A. Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of) (original language Arabic): The delegation of my country has an impression which we would like to communicate after having listened to the lengthy discussions that have taken place concerning this item on the agenda, namely Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1986-87. We would like to reaffirm our keen interest to respect all the viewpoints which we have listened to and our due appreciation of the standpoint of each country member or non-member of our august Council. No matter what these positions are or the justification behind them, it is clear after these lengthy discussions that the majority of the membership of this Council supported and endorsed the proposed level of the Budget for the next biennium. Most of them were developing countries, beneficiaries of this Organization and its substantive programmes, the majority were African countries who, as we all know, are suffering due to the shortage of food and the continual economic difficulties. These countries which expressed their full support of the proposed level of the Budget have given very clear and strong reasons for their support. There are developed countries that did not approve, and they called for a zerogrowth rate. These countries are considered among the big contributors to the Organization's Budget.
As a matter of fact, we have not listened to any justification which is reasonable or acceptable for their demand. We believe no matter how difficult the economic conditions they pass through, no one who is fair and logical can compare them with the conditions that developing countries, African and otherwise, go through. This is in addition to the affirmation by the Director-General that the contribution of each country in the forthcoming budget, will be if not at the level of the previous contribution, less, if it is translated into the figures presented. This affirmation by the Director-General indicates a very clear fact, namely, the proposed modest increase is a psychological increase. It has only a psychological impact; reassuring to the suffering countries in Africa and elsewhere indicating that the developed countries who are rich industrially and foodwise, stand beside them in their plight through the substantive programmes of this pioneering Organization.
All the countries which did not support this budget know this full well. They know that this increase is a psychological increase. However, and regrettably, they do not even wish to give this psychological signal. Without any justification they reject giving this psychological signal to the affected countries and to the countries suffering economically.
It might be said to us that this is a principle which is firmly adhered to by each country, and that it should be respected. Here, we should like to emphasize that we respect and appreciate any principle that is upheld by any country. We respect and appreciate constructive principles that serve humanity at large, not those principles that would increase the sufferings of people or the acuteness of problems. All heavenly religions called for virtue and the adoption of human constructive values which aim at the benefit and good of humanity at large, and even among members of the one family. The Prophet Mohammed - Allah's Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him - said that if one part of the human body falls sick, all the other parts of the human body will suffer. Our community is this body. These are the principles that should be upheld by our international community. Rich countries should be guided by such principles.
We are fully convinced that the Director-General did not present this budget, with its modest increase, prompted by a desire to get more prestige or personal respect. We are fully convinced that he undertook this prompted by his responsibility through his principles and objectives, and through his genuine feelings towards these afflicted countries and peoples.
I would like to affirm here that we know full well the efficiency of this Organization. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has cooperated and is still cooperating closely with the Organization. We are fully confident in this Organization and in its Director-General. We have full respect for the Organization, and we are aware of its ability and its efficiency in giving technical assistance. We hope that the countries which did not support this budget will review their point of view in a desire to enjoin human values, in a desire to assist those people who are suffering and the countries which need assistance. We genuinely desire this.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): The head of the Philippines delegation, who cannot be present at the moment, has requested me to ask for clarification of several questions, but after consultation with the. Chairman, I shall raise only one question at this point.
The Philippines delegation this morning was asked whether it supported the Programme Budget level of $420 million or $450 million. My delegation was told that the $420 million was the Programme Budget level for 1984-85 and that the $450 million was the Programme Budget level for 1986-87. We are at a loss because we know that the Programme Budget level of $450 million is calculated at 1 615 lire to one dollar. If the exchange rate is something higher than that, then the final figure would be different. At this stage it was stated that if the exchange rate were somewhat close to 2 000 lire to one dollar, probably there would be no increase in terms of dollars. Therefore, I would appreciate it if, through you, Mr Chairman, we could have clarification of how the final figure is computed.
CHAIRMAN: There will be time to reply.
A.M. QURESHI (Pakistan): I do not want to take up your precious time at this late hour. The position of my country on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget has already been articulated, but I endorse wholeheartedly what the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has just said. I appeal to the developed countries to review their positions on the reservations they have on the level of increase proposed by the Director-General.
M. TRKULJA (Chairman, Programme Committee): I have little indeed to say except to once again express deep gratitude to the Council on behalf of my colleagues for the full confidence shown in our work. This has been a very timely encouragement, because in September the Committee will be facing a very heavy, complex and above all very important agenda not only because we have to study in depth the final Programme of Work and Budget document, but because we have to give full attention to the two performance reports. We shall have a very full debate on the role and functions of the Regional Offices, and we shall have to scrutinize the independent report on TCP.
Having very carefully followed the debate in Council, may I be allowed a little more freedom than usual in presenting the views of the Committee. The position of the Committee is a very firm one on this question; it was the unanimous decision of the Committee that the Summary Programme of Work and Budget is indeed a very sound basis for the preparation of the final version of the Programme of Work and Budget. I am addressing myself to the whole issue from a professional standpoint, since we studied in every detail not only strategies and priorities but, as I have already indicated, we went right down to the Programme element level. In all cases we found the proposed activities for the next Biennium were all very soundly based.
I would again like to stress our most sincere thanks to the Council. I am sure I can freely speak on behalf of all my colleagues on the Committee when I assure the Council that they, my colleagues on the Committee, will not spare any effort in studying in September the final Programme of Work and Budget and all the other items.
D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): I really do not have anything further to add to what has already been said by the Chairman of the Programme Committee, except to say that I am grateful for your words of appreciation about our work. I am sure this will be a positive encouragement to all the members of the Committee who will work with even greater enthusiasm.
However, there are one or two things on which I think I ought to comment. Mr Chairman, no particular question was put to the Committee. Two members wanted clarification, I think, on the impact of currency adjustments, and particularly on savings accruing from other currencies. The Secretariat would be in a better position to provide further details, not that sufficient information now not provided to our Committee. I am sure the Secretariat will be better able to help members of Council.
Then there was this last question from the Member for the Philippines. Again, this is a hypothetical calculation as to what the budget level would be if the exchange rate varied from that on which the present estimates have been calculated. If it is a rate different from the present basis of 1615 lire to the Dollar, the Secretariat will be in a position to provide the various options, I think.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: With your permission, Mr Chairman, and that of the delegates, I would like to ask Mr Shah to answer many questions raised on such subjects as use of contingencies, programme management and field programme support, TCP resources utilization and appropriation, recosting of budget, currency gains, programme savings, cost increases, staff vacancies and programme growth. Then, if you agree, I shall ask Mr Crowther to answer the questions raised on economies in travel, FAO's participation in the International Computing Centre in Geneva, a subject raised by the delegate of Canada, and then there are a few points which could be covered by Dr Bommer. Then, Mr Chairman, if you will permit me, I will say a few words.
V. J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): Mr Chairman, as authorized by the Director-General, I shall try to answer the questions to which he has just made reference. May I say through you to the Director-General that I will try and answer as fully as I can the questions raised, but I think that the list and titles that he referred to represent the major groups under which these questions would fall.
There were a number of questions asked about Contingencies, including what was the previous use made of Contingencies and why are Contingencies required when the financial regulations permit budgetary transfer of funds from one Chapter to another.
First of all, I think that we must all recognize that contingencies by their very nature require some provision of funds so that unforeseen unbudgeted activities which need to be carried during the biennium can be carried out. To suggest that the possibility of transferring funds from one Chapter to another does away with the need for Contingencies is to my understanding not quite correct, because when provision is made for funds under various Chapters of the budget those funds are expected to be spent under those Chapters. If the full provision is required under those Chapters, there is no way of meeting true contingencies.
Secondly, the item on Contingencies in the FAO budget, which has always formed part of the Programme of Work and Budget, has to be recognized with the fact that there is no possibility under our financial regulations or our Basic Text as a whole for the Director-General to submit any request for any supplementary budget estimate.
There are a number of other organizations in the United Nations system, notably the United Nations itself, where the Secretary General can and does as a matter of course submit supplementary estimates when he requires them, and it is not at all unusual for the General Assembly to approve such supplementary estimates. When we do not have such flexibility, the need for Contingencies is self-evident.
May I now provide factual information on the use made of the Contingencies provision in recent biennia. The delegate of the United States referred to the fact that the provision has so far not been used in this biennium. This is absolutely correct and is reflected in the Report on Budgetary Performance which was submitted to the Finance Committee and is before you as an annex to the report of the Finance Committee.
In the biennium 1982-83 the full provision of US $600 000 was used by a transfer to Programme 2.1.5, Rural Development, in order to meet specific new activity requested for Africa . The most prominent among these was the study on manpower requirements and assessment of training institutions and training needs in Africa, which had been requested by the African Regional Conference.
In 1980-81 the provision was still US $600 000. The amount utilized was US $94 000. This was used under Programme 2.1.8 on Food and Agricultural Policy.
In 1978-79 the provision was US $400 000, and of this amount US $162 000 was utilized for four specific activities: US $60 000 under the Livestock Programme; US $39 000 under Research Support; US $50 000 under Rural Development; and US $13 000 under Public Information.
Mr Chairman, permit me a comment on the utilization of these amounts in the various biennia. First of all, the fact that the full provision has not been utilized in any one biennium is, I think, a mark of the integrity and seriousness with which this provision is handled. Just because the provision exists, it is not fully utilized. It is utilized when absolutely required, and may I emphasize that the utilization of this provision requires a report to the Finance Committee so that the Finance Committee is fully informed about the justification and the purposes and the amount of the utilization. Secondly, where the provision has been utilized in full, it shows the obvious need for that financial provision. Thirdly, that if it is proposed now by the Director-General to raise the provision from $600 000 in this biennium to $800 000 in the next biennium, what does this represent? It has to be seen as a proportion of the total budgetary level.
Up to 1978-79 the provision was US $400 000. In 1980-81 it was increased by the Conference, by you the Member Nations, to US $600 000. At that time it represented 0.22 percent - I repeat 0.22 percent - of the effective working budget. Now, even with the proposed increase of US $200 000, at a level of US $800 000, the provision would represent 0.18 percent of the effective working budget,
Mr Chairman, you might wish the Council to be informed about the position in other United Nations organizations. Who else has contingency provisions of what nature and of what magnitude? I should explain that the contingency provision is not readily comparable in all the budgets of the organizations of the United Nations system even where it does exist, because the terminology is different, the characteristics are different, but I think some idea can be given to you by the fact that the ILO, for example, with a budget during this biennium of US $254 million, has a provision for contingencies, which it refers to as unforeseen expenditure, of US $1,5 million, Unesco with a budget in this biennium of US $374 million, has a provision for contingencies, which is referred to as a reserve for draft resolutions, of $1 million WHO with a budgetary provision in this biennium of US $520 million, has what it calls an undistributed reserve of US $9.5 million, Even the smaller agencies, for example, the International Civil Aviation Organization, with a biennial budget of US $60 million, has a provision of US $7 million,
A number of questions were then asked, particularly by the representative from the United Kingdom, about Programme Management and Field Programme Support. Field Programme Support appears under the various tables of resources by programme, This provision is really for a very specific activity. Technical divisions make a forecast of the level of resources they consider necessary on the basis of experience in this biennium, on the likely trends in the next biennium, the number of projects they are going to be called upon to backstop, and this represents the provision for Field Programme Support, It covers an extremely wide range of activities from the formulation of the field projects to the provision of technical backstopping to field experts, their recruitment, the analysis of progress reports, and so on. It cannot be argued that the Field Programme Support provision is exactly proportional to deliveries because, in fact, it depends on the value, the size of individual projects, Smaller projects may require for a specific period more in terms of technical backstopping than a larger project involving a much higher volume of equipment or contracts, The amount of technical backstopping is also affected by the duration and termination of projects when arrangements have to be made for bridging operations, to terminate or to reallocate experts.
It might interest the Council to note that the provision for Field Programme Support in this biennium amounted to US $18 133 000. The provision proposed for the next biennium - these are the figures exactly that you have in the document before you but they have been analyzed by minicomputer to permit easy analysis - is US $18,5 million, an increase of 2.2 percent. As you see, it is extremely modest.
The question regarding programme management refers to the cost of people and services which are located in the offices of my senior colleagues, the Assistant Directors-General of the technical departments, Division Directors and administrative support units which are under them, May I just say here that the fact that we give this information for Programme Management separately is an added element of transparency, because if we were to follow all of the rules of a programme planning and budgeting system, it is often argued and often the practice that the part of administration should be distributed among the cost of programmes, After all, it is related to the programmes. But we have always shown it separately for added transparency,
What is the situation there? The allocation for Programme Management for all technical departments and all regional offices amounts to US $23,8 million in this biennium. In the next biennium it goes down by over 2 percent to US $23.3 million, But it is. perhaps not enough to see if it goes up or down, you have to consider the cost of programme management in relation to the value of the programme managed. There, with US $23,8 million of Programme Management in this biennium, the value of the Programme managed is US $193 million.
So programme management represents 12.4 percent of the total programme managed. In the next biennium this is going to go down to 11.7 percent. This is another indication of the reduction in administrative costs and managerial costs, because we should bear in mind that the senior colleagues such as Assistant Director-Generals and Divisions Directors are not just administrators -they are senior managers who bring their strengths to the programmes they manage.
A number of questions were then asked about the appropriation of the Technical Cooperation Programme during any one biennium, and here I need to go back to the time when TCP was established at the 69th Session of the Council in June 1976, and then endorsed by the following Conference in 1977• From the time of the first establishment of the TCP it was recognized that this was a special programme which required a carryover of resources from one biennium to another. Distinguished delegates who were present at, or who were associated with, those times will remember the arguments; for those who perhaps are not as familiar let me briefly give the reasons.
