(a) Budgetary and Cash Flow Forecast relating to the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986-87 (continued)
(a) Perspectives budgétaires et situation de trésorerie: incidences possibles sur le Programme de travail et budget 1986-87 (suite)
(a) Pronóstico presupuestario y de flujo de fondos en relación con el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto para 1986-87 (continuación)
Antonio BROTONS DIE (Observador de España): La delegación española agradece a los señores Shah y Bukhari la excelente presentación de los documentos CL 90/4, CL 90/17 y CL 90/23 que ponen do manifiesto la preocupación de la FAO por la situación financiera actual y futura de la Organización.
Las causas actuales de la grave situación financiera quedan perfectamente señaladas en estos documentos y las posibles soluciones a corto plazo están propuestas por el Director General de la FAO en el documento CL 90/24 "Alternativas para afrontar las incertidumbres presupuestarias y financieras".
Del análisis en conjunto de tales documentos, la delegación española, como país observador en este 90° período de sesiones del Consejo de la FAO quiere hacer las siguientes observaciones. En primer lugar, está totalmente de acuerdo con el contenido del párrafo 24 del documento 90/4 en el que el Comité de Finanzas expresa su opinión de que no debe pedirse a los Estados Miembros que compensen el déficit ocasionado por los menores pagos de cualquier país contribuyente. La delegación española se ve complacida con los esfuerzos del Director General de la FAO para reducir gastos generales de los programas de Labores y Presupuestos para el bienio 1986-87 en la línea emprendida ya por la FAO en estos últimos años y que pretenden ahora paliar los efectos de la situación financiera de la Organización a corto plazo sin retocar partidas presupuestarias de programas en el campo.
En cuanto al tema de los efectos del tipo de cambio lira-dólar con respecto a la situación de tesorería de la Organización, parece razonable que la presupuestación de bienios futuros se realice en las dos monedas de pagos principales, el dólar y la lira, presupuestando cada partida en la moneda en que haya de ser realizada. De esta manera, la contribución de los países miembros de la Organización estará ajustada en cada momento y se evitarán las fluctuaciones por tipo de cambio que hoy crean dificultades financieras a la Organización.
Somos partidarios, por último, Sr. Presidente, que se recuerde una vez más a los países con contribuciones pendientes el abono de sus cuotas y se profundice en el estudio de las medidas generales que hagan más rápidos y efectivos los abonos de las mismas.
Lazare GANSORE (Observateur du Burkina Faso): A ce stade des discussions, notre délégation ne voudrait pas s'étaler dans sa déclaration. Toutefois, l'importance du sujet nous commande d'intervenir pour soutenir la déclaration faite par le Groupe des 77, ainsi que celles d'autres délégations, comme la Colombie, Congo, Cuba, la République fédérale d'Allemagne et Nicaragua.
La décision prise par le plus gros contributaire de réduire et de reporter le paiement de ses contributions nous préoccupe profondément tant il est vrai que, pays en développement, et de surcroît sahélien, le Burkina Faso a toujours bénéficié des interventions et de l'appui de la FAO. Au cours des débats qui ont lieu depuis l'ouverture des travaux, on a fait état de l'amélioration de la production vivrière dans plusieurs pays, notamment ceux du CILS. Cette amélioration mérite d'être soutenue pour éviter que viennent encore des crises alimentaires. Mais la FAO peut-elle faire face à une telle situation? Pourra-t-elle soutenir de façon également efficace à l'avenir ses pays membres? Nous aurions préféré, et cela sans vouloir donner de leçon à personne, que soient réduites les sommes monumentales consacrées à la course aux armements, plutôt que les ressources consacrées à l'Organisation. Enfin, nous renouvelons l'importance que nous accordons au PCT et nous approuvons les propositions du Directeur général pour faire face à la situation alimentaire.
Antonio RODRIGUES PIRES (Observateur du Cap-Vert): Je vais suivre l'exemple de mon voisin, le délégué du Burkina Faso, en intervenant de manière très brève. Tout d'abord, qu'il me soit permis d'adresser mes remerciements au Président du Comité financier, l'Ambassadeur Bukhari, pour la présentation de ce programme. Il me revient l'honneur, à juste titre, de remercier le Président pour l'excellente présentation et la clarté de cette présentation au début de ce point de l'ordre du jour. Le Cap-Vert renouvelle au Directeur général sa totale confiance et il souscrit, appuie et soutient les propositions faites par le Directeur général et son équipe. Je ne veux pas m'étendre, étant donné que le Président du Groupe des 77 a déjà dit dans son intervention ce que nous souhaitions dire. De même, les délégations du Burkina Faso, de Madagascar, du Congo, de l'Inde, de la Belgique, de l'Algérie, qui nous ont précédés, ont déjà dit ce que le Cap-Vert tenait à dire. Tenant compte de l'importance du Programme du PCT qu'est un programme vital, je tiens à dire quelques mots. Selon nous, le Programme a démontré, en pratique, sa raison d'être. Je pense que son rôle de catalyseur n'a pas besoin d'être mentionné. Toutefois, en ce qui concerne les décentralisations, la délégation du Congo qui m'a précédé a déjà dit ce que nous voulions dire. J'en ai terminé.
Assefa YILLALA (Observer for Ethiopia): As Observers during this 90th Session of the Council and also this being the first time that the Ethiopian delegation is requesting the floor we have not had the chance to express our pleasure at having benefited from your clear guidance in the deliberations of this Session. Now that we have the opportunity, our delegation, like all other delegations who we have heard yesterday and this morning, wishes to indicate our positive view and regard for your clear guidance. In this connection, we would also like to thank Ambassador Bukhari and Mr Shah for the excellent introduction to the agenda item under discussion, which has enriched our understanding of the matter and background. Also our delegation would like to congratulate the Director-General for his detailed analysis and summary of the major issues in the area of food production as related to the Food and Agriculture Organization during the opening Session of this Council meeting and indicate our due regard.
After the detailed analysis and discussion by the Council members yesterday and also today it would be highly improbable, or even very difficult, for me to introduce new dimensions to the discussions. However, our delegation would like to indicate its support, like the Chairman of the Group of 77 and also other delegations who spoke in support of the measures proposed by the Director-General in order to overcome the financial shortfall that is being faced by the Organization as a short-term measure, with regard to staff savings and programme adjustment for a saving of some $16. 4 million, recognizing the realities existing and also what seems to be prevailing in the near future.
FAO, as a technical agency of the United Nations with responsibilities for the area of agriculture and food production comprehensively and with its technical capability which was developed during the last forty years of service to the international community, will have a very important role to play in the aspirations of achieving increased food production, particularly at a time when the major global and dominating issue is related to food and becoming increasingly so.
The present financial shortfall or variance between budgeted and estimated sources of revenue due to arrears of membership contributions and obligations due will seriously hamper the activities of the Organization over and above depleting the Working Capital Fund and reserves which have always been maintained at a reasonable level in the past.
Proposals presented by the Director-General are in anticipation of the uncertainties that are prevailing and therefore we consider it to be a commendable effort and a sign of good management. The views presented will in any case require serious consideration, even more so today than at any other time in the past, due to the critical food shortage situation that was created and is still prevailing in most of the African countries.
The area of food being the most important area as far as the well being of mankind is concerned. Direct or indirect support to food production deserves the utmost attention. The uncertainties of financial revenue faced by the Organization during this biennium and also in the immediate future will reduce the support that needs to be given to food production which is considered as a priority area of concern on a global level.
The need to ascertain a source of revenue, at least in the level of the Programme of Work and Budget which was approved by the 23rd Conference for the present biennium, is both a moral and legal commitment which will have to be considered with the utmost care.
With regard to the TCP, which, according to us, is a means of bridging the activities of food production (which are essential) and otherwise not covered due to matters arising, or which have not been anticipated earlier, would also require a different consideration. This situation will always continue to prevail in the future and therefore increases the need for a TCP kind of resource. In the past this has always been useful and has always supported unforeseen shortfalls.
It was reported very clearly during the course of this session that over 240 requests wore received, and quite a large number were in the process of approval. We see no possibility that there will be funds left over (or even available) for all their requests. The financial resources budgeted for the TCP should therefore be left unaffected as a consequence of the present financial shortfall.
As to the long-term financial situation, this will require further measures outside this Council. Our delegation indicates its serious concern and appeals to all those who are in a position to do so to honour their commitments. In this regard a coordinated effort should be exerted towards overcoming the present financial shortfalls and avoiding a recurrence of this kind in the future, with the objective of ensuring the viability of this organization whose role has always been considered vulnerable.
Jaafaru LADAN (Observer for Nigeria): As this is the first time my delegation has taken the floor I would first of ail like to congratulate you Mr Chairman for the manner in which you have been conducting this Council Session, which is, in many respects, a very special session. I should also like to congratulate the Secretariat on the excellent analysis presented on the financial situation of the Organization, and to Ambassador Bukhari for the seriousness with which he has been guiding the Finance Committee and his clear introduction to this agenda item.
As my delegation is speaking as an observer we are taking the floor only to echo the support expressed by the members of the Council to the proposals made by the Director-General of FAO, and responding to the induced crisis created for the organization. I said "induced crisis" because if member countries had not created the crisis in which the FAO finds itself now, there would have been no need to discuss this agenda item, especially as the Conference has approved the Director-General's proposal of Programme of Work and Budget for the biennium 1986/87. It is the hope of my delegation that the Council should be more unanimous in its support of the Director-General's proposals for meeting the present crisis.
My delegation also hopes that the situation created for FAO will be of a temporary nature, and that in the future FAO will count on Member Nations to fulfill their obligations to the organization to enable it to discharge the mandate given to it by the same Member Nations during the Conference, which is the governing body of FAO,
Javed MUSHARRAF (Pakistan): I apologise I missed some of the debate in the morning and since this is only the second time I have taken the floor I hope to seek your indulgence if I take slightly longer. I hope you will stop me if I am speaking for too long.
Having listened carefully to the rather long debate on the subject, I may be sharing a feeling with others, of being a little lost, or rather dazed, but more fascinated at the alternating ups and downs in the debate, the frequent swings from one side to the other, its changing colours and moods, the loss of clarity and certainty at one moment, and the regaining of clarity and certainty at another. A true debate, the rich contributions to which both from the podium and all corners of the hall, can be justly admired. So much has been said, so much has flown over in so many contrary directions that for the dazzled few, or many, (like me) it might be a good idea just to recall what has been said or asked, what may still need to be said and asked; and what has been settled and what may still be unsettled in many people's minds. I propose to recall the debate in a partial and nonpartisan manner and, as you will notice, in a slightly different language will be in a sort of fictional, or if you like, allegorical manner hoping throughout that it will not be misunderstood and will be taken in the same friendly and light-hearted, but nevertheless serious, spirit in which it is intended.
