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15. Medium-Term Plan 1998-2003 (continued)
15. Plan à moyen terme 1998-2003 (suite)
15. Plan a Plazo Medio 1998-2003 (continuación)

Luigi FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy): First of all let me associate with the European Union President's statement. I think that we are examining quite an ambitious document. Of course, there are ambitious objectives and a six year plan is not just a medium-term plan but is also starting to become a long-term plan.

Let me also express some appreciation for the efforts made by the FAO Secretariat in trying to make a concise and accessible document. Certainly, it is not an easy task for the many subjects of interest to so many countries but I think that in light of the observation made this morning, a more compact version of the document, could be helpful to all of us. I would just like to make a few points regarding the present text.

First of all, I would like to draw attention to the worrying figures on water on which the OECD delegate this morning made reference with quite eloquent figures. Paragraph 24 and the following paragraph are certainly of strategic importance. Of course, the support system of agricultural production in paragraph 91 is also important, referring to management of soil, plant and water, with regard to the waste water reused.

Second point, FAO is the unique Organization that can guarantee, in an integrated manner, the environmental, economic and social dimension of sustainable forest management on a global scale, as is written in paragraph 63. I would like to complement this paragraph adding, after economic, also "scientific", because, as a matter of fact, I think, that as far as forest management is concerned, it is not only environmental and economic but also scientific knowledge that FAO has to valorise, as I referred in the intervention of yesterday.

Its unique role is referred to, in paragraph 136 and in paragraph 138: the periodicity of forest assessment from ten to five maybe, why not, every three years, is an important point of reference. I already mentioned the fact that the panel in New York is finishing its mandate this year and I do hope that FAO will undertake this role which it is uniquely competent to do.

Third point, collaboration with other international organizations and I would add, and particularly with those in Rome. As a matter of fact, I found few references to World Food Programme and to IFAD and I found the same fact, and I raised the same objection, to the document of the World Food Programme prepared for the last board in which there was little or no reference to FAO. I think that a cross-fertilization could be helpful.

Fourth point, decentralization, paragraph 75. The others just speak of it as certainly a good formula. We supported it, as most delegations present here, but we have already experienced some difficulties in properly implementing and monitoring some of the projects, possibly because of their initial stage. But as a matter of fact, a decentralized office, unless it is provided with the means that the present situation of the budget does not seem to allow us, is just facing a very difficult job, a very difficult task because an experienced expert cannot be expert enough in aquaculture and farming or in just damming for a station and so on. So either he is a liaison officer, that contacts the delegations coming from Headquarters or from national capitals or he is just doing a representation job.

We would also like to study situations where there are some regional and sub-regional offices both of FAO and World Food Programme. I wonder if there is no possibility of integrating them, or even somehow merging them, to make savings. Having one office for two organizations is certainly cheaper than having two for two.

Fifth point, on paragraph 85, I think that the concept should be developed; or even a new paragraph should be dedicated to the need of increased collaboration and more integrated activities, as I said with World Food Programme and IFAD. I think either a new paragraph 86, or an integration with paragraphs 85, would be welcomed.

Point six, referring to high-quality expertise in paragraph 69 and the following paragraph. Would it not be possible to consider the Organization selling services and just making some new source of revenues? I think there are very highly qualified services that the Organization can provide and we had a national experience but also I think an international experience by which selling services abroad is a source of revenue, quite a legitimate one, with all the transparent and of course, external and internal auditing necessary but I think it is quite a helpful source of revenue. Why not explore this idea and venue?

Another point is just on the elements that have a real strategic dimension. There are others, for example, the one on agriculture, and we would also welcome the new model of agriculture which of course takes into account the need to go beyond primary production, linking vertically and horizontally activities to other economic activities. Of course, we would like to know a little more about this because certainly they are interesting and stimulating elements but which we could usefully develop in our discussions. However, we would like to see this new model of agriculture reviewed more in depth, in order to draw on the new model clear priorities for the Medium-Term Plan which would have a wider vision.

I said at the beginning that I would not like to repeat what already the European Union Presidency have already stated so eloquently but, I would like to stress one point which is particularly interesting to us, that is the synergy between the normative and guideline rules of the Organization and its operational activities. These are two dimensions which are very important to us and we would like to stress.

Therefore, we think that the document including the synoptic table which we of course appreciate even though it could be more articulately explained and maybe some blank points further developed and revised, in order to take into account the many comments made in this morning's session.

A. BEATTIE (United Kingdom): I should like to begin by associating the United Kingdom with the statement made by the European Union Presidency this morning.

A strategic plan is a vitally important document for any organization. Over the past two decades, most bodies which depend on public funds have come to realize the significance of this, and to devote resources to it accordingly. The language and concepts of strategic and corporate planning are now commonplace across the world. Electorates, owners and staff alike have come to expect

that the organizations and businesses, in which they have an interest, will have a clear strategic vision of where they are heading, based on a careful analysis of the operating environment and the choices open to the body, and an implementation strategy to carry it into effect. In the case of FAO, the Medium-Term Plan provides the essential context for the Programme of Work and Budget.

I will come back to the implications of this for the approach and structure of the document before us and for the medium-term planning process to which the Programme and Finance Committees invited the attention of Council.

Let me first offer some specific observations on activities. We commend FAO on its clear and compelling vision for forestry and for the role which FAO has played as task manager in the follow-up to UNCED. We would encourage FAO to extends its collaboration with other international organizations in defining roles of responsibilities and areas of joint work.

We can equally support the prominence accorded to the Fisheries Programme in the Plan and the three strategic goals set out on page 58. We should like to see a more realistic view of aquaculture potential, particularly in the light of increasing competition from other users of scarce fresh water resources. The closer integration of aquaculture into water management policies is something which deserves close attention over the period of the Plan.

We were disappointed and concerned to find that the detailed proposals for the forward programme include some of the activities which were singled out as low priority by the Technical Committees in their recent meetings. We reiterate the advice we have offered previously, that FAO must focus its resources on areas on which it has a clear comparative advantage.

The absence of quantification in the discussion of programme content is a source of concern. Is it not time that FAO set itself objectives and indicators of achievement against which it can be measured, and the impact of its work assessed? The point is exemplified by the proposal in paragraph 58 to use mass-media campaigns to explain successful work under FAO field projects. How will such success be accurately and responsibly measured if there are no criteria for success and no indicators of performance? What is needed is the transformation of the present list of activities into a set of quantified objectives in development and resource management.

Let me now return to the question of principles and approach. It is common ground among practitioners of strategic planning that an effective strategic or corporate planning system should do seven things:

It should identify those features in the environment which the organization needs to take into account in determining how it can best meet its main aims, including staff input, physical assets and the needs of its customers.

It should evaluate alternative strategies and the resources' requirements needed to implement them.

It should establish a strategic vision, a clear view of the long term direction of the organization.

It should enable the owners, in this the Membership of the Organization, to set challenging but realistic performance targets.

It should consider and plan the best use of human resources.

It should provide the basis for determining the financial resources needed to support the Organization. And lastly, it should provide the person in charge of each business unit within the Organization, with a clear understanding of the strategy which he or she can then implement within an agreed policy and resources framework.

Against this background, the United Kingdom Government believes that a strategic plan which reflects best practise should have the following broad structure. An executive summary, a review of immediate past performance against agreed targets, an analysis of prospects, a discussion of strategic options, a treatment of the proposed corporate strategy and associated performance targets, including quantified efficiency savings; and finally, an analysis of the financial implications of the Plan.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that FAO's Medium-Term Plan for period 1998-2003 falls someway short of these desiderata. We should like to see it recast into a document which addresses the points we have made. Until that is done, there is in our view, no sound basis on which the Membership of the Organization can make informed choices about the disposition of several billion dollars of public funds over a six-year period.

Putro SUMPENO (Indonesia): First and foremost, on behalf of the Indonesian delegation, allow me to extend my deep appreciation to the Secretariat for the efforts in preparing an excellent document, which is highly appreciated in practice to facilitate the speedy process of this Session.

Subsequently, the Indonesian delegation welcomed the proposed Medium-Term Plan submitted to the Council, which already reflects the outcome and commitments of the Plan of Action in the World Food Summit. In particular, we would like to emphasize the prominence and special attention to be given to the constraints linked to the pressures on natural resources as well as insufficient or inadequate human resources, particularly in the Low-Income, Food-Deficit countries. Therefore, FAO assistance is highly imperative.

In this connection, the prominence given to the Special Programme for Food Security and the need for TCP funding should enjoy high consideration.

We would like to associate ourselves with the statement of previous Delegates that addressed the need to prioritize the Work Plan in a more precise specification of timeframes.

The Indonesian delegation would like to express our appreciation also, in the Medium-Term Plan, of the work on nutrition and food quality as a high priority. Similarly, the emphasis on food control and consumer protection and the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Regarding the Committee on Forestry for Medium-Term Perspectives, the Indonesian delegation is in agreement with the Committee on Forestry and would like to urge FAO to convene an early meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests to agree on the inter-sgency division of responsibilities with respect to IPF follow-up.

With regard to the Medium-Tterm Plan for Fisheries, we would like to emphasize the recognition of the growing number of major issues related to world fisheries and aquaculture and the Committee's endorsement of the three broad Fisheries Programme objectives for the medium term, especially the increased contribution to world food supplies and food security, sustainable and responsible management, and global monitoring and strategic analysis.

We would like also to re-emphasize that in setting priorities for the Fisheries Programmes, there should be balance between the needs of the developing and developed countries.

Finally, we would like to urge FAO to seek extra-budgetary support for operational activities, particularly improving R and D and training, which is particularly important for small-scale fisheries, and environmentally sound aquaculture development and their contribution to increased food security.

Roberto VILLEDA-TOLEDO (Honduras): En el Plan a Plazo Medio y en el plan de presupuesto de la FAO, cuando analizamos las modalidades de ejecución para intensificar la respuesta de FAO, encontramos que tal vez no se contengan propuestas más agresivas en busca de la mejor utilización de los limitados recursos frente a los problemas de aportes que se visualizan en estos organismos internacionales.

En el caso particular de las modalidades de ejecución que se contemplan en el documento en los numerales 64 y 65, consideramos que podría adicionarse una mayor decisión en cuanto a realizar estudios que nos permitan tocar aspectos de más fondo en la restructuración institucional de FAO en algunas de las regiones. En particular, quisiera referirme a la de América, donde los Ministros de Agricultura, durante los últimos cuatro años, han adoptado resoluciones precisas, incitando a la FAO, para que por medio de la Junta Interamericana de Agricultura, realice a fondo un estudio junto con el IICA (Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura), para lograr fusionar sus representaciones y su modo de actuación, especialmente en América Latina y el Caribe.