The appropriation of TCP, as you know, is used throughout the biennium. Projects are approved during each month of the biennium. It was always recognized that when a project is approved during the second year 'of the biennium, during the later months and the final months of the second year of the biennium, that project is going to be executed in the following year and the following biennium. There is no way in which projects can be approved during September, October, November of 1985 with the expectation that they are going to be executed and the financial commitments made by the end of the year. There is no secret about this. It is for this very reason that the Conference itself -not just the Secretariat, not the Director-General, it was the Conference itself which made a provision in the Financial Regulations. It made a new provision, Regulation 4.3 in the Financial Regulations which reads "Appropriations voted by the Conference for the Technical Cooperation Programme together with any funds transferred to the Technical Cooperation Programme under Financial Regulation 4.5 (b) shall remain available for obligation during the financial period following that during which the funds were voted or transferred and appropriations unutilized at the close of the financial period following that during which the funds were voted or transferred shall be cancelled".
Now, what is our experience with this provision? The funds voted for TCP for the biennium 1980-81, which were those permitted to be obligated during the biennium 1982-83 as well, were fully utilized except for the sum of $1.590, which was returned to Member Nations as part of the cash surplus -and I am quoting this figure from the Financial Report and Statements of the Regular Programme 1982-83 which will come before you as Conference Document C 85/5. For the 1982-83 appropriations, at the end of 1982-83 $21.4 million were unobligated at the end of the biennium. They were just carried over into this biennium and even though this biennium is not yet completed I can say with all reasonable certitude that the full amount will be expended during this period. The appropriation for 1984-85 is $57 million, in round terms. How do we foresee its utilization? I can assure you that the full amount will again not be obligated - in the financial sense of "obligated" that the Financial Regulations referred to - by the end of this year, but it will be fully earmarked and allocated for projects which are approved during the biennium.
When we reported to the Finance Committee on this matter just over a month ago we reported that at the end of March there was an amount of $26 million remaining from the appropriations for this biennium, and the rate of approvals is some $3 million per month.
It is very important, I think, to emphasize not only the rate of approvals but the rate of demand, because after all if the Council wishes to consider the sufficiency of provision for the TCP it will want to consider what demands are made on TCP. Here I can report that not only are demands increasing, but ever larger proportions of that demand are having to be turned down. Over the last fifteen months requests for TCP assistance have increased by over 30 percent. The approvals over that period are barely 20 percent higher - so there is a significant part of the demand which the present resources do not permit meeting.
The next set of questions - if I may now address them - relate to the recosting of the budget at different exchange rates, and this was referred to by the distinguished delegate from the United States with some very precise questions which were also raised by a number of other delegates. As you know, the only rate the Conference considers when it approves a Programme of Work and Budget is that of the Italian lire, in relation to the US dollar; it has always done this for the very good reason that is the major currency other than the dollar in which our expenditure occurs. It has been suggested during the debate that perhaps we should consider the exchange rates in a number of other currencies. While Member Governments are sovereign and may request anything they wish, I would respectfully point out that it is difficult enough to project or to estimate what an exchange rate is going to be on one major currency, without trying to estimate how the exchange market and currency rates are going to fluctuate in a number of currencies over a two-year period. There is no organization in the United Nations system which does that; even the major specialized agencies, our sister agencies based in Geneva, consider their budgets in terms of the US dollar and the Swiss franc. They also incur expenditures in many other currencies.
The second question is how is the budget adjusted? - What are the factors taken into account? Here I would emphasize that because expenditure occurs in a country or in a particular currency -such as in Italy, in lire - does not mean that expenditure is subject to that particular exchange rate. For example, professional salaries are set in US dollars. The base salary is unaffected. The obligation of the Organization to pay a certain dollar amount to a staff member is unaffected by whatever exchange rate may be operating, and whether the staff member asks for that basic salary to be paid in US dollars only or in combination with his own home country currency or a third currency. So we cannot use exchange rate factors for that.
Nor can we use them for the whole set of goods and services which are expected to be purchased or procured under international tender. The very principle of international tender precludes any prejudgement of the country or the currency in which that expenditure will be incurred. We have also sizeable obligations under inter-agency collaboration agreements - our contribution to the Joint Inspection Unit, our contribution to the inter-secretariat arrangements.
In brief, this brings me to the point - a point which was recognized by the Finance Committee in the methodology it approved for the conversion of a budget taking into account different exchange rates - and that is that there is a very minor portion of the budget, referring to a few goods and services, which is only related to the expenditure in the host country and which would be affected by exchange rates. But there are two further factors here. One is - and this is in the records of previous years - in the years when the US dollar was declining, our Finance Committee and Council expected us to bear, to absorb, the negative effect. In the years when we have had the benefit of a strong US dollar, the benefit has been shown in programme savings. If I take again the accounts for 1982-83 and the budgetary performance report which the Council had, there are significant amounts which resulted as programme savings - the programme savings arising from 1982-83, which form part of the cash savings surplus of $1+6.2 million distributed at the beginning of this year. So the saving under goods and services which constituted the benefits of currency exchange rates were made fully available to the Member Nations,
The methodology for recalculation is a fairly detailed methodology and I shall only refer to it briefly so that interested Members may have an idea of it; if anyone is interested in more detail, I can of course discuss it in more detail with them, A part of the budget which is related to the exchange rate fluctuations is the post adjustment because post adjustments feature not only cost of living indices but also exchange rates.
For this one calculation alone, there are six detailed steps. Step one, determine the average change on the post-adjustment multiplier resulting from a change by ten lire of the lira/dollar rate of exchange. Step two, determine the average dollar cost of one point of the post-adjustment multiplier. Step three, calculate the dollar cost of a ten lire change. Stop four, determine total man months to which currency adjustments have to be applied. Step five, calculate currency savings for biennium lapsed rate per ten lire change. Step six, calculate currency savings for the total biennium.
The exchange rate effects on the budget level as approved by the Conference at the time of its vote on the budgetary appropriation will mean, if we take the present proposed Summary Programme of Work and Budget, that whereas the Summary provides for a budgetary level of $451 640 000 at Lire 1 615 to the dollar, if the rate of exchange were Lire 2000 to the dollar, the budget level would be some $428 million. At Lire 1 900 the rate would be just under some $433 million.
This leads me, to deal immediately with question of the Special Reserve Account and the currency gains, because there was not only frequent reference to the currency gains which the Organization has employed during recent times but also, if I may say, some confusion between the discussion on currency gains and programme savings. The currency gains and the method in which they are calculated were established by the Conference Resolution which established this Special Reserve Account originally in 1977 and as amended in 1981. It was Resolution 13/81 of the Conference relating to the Special Reserve Account, and this Resolution says in its operative paragraph 2 that it directs the Director-General to credit to the Special Reserve Account any savings on staff costs arising from favourable differences between the lire exchange rate used in calculating the budget and the effective United Nations rate applying an appropriate statistical formula for the purpose. The appropriate statistical formula for the purpose was after the resolution submitted and approved through the Finance Committee.
The currency gains during this biennium, Mr Chairman, resulting from the fact that the approved budget was 1 615 and the average rate during 1984 was 1742, led to an amount of $3.3 million being credited to the Special Reserve Account. What will be credited during this year of course will depend on the currency rate each month, the operational rate for each month as opposed to 1 615, but the experience during the first month indicates that in January and February $1.3 million, in March $900 000, in April almost $800 000 were credited also to the Special Reserve Fund. These currency gains credited to the Special Reserve Account have nothing whatsoever to do with programme savings. Programme savings are of essentially three different measures, (1) enforced savings, to which I will refer later; (2) savings deliberately made as they were made in the last biennium 1982-83 in order to make budgetary cuts in the following biennium, and (3) programme savings for extraneous factors such as the lower cost of post adjustment or lower pensionable contributions. The savings which the Finance Committee has considered and which it has approved for use under the African Rehabilitation Programme referred to these programme savings and nothing is proposed to be taken away from the amounts credited to the Special Reserve Account.
On cost increases there were no specific questions. However a number of distinguished delegates referred to the fact that the rate of inflation in our host country, Italy, is today 9 percent, and that in preparing the budget for this biennium we had taken a level of 16 percent, implying that perhaps we are considering inflation at too high a rate.
There are three points I should like to make. Firstly, of course, we wish, as everyone does, that inflation may be controlled in every member country, and if it is the government's wish in our host country to bring the rate of inflation down, nobody could wish it more. Secondly, that when we took the rate of 16 percent in formulating the budget for this biennium, that was the rate at the time the budget was formulated, that was the rate at the time the Finance Committee examined the cost increases. The rate has come down to 9 percent now. In formulating the full Programme of Work and Budget we will review all the cost increases but I cannot say today that the estimates will be less or can be less, but what is an even more important point, Mr Chairman, and this the Finance Committee well knows and it is not only in our document but also in the report, is that the cost increases are not based merely on a simplistic calculation of inflation in the host country. If you look up a table of cost increases given in the document, if we calculate inflation at 9 percent and applied it to the cost increases at that rate, why is it that the personnel services cost increases are less than 2.5 percent? For goods and services, the cost increases are just over 10 percent for the biennium. I trust I have explained the principle of the point, but would be glad to explain further if needed.
Comments were also raised about savings made on the staff vacancies, the percentage of vacancies in posts at any one time. Here we have to be very careful in distinguishing between the percentage of posts which are vacant at any one time. The distinguished delegate of Canada referred to a figure of 8 percent. The figures that I have for recent months have been considerably lower, 6.5 percent, 7 percent, depending on the month, but that represents only the vacancies at a month end, at one particular point in time. That does not indicate what the savings from that vacancy will be or is. That depends on the duration of the vacancy, how many months will that post be kept vacant. This is partly a management action which the Director-General is very firm about, for example when needing to make savings this is one way in which savings are made, but secondly the Council should perhaps recall the practice of the lapse factor. The lapse factor is the amount of the budgetary provision made for posts. Instead of making a provision for the full amount of the expenditure which will be required for paying the salaries on all posts, our budgetary practice is that we reduce this amount by 5.5 percent. So the budgetary provision you see for posts in the Programme of Work and Budget, if all the posts were filled continually for all the time would require a financial provision 5.5 percent greater. Mr Chairman, this practice of the lapse factor is common through the United Nations system but we have it amongst the highest rates in the system. In other organizations it varies. Some organizations for example apply a higher rate of lapse factor only for new posts. We apply it across the board.
Finally, may I turn to two points, one regarding the programme proposed and one regarding its reference to zero growth. Of course I will be very careful Mr Chairman in saying right at the outset that the policy of zero growth is a debate between Member Nations and is a debate between Member Nations and our Director-General, but there is one aspect, a managerial aspect, to which some reference was made and might warrant some clarification. It has been suggested that zero growth is a good management tool or it will make us all more efficient and more dedicated, and perhaps more effective. There I would beg to differ somewhat, Sir. A management tool, as we practise it, is that of zero based budgeting, and the practice of zero based budgeting requires us to review all of our activities in the base, to see what is relevant, what new should be done, which is more relevant, more effective, how resources should be used in different combinations, all to the same ends which have been laid out by our Member Nations. So on this aspect of zero growth or zero based budgeting, Mr Chairman, if you will permit me 5 seconds of liberty, it reminds me of a school teacher in a very old-fashioned but reputable school which I attended who said: "My boy, there is nothing like an empty stomach to sharpen the mind".
May I now turn to the final point about programme growth, Programme growth has been referred to with the argument that if we have a budget for one biennium and savings are made in that biennium, then that amount of savings represents new growth for the next biennium. This is a logic which I do not entirely follow, but if I were to play the devil's advocate I would then say that if that logic were to be followed, let us take the example of an earlier biennium not so long ago. In 1981 the budget was $278 million. During that biennium, and I go again to the budget performance reports, during that biennium the Director-General was obliged, with the approval of the Finance Committee and the Council, to draw on the working capital fund and on the Special Reserve Account for a total of $8 million because of unbudgeted costs, some of them which were known when the Conference approved the budget. In addition the Director-General made forced savings, forced savings, deliberate savings, deliberate cuts of $11.3 million during that biennium. If the same logic of programme growth and programme decrease were to be applied, I do not recall at that time a single Member Nation suggesting that because of these drawings on the Special Reserve Account and the working capital fund and of the forced savings, the total amounting to some $20 million, when we look at the budget for 1982-83 we should start by adding first $20 million before we think of adding programme increases.
The Secretariat tries to be as clear, as consistent and as open as it can. The only way in which figures on programme growth have been given are as given in the document before you. It is up to you and to Member Nations to interpret them in any way they wish. I hope that I have satisfied the points that I needed to reply to.
D.K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): There are only a couple of additional points that I would like to address. One is to do with the cost of travel as practised by FAO in relation to travel as practised by the UNDP. The representative of the United States raised the question that it may be possible for FAO to economize in the budget if we were to use policies similar to those used by UNDP for Home Leave Travel and for Education Travel. I am happy to report that FAO has an extremely prudent policy for travel and in comparison with most UN organizations, and certainly in comparison with UNDP, FAO has a more frugal travel requirement than they do.
Let us first take Education Travel, and this has to do with the entitlements that staff members have for their students who must return to college, to middle school, high school. During that travel our regulations require that regardless of the mode of transportation the Organization's . final liability is limited to the costs of the lowest economy class fare available on the scheduled airline over the most direct route, including youth and student fares where and when applicable. These fares are below the economy class or the APEX fares when they include youth and student fares. In most instances we are able to schedule those fares, since the students will be travelling for a fairly long time from home when you can use the lowest fares possible.
