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

Aidan O'DRISCOLL (Ireland): I would ask that you give the floor to the Netherlands to make a statement on behalf of the European Community and its Member States. I would then also like to make a national statement if you could return to me at some point.

J.B. PIETERS (Observer for the Netherlands): On behalf of the European Community and its Member States, which together contribute 38 percent of the FAO budget, I would like to give our views on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget which sets out three scenarios for the budget level.

The imperative of budgetary discipline is high on the Agenda in all of the EU countries. This calls, first and foremost, for the maximum possible improvement in efficiency and for a critical assessment of FAO programmes. We hope and expect that consensus can be built with regard to the prioritization of activities and budgetary framework for implementation.

The orientation of the Programme of Work and Budget must be based on the revised plan, as outlined in our statement under Agenda Item 15. The European Union has already stressed the need for clearer priorities of activities and for a clear delimitation between high and low priorities. In view of budgetary discipline we want to stress this point again.

With respect to the policy context, the approach in the document reflects the need to re-orientate activities. Operating within the framework of a fully integrated programme requires a well-struck balance and a great deal of synergy between normative and operational activities. The need for this has become even more apparent since several hundreds of Headquarters posts have been cut and posts in the Regional and Sub-regional Offices substantially increased in order to have the expertise of the Organization near the end-users. We emphasize the increasing need to plan and conduct normative and operational activities in an integrated and balanced way.

According to the document, the Special Programme for Food Security is funded not only from its own programme, but also from several other programmes. The latter does not contribute to the clarity of the structure and the transparency of the PWB. Moreover, since the European Union and several other countries, as expressed during the recent Session of the CFS, have considerable doubts regarding the approach and content of the Special Programme on Food Security we are opposed to such an unclear financing structure. If it has to receive contributions from other programmes, this Special Programme should have a wider scope and get broader support from FAO Members, as we have outlined on earlier occasions.

We concur with the special attention being paid to assisting in capacity building. It is indeed a cross-sectoral priority area for FAO and it allows for a synergy between normative and operational activities. Describing major cross-sectoral themes in this way contributes to the transparency of the Programme of Work and Budget, and we suggest it being extended to other themes in future.

We appreciate the revised approach used in Programme 2.1.1., Natural Resources, which is more orientated towards results within specified time horizons and an inter-disciplinary approach. Since it

groups planned activities in terms of major technical projects, it should also provide a basis for arriving at adequate priorities. As stated earlier, the European Union and its Member States call for a clearer and more in-depth process of priority setting, resulting in a smaller number of priorities. We favour extending this approach to other activities.

We welcome the fact that three scenarios for the budget level are presented in the main document and its supplement. However, we find it difficult to really compare the outcome of the zero real and zero nominal growth scenarios at the levels of major programmes and programmes, mainly because the outcome of the zero real growth scenario does not appear in the tables outlining the zero nominal growth scenario, at least not in comparable figures. We request the Secretariat to improve the presentation to the Conference in November on this point.

In reviewing the zero nominal growth scenario we have observed that most of the cuts have been made across-the-board. We do not agree to this approach. We would like to see clearer choices in favour of the high priority activities, rather than across-the-board cuts. The EU indicated priority areas of activity in the debate on the Medium-Term Plan. We also want to draw attention to the priority areas indicated by us in the technical committees during the Sessions of the committees during this semester.

We feel the scope for savings should be explored further. One of the areas we have identified is the possibility of reducing the number and cost of country offices now that the network of Regional and Sub-regional Offices has been established. Those offices should be integrated into the UN country and regional representations, as activities have to be fully in line with UN operational activities overall, within the Resident Coordinator system. This would be in line with the on-going reform of the UN system at the field level.

Another example is organizational change at FAO Headquarters to increase linkages between and within Divisions. This, we believe, could lead both to greater efficiency and to valuable savings.

Finally, on the budget format, we thank the FAO Secretariat for presenting us with a format that includes information on extra-budgetary resources. We believe that this contributes to the coherence of the activities funded by the different types of resources.

To conclude, I have outlined some of our thinking on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget. We believe further work needs to be done in establishing priorities and seeking savings before we can take a final position on the budget level.

H. YASUI (Japan): I would like to make a brief comment on the budget issue.

The streamlining of the FAO budget, or FAO activities, has a vital importance under the present severe fiscal circumstances of many countries, including Japan. The streamlining, or necessary saving, could be realized with the efforts to pursue efficiency through strengthening the functions of FAO. In this relation, we must remind you that other UN organizations also have made tremendous efforts to streamline their activities. Therefore, the Government of Japan would like to support the options of the zero nominal growth, for the 1998-99 budget.

However, as many countries emphasized the importance of the noble goals of the World Food Summit, food security-related activities could be regarded as one of the higher priority fields and FAO can utilize high expertise and ability for food security, in particular the eradication of hunger and malnutrition in the world.

Japan thinks that the contents of the Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99 need more prioritization. We are concerned with the balance between the normative activities and the operational ones. Therefore, setting clearer priorities among each activity or programme is

necessary under the budget constraints and expenses to be sought. In addition to the priority, we also put importance on the avoidance of duplication of activities as well as the special attention to the least developed countries, particularly in the field of food security.

Before closing my comments, I would like to refer minor cooperation to FAO activities. At the 22nd meeting of the Committee on Fisheries, we announced that Japan would host the FAO Expert Meeting on Sea Birds in early 1998 and also host the FAO Expert Meeting on Sharks in mid-1998. We would like to keep cooperation with FAO through such expert meetings in order to get more useful results.

Mario MOYA PALENCIA (México): Señor Presidente, la propuesta programática que nos presenta el Director General de la FAO para el próximo bienio reviste singular importancia. El hecho de que los Comités del Programa y Finanzas no hayan alcanzado un acuerdo en su reciente reunión sobre una de las opciones planteadas, pone de manifiesto las diferentes percepciones sobre algunos aspectos; tal vez el más destacado de ellos sea el concepto de organización que se desea.

Como hemos afirmado ya en este Foro, resultaría paradójico a todas luces que a pocos meses de haberse celebrado el máximo evento auspiciado por la FAO, esta Organización adoptara un presupuesto menor del que exigen sus requerimientos. La Cumbre evidenció el gran reto y, a la vez, la gran oportunidad que tiene la FAO de contribuir de una manera activa a la solución de lo que constituye el más acuciante problema de la humanidad: el hambre.

Sin duda alguna, la alternativa de crecimiento positivo es la más conveniente para la Organización. Además de ser la mejor sustentada, es racional y políticamente la más aceptable, porque conduciría no sólo a fortalecer a la Organización sino también a que ésta alcance su cometido. Por ella nos pronunciamos.

Permítame, señor Presidente, hacer algunas observaciones de carácter más detallado sobre los documentos objeto de este debate. Primero, desearíamos que en la versión definitiva del texto que adopte la Conferencia, se reflejen cabalmente los planteamientos formulados por los Comités de Agricultura, Pesca, Montes y Seguridad Alimentaria, durante sus reuniones de este año, en particular aquellos subprogramas relativos al análisis de la seguridad alimentaria que se vinculen con el cumplimiento de la Cumbre Mundial.

Por otra parte, deseamos expresar nuestro apoyo a lo señalado en el párrafo 42 del documento principal, en el que se destaca la necesidad de que se mantengan las prioridades ya establecidas por la Organización, como es el caso de los recursos genéticos, la sanidad, la normalización, las estadísticas y la asistencia para la aplicación, entre otros, del Acuerdo de Procedimiento de Información y Consentimiento Previos así como de la Convención Internacional de Protección Fitosanitaria.

En relación a la sección 4 del documento, llama nuestra atención particularmente lo que se plantea sobre la evolución de los recursos extrapresupuestarios en el párrafo 70, en el que se señala que a partir de 1997 se prevé una recuperación gradual de fondos provenientes tanto de la FAO/PNUD como de Fondos Fiduciarios. Si bien esta evolución resulta alentadora para las actividades de la FAO, nos gustaría que la contabilización de dichos recursos mantuviera su naturaleza complementaria, de tal manera que con el Presupuesto Ordinario se financiaran las actividades centrales de la Organización.

A continuación quisiera enumerar algunas actividades o programas que representan para mi país un interés fundamental. En tal sentido deseo poner de relieve las acciones en el campo del desarrollo productivo de la agricultura y la ganadería y el desarrollo agroindustrial, a través de la adaptación de tecnologías adecuadas a diversos tipos de productores, incluyendo la micro y la pequeña industria. Otra área de gran interés la constituyen las formas de organización de las comunidades

rurales y los sistemas de extensión para la producción agropecuaria. El desarrollo de sistemas de datos estadísticos, la sanidad vegetal y la capacitación de recursos humanos son también esferas en las que a México le gustaría ver fortalecidas las acciones de la FAO.

En relación al Programa Principal 3.4, concerniente a las Representaciones de la FAO, consideramos que se deben mejorar la operatividad y normatividad de estas oficinas, tanto a nivel nacional como regional. Entendemos la importancia que las mismas tienen para el cumplimiento de los programas de la FAO, en especial de las acciones relativas al seguimiento de la Cumbre. Al proceso de reestructuración de la FAO debe corresponder un reforzamiento en la calidad de su vinculación con los países miembros así como la configuración de instrumentos programáticos y presupuestarios de las Representaciones a nivel de cada país.

Señor Presidente, no sería conveniente para esta Organización que se reeditase el debate ni las circunstancias de hace dos años, cuando prácticamente se dejó sin un programa a la FAO, cuando se aprobó un presupuesto inferior al que exigían sus actividades. Queremos que sean la razón y la voluntad política las que imperen en esta ocasión para alcanzar un acuerdo tendiende a que la FAO cumpla con el mandato que nosotros mismos le hemos encomendado y que la Cumbre revigorizó, sentando un compromiso político, que nadie debe olvidar en esta hora.

Mohammad MEJBAHUDDIN (Bangladesh): The World Food Summit had agreed unanimously to reduce the current number of undernourished people, currently estimated to be 840 million, to half by the year 2015. It naturally requires more active intervention by FAO in those poor countries to realize the Summit's objectives. In other words, it would require a positive growth of the budget level for the 1998-99 biennium. However, respecting the sentiments expressed by some member countries, our delegation would like to join most others in supporting at the minimum, a zero real growth option for the biennium. We believe that the level of operation, the budget level will not adversely affect the major programmes currently undertaken by FAO.

Our delegation would like to draw the attention of all the members to consider, seriously, the implications which the negative or zero nominal growth budget level will have for FAO's capacity to implement the recommendations of the various technical committees and the decisions of the World Food Summit.

We would like to say a few words on two programmes of FAO, TCP and the SPFS. TCP has been very useful in responding to the emergency needs of Member Nations. SPFS, currently at the experimental stage, has also shown some prospects. We urge that in the next biennia these two programmes will get the support and assistance as before. For the SPFS, before expanding two factors must be kept in mind: one is the prospects of replicability and two, the issues of access.

However, we also urge that continuous efforts should be made to explore further efficiency gains and also, explore areas of operation where joint efforts with other UN organizations can be undertaken by FAO.

Julio C. GOMES dos SANTOS (Brasil): Hace algunos años el Presidente Fidel Castro recomendaba a los países deudores del entonces Tercer Mundo, que no pagaran sus obligaciones con la banca internacional. La reacción fue tan grande que mereció una rueda de prensa en La Habana, cuando un periodista norteamericano le preguntó cual sería su reacción si siendo presidente de uno de estos bancos supiera que no le iban a pagar la deuda. A lo que él contestó: empezaría por tomar dos aspirinas. Yo pienso que en este momento, la FAO está propensa a tomar un frasco de aspirinas porque hay países que no pagan, países que no pagan y quieren cortar su presupuesto, países que quieren cortar su presupuesto y países que no pagan y además, quieren cortar su presupuesto.

Nuestra intención ahora no es comentar el documento presentado por la Dirección General, sino lo que está por detrás de todo eso, principalmente después de haber escuchado las declaraciones de fondo de delegados que ayer empezaron a hablar sobre el tema. No cabe la menor duda de que la razón misma de existir de este organismo, determina un consenso ineludible de que el hambre debe ser erradicada del mundo. El 50, el 70, el 20 por ciento en el 2015 no importa, lo que importa verdaderamente es el 100 por ciento, desde que el mundo es mundo.

El día en que lleguemos al 100 por ciento, la FAO quizá podrá dejar de existir y aquellos países miembros tan preocupados con el costo de su mantenimiento, podrán respirar aliviados con el ahorro que por cierto harán.

