CHAIRMAN: I would like to congratulate the members who have been elected. It is a very important responsibility and I want to wish you all well.
a) Regular Programme 1982-83
a) Programme ordinaire, 1982-83
a) Programa Ordinario, 1982-83
b) UNDP 1982-83
b) PNUD, 1982-83
b) PNUD 1982-83
c) World Food Programme 1982-83
c) Programme alimentaire mondial, 1982-83
c) Programa Mundial de Alimentos 1982-83
D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): Under [General] Rule XXVII.1 the Finance Committee considers the audited accounts of the biennium. I will first deal with the Regular Programme accounts for 1982-83. Your attention is drawn to paragraphs 2.27 to 2.35 of the Fifty-fourth report. The Committee supported the External Auditor’s new approach to audits after consultation with the Director-General of FAO, which went beyond the audit of the accuracy and financial regularity of the accounts. The External Auditor’s intention to carry out a review of the monetary and evaluation systems applying to the Regular Programme in 1984-85 was endorsed by the Committee.
On the UNDP accounts, the Committee endorsed the recommendation of the External Auditor regarding the review of the projects referred to in his report and FAO’s arrangements for monitoring and evaluation of UNDP field projects.
On the WFP accounts the External Auditor’s report for 1982-83 was discussed at length. During two days of discussion the members sought and obtained both oral and written clarifications on a number of issues raised in the report of the External Auditor, the Director of Financial Services of the FAO, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, and the Internal Auditor of the FAO. Besides the official documentary information, a paper from the WFP Executive Director concerning some of the issues raised, particularly in the statement by the Director of Financial Services Division, was also circulated among members, with translations provided by FAO. The result of these deliberations was that all members endorsed the External Auditor’s report. On the propriety of including a representation only three members disagreed, while others had no objection to its inclusion and endorsed the principle of the representation.
Your attention is drawn to the Draft Conference Resolution in paragraph 2.44 of the document. This was unanimously adopted by the Committee and is now placed before the Council with recommendations for approval and submission to the Conference.
M. GIFFORD (Canada): Mr Chairman, first let me say that, as you yourself have noted, there have been extensive consultations among delegations trying to reach a resolution to this problem. Unfortunately, although we got very close to a solution we appear to be separated by just a few millimeters. I still have hope that at the end of this debate a resolution that is satisfactory to all parties will be possible. In making those introductory comments let me say that the comments that 1 now make will be moderate in tone, and, I hope constructive in content.
You will no doubt recall, Mr Chairman, that last week I had requested that certain documents be circulated for the information of delegations in order that Council members would have all the relevant information necessary to make an informal judgment as to the appropriateness of the draft resolution contained on page 21 of the Council document CL 86/6, which contains the report of the Fifty-fourth session of the Finance Committee. The request was reflecting the unanimous opinion of the Eighteenth session of the Committee on Food Aid that in the interests of ‘transparency and fairness’ the report of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Administration and Budgetary Questions, the ACABQ, and the comments of the Executive Director of the World Food Programme should also be before the Council and the Conference when examining the World Food Programme’s audited accounts for 1982-83. In addition, as Chairman,you will recall that 1 also asked that the Report of the Eighteenth session of the CFA and the comments of the Director-General be circulated. Why is
all this additional information necessary? Without getting into the details, suffice it to say that the representation on financial statements prepared by the FAO Secretariat, and which now forms an integral part of the accounts, could be construed by an uninformed reader as questioning the validity of the accounts. This erroneous impression is reinforced by the wording of the proposed resolution recommended by the Finance Committee. It is only when one reads the Report of the External Auditor, the Report of the ACABQ, and the comments of the External Auditor during the Eighteenth session of the CFA that it becomes clear that the validity of the accounts is not in question. What also becomes clear in reading these documents is that, as the Eighteenth session of theCFA concluded, it would have been preferable for the questions raised in the FAO representation to have been resolved internally through prior consultations with the World Food Programme. The fact that this was not done reflects, in the view of the External Auditor and the ACABQ, a symptom of deterioration in FAO/WFP relations.
Let me emphasize that the Canadian delegation does not, and I underline this, question the professional or personal integrity of any of those persons involved in the FAO Secretariat. It is always easy to say with the benefit of hindsight that this or that judgment should have been made differently. The only point that we would make is that in view of the comments made by the External Auditor, the ACABQ and the Eighteenth session of the CFA, this Council would not be discharging its responsibilities if it simply accepted the Finance Committee resolution as it is now drafted. Instead it is the view of the Canadian delegation that the draft resolution should be amended as follows. First, in the first paragraph, starting with the word ‘Noting’ the reference to the ACABQ and the Eighteenth CFA reports as well as references to the comments of the Executive Director and Director-General, should be included in this paragraph. We would suggest that the second paragraph, which starts with ‘Noting further’ be deleted completely.
