LE PRESIDENT: Mesdames et Messieurs, nous allons ouvrir la onzième séance plénière de notre Conseil. Nous devons examiner aujourd'hui, matin et après-midi, le point 18 de notre ordre du jour: Sommaire du Programme de travail et budget du biennium à venir, 1994-95.
Nous devons nous référer à deux documents: le document CL 103/3, qui contient le sommaire du Programme de travail et le budget du biennium à venir, et le document CL 103/17, qui contient le rapport de la réunion conjointe du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier ainsi que les rapports des soixante-septième et soixante - seizième sessions respectivement du Comité du Programme et du Comité financier. Ce rapport se réfère précisément aux paragraphes 1.1 à 1.15, 2.60 à 2.110 et 3.22 à 3.34. Je remercie le Directeur général d'avoir bien voulu rehausser notre séance de sa présence.
Le sommaire du Programme de travail et budget, document très intéressant, constitue la troisième pièce de la trilogie que nous avons abordée la semaine dernière et qui comprend par ailleurs le Rapport d'évaluation et le Plan à moyen terme.
Je sais que le Comité technique progresse bien, il se réunit sous la présidence de Samuel Fernández Illanes, du Chili, et nous avons bon espoir que ses travaux aboutiront, ce qui nous permettra de discuter de son rapport dès mercredi, étant entendu que nous pourrions à cette occasion aboutir à des conclusions opérationnelles.
V.J. SHAH (Deputy Director-General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): My introduction to this document will be unusually short. Firstly, because the main introduction has in fact been given by the Director-General. You will recall that his statement to the Council last Monday dealt in some very substantial measure with his proposal for the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. If delegates do not care to listen to what I have to say, or if they are not present here, I would suggest that the Director-General's statement of last Monday is the full introduction to his proposed Programme of Work and Budget. Howevet, the Director-General has asked me to assist the Council in its consideration of this matter.
I do not need to go into details. The proposals before you have been considered by a large number of bodies, inter-governmental bodies which are advisory to the Council. The technical contents of the proposals has been consideredbyyour technical committees, the Committees onAgriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries. The programme aspect as a whole has been considered in depth by the Programme Committee. The financial aspects have been considered in depth by the Finance Committees and these two committees then had a joint session, in fact two joint sessions, one in February and one in May in which they gave their recommendations to you.
The Council as we see it is the policy formulation organ of the Conference and for this reason I will limit my introduction to the main issues, as we see them.
There are five I would like to deal with. Firstly, is the issue of the base level of the Programme of Work and Budget. The Director-General's proposal is clear; the base level for the next programme of Work and Budget is US$676.9 million and as he himself said, this level represents no growth on the Programme of Work in this biennium. The proof of the validity of these figures lies in the report of the Conference and in your own report. The Conference in 1991, when it approved Resolution 4/91 on the Programme of Work and Budget and budgetary appropriation 1992-93 firstly unanimously approved the Programme of Work of US$676 911 000. In the Resolution it broke this figure down by budgetary chapter. In its report the Conference stated and I am quoting from paragraph 198 of the Conference Report, "The Conference stressed its understanding that approval by consensus of this Resolution was based on specific commitment from the United States of America regarding the amounts and timing of its payments relating to current assessment and arrears. The Conference also stressed that the present solution resulting in a negative budget growth of 4 percent should be considered as an exceptional one, not setting a precedent for future Programmes of Work and Budget and that Member Nations reserved the right to consider on their merit future Programme of Work and Budget proposals as may be submitted by the Director-General in accordance with Article XVIII, paragraph 1 of the FAO Constitution."
Let us recall why the Conference needed to stress its understanding. Because in the Resolution 4/91 while approving the Programme of Work of US$676.9 million the Conference took the step of establishing the net base budgetary appropriation, the net base budgetary appropriation for this biennium at a level US$33.1 million less than the Programme of Work and this base appropriation level was established at US$465.6 million. So it is clear that the approved Programme of Work constitutes the base for the next biennium. It is clear that the solution that the Conference adopted for the funding of the budget for this biennium was unprecedented, was exceptional and did not constitute a precedent and it is equally clear that on this basis what the Director-General is proposing is a no-growth programme budget.
The Director-General has himself said that he regrets not seeing his way to proposing a higher Programme of Work and Budget because certainly the demands made on FAO would justify an increase. Certainly the problems of world food and agriculture and the capacity of FAO to meet these demands would justify an increase. Certainly the reactions of Member Nations on seeing these proposals and regretting the large number of areas where programme provisions are supposed to be reduced, and this is a matter of regret to a large number of Member Nations, if not all, that too would justify proposing a higher Programme of Work and Budget. Nevertheless the Director-General is clear on what he is proposing.
Let me now also recall to the Council that the approved Programme of Work of US$676.9 million for this biennium is what the Governing Bodies had expected should be implemented during this biennium. The Conference requested the Director-General, and he submitted last November a progress report on the implementation of the Programme Budget in this biennium. This went through the Programme and Finance Committees and then was considered by you. The Council, in concluding its discussion of this matter, this Council, the very same Member Nations, and I read from the Report of the Council of its Hundred and Second Session of November last year, paragraph 132 "The Council concluded its discussion by stressing its strong hope that the more positive developments observed recently portended a phase of definitive recovery and renewed stability for the Organization, in respect of its financial situation. It accordingly urged the Director-General to continue his efforts to achieve the maximum implementation of the approved Programme of Work, in the light of the resources made available to the Organization".
Now let me deal with the second issue I would like to draw to your attention and that is the proposed funding of the next Programme of Work and Budget. The Director-General proposes that the amount of US$50 million be assumed for the funding of the budget in order to reduce the burden of assessment on Member Nations. This amount of US$50 million consists of an estimated US$12 million of miscellaneous income, and as you know in every biennium there is an estimate of miscellaneous income which is deducted from the level of the Programme of Work, and in addition to this US$12 million the amount of US$38 million which constitutes the expected payments of arrears.
This amount of US$50 million would then be deducted from the level of the Programme of Work and Budget in order to reduce the assessed contributions of Member Nations. I would like to explain the legal basis, the practical precedent, and the normality of this proposal. Our Financial Regulation 6.1(a) provides the legal basis. This regulation states, and I quote: "There shall be established a General Fund to which shall be credited receipts from contributions from Member Nations, whether current or arrears, miscellaneous income and advances made from the working capital fund." The crediting of payments of arrears of every Member Nation without exception is based on this Financial Regulation and is a matter of established, audited and approved accounts. Let me give you one example, and I can give you an example of any biennium you choose, but I have got figures over the last decade, and I take the biennium 1982-83 as an example. In 1982 there was a shortfall against the current contributions of US$16.9 million, against the current contribution for that year. But in the same year we received US$8.4 million in payment of arrears. In the next year there was a shortfall of US$11 million in current contributions, but we received arrears of US$15.1 million. This practice is in the history and in the accounts of the Organization. There is nothing new; there is nothing novel; there is nothing questionable or abnormal about it. Why, then, does the Director-General make such a big point of it? Because of the fact that it is only now in recent years that we have a situation of a level of arrears which is historically high, and we have commitments, commitments for the payment of these arrears within a prescribed period. In the report of the Finance Committee which is before you there is an Appendix which gives the level of arrears by Member Nations. I am looking at document CL 103/17, and I am looking at Appendix B, which is on page 53 of the English text. Let us, for a moment, just look at these levels of arrears. The level
of arrears for 1992 and prior assessment is in the third column, US$135.6 million. That was the figure as of 12 May.
A month later the level of arrears had come down to US$130 million. And this process will continue during the year. Member Countries will strive to meet their obligations and to make their payments of arrears. Another aspect which is striking about this issue is that with this high level of arrears the Member Nation which alone accounts for the largest amount - and this is also stated in the table - is the United States of America which has arrears of US$96 065 000. These are facts. Now the Conference had noted very carefully the commitment made by the Member Nation, the United States of America, for the full payment of its arrears, the intention to honour its obligations. The Director-General is equally aware of the commitment accepted by every other Member Nation to honour their arrears. It would not be permissible to question the assurance of these payments. To question whether these payments of arrears would be made or not made would be to question the integrity and honesty of the intention of the Member Nations concerned. In the consideration of these proposals it has also been suggested by one or by some that perhaps it is risky to make this estimate of the payment of arrears, US$38 million, which it is proposed to fund the next budget. I would like to explain that the Director-General does not consider this risky. When the arrears are US$130 million, when even at the end of this year, without prejudging the actions' of Member Nations, that figure may be expected to be lower - what would we say? about US$100 million? US$90 million?
Still, the fact remains that a substantial amount will be due and will be paid. Is it, then, risky to envisage using US$38 million of this amount? The proposal has a logic and an equity and a clarity which the Director-General wishes to stress. Firstly, it is because of the shortfalls in contributions since 1986/87 that this Organization has seen its programmes cut. These programmes have been cut by US$95 million since then. Is it not fair, is it not equitable that those amounts which constituted the shortfall, those amounts which are the arrears of today, is it not equitable that a part of those amounts should be used to maintain the level of the Programme of Work without any growth? These arrears are not a question, according to our constitutional text, of any negotiation or of any conditions to be imposed by any Member Nation. The arrears of any Member Nation are arrears which are due to all other Member Nations. They are yours; they belong to the Organization, to you the Member Nations. And when the Director-General makes the proposal that he does, it is out of interest for the Organization, for all Member Nations.
My third point deals with the cost increases. The cost increases are estimated. At the stage of the outline of the Programme of Work and Budget, we had estimated them at US$85 million. We reviewed these estimates as we always do, and at the stage of the summary they had been reduced to US$81 million. They will be reviewed again. They will be refined by us for inclusion in the full Programme of Work and Budget. The Finance Committee says in its reports, paragraph 3.29, that subject to the clarifications that it had asked for, the Committee accepted inclusion of the proposed cost increases in the full Programme of Work and Budget. It is very important for the Council to bear in mind the importance of this provision. We are not saying now that the provision will need to be US$81 million; it may be more,
it may be less. We will, as always, be honest, but it is important for the Council to stress that the provision of the necessary amount be included in the full Programme of Work and Budget because if the required provision is not included, in fact, that amounts to programme cuts. There is no way an approved Programme of Work and Budget can be implemented in full if the cost increase provisions which are necessary are not provided for.
The fourth point which is important for the Council to note is the impact of the currency adjustment on the level of the Programme of Work and Budget which also favours Member Nations and reduces the amount of their contributions. The proposed Programme of Work and Budget of US$676 million with cost increases of US$81 million would have resulted in a total of US$758 million, of which US$50 million, as I explained, are to be deducted in order to arrive at the level of funding from Member Nations. That brings us to US$708 million. This level of 708 million would be further adjusted downwards because the US$708 million is given at the budget rate for this biennium which the Conference established of 1 210 lire to the dollar. But the next Conference will adjust the next Programme of Work and Budget for the rate it will set in November. If you were the Conference now, and if you were adopting the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium at a rate of 1 500 lire to the dollar, the amount that Member Nations would have to fund would not be US$708 million; it would be US$653 million. Similarly, if the lire rate were 1 600 to the dollar, it would not be US$653 million; it would be US$638 million; US$638 million, let me point out, corresponds to the funding for this biennium of US$633.5 million.