Exageración aparte, debemos, sin embargo, cuidar con mucha atención la manera con que de ahora en adelante el tema del hambre debe ser tratado en Naciones Unidas. Ante el riesgo de que podamos ser condenados por las generaciones futuras por nuestras acciones en este especial momento de transición en que vive el mundo.

La Organización, por cierto, pasa por transformaciones y, por lo que parece, refleja un estado de espíritu post-guerra fría que aflije principalmente las potencias que la han protagonizado. Entre las principales, una se dedica a la reorganización y restructuración de su propio estado; la otra a la reorganización y restructuración del orden mundial. Aparte otros cinco o nueve, restan cerca de un centenar de verdaderos huérfanos de la bipolarización.

A ese cuadro busca adaptarse Naciones Unidas sin, quizás, darse cuenta de que el camino sería el retorno al espíritu de Dumbarton Oaks, Bretton Woods y San Francisco, anteriores a la guerra fría. En el proceso de reordenamiento del orden mundial, con intereses identificables, no parece quedar duda de que el combate al hambre es un deber prioritario de todos los países miembros de la Organización. Y si es así, cabe a este organismo, foro supremo de discusiones sobre el tema, mantenerse activo y financiariamente bien apoyado para seguir con eficiencia su noble tarea.

Cuesta creer, por lo tanto, que en el contexto del reordenamiento mundial de la post-guerra fría se piense cortar el presupuesto de FAO o mantenerlo, eufemisticamente, a nivel cero de crecimiento concreto o nominal, cuando en plena paz del deshielo, los que ahora defienden esas medidas restrictivas al combate del hambre y por consecuencia a la miseria, a la desesperación y al caos -para usar las contundentes palabras de George Marshall cuando presentó hace cincuenta años su Plan de Reconstrucción Europea- aumentan su presupuesto para la financiación, por ejemplo, de la expansión de la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte.

Brasil es un país que padece aún de bolsones de miseria, pero el problema del hambre en su territorio es obra del gobierno que se arma con sus propios medios para garantizar a todos el acceso a la alimentación y debo decir que actualmente, con bastante éxito. Lo que sí más nos interesa son los temas aquí abordados para llegar al mismo objetivo, es decir biodiversidad, floresta, fito y zoogenética y desarrollo sostenible.

Sin embargo, siendo el séptimo mayor contribuyente financiero de la Organización, al día con sus obligaciones y como protagonista de asistencia técnica a países de bajos ingresos y deficiencia alimentaria, trabajará siempre para que FAO sea prestigiada y fortalecida. Su eventual erosión significaría el inicio de la erosión moral de Naciones Unidas y lo que tiene de constructivo, que es la sobrevivencia del hombre a través de la garantía del acceso a la alimentación en regiones donde la gente es menos favorecida.

Shahid RASHID (Pakistan): Even at the cost of repetition, we would like to recall the context in which we are required to consider the proposals for the Programme of Work and Budget for 1998-99.

The World Food Summit, in one respect, was the culmination of a long process, resulting in the consensus approval of a policy declaration and a plan of action for realizing the ultimate goal of universal food security. The World Food Summit, in another respect, is the beginning of a process. A process of imparting tangible shape to the vision of world leaders expressed, so clearly and unambiguously in favour of the hungry and the malnourished. FAO, as the host of the Summit, and as the leading agency for food and agriculture has a special responsibility to ensure that the solemn Commitments of the Summit do not fall by the wayside.

It is from this perspective that we would urge this Council to approach the proposals for FAO's Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. The fundamental question that we face is that of the budget level. Before even considering the budget level for the next biennium, let us remind ourselves that we had started the current biennium with a reduced budget level. In the normal course we would have expected, at least, a restoration of the level of the previous 1994-95 biennium. But, these have not been normal times, an extraordinary event occurred during this period which gave hope and promise to 800 million hungry and malnourished people. Therefore, it is only logical for us to expect that the budget for the next biennium should not only be restored at the level of the previous biennium but a sincere effort should be made to seek additional resources.

In other words, our expectation was that members, inspired and motivated by the Summit spirit, would agree to redress the situation arising from the cuts imposed while adjusting the current budget. We, therefore, fervently hope and urge that serious consideration be given to the adoption of the real growth scenario for the next biennium. Any signal to the contrary will only add to the cynicism of the hopeless millions.

The Chairman of the Group of 77 yesterday stated the position favouring the real growth option. We express support for this position which has the support of the majority of the membership. We are therefore happy to see the presentation of the real growth scenario for the consideration of the membership.

At the same time, we have noted that the Director-General, in all earnestness, has presented the main proposals in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget based on the zero real growth option. We appreciate the motivation behind these proposals and recognize that it is important for the membership to build consensus around an acceptable approach, so that the Organization can implement its programmes in a smooth manner. It is in this spirit that we are willing to consider, the zero real growth option as the minimum acceptable level for the budget of the next biennium.

As regards to provisions for cost increases, we are of the view that enough has been done already and we must be careful lest we erode the capacity of this Organization. However, we have full trust that the Secretariat will make the maximum efforts to contain the cost increases and absorb them to the extent possible, effect further savings and derive full benefit from favourable exchange rate fluctuations. A combination of these efforts should go a long way in limiting the additional burden, if any, on assessments of Member Nations.

As regards to the Programme of Work, we are content to observe that the Programme priorities not only reflect the mandated functions of the Organization but are also inspired by the commitments entered into at the Summit. The focus of the proposals for intensification of production and increasing investment in agriculture and rural areas, along with building institutional and human capacities is one which we support. The strengthening of the Special Programme for Food Security is a significant feature of the programme and we extend our full support for this initiative. The proposed budgetary allocation for SPFS of less than US$ 10 million is very meagre but we are reassured to note that the Director-General has taken serious initiatives to seek extra-budgetary support for this programme. We are certain that the mobilization of resources for the SPFS will allow an increasing number of eligible LIFDCs, in all regions, to benefit from these targeted interventions.

We are also happy to see that the resources of the TCP will be protected to the extent possible, and will be able to complement and support specific interventions in developing countries, according to the prescribed criteria. The SPFS and TCP, while remaining separate programmes, can be mutually supportive, operating in tandem and conjunction with each other to give the efforts of LIFDCs the boost necessary to seek solutions to the problems of food insecurity.

We also support and recognize the important role FAO plays in its normative activities in a variety of fields. In particular, we welcome its assistance to countries in the implementation and follow-up to the Uruguay Round Agreements. Normative activities which have a direct bearing on food security should be maintained and strengthened, so as to provide support and synergy to the operational activities. In this regard, we support a balanced approach while stressing that the guiding light should remain the goal of universal food security. We may add that, if due to any shortfall of resources, the balance between normative and operational activities is likely to be disturbed, the tilt should be in favour of and not away from operational activities.

I would conclude by, once again, appealing to the members to rise to the occasion to build the necessary momentum for not only creating an enabling environment, but also conditions for translating into concrete actions the commitments entered into by the world leadership quite recently here in Rome. Anything less will make a mockery of our pledges and will be an inexcusable breach of faith.

Adel Mahmoud ABOUL-NAGA (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): Mr Chairman, in the name of God, most merciful and passionate, I would like to begin by saying that I entirely agree with you, when you introduced this item and, in particular, with respect to the context in which this debate must take place.

In other words, we must reach a consensus on the budget figure for the next biennium, basing ourselves on the recommendations received from the Finance and Programme Committees. However, after having heard previous speakers, I see that we are going back to previous phases of the discussion at this time. We have begun to insist on certain positions which we, perhaps ingenuously, thought had been left behind.

Secondly, many of the statements made are centred upon - and this is only normal - the actual budget level, the actual amount, leaving to one side the Programme of Work and this could bring us into a similar situation to the one we had to live through in the last biennium. This is not something that we would like to repeat. We would like to reach an agreement on a specific budget level which will be enough to provide a proper budget, and not the contrary.

After this introduction, I would like to explain what the position of my country is in the matter. As you can imagine, we support the position explained by the Chairman of the Group of 77. In other words, we support the zero real-growth scenario, for several reasons. We feel, like many countries, that we must respect the recommendations made by various committees to the effect that we protect the financial resources for programmes like livestock, natural resources, forestry, fisheries, and technology and research.

The Programme of Work and Budget based on a zero nominal-growth scenario would entail a very significant cutback in several programmes. This would be awful because these are programmes that are very important for my country and for developing countries in general. So that is not an option.

We are speaking, as you can see, of the link between the budget level and the programmes that are financed by the budget. This is something that we must all bear in mind when debating the matter.

Moreover, I would like to say that I echo what was said by speakers who said that this was the first Programme of Work and Budget of the Organization after the holding of the World Food Summit.

Consequently, it is most important that the message that we send out from this hall to our populations and to poor communities be clear. Their hopes have been raised as a result of the Commitments subscribed to at the World Food Summit. There is no doubt that we need to be consistent with what we said and promised to these people then.

If I may, I would now like to refer more specifically to the Programme of Work and Budget. First of all, I would like to see reflected the recommendations of the Forestry, Fisheries and Agricultural Committees, and also the Committee on Commodity Problems, when drawing up the Programme of Work and Budget. Nor should resources for the Water Development Programme be reduced so that, as it is entering its first phase, a correct evaluation of this activity can be carried out.

Thirdly, because of the importance of the livestock programme for developing countries, in particular for the Near East and African Regions, we emphasize how important it is to have integration between the livestock production programme, animal health and animal genetic resources.

Fourthly, we want to stress the importance of the agricultural policy programmes for developing countries, particularly in order to be able to implement them under the World Trade Organization Agreement. Obviously, food production is terribly important and food security is important for developing countries. US$ 10 million have been set aside in the budget for this. I think it is the very least the Organization can offer these countries. Consequently, we are satisfied with the agreements signed by the Director-General with a number of international financial institutions in order to support this programme.

Fifthly, we are decidedly in favour of strengthening the special agricultural research programmes. We also insist on the important role played by the regional, sub-regional and country offices in our countries. We feel that these are the veins through which ties are established between the Organization's programmes and the beneficiaries thereof.

Finally, I would like to stress what a number of my colleagues have already said, to the effect that Member Nations must meet their obligations to pay their contributions. Furthermore, I am in favour of the programme for financing the medical services for staff and I do hope that this all will help us reach a consensus on the budget level at the end of this debate.

EL PRESIDENTE: Su intervención me permite recordarle al Consejo el propósito del ejercicio que estamos realizando aquí, que no puede ser el de reiterar sin más, las posiciones de principio que todos sabemos mantienen sus respectivas delegaciones.

Ya sabemos cuál es la conformación, es más, podría yo contar ahora de que manera se van a pronunciar ustedes por uno o por otro nivel presupuestario. El propósito de este ejercicio tiene que ser intentar acercarnos a un consenso, porque si no hacemos este ejercicio ahora, o en la Conferencia se repite algo parecido a lo de 1995 o, como yo creo que es más probable, muchos países no estarán dispuestos en esta ocasión a verse forzados a un consenso que no va a satisfacer a nadie. En ese caso, se tomará una decisión por la vía del voto mayoritario que no puede hacer otra cosa que hacerle daño a esta Organización.

Por eso yo creo que debemos acercar nuestras posiciones. Hemos tomado nota y todos sabemos la importancia de recomendar al Director General, de minimizar costos, encontrar más ahorros en caso de que esto sea factible. Seguramente hay áreas en donde se pueden realizar algunos ahorros, buscar sinergias, evitar duplicaciones, etc., pero también, hay cosas muy concretas sobre las cuales podemos nosotros pronunciarnos, como por ejemplo el efecto del tipo de cambio sobre el presupuesto, la necesidad de que el Director General proponga fórmulas para absorber el costo del Servicio Médico Post-Servicio que es muy abultado; estamos hablando quizá de una cifra intermedia entre 15 y 20 millones.

En fin, otras fórmulas que puedan permitir a la Organización y al Director General acercar los niveles presupuestarios en torno a los cuales la mayoría de ustedes se está pronunciando, es decir, el nivel de crecimiento real cero y el nivel de crecimiento nominal y, asimismo, identificar o reconfirmar, los criterios para el ejercicio de preparación del Programa de Labores conforme a las prioridades que se han establecido o si quieren ustedes a una repriorización de las prioridades.

Es importante confirmar estos criterios, que ustedes se pronuncien especialmente en torno a la recomendación de la reunión conjunta del Comité del Programa y de Finanzas, párrafo 1.16, si consideran que esta es la forma de proceder. Yo he escuchado aquí algunos delegados que lo han hecho, pero no todos y, creo que sí es importante que demos un paso adelante en ese sentido. Creo que todos ustedes están convencidos que, repetir las posiciones de principio aquí no va a llevar a nada y menos aún a facilitar el trabajo al Comité del Programa y de Finanzas en su reunión de septiembre.

