M. KHORAYCH (Liban) (langue originale arabe): Ma délégation tient à exprimer sa satisfaction concernant la présentation qui a été faite par l'Ambassadeur Bukhari, Président du Comité financier, et par le Secrétariat également; nous les remercions très vivement.
Au cours des dernières années, nous avons coopéré avec le Comité financier pour trouver une solution au problème des arriérés de contributions. On est obligé de remarquer qu'il existe une • certaine iniquité quand certains Etats Membres versent leurs contribution entièrement, alors que d'autres ne le font pas, ou quand certains membres versent rapidement les montants pour lesquels ils se sont engagés, alors que d'autres marquent des retards délibérés. En même temps, tous les Etats Membres tirent avantage de leur appartenance à cette Organisation ainsi que des recettes accessoires et des excédents de trésorerie.
Depuis un certain temps, nous avons discuté de l'idée d'introduire d'autres stimulants ou d'imposer des sanctions.
Ma délégation se sent à l'aise car pour l'instant nous pouvons considérer qu'une proposition claire nous est soumise par le Comité financier et qui va dans le sens des principes de base qui ont été adoptés par tous. C'est pourquoi ma délégation aimerait recommander l'acceptation par le Conseil de la proposition contenue au paragraphe 3.74 du rapport du Comité financier. En outre, nous souhaiterions demander au Comité financier de préparer un projet de résolution qui serait soumis au Comité juridique, de même qu'au Conseil et à la Conférence afin qu'il soit adopté par celle-ci.
Pour ce qui est des liquidités je voudrais mentionner deux éléments.
En premier lieu, la pénurie de fonds, qui devrait être analysée clairement. Un des aspects les plus dangereux est le fait que plusieurs Etats Membres n'ont pas versé leur contribution. Nous aimerions donc appuyer les appels lancés par le Comité financier et le Conseil aux Etats Membres afin qu'ils versent leur contribution intégralement le plus rapidement possible. Si nous souhaitons préserver la fiabilité de notre Organisation,cela dépend dans une grande mesure du versement des contributions, cela ne relève pas de la responsabilité du Directeur Général ni du Secrétariat. Le problème de liquidités sera réglé de lui-même lorsque les Etats Membres auront versé leur contribution.
Le deuxième élément de ce problème, c'est le montant de plus en plus réduit des recettes accessoires. Au cours de notre dernière réunion en octobre dernier, le montant était de 19 millions de dollars. Quand le Comité financier s'est réuni, le montant était de 14 millions de dollars. Nous sommes heureux de voir qu'il y a une amélioration, mais nous serions encore plus heureux, je l'avoue, si l'augmentation du taux d'intérêt menait à une réduction du déficit.
En outre, le taux de change du dollar est tombé, il est évident que la FAO ne peut rien faire contre un phénomène de ce genre.
Heureusement, la Conférence, dans sa sagesse, avait mis sur pied, il y a quelques années de cela, le fonds de réserve spécial pour faire face à des situations de ce genre. Je ne crois pas que nous puissions blâmer l'Organisation si elle puise dans le compte de réserve spécial étant donné les circonstances actuelles. Il ne faut pas oublier que nous avons tiré avantage du taux du dollar plus élevé il y a quelque temps, qui avait permis de financer ce compte de réserve spécial et qui avait également permis d'avoir un certain excédent.
Pour ce qui est des ajustements des programmes et des économies à réaliser, nous voudrions remercier le Directeur général qui a fait face au problème de liquidités. Malheureusement ces ajustements de programmes s'appliquent à certains secteurs. Au mois d'octobre dernier, l'objectif était d'économiser 16,4 millions de dollars. Le montant est d'environ 25 millions.de dollars maintenant.
Nous partageons les préoccupations exprimées par le Comité du Programme à propos des effets négatifs des coûts en matière d'allocations déjà décidées. Nous sommes également d'accord lorsque l'on dit que de tels programmes ne peuvent pas être infiniment exposés à des incertitudes financières, car cela mènerait à l'échec de ces programmes, et affaiblirait les activités de l'Organisation. On ne pourrait pas compenser facilement de telles activités.
Pour ce qui est des mesures visant à résoudre le problème budgétaire, nous sommes heureux de constater qu'après avoir passé en revue toute une série de mesures l'an dernier le Comité financier a finalement pu nous soumettre trois mesures spécifiques qui doivent être discutées et adoptées.
La première mesure permet à la Conférence de déléguer au Conseil le pouvoir de décider de différer éventuellement la distribution de l'excédent de trésorerie jusqu'à la session suivante de la Conférence, au cas ou l'Organisation subirait un retard considérable dans la perception des contributions au cours d'un exercice biennal.
Une proposition de ce genre est parfaitement logique, car on ne peut nier à un Etat Membre le droit de bénéficier des excédents de trésorerie qui pourraient être distribués. C'est un truisme de dire que la distribution des excédents de trésorerie devrait être remise à plus tard dans des périodes où l'Organisation est confrontée à des difficultés financières en raison de. la situation que nous connaissons.
La deuxième proposition demande la non-déduction du montant estimatif des recettes accessoires du montant du budget lors de la détermination du niveau des contributions des Etats Membres. Je crois
que c'est tout à fait approprié car des recettes de ce genre représentent un excédent de trésorerie pendant une période budgétaire précise. Dans le cas qui nous concerne nous traitons de revenus réels gagnés par l'Organisation, et non pas d'un revenu projeté comme c'est le cas maintenant.
La troisième proposition vise à augmenter le niveau du Fonds de roulement. Le Fonds de roulement de cette Organisation est le plus bas qui existe parmi toutes les organisations du même genre. Il est intéressant de relever que cette proposition tient compte du fait qu'une telle augmentation sera progressive, ce qui signifie bien sûr un moindre fardeau pour les divers Etats Membres.
Nous sommes prêts à accepter ces trois propositions et nous espérons que ce sera également l'avis du Conseil. Par consensus, sinon à l’unanimité,le Conseil pourrait demander au Secrétariat de rédiger un projet de résolution sur chacune de ces recommandations qui serait soumise à l'adoption par la Conférence.
Joâo AJgusto de MEDICIS (Brazil): The Brazilian delegation deeply regrets that the developing member, countries already facing serious economic difficulties and severe scarcity of currency, will be further penalized by the measure proposed to deal with problems of the late payments of assessed contributions. We do not agree, therefore, as stated in paragraph 3.75 of the report of the Sixteenth Session of the Finance Committee that a more rational and equitable allocation of cash surplus would serve, I quote,"as an incentive for member countries to pay their contributions more promptly". Developing member countries are led to delay payments by extremely unfavourable financial conditions resulting from an unfair international economic order. Those shortfalls have never, however, constituted a major problem to FAO's activities, and they historically represent only around 5 percent of each annual budget. Actually, as stated in the report receipt of 1987, assessments have been, I quote,"at a more favourable rate than on the same date in May of the preceding four years".
The present proposals will add to the difficulties mainly faced by the poorest countries with the largest arrears in percentage terms and with voting rights problems in meeting their financial obligations and will not solve the main source of FAO's financial problems.
As regards Item 18.4, alternative approaches for dealing with budgetary and financial uncertainties, we also regret that developing member countries must renounce legal benefits in order to help the Organization to cope with financial difficulties caused mainly by the shortfall in the payment of contributions by its largest contributors. The measures proposed will obviously represent an additional burden to the already high contributions of some developing countries to the Regular Programme of the Organization. But we are very much aware of the critical situation in which our Organization has been placed, and therefore we are prepared to give our support to the alternative submitted by the Finance Committee. In this context, we wish to register our surprise to learn that the proposals have not been unanimously endorsed by the Committee and that, I quote, "two members", unquote, systematically rejected every attempt to help FAO cope with the present financial crisis and continue its relevant activities in favour of the less privileged countries.
The Brazilian Government is perfectly aware of its responsibility towards FAO and of the great relevance of our Organization. We agree, therefore, that the Conference should delegate to the Council authority to decide on possible deferment of the distribution of the cash surplus. We already have supported this proposal on the assumption that consensus would be reached at our last session. We hope, therefore, that this time a less selfish attitude will arise on the part of some member countries and that the proposal will unanimously be adopted.
The same applies to proposal number 2, related to the reduction of miscellaneous income, as we are convinced that it makes much more sense that the distribution of actual miscellaneous income at the time of the deduction be related to cash surplus.
Finally, my delegation fully recognized that the present level of the Working Capital Fund had proved to be insufficient in time of financial difficulties. We therefore propose to increase the Fund to 20 million dollars as from 1 January 1988 and to 26 million dollars as from 1 January 1989. After giving careful consideration to the proposals, my delegation believes that all Member Nations supporting the relevant activities of FAO should as well support the presentation of the draft resolution as a matter for consideration by CCLM, Council and Conference.
Amadou Moustapha KAMARA (Senegal): Au nom de la délégation sénégalaise, je voudrais féliciter l'Ambassadeur Bukhari pour la manière claire et concise avec laquelle il nous a rendu compte des travaux des cinquante-neuvième et soixantième sessionsdu Comité financier, Comité qu'il a la lourde et exaltante tâche de présider.
Ma délégation se limitera à approuver le diagnostic établi sur la situation financière de l'Organisation, notamment en ce qui concerne les retards constatés dans le versement des contributions des Etats Membres.
Qu'il me soit permis, dans cet ordre d'idées, de me contenter de rendre compte des efforts importants entrepris par le Gouvernement de mon pays immédiatement après la tenue de la quatre-vingt-dixième session du Conseil pour s'acquitter de son arriéré au titre du biennium 1984-85 et verser une bonne partie de sa contribution pour 1986-87.
Ma délégation voudrait informer le Conseil de l'engagement du Sénégal d'honorer intégralement, dès la mise er vigueur du budget national au cours dés prochaines semaines, le reste de sa contribution au titre du biennium qui s'achève. Par la même occasion, le Sénégal donnera suite à l'appel lancé par plusieurs intervenants qui m'ont précédés et relatif au report jusqu'en 1988 de la part qui lui revient de l'excédent de trésorerie.
Ma délégation considère qu'alors elle aura d'abord balayé devant sa propre porte, ce qui est une exigence importante dans les circonstances actuelles.
Antonio BROTONS DIE (España): Agradecemos a la Presidencia y en particular al Presidente del Comité de Finanzas, Sr. Bukhari, la exposición de los documentos CL 91/6 y CL 91/4 que ponen una vez más de relieve la grave situación actual financiera de la Organización y en los que se vuelcan propuestas para paliar esta situación.
En la pasada reunión del Consejo, en noviembre de 1986, el Director General de FAO proponía soluciones a la situación financiera que han sido estudiadas por el Comité de Finanzas y proponía también ahorros al Programa de Labores y Presupuesto para los años 1986/87.
Hemos de agradecer la agilidad y diligencia de la Organización que está llevando a cabo tales ahorros en los programas hasta ahora evaluados en 25 millones de dólares.
Las dos magnitudes que condicionan la situación financiera actual son, de una parte, la falta de pago de contribuciones y, por otra parte, la baja del dólar con respecto a la lira.
En reiteradas ocasiones esta delegación se ha expresado en el sentido de que las contribuciones deben ser satisfechas en los plazos previstos y a tal fin la Organización debe ejercer los medios a su alcance para que esto sea posible. A este respecto las medidas propuestas por el Comité de Finanzas en el párrafo 3.74 del documento CL 91/6 pueden dar lugar a una distribución más racional y equitativa de los superávit y conducir a incentivar a los Estados Miembros para el pronto abono de sus cuotas correspondientes.
En cuanto al retraso posible en el abono de los superávit de tesorería estas medidas consideramos pueden ocasionalmente proporcionar liquidez a la Organización por lo que desaparecidas las condiciones actuales de falta de liquidez deberían volverse tales superávit a abonarse en la forma tradicional.
En cuanto a la inclusión o no como deducción en las contribuciones de los Estados Miembros de los ingresos diversos, así como la elevación del nivel del Fondo de Operaciones, creemos se debe analizar con mayor profundidad para que pueda quedar lo suficientemente claro que no van a suponer ningún costo adicional a los Estados Miembros contribuyentes.
Consideramos que la posibilidad del abono de las cuotas parte en liras y parte en dólares puede eliminar la mayor parte de los problemas de tipo de cambio reduciendo exclusivamente el problema a los pagos que tengan que satisfacer la FAO en otras monedas, que según información de la Secretaría, no es superior al 20 por ciento del presupuesto ordinario.
Tenemos la esperanza que las contribuciones pendientes en la actualidad se resuelvan en corto plazo y que de esa manera la normalidad financiera vuelva pronto a la Organización.
Masahiko YASUMURO(Japan): I would like to make this statement very briefly, especially on the proposed approach to dealing with budget and financial uncertainty. As the delegation of Japan stated at the last session of the Council, Japan is basically unable to support any proposals of adjustment which would entail additional contributions by the member countries which have fulfilled their obligations. In this connection, firstly, my delegation is not in a position to support the proposed procedures for application of the cash surplus.
Secondly, my delegation recognized that the proposed adjustment on the treatment of miscellaneous income proves to be a better one than the current treatment. However, my delegation believes that the adjustment which caused an initial increase in contributions should be introduced in a biennium of more favourable conditions for the member countries in the future.
Thirdly, my delegation thinks the increase of the Working Capital Fund established to meet the gap of cash flow each year should be justified not only by comparison with other UN organizations but also by study of the cash flow that is essential in timing of the receipt of contributions and payment of obligations in recent years and the near future.
Those are some special comments of my delegation on this issue at this moment. My country's final position on the proposed approach to dealing with budgetary and financial uncertainties will be finalized after further examination and consideration taking into account the next biennium budget level as well as treatment of the replenishment of the special reserve account, and we will restate it at the next session of the Council.
Finally, Japan can support the recommendation of the Finance Committee that FAO's scale of contribution 1958 to 1989 should be derived directly from the UN scale in 1987, although the scale of my country is going up.
Adel Helmi EL SARKY (Egypt): The delegation of Egypt listened very carefully to the presentation by Mr Bukhari, Chairman of the Finance Committee, of the report of the Finance Committee over the fifty-ninth and the sixtieth sessions. We would like to express our greatest gratitude to Mr Bukhari for his excellent introduction of the two reports, and we thank the Secretariat for the very loyal services to which the presentation of these documents bear witness.
In the work of the Committee we are pleased to see a high degree of realism and accuracy, and we support fully all the resolutions taken by the Committee.
Egypt was one of the first countries to sign the agreement which founded this Organization in 1945. We have always tried to develop our country's cooperation with the FAO so as to increase the possibilities of benefitting from FAO assistance, and consequently it has always been a matter of great concern to us to pay up our contribution regularly in spite of the financial difficulties which my country is suffering from-extreme financial difficulties. We make it a point of honour in paying up those assessments on time.
Paragraphs 3.22 to 3.28 refer to the content of the annual report to Member States upon the performance of the budget. These paragraphs also refer to the reasons for the budget deficits which are a matter of concern to us. We urge donor countries to assume their obligation to the Organization.
We welcome those programme adjustments which have made possible certain savings to the benefit of the technical and economical programmes, paragraph 3.23.
The delegation of Egypt has also studied 3.52 to 3.76 concerning possible approaches to deal with the problem of financial and budgetary uncertainties. We think that these paragraphs contain very positive measures and we would hope that the suggestions presented by certain countries could be taken into consideration, like the increase in interest rates upon assessments in arrears. We also appreciate the fact that certain countries will waive their cash surplus payments.
In regard to 1988/89 scale of contributions, we think it would not be desirable to define a new scale of contributions because of the present financial situation. It would be better to review the situation very carefully in the light of the development of the present situation.
We would like to repeat our very warmest thanks to Mr Shah for the information that he gave us this morning.
Chavaly SRINIVASA SASTRY (India): May I place before you Mr Chairman the views of the Indian delegation on item 17, sub-items 1 and 3 now under discussion.
We take note of the budgetary performance 1986 as contained in paragraphs 3.22 to 2.27 and Appendix A which is still subject to audit
We endorse the suggestion in paragraph 3.42 that the Council make a special appeal to the 13 nations urging them to pay the amounts necessary in order to ensure their right to vote at the Conference.
On the alternative approaches to dealing with budgetary and financial uncertainties, the Finance Committee made three specific recommendations. These recommendations could not, however, secure the support of two members of the Finance Committee.
On the proposal to amend the present procedures for application of cash surplus, as clarified in paragraph 3.57, this would only mean a delay in the distribution of cash surplus which would be credited to Member Nations thereafter as soon as so decided by the Council or the Conference. We would therefore support his proposal.
The proposal on adjusting the treatment of miscellaneous income is to discontinue the FAO practice of estimating miscellaneous income at the beginning of each year, and reducing the call for assessed contributions by the amount of such estimates. Besides the two members of the Finance Committee who did not agree to this decision, the distinguished delegation from the U.S.A. also expressed their reservations. We find, however, the proposed change does not cast any additional or extra burden on the Member Nations when we take a longer time frame into consideration. What it involves is changing from the present system of making an estimate in advance to making the adjustments after the expiry of the year on the basis of actuals. Thus the Member Nations would continue to benefit from the actual miscellaneous income earned at the time of the distribution of the cash surpluses. In view of this we would support this proposal of the Finance Committee.
On the proposal relating to the Working Capital Fund, also, two members could not agree with the recommendations of the Finance Committee. We find that comparisons with other UN bodies in this regard are not always quite appropriate. The current level of Working Capital Fund has evidently not increased with the level of Programme of Work and Budget. The Finance Committee has also expressed doubts whether with the current level of working capital funding, the functions stipulated in financial regulation 6.2 could be performed. We would therefore support the proposal in paragraph 3.69.
On the measures to deal with problems of delayed payments of assessed contributions, India supports the unanimous recommendations of the Finance Committee in paragraph 3.74.
We also suggest that the Council may request the Finance Committee to prepare the Draft Resolutions on these proposals for consideration by the CCLM, Council and the Conference.
On the scale of contributions we would support the proposals made by the Finance Committee which could form the basis for consensus.
Before dealing with the programme delivery costs, I would first deal with the appointment of the external auditor. We would support the resolution proposed by the Finance Committee in paragraph 3.136. We find that this resolution envisages that while the Comptroller and Auditor General of the United Kingdom would be the external auditor for the next biennium, so far as the future appointments are concerned, alternatives are to be formulated and submitted to the Council.
Dealing with what the distinguished representative of the UK had said about delivery costs-we could not Mr Chairman as yet get a copy of his speech-the Indian delegation has a few observations to make.
