Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


9. Establishment of a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources
9. Création d'une Commission des ressources phytogénétiques
9. Establecimiento de una Comisión de Recursos Fitogenéticos

LEGAL COUNSEL: Thank you, Mr Chairman. The document before you is CL 85/7. I do not think I have to remind any members of the Council that this matter was discussed at very great length in the Conference, since no doubt most of you took part in the long debate.

The task before you now, as members of the Council, is to carry out the instructions which you have received from the supreme body of the Organization; that is to say from the Conference. These instructions are contained in Conference Resolution 9/83. That Resolution appears as Appendix A on page 5 of the English text of document CL 85/7. To summarize these instructions, I should mention that they were to establish a commission under paragraph 1 of Article VI of the Constitution that would be open to all Member Nations and Associate Members, and that this commission should have the terms of reference which were specified by the Conference in its Resolution. In addition, Mr Chairman, the Conference decided that this Commission, once established by the Council at this present session, should meet at the same time as the regular sessions of the Committee on Agriculture or when convened by the Director-General.

Mr Chairman, the Council now has before it a draft Resolution establishing the Commission. This draft Council Resolution appears on page 2 and the following pages of the English version of document CL 85/7. The Resolution contains the Statutes of the Commission that you would be establishing. Paragraphs 1-3 of the Statutes of the Commission reflect the decisions of the Conference that I have just summarized. The remaining paragraphs of the Statutes of the Commission, that is to say paragraphs 4-8, are standard provisions applicable to this kind of commission and they reflect exclusively the requirements which are contained in Part (R) of the Basic Texts as adopted by the Conference many years ago.

I think that is all I need to say at this stage, Mr Chairman. Thank you very much.

Mrs M. FENWICK (United States of America): I have a number of questions that I hope can be answered, and I am sure that there are other members of the Council who also will be interested and will be posing their own questions.

I would like to see the Financial Statement and the Administrative Statement of the Secretariat which is provided for under Rule 13.1 before we proceed. It seems to me we have a proposal here and the only reference that I can find would be on page 4 of CL 85/7 where it says, "The expenses of the Secretariat of the Commission shall be determined and paid by the Organization within the limits of the relevent appropriations in the approved budget of the Organization." That is not a financial statement in my training or a listing of administrative costs, and I think we are entitled to that before we proceed.

I have other questions. As I understand it now - perhaps I am not clear on this - the motion that we adopted yesterday, if I am correct, requests the Council at its next session - which is this - to establish an Intergovernmental Body on Plant Genetic Resources. Now does that replace Item 3? In other words, who is eligible here - all members of FAO or Member Nations of FAO, is that correct? Would that be then 156? As I understand it those members would be restricted to those Nations that show their desire to become members. Is an executive committee or a steering committee proposed here? Will different areas of the planet be assigned positions, and that is a very important consideration which has not been touched on in this document, or at least in the documents I have before me. I am sorry that a provision that would have allowed all of the Nations of the world to join, namely the USSR, the German Democratic Republic, Yellow Russia, the Ukraine, now will be excluded since they are not members of FAO as I understand it and perhaps that is a pity, but in any case I would like to see some answers to these questions and I am sure some of my colleagues will have others sharper and more to the point.

S.P. MUKERJI (India): In regard to Appendix A of this document CL 85/7 which enunciates the so-called Resolution which was reported to have been passed yesterday, Mr Chairman, my understanding has been that while the distinguished Chairman of Commission II was presenting the report of that Commission from the podium, he volunteered to suggest the removal of an omission by adding a few words in the Libyan resolution which was in paragraph 13 of the document C 83/REP/8 where the membership of an intergovernmental body was being indicated.

We suggested that in the clause indicating membership of that Resolution, the words "the Member Nations of the Organization interested in the Undertaking", that is, the words "interested in the Undertaking" should be included, whether or not they are members of the Committee.

Thereafter some observations are made by the Secretariat to indicate that some editorial changes will be made in the heading and in other clauses but my understanding was that, this substantive clause of membership, being limited to those who are interested in the Undertaking, will remain undisturbed.

It was a little surprising to my delegation in reading Appendix A to the present document CL 85/7 to see that the membership has made open to all Member Nations or associate members, without indicating that they should be interested in the Undertaking. I presume that this is an omission, and if so, I would request with all earnestness that this omission be remedied and the words "interested in the Undertaking" should be added in the appendix after the words "Associate Members".

M. ABDELHADI (Tunisie): Je tiens tout d'abord à exprimer mes chaleureuses félicitations au Directeur général pour la célérité dont il a fait preuve concernant la préparation et la présentation au Conseil du document soumis à notre examen. Le document paraît à* ma délégation satisfaisant puisqu'il se conforme, d'une part à la résolution 9/83 de la Conférence adoptée lors de la vingt-deuxième session et, d'autre part aux formes habituellement adoptées pour les commissions créées par la Conférence ou le Conseil en vertu de l'article VI de l'Acte constitutif.

En ce qui concerne la composition de la Commission ma délégation note avec satisfaction que la Commission serait composée de tous les Etats Membres et Membres associés de l'Organisation qui notifient au Directeur général le désir d'en faire partie.

Je souhaiterais peut-être que le projet de résolution, dans sa partie réservée à son mandat, mentionne avec plus de clarté et insiste sur la nécessité et l'importance de la coopération internationale en matière de phytogénétique.

Concernant la périodicité des sessions de la Commission ma délégation est d'accord, sur la proposition du texte, à savoir que la commission tient ses sessions à l'occasion des sessions ordinaires du COAG.

En tout état de cause la Tunisie appuie le document tel que présenté au Conseil.

A. ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (langue originale arabe): La délégation libanaise ne peut qu'appuyer ce que vient d'avancer M. le délégué tunisien au sujet de ce projet. Nous remercions M. le Directeur général pour tous les efforts qu'il a déployés afin de mettre au point la Résolution que nous tenons en ce moment entre nos mains.

P.S. McLEAN (United Kingdom): I listened very carefully to the introduction of Item 5 by the Legal Counsel and if I understood him correctly, he was telling us that the Resolution adopted by the Conference only yesterday, with its requirement requesting the Council to establish at its next session a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources was, in his view, a mandatory directive to this Council. You will understand, Mr Chairman, some of the difficulties which some of us find ourselves in. The amended Resolution passed by the Conference yesterday has not yet been transmitted to my authorities, let alone the Council Resolution before us.

The United Kingdom put a reserve on Resolution 9/83 of which I gave a brief explanation at the Conference. It was to the effect that, having been in the Commission of the Conference a member who, I believe, worked constructively to produce what I called a finely tuned package on this issue, we found ourselves unable at the late stage that the amendments were introduced in the Plenary, to go along with them. The questions posed by the United States delegate seem to us to be very pertinent, I believe that we should and do require a statement from the Secretariat on the question of the application of Financial Regulation XIII. The question of the Council's decision on the Resolution will, of course, depend on the debate, but I feel it right that I should indicate that my delegation, again for reasons that it gave yesterday, is not in a position to support the adoption of this Resolution at this session.

P. GOSSELIN (Canada): We have made our position clear on this item in the discussions in Commission II and in Conference, in the Plenary. We would like to support the position taken by the United Kingdom and the United States with respect to Rule XIII. We do not believe that the information provided in paragraph 6 is sufficiently detailed or explicit. We are aware that there is a small budget allocation for plant genetic resources in the Programme of Work and Budget. We are now wondering whether this is sufficient to cover this new activity and, if not, what other activities will be sacrificed as a result.