The situation which is now being faced by this Organization, and indeed some elements of the situation that we have faced in this Council Session whilst discussing the overall situation, can perhaps be depicted as that of an ancient ship embarked on a long and noble journey but suddenly caught by extremely bad weather. The ship started off calmly full of passengers, faced due East first to admit a new passenger, the USSR, but then soon got caught in that terrible storm-lightning, wind and thunder all coming from the West. The ship is tossing up and down, sometimes going North sometimes going south. The captain raises the alarm. There is panic on deck, the passengers huddle together, all hopes pinned on the dynamic captain and his competent crew. But there are mutterings of discontent on board, even a show of a little agitation, perhaps mutiny. "Force majeure" cries the captain. But the agitators mutter "Well yes, but how are the crew and the captain doing? Is the ship really being kept in good shape?"
An underlying discontent builds up with a few open mutineers (if I may say so). But the bulk of people-peaceful passengers-still admire and look up to the captain and the crew and cheer at every word and action of theirs to deal with the situation. In the meantime, some exchange takes place between malcontents and the crew-what one of the leading passengers (who is the oldest passenger on board and who has no sympathy with the mutineers) describes as an "animated dialogue". The passengers listen to this dialogue-sometimes mute, sometimes dazed, sometimes very enthusiastically and sometimes a little sheepishly cheering every move and action of the crew. It is not yet really a "mutiny on the bounty". Virtually all agree, (passengers, crew, captain, and even the mutineers) that it is really the weather that is the immediate problem. They all curse the weather, and the weather gods. All fingers point to one god-the Almighty of the West.
The crisis on board is described as an induced crisis. The God has betrayed an earlier promise. A unilateral betrayal of a heavenly promise, a designed force majeure. The situation is described as sui generis. The like of it was never seen before, it is said. An everlasting storm, perhaps the dawn of an ice age. There is a messenger of the God on board as well (or rather a messengeress-in this case, a charming one). She protests and complains that it is too bad scolding the poor God who is always giving you so much good weather but just this once not giving it. Scold instead the other small Gods around the world who have never given you much. Besides, ours in the United Heavens is not just one God but several of them, in fact 453 of them: Thor, Woden, Saturn, Mercury, Apollo, Zeus, and all. All of them together have to decide the future, whether to give you good or bad weather. It is not like the single lucky chap down in your heaven who just has to sign a check. Our 453 Gods have to first deliberate what sort of weather they will give you. And they are still deliberating. We just have to wait. To quote, "scold, dear friends, those who do not give you, not those who have given you. "
In the meantime the mice on board the ship, hearing this argument mutter "What a perfect argument this would be for the rich in the country to justify stopping paying all their taxes and stop all progressive taxation". But would that ever happen? No, it would be considered absurd and horrendous. But, not here, simply because it is still a situation of "We" and "They" between the heavens. All human beings are the same, but the Gods are not universal. A cry is also raised in one quarter that this is not a North-North South issue. But why not? "In the ultimate analysis", we heard from one of the messengers of the Almighty, "the whole matter is a basic policy issue concerning the stance towards the whole UN system. " The mice again can be heard speculating whether this really means bad weather for all of the UN for all time to come. That would be the end of the agency through which North and South collectively meet; and the South, if nothing else, is able to express its voice. Leaving aside everything else, the question of "voice" alone being a major North-South issue, how is this all not a North-South issue? Or is it, (as it seems to be) that unless the rich who pay can have some control over the voice of the poor who receive, they will not pay? The general feeling on ship, therefore, is that some scolding (in fact, a lot of scolding) is justified.
In fact, however, not much scolding is heard on board. The valiant Turk springs up and says "Certainly, we don't want to scold (and we should not scold) our heavenly colleagues here on board". This is a sentiment with which almost everyone on board agrees-including the Pakistani passenger. Why? Because although most feel that the scolding is deserved and justified, they also feel that this particular messenger, and the smaller messengers, which the Almighty has so wisely chosen to represent Him on this particular ship, should be spared such a treatment. Why? There is a rather special reason. The messenger of God in Roman mythology is Mercury the same Mercury with wings on his feet and on his cap. If my mythology is correct, Mercury is also supposed to be the Roman God of eloquence, merchandise and theft. Without sounding too ridiculous in trying to raise the ordinary to the sublime, may I venture to suggest-in humour but in earnest-that Mrs Fenwick is God's own ideal Mercury with all those three attributes. She has the greatest of eloquence, a supreme demonstration of which we just heard in that absolutely disarming impromptu little speech of hers on "scolding". She is the goddess of Merchandise or at least we regard her to be so, expecting from her assistance to deliver the "merchandise" which the Heavens have chosen to withhold from us. Above all, she is the goddess of Theft ! Throughout her stay here, she has stolen all our hearts on board the ship. Her assistant messengers are not much less. I will mention only one-J. R., the very opposite of the calculating villain with the same initials in the popular American TV serial of a few years ago on Texas oil magnates. May I venture to say that, were it not for the personal presence here of messengers such as J. R. and our Lady Mercury and the hearts that they have stolen, a far louder shriek and outcry would have emanated today from this ship, against the gods.
I wonder whether the big R in the Western heavens (Mr R. R., that is) knows what his small Rs and Mercuries have thus achieved for him here on this small ship in the distant seas. He probably does not. As far as our problem and predicament here is concerned, we can only pray to the gods and request these friendly messengers of his to convey to them, the group of 453, our appeal, our prayer and even a modicum of disappointment and disgust.
What may also be conveyed is-and this may perturb the United States Congress quite a bit-that the Japanese are the ones who are happy in the whole situation! As the Canadian passenger acutely observed, they become the leading contributors to this Organization ad interim. If Congress hears that the Japanese are going to take over even this "market" from the United States, they will, we are sure, take the most prompt protectionist measures, in this case paying up their contributions and cutting out the Japanese from yet another market conquest.
In the whole commotion on board and the buffeting and battering that the ship is undergoing in the billowing seas, apart from the Japanese who are happy, for the reason mentioned, there is another remarkable group of passengers who turn out to be, not really happy, but placid and unworried. These are the Vikings! Their leader, the Great Dane, declared amidst all the panic that the sea was not very stormy at all; actually it was far calmer than the Captain and the passengers could see. So while everything was helter-skelter with panic, the lordly Vikings were coolly advising such things as having the deck chairs arranged in a more artistic fashion, and so on. Their calm was not really surprising, since it is known what great and brave sea-farers they have always been. They were also heard to be advising the Captain on two more things: that whilst steering the ship to its goal, he should not take just a "linear" view but rather look far and wide and choose, from among the many directions, those which may be the best of all; and secondly that he should look far ahead
into the distance rather than just gazing at the waves around him. Again, this was not at all surprising because everybody knows that the Vikings, the great Norsemen, the Jutes, Swedes and Goths had been doing this sort of thing throughout much of their history. They never adopted a narrow, "linear" path; they went to the British and the French coasts, turned into the Straits of Gibraltar, landed in Italy, travelled up to Naples. One branch even zig-zagged on land from the north, down the great rivers of the Russian Steppes, reaching the Black Sea area successfully weathering, throughout all these journeys in their long-boats, all sorts of storms and crises. They never took the close view; they always looked far ahead. Leif Eriksson reached America five centuries before Columbus. They perhaps do not even recognise Columbus. Nevertheless, what the great Vikings declared on board our ship the other day leaves a lingering doubt that what they said may have some element of truth. The passenger from Canada thought the opposite. We in the middle are left a little confused.
Talking of Columbus, we come to our great friends the Italians, the eternal livers and lovers. Their love, as is known, knows no bounds and can extend beyond the human dimensions. And true enough, the Italian passenger on ship, amidst all the tension and terror on board, was found busy passionately declaring love to Lady Finance. "My beloved Finance Committee" he cooed-there is no mistake, it must be in the verbatim record. And while all the cooing and wooing was going on, someone alleged (I think it was the ever-clever British with all their old skill and subtlety) that the lady on ship, that is the much wooed Lady Finance, was wearing only a bikini-which revealed a lot, but also, unfortunately, concealed quite important bits. To which, smack, came the reply from the Lady's patrons, the crew of the ship, that "No, in fact the dress she was wearing was quite "transparent". It was not intended to, and in fact did not, conceal anything", which of course explains the Italians' well-founded infatuation. The crew also said that if some passengers thought that even more needed to be revealed, they would like to be suitably guided so that they could make the clothes even more "transparent". This suggestion was of course gleefully supported by all, and everyone candidly stated that the more "transparent" the Lady became, the more they would fall in love with her and her bikini.
After this slight and rather inappropriate diversion into the erotic field, which was all precipitated by the irresistible Italians who cannot desist from this activity even in the most dire of circumstances, all the beings on board woke up again to the danger surrounding them and the cry went out that the ship was becoming grounded! There was no liquidity left on which it could float; all the water was apparently drying out. While the situation was still being surveyed, out came a cry-again from the crafty British-that no, in fact there was too much liquidity around, and we were, in fact, in danger of drowning! This created the utmost confusion for quite some time. And whilst the multitude of the poor passengers could not decide whether to believe their own eyes, the crew's eyes or the British eyes, the crew and the Captain divulged the mysterious secrets of certain adjoining sheets of water and land called "balance sheets" and declared that in fact there was, for the present, neither too much liquidity nor too little liquidity, and everything was quite safe! Of course, although much of that sounded mysterious and hocus-pocus to non-accountants, everyone believed the Captain and the crew in whom they had a religious trust. In any case, in the state of panic and confusion, such comforting thought was immediately accepted.
However, still worrying about the ability of the ship to keep afloat, some of the more apprehensive and dissatisfied passengers pointed to a number of other danger signals. They thought that the ship was too heavy and had, in fact, always been too heavy with too many people on it, and therefore in the interests of the survival of everybody some people must be thrown overboard. For this they made an elaborate estimate of the useful crew and equipment and the less useful-those who were engaged in real work, and those who were merely in some way supporting them. The direct workers, whom they called field workers, were the oarsmen who with their oars were doing ail the work of pulling the ship along, while there was a large body of people and equipment used merely to "oversee" or cheer the workers along-like playing the drums, the bagpipes and so on. Of the latter category they thought there were too many, that there was too high a "delivery cost" in the programme as opposed to the programme itself, and that many of the drummers could be thrown overboard. However, the Captain and the crew came quickly to the rescue of these hapless people by saying emphatically that the drummers and the bagpipes were also sometimes engaged in pulling the oars, and that in the
case of one particular overseer, for example, although he never pulled the oars himself he was indispensable in drafting day-to-day rules and laws which prevented the oarsmen from leaving their job and clashing with the others. It was finally concluded that at this stage it was not clear exactly how many were real workers and how many were not. The passengers were left expecting that someone would work out soon what each of these two categories meant and their proper enumeration.