La última resolución fue adoptada el año pasado, pidiendo a la FAO la realización de estos estudios; las implicaciones que tiene es que la Organización Mundial de la Salud actúe a través de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud para las operaciones en América Latina y el Caribe, esto es significativamente importante para mejorar la capacidad de ejecución de estas organizaciones. Esto significaría un ahorro considerable que podría ser traducido en mayores operaciones de interés en los países de la región.

Por el contrario, en el Plan a Plazo Medio y en el presupuesto, observamos la creación de oficinas regionales de FAO en América Latina, cuando existen ya oficinas similares creadas por el IICA. Creemos que el estudio propuesto y adoptado por los Ministros de Agricultura debería ser seriamente tomado en consideración de alguna forma en este articulado de modalidades de ejecución, para que la FAO participe en el estudio que, reiteradamente se ha acordado por los Ministros de Agricultura de América y, a través de esto, podamos a corto plazo considerar esta modalidad de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, que por medio de un simple acuerdo de dos páginas, trasladó toda su capacidad ejecutiva a la Organización Panamericana de la Salud, con un ahorro considerable: tres funcionarios que trabajan en la oficina de Washington con capacidad para traducir políticas y programas de acción en el campo de salud para toda América Latina y el Caribe.

K.P. FABIAN (India): In the opinion of my delegation, the Medium-Term Plan 1998-2003 is a good document; we would even say that it is an excellent document. At the same time we should add that, obviously, it is not perfect. It can be improved upon and we are confident that it will be improved upon as a result of the discussions here.

We appreciate the linkages established between the programme categories in the Medium-Term Plan, on the one hand, and the specific Commitments in the World Food Summit Plan of Action on the other hand. Therefore, we believe that the Medium-Term Plan can serve as a good road-map for us.

Coming to the Special Programme for Food Security, we believe that it is a necessary consequence of the Summit and our support for this Programme remains undiminished.

Similarly, we attach high importance to the Technical Cooperation Programme which has assisted, in the past, many countries in adjusting themselves to the challenges of food security. This Programme should on no account be weakened or, I should say, further weakened, because it has already been weakened to an extent.

We believe that the Special Programme for Food Security and the Technical Cooperation Programme should both be adequately funded, preferably separately.

We have noted the proposals under the Investment Centre. This is an important activity because it leads to capacity building, which developing countries badly need, in plan-formulation and other matters. As we all know, all real levels are falling, have been falling for quite some time and therefore, FAO can play a very useful catalytic role.

Coming to policy analysis, as developing countries open up their economies, they certainly could do with FAO's assistance in terms of policy analysis.

So overall, we support the Medium-Term Plan but we also believe that it is possible to improve upon it.

Mohd. Khairuddin MD. TAHIR (Malaysia): With regard to document C 97/9 under discussion, my delegation has no difficulty in accepting the Medium-Term Plan as proposed. Given that it is a six-year rolling plan, it is subject to modifications and refinements as the situation changes. However, the Medium-Term Plan does reflect the mood and reality of the time. Now that the World Food Summit is just over six months behind us, it is important to maintain the momentum of our commitments to implementing the World Food Summit Plan of Action which the Medium-Term Plan attemps to capture.

My delegation also concurs with the challenges, and urge a need to put agriculture back on the map and on top of the development agenda, both at international and national levels. In this regard, the document could elaborate further how this could be achieved.

We also agree that the strategy commendation on implementation should focus on resource mobilization, decentralization of activities and expanding partnerships at international, national and local levels, realizing that resources at our disposal are diminishing.

As for the Programme priorities, my delegation is of the opinion that the options provided in the document are broad enough to reflect the comparative advantage and strengths of FAO, as well as the diverse needs of Member Nations which the Programme of Work and Budget can draw upon. These cover important areas such as sustainable management of land, water, fishery, forest and genetic resources; promoting good agriculture practices, such as integrated pest and plant nutrient management programmes; developing and harmonizing food standards and food safety necessary for international trade; and strengthening of FAO as a centre of excellence for agriculture data information, necessary for sound analysis and policy advice.

Finally, my delegation also has no difficulty in underscoring that these Programmes should contribute their objectives of income-generation and poverty-alleviation, as some previous speakers have already suggested.

Shahid RASHID (Pakistan): We have also examined the Medium-Term Plan for the period 1998-2003. We are pleased to note that it is not merely an update but has been entirely rewritten. If it were not so, in our opinion, it would have failed to taken into account the outcome of the World Food Summit, an event which is bound to have far-reaching implications for FAO.

Following the commitment of World Leaders at the Summit, this Organization has a greater responsibility, to face with renewed vigour the challenge of combatting food insecurity.

Of course the mandate of FAO has not changed following the Summit. Of course FAO is not the single actor, carrying the burden of the Plan of Action and we are under no illusions that FAO will provide the panacea for the hungry and the malnourished. We trust that FAO will reorientate its programme thrust with a view to addressing some of the many problems identified in the Summit Plan of Action.

It is in this context that we are pleased to see that the Medium-Term Plan has sought to incorporate the pertinent areas for its activities, the areas which are within its expertise, or to borrow from popular jargon, areas in which it has a comparative advantage.

We believe that the Medium-Term Plan provides the broad framework for FAO to pursue some of the goals and objectives identified at the Summit, in addition to continuing with its other mandated activities.

We would, in particular, like to endorse the three major clusters of activities identified in paragraph 54 for achieving sustainable food security, as well as the strategies listed in Chapter 2 for implementation, especially in regard to resource mobilization and capacity building.

Since this is a rolling plan, we also believe necessary adjustments will be made in due course. In this regard, we may also mention our preference for updating of subsequent editions of the Medium-Term Plan rather than resubmission of repetitive documents.

George APOSTOIU (Roumanie): La délégation de la Roumanie apporte son soutien au plan à moyen terme et félicite le Secrétariat pour la qualité du document présenté. Le document CL 97/9 confirme que la FAO restera un centre international d'excellence, le renforcement de ses dimensions est le principe sur lequel la délégation de la Roumanie croit discerner la plus grande unité entre les Etats Membres. De même, le plan à moyen terme repose sur le travail accompli par le Secrétariat, de prendre en considération les préoccupations des Etats Membres exprimées depuis la Conférence de 1995.

Il convient de souligner que la FAO, comme nous pouvons facilement le constater dans le document proposé à notre examen, accordera son assistance aux Etats Membres dans le plein respect de leur droit de décider de leur politique, de leur stratégie et de leur dualité. La délégation de la Roumanie considère important de relever ce principe fondamental qui s'applique à tous les aspects de l'assistance, les gouvernements ayant l'autorité et la responsabilité de leur programme de développement. Il est aussi fondamental que les programmes partent d'une analyse de la situation concrète, ce qui implique et n'exclut pas une capacité nationale effective, tant pour leur conception que pour leur exécution. Par ailleurs, les Bureaux régionaux de la FAO devraient constituer les points focaux naturels pour la mise en application des engagements du plan à moyen terme intervenant dans leur domaine de compétence.

Enfin Monsieur le Président, parce que les références sur l'Europe centrale et de l'Est sont rares, malheureusement, je voudrais évoquer la nécessité que cette région puisse bénéficier d'un traitement adéquat au plan. Je souhaiterais évoquer l'équilibre à trouver entre l'action de la FAO et celle d'autres organisations spécialisées, y compris les bailleurs de fonds dans différentes régions.

Les pays d'Europe centrale et de l'Est bénéficient de concours techniques et financiers de la Communauté européenne, ainsi que des grandes organisations financières comme par exemple la Banque mondiale et la BERD. C'est par ces canaux que transite l'essentiel de l'aide internationale et européenne. La FAO, elle aussi, a la possibilité d'intervenir dans certains de ces pays. Il serait souhaitable que la FAO se place sur les créneaux techniques essentiels pour aider ces pays à utiliser au mieux leurs ressources et leur potentiel. A cet égard, nos recommandations spécifiques pourraient être énumérées comme suit: apport dans le domaine de la législation, page 48; participation à l'amélioration de leur politique agricole, paragraphe 162; réflexion sur les questions de restructuration de certains secteurs de la production agricole et alimentaire, paragraphe 159; investissement et transfert de la technologie, paragraphe 170.

Aujourd'hui, nous sommes à un tournant de l'histoire de notre institution, c'est pour cela, Monsieur le Président, que nous avons besoin d'une perspective correctement jalonnée. La délégation de la

Roumanie considère que la rédaction finale du plan à moyen terme devrait également traduire ces options. Merci Monsieur le Président.

Kezimbira Lawrence MIYINGO (Uganda): Uganda endorses the Medium-Term Plan. The Plan has focused on nearly all the important issues that need to be considered if the World Food Summit goals are to be realized.

Water has been elaborated on as one of the factors that are going to play a role if agriculture is to be developed to sustain mankind. The harnessing of water in volumes sufficient to sustain livestock and also serve for irrigation cannot be over-emphasized. This is why the Special Programme on Food Security is very important and will play a great role in the struggle to attain food security especially in the LIFDCs.

The fisheries sector has also been focused on and has been well planned for. Uganda is one of the countries that earns foreign exchange from the sale of fish and also provides more than 50 percent of the protein requirement of its citizens through the fisheries sector.

We would like to thank FAO for having given assistance to the East African countries to set up the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, which is serving to see that the resources of Lake Victoria are properly utilized. We urge that such assistance be extended to other areas where we have water bodies that serve humankind.

On the environment, I note that the forestry sector has been catered for satisfactorily and these plans, I think, will help especially the developing countries which are at present dependent on rain for their agriculture to have a more sustainable agriculture till irrigation becomes an important factor in their production.

Uganda hails the policy of decentralization which the Organization has adopted. Uganda is one of the countries which has developed decentralization as a system of administration and government. We have found it most beneficial in allowing the participation of the concerned people and there is more practical understanding of local issues and their appropriate resolution.

Problems of a local nature are best understood when one is on the ground and decentralization allows this to take place. For some people decentralization is sometimes referred to as a waste of resources, but I think this is because these people are used to the centralized type of administration and are not giving way to participatory administration. The Special Programme for Food Security would particularly benefit from such decentralization and so would the TCPs.

FAO should not just be an Organization for preparing documents and statistics of the world food situation and other programmes, but should be seen to reach the people of the world and be felt in the Member Nations. In this respect, we would like to commend the Director-General for being able to visit Member Nations and meet Heads of States who get moved by first-hand information and attention. Such visits should be continued, they are catalytic and cause development.

Uganda supports the Medium-Term Plan.

Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Solo una breve aclaración, muy fraternalmente a la estimada delegación de Honduras. En la recién pasada Conferencia Regional de América Latina y el Caribe de la FAO celebrada en Asunción, Paraguay, el tema plantedado por Honduras fue ampliamente debatido, analizado y definido.

Por tanto, señor Presidente, no creemos necesario reabrir, otra vez aquí, una cuestión que fue aprobada por consenso en Paraguay.