A serious point has been made by the distinguished delegate from the UK that the Finance Committee had possibly disregarded the Council's or the Chairman's desires as expressed in the 90th Council meeting. Mr Walton presumably had briefly referred to this this morning. I find that the report of the 90th Session of the Council does not contain any directive or ruling by the Chairman to the effect that the FC should discuss this matter with the delegation from the UK. Evidently this must have been reflected in the verbatim records. While I have not been able to get at the printed texts my recollection was that in the 90th Session Mr Walton had said that the DG would submit the matter relating to the programme delivery costs to the Finance Committee at the next meeting along with a document. The Chairman seems to have endorsed this. The distinguished delegate from the UK himself has stated that such a document was indeed placed before the Committee. The Finance Committee itself has observed (para 3.127): "The Committee was informed that subsequent to the Council Session, contacts had taken place between the members of the delegation of the country which has raised the issue (obviously the UK) and the representative of the Secretariat with a view to further clarification of concept and information." In this context it is somewhat difficult to comprehend how any ruling of the Chairman in the last meeting of the Council could have been disregarded by the Finance Committee. However, my delegation would seek a clarification on this point from the podium, from Mr Walton, from the Chairman of the Finance Committee and if need be, from you Mr Chairman.
We have since obtained a copy of the document FC 60/17(a) on programme delivery costs which was considered by the Finance Committee at its 60th Session in May 1987. We endorse the views of the distinguished delegate from the UK about the contents and quality of this document.
We would also agree with the UN delegation that this document merits a larger circulation among the Member Nations than the restricted special list.
What does this document say? In para.3, Mr Chairman, after dealing with the prevailing concepts about programme delivery costs in the private or in the management sector, the document observes: "These standards cannot be applied in any direct way to public institutions because of their complexity and diversity in terms of both costs and outputs." It also cautions a larger degree of subjectivity is inevitable and great circumspection has to be exercised in establishing cost output relationships. It adds: "The UN system, particularly in large specialized agencies like FAO offer clear examples of complex and highly specified public institutions."
In Section II after dealing with the general aspects it lists the four basic premises, and then goes into the source of information and deals with the problems of duality of funding in an organization like the FAO, and in Section III it presents elaborately the methodology followed.
The results of the exercise on the basis of the Programme of Work and Budget 1986/87 and 80/81 are presented in Section IV. In the comparative analysis after urging the need for utmost caution, the analysis brings out three inferences. Two of these should be of special interest to the members of the Council. I am reading from the document Mr Chairman. Paragraph 38 sub-paragraph 2, "The proportion of expenditure in support of extrabudgetary programmes has remained approximately at the same level." In sub-para. 3, "The proportions of direct and indirect substantive expenditures grew over the period under consideration. At the same time the proportion of administrative support expenditures decreased significantly." Then it concludes "This gives a figure of 18.8 percent for the Programme of Work and Budget in 86/87, while for the Programme of Work and Budget 1980/81 the corresponding figure of programme delivery costs stood at 21.1 percent."
In Section V a similar methodology is applied for extrabudgetary programmes, and it is brought out how it was difficult to arrive at a composite indicator in a hypothetical combination of Regular Programmes and Extrabudgetary Technical and Material Programmes.
In Section VI a wealth of information and data are presented, especially in relation to the UNDP support costs and trust fund support costs.
It is interesting to note that according to the CCAQ task force on cost measurement systems as of 1973, the full costs for implementing UNDP projects for the five major executing agencies covered by the CCAQ task force represented about 23 percent of project delivery. Against this the UNDP contributed only 14 percent on delivery, and the balance was being met by the agencies themselves. This was subsequently reduced effective from 1/1/87 to 13 percent.
In relation to Trust Funds, programme delivery costs based on eight surveys conducted between 1953 to 1970, initially the charge was fixed at 8 percent. Later this was substituted by a dual rate: 5 percent for equipment and 12 percent for all.
other items. In 1967/68 the Council increased from 12 for all other items to 14 percent.
The 21st Conference decided to introduce uniformity and brought this down to 13 percent on the analogy of the UNDP.
The summary and conclusions of this document, with your permission Mr Chairman, the show of support costs therefore has a long history of assessment and determination covering both UNDP and task fund programmes.
The principle accepted in all decisions is that certain charges are to be borne by funding sources whilst others have been already charged to the regular budget. On this basis, the Conference went on to reduce this by 13 percent. The conclusion was that the analysis is based on a straightforward methodology-and I repeat "straightforward methodology"-which seeks to remain as objective and informative as possible. The analysis does not bring out any extraordinary findings on FAO's work and financial management practice. It confirms known facts which accord with the Organization's recent history and complexity of its work.
If those are the conclusions of the document placed before the Committee, what does the Finance Committee say on this? I invite the attention of Council to paragraph 3.128 where it says that the Committee considered "that despite the inherent complexities of the issue, the adoption of a relatively straightforward and fully acceptable methodology"-and may I repeat those words, a relatively straightforward and fully acceptable methodology-"had led to a clear assessment of administrative overhead costs in FAO's Regular Programme."
In paragraph 3.130 it says: "The Committee considers, however, particularly helpful the comparison made between two biennial periods (1980-81 and 1986-87). This clearly showed the welcomed trend of compression of administrative support expenditures, in relation to those for substantive activities. The Committee agreed that the overhead of 18.8 percent for Regular Programme delivery, given the characteristics of the Organization, seemed to be commendable."
While these two documents accept the methodology as straightforward, the delegate of the United Kingdom asserted that against an 18.8 percent delivery cost for Regular Programmes, the arithmetic followed by the delegation of the United Kingdom seemed to have resulted in a figure which ranged from 53 percent to 60 percent. He also added with regard to UNDP that against a figure of 11.5 percent as delivery costs, the United Kingdom methodology yielded a programme delivery cost ranging from 29 percent to 40 percent. These two sets of divergent figures seem to indicate the methodology followed by the delegation of the United Kingdom differs basically and fundamentally from that followed by the Secretariat which has been construed by the Secretariat and by the Finance Committee as "relatively straightforward".
Notwithstanding this, my delegation would support the suggestion of the United Kingdom delegation that this is a matter which is important enough to deserve a detailed discussion in the Council at the next meeting.
However, we are unable to agree with the suggestion of the United Kingdom delegation that this or other matters relating to FAO should be studied by an external management group. We are of the view that there is no apparent need for the induction of an external group-whether of management experts or otherwise-for an across-the-board study of FAO. Within FAO itself we have adequate expertise, capability and proven professionalism to study any area or activity in depth. If in any narrow field of specialization-for example computerization-FAO has to draw on talent from outside, FAO could always hire the services of an expert in the relevant area. Therefore, we are not in favour of the establishment of any external group, either in management or otherwise, to study FAO.
With those observations, we support the proposals made by the Finance Committee in document CL 91/6.
Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): D'emblée, la délégation malgache voudrait féliciter M. Bukhari, Président du Comité financier, pour la présentation très claire du rapport du Comité. Nous voudrions par la même occasion manifester notre reconnaissance à MM. Crowther et Shah pour les compléments d'information utiles qu'ils nous on communiqués.
Cette session du Conseil était objectivement difficile; elle l'était d'abord en raison de son contexte, le climat international morose, la crise des grandes institutions financières internationales
pouvaient contaminer les discussions. Ensuite, le vent de réforme qui souffle sur toutes les institutions du système des Nations Unies est également cause de certaines appréciations qui ont été exprimées ici.
Madagascar, pour sa part, ressent ce contexte comme un défi qu'il nous faut dépasser et recherche donc tous les-moyens d'en triompher pour que la présente session puisse parvenir à des décisions d'une grande importance pour l'avenir. Le dialogue franc et sincère qui s'est instauré dans un esprit de tolérance et de compréhension mutuelles qui a naguère présidé aux échanges de vue au sein du Conseil nous a permis de mieux appréhender les problèmes, de connaître, même d'une façon superficielle, les intentions de certains et de dégager le sentiment d'un très grand nombre d'Etats d'aller de l'avant et d'accepter le projet de budget et de programme qui nous était soumis.
Nous sommes de ceux qui appuient ces propositions en ajoutant ce que nous avons précédemment demandé, c'est-à-dire qu'il conviendrait également, en plus du renflouement du compte de réserve spécial, lorsque les grandes contributions seront versées, de penser aux programmes inscrits en 1986, 1987, mais qui ont été sacrifiés faute de trésorerie suffisante. Notre délégation, comme beaucoup d'autres, est d'avis que dans l'établissement du programme de travail et budget il faudrait autant que possible prendre en considération la capacité effective des pays à régler leurs contributions et à régulariser leurs arriérés eu égard à leur situation économique et financière.
A ce sujet, nous ne pouvons nous empêcher de nous étonner de certaines suggestions qui tendraient à aligner les capacités de paiement des pays développés sur celles des pays en voie de développement, alors que ces derniers ont souvent de graves problèmes financiers qui, dans la plupart des cas, ne sont pas de leur fait.
Le Comité financier a dû consacrer énormément de temps dans ses différentes sessions pour se pencher sur les mesures qui viseraient à garantir à l'Organisation des situations financières qui devraient lui permettre de réaliser dans de bonnes conditions le programme de travail voté par la Conférence générale.
Les mesures proposées par le Comité financier ne manquent pas d'avoir des répercussions sur les contributions et sur la distribution des excédents de trésorerie. Mais, si de telles contraintes sont indispensables à la bonne santé de l'Organisation, nous avons le devoir de ne pas nous y opposer. D'ailleurs, dans la mesure où un Etat honore ses obligations à temps, aucune conséquence désagréable ne pourrait le concerner, au contraire.
Les mesures que le Comité suggère sont équitables et répondent aux incertitudes financières qui minent l'Organisation.
Notre délégation enregistre avec satisfaction les avis favorables déjà émis par les délégations qui se sont exprimées sur l'augmentation du montant du Fonds de roulement afin de le porter dans un premier temps à 20 millions de dollars; la deuxième augmentation qui porterait le Fonds de roulement à 25 millions de dollars est également justifiée et nous devrions tout naturellement l'appuyer.
L'utilisation de l'ECU comme monnaie de référence de l'Organisation devrait à notre sens être examinée plus à fond si cela pouvait amortir les méfaits de la dévaluation de la principale monnaie. Il en est de même d'ailleurs des droits de tirage spéciaux.
Comme vous le savez, Madagascar est membre du Comité financier et, de ce fait, a déjà pu faire part largement de ses avis et propositions à l'endroit des principaux points figurant dans le rapport. Nous faisons donc nôtres les conclusions pertinentes du Comité et partageons entièrement les compléments d'information fournis par le Président au Conseil.
Avant de conclure, nous souhaiterions donner notre avis sur certaines propositions qui ont été formulées se rapportant à la présentation du projet de programme de travail et budget et à la détermination de ses coûts d'exécution. Nous joignons notre voix à celle des délégations qui ont rejeté la proposition tendant à une présentation du programme de travail et budget en deux parties, dont une constituerait un programme noyau et l’autre, semble-t-il, un programme subsidiaire à exécuter selon les fonds disponibles.
Nous faisons nôtre la proposition du Comité financier formulée au paragraphe 3.14 du document CL 91/6, traitant du coût d'exécution du programme; nous voulions demander aux membres de se reporter au paragraphe pertinent du rapport; en effet, il nous semble que le Comité soit arrivé à la conclusion que les performances de l'Organisation sont valables.
Il est intéressant de noter que les charges de personnel qui sont les plus lourdes des charges permanentes ont sensiblement diminué depuis 1974; de 77 pour cent de l'ensemble du budget en 1974-75, elles sont descendues à 54 pour cent en 1986-87 et seront de 51 pour cent dans le projet 1988-89. D'ailleurs, le Corps commun d'inspection, en procédant à l'analyse des charges permanentes des organes du système des Nations Unies, a relevé cet effort de la FAO de réduire ses charges. Notre délégation l'encourage dans cette voie, tout en gardant toutefois à l'esprit l'observation de ta Conférence générale selon laquelle il ne faut pas que la réduction des coûts administratifs mette en péril la viabilité de l'Organisation.
Pour terminer, nous voudrions dire un mot sur certains refrains que nous avons entendus au cours de cette réunion concernant les réformes. Nous sommes de ceux qui croient que tout finit par changer, même ce qui se prétend immuable, mais tout projet de réforme devrait être discuté dans le cadre légal institutionnel prévu à cet effet et au moment opportun.
Lautaro POZO MALO (Ecuador): Queremos, señor Presidente, en primer lugar felicitar al Señor Rukhari por la brillantez con que presentó el Informe del Comité de Finanzas. Creemos que la manera en que él ha presidido las sesiones de ese Comité, ha sido inteligente y oportuna.
Estamos conscientes de la difícile situación financiera de la Organización y consideramos que la solución, aún cuando sea mediata de esos problemas, es la recaudación total de las cuotas. Tenemos la esperanza de que los mayores contribuyentes cumplan con sus cuotas lo antes posible. Solamente con un presupesto firme y líquido podrán cumplirse la serie de proyectos programados y no aplazarlos indefinidamente. El Ecuador, pese a las grandes dificultades financieras por las que attraviesa, ha tratado de ser puntual en el pago de sus cuotas. Apoyamos, pues, en general todo el documento CL 91/6.
Queremos referirnos, sin embargo, al punto 18.5 sobre el tema de la propuesta de la resolución para la Escala de Cuotas para el bienio 1988-89. La Escala aprobada por las Naciones Unidas debería tomar con precisión la real situación económica de los países partes. Esa apreciación se debería reflejar directa y proporcionalmente en la cuota que se asigna a cada uno; debe basarse en la consideración de períodos de tiempo más breves. El problema, pues, es de actualización. Es un hecho evidente que muchos Estados pueden haber tenido períodos continuos de crecimiento y luego soportar ciclos críticos, como llaman los economistas. Ese hecho debe evaluarse prontamente y no esperar un siglo posterior para hacer valer esas cifras en cuanto a las cuotas.
En este sentido, queremos apoyar a los países que anteriormente se han referido al tema y, particularmente, a la delegación de Colombia que ha propuesto que las opiniones de este Consejo se remitan a las Naciones Unidas para que en el 92° Período de Sesiones nosotros podamos tener, quizás, el examen de las cuotas asignadas por las Naciones Unidas. No podemos por lo tanto, apoyar la resolución propuesta en el Documento CL 91/6, pero queremos subrayar y hacer nuestro sobre todo el párrafo 3.79 que contiene una valiosa e inteligente opinión del Comité de Finanzas.
James D. AITKEN (United Kingdom): Before I begin the substance of my intervention on agenda item. 18 I would like briefly to make some reference to the intervention of the distinguished delegate from India, for which we are grateful. I have two points of clarification.
The first is that in my earlier intervention.there was no question whatsoever of the United Kingdom questioning the propriety of the behaviour of the Chairman of the Finance Committee or of the Finance Committee itself. I want to clear up any misunderstanding about that.
Secondly, I think that the length of my previous intervention and its complexity, and the length of the intervention of the distinguished delegate from India confirmed the value to the Council
of having before us at some point the Finance Committee document FC 60/17A on programme delivery costs. This is a very complicated issue and it is very difficult for Members to understand and follow an oral discussion on this matter without any documentation in front of them.
Turning to agenda item 18, I would like to begin by thanking the Chairman of the Finance Committee for his very helpful introduction to.this item.
In our intervention on the programme and budget we have already indicated our reaction to the proposals to meet the financial situation. We consider it important that the current financial crisis, which we believe is of a short-term nature, should not be used to alter the existing mechanism related to the treatment of certain items in the budget in a manner that will increase the burden on Member States either in the short term or in the long term.
To reiterate, we do not support the proposals that miscellaneous income should no longer be applied to finance the budget. We do not support the proposal to defer distribution of cash surpluses nor do we support any increase in the size of the Working Capital Fund. It would also be appropriate at this point to make it clear that we do not support any proposals to borrow to meet any financial shortfall within the Organization.
Finally, I would like to confirm that we also endorse the use of the UN Scale of Assessments for calculating our subscriptions to FAO.
Ronald MACINTOSH (Canada): When we intervened earlier in the debate we were largely unaware of the disposition of the discussion on programme delivery costs except that the Finance Committee on the basis of a Secretariat document had allegedly resolved the matter. It is apparent from subsequent interventions, notably that of the UK, that there are still substantial differences in view in respect of figures, calculations and the presentation of the issue.
Therefore, we would like to support the many speakers who have suggested that the Finance Committee return to this matter together with all relative material, including input from the delegation that has done considerable work in this area, namely, the United Kingdom.
We would also like to endorse the concerns expressed by the United Kingdom on the less than thorough treatment by the Finance Committee of some rather important observations on country offices. These observations made by the Joint Inspection Unit go to the heart of many concerns that we in Canada have had over the cost effectiveness of these offices. The high and fixed costs that their maintenance represents in relation.to the programmes they assist in delivering is something that bears close and critical monitoring.
Finally, we find ourselves in agreement with the proposal made to have the Council periodically examine and discuss personnel posts in FAO. We share a number of the concerns raised by the Director-General in his opening statement and we believe that the Council would benefit not only from more information in this field but from the opportunity to discuss issues of policy affecting the selection, evaluation and promotion of personnel, as well as the terms and conditions of their service.
José Ramón LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (Mexico): La delegación de México ha estudiado los documentos presentados por la Secretaría así como el informe del Comité de Finanzas. Los consideramos trabajos claros y transparentes.
Felicitamos al Embajador Bukkari Presidente del Comité de Finanzas, y al Dr. Crowther y al Dr. Shah por sus iluminadoras presentaciones.
Sr. Presidente, parece haber consenso en reconocer que los objetivos y la eficacia de nuestra Organización peligran en vista de los problemas financieros sin precedente que afrontan. Identificamos junto con muchos delegados dos causas principales, a saber: el retraso en las contribuciones de muchos países miembros y, de manera relevante, del mayor contribuyente, y la sensible devaluación del dólar frente a otras monedas particularmente la lira italiana.
Observamos que ningún país y tampoco el principal contribuyente pretenden incumplir con sus obligaciones, tan solo se ha diferido su pago. Sin embargo, subrayamos que para la mayoría de los países en mora las razones de su atraso obedecen exclusivamente a los graves problemas financieros y económicos que enfrentan, mientras que particularmente para el mayor contribuyente están ligadas a sus intereses de que se realicen reformas importantes en las funciones y estructura de nuestra Organización.
Al respecto, volvemos a reiterar que estamos abiertos, lo subrayo, que estamos abiertos a escuchar, no a debatir ahora, pero a escuchar toda propuesta. En ningún momento hemos visto que a algún miembro del Consejo se le haya impedido expresarse libremente o, incluso, proponer cualquier cosa, aunque ésta esté fuera de orden. Lo que si quedó bien claro, Sr. Presidente, mediante votación, es el fallo del Consejo respecto a que tales propuestas, en particular la creación de un grupo de alto nivel y la necesidad de reestructuración o realizar reformas de fondo en FAO, estaban fuera de tal orden del día y que, por tanto, no podía haber en nuestro Consejo ni discusión ni resolución al respecto.
Mi delegación reitera la validez y vigencia de ese fallo. Insistimos en que, mientras la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas no tome una decisión respecto a la reestructuración económica y social de esa Organización y sus eventuales implicaciones para otras agencias de Naciones Unidas, resulta duplicativo e inconveniente que aquí en FAO nos ocupemos de ellas o de sus derivadas.