Another idea emanating from the Captain was that some of the additionally needed staff or crew members might not at this stage be recruited to the ship, at least for some time to come. But the Canadian passenger pointed out that the decision hardly meant much since such workers do not normally exist anywhere; they are sort of ghost people only in the books, and the saving of $9. 5 million was therefore only a notional figure and hardly a real saving. Therefore, some real people might well be added to the list and they might considerably expand the list of postponed vacancies for which scope may exist without damaging the programme in a major way.
Mr Chairman, I had a number of other points in a similar vein regarding the proposals emanating from the ship's bridge such as the proposed cuts in programme expenditure, the TCP, the Working Capital Fund, and the possibility of borrowing. But in view of the paucity of the time resources, I may here impose a "programmed cut" on it and refer to them, if possible, at some other opportune moment·
To conclude now, Mr Chairman, may I suggest firstly, that the ship is good enough. It has many poor people on it, and it should be saved and helped, and not abandoned. Secondly, the Captain and the crew are also good. Their dynamism and dedication is well acknowledged even though some passengers may have legitimate grounds to think that, as a matter of principle, Captains everywhere should be confined to some finite period of captaincy. Thirdly, that as far as the present debate is concerned, the Captain and the crew will no doubt answer and clarify (now or in due time) the many interesting and pertinent questions which have arisen in the debate always keeping in mind the interests of the deprived communities and nations of the world whose interests FAO is mandated to serve.
LE PRESIDENT: Avant de passer la parole au délégué de la Tchécoslovaquie, je voudrais, au nom du Conseil, souhaiter la bienvenue à M. le Ministre de l'agriculture du Sénégal et M. le Ministre de l'agriculture du Niger, qui sont venus renforcer nos rangs.
Vaclav DOBES (Czechoslovakia): I shall be very brief since many of the delegates have already emphasised the importance of the item for agenda. Allow me on behalf of Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria as Council Members to thank His Excellency Dr Bukhari and Mr Shah for their introductions and clarifications. All of us are aware of the financial difficulties in the whole United Nations System, FAO included. We know of the efforts of the Director-General and the FAO Secretariat and we know various proposed ways and means which aimed at overcoming the contemporary problems. Our proposals are simple and clear. First of all, we appeal to all Member Countries, both large and small, rich and poor, to take all necessary measures in order to pay their contributions to the FAO budget as soon as possible. We support the intention to preserve the technical and economical programmes of the Organization to the maximum extent possible, especially in the activities regarding the Technical Cooperation Programme which enables us to meet overseen requirements and unexpected needs in the. developing countries and which has direct field impact.
Eventually, as to the economies suggested in the document CL 90/23 we especially fully promote the intentions connected with effective reductions in meetings, publications, consultancies, contractual services and travel. At the conclusion of my speech, I would like to refer to document CL 90/LIM/1, page 5, and to inform the Council that since 15th November when this document was published Czechoslovakia has already paid a second part of its contribution to the FAO budget.
LE PRESIDENT: Je tiens à remercier tous les délégués et observateurs qui ont bien voulu enrichir le débat par leur contribution constructive. Je signale à l'attention du Conseil qu'au total, 58 délégués et observateurs ont bien voulu prendre la parole. Cela montre, s'il en était besoin, l'importance de la question que nous sommes en train d'examiner pour la vie de l'Organisation et sa pérennité. Je me devais de remercier tous les participants pour avoir apporté, chacun selon son approche et sa sensibilité, une contribution à ce débat.
Avec votre permission, je vais donner la parole à M. Shah, pour qu'il puisse répondre aux observations qui ont été formulées, puis à M. Bukhari. Je me permettrai ensuite de terminer moi-même en faisant une synthèse aussi fidèle que possible de nos débats.
V. J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): As I am given the floor to respond to some of the comments which have been made and which require clarification, or call for clarification, may I, first of all, be permitted to express on behalf of the Director-General, despite his presence here, his appreciation for the very careful consideration given by the Council to the matters which you have just considered. The reaction of the Council is extremely clear.
There is no doubt, and indeed there is total agreement, of the serious situation affecting the implementation of the Programme of Work for this biennium and the fact that it requires corrective measures. Secondly, it is equally clear that the situation is fluid. It is subject to change, and will change, but we cannot stand by impassively and that has led to the measures which have been proposed by the Director-General. The debate concentrated very much on the nature the scope and the level of the proposed adjustments. It might help the Council if 1 were to distinguish between the two terms which were used at times synonimously. On the one hand economies and on the other hand, adjustments leading to economies-induced savings. The Director-General has always been a prudent manager of this Organization. This is not the opinion of one who serves him but it is the opinion of his governing bodies. Biennium after biennium there have been programme savings, deliberately-made programme savings. If it were felt that these savings occurred by chance, or by good fortune, let me draw attention, very briefly, to the views of the Council when it considered the Annual Report of budgetary performance dealing with the biennium 1982-83 where there were savings of over $15 million. The report of the Council of the 1986 session says, in paragraph 145, "The Council expresses its appreciation of the attention paid to enhancing both economy and efficiency and commended the Director-General on his prudent management of the resources at his disposal. "
The Director-General has always made it clear that he is a prudent manager and intends to be so. What we are now dealing with, however, and what is represented by the programme adjustments is, in fact, induced savings. Induced savings which have a programme effect. A number of distinguished delegates have commented on the fact that these adjustments affect programme activities to which they attach importance. Quite so, if they do not affect programme activities in this way, then there would be something doubtful about the adjustments.
There has been considerable debate about the level of these adjustments. Should they be more, or should they be less? We then listened attentively to all points of view. I can only recall what the Director-General himself said yesterday. I do not need to repeat it, except to say that there are advantages and disadvantages. There is a limit to what is possible and what is not possible. A number of distinguished delegates have asked about whether any criteria were used at arriving at these proposals for adjustment. Some have questioned "Why a cut. The level of adjustment is not even at the same rate across all programmes. " This is essentially a question of what is possible pragmatically and what is not, for example, the posts.
We review a total of 248 posts vacant now and expected to be vacant in 1987. This list is not permanent, it is not unchangeable. Developments in 1987 will show whether other staff will retire, resign or pass away. What is important is that there is a system for looking at every such vacancy as it arises. Every such vacancy was individually examined and discussed with the Programme Managers involved, my senior colleagues, Assistant Directors-General, and Division Directors. This examination took into account the duration of the vacancies, the recruitment action under way and,
most important of all, the programme implications of delayed filling. As was pointed out yesterday by the Director-General, this requires managerial judgment. A judgment which he exercised and in which we, his colleagues, helped him to exercise as to what it would mean not to fill a post for two, four or five months. To realise that certain work would be affected but to accept that it would be affected. In other cases to stay firm and say, "No, wo cannot allow it to be affected. " Therefore, out of the total number of posts examined, there are some 170 which are affected. Some might argue that every post should have been frozen. To our minds, and this reflects also the comments of many, many distinguished delegates that have spoken, that such an indiscriminate total freezing would have meant a paralysis of certain programmes which cannot be accepted in the circumstances. A complete paralysis at this stage would have even longer term implications. At meetings a similar pragmatic and careful approach was exercised.
The review covered a total of 146 meetings, expert consultations, seminars and training workshops. What did we consider? We considered the impracticalities firstly of cancelling certain meetings on which commitments were too far advanced-a pragmatic measure. Secondly, the extent of preparation under way, what country visits were in course, what consultancies or studies were being undertaken, sometimes by participants themselves, which, if abruptly stopped would endanger the possibility of resuming it in the foreseeable future. Meetings involving joint sponsorship with other Agencies which form part of an established series of consultations, par contre, we gave lower priority to meetings involving long preparation with an impact which was either indefinite or which did not have any urgency in terms of time.
The distinguished delegate of Bangladesh was the only one who referred to a specific meeting, a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Group on Jute and requested clarification as to why this was among the list of adjustments. I think it gives a good example. One meeting of the Inter-Governmental Group on Jute is already planned for December of this year. The meeting which is now included in the adjustments list was a session which was planned for December 1987. Our colleagues dealing with the subject felt that it was reasonable to postpone it into the next biennium.
It may be held early in the next biennium and they took into account particularly the fact that there are also meetings of the International Jute Organization. I give this as an example but I felt also as this particular meeting had been raised as a query I should comment on it.
On publications, the criteria employed were the status of the preparation of the document, the extent of the work already completed, the commitment made and the work undergoing through consultancies and contracts and the degree of urgency for the issuance of a publication, whether in relation to a forthcoming meeting or to another programme commitment. All this has resulted in what the Director-General referred to as a package and it is a package in which he himself has emphasized the need for flexibility, flexibility in adjusting the package to respond to the needs as they are felt with the possibility of raising the level of the package if the situation so demands and if it is possible and with the possibility of restituting some items if the situation were more favourable.
The last aspect, if I may comment on it, is the question of programme adjustments in some of our sister organizations. I should firstly like to say that we have tried to fol low these developments very closely, not only to learn from them but also to see whether the experiences are comparable. Let me take firstly the example of the International Labour Organization. The budget of the ILO for this biennium is 253 million dollars, just a little more than half our biennial budget. The programme adjustments proposed by the Director-General to his governing body, that is the governing body of 66 Member Governments and their representatives was for a package of 18. 8 million dollars, but as the Director-General recalled yesterday this package was reduced by one and a half million dollars to 17. 3 million dollars because the governing body did not accept that the ILO's Technical Cooperation Programme should be cut as had been proposed. So out of the total of 17. 3 million dollars let us look at what is involved. It is quite openly admitted in the ILO document that of this 17 million, 10 million are savings which would have occured in any case because of an excessive provision for staff costs. So the real adjustment, the real programme adjustment is 7. 3 million dollars, 2. 77 percent of the ILO budget. The fact that the ILO budget included such
an excessive provision may raise a similar query in the minds of some members so let me try and forestall that. The cost increases in our budget for this biennium were pruned very sharply to what we consider the absolute minimum. When you consider that our budget for the last biennium was 421 million dollars and the budget now is 437 million dollars, an increase of 16 million dollars, of which 5 million was programme increase, the cost increase was 11 million. In the ILO budget proposal the cost increase was almost double. This explains the reason for the change.