Ms Elena SUETT-ASKERSTAM (Estonia): In support of the Medium-Term Plan, I should like to support the views expressed by Romania and, in view of the ever-growing development and rather rapid economic growth of the sizeable number of countries which now constitute Central and Eastern Europe, we also consider that greater stress might be laid by FAO on what is occurring in this area of potential donors.

We, as Romania, appreciate the assistance which we receive from other sources. We are naturally most interested in the development of the activities of the Sub-regional Office established under the Director-General's decentralization programme in this respect.

It is also important to note that the sub-area is making an active effort of collaboration among themselves through annual meetings of its Ministers of Agriculture. Four such meetings have taken place to date, the last one this last month of May. We might consider how the deliberations of such a concentration of agricultural expertise might be brought to the attention of the Council and into FAO programmes.

Nasreddine RIMOUCHE (Algérie) (Langue originale Arabe): Pour la question du Plan à moyen terme nous aimerions indiquer que nous avons soumis notre proposition et nos commentaires lorsque ce document a fait l'objet d'une discussion au Comité du programme. Donc nous serons brefs et nous ne répéterons pas ici ce que nous avions déjà dit, longuement d'ailleurs, et qui est rappelé dans le rapport du Comité du programme. Nous nous félicitons de ce document qui contient le Plan à moyen terme, plan qui a été amélioré par rapport au dernier plan. Ces améliorations reprennent les aspirations de la majorité des pays. Nous pouvons dire que ce Plan est une bonne base pour l'élaboration de programmes et de priorités, un Plan qui tient compte des propositions et des préoccupations des Etats Membres, puisqu'il est fondé sur les décisions adoptées par le Sommet mondial et ces décisions servent aussi de base pour la fixation de priorité.

Nous devons étudier de nombreux aspects mentionnés ici; je voudrais vous les passer rapidement en revue sans me lancer dans une étude détaillée puisque nous avons déjà exprimé notre point de vue détaillé au Comité du programme.

Quant au suivi de la Convention pour lutter contre la désertification et la sécheresse, c'est une des priorités absolues pour nous, ainsi que les questions portant sur l'eau et la gestion des ressources hydriques.

Troisièmement, toutes les questions portant sur le travail du Codex Alimentarius aussi sont importantes.

Parmi les priorités j'aimerais souligner la lutte contre les ravageurs comme les criquets pèlerins, et ensuite les activités portant sur le transfert des technologies vers les pays en développement pour les aider donc à utiliser au mieux ces technologies.

Ma cinquième remarque, c'est le renforcement de la décentralisation et le renforcement aussi des bureaux régionaux et de représentation ainsi que le renforcement des fonctionnaires nationaux pour aider à l'exécution des programmes de la FAO. Pour les pêches nous appuyons les pêcheries traditionnelles ou à petite échelle, artisanales, et nous devons fixer des priorités pour les programmes et surtout dans le secteur commercial nous devons accorder l'importance qui s'impose au suivi de l'Accord de Marrakech, ainsi qu'aux décisions ministérielles portant sur les pays les moins avancés et les pays qui sont importants comme producteurs de produits primaires. Elles sont là au centre des préoccupations de nos activités pour l'Organisation et nous les appuyons ....

E. Wayne DENNEY (United States of America): We merely wanted to take this opportunity to support the comments made earlier by our colleague from Honduras encouraging FAO to enhance cooperation with IICA. We would support a study to see how the two organizations might cooperate

more effectively to include the possibility of collocating or consolidating country offices, and we believe that the WHO PAHO model should be reviewed as input to this study.

Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Nosotros creemos que fuimos muy claros en nuestra exposición. En la última reunión de la Conferencia Regional de la FAO, estaba también invitada la distinguida representación de Estados Unidos. Nosotros, países soberanos y libres, analizamos esto profundamente y acordamos por consenso una situación. Entonces, yo sinceramente como Presidente del GRULAC, no admito que esto pueda tratarse aquí. Una cuestión que fue discutida por nuestros países en nuestra región; no quisiera abrir otro debate más y creo que estas son unas consideraciones de mucho peso para no tenerse en cuenta.

Roberto VILLEDA-TOLEDO (Honduras): Lo hicimos traer al debate por la naturaleza de lo que es un Plan a Mediano Plazo que implica precisamente la visión de una reforma institucional que para América es importante.

En cuanto a la referencia que hace Cuba sobre el tema y a la mención del GRULAC, consideramos que el consenso logrado por los Ministros de América en tres o cuatro oportunidades en los últimos cuatro años, es tan importante y de más peso que el GRULAC, en materia de una política de mediano plazo para la FAO.

En la reunión de Paraguay a la cual Cuba hace alusión, de que el tema fue ampliamente discutido y resuelto, ni siquiera se quiso presentar la propuesta adoptada 15 días antes en la reunión del Consejo Ejecutivo de los Ministros de Agricultura de América, éstas son cosas importantes que se deben de tomar en cuenta. Consideramos que, en los párrafos a que se hace mención sobre la mejora operativa de la FAO para el futuro, en los numerales 64 y 65, debía de agregarse la conveniencia de efectuar un estudio particular, en el caso de América Latina en materia de operaciones de FAO y del IICA. No es posible, como afirma Cuba, de que se tome una resolución en este sentido sin considerar esta situación antes de haber hecho el estudio.

Lo que han propuesto los Ministros de Agricultura es que se realice el estudio, que se analicen las posibilidades de tener un ahorro sustantivo, en el caso de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud llega a casi 40 millones de dólares al año, al no duplicar sus oficinas de operación de servicios en el campo de salud, a través del sistema de Naciones Unidas con la Organización Mundial de la Salud. No vemos porqué no pueda hacerse el estudio, para después, tomar una decisión si es o no conveniente realizar este tipo de transformación en las operaciones en el caso de la FAO y del IICA en América Latina.

EL PRESIDENTE: En todo caso ese estudio no lo va a realizar nuestra Organización. Si estuviera listo, entonces se podría tomar en cuenta para los efectos del Plan a Plazo Medio; mientras tanto, la FAO solamente puede considerar lo que al respecto ha debatido en el pasado y ha acordado. Desde luego, se ha tomado nota del interés de varias delegaciones sobre este tema y estoy seguro que ustedes llevarán a buen término cualquiera nueva luz que se pueda ofrecer sobre esto que es algo que se ha venido tratando en la Organización desde hace ya muchos años.

Mohamed Said M.A. HARBI (Observer for Sudan)(Original language Arabic): In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate, thank you, Sir. Sudan is a member of the Finance Committee representing the Near East Group and its attendance in that meeting is proverbial, as you very well know, since you yourself have regularly participated in the meetings of the Finance and Programme Committees, as well as their joint session.

We support the Plan without reservations, I mean the Medium-Term Plan which responds to the aspirations of our countries, in particular, the TCP which gave a boost and momentum to agricultural performance in the developing countries. Once more, we support this Medium-Term

Plan and we express our heartfelt thanks to those who prepared that wonderfully elaborated document.

Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): I can say it has been a very, very interesting debate. If we got good reviews for the PER I think we have to say we have got mixed reviews for the Medium-Term Plan.

I would like to address a number of issues and I think it is important that we go through them in a little bit of detail.

First of all, why did we rewrite the Plan? We have a rather circular problem here as we have to question where we are in this six-year cycle. In fact, for the benefit of the distinguished delegate of Canada, we are at the beginning of the cycle. This is the fourth plan that we have produced since the planning process was introduced in Resolution 10/89 and therefore, in a way, we are at the beginning of the process and this should have been a rewrite. Having said that, of course, I think we have always had a problem with this concept of a rolling Medium-Term Plan and exactly what it means. The original resolution does not define it in any way, at all, and we have tended to try and present a document which was able to stand on its own on each occasion. Generally speaking, your reaction has been to reduce it in size but not to feel badly about the fact that it was a stand alone document rather than a simple update of a previous version.

However, I think there was a much more important reason why we had to rewrite this document, and that was the Summit; and here maybe we are getting to the essence of part of the problem. Part of the problem is the structure and the nature of the document, but part of the problem is also what it is all about, what the content is.

I was actually surprised at some of the remarks being made, implying that the programme planning process should almost ignore the Summit Declaration and the Plan of Action. That just does not seem to be correct to me, I cannot see how this institution can carry out any planning process and ignore the World Food Summit, and I think that that is, in fact, the majority view even though not all countries spoke in this particular debate.

So it was very important for us to rewrite it, and we were faced with the dilemma, because the previous Plan had two major strategic objectives. The first was food security and nutrition, and the second was sustainable agriculture and rural development. We tried to see whether that continued to fit with what came out of the Summit and we initially tried to align FAO's activities to the seven commitments, to see what the relationship was between the seven commitments of Member Nations and what FAO's role was in supporting Member Nations in the implementation of those commitments.

The first thing that we came across immediately was that the distinction between food security and nutrition, and sustainable agriculture and rural development, became somewhat artificial. The whole Declaration is about food security for all; the business of nutrition is part of access to safe and nutritious food; and sustainable agriculture and rural development was in effect the outcome of Commitment No. 3. So, it was no longer valid to take all of our work and split it between these two strategic objectives.

The conclusion we came to, in fact, was that there is one strategic objective which is food security for all. That has an advantage in that everything had to be thought of in that context but it does have rather a disadvantage in that it makes Chapter 3 of the document a bit unmanageable. Chapter 3 of the document lists all of the priorities which fit in with that concept but in listing them, you get a long list, that is a little bit indigestible, if I can put it that way. Maybe we do have to re-look at that particular aspect.

What should the Medium-Term Plan be, if what we have now is not precisely what we want. Well we have had a lot of very, very useful ideas, I think they include the idea that it should have vision, that it should be a strategic planning document. Ireland gave some interesting suggestions about the classical textbook approach like going through a clear analysis of the environment and an analysis of the Organization's strengths and weaknesses, a statement of broad objectives and mission, a statement of time bound objectives and targets; and I think that the delegate of the United Kingdom was effectively expanding upon that approach.

Several people mentioned that it should include lessons learned, a number of delegates mentioned that it should distinguish between low and high priorities. There was the indication that there should be a performance report against the previous plan and there was also a fair degree of suggestion that it should be on a more thematical cross-sectoral basis. For example, Denmark raised the issue of ecological sustainability. The issue of women in development was also raised. These are all themes which cut across the classical programme structure.

It all points to the fact that there is some difficulty in stating clearly what the structure of the document should be and what service it provides. I noticed towards the end of the debate some of the interventions were tending to say that they expected the Medium-Term Plan to provide a broad statement of objectives and not quite perhaps the same quantified structure that other delegates were suggesting was appropriate. So, I think we need to look at this further.

There is an added element that comes into examination of this really quite complex and difficult problem. As you are aware, we are developing a new programme model which looks at structuring the Regular Programme work of the Organization over six-year periods. We will call them Regular Programme projects for the sake of convenience and in the case of natural resources programme, are attempting to provide a pilot run of that process in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1998-99 with a view to considering what should be done for the next period.