Our second point has to do with our concern that we have expressed time and time again and which is, I believe, shared by many members; and that the question of agency mandates and the possibility of overlaps. We are all aware that Unesco and UNEP as well as other UN bodies and also the International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources and the IBPGR all have mandates that touch upon the field of genetic research and conservation. We wonder what the mandates of these various organizations are and whether or not the mandate which is very general, that is being put forward for this Council, would or would not infringe on the work of these other bodies.

Finally, despite the fact that we have reserved generally on the issue, we would like some time to transmit the proposal that is before us to our Government and obtain some instructions.

M. HAMDOON (Iraq) (original language Arabic): The Iraqi delegation supports completely the draft Resolution which we have before us to set up a commission for plant genetic resources, as the Director-General presented to us in this paper. However, I did notice that there are some differences between the Draft Resolution as we adopted it yesterday and the present text which we have before us, particularly with reference to the statute, because if I refer back to the original text I read: "... to take or recommend measures that are necessary or desirable" whereas in the present text in paragraph (b) I read only "to recommend measures that are necessary or desirable". That is the Arabic text, of course, that I am referring to; I do not know what the French and English texts say. Perhaps it is an omission - but it does seem to me that the present wording is a considerable weakening of the original text.

A.R. PIRES (Cap-Vert): La délégation cap-verdienne voudrait tout simplement s'associer aux honorables délégués de la Tunisie et du Liban, pour appuyer le document CL 85/7 et le projet de résolution en annexe concernant la création d'une Commission des ressources phytogénétiques.

E.J. STONYER (New Zealand): I just want to add my support to one or two of the previous speakers and make it very clear from the start that New Zealand certainly is well and truly behind the gene bank proposal and the exchanges proposed. Unfortunately - and we say this with some regret - the Conference yesterday in a very few minutes produced a result with which we are having some difficulty now, particularly with regard to the financial implications and the commitment that we might be entering into.

I would just like to re-echo the thought of one or two of the previous speakers and request that before consideration I think we would expect, as stated in section (c) of the basic text 13.1, some sort of a statement of the financial commitments from the Director-General. Apart from that fact we have not discussed this and its implication of this proposal in our capitals, and we would want to do this before we carry it to any further stage.

Mrs M. RAVN (Norway): As the Legal Counsel said in his introduction, we worked on this issue for a very long time in the Conference to be able to reach a consensus on the future action in this very important area of plant genetic resources. However, we regret that what the Conference finally decided with regard to the intergovernmental body to be established was less satisfactory, in our opinion, than could otherwise have been the case, in that we think that the global aspect that has been the focus of our work has been lost. I think it is fair to say that we shall continue to work for a solution that in the end would make it possible for our global participation in this area.

With regard to the present Resolution, since we received it only this morning I have no possibility of discussing it with my authorities but I share the opinions expressed by other colleagues with regard to the extra costs involved and I would like to have clarification on that.

With regard to the proposal made by the delegate of India, I am a bit puzzled because when we changed the type of body that should be set up yesterday, we also at the same time changed the scope of the membership. Since this is no longer a sub-Committee on Agriculture which has a broader scope and where we could make the membership perhaps more the way we would like to, we have based ourselves on Article VI and in Article VI it says that this Commission shall be open to all Member States and associate members and my delegation cannot accept that we try to put a further curtailing on that membership. I think that is not in accordance with our Basic Texts. That is all I have to say at this point.

W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): My delegation, as most delegations will know, has lent its support to this discussion which did take place on the whole subject already at the COAG session, then at the last Council session and also during the deliberations at the Conference. We have also lent our support to the Libyan proposal namely to charge the Committee on Agriculture, particularly by the creation of a subsidiary body, with carrying out the important task which comprises the whole genetic plant issue. Then we suddenly were confronted with a different proposal and as fellow delegates may recall, my delegation could not lend its support yesterday at the Conference to that Resolution. We had to reserve our position. I do not like to start again to explain all the reasoning but one point is, of course, that the new text could not be presented yet to the government, we just received the written text this morning, so I have to state, regardless what the future position may be, that my delegation, in accordance with other speakers before me and sharing their views expressed, is not in the position to lend its support to the presented draft Resolution spelled out on Page 2 of document CL 85/7.

A. FEQUANT (France): Hier, la délégation française a réservé sa position à l'égard de la Résolution 9/83, parce que cette Résolution contenait un amendement adopté dans des conditions assez étranges, qui n'avait été distribué qu'au dernier moment et sans que nous ayons pu en référer à nos gouvernements, ce qui est quand même, dans une question aussi importante, une chose assez surprenante. Il en résulte logiquement que, comme les représentants des délégations des Etats-Unis, du Royaume-Uni, du Canada, de la Nouvelle-Zélande, de la Norvège, de la République fédérale d'Allemagne, nous nous trouvons aujourd'hui dans l'impossibilité de nous prononcer sur la proposition de résolution qui a été préparée pour le Conseil. Nous ne pouvons faire qu'une chose, c'est en référer à nos gouvernements, en leur expliquant exactement ce qui s'est passé hier et aujourd'hui.

F. DE MENEZES (Sao Tomé-et-Principe): Puisque c'est la première fois que nous prenons la parole, nous voudrions, si vous voulez bien, vous dire combien il est pour nous un honneur de vous voir comme Président indépendant de notre Conseil.

Dans le concert de ce point très important, la création d'une Commission de ressources phytogénétiques, la délégation de Sao Tomé-et-Principe voudrait s'associer à ce qui a été exprimé par les délégations de la Tunisie, du Liban, du Cap-Vert, de l'Irak, pour appuyer fermement la résolution telle quelle nous est présentée par le document CL 85/7.

M. FRANCISCI di BASCHI (Italie): M. le Président, je voudrais d'abord vous présenter mes félicitations les plus vives pour votre élection comme Président du Conseil.

Sur le texte de la résolution qui nous occupe, je dois exprimer mon regret que les pays non membres de l'Organisation aient été exclus de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques. Nous présentons en outre des réserves sur les aspects financiers de la résolution. Nous aimerions donc avoir des éclaircissements de la part du Directeur général du Secrétariat sur ce point.

J. TCHICAYA (Congo): Puisque je m'exprime pour la première fois au sein de ce Conseil, je voudrais avant tout, M. le Président, vous féliciter de votre élection à la présidence indépendante de notre Conseil. Nous espérons qu'avec vous les travaux des deux années à venir seront toujours couronnés de succès.

La délégation de mon pays tient également à exprimer au Directeur général et à son Secrétariat nos très vives félicitations pour la célérité avec laquelle ils ont présenté le document qui nous est soumis.

La délégation de mon pays pense qu'en tant qu'organe issu de la Conférence, nous devons nous mettre au pas et permettre aux directives qui ont été données par la Conférence de voir le jour. Nous pensons que le document qui nous est soumis répond parfaitement à l'esprit de la résolution qui a été adoptée au cours de la Conférence, et ne devait donc plus soulever de questions. Nous remarquons d'ailleurs que les délégations qui se sont opposées hier à l'adoption de cette résolution continuent à faire une sorte d'obstruction pour l'adoption de la résolution qui nous est soumise. Nous pensons qu'à la Conférence, l'esprit de démocratie a régné et nous croyons pour notre part que dès lors que cette résolution avait été adoptée, tous les pays devraient se soumettre et faire le travail que la Conférence a demandé au sein de ce Conseil.