CHAIRMAN: Perhaps the distinguished delegate of Canada would be good enough to repeat his amendment .
M. GIFFORD (Canada): In the third paragraph that starts ‘Noting the issues raised in the Representation of Financial Statements of the World Food Programme by the Director, Financial Services Division, and the External Auditor’s comments thereon,’ -here I would insert “reference to the ACABQ, the Eighteenth session of the Committee on Food Aid, the comments of the Executive Director of the World Food Programme and the Director-General of the FAO”. I would then propose that the next paragraph starting with the words ‘Noting further that’ be eliminated completely.
H. REDL (Austria): With regard to the draft conference resolution on the audited accounts, my delegation is of the opinion that the draft should be forwarded to the Conference in the form in which it is presented under paragraph 2.44. In so doing the Austrian delegation is prompted by the following considerations: first, the Finance Committee in its report of the Fifty-fourth session noted in paragraph 2.38 that concern was expressed with regard to the Representation of financial statements signed by the Director of the Financial Services Division and approved by the Director-General on five issues; secondly, the External Auditor had drawn the attention of the Finance Committee to the Representation of financial statements, and to his observations thereon and had qualified his audit opinion.
Thirdly, the Finance Committee in paragraph 2.39 generally endorsed the recommendations made by the External Auditor, and fourthly, the Finance Committee subsequently recommended - see paragraph 2.44 - that the Council submit to the Conference the text of the draft resolution referred to. We feel that if there is a consensus in this Council, we will not object.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): There are some disputes as to what should and what should not be put in this draft resolution. It is a very definite resolution and we should follow our basic texts in order to avoid confusion. The basic text should be our guide.
In the resolution, we are requested to note the Eighteenth CFA report, and to note the report of the ACABQ. I would have no difficulty in noting these, if the documents were before the Council, but the problem is that they are not. There was a notion that they should be before the Council but there were difficulties. The Eighteenth CFA report is not an agenda item, and according to our Rules, if we are to have an agenda item we must request its inclusion 60 days before the start of the Council so that appropriate documentation can be circulated to our governments. This Rule is not there for any abstruse reason; the obvious reason is that if an agenda item is to be put before the Council, the appropriate documentation should have been circulated and 60 days before that, the documentation should be going out to all delegations so that appropriate instructions can be issued to the delegations attending the Council.
I do not know whether I have anything for or against the ACABQ report or the CFA report. I have no opinion regarding them because I have not been sent the ACABQ report, so how can I note it? It is not before the Council, only the substance of these two reports, on which I do not pass judgement. It is difficult for us to put that in a resolution because that is against the facts. I am sorry, but I do not think it possible to ask Council to note something which is not before it.
With regard to the documentation before the Council, we should be governed by the Basic Texts. In the Basic Texts we have a rule that audit should be presented to the Council according to instructions given by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee has given very precise instructions, and therefore, the audit is presented in that way to this Council. For all these reasons, I find difficulty with the amendments proposed by previous delegations to note these reports.
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of) (Original language Arabic): I have three points to make in fact. Firstly, this draft resolution presented under paragraph 2.44 is a draft resolution recommended for adoption by the Finance Committee. This was a unanimous decision. No member of the Finance Committee objected to that draft resolution. It included the delegations of Canada, Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany and others. This Finance Committee was appointed by this Council and I think that its decisions should be respected, given that our august assembly has appointed its members. This is my first point.
My second point is the following: in fact I am wondering about the steps taken by the Canadian delegation, because in a very short period the distinguished delegate of Canada has changed his mind, after we had reached a solution that he had accepted. He accepted the solution arrived at, but now, unfortunately, I find that he has reversed his stance, so to speak, in a very short period of time , again. This reminds me of what happened in Paris when we were discussing the replenishment of the IFAD resources during the second replenishment deliberations. In fact, this was the position taken by the countries of Category I. I do not want to dwell upon that subject because we are all aware of what happened, especially the President of- the Governing Council of IFAD. The distinguished Ambassador of Colombia is well aware of that, as are other delegations who participated in that Meeting.