Sr. Presidente, si las ideas de reforma sugeridas por varias delegaciones y las cuestiones de carácter técnico planteadas son buenas por sí mismas, son útiles y convenientes al menos para la mayoría de los países miembros, entonces los países que las proponen no tienen nada que temer. Deberían tan solo ocuparse por exponerlas clara y ampliamente y sin rodeos.
No son necesarias en ese sentido presiones de otro tipo. Estamos dispuestos a recibir y eventualmente estudiar tales planteamientos.
El sistema democrático que rige en FAO, basado en la igualdad jurídica de los estados, se encargará de que para esas propuestas se evalué su conveniencia para nuestra Organización. Sin embargo, coincidimos con muchas delegaciones en que para solicitar cambios en nuestra Organización primero debe cumplirse con las obligaciones hacia ella. Es condición de autoridad moral y de diálogo sereno.
Reiteramos nuestro exhorto a todos los miembros a que paguemos completamente nuestras obligaciones a la brevedad posible. A estas alturas, y en vista de la positiva declaración de la delegación del mayor contribuyente en la tarde del lunes, nos resulta que no es procedente la propuesta de ciertas delegaciones de que se preparen diversos presupuestos de contingencia.
Enfatizamos, eso sí, que esta Organización debe ser más útil a los países en desarrollo y particularmente a los campesinos pobres y a un desarrollo rural sostenido y equilibrado. Por eso, puntualizamos que la función y el programa y/o los programas de asistencia al desarrollo de FAO deben potenciarse.
Pensamos que si algún cambio eventualmente debería ejercerse en FAO es en el sentido de aproximarla más a la promoción y a la construcción de un nuevo orden económico internacional-en lo relativo a la producción, comercio y consumo de productos básicos, de productos agrícolas y alimentarios.
Al respecto, reiteramos nuestra insistencia, que ya habíamos formulado previamente, en que el Director haga acopio de la constelación de propuestas específicas relativas a la conformación de tal nuevo orden en el sector de su competencia.
No queremos, como lo han mencionado ciertas delegaciones, que FAO se convierta en una academia de agricultura, sino en un eficaz mecanismo de promoción de la cooperación técnica y la asistencia al désarrollo.
Se ha indicado por algunas delegaciones que la experiencia del ejercicio del programa y presupuesto del presente bienio ha permitido el hacer ahorros importantes para enfrentarlas. El punto está en que no puede ocultarse que eso ha ido en detrimento de la asistencia técnica a nuestros países
ya que no han sido sólo suprimidas reuniones, publicaciones y análisis importantes para nuestro desarrollo, sino también misiones ya convenidas con nuestros países para que nos asesoraran respecto a problemas específicos convenidos y programados y que eso en mucho nos ha afectado. Queremos evitar que ésto ocurra de nuevo.
No creemos, por tanto, que recortes impuestos a FAO hayan llevado a una organización o estén llevando a una organización más eficaz. Creemos que la han dañado, sobre todo en el aspecto que consideramos vital que es el de la asistencia al desarrollo como ya he mencionado.
La FAO, junto con las otras agencias de Naciones Unidas, ha evolucionado durante 40 años conforme a las circunstancias que lo han permitido y también de acùerdo a las posibilidades técnicas de ser más eficiente. Esas circunstancias, esas posibilidades le han ido facilitando a FAO ser más eficiente y eso se ha reconocido una y otra vez por auditores externos y por los propios Estados Miembros en nuestra Organización, y se ha subrayado que FAO es ejemplo de eficiencia.
Sin embargo, mayores presiones contra el presupuesto, además de los pertinentes ahorros que ya ha introducido el Director General, sólo pueden atentar contra el cumplimiento de las trascendentales labores de nuestra Organización.
En cuanto a las alternativas para afrontar las incertidumbres presupuestarias y financieras, coincidimos con que son propuestas flexibles, y aunque deben seguirse estudiando a fin de hacer efectivo lo expresado en el párrafo 3.72, México las apoya, a fin de que se lleven a la próxima Conferencia.
Felicitamos y agradecemos a los países que voluntariamente han aceptado aplazar la recepción de sus excedentes de tesorería y nos permitimos apoyar, apoyar los párrafos 3.52 al 3.62 y respecto a las medidas para hacer frente a los problemas de pago retrasados en las cuotas asignadas de contribución, los párrafos 3.73 a 3.76.
Tomamos nota de las diversas propuestas técnicas de distintas delegaciones y creemos que el Comité de Finanzas, a la luz de los debates realizados en el Consejo y la importancia de los diversos asuntos tratados, las estudie y rinda en su oportunidad sus conclusiones al respecto.
En relación al aspecto de los costos de entrega del Programa, que, no obstante, el rechazo de la gran mayoría en el Consejo pasado se toleró que fuese analizado por el Comité de Finanzas, los resultados de ese Comité no son satisfactorios. Esto es así, Sr. Presidente, es decir, no son satisfactorios porque no puede considerarse o compararse a FAO con una empresa de consultoría u otro tipo de agencia. Creemos que no puede seguirse insistiendo en que el Consejo y menos aún la Conferencia se ocupe de ejercicios académicos ya superados por el análisis del Comité de Finanzas.
En cuanto a la escala de cuotas destacamos la primera parte del párrafo 3.79.
La situación financiera y económica de muchos países en desarrollo, y entre ellos mi país, se ha deteriorado sensiblemente; ello es la causa de los atrasos de muchas contribuciones.
Consideramos que la escala de cuotas debe reflejar tal situación y reconocer el hecho de que, sobre todo en los últimos años, la carga de la deuda externa, las altas tasas de interés, la salida neta de capitales, el proteccionismo, la recesión económica internacional y la reducción del comercio internacional han impactado negativamente nuestras economías y nos han dificultado la posibilidad de cumplir con muchas de nuestras obligaciones. Ello debe reflejarse en la escala de cuotas alivie fin de que alivie la carga respectiva que representa a países como el nuestro el que pagar más.
Por eso, a estas alturas no estamos en disponibilidad de apoyar la escala de cuotas en tanto que ello implique un incremento en el nivel de nuestra cuota; sin embargo, creemos firmemente que existen muy buenas alternativas y posibilidades de que para la Conferencia se presente otra situación y que el nivel de cuotas para mi país no se vea incrementado.
S. Gblorzuo TOWEH (Liberia); Let me thank the Chairman and members of the Finance Committee for the preparation of the document here being discussed. Commenting on the proposal to deal with the problems of delayed payment of assessed contributions, my delegation is not in support of these measures because of the extreme difficulties Africa is facing in foreign exchange as well as the heavy debt burden.
However, I want to support the view of an earlier speaker who suggested that dialogue should take place to persuade the larger contributors to pay their contributions rather than only the largest contributors. It seems to me that we are trying to blame the financial difficulties of the Organization on one Member country rather than on all of us. If we think this way, we will just be doing that.
Therefore, I would like to recommend that the Director-General and his staff initiate a dialogue so as to persuade the other big countries that have not paid to do so. How can we achieve the aims and the objectives of FAO when our contributions are not forthcoming? In this light, I want to take this special opportunity to appeal to the larger and largest as well as medium and small contributors to pay in order for us to get our Organization out of its present financial difficulties. The number one cause of the present financial difficulties of the Organization is the delay in paying our contributions.
Finally, we support an increase in the Working Capital Fund to the $20 million level as proposed by the Finance Committee.
Humberto V. AMORANTO (Philippines): The Philippine delegation thanks Ambassador Bukhari for his comprehensive presentation of FAO's financial situation. I will be very brief and confine myself to four points.
Firstly, like many other delegations the Philippine delegation takes the optimistic view that the financial crisis of the Organization is of a temporary nature. This point of view I believe is justified by statements regarding the readiness to honour commitments to the Organization. For this reason, the rationale for changes in the procedures and structures of FAO might perhaps be overstated. As stated earlier, the Philippine delegation believes that the governing bodies need time to reflect and deliberate. The Philippine delegation is not opposed to the idea that the Conference could determine if there is a consensus on the need, the scope, the methodology and the mechanism to consider reform proposals. In this connection I should not restrict or limit but rather enhance the ability of the Organization to help developing countries address their urgent problems in the food and agricultural sectors.
Secondly, the Philippine delegation has already communicated to FAO that in spite of its present economic difficulties it is willing to defer the receipt of its share of the cash surplus. The Philippine government is also prepared to consider seriously the measures proposed by the Finance Committee to deal with budgetary and financial uncertainties once the Committee has firmed up its views on these measures.
Thirdly, the Philippine delegation expresses its concern that the proposed scale of contributions for 1988/89 has adjusted the Philippine assessment upwards at a time when our country is undergoing economic difficulties. I should like to join the other delegations which have stated that it is unfortunate that the 1988/89 FAO scale does not correspond to changes in the economic position of Member countries concerned.
Fourthly and finally, I was wondering whether it would be a helpful idea if this Council reiterated its former appeal to Member countries to pay their dues at the earliest opportunity. I understand that the appeal of the last Council had positive effects, even if only partially. I believe another appeal from this Council can have only positive effects for this Organization which we all want to continue its dynamism and to enhance its capacity to help Member countries, particularly developing countries.
Sra. Mercedes FERMIN GOMEZ (Venezuela): Seré sumamente breve porque me voy a limitar, desde luego, ya que la mayoría de los oradores han estado repitiendo los mismos conceptos, con algunos de los cuales estamos de acuerdo, y me limitaré digo a apoyar en todas sus partes la presentación que ha hecho México de la situación.
Nosotros creemos que la presentación de México es justa, que se corresponde exactamente con la situación de nuestros países latinoamericanos, sobre todo de quienes estamos cargando con una situación, que ojalá sea pasajera, con relación a nuestras finanzas y a nuestra deuda externa y que por cuya razón no estamos en condiciones de pronunciarnos a estas alturas con relación a la escala de cuotas. Esa fue una situación que se dirimió en la reunión de Naciones Unidas, en la sede principal, y por esa razón nosotros no estamos en condiciones de emitir juicio en este Consejo.
En cuanto a la cuestión de alto nivel, del Grupo de Alto Nivel, también queremos reiterar la posición presentada por México en el sentido de que consideramos que solamente las Naciones Unidas pueden tomar decisiones con respecto a cambios y reformas de fondo en cuanto a la estructura de la Organización y que, por consiguiente, no podemos considerar que este Consejo esté capacitado para ello.
Por otra parte, nosotros estamos de acuerdo con que es justo que los países morosos o atrasados o deudores en dificultades hagan esfuerzos por ponerse al día en la medida de lo posible con sus cuotas, porque pensamos que ésta es la unica manera que la FAO puede tener posibilidades ciertas para hacer frente a los gastos presupuestarios que se ha presentado ante el Consejo.
Finalmente, nosotros consideramos que todas las propuestas técnicas que se han presentado ante el Consejo pueden ser viables, mas estos otros intentos de reformas que no están acordes con el concepto fundamental de la Organización, nosotros, por consiguiente, no las vamos a apoyar. Simplemente vamos a estar de acuerdo con que cualquier actitud que se pueda tener en este sentido, cualquier proposición debe ser referida a la Conferencia General que es el organismo capacitado para ello.
LE PRESIDENT: Nous en avons terminé avec les interventions des délégués. Je voudrais signaler au Conseil que nous avons reçu de l'Observateur du Kenya un texte qu'il nous demande d'insérer au procès-verbal, ce que nous allons faire, sauf objection de votre part.
Si d'autres observateurs veulent faire connaître leurs points de vue, nous pourrions évidemment insérer ceux-ci au procès-verbal.
S.M. GUANTAI (Observer for Kenya): I would like to express my delegation's appreciation and satisfaction with the presentation of the report and the budgetary performance as presented by the Secretariat.
We have listened attentively to the presentations by the members of the Council and have been moved particularly by the positive suggestions from the delegate of Italy and by the appeal made by the delegate of Bangladesh, supported by the delegate of Malaysia and many others who spoke thereafter.
We have witnessed on a number of occasions the insistence of a few member countries who have taken time and trouble to provide and request detailed financial analysis. It is my honest belief and hope that this desire and persistence is not of ill intent.
We are further of the opinion that the FAO has a clean record, and therefore can, and indeed should, accommodate these members' concerns.
We believe with open-minded aceptance that FAO could benefit from some of the suggestions from these Member States. We do not, however, approve of proposals to carry out drastic reforms or changes for the sake of change.
We listened to, and had great admiration for, the speech made by the delegate of India with regard to Item 15, and believe such points of view do improve the healthy and natural deliberations that are characteristic of this Organization.
We join che many delegations who have pointed out the moral and legal obligations of all Member Nations to pay in full their outstanding contributions. While we accept that the input by the largest donor is crucial and should be honoured, we nevertheless insist that the cumulative contributions by others is just as important. Indeed, those members who are overdue could, through their countries' initiative, pay their dues to the FAO, and through such commitment will be assisting this Organization to achieve its set objectives.1/
Atif Y. BUKHARI (Chairman, Finance Committee) (original language Arabic): Thiis is an excellent opportunity that you are offering me to clarify some very important points.mentioned by the distinguished delegate of the U.K. this morning regarding the Finance Committee and the methodology it adopted as regards the document related to programme delivery.
I do not know where to start, in fact, but we are all aware that the Finance Committee is governed by rules and regulations that cannot be breached under any circumstances. Council itself laid down these rules and regultions,and they were adopted by the general Conference. Allow me also to say that the Finance Committee reflects the opinions and the instructions of the Council in general. It cannot follow the inidividual opinions of one or two Member States.These are the rules and regulations, and we all know them. The Chairman of the Finance Committee himself should abide by those rules and regulations regardless of the circumstances. A few days before the Sixtieth Session of the Finance Committee-I received at my office address a letter from the distinguished delegate of the UK. I repeat here it was a few days before the Sixtieth Session of the Finance Committee. I think at that time I was busy with the IFAD meeting and had no time to read the letter, as I assumed it was a normal communication sent to the Chairman of the Finance Committee. Then once our session started in the Finance Committee, the first thing I asked for when we started discussing this item was that I asked Mr Shah to clarify for me the contents of this letter. I was completely unaware of its substance. Actually, Mr Shah started to clarify the substance of the letter to me because he himself received a copy of the same letter addressed to the Chairman of the Finance Committee. But the members of the Finance Committee put an end to the debate around that letter because it was not a document submitted to the Finance Committee and therefore should not be discussed, and they were right. Many colleagues in the Finance Committee said it was completely illogical for us to discuss the substance or the contents of that letter because it was a private letter addressed to me in my capacity as Chairman of the Finance Committee.
It was not an official document sent to us, circulated to be discussed by us. Therefore, there was no reason for us to discuss it. That was the wish of the members of the Finance Committee. In my capacity as Chairman of the Finance Committee I thought it preferable to listen to the opinion of Mr Shah regarding this letter. I insisted, I truly insisted, and I asked Mr Shah to give us an interpretation of this letter. The letter was related, of course, to the costs of programme delivery. Mr Shah said that numerous meetings were held-about five meetings were held with the UK delegation who came to the Organization to discuss financial and other matters, including programme delivery costs. Intensive meetings were held. They were very lengthy. Each meeting lasted several hours. Then finally the UK delegate seemed to be convinced, and I do not know what happened after that.
This is, Ladies and Gentlemen, the sheer truth of what happened. I felt it my duty and responsibility to reflect it. Mr Shah, in fact, does not have the right to discuss any issues in detail without the prior acceptance of the Chairman and the members of the Finance Committee. You should all know that I personally, on more than one occasion, have stopped discussions initiated by the Secretariat simply because I felt that they were a little bit away from the subject. They did not touch upon the crux of the matter. The Secretariat does not have any right in imposing its views on the members of the Finance Committee. If this happens, then you should all know that I will be the first person to oppose such measures. I will be the first person to resign my post in the Finance Committee. But I would like to reassure you that the Secretariat has not imposed any document upon us at all. On the contrary, we have asked the Secretariat for numerous documents, for a whole spate of information, and the Secretariat always responded very faithfully, very candidly to all the requests that we lodged as long as they were part of the agenda of the Finance
1/ Statement inserted in the verbatim record on request.
Committee. You undoubtedly appreciate as members of this august assembly that if the Finance Committee adopted this methodology, namely considering private letters as official documents to be discussed in the meetings, then you can imagine we can be receiving some 49 letters from each member, of course touching upon various issues that should be discussed along with the very heavy agenda we had before us. Indubitably, such an approach cannot be accepted from the legal point of view. I must say that a member asked for a clarification regarding an idea or a proposal that the member of Council would like to submit to the Finance Committee. This request was put by the distinguished representative of Australia in the Finance Committee. The Assistant Director-General and Mr Shah cleared the point and clarified the procedure. You undoubtedly know about the situation because each member has the right of proposing any item to be discussed within the Finance Committee but through the accepted channels, through the procedures governing the work of the Finance Committee. These legal and constitutional approaches are very well known to us all. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, I stand ready to study any subject, item or idea submitted to the Committee by Council and supported by documents enabling the members of the Finance Committee to study the subject, discuss it and then asking or requesting the Secretariat for help.
We have always lived up to our responsibilities. We shoulder our responsibilities in dedication and faithfulness, and in fact I am priding myself on chairing the Finance Committee because all the members of the Committee have helped me achieve our task.
Mr Chairman, I think this is the main point I wanted to clarify for members, distinguished members of Council. I chink the other points may be better explained by my colleagues from the Secretariat.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL The first intervention in this debate was made by the distinguished representative of Italy, and perhaps I might start my remarks by referring also to his statement.
I would like to thank yet again the host country for an extremely helpful and constructive approach to the financial problems of the Organization. The distinguished delegate of Italy suggested that the Council reiterate its appeal to those Member Nations which have not yet agreed to the deferment of their payment of the cash surplus to consider doing so, and this appeal has been echoed by other speakers in the debate.
He also put forward a proposal that a number of the substantial contributors to the Organization might consider making special contributions to finance what he referred to as projects which have been cancelled because of the difficulties affecting FAO. I interpret this as meaning not that special contributions would be made that would relieve in any way the liability of Member Nations to pay their assessed contribution. Rather that certain activities which have had to be cancelled, thereby reducing the impact of FAO's work, might instead be reactivated and carried out. This is a very interesting and constructive suggestion which we shall be glad to pursue with the representative of Italy after the debate and after the Council Sessions are over.
I would also like to thank those countries which have announced their agreement to defer their right to receive payment of the cash surplus from the last biennium. In the first place Malaysia, and in the second place Tanzania, subject, as I understand, to further formal confirmation. These two further expressions of support along with the action by a number of other countries which have already accepted this suggestion, will certainly help FAO in its hour of need.
Mr Chairman, I would like to refer to just one of the suggestions dealt with in the report of the Finance Committee, and referred to in the course of the discussions, for avoiding or reducing difficulties on future occasions. If we look back at the experience over the last few biennia I think we cannot avoid the conclusion that there is one component of the budgeting systems in FAO that is not only to some extent illogical but has also tended to aggravate our difficulties. I am referring to the fact that we credit Member Nations with estimated forecast miscellaneous income before we ask them to pay their contributions to the budget.