Pour cette raison, les questions, certainement valables, qui ont été posées, pourront trouver des réponses, mais nous estimons pour notre part que dans la résolution qui nous est présentée, les aspects financiers ne pouvaient pas y figurer. Il n'y a aucune raison pour cela. Nous n'avons jamais présenté de résolution où figuraient les aspects financiers.

Nous estimons d'autre part que le paragraphe 7 de la résolution qui parle des observateurs associe presque tous les membres et les non-membres de la FAO aux travaux de cette Commission.

Pour toutes ces raisons, la délégation de mon pays estime que nous ne devrions avoir aucune difficulté pour approuver cette résolution.

G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): La Delegación de Colombia quiere expresar su reconocimiento al Sr. Director General de la FAO por la rapidez y la eficacia con que ha cumplido la voluntad de la Conferencia, que es el Organismo supremo de nuestra Organización.

Estamos dispuestos a continuar los debates, tan intensamente adelantados en la Conferencia, pero dentro de ese orden de ideas no podemos aceptar los comentarios desobligantes, injustificados y hasta denigrantes que han hecho algunos colegas sobre el contenido y la naturaleza de la enmienda de México aprobada democráticamente ayer por la Conferencia.

Creemos que la Delegación de México presto un gran servicio a la Conferencia y está cumpliéndolo en este Consejo. Se ha logrado con esa enmienda, una enmienda responsable, ordenada y razonable, se ha logrado, repito, que ya nos estemos ocupando de este asunto; de manera que ojalá no se sigan haciendo esta clase de comentarios que nosotros no podemos aceptar.

Desde luego, algunas de las preguntas que han hecho distinguidos colegas encabezados por la distinguidísima Embajadora de los Estados Unidos merecen toda nuestra atención, aunque no podamos compartirlos; pero nos indican que ellos siguen demostrando interés por esta cuestión y que con el transcurrir del tiempo van a terminar sumándose a nosotros en la implementación de las disposiciones adoptadas ya por la Conferencia.

Los colegas que han intervenido, que todos tienen gran experiencia en los mecanismos de nuestras actividades y en la manera como se adelantan nuestras reuniones, sin duda han utilizado en sus declaraciones, en sus preguntas apenas sofismas de distracción, porque, como lo acaba de decir mi distinguido colega, amigo y vecino el Embajador Tchicaya del Congo, todo está muy claro en los distintos aspectos del Proyecto de Resolución. Se cuestionó la composición; la composición aparece muy clara y acertadamente definida en el párrafo 1 del Proyecto de Resolución; será abierta a todos los Estados Miembros, no tendrá composición regional, es obvio que en un Proyecto de Resolución no se pueda entrar en detalles, y esto lo dijo el Embajador del Congo, pero cuando se reúna la Comisión por primera vez decidiremos, naturalmente, elegir un Presidente, Vicepresidentes, Órganos auxiliares si fuera necesario. De manera que no creemos que ahora sea el momento de entrar en estos detalles.

Sobre los gastos, esto es una obsesión de los colegas de países desarrollados, pero es prematuro también, ya lo dijo el Embajador del Congo. Yo jamás he visto en esta Organización que en un Proyecto de Resolución se deba decir que una reunión va a costar tantos dólares; no podemos saber cuánto cuesta una reunión en 1984, ni cuánto costará en 1985. El párrafo 6 debe asegurar y tranquilizar a los colegas de países desarrollados puesto que se dice allí que los gastos estarán dentro de las asignaciones que ya hemos aprobado para el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto, no habrá, pues, gastos adicionales, esto está claro, pero no creemos que desde ahora debamos decir que la reunión va a costar 50 ó 60 000 dólares.

Con respecto a la incorporación en estas actividades de países que no son miembros de la FAO pero que poseen disponibilidades esenciales para el tratamiento de esta cuestión también el Embajador del Congo se refirió al párrafo 7. Hay una clara disposición de la Conferencia sobre la manera cómo pueden participar en nuestros trabajos aquellos Estados que no son miembros de la FAO, de manera que todo está claro.

Yo quisiera solamente rogar a los distinguidos colegas que insisten en sus reservas que, como ellos lo han manifestado, y tienen pleno derecho, transmitan este Proyecto de Resolución a sus Gobiernos, se tomen su tiempo y, como dijo la distinguida representante de Noruega, compartan con nosotros, y esto lo debemos incluir en nuestro informe, compartan con nosotros el deseo de que la participación en estas actividades sea lo más amplia y representativa posible., Nosotros creemos, estamos seguros de que aquellos colegas representantes de países muy respetables, países que nosotros admiramos y por los cuales tenemos real simpatía, terminarán acompañándonos en estas actividades y terminarán convencidos de que estamos empeñados en dar a esto un marco que tenga demostrada bondad jurídica, bondad técnica y profundo sentido democrático y humanitario.

E.P. ALLEYNE (Trinidad and Tobago): First, as a new Member of the Council - and for this election we are most grateful - may I congratulate you, Sir, on your re-election as our Independent Chairman.

The delegation of Trinidad and Tobago wishes to indicate quite clearly that we firmly support the idea of a gene bank. We firmly support the need for some kind of appropriate body or the proposed commission or mechanism. We had some flexibility in our thoughts yesterday for overviewing this task. But we have some problems. We have problems with the fact that a number of countries have found themselves in a position in which they must make reservations at this time, and we feel that given the spirit of what we are attempting we should not be indisposed to giving some consideration to the reasons which they have indicated.

We are also concerned with the fact that some important geographical areas are unable to participate under the present arrangements.

We would make it quite clear that our problem is not with Article VI and the funding at this point in time, but we are to all intents and purposes seeking a global and an international undertaking, and we participated in that Contact Group that - I do not want to say suffered, but sat for 13 hours on Saturday. So we are quite serious and we understand some of the issues which are at stake.

We consider the matter to be urgent. We know that we need to move in a hurry. The preservation of plant genetic material is truly critical. But we feel that we should aim at achieving the kind of action which is in the best interests of the global community.

A. NAGA (Japan): First I would like on behalf of my delegation to congratulate you, Mr Chairman, on your re-election as Independent Chairman.

With regard to this item, my delegation would like to associate itself with other delegations such as the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Germany and France. My delegation is not in a position to support the Draft Resolution concerning the establishment of a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.

M. AHMAD (Pakistan): Mr Chairman, since I am taking the floor for the first time let me congratulate you most warmly and most sincerely on your re-election as our Independent Chairman. We are also grateful to the Council for reposing confidence in us in electing us once again as Members of the Programme Committee.

We are quite happy and we thank the Secretariat for producing this paper in an extreme hurry and with speed.

We are entirely in agreement with this Resolution, based as it is on the Resolution that was passed by the Conference. As regards the point made by some delegations, regarding expenses, I think the Resolution is quite clear in paragraph 6, that it will be held within the limits as may have been approved as part of the relevant appropriations of the approved budget.