Thirdly, I object to any amendment to that draft resolution. I accept the draft resolution because I respect this august assembly and respect the decision adopted unanimously by the Finance Committee.
G.BULA HOYOS (Colombia): EI hecho de haber estado ocupado durante los ultimos días en algunas rene gociaciones, ha impedido a nuestra delegación, y por ello queremos hacerlo ahora, expresar el recono-cimiento, la admiración y la simpatía que hemos sentido siempre por nuestro Presidente del Comité de Finanzas, el colega y amigo Abeyagoonasekera de Sri Lanka, e igualmente por los miembros de ese importante Comité, como lo dijo el Embajador Bukhari de Saudi Arabia.
Ese Comité es elegido por nosotros, y a la vez este Consejo es elegido por la Conferencia. De mane-ra que el Comité de Finanzas cuenta con el pleno apoyo de nuestros 156 Estados miembros. No obstan-te, la intención, por lo menos manifestada, del colega de Canadá en el sentido de que iba a adoptar una actitud constructiva, creemos que él, en una parte de su declaración, trató de reabrir toda la discusión acerca de las relaciones entre la FAO y el PMA.
Nosotros vamos a evitar caer en esa tentación, y esperamos no incurrir en esa actitud que, a nuestro juicio, es desafortunada en este momento. Pero si queremos expresar una primera reflexión y es la de que, si bien durante todos los contactos de estos df as, habíamos crefdo en la buena fe de nuestros colegas que discutian con nosotros, ahora se asoman a nuestras mentes algunas ligeras dudas sobre esa buena fe de nuestros colegas.
El Comité de Finanzas nos ha presentado este Proyecto de Resolución que está basado, muy claramente, en el párrafo 2.38. En el párrafo 2.38 aparecen las referencias a las graves preocupaciones que se habîan manifestado acerca de cinco cuestiones concretas. Y yo creo que al proceder asf, al presentar este texto, el Comité de Finanzas le está haciendo un bien, está cumpliendo adecuadamente sus deberes con la Organización, o sea con la FAO y también con el PMA.
En cambio, yo creo y esto lo digo con to do respeto, que asumen una actitud opuesta los tres miembros del Comité de Finanzas que, en el párrafo 2.41, y entre esos tres miembros supongo que está Canadá, dicen que, porque el Comité de Finanzas ha estudiado y ha analizado las observaciones del Auditor Externo, le está haciendo un mal servicio al Programa Mundial de Alimentos y está perjudicando su imagen.
Yo creo que esto no es realmente sensato ni es constructive. No se puede prestar un servicio incon-dicional a un organismo, por mucho que nosotros lo apreciamos, y todos saben que Colombia ha reiterado su apoyo pleno al PMA; pero si hay observaciones, es necesario tratar de investigarlas y de analizarlas para así realmente prestar un buen servicio y favorecer la buena imagen de ese Organismo.
Señor Presidente; nos resistimos a creer que realmente el representante de un país serio, de un país serio que invoca el ánimo constructivo en su declaración, proponga a este Consejo que en un texto de Resolucion que va a pasar a la Conferencia, al máximo Organismo de la FAO, en un texto de esa Resolución, incluir comentarios, comentarios de funcionarios internacionales. Creemos que esto, sinceramente, no es serio ni es constructivo. Se sentaría un precedente gravisimo porque todos sabemos que los funcionarios de los Organismos internacionales hacen sus declaraciones, producen sus comentarios, y que todo ello se refleja en los Informes de los Organos ante los cuales se hacen esos comentarios o esas declaraciones. Y esos informes s son los que pasan a los Organismos subsiguientes; pero jamas yo he visto que a una Conferencia de la FAO se transmitan comentarios de funcionarios, que ya han sido reflejados en los Informes.
Si este es un punto de principio que en nuestra opinion es válido, diáfanamente válido, Señor Presidente, ello no nos impide entrar a manifestar aquí con la claridad y franqueza que nos caracteriza, que no entendemos, aún más cómo es posible, que se haya sugerido aquí, que se haya propuesto que se incluyan en el texto mismo de la Resolución, los comentarios del Director Ejecutivo del Programa Mundial de Alimentos.
