(a) Regular Programme 1984-85
(a) Programme ordinaire 1984-85
(a) Programa Ordinario 1984-85
(b) UNDP 1984-85
(b) PNUD 1984-85
(b) PNUD 1984-85
(c) World Food Programme 1984-85
(c) Programme alimentaire mondial 1984-85
(c) Programa Mundial de Alimentos 1984-85
LE PRESIDENT: Notre programme de travail pour ce matin comprend les questions financières, au titre des points 11 et 12. Le Président du Comité financier va exposer l'ensemble de ces points, de manière à ce que noua ayons un débat global qui porte sur l'ensemble des questions financières, y compris les comptes vérifiés.
Atif Y. BUKHARI (Chairman, Finance Committee) (Original language Arabic): You were right, Mr Chairman, in introducing these two documents. One relates to the other, and the Report of the Finance Committee includes the Headquarters Accommodation and the Audited Accounts. In view of the short time available I would like to present these two documents in summary form, in the form of the Reports of the Finance Committee.
If we deal with the developments relating to the Headquarters Accommodation, we do not find much that the Finance Committee would like to add. In the first Report, which is the Report of the Finance Committee in its Fifty-Seventh Session, the Committee referred to the fact that the host government has agreed to finance the expansion operation in the Headquarters Accommodation in towards "Terme di Caracalla" and it allocated Lire 25 billion in 1986, 1987 and 1988. These facts will be referred to while giving the Report.
During the Fifty-Eighth Session, which was held last September, the document before us, which is CL 90/22 was referred to the Finance Committee. This change was put before the Finance Committee and the Committee took note of the new plans and considered that such construction work is part and parcel of the Headquarters Agreement.
You will recall that on 19th of November the Council considered certain parts of the Reports of the Finance Committee on financial matters and it left the consideration of the rest of the Reports to today's session.
We have before us CL 90/4, which is the Report of the Fifty-Seventh Session of the Finance Committee, which was held in the period between 12-20 May, 1986, and document CL 90/17 which is the Report of the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Finance Committee held in Rome from 22nd September to 2nd October 1986.
Today the Council considers the Reports of the Finance Committee on the Budget, on personnel matters and on organizational matters in addition to a specific subject, namely Headquarters accommodation.
Of course the two Reports of the Finance Committee refer to the financial position of the Organization, but the Report of the Fifty-Eighth Session, which is included in document CL 90/17, refers also to the Report of the External Auditor on the Regular Programme, UNDP and the WFP.
As regards budgetary matters contained in document CL 90/4, I would like to say that the Finance Committee received a Report entitled "The Report of the Director-General on the Budget Performance", and this was only for information until the accounts have been audited. At that time we did not have before us the Report of the External Auditors. The Secretariat informed the Finance Committee of the transfers among various programmes and various chapters in the budget in 1984 and 1985, and this is referred to in paragraphs 8 and 9 in the first report (document CL 90/4)· The Committee reviewed these facts and it took note of the information submitted by the Secretariat of the Organization.
As for financial matters which are contained in paragraphs 33 to 40, the Committee reviewed the method followed by the Organization concerning the crediting of interest to trust funds. It requested a report with additional information to be put before the session to be held in the spring of 1988. This matter will be discussed, and is contained in paragraphs 33 and 34 of the report in document CL 90/4.
The Committee also reviewed the actuarial review of separation payments scheme and accepted the proposal submitted by the Organization in this respect. The Committee called for an actuarial review every four years (as was the practice in the past) and for the submission of an interim report in 1988 on this situation. This item is referred to in the report of the Finance Committee in paragraphs 35 to 40 inclusive. Here, the Finance Committee would like to recall to the Council, in particular the recommendation contained in paragraph 38. That is a recommendation which we should particularly like to highlight before the Members of the Council.
I now move to personnel matters. The Finance Committee reviewed the 11th Report of the International Civil Service Commission, which is reproduced in Appendix D of the Report of the Finance Committee. This subject is covered in paragraphs 41 to 43 of the Report of the Finance Committee. In this respect, the Finance Committee took note of the resolutions of the General Assembly.
The Finance Committee also reviewed the changes in salary scales and allowances which relate to Professional and higher categories. This is covered in the Report of the Finance Committee in paragraphs 44 to 47.
Paragraph 48 deals with the General Service staff at Headquarters.
Paragraph 49 referred to the Pension Developments. There is also reference here to Organizational Matters. With reference to these organizational matters, we find that the Committee received a report on the progress regarding the construction relating to the Headquarters of the Organization. The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the fact that the Italian Parliament has approved the financing of this operation by allocating Lire 25 billion for the construction of new buildings at the Headquarters in the Caracalla complex. This is referred to in paragraphs 50 to 58 in the Report of the Finance Committee. Here I should like to recall document CL 90/22 which referred to the operations and expansions which have been finally agreed upon relating to accommodation.
The Finance Committee was also informed of the intensive meetings held between the representative of the host Government and the officials of the Organization which relate to the immunity of the Organization from legal process in Italy. This is covered in paragraph 59 of the Report of the Finance Committee under "Organization's Immunity from Legal Process in Italy"·
Concerning the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit, there are several reports which have been put before the Finance Committee and we refer to this fact in our report in paragraphs 60 to 67. The Finance Committee expressed its views regarding the activities of the Joint Inspection Unit.
As regards "Other Matters", which is the conclusion of the first report of the Finance Committee, in paragraphs 68 to 73 we note that the Committee reviewed the information received from the Secretariat relating to the implementation of the new computer systems for financial information and for personnel matters. They are called FINSYS and PERSYS. The Committee indicated that in its forthcoming session it will review the implementation of this system, and it also expressed the hope that the Organization would benefit from the services provided by these two systems.
I should like to refer here to paragraph 72. Under this item in our first report (CL 90/4) we refer to the fact that the Committee was also informed that a Steering Committee was established to plan, manage and supervise this project.
As for paragraphs 74 to 77, the Committee reviewed the transparency of FAO's activities and it noted the emphasis given by the Director-Ceneral to the transparency of FAO activities and his readiness to provide all necessary information in this respect. As is clear from these paragraphs, the Committee expressed its full endorsement of the Director-General's approach regarding the transparency of FAO activities.
This has been a summary of our first report-the report: of the 57th Session of the Finance Committee (document CL 90/4) which was held in Rome from 12 to 20 May 1986.
I should now like to turn to the report of the 58th Session of the Finance Committee (document CL 90/17). This gives an overall review of the report of the External Auditor and the points of view of the Finance Committee relating to the Regular Programme of the Organization 1984-85, the accounts of UNDP 1984-85 and also financial Information on the WFP for the period 1984-85.
First, budgetary matters: the Committee reviewed the 5th Report on Duty Travel. This includes official travel which had been undertaken during the period 1984-85. This has been covered in paragraphs 3 to 5. These paragraphs also include the points of view of the Finance Committee, since the Committee recognized that the proportion of cancelled and unscheduled trips was within reasonable limits.
As for paragraphs 6 to 9, these cover the Report on the Use of Consultants in 1984-85. Here I should like to refer in particular to the comment of the Finance Committee which is contained in paragraph 9. The Finance Committee also reviewed the Report of the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Eastern Region of its Distribution Area in South West Asia. This is the budget of the Commission which was submitted to the Finance Committee to consider. This covers the period 1985-89. The Finance Committee noted that the budget proposed for the Commission is at the same level as for the five preceding years. Having reviewed the budget, the Committee approved the budget of the Commission.
I should now like to move on to the Audited Accounts. The Finance Committee reviewed in depth the audited accounts for 1984-85 in accordance with Rule 77. 7 (i) of the General Rules. Representatives of the External Auditor of the United Kingdom presented to the Committee full reports on the accounts of the Regular Programme, the UNDP and the WFP. As is the usual practice the External Auditor gave his candid views as regards the financial statements of the Regular Programme for 1984-85 which was submitted to him by the Organization. As usual when giving his opinion the External Auditor decided without any reservation that in accordance with his auditing that these financial statements gave a clear and candid picture of the activities and operations of the Organization for the period 1984-85. This is clear in the Report of the External Auditor.
These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with financial practice and they are in line with the financial statements prepared for the previous financial period, and all the financial Information is in line with the Financial Rules. This is in summary the opinion of the External Auditor contained in his report when he audited and reviewed the Regular Programme activities.
The Finance Committee noted that the opinion of the External Auditor regarding the accounts of the Regular Programme of the Organization was given without any reservations or modifications. This is also the case with the financial statements of 1984/85 which were discussed with the External Auditor and with the Secretariat of the Organization.
The External Auditor reviewed the situation, and in his report he included a review of the Regular Programme monitoring. This is referred to in paragraphs 47-50 of the Report of the Finance Committee, document CL 90/17.
As regards FAO country representatives, this is referred to in paragraphs 51 and 52.
Procurement of word processing and data processing equipment is covered in paragraphs 53-56.
The Italian Special Contribution, that of the host Government, is covered in paragraph 57 in the Report of the Finance Committee.
Then we have the Inland Water Transport project which is covered in paragraphs 58-60.
The Finance Committee expressed its satisfaction regarding all these items and the Information contained in the report of the External Auditor. It also expressed its satisfaction in cases where the External Auditor made some recommendation regarding the efforts exerted by the Organization in implementing such recommendations.
The accounts of UNDP la 1984/85 are contained in paragraph 61 of the Report of the Finance Committee.
Now I move to the World Food Programme. We discussed with the External Auditor and the Secretariat of the Programme the report of the External Auditor and his review of the World Food Programme in the financial period 1984/85· This is covered in paragraphs 62 and 63· The World Food Programme's emergency operations in Africa are referred to in paragraph 63·
The computerized World Food Programme Information System and the views of the Finance Committee are covered in paragraph 64·
The supply of food aid to a grain surplus country in Asia is referred to in paragraph 65. The assistance given to an Asian country is also referred to in paragraph 66· These paragraphs reflect the comments and views of the Finance Committee regarding these matters. I should like to recall here the recommendation of the Committee that the Council would present to the Conference the audited accounts of the Regular Programme, of the UNDP and of the WFP for the period 1984/85 for approval. It has been the practice that the Council recommends to the Conference that it approve these audited accounts.
Paragraph 67 refers to the draft Conference resolution. The draft resolution is submitted to the Council so it may be forwarded to the Conference. The Finance Committee unanimously recommends that the Council and the Conference in turn should approve these audited accounts.
The Finance Committee also reviewed the report submitted by the Secretariat on Trust Funds. The Secretariat submitted a report on Trust Funds on non-application of 13 percent support cost reimbursements. We considered this issue in depth with the Secretariat, and the Committee reviewed the information on the cost measurement system, results for 1985. We took note of the details contained in these two documents, and the Finance Committee unanimously expressed its satisfaction with the clarifications given by the Organization in response to the queries made in the Finance Committee. Paragraphs 68-73 give full information on these two subjects.
The Committee also reviewed the outstanding obligations as contained in Rule 202. 9618. With regard to Regulation 4, entitled "Appropriations", the Committee approved the amended text of Financial Rule 202 as contained in paragraph 76. Paragraphs 74-76 refer to the amended text of the proposed Financial Rule 202.
Now I move to personnel matters. In paragraph 77 of the Report of the Finance Committee you will see that the Committee was informed that the International Civil Service Commission determined the levels for the Rome post adjustment classification as is contained in the table in paragraph 77. This table refers to the levels determined by the International Civil Service Commission.
Paragraphs 78-80, including the following five tables, give statistics of personnel services. The Finance Committee reviewed this information and approved the information submitted. The Finance Committee called upon the Secretariat of the Organization to continue its efforts after implementing the computerized system as regards personnel matters. The Finance Committee called upon the Secretariat of the Organization to continue its efforts in providing full statistics and updated data to be given to the Finance Committee at the next autumn session, that is after the application of the computerized system in personnel matters.