The fifth point I would like to emphasize - and this is one that has already been referred to in numerous debates of the Council last week - is the question of priorities. The Director-General fully recognizes that it is because of no-growth, because of not being able to propose additional resources, that he is forced to indicate reductions in important programmes.
The TCP was the subject of a Conference resolution requesting the Director-General to increase the share of the TCP in the budget of the Organization from the current level of 11 percent, to bring it to 14 percent, and to eventually bring it to 17 percent. The Director-General is not able to do this with the proposed Programme of Work and Budget.
The Committees on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have all noted with concern the areas of reduced resources, and they have recommended that these concerns be addressed in the full Programme of Work and Budget. No priority has afforded more concern than the priority of Forestry. It has been repeated not only in the Report of the Committee on Forestry, but also in your consideration of COFI's report, and in your consideration of the Medium-term Plan and no doubt today.
Without in any way trying to prejudge the debate which may occur, the Director-General has asked me to indicate clearly that he intends to respond to the views of these Committees as endorsed by the Council.
If the views of these Committees are endorsed by the Council the Director-General will address these concerns in the full Programme of Work and Budget.
This brings me to the bottom line. Whether you speak English-English or American English, "bottom line" has become a universal expression.
What is the bottom line? The FAO Programme of Work and Budget, with a base US$676.9 million, with the cost increase of US$81 million, with the currency adjustment of 1 500 lire to the dollar, would set the next Programme of Work and Budget at US$703 million. So, from US$676.9 million we go to US$703 million - that is an increase of 3.86 percent with the proposed funding solution suggested by the Director-General, if the dollar were at 1 500 lire, the increase in funding is only 3.12 percent. If the dollar were at 1 600 lire, the increase in funding would be 0.85 percent.
The very Member Nations which are members of this Organization have already approved the Programme of Work and Budget for two of our sister agencies. They have approved it for the WHO, the World Health Organization, and for the International Labour Organisation. I need only give the facts. The Programme of Work and Budget of WHO for this biennium is US$735 million. For the next biennium it is US$822 million - an increase of 11.86 percent. For ILO, the Programme of Work and Budget for this biennium is US$406 million. For the next biennium it is US$467 million - an increase of 15 percent.
These facts will speak for themselves, as we who collaborate with the Director-General believe that the facts and the proposals which he presents speak very eloquently for themselves.
Vishnu BHAGWAN (India): I must begin by complimenting Mr Shah for his brief and lucid introduction of the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95. My delegation shares the views expressed by the Director-General in his introduction and the policy context in which the proposals have been prepared for the consideration of the Governing Bodies of the Organization. On the one hand, there are heavy demands made by the international community on the Organization arising out of the follow-up of the UNCED and ICN held during the last year in addition to the other normal activities of the Organization. On the other hand, not only are the developing countries facing difficulties of discharging their financial responsibilities, but also the developed countries are confronted with domestic problems of recession and unemployment and lack of resources. Coupled with this situation is the prospect of a substantial reduction in support cost income under the UNDP Trust Fund Projects as well as others. There is thus a dilemma of mounting challenges versus resource stringency and, hence, a balance has to be struck between the aspirations and the resource availability to fulfil the same. We also realize that there are considerable pressures and demands and a fierce competition for resources which underlines selection of activities and programmes which could have maximum impact. My delegation is supportive of the Director-General's proposals involving no overall net programme growth in the 1994-95 biennium. We feel it is a realistic approach under the given circumstances and should also help in consensus approval, of the proposals.
However, at the same time, we are of the view that this should not become a precedent.
My delegation agrees with the priorities and the overall thrust of the proposals which focus on follow-up on UNCED and ICN. We also find that these are in consonance with the priorities indicated in the Medium-term Plan. We broadly support the proposals regarding strengthening of various activities and the shifts of resources while formulating programmes for 1994-95. We are appreciative of the emphasis by FAO in its work on plant and animal genetic resources, Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, attention to women in development and environmental problems (for example in fisheries) support to the TFAP and work on integrated pest management. We also share the concerns expressed by the three principal Technical Committees of the FAO on reduction in resources allocated to agriculture, fishery and forestry, particularly those of the Forestry Committee which expressed its regret in the most forceful terms and felt that these reductions would convey a wrong message on the part of the Organization at a time of heightened expectation of active FAO contribution to the protection and sustainable management of fisheries and forestry resources. My delegation is also supportive of assistance to countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe in view of their immediate problems and have no difficulty in supporting the increased allocation for the Regional Office for Europe. But, at the same time, we feel that other regional offices and country offices of the FAO also need to be strengthened, and appropriate attention should be paid in this regard.
As regards the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), we consider that this programme is of a very high value due to its catalytic role in development. We would also like to recall Conference Resolution 9/89 to bring the allocation of TCP to 16 or 17 percent of the budget but we regret to note that with the proposal to absorb the cost of coordinating unit within the unaltered level proposed for Chapter IV - the resources available for projects would actually be reduced.
We shall request that the Programme level under this chapter be maintained at the 1992-93 level.
I should also like to draw the attention of the Council to paragraph 2.106 of the Report of the Programme Committee; that is, document CL 103/17. We also urge that requisite administrative technical and financial support be provided to bring into operation the results of the initiative taken by the G-77 in Rome, to compile a roster of qualified technical personnel for use under TCDC arrangements.
With the proposal of no-growth under the Programme of Work and Budget, our understanding is that the level of the Programme of Work and Budget will be maintained at the level of US$676.9 million in real terms, which is equivalent to the approved level for the current biennium. In fact, a higher level would have been warranted in view of the increasing demands on the Organization. We feel that the arrears of assessed contributions have to be treated as income accrued in the earlier years, but not realized, and are, thus, a kind of forced saving by the Organization. By deciding not to increase the real level of the Programme of Work and Budget, it will be legitimate for the membership to take advantage of the realization of arrears during the current biennium,
whilst calculating the assessed contributions. Assuming a recovery of a sum of US$50 million from the arrears, the effective assessed contribution in real terms, without taking into account the cost increases, would be less by US$6.7 million compared to the 1992-93 figures of US$63.6 million.
Here our suggestion is to utilize this amount for restoring the cuts in the Major Technical Programmes - for example, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - under Chapter II and also TCP under Chapter IV.
As regards the lapse factor, our understanding is that it has to be calculated on the basis of fortuitous savings due to inability to fill up vacancies in the normal course, in spite of best efforts, and not on the basis of crude historical vacancy rate, which will also include the planned or forced vacancies due to lack of resources. The lapse factor of 3 percent has been proposed in the document as before. However, we look forward to receiving complete information and full justification for whatever level of lapse factor is assumed whilst preparing the full Programme of Work and Budget.
Amin ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (Langue originale arabe): Monsieur le Président, il est vraiment regrettable que nous soyons amenés pour la deuxième fois consécutive lors de l'examen du Programme de travail et budget pour l'exercice 1994-1995 à critiquer devant cette auguste assemblée le niveau de croissance 0 du budget tel qu'il est présenté par le Secrétariat. Déjà en 1991, la délégation du Liban avait accepté non sans contrariété un budget avec un niveau de croissance 0, et ce, dans le souci de parvenir à un consensus, mais il semble que cet esprit de consensus ait été mis à profit pour requérir pour l'exercice à venir un Programme de travail et budget qui maintient le même niveau de croissance.
Or le montant du budget qui nous est présenté cette fois est le même que celui de l'exercice 1992-1993, ce qui indiquerait non pas un niveau de croissance 0 mais, en termes réels, un niveau de croissance négatif alors même que la délégation du Liban s'attendait à une augmentation du budget de tous les programmes, notamment les programmes technique et économique, ceux relatifs aux pêches et aux forêts et celui de la coopération technique.
Monsieur le Président, comment peut-on admettre, en ce moment même où les besoins connaissent un accroissement évident et où notre Organisation est plus que jamais appelée à jouer le rôle auquel nous aspirons tous, que soit diminué le montant du budget alloué aux programmes qui sont, ceux de l'agriculture, des pêches, des forêts qui se voient ainsi régresser de 327 239 000 dollars E.-U. à 323 284 000 dollars E.-U., soit une baisse de plus de 4, 5 millions de dollars E.-U.? Comment admettre, Monsieur le Président, que l'on ramène le montant du budget alloué au Programme de coopération technique de 79 317 000 dollars E.-U. à 77 409 000 dollars E.-U., soit une baisse d'environ 2 millions de dollars E.-U.? Veut-on par là, Monsieur le Président, paralyser ce programme qui a été créé en 1976 par le Directeur général et qui s'est depuis avéré être l'un des programmes les plus importants et les plus efficaces au grand profit des grands pays en développement ainsi qu'en manière d'intervention rapide en cas de catastrophes naturelles?
Si nous devions entrer dans de plus amples détails, nombreuses seraient les failles qui mériteraient d'être relevées. C'est pourtant ce que nous ne ferons pas dans le souci de préserver le temps précieux du Conseil, d'autant plus qu'il m'a été donné de m'élever contre bon nombre d'entre elles lors de l'examen des projets de programmes de travaux et budgets par le Comité financier lors de ses réunions des mois de février et de mai de l'année en cours, lorsque m'incomba l'honneur de représenter la région du Proche-Orient aux travaux dudit Comité.
Nous abordons un tournant critique dans la vie de notre Organisation. A nous dès lors de choisir entre lui apporter le soutien matériel nécessaire pour qu'elle puisse continuer son oeuvre généreuse et lui dénier un tel soutien, la condamnant par là même à la stagnation, voire à la régression.
Vous n'êtes pas sans savoir que Son Excellence M. Edouard Saouma ne sera plus en poste l'année prochaine pour l'exécution du Programme de travail et budget. Ceci ne l'empêchera pas pour autant de continuer à s'acquitter de sa tâche avec la persévérance, la ferveur, le dynamisme et le savoir-faire qui ont été les siens depuis son arrivée à la tête de notre Organisation et dont il n'a cessé de faire preuve tout au long des années qu'il a passées à la tête de cette Organisation, faisant sienne l'idée exprimée par cette célèbre tradition du prophète de l'Islam qui dit: "Agis pour ton bonheur ici-bas comme si tu avais toute la vie devant toi, mais oeuvre pour ta paix dans le monde de l'au-delà comme si tu devais l'instant d'après passer de vie à trépas".
Il n'est pas dans mes habitudes de faire l'éloge des gens ou de distribuer des louanges à tout venant, mais il est des faits qu'il convient d'inscrire au grand livre de l'histoire. Je ne parlerai point ici d'Edouard Saouma, le citoyen libanais, ou de l'ami dont j'ai fait la connaissance il y a quarante et un ans lorsque le Ministère de l'agriculture nous avait recruté tous les deux, lui rentrant de France et moi revenant des Etats-Unis après avoir terminé nos études respectives d'agronomie. Je parlerai plutôt d'Edouard Saouma l'homme, l'homme qui a tout donné à notre Organisation et qui continue à le faire, la nourrissant de son coeur, de son âme, de son esprit, de sa vie dans une quête inlassable.
