1. Mr.Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, and a former United Nations Secretary-General, delivered the Twenty-first McDougall Memorial Lecture, in memory of Frank Lidgett McDougall, a founding father of the Organization.


2. The annual B.R. Sen Award, in honour of the late Mr B.R. Sen, who was Director-General of FAO from 1956 to 1967, is bestowed on an FAO field officer who has made an outstanding contribution to the country or countries to which he or she was assigned.

3. The 1998 B.R. Sen Award was conferred on Mr Eduardo Seminario Martín, a national of Peru, in recognition of his major contribution in developing and utilizing participatory approaches to integrated watershed management and environmental policy and planning in Burundi. Mr Seminario Martin contributed to the protection and conservation of the environment, as well as to improving the living conditions of rural populations in the country.

4. The 1999 Award was conferred on Mr Abdelouahhab Zaid, a national of Morocco, for his outstanding achievements on the Date Production Support Programme in Namibia. This highly visible Programme contributed not only to promoting food security and the fight against desertification, but also to poverty alleviation and creation of employment.


5. The A.H. Boerma Award for 1998-99 was presented jointly to Mr Patrick Luganda, Senior Features Writer of "The New Vision" newspaper (Uganda), for his contribution in increasing public awareness of the importance of food security in his country, and to Mr Alain Zolty as Chief Editor of "Afrique Agriculture", a specialized monthly magazine that had greatly facilitated the comprehension of food and agricultural issues in the world, particularly in the Africa Region.


6. The Edouard Saouma Award for 1998-99 was shared between two national institutions for their outstanding contribution to the implementation of TCP funded projects. At the invitation of the Director-General, Mr Edouard Saouma attended the ceremony and personally bestowed the Award to representatives of the institutions.

7. The Award was presented to the "Dirección Forestal, Ministerio de la Agricultura" in Cuba, represented by Mr Linares Landa Elías. This institution formulated forestry legislation that offered an improved framework for sustainable forest and encouraged people’s participation in forestry activities (TCP/CUB/5612).

8. The Award was also presented to the "General Department of Plant Protection" in Yemen, represented by Mr Mohamed Yahya Ali Al-Ghashim. It had developed and implemented a control technology that effectively curbed the outbreak of an insect pest in stone and pome fruit (TCP/YEM/4555).


9. The Margarita Lizárraga Medal for 1998-99 was presented to the non-governmental organization, National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO) of Sri Lanka, for its outstanding and pragmatic initiative in taking practical steps to have the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries translated into the Sinhala language and distributed to fish workers in the country, as well as in organizing meetings to promote a better understanding of its various aspects among poor, small-scale fishing communities that would not otherwise have had access to the Code.


10. The Conference observed one minute of silence in memory of those staff members who had died in the service of the Organization since the Conference had last met. The names of the deceased staff members were read out and are contained in the Verbatim Records of the Conference.

11. The Conference paid tribute to the memory of Mr Hans W.O. Röbbel, Director, Field Operations Division and former Director, Conference, Council and Protocol Affairs Division, and Assistant Secretary-General of the Council and Conference, who had passed away on 13 October 1999.




12. The Council nominated and the Conference elected Benalia Belhouadjeb (Algeria) as Chairperson of the Thirtieth Session of the Conference.

13. The Conference approved the appointment of the three Vice-Chairpersons of the Conference recommended by the Nominations Committee, as follows:

Juan Nuiry Sánchez (Cuba)
Saeed Nouri-Naeeni (Iran, Islamic Republic of)
Jan Berteling (Netherlands)


14. The Nominations Committee recommended and the Conference approved the following appointments:

  Seven Members of the General Committee  
  Burkina Faso Estonia Sweden
  China Mexico United States of America
  Nine Members of the Credentials Committee  
  Australia Germany Iraq
  Belgium Haiti Japan
  Canada Indonesia Tunisia


15. The Conference adopted its Agenda as amended by the General Committee, and as given in Appendix A to this Report.

16. The Conference adopted the arrangements and timetable proposed by the Hundred and Sixteenth Session of the Council, as amended by the General Committee.

Establishment of Commissions and Appointment of their Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and Drafting Committees

17. The Conference concurred with the Council's recommendations to establish two Commissions to consider and report upon Parts I and II of the Agenda.

18. In accordance with Rule VII-1 and Rule XXIV-5 (b) of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council had nominated the following Chairpersons of the Commissions which the Conference approved:

  Commission I Luigi M. Fontana-Giusti (Italy)
  Commission II Bhaskar Barua (India)

19. Victor Manuel Rebolledo González (Chile) was elected as Chairperson of the Drafting Committee for Commission I with the following membership: Barbados, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, Guinea, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, New Zealand, Syria and Thailand.