Of course that six-year time frame starts to become very significant, because if you say the time frame of the Medium-Term Plan should be six years, then how do you fit this series of projects in with the strategic objectives that you are trying to present in the Medium-Term Plan? So this is another issue which we have to look at.

Where should we go from here? The distinguished representative of The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, suggested a rewrite. I have to say, at this stage, we need to step back and rethink, rather than rewrite. We have to look at exactly what it is we want and we have to involve you in that process and try and get consensus on what it is this document is meant to be doing, what it should contain, how often it should be done and, if applicable, definition of terms like "rolling" etc. Most importantly, we have to see what its relationship is going to be with the Programme of Work and Budget, the Programme Evaluation Report and the Programme Implementation Report. Because as several delegates said, it is a set of programme documents which we are presenting.

I think that on this issue what I would like to propose is that we will be going back to the Programme Committee anyway. You probably have noticed in the report of the Programme and Finance Committees that they have asked that we come back to them in September on the programming process and that we should put a paper to the Committee looking at the options of what this Medium-Term Plan could contain and what it should be. We should try and get directions from the Committee and then work from there to determine a new plan for the future.

There are a couple of specific remarks coming from one or two delegates. The distinguished delegate of Italy raised several questions but there were two I would like to address. One in particular was his concern on the decentralization policy about the mix of skills available at the regional level and what one could do to ensure that the skills availability match requirements. You recognize the problem that the critical mass of the regional level is not sufficient to cover all of the

areas of technical expertise of FAO. I thought you would be interested in an exercise we are undertaking at the moment, which is to try and identify precisely what skills are available at the regional level, and where there are gaps, and then where we would fill those gaps when it comes to providing technical services, either to projects or technical advice to Member Nations. We are trying to address that problem specifically as we recognize it does exist.

In selling services you will see from the new format of the budget that we do show other sources of income and included in that are, for example, income from the provision of technical services and various other sorts of services. So we are becoming, I think, increasingly aware of the need to recognize that we may have to find other sources of income to keep things going at the same level.

I think that is all I wanted to say at this stage.

E. Wayne DENNEY (United States of America): Two brief points, the first is I did not appreciate or agree with Mr Wade's characterization of Members' comments regarding the results of the World Food Summit and Plan of Action as suggesting that FAO should be ignoring it. Clearly, our own and I thought others suggested that there was some need to redress the balance, that perhaps the Summit was over-emphasized, perhaps some other conferences and meetings and signals that FAO was getting through prior Councils and Conferences were not considered enough. To me it is quite stretching the point to suggest that there was a large number of countries who were suggesting FAO should be ignoring the Summit. So, we certainly cannot concur with that.

Regarding the judgement on the Medium-Term Plan, it is my sense, having listened to this debate, that the FAO Conference might not get any useful, might not have time well-spent by rehashing this again with presumably some of the same kind of feedback but on a broader scale, as what you just heard today. I am wondering what the process should be, to provide any guidance having the Programme and Finance Committees look at it again this fall is a very sensible solution. I agree that it probably would not be a good use of the Secretariat's time to rewrite it just based on our somewhat limited discussion here, that needs to be discussed in more detail. I would like some reaction as to whether, given the discussion and mixed views of Council, if this document still needs to be discussed at Conference or if there is some other option to that.

Moussa Bocar LY (Sénégal): Je crois que le Secrétariat a eu raison de revenir sur la question du centrage sur le Sommet mondial de l'alimentation. Je crois que il a été dit ici que ce Plan à moyen terme manquait de vision. Mais je crois que le Sommet en lui même constitue une vision de l'avenir; cette vision est concrétisée dans le Plan d'action et la Déclaration de politique. Je crois qu'il faut vraiment rendre justice à la justice. Comme l'a dit aussi le Représentant de l'Algérie, nous, les Représentants africains qui sommes dans les Comités financier et du programme avons déjà donné nos points de vue, ceci est contenu dans le rapport, et nous n'avons pas voulu encore retenir ce Conseil, mais nous espérons que cela sera pris en compte dans le cadre de la suite des événements.

EL PRESIDENTE: Como decíamos es difícil resumir un debate tan amplio, tan substancial, e inclusive tan controvertido alrededor de este tema. Una cosa es clara, la Organización tiene que contar con un Plan a Plazo Medio, Plan que ya tiene, que es válido, que está presente. El texto que se nos ha propuesto, que era en principio para que el Consejo lo recomendara a la Conferencia y la Conferencia lo aprobara puede ser, desde luego, modificado, o sus versiones sucesivas adaptadas conforme a los debates del día de hoy y a otras discusiones de los comités, del Consejo, de la Conferencia, puedan al respecto tener. Pero un Plan tiene que ser aprobado.

Por eso en este difícil ejercicio, permítanme concluir lo siguiente: en primer lugar el Consejo tomó nota de la cuarta versión del Plan a Plazo Medio que a la luz del Plan de Acción aprobado por la Cumbre buscaba constituir un marco general para definir la actuación de la FAO, en el período posterior a la Cumbre y prestar asistencia en la formulación de los Programas de Labores y

Presupuestos sucesivos, a fin de contribuir al objetivo de una seguridad alimentaria sostenible, dentro de los límites de la disponibilidad probable de recursos. Solo que en estos tiempos de ajuste, tras una Cumbre Mundial tan relevante y que necesariamente rediseña las prioridades y las actividades de la FAO, la estructura, la naturaleza y el contenido del Plan a Plazo Medio deberían revisarse.

Del debate de este Consejo, se desprende un grado de inconformidad general por el contenido y la naturaleza de este Plan a Plazo Medio, pero no hubo inconformidad desde luego con la importancia, la necesidad, la utilidad que debe tener el plan para guiar los trabajos del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto de la FAO y de sus acciones en el futuro.

Se manifestaron en consecuencia múltiples visiones y se hicieron diversas propuestas de lo que debía destacarse en el Plan a Plazo Medio. Se mencionaron temas inclusive que debían subrayarse y que son cruciales para toda la Organización, el desarrollo sostenible y la participación de la mujer en el desarrollo, entre otros. En particular, se insistió en que el Plan a Plazo Medio, ofrezca una óptica estratégica hacia el futuro, que tenga claridad y precisión respecto de los objetivos concretos y prioritarios que se buscan alcanzar y que sea útil para retroalimentar la elaboración de los Programas de Labores y Presupuestos en vez de ser meramente, a la inversa, una proyección de éstos. El Plan debería ser en consecuencia una referencia firme y útil para poder evaluar los pasos que da la FAO hacia la consecución de metas precisas, calificadas, conforme a prioridades reconocidas. Así Plan y Evaluación entrarían en una interacción constructiva.

El Plan debería además responder a la función de la FAO en la consecución de los objetivos establecidos en otras cumbres y conferencias internacionales, y a la forma en que ellas son relevantes al mandato de la Organización. También debería identificar fórmulas de coordinación estrecha y multidisciplinaria con el resto de Naciones Unidas, tomando en cuenta las ventajas comparativas de la FAO con miras a buscar sinergias y evitar duplicaciones.

Era pues necesaria, como se mencionó, una programación estratégica que estuviera contenida en un Plan a Plazo Medio. En general, se refrendaron aquí las prioridades programáticas propuestas, aunque determinados miembros han expresado su preferencia por el fortalecimiento de algunas, a veces, a expensas de otras. Por ejemplo, se destacó el papel de la FAO como centro de excelencia, la trascendencia de sociedades normativas no obstante era claro que debía haber un equilibrio estratégico entre lo normativo y lo operativo.

Lo importante del debate de hoy es lo que va el Consejo a recomendar a la Conferencia. Considero que el debate indica que no podemos recomendar a la Conferencia el Plan a Plazo Medio como se encuentra ahora y, que ha recibido objeciones y propuestas de cambio. Creo por tanto que deberíamos pedir al Director General que a la luz de los debates de hoy y, tomando en consideración el informe de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas, se permita a éstos en su reunión de septiembre, conformar, alinear y establecer las prioridades para el diseño de un Plan a Plazo Medio que a todos satisfaga, dependiendo obviamente de la Secretaría, donde puede que haya objeciones estratégicas para ello. Quizá el próximo Consejo podría junto con el Plan que ustedes tienen presente por lo menos identificar el conjunto de recomendaciones concretas para que en su nueva versión, éste responda a las necesidades de los Estados Miembros y de lo que idealmente debe ser y significar un Plan a Plazo Medio.

El Consejo en su 113° período de sesiones, entonces, podría recomendar a la Conferencia el Plan a Plazo Medio que se revisará a la luz de esos lincamientos.

En lo que respecta al futuro del proceso del Plan a Plazo Medio, creo que se debe concluir en que se mantenga el proceso presente de revisión del Plan a Plazo Medio, pero con un documento de actualización breve entre los períodos de seis años, a fin de evitar repetición. Debería asimismo,

incluirse una evaluación sobre el avance efectivo en el cumplimiento de las prioridades, metas y criterios establecidos en el Plan.

Soy consciente, distinguidos delegados, que me he metido en un terreno muy pantanoso al resumir de esta manera los debates, pero les vuelvo a repetir, este Consejo tiene que hacer una recomendación y yo considero que la manera más sensata para hacerlo es pasarlo de nueva cuenta por el filtro de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas que podrán organizar nuestros pensamientos aquí y hacer una propuesta más clara y concisa al próximo Consejo de la FAO en noviembre.

Veo que el señor Wade tiene alguna objeción y le voy a dar la palabra para que nos diga el motivo por el cual no es posible lo que he dicho.

Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): First of all, there is a practical issue which concerns me. To address the fundamental areas that were raised by some delegates is not possible between now and the Conference. That means another re-write of the Medium-Term Plan. I have to advise you on a realistic basis that it will not be possible to do that. I think what we can do is take the issue up with the Programme Committee and we can consult the Chairman of the Programme Committee in this regard, and we can come up with sensible suggestions on how to handle the plan in the future and maybe even some specific suggestions with regard to the current Medium-Term Plan. But a re-write that meets the requests of many Member Nations here, today, just simply will not be done in time and you will have a late document, which you will then be very unhappy about and it will cause more problems than it is worth.

EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias por esta aclaración pero considero que por lo menos organizar estos temas y aclarar la forma en que podría procederse, es algo que podría estar listo para la próxima reunión de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas. No estoy diciendo, y creo que nadie puede sugerir que de aquí a septiembre se reescriba el Plan a Plazo Medio, pero que sí se acompañe de un conjunto de recomendaciones y de lineamientos para su reformulación. Pero quizá me pueden ayudar más los distinguidos delegados.

Ms Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): First of all, I think Mr Wade's comments are very sensible. I think it is incumbent upon us to realize how time-consuming these efforts are and the time we have between now and the Conference is very short. Any effort must be devoted really to developing the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. That is where we need to put our efforts.

