a) Budgetary and Cash Flow Forecast relating to the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986-87
a) Perspectives budgétaires et situation de trésorerie: incidences possibles sur le Programme de travail et. budget 1986-87
a) Pronóstico presupuestario y de flujo de fondos en relación con el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto para 1986-87 (continàción)
Le PRESIDENT: Nous reprenons le débat. Il y a déjà douze orateurs inscrits plus deux observateurs, donc quatorze au total.
Avant de donner la parole au premier orateur inscrit, l' Italie, je rappelle que la discussion doit porter sur le point 12. 1 a) et qu'il serait bon que nous connaissions l'opinion des délégués sur le rapport du Comité financier présenté par M. Bukhari afin de permettre au Comité de rédaction de refléter l'opinion du Conseil sur ce rapport. Je suggère donc aux orateurs de faire porter leurs interventions sur les perspectives de financement de l'Organisation à court et à moyen terme.
Elio PASCARELLI ( ITALY): Let me briefly thank the Chairman of my committee, Mr Bukhari, for his introduction to the subject, as well as Mr Shah for his clarifications. I hope that all the members of this Council now know as much as we know, as members of the Finance Committee, about the situation. Usually in Italy, as in many other countries, we say that the host should take care of the guest's health, so that if the guest has a headache or something the host should call the doctor. As Mrs Fenwick was speaking a few hours ago I was just thinking of what would happen if the host country were still the same as it was at the beginning of the life of this Organization and I would like, as many of us, to recall how important and how determining the aid of that LC has been, the largest contributor, for the life and activities of this organization; so as she did, I would also remind the Council that many countries have their own parliament and sometimes the executive cannot change what parliaments will decide: the legislative power is the real power to determine what has to be done.
Now it is not our task to decide what has caused what; but we have to face the reality that has been given in very crude terms to us as members of the. Council, and before that to the few who have the privilege to serve in the Finance Committee. As a member of the Finance Committee my delegation has no major comments on the report that our Chairman Bukhari summarized and we have to concentrate
on the shortfall that in September was not as tragic as it appears today. The expected shortfall in September did not imply any cash flow problem at all, so that at that time we just suggested, apart from the appeal we launched to the countries in arrears, that the Director-General by managerial means present to us some proposals of savings in order to face any turn of events. I will repeat that at that time there was no cash flow problem which arose when the Director-General told us about the career shortfall expected from the largest contributor. Now the uncertainty at the present stage is still there. We do not know exactly, as the ambassador of the largest contributor told us, we do not know yet what will be the real contribution; but let us face reality and the reality shows that, according to the figures that were projected for us in that spirit of transparency that the Secretariat has always shown, we immediately got the projection until the end of 1987 of what would be the situation in the various branches and funds of the Organization.
At that time the projection was for a cash balance general fund active of 9.3 million dollars. And by that time the special reserve account, on account of the dollar lira fluctuating rate, was minus 0. 9. I have never seen a special reserve. fund in the minus in my life, in the red, but it happens here. The situation changed when the Director-General told us that he had to find a way to offset the expected problem of cash flow of over $25 million. He has proposed savings of 16. 4 dollars and a shift from the working capital fund of 9 million dollars. to the cash balance general fund and, according to my calculations. (I do not know whether Mr Shah finds them correct or not). I see it as 9.3 plus, offset by 34. 7 munus, which would bring about 25.4 millions. So to offset this figure the Director-General is proposing these savings and a shift from the working capital fund. I think if these figures are correct, it is not a minor problem, and, as a conscientious member of this Organization, may I say for the delegation of my country, as host country for the Organization, that we must take these needs into consideration. It happened to FAO in 1983, to ILO in 1986. In both cases the deciding body, the sovereign body had to decide. Unfortunately the Council does not have the power to change the budget or change the regulations of any time. We can give very competent advice, but that is all, we can recommend, but nothing else. So we have to give the advice that the Director-General is asking of us and we cannot follow the example of 1983. Let me just mention the case: in 1983 there was a resolution which has been mentioned in our documents, Resolution 14/83 which took as its first consideration the arrears of a certain number of countries. By and large we are in the same situation with one change, one difference, that the situation now is affected by the arrears plus the miscellaneous income fall because of the diminishing rate of interests and partly by the emptying of the special reserve account because of the fluctuation of the dollar. So the reasons why that resolution adopted for a biennium and giving the Council the power to suspend certain regulations in 1963 is practically the same, however the problem was minor vis-à-vis our difficulties of today.
Only three or four months ago, ILO had to face another situation which was due to another reason, the tremendous depreciation of the US dollar in terms of Swiss francs and the ILO Council, they call it governing body, made a recommendation to the Assembly which met a month later and the Assembly took a decision to use the whole cash surplus to offset the tremendous loss of power of the dollar vis-à-vis the Swiss franc.
Now none of these occasions is at hand for us because our Conference is one year away. My delegation had thought that it would be the case to call for an extraordinary Conference; but no consensus was reached, so I do not dare to re-propose it here. We promoted the idea because the Conference could have taken the necessary measures. So we are facing this situation of a cash flow problem and the Director-General has made some proposals and expressed his approach, which we support.
Our first worry is to limit the extent, the possible extent of damage to any of the expectations by the developing countries that are counting on programmes to be regularly developed, or on the implementation of technical cooperation projects. It is a very difficult exercise for the Secretariat to find a way not to touch them, but I see these are also the intentions of the Director-General not to impair or compromise any of these programmes. And coming to what the Director-General suggests, I must say very frankly as I am used to doing in this body, that we, like the Nordic countries, are not very much impressed by the amount of these savings, 16. 4 million dollars, of which 6.5 for not filling vacant posts, etc.
If I recall rightly, in the last meeting of the Finance Committee, we had asked the Director-General to present us a programme of savings by managerial means without the need to cut anything
in the programme substantially, and that was before the bad news of further shortfalls had reached us. I mean the bad news of a cash flow problem which was not yet envisaged at that time. So 1 would first of all, in the name of my delegation, encourage the Secretariat and personnel asssisting the Director-General to find all possible managerial means to present other savings, possibly before the Finance Committee meets again, and again I am also very glad to find in this list of savings a little contribution by my country. Now and here immediately I can say that we have the approval of the Italian Government for the utilization of part of the balance of the Italian special contributions. As you know, we are not obliged to spend any money for the additional premises that the Organization needs. This applies to all international organizations, such as the United Nations, UNICEF, etc. when they want more space, they pay for it, and not the least is the host country obliged to pay for it. Nonetheless we have been giving for 15 years special contributions and in document CL 90/23 you have the figure, "Chapter 6", "Common Services", "Charges to be made of extrabudgetary resources", "Italian contribution, 2 million 163 thousand dollars", so as of now, I say if Italy will agree to this by an exchange of letters.
In addition, the Italian special contribution that is mentioned page 10, document CL 90/17, paragraph 57 of the Report of the Finance Committee for the month of September, and I quote, "The Committees expressed its satisfaction that the Italian Government had remitted a suplementary one-time allocation for 1986 of Lire 1 billion", which is approximately 700 thousand dollars. We also agree that this amount be treated as part of the budget; part of the miscellaneous income, whatever is the financial means to use it in the budget for relief.
So it is another way to relieve. But we will not stop at that. I think that as responsible donor countries in this body, we should go beyond that. So I would refer to a paragraph of the same report of our beloved Finance Committee, page 6, paragraph 24. The last sentence of this paragraph reads:
"The Committee noted that Member Nations individually had the prerogative of renouncing or delaying the receipt of their share of the cash surplus in order to permit its use by the Organization".
I think that in addition to the almost 3 million dollars that I just mentioned, we could inform the Council, as a contribution of ideas, that the Italian delegation is strongly considering that possibility. We just need the green light. The Director-General thought that it would be better to have this discussion in two phases this week-telex to the Government, answer by the Government, and answer to the Council-and next week we will be in a position to tell you whether this consideration will be approved by the Ministries concerned. As Mrs Fenwick was remarking for her country, we are also not a country in which one man decides. We have a parliament and we have many persons who decide on measures of this kind. So the measure of coming in aid of the situation of the cash flow of the Organization, so that the Organization may be relieved somewhat, is to say that we do not pretend that the 1987 assessed contribution of Italy would be diminished by the amount that is owed to us by the Organization on account of the cash surplus of 1984/85. This is what we are expecting to be allowed to tell the Organization. It is not a multilateral affair, because we are not asking Council backing, or permission, or prohibition: we are just announcing it as a contribution to the ideas that we are trying to shape up here. It will be a bilateral affair, Italy/FAO.
Finally, we are also going to accelerate the full payment of our 1987 contribution. Usually it is paid in April, but we would like to do our very best so that the necessary procedures be completed before in order for the Organization to have this cash in 1987 earlier than in previous years.
I hardly need to say that we have no arrears, we are in the lucky position of having no arrears, so Mr Shah will be glad to notice that our offer is not just 'blah-blah-blah': it is a real offer, because this cash contribution will be handed over to the Organization with no cuts if our proposal is approved by the beginning of next week in this way.
But, until then, Mr Chairman, will our cash surplus share be left with FAO?
Our sovereign body is called the Conference of FAO, and the Conference is meeting in November of next year. One way or another we must find a way to restore the 100 percent contributions. Now if you add the percentage of the quotas, you do not reach 100. When I hear Mr Shah saying that this is a real cut, this is what we mean: it is a real cut and we think it is wrong to carry out this shortfall in contributions by whatever country as arrears. In a case where a legislative
body by enacted law has decided to cut, no human being can redress the situation: that will be a cut-period. So the 100 percent budget for 1986/87 is cut-I do not know, to 83 or 84 percent. We shall have, one way or another, to revise the quotas to reach 100 if we want to maintain the healthy operation of this indispensable Organization for the benefit of the agricultural and food situation in the world.
Le PRESIDENT: Je remercie l'honorable délégué de l'Italie. Le Directeur général désire prendre la parole.
Le DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Excusez-moi, ce n'est pas classique de répondre immédiatement, mais le sujet est tellement important, tellement complexe…Comme nous l'avons dit, nous allons passer peutêtre une journée et demie à discuter de cette question. Je crois donc qu'il est utile de vous donner des éclaircissements à ce stade. Je ne réponds pas au représentant de l'Italie mais je le remercie de son intervention car j'y vois l'intervention d'un pays qui attache une grande importance à la FAO et qui est conscient de ses responsabilités comme pays hôte, et qui d'ailleurs fait tout pour lui permettre de fonctionner dans les meilleures conditions. Je veux dire merci pour tout ce que le délégué de l'Italie a proposé aujourd'hui. Tout est positif et je le remercie aussi pour sa promesse de payer la contribution italienne aussitôt que possible. Je dois souligner aussi que c'est certainement le plus grand contribuant de la FAO. Je voudrais, à ce stade, avec vous et le plus simplement du monde, décrire la situation dans laquelle nous nous trouvons.
De quoi est fait le budget de la FAO?
Il est fait du salaire des fonctionnaires. Il est fait du Programme de Coopération technique, il est fait aussi des publications et des réunions, des frais de voyages et des honoraires des consultants. Des sommes couvrent aussi les frais nécessaires pour les bâtiments que le Gouvernement italien a mis à notre disposition: l'électricité, le téléphone, les ascenseurs, le chauffage, etc. Il s'agissait donc pour moi et pour mes collègues de choisir parmi ces différents chapitres. Où trouver l'argent et comment faire des économies? Je crois que l'Ambassadeur de l'Italie a bien expliqué pourquoi nous avons pris le chiffre de 29 millions: 13 millions à retirer du Fonds de roulement et 16 millions de dollars qui ne sont pas des économies, mais des ajustements imposés par ce cas de force majeure. Si j'avais tout l'argent nécessaire, j'exécuterais tout le programme, … et si malgré cela je proposais de couper une partie de ce programme c'est la Conférence qui devrait alors décider. Mais je n'ai pas tout l'argent nécessaire; il me manque 16 millions. Je ne peux pas réaliser tout le programme c'est donc dû à un cas de force majeure. Il n'y a pas de miracles. Le coût de ce programme, approuvé par vous-mêmes, (et vous êtes d'accord avec ses différentes composantes), est de 437 millions. Nous n'avons pas tout l'argent nécessaire. Nous n'avons pas les 437 millions. Il faut sacrifier comme on dit, ce n'est pas par choix, j'y suis obligé. "Per forza… " Nous n'avons pas le choix. Ce serait illégal si nous avions d'autres solutions à notre disposition. Il y a le PCT; 30 millions de dollars qui restent, pour l'année 1987. J'ai l'impression, avec le nombre de demandes que nous avons de nombreux pays membres, la majorité, que c'est un article qu'on demande beaucoup. Supposez que la FAO soit un supermarché… C'est un article très demandé.