In paragraphs 81-83 the Committee considered a proposal for the amendment of two Staff Regulations which would permit the Director-General to implement decisions taken by the United Nations General Assembly effective 1 January 1986, that is last January.
With respect to measures in support of staff with disabled children; the Committee recommends that the Council approve amendments to Staff Regulations 301. 0333 and 301. 0334 retroactively with effect from 1 January 1986. Paragraph 83 includes the amended regulation.
There is also another subject to which I would like to refer, namely the composition of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board. The Committee considered this subject and it also reviewed the points of view expressed in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly. We also reviewed the views expressed by the Directors-General and by the Staff Pension Board. The Finance Committee approved the recommendations to be put before the Council which are contained in paragraph 85 of the Report of the Finance Committee. There are six recommendations put before the Council for approval, including recommendation (d) relating to an enlargement of the Pension Board size. The view of the Council on the Pension Board size will be submitted to the 37th Session of the Board. Therefore, the Council is called upon to give its recommendations in order that this may be put before the 37th Session of the Pension Board, and the UN General Assembly 42nd Session.
Finally, I turn to the organizational matters. This is the conclusion of the second report of the Finance Committee in its 58th Session. Paragraphs 87 to 92 refer to the information considered by the Finance Committee relating to the Headquarters Agreement. We dealt, in particular, with the privileges and immunities together with the information on Headquarters Accommodation and the situation as regards the reconstruction of the Caracalla complex. We found that the boundaries had been re-defined as necessary for the new construction work. This is contained in letters exchanged between the Director-General and the Permanent Representative of the Italian Government, namely the Host Government. This is the Appendix I referred to in document CL 90/22.
In September, the Finance Committee was well informed in this respect and of the developments, however, the matter was not complete at the time. I believe that the picture is now clear and we have a document put before the Council for information in this respect. Finally, we considered the reports of the UN Joint Inspection Unit which have been submitted on the progress of the application of the computerised system in personnel matters and the Finance Committee, considered the situation relating to the purchase of premises for FAO Representation in Zimbabwe.
The Finance Committee concluded its session on 3 October 1986 and it agreed to hold an extra-ordinary session in Rome on 15 and 16 December, in response to the invitation by the Director-General in order to review the financial situation of the Organization and monitoring this situation in view of current developments. The Committee approved to hold the Sixtieth Session of the Finance Committee in the period from 4 to 15 Hay 1987.
I have put before you, and presented, the two reports of the Finance Committee. I hope that I was clear, and I stand ready, and I also believe that the Secretariat of the Organization stands ready to present any additional Information which you might deem appropriate.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le distingué Président du Comité financier pour son exposé introductif quiva nous permettre de traiter cette question financière très importante.
Elio PASCARELLI (Italy): I crave your indulgence and request that my intervention might be split into separate parts. I will speak briefly now and, if you agree, I will take the floor on the organizational matters later in order to give my colleagues an opportunity to intervene on the subject of the Finance Committee, although it has no relevance for their country, because it concerns my country. If you agree, I would, without a prepared text, offer a few comments on the subject raised by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr Bukhari, whom I thank again because I had reserved, at the beginning of our Session, to take the floor again on this particular point. Therefore, my remarks will relate closely with document CL 90/17. I will start at paragraphs 18 to 20. We, as the Finance Committee, regretted to see that so many countries are still in arrears. We strongly appeal to all Member Nations, (I am quoting now from paragraph 20) "with contributions outstanding to take urgent action" etc. , the aim being to enable the Organization to continue to have the financial liquidity required.
I come back to the points of the financial liquidity. I hate the words "financial crisis". I do not want to see this word. This will tarnish the image of our Organization. Our Organization is not undergoing a crisis, it is undergoing some transitory financial liquidity problems. In order to help the Organization to survive, and I do not mean survive as an entity, but overcome this difficult period of liquidity and cashflow problems, we had thought of one way of helping, in addition to the measures which our Director-General has already proposed to us, and which we fully endorsed last time. During the meeting of the Finance Committee we had taken the floor more than once on this subject which has been summarized here under paragraph 24.
Paragraph 24 touches upon the cash surpluses which are partly due to managerial savings, partly to the fluctuation rates and partly to the miscellaneous income from the investment of the funds on deposit. We underlined last time, as the delegation of Italy, that it is the individual privilege of each nation to renounce or delay the receipts of, their share of the cash surplus which, for the biennium 1984/85 was very high, almost $36 million. As we already know, the Finance Committee, by the information received and the Director-General, do not, unfortunately, forecast any cash surplus in this biennium.
At that time, the Italian Government had thought it perhaps expedient to call for an extra-ordinary Conference that might, because the powers are the Conference powers, suspend a certain Financial Regulation. Not cancel and not change, but suspend. Some of the delegates have misunderstood what I said last time, so let me make it clear. I said suspend and not cancel. We understood that there was no consensus on this convening of a Special Conference. Therefore, we had to take the case in our hands and see, as one of the major donors and especially the Host Government, how we could help the Organization to overcome these difficult times.
I mentioned last time two items which could represent a modest Italian contribution to the problem. Unfortunately, I did not hear many colleague delegates come out with their dollars and cents. We heard plenty of words, perhaps too many. This is not a criticism, but I was criticised for being too much in love with the Finance Committee. I love the Finance Committee, because I love the Chairman. Therefore, I am pleased that we, in the Finance Committee, are going to receive the ball which is almost as heavy as it was when presented before you, Mr Chairman. The ball is as heavy as before. We have tried to make it a little bit lighter.
Today, I am very honoured to announce that my proposal was accepted by my Government. Therefore, the Italian Government will voluntarily renounce the cashing of this surplus. Let me give you the figure, $1 750 000 which is just pure words, for the year 1987 and at least until 1988. In other words, we will send a letter using our prerogative, to the Secretariat, saying that the Italian Government does not want its 1987 contribution reduced by the quota of the cash surplus that pertains to us, in view of the insufficient and unsatisfactory percentage we pay to the Organization. We try to make up for the small percentage which does not satisfy us by other means. The Director-General was kind to say that we have become the prominent donor, even without making a percentage. I do not want the Secretariat to calculate that percentage.
In making this announcement I say that for 1987 Italy will hopefully pay two months in advance of the regular routine payment (end of April). I will put all my strength at the disposal of the Organization so that we can pay the whole amount by the end of February, if not before. You can make the decision as to whether you want good dollars or good lire. However, I do not think it is within the power of the Council or the Finance Committee to decide which currency to use. This will mean that if the problem is postponed until 1988, not earlier than 1988, we might rediscuss whether we want that part deducted from the 1988 contributions or not deducted at all. The ways of God are so many, let us keep all these ways open.
I appeal to the major donors (I have had some contacts with them, but privately and not engaging) to consider very strongly the possibility of doing something of this kind. We have to give the Director-General absolute safety against the risk of a cash flow problem. After the statement which we heard from the major contributor we are not any happier. The situation does not look any rosier than before, because by the end of 1987 we cannot count on more than what the largest contributor has promised. We fervently hope there will be a revision of this attitude. I wish to make my intervention a little lighter by recalling what I told the Ambassador of that country. I said "you were suggesting to us to make a certain march on the Capitol. The original Capitol is not far from here, although, there is another Capitol there. If we march on this Capitol here, the municipality of Rome is in no better position as far as the deficit is concerned. " (end of joke).
After this appeal to the major donors to consider a similar attitude, I would like to say why we are not quite sure that the projections of the Secretariat are correct, because, if I am exact, every fifty lire that the rate of exchange of the dollar loses on the Italian market it would mean a couple of million dollars more in the deficit of the Organization. At the time of the projection when the Finance Committee was in session, we were told that a special reserve account of minus 0. 9 at the end of 1987 would become minus 2. 9, which means $2 million higher if the rate of exchange of the dollar were 1350 instead of 1400. If you follow the fluctuation it was 1380 yesterday. It has never gone beyond 1400 in the last few days. God save us. We do not want the dollar to fall any lower than that but all possibilities are open, even 1300 is not ruled out by some experts, so the cash flow problem might exist even with the Director-General, with his suggestion of adjustments for $16. 4 million, plus taking $9 million from the Working Capital Fund will make it zero. No, it is not enough, we have to give the Organization that, could I say umbrella, and the umbrella is made by these gestures that I am glad to announce today.
Further, I have another little point, paragraph 44/45. In paragraph 44/45 of document CL 90/17 we took note in the Committee of the Director-General's position that as the Programme of Work and Budget had been approved by the Conference, he could not make Programme cuts at his discretion. One hundred percent in agreement with the Director-General, this is true, but not even the Council may authorize cuts in the Programme. We do not want cuts in the Programme. We do not want to frustrate the countries that are expecting the programmes to be completed, both the Regular Programme and the Technical Cooperation Programme; we have to do our utmost not to touch anything on the Programme; if anything can be slowed down, yes, but not cut. So cuts must be made elsewhere or we have to find additional resources.
The Director-General suggested that we have a Special Session on the 15th and 16th of December. We are ready to face this difficult task of examining the alternative measures for the middle term correction of the difficulties of the Organization, but the short-term cannot, I repeat, cannot be solved by the Finance Committee. I hope that my Chairman agrees. So this is the seat, this is the organ and beyond the limit of the 49 members of the Council--I met the representative of a couple of countries that do not sit in the Council; the way is open to them, especially if they are major donors, to waive for the time being the reimbursement of the cash surplus and leave it in the hands
of the Organization in which we have full confidence because the Organization oust not breed the outside image of a crisis and to talk about having recourse to a loan, to borrow money, although the Director-General is fully authorized to do so, finds us, as many of the countries here, in contrast, because that would mean that the Organization is going to be submerged and we do not want to leave this very very false image.
Final point on this intervention, paragraph 71; of course, as a member of the Finance Committee, Italy does not contest what has been approved by the Finance Committee with our concurrence. Nevertheless you have the second sentence of this paragraph which reads "If this expenditure were excluded there would have been a reduction in the support costs on both programmes. " So if my mother had been Mrs. Rothschild I would have been a very rich man! But what I would like to say is we want to continue this sentence and we could not do it in the Finance Committee. This is a point that has been raised by many delegations during this Council and it is very important to us because there are millions and millions of dollars that we spend through this Organization as support costs. If I recall what we discussed in the Finance Committee-it is open to everybody to look at the verbatim reports-chat percentage went a little below 12 percent because for 3 years, 1985, 1986, 1987, these support costs were burdened by the extraordinary cost of the FINSYS/PERSYS contract. Once the contract has been paid in full, I think that this percentage should come, in my own evaluation and my government's evaluation, below 12 percent. I sincerely hope that the Secretariat might subscribe to this expectation.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le délégué de l'Italie d'avoir bien voulu confirmer la décision du Gouvernement italien de renoncer à sa quote-part de l'excédent de trésorerie pour 1986, décision dont 11 nous avait déjà fait part lors d'une précédente réunion, et de procéder au paiement accéléré de sa contribution pour 1987.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I would like to express, on behalf of the Director-General, our heartfelt thanks to the Government of Italy for the decision which it has now taken to pay in full its assessed contribution for 1987 without deduction of the portion of the cash surplus from the previous biennium and also to advance the payment of its contribution for 1987. This comes as yet another remarkable gesture of support from the Government of Italy which is helping the Organization in so many ways.
I venture to hope that the appeal expressed by the representative of Italy to other countries to follow this example will indeed be heeded very seriously so that even if other countries are not yet in a position to announce decisions before the end of the Council session they may perhaps be in a position to do so when the time comes to make their payment of their 1987 contribution.
Amin ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (langue originale arabe): La délégation libanaise tient à remercier M. Bukhari, Président du Comité financier, pour son excellent exposé relatif aux rapports des cinquante-septième et cinquante-huitième sessions du Comité financier. Cet exposé clarifie toutes les questions traitées par le Comité financier. Cela nous satisfait pleinement étant donné la transparence de ses explications, qui ont dissipé tous les doutes que pouvaient nourrir certains esprits.