I am happy to report that FAO not only has that regulation but practises it and is able substantially to reduce the cost of travel for what we refer to as Education Travel.
With regard to Home Leave Travel, the entitlements allow the staff member and the family to travel at given intervals to their home country. There again FAO is able to schedule travel of the staff member in such a way as to economize on this travel as well. And while we have a little more flexibility in the regulation for this type of travel, I am happy to say that with the Director-General's guidance on this issue all the managers in FAO have been extremely prudent to arrange for Home Leave Travel for the various staff members at almost the lowest economy fare.
I am happy to report that for Home Leave Travel in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, in most instances our families travel on Home Leave at excursion fare rates, and that is much lower than the Duty Travel which is required because of locations and one thing and another.
In addition, the Director-General was successful a few years back in arranging for a contract with a Travel Agent wherein our contract calls for a sharing of commissions from this Travel Agent for all travel. The Travel Agent, while being located in FAO, arranges specifically with the airlines for services and prepares tickets at our rendering of advice to the Travel Agents for such travel. In so doing, as is the case for all travel agents, the airlines provide a commission with the Travel Agent. Our contract at the insistence of the Director-General in this instance gets a larger share of the commission to the Travel Agent, which is in excess of 50 percent of his commission I might add, and is the highest in the UN System. So in addition to having a prudent travel policy we get a veritable reimbursement, so to speak. Then I might add with this prudence a good share of the return is then transferred as surplus and returned to Member Nations, so all of you have the opportunity to share in this prudent travel policy and in the returns that result. I believe that answers the question raised on travel.
There is one other question raised by the delegate of Canada, having to do with FAO membership, or lack thereof, in the International Computer Centre in Geneva. At this moment we are not members of the International Computer Centre. It is a centre that has been established for the use of those UN agencies who wish to participate or do not have a computing capacity and it is a good instrument for those who have that specific need and it is cost effective for them. FAO has reviewed membership in the ICC on several occasions and finds that with the tremendous number and size of data bases that it collects for Member Countries and makes available to Member Countries, is is much more cost effective to retain the data base either here locally within FAO or under specific contract to provide for that data. In some instances the Member Country provide the data base or the repository for the data base at a very small cost. We look at this periodically and we look at it very carefully. The same telecommunication lines that are available through the ICC are also available directly into Rome. So we believe that our Member Countries are not being penalized by our not being a member of the ICC but do provide a facility wherein all Member Countries can share in the real data bases, whether it is fisheries, forestry or agriculture or any of the technical areas. We will continue to look at membership in ICC and if at all warranted we certainly would propose it, but up to now it has not been cost justified for us to enter into a contract for membership with the ICC. I think that concludes the areas that I wanted to comment on.
D.F.R. BOMMER (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): The Director-General asked me to reply to one technical question which had been raised. The Indian delegation asked about the situation of major campaigns against animal diseases, particularly the Rinderpest Campaign, and I am happy to report that the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign, which has been discussed several times by the intergovernmental bodies in FAO, is still in its preparatory phase. It is mainly through the assistance of our TCP that we could help Member States in Africa to stop the disease. But the actual control and
eradication phase has not yet started because the major donors involved, particularly the EEC, could not reach an earlier decision, but we are collaborating very closely with the coordinating body in the Organization of African Unity stationed in Nairobi to help keep the momentum going and to go as far as possible into the full control and eradication campaign.
The next step will be a vaccination phase for four years and then a consolidation phase for six years, a ten-year period, and cost estimates at the moment are of the order of $ 200 million for this ten-year period.
In south Asia an expert consultation on requirements for a rinderpest eradication campaign was held in India in December 1983. The consultation recommended a systematically planned five-year programme for the eradication of rinderpest. That should also be followed by another five years consolidation phase.
The Working Group on Africa, our Regional Commission, is now preparing a plan for the eradication campaign. In the Middle East the regional project has prepared a proposal for the eradication of rinderpest from the Gulf States and the Arabian Peninsula. Recently India requested a coordinator for this campaign under which a coordinated vaccine campaign will continue for four years.
To talk about another major disease the Council certainly will recall the efforts of the Organization and of Member States in relation to the outbreak of African Swine Fever, particularly its transmission to the Americas, particularly to Latin America. We can say now that African Swine Fever has been eradicated from all the countries in the western hemisphere by the end of 1984, and in the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Cuba in 1980. However, African Swine Fever is still endemic in Europe - in Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Italy. The EEC is providing assistance to those countries in Europe, including Belgium, which has recently been affected. There is no vaccine against African Swine Fever and it is difficult to eradicate the disease from infected countries unless drastic measures involving the elimination of pigs from infected premises are taken. Therefore in Africa where African Swine Fever is endemic a study should be carried out and preventive measures should be strengthened before pig production is increased.
It would be too much to talk here on the third major disease, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, on which FAO has a very proud tradition with the European Commission on Foot-and-Mouth Disease and its collaboration with various Member States to view in the future the possibility of eradication, but so far hopes of new vaccines which have been developed, particularly through biotechnology and genetic engineering, in the United States have not materialized that we could think of an eradication campaign, particularly in Latin America or Asian countries. But measures taken by the FAO Commission for Europe would certainly be implemented in a similar cooperative spirit in such regions.
Finally, the delegate from the Philippines, commending our programmes, has drawn the view of the Council to the need to give particular strength to the development of alternatives to the inorganic or chemical fertilizers and pesticides for developing countries. I wish to draw the attention of delegates to Sub-programme 18.104.22.168, where the Director-General has proposed an increase, particularly related to the use of nitrogen fixation and other organic sources of fertilizers, and to Sub-programme 22.214.171.124 for protection, which makes particular reference to the integrated pest control which is strongly pursued in FAO's programme. These are the comments to be provided.
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL : Vous venez de recevoir les explications du Président du Comité financier et du Président du Comité du programme ainsi que de trois de mes collaborateurs. Je crois que j'ai l'obligation de vous donner mon sentiment. Mais je vois que le délégué du Japon a demandé la parole; je la lui cède volontiers.
K. SHIOZAWA (Japan): Allow me to interrupt the statement by the Director-General. May I ask the Secretariat to reply to our question on the possibility of using discount tickets for the official travel of FAO staff.
D.K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): The use of discount air travel for staff members particularly is one that to some extent is now being explored and there is the possibility that we will actually go back out on the street for a tender for the travel operations, in order to consider seriously the entire discount air travel position. The Director-General has looked at this very carefully and has decided that the best way to handle future travel agencies and travel agency discounts is again to go back out to tender.
The airline travel situation has changed dramatically in the last few years so there are now heavy discounts being allowed. FAO wishes to take advantage of every possibility along that line. I can assure members of Council that we are giving serious consideration to finding ways of taking account additionally of any discounts there are available and we intend to do so in the very near future.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): My question is in relation to the policy of the Organization regarding travel. Mention was made about tendering for travel. I was just wondering how this would affect the present policy, that the travel airlines issue all tickets on Alitalia. How would this policy be affected?
D.K. CROWTHER: (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): It is a little too early to give a precise answer to that. The general objective would be that all airlines offering travel for those duty stations that are staff travel would have an equal opportunity to compete for that business, depending entirely on the discounts offered. While we have had the opportunity in the. past of using the host airline Alitalia, to provide prepaid tickets to locations throughout the world as a service to the Organization, these tickets are totally transferable to any airline. But objectively it is our view that favours Alitalia, so we are looking carefully to determine whether or not we will make this as competitive as possible to any airline travelling on the same route.
CHAIRMAN: Is there any other point of clarification to be answered by Dr Bommer, Mr Crowther or Mr Shah?
R.C. GUPTA (India): I just wanted to make a brief observation about what Mr Crowther said just now. This was the particular question of certain advantages accruing to Alitalia on account of certain arrangements under which a service was intended to be provided. This arrangement has gone on for quite some time. We have had the opportunity of voicing our concern about the fact that this leads to certain discrimination. For the last one-and-a-half years we have been told the arrangements are under review, that they would be changed. My only concern is that these oft repeated assurances should be acted on quickly because we have been waiting for more than one-and-a-half years to see some change in all this.
CHAIRMAN: If no one requires any further clarification, I will ask the Director-General to continue.
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL : Je pense que le délégué de l'Inde s'est efforcé de défendre les intérêts d'Air India.
Il y a quelques années nous recevions de l'agence de voyages qui s'occupait des affaires de la FAO 2,5 pour cent de remboursement sur le prix des billets que nous achetions, et nous achetions pour 30 millions de billets, que ce soit pour le Programme ordinaire, les programmes de terrain, les voyages des experts et de leurs familles, etc.
Nous avons fait un appel d'offre et une adjudication et nous avons obtenu une ristourne de 6,5 pour cent, soit 4 pour cent en plus, soit deux millions cent-mille.
Le Corps commun d'inspection des Nations Unies a fait une étude sur les relations entre les organisations et les agences de voyages et sur le montant des ristournes qui sont payées par ces dernières. Il a vu que la FAO était de loin en tête. On continue encore à New York,à Genève ou à Paris, à avoir des ristournes de 2,5 ou 3 pour cent. Le Corps d'inspection a recommandé que toutes les agences des Nations Unies suivent l'exemple de la FAO. Il a préparé un cahier des charges. On a été contacté par les collègues des autres agences: nous avons été vraiment une agence pilote dans ce domaine.
Maintenant nous voulons avoir encore plus que 6,5 pour cent. Telle ou telle compagnie nationale ne nous intéresse pas en particulier: nous voulons avoir la meilleure combinaison possible qui puisse nous rapporter de l'argent. Je ne peux pas prendre en considération le point de vue d'Air India ou d'Air Philippines, etc. Ce que je cherche, c'est d'avoir une agence de voyages sérieuse qui nous donne le plus grand pourcentage de ristourne, ristourne qui, à la fin de l'année, vous est distribuée à vous, Etats Membres. C'est comme çà que je vois la chose.
Je connais bien le sujet et nous avons même pensé, avec M. Crowther, d'utiliser les cartes de crédit, ce qui nous permettrait de payer après trente jours. C'est vous dire combien nous avons été loin.
Après tout, Alitalia est ici sur place. Ses billets sont interchangeables. Ils nous ont donné 1,5 pour cent de ristourne en plus. Mais je peux vous dire que nous ne voulons favoriser aucune agence de voyage et nous allons certainement obtenir un pourcentage encore plus grand avec une adjudication à laquelle nous avons invité une quinzaine de compagnies.
Je veux maintenant vous donner mon point de vue sur tout le reste. Je voudrais d'abord vous remercier vous tous pour le travail très sérieux que vous avez accompli, pour le ton très agréable de la discussion et la sérénité que vous avez montré.
Il y a eu 43 délégués qui ont pris la parole, ainsi qu'un certain nombre d'observateurs. Si je fais l'analyse de ce qui a été dit, et c'est mon devoir de le faire du point de vue de la FAO, j'ai noté qu'il y avait 33 délégués qui ont approuvé mes propositions de programme de travail et budget; 10 délégations s'y sont opposées ou ont réservé leur position. C'était parfois difficile de faire la distinction, mais beaucoup ont promis de revoir leur position au moment de la Conférence quand il y aura le programme et budget détaillé, et davantage d'informations. Quelques pays n'ont pas pris la parole parce qu'ils ne sont pas là, je pense que si ces pays avaient parlé, ils auraient peut-être été dans le camp de ceux qui ont appuyé mes propositions.
Le Conseil est un microscome de la Conférence. En fait le programme de travail et budget pour 1986-87 est déjà virtuellement approuvé, parce que si nous allons à la Conférence je crois que ce sera la même majorité. Mais je me refuse d'aller à la Conférence avec un vote et un partage en deux camps, parce que les 2 camps ne sont pas bien délimités. Il y a certes des pays qui fournissent une contribution très importante au budget. Mais qu'est ce que cela veut dire contribution très importante? Parmi les pays qui sont dans le groupe qu'on appelle le Groupe de Genève il y a des pays qui paient 1 pour cent, 1,3 pour cent, 1,9 pour cent et il y a aussi dans le camp de ceux qui ont approuvé le Sommaire du Programme et de Budget des pays comme la Chine qui paient 1,06 pour cent, l'Argentine 0,86 pour cent, le Mexique 1,06 pour cent, le Brésil 1,68 pour cent, l'Arabie Saoudite 1,04 pour cent. Ceux-là devraient être dans le groupe de Genève. La Tchécoslovaquie paie 0,92 pour cent. Pourtant, ce pays n'a pas de fonctionnaires ici, nous n'achetons pratiquement rien à la Tchécoslovaquie et elle paie une telle contribution. Or, ils ne se sont pas opposés au budget. En fait les camps ne sont pas délimités par ceux qui paient plus et ceux qui paient moins. D'ailleurs tout le monde paie la même chose puisque c'est une équation: la contribution des États Membres est basée sur le produit national brut, la population, etc.
Sur les priorités, la stratégie, le programme,je crois qu'il a un accord quasi unanime. Tout le monde était d'accord pour que l'Afrique reçoive encore la priorité qu'elle mérite. On a parlé du management, et le délégué du Canada l'a reconnu, il y a une bonne gestion: On fait des économies. C'est vrai. Aucun projet n'a été rejeté systématiquement ou jugé impopulaire alors que dans d'autres organisations il y a des programmes ou des projets que les Etats Membres ont rejetés. Il y a eu, dans d'autres organisations, des disputes entre les délégués pour savoir s'il fallait retenir tel ou tel programme ou l'enlever. Ici tous les programmes sont considérés comme importants, et je crois qu'il n'y a aucun désaccord, en tout cas je n'en ai pas entendu, sur les priorités.