Si le Conseil décide qu'il faut couper dans le PCT, je suis prêt à le faire. Je suis là pour exécuter les décisions du Conseil. Seulement j'ai vu que, au BIT par exemple, ils ont un programme d'assistance technique que l'Assemblée générale vient de refuser de couper. … Le Directeur Général, M. Blanchard, avait proposé de couper 2 millions de dollars dans le PCT, précisément pour faire face aux difficultés: nous avons les comptes rendus: la majorité écrasante a dit non. Au BIT, on n'a pas voulu couper dans le PCT. Finalement ils ont accepté de couper 500 000 dollars. Ici, le Conseil décidera. Il est souverain. En tant que Directeur général, je vous donne le choix de faire des propositions. Il y a des postes vacants; environ 5 à 7 pour cent des postes vacants, soit que les gens aillent à la retraite, soit que les gens démissionnent… Et c'est vraiment là qu'il y a une possibilité de trouver de l'argent, car, comme vous le savez, un poste coûte cher. Il y a parfois un poste de secrétaire attaché au poste principal; il y a les voyages. En coupant les postes, nous coupons dans les voyages. C'est automatique. Il y a les publications et les réunions. Nous pouvons aussi couper dans les postes de consultants. Il en faut parfois pour réaliser les réunions et préparer certaines publications. Je n'ai pas pu trouver plus d'une trentaine de réunions et de publications qui sont d'importance mineure. Pour répondre au représentant du Cameroun et au représentant du Danemark, cela fait 8 à 10 pour cent de l'ensemble. Nous n'avons pas fait ça à la manière d'une loterie, nous avons choisi les priorités, nous avons suivi des critères: c'est le rapport. Nous avons consulté toutes les divisions pour voir dans tel domaine les réunions importantes et qui en sont les demandeurs.
Je n'ai pas du tout proposé de supprimer des réunions des comités statutaires tels que le Comité du Programme ou le Comité de l'agriculture; j'ai simplement dit ce qui, à nos yeux, et sur la base de ce qui avait été dit par vous-mêmes à la Commission II, à la Conférence, en 1985 était le moins important. C'est un jugement; si l'on propose de laisser une réunion, il faut me dire laquelle. Les réunions et les publications représentent à peu près 10 millions de dollars; le reste, les postes, 6 millions et quelques. Dans certains cas il s'agit de geler un poste pour deux ou trois mois… c'est très complexe: il y a 240 postes vacants à peu près: 160 professionnels, 80 services généraux. Hier on m'a parlé d'un poste qui serait gelé jusqu'en avril parce que l'on en a besoin en avril; on va faire toutes les formalités pour que la personne vienne, non pas en janvier mais en avril: nous ferons un jugement cas par cas, avec beaucoup de flexibilité. Il se peut qu'un poste que je propose de geler devienne tout à coup très important: supposons qu'il y ait la peste bovine en Amérique latine par exemple. Il faut que je le remplisse immédiatement même s'il est gelé. C'est pour cela que nous avons besoin de flexibilité.
Je ne vais pas faire d'économies sur l'électricité ou le chauffage, comme on l'a fait, je crois, aux Nations Unies: cela ne donnerait pas grand chose.
Il faut savoir que ces réunions, ces publications, ces postes n'ont pas été choisis sans un examentrès minutieux des priorités telles que nous les voyons; j'aurais souhaité avoir une réunion duComité du programme pour examiner tout cela. Mais je sais qu'au BIT le "Governing Body" a accepté l'ensemble des mesures proposées.
J'ai eu personnellement des réunions avec tous les groupes régionaux et je leur ai dit: un groupe régional, ou trois ou quatre pays viennent me dire "telle réunion est très importante, il faut la conserver bien qu'elle soit sur la liste des suppressions" je serais prêt à voir si grâce à la flexibilité que vous m'accorderiez l'économie pourrait se faire ailleurs. C'est dans ce sens que nous avons travaillé en nous appuyant sur les priorités. Seize millions c'est un chiffre; cela pourrait être 17…, 18…, 19…, je ne sais pas, puisque nous ne connaissons encore ni la décision du plus important contribuant, ni si les 158 pays vont verser leur contribution selon le rythme suivi l'année précédente; c'est une estimation, car il fallait bien se baser sur quelque chose.
La discussion doit continuer mais nous sommes tout à fait prêts à clarifier et à exécuter ce qu'on a décidé; je vous demande de m'accorder la flexibilité.
Il n'y a pas d'autres endroits pour supprimer certaines activités; il me semble que ce chiffre de 16 millions permet de limiter les dégâts causés au programme de travail; si l'on devait supprimer davantage, il y aurait certainement plus de dégâts, mais nous sommes ici pour vous écouter; nous avons mis les choses, devant vous, sur la table; nous sommes prêts à vous répondre et à faire ce que vous aurez décidé. Le Programme de travail intéresse les gouvernements, et nous sommes là pour les servir.
Le PRESIDENT: Je pense que les explications du Directeur général vont nous aider dans notre réflexion et je passe la parole au délégué du Mexique.
José Ramón LOPEZ PORTILLO ROMANO (México): La delegación de México agradece al Presidente del Comité de Finanzas la forma en que nos presentó a los dos informes de dicho Comité. Asimismo felicitamos y agradecemos al señor Crowther y al señor Shah por la presentación de este tema y por las aclaraciones que recibimos en la mañana de hoy.
Es lamentable que hoy, cuando millones de seres humanos se enfrentan con el hambre crónica y que la crisis económica condena a la miseria la mayor parte de la humanidad, este Organo, el Consejo de la FAO, deba dedicar su actitud prioritaria a resolver problemas de liquidez que se prevén en el futuro. Esos problemas surgen en buena parte y unilateralmente por leyes promulgadas en un país que determinan incumplir con las obligaciones internacionales y que violan así la Constitución de los Organismos de Naciones Unidas.
Esas decisiones llevan consigo la pérdida de credibilidad en la seriedad de ese país que al votar la Constitución de este Organismo admite la superioridad de su ley internacional.
La crisis económica en aquel país, su alto déficit presupuestario, su enorme deuda se extiende y castiga las economías y la efectividad inclusive de los organismos creados por la humanidad para resolver precisamente esos y otros problemas. Pero no hay disculpa cuando sí se pueden aumentar alarmantemente los recursos armamentistas.
Por otro lado, países subdesarrollados, con situación financiera cualitativa y proporcionalmente más grave, están haciendo un gran sacrificio para responder a sus compromisos, a pesar de que flujos multimillonarios netos de capital son succionados hacia economías industrializadas; o bien alabamos la actitud de otros países industrializados que hacen el mejor de sus esfuerzos por responder noble e incondicionalmente a los altos objetivos de Naciones Unidas.
Que nadie se equivoque, los problemas de liquidez que probablemente enfrentaremos no conforman una crisis en FAO porque se origina fuera de nuestra Organización y en muy buena medida en las decisiones, como he dicho, unilaterales de aquel país y de sus objetivos. Son precisamente esos objetivos los que deben distinguirse de las razones que han llevado a otros países a retrasar o a suspender sus pagos a esta Organización. Se busca y se ha declarado imponer un castigo al sistema de Naciones Unidas a fin de ejercer un control mayor sobre él y debilitar o eliminar los programas operativos que no respondan directamente a intereses o a un manejo directo. Ciertos países se han unido también a esa actitud.
En época de crisis es fácil coincidir en que deben racionalizarse recursos y hacer mas eficientes los programas; de hecho, conforme más radical se hace ese criterio más superfluo, innecesario o inconveniente puede aparecer y puede convertirse la ejecución de programas y actividades; en el extremo de los absurdos todo puede suprimirse.
Nos oponemos a la intención de esos pocos países que proponen como programa la reducción de la atención efectiva que da esta Organización a las necesidades precisamente de aquellos que hoy enfrentan el hambre y la muerte, y buscan como solución atropellar los derechos de los gobiernos que hoy puedan hacer valer su voz y su voto equivalente para que se respete aunque sea su opinión.
Si he dramatizado, señor Presidente, ha sido como respuesta a la impotencia. Buena parte del fanatismo que recorre hoy el mundo seguramente así se explica.
El hecho es que debemos aceptar economías y hacer previsiones financieras para el futuro; el objetivo, pues, consiste en afectar lo menos posible aquellos programas o actividades que beneficien más directamente a los que deben ser beneficiados.
Hemos revisado el ejercicio hecho por el Comité de Finanzas y el paquete de recortes propuesto por el Director General. Tal paquete descrito en el documento CL 90/23 y que monta 16, 4 millones de dólares previsibles nos parece aceptable y, lo apoyamos, no porque coincidamos con una política de contracción de los programas de la Organización, ni tampoco con cada propuesta de recorte, sino porque tales economías son, como lo dijo el Director General, una necesidad de facto. Lo apoyamos también porque una discusión sobre detalles entre más de 50 Estados Miembros aquí reunidos sería inconveniente, interminable y confusa. Lo aprobamos también porque tenemos confianza en la actitud responsable de la Secretaría y del Director General.
En todo caso, nos interesa conocer con antelación todo recorte o reestructuración futura a fin de estudiarlo y dar nuestra razonada respuesta. Es imperativo hacer respetar el principio de universalidad y de equilibrio entre todas las regiones en las actividades y asistencia que otorga la FAO.
Esperamos que los Comités de Programa y de Finanzas evalúen a fondo los impactos de los recortes propuestos y nos mantengan informados, particularmente sobre futuras necesidades de hacer economías; pero subrayo: hay programas que están en el corazón mismo de la FAO y que nos oponemos a que se toquen; tal es el caso del PCT en vista de que su impacto en los países subdesarrollados es tan importante.
Desearíamos, inclusive, que esta asistencia por parte de FAO siguiera creciendo y que respondiera más a las prioridades que le hemos dado los países beneficiarios y también que se le diera una mayor agilidad a su aprobación y ejecución.
Asimismo apoyamos, y no entraré en detalles, otros programas que están ligados íntimamente a la promoción de la seguridad alimentaria mundial.
Observamos, sin embargo, que si la FAO no se encuentra en una situación financiera inmanejable es precisamente porque se ha llevado a cabo una política eficiente, cautelosa y transparente. Esa actitud responsable nos permite ahora prever con toda calma las medidas mas adecuadas para cumplir lo mejor posible con el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto aprobado por la Conferencia de 1985, respetando prioridades.
Hemos tomado nota de los análisis hechos en los documentos CL 90/4, 90/17, 90/23 y observamos que tales recortes no afectan sensiblemente las prioridades, pero diferimos con aquellos delegados que afirman que estos recortes de todas maneras permitirán a la FAO ejecutar sus programas normalmente; no es así. Sentimos que sí los afecta, así como la asistencia a nuestros países.
Reconocemos que la negativa a pagar de un país, las demoras de otros, montan 93 millones de dolares en este bienio; se nos informa también que además la reducción de las tasas de interés y de fondos invertibles conlleva una reducción del capítulo de ingresos diversos de 19 millones de dólares. También que la devaluación significativa del dólar frente a la lira ha hecho descender la Cuenta Especial de Reservas·
Coincidimos con el objetivo de utilizar 13 millones del Fondo de Operaciones.
Tomamos nota de la necesidad de enmendar los procedimientos actuales para la aplicación del superávit de tesorería, y lo apoyamos en tanto que todos los países aquí reunidos y por consenso renuncicmos voluntariamente al reintegro de tales excedentes calculados en cerca de 34 millones de dólares; esto lo trataré de nuevo cuando pasemos al siguiente tema.
En relación al párrafo 31 del documento CL 90/17 coincido con lo expresado por el delegado de Brasil en el sentido de que no creemos que lo dicho ahí resolverá nuestros problemas necesariamente.
Apoyamos al Comité de Finanzas cuando insta a todos los contribuyentes en mora a que hagan sus pagos lo más pronto posible con el fin de evitar la necesidad de nuevas economías o, en última instancia, de recurrir a créditos. Pedimos al Director General que nos mantenga informados sobre tal situación y lleve el exhorto ya expresado aquí por muchos países a todos aquellos que aun se encuentran en tal situación de mora. En todo caso, reconocemos la facultad del Director General de recurrir al crédito a corto plazo en vista de lo dispuesto por la Conferencia y en espera del pago de las contribuciones que a principios de 1988 se calculan en 95 millones de dólares.
Finalmente, volvemos a exhortar al mayor contribuyente a esta Organización a que busque fórmulas para honrar los acuerdos constitutivos de nuestra Organización y a que corrija lo que consideramos debido a la falta de credibilidad que conlleva un error histórico que, sin duda, la conciencia de su noble pueblo sancionará.
Horacio CARANDANG (Philippines): The Philippine delegation fully supports the proposals of the Director-General regarding the use of the amount of 9 million from the Working Capital Fund and the programme adjustments which would yield economies of some 16. 4 million. The Council is empowered by FAO's Basic Texts to authorize withdrawals from the Working Capital Fund and to finance budgetary expenses pending receipts of contributions to the budget on the basis of the proposals of the Director-General.
The Philippine delegation believes that the conditions defined for the use of the Working Capital Fund have been met. Therefore the Council can authorize withdrawals from that Fund.