La délégation libanaise appuie les recommandations présentées dans ces deux rapports et surtout celles tendant à amender le statut du personnel, notamment pour fournir une aide aux fonctionnaires ayant des handicapés à leur charge.
La délégation libanaise saisit cette occasion pour remercier également l'Ambassadeur Pascarelli, représentant du Gouvernement italien, de toutes les mesures adoptées par le Gouvernement italien, qui a offert de grandes facilités à l'Organisation.
Rainer PRESTIEN (Germany, Federal Republic of): My delegation has decided this morning that we will refer (in our statement) to both agenda items 11 and 12. 2; even though this means dealing with at least five different documents I will nevertheless try to be as brief as possible.
Let me first of all thank the members of the Finance Committee, as well as the Secretariat for the work they have done and the presentation of the documents.
As regards documents CL 90/4 and CL 90/17 we largely share the results expressed in the report of the Finance Committee. We particularly welcome the savings in staff costs to the amount of US$29. 9 million achieved in the biennium of 1984-1985 as far as those were not due to monetary
influences. The transfer of US$15 million from this amount to the Technical Cooperation Programme, however, led to the building up of a high reserve as at 31st December 1985 under that budget item. The accumulation of such high reserves under one single budget estimate does not seem to us compatible with the principle of rational and economical use of the scarce funds available. We also believe that a much greater emphasis is placed on the programme through the building up of a reserve of more than 10 percent of the regular budget compared with the other programmes of FAO than had been envisaged by the Member States when setting up the TCP. On the other hand, however, we would also like to express our appreciation to the Secretariat for its budget management which in the biennium 1984-1985 led to a cash surplus of US$ 34. 7 million. In view of the present financial situation we support the Secretariat in continuing its policy of austerity, as reflected in particular in paragraph 25 of document CL 90/4 and paragraph 44 of document CL 90/17.
We regret that the related documents CL 90/17, CL 90/23, CL 90/24 and C 87/5 to 7 reached us so late for our preparation for this Council session. We therefore request the Secretariat to expedite the distribution of documents before such important meetings.
We understand the difficulties facing the Secretariat in the implementation of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986-1987 which are inter alia to be attributed to the difficulties as outlined in paragraph 27 of document CL 90/4 and paragraph 20 of document CL 90/17; for example, in the exchange and interest rates. Against this background it seems important to us that all Member States meet their commitments towards the Organization in accordance with the Constitution. Whether, and, if necessary, to what extent the Organization has to handle shortfalls of payments in the present biennium is not yet clear in detail in terms of figures. We therefore welcome the fact that the Director-General, in coordination with the Chairman of the Finance Committee, proposed to convene the Finance Committee for a special meeting on the 15th and 16th of December.
We can approve the draft resolution under paragraph 67 of document CL 90/17. I will comment on details of auditing later on. With regard to paragraph 73 of this document, we would be grateful for information about the cost borne by the Regular Programme.
In the statistics of personnel services, Tables I to IV, we note that the temporary contracts of less than 12 months are now also broken down by person/years. Including this category on the basis of Table IV, part A, in our calculation we come to a total staff number of 7 962 persons or person/years. This figure does not include short-term general service contracts. We would be grateful to the Secretariat for confirmation of this figure.
In paragraph 83, document CL 90/17 we welcome the improvement reached for staff with disabled dependents. The formulation contained in staff regulation 301. 0034: (iii) does in our view, however, not fully comply with the regulation adopted by the UN General Assembly. We propose to amend the staff regulation accordingly.
We agree with the statements in paragraph 85 of the document.
Let me now refer to documents C 37/5, 6 and 7. We wish to thank the External Auditor for the thorough auditing of accounts. We believe that the External Auditor submits in parts I-III a great number of suggestions and valuable recommendations to the Secretariat and Member States which we welcome. We consider the role played by the External Auditor within the framework of our overall joint activities an extremely positive contribution due to our own positive experience at national level with regard to auditing. We believe that the External Auditor has given us valuable orientation in the Reports available to us which the Secretariat and the governing bodies of the Organization should take to heart.
We particularly welcome the table in paragraph 5 of document C 87/5 which shows for the end of the 1984-85 biennium a cash surplus on the General Fund of almost 34. 76 million dollars.
I have already expressed our concern about the transfer of a very large budget share under the Technical Cooperation Programme.
With regard to paragraph 11 of document C 87/5 we believe that in connection with the unobliged sum of 376 711 dollars for the 1982-83 biennium a printing error has occurred. The transfer of this sum to "Miscellaneous Income" was effected in our opinion under Financial Regulation 4. 4, not 4. 3. Financial Regulation 4. 4 only provides that any remaining balances shall be credited to "Miscellaneous Income". Financial Regulation 4. 3 does not mention this transfer.
Apart from many other positive statements in the External Auditor's Report, we particularly welcome paragraph 16, which aims at linking more closely the existing data processing system, PLANSYS, to FINSYS and PERSYS which are not yet operational.
With regard to paragraphs 23 to 39 we feel that for future International tenders still greater importance should be attached to a greater competition of offerers.
In document C 87/6 we particularly welcome the decline in staff costs for project implementation in 1985 by 1. 3 percent as shown in the table in paragraph 13· We feel that the improvements which the External Auditor suggested in paragraphs 3 to 7 of his Report, document C 87/6, must quickly be put into practice. We particularly believe that there must be clarity as to which equipment belongs to the Inventory of our Organization and which was transferred to the recipient governments concerned.
In document C 87/7 we particularly appreciate the excess of income over expenditure set out in paragraph 6. Greater importance has to be attached, as we gather from the External Auditor's Report, paragraph 9, to a greater exchange of information between WFP Headquarters and the agencies in the field.
Mohammed ABDELHADI (Tunisie) (langue originale arabe): La délégation tunisienne a certaines observations à formuler au sujet des deux documents à l'examen (CL 90/12 et CL 90/17)·
En ce qui concerne le premier document, la délégation de mon pays tient à adresser ses remerciements au Directeur général pour ses efforts tendant à préserver les intérêts de l'Organisation sous tous les angles.
Nous estimons que les aspects juridiques concernant les locaux du Siège et leur élargissement pour englober les bâtiments et les terrains de l'Organisation sont d'une importance capitale. Nous aimerions donner notre appui aux mesures qui ont été prises en accord avec le Gouvernement de l'Italie au sujet de l'ensemble des bâtiments de Caraca lla, conformément à la correspondance échangée à ce sujet. Nous tenons à saisir cette occasion pour exprimer notre entière satisfaction au Gouvernement italien pour sa compréhension et pour l'aide qu'il nous a offerte. Le délégué de l'Italie nous a parlé d'une façon fort intéressante tout à l'heure. Cela consolide la position de l'Organisation et lui permet de mener ces activités avec beaucoup d'efficacité. Pour ce qui est de l'autre document CL 90/17, la délégation tunisienne en a pris connaissance avec beaucoup d'intérêt et a déjà exprime son opinion au cours d'une précédente réunion du Conseil au sujet des problèmes financiers de la FAO due au retard dans le versement de certaines cotisations. Nous avons des observations à formuler sur ce sujet et aussi en ce qui concerne le rapport du Comité financier, pour le programme ordinaire 1984/85, de même que pour le programme des Nations Unies pour le développement et le PAM pour la même période.
En ce qui concerne le Programme ordinaire de l'Organisation, la délégation de mon pays partage sa satisfaction avec le Comité financier pour ce qui est des observations du Commissaire aux comptes en ce qui concerne l'établissement et l'exécution du Budget conformément aux règles en vigueur et qu'il existe un contrôle strict sur la nomination dans les différentes divisions ainsi que sur les dépenses. Nous éprouvons une grande satisfaction pour les mesures prises par le Secrétariat pour augmenter l'efficacité des représentants dans les divers pays, comme la tenue de réunions au Siège pour fournir à ces représentants les informations nécessaires ainsi que les visites organisées dans les différentes régions. Je désire également formuler ma satisfaction pour le rôle du Gouvernement italien pour ce qui est d'une somme de 1 milliard de lires versée en 1987 concernant la location de locaux supplémentaires et aussi les réparations et améliorations apportées aux locaux actuels. Cela permettra à l'Organisation de mener son action avec beaucoup d'efficacité.
Pour le PNUD, la délégation tunisienne est tout à fait d'accord avec ce qui est dit dans le paragraphe 61, à savoir qu'a l'heure actuelle, la FAO met à exécution les recommandations du Commissaire aux comptes à cet effet. Pour le PAM, la délégation tunisienne a rendu hommage hier aux efforts gigantesques déployés par le PAM pour aider un grand nombre de pays, dont certains sont en Afrique, afin de combattre la crise alimentaire à laquelle font face ces pays. Le paragraphe 64 concernant le rapport du Comité financier nous amène à exprimer certaines inquiétudes au sujet des circonstances qui ont abouti à dénoncer le contrat original concernant le système de l'informatique du Programme alimentaire mondial, ce qui a abouti à la perte d'un important montant, sans aucune contrepartie. A cet effet, nous n'avons pas compris l'attitude du PAM qui n'a pas porté l'affaire devant les tribunaux. Nous partageons donc les inquiétudes du Comité financier. Pourrions-nous avoir des éclaircissement de la part du Secrétariat à ce sujet? Pourrions-nous savoir quelles sont les raisons qui ont amené le PAM à ne pas poursuivre la question en justice? D'autre part, nous demandons au Secrétariat de plus amples éclaircissements sur le contenu du paragraphe 65, à savoir qu'une aide alimentaire a été apportée à un pays asiatique ayant réalisé un excédent de céréales. Quelle en est la raison? C'est là une question qui n'entre pas dans le cadre des stratégies mises à exécution dans le PAM jusqu'à l'heure actuelle.
Enfin, la délégation tunisienne est tout à fait d'accord avec le projet de résolution concernant les comptes révisés qui seront soumis à la Conférence et aussi avec l'amendement de deux articles du Statut du personnel, comme mentionné dans les paragraphes 82 à 83 du rapport du Comité financier.
Nous sommes aussi d'accord sur le contenu de ce rapport d'une manière générale et nous voudrions féliciter M. Bukhari pour les efforts qu'il a déployés à la tête de ce Comité afin de suivre et de discuter des questions financières de l'Organisation et afin de revoir-ces comptes, ce qui a considérablement facilité la mission de ce Conseil.
James D. AITKEN (United Kingdom): With the decision to run items 11 and 12 together this statement will be rather longer than we would have wished and I apologize in advance.
To begin with the Finance Committee's Reports, these Reports provide us with a very useful insight into the Organization, its financial systems, its management and its personnel management.
We congratulate the Committee and its Chairman on its treatment of complicated and at times even opaque information.
We have already raised the question of programme delivery costs and we are glad that this important subject will now be considered by the Finance Committee at 1st meeting in May. We have of course accepted the Secretariat's offer of discussions with our specialist staff and we will be very happy to share our Information with the Finance Committee.
So far as other financial issues are concerned, we were a little surprised that the Committee did not appear to pursue some of the issues raised by the External Auditor's Report with greater vigour. We have a number of questions which we will raise in respect of the Auditor's comments.
The Finance Committee also deals with personnel matters and it is here in particular that we would have welcomed more information and a broader approach by the Committee to personnel issues. At a time when the Organization is under financial pressure we have to be satisfied that it is doing all it can effectively to manage its most important asset, the staff. We understand that many United Nations organizations have a system of regular performance appraisal of staff. Such a procedure obviously has values. It can be used for staff development, training and career planning. It also provides the Organization with a picture of individual performance which can provide a useful base for objective promotion procedures. We understand that FAO operates an appraisal system for field staff but that once staff has passed a provisional period in Headquarters there is no other appraisal system, although we understand that one has been under negotiation for some time.