The most important single component of miscellaneous income is interest income from moneys on deposit. The volume of this income is affected by the interest rate cycle, and for some time the interest rate cycle has been moving with quite extraordinary rapidity. When interest rates
are rising we seriously underestimate the interest income we are going to receive and we have done that for several past biennia. When interest rates are dropping we overestimate the income we are going to receive, we overcredit Member Nations, and we wind up with really serious budgetary problems.
Now the suggestion that we switch to the system adopted by a number of other organizations in the UN system of crediting such income after it has been realized, obtained a substantial measure of support in the Finance Committee but not a full consensus. It does in fact result in a one time increased hardship for the contributing Member Nations. For one time they receive no credit at all, and then in the following biennia they get credit for the income that has been received.
Now we recognize that this is not a very appropriate time with all the problems we have, with all the problems Member Nations have, it is not a very appropriate time to be increasing still further the burden on Member Nations, but I would urge the Council, even if there is not a full consensus on this solution, not to slam the door on this approach. Sooner or later it really must be accepted by FAO, and as an interim measure the suggestion put forward by several delegations that the Secretariat should incorporate in the budget a very conservative estimate of future miscellaneous income could be a very helpful step on the road.
Mr Chairman, most of the queries that emerged in the course of the debate will be dealt with by my colleagues Mr Crowther and Mr Shah, but I would like to say something more about the intervention by the United Kingdom very early on in this debate. His intervention used what I can only describe as very heavy phraseology, such as behaviour by the Secretariat that would undermine the authority of the Chairman of the Council, and activity by the Secretariat to deflect the discussion on certain matters. Mr Chairman, I would like to recall to the Council exactly what the decisions were that were taken at the last session. It was a rather complex session; there were some rather complicated discussions, but this is what actually happened.
Now there were three separate decisions. First of all on the handling of the issue on programme delivery costs. The decision of the Council was taken in the course of the adoption of the report, and in order to avoid a lengthy summary I would just like to read out a little extract from a statement I made myself to the Council which became in fact the decision. "Unless the Council wishes it to be done otherwise the Director-General is quite ready to include in the next Regular Session of the Finance Committee, an agenda item entitled "Regular programme delivery costs". In preparation for the Finance Committee's discussion the Director-General will prepare a paper which will take account of the discussions with the United Kingdom, but it is the Director-General's prerogative to submit his own paper to the Finance Committee. He is not by any means obliged to submit the paper of the United Kingdom. Therefore, I think that on that understanding we can proceed unless the Council does not wish this to be included in the agenda. That was the shape of the decision which then was accepted by the Council.
There was a second issue which came up during the discussion of the report, and that item related to the Organization's financial liquidity. Here again I would not attempt to summarize a long discussion but I would like to read out from the verbatim record what was actually decided. You yourself, Mr Chairman, summarized the decision and I shall make a very rough translation from the French in order to avoid interpretation problems. "There remains the question of liquidity. A question has been put by some delegates. There was a reply by Mr Crowther in the name of the Organization. It seems that the delegations are not yet totally convinced. We can therefore also consider that these delegates could make contact with the Secretariat to pursue this question further, and if they are not convinced they could request the inclusion of this question in a future session, a forthcoming session of the Finance Committee. Is this acceptable?" The representative of the United Kingdom replied: "That is a correct summary of what we would like". There was then a very brief discussion as to whether this should be included in the report itself, and I myself took the initiative of suggesting that in order to avoid drafting problems we should take a decision simply as recorded in the verbatim record.
The decision therefore, if I may reiterate it was that those delegates wishing to pursue the question of liquidity would pursue it with the Secretariat, and if they were not satisfied they would request that it be included in the agenda of a forthcoming session of the Finance Committee.
There was a third group of questions which came up, not on the adoption of the report but on the discussion of the report by the External Auditor. There the representative of the United Kingdom said at the end of a very lengthy debate and a very long meeting that he wished to raise a number of issues.
You, Mr Chairman, then suggested that the United Kingdom delegation should address itself to the Secretariat in order to continue its discussion. The United Kingdom representative accepted this offer and in his statement he said: "We will have discussions with the Secretariat about these issues and the questions which remain unanswered and we will pass this material on to the Finance Committee". Now this appeared as follows in the report of the Council: "In the course of the discussion, a number of members asked for additional information on points raised by the External Auditor. Comments on many of these points were provided by the Secretariat which also offered to provide additional information to any members which requested it". There was no decision by the Council that these specific issues should be referred to the Finance Committee, although I should add that in the discussion on this section of the report the representative of the United Kingdom indicated his intention of doing so.
Now the little paragraph I read out was the report of the Council on this matter, but I must add that the representative of the United Kingdom entered a footnote to this particular section of the report of the Council suggesting that it did not adequately reflect the discussion.
That was the sum total of the decision of the Council on that range of questions.
I would just like to come back again to the issue of programme delivery costs. It has been suggested in the course of this debate, firstly by the delegate of the United Kingdom but supported by other delegations, that the question of programme delivery costs should be included in the agenda of the next Council session. The rule book says that the "Director-General in consultation with the Chairman of the Council shall prepare a provisional agenda for the Council session having regard to suggestions made by any Member Nation". There will certainly be no difficulty whatever about including this item in the next session of the Council.
There was also a proposal that this matter be taken up again by the Finance Committee at its next session. I am sorry to quote the rule book again but this is what we have to do-the rule book says that the "Director-General in consultation with the Chairman of the Finance Committee shall prepare a provisional agenda for any session of the Committee." All I can say on this point is that the Director-General will be taking up with the Chairman of the Finance Committee the question of the agenda of the next session of the Finance Committee.
At this stage I do not wish to pursue the substantive points raised which will be answered by my colleagues, but I must categorically reject the phraseology and the allegations made against the Secretariat in the course of the intervention by the delegate of the United Kingdom.
LE PRESIDENT: Je note que l'ordre du jour du Conseil, dans sa 92ème session, prendra en considération la demande formulée par le représentant du Royaume-Uni sur les coûts d'exécution des programmes,.et que le Comité financier aura également à voir cette question, en préparation de la discussion au Conseil.
Est-ce que cette position est exacte, M. Walton?
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: As far as concerns the Finance Committee, this is a matter the Director-General will Be taking up with the Chairman of the Finance Committee, which he has not yet had an opportunity of doing. For the Council-
LE PRESIDENT: Donc nous pouvons dire que le Conseil a pris acte de la demande présentée formellement par le Royaume-Uni pour inscrire à sa 92ème session la question du coût d'exécution des programmes.
Bashir El Mabrouk SAID (Libya) (Original language Arabic): I would like to make a comment on what you have just told us on the formal request submitted by the delegate of the United Kingdom to include the point raised on the agenda. Is the Council in a position to ask the Finance Committee to examine any point? Or should the Chairman of the Finance Committee contact the delegation involved to include this point on the agenda? Do we have the right at the present time to include the point on the agenda of the Finance Committee?
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois avoir compris que la question du coût d'exécution des programmes va être étudiée par la session du Conseil, en vertu de l'article XXV.7(b) du Règlement général.
Pour ce qui est du Comité financier, c'est une autre affaire. M. Walton a dit que la delegation du Royaume-Uni on le Directeur général et le Président du Comité financier devront entrer en contact pour en décider.
Mais pour ce qui est du Conseil, si j'ai bien compris, cette question est dès maintenant retenue pour la 92ème session.
Pour éviter de me tromper, j'aimerais que le Conseiller juridique vienne nous éclairer.
LEGAL COUNSEL: I should merely like to confirm what both the Independent Chairman of the Council and Mr Walton have just said. The Council is seized of this new item for its 92nd Session. As the Chairman of the Council stated, this is done by virtue of rule XXV.7(b) of the General Rules of the Organization. Mr Walton also quoted from the Rules of Procedure of the Finance Committee, Rule III paragraph 1 of which provides that the "Director-General, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, shall prepare a provisional agenda for any session of the Committee". This is precisely what will be done. I think that is all I need to say.
Dean K. CROWTHER (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department): There were a number of specific either questions or requests for comments by various delegates I would like to address and that my colleague Mr Shah will also address.
First, the delegate of Canada raised the question as to whether the various member nations' contributions and agreement to defer cash surplus would in fact increase the deficit. As shown in the report of the Finance Committee, there is a projected deficit at the end of the biennium. I can assure the delegate of Canada that the cash surplus deferrals that are known have all been taken into account and are properly included in the calculation of the projected deficit, so there would be no increase in the deficit as a result of these declarations for deferring cash surplus. A question was raised concerning the replenishment of the Working Capital Fund as it was indicated that there was the possibility of confusion at the last Council. Perhaps we can clarify this by again referring to the basic text under Financial Regulation VI. Under Regulation 6.2(a) reference is made to the Working Capital Fund and its purposes. The first purpose that the Working Fund is to be used for is for advancing monies to the general fund to finance budgetary expenditures pending receipt of contributions to the budget. This is by far of most frequent concern to the Organization when there is a shortfall in contributions.
There are two other items for which it may be used. One deals with financing emergency expenditures and the other is reimbursable loans for such purposes as Council may authorize. With regard to reimbursement, I turn to Rule 6.5(a) in which the basic text says, "Advances made from the Working Capital Fund to finance budgetary expenditures under Financial Regulation 6.2(a)(i)"-which refers to the shortfall in contributions-"shall be reimbursed from the General Fund as soon as feasible, but in any case within the next financial period by programme adjustments if necessary". I hope that is very clear, because the Working Capital Fund must be reimbursed from the General Fund as soon as possible.
Next, questions were raised by the delegate of the United Kingdom concerning discussions held with the Secretariat with regard to four different items. The first had to do with liquidity and cash flow and the possibility of quarterly calls for contributions. There may be some confusion; I hope not, but just to make certain I would like to clarify the point.
The basic text calls for the Director-General to ask for contributions to be submitted in full within 30 days of receipt of communication from the Director-General. This call should be on the first day of the calendar year to which they relate or if sent forward before that time, whichever is the later. As of 1st January the following calendar year the unpaid balance of such contributions and advance shall be considered to be one year in arrears. It is suggested that the Director-General is bound to ask for full contributions in accordance with the level of the budget and the scale of contributions voted on by the Conference. The Director-General puts forward a call at the beginning of the biennium and asks for half of the biennium contribution for the first year. He subsequently makes several other calls and as Council is aware, this year there were special calls put forth in order to advance contributions where possible.
There is a call that goes out even more frequently than quarterly. Perhaps it was not adequately explained to the delegate of the United Kingdom during our discussions, but if not, I would like to make certain it is clear to the entire Council that we put out very frequent calls-some even by telex, some hand-carried and other by formal letter. Every effort is made to follow up with each of the Member Nations in order to ensure the most expedient payments of contributions that is possible.
A question was raised concerning the estimated schedule for draw-downs required against our cash flow. In order to properly manage cash flows within an organization of the size and complexity of FAO, it is necessary to predict in advance as accurately as possible the rate of expenditures by month. We do this, and upon receipt of contributions we deposit those contributions in short-term deposits under a very closely regulated plan so that upon expiration of these deposits monthly there will be adequate cash that will become available to cover the expenditures of that particular month. This is done every month. We are now depositing, for example, cash contributions received for the month of October. We have sufficient cash already on deposit that will mature during each of the preceding months.
Subsequently, as a management practice, we carefully review the actual expenditure against our estimated expenditure for draw-downs. Where we can see changes in patterns, as has been experienced this year because of programme adjustments, we make adjustments for future periods to compensate for such changes.
The question was raised that when this major contract with the Organization was entered into for the development of an accounting and finance system that has been referred to as FINSYS/PERSYS, there has been no detailed financial justification before entering into this contract.
It may be appropriate to inform the Council on the procedure that was followed, because I must assure you that a very detailed financial justification was entered into. In fact, a preliminary study was made by the Secretariat on the basic need for any improvement in automation of a financial and personnel system, following which, by use of a competitive tender, the Organization entered into a contract with the lowest bidding firm to develop a conceptual framework for such a system. Following the development of that framework and the completion of the initial contract, the Organization proceeded to enter into a very detailed review of the results of that conceptual framework. That framework resulted in a proposal to the Information Resources Sub-Committee, which is a technical committee established in-house for the purpose of reviewing technical proposals for computerization.
Following the recommendations of the sub-committee such a report was then put forward to the full Information Systems and Resources Committee, which is chaired by the Deputy Director-General and is made up of all the Assistant Directors-General, for careful review and perusal of the entire justification, including the financial justification, of such a large system. Following that, proposals were made to the Director-General. Upon approval by the Director-General to enter into a detailed contract, a complete tender was entered into, and I must say that there was extensive competititon with a wide range of proposals received on the basis of some very strict specifications. In fact, there were ten volumes of specifications submitted to each of the bidders for their review. It was a very carefully controlled tender. I must say that the award was made to the lowest qualified bidder with whom we are very happy.
There was a great deal of financial review and justification put forward on that, and I would like to dispel any possibility of thinking there was not.
There was a second question on the same issue of FINSYS/PERSYS. There was a statement that there may be only four to six people to perform the maintenance of the system once it is finally completed. Again, there may be a misunderstanding, because upon the completion of the system there will be four to six people in the Finance Division who will maintain the applications of the system, but there will be a similar number in the Personnel Division. There will also be systems development people who control the data base in the computer system who will be responsible for maintaining and updating the system itself, as well as the general oversight for management.
I can assure you, Mr Chairman, that after putting the investment into an information system, which includes all of our personnel activities, we will very carefully review the maintenance of the system and make certain that it is adequately staffed.
A question was raised on procurement and particularly with respect to distinctions between contracting and purchasing. The Organization has for many years, and continues to have, separate units. In fact, they are full branches in which formal contracts are entered into by one branch and those that are much simpler and involve only a purchase order are entered into by a second branch. The branch that deals with purchase orders, obviously, has a much greater volume and for the most part buys things that are complete, off-the-shelf that can be bought without the same degree of specifications that are required in a contract for building, for development of a system, and that type of requirement.
We have seriously reviewed the question of combining the two organizations on a number of occasions. We have come to the conclusion after each review that while it is important periodically to review such matters, the controls that are involved in contracts must remain separate and apart from the purchase order because of the distinctions that are required in major complex contracts. The contracts branch is a very small unit consisting of four Professional Officers and some clerical assistants. To combine that with a purchase order system we think would tend to diminish the controls over that system.
A question was raised by the Federal Republic of Germany as to the meaning of a statement in the December Finance Committee report, which said that although it should be possible to avoid major cash flow problems in the current biennium, over US$ 60 million in outstanding obligations in an obligated TCP would be carried forward to the next biennium. The question was what was intended and what was meant by the words "it may be possible to avoid major cash flow problems".
As you will recall, even in the last Council session in November the question of borrowing was raised and several Members said that they would like to avoid having the Organization borrow if at all possible. This matter was discussed in the Finance Committee in December and based upon the cash projections that we had made at that time, it was felt that even though there would be a deficit in the sense of excess of expenditure oyer income, there still would be adequate cash to get us through the end of the year for this biennium without borrowing. This report also makes it clear that we would carry forward even under existing projections obligated balances and other liabilities that eventually will fall due, because at the end of the year there will be undelivered services and products that ultimately we shall receive and for which we have to pay.
In an ordinary biennium we have had adequate cash to be able to finance even those liabilities at the end of the year. As projected in December, and even though to a lesser extent now although still the case remains, the obligated balances that will be carried forward at the end of this biennium for the most part will not be covered by adequate cash carry-over considering the amount of the deficit that probably will exist at the end of the year. So the question of borrowing was the issue raised when we made the statement that we think we can get through with the cash without borrowing. That does not mean that we do not have major problems.
The distinguished representative from Colombia raised a question on the scale of contributions and particularly on the report that was prepared by the UN Committee on Contributions and presented to the General Assembly at its 40th Session. He particularly asked if we could identify the ten-year period for the study and some of the reasons for the delay.
The report itself contains a description of the statistical base period, which was to maintain a statistical base period of 10 years for the scale for 1986 through 1988. This has been the experience in the past in establishing this particular scale. The period that the ten years covers is referred to specifically in the section dealing with statistical information. It refers to the fact that information would be collected and prepared by the United Nations Statistical Office showing estimates of total national income at market prices in national currencies for the years 1974 through 1983 for each Member State and each non-Member State. So the ten-year period covered from 1974 through 1983 was the period that the study was actually prepared. It takes a little over a year to collect the information, put it together and arrange for a report for the consideration of the Committee. The delay is caused by the collection activity, as it is substantial. By the time it is presented to the United Nations and subsequently to FAO and other nations, obviously, time has passed.
I would like to thank the Council for the specific references that have been made in the personnel area to the difficulties that have been experienced in FAO as the result of the delineation of the benefits for FAO personnel. The Finance Committee reported that and the Chairman outlined it in his report, and the Director-General made reference to the problem at the beginning of his statement. We do appreciate the comments that have been made by various Council Members as they will be important in the deliberations of the International Civil Service Commission when brought to its attention.
Finally, one last comment has to do with the deferral of the cash surplus. We are very appreciative of all those Member Nations that have seen fit to defer the cash surplus and in one case, Angola, to completely relinquish the cash surplus. I must say that the benefit to the Organization of this deferral,is certainly in the receipt of the contributions in gross terms in order that we can benefit from that deferral. Each of the Member Nations that have deferred has indicated that they have paid the contributions or that they intend to pay very soon. Again, we appreciate that very much.
V.J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): In the course of this very interesting debate a large number of delegations have referred once again to the effects of the programme adjustments on the implementation of the Programme of Work and Budget during this biennium. Their concern has been shared by the Finance Committee. You will also be considering this aspect under item 16 of your agenda but I felt that it might be useful if I were to recall that the Council has before it a document CL 91/17, which gives the details of the supplementary programme adjustments, since a similar document was submitted to the Council last November.
During the debate two delegations referred to the JIU report on field representation and wanted assurance that the criteria that the Joint Inspection Unit recommended in the establishment of FAO Representative offices were indeed followed. They suggested that the criteria should be followed. There is no quarrel at all. The Programme and Finance Committees were satisfied that these are precisely the sort of criteria that are examined very specifically, and it is only when we are satisfied of the need and the possible cost-effectiveness of an FAO Representative office, taking into consideration the programme needs and the needs of the government requesting such an office, that any decision is made.
In this connection, the Council may also be satisfied that just because an office is established does not mean it is established forever. In fact, there is one specific case I am thinking of where an office was closed down after a few years and the country concerned is covered through double accreditation because of the changes in circumstances.
