EL PRESIDENTE: Se abre la séptima sesión plenaria del Consejo. Recordarán ustedes, distinguidos delegados, que ayer no concluímos el Tema 18 de nuestra agenda, lo tuvimos que suspender para dar entrada al Tema 11 y en particular, al tratamiento del texto de la Convención Internacional de Protección Fitosanitaria.
José ROBLES AGUILAR (México): Dos comentarios breves y una pregunta: primero queremos apoyar su decisión de que no se reabra en este punto lo acordado en el marco del Tema 16. En relación con el estado de las cuotas, reiteramos la posición de que es muy importante que se cubran los atrasos, muy en especial por parte de aquellos países que están en capacidad de hacerlo. En este sentido damos la bienvenida a lo señalado por la distinguida delegación de Estados Unidos respecto al anuncio del pago de sus atrasos.
Finalmente, señor Presidente, nos gustaría preguntar sobre la propuesta que están sometiendo los Comités del Programa y de Finanzas; en concreto, la propuesta del proyecto de resolución sobre Escalas de Cuotas para 1998-99: nos gustaría saber cuál sería la situación a la luz de que la quinta Comisión en la Asamblea General no llegara a un acuerdo sobre el particular y el cual será objeto de discusión en el marco del 52° período del AGONU que comienza en septiembre próximo. Nos gustaría saber cuál sería esta situación.
Ralph BOYCE (Barbados): I wanted to speak very briefly on the Incentive Scheme. I notice that there is a proposal from the Director-General to abolish the Scheme which was deemed not appropriate by some Members. I would like to support that proposal because, it is the view of Barbados and other Caribbean countries, that the countries that pay early would normally have paid early. Some countries which pay late perhaps cannot pay or are not willing to pay. I think it may be
better to try and introduce other penalties for late payment, rather than to give rebates which amounts to a reduction in the actual amount of money available for expenditure.
In terms of how the governments' financial schemes work, I think it would also be useful to have timely requests for payment to the countries. Certainly, in the case of Barbados, as soon as a request comes in, we deal with it fairly promptly through the Accounts Section. I think we should probably try to emphasize more the need to introduce other schemes to encourage countries to pay.
Indeed, in looking at the suggestions on page 38 of the document, it is not clear that it was the Incentive Scheme that led to the increase in the number of countries paying. I think somebody, two other countries made that point, I do not think that there is any data that strongly suggests or conclusively makes the point that it was the Incentive Scheme that caused these things to happen. It could have been other factors which are not clear.
In brief, I think we should support the Director-General's proposal that the Incentive Scheme be abolished and that there should be others means of encouraging payments and penalizing countries that pay late, including the whole business of countries not being able to vote. I gather that this is not always implemented. If countries have not paid, there should be other ways and means of encouraging them to pay rather than to giving discounts and incentives to people who would normally have paid early.
Ms Kajenwan ITHARATTANA (Thailand): My delegation thanks the Acting Chairman of the Finance Committee for introducing the Report of the Finance Committee, I will remit myself only on the Incentive Scheme to collect prompt payment of contributions.
Having looked at the table on para 3.66, the number of Member Nations who paid their contributions at 31 March 1992 was only 22, and the number has increased to 41 in 1997 at the same period. Within five years the number of Member Nations was increased by nearly 90 percent. I think the number has increased significantly. Therefore this activity contained in para 3.67, in this regard, I fully share the view expressed by the Canadian delegation yesterday.
Thailand could support the Director-General's proposal to abolish the Incentive Scheme only if an alternate scheme of incentive or penalty was concurrently introduced.
In closing, my delegation requests the Finance Committee to reconsider this issue again in the next meeting. If possible, the Finance Committee may recommend ways and means to motivate Member Nations to pay their contributions promptly.
Luigi FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy): Just referring to a very delicate issue, the issue of arrears. Everybody knows that this situation is certainly not positive and that, consequently, it is very important that the amount of arrears which is still to be paid be received, as soon as possible, in order to improve the financial situation of the Organization and, in particular, to cover the accumulated deficit and possibly to cover the After-Service Medical Liabilities.
Concerning the Incentive Scheme for any payments of contributions, we notice that in 1997 there was an increase of the number of Member Nations who paid timely their contribution, 41 compared to 35 in 1996. However, the percentage of the total contribution which was timely paid, 46.92 percent, is still unsatisfactory. I recall when I was in OECD, there was an equivalent scheme both ways, just incentivating those who paid early and penalizing those who paid later. I think that maybe it was a too sophisticated system but the results were very good because people were incentivated to pay early and, as a matter of fact, is something that I would suggest for this Organization. On the positive side, I understand that it is difficult to penalize people that have difficulties in paying on time but at least, to prize those that pay early has quite a good and positive effect.
So, referring to the decision of the Director-General, to suspend the Incentive Scheme, we would like to point out that this decision might cause an increase of the arrears. Consequently, we are not in favour of this decision. In general, we think that the financial situation of the Organization is still serious, even if some contributors have pronounced encouraging statements confirming their engagement of paying arrears. However, we have not sufficient time before the Conference, which is called to approve the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1998-99 biennium and to take decisions about other accumulated expenses of the Organization, such as those for After-Service Medical Liabilities. It would be extremely important that a large amount of current contributions and arrears be paid before the Conference.
Khalid MEHBOOB (Assistant Director-General, Administration and Finance Department):
There are quite a few questions on, particularly, the After-Service Medical Coverage. I, together with my colleague Mr Ruddy, would try and answer the questions which have been posed.
The first one, is how the arrears could be used for such liabilities and whether they can be? The arrears are just like any other contributions, they are credited to the general fund and the Conference is sovereign and can decide how they should be used. But, here again, there are some legal aspects which I would ask, later on when Mr Moore takes the floor to expand on this question.
There was a question from the distinguished Representative of Canada on whether there can be some staff participation in the absorption of some of these service costs. The figure for service costs is the Organization's portion of the liability which the Organization has to face and, consequently, the staff would not be able to absorb any of these costs, it's the Organization's share of the liability.
There was a question of why should we not follow what the UN is doing or some of the other organizations in the UN System. All the UN organizations are beginning to look at this question. In the last biennium we actually were doing what the UN is doing, in other words, not providing any figure but showing a note disclosure in our financial statements. But the UN and the other Specialized Agencies are beginning to look at this issue and they would probably be coming up with similar suggestions as the Organization is doing.
There was a question on the difference between the accounting and the funding of such liabilities and a further question as to what the Organization is doing to recover from some of the other partners of the Organization in implementing its programmes. With your permission, Sir, if I could ask Mr Ruddy to deal with these two questions.
M. RUDDY (Director, Finance Division): What I might do is just try to briefly mention the steps we have taken since the Finance Committee met and first addressed this question, a couple of months ago.
The first thing we did is to meet with the External Auditor to try and agree on how we would record this liability on the books of FAO at the end of 1997. And, we have agreed that we should record one-thirtieth of the overhang that belongs to FAO, that is, if you look at the table on page 40, it shows the FAO portion under funded liability, as US$ 108 million plus US$ 16 million in support costs, so about US$ 124 million would be the initial recording of FAO's liability.
The recording would take two forms, firstly, we would propose to amortize the liability over a thirty-year period. So, we would in fact bring under the books as an unfunded liability one-thirtieth of US$ 124 million with the actuarial calculation determining the precise amount of money.
Secondly, we would disclose in a footnote to the Financial Statements the remaining portion of that liability that belongs to FAO, based on the actuarial work, and also mention that there is an additional contention liability, if our partners fail to agree to pick up their share of the liability.
The second thing we have done is to draft letters to all of the participating agencies pointing out the findings of this study, attaching a copy of the study, and alerting them that these figures reflect the projections done by the actuaries in January 1996, and therefore they are approximate; that we intend to ask the actuaries back late this year and to update the study so that when, early in 1998, we will be sending them more precise figures on their share of the unfunded liability. At that time, we intend to try to "bill them" for their portion of the liability.
Whether they, in fact, will feel obligated to pay is an entirely different question. In many cases, maybe Mr Moore will speak on this, but I do not think we have a legal basis to collect, particularly in the case of Trust Funds, where the contracts are over the accounts settled and it would be very difficult to get them reopened.
That is where we stand on the accounting side of it. The funding side is an entirely different issue, much more difficult and perhaps, Mr Wade will take on that issue.
LEGAL COUNSEL: I would like to deal first with answers to the question from the distinguished delegate from Mexico, regarding the position with respect to the UN General Assembly and the Scale of Contributions.
Maybe I should explain a little background to begin with. Basically, the setting of the Scale of Contributions is the responsibility of the FAO Conference, under the Basic Texts of the Organization and, in particular, Article XVIII of the Constitution.
Since 1955, the Conference has always indicated that the FAO Scale of Contributions should be derived directly from the United Nations Scale of Assessments; there was a decision to that effect by the FAO Conference in 1955.
Normally, the FAO Conference uses the Scale of Sssessments of the United Nations which is in force for the Conference year. So, in this case, it would be for 1997.
There is a difference between the way in which the FAO Conference sets the Scale of Contributions: it sets a Scale of Contributions for FAO on a biennial basis. In other words, it sets a Scale of Contributions for two years: the first year of the biennium and the second year of the biennium. The United Nations General Assembly, on the other hand, sets the Scale of Assessments for the United Nations on a three-year period, which sometimes overlaps with that in FAO and sometimes not, as you will understand. In the present situation, the Scale of Assessments now in force for the United Nations was adopted in December 1994 and covers the period 1995, 1996 and up to December 1997.
As I said, in FAO we normally follow the Scale of Assessments in force in the Conference year. For the last biennium, however, there was a change to this practice and, in fact, since the Scale of Assessments in the United Nations was known for the period 1996-97, it was adopted in December 1994, the FAO Conference decided to align the Scale of Contributions of FAO with the UN Scale of Assessments in force for that period. That was because there was some change, I understand that there were transitional changes in the Scale of Assessments to take into account Eastern Europe, and the quite substantial changes over that period in the Scale of Assessments in the United Nations.
I understand that the Scale of Assessments in the United Nations will be under discussion from the autumn on. The question from the delegate of Mexico is, what is the position with respect to this in the General Assembly and how it will affect us. I think the answer is that, if there is a decision taken in the General Assembly before the time of the Conference, then the Conference could, if it so wished, follow the new Scale of Assessments for the next biennium -- the Scale of Assessments then which would be adopted by the United Nations for the forthcoming three years. It is up to the Conference to take that decision. It may either stick with the 1997 Scale of Assessments, as has
been the practice in the past, or it may decide to derive the FAO Scale of Contributions from the UN the Scale of Assessments that will be in force for 1998-99, as it did in the last biennium. So that is up to the FAO Conference to decide, you, the Member Governments, to decide in November.
If, on the other hand, there is no clear decision from the General Assembly as to any new Scale of Assessments adopted by the General Assembly, then you will have to, first of all, decide whether you will, as the normal practice is, take the 1997 UN Scale of Assessments -- that is the UN Scale in force right at the moment. There has also been a suggestion made in the Finance Committee that the Conference may wish to include an amendment in the Appropriations Resolution that would authorize the FAO Scale to be modified after adoption in December, for example, to take into account any subsequent changes in the UN Scale of Assessments covering 1998-99.
I should also point out that the Committee considered that it was premature to attempt to include any such amendments in the Appropriations Resolution, but it requested that the Secretariat follow the evolution of this issue in the UN Committee on Contributions closely, and revert to it at its September session with an updated situation.
If I may provide some information on what is happening in sister agencies in WHO at the 50th World Health Assembly, a Scale of Assessments was adopted for the financial period 1998-99, which was based on the present Scale of Assessments in the United Nations in force for 1997. I understand, however, there was a request that the Director-General report to the 51st World Health Assembly - that is next year, next May -- on changes, if any, to the Scale of Assessments adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 52nd Session -- that is in autumn 1997 - and on all the implications for WHO, including its earliest comparable application, taking into account the deliberations of the 50th World Health Assembly and in accordance with the Constitution and Financial Regulations of the World Health Organization and relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions. It also reaffirmed the principle that the WHO Scale of Assessments should be based upon the latest available Scale of Assessments adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The situation in WHO is, of course, different from FAO in that the World Health Assembly meets annually.
If I may now turn to the question raised by the distinguished delegate of Canada. He asked for some explanation of the rules covering the use of arrears, particularly in relation to the recommendation of the Finance Committee regarding acceleration of amortization of the After-Service Medical Coverage shortfall.
I should say that, generally, in principle, arrears are contributions to the Organization. They are contributions which are paid late, but they are contributions to the Organization, and they are subject to the normal rules regarding the use of contributions to the Organization in the Basic Texts, and they should be used for the purposes which the Conference decides in the context of its biennial budget.
I think, however, the distinguished delegate of Canada was also referring to the specific rules which relate to the use of budget surpluses, because the recommendation of the Finance Committee was to examine the implications of the utilization of budget surpluses to accelerate the amortization period.