Y-a-t-il, Monsieur le Président, un meilleur témoignage de sa compétence que la juste appréciation des Etats Membres pour les efforts qu'il ne cesse de déployer au service de notre Organisation et de l'humanité toute entière et que son élection pour trois mandats successifs à la tête de la FAO?
Aussi voudrais-je souhaiter à M. Saouma une longue vie, pleine de santé et de bonheur, de manière qu'il soit rassuré sur la bonne application des programmes et des politiques qu'il a élaborés en vue de préserver l'avenir de l'Organisation et qui serviront de modèle pour le monde entier.
Monsieur le Président, pour conclure, la délégation du Liban ne peut approuver le Programme de travail et le budget pour l'exercice financier à venir avec un niveau de croissance 0 qui est, en termes réels, un niveau de croissance négatif, sans exprimer son mécontentement face à cette situation. Si nous donnons notre accord pour le projet tel qu'il est présenté par le Directeur général, avec le montant de 676 911 000 dollars E.-U., c'est bien à contrecoeur, je dis bien à contrecoeur, et ce dans le souci de parvenir à un
consensus et tout en espérant que tous les Etats Membres concourront à une atmosphère favorable à un tel consensus.
LE PRESIDENT: Je rappelle qu'en vertu du document CL 103/INF/19, déclaration de compétences de la Communauté économique européenne, le présent point 19 qui nous est soumis est de la compétence des Etats Membres avec vote des Etats Membres.
Jacques LAUREAU (France): Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Directeur général, M. Shah, la délégation française souhaiterait - sans que ce compliment soit de pure forme - féliciter le Secrétariat pour la qualité du document CL 103/3 qui a l'avantage, quant à la présentation, de mieux marquer que, lors des années précédentes, les inflexions que chaque programme et sous-programme, en fonction de nouvelles priorités que sont le'suivi de la CNUED et celui de la CIN, peuvent avoir.
Nous voyons bien ce document s'inscrire dans la trilogie que nous mentionnions vendredi entre le plan à long terme, d'une part, et la réalisation et l'évaluation des programmes passés, d'autre part. C'est donc un effort manifeste de transparence auquel il faut rendre hommage. Nous aurions toutefois aimé que l'examen détaillé puisse lui-même être réalisé de manière à mieux examiner de. quel point nous partons pour marquer les inflexions du Programme. De la sorte, les orientations générales à donner à l'activité de l'Organisation seraient mieux mesurées et les réductions annoncées sur les longs programmes justifiées. Nous aurions souhaité que dans le domaine de l'augmentation des ressources, une amorce de renforcement de la coopération au bénéfice des pays en transition d'Europe orientale soit davantage marquée.
J'en arrive maintenant à la question délicate de la base sur laquelle le Programme de travail et le niveau du budget ont été établis. Il faut éviter dans cette réunion de renouveler la querelle qui avait eu lieu au cours de la vingt-sixième session de la Conférence et j'en appelle ici solennellement à la compréhension de tous les Membres du Conseil et à leur sens de la responsabilité et de la continuité dans leurs opinions.
La Conférence avait, à titre de compromis, approuvé un programme de travail de 676, 9 millions de dollars E.-U. et ouvert un crédit de base limité à 645, 5 millions de dollars E.-U. Cette mesure "exceptionnelle", comme l'a rappelé le Directeur général dans l'allocution d'ouverture de nos travaux, ne devait pas constituer un précédent pour de futurs programmes de travail et de budget. Je me réfère au paragraphe 198 du Rapport de la Conférence de l'OAA (CF 91/REP).
Il nous incombe donc de fixer une base budgétaire assujettie à l'objectif de réalisation du programme de l'Organisation.
En accord avec l'hypothèse de non-croissance, la base de référence est de facto le Programme adopté par la Conférence de 1991, soit 676, 9 millions de dollars E.-U. En effet, il était clairement de l'intention de la Conférence, dans sa Résolution 4/91, d'autoriser le dépassement du crédit de base de 645, 5 millions de dollars E.-U. en vue de réaliser ce Programme, dans la mesure où
le différentiel serait couvert par le versement de leurs arriérés par les Etats-Unis d'Amérique.
Cette interprétation est confortée par l'allocation effective des ressources aux différents chapitres du Programme de travail 1992-93 sur la base de 676, 9 millions de dollars E.-U. et non sur celle du crédit de 645, 5 millions de dollars E.-U., ce qui indique nettement que les crédits étaient bien votés pour atteindre les buts du Programme, en conformité avec l'article 4.1 du Règlement financier.
Ainsi, adopter la base de 645, 5 millions de dollars E.-U. aboutirait au type de précédent que la Conférence avait de facto rejeté puisque le budget marquerait en réalité une croissance négative et entraînerait une réduction par rapport au programme voté lors de la Conférence de 1991, en vertu de l'article III.3.3 du Règlement financier. J'appelle donc les membres du Conseil à faire preuve de responsabilité et à cesser de demander à l'Organisation d'en faire davantage avec des moyens réduits.
Au-delà de la question de la base budgétaire considérée certains éléments correcteurs des recettes ont été mentionnés par M. Shah. A cet égard nous voudrions poser quelques questions.
Quel sera l'impact de l'apurement des arriérés, notamment du principal contributeur, sur les budgets des futurs bienniums? Je ne parle pas du biennium 1994-95. C'est une question importante. Pourra-t-on rattraper par le paiement des autres arriérés non payés le niveau qui sera nécessaire?
Le Secrétaire peut-il, d'ores et déjà, informer le Conseil du montant indicatif des dépenses pour l'ensemble du biennium 1992-93 tel qu'il se terminera?
J'avais une troisième question, mais M. Shah y a répondu par avance, elle portait sur l'accroissement des coûts. M. Shah a traité cette question en termes budgétaires, mais peut-on dire que l'accroissement des coûts est également traité en termes de productivité de l'Organisation? C'est une question que je voulais lui poser.
Sur les gains de change, M. Shah nous a présenté différentes hypothèses, donc je ne poserai plus de questions a ce sujet.
Une question sur les abattements pour mouvements de personnel: peut-on dire qu'ils sont liés effectivement au taux brut de vacances des postes?
Quelle est enfin la justification fonctionnelle de l'intégration dans le Programme ordinaire de chacun des 67 postes issus de la réduction des possibilités de financements du personnel par les dépenses d'appui du PNUD et des fonds fiduciaires? Si nous nous félicitons, en effet, de cette mise en ordre, nous nous interrogeons sur la justification du nombre de postes concernés. En particulier, nous ne disposons pas d'assez d'informations pour évaluer si ces postes, désormais financés sur le Programme ordinaire, lui seront bien affectés en priorité, et pour garantir leur pertinence vis-à-visdes missionsstatutairesdel'Organisation. A quoisont affectés ces
postes puisque nous avons une liste fonctionnelle sur laquelle les affectations par programme ne sont pas clairement précisées?
Pour conclure sur les questions budgétaires, Monsieur le Président, nous souhaitons à nouveau exprimer notre souci que le Programme de travail de l'Organisation puisse être exécuté dans la continuité, mais aussi satisfaire les nouveaux besoins qui s'expriment dans le monde. On peut alors se demander si, plutôt qu'une réduction des contributions demandées aux Etats Membres (paragraphe 52), la Conférence ne devrait pas être saisie d'une proposition permettant de compenser certaines coupes dans des programmes aussi importants que les Grands Programmes Forêts ou Pêches.
Toute réduction de ressources, dans le contexte actuel, pourrait presque être qualifiée d'immorale.
Après ces remarques sur le niveau global des ressources de l'Organisation pour le prochain biennium, je voudrais aborder le contenu des grands programmes techniques qu'il est proposé de mener en 1994-95.
Un grand nombre de délégations sont intervenues au titre du point 9 de notre ordre du jour pour que le budget du Programme forestier ne marque pas de décroissance, rappelant le rôle primordial et unique de la FAO dans le domaine de la coopération forestière internationale et pour la mise en oeuvre des segments correspondants de l'Agenda 21. La délégation française souhaite réitérer ici son appui à la demande de révision budgétaire du Grand Programme 2.3 et suggère que les crédits supplémentaires soient avant tout accordés aux deux actions du Programme "Ressources forestières et environnement" dont le COFO a unanimement souligné la priorité et dont aujourd'hui l'exécution repose trop largement sur l'hypothèse de contributions extrabudgétaires: il s'agit du soutien à l'unité de Coordination du PAFT d'une part, et de l'évaluation des ressources forestières mondiales, d'autre part.
Dans le secteur des pêches, il est peut-être plus immédiat encore de mesurer les enjeux techniques, économiques et sociaux qui nécessitent qu'une concertation multilatérale soit menée, dans le cadre de notre Organisation. Nous avons devant nous l'exemple d'une réflexion sur la pêche responsable pour la mise en place d'un Code de conduite, et la question du repavillonnage des navires de pêche, qui sont autant de sujets essentiels, d'une grande portée pour l'avenir. Le rôle du Chef de file joué par l'OAA dans le secteur des pêches doit être préservé; c'est pourquoi la délégation française ne peut admettre une décroissance des ressources et demande le rétablissement du Grand Programme 2.2 à son niveau actuel. Nous insistons pour que cet ajustement budgétaire favorise en priorité les activités du Département des pêches dans le domaine des systèmes d'information (sur les flottes, sur l'état des ressources halieutiques, sur la haute mer...), permettant à l'Organisation de mieux répondre aux recommandations formulées par la CNUED.
Le Grand Programme 3.2 de Soutien à l'investissement connaît lui aussi des propositions d'allocations budgétaires en déclin par rapport à l'exercice actuel et ma délégation souhaiterait attirer l'attention sur les risques qui peuvent en découler. Le Centre d'investissement est une unité technique dont les partenaires apprécient la multidisciplinarité et je crois pouvoir affirmer que DDC a beaucoup servi l'image de l'Organisation, par la qualité de ses
expertises. Il faut préserver cet outil et, pour cela, maintenir le soutien que lui apporte le Programme ordinaire afin que le Centre d'investissement puisse conserver ses experts et apparaître, demain encore, comme une unité compétitive auprès des institutions de financement. Les rumeurs qui circulent à propos de l'évolution des relations entre la FAO et la Banque mondiale à partir de juin 1994 ne peuvent que nous encourager dans cette voie de soutien au Centre d'investissement.
J'en viens enfin au Grand Programme Agriculture et commencerai par relever les efforts accomplis par le Secrétariat pour une présentation plus claire et plus précise des activités qu'en 1991, permettant notamment de suivre les priorités données au suivi de la CNUED et de la CIN. Je voudrais me limiter à deux observations :
1) méfions-nous, sous couvert de priorité à la défense de notre environnement, d'engager l'Organisation sur un terrain qui ne serait plus le sien (comme celui du changement climatique global, par exemple) ou de vouloir lui faire appliquer des modèles techniques issus d'une problématique de "pays riches", qui ne correspondrait pas à celle du développement agricole des économies les plus démunies. Je pense par exemple à la question de l'utilisation des engrais minéraux: source de pollution pour les uns, source d'amélioration de la production pour les autres. Ne l'oublions pas nous n'avons pas forcément les mêmes besoins; cela m'amène, en particulier, à demander le rétablissement d'un budget pour permettre de réunir la Commission des engrais en 1994 afin de faire le point sur les problèmes que soulève la nutrition des plantes aujourd'hui. Monsieur le Président, cette Commission, créée selon l'article VI-I des Textes constitutifs de notre Organisation, ne s'est plus réunie depuis le mois d'avril 1990.