In the absence of any information from the Finance Committee's Report we should be grateful for a Secretariat statement covering the following points. There are four points. First, for how long has there been no system of staff appraisal for Headquarters staff; secondly, when are discussions of the introduction of an appraisal system likely to be finalized; thirdly, will the appraisal system be integrated with a programme of staff career development training; fourthly, in the absence of an appraisal system what system is used to ensure internal consistency in the promotion procedure. This last question is, in our view, particularly important since over 60 percent of FAO vacancies are filled by internal promotion.
Turning now to the Financial Statements, we have already expressed concern with the style and format. The Financial Statements do not provide an adequate picture of the financial operations of FAO. It is not as the Deputy Director-General would have it, simply a question of transparency. It is, as we have said before, in our view the absence of basic information which we believe that senior management needs if it is to manage the Organization effectively.
In an international organization of this nature, we would not normally expect it to be left to the Member States in the governing body to seek out such Information. We would expect senior managers themselves to demand this information from their staff. For example, in an intervention on an earlier item Mr Crowter kindly offered to provide us with additional information. I should be very grateful if we could be given a statement showing the cash balances held-by FAO on a monthly basis, during the past and current biennium. This relates to the 300 million dollars we referred to earlier on FAO's liquidity.
We should also be grateful for a similar statement in respect of WFP assets. The cash balance for WFP has not, as far as we can see, been given to us. However, the interest on bank deposits is recorded at 38. 5 million dollars. This figure can be found in paragraph 10 on page 2 of the Financial Statement for WFP.
I should also like to repeat my request for a statement of the actual spending by FAO on the Regular Programme in the 1984-85 biennium. When I asked for this earlier, Mr Crowther referred to figures in the statement of expenditure. However, the definition of expenditure, at page 21 of the Financial statement of the Regular Programme, includes "outstanding obligations defined as prospective liabilities arising, for example, from binding contracts or purchase orders made". We all know that in certain circumstances where one signs a contract one makes a down payment but the final payment may not be due until some time later.
It is quite possible that final payments will be split across several biennia. It is for this reason we should like a clear statement of how much FAO actually spent in the biennium as distinct from expenditures as defined in the Financial Statement. I ask these questions because we find that the rolling budget account method used by FAO (a combination of cash, accrual and commitment accounting) makes comparison of one biennium budget with spending in the same biennium impossible. We would be happy to discuss these issues with the Secretariat when our experts are here to discuss programme delivery costs.
Turning to the External Auditor's report, we find a number of comments cause us serious concern, both in terms of specific issues and also because of the implications of the effectiveness of the financial and management systems at FAO. At this point I should like to endorse the comments made by the distinguished delegate of the Federal Republic on the role of the auditor and our thanks for the advice and assistance he gives us all.
We were surprised to read in the Auditor's Report on UNDP, of inadequate control of inventories. Two years ago in the Council when we referred to criticism of the way in which FAO failed to follow UNDP procedures, we were reassured by the Director-General that matters had been improved. It now appears that that reply was not comprehensive. We would be interested to learn of the reaction of UNDP to the auditor's comments.
In the circumstances, we should also like reassurance from the Secretariat that inventory control procedures exist for the Regular Programme and that proper control is exercised in a timely manner by the Secretariat.
Another area touched upon by the auditor is project design and control in the Trust Fund Wages Project. Again, we would like to learn from the Secretariat what steps are being taken to improve the standards of project design (in FAO) and control throughout the Organization.
The External Auditor's comments on the Regular Programme (paragraph 15 of his report), shows the absence of cost analysis. "Neither the accounting system nor the staff activity reporting system provide sufficient detail to disclose actual costs at the level of planned activities. " Given the financial problems faced by the Organization, we would be interested to learn whether senior management will modify PERSYS and FINSYS and other systems to provide this system.
The auditor's comments on the purchase of word processing equipment raises issues about the implementation and interpretation of FAO's management and financial procedures. It might have been instructive if the Finance Committee could have looked into the issues raised by the auditor in more detail and with greater vigour.
The main areas of concern appear to us to relate to an apparent failure to appraise the system before purchase, and the circumstances surrounding the decision to accept the alternative offer without seeking further bids. In order to provide a fuller picture of the background to this and to help us identify the areas of FAO's management's system which may require to be strengthened, we should be grateful if the Secretariat could provide us with the following additional information: first, was the manufacturer who was awarded the contract one of the three companies identified by the ISRC and referred to in paragraph 24 (iii) of the Auditor's Report.
Secondly, although there was no formal technical appraisal of this system, did any informal appraisal take place? Did any member of FAO staff visit the manufacturer to discuss their proposals? We understand that the FAO Manual (Section 502) permit non-competitive tendering in circumstances where identical equipment has been purchased within the previous 18 months. This was clearly not so in this case, as the other manufacturers had not submitted quotations for equipment to be purchased. In those circumstances, can we be informed at what level in FAO was the decision taken to waive competitive tendering, and at what level was this decision endorsed?
We should also like to know if the comments of the auditor have been formally drawn to the attention of the staff concerned, and whether there are any proposals to clarify the relevant parts of the Manual to eliminate any possible ambiguity in the circumstances in which competitive tendering is not a mandatory requirement. To enable us to appreciate the sequence of events, I should be grateful if the Secretariat could let us have details of the following dates when was the closing date of the original tender? On what date did FAO receive a fully coated specification for the alternative system? At what date did FAO authorize the first purchase order for the alternative system?
Finally, we should have preferred that at some point this Council could have continued to focus on the short-term financial situation of the Organization, during the second week. Our discussion under agenda item 12. 1 last week was in the nature of a first reading and was carried out in ignorance of a key fact. Only in the last minutes of the discussion did we learn that the United States would not be contributing 24. 7 million of its dues for 1986, and will be paying most of what it will be paying some months after the end of the year in question. Had these intentions been known with certainty earlier, representatives could have given advice to the Council.
I now read the wishes of the Council as shown in the Chairman's report Co give further time for an assessment of the actions which need Co be taken, in addition to the economies identified by the Director-General and for that assessment to be taken into consideration by the Finance Committee in December. In view of the closeness of that meeting, and acknowledgment by Members of the Council that the situation is a changing one which requires the Director-General to continue to take action on economies, my delegation can, with some reluctance, accept this procedure. However I would ask two things: first, that the Secretariat's acknowledgment that perceptions of the short-term crisis are still evolving as reflected in our report. Secondly, that views which do evolve significantly during the second week, may be expressed and noted during this meeting, perhaps during the adoption of the report, so as to give the best possible guidance to Members of the Finance Committee. This suggestion is made in order to ensure the best and most responsible use of this Council and the time of its Members.
Adel Helmy EL SARKI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): I should like to thank Mr Atif Bukhari for his very clear and succinct introduction to the report of the 57th and 58th Sessions of the Finance Committee. We have studied these documents carefully and we should like to express our entire satisfaction with them since they have dealt with all financial matters effectively which is ample proof of sound management and deep insight.
Milutin TAPAVICKI (Yugoslavia): I should first of all like to thank Ambassador Bukhari for his very clear presentation of the documents from the last two sessions of the Finance Committee.
I do not wish to make any comments concerning the report of the 57th Session. However, I should like to express an opinion in connection with the 58th Session of the Finance Committee on the questions of audited accounts.
The Yugoslavian delegation would like to express its satisfaction with the due attention and interest given by the Finance Committee in reviewing the reports and audited accounts for the FAO Regular Programme, UNDP and World Food Programme for the biennium 1984-85. . We welcome and support the Committee in its approach and appropriate comments on the External Auditor's findings and suggestions, paying full attention to the additional explanations made by the organizations concerned.
The Committee rightly expresses satisfaction with the External Auditor's global positive assessment of the review of the accounts. However, at the same time, we are supporting the Committee's conclusions in paragraph 56 (document CL 90/17) regarding the unforeseen development in the establishment of the word and data processing capacity within FAO, mainly due to the rapidly evolving technology in office automation and data processing.
The Committee was in a position to note that the remarks of the External Auditor regarding the under-utilization of the barges provided to the government concerned under the Inland Water Transport Project influenced FAO, UNDP and government-concerted positive actions to overcome the problem. We welcome the suggested actions.
In connection with the Italian Government's decision to supplement the one-time allocation for 1986 of one billion lira for covering the costs of the rental of additional office accommodation, we could not but join the Committee's expressed satisfaction.
The World Food Programme was faced by coincidence with more serious problems in the development of its computerized Information system leading to the abandonment of the initial contract of $3 million. This expensive experience indicates the necessity of even greater caution in the choice of computer techniques in the future.
The Committee further noted the comments and observations of the External Auditor regarding the World Food Programme's operations. We believe Chat the Committee's remarks and suggestions will be given due consideration, especially the reiterated position that whilst the foremost possibility was that the World Food Programme terminates at the moment of delivery of food aid to the authorities in the country the World Food Programme has the duty of assisting and encouraging the local authorities to ensure that the commodities reach the intended beneficiaries.
Finally, we fully support the draft Conference resolution on audited accounts submitted by the Committee.
Anwar Mohammed KHALED (Yemen, People's Dem. Republic of) (Original language Arabic): I should like Co preface my remarks by thanking Ambassador Bukhari, Chairman of the Finance Committee, for his very clear introduction to both reports from the Committee. I should also like to thank him for the unstinted efforts that he has devoted to deal with sensitive and serious issues.
I should like to express my delegation's support for the recommendations contained in both documents. We would like to commend the Secretariat for their efforts, particularly regarding financial measures, since receipts this year reached their optimal level in years. As regard the financial difficulties facing the Organization, we give our full support to what was said by the Ambassador of Italy, who has appealed to all countries to honour their commitments to the Organization and pay their contributions without delay. We should also like to express appreciation to Italy and the distinguished Ambassador of Italy for all the gestures that have been made which lead to a strengthening of the Organization. We thank them for paying the full contribution for 1987 and for what they have done regarding the headquarters premises.
We commend the Director-General for the skillful management of this Organization notwithstanding the financial difficulties. We are satisfied that measures have been taken which will strengthen the financial situation of the Organization, even beyond the present biennium. Finally, we are entirely satisfied with the positive observations of the External Auditor on budget planning and monitoring which he considered comprehensive and in order. We agree with the draft resolution on the Audited Accounts in paragraph 67 of the Committee's Report, calling for their approval.
George Henry MUSGROVE (Canada): We are grateful for your suggestion that we consider these items 11 and 12 together because, as the Chairman of the Finance Committee has indicated in his introduction, they do overlap and similar considerations are given in both documents. Initially, we had thought of putting our remarks in two separate parts, but we shall try to work them together.
Being a former member of the Finance Committee, it was with some nostalgia that I read these two reports from my present position of exile. One advantage of having been a member of the Committee is the ability to recognize the extended dialogue and differences of views that are frequently lying dormant behind the rather terse prose of the reports themselves. For the benefit of members who have not enjoyed the privilege of being on the Committee, I can assure them that the deliberations are familiar and not particularly different from those that take place in other committees of the Organization.
It is difficult to deal with one of these papers at a time. Therefore I shall try to make reference to the documents as I discuss them.
The first issue arising from the Finance Committee that caught our eye was the general question of transparency. This is a rather subjective question and we feel that perhaps we should explain that the word "transparency" is a contemporary one designed in the present context to mean the ability to see clearly, particularly by member management of the Organization, how things work and particularly how our money is spent, and as a result to make sound judgements on behalf of our governments. Comments in our meetings on the lack of transparency in some areas by our delegation and others are, I am afraid, too often met in a rather defensive way as if we were accusing the Secretariat of hiding something or witholding. Furthermore, perhaps believing that good offence is the best part of defence, the Secretariat drafts have taken on a rather offensive tone in recent months, as may be seen in paragraphs 68 to 73 of document CL 90/4, and even more in document CL 90/3 when we get to that item later in our agenda. If these thrusts are designed to inhibit member management from questioning a process or to bring discredit to those who do so, then we think it is a poor example for the multilateral system, particularly at a time when greater efficiency and effectiveness are sought and need to be seen to be demonstrated in order to build the necessary confidence in the system.
