a des effets qui vont encore beaucoup plus loin. Il semble que toutes les activités considérées par les tribunaux italiens comme n'ayant pas un rapport direct et nécessaire avec les objectifs de l'Organisation, ou même que toute transaction considérée comme relevant du Droit privé puissent être désormais soumises à leur juridiction. C'est un domaine immense et très vaste.

Je vous demanderais de réfléchir un instant à ce que ceci implique en vous citant quelques exemples :

En premier lieu, les tribunaux italiens auraient un droit de regard sur les activités de la FAO en Italie. Ils pourraient exiger que la FAO fournisse les documents officiels internes ou comparaisse comme témoin.

Deuxièmement, chaque fois que la FAO passerait un contrat avec une société" italienne, elle s'expo­serait au risque de se voir traîner devant les tribunaux en cas de différend. Aujourd'hui c'est un loyer, demain ce sera l'eau, après-demain des achats d'équipements. Il nous est impossible d'éviter de passer des contrats avec des sociétés italiennes car nous vivons en Italie... Vous pouvez imaginer ce qui se passerait si la FAO était traitée ainsi sur le territoire de tous ses Etats Membres et se voyait contrainte d'affronter des poursuites judiciaires souvent longues et coûteuses dans 152 Etats Membres en vertu de 152 législations différentes. C'est donc pour éviter une situation de ce genre que la section de l'accord de Siège a été rédigée en des termes si clairs et si précis; comme l'a dit le Comité des questions constitutionnelles juridiques, cette disposition doit être interprétée de façon à lui donner tout son sens littéral. Il me semble que le Conseil ne peut que partager cet avis. Je vous ai parlé des problèmes que me pose l'arrêt de la Cour de cassation, sans avoir jusqu'ici abordé la question de savoir quelles mesures devraient être prises afin de les résoudre. A cet égard, le Comité a reconnu qu'il incombe au gouvernement hôte de trouver une méthode appropriée pour résoudre le problème, en consultation avec les propriétaires du bâtiment F en évitant tout nouveau recours aux tribunaux italiens et toute tentative d'imposer des mesures d'exécution. Le Conseil sans doute partagera-t-il cet avis. Je dois ajouter ici qu'un échange de lettres a été négocié l'année passée avec le gouvernement pour étendre la définition du Siège, contenue dans l'accord de Siège, à tous les locaux occupés par la FAO. Actuellement cette définition n'inclut formellement qu'une partie seulement des bâtiments de la via delle Terme di Caracalla. Malheureusement cet échange de lettres n'a toujours pas eu lieu car nous devons attendre l'approbation du gouvernement italien. En tout état de cause, je compte sur l'appui du gouvernement italien pour le cas où il y aurait atteinte à l'inviolabilité des locaux de l'Organisation pour le bâtiment F.