There are two points that I want to add about this Resolution. It says that a Commission will be set up. It had to be so if it is to be set up under Article 6, paragraph 1, of the Constitution of the Organization. Much as we want that it should have a global character, much as we want that this intergovernmental body should be restricted to those States interested in the Undertaking, we share the sentiments of the Mexican delegation when they said it was a matter of urgency and to resolve that problem this amendment was made in the Resolution which was adopted by the Conference. But at the same time the Conference also approved the Resolution when they approved the Undertaking to the effect that the Conference endorses the Director-General's proposal for the establishment as soon as possible within the framework of FAO of an Intergovernmental Committee or other body on plant genetic resources which will be open to all States interested in the Undertaking. That still stands, and we thought that this Commission was an interim arrangement to be followed as soon as possible, because that was also a Resolution passed by the Conference, that an Intergovernmental Committee would be set up which would give a global character and bring within its fold those States which show interest in this Undertaking. So this Resolution that we are going to approve is a Resolution which is an interim arrangment which takes note of the sense of urgency expressed by the Mexican delegation and endorsed by the Conference when they passed this Resolution yesterday.

M. TATIETA (Haute-Volta): Ma delegation voudrait s'associer à celles qui l'ont précédée pour présenter ses vives félicitations au Président indépendant du Conseil pour sa réélection.

La délégation de mon pays, comme un grand nombre d'autres, appuie la création d'une commission des ressources phytogénétiques.

Concernant l'opportunité et le bien-fondé de cette création, ma délégation appuie les arguments fort pertinents développés par l'Ambassadeur du Congo qui ne souffrent aucune confutation. Nous restons donc convaincus que l'accélération de la mise en place de cette commission apportera d'énormes progrès à l'humanité et plus de justice dans l'utilisation des ressources phytogénétiques.

Sra. Doña A. CAVERO MONCANUT (España): Quiero empezar por felicitarle a usted, Sr. Presidente, por su reelección.

Agradecemos al Director General y a la Secretaría la rápida preparación de este documento. Mi Delegación apoya el documento CL 85/7, pero se reserva el derecho a volver a intervenir de nuevo si lo considera oportuno.

L. ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Queremos unirnos a la felicitación que usted, Sr. Presidente, ha recibido hoy por haber sido electo para presidir el Consejo de la FAO.

Creemos también que este tema, que se inició en el Comité de Agricultura pasado con una discusión que no tuvo fin, porque esa discusión no pudo finalizar, hubo que hacer un compromiso, un compromiso ante la situación de inexplicable incomprensión de algunos países, inexplicable para nosotros pero muy explicable para ellos que son los poseedores de recursos que son del Tercer Mundo.

Digo esto, Sr. Presidente, y pido que me disculpen si me expreso un poco extensamente, y no brevemente como lo han hecho los distinguidos Delegados que me han precedido en el uso de la palabra al apoyar esto, porque creo que es necesario llevar al centro de esta discusión los objetivos del trabajo sobre germoplasma y fitogénesis que están realmente recogidos en el compromiso.

Esto fue bien trabajado, intensamente trabajado por todos. Nos parece que todo lo que se quiera malinterpretar sobre la palabra "interesados" está claro, "interesados en que los recursos fito-genéticos y estén realmente conscientes de la necesidad de participar en el Compromiso Internacional" y estén en condiciones de ayudar al Tercer Mundo, de reconocer que el Tercer Mundo es poseedor de los recursos y que ha abierto su utilización, pero que quiere hacerlo dentro de un orden y que ha escogido para ese orden a la FAO, ha escogido ese orden dentro de un Compromiso porque hasta ahora,

tenemos que decir que realmente estos recursos no pertenecen al Tercer Mundo aunque son de él, están en manos de las grandes empresas transnacionales privadas que son las que manipulan esto y nosotros tenemos ejemplo práctico que lo expusimos en la reunion del Comité de Agricultura, que no es de libre disposición; nosotros podemos probar con fechas cuándo no se ha permitido tanto a nosotros como a muchos países que esta libre disposición no funcione. No queríamos caer en esta discusión porque pensábamos que esto ya estaba cerrado después de los debates tan largos que habíamos tenido y que ahora era una cuestión simple de reconocer que México sólo ha tratado de adelantar esta discusión y que por los mecanismos X hay que crear una Comisión.

Para adelantar, no creemos, y repito no creo que los que estén de acuerdo en discutir, y tal como lo han expresado en la discusión precedente, ahora se reserven, a no ser por razones políticas, no entiendo otras razones a estas alturas. Creemos sinceramente que la FAO ha demostrado que su mecanismo es eficiente al presentarnos esta Resolución que es un mandato de la Conferencia y que nosotros, al igual que la mayoría que se ha expresado en este Consejo, apoyamos plenamente.

S. PADMANAGARA (Indonesia): Mr Chairman, may I first of all congratulate you on your re-election.

The Indonesian delegation would like to state its position without referring to other delegations. In 1981, when the Twenty-first Conference adopted a Resolution concerning the Plant Genetic Resources, we supported that Resolution with all the consequences attached to supporting a resolution, and at that time were looking forward to the time when the ideas contained in that Resolution would become a reality.

During the Twenty-second Conference, all the way we have supported all activities leading to the realization of that idea, and today we are on the doorstep of entering an era where plant genetic resources will be fully directed towards the welfare of mankind. In this Resolution, I could not find anything to prevent me from not supporting this Resolution, and therefore, consequently we fully support the Draft Resolution for the Establishment of a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.

A. PINOARGOTE CEVALLOS (Ecuador): En primer lugar, señor Presidente, deseo felicitarle y, por qué no decirlo, a la Conferencia y al Consejo por esta acertada reelección.

En lo que respecta al documento elaborado, nuestra delegación considera que recoge fielmente, en el aspecto político, la voluntad mayoritaria de la Conferencia y, desde el punto de vista jurídico, luce evidentemente impecable como instrumento idóneo a efectos de realizar esa voluntad de la Conferencia.

Compartimos sólo como un incidente informativo secundario el planteamiento efectuado por ciertas delegaciones en relación a la cuestión financiera, pero únicamente en esa categoría de asunto informativo secundario, porque la reconocida capacidad del Director General permitirá a no dudarlo una aplicación correcta de la resolución en el orden financiero y administrativo. For consiguiente, señor Presidente, la delegación del Ecuador cree que debemos aprobar la resolución.

Sra. Dña E. HERAZO DE VITI (Panamá): Antes de todo permítame felicitarle por su reelección ante este Consejo, señor Presidente, Deseo asimismo felicitar al Director General por la prontitud demostrada en el cumplimiento de la Resolución 9/83, sobre el Establecimiento de una Comisión de Recursos Fitogenéticos. Nos unimos a las palabras de apoyo a la Resolución de las delegaciones que nos han precedido, en especial a lo expresado por nuestros colegas y amigos los Embajadores de Colombia y Cuba.

M.A. MEDANI (Sudan) (original language Arabic): Allow me, Mr Chairman, at the outset to congratulate you once more on behalf of Sudan on your re-election as Chairman of the Council. We are confident that you will guide the deliberations of the Council with ability and efficiency.

Referring now to the Resolution under discussion 9/83, I would like to say that this issue has been deliberated upon in depth yesterday, and the Conference decided to establish a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. Some countries expressed reservations in this regard. I personally see that the Council is one of the organs of the Organization, and I feel that the Council has no prerogative to discuss the Resolutions passed by the Conference or to reject them, even if the Resolution passed by the Conference is not correct or is difficult to implement. Therefore, I request the Director-General to talk to us openly and frankly and to tell us whether there are any financial constraints that stand in the way of the implementation of such a Resolution or not, and if the reply is negative, we have to embark at once on the establishment of this Commission, and if the reply is positive, we have to refer this issue once more to the Conference.