La mayoría de los miembros del Consejo no son miembros del Comité de Finanzas ni del CPA, y posible-mente no conocen esos comentarios. Pero nosotros los conocemos; son comentarios tendenciosos, suspi-caces, agresivos, dirigidos a aumentar la controversia que existe entre las dos Osganizaciones. Será sensato entonces incluir en el texto de una Resolución, cualquier referencia a comentarios semejantes? Los colegas del Canadá y de otros paises saben muy bien que hemos estado actuando, nosotros si, de buena fe; nosotros s de buena fe, repito, para evitar que se produzca un debate como este, y que estábamos dispuestos a aceptar, inclusive en contra de alguna parte de nuestros principios, que en el texto del Informe se introdujeran referencias a los Ieformes del ACABQ y al 18° período del CPA. ¿Por qué aceptábamos esas referencias? La respuesta es bien clara y es bien conocida.
El Comité de Finanzas terminó sus labores el 5 de octubre, o sea que cuando se produjo este Proyecto de Resolucion, aun no se conocían los Informes del ACABQ que los distribuyó el 26 de octubre, 21 das después. Y tampoco se conocía el Informe del 18° período del CPA que concluyo sus trabajos el 7 de noviembre.
Entonces, por eso habíamos pensado que era lógico incluir en el texto del Informe, las referencias a esos dos Informes de esos dos Organismos. Pero, por favor, que no insistan en que se incluya ninguna referencia a ningun comentario que es desapacible, que no ayuda y que afecta a todos este problema
Señor Presidente; estábamos dispuestos también, y estoy ahora conjugando el verbo en el pasado, estábamos dispuestos porque, quiero repetir tenemos buena fe; estábamos dispuestos también a aceptar que se suprimiera el segundo “tomando nota” del Proyecto de .Resolución; el segnndo “tomando nota” del Proyecto de Resolución, y que luego aparecieran en el Informe referencias a esos dos informes. Pero ahora, se nos sorprende con una propuesta: que está muy lejos de lo que hemos venido discutiendo todos juntos estos dos días, y eso no podemos aceptarlo. Y en ese caso, debemos volver a la posición original de apoyar plenamente la recomendacion del Comité de Finanzas.
H. HØSTMARK (Norway): Let me, like others, start by saying how much I deplore that this discussion has to take place. We are so near a solution, and so many people have shown such an extraordinary amount of goodwill. I will still raise the question. Is it in spite of this, too late to get to a solution? I would request that this issue not be closed finally but that a last effort could maybe be made even after the discussion has taken place. I do not know if that is possible, but I will now go on to the substantive part of my remarks.
CHAIRMAN: Since you raised a question whether there is still a possibility of continuing the contact group outside this hall, is it on that point the delegate of India wants to talk?
H.J.H. TALEYARKHAN (India): I’m sorry for interrupting Norway, but I would seek a clarification if you would be able to give a little more time for the negotiations which we are actively conducting in order to find a solution acceptable to one and all. It should not be impossible because we have been in touch with one and all, and instead of engaging in anything which is acrimonious or leaves a bad taste in the mouth, it would be far better if we negotiate outside the hall and continue with the other items on the Agenda and in the meantime we can finish the rest and could have a little more time to get together because we appear to be coming nearer, and sometimes going again further off. I wish we had not had time to sleep over it last night, and had finished it last night, but it was impossible to do so. However, I should not think it would be very difficult now in the light of the very sober statements made by all sides that
we can find a solution, unless on what was nearly agreed upon yesterday any side tried to go back, and that we can still find some solution to the confusion which may have been caused in order to find a solution, because we are all of one mind. I note what Norway has said and also Saudi Arabia, and what others have said. It should not be impossible to find an outcome for this, if you can kindly agree to defer the solution for a little time and go on.
CHAIRMAN: I find others wish to speak. May I first ask the wish of the Council? Would you like to defer this item until first thing tomorrow morning on the condition that we will not have had any time for an extensive debate? We will just decide on the Finance Committee’s resolution tomorrow morning, or alternatively to an agreed solution. In other words, there will not be adequate time tomorrow for a debate in the house. We either adopt the Finance Committee’s recommendation or something that the others have agreed upon by mutual consultation, in which case we can postpone this item until tomorrow morning and then continue with the rest of today’s programme.
A.M. QURESHI (Pakistan): I only wanted to suggest that if we are postponing this item until tomorrow morning and I am sure we will find a resolution to the problem, perhaps it would be advisable to name the contact group, a few countries. Anybody that wants to be in the contact group, they are of course welcome, but we should know exactly who the people are that are consulting.
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of): I have no objection actually to whatever you suggest, but a couple of days ago I warned this Council about the way we have been adopting the report of the CFA. Everybody knows how we adopted that report, in a way which we did not like at all, nobody liked it, nobody accepted it.