Comme d'habitude, on a exprimé son point de vue sur le PCT, parce que beaucoup de délégués tiennent au P€T. C'est un programme populaire, peut être trop populaire pour certains, il a un impact visible. Le-délégué du Zimbabwe nous a dit comment dans une situation d'urgence ils ont pu, grâce au Programme de Coopération Technique, recevoir l'aide de la FAO plus rapidement que d'autres organisations multilatérales. Certains pays ont dit: il faut l'augmenter. D'autres n'ont pas dit qu'il fallait le supprimer, mais ont dit qu'il ne fallait pas aller plus loin. Je crois que c'est un programme qui bénéficie à tout le monde. On vous a dit que grâce à ce Programme, les pays d'Amérique latine ont pu arrêter l'invasion de la fièvre porcine africaine,qui menaçait les Etats-Unis et peut-être pourrons-nous faire quelque chose de semblable dans le domaine de la mouche méditerranéenne du fruit. Enfin les pays développés bénéficient peut-être plus du PTC parce qu une grande partie des experts et de l'équipement, vient des pays développés. Et puis, sans le PCT qu'est-ce que serait le Programme de la FAO? Ce sont des réunions et des publications. Si un délégué nous dit: J'ai besoin de semences, devrait-on lui répondre: On va vous donner un livre sur cela, on va faire une réunion? Cela c'est pour répondre à certaines remarques comme celles du délégué du Danemark. D'après lui la FAO devrait peut-être se transformer en académie d'agriculture, en forum, faire des publications, être une source d'informations mais ne pas être une organisation opérationnelle sur le terrain fournissant une assistance technique. L'OMS a un programme d'assistance technique, ce n'est pas 14 pour cent de son budget comme la FAO, c'est 66 pour cent de 500 millions de dollars et plus . Je n'ai pas l'ambition d'arriver jusqu'à 66 pour cent. L'OMS est une organisation dont la plus grande part du budget est consacrée à l'assistance technique.
Nous allons préparer le détail du programme de travail et budget. Pour répondre à l'Ambassadeur des Philippines qui voudrait avoir plus d'informations je dirai que ceci n'est qu'un sommaire et le document qui sera préparé sera soumis de nouveau au Comité financier, au Comité du Programme, aux deux Comités que vous avez vous-mêmes nommés et qui vont pendant 2 semaines se réunir, et examiner toutes nos propositions. J'espère que nos arguments seront encore plus convaincants et qu'il y aura davantage d'informations pour vous. Je tiendrai compte de ce qui a été dit au Comité du Programme, au Comité financier, au Comité de l'agriculture, au Comité des pêches, et ici même, tout cela je le prendrai en considération. Je ne veux pas dire que je pourrai peut être tout amender mais certainement vous verrez que la plupart des recommandations qui ont été faites en ce qui concerne le Programme de travail seront prises en considération.
Je crois que M. Shah a déjà répondu à la question des délégués des Philippines: quel était le coût du Programme, combien doit-on payer? Il a donné des chiffres, et je vais donner les mêmes mais avec peut-être plus de détails. D'abord il faut dire combien vous payez maintenant pour 1984-85. Vous ne payez que 395 millions 900 000 dollars.
Pour 1986-87 quel sera le coût du dollar? Aujourd'hui, il est de 1961 lires. Est-ce qu'il pourra être de 1900, mettons-le à 1900, je vous le concéde, mais il pourrait être aussi bien à 2000. A 1900, le budget sera de 432 millions 900 mille dollars, mais alors la ristourne que je me propose de donner aux états membres sera vraisemblablement de 40 millions, ce ne sera plus 26 millions 500 mille. J'ai cette possibilité. Vous paierez, au pire 392 millions 900 mille dollars environ, si le dollar descend à 1900.
Donc, il ne faut pas trop se préoccuper de l'argent. Ce n'est pas seulement une affaire de gros sous, ce programme de lutte contre la faim, il doit bénéficier aux petits paysans qui constituent la majorité des populations des pays qui en ont le plus besoin.
Mais il y a plus, c'est que, à part cette ristourne de 40 millions de dollars, il y aura encore de l'argent que vous recevrez, émanant de l'exercice budgétaire de ce biennium. Par exemple, en 1982-83, nous avons distribué à la fin du biennium 47 millions de dollars et maintenant nous espérons avoir encore 45 millions de dollars, à distribuer. Dans cette somme, 15 millions reviendront au programme pour l'Afrique, le Comité des finances a déjà donné son accord, mais il reste encore au moins 30 millions qui seront distribués.
Dans ce contexte, qu'est ce que 1,4 %? Ce n'est rien du tout, la marge d'erreur pour calculer un budget de 400 millions est au moins du même ordre, 1,5% c'est la marge d'erreur. En fait, je vous demande de faire une avance et après vous restituer de l'argent à la fin du biennium.
Je vais vous dire maintenant en toute sincérité pourquoi j'ai proposé un budget de 1,4 et non pas de 3 ou de 0 pour cent. En 1984-85 le budget a été majoré de 0,4, pratiquement c'était une croissance zéro. Qui peut différencier entre 0 et 0,4? Pour 1986-87 la situation catastrophique en Afrique a fait que nous avons donné une plus grande priorité à l'Afrique dans notre Programme. Il y a notamment dans le Programme et Budget détaillés des activités trés importantes pour aider les pays africains à produire leurs intrants agricoles, c'est-à-dire que nous allons faire un effort plus grand pour la production des semences, la production des vaccins, etc. Ce sont des choses qui sont déjà faites, mais nous voulons faire un effort beaucoup plus grand.
D'autre part, il y a eu la première Conférence mondiale des pêches qui s'est tenue ici. Il faut bien, pour le suivi de cette Conférence, avoir un peu plus de crédits pour mettre en oeuvre le Programme d'action. C'était la première fois que se tenait une telle Conférence. Enfin, il va y avoir le Congrès forestier mondial à Mexico, il faut en tenir compte et nous savons déjà dans quel sens iront les recommandations de ce Congrès.
Il y avait donc ces justifications sur le plan technique, sur le plan économique, sur le plan de l'assistance mais j'ai aussi noté que le dollar a été réévalué au moment où je voulais préparer mon budget. J'ai fait mon compte, si j'augmentais le budget de 1,5 ou de 1,4, j'arriverais quand même à avoir un budget qui en termes de contributions serait moindre que le budget actuel, et j'ai pensé que les pays qui sont les principaux avocats de l'austérité pourraient ainsi accepter 1,5 ou 1,4%. Et je pense toujours que ceci est à la portée des pays qui veulent l'austérité dans le budget. Ils devraient pouvoir l'accepter exceptionnellement parce qu'il y a l'Afrique, la Conférence des pêches, parce que le dollar a été surévalué.
Je maintiens ce que j'ai dit que quand on prépare un budget 2 ans à l'avance et avec une augmentation de 1,4 pour cent, cela représente vraiment beaucoup moins que la marge d'erreur dans le calcul des ressources nécessaires.
En conclusion, le budget de 1986-87 ne doit pas vous diviser en deux camps, chacun bénéficie du budget. Certains pays recouvrent 3, 4 fois leur contribution au budget. Si on calcule le nombre de fonctionnaires qu'ils ont et les salaires que reçoivent ces fonctionnaires, si on ajoute à cela le montant de l'équipement que ces pays nous vendent, les consultants, les compagnies d'aviation avec lesquelles nous voyageons qui appartiennent à ces pays, on peut voir que, certains pays européens, pour une contribution au budget de la FAO de 1, reçoivent 4 et 5. Nous avons les chiffres mais nous ne voulons nommer aucun de ces pays. Donc, tous les pays sont bénéficiaires. J'ai démontré qu'il n'y avait pas d'augmentation dans les contributions, je le dis très haut, je dis qu'on ne vous demande pas de payer plus pour 1986-87.
Je terminerai en disant à tout le monde, y compris à ceux qui demandent un budget plus élevé, d'être plus raisonnables. Je ne m'attendais pas du tout à un appui unanime, mais je suis convaincu que la situation changera au moment de la Conférence. J'espère qu'à l'occasion de la célébration du quarantième anniversaire de l'Organisation, en évoquant la mémoire des pères fondateurs de la FAO, Roosevelt, McDougall, Boyd Orr, avec la présence de plusieurs chefs d'Etat, vos coeurs s'ouvriront et que dans un élan de fraternité général vous approuverez le Programme de travail et budget et que la Conférence sera une conférence historique.
R. C. GUPTA (India): After the Director-General has spoken at length about the budget, I am not going to say all that I wanted to say because the subject being discussed is much more important than FAO travel benefits being shared by the airlines.
I did not intend to infer that FAO was favouring any particular airline. Mr Crowther in his response said that the arrangement works out in such a way that Alitalia gets more clientele than other airlines do. I only wanted to point out that fact. Also, if the travel benefits of this clientele are shared with other airlines, the benefits are shared by the countries in the same way as they are shared as a result of FAO obtaining higher discounts and commissions. So it works out to be the same thing. My anxiety was that the present arrangement which somehow favoured a particular airline, though not deliberately, should be reviewed as soon as possible. Having said that, I should like to reiterate that we lend our fullest support to the level of the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium.
J. C. CLAVE (Philippines): I do not really want to engage in a debate with the Director-General and the representative of the Secretariat, but I thought I should make the following observations.
First of all, this morning I said I would support the budget at the figure which I placed at $421 140 000. I am grateful to the Director-General for calling my attention to the fact that this was last year's figure. I have adopted this figure of $451 640 000, but on the basis of our discussions this is not a final figure - in other words the sum of the budget supported by the Philippines will slide up and down depending on the sliderule of the Director-General and the Secretariat, but of course with one limitation - that it does not impose upon my country an additional assessment because, even if we wish to contribute more dollars for the sake of our brothers in Africa, conditions in my country will not allow it. This is one condition. With this, I hope the Director-General will see how we support the budget.
The second observation of my statement referred to the programmes. It is my hope and the yearning of my country that more money will go into developmental projects as against studies, conferences and meetings will also be considered. I welcome of course the observation of one of our colleagues in the Secretariat that provisions have been made for the development of alternative soil conditioners. That is welcome. But what I wish to hear from him next time would be that not only have there been provisions for this activity, but that such provisions are enough to emphasize the urgency of the problem and that the resources being provided are comparable with those for our other concerns. It is one thing to say that there are provisions, but it is another thing to say, that we have sufficient provisions, provisions comparably adequate seen in the light of those provided for others.
I share the concern of my colleague from India. Since the Director-General has mentioned the Philippine Airlines, which is the Airline of my country - and by the way, I would like to thank him for his commercial! - I feel I should say something on this subject. It is only natural for us delegates - especially in my case as I am Ambassador to Italy as well - to think in terms of the national interest of our Airline. I must say that the Italian Government has been very considerate and has been looking with favour and kind consideration at the plight of the Philippine Airlines. I would only wish that when this matter of FAO travel arrangements comes up for review the Secretariat would weigh and probably reconcile the desire on the part of the Secretariat to earn a little more commission, against the possible assistance to Third World airlines, Philippine Airlines or Air India, or Singapore or Japan Airlines; assistance which would go a long way towards helping our airlines to keenly survive the competition in the transportation industry.
Finally, I would like to share the optimism of the Director-Generalthat in November we shall have a happy anniversary - and I promise you of course that in the meantime I shall go on meeting with the key officers of the Secretariat so that the enquiring and learning process which we started here will continue. It is my business to know the Organization which my country helped to found forty years ago.
CHAIRMAN: If no other delegate wishes to speak before I sum up may I first of all thank all Council Members and Observers who have participated in the discussion of this most important item on our agenda for this particular Council meeting. We have spent nearly two whole days - all of Friday and practically the whole of today - in other words out of ten days of Council meeting we have spent two days on this item, and I think rightly so. I think it has been a proper judgement on the part of the Council Members and Observers who have decided to place overriding priority on this item. I want to thank our colleagues in the Programme and Finance Committees - both the Members and the two Chairmen - for the amount of time they have spent; as they have already explained, they have also worked at night on most of the days of the Programme and Finance Committees and the result is obvious in the very clear report which we have and its very concise and precise presentation by both Chairmen. I am sure I share the view of all Council Members when I thank the Chairmen of the two Committees.
You heard this afternoon the Director-General, Mr Shah, Mr Crowther and Dr Bommer refer to most of the points made by Members with considerable candour, and we appreciate the open way in which all these matters have been discussed. It is an exceedingly important feature of this particular debate that nothing is swept under the carpet and whatever information Members wanted has been laid on the floor. I want to thank the Director-General and all his colleagues for raising the level of the discussions to a very high plane.
May I now summarize the discussion on this Item 14 of the agenda, Summary Programme of Work of Budget document CL 87/3. I will mention the countries which have given their unqualified support but in some cases have pleaded for an enhanced budget to meet the growing demands of the Organization. They are: - Colombia, Lebanon, Cuba, Egypt, Czechoslovakia, India, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Tunisia, China, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Malawi, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh, Austria, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Pakistan, Mexico, Congo, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Uganda, Benin, Senegal, Rwanda, Philippines, Sao Tomé and Principe. Some Council Members and Observers have spoken on behalf of whole groups: Indonesia conveyed the support of the entire Asia Group; Ivory Coast conveyed the support of the Africa Group; Tunisia conveyed the support of the Near East Group; Venezuela the support of the Latin American and Caribbean Group; and Libya conveyed the support of the members of Group of 77. Among Observers who have given their total support to the Summary Programme of Work and Budget are: Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Madagascar, Poland, Peru, El Salvador, Kenya, Viet Nam, Cape Verde and Sudan.