Before I conclude on ILO, as was mentioned, the ILO budget which was submitted to the governing body has been approved by its committee as a package.
In the case of the World Health Organization an amount of 35 million dollars has been set aside and this compares with the WHO budget of 543 million dollars, 6. 45 percent. There is no description of this package which has yet been submitted. The description will be submitted to the World Health Organization Executive Board in January.
I hope these few remarks have clarified the main questions which were raised and I would like to thank you again.
Dean K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): There were a couple of additional questions that were focused specifically that I think should be responded to. One was the question of whether or not the working capital fund would have to be repaid and the answer is, very simply, yes, it must be repaid. I would like to refer you to the basic text under Section 6. 2 of the Regulations which are the financial regulations which makes reference to the Working Capital Fund and the fact that it is provided for advancing monies to the general fund to finance budgetary expenditures pending receipt of contributions to the budget. Then in 6 5 of the same regulation it makes reference to the fact that advances from the Working Capital Fund to finance budgetary expenditure under Regulation 6. 2(a) (i), which is the one 1 just read to you, shall be reimbursed from the general fund as soon as feasible but in any case within the next financial period by programme adjustments if necessary. So again very simply, yes, it must be repaid.
Secondly a question was raised with respect to the special Italian contribution. The Italian host government has voluntarily provided additional contributions to the organization since 1972. During this period of time there have been differing amounts that have been provided, mostly for purposes that were specifically identified in the exchange of letters that originally established this voluntary contribution. The Italian Government made such funds available to the organization under trust agreements that there would be an agreement on the use of the funds and they have been used for rather specific purposes, particularly earlier on. Then during a period of about four years the fund continued to receive contributions but no expenditure was made and a balance had begun to develop. At that point of time the Italian Government expressly said in the 1985 contribution that it would be used to offset the cost of rent, which it was, and now through an agreement with the Italian Government we are going to have an exchange of letters for the distribution of the balance of the fund. Since it is a voluntary contribution, certainly it is at the behest of the contributor as to the specific use since that is the way the fund was originally set up. The organization is very appreciative of receiving those funds and they have been most useful for the purposes they have been intended for. I think that responds to the question that was raised.
Atif Y. BUKHARI (Chairman, Finance Committee) (original language Arabic): In fact I have not much to add to what has been mentioned here, especially as we have sufficiently discussed the reports of the Finance Committee. I think that ail those present have expressed their agreement with what was mentioned in both reports. In fact this reflects the confidence the Council places in the Finance Committee which saved no effort to carry out its activities to the benefit of all. The Finance Committee with all its members have tried to work very candidly in a transparent
fashion in its dealings with the Secretariat of this organization. I would like to assure you all, members of the Council, that cooperation and frankness were the main characteristics of our relationship with the Secretariat of the organization as is evidenced by those reports. We are most appreciative of the fact that you have accepted both reports.
Atif Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of:) (original language Arabic): If you allow me to express myself as a member of the Council, namely as the delegate for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who is not in his seat, for he is with you under another hat, as it were, as the head of the Finance Committee. Please allow me then to express my opinion as regards document CL 90/23 and make a few comments on it. I repeat I am addressing you in my capacity as the representative of Saudi Arabia. I would like to say that it is unjust to ask the Director-General to implement the totality of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87 without providing him with the necessary liquidity as has been agreed in the Conference. I would like also to say that it would be unnatural and illogical to ask him to make reductions as regards the most important programme of all, i. e. the TCP, which is the very backbone of the organization's activities and which benefits greatly the developing world, simply because we do not want to honour our financial contributions for one reason or another. If we do not respect the integrity as it were of the TCP, then what remains for the developing countries and for FAO by the same token?
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia places its full confidence in the person of the Director-General, Dr Edouard Saouma, and through this august assembly my delegation would like to reaffirm its confidence. We are reaffirming our confidence in fact because we have been watching closely the degree of efficiency of the activities of this organization during the mandate of our Director-General. We are most aware of his capacity and his wisdom at the helm of this organization. Therefore, and because we are most confident that this organization is pursuing appropriate objectives, we have signed a protocol of agreement, between our government and FAO. This cooperation agreement is the most important ever signed by our government.
We unreservedly support the proposals put forward by the Director-General as well as the reductions regarding administrative activities. We hope that this reduction will not detract from the efficiency of this organization. We are confident that the Director-General is very aware of what he is doing and that in fact he is very able to guide our path.
LE PRESIDENT: Si vous n'y voyez pas d'objection, je voudrais contribuer pour ma part à ce débat très important et renouveler mes remerciements à tous les intervenants, quelles que soient leur position et leur sensibilité pour l'apport précis qu'ils ont apporté à ces débats. Le moment est important et il justifie largement ce débat qui était à notre ordre du jour de la présente session. J'ai noté que le Conseil a fait part de sa grande préoccupation pour la situation financière actuelle de l'Organisation, situation qui n'est pas due, qui n'est pas imputable à des problèmes internes de gestion de l'Organisation mais à des retards de versements de certains contributaires et notamment des nouvelles dispositions qui sont envisagées par le principal contributaire. Cette préoccupation paraît aggravée par l'incertitude qui règne sur le montant et le calendrier exact des versements du principal contributaire. Cependant, le Conseil a noté avec satisfaction que le principal contributaire a confirmé son intention de poursuivre sa contribution au financement de la FAO et que sa contribution n'est pas remise en cause. A cet égard, le Conseil formule l'espoir que cette situation ne devrait être que provisoire et qu'elle devrait pouvoir être rapidement normalisée. Je note que le Conseil, dans sa quasi-totalité, a rappelé que le versement des contributions découle d'un engagement contractuel librement consenti par les Etats Membres et que l'accomplissement de la mission de l'Organisation est strictement tributaire de la régularité des versements. Le Conseil lance donc un appel solennel aux Etats Membres pour qu'ils s'attachent à verser leurs contributions dans les délais impartis et apurer dès que possible les arriérés existants compte tenu de la situation financière actuelle de la FAO. Compte tenu de cette situation, le Conseil considère que des mesures urgentes doivent être prises pour s'adapter à la situation ainsi créée. Cependant, cette situation est fluide et nécessite, d'une part, des mesures financières évolutives en fonction de l'évolution de la situation financière, et d'autre part, un suivi de la situation financière. C'est dans cet esprit que le Conseil a fait part de son approbation pour les rapports présentés par le
Comité financier au cours des cinquante-septième et cinquante-huitième sessions et a noté l'importance de la réunion du Comité financier qui a été décidée pour le 16 et le 17 décembre prochains. C'est toujours dans cet esprit que le Conseil, dans sa très grande majorité, a approuvé le paquet de mesures proposées par le Directeur général de la FAO (dans le paragraphe 35 du document CL 90/23 tendant à réviser une économie de l'ordre de 16, 4 millions de dollars) et lui laisse la flexibilité nécessaire pour réaliser avec le moins de réductions possible le programme des travaux de l'Organisation sans créer de problèmes de trésorerie. A cet égard, le Conseil, dans sa quasi-totalité, a noté que la quasi-totalité des Etats Membres ont insisté pour que le Programme de coopération technique qui rend grand service aux pays en développement et qui a amélioré l'image de marque et l'efficacité de la FAO ne soit touché en rien.
Enfin, le Conseil demande que la situation financière de l'Organisation, dans cet esprit évolutif, puisse continuer à être analysée, notamment lors du Conseil du mois de juin 1987, de manière à prendre, le cas échéant, les mesures éventuelles qu'exigerait la situation.
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): I raised my flag because I was hoping to hear in your summary, Mr Chairman, or some other part of the concluding session a reflection of my delegation's suggestion, which was supported by at least one other delegation, that the issue of overhead costs should be referred to the Finance Committee. You may have chosen to omit this because of the offer made by Mr. Shah that he would be happy to receive representatives of the United Kingdom to talk over misunderstandings and so on, and indeed we are very happy to accept that invitation and will arrange for a meeting at Mr. Shah's convenience, but I do not expect that such a meeting will do more than make it possible to do some more accurate commentary on this question. It seemed from the discussion that there are issues on overhead costs and allocations which ought to be drawn to the attention of the Finance Committee for further consideration. I do agree with the delegates who said it was perhaps unfortunate that we went into this in a straightforward way initially here rather than in the Finance Committee. So if it is necessary to do it I would now propose that it be put to the Finance Committee as its next regular meeting, not the December one obviously.
As to papers for this, my delegation will be very happy to produce a paper after discussing it with Mr. Shah, and while I am on papers perhaps I might say that the paper which we circulated, and which was criticised for not having been in all pigeon holes at the right time, I just give warning that my delegation proposed to refer to it again under another agenda item in a quite different context.
Perhaps to make our interventions more comprehensible I might be permitted to give further copies to the Secretariat. Perhaps it could be circulated as a Conference Room paper to avoid difficulty over this.
George Henry MUSGROVE (Canada): 1 had asked for the floor before you began your summing up, Mr. Chairman, but perhaps it is more appropriate that I come in at this time to make comments. The reason I asked for the floor earlier was that the interventions by Mr. Shah, and shortly before that by the delegate of Pakistan, Mr. Musharraf, had reminded me of the information that I had received some time ago that there was a manager to emulate, and I think Mr. Shah's quotation from his paper was drawing attention to the Council's views on the good management practices of our Director-General. But I had once been told that the world's best manager was a chap called Noah, Noah being the only man ever to float a company when the whole world was in liquidation.
I had asked to take some issue with the I thought somewhat discursive approach that Mr. Shah took to the ILO budget by suggesting that it was only a 2. 77 percent reduction rather than a 7+ percent that had been made and on the grounds that some $10 million of their saving was gratuitous saving, and admittedly so because of over-estimation or one such thing. If one wants to be argumentative one can take issue with any figure quoted throughout the UN system, including the FAO figure of 3. 7 percent, insofar as we may say that the vacancy rate itself provides the gratuitous $6. 5 million saving and therefore if we divide the residual $9 million it is only a two point something percent saving. You will agree of course, but that nevertheless would be one calculation that I could make.
Be that as it may, with respect to your summing up I take it that you have found the Council endorsing three specific points. Those points were that the measures proposed in document CL 90/23 were accepted by the Council. Our delegation and a number of others did not find them necessarily sufficient for the purpose and I thought I had made our views known quite clearly in that respect.