That having been said, we would like to thank the Secretariat for its partial response to our queries over the last couple of years on transparency, and that has to do particularly with the questions regarding staffing matters and the accounting for funds in the Technical Cooperation Programme. The charts on pages 16-22 of document CL 90/17, giving us statistics of personnel services, are to be welcomed. In due course we would like to see somewhat more in this respect, notably an organization-wide establishment chart replete with position numbers in place which would be augmented from time to time, perhaps quarterly, by an issued list of job numbers that are vacant. We should also like to have a somewhat better accounting on a historical basis of the numbers of contract employees versus continuing employees, as well as a man-year equivalent of contract and temporary employees on a similar basis.
With respect to the Technical Cooperation Programme, we are pleased that the accounting for funds and the explanation for expenditures, allotments, obligations, carry-overs, earmarkings, etc. , are becoming somewhat clearer to the contributing membership. We have also welcomed the Secretariat's implicit positive response to our previously expressed belief that Technical Cooperation Programme funds should be allocated or assigned within the appropriate period and not carried over from biennia to biennia as free-floating cash.
The tables provided in the annexes to the auditor's report in document C 87/5 shed additional light on these subjects. However, we still have some concerns about the use and management of the TCP funds, which we will not take time to go into today.
Both reports in CL 90/4 and CL 90/17 give us welcome news on the progress of the FINSYS/PERSYS systems. We note that a special team has been set up in-house to monitor the implementation of this project. Perhaps the Secretariat could tell us something about the relationship between this management group, I believe run from the Assistant Director-General, Finance and Administration's office, and the other in-house monitoring group of the Information Systems and Records Committee, the ISRC. Our reason for asking is that we have heard some corridor conversations in the last few days that ISRC had approved on 4 November the purchase for $1 million of a further computer for the operation of the FINSYS/PERSYS systems. If this information is correct-and as we see no report of it in our papers it may not be-could the Secretariat tell us whether this is a new expenditure and/or an unforeseen one?
Another issue on which we would welcome clarification, if this is felt appropriate by our colleague from Italy, is the matter of special contributions to the FAO. We had asked in a tentative way the other day a question which was very kindly responded to by Mr Crowther, but we would welcome further Information on these contributions, which we think are very generous indeed and which are outlined in paragraph 57 of document CL 90/17 and in paragraphs 40-43 of the Auditor's Report. The purposes for which these funds were intended or to which they were subsequently put are not entirely evident, although it has been estimated that they were intended in part to offset rental costs of additional accommodation.
As the Secretariat will know we have long been concerned with the World Food Programme and the World Food Council have been paying commercial rent for their premises, derived from monies, in the case of the WFP, destined for programme food aid. We understand that the Italian Government is seized by these problems and has promised some assistance in 1987. However, as the FAO is the intermediary with the Italian Government, with respect to the matter of the WFP's Headquarterts Agreement, we wonder if the Italian special contributions since 1971 were not intended, in part, to offset WFP's rental expenses. If so, have they been used for this purpose?
Perhaps the Secretariat, in its reponse, could shed some special light on this question or, alternatively, give us Information on the historical uses of this money from the 1971 or 1972 period. We note in this respect, in document CL 90/17 paragraph 90 that the World Food Council has been invited to move to an alternative location. We wonder if the Secretariat could give us some information about this. It seems to us that would be a very tragic move, if the Council were obliged to leave this building and its proximity to resources which are available to it.
There is another matter which is not clear to us. That is the matter of cross-subsidization, from the Regular Programme to the Field Programme. As the Organization is entering into a period of financial stringency (I have forgotten the term used by my Italian colleague this morning) I think it was "transitory period of financial liquidity problems", certainly not a crisis, but a period of financial stringency, it would appear prudent that the Regular Programme should not be charged with costs which should be properly placed elsewhere.
We can see, the problems which the Secretariat has. As the Director-General has often said, the Regular Programme and the Field Programme are virtually inseparable. However, we have heard at other times that Regular Programme officers spend as much as 30 to 40 percent of their time on Field Programme activities. Paragraph 73 of document CL 90/17 and paragraph 9 on page 2 of the audited accounts, make reference to a figure of $9. 5 million. We are not sure exactly what this figure means. Is it the total assessed value of cross-subsidization? If so was this sum somehow recouped from Field Programme monies? We would welcome further details in this area and a subsequent fuller consideration, perhaps in the context of a study on programme delivery costs, of the full extent of cross-subsidization between the programmes.
Turning specifically to the audited accounts as presented to us in document 87/5 we will confine our remarks to two issues. The first relates to the extremely interesting observations made by the Internal Auditor on Regular Programme monitoring. I would heartily commend to colleague delegates, particularly those present from the Programme and Finance Committees, a careful reading of paragraphs 7 to 22 of the Auditor's report. These can be found at pages 5 to 10 of document 87/5.
We preface our remarks on Chis section by saying that we do not treat these paragraphs as any criticism or condemnation of the Organization, but rather as a series of positive recommendations which would greatly enhance the process of project planning and indeed, the process of budgeting and subsequent monitoring and evaluation.
Canadian delegations for some years have been advocating increased attention to institutional accountability, with the prerequisite improvements in monitoring, budgeting and evaluation. We have long been concerned that the Finance and Programme Committees have not been fully effective management tools, due to the lack of definitive information available to them. Sometimes this concern has been expressed as a lack of transparency, used, we hope, in a constructive rather than a pejorative sense. In this connection, the External Auditor points out in paragraph 10. 1, that whilst the Regular Programme is built up from sub-programmes the present monitoring system does not disclose financial inputs at this level. Accordingly, he observed that there can be no export facto review of sub-programme expenditures. Similarly, there seems to be no monitoring of manpower levels at the sub-programme level, as he indicates in paragraph 10. 2. In paragraph 10. 3 it is indicated that the budgetary process is not equipped to monitor by objective expenditure, or to latterly review actual costs of such objectives of expenditure versus the proposed costs, when the programme was formed. These views are amplified in paragraphs 15. 1 to 15. 4 on page 8 of the report. We will not quote them or read from them again, but we feel that these observations are extremely pertinent.
We note the Secretariat's response that there is a need for flexibility in the programming exercise and that there are costs associated with the suggested changes in the PLANSYS system. We nevertheless urge that close attention be devoted to possible improvements in their planning and monitoring activities.
The second subject we would like to touch on is that of the procurement of word processing and data processing equipment. This is reported on by the External. Auditor in paragraphs 23 to 39 of his report. We are the first to acknowledge that whilst the area of EDP equipment, computing systems and so on, is an extremely tricky one, as is evidenced by the unfortunate experiences we have observed. in a wide variety of institutions, we do not want to be unfair in an area where technical changes occur very, very quickly. However, we have two concerns that we must express based on the information which is before us in this report. The first of these concerns process. We are particularly concerned that a control process put in place internally by FAO, namely the Information Systems and Resources Committee (the ISRC I believe it is called) seems to have been circumvented at a crucial stage in this particular procurement. We are also concerned that previous consultants reports seem to have been ignored and that specified requirements seen to have been lost sight of in implementing this contract.
Particularly, we are very concerned with the violence which has been done to the propriety of the tendering process. A process which was set up to avoid both abuse of the purchasing system and to provide protection from the appearance of any malfeasance.
In most tendering systems the submission of a non-conforming tender, namely the offer of equipment which was other than that specified, is either dismissed or, alternatively, other competing tenderers are offered a chance to bid on the same basis. In this case, neither appears to have been done and the contract was awarded to a firm, who had not previously done business with FAO and, who on the basis of this particular entree, apparently has sold considerably more equipment than was envisaged in their original tender price or was otherwise specified.
In its response to our queries on this point we would certainly welcome a reaffirmation of the Secretariat and its views that this process has been entirely proper. Also an indication as to whether they feel there might be some strengthening required in the Organization's procedures governing such procurements.
Finally, on the technical repercussions of this contract, we note that as the Organization moved to a word processing generation on a large scale, we completely sympathise with its desire, based on consultants' reports, to move beyond, stand alone or be independent of the word processing machinery, We also sympathise with the attention which it paid for seeking uniformity and compatibility. As we understand, from the paper in front of us, this resulted in the tender process seeking a number, some 19 I believe, shared-access systems which would combine the benefits of compatibility and intra-systems connection to those normally found on standard word processing equipment.
The contract as it eventuated seems to have gone for a very early version of an advanced local area network system, which has proved, for one reason or another, to be impractical to fully install. The result as we understand it although we do not understand it well, is that there are now some 200 word processors in place operating on a stand-alone basis, together with four large computer units in place, for which there appears to be no substantive use.
We understand that a move towards this local area network system has been put in abeyance, or on hold, pending further study and review. We wonder if the Secretariat could provide us with further information on this technical aspect of the computer problem. Particularly, as to whether there will be a substantive use found for the central computing units, the four units, that have not been implemented, installed or otherwise linked up to the word processing system. Will they be used ultimately in the local area network, or could they be used otherwise, for example, in connection with the FINSYS/PERSYS system?
Almir F. de Sá BARBUDA (Brasil): First I which on behalf on my delegation to thank Ambassador Bukhari for the comprehensive presentation of this item of the agenda. My delegation is very pleased with the work that has been done by the Finance Committe and we wish to comment on some features presented by the reports of its last two sessions.
Document CL 90/4 provides us, in paragraph 62 to 64, with the valuable Information of FAO's activities in support of TCDC in an area which deserves our full support. We are very pleased to note that both the Committee and the Joint Inspection Unit report both recognize that TCDC has been receiving careful attention by FAO governing bodies. We learned as well with appreciation that measures have already been taken to implement new computerized systems relating to financial data and personnel information and that phase one of the project will be completed by next spring.
We also appreciated the Information provided in regard to the relations between the Organization and the Host Government and that the traditional spirit of cooperation has prevailed in the discussions. The letter exchanged last June is a very positive sign of these understandings and they deserve the full support of this Council. We wish as well to thank the Italian Government for the very positive attitude announced this morning.
We wish as well to thank the Director-General, as stated in paragraph 74 to 77 of the report of the 57th Session of the Committee for having brought to the consideration of the Finance Committee this subject of greater transparency in the work of the Organization and for having made available the information requested by Member Nations on FAO's activities.
In relation to the audited accounts as examined by the report of the 58th Session of the Committee, we took special note that: first, the external auditor considered the system of budgetary planning and monitoring of Regular Programme inputs to be comprehensive and operating as intended. Second, the nature of programme budgetary requirements reflected the basic tests in financial rules. Third, the assessment of the external auditor was positive in regard to the systems and procedures for work planning. Fourthly, action has been taken to improve the quality and the regularity of FAO country representaive reports. We regard as very positive the conclusions reached by the Committee, even in relation to the FAO's reaction to the suggestions and recommendations for improvement presented by the external auditor, such as the futher development of PLANSYS which should be linked to the development of FINSYS and PERSYS and the framing of future tenders, paragraph 56.
We take note as well of the recommendations made by the external auditor in relation to the participation of FAO in the UNDP during 1984/85 and of the action being taken by the Organization to implement them, steps which were welcomed by the auditor.
In relation to the WFP report and statement, document C 87/7 we wish to remember that Mr Ingram, the Executive Director for the Programme provided, during the 22nd Session of the CFA, extensive information on the issue of the WFP information system raised by the external auditor. The CFA in its final report recognized that while regretting the money spent, the Programme had learned important lessons from its experience, as evidenced by the successful implementation of the first phase of WIS now in operation. My delegation believes that as a whole the reports of the external autitor are positive and that some constructive recommendations have been presented and will be implemented.
Finally, we wish to support paragraph 76 of the 57th Session that commends the Director-General's management of the Organization. We therefore wish to give our support to the draft resolution on audited accounts to be submitted to the Conference.