The third point I would like to refer to is on one of the measures which were proposed to deal with financial and budgetary uncertainties. While the Deputy Director-General has dealt with the measure of adjusting the treatment of miscellaneous income, there were several interventions which dealt also with amending present procedures for application of cash surplus. Some of these interpretations suggested that there were concerns that this measure required additional burdens or additional contributions or additional assessments by Member Nations. I would like to try and clarify that. What is proposed under this measure is, in fact, the kind of measure which was adopted by the Conference in 1983. What it amounts to-and the detail of this may be referred to in Conference Resolution 14/83-is not that the Member Nations are to be deprived forever from their share of the cash surplus; not that they are to be forced to relinquish it, or of defer it. It starts by considering, first, what is the financial status of the Organization and the contributions received
in the first year of the biennium. What would have happened if we consider the status of contributions over the last few years? The Council would have seen that in 1985, 1984, and 1983 contributions were over 75 percent. According to this resolution, if the receipt of the contributions when the Council considers the matter is 75 percent or over, there is no problem. The cash surplus is distributed on 1 January of the second year of the biennium according to the rules and as is the practice. But if the receipt of contributions were lower-and let us recall that in November 1986 we had received only 65.86 percent-in that case the Council could have decided, or could decide if such a measure were adopted that only part of the cash surplus would be distributed on 1 January, 50 percent; the remainder would be distributed later. If an even lower proportion of contributions were received, then there would be no distribution on 1 January of the second year of the biennium. Therefore, there is no attempt-not even a concealed attempt-to deprive any Member Nation of its share of the cash surplus.
Secondly, such a measure would also try to ensure that whatever part of the cash surplus is distributed, is distributed taking into account whether, and which, Member Nations have paid their contributions. If a Member Nation had not paid its contribution it would not receive any part of the cash surplus even though other Member Nations would receive it at that time. The Member Nation which would not receive it because it had not paid, would receive it eventually when it made up its payments.
I realize that this is not a matter on which any further clarification may lead to any change of position if sovereign Member Nations wish to take whatever position, but I felt it was a clarification that we ought to give.
A specific question was raised about the unobligated balance of the TCP that we estimate may be some $ 31 million at the end of this biennium. The specific question was: what happens to that? What are the regulations which govern its utilization? Financial Regulation 4.3 states:
"Appropriations voted by the Conference for the Technical Cooperation Programme together with any funds transferred to the Technical Cooperation Programme under Financial Regulation 4.5 (b) shall remain available for obligations during the financial period following that during which the funds were voted or transferred. Appropriations unutilized at the close of the financial period following that during which the funds were voted or transferred shall be cancelled."
In layman's language the appropriation of 61.4 million of the TCP remains available for utilization until 31 December 1989.
Now I would like to deal with a subject which is of the closest interest to the heart of all Members of the Council, and, I am sure, all Member Nations, and certainly, I can assure you, to every member of the Secretariat, and that is the cash flow situation and the prospects. You have in the report of the Finance Committee on page 39 of the English text a table which was inserted as desired by the Finance Committee, which gives a row of figures. I would suggest that my clarifications will be considerably facilitated if I base myself on this tabular statement; in the English version of the document CL 91/6, page 39.
First of all, I would draw attention to a misprint which I should correct and that is in the column referring to payments, "Regular Programme" where in brackets it is stated "incl. TCP". In fact it is excluding TCP because the previous column gives the figure for TCP.
What would I like to point here? Firstly, there would be an improvement to indicate in the cash flow result because when the Finance Committee considered these figures the programme adjustments were $ 21.4 million. The Finance Committee was informed, as you have been, that this figure has now been raised to $ 25 million. So the cash flow surplus which is shown as $ 42.1 million increases to $ 45.7 million. Conclusion? According to this forecast there is no cash flow, no liquidity, problem during this biennium and for the exercise of this biennium's budget. But this is important to relate to the expectations of contributions which have been taken for this forecast, expectations which were confirmed on Monday by the distinguished delegate from the largest contributor country.
Some may be tempted to say, "what would happen if...?" Let me be quite frank. The sky may fall down. There is nothing we or anyone could do about it. We are trying to be sober, moderate, realistic, but this forecast requires certain commitments to be given. They are not unrealistic expectations: they take into account what has been indicated as possible.
The second point on this table is that as a result of this change in the cash flow, the estimated total shortfall would decline from $ 53.4 million to 49.8 million.
The third point is that the two figures-deficit on Special Reserve Account, $ 6 million, and the funds required to replenish the Special Reserve Account in the next biennium, $ 21.9 million-have to be considered separately. Why? It is a shorfall in relation to the total implementation of the Programme. We have to draw down the Special Reserve Account. That is fully consistent with the rules, fully consistent with the objectives for which the Special reserve Account was established. It is not a deficit because of mismanagement. It is not a deficit because the world has turned upside down. In some ways it has, but that is what the Special Reserve Account was for. So what is the budgetary deficit that we are now dealing with? The budgetary deficit that we face with this table comes to $ 21.9 million, as referred to by the distinguished delegate of Italy. I would like to point out that this is a considerably happier picture than the one that the Council considered in November of last year. It is one that the Director-General continues to address, as he himself has assured you, and it will be at your next session that you will have another opportunity to see, firstly, how this deficit has changed, and what precise measures we will be able to suggest to you to deal with it.
I hope that by attempting to give this explanation I can reassure the Council that there is no need to talk in terms of different figures ranging from 50, 60, 80, 100. No, we are dealing with figures which are before you. I wish to point out also that if we consider a deficit of $21.9 million we will have contributions outstanding-contributions due.
Last but not least, programme delivery costs. You will forgive me, Mr Chairman, I hope, a few minutes of explanation but I feel the debate really requires me to give some explanations. Firstly, on the matter of the letter from the United Kingdom to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, I should make it quite clear-if there is any doubt left-that I was authorized and I was ready to share the contents of this letter with the Finance Committee. However, as the Chairman of the Finance Committee has made very clear, it was the Finnace Committee itself which decided not to consider it.
Secondly, the interest in reducing costs. I am delighted to see that this interest is shared by all. I need hardly assure you that this interest is shared very much by the Director-General. He has spoken to you on numerous occasions about it. Not only has he spoken to you, he has done something about it over many years. He himself referred to certain conclusions of the Conference and of the Council on the subject of administrative costs, how they have been reduced, and by how much they. have been reduced. In fact, the Council and Conference have repeatedly expressed their concern that these cuts should not be pursued to extremes.
The distinguished delegation of the United Kingdom is very interested in FAO, and I am very struck by this because when we first began discussing the matter I was led to understand that they were interested in examining these costs in a number of organizations of the UN system. In fact, during our discussion last November when I had to take the floor I offered that I would be happy to meet with the distinguished delegation and whoever they wanted to send to Rome, I would be very interested to see the information that they have got from other organizations. This is in the verbatims. Yet then it transpired when we met more recently that no, their special interest is in FAO. The reference to UNICEF is perhaps coincidental because the Joint Inspection Unit happened to issue a report on the subject. But FAO is certainly favoured.
The distinguished delegation has been very gallant in pointing out that their own understanding of the subject has changed since they started to look into it. Last November the Council was told that according to their analysis it took 97 cents for delivering every dollar of programme. Now the figure is between 53 and 61. That is encouraging. On my side, you may rest assured we will pursue discussions. It is also very encouraging because the delegation has been particularly kind to me in complimenting my colleagues and myself for the work we have done. In fact, it is striking that perhaps there is more agreement than might sometimes appear, more agreement which is in fact stated quite categorically; agreement on the basic assumptions. We agree on the validity of the calculations which depend greatly with the degree of familiarity with an intimate knowledge of the work of the Organization. The explanations provided in reply to their queries-and I quote-"did not seem implausible". But if I may take that as a fellow compatriot, this is perhaps an understatement and the explanations were indeed quite satisfactory. So what is the matter of differ-
ence? We broke down the programme costs in four categories which have been accepted: one, non-allocated expenditures, meaning the expenses of the Conference and Council, the Governing Bodies, of the Legal Counsel, of evaluations, the provision for contingencies. We agree; these items cannot be allocated. They are not part of delivery. They are not part of administrative costs. They are unallocated. The unallocated expenditure is 4.9 percent.
The second category is the direct substantive expenditures. We agree that is 61.9 percent.
The third category is the indirect substantive expenditures. It is no secret; in an organization with a programme such as that of FAO where we have regional offices, country offices, management direction which is necessary for delivering the programme that is not the output itself of the programme, these are indirect expenditures of 14.4 percent. We agree.
The administrative support expenditures are 18.8 percent. We agree. These are percentages as percentages of the total of (a), (b), (c) and (d). But what our distinguished friends want to say is no; if you took the direct substantive expenditures as a proportion of the other three categories, then you come up to all the high figures they refer to. All these figures were plainly given. They were in the document which went to the Finance Committee. They were considered and discussed by the Finance Committee. There is no secret about them. We are not playing in any way. Our point of view is that in presenting these figures openly and showing how the calculations were made, the facts are there to see. And the facts which are there to see were in fact recognized by the Finance Committee and are in the conclusions of the document that it considered. So I will not take your time at this stage by repeating them.
But there are three points which are necessary to make. Firstly, reference has been made to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit and the fact that in this report which dealt with UNICEF, the administrative support costs of UNICEF as referred to by the distinguished delegate of the UK were given at 11.5 percent. The Joint Inspection Unit Report made it very clear, and it said-and I quote-in order to avoid useless controversy regarding any single method of calculating overhead costs that should be followed in preference to other methods, the results that are obtained according to each different method of calculation should be presented, etcetera. We have presented them. The JIU report itself says that if one takes the figures for UNICEF and puts them in a kaleidoscope and looks at them in different ways, you come up with anything from 11.5 percent to 28 percent to 23 percent to 37.5 percent. So what? Are we comparing FAO to UNICEF? Are we comparing the kinds of activities that UNICEF is engaged in, vast programmes of immunity vaccinations, of oral rehydration, even commercial operations, greeting cards, are we comparing that to the programmes of FAO? I believe that the distinguished delegate of the United Kingdom has himself said no, that the two are not possible to compare.
Finally, as far as the Regular Programme delivery costs are-concerned, we can talk and examine as much as you wish, but I say in all modesty that we have given as much of the facts and analysis as we see are pertinent.
Before closing, there is a final aspect of delivery costs which I would like to refer to. This has not been raised in the discussion, but it was considered by the Finance Committee because we submitted information not only on the Regular Programme delivery, but also on Field Programme delivery. Here, no word has been said to quarrel with what was considered by the Finance Committee. This area of delivery costs for the Field Programmes is the one area where an attempt is made to compare organizations. Why? Because when you are talking about Field Programme expenditures for field projects funded by UNDP, funded by trust funds, then it is possible to compare different organizations to some extent, but there are many provisos. In fact, such a report is submitted by the Administrator of UNDP to the Governing Council of the UNDP. The last such report was submitted on 16 May 1986 and the reference number is DP/1986/65. There is one table, and that is what I need to refer to, which gives the ratio of total agency support cost expenditures to technical cooperation project expenditures for the biennium 1984-85. There are 24 organizations and programmes which execute projects which are compared. The average ratio was 17.1 percent. Where did FAO rank? FAO came with 14.5 percent. There were only two organizations with a lower rate: WHO, 12.5; and UNDP Office of Project Execution, 8.6, but that is for reasons which are very distinct and specific. In every other case the overhead delivery ranged up to 33, 43 percent. In most cases, it was in the '20s. So here is one limited area where a comparison was attempted and has been submitted openly, publicly in a public document, and FAO does not come out too badly.
I apologise if I have taken a lot of the time of the Council, but I hope that these clarifications will help. As always, they are offered in the spirit of service.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie M. Shah pour ses explications. Je constate que le représentant du Royaume-Uni a demandé la parole. Sur le plan du débat global, je crois que la discussion est terminée. J'aimerais insister sur un point: nous allons continuer la discussion sur cette question très intéressante au prochain Conseil. La contribution du Royaume-Uni a été utile, elle nous a permis d'avoir des chiffres précis sur la ventilation des frais généraux et des dépenses directes et indirectes; ce débat a été constructif et j'appelle de tous mes voeux un travail de symbiose entre le Secrétariat et la délégation du Royaume-Uni pour permettre au prochain Conseil d'avoir des éléments complémentaires qui éclairent davantage et approfondissent ce point très intéressant.
Je me permets d'insister pour que nous conservions la sérénité des débats; je ne compte pas, après la réponse du délégué du Royaume-Uni, ouvrir de nouveau la discussion parce que nous avons encore un ordre du jour très chargé. Je passe donc volontiers la parole au délégué du Royaume-Uni et je souhaite ensuite passer à la synthèse et aux points suivants de l'ordre du jour puisque, comme je vous l'ai dit, nous aurons au prochain Conseil l'occasion d'analyser plus avant la question que nous venons d'évoquer.
James D. AITKEN (United Kingdom): I shall be very brief. We would like to thank the Chairman of the Finance Committee for his very lucid explanation of the events in the Committee. We would also like to thank the Deputy Director-General for his very helpful statement. We would perhaps have found such explicit guidance in procedures extremely useful if they could have been given at the time of the Ninetieth Session when we made it clear that our intention was to pass on information to the Finance Committee. In retrospect, if we had got guidance then we could have avoided some of the difficulties we encountered later on. We are naturally very pleased to learn that our proposal that this question should be discussed properly and fully in the Council has been accepted. We think we have all heard enough of percentages for one evening, and we look forward to the further discussion.
Just very briefly, to touch on Mr Shah's statement, I will make two points. One, we are very pleased with the recognition he has given to the JIU report and the idea that there are various ways of looking at programme delivery costs. We hope this will be reflected in the material going to Council. There is one point specifically I would like to make clear to the Council, that the United Kingdom is interested in programme delivery costs in a number of agencies. Had Mr Shah spoken to me earlier, I could have told him that the next Executive Board of UNICEF will be considering the question of programme delivery costs specifically as a result of an intervention by the UK. So this is not simply a question of FAO.
On this question, we still have a slight problem with which we would like some guidance from the Deputy Director-General. The problem we have is how to ensure and the correct procedure that the information and the dialogue that we have had with the Secretariat can be put before the Finance Committee and the Council. We would like it if the DDG could explain how this could be done and what is the correct procedure for a Member State to bring its views or to bring information before these Committees.
Finally, I have two very short points for the Assistant Director-General of Administration and Finance. The first one is, could he confirm whether a full cost benefit analysis was undertaken before it was decided to proceed with FINSYS/PERSYS? I ask this be cause there may be some misunderstanding over our discussions with the Secretariat which he alluded to in his statement. Also, in view of his remarks about personnel management, can we expect a short report on personnel management to become a regular feature of future Council agenda?
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le délégué du Royaume-Uni et comme je l'ai déjà indiqué, je vais donner la parole au Directeur général adjoint. Ensuite nous ferons la synthèse.
Je suis heureux de constater que le débat est serein, qu'il y a une volonté réciproque d'aller de l'avant. Nous voulons tous, au Conseil, trouver des possibilités d'économie et d'amélioration des coûts. Si nous avons cette volonté d'améliorer les coûts de production, nous aurons fait quelque chose d'utile.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Mr Chairman, I shall not give a legal reply but a common sense reply if I may to the question by the distinguished delegate of the United Kingdom. Broadly speaking I believe that there are two ways in which the views of individual Member Nations can be brought before the Finance Committee. One is via the documents prepared by the Director-General, and another would be through a member of the Finance Committee.
I very much welcome the spirit of conciliation in the reply by the delegation of the United Kingdom. I do not believe that there should be difficulties on future occasions in bringing, through secretariat documents, contrasting views to the attention of the Finance Committee, provided always that the question is tackled in an atmosphere of full cooperation and serenity on both sides of the fence.
George Henry MUSGROVE (Canada): Thank you Mr Chairman. I have no intention of opening a debate. Just on the technicality with respect to the Finance Committee, I wonder if the explanations that were given by Legal Counsel and by the Deputy Director-General earlier sometime ago indicated that the agenda of the Finance Committee was a matter for the Director-General and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, and I wondered if there was not another way in which the agenda sometimes could be influenced by this Council, the Finance Committee being a subsidiary body of this Council, and I believe the rules do indicate that the Finance Committee can be charged with tasks by the Council itself. If that is so it could well be that the Council could direct the Finance Committee to examine and entertain material which is directed to it by this Council. I had thought indeed that is what happened last November. I thought that the Finance Committee had been so directed by the Council.
Incidentally, perhaps while I still have the floor, I would like to compliment the delegate of the United Kingdom for his grace and forebearance under some pressure-I hope not to say provocation-but the tone of some remarks that were addressed to him I think had compelled me to enter the fray but I will not do so.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Canada is quite right. In my view the Council can refer matters to the Finance Committee. The Constitution says in Article V, paragraph 6, that in the performance of its functions the Council shall be assisted by a Finance Committee, and if the Council is to be assisted by a Finance Committee it can, of course, refer matters to it, and that is indeed what happened to some extent in November. So this amplifies to some extent the reply to the question already raised by the distinguished delegate from Libya, and I hope the situation is entirely clear.
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois que cette contribution est utile, quel est le circuit formel pour inscrire une question à l'ordre du jour du Comité financier. On peut comprendre qu'au vu de la délibération du Conseil cette question sera inscrite à l'ordre du jour du Comité financier.
Est-ce que notre Conseiller juridique peut nous éclairer?
LEGAL COUNSEL: It is axiomatic that, as the Finance Committee is a subsidiary body of the Council, the Council may give instructions to its subsidiary body, and in fact Rule XXVII para.7(u) provides that the functions of the Finance Committee include performing "such other duties as may be referred to it by the Council". So if the Council so decides, the Finance Committee will be responsible for carrying out those functions that are assigned to it.
It was so decided
Il en est ainsi decide
Así se acuerda
José Ramón LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (México): Nosotros ya nos hemos expresado en el sentido de que no nos hemos sentido satisfechos con las consideraciones que se nos presentaron, inclusive al inicio de estos debates.
Consideramos que posteriores reflexiones y análisis respecto de esta situación, que está tan clara, y después de las explicaciones del Dr. Shah, todavía más son innecesarias y no resultan ejercicios académicos pero reconocemos el derecho de cualquier delegación a que se incluyan en cualquier tema, aunque, repito, desde el punto de vista de la delegación de México no tiene ningún interés, ninguna prioridad y están totalmente resueltas. Nos parece, por tanto, el ejercicio académico inútil e innecesario.
Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): Je partage entièrement les deux observations présentées par le délégué du Mexique.
Pour ma part j'avais compris que la délégation du Royaume-Uni avait souhaité que le document sur le coût du Programme préparé par le Secrétariat à l'intention du Comité financier, ce document, qui avait été qualifié d'intéressant, devait être diffusé auprès des Etats Membres du Conseil. Voilà donc un point que nous avions retenu, il fallait diffuser ce document intéressant. Nous pensons que, lorsque le document sera diffusé, les Etats Membres du Conseil auront le temps de l'examiner et peut-être de formuler des observations ou des recommandations. Nous pensions donc qu'il fallait d'abord passer par ce premier stade.
Par ailleurs, on a expliqué qu'il y a beaucoup de méthodologie, de modèles de calculs sur lesquels il faut s'entendre avant d'arriver à se comprendre.
Nous pensons donc qu'il serait peut-être opportun que la délégation du Royaume-Uni s'entende sur un modèle de calcul qui lui plaît avec le Secrétariat, qu'ils en discutent bilatéralement. Nous comprenons que cette délégation voudrait continuer ses propres investigations avec le Secrétariat. C'est son droit le plus absolu. Pour notre part, nous voudrions que l'on passe par le premier stade, ensuite on verra.