Je vous rends compte de la situation dans le détail et avec un peu d'émotion peut-être car le Conseil termine ses travaux dans deux jours et ne se réunira pas avant juin prochain. Je vais devoir affronter moi-même ces problèmes. Il n'est pas question d'avoir une session extraordinaire du Conseil à ce sujet. Mais en tout cas il est de mon devoir d'indiquer toutes les conséquences de cette affaire, peut-être la plus grave dont le Conseil ait eu à se saisir. Même si le gouvernement réussit à résoudre le problème qui nous oppose aux propriétaires (et cela est possible), il reste encore à résoudre les conséquences d'ordre plus général et dérivant de l'arrêt de la Cour de cassation. Il semble évident que si à la suite d'une décision prise par les instances judiciaires, le gouvernement italien n'est plus en mesure de donner plein effet à ses engagements consacrés dans l'accord du Siège qu'il a conclu en 1950, celui-ci se doit de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour remédier à cette situation afin que l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO soit respectée à l'avenir. C'est seulement en entreprenant une telle action que cette Organisation, votre Organisation (et je souhaiterais que les délégués réagissent comme des délégués responsables d'une Organisation qui est la leur),pourra continuer à servir la totalité des Etats Membres en toute indépendance. Je dois vous avouer que si les organes directeurs de la FAO avaient su en 1950 que la section 16 de l'accord de Siège visant à l'immunité de juridiction de l'Organisation serait interprétée comme l'a fait la Cour de cassation, la FAO n'aurait sans doute jamais déplacé son Siège de Washington à Rome. Je voudrais conclure en exprimant le souhait très vif que le gouvernement du pays hôte prenne rapide­ment des mesures vigoureuses pour dégager l'Organisation de la situation fâcheuse dans laquelle elle se trouve actuellement en Italie et que le Conseil me donnera tout l'appui nécessaire dans ma recherche d'une solution qui sauvegarde l'indépendance, (et je souligne le mot "indépendance")et la bonne marche de cette Organisation dans l'intérêt de tous les Etats Membres.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Director-General, for so clearly bringing out the very serious impli­cations of the present situation. We are grateful to you for taking so much trouble to bring the Council up to date on the wider ramifications of, not one single judgment, but the more serious and wider implications of not having the absolute immunity which the Headquarters Agreement provides.

S.S. BALANZINO (Italy): It seems that it is my day! The Italian delegation has reviewed with the greatest care the reports of the Finance Committee, documents CL 82/4 and CL 82/11, and the report of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, document CL 82/5. It has also noted the contents of document CL 82/LIM/2.

Up to the present moment Italian authorities do not know the decision of the Corte di Cassazione because it has not been made public yet, hence they are not in a position to express any definite views on the matter. At this juncture it would seem rather inappropriate to draw hasty conclusions or considerations before the decision of the Corte di Cassazione is made available to the Italian authorities. As is clearly indicated in paragraph 10 of document CL 82/5 it was the initiative of FAO that prompted the Corte di Cassazione to render its sentence.

As to the Italian Government,, it is now bound to comply with the content of the verdict of the Court. Indeed, the sentence represents the only legal interpretation of the Headquarters agreement that Italian authorities can refer to. Sftould the decision of the Court be unsatisfactory to FAO - as it seems - two alternative solutions can then be envisaged.

The first solution could be the negotiation of an exchange of letters to interpret Article VIII, Section 16, and this instrument will then have to be submitted to the Italian Parliament for rati­fication to become a law of the country.

The second solution would be to implement Article XVII, Section 35, of the Headquarters agreement which provides for an arbitration procedure.

To conclude, my delegation would like to assure the Director-General and the Council that in the light of specific sections of the Headquarters agreement, the Organization is fully protected against any measures of execution - measures of execution are not implemented by courts but by government authorities - and that no such actions could ever be undertaken by the Italian authorities to enforce a court decision.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your most helpful statement.

B.N. SEQUEIRA (Angola): My delegation congratulates the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal flatters for his clear, concise and excellent presentation. At the onset we wish to make it plainly clear that the words being used in this intervention have their meanings limited by the custom of diplomatic practice and the principle of reciprocal respect - nothing more, nothing less.

Before analyzing the substantive issues arising from documents CL 82/5, paragraphs 5-23, and CL 82/LIM/2, the delegation of Angola would like to offer the following general comments.

First, the international law regarding the privileges and immunities of international organizations is an entirely modern development. However, after 1945 the position changed rapidly and dramati­cally because the number of international organizations, both worldwide and regional, increased swiftly.

Secondly, this increase brought with it the first attempt at formulating privileges and immunities for the various organizations on a general basis. The most important formulation has been the Charter of the United Nations, Article 104, which reads:

"The Organization shall enjoy in the territory of each of its Members such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercice of its functions and fulfilment of its purpose."

Furthermore, Article 105 has required that the Organization should enjoy "such privileges and immu­nities as are necessary for the fulfilment of its purpose."