Ten Council Members and one Observer expressed reservations or wanted the Summary Programme of Work and Budget to be reconsidered:- the United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, Canada, Japan, Spain, Federal Republic of Germany. Denmark, France and Italy have reserved their position, and the Netherlands, as an Observer, has also expressed reservations.
From what I have said it is clear that a majority of Council Members consider the Summary Programme of Work and Budget as described in document CL 87/3 an acceptable framework for the preparation of the full Programme of Work and Budget 1986-87 and requested the Director-General to proceed accordingly.
Mention has also been made by several delegations, particularly Italy, that although they have expressed reservations on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget they support the Field Programme, and this is a welcome feature. As mentioned in the document there is a feedback relationship between the Regular and Field Programmes and we appreciate this gesture. May I therefore conclude by once again reiterating the Council's overwhelming desire for the Director-General to proceed with the preparation of the full Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium on the basis of the proposals contained in CL 87/3.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Has the Council approved the Summary Programme of Work and Budget?
CHAIRMAN: Yes, that is what I have just summarized.
M. FRANCISCI di BASCHI (Italie): Je n'ai pas très bien compris les réserves que l'on attribue à l'Italie sur le Programme de terrain. J'ai dit exactement le contraire! J'ai fait une observation très générale sur le fait que les fonds disponibles pour le Programme dans les différentes organisations internationales avaient tendance à diminuer et c'est cela que j'ai regretté. Je vous remercie.
CHAIRMAN: May I then take it that Italy supports the proposals in document CL 87/3? Yes. Thank you very much Italy.
J. TCHICAYA (Congo): Monsieur le Président, je pense que vous avez résumé le débat et pour notre part, nous espérions que la conclusion serait beaucoup plus précise tout au moins selon notre entendement. Vous avez fort bien essayé de mettre d'un côté ce qui était favorable et, de l'autre, ce qui l'était moins ou même ceux qui s'y sont opposés.
Je crois que nous sommes ici au sein du Conseil et qu'il y a des règles au sein de ce Conseil pour approuver, ou rejeter, ou laisser en suspens une question. Je crois, pour ma part, que vous avez bien fait de lire les noms des pays qui ont appuyé ce sommaire et, en entendant les noms de ces pays, il ressort clairement que plus des deux tiers de notre Conseil appuie le sommaire du Programme et Budget qui est présenté.
Je ne sais pas si le Conseiller légal es là pour nous dire à quel niveau , à quelle majorité on doit considérer que ce sommaire est approuvé, parce que nous aimerions connaître la décision finale: est-ce approuvé ou ne l'est-ce-pas? En effet, il y a eu des propositions qui tendaient à faire en sorte que le Directeur général puisse refaire un autre projet qui tienne compte de la croissance zéro. Or, après ce débat, il es clair que ceci a été clairement rejeté par la majorité de notre Conseil. En conséquence, nous pensions que la seule solution qui s'imposait était de demander au Directeur Général de travailler sur la base de ce projet, tel qu'approuvé.
CHAIRMAN: Let me before others intervene once again make it clear what I said. I said a very large majority of the members of the Council, and naturally therefore the Council, approved the proposals contained in document CL 87/3 and therefore we consider it as an acceptable framework for the development of the detailed Programme of Work and Budget. This is how I summarized and I think if there is any ambiguity in what I said I shall be happy to clarify it, but it is very clear that the Council as a whole has approved by a majority this particular document as an acceptable framework.
A. ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (langue originale arabe) : Monsieur le Président, nous avons énormément de respect pour vous, mais malgré ce respect, c'est la deuxième fois que nous constatons que les débats du Conseil n'aboutissent pas à une décision bien claire. Vous nous avez dit quels sont les pays qui ont approuvé le projet du Directeur général pour le budget et vous nous avez dit aussi quels sont les pays qui sont opposés ou ceux qui ont réservé leur position.
Et malgré tout le respect que j'ai pour Monsieur le Directeur général et malgré le fait qu'il y ait deux camps, comme il l'a bien dit, au sein de ce Conseil, le Conseil a pris une décision et il faudrait que le Président de ce Conseil annonçât clairement que l'on a pris une décision à la majorité en faveur du projet présenté par M. le Directeur général.
CHAIRMAN: Let me once again read out what I said. The Council approves the priorities, programmes and allocations in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget as presented in document CL 87/3 and requests the Director-General to produce the final Programme of Work and Budget accordingly. I hope that it is very clear.
R.D. KAUZLARICH (United States of America): I have been doing some rather quick reading here of the Basic Texts and I do not believe, unless I have misread, that the Council is asked to make a decision such as the one that you have posed to us. We are not asked to approve or disapprove this. We are asked to prepare a report that is then transmitted to the Conference for approval, and I think, as you have quite rightly pointed out, that there are divergences of opinion. My delegation for one, and I think others, did ask the Director-General to take a bit of a different approach, that is to prepare a budget based on zero programme growth, so I think it is inappropriate to say that the Council decided. That is not the question I have understood we were discussing and it is certainly not the question I am prepared to address, other than to say that we did have some questions. These questions were asked; we had some explanations; our duty as a Council is to record the divergent views that were recorded, and it is the Conference's responsibility to approve or disapprove the budget.
J.C. CLAVE (Philippines): Mr Chairman, Mr Director-General, I was only expecting or hoping to add to the obvious directive to the Director-General an approval in principle, shall we say, of the proposed budget and programme the following phrase: "To prepare the Programme and the Budget in accordance with the Summary Programme of Work and Budget, taking into consideration as much as possible the observations made concerning the programmes during the Council session". Something along that line, Mr Chairman. I think that the Director-General in preparing the detailed Programme of Work and Budget should be guided by two things, first the proposal as we approved it, and secondly the suggestions and recommendations that were aired on this floor by members of the Council.
G.H. MUSGROVE (Canada): We too wanted to add our voice and indeed would have said what the distinguished delegate from the United States has said had we had the floor first. Even those who spoke on all sides of the budget issue had made I think two points. The first was that their hope and wish was that in due course there would be a consensus reached on the budget process and particularly with respect to the budget level; and, secondly, that the process of approval would be one that would be forthcoming, or addressed at least, when the full Programme of Work and Budget was available.
We have posed a number of questions, and indeed had some useful replies from the Secretariat. I might add that a number of those replies led to further questions. I refrain from pursuing the matter today. Mr Shah will know well the direction my subsequent questions would take as I have had this debate with him before. We refrained from doing so, thinking that the discussion we have had in this Council is the stage which will prevent further discussion of a number of these issues.
We have no quarrel I think with the suggestion just made by the distinguished representative of the Philippines. I have not had time to study his proposed solution but it does seem to us something along those lines is what the Council at maximum can reach at this time.
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): La delegación de Colombia se ha abstenido durante el día de hoy de hacer una segunda intervención porque no deseamos prolongar este debate y esperamos que otros colegas asuman actitud semejante. Creo que este Consejo debe reconocer y agradecer la reacción franca y clara del Director General, quien en actitud realista y objetiva hizo su declaración sobre el debate que ha tenido lugar.
Sin embargo, recientes intervenciones demuestran cómo el Director General tuvo razón al proponer este modesto aumento, porque dada la tendencia sistemática a reducir el presupuesto, si el Director General hubiera sometido el crecimiento cero estos distinguidos delegados le habrían pedido el menos cero.
Yo creo que la situación es muy clara y la gran mayoría de los Miembros del Consejo - sólo una quinta parte ha estado negativa o dudosa -, la gran mayoría de los Miembros ha estado en favor de este resumen y así debe hacerse constar en el informe y luego en el Comité de Redacción, no aquí, en el Comité de Redacción, donde están representados los Estados Unidos y otros países, se hará constar, como de costumbre, las opiniones de aquellos Estados que no pudieron sumarse a la gran mayoría. Luego del Director General, con base en ese Informe, preparará un texto definitivo que someterá a los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas en septiembre próximo y luego a la Conferencia de noviembre entrante; de manera que queremos sumarnos al llamado cordial del Director General y pedir a nuestros colegas que por una vez demuestren un espíritu diferente y que se dispongan con nosotros a celebrar el 40° aniversario de la fundación de la FAO, no sólo de manera solemne, sino también en forma solidaria.
CHAIRMAN: Before I proceed further I would like to clarify a point raised by the distinguished delegate of the United States whether the Council is really enjoined to approve or recommend, and the relevant provisions are: "The Council shall consider and make recommendations to the Conference on policy issues regarding the summary and draft Programme of Work and Budget and supplementary estimates submitted by the Director-General for the following financial period". We have to consider and make recommendations, and this is why I summarized by saying that the proposals form an acceptable framework for the development of the full Programme of Work and Budget, because it is very clear here that we are here not only just to consider but also to make recommendations. That is what the rules say in page 55 of the Basic Texts.
M. BALLA SY (Senegal): J'essaierai d'être bref d'autant plus que vous avez donné la précision qu'il convenait de porter à notre attention. Discuter autour d'un point pendant deux jours et dire que nous devons nous séparer sur nos différentes positions n'est pas un témoignage de respect pour les autres délégations, d'autant plus que le Conseil est un organe qui a la place que nous connaissons. Nous savons également que la Conférence ne peut pas prendre une décision sans être liée par les recommandations de notre Conseil.
Donc il est clair que le Conseil recommande l'adoption du sommaire du Programme de travail et budget et demande au Directeur général de nous présenter un document définitif sur la base des priorités du cadre financier accepté. Autrement, on ne peut pas avoir de document.
M.FRANCISCI di BASCHI (Italie): Je voudrais redire la position de la délégation italienne pour qu'elle soit claire. Au début de ma déclaration de ce matin, j'ai dit: nous approuvons ce sommaire, aussi bien que les déclarations des deux Comités. C'est là la position italienne. Si j'ai émis une réserve, et peut-on l'appeler réserve, c'est simplement pour souhaiter, le moment venu, qu'un taux de change plus réaliste soit envisagé entre la lire et le dollar.
A.M. KHALED (Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of) (Original language Arabic): First of all, as regards whether the Council is empowered to recommend or approve, you have referred us to the Basic Texts. In addition one of the functions of the Council is to agree or otherwise to what has been presented. On page 7 of the Arabic text, the first part, the Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1986-87, there is reference to the fact that the two Committees have recommended that the Council would approve the Summary Programme of Work and Budget as a sound basis for the full Programme of Work and Budget. We have now a joint report by the two Committees and there is a recommendation to approve the Summary Programme of Work and Budget. This document was circulated a long time ago and we have communicated this to our Governments, and received instructions. I do not think that any member can say that he is not in a position to approve this Programme of Work and Budget.
I would like to refer to another point namely the vote count. The distinguished delegate of Italy said that he is not expressing a reservation but he agrees. Therefore I believe that the number of members for the proposed summary Programme of Work and Budget might be more.
A final point, namely that many of those who have taken the floor and approved the budget have also given a recommendation and a request calling upon some countries that expressed reservations to review their position and display a spirit of cooperation and coneiliation. Moreover some points which have been raised by members were responded to by Mr Shah and by the Director-Oeneral, such explanations might help those members who expressed reservations to understand the full situation.
R.G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): Mr. Chairman, your early intervention saved my making a point fully, but the point I was to have made is that we do not consider that the Council has approved the budget, it was not asked to approve the budget, and has not the constitutional power to approve the budget. As for the advice which the Council is entitled to give, a near identity of view has been expressed on priorities , a difference of view has been expressed on orders of magnitude. Various helpful points have been made without contradiction, and this is all that happened.
L. ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Nosotros después de haber oído las explicaciones y respuestas y análisis tan profundos que se hicieron esperábamos que el final no fuera así, sino que tuviéramos claro que hemos discutido un resumen preparado por la Secretaría con vistas a su discusión y a su adopción en la Conferencia.
Creo que el Director General deberá, por la discusión efectuada aquí, preparar un texto para su adopción definitiva en la Conferencia, tratando de tener en cuenta las proposiciones y recomendaciones efectuadas por algunos delegados, algunos que han propuesto rebajar, y otros, como mi delegación, que han propuesto subir.
Creemos que no hemos discutido en ningún momento la preparación de otro presupuesto; es éste el que tenemos que aprobar, el que hemos discutido, el que tenemos que aprobar aquí en el Consejo para su adopción en la Conferencia. Creo que buscar otro análisis es buscar las cinco patas al gato que no tiene más que cuatro. ¿Qué hacemos entonces?.
Hemos discutido durante dos días un resumen del Programa que hemos aprobado por gran mayoría, porque por lo general la práctica reglamentaria es que la mayoría es mitad más uno, y aquí es la gran mayoría que ha aprobado este resumen de presupuesto para la aprobación definitiva en la Conferencia en la cual el Director General lo presentará teniendo en cuenta las proposiciones y recomendaciones efectuadas. Creo que no hay otra salida, no veo que podamos inventar otra casa porque, repito, no hemos discutido la preparación de otro presupuesto, es sobre éste sobre el que hay que hacer las proposiciones y recomendaciones.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I think the Chairman was right and so was the delegate of the UK to quote the General Rules because we go by the rules. On page 55 these rules concern the role of the Council. "The Council considers and makes recommendations to the Conference" (because the Council is a body which is responsible vis-à-vis the Conference) on the summary and the draft Programme of Work and Budget and supplementary estimates.
I think what you have said and what is obvious is that this Council has approved the priorities, the strategies and the programmes in general. Nobody has said, "We do not want to give priority to Africa, we do not agree with this or that Programme". In general there is approval. Then, the budget estimates proposed to implement this Programme have also been generally agreed by 80 or 70 percent.
We have to have a paragraph in the report indicating that some delegates feel that there should be zero growth, and that the Director-General could make savings by further cuts, so that the views of everybody are reflected.