I am also worried about the report of the Council, which is the most important report. I wish that we really had the capacity to adopt our report in the right way, not in the way the CFA did its renort .
CHAIRMAN: We have interrupted Norway, he had the floor, I would only like now for you to limit yourselves to this specific point. Pakistan has proposed that we set up a formal contact group. Informal contact groups have been working, but he says you should name a contact group which would work the rest of the day and come forward tomorrow with a report.
Please only speak on this limited point, otherwise I would not be fair to Norway for having interrupted his intervention.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): I wondered when we would have an opportunity to take up some other issues other than just the draft resolution. We want to make some other comments also.
CHAIRMAN: We can continue with item 14. Right now we are only talking about the resolution. If you have other points not related to this resolution, we will consider those as soon as we have resolved this particular issue.
Do you want to speak on this question?
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): I wish to make just one remark also on the proposal which we have.
CHAIRMAN: May I first have your ideas, Philippines, and then New Zealand, on this contact group. We have a list of speakers here who have already given their names.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): I would propose a very small contact group, about four on each side, and I would propose the Ambassador of Colombia, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, the Ambassador of India and myself to be members of this contact group and anybody else who would like to.
CHAIRMAN: Well, anyway, we have a firm proposal from the Philippines, who is also Chairman of the Group of 77, that an eight-member contact group be established, and he has suggested four, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and India, and four more. That is his concrete suggestion, because I want to make progress one by one.
Does somebody else want to speak on this specific proposal?
J. BELGRAVE (New Zealand): I am not taking the floor to propose membership, I will be guided by the Council, but just to take the floor to support the suggestion in principle that Pakistan made, that we have used this technique of contact groups before, and I think with some success, so I would support his suggestion.
Secondly, on the timing, assuming a group is set up, and I guess we should consider membership or who should belong to it, I think we should ask it to report a couple of hours at least before we come back to the Plenary, just in case there may be issues that even the contact group had not squared away. It is only a question of timing.
A. ABDEL-MALEK (Lebanon): I would like to support the suggestion made by the Philippines, and I would like to add our friend Mr Tchicaya from Africa to be also on this committee, so there will be five.
A.M. KHALED (Yemen, People’s Democratic Republic of) (original language Arabic): I would like to know the list of the members of the contact group, the full list, so we would be more clear on this situation.
CHAIRMAN: So far five names have been proposed: Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, India and Congo. If you are all agreed upon a contact group, may I suggest Canada, Norway, the United States of America and maybe the Federal Republic of Germany to serve on this contact group.
H. HØSTMARK (Norway): Just to speed up the proceedings, we accept that suggestion.
CHAIRMAN: If the Council agrees, then we hope that the nine members of the contact group will be able to sit during the rest of the day, and as New Zealand said, they will be able to resolve all issues and we may not have to have a very extensive discussion once again. Thank you very much.
Then the nine-member contact group, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, India, Congo, Canada, Norway, United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany will start their work. Who will there be to convene them? If you agree, the distinguished Ambassador of India could be the Convenor.
H. HØSTMARK (Norway): I think I must explain for the sake of order I only meant to accept on behalf of the delegation of Norway. I have no power to speak on behalf of the Council. There seem to be some surprised faces around me. I just wanted to get some comments in quickly.
CHAIRMAN: The names of the countries I have read, are they agreeable to serve on the contact group, because we have to make progress? I find assent.
We are very grateful to all these members, and I want to once again thank all of you. The World Food Programme, the activities of the World Food Programme, we have heard repeatedly stated, is going to be crucial to many countries. It may mean a matter of life and death to millions of people, and therefore I hope the cause which we want to serve will lift us off to a higher plane of understanding and mutual cooperation. That is my only request.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): My delegation welcomes the financial reports of the 1982/83 biennium presented by the Director-General for the Regular Programme (document C 85/5), the UNDP funds (document C 85/6) and the World Food Programme (document C 85/7).
In view of the cash surpluses of over US $46 millon from the 1982-83 biennium from the Regular Programme and unliquidated obligations of over $ 21 million from the Technical Cooperation Programme, we positively assess the financial situation of the Organization. My delegation appreciates the efforts of the Director-General and the Secretariat towards an economical budget management.
We share the statement and endorse the recommendations in the report of the External Auditor in document C 85/5 and support in particular his proposal in paragraph 51 of his report to review the monitoring and evaluation systems applying to Regular Programme activities during the 1984-85 biennium on the new basis of his proposals.