I do believe that this discussion reveals some very profound problems with the planning process as it now evolved and what we need to do is figure out a way, perhaps starting with the Programme and Finance Committees in the fall; to set in place a calendar of getting a new planning process in place for the next biennium that can put a foundation under this effort and solve some of the problems that were identified by many people here, who certainly support the idea, both of including a summit and the Summit Plan of Action as a key element of FAO's work, not just with the next planning cycle but through the point that we achieve our targets set for us in 2015 of reducing the number of undernourished people by at least half.

So, there is a lot to be done here but, rather than do it hastily and do it badly, let us set in place a process with the help of our restricted committees and all the members of FAO, and certainly the advice of the Conference, that will lead to a much stronger and better document in the next biennium.

Andrew PEARSON (Australia): I would also like to echo the comments of the United States and thank Mr Wade for, what I think was, a very realistic proposal in terms of this idea of looking at the process and, in fact, trying for the September meeting, not so much to rejig the current

document, but try and produce a planning piece of paper that could be put to the committees as part of the development of a revised planning process.

I think this is a reflection of a lot of the sentiment of today's discussion, not only on the Medium-Term Plan but also on the PERs, so we have discussions also coming out of the last Joint Committee about the timing of the cycle of the budget considerations. So, there is quite a lot being developed here and I think that we should be looking now to set the foundations for that in place. I do not think those foundations will be well developed from trying to rejig this document. Rather, we should continue perhaps to take note of it without actually recommending it. I think that can then pass through the process but not to sieve this document through the closed committees but in fact take up Mr Wade's offer, which I think is a very good one, of trying to expand and review on the process itself, and perhaps be bringing that to the Conference in parallel with the documents which have been noted, so that people can consider the existing documents and the possible improvements to them and the process.

José ROBLES AGUILAR (México): A la luz del debate y de los comentarios recientes a su propuesta y los comentarios de Estados Unidos y Australia, habría un elemento que a nosotros nos preocupa. Este es un documento básico que marcaría las pautas de la Organización a mediano y largo plazo. El aspecto que queremos recomendar a la altura de este debate es, que haya la mayor participación de todos los Miembros posibles. En este sentido, consideramos importante los comentarios de Estados Unidos de que en la Conferencia se recogieran las opiniones de los países, así como las opiniones de los Miembros del Consejo señalados ahora y eventualmente, como se ha hecho también en otros ejercicios, comentarios por regiones. Yo creo que es un documento, vuelvo a reiterar, muy importante y el aporte más amplio reflejaría mejor los intereses y preocupaciones de todos los países.

EL PRESIDENTE: Como había mencionado al principio de mi resumen de los debates, esta Organización no puede quedarse sin un Plan a Plazo Medio. Se necesita contar con uno que guíe los Trabajos del Programa de'Labores y Presupuestos para el próximo bienio, y que debería ser aprobado por la Conferencia.

Yo en ningún momento, y si se me interpretó así les pido disculpas, no sugerí que se reescribiera el Plan a Plazo Medio sino que se le acompañara de los lineamientos y criterios para rediseñarlo en el futuro. Creo que eso coincide además con lo que se ha mencionado; desde luego, los debates que ha tenido este Consejo pueden verse enriquecidos como se ha sugerido aquí con las aportaciones de todos los miembros de la FAO que sin duda se complementarán o culminarán durante la próxima Conferencia.

La sugerencia que tenemos que hacer es la siguiente: en principio recomendemos a la Conferencia el presente Plan a Plazo Medio, porque es el único que se ha escrito y no se puede reescribir. Pero que se acompañe esta recomendación con lineamientos, con criterios, con un documento de planificación para planes futuros que permita reelaborarlo de una forma más holgada.

La forma de proceder entonces sería que los puntos de vista del Consejo se transmitieran a los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas y que en su reunión de septiembre los tomaran en cuenta y a la vez, los resultados de ese debate que se expresarán en el informe, se pasaran al próximo Consejo de la FAO que los estudiará y hará en su 113° período de sesiones, su recomendación final a la Conferencia.

Distinguidos delegados, sus observaciones en la medida de lo posible serán tomadas en cuenta en el informe, pero espero que en lo fundamental estén de acuerdo con este procedimiento para seguir adelante. Si no hubiera ninguna otra observación me permitiría, entonces, cerrar este tema y pasar al aspecto más relevante de nuestras discusiones.

16. Summary Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99
16. Sommaire du Programme de travail et budget 1998-99
16. Resumen del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto para 1998-99

EL PRESIDENTE: Distinguidos delegados, como dijo el Director General en su introducción del lunes, este Resumen del Programa de Labores y Presupuestos es poco usual. El documento principal contiene propuestas de crecimiento real cero en la presentación normal, es decir, a partir de la cuantía aprobada de 650 millones de dólares de los Estados Unidos para el presente bienio y añadiendo los aumentos de los costos previstos. En el suplemento se examinan otras dos hipótesis de crecimiento real y nominal cero. Esto está en consonancia con las recomendaciones de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas en su período de sesiones de enero cuando examinaron el esbozo del Programa de Labores y Presupuestos.

Lamentablemente los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas no pudieron concluir o recomendar ni solo escenario presupuestario ni tampoco reducir el número de opciones que se presentan hoy al Consejo aunque sí propusieron los mecanismos y criterios para buscar eventualmente el consenso. Estos puntos en particular, se destacan en el párrafo 1.16 que espero este Consejo tenga muy en cuenta en sus debates. En todo caso el Consejo se encuentra en una situación particularmente delicada. Debemos recordar con gran preocupación, la concatenación de eventos que llevaron a discusiones de última hora durante la Conferencia de 1995, sobre nivel presupuestario y las negociaciones que allí se libraron y llevaron a un nivel el presupuesto que afectaba claramente y necesariamente el Programa de Labores preparado por la Organización sobre la base del crecimiento real cero.

Después de que la Conferencia de 1995 aprobara el nivel de presupuesto se le dio la investidura a los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas para determinar el Programa de Labores de la Organización. De esa manera la FAO se mantuvo durante varios meses sin un Programa de Labores aprobado.

Si este Consejo no logra al menos reducir el número de opciones para preparar el PLP, identifica los criterios para minimizar los costos y absorber otras obligaciones financieras que acerque los escenarios y que le permitan alcanzar eventualmente el consenso, corremos el riesgo de volver a enfrentar a la Conferencia de la FAO de 1997 con una situación parecida a la de 1995.

En este sentido vuelvo a reiterar, les recuerdo el contenido del informe de la reunión conjunta de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas del pasado abril y también su recomendación de proteger las actividades económicas, técnicas y de políticas de la FAO y de reducir al mínimo el aumento de los costos, tomando en cuenta los efectos del tipo de cambio y logrando nuevas economías por eficacia y otros ajustes.

Asimismo, insisto por tanto, a que no solamente expresen sus preferencias por un nivel presupuestario sino que indiquen en consecuencia la forma de afectar los Programas de Labores y en particular los problemas técnicos de la Organización como lo han mencionado los delegados en ocasiones pasadas.

Creo que este Consejo debe proponerse por tanto tres objetivos: Primero eliminar la mayor cantidad de opciones a fin de quedar con uno, al máximo dos escenarios del Programa de Labores y Presupuestos. Segundo, hacer un esfuerzo para reducir la distancia entre las opciones que queden, gastos no técnicos como la cobertura del seguro médico post-servicio que deberían absorberse sin afectar el Programa de Labores; habría opciones para ello, por ejemplo cubrir los pagos de atrasos, absorberlos a lo largo de los próximos bienios y otras maneras de ahorros específicos. En fin, quizá deberíamos dejar al Director General y a la Secretaría con manos libres para encontrar fórmulas aceptables para absorber este tipo de costos.

En fin, debemos avanzar para encontrar medidas, para acercar las opciones de crecimiento nominal cero y de crecimiento real, en particular, para encontrar eventualmente fórmulas quizá intermedias. También se debe enfatizar la necesidad de minimizar costos, y considerar incluir los efectos del tipo de cambio afectando lo menos posible el Programa de Labores.

Finalmente, el Consejo quizá podría guiarse con los propios criterios que ya ha identificado en épocas pasadas y que podrían servir para identificar los elementos del programa o subprogramas en sus prioridades y en los efectos eventuales que podría tener.

En fin, el Consejo también observará dos características específicas de este resumen del Programa, en primer lugar la presentación integrada de los ingresos en el Programa de Trabajo Total, como recomendaron también los dos comités en enero y la nueva estructura de programación utilizada para el Programa 2.1.1. es decir, el de recursos naturales a modo de prueba. Sería útil también que este Consejo se manifestara respecto de estos cambios.

El Consejo observará también que el COAG, el COFI el COFO en particular y en menor medida también el CSA así como el CPPB mantuvieron debates sobre las prioridades relativas para el próximo bienio en los sectores respectivos habiendo quedado reflejadas sus opiniones en sus informes. Se que la Secretaría ha estado examinando este conjunto de orientaciones y confío en que trate de darle respuesta en el Programa de Labores y Presupuesto completo que el Consejo examinará brevemente en su próximo período de sesiones en noviembre.

El Consejo podrá también comprobar que los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas analizarán las propuestas para agilizar y racionalizar el proceso de presupuestación por programas en sus períodos de sesiones de septiembre.

Distinguidos delegados, es necesario que el Consejo adelante estas cuestiones. Reconozco que todos le dan un altísimo valor al logro del consenso, todos ya sabemos y reconocemos también que la Conferencia tiene los medios a través del voto para identificar el nivel presupuestario que por mayoría se desee establecer. Pero creo que debemos hacer también aquí un ejercicio realista basado en los principios e intereses que ustedes deseen manifestar, sin olvidar lo que es viable y conveniente para esta Organización.

Busquemos por tanto como primer ejercicio, como primer propósito, el consenso.

En esta fase creo que es oportuno escuchar al doctor Bommer que presidió la reunión conjunta de los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas y que seguramente nos orientará sobre la forma en que podríamos trabajar en aras de un eventual consenso.

D. BOMMER (Chairman, Programme Committee): I think you overestimate my possibilities but, first of all, I would like to say that you have already said everything that I wanted to say, so it is really difficult to enter here because we have finished, after a long, long session, and very constructive session also, with what is contained in paragraph 1.16.

This is actually the recommendation which we have made, which is that we agree to ask the Director-General to prepare a Programme of Work and Budget on the zero real-growth level with US$ 650 million, but, at the same time, taking into account the need for maximum savings, reconsideration of any cost increases including exchange rates and how to better scale it down to realities.

Then, certainly we have a third important cost factor, which is the After-Service Medical Insurance question that the Finance Committee dealt with.