In this context, I would refer you to Financial Regulation 6.1(b), which indicates that any cash surplus in the General Fund at the close of any financial period shall be allocated among Member Nations in accordance with the Scale of Contributions applicable to that period and, as of 1 January following the year in which the audit of the financial accounts of the financial period is completed, shall be released and applied to liquidate, in whole or in part, first, any advance due to the Working Capital Fund, secondly, any arrears of contributions, and thirdly, contributions for the calendar year following the year in which the audit is completed.
I should also point out, however, that, on a number of occasions, the Conference has made decisions in derogation of Financial Regulation 6.1(b) I believe it should do so with a two-thirds' majority, in accordance with the Financial Regulations. As I say, it has, on occasion, made derogation from this Financial Regulation, particularly to indicate that money should be paid to the Special Reserve Account, to replenish it. It is up to the Conference to take this decision. There are precedents to say that it could take a decision of this kind and it could indicate that the surpluses, if the Conference in the exercise of its sovereign powers so declares, should be used for such other purposes as it decides at the time are appropriate.
I hope that answers your question.
Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): I'd like to return for a moment to After-Service Medical Care and the funding issue. In response to the question from the distinguished delegate from the United States of America, as to what is in the current budget proposal and how it is distributed by chapter, I can confirm that the SPWB includes US$ 6.6 million for After-Service Medical Care under the line for Social Security, in the table for Cost Increases, shown in paragraph 102 of CL 112/3, US$ 6.6 million is in there on a pay-as-you-go basis, in fact.
To respond to the second part of that question, which is how is it shown in the budget, where is it in the budget and where is it by chapter. Because it is part of staff costs, part of the entitlements, it is shown in the standard cost that is applied by grade across the entire budget. So it is part of the cost of a staff member, be it General Service or Professional, and therefore the US$ 6.6 million appears wherever staff costs appear in the budget.
This, of course, leads to the funding issue. If you fund After-Service Medical Care in the budget, you increase the cost increase provision, which increases the standard cost, which increases the cost across all of the programmes to cover that particular provision.
There was a question raised as to whether the option exists to fund it or not to fund it. I think the answer is clearly yes, the option does exist. But please bear in mind that all of the figures you have received so far about the annual cost assume, and I should say the actuary assumes, that there will be a fund, which is gradually growing and earning interest. If there is not a fund, then the cost will grow every year at an exponential rate. So, the decision not to fund it is also a decision to recognize that you are going to let the liability grow and that it will have to be faced at a later date.
Some questions were asked as regards the figures that I was quoting and I did take a slightly different line - these are very much estimates at this stage. I quoted a figure of US$ 17 million in my intervention on the SPWB. This is based on the Actuarial Study as being the share of the incremental amount that the regular budget would have to pay of the total recurring cost if it decided to charge it to the budget. So, it is on top of the US$ 6.6 million, if I can clarify that. It consists of two elements: it consists of the service cost and then the amortization over thirty years of the accrued liability. The service cost has been defined to you as the amount that the Organization has to put aside to pay for its share of the claims that current serving staff will incur when they retire. I have taken, and this is slightly different from what Mr Ruddy said, because I was taking a rather conservative view from the point of view of planning, I have taken the share which is applicable to the Regular Programme, Support Costs and the Trust Fund element, because the Finance Committee's recommendation to you is that -- I am quoting paragraph 3.77(a). of the Finance Committee's report, CL 112/14, -- "Given the difficulty inherent in establishing the liability of individual Trust Fund donors, FAO should assume responsibility for the accumulated liabilities on Trust Fund programmes." Therefore, my US$ 17 million includes that share as well.
I want to clarify something there, because I have misled you slightly. I said there were two elements: service costs and the amortization. On the service costs, we are only taking, obviously,
the Regular Programme and the support costs share, because all future Trust Funds will be charged with their share of the service cost. On the amortization, which is the past liability, we are taking the Regular Programme, the support costs and the Trust Fund elements. The respective percentages there, you could work out for yourself from the table in paragraph 3.72, but, for your information, Regular Programme is 51 percent, support cost is 8 percent and Trust Fund is another 14 percent.
Based on the same percentages, or adding up those figures, the total accrued liability at the moment, as calculated at 1 January 1996, for the unamortized accrued liability for After-Service Medical Care, would be US$ 154 million. The difference between my figure and Mr Ruddy's is that mine is more conservative and has the US$ 30 million's worth for Trust Funds.
There was a second question which I would like to respond to. The distinguished observer of the Netherlands made a comment in his statement which I regret I have to correct. He stated that, with regard to the Annual Report of Budgetary Performance, and I quote: "we note with concern the projected transfer of resources from the technical programmes to general policies and direction, support and common services, and share the Finance Committee's concern that this trend should be reversed".
I have no objection to that statement. We agree entirely.
It then states: "These transfers have been exercised without prior consultation of Member Nations and not always in line with the priority-setting which should remain the guidelines". That is unfortunate as a statement: I would have preferred it as a question. It is not correct and, for the record, I need to take you through the history of what happened here.
This transfer arises out of the adjustments to the 1996-97 Programme of Work and Budget. In fact, in the paper that we presented to the Finance Committee in May 1996, taking the budget down from the US$ 706.9 million that had been included in the appropriation distribution by chapter to the US$ 650 million that you approved as the Appropriation, we provided a paper to the Finance Committee, reference PC 74/2 and FC 84/4. That paper was reprinted for the benefit of the Council as Rev-1. Paragraphs 54, 55 and 56 described what was going to have to happen as regards the new financial framework for the publications pool. In particular, it noted that we would need up to US$ 7.5 million for separation costs and that these were not funded in the budget, because you were not prepared to provide additional funds for that purpose. But, so that we could implement the proposed change aimed at efficiency savings, we would in fact rely on the savings from vacancies on Professional posts, and we gave you an estimate of what those vacancies were at that time.
We then also described, in paragraph 55, that there was a key point to be brought to the attention of the Committees, which was the impact of the proposal on the budget by chapter. The potential changes in the new financial framework implied the need to adjust the charge-out rates to reflect, as much as possible, the actual costs incurred for services which will, in turn, tend to increase the costs of meeting documentation. So, a change in the charging structure was going to change the distribution of costs. Secondly, the need to identify some costs as direct Regular Programme expenditures so as to remove unjustified overhead charges from the internal rates and thus allow fair competition with external contractors. The example we gave in the paper was that we took out the cost of the Terminology and Reference Section from the pool charges and put it in Chapter one. Why? Because to include that in the rates for our translators was unfair. The outside translators do not have to bear that cost, so why should the internal translators bear that cost if we are going to settle a level playing field for their work?
There are many other examples of those sorts of transfers.
We concluded in that paper, referring to both separations and the change in structure: "In either case, this could cause a shift in resources from one chapter to another. As insufficient progress has
been made on this aspect to forecast the full effect, the Director-General wishes to advise the Finance Committee that he will report on this aspect at its April/May 1997 session".
The Committees recognized that fact and reported, in paragraph 3.15 of CL 111/14, that they were aware that such transfers would be required and they expressed their concern that this could adversely affect the technical programmes' delivery, given that the majority of Professional vacancies were in the technical departments or in the technical groups of decentralized offices.
I continue to quote: "This absorption of the separation costs and other related factors may entail some budgetary transfers during the course of the biennium".
That report was, of course, endorsed by the 111th Session of the Council and so the conclusion I draw is that we have been totally fastidious in our consultations with the Finance Committee, which has, of course, the authority to approve such transfers under Financial Regulation 4.5.b)l).
So, my conclusion is that we feel that that statement should be corrected.
Thomas Austin FORBORD (Chairman, Finance Committee) I think the Secretariat will answer the many questions put by Members. I just want to make a note of what the Council has indicated. There were three decisions or guidance questions that the Council needed to express itself on.
There is a split on the Incentive Scheme. No consensus either way.
Those that expressed themselves on the Scale of Contributions said it was premature to establish a scale and they would prefer to wait and see what happens in New York.
On the After-Service Medical Costs, mostly you asked questions and you have not provided any guidance to the Secretariat on what you wanted to do. I assume that leaves it to the Finance Committee, in September, to provide some further guidance.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): I just wanted to clarify one thing and to thank Mr Mehboob for his careful replies to my questions. He attributed one particular question to Canada and it was not a question that Canada had raised that dealt with the possibility of asking staff to bear some of additional cost for the After-Service Medical Costs. Canada has no compunction at all about putting additional demands on the staff but this is not one of the additional demands that we are asking of the staff.
Secondly, we do recognize that when it comes to finding ways of allocating to Trust Fund donors, their share of the accumulated After-Service Medical Costs, we recognize that you can not go back and reopen existing contracts. What we had asked for was the Finance Committee look for innovative ways of finding ways of recovering these costs in the future.
Thomas Austin FORBORD (Chairman, Finance Committee): Just on this last point, the recommendation of the Finance Committee. It is one that, regardless of what is done on amortization, the other part of the recommendation will be implemented and that is, in the future, all of the current costs, including the current cost of the future liabilities, will be in the budget. In January, we do start a somewhat different scheme, in that, those payments that should have been made in the past, will be made in the future. The outstanding question is whether we begin to amortize those that were not paid. So, when looking at this US$ 17 million, as Mr Wade said, there are two components in there. One of those will be in the budget. One of them we still have a decision to make on. So, in reply, there is an innovative way that it is going to be collected, we are going to increase your assessments.
Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): First of all, I have some problems because we still have difficulties with these figures and that has obviously to be clarified.
The US$ 6.6 million that is in the budget at the moment only pays for pay-as-you-go. It does not pay for the service cost. Just to get to the service cost, we would have to add a certain amount to the budget.
Now, can I say, there is a little bit of dispute internally about interpretation of the actuarial reports as to precisely how much has to be added, but it is between US$ 6 and US$ 8 million according to my calculations. We would still have to add some money to the budget to pick up the incremental cost of service cost. Then we have to add some more money for the amortization. So, that is where we stand at the moment.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): I thank the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr Forbord, for pointing out that the system that has been recommended by the Finance Committee for paying the accumulated arrears resulting from Trust Fund activities, was to charge the entire Membership. My comment was to recognize that was the proposal, but request that the Finance Committee look for a slightly more innovative way.
Secondly, my question would be to the Secretariat. Can they assure us that, in the future, when charges are made for Trust Fund activities, that these standard charges be say 10 percent, 13 percent, 15 percent, whatever, will include the cost of this after-service medical care as one of the components of that standard administrative cost, in the future?
Tony WADE (Director, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): Just a clarification on the delegate of Canada's question. The main element of After-Service Medical Care cost that applies to Trust Funds is to the staff that are working on the Trust Fund themselves. Therefore, it would be charged directly to the project. At the moment, it is not charged in the overhead charge for 13 percent. So, the direct charge to the project, which is a direct charge for the total cost of the staff member, includes, at the moment, a share of After-Service Medical Cost. What is wrong, according to latest accounting standards, is that the calculation of that share is inadequate.
You are right that there would also be an adjustment to the support cost charge because the standard costs for support cost staff, the same as for Regular Programme staff, should also be increased to include the same provision. Therefore, there would be a marginal increase in the charge for posts which are paid for out of the income that we get from the 13 percent. I have to say that we would not change the 13 percent. We would have no justification for doing so. As you know, our policy there, is to reduce costs so that they equal to, or are less than, the 13 percent in any case.
Suharyvo HUSEN (Indonesia): Since Indonesia is not a member of the Finance Committee, I would like to make a brief statement on this Agenda item under discussion.
The Indonesian delegation would like to share its views with other speakers here, in supporting the Finance Committee to request the Secretariat to follow the evaluation of the issue of the scale of contributions for 1998-99 and the UN Committee on Contributions closely and refer to it at the September session with an updated situation.
Regarding the scheme on payments of contributions, the Indonesian delegation would also like to join other Members of the Committee, in considering that the Organization, FAO, should continue with the scheme, as the number of Member Nations, including Indonesia, having paid their contributions, in full, before 31 March, has considerably increased. Therefore, the Indonesian delegation fully supports the content of paragraph 3.68 of the document CL 112/14.
EL PRESIDENTE: Para organizar nuestros debates les pido que cuando deseen hacer alguna declaración, lo hagan en el tiempo dedicado para ello y no en la parte final, para no interrumpir el flujo natural de las presentaciones y respuestas de parte de la Secretaría y la conclusión de los trabajos.
Creo que podemos concluir este tema, en primer lugar diciendo que el Consejo tomó nota de los informes del 86° y 87° período de sesiones del Comité de Finanzas; tomó nota asimismo de la información actualizada sobre el estado de las cuotas, de las cuentas provisionales y de las inversiones de la Organización; observó además que había habido una mejora importante en el estado de las cuotas debido principalmente, al pago muy oportuno del segundo contribuyente de la Organización; tomó nota también de la intención del primer contribuyente de pagar cuanto antes sus cuotas, en noviembre y diciembre, así como su intención de pagar sus atrasos. No obstante, el Consejo lamentó una vez más que aún se registran importantes retrasos en el pago de las cuotas que obligan a la Organización a enfrentar déficits, dificultando la realización de sus tareas.