Voy a continuar con la lista de oradores. Espero que ustedes nos ayuden en esta tendencia convergente hacia el consenso como primer ejercicio. Si no es posible el consenso hay otros mecanismos: el voto mayoritario en la Conferencia para resolver estas diferencias. Es lo menos deseable pero, es la última instancia y, desde luego, si alguna delegación desea hacer uso de la palabra de nuevo, se la concederé.

Andrew PEARSON (Australia): Australia was pleased with the progress in moving towards a decision on a budget level, which was made by the Programme and Finance Committees at a joint meeting in April. As noted in paragraph 1.16 of document CL 112/14, this involved three elements: development of a zero real-growth proposal, which we have heard from the Secretariat is likely to amount to US$ 692 million; secondly, continuing the search for further efficiency in other savings; and thirdly, developing clear options for zero nominal-growth and below, based on sound prioritization of FAO activities.

Australia feels that this framework provides the basis for Council further progressing discussion towards a consensus outcome. For Australia, a zero nominal-growth budget level would seem to encourage such a consensus. This budget level should be achievable without reducing FAO's capacity to deliver on key objectives. However, it will require rationalization of activities and programmes with the focus firmly on those of direct relevance to FAO's core areas. Australia would suggest that these core areas would include: one, support of sustainable development of natural resources; two, facilitation of agricultural trade, particularly through the setting of international standards; three, responsible management of fisheries and forestry; four, monitoring of progress on the implementation of World Food Summit outcomes; and five, continuing FAO's catalytic role in supporting Summit follow-up with all agencies in the UN system.

Australia recognizes that the establishment of priorities involves hard choices, but, as already highlighted by the Director-General in his opening statement to this Council, FAO is pursuing innovative approaches to its current challenges. A more radical rationalization of the FAO country representatives could be one such option, particularly given the decentralization to regional and sub-regional offices of FAO expertise and capacity-building.

On this point, Australia would note that the proposals in the current supplement to the Summary PWB fall short of such an innovative approach. The 110th Council session's criteria may well be insufficiently sensitive for such an exercise. However, the imposition of apparent across-the-board cuts succeeds only in impeding FAO's capability to effectively deliver across a broad front of activities.

Australia would suggest that this is far worse than developing an Organization which may be more narrowly focused but is able to continue to deliver on its core functions, including reduction of food insecurity, and enhance its reputation as a centre of international excellence.

A zero nominal-growth budget level will also certainly require close attention by the Secretariat on the search for further efficiency and other savings, including through greater administrative streamlining, governance reforms and operational improvements. The widely-proposed alternative to zero nominal-growth, that is the option of a budget level of zero real-growth - which is some US$42 million above the current level - seems not to reflect the financial realities faced by many Members. This Council has already witnessed the unfortunate withdrawal of Members for whom the burden of meeting set contributions has become too onerous. While an increased budget level for the 1998-99 biennium may theoretically provide more resources, its practical result is to increase financial pressures on all Members. Growing arrears will not help FAO to deliver satisfactory outcomes.

Also, uncertain levels of Member contributions are more likely to promote a financially prudent approach by FAO, with underspending on even its core functions.

Australia would, therefore, urge agreement by Members to a zero nominal-growth budget level. Secretariat identification and quantification of further efficiency and process savings, and an innovative approach to prioritization of FAO activities and programmes, should be provided to support this.

M.B. MOLOPE (South Africa): The South African delegation has the following comments to make about the Summary of Work and Budget for 1998-99, dealt with in the six related documents ably prepared by the Secretariat.

The new budget format and the new programme model used on a trial basis are welcomed. We look forward to benefitting from their wider applications in the full Programme of Work and Budget.

As far as the Summary Programme of Work and Budget is concerned, our delegation has examined the various options presented by the Director-General and wishes to align ourselves with the Gil and Africa in supporting the real-growth option outlined in the document CL 112/3-Sup. 1.

This option has been chosen for a number of reasons, including the following:

We consider that the programme and activities included in the real-growth scenario have been thoroughly examined during the course of the programming and budgeting process, and represent the minimum that FAO should be doing to fulfil its mandate which was reconfirmed and refocused by the World Food Summit. Reductions in the FAO budget, particularly during the last two biennia, have been largely absorbed by efficiency savings. Further reductions now will cut into major programmes, thereby negatively affecting output, to the detriment of developing countries.

To illustrate this point, we wish to join Iran in pointing out how reductions have already seriously impaired FAO's capacity to deal with livestock and related issues, which are of fundamental importance to economic development and food security in Africa.

Progressive budget reductions, without an indication of when these may end, are likely to worsen the already low morale and hence output of FAO staff. Excessive fiscal pressure at this stage is likely to have more negative than positive effects on the Organization. As pointed out by others, budgetary reductions would send the wrong signals to the public and private investors in agricultural and rural development. It is time to provide a positive message to FAO's staff, developing countries, governments and the international agricultural community.

In the same way as it may be inappropriate to compare FAO's financial position with that of other UN agencies, it is also unrealistic to equate FAO with national ministries when arguing for budget reductions. National ministries are easier to change and manage than international development

agencies such as FAO. They also perform different, less complicated functions than international organizations.

Our delegation believes that FAO needs time to consolidate and rebuild momentum after the on going reforms and reductions it has experienced over the past years. Time is needed for the anticipated benefits of decentralization and other reforms to materialize.

This call to enable FAO to remarshall itself does not exclude the need to continue searching for on going savings through improved effectiveness and efficiency. Indeed, yesterday's debate on the Programme Evaluation Report and Medium-Term Plan indicated the need to re-examine FAO's process of strategic planning, programming and budgeting.

Possible new directions, new coalitions, greater synergy and savings born out of such a well thought through process would surely be more rational and durable than relatively arbitrary and hasty amputation of resources now. We should be better equipped in one or two years' time to objectively identify if and how FAO can do more with less; we believe this is the goal of all Members.

Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, the latest wisdom provided by development experts teaches us that development strategies based on participatory processes, economic openness and market liberalization yield the best results, but this approach presupposes the existence from the beginning of a level playing field for all stakeholders, including weaker nations. By empowering poorer nations to compete in the market place, FAO can help redress imbalances and restrain the discriminatory use of market forces by entrenched interests. Increased liberalization of global economy thus makes the role of development aid, and of FAO, more important, not less.

Those who subscribe to market liberalization should thus not be contemplating a reduction in FAO's budget at precisely the time when change in developing countries provides an unprecedented opportunity for effective assistance.

Jorgen Skovgaard NIELSEN (Denmark): First of all, I would like to refer to the intervention already made on this item by the EU Presidency. The World Food Summit helped to draw global attention to the immense challenges that food security for all poses to the international community. At the Summit, we agreed that the follow-up of the Plan of Action, first of all, is the responsibility of the Governments themselves. Still the multi-lateral organizations would have to play a major role in assisting the governments in their aspirations to reach the goals of the Summit.

FAO is important in the work carried out by the UN system in sustainable development, food, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development. The proposed Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1998-99 is submitted partly as a response to the Plan of Action from the Summit. The Plan compels FAO, within the framework of the ad hoc interagency task forces on the follow-up of the UN Conferences, to focus on the follow-up of those activities that falls within this mandate. While studying the Programme of Work and Budget we have, especially, been eager to learn how FAO will cooperate and coordinate with other organizations.

Regarding the proposed Programme of Work and Budget itself, I would like to start by thanking the Secretariat for a clear introduction. We welcome the integration of support cost resources and other income in the budget. It is high time that these important posts are included and better reflect the real administrative costs in the Organization. We would, however, also have appreciated a clear explanation of the inter-relationship between the regular budget and extra-budgetary funded activities. This is an important issue, because there needs to be synergy between normative and operational activities.

As stated by the EU Presidency, we do not agree with the view of the Secretariat that the normative work should primarily support operational activities. Rather, we believe operational activities should strengthen the normative work by giving precision and content to the normative activities. This means that operational activities should serve to develop methodologies, as well as vanguard and model activities. It should be ensured that operational activities include those funded by extra-budgetary means, support and strengthen the normative work.

Another general point I would like to raise, is the need for clearer priorities and feedback on the listed activities. We would welcome some comments on lessons learnt for programme evaluation. Thus, we would better understand reorientation and priorities in the document. There will, no doubt, be some variation in the success of the different activities.

We also believe, as pointed out by other delegates, that when we are to make priorities, it is imperative to have access to the current expenditure on the different activities.

I would like to call for realism from all on the budget level. FAO as other UN bodies, has for several years been facing a difficult financial situation. The Member Nations of FAO have the responsibility to reach consensus on the budget. It is the responsibility of the Secretariat to assist the Members in this task through clear priorities in the workplan.

Regarding priorities, we also examined the document CL 112/3-Sup. 1, with alternative scenarios to the PWB. We were surprised to find in reviewing the zero nominal growth scenario, that it is proposed to make the most severe cuts in the substantive work of the Technical and Economic Programmes and in the bodies where Member Nations can influence the decision-making process.

We are aware of the problems in the food and agriculture sector. Still, the severe budget restrictions, in many countries, make it obvious that there is a lack of ability and will to maintain or increase the budget level. Priorities must be made, and a main criteria for setting priorities should be the agreements reached by the international community through conventions, conferences and summits from UNCED to the WFS.

It is regrettable that many Member Nations are not respecting their obligations to pay their assessed contributions. We should not forget our speeches at the World Food Summit.

We agree on the rationale of the process of decentralization, but it should be remembered that decentralization also has its costs. There is a danger of creating units that do not have the necessary minimum-mass expertise to carry out the normative and operational tasks, as well as a risk that the Headquarters no longer can fulfil its role as a global centre of excellence in the FAO mandated area. We also need to look more at the relationship between invested resources and impact. Substantive and competent regional and sub-regional multidisciplinary teams make up the vehicle of the decentralization of FAO. The many country representatives do not.

Decentralization to the region has further reduced the need for expensive units at country level. If the critical mass is too small, you could either add resources, as suggested yesterday by Mr Wade, or you could close down the activity. Savings from reductions in representation could be used for operational activities in the field in support of FAO's normative work.

Turning to the details, and our priorities in the work programme and budget, I would like to comment on the important tasks FAO has so far undertaken in relation to biodiversity and plant genetic resources. This is a core, normative activity for FAO. Last year, we had the Technical Conference in Leipzig. The Global Plan of Action was adopted, and may become an extremely important instrument in maintaining the diversity of plant genetic resources.

We therefore believe that much higher priority should be given to the further work of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

We strongly recommend that an Extraordinary Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture should be held, as soon as possible, and preferable this autumn, to rapidly progress negotiations on the International Undertaking. The activities in the field of genetic resources should be financed from the regular budget.

We also strongly recommend that sessions be held in 1998, of technical groups on animal genetic resources to develop a global plan of action in this important area. FAO should also actively promote the implementation of the Leipzig Global Plan of Action.

We appreciate the new approach to Programme 2.1.1 on Natural Resources. We believe that the new format makes it easier to identify outputs and evaluate results. This approach should be extended. We believe that FAO must continue to fully integrate environmental concerns in all the activities of the Organization. A strengthening of this work is necessary, in order to follow-up the World Food Summit Plan of Action.

The Medium-Term Plan recognizes the crucial role of water, but this is not reflected in the PWB. We must develop cooperation among all governments to establish a better understanding of the nature and value of scarce water resources. We trust FAO will assist the international community when this issue is taken up, as scheduled in the Committee for Sustainable Development next year.

We find it difficult to understand why gender issues are only mentioned in relation to contributions to sustainable development and in combination with population issues. In many societies, women are the main producers of food and the main providers of meals and nutritional information. Any strategy for improvement in food security will, therefore, have to take women's needs as a point of departure. This is an aspect that could be strengthened and integrated into all FAO activities. We will follow, with interest, the reallocation of the sub-programme on Peoples' Participation.

We do not find that a decreased support to nutrition is in line with the Plan of Action from the World Food Summit.

Some funds seem to have been transferred to FIVIMS for which the Plan of Action encourages relevant agencies, within the UN System to initiate consultations on the further elaboration and definition of a food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system to be developed in a coordinated manner and to cover all factors relevant to the basic causes of food insecurity. The Plan further states that FAO should play a catalytic role in this effort, within the framework of the ad hoc interagency task forces on the follow-up of the UN conferences. We hope the Secretariat of FAO understands the necessity to act as a catalyst in this process and not as an executor. It is clear that FIVIMS should start by building on existing data and work already done. FIVIMS must be seen as an analytic tool, not as a goal. There must be a clear idea about the end-use of FIVIMS and it must be demand-driven. We would like to receive more information on the collaboration with other institutions and agencies on this work.