Thirdly, as was laid down in Article 105, a detailed international agreement was negotiated for the application of the general provisions contained therein. This is the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on February 13, 1946. This Convention confers on the United Nations a wide range of privi­leges and immunities, namely it accords full immunity from juridiction and every form of legal process to the Organization. It also accords a wide range of exemptions from national exchange control and other financial regulations and exemptions from direct taxes, customs duties - we emphasized the words custom duties - and the prohibitions and restrictions on import of goods which are deemed necessary for the exercise of its functions and fulfilment of its purpose.

The policy and practice of most United Nations members has been to observe the provisions of the General Convention on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations.

Fourth, the General Convention was used as a model for other international organizations having worldwide membership and responsibilities. The most important of the international agreements which follow the United Nations model was the Convention on the privileges and immunities of the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 1947. This Convention, I submit to you Mr. Chairman and to the Council, is applicable to FAO.

The analysis of the above-mentioned documents and specialized literature in the field of international law shows clearly that United Nations Member nations have usually refrained from acts or omissions which may prevent or hinder the international organizations from the exercice of their functions and fulfilment of their purpose.

Now we would like, inter alia, to turn to document CL 82/5 and to CL 82/LIM/2. lie have read the reports and the information document concerning FAO's immunity from legal process in Italy, with concern; and the words and explanation of the Director-General have increased that concern. Our concern stems from the implications of the judgment of the Corte di Cassazione that were noted by the CCLM and the Finance Committee when unfavourable judgment was imminent. If the courts of other countries in which FAO operates were to adopt the same attitude as the Italian courts, the incon­venience could be multiplied to a point where the Organization could hardly carry out its functions at all. But it is not merely the inconvenience that has to be considered; there is the question of principle - and we emphasize the word principle - which must have been clear from the powers of the Organization that the only authorities that have the right to control its activities are the gover­ning bodies. The Organization must be free to carry out its functions independently of the influence of any authority of an individual Member Nation.

The Director-General should place complete reliance on the Organization's immunity from legal process guaranteed by the Headquarters agreement, and he must do so with the Council behind him. The Finance Committee at its 49th Session gave full support to the Director-General's position and he should not allow FAO to be submitted to any judicial orders that were not consistent with the Headquarters agreement. This Council should give him the same support.

Here I take an opportunity to digress from the main line of my argument to say that we have noted with pleasure the information given by the delegate of Italy, namely that the decisions of.the Court, are only enforced by the executive powers. The Director-General will, however, above all need the assistance of the Italian Government. It seems that the preceding concerned claims for rent and the order of eviction from Building F will soon be resumed.

The Organization clearly has immunity from measures of execution under Section 16 of the Headquarters agreement. The delegation of Angola would welcome an assurance to the Council from the Government that the necessary measures will be adopted to protect the Organization in this particular case and that appropriate action will be taken to ensure that the Organization's immunity from every form of legal process will be fully recognized by the courts in the future, so that the Organization will be able to exercice fully its functions towards the fulfilment of its noble purpose.

CHAIRMAN: In this matter more harm than good can be done by excessive discussion. Questions of judgement of courts are very delicate issues. The Chairman of the CCLM, the Director-General and the delegate of Italy have shown how the matter can be progressed further. I would therefore be grateful if Members would be as brief and as helpful as possible.

F.M. MBEWE (Zambia): I will follow your instructions, Mr. Chairman. From listening to the discussion of the Chairman of the Committee and the Director-General's words, one comes to the conclusion that we are in a difficult situation. I wish to pose a question at this point: in the rent agreement I believe there was a provision for arbitration as a source of resolving the issue. Why did the landlord choose to go to the courts? I suspect that probably he was aware that the Headquarters agreement is not backed by Italian law because often courts judge on the basis of what is written in their laws. I therefore wish to submit for correction by the Secretariat or the delegate of Italy that in fact, there has been a loophole in the Headquarters agreement; that it was not, apart from ratification, backed by a statutory instrument making it law.