With regard to the programme adjustments envisaged, the Philippine delegation believes that the Director-General and his competent collaborators have done their best to limit the damage to the Programme of Work, particularly to the economic and technical programmes. As the Director-General said, these adjustments have not been made at random. However, we regret that adjustments are now being made to the Programme of Work which all member countries approved during the Conference last year. It is not perhaps entirely true that adjustments have no implications on the Programme of Work. What the document is saying is that care has been taken so the damage to the economic and technical programmes is limited to the minimum extent. Such activities may be important to some member countries, namely technical back-stopping to projects, field activities, training courses, and planning assistance, just to name a few. As the other delegations have said, the adjustments are the least evil. If a doctor has to make a choice between letting a patient die or cut off a finger, an eye, a nose or a toe, he would certainly amputate.
The Philippine delegation has already indicated we are not opposing the proposed adjustments. We are saying that we regret such adjustments are being made on a Programme of Work approved by all members of this Organization principally because of the unilateral action by one member country.
The Philippine delegation attaches paramount importance to the Technical Cooperation Programme. FAO is primarily a technical aid-giving agency, and one of FAO's primary functions, as defined in Constitution Article I, 3(a), is "to furnish such technical aid as the governments may request". The Technical Cooperation Programme enables the Organization to respond to the most urgent unforeseen, felt and expressed needs of developing countries and has direct field impact. The Technical Cooperation Programme represents the most important needs for the translation of all FAO programmes into action. Therefore, the Philippine delegation recommends that the Technical Cooperation Programme be given absolute priority and that programme allocation be preserved in its entirety.
Mr Shah has already answered the objections raised by some member countries regarding the Technical Cooperation Programme. I believe that the record of disbursement of the Technical Cooperation Programme is very favourable in comparison with other financial institutions. I do not believe that the old proposals already rejected regarding the nature of the contributions to the TCP should again be raised now.
One member proposed another evaluation of the TCP, but we have just had an evaluation programme of the TCP at the 88th Session of the Council. I do not think that another evaluation is warranted, particularly in view of the financial crisis of the Organization.
The Philippine delegation cannot but express its concern that the financial difficulties of the Organization are being caused by arrears in payments of assessed contributions by member countries, particularly by its largest contributor which has passed legislation not in conformity with its international commitments. The Philippine delegation therefore appeals to all members, in particular the largest contributor, to honour their obligations to the Organization.
Finally-and at this stage I am not making a proposal, I am just thinking aloud-the only sanction against late payment of assessments is denial of voting rights, after being in arrears of payment to the Organization, after payments equivalent to the assessment of four full years; but even that is avoided if the member pays just a part of that money at that time. Everybody is aware of the time value of money. Let us suppose that interest rates were at 5 percent and a member owed the Organization $100 on 1 January but paid the money only at the end of the year, actually that member country has deprived the Organization of the opportunity of earning interest on that money over the duration of a whole year. If it paid it after two years, the value of that contribution would only be something like $90. 25; if it paid it three years later the value of the money that it owed would only be something like $85. 74; and in four years' time the value of that money is only $81. 45. In other words, there is such a thing as a time value of money. Therefore, there should be a premium on early payment of dues and a penalty for late payment of assessed contributions. As I have said, this is just a thought which I am throwing out, but if a member pays all its contribution at the beginning of the biennium, I think that member is worthly of all praise and at the same time I think it should be given some incentive; but if a member country voluntarily delays payment over a long period of years, probably that member country merits some kind of sanction. But that is up to the member countries, to the Director-General and all to think about whether that might be appropriate in the future.
Milutin TAPAVICKI (Yugoslavia): First of all, I should like to congratulate Ambassador Bukhari and Mr Shah for their very interesting and useful introductory statements.
The Yugoslav delegation would like to express its satisfaction with the findings and conclusions on financial matters at the last two sessions of the Finance Committee. In this connection, the problems of delayed payment of assessed contributions give rise to grave concern, especially with regard to the impact of the recent unprecedented legislative action by the largest contributor on the financial situation of the UN system, including the FAO.
The Finance Committee rightly emphasized that the full payment of assessed contributions represents a treaty obligation of all Member Nations and that other Member Nations should not be called upon to compensate for the deficit caused by reduced payment by any contributor.
My delegation fully shares the appeal made by the Finance Committee to all Member Nations to make a special effort to remit their outstanding contributions to alleviate the impact on the Organization of the unilateral action of the largest contributor.
In this connection, allow me to inform the members of the Council that the Yugoslav government has made such an effort and, despite grave economic and balance-of-payment difficulties, decided to respond to the Committee's appeal. A week ago, our assessed contribution for 1986 was paid in full. Therefore all delegations are kindly requested to remove the name of Yugoslavia from the list of outstanding contributions in document CL 90/17, Appendix A5. Unfortunately, this does not solve to a significant extent FAO's financial crisis.
We have before us the document on the Budgetary and Cash Flow Forecast Relating to the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87. Part 2 of the document indicates clearly the magnitude and, indeed, the nature of the crisis. Let me emphasize that we are not faced with a resource crisis but with the likelihood of severe cash flow problems towards the end of the biennium.
Given the nature of the crisis, the most logical step should be to resort to the existing mechanism devised for such a purpose, including the use of the authority to borrow. However, while we very much regret that the Director-General has been forced to propose programme adjustments-in fact, programme cuts-we appreciate the proposal as a sign of prudent management; in other words, we believe that the package proposed in the document is appropriate. We appreciate that a reduction in TCP has not been proposed, and we share the view that TCP represents an indispensable instrument for translating FAO's programmes into action.
Without going into detail, our delegation considers reasonable and acceptable the proposed measures through the delayed filling of vacant posts and through the reduction of meetings, publications, consultancies, contractual services and travel. Having in mind that in the present circumstances programme adjustments cannot be avoided, the Yugoslav delegation could not but support the approach and proposals made by the Director-General.
Finally, as to the part of the United Kingdom statement about the ratio between programme delivery and delivery costs, I trust that Mr Shah's explanation has fully settled the issue.
Malikana Mike LISWANISO (Zambia): Let me begin by expressing my deep appreciation to the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Secretariat and for the lucid manner in which they introduced the documents before us. I do not want to sound alarmist, but going through documents CL 90/4, 90/17 and 90/23, one is left with a clear impression that the crisis of multilateralism is approaching the stage where the very existence of the UN system is threatened. The financial position of our Organization, as amply given in paragraphs 13 to 45 of document CL 19/17, is a source of grave concern to my delegation. The question that comes to mind is: what do we do next?
In his address to the Council and, indeed, in the documents before us, the Director-General came up with specific proposals aimed at steering our organization from the current financial storms, at least in the short term. My delegation warmly welcomes the timely and effective measures proposed to deal with the current situation. However, I have a few comments and observations to make.
First, the FAO effective budget for the 1986/87 biennium should, as far as possible, be maintained. Secondly, this Council should make a passionate appeal to the largest contributor to repeal the two pieces of legislation which it recently passed limiting its contributions to the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It will be noted that the largest contributor took this action long after the Conference had approved the FAO budget for the 1986/87 biennium. This has put us in a quandary. By depriving FAO of funds we are not only jeopardizing its operation but indirectly making it also difficult for it to carry on with its noble task of fighting poverty, hunger, malnutrition, social and economic injustice.
The importance of food need not be over-emphasized. Food comes first in all walks of human life. Any country needs well fed and healthy nationals to drive the wheels of economic, industrial and social development. It is in this context that I once again call upon the largest contributor to pay its share of the contribution due to FAO.
As I mentioned earlier it is encouraging that the Director-General has already used his usual foresight and inititative in proposing to us what possible measures should be taken to cushion the undesirable effects of the current financial crisis. The Zambian Delegation supports his initiative in the proposals as laid down in document CL 90/23. However, we should like to stress that in trying to make savings no programme, which has a beneficial effect and impact on the peasants of the developing countries, should be cut. In this context my delegation has specifically in mind the Technical Cooperation Programme (TPC). The TCP is a saviour to developing countries. It is an effective quick action and positive programme in a time of human and natural disasters. Secondly, there should be no substantive revision of the Programme of Work and Budget approved by the Conference. The Director-General should use his usual managerial and administrative ability to cushion the serious effects of the financial crisis. Across the board cuts should be avoided. A case by case approach is the best under the circumstances. The proposed programme adjustments, as shown at Appendix A of document CL 90/23, should only be used as a guide but not as an authority. Should the situation become worse than anticipated, the Director-General could call on this august body for further guidance.
Thirdly, my delegation also sees no objection to the proposal to use the Working Capital Fund to cover delayed Member State payments. The idea that this Fund should in future be increased needs further consideration. Under these circumstances, it is imperative that FAO should work out measures to reduce future financial crisis. The proposals should be submitted to the 91st Session of the Council for further study and consideration. We should begin to look beyond the 1986/87 biennium.
Fourthly, my delegation also welcomes the proposal to delay the filling of vacant posts. However, should the situation continue to deteriorate, then harsh measures, like the abolition of certain posts, may have to be taken in concert with what the mother body has already dono in New York.
In conclusion, I feel that time has now come for self-inspection and criticism. My delegation's appeal is that no other Member State should withold its contribution to FAO this biennium. It is in times of crisis such as this when we all need to work together to overcome the challenges before us. The Director-General should, where possible, personally contact the various governments who are defaulting on their contributions so that they can clear the arrears of contributions to FAO as a matter of urgency. My experience with international organizations is that we spend a lot of time discussing about our contributions, but do very little to honour our obligations. This negative approach should come to an end if the international organizations, in which we are members, are to deliver the goods. With these few remarks, I wish to thank you once again for giving me the floor.
Hermann REDL (Austria): I would like to thank the Director-General and his staff for a clear presentation of the financial situation of FAO. In particular, for referring to the difficulties ahead of us. I would also like to thank Ambassador Bukhari for his additional remarks. At the Conference in November, last year, not only the Programme of Work and Budget but also the shares of the Member Nations' contributions were decided upon. In this connection, I would like to draw your attention to Resolution 8/85. It is now our duty to stand up for this decision and to support the Director-General in his work. One prerequisite for this is the timely compliance with our financial commitments. Furthermore, I would like to refer to the provisions in the Financial Regulations C/5. 4 of the Basic Texts, reading as follows: "At the beginning of each calendar year the Director-General shall: (c) request Member Nations and Associate Members, as the case may be, to remit all contributions and advances due. "
As can be seen from the latest FAO document CL 90/LIM/1-The Financial Position of the Organization-a number of Member Nations have, in line with the pertinent regulations of the Constitution, paid their contribution on time. Those Member Nations should not be punished for their orderly payments. I would like to take the opportunity of pointing out that we all have not only adopted FAO's budget 1986/87, but also the respective regulations of the Basic Texts. I may therefore, remind the defaulting debtors of those provisions and ask them to implement their obligations in line with our rules. The proposals submitted by the Director-General to solve the financial problems deserve our full attention. The most recent developments show that FAO activities have not only to be continued in the future, but also strengthened. The measures of programme adoption suggested by the Director-General arc undoubtedly a matter of high priority which will meet with our full support. We hope that TCP activities will continue as proposed by the Director-General, and approved by the Conference last year, for the benefit of the developing countries.
In concluding, I may therefore remind the individual members once more of their reliability with the FAO for the biennium 1986/87 and ask them to discharge these liabilities, if it has not yet been done, and to support the Director-General in the implementation of the budget adopted by all of us.
Sjarifudin BAHARSJAH (Indonesia): Allow me to take the floor not only on behalf of my delegation, but also to represent the Group of 77. On this occasion I would like to present to the Council comments and suggestions with regard to the topics on hand and also to the statements made by the Director-General, in particular, concerning the financial crisis faced by the FAO, adjustment of the Programme of Work for the biennium 1986/87 and follow-up action of the Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Firstly, may I express my appreciation and admiration to Ambassador Bukhari and Mr Shah for their very lucid and useful report and explanation. Allow me to comment on the financial crisis of FAO which has grown to such proportions that it calls for a speedy and efficient solution. It is the responsibility of all members of the Organization to help find a solution. We all know that a smooth functioning of FAO in performing its task as formulated in its Constitution is, to a very large extent, dependent upon the availability of adequate financial resources which are obtained from contributions paid by its member countries. As clearly stated by the Director-General the financial crisis affecting FAO at present is caused primarily by the fact that the member country with the largest contribution is going to reduce its contribution to FAO. There is also the drop in interest rates and the fact that the US dollar has weakened throughout the year and there remains, of course, the problem of arrears of contributions by member countries.
The solution to the financial crisis should, first of all, be sought in the timely fulfillment of the financial obligations by all the member countries, considering that the payment of contributions should be regarded as a commitment which they have assumed before FAO started implementing its Programme of Work in the 1986/87 biennium, which was approved by the Conference in its Plenary Session in November 1985. It is only logical that the contributions should be paid in full within the shortest possible time. Should a member country, under the stress of domestic problems be compelled to reduce its contribution to the international organizations, such a move should not be applied to the present biennium. The reason is that the Programme of Work in 1986/87 was approved during the Conference in November 1985, on the assumption that the member countries have committed themselves to the timely payment of their respective contributions for amounts determined by the scale of their contributions. For this reason any substantial drop in the total of contributions to FAO, relating to the current biennium would, understandably, give rise to grave difficulties in the implementation of the Programme of Work, and the developing countries as a whole would feel the harmful effects of the sudden incapability of FAO to proceed working according to schedule.