You decided that the Council would take further measures in June. In June the Organization will only have six months left in the biennium and I think we could despair of taking any meaningful additional measures in six months time, whether salary savings or operational savings; I think there would be too little time left to us. We have made the view that further measures should if not be taken at this time be put in place to be taken at a much earlier date than that.
The third point I noticed was that the Council had unanimously supported the TCP. 1 think there were a number of suggestions that this was a Programme which, amongst others, might bear some further scrutiny.
There were a number of other issues which were raised that you have not touched on and of course it is impossible for you to do so, and doubtless these matters will be reflected in the report. But I think one particular measure that might bear mentioning is the fact that it was the suggestion of the Finance Committee, and endorsed by a number of candidates, that under no circumstances should other members be called upon to compensate for withholding actions by another country. Whether the decisions we take here have implicit or explicit commitments in that direction I think is important to know.
LE PRESIDENT: Je me permettrai d'intervenir sur deux points. En premier lieu, je n'ai pas dit la totalité mais la quasi-totalité qui a insisté pour que le PCT… Cela veut dire que quelques membres n'ont pas accepté, cinq ou six. Le terme de quasi-totalité ne veut pas dire totalité: par conséquent je maintiens ce que j'ai dit: la quasi-totalité.
En ce qui concerne le second point, nous devrons parler de cette volonté du Conseil de ne pas retenir le principe de compenser le non-paiement d'un contribuant défaillant; c'est tout à fait exact et je souscris à cette proposition.
En ce qui concerne le paragraphe 23, effectivement certains membres ont demandé des mesures plus fortes; je crois avoir parlé de la très grande majorité, je n'ai pas dit la totalité. Dans la rédaction, on peut très bien ajouter que certains membres ont demandé des mesures plus énergiques, je n'y vois pas d'inconvénient.
David Lawrence COUTTS (Australia): I will not take the time of the Council for more than a moment or two, however I thought I should underline the support of the Australian delegation for the comment made by the United Kingdom. I do not think this gives rise, as 1 read the mood of the Council, to any difficulty. I suggested yesterday that such a study be done, so I think my assessment is correct.
Concerning the comments made by Canada, and your response, Mr. Chairman, and relating to your summing up, I note what you say but I still feel that: 1 must underline again that the Austelinn delegation, as everybody knows, is one that has some misgivings about the proposals of the Director-General. We would certainly be hoping, expecting, that a balanced view be seen when the report of the Drafting Committee be put forward. I note the comments that you made in response to Canada, and 1 thank you for that.
LE PRESIDENT: Nous souscrivons à la proposition du délégué de l'Australie.
José Ramón LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (México): En primer lugar, deseo señalar que ciertamente muchos o la totalidad de los delegados de este Consejo escucharon las palabras pronunciadas por algunas delegaciones en relación a un estudio que se suponía habían hecho, pero este Consejo no puede darse por enterado de la existencia de tal estudio en vista de que no es un documento oficial que se había presentado y no podemos emitir consejo ni recomendación alguna al Comité de Finanzas para que haga tales o cuales evaluaciones o análisis.
La recomendación hecha por la Secretaría nos satisface en el sentido de que la delegación interesada en discutir esos temas lo haga con la Secretaría, de manera que posteriormente y a propuesta hecha por tal delegación, o algunas otras, en el Comité de Finanzas ese Comité estudie tal asunto en un momento posterior; pero este Consejo no puede reconocer que tal cuestión, no incluida en el programa y calendario de los trabajos de este Consejo, fue tratada. Y quiero ser muy claro porque hubo varias delegaciones que así se pronunciaron; debemos atenernos a las reglas en los debates de este Consejo.
Por otra parte, nosotros deseamos agradecer a usted, señor Presidente, el resumen que ha hecho de las distintas cuestiones; nos parece ponderado, claro y sintético, ciertamente, y debemos subrayarlo. Tal resumen no impone ninguna obligación al Comité de Redacción para utilizarlo en su totalidad o en parte; es solamente una indicación, una orientación que a todos nos ayuda porque nos permite ver la forma en que usted refleja los debates aquí llevados.
Nos parece, y le agradecemos a usted, justas las aclaraciones en relación a la forma en que ponderó usted las declaraciones hechas por los diversos delegados en relación a la discusión y las consideraciones del paquete puesto en el documento CL 90/23 en relación a medidas posteriores que podrían evaluarse en el Consejo de junio, e igualmente al apoyo de la casi totalidad de las delegaciones concedido al PCT. .
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Después de haber oído a nuestro colega y amigo López Portillo, de México, casi nos abstenemos de intervenir porque estamos plenamente de acuerdo con él, pero ya que habíamos solicitado la palabra queremos utilizar esta ocasión para descargarnos de una inquietud que no es transcendental porque tal vez es de orden social.
Ayer en la mañana, en la primera intervención del distinguido delegado del Reino Unido estuvimos muy agradecidos porque él nos aclaró de qué se trataba el contenido de un sobre que encontramos el lunes en la tarde en el casillero de nuestra delegación. Era un texto en inglés, idioma que no conozco, trabajo orgullosamente en mi propio castellano. Sólo alcancé a distinguir dos nombres propios: el del Sr. Deare, mi gran amigo y colega representante del Reino Unido en Roma, y el del Sr. Shah, distinguido funcionario de la Organización. Tal vez por la prisa con que abrí el sobre y porque, repito, no entiendo ese idioma, creí que se trataba de una invitación, de un acto social, de un coktail que el Sr. Deare quería ofrecer a su cuasi compatriota el Sr. Shah como reconocimiento a la competencia, a la capacidad y a la inteligencia del Sr. Shah. Pasé a la segunda pàgina del sobre y encontré unos cuadros y unas rayas y pensé que eran las indicaciones, el mapa, el plano para llegar hasta el sitio donde los colegas británicos agasajarían al Sr. Shah.
Para hablar seriamente creo que hechos como éste constituyen precedentes desafortunados. Ya hoy el Reino Unido, tal vez un poco alertado por nuestro silencio, llegó a proponer que ese documento se convirtiera en un documento del Consejo. Creemos que esto no es aceptable. ¿Qué tal si en el futuro cada delegación distribuyera aquí documentos propios en chino, en árabe, en indio, en bengalesí, por ejemplo?
Ahora, nadie puede desconocer el derecho de cada delegación de hacer conocer su punto de vista a la Secretaría. El Director General recibirá el documento que el Reino Unido envió al Sr. Shah, podrá analizarlo, considerar si algunos elementos merecen ser tramitados al Comité de Finanzas, pero que no se nos distribuya un documento de cada propia delegación en un idioma que, repetimos, no es el nuestro y no corresponde a la práctica de distribución de los documentos en esta Organización.
Sobre su resumen, ya el colega de México explicó claramente el carácter de orientación, que no es vinculante. Usted dijo varias veces "la gran mayoría" esperamos que esto se refleje en el proyecto de informe que el Comité de Redacción presentaría a la Plenaria y, una vez más, al colega del Reino Unido que no nos vuelva a mandar documentos en inglés.
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): Just for the sake of clarity, although, I have not actually asked, and would not be so bold as to ask, that a paper by the United Kingdom should be considered by the Finance Committee, I should ask that the subject be taken up by the Finance Committee. I have offered a paper if the Finance Committee would like it.
David Lawrence COUTTS (Australia): I am very sorry to ask for the floor again. However, for the second time in four days I confess myself to be a little puzzled with what is happening here. Am I to take it that it is not possible for the Council to note a suggestion that a delegation makes in the course of the discussion? I felt that the United Kingdom suggestion was based on a genuine concern. It was not in any way destructive in its intent. I would have thought it would be quite in order for the Council to note in its report that this was raised and it is something which may be pursued. If we could carry this to its extreme it seems to me that when we look at the report of the Drafting Committee we will have to look very closely at a number of things which are not on the agenda in specific terms. Personally, I should have regarded it as perfectly satisfactory that these things be raised because they are relevant to the discussion and could be reflected as Council notes-"The Council was informed" that sort of formula. Am I to take it that indication such as the United Kingdom have given cannot be reflected in the report of the Drafting Committee?
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Nous serons contents d'examiner cette question au Comité financier, comme nous sommes prêts à examiner toute question présentée à l'ordre du jour de ce Comité; c'est un comité du Conseil, par conséquent si le Conseil décide que cette question doit être examinée par le Comité financier à sa session du printemps 87, il en sera ainsi. Mais il faut évidemment que le Conseil décide.
Cela dit, de quoi voulez-vous discuter? M. Deare a produit un document qui est là; au cours d'une rencontre informelle, M. Deare se référait au point 12. b) sur les mesures à long terme. Après quoi, ce document a été commenté ici. Maintenant, vous demandez que le sujet: "Estimated Programme Delivery Costs in the FAO Regular Programme and Programmes Financed by Extra-Budgetary Funds on the basis of the FAO Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87" soit discuté au Comité financier. Si le Conseil en décide, il sera traduit, discuté, etc.
Mais nous venons également d'entendre le distingué délégué du Royaume-Uni qui voulait discuter de ce mème document à l'occasion d'un autre point de l'ordre du jour. S'agit-il du point 12?
J'ai dit à M. Deare que nous avons été surpris de recevoir ce document dans la boîte aux lettres. Nous avons répondu, M. Shah a fait ses commentaires. Si le sujet est à nouveau soulevé, nous ferons des commentaires. Autant que possible nous répondrons aux questions ici.
Ce matin, le délégué de l'Inde a également fait des commentaires. Allons-nous discuter maintenant du point 12, de ce document, et au printemps prochain de ce même document? Ou nous arrêtons-nous maintenant pour en discuter au printemps prochain au Comité financier, si le Conseil en décide ainsi? C'est ce qu'il nous faut éclaircir. Et puis, de quel document s'agit-il? Celui du Royaume-Uni tel qu'il est, ou un document nouveau qui sera préparé en janvier, ou, selon la pratique habituelle, ce document et nos commentaires?
Je voudrais m'assurer du libellé du sujet. Si le Conseil veut en discuter, quel titre faut-il lui donner? Est-ce ce document-là que nous devrons traduire et présenter au Comité financier avec nos commentaires? Ou le Royaume-Uni souhaite-t-il un nouveau document, élaboré à la suite de vos discussions? Ce sont autant de questions à éclaircir.
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): I think there are two stories to this. One is the simpler one, which is that our interventions on another Agenda item-which is not 12 (b) today but would be 11 I think-would make more sense to delegates if they actually had before them the paper which we have already circulated. That is the end of that story.