2) deuxièmement, pour une organisation qui traite de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale et d'analyse des politiques agricoles notamment, il apparaît essentiel de pouvoir intégrer convenablement les facteurs d'évolution démographique. Je crois sincèrement, comme j'ai déjà eu l'occasion de le faire remarquer au COAG, que l'OAA devrait faire un véritable effort dans ce sens, en renforçant le rôle de l'unité de coordination du programme de population (ESDP) au-delà de l'appui à l'exécution des projets du FNUAP.
Ce que je viens d'exposer au titre des divers grands programmes techniques de notre Organisation pour 1994-1995 suggère des augmentations du budget affecté à certaines opérations qui, bien entendu, ne peuvent être envisagées que soit par une non-diminution des contributions, soit par redéploiement des crédits. Certes une nouvelle amélioration de la productivité des services est possible et doit permettre de faire davantage en 1994-95 avec les mêmes moyens qu'en 1992-93, mais les aménagements budgétaires seront nécessaires. C'est pourquoi, une nouvelle fois, comme je l'ai dit au début de cette intervention trop longue je m'en excuse, j'appelle le Conseil et plus tard la Conférence à faire preuve de responsabilité en ce qui concerne les questions budgétaires.
Fotis G. POULIDES (Cyprus): In order to limit the time of my intervention, I prefer to avoid the well understood compliments to the Deputy Director-General, Mr Shah, and start immediately with my statement.
My delegation welcomes the clear document on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95. I have been particularly impressed by the difficult task in formulating this Summary Budget.
Its difficult context was very ably covered in the introduction of the Director-General and in the body of the document. We note that of paramount concern has been the difficulties experienced by many Member Nations in meeting their external obligations. This has led the Director-General to submit proposals containing no net programme growth. We applaud this mark of realism. Of course, we also realize that this cannot meet the expectations of many Member Countries relying on FAO to assist them with their most urgent development problems. The absence of programme growth is not in line with the heavy requirements which FAO has to face. Nevertheless, on balance this is the wisest possible choice in trying to reconcile conflicting objectives.
I have been struck by the particular problem experienced by FAO under Support Cost funding. The fall in the number of field programmes since 1992, as reported in Section II of the document, is indeed worrisome. However, we commend the efforts made by FAO to address the immediate consequences in a pragmatic and well-informed manner. We regret the loss of experienced personnel which must surely have occurred as a result of the massive abolition of posts. We hope that FAO nevertheless will be able to provide adequate backstopping and support of its field activities, as we are the recipients of technical assistance expertise.
We note the resulting request for trust support from Trust Cost funding in the Regular Budget has been limited to the most essential. We have to accept this limited request not only because it is reasonable, but because we have to recognize the beneficial links between the Regular and Field Programmes.
With regard to the financial aspects, we consider the estimate of cost increase of US$81 000 000 is also fairly reasonable. We are particularly attracted by the proposed method of funding. This impressive method of replacing funds by assessed contributions comes out clearly from the tables in paragraphs 129 and 130. Thus, we support the proposed use of expected arrears in 1994 and 1995 to reduce the burden of Member Nations. It is a fair and logical proposal which appears to take advantage of an exceptional situation.
We agree with retaining the lapse factor reduction at 3 percent in conformity with previous decisions of the FAO Conference. We observe with some concern, however, the continuing differences in what should constitute the base level for the formulation of the next Programme of Work and Budget. As mentioned in the introduction of the Director-General, such differences are based on the level of the Programme and Finance Committees. They seem to have persisted up to the present time in the discussions of this Council.
I stress my delegation's understanding that the base level should be Programme of Work of US$676.9 million as unanimously approved by the last Conference. In this we join whole heartedly with the majority view in the Programme and Finance Committees. While we are therefore in broad agreement with the financial proposals I cannot express the same enthusiasm with regard to the allocation of resources. Many reduced allocations to the technical activities
of the Organization ought to be regretted, especially the cuts on the forestry and fisheries. In this I just have to echo the same concerns expressed by the competent technical committee of the Council. As they provide the considered use of the technicians in each sector we found no difficulty in taking their advice and recommend that every effort be made to redress the cuts to many valued technical programmes during the formulation of the full Programme of Work and Budget. Most of all we are distressed by the net reduction under Chapter 4, Technical Cooperation programme, as we can see in paragraph 362. I add my voice to those who have already praised the value of the Technical Cooperation Programme, especially for small countries such as mine.
While it is clearly difficult in the present context to realize the expectations of a much higher percentage for the Technical Cooperation Programme, as mandated by the Resolution of the FAO Conference, we would be hard put to condone the net reduction for this essential programme. I therefore hope that this could be addressed in the formulation of the final proposal.
Abdul BASIT HAQQANI (Pakistan): The Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95 should be viewed in its appropriate context - both in terms of the immediate situation faced by the Organization as well as the long-term policy considerations.
While discussing the future work of our Organization it is necessary to keep in view the needs of those who seem to be condemned to a miserable life of hunger and poverty. If we fail to respond to these challenges we would be betraying the Constitution of our Organization which enshrines our determination to promote common welfare and ensure humanity's freedom from hunger. The fact that we are nowhere near the realization of this goal, even as FAO approaches its 50th Anniversary, should not discourage us but should prompt us to increase our efforts with renewed vigour.
As FAO continues its work as the global lead agency in food and agriculture it is faced with a revolution of sorts - one of rising expectations. The follow-up activities after UNCED and ICN, the additional demands for assistance from the newly independent states and the large number of emergencies have only compounded the task of the Organization to deliver its services to an ever-expanding population.
It is with deep regret that we note that the Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95 is one of no net programme growth. We consider the proposed level of US$676.9 million, which is the same as for the current biennium, as inadequate. We would have liked to see a reasonable increase in this level in order to meet some of the more pressing needs. However, we are cognizant of the economic difficulties being faced by the vast majority of the membership and recognize that calling for an increase in resources may not be practical. So, given these harsh realities, and in an effort to strive for a consensus, we endorse the proposed level of US$676.9 million for 1994-95.
We are surprised by the suggestion of some members that the figure of US$645.6 million should be the basis for developing proposals for the next biennium rather than the figure of US$676.9 million. There is no ambiguity as far as
the Programme of Work and Budget 1992-93 is concerned. It was approved at the level of US$676.9 million and it is this programme that is being implemented during the current biennium. To pretend otherwise would not be in accordance with the facts. As far as the amount of US$645.6 million is concerned, it was the net budgetary appropriation, which was one of the ways, in addition to other measures, to finance the overall level of US$676.9 million.
It may also be useful to recall that the Twenty-Sixth session of the FAO Conference had approved such an arrangement in seeking a consensus and in view of the commitments of the largest contributor regarding payment of its assessments and arrears. The Conference Report already states that the methodology adopted is an exceptional one and should not be taken as a precedent for future Programmes which should be considered on merit by Member Nations.
There is, therefore, no logical basis to treat the figure of US$645.6 million as the base figure for the Programme of Work and Budget. Such an approach will have the obvious consequence of negative growth and that would be unacceptable. We are of the firm view that the level of US$676.9 million is the correct basis for the Programme of Work for the next biennium and we all should endeavour to arrive at a consensus on this figure.
As regards cost increases, we note that these have been calculated according to the approved methodology. The lower estimate is a particularly welcome one and we would urge that this be kept under review so that further reductions can be effected by the time the Programme of Work and Budget comes up for final approval.
As regards the lapse factor, we endorse the view that this should remain unchanged at the previously approved level of 3 percent. We are opposed to any increase in this percentage as it would be detrimental for the programme. It would deprive the Organization of the necessary flexibility as well as some protection when sufficient cash resources are not available against those approved in the budget.
As regards the Programme priorities, we are disappointed with the proposed reduced allocations for fisheries, forestry as well as for rural development. These are areas of high priority and we regret that more resources are not being made available for these programme areas. We also note with particular regret the proposed net reduction for provision for projects under TCP. Though the level under Chapter 4 remains unchanged at US$77.4 million, a reduced amount of US$75.5 million will be available for assistance as the balance will be utilized towards the cost of the Liaison Unit. We urge that further efforts should be made to identify savings which could be allocated towards TCP so that this important programme can maintain its efficiency and meaningful nature.
As regards the follow-up to UNCED, we endorse the shifting of some resources, particularly for the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and for the establishment of the Centre for Animal Genetic Resources as well as increased support for TFAP. Similarly, the strengthening for Food Security Assistance Scheme and Global Information and Early Warning System. The increases in allocations for Chapters 5 and 6 are apparently large but are amply justified
in view of the inevitable transfer of posts previously financed from support cost income, computerization of financial system as well as much needed improvements in the infrastructure. We, therefore, support these proposed increases.
In conclusion, we reiterate our endorsement for the proposed Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 at the level of US$676.9 million and hope that we achieve approval by consensus during the Conference.
Yong-Ning HUANG (China) (Original language Chinese): May I begin on behalf of the Chinese delegation by expressing my thanks to the Secretariat for the preparation of this very detailed document CL 103/3. I am particularly grateful to Mr Shah for his introduction to this document.
Now having said that, I have some other remarks on this item. Firstly, as regards the financial situation of FAO we have seen that although the number of countries which have not paid or have only paid part of their contributions has increased, the situation as regards the payment of assessed contributions is in general terms rather good. The amount of contribution received this year represents more than 80 percent of the current contributions that are due. Payment of arrears is also encouraging. This leads us to hope that payment of current assessed contributions and arrears will continue to improve.
We trust that the financial difficulties faced by FAO due to delays in payments of contributions which have affected it seriously for several years will be alleviated in this way. The Chinese delegation is particularly pleased to note this and we hope that Member Countries will continue to make every effort to pay their assessed contribution in accordance with the financial rule, thereby fulfilling their financial commitments and obligations because in this way the financial situation of the Organization will be really improved in the course of the biennium 1994-95.
Secondly, I turn to the problem of the budget level for the biennium 1994-95. Over recent years, as there has been a change in the international situation and following the meetings of the UNCED and the ICN, Member Countries have asked for more and more services from FAO. FAO now is being called to play an ever increasing role as regards to the protection of environment, sustainable agriculture development, the abolition of poverty and the struggle against hunger and malnutrition. However, bearing in mind the difficulties being faced by Member Countries when it comes to their complying with their financial obligations and also due to certain budgetary constraints faced by organizations in the UN system as a whole, because of this the Director-General has proposed a budget with zero growth in the programme. The Chinese delegation gives its support for the Director-General's proposal and is appreciative of the effort he has engaged in in order to reach a consensus. We think that it would be reasonable to consider as the base, the budgetary base for the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95, the working programme level of US$676.9 million as unanimously approved at the last Conference. If we took the net figure for 1992-93 US$645.6 million as a budgetary base, this being the appropriation figure, this appropriation figure would mean we would have a negative growth of the programme.