I personally do not see any solution other than these two options.

S. OKWAKOL (Uganda): I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating you, Mr Chairman, on being re-elected as an Independent Chairman and I should like also to thank the Secretariat for expediting the printing of this document before us.

Now, I have taken part in the discussions of this item in Commission II. I am obliged to reiterate my delegation's stand of fully endorsing the Resolution before us. My delegation is at a loss as to why these financial issues were not raised in the Commission and even in the Conference itself.

Mr. Chairman, once more we support the Resolution, and I would like to thank you very much.

J.R. LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (México): En primer lugar, señor Presidente, deseo expresar en nombre de mi delegación, nuestra cordial bienvenida por su reelección y por verle de nuevo con nosotros presidiendo nuestro Consejo. Deseamos también agradecer y felicitar al Director General y a la Secretarla de la FAO por el extraordinario esfuerzo que han hecho al presentarnos este documento, documento que consideramos completo, suficiente, comprensivo de todas las cuestiones que ayer se trataron y, por tanto, que recoge fielmente el mandato que la Conferencia, órgano supremo de la FAO, indica y solicita al Consejo de nuestra Organización.

Pensamos, señor Presidente, que esta Resolución es una Resolución importante dentro de nuestros trabajos, nos va a permitir contar con un incremento de trabajo en torno a una de las cuestiones que se ha reconocido son fundamentales para nuestros países, y aun para avanzar hacia una seguridad alimentaria. Creo que todos reconocemos la transcedencia de los recursos fitogeneticos y su utilidad para hacer esfuerzos importantes en materia de productividad y para hacer salir de su postración a tantos países que desgraciadamente no pueden satisfacer sus necesidades alimentarias y, principalmente a aquellas zonas deprimidas de nuestros países que careciendo de insumos y de capital requieren estos esfuerzos de productividad que vemos principalmente desarrollables a través de los recursos fitogeneticos.

Nuestra delegación destaca que la creación de una Comisión, que es un instrumento más elevado, más importante, va a la altura de las peticiones, de la transcendencia que hemos reconocido y debe tener el manejo y la política de los recursos fitogeneticos. Nuestros países, los países en desarrollo, son los principales donantes y aportadores del germoplasma y lo otorgamos de manera libre y gratuita. Por otra parte, señor Presidente, todos lo reconocemos, no es malo, así es, se han hecho negocios multimillonarios con los recursos fitogeneticos. No queremos competir con ellos, no vamos a quitar a nadie su interés comercial; solicitamos tan sólo el recibir parte de esos beneficios y parte de esos beneficios es hacer conciencia de ese problema y de la enorme potencialidad que tiene el recurso fitogenético para nuestras zonas, principalmente la de temporal y quizá para llevar a cabo una revolución verde en nuestras áreas de secano en las que aún ahora se ven dramáticamente afectadas por diversas condiciones. Ojalá se pudieran aplicar los recursos fitogeneticos en lugar de tener que importar crecientes cantidades de plaguicidas o fertilizantes o de otros insumos. El paquete tecnológico que acompaña a los recursos podríamos determinarlo de mejor manera. ¿Porqué no buscarlo por ahí? Quizá sea más barato hacer un esfuerzo de productividad por la vía de la introducción de nuevas variedades apropiadas a nuestros climas. Nosotros estamos seguros que esta Comisión va a hacer un esfuerzo importante en ese sentido. Me parece, por tanto, increible que alguien pretenda obstaculizar este instrumento de trabajo que a todos nos va a beneficiar. Resulta increible que cuando se está destinando tanta cantidad de recursos para la guerra y la destrucción, que algo tan sencillo, que algo tan verdaderamente irrisorio, pueda ser discutido y en todo caso, la propia Resolución describe perfectamente bien, y el Sr. West lo ha dicho en otras ocasiones cuando debatíamos los trabajos, que eso era perfectamente financiable por parte de la FAO. No creo por otra parte, que se vayan a destruir o desmantelar importantes acciones para tener que cubrir los gastos de la Comisión.

Se destaca aquí en el párrafo 6, sobre los gastos y la forma en que se podrían cubrir eventualmente y en el futuro, y la FAO sin duda rendirá con detalle la forma en que se financiará esto y la manera en que afectará a posibles partidas. Pero queremos que todos los países aquí reconozcamos la importancia que le hemos dado a este instrumento; la importancia que le hemos dado a este tema, las implicaciones absolutas determinantes que tienen en la seguridad alimentaria en el futuro de nuestros países, particularmente en los países en desarrollo. Que reconozcamos también que nosotros somos los principales donadores de manera libre y gratuita de este germoplasma y que de alguna manera esperamos una retribución por ello. No competimos sus intereses comerciales, sino que se trata de recibir el beneficio de la información, el beneficio de la capacitación, el beneficio de los programas de investigación adecuado a nuestras necesidades y la creación y la capacidad nacional para determinar esas prioridades.

Creo que esto va a hacer la Comisión y, en ese sentido, creemos que es totalmente inocua; es decir no va a causar mayor problema. Que no teman los países desarrollados que esto va a obstaculizar sus esfuerzos, sus intereses, el propio sistema existente. Digo esto porque me parece que estamos desbalanceando toda la discusión cuando estamos poniendo en tela de juicio algo que en primer lugar fue determinado en el día de ayer por parte de la Conferencia y que es un instrumento de ayuda a todos los países del mundo para desarrollar un tema que consideramos vital para alcanzar futuros niveles de seguridad alimentaria.

Hay otra cuestión, señor Presidente, que quisiera destacar. La Comisión que está proponiéndose establecer, ciertamente es un órgano que no podrá contener de manera igual a todos los países del mundo, por lo menos a aquellos Estados que no sean miembros de la FAO; pero como se manifiesta en el Artículo 7, podrán estar presentes como observadores y si están interesados en participar, quizá en la próxima Conferencia pueda resolverse el integrar un grupo intergubernamental dondo se le dé apertura a todos los países, sin esperar a que pasen dos, tres, cuatro años para empezar a trabajar. Creo que lo podemos hacer desde ahora y que muchos países se convencerán de la bondad, de la utilidad de los trabajos y de la utilidad de nuestros propósitos. Así, señor Presidente, en un futuro dar cabida a todos los países del mundo. La propuesta que ayer fue aceptada tenía un propósito de mayor flexibilidad de trabajo más oportuno, de trabajo más útil y a mayor nivel para tratar esos asuntos que creemos deben merecer ese tratamiento.

Esto es básicamente, señor Presidente, lo que yo quería mencionar. Dejé para el final una cuestión que ya ha sido comentada por otras delegaciones y que es la relativa a la inclusión, como yo suponía se iba a hacer de esas palabras, destacando el interés en el Compromiso por parte de los Estados y que no tiene, todos lo reconocemos y el Sr. Asesor legal lo ha manifestado, no tiene una implicación legal en el sentido de prohibir a los países poder estar presentes; solamente es una indicación, un recordatorio de tipo moral que conlleva a una reflexión muy obvia. Aquéllos que no estén de acuerdo con el Compromiso ¿cómo van a estar de acuerdo en una discusión, en una Comisión con la cual no están de acuerdo? Sobre unas bases en que no han estado de acuerdo, ¿en qué términos se podrán discutir? ¿Quizá los países que sí han aceptado el Compromiso verán con malos ojos a los que no han aceptado el Compromiso? Porque pienso que están a dos niveles distintos y pensarán también que se trata de sabotear.