In this regard the suggestion of the Director-General deserves serious consideration and he should be praised for the manner in which he dealt with the financial problem which is now a grave concern to the Organization. In connection with the foregoing, on behalf of the Group of 77, allow me on this occasion to appeal to all member countries of FAO to fulfill, in due time, their obligations in respect of their contributions. In particular to appeal to the member country with the largest contribution assessment, at least to postpone its plan to reduce its contribution to FAO, so that the work of the 1986/87 biennium would not be affected. We have been told that this is almost impossible, but it is only reasonable that we expect that all commitments large and small once made should be honoured.
With regard to the strategy proposed by the Director-General in coping with the financial problem faced by FAO on a short-term basis involving the investment of programme of work to affect the savings, by postponing recruitment to fill existing vacancies, by reducing the number of meetings, publications, consultancies and travels which are less urgent and through the use of the working capital fund, the Group of 77 considers these strategies acceptable with the understanding that these measures would not give rise to other problems. For instance, in the case of the postponement of the recruitment of staff, it should not in any way hamper the work of one unit or another. The same applies to the reduction of the number of publications, meetings, consultancies and travels which should be effected with the greatest care. After the Council has given its approval to the proposed strategies, their implementation should be left to the discretion of the Director-General.
After having dealt with the financial difficulties of FAO and with adjustment of the Programme of Work 1986/87 to the shrinking financial resources alLow me to draw your attention to the necessity for maintaining the Technical Cooperation Programme as it is now. To be specific I am suggesting that the TCP should not in any way be subjected to cuts in its financing. The reason is that TCP plays an important role in accelerating agricultural development in many developing countries. Since it came into being some ten years ago, the TCP has shown" its usefulness in developing countries with agricultural training, preparation for investment, emergency aid, technical advice, formulation of agricultural projects. Not less than 2 044 projects were implemented under this programme during the period 1976 to 1984; twenty-seven projects a year in developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Near East and Europe. The advantages derived from those projects must by now have increased manifold. For instance, in the case of training, those workers who have once been trained under the programme are now organizing
training courses for others. There are also large projects which are to be considered as a follow-up to TCP projects. Recognizing the positive impact we welcome the statement by the Director-General to ensure the continuation of the TCP in the course of the biennium in accordance with the approval given to it in its session in 1985.
With regard to the follow-up of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the economic crisis in Africa, in particular with respect to the proposal of the ministers of agriculture in African countries for the Director-General to undertake a study on aid-in-kind, the Group of 77 is pleased to support the proposal and suggests that the study should be extended to include other regions and donor countries as well. It is necessary to know the amount of need for aid-in-kind and its utilization in the recipient countries, but it is equally important to know in detail the availability of staffs in donor countries. These data are essential for the programming and for obtaining the highest results of the programmes in the recipient countries, and the Director-General should therefore be requested by the Council to make provisions for undertaking such a study.
Khalil MAKKAWI (Lebanon): Allow me first to say how delighted we are to see you back in this important Chair conducting our deliberations in the most efficient way. We are confident that under your wise leadership this Council will achieve positive and successful results. Equally I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency the Chairman of the Finance Committee and Mr Shah for the excellent presentation they have made this morning and I am sure this is going to help to a great extent our deliberations.
In reference to the item under discussion, which is the budgetary and cash flow forecast relating to the Programme of Work and Budget 1986/87, my delegation appreciates the fact that the Director-General has drawn this serious matter to our attention. We share his concern. We are firmly of the opinion that the problems affecting the implementation of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87 stem from Member Nations not honouring their commitments agreed at our Conference, the highest governing body in this organization. We are aware that a number of Member Nations are not always in a position to pay their contributions each year according to the financial regulations of FAO. This happens in every biennium and they pay their contribution as soon as they can, either during the biennium or after. As a matter of fact, if I may say so, this is the case of my country, Lebanon. Everybody in this room is undoubtedly aware of our great difficulties, but in spite of this my government has taken the necessary steps to pay its full contribution for 1986, and I hope in the very near future.
However, the problem that we are now facing arises from the fact that a shortfall in contributions is expected from the largest contributor. When this contribution represents one-fourth of our total budget it is no wonder that with any significant shortfall in its payment the organization faces a serious problem. We therefore join in the appeal made by the Finance Committee to all Member Nations and in particular to the largest contributor to honour their contribution obligations and to make their contribution as early as possible. We would face no problem if we were certain that this appeal would be heeded. However, the chances are most probably that it will not. What aggravates the problem moreover is the fact we aré in an entirely fluid situation, not knowing what amount will be paid for 1986 and when it will be paid. We are even more in the dark as regards 1987. We thus appreciate how the Director-General has exercised a constant vigilance in order to foresee all possibilities. We appreciate as well the change in the situation as discussed by the Finance Committee barely two months ago from the prospects as seen today. In the circumstances we welcome the strategy proposed by the Director-General and give it our full support. We regret that in order to ensure the financial viability of the organization he has been forced to propose programme adjustments which would yield savings of 16. 4 million US dollars. We are sure that every Member Nation who looks to FAO for support and assistante regrets this. The Director-General himself regrets this too. However, under the circumstances his proposal is a wise one, and one we should accept as a package. He has formulated this package with all due care, examining the possibilities for adjustment and the likely impact on programmes. We cannot possibly undertake such a review with an intergovernmental body. He has our confidence as the chief executive elected by us.
We also accept the fact that he will need to draw on the working capital fund for an amount of 9 million US dollars pending receipt of the contributions. This is precisely one of the main purposes of the working capital fund and it will be done entirely according to the organization's resolutions.
Finally we take note of the possibility that should the present estimate of income by the end of the present biennium not improve, the Director-General would need to borrow some 30 million US dollars in early 1988 to cover the usual obligations arising from commitments in 1987. The Director-General, we are certain, has no desire to borrow. If he is forced to do so, it will be because Member Nations will not have paid their contributions. The remedy, therefore, is in the hands of these Member Nations. It is those who have created this problem who have the means of resolving it. We hope that wisdom will prevail. Failing that, should the prospects indicated by the Director-General materialize, we give him full support in implementing the measures that he proposes.
Temel ISKIT (Turkey): I think we can be very brief since most of the delegates have already emphasized the points we want to make. But first of all, of course, I want to congratulate His Excellency Mr Bukhari and thank Mr Crowther and Mr Shah for their introduction to the item. I especially thank Mr Shah for the clarifications he has given this morning on the occasion of the debate we have all heard. Perhaps I will have the occasion to refer to his clarifications later on in my intervention.
The situation is difficult. We all know it and I think most of us here are dealing with this problem, at least thinking about it since many days, if not weeks now and we thank the Director-General for the transparency, the very clear transparency on this subject which he provided us by briefing us, by giving all the necessary information beforehand. We reiterate our thanks.
So at least my delegation is well informed on all aspects of the question. Let us say that I do not want to dwell much on the causes of this financial difficulty. In our minds it is very clear that there is a single factor which induces us today to discuss this subject. It is the internal legislation of the largest contributor. There are, of course, two other factors; there are arrears in the contribution of other Member States and a shortfall in the miscellaneous income but in our eyes these arrears of other Member States are a recurrent situation and we completely agree with our colleague from Brazil when he said that it would not change the situation much if we made an appeal. Of course, we are for an appeal but even if everybody else has paid the situation will remain the same unless the largest contributor, let us say, takes back his step.
Well, as for the miscellaneous income, the fluctuations in this I think are a conjectural factor and they would not, again, much change the situation. So with due respect to Madame Fenwick, of course, scolding did not cross our minds but perhaps if we cannot help, we are unhappy about the situation. So let me again not dwell too much on the causes but concentrate on the proposals of the Director-General.
My delegation considers that these proposals are timely, they are logical and reasonable and we can accept them, agree with them en bloc, including all the elements of the strategies, that is the cuts, the adjustments of 16 million, having recourse to the working capital fund and, if the situation is not better by the end of the biennium, of resorting to borrowing. So we agree with all the points in the strategy and we thank the Director-General for these wise proposals.
As many other delegations, we of course regret that you have to go along with these cuts in the programme, but we are confident that the Director-General has chosen the right economies-"economies" is not the right word, as we do not consider these cuts as economies, but necessary adjustments. So we trust him and his staff to have found the less hurting solution and we do not think discussion on the content of these cuts is advisable. In any case, my delegation is not in a position to do so and we do not think it will be useful. We understand that it will hurt. But we also want to say, as again, many other delegations have said, that we welcome the pledge of the Director-General not to reduce operations under the Technical Cooperation Programme. We all know that this is not a Programme by itself, but the main tool of all FAO programmes to be put into action. So we think that these will be the funds which will be less touched, if at all, and we welcome this pledge again.
As I said, we completely endorse these short-term measures which are proposed by the Director-General. But our worry is not for this biennium. We think that the problems are serious and radical and we will face the most difficult situation not this biennium but starting from 1988, but of course we will reserve our comments on this longer term perspective until we discuss Item (b).
George Henry MUSGROVE (Canada): To begin my intervention perhaps I could make just a few remarks on our Agenda Item 12. 1, which covers the business of matters in addressing delayed contributions. I think that Item refers to the Finance Committee Report 90/17 which was so ably delivered to us by its Chairman, my good friend Atif Y. Bukhari.
Within that report there is a few paragraphs and some tables which indicate that the Finance Committee has been considering a number of alternatives for the encouragement of members to pay their contributions in a timely way. This was referred to only briefly by one or two speakers today. Notably I remember the delegate from the Philippines. We too believe that there should be instituted a system which rewards those who pay their contributions in a full and timely fashion, not necessarily to punish those who do not do so but to give value for money when countries do pay those contributions. We think the Organization has had this matter under consideration for three or four years and perhaps it has been somewhat dilatory in not coming forward on the clear and substantive proposal before this time. We would certainly encourage this Council to give this matter some consideration, all the more so because of the great unlikelihood that we shall see surplus situations in any nearby term and therefore it might be much easier to address the issue when there is not money at stake.
Finally I would like to draw your attention to the belief that the International Civil Aviation Organization has adopted such a formula in September/October of this year. The document we have in front of us outlines in short terms that particular system but indicates that it has not as yet been adopted.
With those few remarks perhaps I should turn to the matter of the financial situation as we are addressing it under Item 12. 1 (a). We believe that the financial crisis facing our Organization is not entirely a surprise. The looming threat of shortfalls in assessed contributions, particularly by the biggest contributor, has been with us for some 18 months or more and certainly prior to the establishment of our present Programme of Work and. Budget almost a year ago. This fact has not been lost on the United Nations itself, or indeed many of our sister agencies, who over the last number of months have been addressing measures, including substantive programme savings, to address the crisis which would otherwise inevitably undermine their continuing longer term liability. We are therefore grateful to the Secretariat, and to the Director-General in particular, for documents CL 90/23 and CL 90/24 which have been put before us and for the briefing which was provided to us some two weeks ago which provides a very solid basis for us, the shareholding membership of the corporation, as it were, to express our views of the actions we should and could take to meet the financial stringency and to best ensure the longer term continuity of the Organization and its important programmes.
We hope our consideration of this issue can continue to be conducted in the best spirit of collaboration and open expression of views. We do not feel that it should in any event be a partisan or divisive issue in spite of the brief wisps of this unfortunate atmosphere which have drifted in from one quarter or another. We, as members, will have differences of views, some very marked, but our guidance obviously will be sought by the Secretariat looking for a middle ground on which to base its proposals for future action. In this respect I shall address myself solely to the short-term measures as outlined in document CL 90/23 and perhaps return later to discuss the longer term measures under Section Β of our Agenda.
On the best short-term estimates that the Secretariat has very usefully provided it would appear that we have a shortfall of some $92 million in revenue to meet the budgeted expenditures through the end of the current biennium, of which only some 13 months is left to us. Of this $92 million our largest contributor it is conservatively estimated will withhold, due to internal legislative requirements, some $64 million. We very much regret this and should like to underline both our view that the payment of assessed contributions is a solemn legal treaty obligation and to join our appeal with others even at this late date that our neighbours do their very best to honour this obligation.
We should also like to add that if the stance of the withholding contributor is, in the parlance of North America, to deliver a message to us at FAO we should very much like to encourage them to give us a clear articulation of that message to see if there is some way that we can assist them.
Be that as it may, our first hard reality is the $92 million shortfall based on the evidence that we have in front of us, a number which if left untended is bound to cause major damage to a programme budget expenditure of some $400 million in the current biennium and/or to create/a longer term mortgage on future biennia, most particularly that of 88/89.