20. Renaud Collard (France) was elected as Chairperson of the Drafting Committee for Commission II with the following membership: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Ghana, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Sweden, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

21. The Conference appointed the foregoing officers and, taking into consideration the proposals of the General Committee, in accordance with Rule XIII-2 GRO, also appointed the following Vice-Chairpersons:

  Commission I Ms Victoria Guardia Alvarado (Costa Rica)
Bob Jalang’o (Kenya)
  Commission II Bill Doering (Canada)
Ms Anneli Vourinen (Finland)

Resolutions Committee of the Conference

22. The Conference endorsed the recommendation of the Hundred and Sixteenth Session of the Council to establish a Resolutions Committee of seven members, one from each region, and appointed the following:

  Africa : Angola
  Asia : Philippines
  Europe : Finland
  Latin America and the Caribbean : Nicaragua
  Near East : Sudan
  North America : Canada
  Southwest Pacific : Australia

23. The Conference agreed to the recommendation of the General Committee that the Resolutions Committee be chaired by Ronald Rose (Canada).

24. The Conference approved the functions of the Resolutions Committee and the criteria for the formulation of resolutions, as given in Appendix C of document C 99/16.

Right of Reply

25. The Conference confirmed the decision taken at its 16 previous sessions to the effect that, when a Member wished to reply to criticisms of its Government's policy, it should preferably do so on the afternoon of the day on which such criticism had been voiced after all those wishing to participate in the discussion had had an opportunity to speak.

Verbatim Records

26. As provided for in Rule XVIII-1 GRO, Verbatim Records were kept of all Conference Plenary and Commission meetings. The Conference endorsed the recommendation of the General Committee that statements could be inserted in the Verbatim Records when time did not permit them to be delivered, taking into consideration, however, the conditions laid down by the General Committee.

Verification of Credentials

27. The credentials of delegations of 162 Members were found valid. The remaining Members did not submit valid credentials.

28. The credentials of the representatives of the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies and related organizations were duly deposited as prescribed under Rule III-2 of the General Rules of the Organization.

Voting rights

29. The Conference noted that, in accordance with Article III-4 of the Constitution, at the beginning of the session 38 Member Nations had no right to vote in the Conference, since the amount of their arrears of contributions to the Organization exceeded the amount of the contribution due from them for the two preceding years. Nevertheless, the Conference decided that all Member Nations in attendance be authorized to vote on 12, 13 and 15 November 1999.

30. Subsequently, four of these Member Nations (Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Niger and Suriname) made payments sufficient to regain their voting rights.

31. The Conference also agreed that voting rights should be restored to 22 Member Nations (Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lithuania, Moldova, Nicaragua, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen). Some Members disagreed with this decision since it was their general principle that voting rights should be restored only to those Member Nations which had requested and agreed to an instalment plan for repayment of their arrears. Some Members objected to restoring voting rights to Iraq because it would be inconsistent with action taken at United Nations Headquarters, New York.

32. The following 12 Member Nations (Azerbaijan, Comoros, Cook Islands, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Turkmenistan and Yugoslavia) had no right to vote in the Conference because of arrears in contributions.


Applicants for Membership

33. The Director-General had provisionally invited the applicants for membership to be represented by observers until a decision had been taken on their applications. The Conference approved the Director-General’s invitation in respect of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau and San Marino.

Admission of Observers from Non-Member Nations

34. The Conference confirmed the invitations issued by the Director-General to the Governments of Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Russian Federation and Ukraine to attend the Session in an observer capacity.

Liberation Movement

35. The Conference confirmed the invitation issued by the Director-General, at the suggestion of the Hundred and Sixteenth Session of the Council, to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Intergovernmental Organizations and International NGOs

36. The Conference reviewed the list of intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations to which the Director-General had extended a provisional invitation to the Session, and confirmed the said provisional invitations.


37. One hundred and thirty-three Heads of Delegation intervened on this agenda item. Delegates commented on the overall economic, agricultural and food security situation, as described in the Secretariat documents, and reported on the food and agricultural situation and related issues in their respective countries.

38. The Conference also heard addresses by the President of Brazil, His Excellency Fernando Henrique Cardoso (18 November 1999) and the President of Finland, His Excellency Martti Ahtisaari (22 November 1999).

39. The Conference noted with concern the slow progress made so far towards meeting the World Food Summit (WFS) objective of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by 2015. Delegates also noted several unsatisfactory features and trends in the situation of food and agriculture: the persistence of a large number of countries affected by severe food shortages; the poor growth in agricultural production in the developing countries in 1998 and 1999; the decline in international commodity prices, reduction in the export earning capacity of many developing countries; inadequate investment flows and resources for agricultural and rural development; and declining levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA). References were made to the effects of the international financial crisis, which had slowed progress in meeting food security objectives in their countries.