Por tanto, señor Presidente, la inclusión de esas palabras es un asunto de tipo moral, no tiene el efecto de excluir a ningún país, al contrario, los invita a aceptar un Compromiso que es inocuo, que es aceptado en términos generales y que creo va en beneficio de todos y ojalá lo reconozcamos.

Perdóneme señor Presidente, por el tiempo tomado.

Ms. A SALGADO SANTOS (Brazil): Thank you, Mr Chairman. First of all I would like to congratulate you on your re-election as Independent Chairman of the Council. I would also like to thank you very much for your kind words on behalf of our dear friend and colleague Minister Arrhenius de Freitas. I would like to congratulate the Director-General for the expediency of presenting the excellent document before us for discussion.

As to the establishment of a Commission on Plant Genetic Resources my delegation would like to express its full support for the Draft Resolution as presented in document CL 85/7.

R. RAHMAN (Bangladesh): We join our voice in the congratulations that have been paid to you on your re-election as the Chairman of this Council.

We would simply like to state that Bangladesh fully supports and endorses the Draft Resolution that is now before us. Some important points have been raised - objections - which have some degree of validity, but in the course of the discussions that we have heard this morning and throughout the Commissions' deliberations, many of these points have been referred to and answered. They in fact relate to three things as far as we can see. The first is with regard to the timing of the submission of this Draft Resolution and the lack of time to receive proper instructions. While this is a valid point, this Draft Resolution has come in the wake of long deliberations both in the Conference and in the Commissions, and the objections that have been made to it are not going to be so easily removed. But the objective and the urgency for the establishment of this body and means for genetic resources cannot brook delay. It is our hope that by making the beginning, some approaches can be made in overcoming those objections that have been voiced.

Secondly, with regard to the financial implications, it has rightly been pointed out that the limits have been set within the approved budget that has been approved by the Conference.

Finally, with regard to the size of the commission that is to be established, in reflects the current reality, it also reflects the desire to invite universality, and it is our hope that as time goes by the participation on this matter, which is of global concern, will indeed be universal.

With these reservations our delegation will vote in favour of the Draft Resolution.

DATO KAMARUDDIN ARIFF (Malaysia): Mr Chairman, I would like to congratulate you on your re-election to this high office.

Regarding the Resolution before us, after following the discussion carefully my delegation feels that the Resolution contains provisions which allow the Commission to be universal in character, and we therefore would like to give our support to the Resolution.

F.G. POULIDES (Cyprus): The delegate of Sudan said exactly, a few minutes ago, what I had wished to ask you, namely whether the Council is entitled to discuss a mandate given by the Conference, the supreme body of this Organization. I understand quite well the concessions and the spirit of the concessions, but I would like to clarify this point. Have we to understand that only financial constraints might justify the non-implementation or the possible delay of an implementation? I would kindly request you if possible to clarify this point so that we know where we stand.

In conclusion, however, the Cyprus delegation considers the Resolution of the Council in conformity with the mandate given by the Conference.

S.P. MUKERJI (India): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman for giving me another opportunity to make India's poisition clear.

India supports in principle and wholeheartedly the global and international cooperation in conservation, preservation and development of plant genetic resources. We also support the important role which FAO has to play in this regard and we also support that FAO should be given enough resources to handle this important task.

Mr Chairman, we also note that governments will be requested to indicate to the Director-General the extent to which they will participate in the International Undertaking. We sincerely hope that for the success of the Undertaking there will be universal acceptance of the Undertaking, with any links considered necessary with other established organizations and bodies, and that that will happen in the near future with flexibilities in detail.

My government would like to examine the formation of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, its composition, its terms of reference in the form which has been presented today in CL 85/7 read with Appendix A, as a part of the overall examination of the whole matter in pursuance of paragraph 3 of the document C 83/REP/8 accepted yesterday in the plenary session.

Mrs. M. FENWICK (United States of America): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, and I did want to congratulate you too. I got excited and forgot at the beginning.'

But I think all of us who have been listening and who heard today particularly the remarks of the distinguished representative from Mexico, understand the seriousness and share the concerns that he has expressed concerning the importance of free exchange of plant genetic material and information, and to be indifferent to such concerns would show, it seems to me, a complete lack of understanding of what faces the world. In fact my government has heartily supported both the CGIAR and IBPGR which have been involved in the exchange of this kind of information and material for some time. We have done it; we intend to continue; those are fine organizations.

What we are expressing here is something almost as important. An appeal was made to the democratic spirit, and I would like to say I have spent almost fifty years in democratically elected government bodies, in my Nation - State, County, Local and finally in Washington - and there is a principle that must be observed if the affairs of men are going to be conducted in a fair and satisfactory way. There has to be some regard for the rules and regulations that govern those bodies, and regardless of what the Conference does, we in this Council are bound by Regulation XIII. It will not benefit any country in this world if we continue to ride over that which has been agreed upon, which is written down, which are the terms of our work. You run danger when you say the Conference can override. It cannot, because it says here quite clearly, "Before taking any decision involving expenditures the Council or any commission or committee appointed by the Council or the Conference shall have before it a report from the Director-General on the administrative and financial implications of the proposal." Now that is the regulation under which this Council acts. Are we going to be a lawful and orderly Body or not, and it is a principle; it is not unimportant. I am not obsessed with expenditures and I don't think the gentlemen - or maybe there were some women in there but I doubt it - who wrote this Regulation - but I doubt that the people who wrote it were obsessed with expenditures. What we are obsessed with is orderly procedure. What kind of a world are we going to have? I could go on. What if the Secretariat has to operate within limits, as is mildly suggested by paragraph 6? What are we going to cut off? We have already voted our Programme and Budget which we wholeheartedly supported. We cannot go on like this. The world is dangerous enough as it is and certainly I think we have to have a rule where people are subject to the conditions under which they took their places.

P.S. McLEAN (United Kingdom): I apologize for asking for the floor for a second time and, indeed, after listening to the statement by my distinguished neighbour, it is almost unnecessary. But I feel I must place on record that nothing I have said or may say on this issue should in any way be interpreted as denying the importance of plant genetic resources or an undertaking thereon for the work which we, as representatives of FAO, are here to promote in FAO. It is primarily the procedural question which concerns me and my wish for good order in the Organization, as my distinguished American colleague has said. The general understanding that, I believe, was reached in the Commission of the Conference was that in order to deal with what was regarded as essentially a technical matter, it would be appropriate to set up a sub-committee of the COAG after the Director-General had undertaken certain inquiries and procedures. The procedure by which this was changed to become a commitment is what, in my view, was highly questionable.

Let me draw the attention of the Council to a Resolution that was passed only four years ago at the Twentieth Session of the Conference, Resolution 12/79 which sets out quite clearly the procedures to be followed in connection with the establishment of new bodies under Articles VI, XIV or XV. I shall not read the provisions but it makes it absolutely clear that any such proposal should be accompanied by a document prepared by the Director-General setting forth certain questions to be answered, such as the objectives, the manner in which it will operate and particularly the financial implications of the establishment of that body for the current biennium, as well as a forecast of the financial implications for future biennia. It further requires that before approving or authorizing the establishment of any body under these articles, under Article VI, the Conference or if appropriate the Council, should consider the document referred to in paragraph 1 above.