Respecto de la Escala de Cuotas propuesta para 1998-99, se señaló que la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas estaba estudiando la posibilidad de modificar dicha Escala y, se pidió a la Secretaría que mantuviera informado al Comité de Finanzas y luego al Consejo, para que el Comité de Finanzas en su reunión de septiembre pueda hacer una recomendación ulterior al Consejo. El Consejo también tomó nota de la práctica ya establecida de adaptar la Escala de Cuotas de las Naciones Unidas; la forma en que se llevará a cabo esta práctica dependerá de los acontecimientos en Naciones Unidas previendo además los posibles cambios subsecuentes en la Escala de Cuotas de las Naciones Unidas.
Se tomó nota asimismo, del Informe de la Ejecución del Presupuesto 1996, el cual se endosó.
En lo referente al Plan de Incentivos para fomentar el pago puntual de las cuotas, el Consejo tomó nota que en la práctica no se ha ejercido una influencia muy significativa sobre los Estados Miembros, siendo a su vez un elemento oneroso para la Organización, como lo indica el Informe del Comité de Finanzas. Se reiteró al Comité de Finanzas seguir estudiando este punto y también el hecho de que, el debate en torno a la Escala de Cuotas estuvo dividido respecto a la eliminación de este Plan, como lo recomendaba el Director General y otros miembros de la FAO. En vista de esta división de opiniones respecto a la supresión del Plan de Incentivos, el Consejo pidió a la Secretaría que presentara al Comité de Finanzas en septiembre, propuestas para reducir el costo general del Plan, con miras a recomendar una fórmula más efectiva y menos onerosa.
Podríamos aquí introducir alguna propuesta de compromiso, es decir que en virtud de que los incentivos se aplican hasta el 31 de marzo, podría considerarse que el descuento total del pago se vaya gradualizando de manera que, cuanto más temprano se efectúe el pago, el descuento sea mayor, de manera tal que hacia el 31 de marzo estos incentivos se hayan eliminado. Esta manera gradual quizá reduciría el costo y podría mantener el incentivo. Pero, en fin, es una propuesta que formulo y que podría quizá estudiar el Comité de Finanzas. Repito, no es que lo hayan propuesto ustedes, pero quizás es una fórmula de compromiso que podrían eventualmente aceptar.
En lo que respecta a la Terminación de Servicios y Post-Jubilación se tomó nota de los probables efectos de este asunto sobre los futuros presupuestos de la Organización y se coincidió con el Comité de Finanzas en financiar plenamente el pasivo exigible y aplicar un plan de amortización para el pasivo acumulado.
Finalmente, respecto de la cobertura del Seguro Médico Post-Servicio creo que el Consejo podría confirmar su petición al Director General de estudiar fórmulas para financiar este pasivo, de manera que afecte lo menos posible al Programa de Labores y Presupuesto. Estas opciones, entre las que aquí se han mencionado, podrían estudiarse en el Comité de Finanzas.
Adel Mahmoud ABOUL-NAGA (Egypt): Just one comment about that you referred to the Council that the Incentive Scheme did not affect the rate of payment. This was a financial conclusion but some of the Council Members did not agree with it. I think, I remember, that Canada and some other Member and myself, all agreed that it had an effect, so I do not think that it is the Council's conclusion.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): I simply wanted some clarification as to whether you were attempting to summarize the debate or whether you were trying to come up with, perhaps, an innovative way around. You began by saying that this was your impression of the summary of the debate, and then went on to say, as noted by the delegate from Egypt, that the Council agreed with the conclusion that the Incentive Scheme did not have any effect and should be eliminated. The way it was interpreted was "you note that the Council agreed with the conclusion that the Incentive Scheme did not have any effect on early payments".
EL PRESIDENTE: ¿Ha terminado usted distinguido delegado? Lo que dije es que el Consejo tomó nota del informe del Comité de Finanzas, de que el Esquema no había tenido una influencia muy significativa en promover el pago oportuno de los Estados Miembros. Estamos tomando nota solamente de lo que se refleja en el Comité y del hecho de que persiste una división en torno a la propuesta de suprimirlo, en virtud de que era un esquema oneroso a la Organización.
Eso era todo, estaba yo resumiendo el debate y estaba diciendo que tomábamos nota de lo que dice el Informe.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): Mr Chairman, because you then went on to note that the request that the Finance Committee continued to review this was withdrawn. There was no debate on that particular issue. Then you went on, with what I assumed was a compromise proposal that perhaps it could be reduced or introduced in a phased manner. I simply wanted to say that I did not share that interpretation of the debate.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, afortunadamente tomé nota de lo que dije, así que lo tengo por escrito y se lo voy a volver a leer. Lo que dije fue básicamente que se tomó nota de que no había ejercido una influencia muy significativa en las prácticas de los Estados Miembros a la vez que había sido bastante costoso. Es lo que dije al referirme al informe del Comité de Finanzas y luego mencioné, el Consejo tomó nota de que el Comité de Finanzas estuvo dividido respecto a la cuestión de eliminar este plan como lo recomendaba el Director General. El Consejo en vista de la división de opiniones respecto a la supresión del Plan de Incentivos, pidió a la Secretaría que presentara al Comité de Finanzas en septiembre propuestas para reducir el costo general del Plan con miras a recomendar una fórmula más efectiva y menos onerosa. Eso es lo que dije.
Pero eso es todo, simplemente hay que continuar buscando una fórmula con miras a que sea más efectiva y menos onerosa. ¿Tiene usted algo que agregar? Canadá tiene la palabra.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): No, not at this time Mr Chairman. Just to say that your note should, perhaps, be made available to the Drafting Committee because at one point you say, "the Council noted that the Payment Scheme had no effect" and in another point you say, "the Council noted the recommendation that the Payment Scheme had no effect." We just have to make sure it is the latter that we are talking about, but I do not agree that "the Council noted that the scheme has no effect." That is all.
EL PRESIDENTE: Afortunadamente lo tengo escrito con mi propia letra y usted podrá leerlo. No tiene, de todas maneras, ningún efecto mandatorio sobre el informe que ustedes van a aprobar. Sí subrayo que dije "efectos muy significativos", sobre la práctica de los Estados Miembros.
Obviamente intenté recoger el debate de la manera en que se dio y coincido con usted en que no hubo acuerdo. La propuesta creo que debe ser que se sigan buscando fórmulas más efectivas, menos onerosas y me atreví inclusive a sugerir una de compromiso que podría estudiarse también y que consistiría en gradualizar los incentivos de enero al 31 de marzo para que, conforme más temprano se pague mayor sea el descuento. Esa es una posibilidad que se puede estudiar en el Comité de Finanzas. Lo que sí debemos constatar es que el Consejo, como el Comité de Finanzas, estuvo dividido respecto a esta cuestión.
La próxima vez, quizá voy a leer mi resumen en varios idiomas para que no haya problemas.
Thomas Austin FORBORD (Chairman, Finance Committee): Maybe something to add and something to subtract. There were twelve countries that spoke on the Incentive Scheme, including a country speaking for a total of six countries. Three-fourths of those said they wanted to keep the current Scheme and one-fourth of them said they wanted to accept the Director-General's proposal. To me it sounds like the Committee rejected the proposal of the Director-General. Nobody made any proposals that we reduce the cost, except in your summary and maybe you could follow the advice that you gave to the delegate from Indonesia of making proposals in the appropriate place of the discussion rather than in the summary.
EL PRESIDENTE: Usted no me va a decir lo que tengo que decir o no tengo que decir. Tengo una posición independiente y puedo hacer recomendaciones al Consejo conforme considere pertinente para ayudar al debate y tomar una decisión. No le permito que se dirija a mi de esta manera.
De todas formas se ha hecho una propuesta de compromiso y creo que es útil el considerarla, o no considerarla, depende de ustedes. Pero la hago porque creo que podría ayudar a acercar las posiciones.
Respecto al debate sí estuvo dividido, y quizás si más delegados hubieran hecho uso de la palabra más delegados se habrían pronunciado en favor de una opción o la otra. Lo que está claro es que están divididas las posiciones. Eso es todo lo que tenemos que notar.
Yo no quisiera que este tema continuara, les aseguro a ustedes que no es mandatoria la forma en que he resumido los debates y que no se va a imponer al informe que ustedes adoptarán. Simplemente es una forma de indicar el sentido general de lo que ocurrió aquí y, desde luego, proponer fórmulas que ayuden al Consejo a llegar a conclusiones. Si no son aceptables por el Consejo serán rechazadas a la hora de adoptar el informe.
Kezimbira Lawrence MIYINGO (Uganda): I am a little bit worried by the comment of the Chairman of the Finance Committee because I think Council has debated this and several views were put forward. It is worrying to hear that we are going to go by the Committee's decision of rejecting the Director-General's recommendation because some of us did voice that we supported the Director-General.
David SANDS SMITH (United Kingdom): It almost seems that we are re-opening the debate. It seems to me, personally, that there were two elements. The first was that views were divided; the second was that the Finance Committee needs to consider this question further. How that goes forward, what conclusions the Finance Committee may meet, we will have to wait and see until our next meeting.
Ms Melinda L. KIMBLE (United States of America): I concur with the views of the United Kingdom. I think we have spent enough time and we need to send this back to the Finance Committee.
EL PRESIDENTE: Es eso lo que todos queremos, de manera que si no hay ninguna otra observación se da por concluido el Tema 18 y en su informe ustedes revisarán la forma en que se refleja el debate.
EL PRESIDENTE: Pasamos ahora al Tema 12 Programa Mundial de Alimentos que contiene dos puntos: 12.1 Primer informe anual de la Junta Ejecutiva del PMA y 12.2 Revisión de las Normas Generales del PMA.
Los Temas 12.1 Primer informe de la Junta Ejecutiva y 12.2 de la Revisión de las Normas Generales, los vamos a tomar por separado.
Para presentar el Primer Informe de la Junta Ejecutiva, le voy a pedir a mi querido amigo Namanga Ngongi que presente este tema. Yo sé que va a ser un esfuerzo para hacerlo en español, que seguramente ha mejorado desde la última ocasión en que nos vimos, pero seguramente lo tiene escrito ya en inglés.
A. NAMANGA NGONGI (Director ejecutivo adjunto, PMA): Es un placer para mí participar en la reunión del Consejo de la FAO bajo su presidencia. Su liderazgo en el Consejo de la FAO ha siempre logrado resultados muy importantes.
Hoy es mi tarea presentar algunos documentos del PMA para discusión y aprobación del Consejo. Con su permiso, señor Presidente, hablaré en inglés. (Continues in English)
The present Report, put before the Council for comments and approval, is the first since the inception of the Executive Board of the World Food Programme and it is set in a new format. The information is kept very brief and focused on the issues of relevance to the FAO Council and ECOSOC. It combines what was, in previous years, reported in several separate documents.
The Report highlights issues related to decisions and recommendations of the Board that have policy and/or financial implications and matters for which the Board has legal reporting obligations towards the parent body. Other issues, such as operational and administrative matters covered in other Reports, have been given less importance.
Part One is the Report of the Executive Board on its substantive activities during 1996; Part Two contains information on follow-up actions on the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly and ECOSOC resolutions, including the issues of harmonization of programmes and follow-up to major United Nations Conferences, and conforms to a common format agreed upon by the forms and programmes of the United Nations.
At its annual session, during the discussions on the relevant Agenda Item, the Board decided that additional information, related to new initiatives and further developments, be incorporated before the transmission of the document to Council. An addendum has, therefore, been issued to comply with the Board's decision. It has been circulated as document CL 112/13-Corr.1.
Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): En primer lugar agradecemos al señor Ngongi, la presentación y subrayamos, como él ha expresado, que este documento está dentro de una composición nueva de informe que adoptó la Junta Ejecutiva del PMA, de forma breve, ágil y tomando las cuestiones fundamentales.
En primer lugar, tenemos que resaltar que el Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe tuvo una amplia participación en todos estos debates y en la confección de este documento, razón por la cual podemos aceptarlo como está. Es una propuesta que nosotros hacemos, conocemos y planteamos la alta estimación que tiene nuestro Grupo Regional con los métodos de trabajo del PMA dentro de la política multilateral y de la cooperación internacional.
Señor Presidente, nosotros quisiéramos dentro de este rasgo de universalidad que caracteriza al PMA hacer un comentario muy apropiado, además tenemos la suerte de tener entre nosotros al Presidente de la Junta Ejecutiva del PMA, el distinguido Embajador de Francia. Queremos subrayar un hecho que es fundamental. En la primera reunión del PMA, después de la Cumbre, el primer punto que se puso en la agenda fue el seguimiento del PMA y esto es una cuestión que quiero destacar porque nosotros planteamos, como Grupo Latinoamericano y del Caribe, toda una serie de planes de seguimiento a la Cumbre. Eso lo debe tomar en consideración el Consejo. Nosotros hemos planteado que hay organismos dentro del sistema de Naciones Unidas que tienen que ver con la alimentación y con la agricultura, que sin dejar sus características, reflejan cuestiones fundamentales que están señaladas tanto en la Declaración Política como en el Plan de Acción. Entonces, nosotros tenemos que tener en cuenta esto porque hemos contraído un compromiso como Cumbre de erradicar el flagelo del hambre y la malnutrición; hemos puesto ésto como énfasis fundamental que quiero, si usted me lo permite señor Presidente subrayarlo, ayudar a los pueblos para salir del hambre y de la miseria. Precisamente en la última Junta Ejecutiva nosotros, como Presidente del Grupo Latinoamericano y del Caribe, coincidimos con la distinguida Representación de Senegal, Presidente del Grupo Africano, en señalar el sabio proverbio chino: es mejor aprender a pescar que comer pescado un día.