40. As regards the role of FAO, the importance of its assistance to developing countries in participating to the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations was emphasized, as well as the need for actively disseminating information on biotechnology/biosafety and on the benefits and risks involved in the adoption of new technologies. FAO should maintain balance and complementarity between its normative and operational activities. The importance of adequate budgetary resources for FAO to fulfil its mandate was recognized.




41. The Conference discussed the document Report on Follow-up to the World Food Summit Plan of Action13 which covered two topics: (a) progress in implementation of the WFS Plan of Action and (b) specific actions taken by FAO.

42. Member Nations reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the objectives of the WFS Plan of Action. As such, they endorsed the measures taken by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in establishing reporting formats and a work plan on the implementation of the Plan of Action. To this end, the Conference urged all FAO Members and other countries that participated in the World Food Summit to submit their reports on implementation of relevant parts of the Plan of Action by the end of December 1999, in order to enable the CFS to fulfil the monitoring role which it had been assigned.

43. The Conference welcomed the active participation of other international organizations, within and outside the UN System, in supporting the implementation of Summit commitments and urged them to report on their activities to the CFS. The Conference endorsed the active collaboration among UN organizations at country level through existing mechanisms such as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the ACC Thematic Groups of Food Security and Rural Development.

44. The Conference noted with satisfaction the number of countries in which civil society was taking an active role in Summit follow-up activities, and the active involvement of civil society organizations, in particular NGOs, in the work of the CFS and in undertaking practical action at international, regional and country level aimed at relieving food insecurity, and encouraged them to report to the CFS.

45. The Conference noted that, according to the Secretariat’s latest estimates14, the number of undernourished persons in developing countries had declined from 830 million to 790 million in the period between 1990-92 and 1995-97, representing a decrease of some 40 million persons or 8 million persons per year. The Conference noted that the level varied from region to region and from country to country, and that such limited progress as had been made was certainly not sufficient to meet the WFS target. Several Members expressed the view that due to a number of factors, the real number of undernourished was currently increasing. In addition to the need for greater efforts in poverty reduction and assigning higher priority to sustainable agricultural and rural development, many Members underlined that peace and conflict resolution were preconditions for successful implementation of the WFS Plan of Action, and hence the achievement of food security.

46. The Conference acknowledged the contribution of FAO programmes to the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action. It noted that the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) was being implemented in 50 countries and under formulation in 25 others. In this regard, several Members expressed satisfaction with the contributions of the SPFS to increasing sustainable food production and rural income growth in developing countries, and acknowledged the important role of the associated South-South Cooperation initiative. Several Members called for additional assistance from FAO and donors for implementation of the SPFS and South-South Cooperation. Several Members stressed the importance of an early evaluation of the Special Programme.

47. The Conference noted that regional food security strategies and programmes had been prepared in collaboration with the appropriate regional and subregional economic groupings. In this respect, many Members observed that the regional strategies and programmes could be useful in mobilizing synergies and cooperation at subregional and regional levels in support of national efforts towards food security. The Conference recommended that arrangements be explored to further enhance the capacity of the Regional Conferences to contribute to the monitoring of the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action by the CFS.

48. The Conference expressed satisfaction with the progress that had been made in setting up Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) at national and international levels. The Conference urged all interested parties to provide resources to implement FIVIMS at country level and for the establishment of a global FIVIMS database.

49. The Conference strongly endorsed FAO’s assistance to developing countries and countries in transition for the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations in the area of food and agriculture, including capacity-building under the "Umbrella" Training Programme.

50. The Conference, noting with concern the slow progress towards meeting the WFS target, called upon Governments, donors and international financing institutions to accord greater priority to food security and sustainable agricultural and rural development, paying particular attention to the countries with the greater extent of undernourishment.

51. The Conference acknowledged the existing collaboration among the three Rome-based organizations, which was essential for effective coordinated action towards world food security. The Conference encouraged further progress towards this end. In this regard, the Conference debated a Draft Resolution on an "Alliance on Food Security", but concluded that additional study was needed by CFS to develop the concepts further with a view to the possible adoption of a Resolution on this subject.


52. The Conference indicated agreement with the four basic substantive areas of action that characterized the FAO Plan of Action. These included the continued development and dissemination of methods and tools to train and assist development specialists in FAO and its Member Nations in gender mainstreaming, strengthening the capacities of rural women to reduce the burden of their labour and to increase their economic gains, supporting the development and implementation of gender-responsive agricultural and rural development policies, and increasing the availability and use of accurate quantitative and qualitative data and information on the gender dimension of agricultural and rural development.