We regret the substantial decline in UNDP funds during the 1982-83 biennium as against 1980-81, as shown in document C 85/6. We share the remarks made by the External Auditor in his report and suggest that the Secretariat should follow the suggestion of the External Auditor within the possibilities of the Organization.
Mr Chairman, abiding by your ruling, you will understand that I have to reserve my delegation’s position on the proposed draft resolution until the juncture when we take up that issue again.
J.R. LOPEZ PORTILLO (México): La delegacion de México está de acuerdo con la aprobación del docu-mento C 85/5, al observar el excelente manejo de los recursos de nuestra Organización, incluyendo las recomendaciones del Auditor Externo contenidas en los párrafos 50 y 51, las cuales procuran en general una mayor coordinacion y efectividad de los trabajos de la FAO, ya que tanto el Informe del Director General como el Informe del Auditor Externo se apegan a criterios establecidos por el Reglamento Financiero de la Organización.
En lo que se refiere al PNUD, mi delegacion aprueba el documento C 85/6, al considerar que el informe del Auditor Externo revela que el estado de cuentas se ajusta a lo prescrito por el Programa y que el control financiero es adecuado.
Asimismo consideramos que es necesario aplicar mejores métodos de vigilancia y evaluación en los proyectos PNUD/FAO para que los recursos asignados sean utilizados con mejores resultados ya que se observan algunas deficiencias mencionadas en los párrafos 45 y 49.
Por tanto, respaldamos las recomendaciones propuestas en el párrafo 55, destacando, sin embargo, que las mejoras deben realizarse sin aumentar el número de personal destinado a tales fines.
Al considerar que las recomendaciones que propone el Auditor Externo en el párrafo 72 se orientan al mejoramiento de los sistemas de evaluación y de vigilancia de los proyectos que ejecuta el PMA, la delegacion de México aprueba el documento C 85/7.
Mi delegación respalda la recomendación del párrafo 72 haciendo hincapié en el inciso cuarto del punto primero del mismo.
Por último, en lo que se refiere a la Resolucion de la Conferencia sobre cuentas comprobadas igual-mente mi delegación se reserva sus observaciones al respecto. Queremos, sin embargo, mencionar que los foros multilaterales como éste están basados en el respeto; el respeto es signo de buena voluntad; el respeto a las normas, el respeto a la equidad jurídica o a la igualdad jurídica entre los Estados y su representación.
Señor Presidente, esperamos que en las deliberaciones del grupo de trabajo prive ese respeto a las reglas de juego que nosotros hemos establecido. No podremos, por tanto, y desde ahora lo antici-pamos, admitir ninguna violaciðn a dichas normas.
A. RODRIGUES PIRES (Cap-Vert): Je désire tout simplement appuyer la déclaration que vient de faire le délégué du Mexique.
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): La delegación de Colombia desea, en primer lugar, apoyar las declara-ciones que han hecho nuestros colegas de México y Cabo Verde. En relación con la observacion que planteo nuestro colega Grabisch, de la República Federal de Alemania, acerca de la importancia de la evaluacion y de la vigilancia sobre los proyectos de campo del PNUD, quisiera llamar la atención sobre el párrafo 2.36 del documento CL 86/6; allí se reconoce el hecho de que el Auditor externo ha indicado que está satisfecho con las medidas que está adoptando la Secretaría para poner en prác-tica la recomendacion de ese Auditor. Respecto a esos puntos creemos que éstos deben constar en nuestro informe en sentido positivo y como aliento para que la Secretaría siga aún intensificando la aplicacion de esas recomendaciones.
En relación con el Programa Ordinario nos complace también, como ya lo dijo el colega de México, reconocer la manera adecuada, seria, austera y ordenada como se manejan las cuentas de nuestro Programa Ordinario, lo cual, naturalmente, es de gran interés y de importancia para los Estados Miembros.
Unos breves comentarios sobre el documento C 85/6. Sabemos que más adelante habrá ocasion de referirnos a este documento, pero queremos por ahora solamente llamar la atencion sobre los asun-tos de personal que se tratan en los párrafos 11 y 12. Convendrá insistir ante los gobiernos en las recomendaciones que se hacen en estos párrafos a fin de que la seleccion de consultores par-ticularmente y las visitas y misiones de esos consultores no sólo sean oportunas sino realmente eficaces y productivas para los gobiernos beneficiarios.