I know what was said and I know it is now my difficult task to reconcile what cannot be reconciled. But, as you rightly said, the Council has to make recommendations, "to consider and make recommendations." You are not approving the budget, it is not the budget, it is a summary of the budget. But you are approving the priorities and this is sufficient for me, the priorities, programmes and strategies. You are approving the estimates and, therefore, those of the level of the budget. But some of you are not in agreement. I know that some of you have reservations, and perhaps you will reconsider. We will see in November what will happen.
So I think we should not fight on this non-issue. The important thing is that all the different views have been expressed. Those who want, may go to Mr Shah and get further explanations and clarifications. But really we should not, since we have had the discussion with calm and serenity, end by fighting on what we are going to put ultimately in the budget.
I would say, that the Council approved the proposed priorities etc., and level of the budget and recommended to the Director-General to prepare the Programme of Work and Budget on this basis.
In fact we do not want to go very far into the history of the FAO, but this article of the Rules should have been amended. I am now talking to the people who have been working with FAO for many years, like Mr Bula Hoyos. In the past the Director-General was requested to submit to the Council the full Programme of Work and Budget with all details. This is why this article says that the Council has to tell the Conference whether they have approved it or not.
In 1971 the developed countries said that it was tying their hands too much to have the. full Programme of Work and Budget discussed by the Council and then sent through to the Conference. They wanted to be able to influence by putting some ideas and to let the Director-General have some flexibility so that when he has to prepare the full Programme of Work and Budget he can say it is only a summary and he can make some adjustment. But this rule was not changed. What changed was that the Director-General has to present a summary, but the rules should have been changed. But this is important. What is said is that the Council agreed with the programmes and the level, some do not agree, some reserved their position, and we will see at the time of the Conference, and that is all. We should not say that they have approved the Programme of Work and Budget, they cannot approve, but they have approved the priorities, the strategies, and the estimated budget level.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. I think with this note we can end our discussion on this topic.
I am sure the able Chairman of the Drafting Committee and the members of the Drafting Committee will bring out clearly some of the views expressed here.
D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): The 18th Annual Report of Budgetary Performance was presented to the Committee at its last session. I would refer members to Annex A of our Report for details of expenditure and commitments for 1984 and for the unallocated balances by Chapter, major programme and programme given in that Annex.
Council Members will note that a sum of US$ 56 000 has been transferred within Chapter II, paragraphs 2.1.9 to 2.1.4,representing the salary of a G-6 post which has been transferred from the Office of the ADG Agriculture Department to the Research and Technology Development Division of the same Department which, as you recall, was created in the current biennium.
Council members will also note that expenditure for 1984 represents 40 percent of the biennial budget: which the Committee noted was in line with the forecast made at the beginning. The total expenditure incurred so far in the 1984/85 budget was US$ 167 548 000.
The Committee also had before it a proposal by the Director-General that he be authorized to transfer an amount of up to US$ 15 million from other budgetary Chapters resulting particularly from reduced expenditure on staff costs and from other programme savings, to finance the implementation of rehabilitation projects including the provision of direct assistance in the form of supplies of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, as well as expert services for the drought-stricken areas of Africa which are facing a severe food crisis. I refer Council members also to the fact that this proposal was considered by the two Committees at its Joint Session, and your attention is drawn to paragraphs 1.8 to 1.11 of the Joint Session Report. This proposal has been made in accordance with Financial Regulation IV, paragraph 4.58.
The Committee was informed of the reasons which led him to make this proposal and of the efforts already being made by the international community to meet the situation of acute dislocation in the agriculture and livestock sectors in the 20-odd countries of Africa in the wake of a severe drought. The international community was fully aware of the problem facing these African countries and the Committee was briefed on the steps already taken by donor countries to support projects, some of which have been prepared by FAO in collaboration with the governments of these affected countries.
Your attention is drawn to paragraphs 3.29 to 3.44 of the Finance Committee report, in this regard.
The financial implications of these proposals and especially the funds still required to implement them are described briefly in these paragraphs. The sum of up of US$ 15 million, which has been suggested for transfer, is meant to support these projects in the afflicted countries and particularly to meet the unmet gap in assistance after having taken into consideration the projects which could be eventually taken up for assistance by donor countries.
The Committee supported these proposals as they would help to resuscitate the agriculture and livestock sectors in the afflicted countries. The Committee was further informed that the utilization of this sum would not in any way affect the 1984-85 Budget and will not involve additional contributions, and was fully in accordance with Financial Regulation IV - paragraph 4.5(b) (i).
The Committee was assured that full reports would be provided to it both as to amounts of savings transferred and funds actually allocated to projects for supporting the rehabilitation efforts in Africa.
M.TRKULJA (Chairman, Programme Committee): I am very sorry, but I do have to report because the Programme Committee also studied the proposed transfer. Given the fact that the Finance Committee has complete authorization to take decisions, or the Council itself between two sessions of the Finance Committee, it has been a well established custom that before the Finance Committee takes a final decision on any transfer, it should take into account the views of the Programme Committee which logically would review only the Programme aspects of the proposed transfer.
So in this particular case, given all these facts that I will not repeat, the Programme Committee concentrated basically on three things which we felt were fully pertinent to our role in advising our friends in the Finance Committee before they came to a decision.
First, we wanted to make sure that the proposed transfer would not adversely affect any approved regular programme activity. Secondly, we wanted to make sure that an activity already exists in the Organization to rationally process and commit any proposed amount of transfer. Thirdly, we wanted to make sure that existing rules governing this kind of assistance would be fully followed.
After considerable deliberation, the Committee fully supported, purely from the Programme point of view, the proposed transfer and accordingly advised our friends in the Finance Committee to consider our point of view before taking a final decision on that matter. Of course, we recorded the initiative taken by the Director-General, the Council's decision, and the particular solution for Africa - and other things, but I will not waste the time of the Council now in going over these; they are clearly recorded in our Report . I will just say briefly that from the Programme point of view, my Committee fully recommended the transfer proposed by the Director-General.
G.H. MUSGROVE (Canada) : As delegates will be aware from the full report both in document CL 87/4 and the Reports of the Chairmen of the Finance and Programme Committees, this was an issue that entailed some considerable discussion and not a little misunderstanding.
Far be it from me on an item that is for information only to reopen that discussion. I would not wish to do so, although I would quite readily engage in any debate, should one develop. The reason I intervene is perhaps to correct some misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that gained considerable currency was that my delegation or I myself was opposed to Africa or to assistance to the rehabilitation projects in that continent. This was not the case.
Questions raised by the proposition to transfer from the wide number of chapter items in the budget to Chapter 4 the Technical Cooperation Programme up to $15 million gave rise to a series of questions relating to aid resources of the $15 million, the purposes to which and for which it would be used, and in particular a considerable number of questions relating to the Technical Cooperation Programme itself, given the accounting that had been given for the first year of the Biennium.
It also raised questions as to the degree with which the Technical Cooperation Programme was being currently used for addressing such rehabilitation projects, and some further questions as to the ultimate utilization of TCP funds that remained unobligated or uncommitted for the remainder of this Biennium.
These questions were discussed at some length, and the Secretariat made some substantial effort to address our concerns, respond to our problems but not to the extent in the time available during the Finance Committee deliberations that we would have liked. The length of the debate and the discussion substantially increased the size of the report on this item beginning at paragraph 3.29 to some 15 paragraphs. My delegation, or I myself as a member of the Finance Committee, submitted a paragraph reflecting the views of myself as a minority, and found this to be unacceptable by the Committee, and substantially reduced in scope.
When the Committee reached a conclusion on this particular discussion we had, I had thought, agreed to the paragraph which is reflected in part in 3.43 of this Document. I think, through some misadventure, that paragraph did not get reproduced as has been agreed, and I should like to serve notice that I regard this document to be inaccurate in that respect.
A. ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (langue originale arabe): Je voudrais tout d'abord féliciter les Présidents du Comité des Finances et du Comité du Programme pour la manière dont ils ont présenté ces points.
J'espère que mes collègues acceptent de limiter le débat sur cette question. J'aurais préféré que le Conseil prenne note du transfert de crédits sans discussion, surtout que le Comité des Finances, qui est le Comité compétent à mes yeux, a déjà approuvé cela, ayant étudié tous les documents dont il avait été saisi sur cette question. L'avis est fondé, par conséquent, je ne vois pas pourquoi nos devrions ouvrir le débat sur ce point.
Le Conseil a déjà approuvé, lors de sa 86ème session qui s'est tenue en novembre 84, à l'unanimité, les mesures prises par le Directeur général et les projets qu'il avait l'intention de mettre en oeuvre en faveur des pays d'Afrique. Le Conseil a aussi soutenu pleinement le Directeur général à la présente session. La priorité accordée à l'Afrique dans le programme devrait se traduire par des actions concrètes. Nous ne devrions pas nous contenter de simples déclarations et d'un soutien moral. Certains pays d'Afrique, qui ont été touchés par la sécheresse et qui ont dû réduire leur production, n'ont pas besoin de notre charité et de notre compassion; ils ont besoin d'aide sous la forme de denrées alimentaires et d'aides techniques; de façon à pouvoir surmonter leur tragédie et voir leur situation s'améliorer. Cette situation est exceptionnelle et ne doit pas se prolonger dans le temps. Le Directeur général nous a donné une fois encore la possibilité de faire en sorte que notre Organisation puisse mettre en oeuvre des projets concrets sur le continent africain. Les crédits à ces projets ont déjà été alloués dans le cadre du budget approuvé par la Conférence. Cette réaffectation de fonds correspond à une pratique normale de l'Organisation et elle est faite conformément au règlement financier en vigueur et en fonction de la situation très grave qui prévaut sur le continent africain - chose que tous les délégués ont mentionné dans leurs déclarations lors de la discussion de la situation alimentaire en Afrique - le Comité des finances a déjà approuvé le principe de ce transfert. Alors pourquoi rouvrir le débat, ici, étant donné que cette procédure est juste, normale et tout à fait habituelle?
La délégation libanaise invite ses collègues membres du Conseil non seulement approuver ce transfert mais elle voudrait également apprécier devant tous l'action entreprise par le Directeur général et le féliciter pour cette proposition, féliciter également le Comité des finances pour avoir approuvé cela lors de sa dernière session en mai 1985.
POINT OF ORDER
PUNTO DE ORDEN
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of) (original language Arabic): I would like to raise a point of order because, as a member of the Finance Committee, I felt that this Committee has been greatly offended by the delegate of Canada. I felt that this Committee did not work competently and ably enough and did not take into consideration all the possibilities. I felt that the delegate of Canada wanted to say to the Council that this Council should abolish this Committee. I hope that this was just a misuse of words on the part of the delegate of Canada. I hope I was mistaken in my understanding because as you are fully aware, Mr Chairman, the members of this Committee were chosen by the Council. I was a member of this Committee, and I am still. I have been a member of this Committee for about seven years. Throughout the seven years we have never heard any sort of offence as we heard today. There has always been constructive criticism of the work of the Committee, and we accept this. But we do not accept any offence to members of the Committee because this Committee represents countries which are well respected and have their own respective positions.
In fact, we have learned what democracy is. We have learned this from books which are published in the West. Although we know about these books we also know about democracy in our traditions. But we have learned about democracy from Western books, this democracy which calls for respect for the majority views. Even when one single family discusses a certain problem, the view of the majority is taken and the minority has to abide by the view of the majority.
During the discussion of its final report by the Finance Committee, the Committee insisted, as the delegate of Canada has said, that the majority rejected the proposal tabled by three members who constitute a minority in the Committee. We did not reject lightly such proposals, but only after we had discussed them. And we decided that the view of the majority should be reflected in the Report of the Committee in a very clear manner. The insistence that the view of the minority or the view of only three members should prevail should not be expressed here but in other fora because it is inconsistent with our rules and regulations. Nevertheless, when we look at the Report of the Finance Committee we find that the view of the minority was reflected in a clear manner. I do not know whether we should mention the paragraphs which reflect the point of view of the minority, ignoring the view of the majority members of the Committee, or not.
This document was approved by the Finance Committee. Such points were previously raised in the Finance Committee and we should not complicate matters for this Council because we believe that the discussion of such items is not appropriate in this Council.
CHAIRMAN: Let me clarify the rule position, which has already been stated by the representatives of Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Under Rule XXVII of the Basic Texts, which deals with the powers of the Finance Committee, it is clearly stated that the Finance Committee has the power on behalf of the Council to approve budgetary transfers proposed by the Director-General under the terms of Financial Regulation 4.5. If you look at the proceedings of the Finance Committee, paragraph 3.44 on page 34 of the English text states: "After a full discussion of all,points of view the Committee approved the Director-General's proposal to transfer an amount of up to US$ 15 million to Chapter 4, Technical
Cooperation Programme, from other budgetary Chapters". As far as we are concerned the Finance Committee has exercised the authority delegated to it by the Council. In the original timetable which was approved this item was given for information and the Chairmen of the Finance Committee and Programme Committee have just summarized the reasons which led to their decision. I cannot open the floor for a full debate because the Finance Committee is competent to make that transfer.
With that proviso, perhaps the delegate of Canada might want to offer a clarification.
G.H. MUSGROVE (Canada): I do not want to appear to be intimidated by some rather intemperate remarks, and 1 do not intend to reopen the debate. A misunderstanding, contrived or deliberate, has crept into the debate.
The point 1 was trying to make is covered amply in Rule V of the Finance Committee. It is to be found on page 121 of the Basic Texts. The first paragraph on that rule states quite clearly: "At each session the Committee shall approve a report embodying its views, recommendations and decisions, including when requested a statement of minority views". Such a statement of minority views was agreed and submitted by myself and was not reflected in the Report of that Committee. That is the point that 1 was making.