It is the procedural side that I find questionable and the fact that we are being rushed into something without full details of what we are commiting ourselves to.. It is therefore that I find that I cannot accept the insinuations made this morning by some delegates on the motives of delegations like my own which cannot support the Resolution as it stands.

G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Al principio de las dos declaraciones recientes, nos habíamos entusiasmado un poco, tal vez con exceso de optimismo, porque creíamos que aquellos colegas que han expresado reservas sobre este tema se iban ahora a obsesionar por acompañarnos en la implementa-ción de las disposiciones de la Conferencia.

Sin embargo, nos parece grave y delicado que una delegación, la última que ha intervenido, trate ahora de impugnar un procedimiento, una decisión adoptada por la Conferencia integrada por 156 Estados Miembros, y que es el organismo máximo, y por lo tanto respetable y superior. Nosotros creemos que realmente no se ha adoptado una posición noble y generosa frente a la derrota democrática sufrida ayer.

Creemos que quienes perdieron en ese voto democrático, siguen obsesionados, repetimos, obsesionados, lamentablemente obsesionados en esgrimir sofismas de distracción y adoptar tácticas obstruccionistas.

Estamos agradecidos a la distinguida Embajadora de Estados Unidos quien nos leyó el Artículo 13 del Reglamento Financiero y que habla muy bien de las consecuencias financieras. Pues no va a haber consecuencias financieras; no va a haber costos adicionales. Esto lo dice el párrafo 6. Todo se va a hacer dentro de las asignaciones del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto que fue aprobado no sólo por los Estados Unidos sino por unanimidad, por todos los Miembros de la Conferencia.

Ahora el colega del Reino Unido habla de la forma y de los objetivos. Todo eso está contenido en la primera parte del Proyecto de Resolución que se presenta a la consideración del Consejo, y en el Apéndice A, donde aparece la Resolución que presentó el Gobierno de Libia y que fue aprobado por la Conferencia.

De manera que no es aceptable que volvamos hacia atrás. Yo creo que a través de este debate, el Consejo ha demostrado que la gran mayoría de sus Miembros está en favor de este Proyecto de Resolución. Atribuímos algún mérito a ciertas observaciones que se han hecho aquí y que deben recogerse en la parte del Informe sobre este debate, como la amplia participación que propugnan los países nórdicos, la necesidad de evitar duplicaciones con otros órganos; todo eso puede recogerse en el Informe, pero la Resolución debe ser aprobada.

H. CARANDANG (Philippines): First of all we would like to congratulate you, Mr Chairman, on your re-election as Independent Chairman of this Council. We believe that nobody more than you understands the importance of the issue we are talking about, especially the importance of genetic resources with which you have worked for so long all your life.

The Philippines delegation concurs with the objective of the Undertaking to ensure that plant genetic resources and agricultural inputs will be explored, preserved and evaluated, and made available for plant breeding for the benefit of all mankind for the present and the future. The Philippine Government acknowledges the importance of an arrangement by which genetic resources would be made available for the creation of high-yielding varieties which is of such great importance for the increase in food production for food security in encouraging food for mankind and to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. We also believe in the urgency of moving forward to take further steps so that the resources should be made available to all and that there should be a universality in the access of all these resources for mankind.

My Government, however, has not had time to examine the present Resolution now before us and would be very happy if it could examine the provisions in the Resolution that is before us today.

M. AHMAD (Pakistan): I associate myself with the observations made by the delegate of the United States when she referred to Rule 13.1 and I believe she was also supported in this by the delegate of the United Kingdom. It said that before taking any decision involving expenditure, the Council or any Commission or Committee appointed by the Council or the Conference shall have before it a report from the Director-General on the administrative and financial implications of the proposals. As regards the administrative ones, I think there is a proposal to have a Secretary; and as regards the financial implications, it has been stated very rightly in the Resolution itself that it should be held down to whatever has been approved as part of the relevant appropriations of the budget.

XIANG ZHONGYANG (China) (original language Chinese): I wish to congratulate you sincerely on your re-election as Chairman of the Council.

On the question of international cooperation on plant genetic resources, the Chinese Delegation made its position clear already at the Seventh Session of COAG as well as at the Twenty-second Session of the Conference. As for the draft resolution contained in Document CL 85/7 which we received only this morning, the Chinese Delegation is in a position to agree to it.

I.P. ALVARENGA (Observador de El Salvador): Sr. Presidente, disculpe que intervengamos en este punto prolongando un poco más el debate, pero hay una inquietud que nuestra Delegación no quisiera dejar de exponer.

Algunos Delegados se han referido a ella marginalmente, pero nosotros creemos que debió haber sido objeto de una atención más detenida por parte del Consejo; es lo siguiente: La Conferencia aprobó este tema que estamos tratando, aprobó dos Resoluciones; dos Resoluciones separadas que, aunque tengan una cierta diferencia entre ellas, son tan válidas la una como la otra y es indispensable armonizar lo que en ambas se dispone. Me voy a referir a esas dos Resoluciones llamándolas la número 1 y la número 2, por razones de comodidad.

La número 1 es la que estaba incluida en el informe de la Comisión que trató este tema y que fue aprobada por el Plenario. La número 2 fue la presentada por Libia, que es la que sirve de base a la presente discusión. Ahora bien, en la Resolución número 1 hay un párrafo claramente establecido, el número 2 de la parte resolutiva, donde se pide, donde se está mandando al Director General que invite a todos los Estados Miembros o no Miembros de la FAO que pertecenen a las Naciones Unidas, que pertenecen a los Organismos Especializados, etc. da, un mandato amplísimo para que el Director General les envíe el Proyecto de Compromiso y les pida que manifiesten si están interesados en el Compromiso y en qué medida están dispuestos a aplicarlo.

El párrafo 4o de esa misma Resolución habla de que se cree un Comité Intergubernamental, cito textualmente: "Comité Intergubernamental u otro órgano en el cual formarán parte todos los Estados interesados". O sea que no deja ninguna limitación.

El Artículo VI de la Constitución cuando habla de Comisiones, Comités, etc., no nos interesan los otros términos, señala que formarán parte de los mismos los Estados Miembros y los Estados Asociados. Podríamos preguntarnos ¿esa limitación de la Constitución es restrictiva, prohibe que en las Comisiones y Comités formen parte Miembros que no sean Estados Miembros o Asociados? La respuesta tiene que ser negativa; no es limitativa, por dos cosas: Primero, porque hay un principio univer-salmente sabido que lo que no es prohibido por la Ley está permitido; y segundo, porque tenemos ejemplos prácticos donde Comités creados a la luz del Artículo VI incluyen a Estados que no son los Estados Miembros o Estados Asociados: uno es el Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria; entonces, no vemos por qué a la luz de dos Resoluciones aprobadas por la Conferencia, a la luz de otros ejemplos que existen, no se puede desde este momento permitir la entrada en este Comité que se está creando de Estados que no sean Miembros de la FAO. Realmente no encontramos un motivo para la limitación; es más, creemos que se está dejando de lado la Resolución numero 1 de la Conferencia a la cual hemos hecho referencia.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL (Original language Arabic): His Excellency, the Ambassador of Iraq to FAO has drawn our attention to the fact that the Arabic text was not correct and after looking at the English text it appeared that the delegate of Iraq is right. So sub-paragraph 3(b) in the draft Resolution should be amended in order to bring it into line with the English text and I would like to ask the delegate of Iraq to accept our apologies for this.