If that is the case it is necessary that we make the correction as soon as possible because, as I said, courts make judgement on the basis of their laws and if something does not appear in their law the consequence is that they will make judgement in a different context and I think this is where the crux of the matter is.

N. KISHORE (India): My delegation views with concern and regrets that a world body like FAO has got itself involved in a court case on a matter which can be resolved outside the court. Without going into the legalities of the case my delegation is of the view that the FAO should enjoy an ambiguous immunity from the legal proceedings and the FAO should not be liable to criminal and civil suits.

The fact that the Corte di Cassazione has declined to recognize the immunity of the FAO from legal proceedings indicates that Article 8 Section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement needs to be streng­thened to make it clear beyond any doubt that the immunity exists and is inviolable and cannot be subject to any arbitration or legal suits. If this is not done the FAO will be exposed incessantly to legal proceedings for any acts of commission or omission by any of its employees, offices or organizations at the headquarters or anywhere else in the world. This is the most undesirable con-tingency and the Council should very urgently and earnestly urge that the matter should be resolved quickly.

My delegation appreciates the generous hospitality which the Italian Government has offered to the FAO. We would appeal to them that the FAO should be given the legal protection which a guest de­serves from the host. They may consider by adopting suitable legislative measures or ordinancies to place the FAO above legal proceedings and get the present dispute resolved amicably. It is also for consideration that in future the FAO should deal only with the host government so that the contingency of legal proceedings with any individual party or non-governmental organization does not arise. For instance, if FAO wants any building, land, etc., on hire, it should get them from or through the governments concerned and the FAO should not enter into any agreement with private parties.

My delegation again appreciates the hospitality of the Government of Italy and appeals to them to assure the requisite legal and administration protection to the FAO which is important and necessary for its smooth and efficient functioning. It is logical, consistent and reasonable that the FAO should be treated at least on par with other specialized agencies of the United Nations in the matter of legal immunity and administrative facilities by host governments concerned.

S. HASAN AHMAD (Bangladesh): Having heard the Director General and the Chairman of the CCLM, for which I thank them, I can only say that my delegation feels extremely unhappy about the turn the events have taken in regard to the litigation FAO has been thrown into with the landlords of building F, which has directly contributed to the concern that we now have about FAO's immunity from the legal process. We feel very gravely concerned about the implications that such a denial of immunity may have for FAO. We can try, and hardly over-emphasize, the importance of immunity to such an Organization.

For me and for my delegation it is somewhat difficult to appreciate, without knowing, of course, a lot about international law, that FAO's immunity from litigation should be called into question in spite of the clear stipulation to that effect that there is, as we understand it, in the Head­quarters Agreement. However, without attempting to comment on a matter which perhaps continues to be subjudiee it now seems to be the most desirable course, particularly after recently quoted court decision, to make efforts with reinforced and renewed vigour to try to resolve the issue of litigation if possible outside the court with the active help of the host government. If I under­stood the delegate for Italy correcly I thought he also mentioned this means as the first of the two alternatives he has indicated as possible ways of solving the problem. We are pleased to see a continuing spirit of cooperation, understanding and sympathy on the part of the host government.

We also entirely agree with the Director-General that the principles of immunity to international organizations must be defended. In the urgent interest of safeguarding that immunity for FAO from the legal process in terms consistent with the Headquarters Agreement, as well as in keeping with general international practice, my delegation wholly endorses the recommendation of the CCLM that the Director-General begin urgent consultations on the necessary measures to be adopted by the host government in this connection.

As regards the other item, namely the Revision of the Statutes of the Advisory Committee on Marine Resources, my delegation supports the action taken by the Director-General on this issue and endorses the recommendations of the CCLM as contained in paragraphs 23 and 28 of document CL 82/5.