D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): Mr Chairman, 1 did not expect the discussion on this item to proceed in this direction, but since a member of the Finance Committee who is also the delegate from Canada has raised this issue, 1 think 1 should put all the facts before the Council.
To begin with, we had the Committee meeting exactly one month ago. On 19 June 1 received a letter signed on behalf of one member of the Committee, viz Australia, stating that paragraph 3.43 in the Report does not reflect accurately the statement that was handed over to me through the Secretariat concerning the views of the three Member countries who had difficulties in agreeing with the proposed transfer.
It is difficult for me to recall exactly how the debate, which 1 think occupied almost one whole day, took place, and to recall what the members who had divergent views exactly stated. There are two members of the Committee in the Council, and one member has expressed his view.
As 1 said earlier as soon as 1 got the letter from the delegate of Australia, which was handed personally to me, 1 checked on the action that had been taken by the Secretariat on the decision 1 had taken in respect of the sentences which had been submitted by the delegate of Australia.
1 noted that the letter by the Secretariat conveying my decisions on the suggested paragraph to members of the Committee had been sent on 10 June, 1 believe that even the member who raised this issue has not received a copy of that reply as yet. 1 also indicated in my letter to Mr Crowther, that copies of my telex should be sent to all members of the Committee. Unfortunately, there has been a time delay and most representatives have not received it.
Since the debate on this matter has been reopened, 1 think 1 will read out the text given to me by the delegate and my ruling on it. The difficulty arose Mr Chairman when the text as proposed by the members was read out. Many members in the Committee found it difficult to agree with the text, and they wanted certain amendments, which the three members were not prepared to concede.
This is the text that was handed over to the Secretary of the Committee, which was not available to me during my stay here, and was telexed to me after my return to Colombo. After its receipt I telexed back my ruling on the sentence. The text given by the Member concerned to the Secretariat read: "A few members of the Committee, while not opposing the proposed transfer, would have preferred more time and information to be provided. These same members felt that as $25 million of TCP funding was as yet unallocated, any emergency projects could be addressed immediately while the matter of the transfer is deferred for consideration by the Council in June, and further well focussed documentation prepared in support of it."
After careful consideration my reply to the suggested paragraph was telexed to Mr Crowther and reads as follows:
"After careful consideration of Mr Sault's formulation of paragraph 15 in REP/4 Item 4, 1 cannot accept reference to:
(a) the US$ 26 million as being yet available since it was clear to Members during discussions that these funds would be allocated entirely before end of year, to ensure equitable distribution of TCP resources to all regions and not only in Africa, where demand for TCP assistance exists;
(b) Reference to well focussed documentation prepared in support of intended allocation is also misleading because one could infer hitherto documentation on TCP was not well focussed. Majority accepted assurance that FAO will assist only those projects meeting existing criteria and that reports would be provided."
Since there were two points that could be incorrect and also misleading, 1 thought that the sentence which you read under paragraph 3.43 would reflect the views of all members.
Reference has been made by the delegate of Canada to rule 5.1. It is correct that rule 5.1 provides for minority views to be recorded, but at the same time one should not forget that the Chairman has the discretion to use his power to decide on phraseology which will be balanced. The rule 5.1 does not imply that Members are entitled to record their minority views in any form they wish. It was with a view to have a well-balanced text that the sentence was put in, and 1 think 1 was entitled as Chairman of the Finance Committee, within the powers 1 have been given, to use this discretion. Therefore 1 do not think that 1 have done anything incorrect.
CHAIRMAN: May I suggest to subsequent speakers that we cannot reopen what happened in the Finance Committee. I am only concerned here with the conclusions of the Finance Committee as given in the Report. It would be incorrect for each member of the Finance Committee to narrate what happened in that Committee. I hope that subsequent speakers will be asking only for information about the decision made by the Finance Committee.
Mrs M. FENWICK (United States of America): Yes, democracy rules. I can see that my friend and distinguished colleague from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has studied all the documents concerned with democracy, but he will remember Thomas Jefferson's views on this, speaking also of the defence of minorities when there is an overwhelming majority, and how the minority must to some extent be protected from being run over.
Luckily I am not in that position, because I have not been run over by my Chairman. The only reason I asked for the floor is that in the Programme Committee I stated my Government's position that we heartily support the thrust, priority and direction of the Programmes, but that we had a reservation on budgetary matters. That did appear in the Report of the Programme Committee.
When I went to the joint meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees, my Chairman supported me in that, and it was as usual very fair and democratic. It was supposed to appear in the joint report of the Programme and Finance Committees. I am disappointed that I cannot find it. I find paragraph 3.43 referred to by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, but I do not see my little reservation.
M. TRKULJA (Chairman, Programme Committee): I am sorry that a misunderstanding is now prevailing. I thought that it was decided by all parties concerned in the joint meeting that four reservations were placed on record, and I think that my colleague, Mr Abeyagoonasekera, when he presented the views of the joint meeting made it quite clear that four countries had placed reservations on record. Therefore, my colleague from the United States of America is quite right that it did not surface in our report but was placed on record and the Council is now fully aware that in the joint session four countries reserved their positions and placed their reservations on record. It is perfectly in harmony with the rule that has always governed both Committees individually and at the joint sessions. So it was only corrected on my colleague's behalf - it was obviouslyhis turn to present the joint views and to place on record that the four countries expressed the reservation.
Mrs M FENWICK (United States of America): With your permission, Mr Chairman: The earlier version of the Programme Committee report did contain in a little separate paragraph that a representative -because I was alone, I was not one of the four in the Programme Committee -"one Member mentioned that although heartily supporting the programme and its priorities, she took a reservation on budgetary matters on behalf of her Government". I do not find that anywhere now.
M. TRKULJA (Chairman, Programme Committee): It is not in fact a separate paragraph but if you will look carefully at paragraph 2.45 you will see "One member, while joining the Committee in the full endorsement of the proposed content of the Programme of Work and Budget, reserved her Government's position on the budget level." So your reservation is in fact incorporated there.
Mrs M. FENWICK (United States of America): It is not in the joint report.
M. TRKULJA (Chairman, Programme Committee): In the case of the joint report, it was placed on the record.
K. SHIOZAWA (Japan): I would like to make a very brief comment in relation to the budgetary transfer of up to $15 million to Chapter 4, Technical Cooperation Programme. My delegation is somewhat concerned about the way in which the proposal was submitted to the last session of the Finance Committee. From paragraph 3.41 of document CL 87/4 we notice that as of the end of March 1985 there still remain some $26 million unallocated in the provision of TCP, and that the current approval rate of the TCP projects is allowed at $3 million per month. This means that FAO has enough resources within Chapter 4 for the time being to meet any emergency project for rehabilitation in Africa.
Since the proposed amount to be transferred to TCP is quite significant, my delegation feels that this kind of proposal should have been presented to the current Council so that more Members - not simply the nine members of the Finance Committee - should consider it. Even doing that, we do not think that this would cause any severe constraint to the implementation of the rehabilitation project. I would therefore like to have some explanation from the Secretariat of the specific reasons why the Director-General submitted his proposals to the Finance Committee and not to the Council.
M. BALLA SY (Senegal): Comme vous, Monsieur le Président, ma délégation ne peut que s'étonner de cette discussion qui s'éternise autour d'une décision que le Comité a prise souverainement sur la base d'une délégation de pouvoir dont il dispose. Est-ce-que nous voulons ici retirer cette délégation de pouvoir au Comité ou est-ce-que nous voulons, pour le simple fait qu'un petit nombre de pays n'est pas favorable à cette mesure, remettre en cause une loi que les pays fondateurs ont établie?
Pour une raison d'information, il faudrait simplement que l'on puisse très rapidement prendre acte de la décision prise par ce Comité, qui répond au souci que nous avons tous, parce que nous ne pouvons pas demander que les 26 millions qui sont destinés à une exécution de projets dans le cadre du PCT et qui seront exécutés suivant la lenteur et la nécessité de préparation de ces projets qui sont connus, amputer l'efficacité de ces programmes pour résoudre un problème immédiat. Cela se traduira par un problème qui sera résolu ici, mais qui en créera un autre d'un autre côté. Je pense qu'il s'agit d'une décision dont le sens profond pourrait être contesté.
A. Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of): What the Delegate of Japan has just said of course requires an answer, but I would now like to reply to my colleague and friend Mrs Fenwick, the Ambassador of the United States of America, about democracy. In fact, I have never said that I object to the fact that the view of the minority should be reflected in the report - it has been reflected and reflected clearly. But what we in the Finance Committee consider - and I say that here, now - is that minority views should not cover the majority view. This is democracy. I believe that if you, or anybody, were in our position on the Finance Committee and had to read, or try to understand, the views of the minority, which were presented at the end of lengthy discussions, I believe that you would be upset and lose control. They presented two or three papers to us like this (indicating) and asked us to accept them and to put them in our report. I do not think that this is democracy. We have to reflect their opinions and to accept them, but they should not cover the opinions and views of the majority. That is what I said.
M. J. BLAMEY (Australia): I simply want to say that my delegation shares Canada's concern about the wording of paragraph 3.43 regarding the minority view in the Finance Committee on the question of the transfer of up to $15 million to the Technical Cooperation Programme from other Budgetary Chapters. The Australian Representative on the Committee, Mr John Sault, has - as the Chairman of the Committee has noted - written to the Chairman of the Committee. We will consider the response to his letter and pursue the matter further if we need to.
A. M. QURESHI (Pakistan): I am a member of the Programme Committee so, as I said yesterday, I wear two hats; but today I would like to speak in my capacity as Representative of my Government on the report of the Finance and Programme Committees as presented to us in document CL 87/4.
We would like to thank first of all the Chairmen of the two Committees for their exposition of the reports to us. We take note of the matter of the urgent needs of Africa in the face of the unprecedent calamity which has befallen the continent.
The matter of the transfer has two angles, one financial and the other programme. From the point of view of the programming priorities we fully and unanimously agree to the most useful work being done under the aegis of the TCP, because it provides an effective mechanism for providing assistance where it is urgently required. This morning the distinguished representative of the Federal Republic of Germany rightly called it "a firebrigade action". There can be no argument about the uniqueness of TCP as a vehicle for providing quick relief in emergency situations. In the context of Africa there was unanimous consensus, and I believe that there is unanimous consensus here in this Session, and on FAO's special focus on Africa and to the great urgency of coming to the help of Africa in its hour of distress, desolation and despondency.
I recall, as a member of the Programme Committee, that we wholeheartedly endorsed the recommendation of the Director-General to transfer up to $15 million, and the Committee endorsed this for aiding the projects aimed at the rehabilitation of African agriculture. We were assured that the criteria laid down for the project as selected will be adhered to. My delegation appreciates the decision taken by the Finance Committee to allow the Director-General to transfer up to $15 million to Chapter 4, and we note it with great satisfaction.
W. A. F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): I do not wish to speak on the substance of paragraph 3.44 but on the issue which has surfaced here which pertains in our view first to the Finance Committee, I would like to state the following:
My delegation has great respect for the work of both Committees, and I myself had the honour to serve on the Programme Committee ten years ago- Apparently the Committee had some difficulties and misunderstandings amongst its members, but they did agree on this paragraph 3.44, which clearly states what was the decision of the Finance Committee whilst the minority view was yet to be inserted into paragraph 3.43.
I am very grateful to the distinguished delegate for Saudi Arabia for clarifying that the minority view should not cover the majority view. On the other hand, if a final decision is being taken I think that the minority view needs to be reflected adequately in the report. I do not wish to dwell further on that but I would like to state that we would urge the Finance Committee in future not to terminate its session unless it has. agreed on its report. And if such an agreement could not be reached then they should report it to the Council. After all they are serving the Council .
Having listened carefully to the views expressed, Mr Chairman, I would also like to say that we would very much appreciate it if in future reports of the Joint Sessions of both Committees at least a little reference were to be made also to the minority views, that means on the first pages. We are grateful to the distinguished Chairmen of the Programme and Finance Committees who, in introducing the report, drew our attention to them. For easy reference, however, it would be useful to have these views also mentioned in the joint report so that one has not to go through the whole document, first in order to see also what was the view of the minority.
Point of order
Punto de orden
A. ABDEL-MALEK (Lebanon): Mr Chairman, as you said, the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Finance Committee have decided on this subject, and there is no need to discuss it. I would ask you, if the other delegates would approve it, that is okay. Otherwise let us leave it until tomorrow otherwise it is too late.
CHAIRMAN: Are you applying for a closure on the question? The distinguished Ambassador of Lebanon is asking for a closure on further discussion of this item. Is there agreement on this?
R. D. KAUZLARICH (United States of America): Mr Chairman, what does that mean; that we will not discuss nor take any further action on this item today and come back to it tomorrow?
CHAIRMAN: Certainly not. This is an information item in which the information on the basis of the discussion and the reporting etc. has been discussed. What the distinguished member of Lebanon says is that since it has come to us, the Finance Committee has exercised authority, which is rightly its own authority, and this item has come to us only for information, and we have discussed it at some length and so on. No further useful purpose will be served in discussing this item further. That is why I think the delegate of Lebanon wants a closure on further discussion of this topic which has been submitted to the Council for information.
R.D. KAUZLARICH (United States of America): I thought there may be a way of working our way to à solution so that you can have agreement by all countries as to how this $15 million is to be used for African relief purposes. Is that not the substantive issue here?
CHAIRMAN: That is not the substantive issue at all for discussion just now.