At the same time now, and this is contained here, that he identifies within these Programme of Work and Budget preparations, areas which could be scaled down or eliminated in the case of a lower budget level. As is being said here, a zero nominal-growth budget would become available, which would certainly call for another close look at the prioritization to which we referred in this whole day, and also identify activities that would be eliminated if the budget were to be below the zero nominal-growth level.

You might say, okay, these are again three levels, but how could we offer to the Council and Conference the possibility to reach a consensus. This was our main point, that we should come up with a consensus at the Conference, with an agreed budget level on which the Director-General can implement the new Programme of Work and Budget, and not going in another round of rediscussing and revisiting, having in mind not only the uncertainties for the Organization as a whole, but also certainly the importance of the work the Organization has to do.

Certainly, the tremendous resources which have to be devoted to going back and re-writing and re-adjusting, I think are usually underestimated. I refer to the internal work we are asking the Secretariat and the Director-General to do, in accommodating the various points of our debate. I think I understood that the Secretariat was ready to say it could be done, and that this would be the recommendation to the Director-General.

If certainly we come even further down from this variation, which is still in this proposal, it would be very very helpful. But it goes beyond my gray hairs to give you, I think, a very close formula of how you can reach this level without having a debate and certainly making such an appeal to all the Members to come to that consensus.

This is all that I can give you at the moment. I think you referred to the various other aspects which we have to observe, how the Summary has been presented already in the new format, questions of priorities, etc. I do not want to dwell on them now. I think you repeated them already. It would be an unnecessary double statement.

Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): The Director-General already gave a great deal of attention to the SPWB in his speech yesterday and therefore I will only take this opportunity to give the Council the latest information.

For the purpose of the zero real growth scenario and the real growth scenario, you need to be aware of the increases that would be needed to either maintain the purchasing power of the zero real growth scenario or fund the real growth scenario; in effect the current purchasing power of the US$ 650 million plus the US$ 11 million if you go for real growth. Conventional cost increases are provided in the document before you, that is, the Summary Programme of Work and Budget, at US$ 39 million. We now anticipate a decrease in this provision due to the application of lower assumptions for inflation rates, particularly the Italian assumption, which we propose to take down from three-and-a-half percent to three percent, based on the latest information that is available to us. This, and other relatively minor adjustments, will result in a decrease in our cost-increase estimates by about US$ 3 million, that is, down to a revised estimate of US$ 36 million instead of US$ 39 million.

Now there are two other factors, which technically speaking are adjustments, albeit extraordinary adjustments, to cost increases. The first is an increase in cost-increases, as mentioned by the Chairman, due to the revised methodology for providing for After-Service Medical Care which requires that we set aside sufficient funds for the accrued entitlement to such services, by retirees in particular. It is very difficult to provide a precise figure for this at the present time as we are actually still working with the actuaries to do precisely that. However, based on the data I have seen so far, my estimate is that about US$ 17 million would need to be charged against the budget for 1998-99, though I have to say that some of my colleagues think that that is a conservative figure.

Offsetting this is the favourable impact of exchange rates which the Programme and Finance Committees have asked us to incorporate into the zero real growth proposal which is a change from past practice. The choice of rate is of course problematic because you are trying to anticipate what rate there will be on the day of the Conference in November when the budget is adopted. But if we use today's forward rate - I say today's, but I have to say the rate has changed quite dramatically over the last 24 hours but when I wrote this introduction today's forward rate was, for the 6-month period suggested at a budget rate of 1675. In fact, if you look at what happened yesterday, that would change and go somewhat higher.

This would result in a decrease in the provision - using my original figures if you do not mind -of about US$ 11 million. Clearly it is a very difficult area to forecast; if we could do that we would be wealthy. The consequence of the three adjustments is that the provision for cost-increases is likely to increase overall by about US$ 3 million to US$ 42 million. Where do I get that from? That is the increase in After-Service Medical Care of US$ 17 million offset by the reduction of US$ 3 million to the original provision for cost-increases and the reduction of US$ 11 million due to favourable rates of exchange. Of course it is all very approximate since several of the factors involved are still potentially subject to wide variation.

If you took that figure of US$ 42 million, you are talking about a net increase of 6.1 percent in the budget or, if we turn that into a zero nominal growth budget, a 6.1 percent programme reduction, which is more than we are showing in this supplement to Council document CL 112/3.

Now, on the other hand, you will recall from both what the Chairman just said and from what the Director-General said in his address to the Council, that any move to adopt the accepted accounting standards and fund the actuarial deficit that has been accumulating for close to 30 years, cannot be at the expense of the Organization's technical programmes. Therefore, while under zero real growth the adjustment for cost-increases would include the provision, under zero nominal growth, the budget cannot be assumed to fund the accumulated deficit on After-Service Medical Care and instead other solutions will have to be explored.

Mr Chairman, you have covered the other point I wanted to make which is that the SPWB does not include the impact of the recommendations of COFI, COFA and COAG and the other Committees of the Council. These will of course be given full attention and brought into the full PWB. We are at your disposal.

Moussa Bocar LY (Sénégal): Je vous demande, en vertu de la pratique, de donner la parole aux Philippines, Président du Groupe des 77.

Noel D. DE LUNA (Observer for the Philippines): On behalf of the Group of 77, I would like to express our support for the real growth scenario for the Programme of Work and Budget of FAO for the biennium 1998-99. We believe that, given the mandate by the World Food Summit to the FAO to see that the number of hungry and malnourished is reduced by half by the year 2015, the Programme of Work and Budget, as a matter of principle, should in fact be expanded and increased. The hungry and malnourished will never understand why, after a successful Summit, where Heads of State and Government committed themselves to poverty eradication, FAO, which they consider to have a critical role, would have its programme of work curtailed and its budget reduced. From our point of view, we are concerned that the Summit's goal of hunger reduction will simply become lip-service as FAO is not given the resources necessary to fulfil the task given to it by the Summit. It will indeed be a sad day to realize that as FAO has its Programme of Work and Budget cut and cut further, the World Food Summit which has been billed as the last hope of the hungry and malnourished, will simply become another meaningless Summit.

Reducing its budget, and therefore decreasing its programme of activities, will force FAO to be more creative in its fund-raising activities if it wants to play the role entrusted to it by the Summit.

We believe that, while there are merits in developing synergies and networking among various players in solving the intractable problems of hunger and malnutrition, it does not look good that such activities be funded by extra-budgetary activities most of time. We would like to emphasize that if Member Nations themselves would not finance the activities of the Organization to fund activities to implement this goal of reducing hunger and malnutrition, then the Organization should not be faulted for extra-budgetary fund-raising activities. Otherwise, for lack of funding to fulfil its fundamental mandate, the credibility of this Organization to deliver what it is meant to do will be questioned.

Finally, coming on the heels of the World Food Summit, programme and budget reductions will send the wrong signals, not only to governments but more importantly, to the poor and hungry which this Centre of Excellence is trying to help.

Ms Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): The United States delegation welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Director-General's 1998-99 Summary Programme of Work and Budget. Our intervention under this Agenda item will focus on the following five areas: budget structure; programme priorities; the Special Programme for Food Security; the Technical Cooperation Programme; and an affordable, sustainable and fully-funded budget level that has the unqualified support of all Member Nations.

FAO's new budget format, that integrates regular and extra-budgetary resources or other income into the programme elements of the SPWB, is an important and useful innovation that, with some improvements, should continue. In the future, resources should be linked to programme objectives so that we can better assess the results of our expenditures. FAO should also provide information on the amount of other income generated at the sub-programme level in addition to the major programme level and expand the table on page 44 to reflect this. Justifying how effectively all contributions are utilized is essential to building long-term support for funding international organizations, including FAO. As FAO expands field operations, Member Nations will need more information to assess their impact and sustainability, but such assessments can only be made if we have measurable targets for established timeframes against which to judge performance. If programmes focus on quantity rather than quality, or fundamental questions about the effectiveness of FAO's role in over a hundred countries are not addressed, FAO may find itself spread too thinly among its nearly 140 programmes and sub-programmes as resources contract. Only through effective impact evaluations can we identify what we are doing well and what is unsuccessful.

The United States has consistently identified standard-setting activities such as Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention as FAO's highest priorities and a sine qua non of the Organization. No other organization has either the mandate or the capacity to perform these functions. Similarly, FAO is uniquely positioned to develop and expand global databases such as the Global Information and Early Warning System, the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) and the new databases on genetic resources, such as DATAS. Effective maintenance and expansion of these information systems are critical elements in providing support to Member Nations' efforts to meet the Food Summit target of reducing the number of undernourished by half by 2015 and fulfilling other Summit Commitments, including the one on disaster preparedness.

Immediate action should be undertaken to complete the revision of the IPPC, extend the work with UNEP on pesticides, expand information efforts on forest, fish and genetic resources, and ensure gender is fully integrated into all levels of programme activity. Moreover FAO should continue to assist developing countries in implementing the GATT Agreement. FAO's unique capabilities in these normative areas can make the most immediate contribution to developing countries' prosperity, the global achievement of sustainable development, and 21st century food security.

Under-investment in these areas will undermine our ability to achieve these objectives and compromise FAO's capacity for technical cooperation. In the wake of the World Food Summit and

the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources at Leipzig, we believe an opportunity exists to make the TCP a critical component of our efforts to catalyse the Member Nation-driven processes called for in the World Food Summit and the Leipzig Global Plan of Action. We should rethink, reshape and prioritize TCP to ensure its full integration into FAO's budget and planning processes. A total of US$ 85 million, or 13 percent of the SPWB's resources, are allocated to TCP, a figure that is US$ 17 million higher than the resources devoted to the fisheries and forestry programmes combined. An allocation of perhaps 20 percent of TCP should be set aside for emergencies and we should phase out the five-year carry-over by the year 2000.

UNDP, in an innovative break from the past, has undertaken new three-year arrangements for resource allocations that we believe could be applied in FAO to make TCP a more dynamic contributor to our overall programme objectives. With the fully- funded budget and targeted technical cooperation, delivered in three rather than five years, FAO would be delivering more programmes in less time.

We have similar questions and concerns about the amount of regular budgetary resources allocated in the 1998-99 SPWB for the Special Programme on Food Security as those that were raised by the United Kingdom in its statement on follow-up to the WFS. Many questions have yet to be answered. Moreover, given the Director-General's efforts to push Summit goals and objectives, we believe critical analysis and review of the programme is essential to justify further resource allocations. Such criteria should be applied, among them sustainability and replicability of these efforts by farmers as these are critical factors. There is little specificity in the documents provided to give the reader sufficient knowledge about the Special Programme on Food Security to enable us to become effective advocates of the Programme.

FAO could usefully produce a work plan that sets out measurable objectives and identifies the forecast of these activities as well as all sources of funding. Independent evaluation of the longest-running programme activities should be prepared for the next biennium and we would welcome the views of other Council Members on this programme.