Aquí se ha hablado mucho de poder cuestionar lo que es la ayuda al desarrollo. Este es un punto que también se debatió y lo queremos subrayar, señor Presidente. Queremos destacar y que se tenga en cuenta aquí que hay unas propuestas del Grupo Latinoamericano y del Caribe relacionadas al primer punto de la agenda del PMA de trabajo de seguimiento de la Cumbre. Teniendo en cuenta todo lo que hemos manifestado, y vista su importancia, queremos que se subraye.
Uu Suhadi MAWARADANA (Indonesia): On behalf of the Indonesian delegation I wish to thank the Secretariat for its WFP Annual Report 1996, document CL 112/13 before us. I would briefly note that, as it states in the report, WFP has examined and questioned its method of work and procedure in order to increase this efficiency cost-effectively and transparently. It came out in the text.
We also note that a provision therefore has been made by WFP, identifying the current and future policy issues concerning equipment, economic regimen and practice of distribution of food aid, increasing project development aid systems, food assistance to emergency situations, encouraging the transition from relief to rehabilitation and development.
My delegation feels that WFP has made a great positive achievement in executing the major development projects and humanitarian programme activities in most of these countries, particularly of course low-income, food-deficit and least developed countries.
Having said that, I would like to inform you that in Indonesia the WFP has been operating for over thirteen years during which time our development and emergency projects were implemented and have been successful. As a result of our social and economic development, Indonesia no longer qualifies as a recipient of WFP food aid assistance, but the Government of Indonesia will continue to contribute to WFP programme and activities in the form of the pledge of time as well as also technical assistance.
Therefore my delegation fully supports and would like to endorse the WFP Annual Report. My delegation hopes that WFP will have more enhanced collaboration within the UN organization system, where more countries as well as other international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations can carry out its programme and activities for the year ahead, particularly in the follow-up of the Summit.
Regarding the proposed general revision of WFP, Indonesia has participated actively in the Open-ended Working Group which was established by WFP to review and revise the Regulations. Therefore, our delegation would like to also support and endorse these proposed revised Regulations.
Michael TABONG ΚΙΜΑ (Cameroon): We have looked at the report presented by Dr Ngongi and I wish to say that the Cameroon delegation participated very actively in the work that was contributed many elements in this report. We wish to support the recommendations of the distinguished delegate of Cuba that the report be approved, as presented.
Thomas Austin FORBORD (United States of America): The Annual Report to ECOSOC and the FAO Council reflects the considerable achievements of WFP during 1996. Both the Executive Director and her staff are to be congratulated for this distinct and comprehensive presentation. We support its adoption by the Council.
Kezimbira Lawrence MIYINGO (Uganda): Uganda would like also to congratulate the World Food Programme and would like to endorse the report presented for the World Food Programme.
In endorsing this, Uganda would also like to, once again, request the World Food Programme that, as Uganda is the Headquarters of the World Food Programme within the Great Lake Region, we have always appealed - and the Deputy Executive Director is quite aware of my many visits -- that Uganda, having the potential to be able to produce quite adequate foods that could solve the entire Great Lake Region, has always appealed to the possibility of the World Food Programme giving it an indication of a quota that could be bought for meat so the Government and the Minister of Agriculture could be able to mobilize the population into production of this quota so that this quota, when the need arises, does not have to come from outside, but can be mobilized from within. This will allow, of course, our people to combat poverty since they have the potential but the market many times reduces their motivation towards production.
I would like commend the World Food Programme for the activities that it has started off in Uganda in 1986, when we hardly had milk available in the country and we were supported with powdered milk. I would like to report that today Uganda does not use even a kilo of powdered milk, but the industry has picked up and we are now producing enough milk for the entire country and we have even started the export of milk.
Abdou Karim DIOUF (Sénégal): Monsieur le Président, au nom de la délégation sénégalaise, je voudrais remercier M. Ngongi, Directeur exécutif adjoint du PAM, de nous avoir présenté ce document portant sur les activités de fond du Conseil d'administration pour l'année 1996. Il s'agit comme à l'accoutumée d'un excellent document qui renferme des informations très utiles. Le Sénégal, qui est membre du Conseil d'administration, a également participé très activement au groupe de travail pour la révision des règles générales du PAM. Nous avons, comme l'a rappelé
son Excellence l'Ambassadeur de Cuba, également participé aux débats sur ces documents soumis. C'est pourquoi nous voudrions nous joindre à lui, et à tous les orateurs qui se sont exprimés sur cette question, pour demander qu'il soit adopté, et le conseiller pour adoption à la Conférence générale de la FAO.
K.P. FABIAN (India): It is an excellent report reflecting the good work done during the year 1996. My delegation wants to thank the Deputy Executive Director for the excellent presentation of the report and would request him to transmit to the Executive Director and to the Secretariat our appreciation. The WFP deserves support from all of us.
Sra. Cecilia JABER de BLANCARTE (México): El distinguido Representante de Cuba, ya manifestó la posición del Grupo de América Latina. Nosotros, obviamente, lo apoyamos y quería solamente señalar que también nos sumamos al apoyo para la aprobación de este informe.
Apoyamos también el corrigendum que se presenta, el cual consigna parte de los debates que tuvimos en la junta anual y en la que la delegación de México hizo señalamientos puntuales que en éste aparecen.
Shahid RASHID (Pakistan): We would also like to associate ourselves with those delegations which have extended their compliments and recommendations to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme and the Executive Board for the presentation of a very clear and precise report. We are heartened to see the improved format and presentation and would therefore like to urge the approval of the Executive Board.
Luigi FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy): I also would like to approve and commend the World Food Programme for the documentation and for the excellent work done. I would also like to say that an occasion like the one today could, in the future, give us the occasion of an exchange of views on how to increase relations and improve any synergic possibilities existing between the two Organizations.
Mme Hataba YAHIA-CHERIF (Algérie): J'aimerais aussi joindre ma voix à ceux qui nous ont précédés et apporter notre soutien aux recommandations contenues dans le rapport.
Fassou ELIE DAMEY (Observateur de la Guinée): Ma délégation, au nom du gouvernement, voudrait remercier sincèrement la direction exécutive et le Conseil du PAM pour tout son appui au projet développement rural. Je me joins également au groupe africain pour approuver ce présent rapport. Je dois ici affirmer que le PAM a des impacts très sûrs sur les affluences, car aujourd'hui, dans les pays avoisinant la Guinée, il y a des points de conflit qui créent une affluence et, puisque l'objectif est d'atteindre la sécurité alimentaire, l'impact du PAM viendrait à point nommé pour appuyer la Guinée à atteindre ses objectifs. Et je dois aussi attirer l'attention sur le fait que le PAM est une des institutions qui a un impact encore très favorable au niveau du paysan parce qu'en Guinée je vous confie qu'il y a une période, qui est la période de soudure, et dont les forces vives de travail ont besoin d'énergie, et c'est avec les produits PAM que nous arrivons effectivement à mettre en oeuvre les projets de développement et à avoir des résultats certains.
Kiala Kia MATEVA (Observateur de l'Angola): L'Angola est un membre du Conseil d'administration du PAM, c'est pourquoi il vient joindre sa voix à ceux qui l'ont précédé et accepte et appuie la proposition faite par son Excellence l'Ambassadeur de Cuba.
Sra. María E. JIMENEZ de MOCHI ONORI (Observador de El Salvador): Sólo unas breves palabras para apoyar la aprobación de este Informe. Como las delegaciones que me han precedido, principalmente la de México y Cuba, ya indicaron lo que mi delegación quería decir, quisiéramos únicamente respaldar esas declaraciones.
Asimismo, deseamos reiterar el apoyo ya expresado por nuestra delegación en la Junta Ejecutiva, ya que como Angola, nosotros somos miembros de la Junta Ejecutiva del PMA, respaldar, le decía, el apoyo de nuestra delegación al objetivo de promesa del PMA para el bienio 1999-2000.
Mohamed Said M.A. HARBI (Observer for Sudan) (Original language Arabic): In the Name of God, the merciful and compassionate. We would like to support most strongly all that is contained in this report and should like to reassure this august gathering that the World Food Programme is of vital importance in my country, particularly in the support for agricultural development and the support for displaced persons and refugees, and I should like to praise the activities of the WFP. Once again, I should like to support what is contained in this report and would like to thank, most sincerely, Mr Ngongi for his statement this morning.
Malloum BAMANGA ABBAS (Observateur du Tchad): Ma délégation voudrait également joindre sa voix aux autres délégations qui se sont exprimées pour apporter son appui aux activités du PAM et, en même temps, demander l'approbation de ce rapport qui a été présenté par M. Ngongi.
Paul PAREDES PORTELLA (Observador del Perú): Sólo para apoyar lo señalado por las delegaciones que me han precedido en el uso de la palabra y expresar nuestro reconocimiento a la labor del PMA.
EL PRESIDENTE: Con esto se concluye mi lista de oradores. Deseo subrayar, y ahora le doy la palabra al señor Namanga Ngongi para ello, que en mi introducción les hice notar el documento CL 112/13-Supp.l. Como ustedes saben, ese documento contiene el proyecto de resolución sobre el objetivo de promesas del PMA para el bienio 1999-2000. Le voy a dar la palabra al señor Ngongi para que, presente este documento para las Actas del Consejo.
A. NAMANGA NGONGI (Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme): First of all, I wish to express the appreciation, not only of myself, but I think, the entire WFP Secretariat and the Executive Director, for the very kind words which have been said here this morning and we can only pledge to continue the work which we are charged to be doing and to do it as effectively as we can. Thank you very much.
Secondly, I wish to reconfirm the WFP's commitment to follow-up on the World Food Summit and, therefore, clearly since the World Food Summit was only at the end of last year, the next Annual Report probably will contain a lot more definitive actions which have been taken as a follow-up to the World Food Summit.
Thirdly, I would express great appreciation not only to the distinguished delegate of Indonesia, but to all the other countries which have spoken clearly to highlight the positive impact that the World Food Programme has in their countries. I think this is information which has been lacking for so long and that a lot of people, probably, sometimes have doubts on the effectiveness on WFP's development programmes. I think that it was very, very useful and we very much thank you for it.
As for the distinguished Ambassador of Italy there may be an opportunity in the future to discuss more on the relationship between the World Food Programme and FAO and other organizations. I think that is very welcome, and just also to inform the distinguished Ambassador that the corrigendum speaks a little bit more on those kind of actions which are taken collaboratively between FAO and the World Food Programme.
On the Pledging Target, if I can pass to that. As the distinguished Council would also note, the Pledging Target is mostly done for the development operations of the programme, which was the former Regular Programme of WFP. The Executive Board is recommending that the Pledging Target be set at US$ 1 billion or 2.1 million tonnes. However, in endorsing this target, the
Executive Board noted that it was the tendency, in light of the current rate of contributions to the development programme of the World Food Programme, that this target is on the high side but, at least, it also took note that the needs of developing countries were not getting any lower. So it also appreciated that this was a target which was set at an appropriate level to encourage the donors to reach a higher level of budgetary contributions.
What the Council has requested is to endorse the attached resolution to this Pledging Target Resolution and to forward it to the FAO Conference. A similar action will be taken at the ECOSOC, to present the same document and resolution to ECOSOC for onward transmission to the General Assembly for adoption.
EL PRESIDENTE: Si no hay otra observación, podemos entonces concluir que tras reconocer con alto aprecio la importante labor del Programa Mundial de la Alimentación, de su Director Ejecutivo y del personal del PMA, así como las mejores relaciones y la coordinación creciente y mayor sinergia entre el PMA y la FAO, el Consejo adoptó el informe contenido en el documento CL 112/13, así como el documento CL 112/3-Corr.1 y el Consejo, además, adoptó la Resolución contenida en el documento CL 112/13-Supp.l. Le agradeció al señor Ngongi por su presencia y por las explicaciones ofrecidas. El Consejo se congratuló por la forma eficaz con que está trabajando el Programa Mundial de la Alimentación con miras a que el objetivo de promesas se cumpla de manera efectiva, completa y pronta. Si no hay ningún otro punto sobre el Tema 12.1, lo damos por concluido y pasamos entonces al Tema 12.2: Revisión de las Normas Generales del PMA, documento CL 112/19 y el documento CL 112/19-Supp.l.
A. NAMANGA NGONGI (Deputy Executive Director, WFP): The Council has before it, for consideration, document CL 112/19 containing the proposed WFP General Regulations. The text that you have now before you for discussion has been through its various drafts, the subject of extensive and detailed examination by the Open-ended Working Group set up by the Executive Board in 1996. Following intensive deliberations the Board, at its Second Regular Session of 1997, endorsed the final version as set out in the document before you.