Igualmente concedemos mucha importancia a la capacitación, y ojalá que esto conste en nuestro informe; hay que tratar de intensificar los programas de capacitación para asistir a los gobiernos a fin de que puedan aumentar el número de candidatos posibles dotados de capacidad y conocimiento de idiomas que realmente puedan hacer uso de las becas y otros beneficios a que hacen referencia los párrafos 13 y 14 del documento C 85/6.
Con estas observaciones, señor Presidente, concluimos nuestra declaración.
A. BROTONS DIEZ (España): La delegación de España se felicita por el superávit que recoge el documento C 85/5 en el ejercicio del presupuesto del Programa Ordinario de la FAO, lo cual indica que en definitiva la buena liquidacion y ejercicio de las cuotas ayudan perfectamente al Programa.
Consideramos también, y así lo hacemos patente, como muy buenas las observaciones que el Auditor Externo hace sobre los distintos presupuestos, del Ordinario, del Programa Mundial de Alimentos y del Programa de Ayuda al Desarrollo, y rogamos que sean tenidos en cuenta sus observaciones para la mejora constante del Programa y el Presupuesto de la FAO, del Programa Mundial de Alimentos y del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo.
J. D. AITKEN (United Kingdom): We welcome the financial reports and the comments of the Finance Committee. At a time when it is important that the impact of all concessional finance should be optimized it is necessary to demonstrate beyond doubt that the funds available to FAO are used effectively, and the quality of financial stewardship within the Organization is that which can be expected by the public who ultimately provide the finance. This requires the highest standards of audit.
If I may,I will turn now to the three substantial documents before us, Regular Programme accounts document C 85/5. We endorse the comments in paragraphs 50 and 51. In particular we wish to draw attention to the comments in paragraph 50 (ii), which refers to an incident concerning counterpart funds under the fertilizer scheme in which 6.5 million US dollars was held in a country for, nearly two years^ apparently without earning interest.
We also welcome the proposed review of FAO’s monitoring and evaluation system referred to in paragraph 51 of C 85/5.
Turning now to the UNDP programme accounts in doc . C 85/6, I must express my Government’s concern with the situation referred to in paragraphs 43, 45 and 46. If I may, Mr Chairman, I would like to read briefly from these paragraphs. Paragraph 43, the Auditor comments here “My staff noted however that, contrary to the UNDP Policy and Procedures Manual, the objectives set out in the project documents were often insufficiently precise or quantifiable to allow their achievement to be measured or monitored.” I think this is a serious situation, Mr Chairman.
Next I would like to quote, if I may, very briefly from paragraph 45. “With regard to the manner in which monitoring operated in practice, my staff found evidence on Headquarters files of work plans for only 3 of the 26 projects examined;” - I will repeat that figure, Mr Chairman - only 3 of the 26 projects examined; and enquiry in the maior operating division suggested that there was frequently a lack of sufficiently detailed and standardized work plans.”
Paragraph 46, “Although there were some exceptions, the progress reports on the projects examined were detailed and had been submitted in reasonable time; but in part due to either the lack of or inadequacies in project work plans in the cases reviewed, they tended to concentrate on activities actually carried out, with little or no comment on those which had failed to take place, and they seldom related the actual activities to those prescribed in the project document, or to the project’s immediate objectives.”
We would suggest, Mr Chairman, that relating the monitoring system to the project objectives and also examining activities which have not taken place are very vital parts of the monitoring procedure. We are aware that the Secretariat have pledged to remedy this, and we look forward to learning of improvements in the next report.
Turning to paragraph 50 of document C 85/6, we are surprised to learn that only 56 out of 925 projects - that is only 56 out of 925 projects - have been subject to evaluation. By comparison our figures lead us to believe that in most bilateral donors the figure is between 20 and 30 percent of the projects.
To conclude, Mr Chairman, I would turn to the report on WFP, document C 85/7, and here I would simply say that we endorse the comments of the Auditor and in particular the comments in paragraphs 14 and 15.
Finally I would like to add that on the question of the resolution, we must of course reserve our position on this until we see a text.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I am grateful to the distinguished delegates who have spoken and made constructive comments, and also to those who have made not so constructive comments, because the whole purpose of the report on this subject by the External Auditor and the discussion by the Council is directed towards improving our performance, and we are paying continual attention to that. For us it is a daily problem and not one that is discussed once a year or once a biennium, but the contributions of Member Governments on these occasions is extremely important. As I say, it is a continuing preoccupation and it is something that results in the report to the Conference which is the fruit of two years of effort. The report is a one-time thing, every biennium, but it reflects continually the day-to-day efforts.