This would not enable us to face up to the ever-increasing demand made on FAO by Member Countries as regards the US$81.1 million cost increase. We hope that the Secretariat will carry out further analyses and calculations on the basis of further information obtained in an effort to reduce the burden upon Member Countries. My third point is as regards the Programme of Work of FAO for the biennium 1994-95. We have seen that in circumstances where there has been growth and where there is a reduction in the reimbursement of support costs, the Director-General believes that the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 would aim first and foremost at tackling the urgent needs deriving from the follow-up to UNCED and the ICN. There is also a need to increase the appropriations for the programmes to support development. This is fully justifiable, and we support it. We have also noticed that the resources foreseen for the Major Programmes, 2.2 Fisheries and 2.3 Forestry, have been reduced, especially the appropriation for the Technical Cooperation Programme. This Technical Cooperation Programme is of considerable importance for developing countries, and this has been reduced. We regret the fact that the proportion of the TCP in the total budget has dropped from 11.7 percent in 1992-93 to 11.4 percent for 1994-95. We hope that the FAO Secretariat, taking into due account the priorities and emergencies involved in that programme, will manage to introduce the necessary adjustments in order to raise the proportion to 14 percent, that is, the proportion of the TCP in the overall FAO budget in accordance with Resolution 9/89 of the Conference.
Mats DENNINGER (Sweden) : I have the pleasure to speak for the Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and we all appreciate the efforts by the Secretariat to prepare a fair basis for our discussions. It's a difficult task; in spite of the declining share of the agricultural sector in the economies of many countries, and in spite of the remarkable progress, particularly in many developing countries during the last two decades, the number of issues and problems of an international character are still considerable and we are particularly concerned about the persisting difficulties in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time the protracted global recession and severe budget restrictions in many countries make it perfectly obvious that the times of ever-increasing budgets for international organizations are no longer at hand.
These changing circumstances present a challenge to both members and the Secretariat to make the necessary difficult choices and the hard prioritization concerning the future activities of the Organization. In this situation, we note the Secretariat's assessment that the Organization finally is on the path to renewed financial stability, which is particularly important when substantive discussions can ill afford to be distracted by the uncertainty stemming from frequent liquidity problems.
We have noted several positive characteristics in the present proposal, particularly the positive response and high general priority to sustainable development. Therefore, in evaluating this Programme of Work and Budget proposal one of our main preoccupations is its adherence to the results reached at UNCED in Rio last year. I wouldn't say that this is a particularly Nordic concern or priority - it's rather an unavoidable point of departure for all multilateral organizations involved. If nothing else, the large number of ministers and heads of state from all over the world present in Rio should
make it clear that Agenda 21 and the other agreements were reached with the highest possible authority. Therefore it is essential that international organizations make specific and far-reaching commitments in their respective fields, and it is the task of Member Countries to ascertain that these commitments are effectively implemented by the restructuring and refocusing of the expertise and programmes already existing in FAO.
While we note the general assurances of priority to UNCED implementation, and several specific cases where UNCED is referred to, we are uncertain about the level of commitment in all respects and whether or not all relevant matters are covered. We know from our last Council meeting that almost two-thirds of all the 115 programme areas of Agenda 21 are within the purview of FAO's mandate, and we would have liked to see a systematic appraisal of all these areas. We appreciate, however, that a request for such a systematic appraisal was found valid by the Committee for Agriculture recently, and we look forward to this appraisal which is clearly of paramount importance to any analysis of the proposed Programme of Work and Budget.
I also have to say that we felt some discomfort when we noticed the inflexible statement that extra-budgetary resources will be necessary to supplement the regular budget activities regarding Rio implementation. Our view on extra-budgetary resources has a prominent place in the Nordic proposals for reform of the UN system and implies that the proper governance by members requires that basically all activities are clearly described in the regular programme of work. The question arises if the intention here is to make members choose between having basic and urgent activities done by extra-budgetary resources or not done at all. While not ruling out that limited additional resources in specific, well-defined areas may be desirable, the main thrust of Rio implementation in FAO clearly belongs in the regular budget. And this is all the more important since Agenda 21 represents a truly global undertaking towards a society more in harmony with nature for future generations.
During recent years, both here in Rome and elsewhere, the Nordic countries have been advocating a more rational division of labour between international organizations in the economic and social field. For the specialized agencies of the UN, one major point is the strengthening of the analytical and normative role as centres of excellence. Since we've been pleased to note -not least here in Rome - a large amount of support in this respect, we had hoped to see significant shifts in resource allocation in favour of such activities, and we regret that the considerable difference between the proposal for 1994-95 and the existing Programme of Work and Budget seems to go in exactly the opposite direction. And by considerable difference I mean the reduction in all the three core activities of the Organization, namely the Technical and Economic Programme for agriculture, fisheries and forestry and the increased Development Support Programme, Support Services, Common Services and even significant administrative costs in Chapter 1. This is not only inconsistent with the strengthening of the role of the centre of excellence, it is also hard to reconcile with the generally accepted view that in times of increased budget restrictions you first of all try to protect the basic activities.
We are fully aware of the difficulties arising from the sharp reduction of support cost income, but find that a less than convincing argument for the
noticeable changes in the Programme of Work and Budget. We therefore need more than general assurances that resources were wrongly allocated in the past and need to be reallocated. In a rather short summary like the document in front of us, you can't go into detail in all aspects, but we take it for granted that the final proposal for the Conference will contain the necessary information to make a reasonable assessment in these respects. We also expect an extensive justification of why it is suddenly "impossible" to compress or keep constant administrative and support expenditures. Perhaps independent views should be sought generally on these matters.
Due to the discussion of the Committee on Plant Genetic Resources report last week, I also have to reiterate our strongly held view that part of the costs of the 1995 Conference on Plant Genetic Resources should be. covered by the Regular Budget.
We find the difficulties connected with the reduced support cost income, and the proposed shifts in the Programme of Work and Budget, yet another good example of the difficulties that are bound to arise when a fundamental prerequisite of proper management is not fulfilled. That prerequisite is the clear and visible allocation of all resources to specific and precisely defined activities, without a large amount of resources devoted to many loosely-defined areas. This is also yet another reason for a clear separation of various types of activities and a more precise allocation of resources which we have been asking for even before it was discussed within the framework of the reform of the UN system.
Coming back to the substance of the Programme of Work and Budget proposal, I will not go into details regarding shifts in the normative role since the Nordic countries (individually) have commented on specific activities during meetings of the Committees for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, respectively. But I have to mention two areas. Firstly, the almost provoking reduction in Food and Agricultural Policy which is very hard to digest, even considering that policy matters are included elsewhere in the Agricultural Programme. And, secondly, the further reduction in the Forestry Programme to a level which has given rise to questions of whether the UN specialized agency is actually interested in taking up all the obvious and serious challenges in the forestry sector that have arisen during the last decade. We strongly urge a considerable and rapid strengthening of the normative work of the Forestry Division. While not asking for an immediate return to the situation in the early days of FAO when forestry took up more than 11 percent of the regular budget, the present figure of 4.4 percent is clearly far below the necessary minimum. I would like to recall the large number of international organizations not only in the field of agriculture but also of fisheries, while for forestry we have primarily one major organization with a very large share of all international competence, knowledge and expertise. We want to build upon this valuable resource and develop it further.
I have already indicated a willingness to consider reallocation of resources from practically all areas outside of the Technical and Economic Programmes, but I would also like to mention the largest single item in the work programme - namely Major Programme Agriculture - where the item Regional Offices account for an amount of resources of the same order of magnitude as for Forestry as awhole. We look forward to a detailed documentation of all regional
activities and expenditure based on inter alia type of activity and regions to which they refer. But already now we are open to a discussion of possible balanced reductions in regional offices, based - of course - on an evaluation of the fairness of the existing allocation of regional resources.
Finally, a word about the total level of the budget. Needless to say, the level is less important than the contents. But the level is important as it determines the financial contribution by members which is particularly important in times of severe restrictions in national budgets. It is well-known that a strict application of the zero growth principle leads to an inflexible structure of international organizations where justified changes - in both directions - due to changing needs and circumstances are ruled out. On the other hand, an individual assessment requires adequate information regarding existing resource use and efficiency which we do not yet possess for the majority of organizations including the FAO.
We do believe that an individual assessment of the Programme and the Budget is the best option, and we are striving in that direction. Nevertheless, in cases where such an individual assessment is not possible, we might consider a dynamic application of the zero real growth option.
Bearing in mind that two different views exist as to the interpretation of zero growth, and also that important technical matters regarding cost increases, the lapse factor, the biennualization effect, etc., require further examination, we will primarily look at the final proposal for the Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95 in the light of our main substantive concerns that I have raised in this intervention, before we take our final stand on the overall resource level to be decided at the Conference in November.
Mrs Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): The United States wishes to express its appreciation to Mr Shah for his comprehensive remarks on the thrust and scope of FAO's Summary Programme Budget proposal for 1994-95 in CL 103/3. We also welcome the Director-General's introduction to this document, as it sets forth his views on the challenges ahead for FAO. In this regard, the Director-General stated, a willingness to review and modify programme priorities in line with Technical Committee recommendations is a demonstration of essential managerial flexibility.
This budget will be implemented in a period of unprecedented change and dramatic transformation throughout the UN system. Moreover, this period is concurrent with an unequivocal United States recommitment to the UN. In this post-Cold War era, when multilateral approaches to solving intractable global problems of hunger, over-population, environmental degradation and civil strife are viewed with great hope and high expectations, the United States believes that FAO can and must play a critical role. This will be no easy task, yet my delegation is convinced that with the open and frank dialogue already under way at this Council, we Member States can find a way to recapture and build on the consensus we achieved in the 1991 Conference. Given that conviction, my delegation is here to work closely and collaboratively to this end.
Previous speakers share some, if not all, of our views. In this regard I would like to note that the United States found the comments of our Swedish colleague particularly constructive, as we work on this very important issue of the summary Programme of Work and Budget.
To remain relevant in an increasingly complex and fluid environment, FAO's 1994-95 budget priorities and focus must be realistic and flexible. In other words, resources must be transferred from low to high priority areas within the framework of no programme growth and maximum containment of non-discretionary cost increases. We find these elements lacking in the budget before us. Rather than flexibility, the structure of the 1994-95 budget proposals is marked by rigidity. Rather than creative restraint, we find expansion.
Budget stringency is a fact of life for national public sectors and international institutions. It underlines the importance of increased transparency, accountability and optimal use of limited resources. Innovative approaches must be found by FAO to use scarce resources more and more efficiently.
Turning to the thrust of FAO's Programme proposals for 1994-95, on numerous occasions these past several months - particularly, in the joint sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and meetings of COAG and COFO - we have tried to set forth ideas which we believe will further strengthen the Organization and influence its future direction positively. A few of them bear repeating:
We agree that the two main Programme thrusts for the next biennium should be follow-up to UNCED and the ICN. In particular, the United states attaches great importance to the follow-up work FAO envisages in the area of sustainable development. We encourage even stronger operational involvement on the part of FAO in implementing sustainable agricultural and rural development (SARD) policies, managing natural resources and developing critically important data bases.