We have in front of us as a preliminary reaction a Secretariat proposal to effect programme savings of $16. 4 million and to draw on the Working Capital Fund to the extent of its holdings of $13 million and to bequeath to the 1988/89 biennia some $60 million in unliquidated obligations. Set against this of course will-be bookkeeping credit of $98 million I believe was the figure given to us today, comprised almost entirely of contributions in arrears of which the major contributor withholding will be the aforementioned $64 million. We have grave doubts on this proposal on several grounds. We do not know if the $64 million withholding, should that be the figure, can correctly be categorised as arrears. Does the withholding country recognise this as an obligation? Several speakers have indicated various doubts as to the ultimate collectability of this money.
Secondly, the preliminary proposal would seem to assume that this major withholding is only a temporary aberration which will not recur in the 1988/89 and subsequent biennia. Our own perusal of budgetary prospects and legislative prerequisites in the major contributor would not support this view. There may also be a muted presumption that at the end of the day sometime in 1988/89 or later, the other members of the Organization will step in to pick up the unsettled financial obligations, whether through increased assessments, through our shares and working capital funds or of surpluses left to us, to pick up the immediate major obligations left us by the major withholding country. While our country is always timely in paying its obligations and not infrequently generous in other respects, we do not in principle agree to paying directly or indirectly the obligations of our collaborators in the experiment of multilateralism.
Finally, it seems to be implicit in the proposals before us that should all else fail it is better to spend big now and if the anticipated revenues do not materialise to make sudden and drastic programme reductions at some point in the future. We for one are reluctant to gamble with the longer term stability of the FAO in that way.
Taken together these four scenarios lead us to the inevitable conclusion that a much greater attempt must be made now while we have a year at least in our current biennium to effect economies which will balance the financial hardship between the present and a mortgage on the future. In this regard my authorities indicate that the United Nations itself has proposed programme reductions of 7. 5 percent, the International Labour organization savings of 7. 5 percent, the World Health Organization 6. 5 percent, UNESCO 6 percent, UNIDO 11 percent, all of which seem to be in excess of the programme proposal that is in front of us at 3. 7 percent.
I know that those figures that I have just read, given to me by my authorities, do not jibe in their entirety with those used by others, or forecast by the Organization, however, 1 believe there are different sets of figures in play. Nevertheless, we might have a quick look at the 3. 7 percent reduction, a figure of some $16. 4 million, composed, we believe, of six and a half million in staff costs and 9. 9 in other postponable or lower priority activities. We hope we are not un charitable in suggesting that a very large part of the 6. 5 million in staff savings on the delayed filling of 250 vacant positions reflects to some large extent to an ongoing reality of a vacancy rate which runs somewhat in excess of the budgetary estimate. We have had occasion in the past to point to this anomaly which has, if we are correct, thrown considerable discretionary funds to the hands of the Secretariat.
Be that as it may, we would propose that at minimum the Secretariat very seriously look at its figures once again with a prospect, we would suggest, of moving some further $22 million from the $64 million of debit envisaged in 1988/89, and translate that into a like amount of economies in the present biennium. Due to the complexities of the budget we would listen carefully to Secretariat suggestions on how this might best be done while at the same time conserving the priority elements of the programme creating the least dislocation and hardship to personnel and preserving the essential elements of the Organization for its future benefit.
It is our belief that this can largely be addressed in looking carefully at discretionary or nonemergency expenditures. In this category dare we mention the Technical Cooperation Programme, Chapter 4 of the budget, Contingencies, Chapter 7, as well as Potential Savings in Other Operations
such as those of the regional offices whose activities might to some very large degree be subsumable by country offices and/or Headquarters. We are not unaware, of course, that the Technical Cooperation Programme is extremely popular with most Members of the Organization but would draw to their attention that its expenditures are largely unprogrammed. I believe between only 20 and 25 percent of its expenditures are directed to emergencies, while the remainder of its expenditures are directed to those of less urgent activities.
We should also like to point, if we could, to the very substantive remarks made by the United Kingdom today in its proposal on areas in which further savings can be made. We appreciate the views expressed by the Secretariat that there may be differences within the United Kingdom in the calculation of figures but we do hope that the message has not been lost and that there may well be virtue in looking again at some of the very substantive and profound things that were said.
Our colleague from Japan also mentioned the Technical Cooperation Programme. I might say that Japan is our largest contributor ad interim, I believe, whose views therefore might take on a weight commensurate with that particular station and in particular, our colleague in Denmark made some very useful points which I would also commend to the Council.
Having said that, there is one matter that I have overlooked at this point, and that is the matter related to the drawing on the Working Capital Fund, I think to the extent of its capacity some 13 million being proposed. Whilst we appreciate that ready access to available cash resources is tempting in time of a crisis such as we are facing now, we feel on the other hand that recourse to this Fund in the circumstances is somewhat dubious. Our understanding is that the Working Capital Fund was largely designed for use early in a financial year when contributions or assessments were arriving at a somewhat slower rate than expenditures. The Working Capital Fund was to be replenished almost immediately, certainly if not within the current fiscal period then in the very next. We feel that our present crisis is not caused so much by slow contributions or even by arrears. It is caused by something called"withholding", something sui generis, as it were, whose ultimate bank ability is very much an unknown quantity.
We should also like to point out that the observation made in the Finance Committee report (paragraph 20 of document CL 90/4) that the UN's rather massive financial crisis can be attributed in part to the demise of its Working Capital Fund on the basis of using them when contributions were withheld by Members for one particular reason or another. Lest we think that the $13 million from the Working Capital Fund is ready money, I believe that it should be underlined that it is, in fact, a loan which according to the regulations must be repaid at the earliest possible moment. In this connexion we would be pleased to have confirmation from the Secretariat that the $13 million loan from the Working Capital Fund is part of the $60 or $61 million projected unpaid obligations for the 1988/89 year. If it is not (and I see some shaking of heads up there) then we are looking at $73 or $74 million in unliquidated obligations in 1988/89, plus another 20 million-we can round it at 100 million perhaps.
In summing up, I should like to say we deeply regret the prospect of the financial crisis facing our Organization and deplore the withholding actions which cause it, as being contrary to treaty obligation. While we know it is not quantifiable at this stage, we have the gravest doubts that we shall see such withheld monies at any early date, and perhaps even ultimately. Therefore, in our view, they cannot be regarded as arrears for credit bookkeeping purposes. In common with the Finance Committee, as stated in their document (paragraph 24 of document CL 90/4) we do not feel that other members should be called on to compensate for this deficit. In this connexion, we did note the very generous, forward, outgoing remarks put forward by the delegate of Italy with respect to its contributions to the Organization. Extra budgetary contributions of some $2 million are listed in our particular document CL 90/23. A further extra budgetary contribution of 750 000 to 800 000 in the present budgetary period. We note that such contributions have been a feature for the last fifteen years, I believe, according to the distinguished delegate of Italy. We should welcome some indication of what those particular budgetary contributions have been used for in periods other than this financial crisis period, and information as to whether they were directed for a specific purpose such as a subsidy of rent in one or other of the buildings around the city. If the delegate of Italy would be kind enough at some stage, to indicate privately or otherwise, the source of such funds from within his Government's budget (from the overseas Development Assistance portion, perhaps) I would be pleased of advice so I can advise my Government to see if some similar proposition would be entertained. I have my doubts that they would be appreciative of lowering our Overseas Development Fund by making additional special contributions for institutional purposes.
In further summary, the proposals before us in document CL 90/23 are in our view deficient, in so far as the proposed inadequate programme savings, and thus have far too great an adverse consequence for the future financial health of the Organization. We believe that additional savings can be made and that these can be found, in large part, in discretionary expenditure portions of the existing budget.
Finally, we feel the use of the Working Capital Fund should be clarified, and particularly as indicated the provision for repayment of the loan we will be making from that Fund.
Guillermo Enrique GONZALEZ (Argentina): Deseo agradecer las presentaciones que en la mañana de hoy tuvieron a bien hacernos el Presidente del Comité de Finanzas, Embajador Bukhari, y el Director de la Oficina de Presupuestos, Sr. Shah. Ambos han sido claros, precisos, y nos han ayudado a ver la verdadera magnitud del problema que hoy debemos enfrentar.
Pretendo ser sumamente breve en mi intervención puesto que numerosas delegaciones se han referido en extenso a puntos que mi delegación deseaba tratar. Por ello, subrayaré fundamentalmente la posición de mi delegación ante las principales alternativas que hoy debemos estudiar en este Consejo. En primer lugar, creo que están suficientemente claras nuestras mentes, pero quizá sea oportuno repetir que la crisis que estamos enfrentando no es de la Organización. No se trata de que en la Organización haya habido una mala o una deficiente administración, ésto se debe subrayar. En todo caso, la crisis proviene de la falta de entusiasmo, de la falta de prioridad, de la falta, de un apoyo sincero de algunos miembros de la Organización a la misma.
Las dificultades financieras-cash flow, como se dice en inglés-que se prevén a corto plazo reconocen varias causas. Se trata de una conjunción de hechos y acciones que nos llevan a esta situación. Las fluctuaciones en el tipo de cambio han tenido un gran impacto negativo. Lo mismo ha sucedido con los menores ingresos recibidos en concepto de Varios como consecuencia de la baja de intereses, pero, de todas maneras,-y esto no podemos desconocerlo-la situación que desencadena la crisis está referida concretamente a la perspectiva de que el primer contribuyente disminuya sus aportes en forma sustancial. Mi delegación se permite con todo respeto unirse a las que ya lo hicieron para hacer un llamamiento al primer contribuyente para que realice un reanálisis de la situación evitando causar un daño irreparable al proceso de desarrollo en el que esta Organización tanto contribuye. Confiamos en que habrán otras ocasiones durante el próximo año para volver a discutir este tema en el caso de que esta irregularidad no se haya logrado corregir. Mientras tanto, el Director General de la FAO asume su responsabilidad y nos propone una serie de ajustes presupuestarios del orden de los 16, 4 millones de dólares y que, aparentemente, serían suficientes para superar el problema del cash flow durante el presente ciclo presupuestario.
Mi delegación apoya el paquete de medidas sugeridas y se permite, al mismo tiempo, proponer que no entremos a discutir el detalle de las mismas ya que ello llevaría mucho tiempo y estoy seguro que no podríamos llegar a un resultado mejor que nos deje a todos igualmente satisfechos o, mejor dicho, igualmente insatisfechos, pues estas medidas se adoptan exclusivamente frente a una emergencia. En este sentido, mi delegación, por lo menos, no tiene inconveniente en que la Secretaría continúe estudiando el tema y pueda eventualmente hacer otros ajustes adicionales, siempre que los mismos no afecten sustancialmente a las labores de la FAO.
En este sentido, quiero aprovechar la oportunidad para ratificar el más decidido apoyo del Gobierno argentino al Programa de Cooperación Técnica del que somos beneficiarios. Nuestra delegación solicita expresamente que el Programa de Cooperación Técnica no se vea afectado en este proceso de ajustes que nos vemos obligados a efectuar. El PCT, lo reitero, tiene alta prioridad para mi Gobierno.
Respecto al superávit correspondiente al período 1984-85 con un volumen superior a los 34 millones de dólares, mi delegación estima conveniente que se proceda a su distribución conforme a las disposiciones reglamentarias vigentes. Creemos que adoptar una medida de excepción, como lo ha sugerido por lo menos una delegación, crearía mayores dificultades de las que se tratan de evitar. Hemos escuchado al Dr. Shah y sabemos que adoptar una medida de excepción de esta naturaleza requiere la convocatoria de una conferencia extraordinaria, lo que de por sí implica gastos y, en el mejor de los casos, dicha conferencia extraordinaria sólo podría adoptar medidas que, en definitiva, tampoco incidirían excesivamente a resolver el problema del cash flow.
Mi Gobierno cree firmemente en los multilateralismo y en la función de las Naciones Unidas cuyos principios ratificamos una vez más.
La difícil situación financiera por la cual atraviesa mi país es bien conocida; dificultades que afect, nuestro comercio, a nuestra balanza de pagos y que se suman al pesado servicio de la deuda externa Todo esto limita seriamente nuestras posibilidades de crecimiento, pero, a pesar de ello, tratamos de cumplir con todos nuestros compromisos internacionales.
En lo que va del año 1986 hemos podido abonar las cuotas pendientes hasta ese entonces y continuaremos en este camino a pesar del sacrificio que ello implica. Confiamos en que quienes más tienen también puedan cumplir con sus compromisos, los cuales tienen un doble carácter: jurídico y moral
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Puisque l'atmosphère est sereine, j'aurai peut-être une remarque importante à faire sur la base de ce que le délégué du Canada vient de nous dire (et je regrette qu'il ne soi pas là). Il est plus pessimiste que moi car il dit que les Etats-Unis pourraient ne pas payer leu arriérés.
If I know that this information is confirmed, I will certainly propose an adjustment of much more than $16 million. If there is a statement by the United States that they will not pay their arrears, and do not consider them as arrears due legally, then in 1988/89 there will still be $66 million unpaid by our major contributors, and we will have to consider the situation in a different manner. This is why I say the situation is fluid. We will consider the same important problem in December, and I will come back to you in June. Maybe in June we will propose something different. I am not optimistic, but if I have to be more pessimistic-and as Canada is very near to the US they may have a better appraisal of the situation-we shall start 1988 with about $96 million arrears.