The second story is that we would like to have the subject of programme delivery costs taken up, as it is part of its normal responsibility, by the Finance Committee in the spring. We offer towards that consideration a paper. That paper would be a paper we would prepare, which might well draw upon this paper but would be after further discussions with Mr Shah. That paper docs not yet exist.
To go back to my other story, the other paper I suggest might be distributed in such a way that nobody would object on the grounds that they have not seen it. I suggest it could be issued as a Conference Room paper if this is the way of operation of the Organization that people prefer.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: What do you wish to discuss under Item 11?
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): In my Agenda, Item 11 is described as "Reports of the Fifty-Seventh and Fifty-Eighth Sessions of the Finance Committee. " There is a separate item, 11. 1 "Developments Regarding Headquarters Accommodation".
LE PRESIDENT: Je voudrais séparer la question en deux parties. La première question posée par le représentant du Royaume-Uni au Conseil, c'est de savoir s'il est possible pour le Conseil de retenir le principe d'une étude sur le coût des opérations qui serait présentée à la Direction générale de la FAO par le délégué du Royaume-Uni pour faire l'objet d'une analyse par le Comité financier, au printemps prochain. Voilà la première question. Le Conseil retient-il cette proposition? Nous passerons ensuite à l'autre question. Je crois qu'il est de notre devoir d'étudier toutes les suggestions. Quel est le titre proposé par le délégué du Royaume-Uni?
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): The title would be "Programme Delivery Costs".
LE PRESIDENT: Si le Conseil est d'accord, nous pouvons continuer. 11 reste la deuxième question posée par le Royaume-Uni.
Le délégué du Royaume-Uni envisage, à l'occasion de l'examen du point 11 de l'ordre du jour, de soulever d'autres questions concernant le rapport du Comité financier. Quelle est la nature de ces questions?
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): There were other points arising from the Finance Committee Report which did not seem relevant to the discussion under Item 12, "Financial Matters". It may well be there is no call for discussion under Item 11, and rather than waste people's time we will work out with the Secretariat under which Agenda Item it is best that we make the particular points that we have to make. But the issue of whether we may offer the paper as a CRP remains.
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Nous sommes à la disposition du Conseil. Si un document doit être distribué à tous les délégués il faut qu'il soit traduit dans toutes les langues, en français, en anglais, en espagnol, en chinois et en arabe. C'est une question de principe et il faut du temps. C'est au Conseil de décider.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Repetimos que no hemos podido leer el documento porque está escrito sólo en inglés, pero ante la insistencia de nuestros colegas del Reino Unido y conociendo el carácter pragmático y el ánimo constructivo que les anima, siempre pensamos que, sin duda, ellos están inspirados en un deseo de servicio, de contribuir al mejor funcionamiento de nuestra Organización, Por ello, a la luz de lo que se acaba de decir y que yo había ya insinuado también de paso, el hecho de que sólo existe un texto en inglés, no puede ser así considerado como documento oficial. Creo que la situación es muy ciara, Sr. Presidente, y que podemos estar de acuerdo en lo siguiente: en el tema de la agenda en el cual el delegado del Reino Unido podrá referirse a su propio documento y dar todas las explicaciones que él considere convenientes porque está en su derecho, pero que no se distribuya el documento. Luego, en el documento aparecerá lo que se considere necesario y el Director General, a la luz de la discusión de los miembros del Consejo, juzgará si es oportuno o no dar traslado a algunos de esos elementos a la reunión del Comité de Finanzas de la primavera de 1987.
Akbar Mirza KHALEELI (India): We are inclined to go along with the recommendations of the representative of Colombia. We are impressed by the determination with which the United Kingdom representative wishes to place on record certain reservations regarding the overheads of FAO, but I thought that right at the beginning you had taken a decision, Mr. Chairman, that it was not to be a Conference document. I feel, rather than this matter being raised again and again under some other issue or some other head, it would be best to decide now as to how it should be dealt with.
Secondly, in the Finance Committee, which has distinguished representatives and also the representative of Australia, I think various reservations or opinions could have been expressed and can again be expressed. I think this matter should be decided strictly according to the rules on the basis of your ruling, rather than continuing a discussion on a matter which has really lasted too long.
Mrs MillicentM. FENWICK (United States of America): We are not just inclined to accept the recommendation of Colombia. We say for heaven's sake let us accept it and get on. We should have finished this long ago, and so we heartily endorse what the delegate has said.
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): I am not pushing this further. If the interventions we make do not make sense without our paper, we apologize.
LE PRESIDENT: Si le délégué du Royaume-Uni est d'accord avec la proposition du délégué de la Colombie confirmée par le délégué des Etats-Unis, nous pouvons considérer que cette procédure est retenue, à savoir que, dans ses interventions, le délégué du Royaume-Uni va faire état de tous les éléments du rapport qui l'intéresse.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Sí, y yo creo que es hora de terminar este debate y pasar al tema siguiente.
b) Alternative Approaches to Dealing with Budgetary and Financial Uncertainties
b) Les incertitudes budgétaires et financières: approches possibles
b) Alternativas para afrontar las incertidumbres presupuestarias y financieras
LE PRESIDENT: Nous pouvons maintenant passer à ce point non moins important. Je m'excuse d'avoir été obligé de séparer les mesures à long et à court terme car elles sont liées. Le document CL 90/24, qui concerne les mesures à long terme, est très important et devra faire l'objet d'un examen approfondi par le Conseil.
Pour la clarté de notre travail, nous allons demander à M. Shah de bien vouloir présenter ce document.
V. J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): It is my pleasure again to introduce this Item on behalf of the Director-General.
The financial liquidity problems which we are having to face in this biennium it is clear will be with us for some time. Therefore, this Item on your Agenda is as important as the one with which you have just dealt relating to the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87. In essence, we are dealing with FAO's capacity to survive in order to accomplish the objectives set by the Member Nations and to fulfill the tasks for which you look to FAO.
The document submitted to you, document CL 90/24, proposes a number of measures which are for your preliminary consideration-and I emphasise that. The Council need not take any decision on any of them, but its guidance to the Finance Committee and the Director-General, in his own view, is crucial for the formulation of such measures as he may wish to consider in due course and eventually submit to the Conference.
I do not wish to repeat what is in the document. On the contrary, permit me to convey the Director-General's assessment of the likely future problems that we shall have to deal with as he sees them. In so doing, we do not need to indulge in any fanciful futurism. The Director-General has asked me only to share with you as soberly as possible his assessment of the key factors and indicate where his assessment logically leads him.
There are three sets of policy factors involved: first, the legislation adopted by the largest contributor; secondly, measures to deal with shortfalls in income; and thirdly, measures to deal with exchange rate fluctuations.
I will address myself, quite separately, to each set of facts. Firstly, the legislative action in the case of the largest contributor. Here, may I be permitted to refer by name to the largest contributor without any disrespect, for it will make the consideration of the matter much easier. There are four issues I wish to comment on here. Firstly, the Kassebaum amendment. This amendment incorporated in Section 143 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Public Law 99/93, limits US payment to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies to 20 percent of their budgets, unless the organizations institute a decision-making system for budgetary matters providing voting strength proportionally to the size of the contributions. In considering this measure soberly we face the fact that this legislation reflects a certain dissatisfaction with these organizations and has a clear intent to change the budget approval process. This would amount to a Charter amendment in the case of the United Nations and in our case our Constitution. The present General Assembly has not yet consented to envisage such changes. The legislation seems to have no time limit and our logic would lead us to conclude that we face its effects indefinitely. Certainly, there is no visible move to repeal this legislation.
Secondly, there is the Grann-Rudman Hollings legislation which formed the basis of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, Public Law 99/177, when requires that the total U. S. Federal budget deficit be reduced to zero over the next five years. It is striking that this law requires the Federal budget deficit to be brought down to $144 billion for the fiscal year 1987 yet, it seems that the present estimates, which we are aware of, would be of a deficit of a much higher figure-perhaps, some $200 billion. This measure can therefore be expected not only to continue, but to increase in the intensity of its application. Thirdly, we face the action taken at the time of the annual preparation. It appears to us that the application of the two pieces of legislation, to which I have just referred, is intensified by measures which increase our difficulties. Thus, although the amount of $385 million was appropriated for contributions to international organizations for the fiscal year 1987, one third of that amount, that is to say $130 million, is frozen until October 1987. Moreover, this Appropriation Act includes the provision, and I quote, "A provision which prohibits the funds in this appropriation from being used to pay the U. S. share of interest costs and loans to international organizations from commercial lending institutions." This provision is stated, and I quote again, "As a deterrent against international organizations borrowing funds from commercial lending institutions in order to compensate for budgetary shortfalls or short-term cash flow problems." Fourthly, we face the effects of decisions resulting in even lower contributions than could be expected. The payment due to FAO by the major contributor for 1986 is $50. 1 million, fifty million seventy five thousands to be correct.
We have still not been officially notified, as was confirmed yesterday by the distinguished representative of the U. S., of when and what amount we will receive this year. However, as you are aware we have to monitor the situation and make the best estimates that we can with the best intelligence and the best information that is available to us. According to this preliminary and unofficial information, we understand that the payment this year may be only $5 million. We understand that we may be favoured with another twenty million in October 1987. 1 still refer to the 1986 contribution. How can we make any estimate of what we will receive against the 1987 contribution? Our logic would lead us to conclude that we should not expect anything-a very harsh lesson. All this amounts to facing the fact that in the foreseeable future the largest contributor does not appear to be likely, or will not be in a position, to meet its obligation to our Organization. According to our Rules and Regulations, these contributions will represent amounts outstanding as arrears. There is nothing said or guaranteed about whether, or when or how these arrears will be settled. We now expect the arrears from this contributor to amount to some $67 million for this biennium, three million more that the figure that was indicated in document CL 90/20. At this rate we may reach a level of some $135 million in contributions due from the Member Nation in three years time.
This reduction in our resources evidently creates such problems of liquidity that it makes somewhat of a farce of the Programme of Work and Budget approved by the Conference. But what of the future? One conclusion would be to have a Programme of Work and Budget which is dictated and determined by the level of payments we can expect to receive from one or other Member Nation. Is this what our Member Nations want? The answer will have to be given by the Conference. The Conference will have to consider measures to deal with the prospects which threaten the very survival of our strong Organization.