FAO's Agenda 21 responsibilities in the area of plant and animal genetic resources are substantial. The newly-formed Centre for Domestic Animal Diversity is a positive approach to coordinating future work in animal genetic resources. Convening the 1995 International Technical Conference in Plant Genetic Resources, including preparation of the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources and the Global Plan of Action, will underpin FAO's activities on plant genetic resources. Regular programme funds must be identified within existing levels to augment extra-budgetary resources for preparatory work related to this Conference.
Much of the preparatory work in fact is fully consistent with the Regular Programme, and would be relevant now, whether or not we can hold the Conference as soon as 1995, which we hope will yet be possible.
Similarly, we attach importance to ICN follow-up work. We are pleased to see increased resource levels devoted to food and nutrition assessment, food quality and safety, micronutrient programmes and nutrition education. We encourage FAO to work closely and collaboratively with WHO, UNEP, other UN
agencies, NGOs and the private sector in these areas to avoid duplication and unnecessary overlap.
Accelerating NGO and private sector involvement, not only in FAO's nutrition programs but in many other facets of FAO's activities, as well, including those associated with pest and disease eradication and the development of agricultural enterprises, is a high priority for the United States.
We attach extreme importance to FAO's role in support of the GATT, including development of international standards for food safety and plant quarantine guidelines. We would like to see FAO's work intensified in building an information network on food irradiation and developing a unified multilingual thesaurus. We also support the collaborative work engaged by the joint FAO/IAEA Division.
With regard to FAO's Fisheries Programme, we are confident that FAO's work on the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fishing will have a positive outcome and we hope that an Agreement on the Flagging of Vessels Fishing on the High Seas will be completed for approval by the Conference in November.
Turning to FAO's Forestry Programme, we regret the systematic decreases in support to Regional Forestry Commissions at a time when Member Nations have called for a country-driven, participatory approach to resource management and backed those calls up with over 50 percent increases in bilateral Trust Fund support to field programmes in forestry. In our view, this large increase would have been unnecessary if a greater percentage of FAO's Regular Programme resources were devoted to forestry.
We believe a viable balance must be established between the Regular Budget and voluntarily funded programmes to ensure sustainability. We also reiterate the strong opposition expressed at the recently concluded COFO meeting to FAO's decision to defer sessions of Regional Forestry Commissions for Africa and Asia-Pacific until the 1996-97 biennium.
With respect to the overall budgetary framework for allocating resources, we note with regret that while resources have increased among sub-programmes for a number of important activities related to agriculture, fisheries and forestry, Major Programme resources in all three areas have declined; at the same time, requirements under other headings such as general policy and direction, programme management, support services and common services, have increased. We firmly believe this trend is inconsistent with the clear priorities of Member States and should be reversed.
At this juncture, we wish to reiterate the importance of establishing a realistic budget level for 1994-95. All Member States have an interest in FAO's future. We are equal partners in this organization and we all rely on its activities in different areas. In 1991, we worked to develop a consensus on the budget that restored financial viability to FAO. We must take steps to build on that consensus to secure the future. To do this, Member States need to find a formula that addresses the unique situation we are in at this critical juncture in FAO's history. We have the prospect of exceptional revenues in the 1994-95 biennium. Member States must have a programme plan for using these revenues to strengthenFAO ifandwhen these funds become
available. At the same time, we must set the budget at an effective working level that establishes a reasonable and sustainable base for the 1996-97 biennium. We believe the Summary Programme of Work and Budget level is too high to meet these general criteria and should be reduced. We would like to offer the following suggestions on how this might be accomplished.
We note that in paragraph 126 of CL 103/3, FAO proposes to convert a total of 57 posts to the Regular Programme previously financed from support cost income. We cannot support all of these conversions primarily for the following reasons :
First, this financing arrangement constitutes a shift from voluntary to assessed funding and, thereby, increases the burden on all Member Nations, many of whom cannot pay under any, or at least current, circumstances.
Second, these conversions would have an overall and long-term negative impact by increasing administrative and support services costs for development activities in the field at the expense of investments in FAO's technical expertise in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
Third, a shift in the source of funding was not the intent of UNDP's agency support successor arrangements. Rather, UNDP's Governing Council decision in 1991 was designed to:(a) strengthen the technical capacity of the agencies, (b) ensure cost-efficiency through greater openness and competitiveness and (c) shift administrative and operational support services away from Headquarters. FAO's shift in funding such services out of the regular, assessed budget is moving in the opposite direction.
Fourth, this proposal, undoubtedly, will increase the proportion of total expenditures on established posts which will have the adverse effect of further limiting the Organization's flexibility.
Fifth, the Summary Programme of Work and Budget provides no explanation of how the shift in funding will enhance FAO's technical capacity and the quality of its services.
Turning to the lapse factor, given the actual vacancy rate of 9 percent, we continue to have reservations with FAO's use of a lapse factor of 3 percent. In 1989, we strongly opposed the reduction in the lapse factor from 5.5 percent to 3 percent in the 1990-91 Programme of Work and Budget. FAO's proposed net increase of eleven new posts in the 1994-95 budget, excluding the transfer of posts from voluntary to assessed funding, should make the return to the lapse factor of 5.5 percent possible, with no adverse impact on FAO's programmes. We see scope for the use of an even higher lapse factor.
Savings could also be achieved if FAO absorbed the biennialization of costs for other human resources and general operating expenses, as was accomplished in this current biennium.
At this stage, it may be worthwhile for us to recount the position we have taken with respect to FAO's proposed budget level for 1994-95, lest there be some misunderstanding about our specific concerns. Most recently, in the Finance Committee we have expressed the view that the 1994-95 budget level
should build from US$645.6 million, since assessments for 1992-93 were based on this level. We concluded that to do otherwise results in programme growth in the 1994-95 Summary Programme of Work and Budget of 4.9 percent. We clearly and explicitly stated this position in our statements at the 1991 Conference and the 1992 Council. Thus our position is fully consistent with previous statements, is reasonable and therefore no surprise.
With regard to FAO's proposal to finance the budget with arrears, we cannot support a financing arrangement for 1994-95 that includes United States arrears to cover normal, programme and administrative operations. Make no mistake, the United States is strongly committed to meeting its financial obligations to all international organizations, including FAO. At the same time, however, particularly in the current severe budgetary climate, we can make no guarantees that future arrears payments will be forthcoming next year and immediately thereafter. We assume that other Member Nations in arrears are in a similar predicament.
The United States believes it would be unwise to support a funding arrangement that, in the short run, would reduce the assessments on Member States, but, in the long run, would result in tremendous increases in these assessments. This represents false optimism. Assessments on Member Nations could increase by 20 percent or more, when substantial arrears are no longer available to finance the budget. At a time when nearly 70 percent of the membership has not paid its dues, it would be folly to lose sight of this future adverse impact on assessments, only one biennium hence.
Having said that, we are willing to consider other budget presentations that will achieve an overall lower level, still meet key Programme priorities and eliminate reliance on arrears as a financing mechanism.
In conclusion, the critically important work of FAO can be accomplished only if predictable and assured income from assessed contributions continues to flow to the Organization. Let me say again, the United States delegation is anxious to work with members of this Council and FAO Secretariat to find a way to authorize the Organization to expend arrears, backed by our best efforts to obtain them, without inflating the overall 1994-95 budget level. In this way, we can work toward achieving consensus on the 1994-95 budget proposals and ensuring the continuing financial viability and technical excellence of our Organization.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie l'honorable Représentant des Etats-Unis de son intervention. Je rappelle également que nous sommes tenus par nos Textes fondamentaux qui sont très clairs sur un certain nombre de points qui viennent d'être soulevés.
Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Señor Presidente, el Sr. Shah, con su acostumbrada profesionalidad, ha presentado el tema con sobriedad, objetividad y muy claramente, cuestión que agradecemos. Teniendo en cuenta este antecedente y la larga lista de oradores que entendemos no dejarán de examinar esta problemática analiticamente, seremos breves en nuestra intervención.
Teniendo en cuenta el punto de partida de este análisis, al cual históricamente en este mismo lugar nuestra Representación se ha pronunciado con el estupor que le causa la triste célebre frase "crecimiento cero", en un mundo desbalanceado y controvertido que inversamente a este concepto lo que crece es el hambre y la malnutrición, por lo cual no queremos profundizar en este aspecto.
La delegación cubana desea destacar el esfuerzo realizado por la Secretaria para presentar este documento, a pesar de las dificultades por las que atraviesa la Organización, fundamentalmente financieras, recogidas en la introducción del documento, la cual, pese a las limitaciones financieras, la FAO ha respondido elocuentemente a las necesidades de los países en desarrollo, con imaginación, iniciativa y sentido de eficiencia. Nuestra delegación se pronuncia y hace un llamado para que en el futuro los países en desarrollo puedan contar con recursos suficientes para las actividades que la FAO ha priorizado, para lo que hacen falta necesariamente recursos para afrontar de manera suficiente los desafíos importantes emanados de los planes de acción como, por ejemplo, la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo, la Conferencia Internacional sobre Nutrición, así como el efuerzo de elevar la capacitación, el nivel científico-técnico, la información técnica, entre otros. Todo esto lo hemos señalado en anteriores intervenciones para buscar salida al subdesarrollo y mitigar el hambre. Actividades que en su conjunto les son necesarias a la FAO, acordes con la evolución mundial para reforzarla como le corresponde como Organización líder de su especialidad en el mundo.
En este sentido, señor Presidente, en nuestra primera intervención en el punto 4, calificamos las declaraciones del Sr. Edouard Saouma, Director General de la FAO, en la apertura de este 103s período de sesiones, como un legado, un texto a tener en cuenta por su actualidad, proyección, valentía y realismo político.
Deseamos, finalmente, señor Presidente, reiterar este pronunciamento como reto a enfrentar.
Aguinaldo LISBOA RAMOS (Cap-Vert): Permettez-nous tout d'abord, Monsieur le Président, de féliciter le Directeur général pour le travail inlassable qu'il a entrepris cherchant à harmoniser la nécessité de satisfaire les besoins des Etats Membres à la limitation des ressources, de façon à permettre l'approbation consensuelle du Programme de travail et budget pour 1994-95. Ses efforts ont abouti à l'élaboration d'un Sommaire de Programme de travail et budget très équilibré et de qualité remarquable dont nous tenons à remercier le secrétariat.
Nos félicitations s'adressent également à M. Shah qui, comme d'habitude, nous a fait une claire et brillante présentation de ce point de l'ordre du jour.
La FAO, Monsieur le Président, est plus que jamais confrontée, d'un côté, à des sollicitations et demandes d'assistance pressantes et toujours croissantes et, de l'autre, à une situation où ses ressources financières diminuent, surtout en raison du retard dans le payement des contributions, des nouveaux
arrangements en ce qui concerne les dépenses d'appui et de l'imposition d'un budget sans croissance.