How will we function in 1988 when our Special Reserve Account is zero? If there is a difference in the dollar rate in 1988 in comparison with the exchange rate approved by the Conference in 1987, where would I find the difference? Now, under the FAO rules, I use the Special Reserve Account. The working Capital Fund will also be zero at the beginning of the year. $13 million plus $21 million in the Special Reserve Account makes $34 million, and with the US contribution it would be nearer $100 million. But I trust very much that the US Administration will do everything possible to make a supplementary allocation or whatever. I do not think they can tell us today that they will never pay this amount. Therefore I have to take the optimistic attitude that the US, in the case of FAO and other organizations, will eventually honour their obligations. They have never said that they will not pay, so I assume that they will pay. This is the option 1 have chosen. But the other option will certainly be very bad: and we will continue to follow the situation closely. The subject is going to be with us for some time.
Mohd. Mazlan BIN JUSOH (Malaysia): On behalf of my delegation I should like first of all to compliment Ambassador Bukhari and Mr Shah on their introduction to this agenda item. The matter of budgetary and financial shortfall is, indeed, a very serious problem faced by this Organization. As a member of the Finance Committee, we are fully aware of the magnitude of the problem and would like to fully support the short-time measures and programme adjustments as proposed by the Director-General. The freezing of posts, cuttings in publications and meetings, would inevitably hurt the work of this Organization, but under the present circumstances we would have to face the reality of the situation.
On the Technical Cooperation Programme, we fully support the call made by many developing countries to maintain the level of allocations already agreed in the last Conference. My delegation also wishes to join other delegations who have spoken before me to appeal to member countries who have yet to meet their obligations in full to do so as soon as possible as this would greatly alleviate the problem that this Organization is facing.
We understand that many nations, especially developing countries, are facing great financial difficulties of their own, but in the face of difficulties that FAO is having now this is the time to show solidarity with this Organization. In this respect, we would like also to urge member countries not to take unilateral decisions not to pay out in full, as this would create a very dangerous precedent in international organizations such as the FAO.
On the alternative to borrow, my delegation feels that at this stage it may be premature to take such steps. Nevertheless, if the situation warrants it at a later stage, we would like to suggest that member countries be advised well in advance before such a step is taken. This would enable us to fully appraise the gravity of the situation and be able to consider its implications and prepare for its consequences.
At this stage I wish to state that in view of our serious financial situation we are not in a position to agree any proposal that might entail any increased contributions from Member Nations.
David Lawrence COUTTS (Australia): Australia thanks the Chairman of the Finance Committee for his presentation of the reports of the 57th and 58th Sessions of that Committee. Australia was represented on the Committee by Mr. John Sault, and I can say we are in a position to endorse both reports.
In relation to the budget and cash flow forecast given in document CL 90/23, I would underline Australia's concern at the serious financial situation facing the Organization caused mainly by the shortfall in contributions of Member Nations-a subject that most speakers have already covered.
Australia has always taken its financial obligations to the FAO very seriously. Its record of payment of contributions demonstrates that sincerity.
We have taken note of the estimates by the Secretariat of the possible size of the shortfall. We are of the view that this is, unhappily, a realistic assessment on the basis of what is known at the present time and what the real position may turn out to be. However, given our understanding of the way events are moving in the United States, we do not see any reasonable likelihood that the bulk of those arrears will be paid in the 1988/89 biennium, if at all. However, we will be interested to hear the United States views on that point. If we are correct though it means that FAO is faced with a long-term shortfall in its income which as we have heard from the Director-General a little while ago, could be something like one hundred million dollars at the beginning of the 1988/89 biennium. In these circumstances, Australia is firmly committed to the position that it is not acceptable to postpone the hard decisions that must be taken by FAO to adjust its expenditure to the level of resources that will be available over the next few years. While we recognize the need for the budget cuts proposed by the Director-General, we fear that they are not adequate to address the situation and would result in FAO entering the 1988/89 biennium in an extremely precarious financial situation. Looking at the components of the 16. 4 million dollar savings proposed by the Director-General, I would like to see clarification in relation to the figure of 6. 5 million dollars, mentioned in connection with staff savings, as to whether that is a result of a freeze on recruitment for other than absolutely essential vacancies. My impression is that it is not. If it is not, then my delegation feels that such a policy should be examined to see if further savings could resolve the problem. They also observe a saving of 9. 9 million dollars in non-staff expenditures, against a total budget of 437 million dollars; this seems fairly modest: in the circumstances although I don't mean in any way to belittle the efforts the Director-General has made. I understand how difficult it is to find such cuts.
In suggesting that further consideration should be given to finding further savings in this area, we are assuming that a substantial portion of the budget of the Organization would not yet be obligated against programme expenditure. In relation to the proposal to withdraw 9 million dollars from the Working Capital Fund we would note that such a withdrawal, as Canada mentioned, according to Financial Regulation 6. 5, must be repaid in the 1988/89 biennium by Member States. presumably, through an assessment above that required for the biennium itself or by programme adjustments. We would obviously be very concerned if that is a correct interpretation.
If the difficult decisions are postponed until next year we feel that they will be all that much more difficult. Other major specialized agencies have already made cuts, or 'have plans for substantial reductions in administrative and programme expenditures, to meet substantial expected shortfalls. We feel that FAO has no alternative but to face reality and take the same approach. We will make more specific comments on the alternative approaches proposed by the Director-General when that matter is under discussion. I should indicate that we are unable to accept proposals which shift the burden of shortfalls to other donors and seek to identify more revenue by technical adjustments in exchange rates and reserve funds.
Turning for a moment to the proposals for dealing with various problems of delayed payment of assessed contributions given by the Finance Committee, we would note that any changes which might be adopted in these procedures would be unlikely to have any effect in the 1986/87 biennium, as no financial surplus presumably will be available for distribution. It would not be until the question of distribution for any cash surplus from the 1988/89 biennium comes up in January 1991, that there might be some real incentive in relation to encouraging earlier payments at least in regard to most of the alternatives put forward by the Finance Committee. Having said that, we would endorse the recommentation of the Finance Committee that they should explore this matter focusing particularly on alternative 3, 4 and 5.
Just summing up, the objectives that Australia feels should be uppermost in the Council's mind in its consideration of this matter are, that the FAO must meet the projected shortfall in the 1986/87 biennium by much more substantial cuts in Regular Budget expenditure. We do not exclude a consideration of expenditure on the Technical Cooperation Programme if that should prove appropriate, relative to other priorities. Although, we have noted with interest the very strong feelings of my delegation on that matter. Moreover, that FAO must not begin the 1988/89 in heavy debt. Also, that the financial burden of arrears is not transferred to members who have fulfilled their obligations. Our feelings would be that Council should ask the Director-General to go from this meeting and prepare a range of cuts including substantive programme cuts, if necessary, that would meet these objectives. Such a set of proposals could be considered by the Finance Committee at the special session in December. We do not accept that the Director-General does not have the authority to make much more substantial programme adjustments than proposed.
To finish I would like to say, as Canada did, that I was pleased to hear the United Kingdom intervention earlier in this discussion. I found it to be very interesting and it demonstrated that a great deal of work had been put in by that delegation to analyse the budget situation. Out of that I would form the conclusion that it would be opportune to address the question of what it actually costs FAO to deliver a dollar of programme. As I understand it, the UK delegation has calculated a figure of about 36 percent for the whole programme. Mr Shah in his response raised the difficulties that always arise when you try to allocate overheads to programmes. He assessed that the figure given by the UK might be better expressed as something like 13 percent (he said about one-third the UK figure). I have some misgivings about some of the allocations he was suggesting. I think this matter needs closer attention and all members of FAO should be concerned that as much money as possible goes to programmes rather than to maintaining and supporting bureaucracy. We would support the suggestion that this issue of programme delivery costs be the subject of a detailed study, possibly by outside experts, to come up with a formula that all can agree on.
Lastly, in looking at the resources available to the Organization in dealing with this financial crisis, 1 have been a little puzzled by what the liquid funds represent. If you look at the budget statements you will see that some 300 million dollars of liquid assets were in existence at the start of the biennium, (this was mentioned by the Danish Delegation) which are equivalent to 70 percent of the annual budget. We would be interested to know, like the Nordic countries, what these funds are used for, where they are held and why they cannot be run down to somewhat lower levels to assist in meeting the present financial crisis.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Nuestro distinguido colega y amigo el Embajador Bukhari, de Arabia Saudita, merece el pleno y sincero reconocimiento de la delegación de Colombia por la inteligencia, competencia y la consagración con que cumple sus santas funciones de Presidente del Comité do Finanzas.
El Sr. Shah hizo una excelente presentación y luego en las respuestas que dio a través del animado dialogo de esta mañana confirmó la claridad y la forma documentada como pudo despejar dudas y ambigüedades que habían sido planteadas.
El Sr. Crowther hizo también una presentación lúcida y completa.
Empezaremos por decir que compartimos los aspectos sobresalientes-de la declaración hecha esta mañana por nuestro colega Da Silva, del Brasil, sobre todo en cuanto a la necesidad de delinear claramente responsabilidades, no confundir el proceso rutinario a través del cual se había venido creando un déficit bienal promedio del 5 por ciento, sin que ello afectara la adecuada adecuación del programa. Ahora el hecho bien conocido es otro.
Esta circunstancia nos induce también a destacar cómo los países en desarrollo hacen grandes esfuerzos, sacrifican inversiones vitales para su crecimiento económico a fin de poder pagar sus contribuciones en divisas, que tanto escasean en nuestros países por la inmensa deuda externa, el proteccionismo y la falta de voluntad política de algunos estados industrializados que no ofrecen asistencia técnica y financiera adecuadas.
Brasil es un gran país en desarrollo cuya contribución es superior a la de algunos estados industrializados, y por ello apoyamos la clara posición de nuestro colega brasileño en el sentido de que sería injusto involucrar por igual a todos los países en la determinación de la crisis.
Brasil, Camerún y México, entre otros, reiteraron su apoyo al multilateralismo; la delegación de Colombia considera que en este momento difícil es necesario consignar en nuestro informe la concepción diáfana e inmodificable de que el multilateralismo sigue siendo la base irremovible de la existencia de la FAO y de la propia cooperación internacional.
Otro aspecto importante que debe quedar muy claro es que sería inaceptable que se prospectara siquiera la más mínima duda sobre la forma transparente, eficaz y dinámica como se cumple la excelente administración de la FAO.
Se ha hecho reiterada referencia a lo que sucede en otros Organismos del sistema de las Naciones Unidas; ya e 1 Director General dijo esta mañana que sigue con seriedad y toda atención ese proceso, pero pensamos que no se puede generalizar, que será necesario tener en cuenta los objetivos, los fines, los campos dentro de los cuales están enmarcadas cada una de esas Organizaciones. La FAO ocupa un lugar preponderante dentro de ese contexto por la alta significación que la agricultura y la alimentación tienen para los países en desarrollo y por la grave crisis que afecta todavía a los países africanos y también a algunos otros países del Tercer Mundo.
Se ha criticado el hecho de que en Caja existan 300 millones de dólares. Nosotros pensamos que eso es signo de buena administración, de prudencia y austeridad. ¿Qué tal si esta crisis se hubiera presentado sin que existiera un mínimo de disponibilidad líquida en las arcas de la FAO? Todo iba muy bien, no es culpa de la administración si a la mitad del camino se le niega el combustible para seguir adelante.
A la delegación de Colombia le ha llamado particularmente la atención el hecho de que algunas delegaciones, pocas afortunadamente, hayan pedido que se apliquen reajustes justamente en los dos aspectos más positivos del programa de la FAO a partir de 1976, la descentralización y el Programa de Cooperación Técnica.
Con los recortes propuestos por el Director General ya se afectan por reflejo las Oficinas Regionales y los representantes en los países, pero no podemos aceptar ninguna reducción ulterior que afecte la descentralización porque no queremos volver a la época ingrata, que yo viví, superada ya afortunadamente, durante la cual actuaba en Roma la FAO como rueda suelta, aislada, encerrada en una torre de marfil, desvinculada de los problemas y de las necesidades que existen allá en nuestros países, en las regiones en desarrollo.
El Programa de Cooperación Técnica no podrá tocarse; los gobiernos de los países beneficiarios diariamente realizan la evaluación del PCT y son testigos directos de los beneficios de ese programa, además de la evaluación que ya se realizó con participación de representantes de países desarrollados y con buen éxito, ampliamente reconocido.
Queremos dar acto al distinguido colega y amigo John Glistrup, de Dinamarca, quien habló en nombre de los altruistas y generosos países nórdicos y también al delegado de Australia, quienes esta tarde han manifestado que son sensibles a la opinión unánime de ios países en desarrollo en favor del PCT.
Nosotros pensamos que el PCT no es popular por demagogia, sino por la eficacia, por el efecto multiplicador que cumple en nuestros países, particularmente al estimular el mayor flujo de las inversiones.