Let me now deal with those matters relating to budgetary income shortfalls. The virtual certainty of shortfalls in our budgetary income, increasing beyond anything we have experienced so far, leads the Director-General to suggest that a number of measures are needed to strengthen or to sustain even our viability. How can a Working Capital Fund of just over $13 million cope with delays and shortfalls in contributions five and ten times that amount? How can we continue to provide for miscellaneous income when world interest rates plunged to reduce it to half the provision that we were able to make? How can we deal with obligations of some $60 million in early 1988 and have contributions outstanding of one and half time that amount?
The third set of factors are the exchange rate effects. We used to think that our Special Reserve Account was a very safe device to deal with exchange rate fluctuations. There was no problem when exchange rates moved in our favour and led to a surplus of almost $14 million in 1982-83 and a surplus of almost $14 million in 1982-83 and a surplus of $10 million in 1984-85, ail of which went into the cash surplus. However, the Lire/dollar rate has fallen by 20 percent since our Programme of Work and Budget was approved by the Conference at this rate. As Council will have
noted from the documentation the Special Reserve Account of $22 million will be moved by the end of the biennium, if not before. These are the hard facts, the brutal reality and the sad prospects, (mind-boggling prospects) which we have to face.
The Director-General is convinced that the Member Nations of this Organization want the Organization not only to survive but to continue as a solid and a valuable and effective organization. If the difficulties we now confront are unexpectedly severe and unprecendentedly severe, then the measures for our survival will have to be correspondingly brought into their concept and in their scope. The Conference will be called upon to take measures of foresight and wisdom. The Director-General is certain that the discussion in this Council will help the Finance Committee and help him in formulating specific proposals in accordance with your wishes and will help the Conference in eventually taking the necessary action.
Le PRESIDENT: Je remercie M. Shah pour son exposé. Nous ouvrons donc la discussion autour de ce point très important et qui concerne la pérennité financière de la FAO.
Vanrob ISARANKURA (Thailand): May I start by thanking Mr Shah for his introduction to this important item. I have carefully studied all alternative approaches for dealing with budgetary and financial uncertainties as indicated in the document CL 90/24. Before we express our view on these approaches I would like to thank the Director-General for his efforts to find the ways and means to solve the budgetary and financial uncertainties and problems of our organization. He has proposed to us several solutions which may provide a reasonable assurance that the programme and budget which was decided upon by the FAO Conference can be protected.
Regarding possible alternative approaches now under our consideration my delegation is of the opinion that only the first two alternative approaches can be feasible, namely amending present procedures for application of cash surplus and adjusting the treatment of miscellaneous income. If we are going to amend financial regulations as mentioned in paragraphs 13 and 15 my delegation thinks it should not harm the member countries since it does not require extra contribution from the government and it will not cause any problem of budgeting of member nations whereas other approaches might bring difficulty to the member nations. Therefore my delegation would like to propose that the Finance Committee or the Director-General should make further study on the two alternate approaches which I have mentioned.
I would like to conclude that we could accept the fact.
R. G. PETTITT (United Kingdom): I propose to deal with the proposal for possible alternative approaches in the order set out in paper CL 90/24 and will give my comments as was agreed this morning on the proposals for dealing with delayed payments separately at the end of this intervention.
I was grateful for Mr Shah’s presentation on the question of the problem arising from the withholding of the United States subscription. I do not propose to comment substantially on this since the paper CL 90/24 is not dealing specifically or particularly with this problem and the measures in it, of course, do not meet it at all. The answer is either that the United States pays up or that we reduce our expenditure to meet the realistically likely receipts.
To revert to the paper, starting with paragraph 10, we cannot agree to the termination arrangements set out in Financial Regulation 6.1 for automatic distribution of cash surpluses. We have, of course, no objection to the voluntary surrender of a country's cash surplus if such an arrangement suits the financial situation of that country.
There are precedents for this. In the case of UNESCO in 1985 and the delegate of Italy has raised the possibility from the point of view of his government in helping the present situation in FAO, but such acts of generosity must be considered exceptional voluntary contributions and not become obligations.
As regards the suggestion that member countries should be asked to contribute against an assessment which ignores miscellaneous income, again I am afraid we would not agree to this. It would involve the acquisition by FAO of a reserve, which if acquired should be consciously voted by the relevant governing body.
As regards the suggestion that the level of the Working Capital Fund should be assessed against the passage of expenditure and receipts ignoring the special complications brought about by the default of the largest contributor. Such withholding for which, in a sense, ample notice has been given should be treated as shortfalls for which anticipatory action must be taken.
Still on the subject of the Working Capital Fund comparison with other organizations may be helpful, but to check the validity of our findings. They cannot be a determining factor and they may be misleading if the purposes to which the Working Capital Fund may be properly put if the organizations concerned are not properly understood. For instance, UNIDO is quoted as an organization with a working capital fund proportionately higher than that of the FAO. In fact, the actual level agreed at the Conference, rather than the maximum level was $6 million and not $9 million and was about three weeks expenditure, actually very much the same as FAO and in UNIDO the working capital fund also has to deal with currency fluctuations for which FAO has other arrangements.
It is true the Industrial Development Board recently increased the Working Capital Fund to its maximum of $9 million but this was because of the increased costs in the programme in dollar terms resulting from the change of the rate of exchange between the dollar and the Austrian schilling. When adequate and specific arrangements for currency fluctuations have been agreed in UNIDO the working capital fund is likely to be reduced again to some three weeks expenditure. 1 speak at length on this point because there is a danger of simple comparisons, as perhaps we have learned before in this meeting.
Now as regards the proposal for the budget to be set annually, we would not wish to see the delegation from the Conference to the Council which this proposal would seem to involve. We prefer the other suggestions which involve the continued control by the senior body.
We see no objection to further work being carried out by expressing the budget in a basket of currencies and perhaps our attitude here reflects our increasing familiarity with this arrangement through our dealings with the European community. However, this is not our preferred arrangement. This is the appropriation of budget in two parts, one in dollars and one in lira, with assessments in both currencies. We do hope that unfamiliarity with such an arrangement would not immediately lead to doubts about its workability. It is the arrangement which has recently been started by the International Atomic Energy Authority. The Director-General of UNIDO who has a budget which is perhaps more similar to ours than the IAEA's has indicated recently that it is a preferred arrangement as well as that preferred by a majority of member countries and is likely to be adopted at the March meeting of the UNIDO body, which is looking at this issue. I suggest that the difficulties mentioned in paragraph 24 of the paper CL 90/24 could be overcome; expenditure in currencies other than dollars and lira would need to be allocated to one or other budget, according to whether the currency concerned tends to move more with the dollar than the other European currencies and for most countries contributions are made in a currency which fluctuates against our own and it should be no real problem to provide contributions in two currencies.
Now as to the suggestion of an amendment to the Basic Text to submit supplementary budgets except for emergency purposes, we would agree with the constitution drawn up more recently, for instance, that of UNIDO, that had provision for supplementary budgets without the requirement for it to be an emergency. We would not see any fundamental objection to modification of the Basic Text but these would need to be as envisaged in the constitution of UNIDO, handled in the normal way by the Council and Conference. We would see objections to the delegation of this responsibility to the Council alone.
Finally, and this is a different subject now, I turn to the suggestions for providing incentives for prompt payment discussed in paragraphs 22-31 in document CL 90/17 Appendix C. We have doubts whether any of the proposals will have any significant effect upon the pattern of receipts but some fairly simply arrangements on the line suggested would be more equitable than those in force at present. My delegation considers the separation of the treatment of interest income has practical problems in its application and we would prefer one of the rather similar solutions II or VII set out in Appendix C.
A. Daniel WEYGANDT (United States of America): Before I address the subject of the various alternatives proposed in document CL 90/24 I would like to respond very briefly to some of the comments made by Mr Shah in his introduction.
My delegation appreciates the fact that the Secretariat is by no means underestimating the seriousness of the situation that we find ourselves in here. However, I would like to emphasize, as I stated before, that the United States delegation has not been in a position to consult with the Secretariat on the level of the contributions. Therefore we can neither confirm nor take issue with the estimate made by the Secretariat. The position of my delegation is perhaps somewhat more optimistic with resepct to 1987 than that outlined by Mr Shah, but as we noted before, this is really in the realms of speculation at this point.
So let me turn then to the proposal in document CL 90/24. It is the basic position of the United States that it would be inappropriate for the Council to make any definitive or final recommendations at this time bearing in mind that at least with respect to my government this document was only received the working day before the Council began which did not allow adequate time for analysis of the document whose proposals, all of which have some sweeeping modifications and financial implications.
We would also like to support what was said by the previous speaker that we are reluctant to see a delegation of authority from the Conference to the Council and we feel that if the issue should be considered in any fashion they should be postponed until at least the June Council. In fact the preliminary observations of my government are that with perhaps the exception of the fourth alternative which would be to set the budget rate, the exchange rate annually, we would have profound difficulties with any alternatives proposed and I would like simply to put on record at this point we would simply like to see these issues developed and have a fuller discussion on the basis of a further analysis by my government.
Khalil MAKKAWI (Lebanon): My delegation would like first to thank the Director-General for submitting this matter for preliminary discussion in the Council. We also thank Mr Shah for the excellent presentation and the explanation which we have just heard from him on this subject.
We recognize that no decision is required from the Council now. We agree with the Director-General, however, that our discussion would provide valuable guidance to the Finance Committee and to the Director-General on possible measures which might be examined in greater depth and formulated, for the eventual consideration of the Council and the Conference.
It is abundantly clear that the measures which are presently available to our Organization are no longer adequate to deal with the budgetary and financial uncertainties of the scale which we are now witnessing.
What is more paradoxical than to have to face a financial crisis during this biennium while at the same time a cash surplus of US $30. 7 million from the last biennium will be distributed to Member Nations on 1 January 1987?
What could be more striking than the fact that the miscellaneous income which the Organization may expect to earn during this biennium will be some US$ 19 million less than that estimated in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986/87 because the Organization, like all others, is at the mercy of interest rates?
What is more glaring than the fact that the Working Capital Fund of FAO as a percentage of the budget level is half that of any comparable organization in the UN system?
All these factors indicate clearly that we need to reinforce this mechanism and envisage additional mechanisms to protect this Organization and its programmes from the violent and unforseeable financial fluctuations which we are increasingly required to face. If strengthened and additional mechanisms need a greater commitment from Member Nations and a willingness to bear the additional burden involved, we for our part are prepared to do so and we are certain that all who care for this Organization will be equally prepared.
We therefore urge the Council unanimously to request the Director-General to develop and submit his proposals to the Finance Committee at its Spring session in 1987 so that we may consider what needs to be done at our own session in June and submit them to the Conference in November.