David Lawrence COUTTS (Australia): As I said in my intervention on this matter of the finances of the Organization last week, Australia was represented on the Finance Committee for both these sessions. In relation to the 58th Report I will just underline a couple of points.
We note that in relation to the proposal to provide office space for FAO in Harare. Zimbabwe, that the Committee expressed some concern about the type of arangement proposed and expressed a note of caution about the general extension of this kind of solution to the problem of office space for FAO representatives. We note that information will provided to the 60th Session of the Committee relating to arrangement for provision of office space for FAO representatives in Member Countries.
We also note the concern expressed by the external auditor mentioned in the 58th Report about the process of installation, of tendering for an installation of word processing and data processing equipment. On this issue I can only underline the comments already made by the United Kingdom and Canada on this matter and note that the Finance Committee was assured that the auditors' recommendations, including those in relation to framing of future tenders, had been accepted. We feel that the netting of such major contracts is a most important matter and that therefore particular care must be exercised by the organization in the processes followed in relation to assessment of system and awarding of contracts. We await the answers of the Secretariat to the questions raised by the United Kingdom and Canada with some interest.
We have already dealt the other day with our views on the proposals for dealing with the problems of delayed payments of assessed contributions and as we said, we support the Finance Committee looking at alternatives 3, 4 and 5.
On the specific questions of developments regarding Headquarters Accommodation we have no particular comments to make other than to remark that we see some merit in separate housing of FAO, WFP, IFAD and WFC consistent with sound financial management and budgetary limitations. We do note that there have been some uncertainties relating to the accommodation of the WFC and we trust that a solution can be found to the future housing of the WFC that is consistent with the interests and desires of both FAO and the WFC.
In relation to what the Finance Committee has to do in December, there have been a few comments on this. I must say the impression of my delegation, particularly in the light of the announcement made the other day by the United States, which gave a little more substance to the shortfall in finance that is going to be faced, is being faced, we do feel that the committee needs to concentrate, not just on the short term situation, which I believe is the more serious of the problems, but to start to look seriously at the longer term situation so that the Organization can start to address this problem of the shortfall in funds and what that means for the programmes in a serious way. In that context, in the present financial crisis the work of the Finance Committee assumes an even greater importance than in normal times. Australia will continue to do all it can to make that work useful and to see that it continues to contribute in a positive way to the efficient operations of FAO. In that context we are pleased to note, as was discussed earlier this session, and this was also mentioned by the United Kingdom, that the question of programme delivery costs will be considered by the Finance Committee next spring.
Lastly, we give our general endorsement to the question raised by some other speakers, particularly the United Kingdom and Canada and I commend those delegations for the detailed work that they have put into examining the reports.
In general terms the Australian delegations can endorse the acceptance by Council of the Finance Committee reports, including the draft conference resolution set out in paragraph 67.
Akbar Mirza KHALEELI (India): We are not members of the Finance Committee so that I think it is appropriate that we thank our colleague, Ambassador Bukhari for the very fair and useful manner in which the Finance Committee has done its work and reflected the comments of the external auditor.
I would like to convey our thanks to Ambassador Pascarelli and to Italy that this time it has improvised a reponse which is very sensible and generous.
It is not for us to recommend a course of action for a number of donor countries which have been generous for these many years but I do not think, it would be frivolous to state that part of the problems faced by the major donor are because of the intense balance of payments problems it is facing; but the balance-of-payments problems it is facing are really reflected by balance-of-payments surpluses that a number of other developed countries have benefited from and to the extent that a country like Italy, which has partly improved its balance of payments and other things, has responded in a positive way, which shows both a flexible and generous response.
I would like to draw attention to the point made by my neighbour, the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, that considering that this meeting of the Council was dealing with an important matter relating to financing and both medium-term and long-term problems, we wish the Secretariat had given us the information and the auditors reports in a more timely manner. After all, a number
of documents were circulated to us well in time. The auditors’ reports were ready quite some time ago and the Finance Committee also had done its job in September. No doubt there are problems in preparing documents all at once but considering the importance of the Council Meeting and the fact that the Director-General wanted the views of the Council on a number of matters, of which perhaps financial problems facing the Organization are the most important, we wish it could have been done earlier.
I do not wish to go into too much detail on many of the points raised by many of the representatives here, and particularly the very concrete points made by our colleague from Canada, put in a very civilized way, but I think it is but fair to separate some of the points made. One is the fact regarding the financial management and running of the FAO: the second is the report of the external auditor; the third is the examination of the external auditor's report by the Finance Committee. Part of the problems which have arisen are really that formerly auditing was really to see whether the rules had been observed. The question of a value-for-work audit is a concept which is only gradually being accepted even in governments and to some extent I think the problem has arisen because the external auditor, perhaps quite rightly, has under Article 12. 4 of the Financial Regulations gone into the question of the proper use, not just the proper procedures which are followed, of course. He has made certain points regarding proper procedures also but basically the line is, even if proper procedures have been followed, has money been put to proper use. We do not need to question the motivation or propriety of these things but I think that in fairness to the Finance Committee most of the points raised have been amply reflected in the Finance Committee's own Report. Obviously the Finance Committee cannot go into the same amount of detail as the external auditor, it has to summarize, and I notice most of the things are here and it is the duty of the Secretariat to take note of these points so that there is no recurrence of these problems.
In particular regarding the word processing issue which has been raised by a number of delegates, I do not want to labour further on it. There is a point made in paragraph 37 of document C 87/5. There is a further risk that the study may itself be constrained by the need to utilize existing equipment. This is a very serious matter but since the equipment has already been purchased the tendency is to accept the fait accompli and perhaps this may turn out to be rather economical, but this is a point which the external auditor has made which might need to be borne in mind.
However, I would also like to point out that the external auditor has brought to the attention of the Finance Committee the problems which arise from perhaps too detailed attention to procedures. If we observe document C 87/7, page 7, relating to the WFP, here there is no reference to disregard of procedures. It looks as though the WFP has not only followed procedures, but followed them over-scupulously, as a result of which a $3 million expenditure has been considered nugatory. I presume it means that that money has been lost or wasted. It goes on further to state: "When my staff examined the system in October 1985 it had been functioning for only a short period and was still suffering from a number of problems, of which the most serious was an unacceptably long response time. " I think the Finance Committee in dealing with both these matters has pointed out that the External Auditor had drawn attention to certain flaws and that the Finance Committee had drawn the attention of the Organization to take corrective action.
Suharyo HUSEN (Indonesia): First of all on behalf of the Indonesian delegation I would like to express my appreciation to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, His Excellency Ambassador Atif Bukhari, for his very clear and useful introduction to the documents before us, CL 90/4 and CL 90/17. My thanks to the Secretariat for providing us with the comprehensive documents.
I will start to express my delegation's views on document CL 90/4. My delegation welcomes and gives full support to the Report of the Fifty-Seventh Session of the Finance Committee. In line with the previous statement of my delegation concerning the financial crisis of the Organization I am concerned very much about paragraph 19 of CL 90/4, where 105 Member Nations made no payments against their 1986 assessment. I strongly support the appeal made by the Finance Committee, as contained in paragraph 26 of the document before us-that is, to appeal to all Member Nations to make a special effort to meet their outstanding contribution without further delay.
In this connection, my delegation would like to express its appreciation to the government of Italy for its efforts to help the Organization to overcome its financial problems, and I fully support the appeal made by His Excellency Ambassador Pascarelli in his statement this morning. Hopefully the steps taken by the Italian Government will be followed by other large contributors.
Regarding the Report of the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Finance Committee, as contained in document CL 90/17, 1 would like, to present my delegation's views as follows. My delegation welcomes and fully approves the Report. My delegation fully agrees with the Finance Committee's concern about a significant imbalance as regards the recruitment of consultants on a regional basis, as set out in paragraph 9 of the document before us, namely to urge the Secretariat to make further efforts in improving the recruitment of consultants in the future.
My delegation welcomes and appreciates the Report of the External Auditor under Regular Programmes 1984/85, UNDP 1984/85, and WFP 1984/85. My delegation gives full support to the Draft Resolution on audited accounts to be provided to the Conference for its approval.
My delegation fully agrees with paragraph 80 regarding the Finance Committee's concern on updating the statistics on personnel services.
Regarding amendments to Staff Regulations 301 0333 and 301 0334, my delegation gives its approval to the amendments set out in paragraph 83, page 23 of document CL 90/17·
Evlogui BONEV (UNDP): I will be very brief as I am responding to the specific request of the delegate of the United Kingdom, who expressed a desire to hear the reaction of UNDP specifically on the Auditor's Report on the status of funds advanced to the FAO by UNDP and more specifically on the review of the Inventory FAO controls for UNDP equipment.
UNDP studied the documents presented to the Council on this matter and noted the Report of the External Auditor on the statement showing as at 31 December 1985 the status of funds advanced to the FAO by the United Nations Development Programme.
I would like just to explain what is the normal proceeding in UNDP in cases of Auditors' Reports. The Auditors' Reports of executing agencies are usually, normally submitted to the Governing Council each year together with the report on what follow-up action that UNDP and the agency concerned has taken in respect of observations made by the auditors. I contacted my headquarters about this question and I understand that the Administrator is taking steps in conjunction with the FAO to have a meeting of the responsible departments and arrange that measures are taken that the recommendations of the Auditors are being put into implementation, as the Administrator is fully accountable to the Governing Council for the aspects connected with the UNDP utilisation of funds by agencies. However, proper control over equipment financed from UNDP funds is primarily the responsibility of the executing agency.
S. Gblorzuo TOWEH (Liberia): I would like to take this opportunity to express on behalf of my delegation our gratitude to the Chairman of the Finance Committee for his Report.
Regarding contributions, I am pleased to inform you that we have brought with us our 1986 contribution and we will do all we can to pay our arrears before the first half of 1987.
Regarding the Auditors' Report, we hope that the Secretariat will take note of the recommendations therein.
Finally, let me add my voice on behalf of my delegation to other delegates who have thanked the Italian government for the extra efforts being made towards our Organization.
Meanwhile I would like to take this special opportunity to express on behalf of my delegation our gratitude to the Director-General and his staff for trying their very best to cut down some of the expenses and keep our budget in line.
Sra. Mercedes FERMIN GOMEZ (Venezuela): La delegación de Venezuela quiere simplemente expresar primero su satisfacción por el informe que estamos estudiando y, por ello, presenta sus congratulaciones al amigo Embajador Bukhari que lo ha presentado. Luego, expresar nuestro apoyo a este informe, pero no quisiéramos dejar pasar por alto algo que no sé cómo llamarlo, que no nos satisface plenamente y es el tono de las críticas, de las observaciones que encontramos en algunas delegaciones, especialmente en el Reino Unido, Canadá y Australia, en donde revela que se está estudiando un informe de finanzas como si esto fuera una empresa y nosotros fuéramos unos accionistas que estamos estudiando al detalle las ganancias y las pérdidas que tenemos de nuestro dinero invertido, y yo tengo entendido, y asi lo piensa Venezuela y supongo que los países en desarrollo así lo miran, que esto no es una compañía para invertir y para ganar; es una empresa. Si vamos a ver qué responsabilidad tenemos, no tan solo con los países en desarrollo, sino con aquellos
países que a la gente le gusta llamar del Tercer Mundo, no sé por qué en un todo medio despectivo, queriendo decir los países que todavía no han alcanzado la categoría de países. No olvidemos por qué estos países están todavía asi, y nosotros los países del Tercer Mundo, que también pasamos por ese periodo, que apenas salimos de él o empezamos a salir de él hace 150 años, que no hemos recorrido a plenitud el camino del desarrollo para sentirnos en igualdad de circunstancias con los países que les gusta llamarse desarrollados. Por esta razón pienso que esto, que esta participación en la FAO no es la participación de un inversionista que quiere ver cuanto resulta su dinero y cuanto le gana y cuánto se pierde, sino que es una responsabilidad colectiva de la humanidad con esos países a quienes debemos, en cierta manera, con un criterio distinto, ayudar para que puedan disfrutar alguna vez, no sé cuándo y en muy largo plazo, de esa presuposición que está escrita en la carta de las Naciones Unidas, a la cual ellos tienen derecho; es decir, ser países soberanos capaces de la autodeterminación como pueblos libres para darse no solamente el gobierno, sino una vida mejor.