Tel que réitéré dans d'autres occasions la FAO joue un rôle de Chef de file en tout ce qui concerne l'alimentation et l'agriculture. A cette responsabilité s'ajoute le défi de donner suite au Programme d'Action 21 de la CNUED et au Plan d'action et à la Déclaration mondiale sur la nutrition, établis par la CIN, et en ce qui a trait à l'alimentation et l'agriculture. La FAO doit aussi répondre aux demandes des pays en transition d'une économie dirigée vers une économie où les lois du marché sont en vigueur.
Il est évident qu'il ne sera pas possible de répondre à toutes ces sollicitations si elle ne disposera pas d'un budget suffisant et de ressources extrabudgétaires. D'ailleurs nous sommes convaincus que l'attention accordée à ce dernier groupe de pays ne se traduira pas dans une diminution des ressources allouées aux pays en voie de développement où les besoins augmentent davantage surtout à cause de la sécheresse, de la pression démographique, des problèmes socio-politiques, de l'endettement et du déséquilibre des termes d'échange.
A nouveau une proposition de budget de non-croissance nous est soumise établie sur la base de 676, 9 millions de dollars E.-U. Malheureusement ce cadre budgétaire empêche que des priorités du Plan à moyen terme soient dûment considérées à court terme. Les grands programmes techniques et économiques sont réduits, le PCT disposera aussi de moins de ressources et le rythme de décentralisation en souffrira. S'agissant du PCT et tenant compte de son importance pour les pays en voie de développement, surtout pour l'assistance technique et les conseils qu'il leur offre, c'est avec regret que nous constatons cette réelle diminution pour les activités de terrains contrairement à ce que recommandait la Conférence en 1989.
Nous sommes heureux de constater que dans le cadre du suivi de la CNUED, certains programmes de soutien au développement bénéficient de la priorité accordée à l'environnement et au développement durable. Nous nous réjouissons de l'attention réservée au Sous-Programme 22.214.171.124 "Ressources et développement marins" qui revêt d'une grande importance pour le Cap-Vert, pays insulaire de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, disposant d'une large ZEE, et dont la pêche est devenue un secteur prioritaire du développement.
La délégation du Cap-Vert se réjouit aussi de la place accordée au PAFT, qui voit augmenter les fonds affectés à son application, malgré la réduction du budget global des forêts.
Nous constatons avec satisfaction que d'importants remboursements d'arriérés ont été faits, permettant une amélioration significative de la situation financière de l'Organisation à un niveau plus élevé de l'exécution de l'activité de programme et des perspectives encourageantes pour l'avenir. Nous espérons que, malgré les difficultés qu'éprouvent les Etats Membres, cette tendance se poursuivra particulièrement dans les pays en développement.
Comme nous l'avions dit au début, nous sommes conscients du dilemme qui s'est posé au Directeur général dans la préparation du Sommaire du Programme de travail et budget pour 1994-95: besoins croissants d'un côté, ressources en
diminution de l'autre. La délégation du Cap-Vert a beaucoup apprécié les démarches du Directeur général pour trouver une proposition qui pourrait être adoptée par consensus. En effet, étant donné l'importance du Programme et du budget pour la vie de notre Organisation il est souhaitable que le Conseil leur apporte son accord unanime. Tenant compte de la Résolution 4/91 de la Conférence et de la difficile situation financière et économique internationale, qui affecte tous les Etats Membres, il serait difficile au Directeur général de proposer d'autres solutions.
Ainsi, et pour terminer, notre délégation soutient la proposition du Directeur général contenue dans le Sommaire de Programme de travail et budget pour un montant de 676, 9 millions de dollars E.-U.
Aussi, sommes-nous d'avis que le payement des arriérés de contribution, tel que le prévoit le Règlement financier de l'Organisation, doit être considéré comme un moyen de financement du Programme de travail et budget, au même titre que les contributions courantes et les recettes accessoires.
Natigor SIAGIAN (Indonesia): My delegation commends the Secretariat on their efforts in preparing this document and wishes to express our thanks to Mr Shah for his clear and substantive introductory remarks regarding the Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1994-95.
My delegation is fully aware that on the one hand the present world situation is not conducive to a Programme of Work and Budget being designed by the FAO Secretariat with an increased scenario, while on the other hand there is great hope that by maintaining the possibilities of a real consensus it could lead to better conditions for the FAO funds and cash-flow situation. We note that not only the developing countries are facing difficulties in discharging their financial responsibilities, but this is also the case with developed countries due to their internal economic situation. We need to strenghten FAO in every possible manner in order to allow it to continue to play its important role in world agriculture during the years ahead. Based on the above, Conference Resolution 9/89 expresses the continuation of the strengthening of the programme budgets of FAO in the years to come.
We are aware that developing countries, with specific reference to the less developed countries, have attached high hopes to FAO in anticipation that in future they also can achieve a state of food sufficiency and food security. With all its rich expertise, FAO will always be placed in the forefront of effort for the Third World. We believe this multilateral Organization is an effective vehicle to resolve the agricultural production problems of the developing countries.
We express our concern at the low growth in the budget and wonder if it is the right scenario for the Secretariat to proceed with their full Programme of Work and Budget preparations considering that the Third World is still looking to FAO as a strong instrument to combat hunger and poverty, and looking towards FAO to help them to solve their agricultural problems. With the proposals of low real growth, the level of the Programme of Work and Budget will be maintained at a level of US$76.9 million in real terms, equivalent to the level of this current biennium. Considering that there are
possibilities of recovery in other areas, we hope there will be possibilities of strengthening the budget especially for the technical programmes, namely, fisheries and forestry. Under the coming programme of agriculture, we will receive less than US$2 million from the previous biennium. This programme implements activities in terms of farmers' extension, research developments, women and youth farmers. We note with concern that the proposed budget for rural development and food and agriculture policy is less than the budget for the current year.
With reference to crops, there is a reduction in things like seed production and crop protection. These are of importance to developing countries, including Indonesia, and therefore any possibility should be looked at in order to maintain the quantity as well as the quality of activities under this programme by perhaps making an allocation in the available budget for a programme for crops, or a programme for crop protection.
With regard to livestock, my delegation underlines the view that there is scope for the faster expansion of the livestock sector as against other agricultural activities. Therefore, we should continue to give priority to the programme on livestock and look forward to the strengthening of this programme.
The Secretariat also proposes an increased budget for the programme on research and technology development in agriculture. We note the increase will be mostly approved for full documentation activities. We are grateful to the Secretariat for giving us information on this matter, taking into account the impact assessment of the FAO publication in the developing countries.
As to the programme on rural development, we note with some concern the lower allocations in the budget compared to the current biennium. Rural development activities are directly linked to the promotion of the quality of life of small farmers and rural people. We therefore request the Secretariat to reconsider whether it is possible - perhaps again through the internal allocation of funds - to strengthen further the elements of the programme for agricultural education, extension and training, rural institutions and the implementation of rural finance and management.
Developments in poor communication also need strong support. The involvement of rural people in FAO training is an important method for the successful achievement of FAO goals and objectives. Greater training is indisputable. My delegation is of the view that the work of FAO in the field of agricultural policy is a vital element in assessing the structural development process in many developing countries. Therefore, we believe that both the quantity and quality of activities for sub-programme assistance should be at least maintained if it cannot be strengthened through reallocation of internal budgets. We are increasing the allocation for commodity policies, and ask that FAO ensures that strong support will be given to developing countries in this sphere.
We take note of the fact that the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific will continue to build expertise in various fields, including the agricultural sector and project development. It is our hope that the down-turn in training schemes, as well as in participants, will not be repeated.
With regard to the Major Fisheries Programme, we note a decrease in the budget which will affect the developing countries. However, we welcome the allocation of the fisheries part of the sub-programme which is increased by about US$480 000.
With reference to managing natural resources, we welcome the increased budget for the Regional Offices and hope that it will provide some of the needs required by countries in this area.
We followed with attention the Major Programme on Forestry and express our concern at the decrease in budget allocation for the next biennium. However, within the fairly limited budget we hope that the implementation of the UNCED Agenda 21 will not be hampered.
I now turn to the Technical Cooperation Programme. My delegation note the increased allocation and reiterate our views that it is a paramount duty of FAO to provide a rapid response to a specific call to developmental needs or in an emergency in developing countries. FAO should reconsider the allocation of TCP for the coming biennium.
We note paragraph 2.106 of document CL 103/17 and support the views of the previous speakers in this regard. My delegation is of the view that the increased efficiency can best be reflected by possibly shifting any comparative share of the budget in favour of the substantive programme, viz support services. However, on the programmatic aspect of the Summary Programme of Work and Budget, we are of the view that the Summary has been formulated within the framework of the objective strategies and programme structures of the Medium-term Plan of the Organization. Therefore, it is vital that a solution to the critical issue of having a Programme of Work and Budget with equal justice to all should be found based on the solidarity between countries, before it becomes a bone of contention between North and South. It calls for effective mobilization of all local funding of resources by FAO.
We note the resources for promoting an environmental zone development and continuing economic growth in social projects by developing countries. But we wish to see before we can believe. We stand ready to cooperate with others in the elaboration of the full Programme of Work and Budget. We look forward to and welcome the preparation of the full document. My delegation wishes to express its full confidence to the Director-General.
T. A. ANUMUDU (Nigeria): I would like to thank you, Mr Chairman, for the opportunity to address Council on this important subject. I will begin by expressing our appreciation to the Secretariat for the exposition of the main issues involved in the 1994-95 budget proposals. Taking a cue from the Secretariat, I would like to discuss these issues on the following basis -the level of the budget, the arrears and cost increases, the priorities of the Programme and the assessment of Member Nations.
It will be recalled that the Conference in its last Session held in November 1991 approved a budget level of US$676.9 million which represents a no-growth budget for the coming biennium and the Director-General in his proposal presented that level of expenditure in order to achieve a consensus.
The Organization is already facing financial difficulties which make it impossible for it to execute its programmes in its entirety especially in the developing countries. This will affect negatively in no small measure such problems as the Technical Cooperation Programme from which sources the developing countries get quick assistance. We would like the FAO to assist the Member Countries in their efforts to initiate UNCED principles and to achieve sustainable development within its mandate, provide policy advice to Member Nations, especially in those areas where FAO has recognized excellence. We also wish that FAO should support the successful outcome of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Thus FAO's programme cannot be successfully implemented unless sufficient funds are provided. We therefore support the budget base level of US$676.9 million for the biennium 1994-95 as presented.
We regard the payment of arrears as an obligation on any Member Nation that finds itself in arrears to the Organization. If contributions were not paid in time, one wonders how the Organization would successfully implement its Programme of Work. Non-payment of dues in time means that some programmes would suffer from lack of adequate funding. From what we have seen of the discussion in the previous days this non-payment in time of contributions has adversely affected the TCP and diverse programmes such as forestry and fisheries. Yet in these areas where the impact of FAO on the ability of the developing countries to improve the agriculture are most needed, they are starved of funds. In all budget matters it is proper to recognize cost increases, for failure to do so would mean less services. This Council cannot be fair to the FAO, and by that I mean to the Management, if it failed to face the realities in cost increases all over the world. It would therefore be proper to give the Organization the funds that are needed to cushion the effects of cost increases.