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois que si le délégué du Royaume-Uni se met en contact avec la Direction générale et le Président du Comité financier, la Direction générale et le Comité financier verront la possibilité d'inscrire cette question à l'ordre du jour du Comité financier. Mais ce qui est acquis c'est que cette question est inscrite à l'ordre du jour du Conseil.
Donc si le délégué du Royaume-Uni n'y voit pas d'inconvénient, il pourrait, avec le Directeur général et le Président du Comité financier, essayer de prospecter de l'inscription de cette question à l'ordre du jour du Comité financier. Le Règlement intérieur du Comité financier le prévoit dans son article III.
Donc, si le délégué du Royaume-Uni écrit une lettre formelle en exposant le problème qu'il soulève à la Direction générale, compte tenu du fait que cette question est inscrite à l'ordre du jour du Conseil, l'étude pourrait être faite par le Président du Comité financier et le Directeur général pour préparer le travail du Conseil. Le circuit pourrait être envisagé sous cet angle.
Si vous n'y voyez pas d'inconvénient, je souhaiterais passer à la synthèse.
Je voudrais remercier le Président du Comité financier pour son rapport qui a grandement facilité la tâche de notre Conseil. La FAO passe par une situation financière très difficile que nous espérons tous passagère. Le Conseil a eu l'occasion en novembre dernier de lancer un appel aux Etats Membres pour qu'ils versent rapidement et complètement leur contribution. Cet appel a eu, comme l'a souligné un honorable délégué, un effet positif. Je pense traduire la pensée de notre Conseil en réitérant cet appel solennel au Conseil et en demandant à tous les Etats Membres de bien vouloir accélérer le versement de leur contribution.
Notre Conseil remercie vivement les pays qui ont accepté de renoncer à leur excédent de trésorerie.
J'espère ne pas me tromper en disant que le Conseil dans son ensemble est d'accord pour l'augmentation du Fonds de roulement, qui a été considéré comme insuffisant, compte tenu de l'augmentation du volume d'activités de la FAO.
Pour le reste des événements prévus dans le rapport du Comité financier, je pense que beaucoup d'avis et beaucoup d'opinions ont été exposés. Le Comité de rédaction pourrait analyser de façon approfondie ces interventions et proposer une rédaction qui permettra de faire une synthèse précise de ces positions.
Si vous ne voyez pas d'objection, je voudrais vous faire la proposition suivante.
Nous pourrions arrêter la séance pour une vingtaine de minutes. Nous prendrions ensuite le point 19 de l'ordre du jour qui est le rapport de la 49ème session du Comité des questions constitutionnelles et juridiques, qui comprend la procédure d'élection des présidents et des membres du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier ainsi que d'autres questions soulevées sur le statut juridique de la FAO et de son siège en Italie. Nous passerions ensuite au point 16 qui traite du rapport de la 52ème session du Comité du Programme. Si nous réussissions à traiter ces questions aujourd'hui dans cette séance tardive nous aurions fait un grand pas en avant. Nous laisserions le rapport du Comité du PAM, présenté par son directeur, pour demain matin.
Nous verrions également demain le point 14, "préparation de la 24ème Session de la Conférence de la FAO". C'est un point très important. Je préférerais pour ma part que les délégués soient frais et dispos pour en discuter.
Je donne la parole au Représentant des Philippines.
Horacio CARANDANG (Philippines): As a member of the Drafting Committee I ask for clarification because eventually we have to write down the decisions taken on the items discussed this afternoon.
It is clear to me that an item on the programme delivery cost has been requested by some members of the Council and therefore, it should be included in the agenda of the forthcoming Council. Then, there is the issue of whether this Council has requested the Finance Committee to include the same question in its agenda. When one says "the Council" surely it means that the whole body has decided to request the Finance Committee to take up this matter. But I understand that the Council has not made this request. I wanted to be clear about this so that we should not have any doubts as to the decision to be written down in the Draft Report. My understanding is that the Council has not made this request.
LE PRESIDENT:Vous avez parfaitement raison. Il y a deux points: le Conseil a accepté la demande formulée par le délégué du Royaume-Uni d'inscrire cette question des coûts d'exécution au prochain Conseil, à sa 92ème session, en vertu de l'analyse faite par notre Conseiller juridique et en vertu de l'article XXV.7b) des textes fondamentaux.
Pour le Comité financier, effectivement des membres du Conseil ne semblent pas avoir retenu la demande formelle du Conseil au Comité financier. Il a été envisagé de demander au Royaume-Uni de se
mettre en rapport avec la Direction générale de la FAO ét le Président du Comité financier pour avoir la possibilité d'inscrire ce document à l'ordre du jour au Comité financier. C'est une autre voie. Un Etat Membre envoie une lettre formelle à la Direction générale qui la transmet au Président du Comité financier.
Monsieur le Conseiller juridique, est-ce que cette procédure vous paraît conforme à la réglementation?
LEGAL COUNCIL:As far as I understand it, you are summing up the decision taken by the Council which is a practical measure whereby the interested government, in this case the Government of the United Kingdom, will approach the Secretariat and the Director-General. And then the Director-General in cooperation with the Chairman of the Finance Committee will decide on the matter. I think that is what you have decided so far.
Angus MACDONALD (Australia): May I take this opportunity to simplify the procedure under Rule III sub-paragraph 3 of the Rules of Procedure of the Finance Committee which says: "Any Member of the Committee may request the Director-General to insert an item in the provisional agenda". I would simply advise Council that Australia, as a member of the Finance Committee, will be asking the Director-General that an item on programme delivery costs be put on the agenda of the Finance Committee, and that the necessary documentation which will then be circulated should include the paper prepared by the delegation of the United Kingdom.
LE PRESIDENT: Monsieur le Conseiller juridique, cette procédure est-elle conforme à la réglementation de la FAO?
LE CONSEILLER JURIDIQUE: Elle est parfaitement conforme. Le délégué de l'Australie vient de citer le paragraphe 3 de l'Article III du Règlement intérieur du Comité financier. Dans ce cas-là, par la force des choses, la question devra être inscrite à l'ordre du jour du Comité financier.
Bashir El Mabrouk SAID (Libya) (original language Arabic): After the clarification given to us by Legal Counsel and following what we have heard from the delegate of Australia, I feel we have no need for the Council to indicate in its report any reference to this. The delegate of the United Kingdom can follow the procedure spelt out here.
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois que c'est clair. L'ordre du jour de la quatre-vingt-douzième session du Conseil comprendra la question du coût d'exécution des programmes.
J'espère que nous pouvons maintenant clore la discussion de ce point très intéressant mais assez complexe de notre ordre du jour.
Je vous propose une brève interruption de quinze minutes. Je vous demande de faire preuve de patience parce que nous sommes en retard. Or, le Comité de rédaction nous talonne car, on le sait, il doit rédiger son rapport et nous le remettre vendredi matin.
Si vous n'y voyez pas d'objections, nous passerons ensuite au point 19 de l'ordre du jour qui est relativement simple et que nous pourrons épuiser assez facilement, puis au point 16, en laissant pour demain l'examen des points relatifs à deux questions importantes: le Programme alimentaire mondial et, surtoue, la préparation de la prochaine session de la Conférence. Je crois que nous devons faire cet effort et je vous demande de bien vouloir nous faciliter et vous faciliter la tache; sinon, le Comité de rédaction ne sera pas prêt à nous remettre son rapport jeudi soir ou vendredi matin.
Je me propose de suspendre la séance pendant une quinzaine de minutes.
The meeting was suspended from 19.25 to 19.40 hours
La séance est suspendue de 19 h 25 à 19 h 40
Se suspende la sesión de las 19.25 a las 19.40 horas
LEGAL COUNSEL: Mr Chairman, as you have pointed out, the first question is entitled, "Procedure for the Election of Chairmen and Members of the Programme and Finance Committees".
At the outset I should like to mention that the Council will certainly regret that the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, Ambassador Alvarenga of El Salvador, cannot be here to present this report. His clarity and eloquence in presenting the CCLM reports will, I am sure, be recalled by many Members of the Council.
As we are rather short of time, I will try and make a very brief presentation on the question that you have before you. The specific question is in paragraphs 10 to 26 of the CCLM's report. I do not wish to repeat the entire background because that is described in detail in the report which delegates have no doubt read. I shall merely summarize the question. I think it can be summarized as follows.
In order to ensure that every region that so wishes is actually represented on the Programme Committee and Finance Committee, one of two things could happen: should the General Rules of the Organization be amended, or should they be left unchanged and such representation be ensured through negotiations between Member Nations?
The Council will recall that this very question was before it at its Ninetieth Session in November 1986. At that Session, the CCLM submitted three different voting procedures that could be followed if-and I repeat if-the Council decided to recommend to the Conference that the General Rules be amended. At its Ninetieth Session the Council reaffirmed the desirability of guaranteeing just and equitable representation on the Programme and Finance Committees, but it did not recommend a choice between amendment of the General Rules or, on the other hand, reliance on better coordination between regions. As you will recall, various views were expressed and these are reflected in paragraph 14 of the CCLM's report.
At that session, the Council merely asked the CCLM to explore further the implications of one of the three new voting procedures that it had considered. This is precisely what the CCLM has now done. I particularly wish to draw the Council's attention to paragraph 26 of the CCLM's report where the Committee stressed that the Council had not taken a decision on how to ensure just and equitable representation on the two committees. This is the question that the Council must now decide. It must decide whether more effective coordination among regions, and even within regions, is a better
solution, in which case the Council would not recommend the amendment of the General Rules. On the other hand, if the Council prefers to recommend the amendment of the General Rules, to modify the existing procedures by which the Chairmen and Members of the Programme and Finance Committee are elected, in that case the Council will have to consider the CCLM's conclusions in paragraphs 22 and 25 of its report. These paragraphs describe the procedure which, in view of the time constraints, I will not describe now.
Finally, if the Council decides that the General Rules should be amended to introduce a new voting procedure, then it may wish to refer the matter back to the CCLM in order that the CCLM may draft the appropriate amendments which then would be submitted to the 92nd Session of the Council and then to the Conference for a final decision.
A. Daniel WEYGANDT (United States of America): Looking around the somewhat empty room, I think that I can be safe in saying that we have a hard core of Council members here, and therefore I take it that these would be the people who would be most familiar with this issue. Therefore, I believe I do not need to go into an excessive amount of background for my presentation.
Let me just say that I very much thank Mr Roche for his excellent introduction to this subject. I certainly do agree with him that the crux of the issue is stated in paragraph 26 of the report before us. As a member of the CCLM I can certainly confirm that this is an issue which has bedeviled us in our deliberation for some time now.
Let me just say, being brief, that the United States in fact considers the principle of equitable geographic representation would require that each region which so desired had membership on the Finance and Programme Committees. This will come as no surprise to the Members of the Council.
I would also emphasize that it is particularly unfortunate that at this time of financial difficulties the North American region-which includes two of FAO's major contributors-has been deprived of membership on the Finance Committee. Let me just say in general terms, without hopefully provoking any kind of debate about unrelated issues, that my delegation attaches considerable importance to this issue, precisely because of the backdrop of issues that we were describing in our earlier interventions. Perhaps putting it somewhat crudely, my sentiment is that the Council can help us help FAO by taking a positive action on this issue, in other words by making a rule change here as we believe it is a relatively slight rule change but one that would, in fact, guarantee the representation of my region when it feels it is incumbent on us to be represented in the future.
With respect to the specific proposals, as I said we do favour giving the CCLM a mandate to draft specific rule changes to be put before the Conference. In that connection we would favour the options presented in paragraphs 23 (a) and 24 (b) of the report before us.
I believe that is all I need to say at this point. I may wish to come back later on.
James LYNCH (Canada): Much of what I want to say has been said by the United States because we are the only two countries in the North American region. I would like to note just a few additional comments.
First of all, I think we need clarity here. I am not exactly sure, despite the very good presentation by the Legal Counsel, whether or not the Committee has provided us with the clarity we need because they seem to be offering a choice which is basically, "try to let people who are involved solve the problem or provide a clear solution". As was stated by the United States, we would opt for the clear solution, one that would avoid future problems like this arising. In this particular case the most recent region to have been affected was ours, but it has happened on at least one other occasion in respect of the Programme Committee where it affected another region. Therefore, we think that even if it only arises occasionally, we should try to avoid it arising at all. It would be best in our view to do that through a rule change. Therefore, we would make the same proposals as the United States.
I would note that if the general direction which was being sought from this Council were to be adopted, that it might not prove successful. If the Council were for some reason, which I would not endorse, to choose that option, that is to leave it to the parties concerned to work it out through a gentleman's agreement type of approach then this Council would have another opportunity to revert to this item to see if that approach worked because there will be another Council session before the election at the Conference this November. I would think that there is a certain requirement, an obligation, on the parties then to have come up with a solution by that time. However, I think that looking at this thing, not in terms of this coming Conference where the problem will arise in specific terms, but looking at it in terms of ten or twenty years, the real choice before us is quite easy. We shall look at a fundamental solution which will avoid the problem arising and not put the onus on the parties each time to come with an ad hoc solution. I think at this present time members of this House are well aware of the problems and there might be an inclination to come towards a solution. However, because of the nature of this particular problem, because it gets looked at very infrequently, I think there is an obligation on us to try to come to a fundamental long-term basic solution.
Esau S.S. Nebwe (Zambia): I would also like on behalf of my delegation to thank the Legal Counsel for clarifying this issue for us before our interventions.
My delegation is of the view that in the light of what has transpired earlier in the afternoon, we should now begin to tighten the screws on procedures regarding our meetings. I would therefore like to concur with previous speakers that instead of conducting our business, as in these meetings, on an ad hoc basis, we should come up with normal procedures relating to standard management of meetings. In this regard, I would also like to concur that we amend the present provisions so that there is no question of leaving it to constituents to come up with a suggestion on whether they want to be represented on the Finance or indeed on the Programme Committee.
In a nutshell, I am saying that we should streamline our procedures regarding the conduct of meetings so that our business at the end of these meetings can be straighforward and save a lot of unnecessary debate, as has been the case at this session.
I would like to concur with previous speakers that we ask the appropriate committee to come up with proposed amendments so that we can streamline procedures for our future deliberations.
Ronald F.R. DEARE (United Kingdom): We seem happily to be on the way to a consensus. I would like to join those who have already spoken in favour of the adoption of alternative three. I think in the interests of brevity the only other additional comment I would wish to make would be to observe that it is mentioned in the paper that the alternative three procedures might be more time consuming. This may well be, but frankly it is only once every two years. That is a pretty minor factor in relation to the objective of achieving just and equitable representation on the Programme and Finance Committees. I totally agree with everything that has already been said.
Almir F. de Sá BARBUDA (Brazil): My delegation has taken note with great interest of the considerations put forward by the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters in paragraph 10 to 26 in this document, regarding the procedure for election of chairmen and members of the Programme and Finance Committee. This subject was discussed at the 90th Session of this Council. Having duly considered the analysis presented, my delegation nevertheless thinks that the present composition of both committees is the most appropriate to perform the highly important duties they have to deal with. That being so, my delegation's understanding is that no modification should be introduced either in the composition or in the procedural aspects of the election of the members. Since the arguments put forward at the last session remain unchanged, I do not think it worthwhile elaborating at length on this subject. I will conclude by reiterating that we consider that improved coordination within the regions before elections take place can guarantee that the principle for just and equitable representation will be safeguarded.
Mrs.Anne-Lise PETERSEN (Denmark): At this late hour I just want to make one brief comment on the report of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, and it concerns the procedure for election of members of the Programme and Finance Committees. As already stated by the Danish delegation at the Autumn Session of the Council, we are of the opinion that it is important to ensure an equitable regional representation in those two committees. The examination carried out by the CCLM on the implications of Alternative III shows that it would guarantee equitable representation with an unchanged number of members in the committees. But we also noted the conclusion in paragraph 19 saying that the changed procedure would be more time consuming and that it leaves open some questions concerning the distribution of seats which would have to be considered. My delegation is therefore still of the belief that the existing framework makes it possible for the regional groupings to coordinate the decisions before presenting candidates for the committees which can ensure an equitable and reasonable representation in these two committees without amending the existing rule.
Thomas YANGA (Cameroun): Très brièvement je voudrais signaler que le Cameroun est en faveur d'une représentation effective et équitable au sein du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier. Dans cette optique, et pour éviter toute difficulté d'interprétation d'un éventuel gentleman's agreement du genre de ceux que nous avons connus lors de nos discussions sur la question de la Présidence de la Conférence, nous appuyons tout amendement des textes fondamentaux qui assureraient cette représentation effective et équitable de toutes les régions.
Rainer PRESTIEN (Germany, Federal Republic of): I will be very brief on that agenda item. First, we support the conclusions recommended by the CCLM concerning FAO's immunity from legal process in Italy. Second, as regards the question relating to the election procedure for the Programme and Finance Committees, we also share the view expressed in paragraph 16, sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of document CL 91/5, that an equitable and just representation of the regions on both committees must be ensured without entailing any increase in the number of members. We have much sympathy for the line of reasoning of the region of North America to be represented in the Finance Committee as this particular region contributes at a rate of 30 percent of the regular budget of FAO. However, it is still our view that improved coordination between the individual regions and within the regions has been sufficient in the past to ensure an equitable representation on other committees. That should also be possible in future. An amendment to the Basic Text should be envisaged as a last resort only.
Third, we support the proposals contained in paragraph 33 of the document concerning the Vienna Convention and the law of treaties between states and international organizations or between international organizations.
Milan KARIC (Yougoslavie): Permettez-moi d'exprimer la position de la délégation yougoslave relative aux questions constitutionnelles et juridiques.
Ma délégation est contre la proposition qui consiste à modifier les règles qui fixent actuellement la procédure d'élection du Président et des membres du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier par un amendement. Nous estimons que le fait qu'un candidat d'une région ne soit pas élu au Comité financier ne peut pas justifier le changement de procédure d'élection étant donné que le scrutin secret qui établit la décision des Pays Membres est la procédure la plus démocratique. Accepter la proposition de procéder à la modification de la procédure d'élection serait à notre avis une perte de temps. Pour cela ma délégation estime que la représentation proportionnelle de régions dans les Comités susmentionnés peut-être assurée de manière plus simple et ce par l'amélioration de la pratique courante quant à l'application de la procédure en vigueur par une meilleure coordination et l'accord préalable entre les groupes régionaux.
Ma délégation se félicite également des progrès réalisés daos les négociations entre la FAO et le pays hôte sur l'immunité de la FAO en matière juridictionnelle en Italie. Cela dit, nous appuyons la proposition que le Conseil donne son accord à ce que l'échange de lettres entre le gouvernement italien et le Directeur général de la FAO soit la démarche pratique pour le règlement de ce problème.
A. Daniel WEYGANDT (United States of America): I am sorry for taking the floor again, and I do not want to preempt any subsequent speakers by any means, but it seems to me that there are two points that I would like to bring up at this point, namely that no speaker yet has-at least if I am not mistaken-spoken against the principle of a region being represented if it wishes to be. Therefore, I somehow fail to see the logical connection between reaffirmation of that principle and unwillingness to go along with this rule change since this rule change is obviously directed to guarantee precisely that result.