Por esa razón, cuando encontramos comparaciones en algunas de las intervenciones como una que voy a dar sólo por ejemplo como muestra, comparar las toneladas o lo que cuesta mandar toneladas del PMA y lo que cuesta un programa de capacitación de la FAO, yo pienso que no es lo mismo llenar estómagos hambrientos con excedentes de éste o aquel país que tratar de preparar mediante un programa de capacitación, de educar esta gente que está atrasada, que son los programas de la FAO. No podemos establecer una comparación en un sola linea de este programa y de aquel otro y de lo que cuesta este programa y de lo que cuesta el otro, y casi todos los ejemplos y todas las críticas que hacen estos países al Programa de la FAO, puestos siempre en blanco y negro, son de esta misma naturaleza. Por eso, yo pienso que, sin ser excesivamente tolerante o como se dice en inglés sin ser lenient, no podemos dejar de pensar que los programas de la FAO deben ser tomados, considerados y evaluados con este criterio, que no es un criterio de comerciante, que no es un criterio de rendimiento de dinero, sino que es un criterio con el que se tienen que valorizar ío que esos programas significan, lo que ellos dan a esos países y a esos pueblos que los están recibiendo. Es algo que no podemos valorar en dinero, en dólares, céntimos o en bolívares, o en liras, sino son programas y resultados que debemos valorar desde otro punto de vista. Y me excusan por algo que puede parecer inoportuno, pero que están de acuerdo con mi criterio y con mi sentimiento.
Elio PASCARELLI (Italy): I am sorry to delay this debate which has already taken so much time. However, I asked your permission to come back on the point concerning organizational matters. I refer to document CL 90/17, this time as Host Country, and nothing to do with the financial, or so-called liquidity problems.
In the report of our Committee-and I am glad that at least some of the Members did pay tribute to the Members of the Finance Committee-I heard some criticism as though the Finance Committee had been sitting for ten days for nothing; the discoverers of some points to pick out and show off. I am so sorry to say that because as a Finance Committee we have done our job. We are very proud of what we have presented. I am very grateful to those who have expressed their appreciation for what we have done, in particular, the Ambassador of India mentioned that.
I should like to touch briefly on one point raised in the Finance Committee. We were committed to report to the Council, (following the Conference vote) on the relationship with the Host Government, on two points-privileges and immunity. Two months ago in the report, we gave a summary of the efforts we had undertaken. I am glad to report to this Council that we are so close to a conclusion, in the most liberal way, of our so-called differences with the Organisation. Concerning both privileges and immunity, we have practically reached an agreement. I had hoped that we could have signed it. The other day my Minister said "You have not signed yet? What are you waiting for?" I called the Secretariat and I am very hopeful that we might tell you that there are no clouds in our skies.
By the way, when I began my career, Count Sforza was our Minister and he was famous in Europe for a book called "Builders and Destroyers" ("costruttori e distruttorl"). As a diplomat at the end of my career, I am very happy to have operated wherever possible among the "costruttori" and not among the "distruttori"-builders and destroyers or demolishers. Being a builder I have to talk about buildings.
We have the agreement that has been submitted to you, in the exchange of letters between the Director-General and myself. May I announce to the Council that after presentation of the Bill to Parliament, the Senate is handling the matter, and we fervently hope that by the end of this year the Bill will be approved and so the Lit. 25 billion, perhaps worth a little more a year ago-fortunately not much, because the rate of inflation has been quite moderate, but this Lit. 25 billion for the buildings is, as we say, sliding over to 1987. It is not entirely our fault or that of FAO either. We had some postponement due to procedures to be followed, and then a crisis occurred and then we had summer, so the whole thing was delayed by at least six months.
In the new premises that you see on the plans and exchange of letters, FAO will prosper we hope, but not grow too much-family planning must be applied here. We also hope that the little difference that has been mentioned by my Canadian colleague on the World Food Council accommodation can be solved. As a matter of fact, these buildings will be large enough to accommodate FAO as it is projected, but unfortunately not the World Food Programme. This is a new announcement that I am making today: the World Food Programme is going to have a different building together with IFAD. Of course, since the World Food Programme is part of FAO and part of the UN at the same time, they have no autonomy and a Headquarters Agreement will be needed by the time that the building is ready. Provisionally we are going to make all efforts in order to help the World Food Programme to pay the rent with money not subtracted from the contributions to the operations of the Programme. Already this year we have given half of the rent, and next year we hope to give the full rent. I cannot promise, because I am not the Treasury Minister and as I said last time it will have to be discussed.
In the document presented to the Council by the Secretariat (page 3, paragraph 8, document CL 90/22) I read the last sentence of paragraph 8 (English text) "Moreover, it is hoped that, in the light of the considerations set out in paragraph 5 above, appropriate arrangements can be made separately with the Government regarding the status of the rented premises"·
If we take care when reading the exchange of notes between the Director-General, Dr Saouma, and myself, we will find in the very first sentence of the letter from Dr Saouma, and I quote: "In order to avoid offices of the Organization being situated outside the said complex and in buildings that are not owned by the Italian State. " This affords me the occasion to make it clear and ask the question "What is it actually that FAO expects of us through these "appropriate arrangements" if not relying completely on the goodwill of the Government of Italy?" We have not considered any steps that might need ratification by Parliament. The Legal Counsel of FAO is very well aware that a previous exchange of letters covering the first addition we made to building "A", (B, C and D etc. ) have been blocked in a branch of Parliament, which means that they do not want to approve it. They would not approve now because this is a comprehensive exchange and the definition of the Seat of the Organization is here, not outside. Whatever FAO has outside has to run risks, and they know what the risks are. Fortunately, we have no clouds in our sky concerning immunity and we hope never to have any.
I think that is about all I have to say on the subject concerning the contributions from 1971-72 to 1985-86, I do not think it will be so interesting for the Council to listen to. There is a Finance Committee, let the Finance Committee do its job and not make another Finance Committee out of this Council.
Joseph TCHICAYA (Congo): Ma delegation tient à remercier le Président du Comité financier pour son excellente introduction de ces deux documents. Nous tenons à associer à ces remerciements tous les membres de ce Comité important et dont le travail a toujours été apprécié par notre Conseil. Nous félicitons donc tous ceux qui ont oeuvré dans cet excellent travail accompli au cours des 57ème et 58ème sessions.
Nous avons lu avec beaucoup d'attention ces deux rapports et nous félicitons la FAO de la manière dont elle s'acquitte de ses obligations. Tout d'abord la lecture de ces documents fait apparaître que la FAO a réalisé des économies sur les dépenses de personnel, de près de 30 millions; c'est un fait encourageant et 11 convient que le Conseil en prenne acte.
Nous félicitons également la FAO de l'excédent de trésorerie de plus de 34 millions pour l'exercice 1984-85; et nous nous associons à l'appel lancé, et à l'exemple donné par l'Italie pour que tous les Membres de notre Organisation renoncent volontairement à leur part dans le partage de cet excédent.
Pour terminer l'examen de ce document CL 90/4, je tiens à dire que notre délégation apprécie le fait que le Directeur général veille à une plus grande transparence dans les activités de la FAO, dans le but de créer un climat de confiance entre le Secrétariat et les pays membres. Il nous faut rendre hommage à cette façon de faire; il ne faut pas que le Secrétariat soit frustré lorsque nous disons qu'il y a manque de transparence; comme l'a dit le délégué du Canada, il s'agit là d'un sujet subjectif. Quand on parle de transparence, tout dépend de ce que l'on cherche et de ce que l'on veut y voir. Et lorsqu'au niveau du Comité des programmes, nous avons analysé cette question, nous avons pensé qu'il fallait éviter, du fait de nos trop grandes demandes, une surcharge de l'Organisation. Ce qu'a dit tout à l'heure l'Ambassadrice du Venezuela est assez indicatif. Il nous faut savoir que certaines opérations de la FAO sont difficiles à évaluer et lorsque l'on demande des évaluations sur tel ou tel domaine n'oublions jamais que les meilleures sont celles faites sur le terrain; mais, justement, tout dépend de celui qui donne son appréciation.
Pour en venir au document CL 90/17, et notamment au rapport sur les comptes vérifiés, nous dirons d'emblée que la délégation du Congo souhaite que l'on recommande à la Conférence l'adoption de ces comptes vérifiés. Nous estimons effectivement qu'ici, la FAO travaille bien. Certes, nous ne pensons
pas que la FAO ne soit pas perfectible. Nous pensons qu'elle doit tenir compte des suggestions qui sont faites pour qu'elle améliore ses méthodes de travail et de gestion. Je pense que toute organisation aspire à cela.
Il en est de même pour le Programme alimentaire mondial. Des erreurs ont certainement été commises-elles sont signalées au paragraphes 64-mais nous espérons qu'elles ne se reproduiront pas et que tout ira pour le mieux dans les années à venir.
Voila ce que je tenais à dire. Ma délégation accorde son appui à tout ce qui est proposé concernant les fonctionnaires ayant des handicapés à leur charge.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Siempre nuestro colega Bukhari, Presidente del Comité de Finanzas nos ha hecho una excelente presentación. Queremos sumarnos a lo que acaba de decir nuestro vecino de la derecha el Embajador del Congo, en el sentido de apoyar la actitud positiva del Embajador Pascarelli y reiterar el llamado para que otros países, sobre todo importantes contribuyentes, asuman una actitud semejante.
Empezamos por declarar que la delegación de Colombia reconoce el derecho legitimo que tienen los representantes de todos los Estados a preocuparse por la buena marcha de la Organización y, desde luego, serla deseable que ese celo y esa inquietud tuviera el mismo cumplimiento no sólo en la FAO, sino en todas las demás organizaciones. Estamos de acuerdo con lo que ha dicho la distinguida Embajadora de Venezuela sobre la forma como se ha planteado este debate y también con el Embajador Pascarelli, quien ha dicho que éste es el Consejo que tiene un organismo asesor muy importante, que es el Comité de Finanzas y, como su nombre lo indica y sus funciones lo determinan, es el ámbito adecuado para tratar estas cuestiones.
Realmente, queremos hablar con toda sinceridad. Pensamos que hemos asistido esta mañana con atención y con todo respeto a las declaraciones que se han hecho, sobre todo porque sabemos el trasfondo y el sentido hacia donde van dirigidas esas declaraciones. Pero hubiera sido mejor plantear todo esto en una perspectiva más adecuada, para beneficio mismo de quienes han hecho estas declaraciones. Si ellos en privado se dirigen a la Secretaria habrían recibido inclusive información mas detallada, más directa de la que han podido obtener aquí en el seno de este Consejo. Hubiera sido más conveniente no habernos hecho perder el tiempo, aunque siempre les respeto y reconozco su derecho a intervenir, pero habría sido más eficaz para ellos mismos.
También olmos con atención al representante de un país cuyo gobierno es miembro del Comité de Finanzas. El representante de ese país apoyó lo que hablan dicho Reino Unido y Canadá, pero leyendo el informe del Comité de Finanzas observamos que el representante de ese mismo Gobierno en el Comité de Finanzas no dejó ninguna reserva. Aquí parece que el Comité de Finanzas, y esto podrá confirmarlo el Presidente, estuvo unánime en reconocer que se hablan hecho observaciones que eran constructivas y que la Secretarla las aplicaría y todo se mejoraría en el futuro.