When we look at the resources provided to the FAO vis-à-vis what other agencies, such as the WFP, are given we cannot but express our worry at the sharing of the resources between bodies in the international system. FAO, which enables us to cultivate our land for food to feed ourselves, should in our view be provided with the essential resources to enhance our self-sufficiency in food production. We cannot continue to go cap in hand for food aid when we can grow our food with a little assistance. No doubt we recognize the impact of national disasters on the need for emergency food aid but the concept of national food security is aimed at equipping our countries to be able to weather such calamities by falling back on our food reserve. We therefore support that system of fund allocation which will improve our capabilities on crop production, forestry management and fishery developments and afford us the technical assistance to enhance the success of our agricultural projects.
While we give our support to the budget we must ask for objectivity in assessing Member Country contributions. We appreciate the explanation given by the Secretariat on how to reduce the pressure on members on the level of their individual contributions in the coming two years. The assessment of our country at 0.23 percent in the budget of the FAO 1992-93 is unduly high considering our difficult circumstances yet, although we have severe economic circumstances, we have fulfilled our obligation to FAO because of the great regardwe have for the work of the Organization. In arriving at the
percentages of contribution for the Member Countries in the forthcoming biennium, we should therefore be conscious of the realities before us by not imposing a higher percentage of contribution on us.
It is our appeal to this Council to realize the interdependence of the countries of the world, whenever there is a weak link in the chain it is important that that link be strengthened; only by so doing could the whole chain be strengthened. The concern of the countries of the world for the safety of the environment could be met by enabling the developing countries to manage their lands, their water and their forests in a manner that would make the world a healthier place. Providing the FAO with the financial resources it has requested is a surer way to achieving an environmentally sound agricultural development that is self-sustaining.
Ray ALLEN (United Kingdom) : My delegation would first like to thank the Secretariat for the production of this document and to thank Mr Shah for his very clear introduction. I think it is clear, a great deal of work and effort has gone into the production of this document. We welcome the adjusted format and consider that this is an improvement over previous documents of this nature. Nonetheless, we consider that the document could have been made clearer, both at the Programme and the Budget levels.
We consider that this Summary Programme of Work and Budget gives us a good starting point from which to consider the full Programme of Work and Budget at the Conference later this year. We trust that when this full document is prepared, the comments and recommendations made by the Technical Committees earlier this year will be duly reflected in the revised full document. I think Mr Shah gave us an assurance on this during his introduction. We have discussed the specific elements of the technical programme at the technical meetings, but I would like to set out again some specific areas to which my delegation attaches importance within Chapter 2. Starting with Major Programme 2.1. Agriculture, the United Kingdom delegation gives its support to a number of sub-programmes including the following:
Soil Management, Conservation and Reclamation: With regard to soil management we recognize the need for low input systems in view of the current breakdown of input supply in many countries. FAO has a continuing role in encouraging Member Countries to conduct adaptive research in collaboration with the private sector and local rural organizations. Soil degradation and resource management is a critical area for future research.
Crop Protection: Page A/18 refers to the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the establishment of a Special Action Programme on IPM guided by the FAO/UNEP expert panel on IPM. Paragraph 74 states that additional funds are to be sought to increase the functions of the panel to guide the development of IPM and to provide policy advice on IPM. We seek reassurance that such a new group will coordinate with the activities of the existing international IPM Working Group.
Grassland Forage and Feed Resources: FAO is well placed to advise Member Countries on the feeding of crop residues and other fodders, including leguminous trees, to livestock. Many of the landless poor, now increasingly
living in peri-urban situations, rely on stall-fed animals for their livelihood.
Research and Technology Development: FAO should continue to provide advice to Member Countries on research policy and planning in cooperation with other UN organizations, the World Bank and the CGIAR institutes.
Agricultural Education Extension and Training: One of FAO's major strengths is in the field of human resource development. Increased assistance for the training of men and women group leaders, thereby increasing community participation in rural development, is welcomed by the United Kingdom delegation.
In terms of overall priority, we would like to emphasize the particularly important role of FAO in the collection, processing and dissemination of fisheries information, data and statistics. This is a role for which FAO is uniquely positioned, and the quality of its performance will greatly influence the ability of developing countries to improve fisheries management.
The reorientation of the FAO Fisheries Programme to focus on new priorities has been undertaken despite an overall reduction in financial resources devoted to the fisheries sector. At COFI some delegations were concerned that this adjustment in priorities and the additional financial emphasis in some new areas would constrain FAO activities in areas of its comparative advantage. These concerns arose from a failure to implement a recommendation of the 102nd Council Session, which recommended additional financial support to the Fisheries Programme in recognition of the burden imposed by the 102nd Council Session's endorsement of these additional areas of focus. Failure to augment the departmental budget, as recommended, has highlighted the need for effective coordination between FAO and other intergovernmental and international organizations in pursuing areas of their separate comparative advantage and thus obtaining maximum benefit from programme funding. The proliferation of new international and global issues will require that greater efforts be made in seeking and securing coordinated action. We would encourage specific reporting to COFI of the Organization's participation in coordinated burden-sharing activities.
As far as Major Programme 2.3 - Forestry is concerned, I think most of what we wanted to say was said by others, particularly Canada, when we discussed the report of COFO last week. I will not repeat those here today. I will speak later of our concerns that those three Major Programmes have suffered from cuts, while other chapters have seen increases.
I would now like to turn to the Budget itself. The Director-General in his introduction to the document refers to the fact that "it provides a direct illustration of how it is proposed to face the dilemma of resource stringency versus mounting challenges". This is indeed a dilemma, but in the view of my delegation the nettle has not been grasped. The proposals contained in this document merely delay the fateful day when every member of this Organization will be faced with a massive increase in their assessed contributions. Admittedly, the current proposals before us for the next biennium find ways around having to increase members' assessed contributions, by relying instead
on the windfalls from currency fluctuations and the use of arrears to fund the gap between the level of the Programme set and the assessed contributions requested from Member Nations. Mr Chairman, that may and I repeat may relieve the problems for the 1994-95 biennium, it may even relieve some of the problems we will have to face in the following biennium. But then we will all have to answer for the folly of this course of action, when arrears are fully paid up - hopefully - and exchange rates not so advantageous. We only have to look at currency fluctuations over the past few years to see how tenuous a situation that is. When that happens we will be faced with the major dilemma of either seeing a drastic reduction in the Programme or a massive increase in assessed contributions. There are no other alternatives, and it is no good this Council burying its head in the sand like an ostrich. This has to be faced, and all Member Nations here today and at the Conference in November should be under no illusions, that by agreeing to go along with these proposals means that we will be paying for these mistakes later, in the form of massive increases in assessed contributions. Even assuming no real growth over the next two biennia - cost increases as a result of inflation and biennialization alone will ensure this. If we take the cost increases proposed in the current budget, these alone, for a single biennium, are over US$81 million, according to the document we are currently looking at.
I urge members to fully reflect on the implications for the future of agreeing to this approach, which in the view of my delegation is short-sighted with unpalatable consequences for future biennia.
Having set the scene, Mr Chairman, it will come as no surprise to you that my delegation cannot agree to support the principle of using arrears to fund a deliberate gap between a given programme level and a lower assessment scale. Similarly, the use of windfalls in currency fluctuations should not be relied on for that purpose.
I heard what Mr Shah said in his introduction, but it is the principle of deliberately setting a programme at a different level to assessment that gives us the problem.
We accept that the decline in support cost income from UNDP has placed an enormous burden on the Organization and we share the assessment in the document that "support cost income prospects for the next biennium are not particularly good" and also share the principle that "a number of the posts so far carried out under the support cost financed establishment must, in effect, be recognized as a legitimate charge to the Regular Budget". We do not however share the assessment in the document of the number of posts to be transferred to the Regular Budget. The paper is lacking in any justification for the need to transfer this number of posts and we would urge the Secretariat to take another look at this. We are concerned about the implications in the budgetary transfers proposed resulting in an overall increase in Chapters 5 and 6 and a reduction in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Programmes under Chapter 2. This does not tally with the priorities set by members of this Council at previous sessions.
I would now like to address the Lapse Factor. We are not convinced by the arguments put forward in the document for retaining the lapse factor at 3 percent. Wehavemade ourposition veryclear since the Organization
proposed the reduction from 5.5 percent to 3 percent. We fully recognize that the Council and Conference approved this, but we think that it is time that the Council and the Conference revisited the issue. In the view of my delegation this Council should consider reverting to the previous figure of 5.5 percent which is much more in line with the true picture.
Finally, we consider that some further adjustments are needed to this document and will reserve further comments until such time as we consider the Revised Full Programme of Work and Budget.
LE PRESIDENT: J'assure l'honorable Représentant du Royaume-Uni qu'aucun des membres du Conseil n'entend mener une politique de l'autruche. Au contraire, toutes les interventions montrent le souci des membres du Conseil, comme ce fut le souci des membres du Comité, d'avoir une très claire vision des problèmes et d'assumer pleinement leurs responsabilités.
John Bruce SHARPE (Australia): Australia has little difficulty with the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95 as prepared by the Director-General.
The budget as prepared involves no growth in the Program of Work in that period. We are pleased that the need for restraint in the budget at this time of financial constraints on many Member Countries, both developed and developing, has been recognized and has been taken into account in the programme's preparation. This was referred to in the Director-General's statement given on the first day of our Council meeting.
We also note that this is the second Programme of Work and Budget which has been prepared in this way and that it represents the same base budgeted level as 1990-91, adjusted for inflation and currency fluctuations.
Australia supports the containing of cost increases to the maximum extent possible, and we note that the cost increase proposed, at an estimated 12 percent, is below that applying to the current biennium.
We also note, however, that this summary of the Programme of Work and Budget retains the staffing lapse factor level at 3 percent - the level approved by the Conference in 1989. We remain convinced that the correct procedure in preparing and presenting a budget for the consideration of all members of the Conference is to ensure that its components, such as the lapse factor applying to staff vacancies, truly reflect the likely expected situation in the period for which the budget is to apply.
We are therefore pleased with the undertaking given by the Secretariat to the Programme and Finance Committees to provide further information in support of the continuation of the 3 percent level in the more detailed Programme of Work and Budget to be prepared following this Council.
Australia is a member of the Programme Committee and as such has had the opportunity to give its views on much of the detail contained in the summary. I will not therefore take up the Council's time in going over those areas
again. There are, however, a couple of views we would wish to repeat. They involve adjustments within the Summary Programme of Work and Budget as it relates to forestry and the TCP.
As we have indicated under another agenda item, Australia supports those many other Member Countries who would wish to see an increase in the allocation to the Forestry Programme.
The importance of an effective TCP for responding to unanticipated members' requests for small-scale and emergency assistance is recognized and understood by Australia. The proposed TCP level at US$77.4 million involves a decline in real terms of US$1.9 million. As a member of the Programme Committee we share the hope expressed at the May joint meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees that the level of the TCP could be at least maintained. In the longer term, Australia would wish to see the TCP strengthened.
The meeting rose at 12.40 hours.
La séance est levée a 12 h 40.
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.40 horas.