F. BREWSTER (Barbados): My delegation has studied the documents before us and considers the matter to be a very serious one indeed as it affects the immunity and premises of this organization. We are also very grateful to the Director-General for bringing us up to date on the difficulties which will occur following the decision of the court. The problem facing us is the decision of the highest judicial authority, the corte di cassazione that the Italian courts have jurisdiction in the dispute between this organization and the landlords. The far reaching implications of the court assuming jurisdiction in the dispute, and in many other cases of a similar nature, has called forth great concern from the Finance Committee as well as the CCLM. The Barbados delegation shares the concern of these committees at the implications of the judgement. Our understanding of the issue is that FAO is not maintaining that it is necessarily right with respect to these claims with the landlords. Its position is simply that the dispute should be determined by arbitration, taking into account FAO's independent status as an intergovernmental organization.

The Headquarters Agreement with the Italian Government sets this out very, very clearly in Section 16 which gives clear and unambiguous words which should also be given the literal meaning. My delega­tion feels that any denial of immunity or any retreat from its application in any way, interferes with the freedom and the independence of the Organization in carrying out its various inter govern­mental functions. I think, however, that the situation can still be amicably resolved. Indeed, the CCLM has drawn our attention to possible measures and I am very pleased to see that the Ita­lian delegate has been able to reassure us that his Government is willing to take into account measures which can resolve the situation. I am particularly pleased also that the Italian dele­gation indicates that this can be settled by legislation through the exchange of letters. I feel that tackling the problem in this way will give the necessary arrangement to FAO to secure its immunity for the future and also allow it to receive the treatment specifically envisaged in Section 16 of the Headquarters Agreement.

T. SADAKA (Liban)(langue originale arabe): Permettez-moi tout d'abord de rectifier ce qui a été dit par le délégué de l’Italie au sujet de ma déclaration précédente. Ma délégation n'a pas du tout dit que le Gouvernement italien a rejeté la requête de la FAO. Ce malentendu est probablement dû à la difficulté de l’interprétation parce que, au contraire, nous rendons hommage à l'attitude du Gouvernement italien à cet égard. Nous regrettons cependant les retards qui sont intervenus à propos des nouveaux bâtiments.

Pour ce qui est de la question qui nous préoccupe en ce moment et pour ce qui est du litige avec les propriétaires du bâtiment F qui réclament l'évacuation de la FAO et le paiement d'arriérés de l'augmentation du loyer pour 1972/1982, je ne veux pas entrer dans les détails quant au fond de la question, parce que les documents qui nous sont présentés exposent la question de façon parfaite­ment claire.

J'ai entendu la déclaration, parfaitement claire, également faite par le Directeur général et par les Comités compétents mais la chose la plus importante est de savoir si cet arrêt reconnaît l'immunité de la FAO ou non. L'Accord de siège est clair et explicite. Nous avons remarqué avec une certaine inquiétude les interprétations données parce qu'elles ont l'air de mettre en doute l'immunité dont devrait jouir cette Organisation, conformément à l'Accord de siège. De plus, les jugements rendus par les Tribunaux italiens affaibliraient le statut juridique de l'Organisation en Italie et pourraient également constituer un grave antécédent d'une portée très grande sur la FAO, les Représentations permanentes et les autres agences des Nations Unies se trouvant en Italie.

C'est pourquoi la délégation de mon pays approuve les rapports du Comité du Programme, du Comité financier et du CQCJ et tient à exprimer sa profonde inquiétude quant aux implications financières que cela pourrait avoir au cas où les tribunaux confirment le bien fondé de la demande de deguerpisse-ment et du paiement des arriérés. Nous appuyons pleinement le Directeur général pour ce qui est de l'attitude qu'il a adoptée, c'est-à-dire qu'il ne faut pas que l'Organisation accepte quel-qu'arrêt que ce soit par quelque tribunal italien incompatible avec l'Accord de siège. Nous demandons au Conseil d'appuyer cette attitude.

The meeting rose at 12.30 hours
La séance est levée à 12 h 30
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.30 horas

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