The proposed texts for the General Regulations are brief and general in nature, as they will constitute the basis for all future basic texts for WFP. Therefore, it is important to note that the document contains also the proposed General Rules, which, although within the purview of the Executive Board, are submitted to you for information.
The General Rules, which contain a number of provisions on operation details, generally offer a clarifying nature, were approved provisionally by the Board, subject to the approval of the General Regulations by both United Nations General Assembly and the FAO Conference.
The Executive Board and the Secretariat of WFP would like to take this opportunity to express appreciation for the invaluable contribution of the FAO Legal Counsel, Mr G. Moore who is here, during the deliberations of the proposed WFP General Regulations.
The Board requests that the FAO Council endorse the proposed General Regulations and recommend their approval to the FAO Conference. ECOSOC will be requested to take similar action, with a view to having these proposed General Regulations presented to the General Assembly at its Fifty-second Session later this year. The proposed General Regulations, if approved by both the FAO Conference and the UN General Assembly, will enter into force on 1 January 1998.
Louis DOMINICI (France): J'interviens certes en tant qu'Ambassadeur de France mais aussi en tant que Président du Conseil d'administration du Programme alimentaire mondial et je voudrais à ce titre simplement apporter un témoignage au Conseil de la FAO.
Je voudrais dire d'abord que le projet de règle générale qui vous est présenté est le résultat d'un travail approfondi d'un Groupe de travail à composition non limitée, présidé par notre excellent confrère et collègue, le Représentant permanent suppléant de l'Inde à qui je veux rendre hommage. Ce travail, qui a duré plusieurs mois, a permis de recueillir tous les avis, toutes les propositions de formulation et de soumettre au Conseil d'administration du PAM un texte presque définitif. Je voudrais dire aussi que nous avons reçu une aide très précieuse du Conseiller juridique de la FAO et du PAM M. J.M. Powell et de son équipe et je tiens aussi à les en remercier. Excusez-moi, M. Moore.
Enfin je voudrais dire que le Conseil d'administration du PAM qui a débattu avec beaucoup de vivacité de ce projet de règle générale, y a apporté la touche finale dans un débat très constructif où chacun a su faire preuve de compréhension, défendre ses points de vue et en fin de compte consentir les compromis nécessaires. Je peux témoigner que le Conseil d'administration du PAM a travaillé dans un climat très positif, conscient de l'ardente obligation que lui impose la gravité du combat qui est le nôtre dans la lutte contre la faim. C'est le témoignage que je voulais donner au Conseil de la FAO.
Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Es muy difícil añadir algo más de lo que acaba de decir el Embajador de Francia y Presidente de la Junta Ejecutiva, creo que ha recojido el sentimiento de la intención de todos los que participamos en este grupo de trabajo.
Pero, en nombre del Grupo Latinoamericano y del Caribe, que presido, quisiéramos unirnos a la felicitación por el trabajo realizado por el Representante de la India, por el doctor Moore y, fundamentalmente por la Secretaría del PMA. Creemos, señor Presidente, que este documento se debe aprobar tal como está, con todo nuestro apoyo.
Abdou Karim DIOUF (Sénégal): Le Sénégal, au nom du Groupe africain, voudrait s'associer aux propos qui ont été tenus par l'Ambassadeur de France sur ce document. Nous voudrions à notre tour adresser nos félicitations au Réprésentant de l'Inde, Président du Groupe de travail à composition non limitée auquel nous-mêmes avons participé. Nous voudrions également associer à ces remerciements le Conseil juridique de la FAO M. Gerald Moore dont l'apport a été déterminant pour la conclusion de ce document. Avec ce document, le PAM dispose du texte de base qui lui donne plus de souplesse puisque le Conseil sera désormais habilité à modifier certaines dispositions touchant à des questions opérationnelles sans recevoir au préalable l'approbation de l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU et de la Conférence générale de la FAO. Il s'y ajoute que c'est le statut et le règlement général proposés qui sont plus conformes aux politiques concernant les ressources et le financement à long terme du PAM. C'est pourquoi ma délégation propose l'adoption du statut proposé par la Conférence générale.
Sra. Cecilia JABER de BLANCARTE (México): La delegación de México quiere unirse a lo expuesto por el Embajador Dominici así como a las felicitaciones tanto al Consejero Jurídico, el doctor Moore, y al Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo Abierto, el distinguido Representante de India.
La delegación de México, por su parte, desearía señalar que participamos activamente en la revisión de las normas generales, revisión que siguió con la adaptación de terminologías y definiciones del 40° Período de Sesiones del entonces CPA. Estimamos que las modificaciones realizadas a los documentos constitutivos y al reglamento financiero contribuirán a asegurar una mejor fiscalización interna y una gestión financiera eficaz, además de que éstas cuentan con la aprobación de la Comisión Consultiva de las Naciones Unidas en asuntos administrativos y de presupuesto y son compatibles con las normas comunes de contabilidad de las Naciones Unidas.
Asimismo, la delegación de México se une a lo expuesto por el Embajador de Cuba; quisiera, también, señalar que en el seno del Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe, en la revisión de estos documentos, guiamos nuestra participación por una posición constante de apoyo a la necesidad de
mantener en estos documentos, claro y vigente uno de los objetivos esenciales del PMA, que es el impulso a los programas de desarrollo.
David SANDS SMITH (United Kingdom): The close collaboration within the family of the European Union continues and, indeed, the collaboration between Ireland and the United Kingdom. I would ask you to give the floor please to my colleague from the Netherlands, speaking as the Presidency of the European Union.
L.C. SMITS (Observer for the Netherlands): On behalf of the European Community and its Member States, I would like to express our full support the revised General Regulations of the World Food Programme, as contained in document CL 112/19.
The European Community and its Member States have participated constructively in the lengthy process of the redrafting negotiations in the framework of the Open-ended Working Group and, subsequently, in the Executive Board of the WFP.
The outcome of this process contains a number of points which are of the main importance to us and to the international community at large indeed. We therefore propose that the Council approves the revised General Regulations as submitted. Accordingly, we fully support the adoption by the Council of the Draft Resolution contained in document CL 112/19-Sup. 1.
It is our understanding that the proposed General Rules, which are derived from the proposed General Regulations, are submitted to the Council for information only. On behalf of the European Community and its Member States, I would like to inform the Council that the proposed General Rules could be improved and sharpened considerably. This is, for instance, the case in the proposed General Rule 7.2 on Reporting. As soon as feasible, we would like to revert to the Reporting issue in the framework of the Executive Board.
In our view WFP reports are generally made available far too late, which prevents Members of the Board communicating duly with their policy and budgetary authorities and their capitals. Particularly, this is the case where it relates to bilaterally funded WFP operations. The Executive-Director should provide, to the donors, these reports within reasonable time after completion of these operations to allow them to submit to their budgetary authorities the appropriate justifications in due time.
Shahid RASHID (Pakistan): We would also like to commend the work done by the Executive Board and the Ambassador of France and its Working Group, under the very able chairmanship of India, who have worked very diligently with the support of the WFP Secretariat, as well as Mr Moore, for the drafting of the new General Regulations of the Programme.
We are certain that these General Regulations, along with the General Rules, will provide the necessary framework for the smooth and efficient operation of the World Food Programme. We, therefore, would also like to wholeheartedly support the endorsement of the General Regulations by the Council.
Atul SINHA (India): I would be failing in my duty if I were not to take the floor and thank all those who participated in this important work that we did. I now speak as the Chairman of the Open-ended Working Group which worked on this particular document.
I would first like to thank the Ambassador of France and, of course, our Chairman of WFP, who provided support to this Working Group all along, and who guided the deliberations of the Executive Board in adopting this particular document, which was finalized by the Working Group. He gave very valuable suggestions and I thank him for all the kind words he has spoken for me and for the work done by the Working Group.
I would also like to thank all the distinguished Speakers, here before me, who have commended the work done by the Working Group. I wish to inform everybody that very many times we had difficult situations and we had long negotiations, but it goes entirely to the credit of the participants, who were a very large number, and their spirit of cooperation, their spirit to understand each other's point of view, which led to a very satisfactory conclusion to a very difficult task. I am sure, once the Council approves these Regulations, it will lay a very sound foundation for the future work of the World Food Programme.
I would also like to thank Mr Moore, for all the able guidance and technical advice that he gave us on many, many legal matters, and on many other matters where we ran into difficulties. My thanks to the Secretary of the World Food Programme Executive Board, who also provided the secretariat for the Open-ended Working Group. Also, to all the staff of the World Food Programme, who catered to the various requirements of the Open-ended Working Group, and at short notice produced a lot of information, a lot of documents, a lot of suggestions.
With that, I once again all those distinguished Members of the Open-ended Working Group who participated very actively, and without whose support this work would not have been possible.
Thank you very much, and I also recommend that this particular document be approved, as India.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias distinguido amigo Sinha por sus palabras. Desde luego ha escuchado usted el elogio que ha hecho de su labor el Consejo de la Organización.
Sra. María E. JIMENEZ de MOCHI ONORI (Observador de El Salvador): Nuestra delegación, como otras, participó muy activamente en las labores del Grupo de Trabajo Abierto establecido para la revisión de las normas generales del PMA. Por esta razón nos unimos a las palabras expresadas por el Embajador Dominici de Francia, en su calidad de Presidente de la Junta Ejecutiva. Felicitamos asimismo al Representante Permanente Alterno de la India por su excelente trabajo, como al señor Moore quien en todo momento nos asesoró en nuestras labores.
Apoyamos, señor Presidente, lo expresado por Cuba y México, principalmente lo que dijo la delegada de México, en el sentido de que debemos mantener siempre presente la importancia de las actividades de desarrollo que ayudan a nuestros pueblos a mejorar sus condiciones de vida de manera sostenible.
Confiamos, señor Presidente, en que este Consejo remitirá el Proyecto de Resolución a la Conferencia para que podamos aprobar las normas generales del Programa.
Kiala Kia MATEVA (Observateur de l'Angola): Au début de son intervention mon collègue et ami, M. Diouf, du Sénégal, a parlé au nom du groupe africain que j'appuie sans réserve. D'autres délégations se sont exprimées en faveur de l'approbation du document et je fais une mention spéciale à l'intervention de son Excellence Monsieur l'Ambasseur de France. C'est pourquoi ma délégation vient ajouter sa voix à celles qui l'ont précédée et qui ont félicité le Président du groupe de travail, le Conseil juridique de la FAO et les membres du groupe de travail. Ma délégation donc approuve le document et recommande que ce document soit présenté à la Conférence de la FAO.
Mohamed Said M.A. HARBI (Observer for Sudan) (Original language Arabie): My delegation played an effective part in the Open-ended Working Group, chaired by my friend, Mr Sinha, from India. In fact, efforts were made by the Honourable Ambassador of France, the Chairman of the Executive Board, and also efforts made by Mr Moore, FAO's Legal Counsel.
I would like to thank them all and to express my appreciation, because their efforts led to the adoption of this document.
Α. NAMANGA NGONGI (Deputy Executive Director, WFP): I guess there is only one point, to thank everybody for trying to get these Regulations approved by the Council. I think that is very much appreciated. The distinguished Chairman of the Executive Board has said so already.
Just on the point raised by the distinguished Representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the Group of the EU, I would just like to assure him that everything is, of course, being done to try to improve the reporting of the various operations. Of course, it should also be realized that the Organization operates in a very, very difficult situation and sometimes it is not able to get all of the final accounts come in from all the diverse locations which carry out the operations. However, we are doing everything possible.
One of the steps being taken is to try to have a consolidated reporting format for the Director of Multilateral Operations. A format has now been developed and tested for several operations.
Also, for the Bilateral Operations, and clearly Multilateral, there is a general improvement in the financial management of the organization through the FMIP project. We hope that this will lead to a major improvement in the future. Unfortunately, it takes time to make improvements, but I think that some of it has been done already. I only wish to assure you and the other Members that we will do everything possible to improve the reporting.
EL PRESIDENTE: Si no hay ninguna otra observación, podríamos concluir el tema diciendo que, tras agradecer los esfuerzos del Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo Abierto y de sus miembros, agradecer la labor del Asesor Legal de la FAO y también de la Secretaría del PMA y tras recibir seguridades respecto de la mejora futura en la rendición de informes sobre las operaciones así como el manejo financiero, el Consejo acogió el documento sobre la revisión de las normas generales del PMA contenido en el documento CL 112/19 así como la resolución que lo acompaña en el documento CL 112/19-Supp. 1, para su adopción en la Conferencia. Si no hay ninguna otra observación, damos por concluido este tema agradeciendo desde luego la presencia del señor Ngongi y felicitando al PMA y a la Junta Ejecutiva por su extraordinaria labor. Se levanta este tema.
EL PRESIDENTE: Permítanme ahora pasar al Tema 6 sobre los Informes del 22° y 23° períodos de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial. Ustedes recordarán que una parte abundante de estos informes ha sido ya acogida por este Consejo, en particular el tema relativo al seguimiento de la Cumbre Mundial de la Alimentación y otros asuntos concernientes al Resumen del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto. Quedan por tanto para su aprobación las otras partes del Informe del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial.