We applaud the Director-General's efforts in presenting various budget scenarios, taking into account the divergent views of many Member Nations. At this same time we do not believe the proposals go far enough to meet the challenges that lie ahead. We believe FAO should plan for the current climate of fiscal restraint and adopt a budget level in the range of US$ 610 million to US$ 615 million. Paradoxically, the higher the budget level the less likelihood the budget will be fully funded. For this reason we are advocating a level that is most likely to maximize resources available to FAO.

The discussions in the Programme and Finance Committees suggest that a number of Member Nations now support a level of zero nominal growth or lower. Bearing this in mind, and consistent with the report of these Committees, we believe three alternatives should be reviewed at the fall sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and these should include options above, at, and below, zero nominal growth. These options should be forwarded to the Conference for consideration.

The US Government has just reached agreement on a formula for achieving budget balance in 2002. This is a difficult agreement and it will require difficult choices. Other governments are dealing with similar choices. The goal in all these exercises is more fiscally responsible and sound government. As the United Nations system is a network of publically-funded institutions similar constraints and choices must be made by UN agencies, including FAO. Much has been said about FAO being more fiscally responsible than other agencies, and FAO has made important strides in this effort but comparisons are neither valid nor useful. Some agencies are reducing costs to Member Nations faster than FAO; others have changed financing mechanisms. Until we have

Standard accounting and budgeting practices system-wide, however, comparisons of budget will be only marginally relevant.

In previous FAO fora, we suggested where cuts could be made. Costs related to the World Food Summit, for example, are non-recurring expenditures and should provide for reductions in the overall budget level. FAO's new Sub-regional and expanded Regional Offices, as well as the possible integration of IICA offices in Latin America, should sharply reduce the need for country Representatives, a programme that costs as much as the technical cooperation activity.

The regional units also offer the opportunity to develop multi-disciplinary responses to regional demands, focused on exploiting the synergies inherent in interaction between normative and operational activities. Though professional staffing strength in Regional and Sub-regional Offices has risen by 10 percent, corresponding reductions in country offices have not occurred. Decentralization has yet to result in managerial empowerment or a more streamlined and cost-effective operation. FAO documents reflect a reduction of 456 posts but there is no indication of which posts were vacant nor how they were funded. Numerous Management Support Units have been created in programme offices with no corresponding reductions in administrative costs. Delegation of administrative and financial functions may weaken internal controls while increasing those costs.

While FAO Representatives and Project Managers have increasing responsibility for financial management, accounting and cost control, they are not trained in financial or administrative matters. Is there a formal financial training for field staff? Is there coordination between divisions and staff on the selection of the field staff or their training? Do information management systems in infrastructure needs meet the fine goals of decision-makers and users in the field? Is information accurate and reliable? There must be access to timely, complete, accurate and analytical reports on FAO field activities beyond bank reconciliation statements and the control of petty cash. Enormous investment expenses must yield tangible and measurable results.

The Finance Committee made good progress in identifying efficiencies and economies in the budget formulation process by fostering an earlier dialogue on the programme priorities so the SPWB could be eliminated. We support this initiative and we think it is consistent with our earlier comments in regard to the planning process. This arrangement would lend itself to more strategic discussion of the Organization's focus and priorities at the Council Session as well as result in significant savings by eliminating an unnecessary step in the programme budget process.

We also agree that a critical analysis of the purpose, relevance and efficiency of 132 bodies and panels is imperative to improve FAO's performance, and we are pleased that positive steps are being taken in this regard. We note that major innovations are underway elsewhere in the UN system. At the UN, non-programme costs will be reduced by a third and expanded use of information technology and strengthened accountability and responsibility of programme managers will exist. Some 1000 posts are being eliminated along with the consolidation of the Economic and Social Departments. Streamlining at country level and the completion of the UN staff Code of Conduct, spreading these best practices across the Organization, engaging staff members on an on going basis, in any change process, strengthening technical skills and empowering managers, while realizing economies and telecommunications, are all imperatives through the UN system.

We believe significant savings can still be achieved. We want FAO to have more predictable resources, a sophisticated information structure, regionally integrated programmes and activities that can be regularly and effectively evaluated by their results. A fiscally responsible, fully-funded and sustainable budget level we can all support, will go far to achieve these results.

EL PRESIDENTE: Distinguida delegada de los Estados Unidos, el Consejo ha tomado debida nota de sus comentarios y de la postura de su país respecto a este tema. También conocemos la situación

de otros organismos de Naciones Unidas y la forma en que han evolucionado sus programas y sus presupuestos; en particular, somos conscientes que Naciones Unidas ha empezado un proceso de recorte y de reducción de personal, que en la FAO lleva ya varios años aplicándose.

En fin, los distinguidos delegados han tomado nota de esta importante declaración.

O. ALLOUSH (Syria) (Original language Arabic): During this 112th Session of the Council, which is the first during which we are called upon to review a Programme of Work and Budget after the World Food Summit that created so much optimism, and we still have fresh in our memories the conclusions of this Conference, nonetheless we have seen a decline in the level of aid. Some ask that the budget of this Organization be cut and this is detrimental to its programmes.

Governments and local communities urge that all or most of the Commitments adopted by the World Food Summit be met.

Very much has been said yesterday and today about the right to food which is considered one of the fundamental rights of man. Very much was said about sustainable development, of the need to increase food production, food availability, and this will certainly have an impact on the Programme of Work and Budget. This calls for an increase in this Budget.

What we note is that there is a constant decline and reduction in the resources allocated to this Organization. What we need is to strengthen programmes and technical activities in this Organization, especially the Technical Cooperation Programme and the Food Security Programme, but some want to turn this Organization into a research centre that provides data and information. All of the decisions adopted during the World Food Summit -- on the activities of the Organization and the needs of low-income, food-deficit countries, the important objectives which were singled out by the World Food Summit, and the priority role given to this Organization -- all these elements called for real growth in the budget. However, zero real growth could be a compromise, a situation that we would have to adopt.

The current situation with the Programme of Work and Budget of this Organization reminds me of a proverb we have in my country that says, "If bread is untouched, do not touch it; if it is untouched, do not eat it." You can eat but do not touch that bread.

The duties of governments and civil society and the expectations of these governments and societies, in terms of social development, involvement of women in development and food production, are all elements which are costly to achieve and low-income, food-deficit countries and poor countries require assistance. Our Organization should provide aid to these States and so should all the other partners involved in the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit. The burden of these duties and Commitments adopted at the World Food Summit cannot be shouldered only by governments, as would appear to be the outcome of this discussion.

We do not deny the fact that governments and the private sector have a role to play at this particular level and can contribute to the fulfilment of these Commitments, but this role cannot be played by governments and the private sector unless there is a joining of efforts at a regional and international level and unless all parties accept their full responsibility in this area. This would help reaching and attaining the objectives which were set.

Tang ZHENGPING (China) (Original language Chinese): Concerning the proposed budget for the next biennium, Delegates have had extensive discussions. Now the Chinese delegation wishes to take this opportunity to express the following two viewpoints: firstly, under proposed details of the budget, as is known to all, one of the important tasks carried out by FAO in the past biennium was the successful holding of the World Food Summit, which aimed at requesting all governments to attach great importance to food security and, with international and multi-lateral coordination and

concerted efforts, help the 800 million malnourished and food-deficit people in the world to get out of their ordeal, so as to fundamentally improve the world food security as a whole. Therefore, we shall continue to make efforts and maintain this momentum in implementing the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action in a practical way.

To fulfil this task, both FAO and its Member Nations need adequate resources in order to assure that the above-mentioned programmes can be translated into action. However, we noted that zero growth, and even negative growth, are suggested in considering the PWB for the next biennium. This is obviously not appropriate and not practical either. If we do so, how can zero, or even negative growth, reflect and convince people of the Summit's achievements? How can this ensure the implementation of the Summit's follow-up activities? Therefore, our delegation would like to suggest that the budget for the next biennium should be, at least, maintained at the level of the current biennium.

Secondly, on the Programme of Work and Budget. We are in favour of the three principles put forward by FAO in promoting global agricultural development: firstly, promoting investment in agriculture and intensive management of agricultural production and protecting environment; secondly, in harnessing the efficiency in all the linkages from food production to consumption and increasing the integrated output profitability; and thirdly, strengthening institution and capacity building, increasing new production means, and speeding up the process of development and poverty-alleviation.

Therefore, we believe that all of these principles should be duly reflected in the Programme of Work and Budget and the limited resources should be used more in the field work. We mean that FAO should further its streamlining exercise and the decentralization effort, improve its work efficiency, cut down general publications, unnecessary travels, appropriately reduce the number of internationally recruited experts, strengthen TCDC, recruit more national experts, strengthen the work of its country offices and expand appropriately the scope of its delegation of authority.

In conclusion, we hope that FAO will play an active, leading role in coordinating with all Member Nations with a view to carrying out to the letter the various programmes and Commitments of the World Food Summit.

Mohammad Ali Yazdani KHORSGANI (Iran, Islamic Republic of): To be very brief and not to repeat the points raised by speakers before me, I would like to emphasize that in this post-World Food Summit era, which is characterized by heavier duties and mandates for FAO towards implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and after several years of budget reduction, any further budget decrease would certainly lead to low quantity and quality of goods and services provided by FAO to developing countries, which in turn would cause reduced agricultural development and food security.

At the outset I would like to support what was stated by the distinguished Chairman of G77. Let me limit myself to only one paragraph as an example. That is paragraph 58 of CL 112/3-Sup. 1, which is related to a decrease in several livestock programmes. The livestock sector is of tremendous potential, contributing to FAO's goal in poverty-alleviation, food security, nutrition of children and rural woman, and sustainable agricultural development. In many developing countries the major constraint to livestock development is access to markets for livestock products. Experience of India is an outstanding example of a success story. The livestock sector also has a big role in job-creation in rural areas. We have tangibly experienced this role in our country in activities related to milk collection, processing and marketing.

In many developing countries with mixed farming systems and also in nomadic systems, the task of milking and marketing of livestock products is the responsibility of women. Providing some training

and transfer of simple technical knowhow by FAO can help them to obtain additional income and enable them to continue their key role in the food security of rural households.

On the other hand, livestock products are perishable and can easily transfer diseases such as Malter fever from cattle and sheep to humans. Brucellosis contamination is a case which jeopardizes both producers' and consumers' health. In addition, milk is a traditional favourable food for vulnerable groups, like children, the aged, pregnant and lactating women. Its appropriate processing and distribution are critical to food security and the health of these disadvantaged groups.

In spite of this important role, to the best of my knowledge there is practically no other United Nations Body which provides assistance in meat or dairy activities, and the only livestock officer in the FAO Regional and Sub-regional Offices, in meat and dairy development, belongs to the Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Therefore, there is no doubt that the proposed changes in the document under consideration are in clear contrast to many FAO responsibilities in general and to Commitments of the World Food Summit Plan of Action in particular.