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Señor Presidente: el señor Jefferson abogó por la defensa de las minorías, pero no abogó jamás, ni ningún demócrata, por la prepotencia y la arrogancia de las minorías. Jefferson existió hace muchos años y esta nueva teoría aunque se nos exponga ahora a través de dos generaciones distintas tiene apenas cuatro años, cinco meses y cuatro días.
Hubiéramos preferido terminar este largo día dentro de un ambiente de calma, pero parece que la serenidad nuestra se confunde con la debilidad. Ya el Embajador de Arabia Saudita expresó su inconformidad por la forma sibilina que raya casi en la hipocresía con que un Miembro del Consejo inició este debate desafortunado. El dijo que sólo deseaba aclarar malentendidos, que no deseaba reabrir el debate, pero que este documento no era correcto. Nosotros creemos que hacer esa afirmación es insultar, es faltar el respeto al Comité de Finanzas y también a este Consejo que eligió a ese Comité, del cual forma parte esa delegación.
Hay hechos que son indiscutibles. Este Consejo elige un Comité de Finanzas que lo integra de nueve Miembros, con el propósito de disponer de un órgano.
CHAIRMAN: Since a closing motion has been proposed by Lebanon, are you going to support it? I think there is a point of order. Yes?
POINT OF ORDER
PUNTO DE ORDEN
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Apoyo la propuesta del Líbano, per según el Reglamento sólo pueden intervenir dos delegaciones para oponerse a ella; de manera que por eso prefiero terminar mi declaración.
R.C. GUPTA (India): Mr Chairman, I wanted to be sure that the motion of the distinguished delegate of Lebanon was taken as a formal motion, and if so it will be necessary for those people to speak who are opposed to that motion. I would formally move that discussion on this item be closed.
CHAIRMAN: According to the rules, yes. Let me read. "A delegate or representative may at any time move the closure of the debate on the item under discussion whether or not any other delegate or representative has signified his wish to speak. Permission to speak on the closure of the debate shall be accorded only to two speakers opposing the closure, after which the motion shall be immediately put: to the vote." So two members who are opposing the closure can speak.
Canada, would you like to oppose the closure? Since I do not find any opposition we all agree to close the discussion on this debate. Thank you very much.
LE SECRETAIRE GENERAL: Le programme des séances d'aujourd'hui indique, pour le point 16.1: Situation financière de l'Organisation, un seul document de référence qui est le document CL 87/4. Or, il y a un autre document qui a été distribué aujourd'hui et qui se réfère spécifiquement à cette question, c'est le document CL 87/LIM/1, intitulé: Situation financière de l'Organisation, qui doit être également pris en compte dans la discussion de ce point.
D.H.J. ABEYAGOONASEKERA (Chairman, Finance Committee): On item 16.1, I wish to make the following comments on contribution matters. Your attention is drawn to paragraphs 3.61 to 3.70 of the report. You will note on payment of current assessments the Committee observed that percentage of receipts for 1985 as at 7 May 1985 was 38.08 percent, but that these receipts of 1985 assessments exclusive of cash surplus distributions which amounts to $41 million showed a . decline as compared to the percentage for previous years. The Committee also noted that cash remittances from Member Nations were at a lower rate than in any of the last four years.
Next I wish to make some comments on arrears. We noted that there were 55 Members Nations in arrears for a total of $15.8 million. The Committee recommends to the Council that it appeals to all Member Nations with outstanding contributions, particularly those in arrears, to pay the amounts due without delay. The problem of outstanding contributions also has a bearing on the voting rights of some Member Nations. In accordance with Article III.4 of the Constitution 13 Member Nations were in danger of losing their right to vote at the November Conference and also 5 Member Nations did not qualify to vote under the above Article. Please refer to paragraphs 3.67 to 3.70 for further particulars on this aspect.
Taking all these considerations into account, the Committee recommends to the Council that it makes a special appeal to these 18 Member Nations.
At the Eighty-sixth Session of the Council the Committee was asked to review the problem of late payments and to recommend possible solutions, particularly as to the possibility of using incentives for early payments or of penalty for late payment, in order to ensure the liquidity of the Organization and to ensure full implementation of the Organization's Programme of Work and Budget.
In its deliberations the Committee considered several courses of action which would help to resolve the problem referred to in paragraph 3.75. It agreed that the charging of interest to Member Nations which did not remit contributions promptly was inappropriate. At the same time it felt that permitting them to share equally in the distribution of the cash surplus was not appropriate either, as these surpluses arose mainly from interest accruing from contributions received promptly.
Therefore it felt that the more appropriate course of action for FAO to follow would be to allocate any cash surplus proportionately according to the amounts and timings of the receipts of contributions. There was still the need to retain the expectation of a cash surplus, particularly to those Member Nations in arrears at the end of the biennium.
After considerable discussion, the Committee requested the Organization to pursue the matter further and to provide it with more alternatives for consideration at its Autumn Session.
D.K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): The Committee has before it, as the Chairman of the Finance Committee has mentioned, a recent distribution of a document CL 87/LIM/1 which is an update of the status of contributions to the budget through 18 June 1985. This was necessary since the Finance Committee report gave the status of contributions through 7 May 1985. In order to give the Council the complete picture as of today I am happy to report that we have now received a contribution in full from Vanuatu in the amount of $19,729 which brings its contribution in full for 1985.
In addition, with regard to those Member Nations with voting rights problems, The Permanent Representative of Iran to FAO has informed the Organization that an additional amount of $1,760,000 has been remitted by the Government today. Upon receipt of such an amount Iran's vote at the Conference would be ensured.
Also I would like to report that the Representative of Liberia to FAO has communicated to the Organization its efforts to remit funds to cover its arrears outstanding although we have not received any additional amounts at this point.
I am happy to report that the countries are making efforts to do so. This is the financial position as of today.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you for that very encouraging report. Are there any further questions of clarification that anyone likes to ask?
Then we will move on to the last item on our agenda, item 7, the report of the Eighth Session of the Committee on Agriculture. You will recall that this has been discussed in great detail, particularly the International Code of Conduct on the Use and Distribution of Pesticides. Are there any other items that anyone would like to talk on?
J.R. LOPEZ PORTILLO (Mexico): Sí, señor Presidente: Nosotros, en el calendario para el día de hoy, en el documento CL 87/6, teníamos apuntado el tema 16, y en éste el 16.2, relativo a la escala decontribuciones para 1986-87. Usted no ha hecho mención a este punto sobre todo y mi delegación tiene algo que decir. No sé si usted piensa tratarlo posteriormente; si así es, nos gustaría saber cuándo.
CHAIRMAN: I am sorry, I had taken items 16.1 and 16.2 together.
J.R. LOPEZ PORTILLO (México): La delegación de México se opone a que nuestro Consejo transmita el proyecto de Resolución relativo a la escala de cuotas para el próximo bienio a la Conferencia. Mi delegación ya ha expresado anteriormente sus graves reservas en cuanto a la escala de cuotas de Naciones Unidas para 1983, debido a los criterios empleados para la elaboración de la misma. Cuando el 22 período de sesiones de la Conferencia de la FAO sometió dicha escala de cuotas, nuestro país se opuso a la misma porque consideró que la confección de cuotas de Naciones Unidas, al proponer la mencioanda escala, no se apegó a criterios establecidos en la Resolución 36/231. A la Asamblea General; es decir, por falta de tiempo tan sólo un tercio de la tasación de las contribuciones de los Estados Miembros se basó en las estadísticas de ingresos nacionaes brutos proporcionados por estos últimos, existiendo una sobrevaloración de los tipos de cambio y de las estadísticas mencionadas, al tomarse únicamente en cuenta precios constantes y no la inflación real, resultando así una tasación anómala e incompatible con los principios de justicia y de equidad; es decir, los parámetros utilizados para fijar la escala no eran objetivos ni correspondían a la realidad, a la luz de la grave situación económica y financiera de los países en desarrollo, en especial de los exportadores de hidrocarburos, y no se dio debida consideración a la capacidad real de pagos y al nivel de endeudamiento, así como a los problemas económicos causados, entre otras razones, por factores desiguales en las relaciones de intercambio en el comercio exterior.
Ahora bien, a mi delegación le sorprende que en este momento, cuando se ha evidenciado que la crisis económica no sólo no se ha resuelto, sino que se ha agudizado, una organización internacional quiera mantener una escala de cuotas desequilibrada que afecta a la economía de algunos países en desarrollo. Lo más correcto sería esperar a que se adoptara la nueva escala de Naciones Unidas para que basáramos la de la FAO en ésa y esperar que sea a la vez más justa.
En las actuales circunstancias,repito, mi delegación no puede aceptar que la propuesta escala sea sometida a la Conferencia. En todo caso, le pedimos a usted, señor Presidente, que transmita en la forma más diligente a la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas nuestra preocupación y objeción por la forma en que se ha fijado tal escala y nuestro rechazo a que sea sometida a la Conferencia de la FAO.
A.F. de SA BARBUDA (Brazil): I present my support of the intervention of the delegate of Mexico, The Brazilian Government has maintained a firm position against the United Nations criterion which is based on the national income and per capita income statistics in the formulation of the scale of contributions of Member States. We assume the position of the United Nations General Assembly and Specialized Agencies.
As we have said before, Brazil is a developing country with huge economic and financial problems. In spite of these factors, and many others which I will not mention here, Brazil, as other developing countries, is being penalized by this scale with a contribution higher than that of some developed industrialized countries.
The Brazilian contribution at FAO equals 1.67 percent of FAO's budget being equal to the share of ten developing countries. Such a scale is obviously unfair as long as it does not take into consideration extremely important factors,, such as the capacity to pay of Member Nations, the particular economic and financial problems of each country, and the accumulated national wealth.
Therefore the Brazilian delegation cannot support the resolution on the Scale of Contribution as proposed by the Finance Committee. In this context the Brazilian delegation would also appreciate if the concern of the matter could be transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations with respect to the objectivity of the criterion used in the formulation of this scale.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): We assume that the Finance Committee when taking up that issue was aware of the fact that the same discussion is going on in the United Nations. But when they came to the decision to propose the resolution that we now have before us they must have felt that such a decision would have to be taken now, and the reasons are very well spelt out in the paragraphs preceding the resolution.
We had previous discussions as to whether this Organization, should have a scale of contributions of its own, and similar discussion might have taken place in other international organizations. But that would lead to many difficulties, in particular the fact that we would not concentrate sufficiently on our proper work. We therefore in the past came to the conclusions that the only way to avoid such discussions would be to follow the decisions being taken in the United Nations and to derive our scale of contributions directly from that of the United Nations. We continue to hold that view and we give support to the draft resolution before us.
K. SHIOZAWA (Japan): My delegation, noting that the proposed arrangement is in line with the traditional procedures which FAO has applied for many years under the same circumstances, would like to associate with the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany in supporting the recommendation incorporated in paragraph 3.83 of the report.
Sra. G. SOTO CARRERO (Cuba): Solamente haremos una breve intervención hecha por el distinguido delegado de México. Nuestra delegación apoya que se espere a que se adopte la escala de cuotas de Naciones Unidas y que, en base a la misma, se adopte la escala de cuotas de FAO, que debe ser aprobada por la Conferencia. Esa escala debe tomar en cuenta los elementos que ya han sido expresados por las delegaciones de México y Brasil. Si bien esta organización tiene su propia escala de cuotas, la misma siempre se ha derivado de la escala de cuotas que se aprueba en Naciones Unidas y consideramos que este procedimiento debe seguirse tomándola en cuenta.
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Sr. Presidente, la delegación de Colombia apoya las declaraciones de México, Brasil y Cuba. Muchas gracias.
H. JENNINGS (United States of America): My delegation would wish to associate itself with the point of view expressed by the Federal Republic of Germany. Our understanding is that it is not yet clear when the United Nations General Assembly will adopt a new scale of assessments. It is further our understanding that this Organization needs to have a scale of contributions determined at the Conference. It occurs to us that if the Council were to forward this proposed resolution to the Conference and it were to be discovered that the General Assembly had adopted a new scale of assessments before the meeting of the Conference, the resolution could be varied at that time. But it would appear to us that the best course of action for this Council would be to forward this resolution to the Conference for adoption.
D.K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administrative and Finance Department): The situation in which we find ourselves is as it has been described by the delegate of the Unites States. The Conference must in adopting the budget decide upon the scale of contributions that will be utilized for assessing Member Nations. The new scale that will eventually be adopted by the General Assembly this Fall is likely not to have been approved by the time the Conference concludes. In fact the last scale was adopted on 17 December and if that occurs again this year it certainly will be after the Conference concludes. While there may be reservations about the existing scale, if you do not know precisely what is in the new scale it will be difficult for the Conference to accept an unknown scale in November before the General Assembly acts. For those reasons the Finance Committee had proposed the resolution that you see before you as a timely action in which the existing scale be proposed. If there is action by the General Assembly before the Conference concludes, then certainly the new scale could be considered at that time. At this moment it does not look as if the General Assembly will consider this item until after our Conference meets.
CHAIRMAN: With this clarification shall we endorse the recommendation of the Finance Committee to forward the resolution to the Conference, subject to bringing out in the report the reservations of Mexico, Brazil and Cuba. Our report will bring out the views of these delegations.
It was so decided.
Il en est ainsi decide.
Así se acuerda.
R.C. GUPTA (India): I have only one comment. I wanted to state that the Drafting Committee meets after this meeting closes, and it is already 6.30. May I ask your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, that the remaining discussion on this item be taken tomorrow so that the Drafting Committee can start its work?
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): My delegation supports the motion put forward by the delegate of India.
CHAIRMAN: We have also to think of the Drafting Committee.
The meeting rose at 18.35 hours
La seance est levée à 18 h 35
Se levanta la sesión a las 18.35 horas