Concerning fisheries, we strongly support the priority on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture. We find the Code important in setting out principles for globally acceptable practices.

To facilitate for a report on the follow-up of the Code of Conduct, which must be finalized for the first CSD Ocean Session scheduled for 1999, FAO should prepare a reporting format. The regional fisheries organizations are the cornerstones of the new multilateral system for fisheries management and the FAO has a central role to play in order to enhance their ability to perform the tasks given by the Code and the UN Straddling Stocks agreement.

We endorse the shift in approach given to forestry as a follow-up of the Summit and UNCED, and in support of the intergovernmental panel on forests established by the CSD. The overall budget is the same, but we believe FAO has managed the task of giving priority to what is central to the organizations mandate.

Further, we agree on the priority given to normative activities related to the World Trade Organization. FAO should continue to monitor effects of international trade liberation.

We do not however, understand the emphasis made on high potential areas in Sub-programme The Plan of Action from the Summit, clearly states that it is important to also concentrate on low potential areas. The question of marginal areas must be seen in this context of the need of food security at household level. Food security at household and local levels, must be stressed as much as food security at national and global levels.

Regarding the follow-up to the Summit, we miss emphasis, first and foremost, on the basic causes of poverty which is the main reason for food insecurity. We also miss emphasis on other themes at the Summit, for example, low potential areas, nutrition, gender equality, redistribution and land reform, we would like to see the need for land reform, as well as equal and equitable access to resources, reflected in the priorities.

If we are to implement the programme of action of the World Food Summit, it is imperative to focus on improved cooperation and coordination between multilateral organizations. We would, therefore, welcome information on how the proposed programme of work will increase the coordination and how the activities proposed in the PWB relate to other organizations' work. I would like to point out that consultation is only the first step to real cooperation and coordination.

The United Nations, as a whole, is facing new challenges and is entrusted with an enlarged range of activities, while at the same time experiencing a deep financial crisis. In response to this situation a number of proposals to reform the UN system are being discussed. These discussions cannot pass Rome unnoticed, since reforms will influence the whole UN system including the Specialised Agencies.

By finalizing, I would say that this statement has been prepared in consultation with like-minded countries around, or across the Nordic border of the EU, that is Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

EL PRESIDENTE: Hemos tomado nota que usted ha hablado en nombre de un grupo de países. Distinguidos delegados, nos faltan todavía 19 oradores: al ritmo que vamos no va a ser ni siquiera suficiente la interpretación que tenemos hasta las 20.00 horas. Yo les pido que recorten en la medida de lo posible su intervención, podrían entregar el texto completo de la misma a la Secretaría, el cual se reproducirá en las Actas de Verbatim, y que desde luego la Secretaría lo consultará y lo tomará en cuenta para la preparación del Informe de este Consejo.

Entonces les pido que la parte detallada de sus intervenciones la presenten por escrito a la Secretaría. De esta manera podríamos agilizar el debate.

J.C. MACHIN (United Kingdom): I will try and follow your guidance as always. The United Kingdom now has a new Government. This Government is fully committed to international development and to poverty elimination including the goal of halving poverty, hunger and malnutrition by the year 2015.

Let me also underline, my Government's clear wish to see more effective UN institutions contributing to the goal of poverty elimination. This is our objective in FAO, and throughout the United Nations system. We also attach the highest priority to building new alliances for change in

the UN. In particular, my Government wants to work closely with all our developing country partners in order to secure change, which enables us to reach the ultimate goal of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Perhaps I can just say that we believe that the UN process of change should not simply be about cost cutting or reform for reform's sake, it is essentially about a shared partnership to enable the United Nations agencies to focus on what they do best in the fight against poverty.

In FAO, as elsewhere, this means ensuring the concentration on some key operational principles. There are a number of these but let me summarize as I go along.

Greater prioritization in areas of comparative advantage. Much has been done on this in FAO but we believe more is required: a concentration on normative functions in key services to developing countries.

FAO's leadership in these areas could be further exploited. Further reducing Headquarters and administrative costs: there is always scope in any organization for doing more and enhancing the drive for greater efficiency.

Reducing FAO's representational infrastructure, which at US$ 65 million, is of the same order of magnitude as the estimated cost of FAO's combined fisheries and forestry regular programme allocations.

Wider UN reform, as others have mentioned, offers an important cost-saving opportunity for the use of common premises and shared support service in country. FAO could exploit this opportunity. And this, incidentally, raises an important point, my delegation reiterates throughout our interventions about the importance of choices and the opportunity-costs of FAO's resources, a final operational principle which we believe should be instituted as a continuing efficiency programme which has measurable and time-bound targets.

Of course, the key issue on which you have sought our guidance is budgetary policy and management and in the current financial climate budgeting discipline, prioritization and better focus are crucial, as The Netherlands, on behalf of the EU and its Member States said in its intervention earlier this morning.

The trends internationally are clear. The voluntary-funded UN agencies, for example, are reprioritizing, exercising budgetary discipline and, as the US noted in its statement yesterday, UNDP has introduced an innovative planning cycle which could be usefully adopted in other agencies.

In the specialized agencies, we have also had the recent example of the budgetary discussion in the World Health Organization: the WHO, a package, comprising a ZNG budget policy. A 3 percent efficiency-savings target and importantly a resource shift from administration to programme delivery was agreed. And agreed, of course, by many of the governments sitting in this Council.

FAO's Summary Programme of Work and Budget sets out, as we know, three budgetary options. We will continue to look at these options very carefully in the months ahead. However, it now seems to becoming increasingly clear, as others have said, that if FAO were to refocus its priorities, secure further efficiency-savings, and concentrate on the quality as opposed to the quantity of its programme, it would be possible in our view to manage resources effectively within a ZNG scenario and without cutting support for its programme countries. We would be grateful if the Secretariat could elaborate that scenario between now and September, taking into account some of the concerns I will mention briefly in this intervention.

I would first appreciate from the Secretariat clarification on the issue of cost increases. Mr Wade, yesterday, helpfully outlined some proposed adjustments to inflation and exchange rate projections to bring them into line with current forecasts. The figure on page 33 of the Summary Programme of Work and Budget provides, in our view, a very useful overview of the effect of exchange rate on the budget. It would be very helpful if he could produce a similar figure or table, whatever is convenient, showing the effect of different inflation rates on the budget. It is, of course, obvious but needs saying, that FAO cannot do everything. It must further reprioritize and refocus its resources within its mandate and areas of key comparative advantage, in order to meet the key goal of the top priority needs of its programme countries. As the UN Secretary-General himself has emphasized, reduction in administrative costs and the elimination of waste and duplication, can only benefit programmes for the recipients.

Let me now offer some comments, as we see them, on how the ZNG proposals might impact on the main areas of FAO's Programme of Work. In the proposed modifications to the programme of work of ZNG, the technical and economic programmes carry the greatest burden of cuts. The administrative programmes, on the other hand, are relatively protected. The justification in paragraphs 44 and 45 of the paper, in our view, is unconvincing and we do raise the question as to why the reductions required by a ZNG budget should fall on the technical and economic programmes which generate the major outputs of FAO's work but already attract significantly less than half of its budget.

Secondly, the benefits of leaner and more efficient work programmes are becoming evident and we welcome this. The forestry and fishery programmes, for example, have prioritized their activities toward most significant and demand-led problems. As I say, we very much appreciate these trends. We also endorse the intention to protect in relative terms the budgets of these, the smallest but, by no means the least important, technical programmes of FAO. We do so in recognition of the increasing demands on those departments from the international policy processes currently under way, at the CSD and elsewhere. Perhaps, I could just add here that, following the very valuable discussion we had yesterday on the Medium-Term Plan and the further important work that Council agreed is required on the Plan. It seems to us that very serious consideration should be given to some strengthening of that function in FAO.

As said, the working paper proposes reductions in programme activities. However, these proposals do not reflect the low priority activities which are identified at COFI and COFO. The cuts in our view seem to be institutionally-driven rather than demand-led. The recommendations of the membership made in these technical committees should be more explicitly addressed in the Secretariats proposals for reordering priorities.

I have to say here, that we do have some rather serious concerns over the proposed reductions in support to information management in Programme 2.2. Information Management is an essential function of FAO and strengthened national systems, a crucial part of this. Work linking information management, on the one hand and policy development on the other, is at the core of FAO's comparative advantage and we feel should be fully protected in all technical and economic programmes.

FAO must also relegate to lower priority those activities, be they operational or administrative. This will require greater attention to the all important area noted of evaluation of successes and failures and greater focus on reporting achievements and impact, rather than simply on activities and intentions. The reduction in allocation to Programme 1.2.2 which supports evaluations among other things, is not the most encouraging signal that FAO has actually recognized the need for a more analytical approach to priority setting.

I attempted to set out our main concerns in this foreshortened intervention but I must mention the wider issue that the UN is at a crossroads with major changes being proposed by the Secretary-

General. His so-called track-one reform proposals, already, go a long way toward the introduction of a more effective UN organizational structure practices and procedures. His major track-two reforms, due this summer, are likely to recommend further important and broader changes to the way the UN is organized, particulary at field level. Whether it is rationalizing, revitalizing or restructuring, we believe that Mr Annan's ideas are timely and should be embraced. Not to do so would miss a crucial opportunity.

Indeed the Secretary-General himself is a very powerful advocate of the search for efficiencies for budget restraint and for employment of best practice, in order to maximize the value and the effectiveness of scarce resources. It is relevant to recall here that the Secretary-General sent a letter, dated the 17th March, to all Heads of Agencies, in which he made the following statement on the UN's 1998-99 budget, and I quote: "Assuming the continuation of present inflation and exchange rates, my goal is for the United Nations to achieve a negative nominal growth budget for the biennium 1998-99".

Change always creates some concern but we all share the goal of ending poverty and malnutrition. We should not fail to respond to the Secretary-General's agenda. We trust that FAO will follow Mr Annan's example.

Let me conclude, briefly, by saying, that in our view, Council's deliberations on the Programme of Work and Budget have taken us further along the road to a final decision at Conference. As always it will require FAO to make choices and, as I have said, we believe that with a new approach, it should be possible for FAO to reorient its operations and the way it manages its resources within existing levels. Between now and the general Conference, we would like to see the Secretariat, include options for implementing such an approach in the further proposals it will be submitting to the Membership for our consideration in September. We can then take a final decision in a way which we fervently hope will secure a solution reached at Conference by consensus.

EL PRESIDENTE: Distinguido Representante del Reino Unido, desde luego yo creo que este Consejo y toda la FAO debe dar la bienvenida al tipo de cambios, de reformas, de restructuración que están ocurriendo en Naciones Unidas y en otras de sus agencias, entre otras razones, porque la FAO ha venido dando pasos antes que éstas en este sentido y, nos encontramos en una etapa muy avanzada de esas reformas y de esos recortes, de manera que el que nos alcancen en este proceso creo que es digno de elogio y, desde luego, habiendo puesto el ejemplo, no podemos hacer otra cosa sino mantenerlo.

Nasreddine RIMOUCHE (Algérie): D'abord, je voudrais dire que nous adhérons à la Déclaration du Président du Groupe des 77 et nous allons nous abstenir de répéter le contenu de sa déclaration. Donc, mon propos porte sur deux termes: le sommaire du Programme et le niveau du budget proposé d'une part et sur les priorités requises dans ce Programme de travail de l'autre.

La Délégation algérienne appuie le contenu du sommaire du Programme de travail et budget ainsi qu'un niveau de budget se situant au minimum à une croissance réelle zéro. Le Directeur général a fait un exercice appréciable pour contenir les exigences contradictoires. Cependant, nous rappelons aujourd'hui la position des pays en développement exprimée lors de la dernière Conférence sur la réduction opérée au niveau du budget qui ne doit pas pour autant constituer un précédent à répéter et ne doit pas être considérée comme une coutume. Quant à la réduction du niveau du budget soutenue par certains pays développés qui font valoir que cette attitude est le reflet de leur politique interne et qui a été exprimée au cours de plusieurs réunions, elle mérite une réponse très brève en deux points: d'abord, beaucoup de pays en développement ont en effet engagé des réformes de structure qui n'ont pas, malgré tout, débouché sur une évolution négative de leur attitude envers les organisations internationales. Ensuite, si ces politiques d'austérité sont perçues comme une sorte de fatalité de la conjoncture internationale actuelle, il faut faire observer que si la reprise est en cours dans certains pays développés, elle demeure inexistante dans la majorité des pays en développement.