El Consejo se congratula de contar con la presencia del señor Embajador Pedro Medrano, quien es el Presidente del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria, le da la bienvenida y desde luego se encuentra
aquí para responder a cualquier pregunta que ustedes formulen. Lo que el Consejo debe hacer es tomar nota del informe de estos períodos de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria.
Ofrezco la palabra. Bien, veo que los distinguidos delegados con su silencio manifiestan el apoyo y la aprobación de este Informe y, por tanto me voy a permitir darlo por aprobado, agradeciendo la presencia del Embajador Pedro Medrano y también del distinguido Representante del Reino Unido.
Luigi FONTANA-GIUSTI (Italy): Just on behalf of my neighbour, I would like to ask your permission for the Presidency of the European Union to take the floor.
J.P. HOOGEVEEN (European Community): The European Community and its Member States endorse the two reports of the session of the Committee on Food Security. The 23rd Session was the first one after the World Food Summit to deal with the follow-up process.
The topics dealt with in this context included an adjustment of the mandate of the Committee on Food Security, Institutional Arrangements, and the Workplan. These were mainly of a procedural nature and we consider them important. Now that the Arrangements and Workplan are set, we should get started with the actual work.
Concerning the agenda for the next Committee on Food Security, we agreed on a number of substantive items. In view of the importance that we attach to discussing also thematic issues at the Committee on Food Security, we are confident that, at the next session, a satisfactory solution can be found on how to handle thematic issues in future sessions of the Committee.
Thomas Austin FORBORD (United States of America): We support the adoption of the Committee on Food Security reports and, if you were to make a proposal to us to also adopt right now the Committee on Commodity Problems, the Committee on Fisheries, the Committee on Forestry and the CCLM, we would support those as well.
EL PRESIDENTE: Reconozco su impaciencia por terminar esto rápidamente pero tenemos que proceder de manera ordenada. Por favor yo les pido que se apunten ahora porque si no, nos anticipamos un poco a la conclusión y deseo también que sean breves, es un poco tarde. Si sólo van a apoyar el informe, no es necesario que lo manifiesten, basta su silencio para ello.
Mohd. Khairuddin MD. TAHIR (Malaysia): The reason I was late in intervening is that the United States has just made a proposal, that we support not only the report from the World Food . Security Committee, but also the others. On behalf of the Asia Group, we would like to support this proposal by the United States.
Amas RACHMAN (Indonesia): Indonesia, as member of the Committee on Food Security, in general accepts and endorses the reports of the 22nd and 23rd Committee on World Food Security, contained in documents CL 112/10 and CL 112/15.
EL PRESIDENTE: Les quiero decir que si se trata del tema de procedimiento les advierto que no voy a tomar la recomendación hecha por los Estados Unidos. Debemos proceder de manera ordenada y aunque quieran ustedes aprobar cada uno de los informes, una vez presentado cada tema, su silencio marcará la aprobación del respectivo y yo la daré inmediatamente por acordado. Pero vamos a proceder con orden. No estamos adoptando el Informe del Consejo, estamos adoptando informes de los comités técnicos que se someten a la consideración del Consejo y por lo tanto, tenemos que ser serios al respecto.
Pedro Alfonso MEDRANO ROJAS (Presidente del Comité de la Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial): Entiendo que el Consejo está aprobando el Informe del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria. Quisiera expresar, a nombre del Comité, nuestro reconocimiento al Consejo por el
respaldo que nos otorgó durante el período preparatorio, facilitándonos el trabajo e igualmente agradecerle al Consejo por habernos apoyado en la forma en que lo hizo durante las actividades preparatorias de la Cumbre. Entiendo que es nuestro deber, en esta oportunidad, expresar a nombre del Comité a este órgano máximo de gobierno de la FAO, que se reúne en este momento antes de la Conferencia, nuestra gratitud y nuestro reconocimiento por la ayuda prestada por este Consejo así como por parte de la Secretaría de la FAO.
Mohd. Khairuddin MD. TAHIR (Malaysia): My delegation is grateful to the Secretariat for documents CL 112/10 and CL 112/15 and would like to support two particular programmes which contribute directly to food security and nutrition improvement, as well as realization of the goals of the World Food Summit Global Plan of Action.
The programme on street food generates great interest to my delegation, as street food is fast becoming a formalized sector of the economy in developing countries. In local economies, street food plays a dominant socio-economic role in providing easy access to food at an affordable price to a large section of the urban population. Street food thrives on the business or entrepreneurial talents of women and youth. Street food is often family and small business.
Given its importance as an additional source of income-generation and employment, my delegation supports FAO's commitment to this programme and encourages FAO to work with other relevant UN agencies to ensure street food in developing countries is of acceptable nutritional quality, safe and continues to be easily accessible and affordable. FAO, working with other UN partners, could help develop guidelines and legislation that could be useful to governments and local authorities.
The other matter relates to the Special Programme on Food Security. My delegation considers the programme as one of the focal points of food insecurity alleviation efforts, especially for LIFDCs. The programme provides real opportunity for local communities to participate in and implement self-reliant food-producing and income-generating activities with the help of national experts, while FAO plays a catalytic and advisory role. This programme also promotes south-south technical cooperation and my delegation is pleased to note many Asian countries have heeded the call by the Director-General to participate in this programme. My delegation also appreciates and supports the initiative of the Director-General in soliciting cooperation from regional and international financial institutions to complement the resources of FAO and that of participating countries, so that the Programme could be expanded to more countries and regions.2
EL PRESIDENTE: Con esta declaración damos por concluido el Tema. El Consejo acoge los informes del 22° y 23° período de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial contenidos en los documentos CL 112/10 y CL 112/15.
1 Statement inserted in the verbatim record on request
EL PRESIDENTE: Pasamos ahora al Tema 8 de nuestra agenda, el Informe del 61° periodo de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos, documento CL 112/6. No necesitamos hacer otra cosa más que acogerlo. Su silencio determinaría que el Consejo adopte este informe.
H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Economie and Social Department): I have a short announcement to make with regard to paragraph 26 of the Report. That is that I am happy to inform you that the Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal has agreed, yesterday, on its revised Report that can, if you so decide, be submitted to the November Council. Basically, the CSSD has brought its catalogue of transactions into line with the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture and has thereby come up with a revised list of food-aid transactions that come under the reporting procedures of FAO's Principles of Surplus Disposal.
Pinit KORSIEPORN (Thailand): Just only a point of correction and further detail. With regard to paragraph 21, where an offer was expressed by my delegation at the 61st Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems. My Government will host a meeting of the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits in Bangkok.
My delegation would like, at this time, to confirm to the distinguished delegates that as one of the leading producers and exporters of a number of tropical fruits, Thailand is willing to host the first meeting of the newly-organized Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits, in Pattaya, but not in Bangkok. This is the correction. The dates of the meeting are from 21 to 24 April. This is the information I want added in.
In this connection, we would like to invite all delegates to attend this meeting. Thailand, together with FAO, will circulate an official invitation letter with all details in the near future.
Suharyvo HUSEN (Indonesia): Of course I would like to support the proposal made by our friends from the United States to endorse this document of the report. In this case I should follow your advice to keep silent but I only want to give briefly some information.
The Indonesian Government is willing to host the 12th Session of the FAO IGG on Tea which will be convened in Bali, not in Jakarta. Bali will be more of an encouragement to the participants, than Jakarta. That will be from 2 to 4 July 1997. Prior to this meeting, the Indonesian Tea Association will also hold the First International Tea Business Conference which will be held from 30 June until 1 July 1997, also in Bali. At this time we are preparing for the two events at the same place in order to allow the participants, either for the IGG on Tea or for the Business Conference to get together.
On behalf of the Indonesian delegation, I would like to invite all the Members of this Council and the Members of FAO to attend that meeting.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias distinguido Representante de Indonesia, el Consejo ha tomado nota de estos dos eventos y del lugar, Bali, y, desde luego agradece su invitación para lograr una participación plena. El Consejo acoge, endosa, el informe del 61° período de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos, documento CL 112/6. Con ello lo damos por concluido.
EL PRESIDENTE: Pasamos ahora al Tema 9: Informe del 22° período de sesiones del Comité de Pesca, documento CL 112/7.
Como ustedes saben las conclusiones del Comité se resumen en este documento. Les quiero subrayar que la parte relativa al Código de Conducta ha sido ya tratada con anterioridad. No creo que necesiten ustedes hacer ninguna declaración en ese sentido. Yo tenía algunas notas para introducir este tema, pero considero que en virtud de la claridad del informe no es necesario leerlas.
Gian Paolo PAPA (European Community): The European Community and its Member States would like to express its appreciation to the Committee on Fisheries for the work developed during its 22nd Session in March 1997. The Report adopted at that time reflects the positions expressed by the delegations, as well as debates that took place. We have participated in the work of the Drafting Committee and, therefore, we are fully aware of the work behind this Report and of the difficulties that were successfully overcome relating to several items on the Agenda. We would like to take this opportunity to underline the importance that we attach to the work developed concerning two specific aspects included in the Agenda of the Fisheries Committee, namely, the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the strengthening of FAO Regional Fisheries Body.
As regards the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, we would like to reaffirm that we consider of great importance the decision concerning the establishment of a report every two years with all the relevant information and, in particular, the information concerning the proposed guidelines for the implementation of the Code. The European Community and its Member States consider that, in the framework of such guidelines, FAO could give an important input to the analysis of the issue of responsible trade in the field of fisheries products in support of responsible fishing.
As for the point concerning the strengthening of FAO Regional Fishery Bodies, the European Community would like to stress that in view of the role played by open regional organizations in securing affective cooperation between the States with respect to the management and conservation of fishing resources, it is vital that all existing bodies be looked at closely and systematically in order to determine the measures that should be taken and their order of priority.
Kezimbira Lawrence MIYINGO (Uganda): Uganda would like to endorse the Report of the Committee on Fisheries. Uganda would like, however, to stress one point which has also been referred to by the representative of the European Union and this is the issue of the Regional Fishery Bodies. Uganda is lucky to have one organization, which is the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, but I think these organizations need strengthening by FAO. Although the Member Nations, in this case, the East African countries, are in the process of operationalizing this organization fully, support to this organization would be very vital. It is a very new organization and I think, unless it is supported, it will not be able to carry out its rightful functions and be able to achieve the Code of Conduct, which it is required to be put in place, and also to be able to supervise the fisheries resources that are within the region. So I am appealing that FAO should come to our aid, and of course for other organizations, that these are strengthened if the fisheries resource is to be promoted and be used sustainably.
I will also like to refer to the issue of aquaculture that, in the spirit of the World Food Summit, is one of the areas that is going to contribute to food security, especially if we are going to talk about qualitative feeding of our people. I think aquaculture also needs support and the expertise appropriate from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Developing countries would appreciate if technical assistance could be rendered in this field so that the development of the farming of fish becomes one of the contributors to food security and also to poverty eradication.
Further still, I would like to refer to paragraph 21 of the document, which emphasizes and requests FAO that due note be given to governments when these technical meetings are taking place so that appropriate technical staff can be selected by the relevant governments to be able to gain from these meetings.
Henry WOOD (Ghana): The Ghana delegation wishes to commend the Secretariat for the good Report on the 22nd Session of the Committee on Fisheries. As a developing country, with 580 miles of coastal shoreline, a large man-made inland lake and several rivers, Ghana attaches a lot of importance to a decision of the meetings of the Committee on Fisheries.
On page 3, item 2 of the document CL 112/7, COFI urged that the issues of excessive fishing capacity and fishing effort leading to overfishing should be given special consideration by FAO and Member Nations. Ghana fully endorses this recommendation and wishes to emphasize the need to reduce discards and bycatch, as some countries have done, through fishing gear modifications and management measures. This will put a stop to the looming depreciation of fishing resources, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, where fishing vessels from some major industrial countries operate.
The development of aquaculture is an important policy of the Government of Ghana. The benefit of aquaculture development, in the form of generation of income and employment, as a contribution to food security and the improvement of the nutrition of the people is beginning to become visible in my country. To further facilitate this encouraging development, Ghana endorses the recommendation made by COFI in item 8, page 6.
Other issues, such as the recommendations on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the strengthening of the FAO Regional Fishery Bodies, also have our full support.
Purnama KELIAT (Indonesia): The Indonesian delegation congratulates the Committee on Fisheries for the good Report that has appeared in the document CL 112/7. Financial constraints faced by FAO in recent years have forced COFI and, I suppose, also other Committees to make priorities in its work. The fisheries sector, however, has become an important sector in many developing countries in Asia, not only as a source of protein and employment but also a source of foreign exchange.
The fast deployment of fisheries, both fisheries and aquaculture, in the last two decades, has caused concern on the sustainability of the sector itself. The development of the FAO the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is very timely. The Code itself has guidance for the deployment of sustainable fisheries and officially further detailed guidelines are awaited. It is clear that, for the implementation of the Code, financial support is necessary and Indonesia wishes to thank Norway for the great financial support it provided to FAO for this effort and still hopes that other developed countries will join Norway in making the world fisheries move towards sustainable fisheries.