Yo creo también, que cuando se interviene en debates como éste seria necesario tener en cuenta el respeto que todos debemos sentir por una Organización a cuya Administración hemos concedido nuestra confianza y, por lo tanto, tal vez, lo decimos de manera flexible, no sería conveniente suscitar dudas o plantear criticas que no están debidamente fundadas y pueden crear malestar o incertidumbre injustificadas·
Hemos admirado muy sinceramente a unos distinguidos colegas que están cerca de nosotros, delante de nuestra fila en esta Sala, que intervienen con un estilo de aparente ingenuidad por el tono y el contenido un poco sibilino de sus declaraciones, que siempre comienzan con felicitaciones, agradecimientos y elogios a la Secretaria y que luego expresan ironías, comentarios más o menos velados que reflejan una profunda y bien dirigida malicia refinada, que se enfrenta con nuestra propia malicia, que es indígena y por lo tanto es más aguda y genuina. No acostumbramos a pronunciar el nombre de ningún país y tampoco lo haremos esta mañana, pero admiramos que sus delegados vengan desde Londres muy bien preparados, muy documentados. Nos suministran aquí una proliferación de datos increíbles, pormenorizados, demostrando un conocimiento profundo de lo interno de la Organización, que no lo tenemos ni siquiera nosotros, los que vivimos a este lado del Canal de la Mancha.
Esta observación la hacemos, señor Presidente, de manera muy espontánea, desprevenida y sin ninguna alusión a un pasado reciente. De todas maneras yo creo que seria lamentable que se instrumentalizaran cuestiones que en el pasado se han considerado rutinarias para tratar ahora de vincularlas a circunstancias coyunturales bien conocidas, para utilizarlas con ciertos fines
discutibles. Afortunadamente la gran mayoría de los miembros de este Consejo, por lo menos 46, somos personas que actuamos con mucha sensatez, con buen ánimo y que, naturalmente, respetamos la manera como actúan otros colegas. Sin duda convendría en el futuro que se tuvieran en cuenta ciertas maneras de actuar, porque la democracia ofrece sitios, oportunidades y formas para lograr ciertos propósitos, lo cual no corresponde al marco dentro del cual se ha adelantado este debate en el seno del Consejo.
Parece también que algunos de nuestros colegas estuvieran demasiado agitados, profundamente inquietos, tremendamente exacerbados, hasta una obsesión que llega a enseriecerlos un poco. Yo me habla olvidado de un asunto que planetó la delegación de Colombia en la Sala Verde. Por eso agradezco a los colegas Embajadores de India y Congo que hayan recordado el párrafo 64 del documento 90/17, donde habla de tres millones inútiles que se perdieron, pero en fin, esas cosas para esas otras delegaciones no tienen importancia porque el objetivo es otro y está bien identificarlo.
Finalmente, queremos manifestar que cuanto a licitaciones, contratos, representantes de los informes en los palees, la Secretarla les va a responder, pero en el caso de Colombia cuando tenemos dudas respecto a estas materias nos acercamos a la Secretaría y siempre encontramos una respuesta amplia, transparente, detallada y muy acertada.
Creemos que el Auditor hizo observaciones, que el Comité de Finanzas las consideró constructivas, que la Secretaria las ha recibido con espíritu sereno y que se ha manifestado despuesta a explicarlas, luego la situación es satisfactoria, aprobaremos el proyecto de Resolución que mandaremos a la Conferencia y confiamos todos en que se va a seguir mejorando la gestión de la FAO.
José Ramón LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (México): La delegación de México, como todas las que nos han precedido en el uso de la palabra, expresa su más sinceras felicitaciones al Presidente del Comité de Finanzas por el estupendo informe que nos presentó esta mañana y también por haber dirigido de manera tan eficaz y sabia los trabajos de dicho Comité. Sé que es tarde, señor Presidente, y mi declaración, por tanto, será breve. Por eso quiero unirme a las declaraciones de Yugoslavia, Brasil, Liberia, India, Venezuela, Congo, y ahora Colombia.
Agradecemos junto con estas y otras delegaciones al Gobierno anfitrión por su postura y reacción tan positiva hacia la FAO y también nos congratulamos de las buenas relaciones entre nuestra Organización y ese Gobierno. Agradecemos al Director General su esfuerzo de transparencia que deja ver la eficiencia alcanzada por nuestra Organización. Elogiamos en este sentido el esfuerzo y la consecución de importantes economías que muestran cuánto se ha avanzado el lograr ahorros y hacer más eficiente los trabajos, la función de la FAO. El proceso de una mayor claridad, presentación y de mejoras en esa eficiencia en los trabajos de FAO, son necesariamente procesos paulatinos; pero si miramos para atrás constataremos todo lo que se ha alcanzado gracias a ese esfuerzo y empeño del Director General y de su equipo. Es ese un hecho, es esa una referencia seria y firme y no una cuestión subjetiva como lo puede ser el juicio circunstancial de una transparencia que cada quien entiende de manera distinta.
Hoy debemos constatar que nuestra contribución a FAO se gasta mejor y con mejores resultados, a pesar, ciertamente, de que nuestra Organización es hoy más grande y más compleja, pero también más eficaz.
Subrayamos la flexibilidad que debemos darle al PCT y que éste no se sujete a fórmulas administrativas restrictivas que castiguen su ejecución y manejo amplio.
Respecto al informe del Auditor Externo, con congratulamos de las conclusiones positivas que se tienen, y en relación a las dudas presentadas, y otras cuestiones aquí evocadas, estas deben verse a la luz de lo dicho por la delegación de Venezuela, es decir, en un contexto más amplio en donde se entienda la función y las prácticas de una Organización tan compleja y con propósitos distintos a ser reducida a criterios de costo-beneficio. En todo caso, y sin atropellos deben llevarse estas cuestiones en particular por su detalle técnico al Comité de Finanzas para su estudio detenido y profundo.
Recordamos que el contexto en el que se encuentra la FAO, es decir, frente a las dificultades de liquidez que enfrenta, nos debe llevar a apoyarla ahora mucho más que antes, por eso no creemos pertinentes ciertas expresiones que pudieran debilitar o poner en duda y en forma a priori y prejuiciadas el concepto de eficiencia y de competencia para alcanzar sus metas con que el mundo ve y debe ver a nuestra Organización. Esas dudas deben dirimirse con toda tranquilidad y seriedad. Esto no es un circo donde se lanzan fieras para que se coman a inocentes. Es un Consejo donde nuestros juicios y conclusiones deben estar fundamentados sobre todo en el tipo de debates y de conclusiones técnicas que se realicen previamente en consultas con la Secrertaria y también por los Organos, o bien Comités especializados, y responsables de ello, tal como el Comité de Finanzas.
Ciertamente nos preocupan las dudas expuestas por el Auditor Externo y esperamos que la Secretaría dé ahora respuesta a ellas en la medida de lo posible, así como a las preguntas aquí formuladas y que estas cuestiones se lleven finalmente al Comité de Finanzas, como ha sido ya propuesto.
En relación al equipo electrónico, aunque nos preocupa lo que nos dice el Auditor Externo, nos congratulamos de que la FAO no haya perdido recursos como lo hicieron lamentablemente otras Organizaciones. En todo caso, nos gustaría saber en relación al Programa de Campo que muestras usó el Auditor Externo en relación a los informes de los representantes de FAO para llegar a las conclusiones a la que llegó.
Nosotros consideramos que este Consejo debe llevar a la consideración de la Conferencia la resolución que el documento que ahora tratamos, propone y presenta.
Leopoldo ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Queremos felicitar a nuestro amigo el Embajador Bukhari por la presentación de los temas que estamos discutiendo. Fue una presentación amplia, pormenorizada y razonada del trabajo arduo y eficiente que ese Comité ha realizado en estos temas.
Queremos también felicitar a Italia por su apoyo franco a la FAO: felicitar a Italia y a su embajador Pascarelli por su dinamismo en la gestión dentro de FAO.
Realmente nos preocupa la forma en que se esta discutiendo. Queremos también expresar que cuando estamos sentados aquí de antemano ya reconocemos el derecho que todos tenemos a analizar, a discutir, a discrepar y a proponer, pero también tenemos que analizar los métodos para realizar esa acción de participación.
Los mecanismos financieros que hoy se cuestionan, o que se están cuestionando, los mecanismos financieros en su totalidad, se viene haciendo desde hace muchos años; entonces, nos preocupa que sea ahora, precisamente ahora que se exponga ese criterio total contra los mecanismos financieros de la Organización.
Todos sabemos que los que han hablado en forma, diríamos, vamos aser gentiles, en forma en que han decidido resolver de una vez y por todas una idea personal, han tenido una intervención muy amplia, muy activa en relación a las finanzas no solamente en la FAO, sino en todos los organismos financieros del orbe en que participan activamente. Una prueba de que tienen competencia y experiencia es que nuestro Auditor es inglés y lleva muchos años, muchos años; creo que en la ultima Conferencia discutíamos la procedencia o no de volverlo a contratar y se planteó que por su capacidad, por su eficiencia y porque conoce muy bien la FAO y sus mecanismos había que aprobarlo; eso fue dicho así en la Conferencia pasada, por lo tanto, creo que los más capacitados en este cónclave colectivo de discusión tienen oportunidad siempre, durante todo el tiempo, de ayudar, de prevenir, de aconsejar, pero no es útil esperar un momento equis, un momento crítico para poner en tela de juicio aquéllo en lo que se ha participado tan activamente.
La señora embajadora de Venezuela nos ha dado una lección muy interesante de comportamiento en la comunidad internacional. Es verdad, la responsabilidad colectiva de la humanidad tiene que imponerse en contra de una inversión con objetivos específicos de ganancias.
Queremos también decir que si es difícil, como se ha dicho por algunos colegas, estudiar con suficiente tiempo un documento, que se nos entrega relativamente tarde, o una semana antes del evento, si es difícil hacer eso mucho más difícil, o menos posible, es esperar que entendamos un análisis tan pormenorizado que trata de destruir el trabajo de una Secretaria y de un Comité, que son órganos colectivos, conformados colectivamente, y se trata de destruir con un análisis que podríamos con tiempo suficiente y con especialistas desentrañar para saber qué se pretende, pero que en una hora antes yo no puedo entrar a considerar esos criterios, no es posible que en una hora me expliquen a mí todo lo contrario de lo que, un poco tarde, la Secretaría me entregó una semana antes.
Ante esta situación considero que todas las observaciones han sido analizadas. La Secretaría tomará nota, o ha tomado ya nota sobre aquellas que tengan solución, pero también que tengan soluciones inmediatas, así como creará las condiciones para que los futuros eventos del Comité de Finanzas entren a analizar las soluciones de las restantes.
Por lo tanto, nuestra delegación apoya en todas sus partes los documentos presentados por el Comité de Finanzas, presentados por el embajador Bukhari.
Queremos hacer un apoyo especial a los trabajos de este Comité de Finanzas y además queremos aprobar el informe del Auditor interno con todas aquellas cuestiones en las que ha hecho hincapié y que el Comité de Finanzas analizó y aceptó para crear mejores condiciones de trabajo.
En el mundo, no de hoy sino de todas las etapas de la humanidad, lo perfecto no existe; el perfeccionismo es la enfermedad de lo perfecto y hay que aspirar a la eficiencia, a la utilidad, a la creación, pero creo que es una sobreestimación crear la perfección.
La FAO tiene aceptado por el Comité de Finanzas, algunas deficiencias en algunos aspectos de trabajo, lo reconoce y está trabajando por resolverlo, pero también a la FAO hay que ayudarla, no se puede solamente criticar y negarle fundamento de este trabajo financiero, que el fundamento del trabajo financiero es la contribución a la que están obligados a dar, obligados, digo la palabra, y que no ofenda a nadie, obligados, que cuando estamos dentro de una comunidad estamos obligados a recibir y a dar por que esa es la comunidad; si yo quiero nada más que recibir no es una comunidad.
En ese sentido, queremos, repito, apoyar los informes y el informe del Auditor interno y que se presenten a la próxima Conferencia.
The meeting rose at 13. 00 hours.
La séance est levée à 13 heures.
Se levanta la sesión a las 13. 00 horas.