Improvement however in field programme for technical assistance, involving bodies, human expertise, resources, involving three parties, in this case let us say UNDP, FAO and the recipient government, is a very difficult process and improvements take some time to put into effect. It is therefore not easy to bring about those improvements in project formulation, monitoring and so forth, that are referred to in this report, but I would like to emphasize in this connection that the External Auditor’s Report does little more than reflect what we ourselves have already said in two or three reports to the Council and the Conference. I would go so far as to say perhaps I do not see anything specifically new or original in what is in the paragraphs that were quoted a moment ago; they are little more than quotations from our own reports. However, if we need encouraging to do better according to our own confession of error, never mind, we will still try to do better.
I would also like to say in this connection that I find it a little odd that so much emphasis was just now placed on paragraph 50 where there is a very mild reference to the fact that it would be beneficial to evaluate a higher proportion of total projects, when in paragraph 42 it is said that this report is based on visits to eight countries in the course of an audit programme which was not a fully representative sample as nine of the projects were in an atypical country. So in 42 we are told this is not really a representative report, and in 50 we are told , we are not being fully representative either, or something like that - I do not know. But I found the emphasis of paragraphs 42 and 50 somewhat contradictory I must say. Neither one nor the other should have been picked on. I would have preferred it to be 42, but in this case 50 was picked on.
I am not making this point in a light way. I am making this point because we are discussing a very serious problem which the Director-General takes very seriously, to the extent that herhas in fact asked me personally to go into problems concerning the control of the field programme, in particular formulation and monitoring, with a view to improving our performance as far as possible.
Now, on project formulation I think our own reportslhave emphasized that this is really probably the key issue. If the projects are well formulated you have a better chance of being able to implement them well, but also to monitor the implementation well and evaluate them.
So this is what we regard as the first priority - to improve our project formulation. In this we are conscious of the fact that we must not be too quick, too ready, to accept responsibility for projects which look attractive but may be extremely difficult to carry out, at least within the timeframe that the donor, whether it is the UNDP or a trust fund donor, thinks desirable. We might have to say to both the donor and the recipient, or to one of them, “No, I am sorry, we cannot possibly carry out such a project. With this amount of money it is not going to be enough”, or “Within this timeframe the time is not going to be long enough.” That is one lesson that we are in the process of learning and applying.
As regards paragraph 43, however, I would like to say that ever since I have been dealing with evaluation, which is at least 15 years now, I have found that there is a tendency among all the experts on evaluation, or those who are not so expert on evaluation, as I regard this paragraph 43 as representing, a tendency to be rather facile about evaluating technical assistance projects. When you are delivering capital aid for a construction, be it a bridge or a dam or whatever, you can measure precisely your objectives and how far you have carried them out economically and so on. When you are measuring training or some other form of development of human resources, or something which involves a combination of delivery of inputs, delivery of equipment, training of people, fellowships etc., creation of an effective institution, it is not so easy, and very often one is reduced to taking not the ultimate objective as an indicator of performance, but the intermediate indicators, which are: did you deliver the experts on time, were they effective in their job, did they give the advice which was accepted by the government, did you deliver the equipment on time, did it work, and so on. So I think this paragraph ignores the whole problem of defining indicators, intermediate and ultimate indicators.
On work plans and on evaluation I want to emphasize again that this is a tripartite question and that while inadequacies are regrettable and should be improved, there ought to be some tolerance for the feasibility of behaving exactly in accordance with manuals. Which is more important in these times of difficulty and shortage, to get on with the job or to observe the provisions of a manual which may not apply in this particular circumstance? The manual is a guide, it is not a law.
Then, .finally, in paragraph 50 on the question of FAO’s evaluation this refers to FAO’s full-scale evaluation as reported intheReview of the Field Programme: it does not refer to all the evaluations which are done by FAO, whether on its own or in combination with others.
To come back to my beginning, none of the comments that I have made are intended to diminish the importance of the questions of formulation, monitoring and evaluation. I would have other opinions perhaps to express on another occasion about certain other aspects of this report, but I do not want to detain the Council now on it.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr West. I think your comments are very valuable. With this we come to the conclusion of item 14, except for item 14.2, on which the contact group will meet. I want to thank all of you and the Chairman and all the members of the Finance Committee for the very valuable report.
The meeting rose at 11:55 hours
La séance est levée à 11 h 55
Se levanta la sesión a las 11.55 horas