Se esgrimió aquí el argumento de que el mayor contribuyente ad interim de la FAO había expresado reservas sobre el PCT. Nosotros creemos que esa referencia está fuera de orden porque afortunadamente nuestra Organización funciona en un marco multilateral dirigida al beneficio de los países en desarrollo; no existe aquí, ni aceptaremos jamás, la implantación del voto ponderado; los programas y las políticas de la Organización son decidídos por la Conferencia, en la cual participan todos los Estados Miembros sin ninguna diferencia.
Los 45 millones del PCT arrastrados del bienio anterior corresponden a una disposición expresa de la Conferencia, y esto lo recuerdan muchos colegas, después de negociaciones en las cuales prevaleció el interés de los países en desarrollo.
Se ha dicho que el PCT debería existir sobre la base de contribuciones voluntarias. ¿Es acaso otro intento de hacer ineficiente ese Programa sometiéndolo al dominio, a la discriminación y a ios vetos de los grandes donantes y a los vaivenes y las incertidumbres de organismos como el FIDA y el PNUD, para citar sólo dos casos?
Si son sinceros quienes proponen cambiar el PCT a contribuciones voluntarias, pues bien, que hagan esas contribuciones voluntarias para sumarlas a los recursos que ya han sido asignados en el Programa Ordinario y fortalecer así el PCT.
Este Consejo debe ser consciente de. que el Programa 1986/87 fue aprobado por la Conferencia de 1985; debemos ser muy cuidadosos en relación con la función de este Organismo subalterno de la Conferencia.
El Director General ha hecho propuestas que aceptamos con sacrificios. Ciertamente no estamos. complacidos porque vayamos a vulnerar la voluntad del máximo Organismo reduciendo el Programa aprobado; es fácil decir para los representantes de los países desarrollados que no es suficiente lo que se propone, que se puedan hacer más reajustes, porque todo ello no les afecta, porque todo ello hace víctimas inocentes a los países del Tercer Mundo, pero nuestra actitud de comprensión tiene sus límites, no podemos aceptar ninguna reducción más allá de los 16, 4 millones propuesta; ir más allá sería correr el riesgo no sólo de incurrir en la ilegalidad, sino de comprometer seria e irreparablemente la ejecución de un programa que ya en 1985 estuvo sometido al funesto crecimiento cero impuesto por los países desarrollados.
Nosotros compartimos con el Director General la serenidad, la altura y responsabilidad dentro de las cuales se ha enmarcado este debate, porque sería verdaderamente lamentable y triste que proliferaran intenciones y propósitos que no fueran sanos a la sombra de una situación deplorable, de la cual no es responsable el Director Generai ni la gran mayoría de los estados miembros. Pensamos que la actitud común debe ser positiva, unánime, solidaria.
Esta mañana nos dolió oir hablar a la distinguida delegación que inició el debate que esos 60, 90 ó 100 millones no eran nada. Claro que esa cifra no es nada para los países desarrollados, pero es mucho para los países en desarrollo y estamos seguros de que los demás países industrialízedos así
lo entienden. Es inconcebible que se propicie la paralización de la organización diciendo que el Director General no debe recurrir a préstamos. El Consejo en 1981 y la Conferencia en 1983 aprobaron resolciones que autorizan al Director General a pedir préstamos. Por la prudencia que le caracteriza y el excelente criterio de administración con que actúa el Director General hasta ahora no ha hecho uso de esta autorización, pero si al comenzar 1988 o la situación es la misma de hoy o peor el Director General deberá recurrir a préstamos y tai vez convendrá observar que este Consejo no puede derogar una resolución de la Conferencia.
El gobierno de Colombia ha reivindicado siempre la posición de respeto que deben ocupar los representantes de gobiernos en los organismos internacionales, pero cuando elegimos al jefe de una organización como ésta es porque merece nuestra confianza, por ello en los reajustes propuestos, que apoyamos, sabemos que el Director General ha procedido con el sano y acertado criterio que le distingue siempre.
Acogidos a la amplitud con que él se ha referido a las reducciones propuestas, sin entrar en detalles, solo quisiéramos declarar que en cuanto a las reuniones ojalá se tenga en cuenta el caso particular de América Latina y El Caribe que padecen una tremenda deuda externa y que está afectada por el proteccionismo en su comercio, por lo cual dentro de lo posible sería conveniente mantener aquellas reuniones que estén dirigidas a impulsar la CPTD y la CPT para incrementar la producción y aumentar nuestras exportaciones.
Nos hallamos ante una grave situación lamentable, deplorable pero que es necesario afrontar con realismo. No podemos alegrarnos de que unilateralmente se hayan violado obligaciones contractuales, obligaciones contractuales adquiridas al adoptar la Conferencia el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto 1986/87; pero tampoco podemos en esta sala roja cambiar dos leyes de un país ni invertir el curso de las relaciones del cambio dólar/lira. Por ello corresponde rodear solidarios al Director General para que nuestra Organización sufra lo menos posible en esta Crisis.
La delegación de Colombia se suma al llamado que debe ser firme y decidido de este Consejo al más alto contribuyente para que cumpla con su deber y honre el compromiso que adquirió con la Comunidad internacional.
En nuestro informe deberemos también consignar la esperanza expresada esta mañana por nuestra colega y amiga la embajadora Fenwick, de los Estados Unidos, en el sentido de que este Consejo entiende que se trata de una situación provisional, temporal y de que ese gran país pagará cuanto antes la totalidad de su contribución para 1986/87, y de que esto no se repetirá en los bienios futuros.
Este Consejo debe también pedir al más alto contribuyente que además de pagar la totalidad de su contribución renuncie voluntariamente a recibir el reembolso que le corresponde por los excedentes de Caja en 1984/85. Lo mismo deberían hacer todos los demás estados miembros, renunciar voluntariamente a recibir los excedentes proporcionales que les corresponde y así, sin conferencias especiales, se lograría el buen propósito del colega y amigo embajador Pascarelli, de Italia.
Señor Presidente, habíamos solicitado intervenir entre los últimos en este debate porque esta mañana compartimos la inquietud del colega embajador Ariza Hidalgo, de Cuba. Creemos que en este debate ha hecho falta la declaración del mas alto contribuyente al presupuesto de la FAO.
Esperamos que ésta se produzca aunque sea a hora tardía en el curso del debate, porque confiamos sinceramente que esa declaración va a disipar el pesimismo de nuestros colegas de Canadá y de Australia y nos va a devolver la confianza en el respeto y la admiración que merece esa gran nación.
El Comité de Finanzas se reunirá en diciembre; los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas tendrán sus sesiones normales en la primavera de 1987 y luego en el Consejo de junio de 1987 revisaremos de nuevo la situación. Eso es todo cuanto corresponde hacer a este Consejo por el momento. Lo demás sería derrotismo inaceptable; no es constructivo ni aceptable que algunos distinguidos colegas, no quiero nombrar a sus países por respeto, pero colegas que están situados en esta misma fila hacia mi izquierda, que esos colegas, repetimos, se conviertan en casandras del desastre, que no se conviertan en pregorenos del apocalipsis, que no se conviertan en impulsores de la paloma que vuela con su pico hacia el infinito con 102 millones de dólares, que no sean mensajeros desafortunados de consecuencias que más o menos veladamente podrían representar en cierta medida amenazas que no prosperarán en el seno de esta Organización democráctica integrada por estados soberanos e independientes.
LE PRESIDENT: Pour éclairer les membres du Conseil, je voudrais demander à M. Crowther de bien vouloir parler des 300 millions de dollars qui ont été évoqués ce matin par le délégué du Royaume-Uni, puis par celui de l'Australie et enfin par celui de la Colombie. Je crois qu'il serait bon que M. Crowther donne au Conseil des précisions sur ces liquidités de 300 millions de dollars.
Ensuite, je voudrais donner la parole au Président du Comité financier, M. Bukhari, qui souhaite donner une précision sur un point important du rapport: du Comité financier.
Dean Κ. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): If 1 can take just a moment to clarify the issue that has been raised concerning the apparent liquidity suggested by our financial statements as audited by the External Auditor and included in a document that will be discussed next week, C 85/5, in it there is reference to our cash balance as of 31 December 1985, the end of the last biennium, which was the end of the period the accounts were audited for. It shows a cash balance of approximately $300 million. Like any balance sheet you have to take into account both sides of the balance sheet. You cannot select one figure off the top and say it is available to be spent. It is certainly not surplus. The use of that $300 million has already been determined, as shown by the balance sheet. If you read down the liabilities side you will see that there is not enough cash to support the entire list of liabilities that are there. I wish it were the case that we had so much cash that we could pay all our liabilities immediately. We have to depend on contributions which have not been received as you will see from accounts payable-that is, we have incurred bills that we have literally not received, there are purchases that have been made that are in transit and the final settlement has not been made-$29 million.
Similarly we have other outstanding obligations of a longer term nature amounting to $45 million. We have a portion of the roll-over of the TCP programmes that is recognised by the $300 million, but a very small portion unfortunately because we do not have sufficient cash to fund the TCP programme at the end of any particular year. To date of that $45 million in roll-over we show an obligation of over $20 million through October. At the end of December we did not have sufficient cash to pay for the entire amount of the TCP programme.
The next figure you see is the excess of income over expenditure, 34. 7. That is the very important 34. 7 of surplus that will be distributed on 1 January which was set aside in the accounts and is a liability recognised. Certainly that forms part of the cash.
Next in Trust Funds, $114 million that we were holding at 31 December to fund those projects operated under Trust Funds. Those projects were operating in conjunction with member governments and payments have been made and obligations of one nature or another have been incurred. But we cannot use that for any purpose other than those specific Trust Funds. No other use can be made of that money, it is held in trust.
There are approximately $22 million in support costs which is the overhead that we received from UNDP and others to pay for the FAO share of that amount. That presents a liability to the Organization because those amounts have been incurred within the Organization, and are due and payable.
In addition, we have the Special Reserve Account. I believe it was mentioned in one of the interventions this morning that the $300 million did not include money for the working capital fund and the Special Reserve Account. Unfortunately it does. There are no extra funds to provide cash for those accounts. So you see listed the Special Reserve Account which at 31 December represented 5 percent of $21, 850, 000. The Working Capital Fund at that point was $13, 253, 975. If you take the entire amount in that column you see it adds to $388 million. The cash is roughly $300 million. Obviously there is not a sufficient amount of cash to cover that entire amount. It is always a bit dangerous to select the cash figure of major liquidity. The Organization has in effect two sources of revenue, contributors and other income. Once contributions are received we invest them immediately, in fact the same day, at interest to attempt to draw as much interest as we possibly can. That source of revenue is certainly important and estimated in assessing the amount of contributions at the beginning of each biennium. Against those we have the Programme of Work and Budget. We cannot incur a deficit per se, that is not authorised. Therefore our cash inflow will never exceed our cash outflow. But, more important'ly, our cash outflow cannot exceed our inflow. We have to balance out. At the end of the year we zero out our entire operation. If there is any cash surplus whatsoever, as the Council well knows, it is then refunded in the following year. So you can look at all the accounts, at all the income and the expenditure, and if there is a surplus it will be refunded. At any one moment the amount of cash could fluctuate significantly depending upon which member countries have paid or not paid, but in assessing that amount we must look at the liabilities that are owed at that point in time.
The audited accounts have always very clearly shown the entire picture both of the income and the expenditure, and the audited accounts this time, as has always been the case, showed that we have both received the income accounted for and expended it in accordance with the rules of the Organization. Therefore I must conclude that we cannot measure the liquidity of the Organization by looking at the cash balance at the end of lasy year. As Mr Shah has indicated, the projections are that by the end of the biennium we will either be out of cash or very near out of cash. How we cover all the liabilities has been the purpose of the discussions here. Unfortunately that measure is very difficult to look at.
Atif Y. BUKHARI (Chairman, Finance Committee) (orignal language Arabic): I wanted to give you some very important information which has given rise to a good deal of discussion, but as Chairman of the Finance Committee I should like to draw the attention of my colleagues in the Council to the Report of the 58th Session of the Finance Committee, in particular to paragraphs 22-31. This concerns the delays in contributions, the measures which have been raised by delegates of Canada and Australia. I just wanted to say that these measures are not the solution to the financial crisis being experienced at the moment by the Organization but these are corrections to the distribution of the surplus liquidity starting from the years 1988/89.
This is what we said in paragraph 26, about the eventual cash surplus for 1988/89. We say that during the 86/87 biennium there will not be any cash surplus. These are measures which we are proposing for detailed consideration so that these measures can be put into practice in the future. But these measures do not in any way refer to solutions for the present crisis being experienced by the Organization.
Another point which I wanted to raise, the Finance Committee deals with this question and gives it a very considerable amount of time in its work. As the Council is the superior body it should give us some guidelines concerning the measures which we propose. Are we satisfied with the level which we have reached so far in the study of these measures or should we continue to study these measures and in particular the alternatives which were mentioned by the delegate of Australia? This is why I wanted to have the Council's view on that. It is not perhaps necessary to have the views of all members of the Council but if possible the Drafting Committee could indicate to us what the Council's attitude is on that specific point-that is, the measures to cope with the arrears in contributions. That is what I wanted to raise.