Beaucoup de ces pays subissent de surcroît, dans des conditions très dures, le poids des ajustements imposés par les créanciers, par les voies bilatérales ou multilatérales. Malgré cela aussi, l'attitude des pays en développement demeure très positive. C'est pourquoi ma délégation refuse une réduction d'entrée en jeux et prend un niveau de budget réaliste qui permettrait à l'Organisation de remplir sa mission et d'exécuter tous les programmes nécessaires et faire face à de graves problèmes de faim, de malnutrition et de développement d'un secteur vital pour les pays en développement qui requiert pourtant des moyens importants notamment pour concrétiser les engagements du Sommet.

Concernant le deuxième thème, à savoir les priorités et le choix du Programme de travail et budget, celui-ci rencontre dans l'ensemble notre adhésion telle que contenue dans le sommaire et nous nous associons à ceux qui ont rappelé l'importance des recommandations du COFO, du COFI et du COAG sur les programmes prioritaires. Nous partageons aussi l'avis exprimé par le Directeur général dans son introduction au paragraphe 2 quant à la nécessité d'éviter que ne se répète l'erreur commise lors de la dernière Conférence où un montant budgétaire avait été approuvé sans préciser son contenu. Nous approuvons aussi la proposition visant à regrouper plusieurs activités dans le Programme 2.5.1 élargi et traitant de la recherche, gestion des ressources naturelles et transfert de technologies et qui vise à renforcer les capacités dans les Etats Membres.

Concernant le Chapitre PCT, ma délégation apprécie le maintien d'un même niveau et souhaite qu'il ne faudrait pas hésiter à agir afin de renforcer ce Programme. Nous avons relevé avec satisfaction les efforts faits par le Secrétariat en vue de faire des économies, en réduisant les allocations afférentes au domaine de la politique, direction et planification ainsi qu'aux charges communes et, d'autre part, son souci de privilégier les programmes économique et technique, et nous nous associons à la proposition faite par le délégué de l'Egypte visant à couvrir les soins de santé des retraités après cessation d'un paiement par les arriérés de contribution.

Il est également nécessaire d'engager une révision à la hausse des allocations en direction du Codex Alimentarius. Nous relevons aussi que les activités de lutte contre les ravageurs notamment du criquet pèlerin dans le cadre d'EMPRES sont un parent pauvre dans cette liste et qu'elles ont bénéficié d'une allocation très faible puisque le Sous-Programme - Protection des cultures -a fait l'objet de réduction sachant qu'EMPRES qui est également un programme spécial n'a pas connu de renforcement et nous demandons au Secrétariat de prendre en compte cet aspect là lors de l'élaboration du Programme de travail et budget.

S'agissant des propositions de réduction des coûts, les représentations et le membre de représentation dans les pays ne sont pas disposés à l'accepter car elle constitue pour nous une contradiction avec les politiques de décentralisation engagées par la FAO.

Enfin, je tiens à exprimer mon appréciation à M. Bommer et à vous-même Monsieur le Président, pour les précieux apports que vous avez engagés afin de permettre l'examen de ce point de l'ordre du jour.

Aidan O'DRISCOLL (Ireland): Firstly, I would like to associate Ireland with the statement made by The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States. I have tried to reduce the length of our intervention in line with your remarks. I hope I remain coherent.

In considering the Programme of Work and Budget the key issue with which we should be concerned is "value for money." "Value for money" depends crucially on two key elements: firstly, on the intrinsic usefulness and relevance of the work undertaken; and secondly, on the efficiency with which the work is done.

Taking the second point first, we believe that there is considerable scope in the Organization for further efficiency savings. The EU Presidency has already instanced the issue of reducing the

number of FAO Representative Offices and other delegates have also referred to this. We believe that scope also exists for the reduction for internal bureaucracy in the Organization which would deliver double benefits by reducing costs and freeing staff resources for more productive work. A route and branch review of work processes and procedures is required to achieve these benefits.

Another area where savings should be made, is through the reduction in the number and length of meetings. And here, we accept that it is we, the delegates, who must lead the way.

Turning, however, to the main item of my intervention, which is the first element of "value for money" that I mentioned; that is the usefulness and relevance of the work undertaken. We believe that the general principles identified by the 110th Council session and set out in paragraph 35 of the Programme of Work and Budget, provide a very useful guide on this issue. These principles suggest that the work of the Organization should, firstly, seek synergies between its primary normative role and its operational activities; secondly, should be useful to a broad segment of members; thirdly, should avoid duplication internally and externally; and fourthly, should have clear objectives and evaluated performance.

These are sound principles on which, I hope, we can all agree. Unfortunately, we do not detect any such focus in the Programme of Work and Budget or in the supplementary document.

The question we need to address, perhaps, is how these principles can be implemented and practised. In this regard, I would like to recall our statement on the Medium-Term Plan yesterday, when we called for a strategic approach to the management of FAO's work.

The principles identified by the 110th Council session will only be implemented if a process is put in place in which: firstly, the Organization's objectives and priorities are clearly identified; secondly, each and every activity in appraised against those objectives; and thirdly, subsequent performance is evaluated.

We would wish to see a situation in which a "value for money" culture is created in FAO, so that every activity is questioned in terms of the usefulness of its outputs. In this regard we welcome the initiative in relation to Programme 2.1.1, where the first steps in this direction are being taken through the specification of objectives and intended outputs.

There is a danger that in process of seeking savings, where objectives are unclear or unspecified, unnecessary damage will be done to the capacity of the Organization to undertake its core functions. For example, we have previously expressed, our concern about the running down of expertise in meat and dairy work. Other delegates have already refereed to this issue.

We are obviously, therefore, very concerned at the proposals to effectively eliminate this area of expertise in the context of the zero-nominal growth scenario. We do not believe such a reduction is justified or necessary, even in the context of severe budget restraint. If it is implemented, it will effectively destroy FAO's capacity to undertake normative work and livestock development, which integrates production issues with upstream and downstream issues. This integration was identified as a basic element in the new agricultural model outlined in the Medium-Term Plan.

Chairman, we are aware that this is simply one example of the way in which the proposed cuts concentrate wrongly, in our view, on the technical and economic programmes of the Organization.

I would like to just summarize the three main points I am trying to make here, in order to shorten my intervention: firstly, we believe that further significant efficiency savings are possible and that this is where cost reduction should be concentrated; secondly, we believe that the activities of the Organization, both within and across programmes, should be carefully assessed to identify how their outputs contribute to the objectives of the Organization, but first, those objectives have to be

articulated; thirdly, we believe that FAO should carefully consider the core skills it requires, in order to fulfil those objectives and it should protect those skills in the budget restraint process.

Finally, with regard to the decision on the budget level, we believe, for the reasons we have just stated, that further work on the various budget options is required, especially with regard to the identification of efficiency savings. We, therefore, support the recommendation of the Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees in April of this year, as set out in paragraph 116 of their Report.

Gerd MASSMANN (Germany): My delegation's position is fully in line with what has been said by The Netherlands in their capacity as EU Council Presidency.

I am taking the floor to stress some points that are of particular importance to my delegation.

Having listened to some other delegations, who advocated the relative or absolute increase of funds for FAO's Technical Cooperation activities, I am wondering whether those delegations really do consider FAO a development assistance organization. The answer, from my Government's point of view, is clearly "no."

There are a number of other organizations in the UN system that have been set up for development assistance. This is why, we insist on limiting FAO's expenditure, for technical cooperation, to activities necessary for ensuring FAO's role as a centre of excellence and to areas where there is no relevant expertise at some other places in the UN system.

A number of delegation are requesting an increase of FAO's budget on the grounds that the World Food Summit has set certain goals to be achieved by 2015. Frankly, I fail to see the logical link between those two points. I may remind you that the EU is, by far, the biggest donor of development assistance, including a sizeable share of funds for food security related projects. I am not sure as to whether an increase in FAO's budget would automatically serve the same purpose. Those who request an increase of funds for combatting poverty and hunger should feel free to augment their contribution. They should, however, be careful when asking for a budgetary increase at the expense of others.

Another point, is the format of the documents. One remark in this respect, the format of document CL 112/3 and CL 112/3-Sup. 1 is, in general, clear and user friendly. However, in document CL 122/3 there is often a repetition in describing Sub-programmes. First, in the introductory part of the respective Programme, where the Programme, itself, should only be briefly presented and then under the Sub-programme. This practice is confusing and should be omitted in future.

Mr Chairman, let me now make a few specific remarks regarding the Summary Programme of Work. I will follow the sequence of paragraphs. Paragraph 81 to 85; the measures underway to attain additional efficiency savings by improving work processes and procedures should be continued; quantifiable effects could be reached by streamlining the hitherto, rather lengthy staff recruitment procedures.

Paragraph 110; the ongoing efforts to save resources by improved programming of meetings, for example, number, duration and more rational techniques are welcomed.

Has the Secretariat, already, concrete plans about video conferences? In view of the varying conditions in Member Nations the combination of conventional and video arrangements might be appropriate, also the use of facilities in regional, sub-regional and large country offices.

Paragraph 118, Sub-programme; FAO coordination and cooperation with other organizations of the UN system is to be reinforced. More details regarding the work of the Special

Advisor to the DG and the work unit under him are necessary for an appropriate assessment of the need for such a unit.

As to Sub-programme, crop protection. Provision must be made for the follow-up to the revised International Plant Protection Convention, as this activity constitutes a major normative task of the Organization.

Paragraph 165; the move towards a more inter-disciplinary and coherent production systems approach for the livestock sub-programmes, can be supported. Important aspects, such as stability of water supplies, forest conservation, herd management and reproductive health should be taken into due account.

Paragraph 171, Sub-programme; concerning domestic animal genetic diversity, will have to rely, mainly, on the Member Nations own contributions with FAO coordinating them.

The concept of effective utilization of farm animal breeds conserved should be applied to maximum extent, however, this will not be feasible for all the breeds identified because of economic constraints.

Paragraph 218 and 226, there might be duplications under Sub-programmes Food Information and Earlier Warning Systems and, Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information Mapping Systems. Due to evidence, synergies between both, resources could be saved under these activities.

Finally, paragraph 284; the close relationship established between programme 241: Forest Resources, and the WFS objectives, does not appear to be appropriate. The effects of sustainable forest resources management have to be seen in a much wider context than food security alone.

Ms Kajonwan ITHARATTANA (Thailand): The Summary Report of the Programme of Work and Budget for 1998-99 has been deliberated by the previous speakers in great detail. A number of reasons have also been given with regard to the budget level for 1998-99 by a group of countries and individual Members of the Council, therefore I will limit my comments.

Thailand supports the zero real-growth option for the FAO budget level in the next biennium. At the same time we urge FAO to continue the search for further efficiency and other savings. In this connection, FAO may need to review the roles of FAO country representatives in relation to the ^ decentralized policy to the FAO Regional and Sub-regional Offices.

Various scenarios on the FAO budget level for 1998-99 have been suggested. I do not think that we can reach consensus on a particular scenario, therefore it might be wise if we could eliminate some scenarios. The remaining ones will be appended for further negotiation.

In closing, whatever option we all agree, it is very necessary for all Member Nations to pay their contribution to FAO on time in order to keep the Organization moving forward.

B. SAND AMU (Zimbabwe): I will try to be brief. A lot has already been said by delegations before me and they have done this very adequately and eloquately. However, my delegation would like to support the statement made by the Chairman of the G77, the distinguished delegate from the Philippines, by reiterating that the FAO Programme of Work and Budget should be sufficiently funded to enable FAO to fulfil its role in promoting world food security.

We are in agreement with the Director-General that the zero real-growth proposals would at least ensure the continuation of priority activities. Our position remains as it was in the last biennium that

any reduction in the Programme of Work and Budget should not be at the expense of programmes which are generally targeted to benefit the poor.

The World Food Summit brought together Heads and Representatives of governments, as well as various other institutions from around the world, to make a commitment to eradicate hunger and to reduce the number of undernourished people to less than half the present level by 2015. Most of these people live in developing countries and the lack resources to improve their lot. The flow of external technical agricultural assistance in which FAO, amongst other institutions and countries, participates is critical in the fight against hunger. If these levels of external technical support can be sustained, we could go a long way in addressing the continuing problem of hunger in the world.

Let me conclude by saying that all Member Nations of this Organization should demonstrate their commitment to the Organization by timely payment of contributions due.

ByungHA CHUNG (Korea, Republic of): My delegation would first like to express appreciation for the useful and informative documents on the budget and its programme.