The same line of argument can be followed through most of the proposed resource reductions in the Plan of Work and Budget, with reduced resources.

This brings me to the conclusion that the maximum reduction in the budget of this Organization for 1998-99, which does not seriously damage the level of FAO activities, is the one of the zero real growth level. Therefore, my delegation fully supports this scenario as the minimum acceptable budget alternative for 1998-99.

Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Permítame unas breves reflexiones, porque después de oír al doctor Bommer, al cual admiramos por su profesionalidad y paciencia, de oírlo a usted, señor Presidente, en esa tierra movediza tratando de sintetizar una situación y después de oír los planteamientos del Presidente del Grupo de los 77, creo que sí es necesario hacer algunas consideraciones porque lo que no podemos es rehuir ni al debate ni a nuestro criterio.

Respecto a algunos importantes aspectos relacionados con el marco financiero de la FAO, que muchos tienden a olvidar, es oportuno recordar que el bienio 1994-95 terminó con el déficit acumulado más alto de la historia de la Organización y, a este propósito, hay que subrayar que dicho momento se debió a factores que no dependieron en absoluto de la FAO. Ese momento de déficit fue el resultado de la falta de pago de las cuotas corrientes como el hecho de no haber recibido el pago previsto por concepto de las cuotas atrasadas. Cuotas importantes, señor Presidente. Allí está la cuestión. Todo el mundo las conoce, cuotas que mantienen a la Organización en esta situación. Prácticamente la mitad del pago de la FAO, señor Presidente, todo lo demás es mero comentario. Sólo imponiendo deliberadamente una disminución de gastos de casi 30 millones de dólares, en comparación con el nivel autorizado, la FAO pudo impedir que la situación se agravara. Esto es un hecho que hay que resaltar y reconocer.

Paradójicamente, sin embargo, es oportuno evidenciar que este déficit está cubierto por los retrasos en los pagos de las cuotas atrasadas, lo cual nos indica claramente que si estas cuotas se pagaran, repito, que si estas cuotas se pagaran, la Organización tendría una sólida situación financiera.

En este contexto se hace imprescindible recalcar que, las cuotas atrasadas deben ser consideradas como un activo, por lo tanto, sin perjuicio de la situación económica de los estados más débiles; deben buscarse mecanismos legales, hacer apelos a los ineludibles compromisos morales y a la voluntad política, y esto, vuelvo a repetirlo otra vez, señor Presidente, a la voluntad política, de algunos, para que el pago de las cuotas atrasadas sea una realidad.

Como consecuencia de esto, la Secretaría tal vez podría realizar un ejercicio presupuestario con una opción que contemple esta posibilidad. Creo que podría, independientemente del costo de la

elaboración que no tendría porqué ser elevado, resultar un ejercicio muy interesante. Hay otro aspecto que, aunque es ampliamente conocido, poco hablan de él. Es el relacionado con el notable esfuerzo realizado por la FAO durante la ejecución del ejercicio presupuestario 1996-97, que permitió determinar una cantidad de ahorros por eficiencia de nada menos que 22 millones de dólares al fin de adaptarse al presupuesto ajustado, aprobado para el bienio en curso.

Es fácil prever entonces, señor Presidente, que el notable esfuerzo que permitió determinar, para un breve período de tiempo, esa notable cantidad de ahorro por eficiencia, no se podrá repetir, a menos que se posean poderes mágicos, pero sinceramente señor Presidente, no creemos que nadie los tenga.

Por otra parte, es impensable, peligrosa, provocatoria, y hasta tendencialmente destructiva, la práctica utilizada por algunos de querer establecer de manera permanente, diferentes tipos de deducción automática del presupuesto del período anterior y la absorción parcial o completa de los aumentos de los costos previstos.

En nuestra opinión, señor Presidente, es fundamental que en los debates sobre el presupuesto que se han de celebrar a lo largo de todo el período que nos separa de la Conferencia, sea necesario insistir de manera clara y vibrante sobre la necesidad de una acción vigorosa en la lucha contra el hambre y la malnutrición, tal como fueron expresados por muchos dirigentes durante la Cumbre. Esto implica que hay que cumplir los compromisos y, que no debe negarse a la FAO los recursos que necesita para cumplir su función, sobre todo después del largo período de estancamiento presupuestario y, en especial después de la importante reducción de más de 57 millones de dólares hecha en el presupuesto para el bienio 1996-97.

Mme Diane VINCENT (Canada): Le Canada aimerait remercier le Directeur général pour les deux documents du sommaire de programme de travail et de budget qui reflète les recommandations faites par les Comités de programme et de finance. Ces documents fournissent maintenant plus de clarté et de précision sur les objectifs, les programmes et les ressources financières qui y sont associés. Nous encourageons la FAO à continuer le travail dans cette direction et à renforcer le processus de planification, d'abord en l'axant sur des résultats, en mettant l'accent sur un nombre plus restreint d'objectifs, en y intégrant des indicateurs de performance. Ceci permettrait dans l'avenir, une discussion plus stratégique entre les pays membres et la FAO, dans le processus de planification budgétaire.

A plus court terme, il faut travailler au critère de sélection des programmes auxquels le Canada souscri en novembre 1995. Ces critères ont permis au Directeur général de faire des choix et de présenter un programme valable à partir d'un budget à la baisse. Le Directeur général a toutefois souligné au document complémentaire quelques difficultés lors de l'application de ces critères qui sont encore trop généraux. Le temps est peut-être venu de redéfinir ces critères de façon à les faire concorder plus étroitement avec le mandat essentiel de la FAO et en accroître l'efficacité opérationnelle.

En terme d'approche budgétaire, il faut tous prendre conscience que nous évoluons dans un contexte général de restriction budgétaire. De façon générale, le Canada a comme politique budgétaire pour les agences des Nations Unies une politique de croissance nominale zéro. Ceci dit, nous collaborerons avec la FAO à regarder des options budgétaires acceptables selon les objectifs stratégiques que la FAO devrait poursuivre dans les prochaines années.

A cet égard, nous croyons que l'Organisation devrait continuer à identifier les possibilités d'économie dans les chapitres administratifs afin d'investir le plus possible dans la réalisation des programmes.

Nous comprenons, suite à vos interventions de début de séance, que les priorités énoncées lors des récents comités de l'agriculture, des pêches et des forêts, seront reflétées dans le programme final de travail et de budget, puisque ces priorités seront les axes d'intervention sur lesquelles la FAO aura à se concentrer au prochain biennium.

Nous aimerions en particulier vous signaler les trois volets auxquels le Canada et les comités techniques accordent une grande importance. Tout d'abord le programme des forêts. Nous supportons une proportion plus grande de budget accordée à ce programme pour donner suite aux engagements de la Conférence des Nations Unies sur l'environnement et le développement. Deuxièmement, le Canada attache une grande importance à ce que soient prévues les ressources budgétaires nécessaires pour un organisme tel qu'une commission de la mise en oeuvre de la Convention internationale pour la protection des végétaux. La révision en cours de cette convention permettra l'harmonisation des standards à l'importation et facilitera encore plus les échanges entre les pays, un aspect fondamental des engagements que nous avons pris au Sommet. Troisièmement, le Canada tient à dire qu'il souscrit à la tenue de négociations internationales dans le domaine de la gestion des produits chimiques, et demande que les experts de la FAO supportent ces négociations, dans les domaines relevant de son mandat, comme notamment les dossiers sur les polluants organiques rémanants.

Enfin Monsieur le Président, nous aimerions formuler quelques observations sur la présentation même du budget. Nous apprécions la nouvelle présentation proposée par la FAO pour le programme des ressources naturelles parce qu'il y a un lien clair entre les objectifs du programme, ses résultats, ses moyens financiers au niveau des sous-programmes. Cette nouvelle présentation est plus concise. Nous suggérons que le document inclut à nouveau les éléments descriptifs essentiels qui ont été omis dans la nouvelle version.

Monsieur le Président, ceci termine notre intervention et le Canada aimerait vous remercier pour l'excellence de votre travail à la présidence de ce Conseil.

K. RAJAN (India): I will be very brief. First of all we have a very detailed paper that the Secretariat has laid before us which indicates the various scenarios that we need to look at. We support the distinguished delegate of the Philippines, who presented the view of the G77, regarding the need for a zero real growth. Even if there are constraints, I think it will be necessary to see that the structuring of the allocations is such, that for some of the more important programmes like the Technical Cooperation Programme, we need to retain the levels for zero real growth, and we feel that the TCP should not suffer from dilution.

It may also be necessary to have a fresh look at the proposals which have been made in CL 112/3. Those programmes, which are directly connected with capacity building in terms of the objectives with which we are working, at least need to be protected.

Ibnu SAID (Indonesia): The Indonesian delegation wishes to extend its appreciation to the Secretariat for preparing the most important document before us. I should also like to commend the joint meeting of the Programme and Finance Committee for its recommendation to facilitate our deliberations.

We recognize the noble task of FAO is to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and poverty. It was clearly stated during the Summit that FAO should continue to play a significant role and implement the Plan of Action of the Water Food Summit. We acknowledge the difficulties faced by the Secretariat in carrying out the activities due to the cutting of the budget. The Indonesian delegation would like to share the statement made by the Chairman of the G77 that the zero real growth scenario is the minimum required and the best compromise that be endorsed by the Conference.

Ms Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): I apologize to the Council for losing my voice during my statement.

I would like to say that I believe that the distinguished delegate of Cuba has made a very important point. The first point of course relating to arrears by the United States, we will plan to address under Agenda Item 18 and when we discuss the report of the Finance Committee.

I think it would be useful, in looking at the budget preparations that the Secretariat will undertake for the Programme and Finance Committees, if the Secretariat made an estimate of various revenue streams, including a revenue stream that incorporated the payments of most or all of the arrears during the next biennium. That way we might be able to see if, indeed, we adopt a higher budget and continue the average revenue stream where a lot of countries remain at some level of arrears, or if we adopt a lower budget and collect substantial arrears if we are no better off. This was my point in saying we should seek a level, a consensus budget level, which maximizes available resources to FAO. I believe that could be usefully discussed in the Programme and Finance Committees as well as in the context of our preparations for the Conference.

EL PRESIDENTE: Deseo recordarles lo que acordamos hoy al principio de nuestra sesión, en el sentido de que el Grupo Informal de Trabajo de composición abierta para la revisión del texto de la Convención Internacional de Protección Fitosanitaria, se va a reunir el día de mañana a las 9.00 horas, en la Sala del Líbano, edificio D, 209. El Comité de Redacción se reunirá inmediatamente, en la Sala México, en donde el equipo de interpretación está ya esperándoles.

Muchas gracias distinguidos delegados. Se levanta esta cuarta sesión de nuestros trabajos. Los convoco mañana a las 9.30 horas.

The meeting rose at 17.50 hours
La séance est levée à 17 h 50
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.50 horas

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