Now there are administrative and financial questions which were raised and, Mr Chairman, I would like to ask you to give the floor to the Deputy Director-General to provide answers to these questions.

As far as the legal matters are concerned, which were also mentioned by some delegates, I would like to ask you, Mr Chairman, to give the floor to the Legal Counsel who will answer these questions.

DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Reference was made to Addendum 3 on page 203 of the Basic Text. In fact, a document was submitted to the Conference concerning the establishment of a subsidiary body to carry out the identical purposes of the one we are discussing now in C 83/25, paragraphs 172 to 175. Paragraph 175 referred specifically to the Secretariat and the financial implications for the Organization state "the main financial implications for the Organization could be the increased costs of interpretation and other facilities for the meetings". Then during the discussions of Commission II in this room I was questioned, or we were asked a question, at a point when the Commission was discussing the establishment of an inter-governmental group of some kind or another and I was specifically asked a question as to the financial implications of what was being proposed and I again described the position in the Programme of Work and Budget for the total activities in this area and stated again what was stated in paragraph 175 of the document. The Programme of Work and Budget sub-programme provides $724 thousand for genetic resource activities. I was asked what activities would be cancelled and I said some of the work elements in that provision would be adjusted to accommodate the cost of the meeting. I believe also that during the debate, Dr Bommer was asked for an estimate of the total costs and he gave it, including the amounts necessary to cover Secretariat interpretation and documentation services. The interpretation would be between $20 thousand and $30 thousand, depending on the precise timing of the meeting. The documentation would be between $10 thousand and $30 thousand, depending on the extent to which one would be able in the circumstances now before us to report in detail on the operation of the arrangements referred to in Article 7 of the Undertaking and to review all matters relating to activities, etc., in this field. At the first meeting or two they might be very slim documents costing less than I mentioned. Later it would depend on how active the Commission was, but I would say round about a minimum estimate would be $25 thousand and for the foreseeable future roughly double that or a bit more.

Now all this would be absorbed within the Programme of Work and Budget, first within sub-programme, if necessary within programme, and if the expenses were so great as to require a between chapter transfer the matter would have to be referred to the Finance Committee and the Council who would be also receiving reports on sessions of other committees which have been cancelled and those which have been substituted. So that the financial implications would be contained within the approved level of the Programme of Work and Budget and would be in effect minimal in comparison with the total funds for the genetic resources or for the general area of crops or for the body as a whole.

So to go back, the objectives of the proposed commission are exactly the same, the Terms of Reference are exactly the same as those which were envisaged in the document which was placed before the Conference and that document contained the description of the administrative and financial implications and all information was given to the Commission of further details of that information.

LEGAL COUNSEL: I think the main questions with legal implications that have been raised concern the membership of the Commission which the Conference has instructed the Council to establish. Article VI, paragraph 1 is very clear, it says Member Nations or Associate Members. The Commission therefore will be open to all Member Nations or, if there were any, Associate Members. The delegate of El Salvador suggested that it might be possible to extend the interpretation of these words to include non-Member Nations in the light of the discussions in the Conference. The question of non-Member Nations was also raised by the Ambassador of the United States. However, I am afraid that the more generous interpretation that El Salvador would like to introduce is not possible, because the Conference a number of years ago adopted a series of principles which apply inter alia, to commissions established under Article VI.

In Part R of the Basic Texts you will find a series of principles and procedures which govern conventions and agreements concluded under Articles XIV and XV of the Constitution, and Commissions and Committees established under Article VI of the Constitution. Paragraph 23 of those principles, and I will read it because it is only two lines and it is very clear, under the heading "Eligibility for Membership and Observer status" reads "Membership in the commissions and committees provided for in Article VI of the Constitution shall not be open to non-member nations of the Organization". That I think settles the matter rather clearly.

On the Other hand, for those who feel that certain non-Member Nations can make a contribution, all is not lost, in the sense that, as I think some delegates have already mentioned, non-Member Nations may be admitted as observers. That is also provided, elsewhere, in the Basic Texts. Thus, non-Member Nations may, on request, and with the approval of the Council, be admitted to attend meetings of such Commissions.

The other and perhaps more fundamental question raised in connection with membership of the Commission was the much debated one of whether membership could only be open to countries that expressed an interest in the undertaking. I think the mere fact that Article VI is the Article under which the Commission is going to be established settles that point clearly. The Commission is open to all Member Nations and the procedure which is always observed - and I think I explained this also to the Conference yesterday - is that those who are eligible indicate to the Director-General that they wish to become a member. This is a purely practical matter, since obviously when convening a Commission, it is necessary for the Secretariat to know which countries are going to come and want to participate in the proceedings.

Now the delegate of Mexico referred to the fact that there were certain moral considerations to be borne in mind by states that might consider participating in this body. If they did not support the undertaking they might consider, either that they should not become a member of, or that they were not interested in, a Commission which would be looking at work carried out pursuant to the undertaking and to the more general questions relating to FAO's work on plant genetic resources. I believe that this is the only consideration which is necessary. Thus, when a government which is eligible -and that means all Member Nations - to become a member of this Commission writes, or indicates in one way or the other its desire to become a member, it should bear in mind whether it has or has not, or the extent to which it has, supported the principles in the undertaking. But adherence to the undertaking cannot, and I repeat, cannot, be a condition for membership. All Member Nations are eligible. The discussions on this particular aspect will, of course, be set out in full in the Verbatim Records and could, if the Council so wishes, be reflected in its Report. That I think is all I have to say on the question of membership.

Other points which have a legal implication relate to Financial Regulation XIII which the delegate of the United States has invoked. I think I can clarify the rationale for that particular Financial Regulation. As you are aware, the Conference is the supreme body of the Organization and, in accordance with Rule XXIV of the General Rules of the Organization, the Council acts "on behalf of the Conference", between Conference sessions. The Conference will have adopted the Programme of Work and Budget and set its parameters . Therefore if in the meantime the Council wishes to make a decision which may have an effect on what the Conference has, shall we say, put under its stewardship, then, of course, the Council must be aware of what the decision might have in the way of financial implications.

I think the Deputy Director-General has answered in sufficient detail the question raised by the delegate of the United Kingdom on Conference Resolution 12/79 regarding the procedures which should precede the establishment of Article VI and other similar bodies.

The delegate of Pakistan, in his first intervention, raised the question whether the Article VI Commission was merely an interim measure. The only comment which I want to make on this is that, particularly in the light of the interventions of Mexico yesterday, the underlying intention is that the Commission be established on a continuing basis. But quite clearly what the Council has now created can be reviewed by the Council and also by the Conference at a later date, to see whether the Commission is, in fact, the most appropriate body and whether its work is being carried out to the satisfaction of the Organization's governing bodies.

I think those are the only legal points that require an answer at this juncture.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL: It seems to me that there was also another major question, namely whether the Resolution of the Conference was an instruction to the Council, or whether the Council can ignore it.

LEGAL COUNSEL: I only alluded to that point and, maybe, I should have placed greater emphasis on it. It is quite clear that the word "requests" in the Conference Resolution is, shall we say, a polite way of saying "instructs", just as very often some organ is "invited" to do something. This is merely traditional language that is used in resolutions of this kind. Quite clearly when the Conference requests the Council to do something, and in particular at its very next session, it is telling the Council to do something on its behalf. I think there can be no doubt on that.

The meeting rose at 13.15 hours
La seance est levée à 13 h 15
Se levanta la sesión a las 13.15 horas

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page