Some speakers have said that they believe that the system of gentlemen's agreement should be retained because it has generally worked in the past, but obviously it has not worked in every instance. This issue is of sufficient seriousness to us that we feel that something along these lines should be adapted, drafted at least, to guarantee that regions have their appropriate rights accorded them. I would simply suggest that since it is not really the Council's business to take an ultimate decision on this, notwithstanding the reservations expressed by some delegations, the CCLM could nevertheless be given a mandate to propose draft rule changes that could be considered in subsequent sessions before the Conference and at least to continue the process and allow the various delegations to continue to consult among themselves in the important search for a consensus between now and either this Conference or subsequent Conferences. I am just putting this forward as a procedural approach that might retain our efforts to study this issue and reach a consensus agreement without interfering with what we consider to be our just rights of representation.
Bashir El Mabrouk SAID (Libya) (original language Arabic): Very briefly, I would like to support the ideas put forward by the delegates of Yugoslavia and Brazil. The regional groups can consult among themselves to reach an agreement, and I do not see any need for amending the rules concerning this issue.
José Ramón LOPEZ-PORTILLO ROMANO (Mexico): En relación a la propuesta de cambio de los procedimientos de elección de los miembros del Comité de Finanzas y del Programa, la delegación de México, tras estudiar el documento CL 91/5 y sus conclusiones, considera que no se amerita ningún cambio en los procedimientos de tales Comités para los efectos de la elección de sus miembros.
Nosostros consideramos que la FAO no recoge en ningún texto básico, ninguna referencia específica a la existencia de regiones entre los Estados Miembros y que, si bien ésa es una cuestión de la práctica, la existencia y el funcionamiento y la forma en que operan y se representan esas regiones en los diversos comités es una cuestión que debe resolverse hacia el interior de las mismas.
En particular, debo recordar que en el caso relativo del Comité de Finanzas el problema ocurrió dentro de la región de los países de la OCDE y, por tanto, nosotros instamos a esa región a que, como grupo entero, resuelva sus problemas internos antes de presentar sus candidatos para la elección de los miembros del Comité del Programa.
Por otra parte, nosotros creemos que esta es una cuestión que no debe seguir tratándose, si bien ha sido ya discutida por el CACJ y que nosotros nos sentimos plenamente satisfechos.
Reiteramos, repito,-y se ha escuchado aquí que los mismos que lo hicieron en el Consejo pasado, lo han vuelto a hacer-nuestra consideración y observaciones al respecto y no creo que sea indispensable o necesario mayores estudios o profundizaciones.
Nuestra posición es, y creo que seguirá en este sentido, igual.
V.K. SIBAL (India): India is in favour of a just and equitable regional representation on the Finance and Programme Committees, but through better coordination amongst the varous regions. This seems to us to be a more preferable approach than the approach of achieving the same objective through an amendment because going through the paper we find that what has been suggested is not so simple. In fact, there is a good chance of running into operational difficulties, and some of them are pointed out in this
paper itself. There is the reference to time consuming procedures, the difficulties which are likely to be attendant on the distribution of seats, the question of balance between different groups and the situation in which one region does not offer a candidate. The Indian delegation is inclined to agree with the delegate from Mexico that this is really an internal problem of certain groups of countries and they should be able to sort it out through better coordination among themselves. With these words, we would once again like to say that we are not in favour of any amendment.
Adel Helmi EL SARKY (Egypt) (original language Arabic): In the name of Allah the merciful and compassionate, I would like to thank the Legal Counsel for this brief and excellent presentation. We agree that we have to ensure equitable and just geographic representation for the countries in the two committees. We are in favour of taking collective, clear measure in order to avoid any future problems regarding the chairmanship and membership of the two committees. We think that coordination between the geographic regions and within the regions before submitting their candidates is very useful, and we welcome the progress made in the negotiations between the Italian Government and the Organization concerning FAO's immunity.
Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): Pour notre delegation, en ce qui concerne la question de l'immunité de juridiction de la FAO en Italie, nous pensons que la procédure suivie pour traiter de cette question est la meilleure et nous convient parfaitement.
En ce qui concerne la procédure d'élection des présidents et membres du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier nous pensons nous aussi que le système actuel est valable et qu'il n'est pas nécessaire de le modifier.
Nous sommes convaincus que le problème a surgi parce que les pays de l'OCDE n'ont pas pu s'entendre entre eux. Pour résoudre cette question il faudrait que ces pays fassent un effort, intensifient leur concertation et essaient de trouver le consensus qui leur permettrait de s'entendre sur les places à occuper, soit dans le Comité du Programme, soit dans le Comité financier.
Ronald F.R. DEARE (United Kingdom): Obviously I was premature when I spoke of consensus when I intervened before. I had hoped not to have to take the floor again because of the hour, but really I am a bit perplexed. We have gone through this process over two years in the CCLM. Clearly when the matter was referred to the CCLM it was agreed we had a problem. There are very many convincing arguments for making the changes proposed for the CCLM. This afternoon I have not heard one convincing argument against the changes that have been put forward by the CCLM. Mind you I have heard a lot of pious hopes expressed about coordination, but we know it did not work last time, and if we do not address this problem we have no guarantee that we will secure a just and equitable representation the next time around.
The amendments that are proposed are fairly simple and straightforward. The procedure would be a little more cumbersome but surely that is worthwhile to achieve the objective we all say we wish to achieve, and I think we should do well to listen to the wise words of our delegate from Zambia who mentions the need in fact to tighten up our procedures to avoid the sort of difficulties we have had in the past. Therefore, I hope Mr Chairman, even if we cannot reach agreement today on supporting the proposal from the CCLM, we should at least keep the matter before the CCLM and ask them to let us see the amendments that might be appropriate to achieve the objective we desire. Thank you Mr Chairman.
James LYNCH (Canada): Mr Chairman, I hoped like the UK that we would have been able to have consensus. I think that he has outlined the type of procedure that we should follow from here. I would like to make just a couple of points. First of all it is not just a question of the North American Region. It has happened twice in two different committees, so we have more than one case, and if it has has happened twice it may happen a third time.
Secondly, we do have a time limit, because as I understand it, if we are going to change this particular procedure we have, we will have to have the Conference adopt whatever is going to be decided. So I think that as the United Kingdom has said, we should keep the item alive on the agenda of the constitutional and legal committee so that it could be presented to the Conference, if in pursuing the gentlemen's agreement amongst the OECD countries it were not possible to come forward with a solution, and given the timetable that we have, we should know by the time of the next Council whether or not the particular region concerned, the OECD, the North American Region and the other countries in the OECD, have been able to develop a gentlemen's agreement which would solve the problem that has been the particular spark for this consideration.
However, I would note that if by some mischance there were no solution we would have a third instance of the problem, and it would seem in fact the frequency of the problem were increasing, and that therefore some of the remarks that were made by some of the countries that intervened against changing the rules, might change, and if I could just suggest perhaps the conclusion I am just trying to sum up for you, but the conclusion would be to keep this item alive, to reconsider it at our next Council meeting in the light of the possibility that an agreement was reached amongst the countries concerned with respect to membership of the Finance Committee.
Horacio CARANDANG (Philippines): Thank you very much Mr Chairman. We are now taking a stand for or against the amendment of the rules. I should like to stress the importance of equitable representation among the regions. I am doing this because even if we amend the rules the fact still remains that there will be six seats for four regions of developing countries in the Finance Committee, and no change in the rules, except increasing the number, would ensure equal representation among the regions, and this could be achieved by, I think, appropriate negotiations among the various regions.
Giulio Cesare GARACUSO (Italie): Je suis légèrement embarrassé de prendre la parole car, au fond, nous sommes également intéressés par toute solution que le Conseil pourrait adopter. Nous partageons le sentiment commun que chaque région doit être représentée si elle le désire. Une certitude à cet égard ne peut être donnée que par une modification du règlement. Nous avons déjà indiqué notre préférence pour la solution 3. Un tel résultat ne peut être juridiquement garanti par une coordination majeure, surtout si le nombre de sièges est égal à celui des régions.
De toute façon, nous sommes prêts à collaborer d'une façon constructive à la solution qu'adoptera le Conseil.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia) La delegación de Colombia está en favor de que se logre una representación equitativa de todas las regiones, de todas, repetimos, en estos importantes Comités.
Hemos estudiado cuidadosamente las propuestas que aparecen en el 23 a) y 24 b) y además de los inconvenientes que señala el CACJ del tiempo y de algunas complicaciones, hay otras también y es la de que al haber dos elecciones ese hecho exasperaría la competencia entre los distintos candidatos de las distintas regiones porque habría dos clases de miembros de los comités: unos elegidos en la primera instancia y otros en la segunda; este es otro inconveniente.
El colega Carandang, de Filipinas, señalo muy adecuadamente otra observación con la cual yo coincido y es la diferencia que hay en la representación de las regiones y países en desarrollo en el comité del Programa donde podemos dividir los ocho puestos equitativamente, lo que no sucede en el Comité de Finanzas, de manera que sin anticiparme a su resumen, Señor Presidente, que sé que lo hará muy bien como siempre, pudiéramos proponer una solución de compromiso que podrá consistir en lo siguiente: que el consejo, repito que ojalá los colegas que se han expresado netamente en favor
de la enmienda acepten este compromiso, el Consejo actualmente afirma que no está en condiciones de modificar el reglamento de la Organización: que concede importancia al problema, reafirma los principios de la representación equitativa de todas las regiones en esos dos importantes Comités, y luego incluiríamos algunos de los comentarios que se han hecho sobre la conveniencia o inconveniencia, y que dada la importancia de este tema el Consejo pide al CACJ que a la luz de esos comentarios siga estudiando el caso.
Esta es una actitud flexible que por ahora deja muy a salvo la posición del Consejo pero que no impide que en el futuro se logre una solución que pueda, como dijo el delegado Carandang, de Filipinas, asegurarnos para que los países en desarrollo sigan las negociaciones entre los grupos y puede que lleguen a un acuerdo.
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois qu'il y a eu un tour de table important. Il me semble que s'il y a consensus sur un point, c'est le principe de la répartition équitable entre les régions, chaque région devant être représentée sans que l'on modifie pour autant le nombre de sièges.
La proposition finale faite par la délégation de Colombie-la question restant ouverte car le Conseil ne peut pas prendre une décision dès maintenant-est-elle de nature à recevoir l'approbation de tous?
A.Daniel WEYGANDT (United States of America): I certainly do welcome the constructive spirit in which the distinguished Ambassador of Colombia has presented what he calls a compromise solution. I am not sure that I would agree that it is a compromise solution. I might call it a realistic solution given the fact that there does not seem to be a consensus on this position.
I simply wanted to record my profound disappointment, and certainly the profound disappointment of my delegation and I presume the profound disappointment of my authorities ultimately, that despite the expressions of support for the principle of geographic representation, the Council is unwilling to translate that sentiment into action. I am not here to stand in the way of a resolution along these lines. I think it is a constructive suggestion but I simply fail to understand the logic that has been advanced by people who on the one hand support the principle of geographic representation, and on the other hand are unwilling to translate that into actual deeds.
Anyway I did not want to delay our consideration. I certainly understand that we do not have a consensus here. As a member of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters I understand very much how important it is to have a consensus when you are in a position of trying to decide what sort of rules must be drafted, but I just wanted to make the point that I must say I really am disappointed in this outcome.
Humberto CARRION M. (Nicaragua): Tengo entendido, entonces, que este asunto de la representación en los comités del Programa y de Finanzas está ya resuelto, al menos desde el punto de vista de la apreciación en este Consejo, y yo quisiera más bien dejar constancia del agradecimiento de la delegación de Nicaragua al embajador Elio Pascarelli en representación del gobierno de Italia, e igualmente al Director General de la FAO por la solución satisfactoria, desde el punto de vista nuestro, a la cual se llegó sobre la inmunidad de procedimiento judicial en esta Organización.
Queremos apoyar el párrafo 33 del documento 91/5 sobre la convención de Viena que aparece en el documento como punto 4.
LE PRESIDENT: Si le Conseil est d'accord, nous pouvons retenir ce qu'a suggéré le délégué de la Colombie, tout en laissant la question ouverte et en continuant à réfléchir.
Je crois qu'il faut quand même insister, dans le rapport, sur le principe très important d'une répartition équitable de chaque région ayant manifesté le désir d'être représentée. Nous pouvons établir ce principe en demandant au CQCJ de continuer à prospecter les moyens de l'appliquer. Peut être faudra-t-il augmenter le nombre de sièges? C'est l'une des solutions evisageables.
Pour l'instant, nous laissons la question ouverte et le CQCJ pourra continuer à y réfléchir.
LEGAL COUNSEL: The report of the CCLM, as you have noted, covers three different points. Some delegates have already referred to two of the other points that we had not actually begun to consider, so you have now disposed of the question of the procedure for the election of the Chairman and members of the Programme and Finance Committees.
The next question is that of FAO's immunity from legal process in Italy dealt with in paragraphs 3 to 9 of document CL 91/5.
Because of the lack of time I am reluctant to go into the background of this issue. May I therefore assume that delegates have read the paper and understood the various points developed in it? There are basically two questions which require a decision on the part of the Council. The first is whether the Council agrees with the CCLM that the recent exchange of correspondence, which in fact has just been published in the Italian Official Gazette of 18th June, constitutes a practical solution to the problem of FAO's immunity from legal process in Italy and whether it can commend this solution to the Conference because, as delegates will recall, the Conference asked the Council to report back to it.
There is a second point for decision in the CCLM report,connected with the first one. In order that the efficacy of the solution which has been reached and which the Host Government, the Director-General and the CCLM consider to be a satisfactory solution, at least for the time being, may be tested, it should be tested in the courts.
In the event, therefore, that there should be another case brought against FAO-and we very much hope this will not happen-then the Organization should plead its immunity in court. You will recall that in the past, the Council instructed the Director-General of FAO to stay away from the courts in view of the bad experience the Organization had had. Now, we believe the situation has changed considerably in the light of the developments described in the CCLM'S report. We therefore think it would be opportune for FAO to plead its immunity in court in the very unlikely-and I repeat, very unlikely-event that another case will be brought against it.
These are the two decisions required of the Council.
I shall go on to the last question which arises from the CCLM's report. It relates to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations. This is a Convention adopted last year in Vienna which extends, with appropriate changes, the corresponding convention adopted in 1969 which applies only to treaties concluded between states. As I said, the new convention was adopted in 1986 and the General Assembly urged organizations and states to become parties to this Convention as soon as possible.
The Convention has not yet been ratified by any states, nor has any organization taken an equivalent course of action. On the other hand, it has been signed by 22 states and 4 international organizations-the United Nations, ILO, WHO and the Council of Europe.
The question was submitted to the CCLM by the Director-General because there are no provisions in the Basic Texts which give any instructions on how or by what procedures FAO could become party to such a multilateral treaty. The CCLM came down in favour of signature of the Convention on behalf of FAO and has recommended that the Council endorse this procedure. In this respect, I should merely add that by signing the Convention it will not become binding on FAO because it will not have actually ratified or done the act equivalent to ratification. However, the CCLM concluded that it was premature to go any further because formal confirmation by an international organization would not count towards bringing the Convention into force. Entry into force requires ratification by 35 states.
Therefore, at this stage the CCLM recommended that the Council authorize signature of the Convention on behalf of FAO. This would have to be done-and we can arrange for this-before the closing date which is 30th of June. Then, in the light of the reaction of states and other organizations, this matter should be submitted at a later date to the Conference if it seemed appropriate for the Organization to become a party to this treaty by depositing what is called an instrument of formal confirmation. So the decision before Council at this stage is merely whether to authorize the Director-General to arrange for the signature of the Convention on behalf of FAO.
James LYNCH (Canada): Just to be pedantic! I think this is a good proposal. I notice from the statement of Legal Counsel that there is no formal procedure for allowing FAO to ratify this particular convention. As this is a relatively major step and indicates a binding quality, perhaps it would be useful for CCLM, between now and when FAO may want to ratify the Convention, to actually develop some sort of procedure so that it is put on a proper legal footing. I do not know whether the other organizations which have signed it have a procedure. Nevertheless, given we are talking about a convention that sets out ground rules for treaties, it would be rather unusual for an organization to ratify it without having established a proper procedure.
This is not a major point. It is something which could take several years before FAO faces the question, but it is something put forward as a practical suggestion.
LEGAL COUNSEL: I would like to reply briefly to the delegate of Canada. I do not think any organization in the United Nations family has a specific procedure because it is a relatively new development for organizations to become parties to these multilateral conventions. However, we felt in FAO-and I think it is the same in other organizations-that the Council (an executive body but not the supreme body) should approve the signature and that the final decision should be taken by the supreme body. That is the procedure which, to the best of my knowledge, I think is followed in the other organizations.
V.J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): Under agenda item 16, Council has before it the Report of the 52nd Session of the Programme Committee contained in document CL 91/6. Council has considered the bulk of this report in connection with the discussions on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget, 1988-89, under agenda item 15. There are only two other
matters which are contained in the report. One is the subject of programme adjustments and the second is the reaction of the Programme Committee to the JIU reports which it examined. The Chairman of the Programme Committee, Professor Mazoyer, regrets that he had to depart before this item came up this evening, but he has prepared a text which he asked me to deliver on his behalf, and with your permission, Mr Chairman, I will read it.
Sur le point 16, "Rapport de la 52ème session du Comité du Programme (CL 91/6)", je vais donner lecture de l'introduction de Monsieur Mazoyer, Président du Comité du Programme.
"Ajustements de Programme (CL 19/17)
Dès le début de sa 52ème session, lors de l'examen du Cadre financier (section III du SPTB), le Comité du Programme a une première fois discuté la question des ajustements de programme. A cette occasion, le Comité a été informé des réductions et des suppressions d'activités qui avaient pourtant été prévues au PTB 1986-87 et approuvées par la vingt-troisième session de la Conférence en novembre 1985. Le Directeur général avait dû réaliser ces ajustements en raison des retards de versement de certaines contributions et du manque de liquidités nécessaires pour exécuter le programme; il avait été autorisé à réaliser des ajustements correspondant à 16,4 millions de dollars E.-U. par la quatre-vingt-dixième session du Conseil en novembre 1986. Par la suite d'autres ajustements s'étaient avérés nécessaires.
Le Comité a été informé que des difficultés du même ordre risquaient de se reproduire durant le biennium 1988-89. Le Comité a longuement discuté de cette question et, finalement, il a estimé que si des difficultés financières du même ordre se produisaient lors du prochain biennium, il conviendrait de procéder de la même manière que pour le biennium en cours. Le Directeur général pourrait procéder aux ajustements rendus nécessaires par des retards de paiement que l'on ne peut pas, par nature, évaluer et que l'on ne peut pas, par principe, programmer à l'avance.