LE PRESIDENT: Le délégué du Royaume-Uni a demandé la parole pour compléter ce qu'a dit M. Crowther.
James D. AITKEN (United Knigdom): As we do seem to be conducting this meeting in a way in which there is a series of questions and answers perhaps I can take advantage of this to continue this process on the question of the Organization's liquidity.
I am very grateful to Mr Crowther for his reply which one could say perhaps facetiously is in the nature of a bikini, it reveals a lot but also conceals some things as well, in a very interesting manner, I should add.
First, I do not think anyone expects the Organization's cash assets to cover its liabilities. So while it is interesting to hear a comparison between cash assets and the liabilities it is perhaps not necessarily the most useful measure when one is looking at cash flow problems. A more useful measure in terms of dealing with liquidity is trying to find out the agency's actual cash outgoings over a period and comparing them with its liquidity the amount of money it holds in the bank and in cash.
We find it very difficult to establish a figure for the actual money spent by FAO in any period, as distinct from the money committed or obligated. We have estimated that in a year FAO probably spends in the region of $460 million. On that basis if FAO spends $460 million the liquidity it has, the ratio of its spending to its assets, is somewhere in the region of 60 percent. We checked with another multinational organization, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation.
You will have to forgive me because the figures we have are in pounds sterling rather than dollars. The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation spends approximately £22 million per year-a very small fund. Their liquidity (money they have in the bank) is one million pounds. There is a considerable difference between that, which we think is probably on the low side, and the money held by FAO. I think there is certainly something there that one could look at. More interestingly, and we are very grateful to Mr Crowther for making this point, it would be very useful to see a statement showing the monthly level of cash and liquid assets held by the Organization over the past biennium. We would find this very useful in terms of either figures, or in terms of a graph showing how liquidity fluctuates from month to month. We would then have a better idea of the projections that we are being asked to consider.
Dean K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Dept. ): To continue the dialogue, we do have an expenditure statement which is shown in the document I made reference to earlier. In fact, on the opposite page from the Balance Sheet, it shows the total amount of expenditure and the total amount of income. I think the Organization has been as transparent in listing those items in any great detail as it has every been requested to do. So if there are other additional needs we certainly can meet those. The expenditure statement has been audited.
I think you can see the total amount of our expenditure is clearly set forth in the Statement of Income and Expenditure.
A. Daniel WEYGANDT (Uni ted Sta tes of America): Αfter the long build-up to our statement I feel somehow that I am destined to disappoint, but we will do our best. I should also like to keep my remarks as brief as possible in view of the late hour, and in view of the fact that the time of the Council is worth something itself.
I should like to begin by thanking Dr Bukhari for his introduction and both Mr Crowther and Mr Shah for their information; and also the Director-General for his most recent intervention and comments. I think I should preface my remarks by referring to what he has just mentioned namely the answer to the two questions-yes, it is true that the United States has not renounced its obligations, but no, we cannot say what our situation is going to be with respect to 1988 or 1989. In fact, we cannot say what our situation is going to be with respect to 1986, and we clearly do not know what the situation is going to be with respect to 1987. I cannot comment on whether other delegates have been overly optimistic or overly pessimistic about what our United States Congress will decide to do with respect to its contribution level. I would, however, remind delegates that this is an extremely complicated issue and is not just with respect to FAO, by any means whatsoever, and it is not just with respect to the Specialized Agencies of the UN system. It is a matter of policy towards the UN system as a whole and is intricately involved with the whole budgetary situation within the United States itself.
The United States delegation regrets that we are not able to provide more information and we hope to be able to do so as soon as we can. The United States delegation has listened with great interest and attention to the interventions of previous speakers and we will be sure to convey the spirit of these statements to the Government and to the Congress.
As has been pointed out, the shortfall in the US contribution is the result of Congressional action affecting the whole of the UN system. It is not directed at FAO alone.
It has been encouraging to hear that most speakers take this financial crisis seriously. With respect to the United States contribution, the most effective action (perhaps unfortunately) that any Member of the Council could take at this time would be to urge its Government to support the reforms proposed for the United Nations in New York by the High Level Group of Eighteen which is looking at UN issues of reform and budgetary progress.
This is because, for better or worse, the concerns of the United States Congress centre on the UN rather than the Specialized Agencies.
As I said, we are not in a position to say at this time what our contribution is going to be either for the present period or for next year's period, either with respect to level or timing. However, I must say in candour that the outlook for next year is not much different than the outlook for the present year. I cannot dispute the estimates that the Organization has made with respect to the US $64 million shortfall for this present biennium, nor can I confirm them. However, it may be reasonable to believe that this is of the rough order of magnitude that can be expected.
With respect to the Director-General's proposals in document CL 90/23, let me just address one point on them, that is, that the United States believe it would be harmful to the Organization in the long term to resort to external borrowing.
I should like to refer briefly to a point made by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Bukhari, with respect to proposals for the Finance Committee report. My delegation would like to associate itself with the statement of a previous delegate-I believe it was Brazil-who indicated that this is not a solution in itself. My delegation feels that this is not perhaps the best time to consider such measures. It may be advisable to take into account the experience of other organizations.
The United States does not take the present situation lightly. Whilst it is true that some 40 percent of the membership has not paid any part of its contributions, the United States does not relish becoming a member of this relatively large group.
We look forward to working with the Secretariat and all other members of the Organization in trying to resolve the present difficulties.
We welcome the decision to have a special session of the Finance Committee in December and we are optimistic that by that time the level of the 1986 United States contribution will be clear. However, it is regrettable that there will be no representative of North America at that meeting.
The present crisis should provide an occasion to reflect on the benefits all members derive from FAO. The shortfall in the United States contribution is not a complete surprise. For some years United States delegations to various UN organizations have been urging the need for economy and the concentration of agencies' activities on priority programmes.
My delegation can only hope that with proper seriousness on the part of all members, FAO and the UN system will emerge from the current crisis stronger and better able to meet the needs of the international community.
Le PRESIDENT: Nous avons encore beaucoup d'orateurs inscrits. Dix orateurs et quatre observateurs. Actuellement, il est 17 h 50, soit nous continuons comme hier, soit nous continuerons demain matin. Nous continuons. Les deux orateurs inscrits sont la Chine et la France. Pour pouvoir gagner du temps, nous allons passer la parole à la Chine.
Li ZHENHUAN (China) (original language Chinese): Some of the delegations have just elaborated on the current budgetary and financial uncertainties. The Chinese delegation would like to join other delegations in discussing the issue and state our view.
Over the years most of the Member Nations have earnestly fulfilled their financial commitment, providing FAO with a solid foundation for its budget and finance. The management of the Secretariat is also efficient. Here I should like to cite two figures from the Director-General's opening speech. The FAO expenditure for personnel has been cut down from 77 percent of the budget in 1975 to the present 55 percent. During the same period the expenditure for administration has decreased from 24 percent to 16 percent, while the proportion of technical and economic programmes in the Programme of Work has increased, which ensured the success for the
implementation of the FAO Programme of Work, and contributed to the food production and agricultural development throughout the world. Nevertheless, starting from the current biennium, uncertainties have been hovering over the FAO's budget and general financial status. Apart from world economic and monetary factors, the failure of some Member Nations, especially the largest contributor, to fulfill its financial commitment, should also be considered as one of the major factors.
However, since the restoration of the legitimate Membership in FAO of China in 1973, China has faithfully carried out its financial duties. Therefore, the Chinese delegation hopes that the Director-General will once again appeal to countries who have not yet fulfilled their financial obligations to pay their delayed contributions for the current-assessments and arrears so as to ensure the implementation of the current biennium Programme of Work and Budget approved by the 23rd Session of the FAO Conference.
The Chinese delegation has studied the proposals and approaches suggested by the Director-General to ease the potential shortage of funds and to deal with the budgetary and financial uncertainties. We appreciate the Director-General's efforts in adjusting the programme and taking such measures. We also render our support for the Director-General's endeavours to maintain the technical and economic programme to the maximum extent possible, and the Technical Cooperation Programme in particular.
I will elaborate further on the approaches to dealing with the budgetary and financial uncertainties when item 12. 1 (b) is discussed.
Jacques POSIER (France): La délégation française voudrait tout d'abord remercier le Président du Comité financier pour son exposé clair et documenté qui nous a été très utile. D'autre part, nous avons examiné, avec la plus grande attention et beaucoup d'intérêt, les documents qui sont soumis au Conseil sur les difficultés financières auxquelles l'Organisation doit faire face pour poursuivre ses activités avec des moyens réduits. Je dois dire tout d'abord que cette situation suscite de la part de mon pays de très vives préoccupations au moment où, comme nous l'avons vu à l'occasion de l'examen de la situation alimentaire mondiale, c'est au contraire un effort accru en faveur du développement agricole qui serait nécessaire. Aussi, ma délégation appuie-t-elle fermement le Directeur général dans son effort de collectes des contributions auprès de tous les Etats Membres.
Je ne m'attarderai pas sur la question de savoir jusqu'à quel point précis le Conseil peut se considérer comme habilité à décider des mesures à prendre. Certaines mesures d'ajustement proposées par le Directeur général nécessiteraient, normalement, une délégation de pouvoir de la Conférence au Conseil. Mais nous savons aussi qu'une convocation de la Conférence en session extraordinaire serait d'un coût élevé pour l'Organisation, ce qui irait directement à l'encontre de l'objectif poursuivi. Il ne me semble d'ailleurs pas, au regard de certaines dispositions prises dans le passé, qu'une délégation formelle préalable soit indispensable pour permettre au Conseil d'arrêter dès maintenant certaines mesures de sauvegarde. Dans la situation présente, ma délégation est moins préoccupée par la procédure à suivre pour effectuer les ajustements nécessaires que par la signification et le montant de ses ajustements. Je pense tout d'abord qu'une distinction doit être opérée entre les mesures rendues nécessaires pour des raisons techniques, comme les fluctuations du marché des changes, et celles qui peuvent résulter des décisions de nature politique prises par certains Etats Membres concernant leurs propres contributions. D'autre part, dans l'état actuel des informations fournies par le Secrétariat, la plus grande incertitude demeure sur le montant des économies nécessaires pour faire face, au mieux, aux difficultés prévisibles, dans la mesure où elles seront prévisibles.
IIn'est pas aisé de savoir si les mesures proposées seront suffisantes car de nombreuses incertitudes demeurent. Quels seront le montant et le calendrier du versement de la contribution du principal contributaire ? Quand les autres contributions nationales qui restent impayées seront-elles versées ? Comment vont évoluer les taux de change et les taux d'intérêt ? II est difficile d'autre part, au seul examen des documents du Conseil, d'évaluer avec précision l'ampleur des difficultés de trésorerie à résoudre. Une présentation vigoureuse des documents financiers permettrait certainement de mieux apprécier le montant de l'impasse ainsi que le solde prévisible de l'exercice en cours dans différentes hypothèses. Que pouvons-nous faire, face à ces incertitudes ? Les mesures proposées vont-elles trop loin ? Sont-elles au contraire insuffisantes ? Dans l'immédiat, ma
delegation n'estime pas souhaitable de réduire plus sensiblement les activités opérationnelles de la FAO et je pense plus particulièrement à celles qui relèvent du PCT (Programme de coopération technique) dont l'utilité est incontestable et qui sont hautement appréciées par les pays bénéficiaires. Avant de renforcer les mesures d'économie, il serait certainement préférable d'attendre quelques mois de façon à orienter et à quantifier les nouvelles mesures susceptibles d'être adoptées. La question qui nous occupe aujourd'hui devra donc certainement être à nouveau débattue au sein du Comité financier et lors des réunions ultérieures du Conseil en tenant compte des indications nouvelles qui pourront être recueillies d'ici là. En attendant, la délégation française estime qu'il est possible dès maintenant d'autoriser le Directeur général à procéder aux mesures d'ajustement envisagées à court terme. Je pense en particulier aux dépenses de fonctionnement et aux diverses économies qu'il apparaît possible de réaliser sans remettre en cause l'ensemble du programme approuvé par la dernière Conférence.
LE PRESIDENT: Nous allons, si vous voulez bien, arrêter nos débats. Nous reprendrons nos travaux à 9 h 30 demain matin. Je voudrais indiquer la liste des orateurs inscrits à ce jour et qui prendront la parole demain. Nous avons 10 orateurs et 4 observateurs: Inde, République fédérale d'Allemagne, Egypte, Equateur, Bangladesh, Niger, Nicaragua, Thaïlande, Congo, Cuba, Ouganda, Libéria. Comme observateurs: Kenya, Pologne, Chili, Ethiopie, Algérie…Panama, Pérou, Rwanda, Gabon, Belgique. Y a-t-il d'autres délégués desirant prendre la parole ? Espagne. Nous considérons la liste comme étant définitive.
The meeting rose at 18. 00 hours
La séance est levée à 18 heures
Se levanta la sesión a las 18. 00 horas