I would like to make a few short comments on the next biennium budget and programme considering that FAO's various assistance to the developing countries, especially LIFD countries, is an indispensable means for pursuing the noble aim of FAO, achieving food security. My Government believes that these efforts should be consistently pursued in the framework of this Organization's activities.

At the same time, my Government is also confident that every effort should be further exerted for the effective reduction of FAO budget through the continuous reform process.

At a first glance, reducing the budget and maintaining FAO's programme are seen as a contradiction, but I believe that such a problem can be solved by efficient reallocation of the Organization's available resources and setting a clearcut priority. In this regard, my delegation thinks it is desirable that the next biennium budget level be set below zero real-growth. Also, such a reduction of budget can be supplemented by the effective relocation of personnel and downsizing of unnecessary costs through consistent restructuring. In this process, we also cannot ignore enhancing the quality of FAO's Special Programmes through accurate evaluation and analysis.

Finally, my Government will support FAO's every effort in this respect.

Luigi FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy): Some comments in line with the European Union Presidency. We particularly share the view of a request for better definition of priorities, which could help to have a clearer profile and indication of where FAO is aiming, what main objectives it is pursuing. As a matter of fact it is not easy, listening to all the interventions this morning. I listened for example to a few delegations saying that they supported programme 2.1.1 on Natural Resources. Of course we also support this programme but we have to realize that this programme is reduced by US$1 million, from US$17.5 million to US$16.5 million. You cannot just indicate support for a programme and ask for a reduction of it, and reduction is by the Secretariat even before requests from delegations.

We think also that FAO has a major role to play and that role has been enhanced by the World Food Summit.

Referring to Chapter 3 of document CL 112/3, we take note that, as stated in paragraph 62, it is expected that income from current assessment and receipts of arrears will exceed expenditures in the biennium 1996-97 and that, consequently, it is expected that the accumulated deficit of the Organization will decrease. Moreover, I would like to express a position for the new format of the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium, presented in document CL 112/3, section

IV, which gives an overview of total estimated resources available for the Organization, including the extra-budgetary resources provided in accordance with Article VI.7 of the Financial Regulations. Of course we appreciate there is an explanation of those financed by the Regular Programme and those financed by extra-budgetary resources, which is certainly an improvement.

We would like to refrain from entering at this stage into figures or options. Of course budgetary economies are still possible, even if FAO was the first organization to start reforming and streamlining its finances, as you rightly record, Mr Chairman.

We believe also that better synergies between normative and operational activities and among the food and agriculture organizations in Rome, as well as Regional Offices in the field - and as you will recall, yesterday I spoke on this subject - could help to save money; but I am sure that FAO has a central role to play to fight hunger and malnutrition.

FAO's operational activities - and that is what the Director-General said yesterday regarding this kind of special relief -- has a long tradition. It started its action of intervention in the fight against hunger in 1951 with the UN Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance, sending missions of experts from all parts of the world to all parts of the world, to introduce new technologies and methods to improve the quality and the quantity of production in agriculture, forests and fishing. In 1965 there were 1,300 FAO experts in 90 countries. Maybe such a long and noble tradition has brought some unelasticity and lack of flexibility that could have been lost, and maybe some excess in bureaucracy that has just been lamented has hampered some period of FAO engagements, but in such a long history a patrimoine of knowledge and experience has been accumulated that it would be unwise to frustrate or dissipate.

After the World Food Summit, FAO has the right to look for a new identify and sense of mission. We can act to improve it but without losing its connotations and values, enhancing the position and the chances of this unique forum where all regions of the world discuss common issues on the research of common solutions.

If you will allow me, I would like to make a quotation which is not very traditional. I am quoting neither the Secretary-General of the United Nations nor the President of the Italian Republic; I am quoting a Roman writer, Cicero, and I hope that for the benefit of the audience here, the interpreters will help you to translate it. This phrase could just relax the atmosphere here and I think that it is a worthy one for our Organization: "Omnium autem rerum ex quibus aliquid adquiritur, nihil est agricultura melius, nihil uberius, nihil dulcius, nihil homine libero dignius". That I can try and translate as follows: "Of all things from which we can benefit, nothing is better than agriculture, nothing more fruitful, more sweet, more worthy of a free man."

If we did not have FAO we should invent it. Let us try to improve it, not to reduce its potentiality and sense of purpose.


EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias distinguido Representante de Italia, sus citas y la altura de su declaración nos inspira y, desde luego, espero que la Organización lo recoja y en alguna parte quede constancia de ella. Gracias distinguido Representante.

Dato Ahmad Zabri IBRAHIM (Malaysia): It is heartening to hear, from the interventions of Member Nations for the last two days and this morning, on the demands made to and expectations of this now 51-year-old intergovernmental body. This shows the continuing relevance of FAO as a multilateral and collective mechanism in solving international problems related to agricultural

development and global food security. For the last 50 years, Member Nations have benefitted from technicological backstopping and the catalytic role of FAO in moving agriculture in our own countries. Some countries are now emerging and some have achieved industrialized economies. They are successful because they have gone through a successful agricultural development phase in their economic development, which created the needed capital and investment to diversify and to subsidize the second phase of their economic development. This multifunctional role of agriculture in income generation, foreign exchange earning and employment generation are well documented.

Many more countries in the developing world are still developing their agricultural sector and are hoping to go through the same phase of socio-economic development, where agriculture would play the catalytic role as the engine of economic growth, and in getting out of poverty and malnutrition. FAO, as a multilateral body, still has a role and responsibility in this area, as much as we like to see FAO take up new roles in addressing issues relating to ethical aspects of agriculture, biotechnology, trade-related matters within the context of sustainable development of resources. In some countries, however, development must start first before one can venture into international trade of commodities.

My delegation believes this brief introduction is necessary to put into perspective the urgent concern of developing countries of the vision and mission of FAO that we alluded to yesterday when discussing the Medium-Term Plan. My delegation agrees that FAO should be forward-looking and relevant to the needs of the time. This is the reality of the time, as we discovered during the World Food Summit: a planet with 800 million malnourished and hungry people including children and women, and the need for international and national commitments to address this issue. With this daunting task ahead of us, shall we give more or less resources than before to FAO, so that the international community, through FAO, could play an effective role?

FAO, in my delegation's assessment, has already undergone an exercise in restructuring and administrative reform during the last few years and we have witnessed cost-savings being made. FAO, in our opinion, is now a much leaner body and ready to deliver the quality services expected out of her. Although reform is a continuing process, we must be wary of not taking the exercise too far and strip FAO further to its bones, an exercise which may affect the delivery capability of FAO and the morale of its dedicated and talented staff. My delegation believes what we need is to concentrate our energies and resources as to how the wealth of knowledge, expertise and information residing within the FAO system, and through networking with other partners in development, be utilized to give positive impacts to Member Countries, especially the low-income, food-deficit countries in all regions.

It is time that we implement all the Plans of Action, Codes of Conduct, Agreements and Conventions that we have collectively agreed upon and let FAO play a pivotal and catalytic role in their implementation, whether through policy advice, human resource development, capacity building or technology transfer. The developing countries of the Asia Region have meticulously considered the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1998-99 biennium and have reached a consensus of supporting at minimum the zero real-growth option, a budget resource level we believe is required at this critical point in the history of FAO.

This position will send the right signal to all our partners in agricultural development, including national governments, that we are faithful and committed to the aspirations of the Declaration of Rome and successful implementation of the World Food Summit Global Plan of Action. Specifically, my delegation supports an adequate budget being given to programmes, either normative or operational, that would directly contribute to global and household food security. The Special Programme on Food Security and the Technical Cooperation Programme are two such programmes. These programmes should be expanded to cover more countries, in particular the populous region of Asia.

Daniel BERTHERY (France): Les Pays-Bas ont prononcé une déclaration au nom de la Communauté européenne et de ses Etats Membres, et ma délégation y souscrit entièrement et cela me permettra d'être bref.

Cette déclaration indiquait en conclusion qu'un travail devait être poursuivi pour sérier les priorités de l'Organisation afin de pouvoir élaborer son budget. Ma délégation pense que la méthode suivie dans le document CL 112/3-Sup.1 n'est pas adéquate. Si vous me permettez d'illustrer mon propos par une image, avec les propositions contenues dans ce document c'est comme si vous me le demandiez, Monsieur le Président, de vous indiquer lequel de mes deux bras je devrais sacrifier. Je me refuse, pour ma part, à me laisser enfermer dans cette problématique. Sans une revue de détail, systématique, par le Comité du programme de chacune des activités élémentaires qui constitue la base du programme, en toute hypothèse de budget, ma délégation est convaincue qu'il ne sera pas possible de débusquer celles qui ne sont plus essentielles et sur lesquelles les uns et les autres pourraient convenir ensemble de leur suppression.

EL PRESIDENTE: Esto me lleva de nuevo a lo que muchos delegados ahora y antes habían comentado, inclusive en el Comité del Programa y de Finanzas que, el ejercicio de partir de un nivel presupuestario para luego identificar el Programa de Labores era actuar a la inversa e ilógicamente. Lo lógico era identificar lo que queremos de la Organización, los programas que queremos que se financien y, a partir de ello, identificar lo que cuesta llevarlos a cabo. Porque finalmente, si un programa es bueno, si un programa es útil, cuesta quizá más no llevarlo a cabo que pagar por él. En este contexto, yo creo que una de las recomendaciones que podría hacer este Consejo es partir lógicamente, identificar lo que queremos que haga la Organización, en función de sus ventajas comparativas, de sus prioridades, como ustedes lo han dicho, pero partir lógicamente de ello y luego identificar lo que cuesta hacerlo. Es una forma de actuar, mucho más difícil. El Comité del Programa se vería abrumado; propuesta que ya hemos visto que en sus discusiones los miembros mencionan uno y otro su programa y elemento, a ser considerado, a ser incluido por muchas razones. Eliminarlos es un procedimiento muy duro, tanto para los miembros del Comité del Programa, para este Consejo, para la Conferencia y, claro está, para el Director General. Pero en fin, quizá valdría la pena considerar lo que usted ha dicho, distinguido delegado, y lo que se ha mencionado en otras ocasiones en el sentido de partir con lo que queremos y luego identificar lo que cuesta.

Kezimbira Lawrence MIYINGO (Uganda): I contribute we are in full agreement with the statement given by the G77. Let me begin by congratulating the Committee that has worked out the document that is under discussion now. They have done a commendable job.

Uganda would like to recognize the good work done by FAO based on the 1996-97 budget, which also hosted the World Food Summit. We now gather that the budget of 1996-97 was US$ 650 million. I find it extremely logical to accept the zero real-growth budget option, which accepts the 1996-97 budget as a basis upon which increments have to be focused to meet well-known and internationally-recognized monetary changes. Uganda finds a budget figure of US$ 689 million as the very minimum projection that will allow FAO to execute its previous mandate plus the added activities, especially emanating from the World Food Summit commitments, and yet also absorb inflationary monetary implications.

Having said that, Uganda would like to see a very efficient way of resource handling, so that money is concentrated on real issues rather than on academic excursions, studies and some non-rewarding and yet money-consuming meetings and conferences.

Some of us who are from needy countries, especially the developing ones, are more interested in seeing results from the contributions that we make and the donation that the Organization gets. In my own country, we have had to review the entire range of projects contracted out from different borrowed monies and grants to ensure that we meet priorities.

Many TCPs which are meant to benefit developing countries end up with all the funds consumed by experts and leaving no impact on the ground. Take, for example, the cassava problem that is threatening to cause food insecurity in many African countries. Money does exist under a programme, the site has identified the tolerant varieties which would be propagated, so that enough planting materials are available for planting after compulsory uprooting of all infected stems. This money continues to be used for protracted studies, meetings, and soon it may be exhausted, leaving the problem unsolved.

Let the design of TCPs obey local needs. The saying that FAO TCPs are only for technical support should be abandoned. I have hundreds of projects that can be realized out of US$ 200 000 or even less and which can make an impact on rural persons, rather than get an expert to come and sit in one of the institutions and learn about local problems that we already know. I must, however, here pause to thank the Director-General, for he has started to change the tradition and I see a better future. I say this because of the insight he has shown by drawing up the Special Programme on Food Security. This is the correct approach to utilization of the resources of the Organization. An impact will be left on the ground of each of the participating countries of the SPFS. Water harnessing and utilization will be focused on and the development of fisheries and afforestation will also be handled under this project.