John GLISTRUP (Denmark): On this subject my delegation is again speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries-Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. May I start by thanking Mr Shah for his introduction. I must say that I admire the way he is able in a very clear and concise manner to explain complicated matters. He does it so well that even I think that 1 understand the issues better after his introduction.
In the Nordic statements on agenda item 12. 1(a) it was emphasized that there is an urgent need for having a current and conscious priority setting in FAO's Programme of Work. The setting of priority is a relevant issue, regardless of whether there is a net increase or a net decrease in the flow of resources. This fact should not be over-shadowed by the equally important but hopefully short-term issue of unpredictability of the payments from the major contributor. We will elaborate further on priority setting in our intervention on agenda item 10, Reports from the Programme Committee.
I shall now give our comments on the longer-term proposals contained in document CL 90/24. These comments are made to advise the Finance Committee in their further deliberations on this matter. We find the number and variety of ideas put forward a bit confusing and would have preferred more coherent proposals for a long-term solution. We believe that if clearer structures of priority setting in FAO had been developed, then a more convincing set of solutions could have been put forward.
In general, the Nordic countries are opposed to any amendment of the financial regulations entailing a transfer of power from the Governing Bodies to the Director-General, as suggested in the document. With two exceptions, therefore, the Nordic countries cannot give support to the ideas contained in document CL 90/24. In particular we cannot accept the proposed amendment of present procedures for application of the cash surplus.
Let me add in this context that we still do not have sufficient information on the composition of the cash deposits, in particular on the degree of liquidity of these accounts. Without that information we are not in a position to endorse the proposal to borrow some $30 million in order to cover short-term needs. However, the Nordic countries do see some merit in the proposal pertaining to the Working Capital Fund and to establishing a basket of currency rates. In common they may provide further flexibility and stability to the process of channelling funds to FAO.
As to the Working Capital Fund, we realise that in order to support the General Fund we find some merit in the argument that the level of the Working Capital Fund is to low in relation to the budget, especially when comparing it with other UN agencies. Since we have many times argued for consistency within the UN system, we are willing to give the proposal in that direction further consideration.
The second proposal which in our opinion helps to solve some of the problems concerning the uncertainty of exchange rates is to use a basket of currency when preparing the budget. This kind of solution is already known in other areas, like ECU in the European Community.
Speaking of longer term problems, I feel there also is a need for improving the financial transparency within FAO. It was interesting to listen to the bilateral exchange of views between the United Kingdom and the Secretariat. The Secretariat showed through Mr Shah that it possesses a wealth of information not contained in our documentation. The Secretariat should, on its own initiative, provide such information. That would be a sign of good management which in turn would help member countries and the Secretariat to avoid the occurrence of some short-term problems in the future. It could save time for the benefit of a constructive dialogue on the more long-term issues which we would like to discuss.
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: M. le délégué du Danemark, en ce qui concerne la transparence, si vous lisez le rapport du Comité financier et le rapport du Comité du programme, vous y verrez que cette question a été traitée par ces deux comités, à la demande du Directeur général; et vous verrez que les membres du Comité financier, ainsi que ceux du Comité du programme ont exprimé leurs points de vue, en disant que tout était transparent, lucide, et qu'ils n'avaient pas besoin de documents supplémentaires.
Si un délégué nous dit que la FAO n'est pas transparente, il faut qu'il nous dise quel document, quelle information il souhaite; nous sommes prêts à vous les fournir, dans les cinq langues; mais ne dites pas que nous ne sommes pas transparents.
En ce qui concerne l'autorisation d'emprunter cette autorisation a été accordée par la Conférence; il appartient à la Conférence de la retirer; et si la Conférence ne la retire pas en 1987, cela voudra dire que nous pourrons emprunter; mais de toute façon, si l'on n'emprunte pas, il faudra couper 30 millions de dollars en plus des 16; mais tout cela est une estimation.
Tout dépend de la position des Etats-Unis; elle n'est pas encore tout à fait officielle; mais nos informations semblent corroborer le chiffre que nous avons avancé concernant la contribution des Etats-Unis.
Ne revenons pas sur ce qui a été discuté; c'est une simple clarification; il appartient à la Conférence en novembre-période où il y aura des chiffres encore plus exacts, car la situation sera encore plus claire-de décider s'il ne faut pas emprunter. On peut ne pas emprunter en 1988; on peut à ce moment-là faire des ajustements de programme; on peut couper le programme 88-89; tout est possible.
II se peut que nous entrions dans un cycle d'ajustement sur plusieurs années.
Personnellement, je ne souhaite pas du tout emprunter; je serais content que la Conférence en discute en 1987 à la lumière des derniers chiffres; et si la Conférence décide de ne pas emprunter, on peut réduire encore le programme de 1988. Même cn ce" qui concerne le versement des 13 millions du fonds de roulement qui doit être effectué inmédiatement au début du prochain exercice, le règlement financier indique que l'on peut également faire des ajustements de programme en vue de dégager ces 13 millions.
Soit on fait des ajustements de programme maintenant, soit on temporise pour en faire en 1988. Mais tant que la contribution du principal bailleur de fonds n'est pas totalement versée, nous aboutirons à des ajustements de programme; c'est ce que nous faisons maintenant. Il a été dit qu'en juin ce serait trop tard, effectivement, et je prends quelques précautions; je tiens compte de votre point de vue, M. le délégué du Canada, et nous allons essayer de faire en sorte qu'il y ait encore des possibilités de coupures après la réunion du Conseil de juin; la chose sera encore possible entre juin et décembre. Evidemment il serait préférable d'en décider maintenant, mais je vous assure que nous en tenons compte.
Pour revenir à l'autorisation d'emprunter, les délégués ont exprimé leurs points de vue; il faudra à nouveau examiner la question en juin, mais de toute façon c'est à la Conférence elle-même d'en décider. Je vous confirme à nouveau que nos estimations concernant la principale contribution semblent se confirmer.
Mohammed ABDELHADI (Tunisie) (langue originale arabe): Je voudrais tout d'abord féliciter M. Shah de son excellente présentation du document. Son analyse nous a permis de nous faire une idée beaucoup plus claire des différentes mesures possibles pour faire face aux incertitudes financières de la FAO.
Bien entendu, il n'est que naturel, raisonnable et sain de la part du Directeur général de présenter au Conseil les problèmes financiers et de proposer en même temps des solutions afin d'assurer une continuité et d'éviter tout déséquilibre financier à la FAO en raison d'un certain nombre de problèmes auxquels elle doit faire face aujourd'hui.
En fait, le problème auquel nous nous heurtons est dû à une question de législation au sein du pays qui est le plus grand contribuant de la FAO, question législative qui affecte le montant et les modalités de paiement de la contribution de ce pays.
Nous sommes heureux que le Directeur général ait pu faire des propositions pour régler cette situation financière de la FAO. 11 a ainsi donné la preuve de sa volonté et de son désir d'assurer la survie de la FAO et de mettre en oeuvre le Programme approuvé sans que celui-ci soit affecté par les difficultés financières.
La délégation de la Tunisie est prête à appuyer toute mesure qui aurait pour effet de réduire les fluctuations financières du type de celles qui se sont produites au cours de cette année. Elle estime que les solutions proposées par le Directeur général aux paragraphes 13, 16, 19, 21 et 25 du document permettraient de résoudre les difficultés financières de l'Organisation.
Afin d'enrichir la discussion, nous voudrions faire brièvement connaître notre point de vue sur ces différentes approches possibles. Celle mentionnée au paragraphe 13 concerne l'excédent de trésorerie. Nous pensons, en fait, que ce sont le Conseil et la Conférence qui doivent se prononcer sur cette solution visant à réduire le fardeau financier de la FAO dû au non-versement de leur contribution par certains membres de l'Organisation.
Le paragraphe 16 concerne le paiement des contributions "brutes", c'est-à-dire sans déduction des recettes accessoires prévues. La délégation de la Tunisie estime que cette suggestion peut également permettre de résoudre partiellement le problème. Cependant, il est probable que cette solution sera pour certaine'pays un encouragement a retarder le paiement de leur contribution. Afin d'éviter de se trouver dans cette situation, selon moi, cette solution devrait être assortie d'une condition, à savoir que les excédents soient remboursés aux contribuants qui auront payé sans retard leur contribution.
Pour ce qui est de la proposition relative à l'augmentation du fonds de roulement, la délégation de la Tunisie estime qu'elle mérite d'être approfondie et en appuie le principe.
Au paragraphe 22, il est proposé d'utiliser une unité monétaire sur la base d'un panier de devises. Nous pensons que cette solution pourrait être prise en considération à condition d'être étudiée plus avant. Cela nous permettrait de résoudre certains problèmes tels que, par exemple, celui du taux de change.
Quant aux propositions concernant la préparation de budgets supplémentaires que l'on trouve au paragraphe 25, nous sommes en sa faveur car elle nous permettrait d'ajuster le budget en cours d'exécution. Il se peut d'ailleurs que cela soit rendu inévitable par les circonstances.
Enfin, ma délégation estime que ces propositions sont dignes d'etre retenues et elle demande au Directeur général de bien vouloir les examiner de façon plus approfondie et détaillée. Bien entendu, il ne faut pas perdre de vue notre objectif principal qui est de garantir la viabilité de l'Organisation et d'éviter qu'elle soit soumise à plus de fluctuations financières. Nous avons entrepris des études portant sur l'agriculture et nous pensons que la situation financière de la FAO ne devrait pas les affecter, et surtout celle concernant l'Afrique.
LE PRESIDENT: Je dois dire au Conseil que nous avons reçu une communication de la délégation de Sao Tomé-et-Principe, qui demande que nous inscrivions celle-ci au procès-verbal.
Antonio Albertino ALFONSO DIAS (Sao Tomé-et-Principe): Monsieur le Président, étant donnr que c'est la première fois que je prends la parole au sein du Conseil, je tiens à vous remercier de la façon dont vous conduisez les travaux du Conseil.
Monsieur le Président, la délégation de Sao Tomé-et-Principe remercie le Président du Comité financier pour les éclaircissements budgétaires de l'Organisation et sur les travaux du Comité financier.
Elle appuie sans réserve ce programme et fait siennes les interventions favorables du groupe des 77, ainsi que la plupart des délégations. 1/
The meeting rose at 17. 30 hours
La séance est levée à 17 h 30.
Se levanta la sesión a las 17. 30 horas
1/ Texte reçu avec demande d'insertion au procès-verbal.