As regards the implementation of the Code, Indonesia feels that there is a need to diagnose fisheries execution as part of a fisheries sector study. The fisheries sector study executed by FAO and supported by the World Bank has been geared primarily to investment opportunities. I think it is timely that fisheries sector study should also be geared towards sustainable fisheries. Investment opportunities should be tied to a sustainable principle. Therefore it is important that any fisheries sector study should look into institution promotion in the country, with special emphasis on the fisheries management institution. I would imagine that for the developing countries which respond to the Code, there is much work to be done in the fisheries institution itself. The principle of sustainable fisheries should be embedded in any institution.
With respect to the proposal of the establishment of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, as launched by China, as appeared in the COFI report, Indonesia feels that the arguments for pros and cons in the COFI report is valid. Financial support for the Sub-Committe is certainly a problem, yet expert consulations in regional bodies are certainly needed to identify whether or not the benefit will be
approved by establishing such a Committee. Indonesia would therefore ask FAO to explore the possibility of such expert consultations.
With those three points of concentration above, the Indonesian delegation endorses the Report of COFI as appeared in the document CL 112/7.
Tang ZHENGPING (China) (Original language Chinese): Concerning the report of COFI there is a question that is not very clear to me, that is, as was mentioned by the Indonesian delegate, in paragraph 54 of this report, which mentions the proposal made by the Chinese delegation then. This refers to the proposal made by our delegation that a Sub-committee of Aquaculture be established. I remember at that time, my impression is that it was endorsed by most of the Members at the COFI Session. However, the way it appears in this report, under paragraph 54 it is not very clear whether this Sub-committee will be established. We cannot get this impression from this paragraph, that is, whether FAO will establish this Sub-committee. This is the first point I want to make, because we would like clarification as to whether this Sub-committee will be established or not in the future.
My second point is that in order to establish such a Sub-committee, the Chinese Government expressly wish that, in collaboration with FAO, we can organize an Expert Consultation. Now, I would like to inform the Council that the Chinese Government is actively preparing for this Consultation and, at the same time, is actively engaged in finding resources for this purpose. At that time people said that we could not use funds from the budget but would have to find extra-budgetary funds. Now, we are in active consultation with other relevant agencies in finding such resources. That is why we hope that FAO will seriously consider our proposal that a Sub-committee of COFI will be established.
T. OHASHI (Japan): On behalf of the Japanese delegation I would like to highly appreciate the effort made by the FAO Secretariat to prepare the document CL 112/7. My delegation wishes to endorse, in general, the report of the 22nd Session of the Committee on Fisheries.
I would like to stress two points. First, is with respect with the bycatch and the discard. My delegation notes that at some international fora, other than FAO, there has been much debate, done emotionally and politically and with no scientific backing about the issue of bycatch and the discard. So, my delegation has some concern that such debate with no scientific backing would be jumping to a conclusion, to sufficient fishing activities.
So, in that sense, my delegation considers it appropriate for FAO, with expertise on fisheries, to deal with the issue of bycatch and the discard, because FAO has expertise on fisheries and FAO is the only international forum to provide useful discussions on sustainabilization over marine living resources.
Let me touch upon another item. The last Committee on Fisheries endorsed a Kyoto Declaration and the Plan of Action which was, I repeat, an international conference on sustainabilization of fisheries to food security. That Conference was hosted by Japan in collaboration with FAO in 1995. My delegation, recognizes the importance to implement, as soon as possible, the Kyoto Declaration and the Plan of Action, as well as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
My delegation expects the initiative taken by FAO to do so, Japan would like to cooperate with FAO in implementing the Kyoto Declaration and the Plan of Action, as well as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
Ronald ROSE (Canada): Just to say I had wanted to intervene earlier on behalf of the North American region to support the proposal by the United States to approve these reports. In any case I am going to make a statement that applies for both this report in document CL 112/7 and also applies for the Committee on Forestry.
We participated in the debates leading up to these reports and we fully support the conclusions in them and we support the recommendation that these be adopted. The only comment is that we very much look forward to the recommendations which are made in these reports for both high priority and low priority activities to be reflected in the full Programme of Work and Budget that we expect to see later on this year.
EL PRESIDENTE: Tomamos en este punto, obviamente, la parte de su declaración relativa al apoyo del Informe del Comité de Pesca. La otra la incluiremos en la aprobación del informe del COFO.
Atul SINHA (India): I would make only two points and very brief comments at that. First of all, I fully support what China recently said about the importance of aquaculture and the need for the establishment of a Sub-committee on Aquaculture. Indeed, the wording of paragraph 54 might leave some doubts about what exactly was the view of the Committee. However, I think the Council is the appropriate place where we can give a very clear guidance to the Secretariat. On this matter, I would also lend my voice to the need for a Sub-committee on Aquaculture for the very simple reason that it is recognized, worldwide, that the resources of fish in the seas are facing a problem, and the future of world food security, and the future of fisheries resources lie in aquaculture. This has been the reason why a lot of activity has been taken up in aquaculture, and I think it makes a lot of difference if a Sub-committee could look more pointedly into this specific area.
We have been a part of the Committee on Fisheries and we know the very huge agenda that it faces. Therefore, aquaculture somehow, we feel, has not been receiving the kind of attention it should. I think that cost-effective methods could be worked out so that this Sub-committee, could, perhaps meet back-to-back with the Committee on Fisheries to do its work. I think the framework for this could be set if the Chinese delegation's proposal is accepted for an Expert Consultation in the first place to see how the Sub-committee would work.
Therefore, I would once again support China on this particular point and say that aquaculture has a lot of promise and should be given appropriate importance and therefore a Sub-committee could be established.
Secondly, I think this particular report does not mention a very important and recent development which has taken place and which has a lot of future for the Indian Ocean area. That is, the recent setting up of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. The first meeting of this was held in December, but then subsequently, there were several issues which were not finalized. I must place on record our appreciation for the fact that this Committee met again on a back-to-back basis with the Committee on Fisheries and finalized the basis on which this Commission would work. The Headquarters has been fixed in the Seychelles and the Committee is now well on its way to conserving and enhancing the resources in the Indian Ocean region for tunas. That point is purely for information and I think we, as India, fully welcome this establishment for the very simple reason that this matter has been pending for a very long time and it has now been brought to very successful completion.
Ariel FERNANDEZ (Argentina): En primer lugar quisiéramos manifestar nuestra preocupación sobre algunos de los principales problemas que enfrenta la pesca mundial y que podríamos resumir de la siguiente manera. Por un lado la pesca excesiva, en segundo lugar el descarte y, en tercer lugar la degradación del medio acuático y costero.
Convenimos plenamente en que estos problemas son de carácter mundial y que no podrán resolverse en forma puntual si no existe una conciencia global, tanto a nivel privado como institucional. Apoyamos la creación de medidas consensuadas entre los países pescadores y receptores de pesca y, buscamos que haya mecanismos creativos y medidas que sin afectar la actividad económica permitan dar respuesta a los serios problemas planteados.
Sobre la aplicación del Código de Conducta para la Pesca Responsable, queremos dejar señalado nuestro interés en la realización de campañas de evaluación de poblaciones de peces tendientes al aprovechamiento de las mismas y, con la contrapartida de aliviar la presión de captura que sufren las especies más explotadas. Al respecto debería analizarse, en base a los estudios realizados, el interés de colocar dichos productos en los mercados subregionales de manera de hacer más interesante la explotación de las especies tanto desde un punto de vista económico como alimentario, teniendo siempre como contexto la sostenibilidad de las mismas.
Deseamos también señalar nuestro apoyo a las acciones que permitan disminuir el descarte de especies acompañantes y el otorgamiento de un mayor valor agregado a las capturas de las especies marinas, ya sea a través de un procesamiento en tierra como así también en los buques factorías.
En materia de acuicultura se considera que la misma debe crecer en forma ordenada y eficiente pero siempre teniendo previos estudios de su impacto sobre el medio ambiente.
Por último, quisiéramos señalar que mi país promueve acuerdos bilaterales y trilatérales sobre conservación y ordenación de los recursos pesqueros proporcionando apoyo técnico y científico para el establecimiento de tales acuerdos dentro de los límites de los medios disponibles.
Abdou Karim DIOUF (Sénégal): Monsieur le Président, je voudrais au nom de la délégation du Sénégal remercier le Comité des pêches pour le document qui nous est soumis et surtout apporter notre appui à ce qui est dit aux paragraphes pertinents de ce document et notamment le paragraphe 30 qui est relatif au "Renforcement des organismes régionaux des pêches" de la FAO et à cet égard, nous voudrions appuyer ce qui vient d'être dit par le délégué de l'Ouganda: que la FAO apporte son appui à ces organismes régionaux des pêches afin de permettre d'appliquer plus efficacement les dispositions conformes au Code de conduite pour une pêche responsable.
Par ailleurs le Sénégal voudrait appuyer le paragraphe 54 relatif à l'aquaculture, surtout quand on sait que cette activité contribue de façon non négligeable à la création d'emplois ainsi qu'à la sécurité alimentaire. C'est pourquoi, Monsieur le Président, nous voudrions encore réitérer ici notre demande que la FAO alloue suffisamment de crédits au Département des pêches de façon à préserver la capacité de celui-ci d'exécuter son programme.
Ralph BOYCE (Barbados): I would just like to say a few brief words on behalf of the Caribbean, in particular, and much of this applies to Latin America as well. As you know, in the Caribbean Fisheries and the fishing industry is an important part of the livelihood of many of the islands, including Barbados, and the idea of a sub-committee or some special emphasis on aquaculture is very important in our case.
There is a species in Barbados, sea eggs which are facing extermination and in fact or extinction, and there is a strong proposal that we look at alternatives for rearing in the open sea. So, aquaculture would be very important in our case.
The question of coordination, of monitoring and systematic look up records and so on about the fishing industry, collection of data and so on, that is very important. I have found that the whole area of training is extremely important, particularly, where there is not the funding to pay large amounts for fees and so on in overseas countries. At the moment we are grappling with the need to train one person but it is about US$ 60 000 which would more or less burst the budget. So, training, I would make an appeal to the countries that have training facilities to reach out to the countries that really need that sort of training.
I have found in Barbados too and the Caribbean, a need to assist what we call fisherfolk associations to develop. I think if we can help the groups themselves, very often in terms of basic management, basic accounting, and so on. A lot of times they are earning money but they actually
are not utilizing those funds well. There is a tremendous need to assist the groups that relate to the fishing industry. Not just the fishermen, we call them the fisherfolk, people who sell the fish as well, people who scale them and process. Fisherfolk would cover everybody, the families of the fishermen and so on. I have found that there is need for help in very basic ways as I said, a place to have an office set up and things like that.
We, in Barbados and in the Caribbean, are very strongly supportive of the need to give a lot more resources to the fisheries which is a very important aspect of the life of the Caribbean and Latin America.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I just wished to have a brief opportunity to respond to the comments that have been made with respect to paragraph 54 and more specifically with the proposed Sub-committee on Aquaculture.
I wanted to remind the Council that aquaculture has moved increasingly higher on the agenda of the Organization and the Fisheries Department and that the Director-General has recently pushed inland fisheries and aquaculture even higher on the agenda.
I would point out that the Committee, COFI itself, has the authority to establish a body if it so wishes. The next meeting of COFI would be in 1999 and so there is ample opportunity to consider it. My advice would be not to proceed too quickly, as the paragraph itself recalls, extra-budgetary resources would be required. We do not have resources at the present time for this and we have, the Council and the Conference, a review of statutory bodies underway.
At the discussion yesterday, you note that one of the recommendations that will come out of the Council and to the Conference will be to review the criteria for the establishment of subsidiary bodies. I believe it would be premature to enter into a consultation and the preparation of a proposal until after you see the Conference reaction to the conclusions about statutory bodies. Of course, the other point is that the thrust of that effort that is underway is to try to streamline and reduce the number of subsidiary bodies, not to increase them. So, I would advise you, as a friend, that perhaps it would be better to wait and engage upon this review in 1998.
M. HAYASHI (Assistant Director-General, Fisheries Department): I have been listening very carefully to all the very important statements made by the distinguished delegates.
The Fisheries Department shares almost all the important and valuable remarks made by you distinguished delegates, particularly the emphasis on the importance of our regional fisheries bodies; the importance of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries', the strengthening of the management with a view to ensuring sustainable development of our fisheries resources and aquaculture; the vital importance of our tackling, on the basis of scientific study, the by catch and discard problems; and also the training of our fisherfolks. These are all very important areas of activities of the Fisheries Department and we would like to pursue, as much as possible. Of course, the constraint is always the limited budget allocated to the department.
Within the resources and within the further resources would be, we hope, forthcoming from various donors, extra-budgetary resources, we would try our best to pursue and strengthen our activities.
