JM 2000/4


Eighty-fourth Session of the Programme Committee and Ninety-fifth Session of the Finance Committee

Rome, 27 September 2000



1. In June 1999 the Council had requested the Joint Meeting to examine the possible reform of the General Debate at Conference. However, since the results of such a review could not be implemented at the 1999 Conference Session, the Joint Meeting in September 1999 decided to postpone consideration of this item to one of its sessions in the year 2000 and to submit a report thereon to the November 2000 Council Session.

2. The Joint Meeting while addressing the possible reform of the General Debate was attempting to achieve greater interaction among heads of delegations who, according to the current practice of the Conference, make statements in Plenary over a period of four days.

3. In May 2000 the Joint Meeting suggested that the possibility of setting aside one half day early in the Conference for delegation heads to have roundtable discussions, as was done at FAO Regional Conferences, be taken into account by the Secretariat in preparing the document for the September 2000 Session of the Joint Meeting.

4. If this possibility is considered, the Council held in June may need to identify a topic and a chairperson for the roundtable dicussion that might precede the statements in Plenary.

5. It may be noted in this regard that the Conference to be held in November 2001 could be organized differently than usual in view of the possibility of the presence of Heads of State and Government if the Conference is used as the forum for "WFS+5" as proposed.


6. In light of the information provided above, the Joint Meeting may wish to consider the possible reform of the General Debate at Conference and make appropriate recommendations to the Council.