I have noted over time that there is an imbalance in the development of the genetic resource sector. A lot is being done on plant genetic resources but less attention has been paid to animal genetic resources. Today this appears to be a global mistake. I would also wish to appeal to FAO to speed up its efforts to get a sponsor for the genetic resource programme for East Africa and other Comesa countries. Whereas the Sadeca countries have already a programme running, Uganda, Kenya and other neighbouring Great Lakes nations continue to lag behind in this very important area of development of our indigenous resource. Uganda would even appreciate a TCP to start on this work because we have capable local scientists in the field who could do a lot of work, even with US$ 300 000.

Turning to emergency funds, I should like these emergency funds to obey the meaning of the word "emergency", especially in the issues of animal diseases. The present red tape should be removed so that the efforts of Member Nations that require these emergency funds can be realized.

I would like to end by referring to two issues: namely, the raising of extra funds by the Director-General through the Telefood programme, and the other innovations; and the decentralization system of administration as contributions to the budget.

TeleFood is a voluntary exercise intended to raise money for the Organization so that it can meet its budget. I find it strange to note that some Members want to reduce the budget because of constraints and yet do not support the fund-raising exercise. The fund-raising will remove undue pressure on individual countries' budgets and should therefore be supported. It has to raise the money and plan how to use it best. The Deputy Director-General clearly spelled out the issue yesterday, saying that the money would be subject to international auditors, so why discourage such a wonderful innovation?

Finally, I want, once again, to congratulate the Director-General and his Cabinet for having decided to decentralize administration. This is the best way to ensure that the Organization does not remain an ivory tower distant from the countries it serves. Local or regional issues are best handled by officers who see them locally. Decentralization reduces travel expenses which would necessitate Headquarters staff visiting regions more often but for a time too short to appreciate local issues and offer amicable solutions. It is, of course, important that the regional offices be closely monitored to ensure that they adhere to the set goals and utilization of funds allocated properly.

We, in East Africa, are happy with the Sub-regional Office for Southern and East Africa which serves us. We now receive regular advice pertinent to our issues without having to refer all the time to Rome. Uganda endorses the Summary Programme of Work and Budget of 1998-99.

Ruve SANK (Estonia): The opinions expressed on the budget vary depending on whether a country is a project recipient country, in other words benefitting also from the operational activities of FAO, or whether it is benefitting only from normative work of FAO. Putting here a priority, we clearly support the opinion that FAO should first of all be a normative body, but we do not see this as an area of conflict with the operational work of FAO. However, there should be a clearer relationship between operational work and the contributions made by the countries.

Estonia is a newcomer and had difficulties with the contributions but, because of efficient projects made in Estonia, it was easier to convince the Government to delete their debt and Estonia is at the moment out of arrears.

We very much appreciate the principle stated that the money available should be used efficiently. We also support the idea expressed by many European Union countries on very clear prioritization. Our priorities, depending on their status of benefitting from operational projects, are technical cooperation programmes and policy assistance and intensive need for projects in the region (CEE) will be during the next few years. Therefore, Estonia, like some other countries of the region, might become Members of the EU and, therefore, no longer subject for TCPs.

We also think that regional activities should be encouraged and these also need some resources. That is because we do not think it is possible to reduce the budget and we think that further discussion, anyhow on the clear priorities, will continue in connection with further programme of work. We think also that, in the nominal zero-growth option, to a certain extent prioritization has been made and in favour of those priorities we have stressed.

Suresh Chundre SEEBALLUCK (Mauritius): My delegation wishes to bring its support for a real-growth scenario for the next biennium. The World Food Summit has entrusted FAO with a mandate to reduce hunger and malnutrition up to a given level within a given timeframe. The year 2015 is not very far away. How can we expect FAO to attain this objective within that time frame if it is not provided with the means to do so, and having to face, during that period, the prospect of budget cuts each time its budget proposals are considered?

In his statement to the Council on Monday last, the Director-General advised us of the efforts that have already been made by FAO to reduce costs and steps that have been taken to obtain funds from non-traditional sources. We should also extend our deep appreciation to the Director-General for the various agreements he has signed with financial institutions for the benefit of developing countries.

It is a real paradox defying all logic that FAO is being asked to make cuts in its budget when it has been entrusted with wider responsibilities. The activities of FAO are crucial to developing countries, especially in view of the reform process in the field of agriculture which the Uruguay Round has ushered in. A cutback in the budget of FAO will seriously jeopardize the efforts that these countries have undertaken to cope with the exigencies of the new trade environment.

The proponents of free trade today expect even small island countries like Mauritius to come and play on the level field without the shield of trade preferences. How can they really expect us to do so if we are not provided with the necessary assistance, through Technical Cooperation Programmes, to stand up to the challenges of trade liberalization?

The real growth option, as the Director-General indicated, implies an increase of US$ 11 million and, if only part of the outstanding contributions were received, FAO should be in a position to tidy

up the proposed work programme. Let us send the appropriate signal to the international agricultural community.

Marne BALLA SY (Sénégal): Pour répondre à votre appel, je vais devoir essayer de présenter brièvement l'intéressante déclaration que mon adjoint m'a préparée en espérant qu'il ne m'en voudra pas trop de sacrifier sa belle déclaration.

Permettez-moi d'abord de dire combien je suis heureux de vous retrouver puisque c'est la première fois que j'interviens dans ce débat. Je vous connais de longue date, au moment où, très jeunes, nous défendions les intérêts de nos pays dans cette Organisation. Voilà qu'aujourd'hui vous avez la tâche de guider nos débats dans un contexte plein de paradoxes parce que nous vivons dans un monde où les dépenses d'armement pour une journée suffiraient à sauver 40 000 enfants, où des dépenses consenties, dit-on, pour des chiens pendant une semaine sauveraient des vies humaines qui aujourd'hui sont confrontées à la mort du fait de manque d'alimentation; paradoxes parce que les disponibilités alimentaires dont dispose le monde suffiraient à préserver toute l'humanité de cette honte du siècle; paradoxes aussi parce que la FAO, nous le savons, a consenti depuis 1994 des efforts pour faire des gains significatifs d'efficacité; paradoxes enfin parce que le Sommet mondial de l'alimentation au niveau le plus élevé a eu lieu ici même à Rome dans cette ville pleine de signification, comme l'a rappelé le Représentant de l'Italie en allant puiser dans la sagesse de Cicerón ce qui mérite toute notre attention et qui démontre la générosité intellectuelle de ce Représentant.

Ce Sommet donc nous disait de faire tout pour que d'ici 2015 nous puissions réduire de moitié- ce qui est même déjà un pas très modeste- ceux qui sont sous-alimentés. Peut-on, à notre avis, corriger ces paradoxes qui sont contraires à la morale en essayant de suivre une politique constante de réduction d'une Organisation comme la FAO qui, comme l'ont dit justement Cicerón et le Représentant de son illustre pays, aurait dû être inventée parce qu'en réalité une Organisation qui s'occupe de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture ? Je m'étonne qu'on puisse dire qu'elle ne doit pas servir à aider pour le développement. J'espère que autant on doit retenir la citation de Cicerón autant on doit effacer de nos esprits ceux qui pensent que la FAO ne doit pas aider au développement.

Cela dit, nous, Groupe africain, dont j'assure la présidence, nous nous associons pleinement aux déclarations faites par les Etats Membres de l'Afrique et surtout par le Président du Groupe des 77. Nous sommes d'accord pour une croissance réelle proposée qui en réalité n'est, pour nous, même pas l'idéal, compte tenu des objectifs assignés à la FAO, encore moins maintenant où toutes les populations affamées et en difficulté du monde nous écoutent.

Mais nous nous voyons devoir accepter, malheureusement dans un ultime effort la croissance réelle zéro. Je crois qu'il s'agit ici de s'entendre sur ce que nous voulons: est-ce-que nous voulons placer la FAO dans une situation d'incertitude, ou bien voulons-nous faire de cette Organisation qui, au demeurant, est la seule presque isolée dans cette situation dans le système onusien, et cela nous étonne qu'une Organisation qui a donné ses preuves soit placée dans cette condition ? Nous, pays bénéficiaires, en général parce que pays les plus confrontés avec les difficultés, nous refusons cette démarche parce que cela nous ôte la possibilité de nous affranchir des conditionnements et de nous prendre en charge nous-mêmes avec l'assistance bien sûr très appréciable, d'organisations telles que la FAO, et d'actions de développement qui répondent aux aspirations profondes de nos populations. Je pense que nous ne pouvons pas transiger sur ce point.

Je sais que le document CL 112/3 dérange parce que pour certains c'est demander à quelqu'un de se couper un bras, je le comprends, mais nous, c'est peut-être même nous montrer qu'en nous acheminant dans certaines démarches, il faut nous couper la tête, parce qu'en fait la croissance nominale zéro que nous rejetons clairement, ne serait-ce qu'en prenant un exemple qui nous ramène aux priorités qui pour nous sont clairement définies dans les paragraphes 40 à 46 du document

CL 112/3 qui sont clairs et que nous approuvons, je pense que, le Secrétariat par le supplément 1 nous a montré les conséquences d'un choix que nous aurons à faire, nous refusons donc le choix non seulement qui nous couperait un bras, mais même la tête, parce que en fait, l'option croissance réelle comme l'option croissance réelle zéro nous couperait un bras, mais nous pensons toujours pouvoir lutter avec un bras, par contre la tête nous n'accepterons pas qu'elle nous soit coupée.

Cela dit, c'est tellement vrai que si vous prenez le paragraphe 60 vous verrez que pour un secteur qui est particulièrement important pour nous dans le supplément 1, la réduction du secteur de la viande et du lait, qui a été souligné comme un secteur très contributif pour la sécurité alimentaire, la croissance nominale zéro nous amènerait à réduire la division qui s'occupe de ce secteur important dans une ampleur telle qu'elle ne pourrait pas accomplir convenablement sa mission. Cela est un exemple parmi tant d'autres qui nous intéressent, mais c'est pour dire qu'il faut que nous soyons réalistes, que nous annoncions les choses telles qu'elles sont: vouloir faire de la FAO un simple organisme d'analyse au moment où son action sur le terrain nous a montré les effets bénéfiques.

Cela me permet de contester ceux qui veulent qu'on réduise les représentations des bureaux sur le terrain, car en réalité, jusqu'ici nous avions assisté à quoi ? Tout se décidait à partir du Siège au moment où sur le terrain où il y a la contingence locale et les nécessités d'agir, nous n'avions pas droit à la parole. Maintenant, c'est la situation inverse: on permet aux populations elles-mêmes avec l'aide des représentations de la FAO de cerner leurs difficultés à la lumière des contingences particulières et de faire remonter vers le Siège pour décisions des choses que nous pensons pouvoir redresser. Je pense donc que vouloir affirmer une tendance contraire pour nous devra être effacé de nos esprits et que nous rejetons totalement, et le rapport devra en prendre compte, de telles démarches qui ne s'inscrivent pas dans le multilatéralisme qui pour nous est l'esprit de partenariat et de respect de l'autre, et ensuite une réelle volonté politique d'aider ceux qui ont des difficultés à se relever de celles-ci.

Cela dit, nous ne voulons pas nous étendre longtemps sur cette question mais j'insiste encore une fois pour dire que si nous acceptons même la croissance réelle zéro à la lumière de tout ce que j'ai dit, nous acceptons de nous faire couper un bras; mais là nous pensons qu'avec les difficultés nous devons lutter avec le minimum et avec la persévérance et la compétence de la FAO qui nous ont été démontrées, mais nous ne pouvons pas accepter d'aller en dessous de ce minimum qui pour nous est déjà très très regrettable et devrait être revu par ceux qui ont tendance à vouloir adopter une attitude qui ne s'inscrit pas dans l'intérêt de la solidarité internationale.

EL PRESIDENTE: Querido amigo Bally Sy, desde hace mucho tiempo que nos conocemos y, desde luego, estoy de acuerdo con usted en que conservemos la cabeza para no dejárnosla cortar.

También, con usted, recuerdo aquellos días en donde quizás las declaraciones o los discursos estaban llenos de posiciones ideológicas, pero también de magia.

Pero, también reconozco las ventajas, los méritos de la eficiencia, de la rapidez, de la ejecutividad que, a veces, es fría pero también quizás, lleva a la Organización a tomar decisiones de una forma más rápida y clara. En fin, extraño aquellos tiempos como usted dice, y estoy seguro que esta Organización en este proceso de transición está moviéndose hacia algo mucho mejor.

Pedro Alfonso MEDRANO ROJAS (Chile): Les ruego, en primer lugar, excusar mi inexistencia en la primera parte de esta reunión cuando se trató el Informe del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria. Mi atraso se debió a que lamentablemente el avión se retrasó. Venía de Santiago de Chile donde habíamos estado con el Director General inaugurando la nueva sede de la Oficina Regional de la FAO en Santiago y otros compromisos impidieron mi llegada en hora. Quisiera agradecerle a nuestro distinguido colega David Sands Smith por haber introducido este tema, el Informe del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria.