I would like to address one particular point which was raised by the distinguished representative of China regarding the description of the decision of COFI, in paragraph 54 of the report. When the proposal was made by the distinguished representative of China, during COFI, to create a Subcommittee on Aquaculture, there were a number of support expressed to this idea, but on the other hand, there were some doubts expressed by other delegations.
Therefore we, the Secretariat, think that the discussion in paragraph 54 gives accurately what transpired during that meeting. There was no definitive conclusion with respect to the establishment of the Sub-committee. On the other hand, there was a proposal made by China at that time, rightly pointed out again by the representative of China, that there should be an Expert Consultation on aquaculture. At that time, I clarified the position of FAO that, subject to funding, availability of funding, we are ready to support the holding of such a Consultation.
We are now engaged in the consultation with the Chinese delegation with a view to convening such an Expert Consultation, of course, subject to the availability of funding. One of the questions which could be discussed during that kind of consultation would precisely be the question whether the COFI should create a Sub-committee on Aquaculture.
Finally, I would like to add that, in connection with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Argentina, FAO is ready to support countries in joint management of fisheries resources, including surveying of resources and other technical aspects. Of course, again I have to emphasize that this funding has to be provided from the extra-budgetary resources because of the rather clear priorities set for the activities currently about to be engaged in for the next biennium.
There are limited resources in the regular budget, therefore, I might take this opportunity, to appeal to all of you, to try to come up with generous support through extra-budgetary funding for all these important activities which are suggested or proposed during this debate.
Mohd. Khairuddin MD. TAHIR (Malaysia): My delegation would like to commend the Secretariat for preparing document CL 112/7.
Malaysia recognizes the need to work with NGOs with their valuable roles to play in the development of sustainable resource use and environmental protection in fisheries. Malaysia advocates the setting-up of local branches of NGOs in the country. However, we also recognize that governments, with the assistance of FAO, are responsible to put into effect actions for sustainable development of the world's fisheries with concerns for the environment already determined in Agreements ratified.
We note the initiatives under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) but would like to express our concern about the impact of these initiatives on the livelihood of fishermen and consumers. We strongly believe that FAO must continue to be the competent body to deal with sustainable fisheries for, after all, FAO is the long-standing body competent enough to do the work in this area.
Malaysia is concerned about the unilateral and uninformed application of the embargo on wild harvested shrimp, especially so when Malaysia has had a long history of serious turtle conservation work. We feel that such decision is against the spirit of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements on non-tariff barriers.
Malaysia supports the need to develop selective fishing gear and practices to reduce discards as a contribution to sustainability. Nevertheless, not all the measures recommended are applicable to all fisheries. Definitely, as in the case of Turtle Excluder Device (TED), application of such devices is only relevant where there are turtles to conserve and where shrimp trawling constitutes a definite threat. There is no sense in imposing the use of such devices when the season of turtle nesting and shrimp are different.
The Malaysian delegation wishes to support the proposal to strengthen FAO regional bodies. Of relevance to us are the Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) and Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC). We find that these two bodies have played very important advisory roles and provided technical support for some of our national and regional programmes. We also support the formation of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
The call for implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is strongly supported by my delegation. We laud the effort made by FAO in the publication and dissemination of the technical guidelines for responsible fisheries.
Our country is very serious in this matter and will be taking appropriate steps to implement the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. We feel that a full-hearted commitment from all nationals is crucial.
Complementary to the implementation of the Code, we will be upgrading our database information system, which has been set up under a technical cooperation project with Canada. But we would like to inform the Council that the setting-up of this system involves more than just acquisition of technology. It calls for a great deal of effort in terms of manpower and financial commitment to enable the system to work effectively. Most difficult of all, it also calls for a fully functional response system involving patrol vessels and well-trained enforcement personnel.
National efforts need to be complemented by regional initiatives for the purpose of standardization and compatibility of procedures. While we recognize the initiatives made by FAO, we look forward to more national and international work in this direction. Practical implement needs the mobilization of expertise, training and assistance.3
EL PRESIDENTE: Quisiera darles las gracias al señor Hayashi por su comprensiva respuesta a todas las preguntas hechas. ¿Hay alguna reacción de los miembros del Consejo? Usted señor Hayashi y antes el señor Hjort me han facilitado el trabajo de resumir este debate. Antes de responder a las preguntas ustedes han indicado la forma en que se desarrolló el debate, de manera que podemos decir que tras hacer varios comentarios sobre el interesante Informe del COFI, el Consejo lo endosó. ¿Hay alguna otra observación? No, en ese caso damos por concluido este Tema.
Tenemos escasamente cinco minutos para tomar los puntos 10, Informe del 13° período de sesiones del Comité de Montes y luego una vez concluido, el Tema 20 que es el Informe del 66° período de sesiones del Comité de Asuntos Constitucionales y Jurídicos.
Voy a pedirles que acepten el siguiente procedimiento. En vista de que hoy en la tarde tenemos que empezar, por razones de conveniencia y procedimiento, con el Tema 13, en particular el punto 13.3 que es la presentación de candidaturas para los cargos de Presidente de la Conferencia y Presidentes de las Comisiones, que es a puerta cerrada y solamente con los Miembros del Consejo, en el estado en que nos encontremos en el debate de los Temas 10 y 20 lo vamos a suspender a las 13.00 horas en punto y luego proseguiremos con el debate de estos temas una vez agotado el Tema 13 hoy por la tarde.
Distinguidos delegados, permítanme pasar al Tema 10, Informe del 13° período de sesiones del Comité de Montes, documento CL 112/8 para decisión. Si ustedes desean endosar este informe, les suplico no hagan ninguna declaración. ¿Desean hacer alguna modificación al mismo, o hacer un comentario? Reconozco a una delegación la de Turquía.
Erdil K. AKAY (Turkey): I have not taken the floor to say that we endorse the report, obviously we do.
2 Statement inserted in the verbatim on request
I am only taking the liberty to do so to inform Members of the Council, with reference to the paragraph of the report which refers to the 11th World Forestry Congress to be held in Antalya, in October of this year, that we are deploying all our efforts for a successful holding of this Congress. On this occasion, I would like to reiterate our invitation to all Members of FAO to participate in this important event on Forestry. I hope that I have been short enough.
EL PRESIDENTE: Le agradezco mucho por su cooperación distinguido Representante de Turquía. El Consejo ha tomado nota de la invitación y de los esfuerzos que hace su país para sostener ese Congreso y se lo agradece.
David SANDS SMITH (United Kingdom): Once more, may I ask for the floor for the Observer from the Netherlands, in the Netherlands capacity as Presidency of the European Union.
J.P. HOOGEVEEN (Observer for the Netherlands): The European Community and its Member States would like to express their appreciation for the work developed by the Committee on Forestry during its 13th Session in March 1997.
Sustainable forest management stays high on the international political agenda. Not without reason, it is one of the priorities on the agenda of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in June this year. With the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forestry, we set another step towards achieving our common goal of sustainable management of all types of forest. However, there is an urgent need for further action to ensure a long-term commitment to a comprehensive and holistic approach. Building on the forestry principles, a legally-binding instrument in the form of a convention should ensure such an approach.
European Union is of the opinion that a global force convention should be open for signature in the year 2000. Our priority within FAO is now to implement the proposals for action in the IPF Report. As stated in the Report of the Committee on Forestry, FAO plays an important role in the implementation of the IPF Report, especially in the development of criteria and indicators.
As recognized by COFO, the 13th Session offered a unique opportunity to review the activities of FAO, the overall international Forestry agenda and to provide advice to the Forestry Department on the development and implementation of its programme.
The IPF has promoted more effective working relationships between international organizations and offers opportunities to discuss, define and adopt roles which reflect FAO's comparative advantage. We appreciate, therefore, the re-focusing of the Forestry Department's work since COFO 1995, and recognize that the international policy process in forestry will make increasing demands on FAO. To help accommodate these demands, COFO identified areas of work which were considered to be lower priority with regard to FAO support.
Agro-forestry, wildlife and protected area management, forest products and trade are areas where FAO needs to work more closely with other Organizations. We hope that the FAO Secretariat will explicitly address these recommendations in the revised programme of work.
Keeping this in mind, the European Community and its Member States endorse the report of the Committee on Forestry.
Mohd. Khairuddin MD. TAHIR (Malaysia): My delegation would like to thank the Secretariat for preparing document CL 112/8, Report of the Thirteenth Session of the Committee on Forestry, for our deliberation.
Malaysia has carefully studied the document and fully endorses the recommendation that FAO accelerates the incorporation into its work programme of the relevant proposals of action as
recommended by the UNCSD Ad Hoc International Panel on Forest (IPF), notably the development and implementation of criteria and indicators for measuring progress towards sustainable management of all types of forests, and to continue chairing the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests, taking into account the work of the IPF and the final decisions that would be taken at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly to Review and Appraise the Implementation of Agenda 21, which will be held in New York from 23 to 27 June 1997.
Malaysia also fully endorses the recommendation that the Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department prepare a broad strategic framework for FAO's planning and implementation of activities in the field of forestry, which would further enhance the implementation of the individual work programmes of its six Commissions, as well as for the Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000) to include elements related to forest biological diversity, forest health and quality.
On the potential positive relationship between trade in forest products and sustainable forest management, my delegation would urge FAO to undertake an assessment of factors that might distort trade in forest products, including tariff escalation on processed products and non-tariff barriers in the form of measures to restrict, ban or boycott the import and use of forest products, in particular tropical timber products, that could have a direct impact on the exports and earnings of developing countries, and on their ability to enhance sustainable forest management, as well as an analysis of on-going initiatives on forest products labelling and certification.
At this juncture, I would also like to stress that my delegation endorses the recommendation that the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources continue to provide advice to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) in its fields of competence, and until such time as the Commission decides on definitive arrangements in establishing an intergovernmental technical sectoral working group on forest genetic resources.
In this context, FAO should initiate the development of a Global Plan of Action for the conservation and sustainable utilization "of forest genetic resources, while taking cognizance of the work that is currently being carried out by the International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources under CGRFA, in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to further enhance complementarity, as well as recognizing the principles of national sovereignty over natural resources, as enshrined in the Forest Principles and the Rio Declaration.
In order to effectively develop this Global Plan of Action, FAO should organize a series of international and eco-regional workshops to evaluate the status and priorities of forest genetic resources conservation and utilization of tropical and sub-tropical forests, similar to those undertaken for the boreal and temperate forests in 1995. Moreover, it is the view of my delegation that the Global Plan of Action should, among others, include the following: mechanisms for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from research and development and from the commercial utilization of biological resources, including biotechnological products, as well as payment to local and indigenous communities from the use of traditional technologies developed by them in the sustainable use of forest genetic resources; the opportunities to enhance the capacity and the participation of indigenous people, forest dwellers and local communities in the conservation and sustainable utilization of forest genetic resources; and the relationship between intellectual property rights and the sustainable utilization of forest genetic resources.
With regard to future meetings of ministers responsible for forestry, Malaysia is of the view that such meetings would only be held when there are significant forest and forest-related issues to be deliberated at this high level, and which are of urgency to warrant such meetings. This is in view of the recent recommendation of the Fifth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) that an ad hoc, open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests be established under its auspices which, among others, would prioritize forest issues and deal with the over-arching issues related to forests at the international and regional levels, in an integrated and holistic manner.
Finally, my delegation would also like to take this opportunity to strongly urge FAO to substantially increase its forestry budget in view of the UNCED decisions related to forests and the proposals for action as called for by the IPF, as well as the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and Plan of Action, which called for the realization of the full potential of forests and forestry to contribute on a sustainable basis to increasing food production, which was an integral element of actions towards the object of "Food for all".4
EL PRESIDENTE: Distinguidos delegados, hemos llegado al final del tiempo de interpretación. Estoy consciente de que hay otros delegados que desean hacer uso de la palabra. Reconozco al de Italia, quien ya nos había hecho una mención muy importante respecto del papel de liderazgo de la FAO en este sector. Estaremos, desde luego, muy interesados en escucharle hoy por la tarde. Sin embargo, tenemos ahora que levantar nuestra sesión. Les pido, por favor, que tomen nota muy estrictamente de lo siguiente. La reunión a las 14.30 horas sobre el Tema 13.3 "Candidaturas para la Conferencia", es estrictamente con jefes de delegación o, en su caso, con un solo representante por país y exclusivamente miembros del Consejo. Es así como lo dictan las reglas de la Organización y no puede haber excepciones. Suplico que respeten este procedimiento y también la puntualidad que requerimos para comenzar con nuestros trabajos.
Una vez concluido el Tema 13.3 abriremos el foro a todos los distinguidos delegados y observadores para tratar los subtemas 13.1 y 13.2. Luego concluiremos con el Tema 10 de nuestra agenda, el Informe del COFO, proseguiremos con el Tema 20 y ulteriormente con el Tema 7, el 22 y el 23.
Distinguidos delegados, se levanta esta sesión y les convoco a las 14.30 horas a los Jefes de Delegación y Miembros del Consejo.
The meeting rose at 13.00 hours
La séance est levée à 13 h 00
Se levanta la sesión a las 13.00 horas
3 Statement inserted in the verbatim on request