Selon le Comité du Programme le SPTB et le PTB ne peuvent être fondés que sur l'hypothèse du versement effectif des contributions par tous les pays membres. Tel est le sens des points 2.20 à 2.23 du rapport du Comité du Programme.
Lors de ce débat, le Comité du Programme a également indiqué que les ajustements éventuels devraient être faits dans le même esprit d'économie et selon les priorités qui gouvernent le SPTB et en tout cas le PTB, qui sera finalement adopté par la Conférence.
Cependant, il faut souligner que, lorsque plus tard le Comité du Programme a examiné le document CL 19/17 portant sur de nouveaux ajustements d'un montant de 5 millions de dollars E.-U. il a pu se rendre compte que les mesures d'économies touchaient inévitablement des programmes jugés prioritaires, et que les ajustements auraient un effet néfaste sur les activités de l'Organisation et sur son efficacité. Il a en outre estimé qu'à long terme ces ajustements répétés et importants pourraient compromettre la capacité de travail de l'Organisation. Il a donc exprimé l'espoir que ces difficultés seraient passagères.Sur le point:
Rapports du Corps commun d'inspection
Le Comité a pris note des rapports du Corps commun d'inspection portant sur les activités du CCI pour 1985-86 (CL 91/INF/10), et le programme de travail pour 1987 (CL 91/INF/11).
En ce qui concerne le rapport sur la représentation locale des organisations du système des Nations Unies (CL 91/INF/12), le Comité a noté que les recommandations formulées dans le rapport étaient de façon générale acceptables et il a entériné les observations du Directeur général.
Le Comité s'est déclaré d'accord sur les observations formulées par le Directeur général au sujet du rapport sur la coopération entre les Nations Unies et la Ligue des Etats arabes (CL 91/INF/13). Il a toutefois noté que le rapport ne reflétait pas entièrement l'étendue réelle de la coopération entre la FAO et la Ligue des Etats arabes, qui avait évolué sur une longue période.
Le Comité a souligné la nécessité de rationaliser au maximum l'utilisation des services d'interprétation (CL 91/INF/14). Il a fait valoir que les gouvernements devraient reconnaître que, pour économiser, il était indispensable que les participants aux réunions soient ponctuels, brefs et concis dans leurs interventions. Il a suggéré par conséquent que les présidents de toutes les réunions soient invités à appeler l'attention des participants sur ces facteurs, étant donné leurs répercussions financières. Le Comité a aussi insisté sur le fait qu'il était essentiel que le Secrétariat puisse compter sur la pleine coopération des Etats Membres pour ce qui est de la programmation la plus rationnelle possible des diverses réunions. En conclusion, le Comité s'est déclaré d'accord sur les observations du Directeur général.
Le Comité a pris note du rapport sur la gestion de trésorerie à l'ONU et dans quatre institutions spécialisées (CL 91/INF/16), étant informé que le Comité financier l'avait examiné en détail.
En ce qui concerne les problèmes et les coûts de stockage dans les Organismes des Nations Unies (CL 91/INF/15), le Comité a appuyé les observations du Directeur général sur le rapport."
Bashir El Mabrouk SAID (Libya)(Original language Arabic): I do not have very much to say about the report because I participated in the meetings of that important Committee.
I would simply like to pay tribute to the very fruitful cooperation that we've enjoyed with the Secretariat at all levels. The Secretariat in these meetings was extremely frank with us, the Members of the Programme Committee, and was ready to answer all questions that we raised. For that reason I would like to express my recognition of the Secretariat's efforts in cooperating fully with the Programme Committee. This is in the interest of the Organization.
A. Daniel WEYGANDT (United States of America): Let me, perhaps through Mr Shah if that it is the way to do it, extend my thanks to Mr Mazoyer for his introduction and thank him, as one who had the honour of serving with him on the Programme Committee at its last session, for the benefit of his wise guidance.
I would like to echo the sentiments of the previous speaker but perhaps put a different twist on them by saying that, of course, we had excellent cooperation from all members of the Secretariat. We have come to accept that and to take it almost for granted. I think it is also worth highlighting that there was also excellent cooperation among the members of the Committee themselves. I think that is significant and I want to express my appreciation for that.
I also want to draw attention to the fact that in the course of our deliberations we did have occasion to be somewhat stymied by the difficulties that faced the Committee in trying to decide a programme of work under the considerable financial uncertainties facing the Organization. I do believe that we achieved some positive results on that score, but I do want to highlight the fact that it is difficult for the Committee to try and undertake this job, and this is perhaps one of the reasons for some of the sentiments that we have been expressing-that we would like to see the Programme and Finance Committees work together more closely in the future perhaps to address the financial framework and tie that into the programme as a whole subject. That may be something that we can discuss at á later date, but I wanted to take this occasion to express my appreciation to the other members of the Committee.
Ronald MACINTOSH (Canada): The report of the 52nd Session of the Programme Committee, as well as those of several recent sessions, in our view further indicates the need for an independent perspective on FAO's long-term strategies and priorities, its organization and management, its decision-making processes and its place in the UN system.
We recognize that the Committee may well have had very lively discussions on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget. We recognize that there may have been critical commentary. There may even have been difficult and important questions asked of the Secretariat. What we are saying is that
there is no evidence of that in the report. As the delegate of Switzerland surmised in the budget discussion we had a few days ago, the Programme Committee appears to have agreed with virtually everything at face value and proposed very little of substance in alteration.
In these circumstances we could not possibly agree with the delegate of France that any reforming or reviewing to be done should be assigned to the Programme Committee. I recall a North American saying to the effect that one does not normally appoint foxes to investigate who got into the chicken coop the night before. This is a principle that we should perhaps all bear in mind for the future.
We do need a serious process of programme review in FAO, one which engages the input of the membership, one which includes a realistic appreciation of tackling some of the more challenging issues of programme management, particularly in the field.
In closing we would like to express our agreement with the view that the Programme Committee should meet more often in joint session with the Finance Committee. Merger with the Finance Committee should perhaps at least be explored.
V.K. SIBAL (India): I had the honour and privilege of serving on this Committee that is being accused of not making any changes, or at least substantial changes, in the programme presented to it. The inference sought to be drawn is that perhaps they did not apply themselves to the task that was assigned to them.
I think one can give a categoric assurance that the programme as presented was seen as carefully as was possible within the competence of those who looked at the programme and was presented as well as possible within the competence of those who presented the programme. The task perhaps as understood by the members of the Programme Committee was not to pursue change for the sake of change or to pursue the size of change in order to create highly dramatic effects but to take a balanced and objective view of the proposals presented to them.
In fact, a large consideration that overhung the deliberations, which lasted for two weeks, was that the programme could be far bigger if there were more resources, although there were some differing perceptions among the members about the relative importance within programme segments.
We do not consider that the kind of large issues relating to the total structure of the Food and Agriculture Organization and its functioning can be hung on any peg that becomes available. It would be oversimplifying it somewhat dangerously to make any aubject under the sun related to FAO the basis for a suggestion. Let us look at FAO using logic and objectivity. I think perhaps there is a need to see things in certain proportions.
These brief remarks are not meant to give any offence. One would like to join wholeheartedly the other speakers who were members of this Committee and with whom I had the privilege to serve on this Committee in thanking the Secretariat for the excellent cooperation rendered to us. We never had the feeling that if we raised a question that information would not be forthcoming or that information was lacking in clarity or transparency. If we were satisfied too easily, it is because satisfaction came easily after full scrutiny.
Sra. Margarita LIZARRAGA (Mexico): Conforme a su llamado seremos muy breves, Señor Presidente, ya que esta tarde nos hemos expresado respecto a lo que consideramos que los países estamos padeciendo por los recortes que ha tenido que sufrir el Programa. Por ello coincidimos totalmente con el tono y sentimiento expresado en el mensaje del Presidente del Comité del programa, presentado por el Señor Shah, y expresamos todo nuestro solidario agradecimiento al citado Comité por su difícil tarea.
Lamentamos tener que insistir en nuestro rechazo a tocar temas fuera del orden del día, particularmente en una cosa tan delicada como la integración y trabajo del Comité del Programa.
Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): Ma délégation voudrait: féliciter M. Shah pour l’introduction du sujet. Nous félicitons par la même occasion le Président du Comité du Programme et tous les membres de ce Comité pour le travail fourni et les résultats intéressants auxquels ils sont arrivés.
Nous comprenons bien que le rapport du Comité du Programme ainsi que le rapport du Comité financier ne sont pas des rapports in extenso. Ils représentent la synthèse des débats et il ne pourrait pas en être autrement.
Bien entendu, la grande confiance que nous mettons dans les membres de ce Comité, élus d'ailleurs par le Conseil, nous tranquillise par le sérieux qu'ils apportent à l'examen de tous les points qui figurent dans le rapport.
Notre délégation est donc satisfaite de ce document. Bien sûr peut-être que certaines améliorations pourraient, être consenties, mais tout Comité, tout organe de cette Organisation s'efforce toujours-nous le constatons et nous nous en félicitons-d'améliorer ses prestations.
En tout cas, nous sommes convaincus que le document qui est soumis à notre examen est très précieux et a bien éclairé nos débats.
Rainer PRESTIEN (Germany, Federal Republic of): My delegation would like to thank the Programme Committe for the intensive work and the good analysis that we find in the document before us. We can endorse many of the basic comments contained in it.
We have already pointed out under agenda item 15 that the priorities have been established rightly in the Programme of Work. We can therefore support the proposed programme of work with the modifications that we submitted to the Secretariat in written form within the framework of our proposals for economies.
The proposed budget for 1988-89 biennium contains quite a number of extremely positive elements that we can endorse among which are the very small budget increase in real terms, the reduction of support costs and staff costs in favour of technical and economic programmes. However, we also pointed out that an even more prudent financial policy must be pursued in view of the unclear financial situation of our Organization in order to avoid further risks. We have, therefore, encouraged the Secretariat to make further economies.
Among the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit we particularly appreciate Report JIU, Report 86/6-Cash Management in the United Nations and four Specialized Agencies, FAO, ILO, UNESCO, and WHO. We greatly welcome the positive assessment of the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations of Cash Management in the United Nations and four Specialized Agencies.
We have already expressed our view on the programme adjustments as spelt out in paragraph 2.189 and following under agenda item 15. Like previous speakers, we hope that the present financial problems of the Organization will be of a transitional character only. We share the view of the Finance Committee expressed in paragraph 3.8 according to which the Director-General faced unprecedented difficulties in preparing the summary Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. We particularly welcome the savings of some US$ 25 million as stated in paragraph 3.10 which the" Director-General will make in the Programme of Work and Budget as a whole.
Apart from the financial problems already dealt with in detail under agenda item 15, the development of the US dollar/Italian lira exchange rate is a matter of some concern to us. The calculation of the budget on the basis of US$1 equals Italian lira 1300 instead of Italian lira 1760 leads to a substantial increase in nominal terms of the budget level of US$ 492 million (paragraph 3.17). We share the view expressed in that paragraph that at least part of this increase should be absorbed. Moreover, we are in agreement with what is said in paragraph 3.18 that the real budget increase is extremely moderate. We also share the statements in paragraph 3.19. We have already expressed our views on that under agenda item 15.
As stated in paragraph 3.21, we also hope that it will be possible to approve the Programme of Work and Budget 1988-1989 by consensus.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Agradecemos al Sr. Shah la presentación que nos hizo a nombre del Prof. Mazoyer, de Francia, a quien queremos reconocer una vez más su gran competencia como Presidente del Comité del Programa así como la capacidad y la calidad de los miembros de este importante órgano asesor del Consejo.
Quisiéramos llamar la atención al párrafo 2.191, en el cual se dice que el Comité del Programa observó con profunda preocupación que casi todas las actividades y programas afectados por las economías impuestas eran los que el propio Comité había recomendado por coincidir con las prioridades principales y con los objetivos básicos de la FAO.
Sabemos que sólo circunstancias forzosas han impuesto esas reducciones que nosotros mismos hemos venido apoyando, pero quisiéramos conocer la reacción de la Secretaría frenta a esa declaración tan terminante del Comité del Programa y, sobre todo, que en el futuro, porque como todavía faltan reducciones para llegar a los 25 millones totales, que se tengan en cuenta las opiniones del Comité del Programa antes de proceder a reduciones que estén en contra de las prioridades señaladas por ese importante Comité.
Repetimos, Sr. Presidente, que ésta no es una crítica, sino un deseo de que justamente, dentro de la marcha de las actividades de la Organización, las opiniones del Comité del Programa sigan ocupando el sitio respetable que merecen.
Queremos referirnos al párrafo 2.174 para apoyar la opinión del Comité del Programa, en el sentido de que la Organización sigue fielmente los criterios recomendados para el establecimiento de nuevas Oficinas de Representantes en los países. Colombia reitera su apoyo al establecimiento de Oficinas de Representantes en los países y considera que es acertada la política de la Organización en ese campo.
En el párrafo 2.172 parece que falta algún concepto en la primera frase, donde dice que "el Comité consideró que el informe no reflejaba de manera adecuada el hecho de que sólo una parte de los deberes y responsabilidades de los Representantes de la FAO estaban relacionados con actividades operativas".
Pensamos que el Comité debió explicar, o pedimos que la Secretaría lo haga ahora y además de las funciones operativas de los Representantes de la FAO a juicio del Comité y la Secretaría, cuáles son las otras funciones que corresponden a los Representantes de la FAO en los países.
Pensamos que esto es importante entre otras cosas para justificar, como he dicho, el apoyo que estamos ofreciendo a esos Representantes.
Finalmente, hace muchos años, cuando todavía no teníamos canas, participábamos muy intensamente en las reuniones de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas. Fui Presidente del Comité del Programa por cuatro años, entre otras cosas, y por eso conocemos muy bien la delimitación de las funciones que existen entre esos dos Comités.
Sinceramente, pensamos que, aun ni siquiera de la manera tan soslayada como se hizo, podría improvisarse una propuesta de fundir los dos Comités. Creemos que esto sería una improvisación que tendría resultados desfavorables.
Los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas se reúnen conjuntamente sobre todo cuando discuten el Resumen del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto y también, excepcionalmente, cuando el Director General debe comunicarles asuntos muy importantes como ha sucedido en el pasado. Además de esa reunión conjunta, hay ocasiones en que ciertos temas tienen aspectos relativamente comunes en los dos organismos y me consta por esa participación directa que tanto los miembros de los dos Comités como la Secretaría han tenido cuidado siempre de que haya armonía entre las recomendaciones de los dos Comités sobre un mismo punto común. De manera que yo creo que esas preocupaciones están debidamente cubiertas. Y, naturalmente, si en el futuro se siguieren intensificando la presentación de puntos comunes con la evolución de los hechos que se están presentando, podría pensarse en aumentar la frecuencia de las reuniones conjuntas, pero pensamos que por el momento todo marcha satisfactoriamente. Estos son los dos órganos asesores más importantes del Consejo y no conviene tocar su funcionamiento de manera improvisada e injustificada a nuestra manera de pensar.
Bashir El Mabrouk SAID (Libya) (Original language Arabic): I am a member of the Programme Committee and I cannot accept the accusations which have been levelled against the Committee by the distinguished representative of Canada. These accusations are without foundation. We regret profoundly that these expressions should have been used. No one is perfect, of course; that is known to all. However, we would like to assure the representative of Canada that we do have the necessary knowledge and experience to do the job and we do everything we possibly can so that the Programme can satisfy the interests of the Member states of this Organization. It is our most heartfelt wish that they satisfy the interests of all Member states. We accept constructive criticism, of course, but we reject destructive opinions of this type. Since the Canadian delegation is not a member of the Programme Committee, are we to understand that the Committee has not done its job properly, has not ranked the priorities to the satisfaction of everyone? We are extremely surprised by this. If the representative of Canada wishes to become a member of the Committee, he will certainly be welcomed with open arms.
V.J. SHAH (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): I recognize the need for brevity. One question was raised about FAO representatives and their function related to non-operational activities. What the Programme Committee considered in this regard was that the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, the Committee felt, emphasized excessively the activities of FAO representatives related to the field programmes whether funded under extrabudgetary resources or under the Technical Cooperation Programme and did not take adequate account of the range of services and functions which are related to making FAO's presence felt in the country and establishing a closer link between the country, its government and the Organization. The range of functions is well known to the distinguished ambassador who raised this question, and in the interest of brevity I do not expand on it now. But that was the point which led the Committee to express the opinion that it did.
The second question was about the effects of the enforced economies, the effects of adjustments. As this matter has been dealt with also under different discussions, I would only recall what was said by the Director-General, and what was said, if I recall correctly by myself when dealing with the summary Programme of Work and Budget. But perhaps one brief example will illustrate. I give this as an example to illustrate how these adjustments are being felt. I must confess to you that this is not something that I have researched to bring to you. It is just because it was brought to my attention yesterday. It was part of my office work and I saw it and I felt that this was indeed the sort of information which might be of interest. This was a report from the Statistics Division on how it is facing the programme adjustment through enforced economies and what effects it has on that division. Do not worry, I will not read you the three pages! For example, practically all scheduled traval had been cancelled. The impact of this will certainly be felt in the future. The following actions were taken to reduce computer costs. Printing of country working documents is to be kept to the minimum possible both in frequency and time coverage of data. No printing to be done without the prior permission of the supervisor. Cancellation in July of the processing and the printing of the Statistical Summary and Production Index numbers previously scheduled for that month. No computer processing printing to be used for servicing the numerous ad hoc requests for statistics which reached the basic data unit almost every day. Low priority to analysis of socioeconomic indicators due to freezing of P3 posts.
These were examples. This illustrates the nature of the effect of programme adjustment.
Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Señor Presidente, no solo para cerrar este largo día con una nota de necesaria serenidad, sino también por convicción quiero declarar que las respuestas del Sr. Shah fueron competentes y adecuadas.
LE PRESIDENT: A l'issue de cette discussion très intéressante, je voudrais souligner que le Comité du Programme est l'un des comités subsidiaires essentiels du Conseil et nous avons pu noter, lors de la discussion du Programme de travail et budget et de la discussion d'aujourd'hui que, dans l'ensemble, le Conseil est satisfait du travail effectué par le Comité du Programme, qu'il considère que le Comité remplit son rôle au mieux des intérêts de l'Organisation et dans un souci de travail constructif et sérieux.
Je rappelle que le document qui nous est soumis concerne des ajustements dus à la situation financière particulière de la FAO et que le Conseil ne peut qu'être satisfait des efforts réalisés par le Secrétariat pour aboutir à ces 25 millions de dollars d'économies commandées par la conjoncture actuelle.
Enfin, je crois que le rapport du Corps commun d'inspection et l'exposé qui en a été fait par M. Shah ont suscité beaucoup d'intérêt chez les membres du Conseil.
Je pense que nous pouvons arrêter nos travaux pour aujourd'hui. Je voudrais vous remercier de votre souci de remplir votre mandat dans des conditions très difficiles et d'avoir supporté avec tant de vaillance cette journée très dure.
The meeting rose at 21.15 hours
La séance est levée à 21 h 15
Se levanta la sesión a las 21.15 horas