Señor Presidente, usted nos ha señalado la limitación de tiempo y entiendo también que la mayor parte de las cosas ya se han dicho y, nos pide usted, que nos concentremos en propuestas muy concretas. Quisiera, entonces, en forma muy telegráfica señalar, ajuicio de nuestra delegación, los elementos centrales en este debate.

En primer lugar quisiera expresar nuestro pleno respaldo a lo señalado por el Representante del Grupo de los 77 y, por supuesto, por el Representante de América Latina en cuanto a la opción de crecimiento real cero. No quisiera distraer la atención de este distinguido Consejo refiriéndome a cuestiones de principio, a lo que ya se ha manifestado en tantas otras oportunidades pero creo que a la luz de lo que se ha señalado recientemente por parte de algunas delegaciones, sí creemos importante, al menos, reafirmar algunos criterios.

En primer lugar, creo que es un acuerdo unánime que va, incluso, por encima de nuestra propia capacidad de competencia el que tengamos que darle fiel cumplimiento a los acuerdos de la Cumbre. En tal sentido nos complace que el Programa, el Documento de Labores y de Presupuesto se haya estructurado para atender, justamente, a las prioridades establecidas por la Cumbre Mundial.

Queremos, igualmente, reafirmar el rol de la FAO en su doble capacidad: su aspecto normativo y, por supuesto, en sus operaciones de campo. Creemos que a la FAO sí le compete un rol fundamental en el proceso de desarrollo o de asistencia a los países en materia de desarrollo agrícola, pecuario, forestal y pesquero. Están los textos básicos, no lo voy a repetir, no creo que estemos cambiando los textos básicos. Estamos, simplemente, estudiando un presupuesto que nos permita cumplir con los objetivos de la Organización y, muy particularmente, con lo acordado en la Cumbre.

Pero es indiscutible el rol de la FAO en lo que se refiere a la lucha para erradicar el hambre y la malnutrición como expresión de la pobreza, las cuales se combaten, justamente, con el desarrollo y la competencia, repito, de la FAO en este campo.

En la actividad normativa, obviamente la FAO muestra un historial exitoso y, a mi juicio, de enorme trascendencia para los países, no me voy a referir a ello que es de todos conocido. Creo que en el área de las prioridades establecidas para la asistencia a los países es importante, al menos a juicio de nuestra delegación, señalar algunas que sí son prioritarias y como usted nos ha indicado, señor Presidente, una forma correcta de estructurar un presupuesto, es justamente empezar por las prioridades. Para nosotros, las prioridades están representadas fielmente en el Plan de Acción de la Cumbre. Dentro de esas, nosotros le asignamos una importancia especial al desarrollo rural, creemos que el documento del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto recoge la prioridad que se le debe asignar al desarrollo rural aun cuando la consideremos insuficiente en términos de cuantía.

Señalo y recalco ésto, señor Presidente, porque como lo hemos señalado en la Cumbre, estamos enfrentando justamente en las áreas rurales el nivel más alto de concentración de pobreza, es ahí, a nuestro juicio, donde se pueden originar las mayores amenazas a la paz. La migración masiva que está teniendo lugar hoy en día desde el campo a la ciudad y, de los países en desarrollo a los países desarrollados, creo que es una buena muestra de ello. Si a esto agregamos el proceso creciente de urbanización que hará que en los próximos 20 años, el número de habitantes de las ciudades de los países en desarrollo aumente de 1.500 a 4.000 millones de personas, creo que eso nos da la dimensión de la importancia que tiene el fortalecimiento del desarrollo rural.

En segundo lugar, señor Presidente, estimamos igualmente de la mayor importancia, la asistencia en materia de políticas. En este campo, nos parece que debería revisarse la asignación que se hace, al menos para la región de América Latina, en lo referente a asistencia en materia de políticas. La estructura presupuestaria que se nos presenta registra una fuerte disminución en materia de política a la región de América Latina. Al mismo tiempo constatamos que los aumentos en este capítulo están

básicamente referidos a la administración del programa y nosotros sí creemos que es un área fundamental que debe ser fortalecida.

Lo decimos, señor Presidente, porque tal vez el mayor desafío que enfrenta la agricultura de nuestros países es cómo se van a insertar en este proceso de globalización de la economía, en esta creciente financiación de la economía, donde ciertamente la agricultura tiene que competir a veces en situaciones de desventaja muy clara. Sobre todo cuando contiene o concentra altos niveles de población en situación de pobreza. En consecuencia, la asistencia en materia de políticas, representa para nosotros una prioridad muy clara. De la misma forma y a partir de los acuerdos del GATT, consideramos que la asistencia de la FAO en todo aquello que se refiere a asesorar a los países, a la mejor inserción en el comercio mundial es de extraordinaria importancia. Lamentamos muy sinceramente que las partidas presupuestarias para el Codex Alimentarius se vean disminuidas.

Consideramos que éste, es quizás unos de los programas de mayor importancia de la Organización. Quisiera repetir lo acordado por la Comisión del Codex Latinoamericana, reunida en Asunción, que pide expresamente un aumento de los recursos para fortalecer los programas de asistencia a los países, en un mundo en donde los aranceles tienen cada vez menos importancia. Ciertamente las normas sanitarias y fitosanitarias requieren la atención prioritaria por parte de los gobiernos, y quisiera en tal sentido, así como se ha hecho referencia para otros programas, la necesidad de beneficiarse con programas de asistencia o con programas de financiamiento existentes, quisiéramos y lo reiteramos que se revise esta partida, que se incrementen los recursos y que por supuesto, se pueda beneficiar de otros programas de la Organización, particularmente los proyectos de Cooperación Técnica con el objeto de proporcionar a los países una asistencia urgente en este campo.

La mayor parte de nuestro comercio va a depender de la forma en que nosotros podamos adecuarnos a las normas establecidas en los acuerdos de la Ronda Uruguay. En otro orden de cosas, señor Presidente, quisiéramos sí expresar nuestro respaldo al Programa PESA, nuestro país lo comparte. Le he expresado por boca del Presidente de la República al Director General nuestro apoyo a este Programa. Quisiéramos igualmente expresar nuestro apoyo al Programa de Recursos Genéticos, que a nuestro juicio es otra área fundamental para el futuro de la Organización y, por supuesto, para el futuro de nuestros países. Creemos, igualmente, que en este campo se deben explorar todos los mecanismos posibles para proporcionar a los países asistencia técnica, con el fin de poder proteger, salvaguardar, conservar y utilizar debidamente nuestro patrimonio genético. Asistimos, muchas veces, a foros internacionales en donde tenemos que tomar posición respecto a una serie de temas y, la verdad, es que muy pocos de nuestros países han definido posiciones sustantivas en relación a las negociaciones internacionales. Creemos, en consecuencia, que este es un programa que debe ser fuertemente apoyado.

En otro orden de cosas, señor Presidente, quisiéramos, expresar nuestro pleno respaldo al proceso de descentralización; creemos que la Organización está haciendo un gran esfuerzo. Esta es una forma de ahorrar recursos y de ser más eficientes. Por nuestra parte estamos complacidos de que, a nivel regional, podamos apoyar fuertemente este proceso a través de la Oficina Regional de Santiago y, por supuesto, de las oficinas subregionales.

Quisiéramos llamar la atención que en una oportunidad anterior, igualmente solicitamos que se pudiera considerar el establecimiento de una oficina para la subregión de América Central. Creemos que esa región sí merece una atención prioritaria y que debería estudiarse la forma en que esos países que han atravesado situaciones de guerra civil y que han sido, de alguna forma, superados gracias al decisivo aporte de la comunidad internacional, merezcan por parte de la FAO una atención prioritaria, ya que es en la mayor parte de su población, donde se concentran justamente, las actividades agrícolas y rurales. Junto con reafirmar el proceso de descentralización, quisiéramos, igualmente por si hubiera alguna duda, reafirmar nuestra decisión en cuanto a mantener la periodicidad de las conferencias regionales, que se ejecuten cada dos años. Podemos discutir sobre

la mejor forma en que se puedan realizar, pero sí creemos que nuestros ministros deberían reunirse con esta periodicidad, ya que políticamente es el más alto foro, a nuestro juicio, a nivel agrícola, forestal, pecuario y pesquero, que se pueda reunir en nuestra región y, por supuesto, una de las prioridades tal como fue acordada por la última Conferencia Regional será examinar los avances que se están produciendo en materia de seguridad alimentaria.

Perdone señor Presidente si he quitado mucho tiempo con mi intervención. He tratado de ser lo más telegráficamente posible. En otra oportunidad trataremos de ser más precisos con nuestros aportes.

George APOSTOIU (Roumanie): La délégation de la Roumanie apprécie les efforts du Directeur général en vue de rationaliser les coûts et de nous présenter trois scénarios de Programme de travail correspondant à trois formules possibles de croissance de budget telles qu'elles sont énumérées dans le sommaire du Programme de travail et budget pour 1998-99. Le triptyque nous oblige à élargir l'horizon de nos réflexions. La délégation de la Roumanie prend la liberté d'apprécier que les contraintes budgétaires ne doivent pas porter atteinte aux domaines du programme qui relève de la sécurité alimentaire et des ressources nécessaires pour les activités de notre Organisation conformes à ses buts statutaires. L'analyse du sommaire relève que, dans les programmes techniques et économiques, une part très importante vise la sécurité alimentaire et une autre part aussi importante vise les programmes de coopération technique et d'assistance aux politiques dans différentes régions. La délégation de la Roumanie a écouté avec beaucoup d'intérêt et d'attention les options exprimées par les honorables représentants des Etats Membres en matière de budget. La délégation roumaine note avec satisfaction qu'il s'agit d'une préoccupation qui correspond à des priorités réelles des Etats Membres. Pour toutes ces raisons la délégation de la Roumanie plaide pour un niveau de ressources budgétaires de notre Organisation conforme à la poursuite de son action au bénéfice de ceux qui ont besoin de son assistance.

Maxwell TIEISO KHALEMA (Observer for Lesotho): Mr Chairman, let me take this opportunity to express my delegation's appreciation for the way in which you have conducted these important deliberations.

My delegation would also like to thank Dr Bommer and Mr Wade for the very clear presentation of the work done by the Joint Committee, We are aware of the very painful efforts you and your committee have gone through to finalize the documents now under consideration. My delegation has profound confidence in you and your Committee and we are sure that you have not left any stone unturned.

Coming back to our boat, my delegation would like to articulate its entire support to the statement made by the distinguished delegate of the Philippines, in his capacity as the Chairman of the G77, and also support the statement of the Chairman of Africa Group. My delegation also echoes the options presented by the delegations of South Africa, Uganda, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan and others who support the zero real growth option.

Heads of State and Government in November 1996 pledged their political will to achieve food security for all and reduce by half the present number of undernourished people no later than 2015. This is a challenge that needs our combined efforts and determination.

This is an opportune moment for Members of the Council and Member Nations of FAO to extend a helping hand to the 800 million people throughout the world who do not have adequate food, by considering a realistic budget level that will make it possible to attain the set target. This budget should also make it possible for the Food and Agriculture Organization to do all the things that we asked it to do in all the past Committees since the beginning of the year.1

1 Statement inserted in the verbatim records on request.

Russell MULELE (Observer for Zambia): Mr Chairman, my delegation wishes to associate itself with the statement made by the distinguished delegate of the Philippines on behalf of the Group of 77.

We strongly believe that the zero real growth option in the Programme of Work and Budget is the better way of enabling FAO to meet the challenges set by the World Food Summit and fulfil its mandate.

Posterity, Mr Chairman, will judge us harshly if we do not meet the set target of reducing food insecurity by half before the year 2015. We should thus be positive in our approach in supporting the work of FAO.

Finally, we endorse the PWB based on the zero real-growth for the biennium 1998-99.2

EL PRESIDENTE: Con esto concluye la lista de oradores de los miembros del Consejo. Tenemos aún varios observadores, Perú, Cabo Verde, Sudán, Panamá y Suiza. Les quiero informar que la delegación de Lesotho y de Zambia han enviado por escrito sus declaraciones respecto a este tema, las cuales serán incluidas en el Verbatim de este período de sesiones. Señores delegados, voy a levantar esta quinta sesión plenaria y los convoco para las 14.45 horas. Muchas gracias, se levanta la sesión.

The meeting rose at 13.00 hours
La séance est levée à 13 h 00
Se levanta la sesión a las 13.00 horas

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