53. The Conference noted that some commendable achievements had been made in the implementation of the Plan of Action. However, with reference to the Programme Committee’s review of the Corporate Progress Review on Gender Mainstreaming, and the Report of the Council on this item, as well as its own review of the Sixth Progress Report, the Conference noted its concern with the uneven progress across the Technical Divisions in the implementation of the Plan of Action. It endorsed the call for adequate attention to this important cross-sectoral priority and stressed the importance of putting in place effective supportive mechanisms and monitoring arrangements throughout the Organization.

54. The Conference endorsed the Sixth Progress Report on the Implementation of the Plan of Action on Women in Development, and it recommended that the Seventh and final Progress Report on the Implementation of the Plan of Action be presented to the Conference at its Thirty-first Session to report on progress made during the 2000-2001 biennium.

55. The Conference noted the outcome of the High-Level Consultation on Rural Women and Information and stressed the need for more gender-disaggregated data. Several Members expressed concern that most of the gender activities had occurred through the use of extra-budgetary resources and asked the Secretariat to consider how such activities could be financed within the Regular Programme Budget.

56. The Conference supported the proposal made by the Secretariat to prepare a new FAO Plan of Action to be submitted for approval to the Thirty-first Session of the FAO Conference in 2001. It was recommended that the Secretariat seize the occasion of the new Plan to realign concepts, approaches and institutional mechanisms with the Gender and Development approach adopted widely in the UN System. Furthermore, the Conference recommended that the new Plan should not only incorporate lessons learned during the implementation of the current plan and the Beijing + 5 Review, but also take into account the results of the High-Level Consultation on Rural Women and Information. Finally, the Plan should reflect the observations made by the Programme Committee, the Council and the Conference on the subject of Gender Mainstreaming in FAO.

57. The Conference considered a Draft Resolution requesting the Director-General to continue actively to redress current gender imbalances in the Professional and Higher Categories of the staff structure, in line with existing procedures designed to allow him to appoint staff meeting the highest standards of efficiency and technical competence, while responding to geographical requirements. The Conference noted that in the last six years, the number of non-represented Member Nations among Professional staff had been reduced from 54 to 21 countries notwithstanding the increase in the membership of the Organization. The Conference was also informed that, over the past five-year period, the percentage of women staff in the Secretariat had increased from 18 to 20 percent.

58. The Conference noted with concern that progress achieved to date in correcting gender imbalances and working towards the United Nations goal of 50 percent of Professional and Higher Categories16 was too slow. It therefore called upon the Director-General to establish a programme focused on redressing the current gender imbalance. In this connection, the Conference took note of some suggestions for increasing the number of Professional female staff in the Secretariat, such as a pro-active recruitment of competent women professionals in the areas of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural resources; utilization of strategies for retaining Professional female staff in the Secretariat; and encouragement to Governments to propose to the Organization more qualified female Professionals. The Conference stressed, however, that the paramount criterion for selection of staff to the Organization must continue to be efficiency and technical competence.

59. The Conference then adopted the following Resolution:

Correction of Geographical and Gender Imbalances in the Professional Staff Structure


Recalling that, in accordance with Article VIII.3 of the FAO Constitution "in appointing the staff, the Director-General shall, subject to the paramount importance of securing the highest standards of efficiency and of technical competence, pay due regard to the importance of selecting personnel recruited on as wide a geographical basis as is possible",

Recalling that Conference Resolution 50/55 requested the Director-General to take the proper measures to re-establish the necessary equilibrium within the Secretariat, bearing the principles set out in Article VIII.3 constantly in mind when filling vacancies that might occur in the various categories of Professional staff and any new posts that might be established,

Noting that under the framework set out by the above provisions, the Council of FAO, at its Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh sessions, in June and November 1957, formulated criteria for the combined implementation of the requirements of "the paramount importance of securing the highest standards of competence" and of "selecting personnel recruited on as wide a geographical basis as is possible" and that, in line with these criteria, the Organization developed selection procedures for the combined application of those requirements,

Recalling that the FAO Conference had, on various occasions, stressed the need to redress gender imbalances within the Secretariat in order to attain the targets set by the United Nations for women in the Professional category,

Recalling in particular that, at its Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth sessions, in November 1989 and November 1991, when considering the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women into Agricultural and Rural Development, the Conference asked the Organization to increase the access of women, especially those from developing and underrepresented Member Nations, to Professional posts in FAO, with a view to making progress towards reaching the United Nations target for female staff by 1995,

Recalling also that, at its Twenty-eighth session, in November 1995, the Conference adopted the revised FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development (1996-2001) providing that the Organization would increase its efforts in order to reach the United Nations target for women in Professional posts in the Secretariat,

Noting with appreciation that the Director-General had been carrying out actively a substantial effort to redress existing imbalances in equitable geographical distribution within the Secretariat and that, since his appointment, notwithstanding the increase in the membership of the Organization, the number of non-represented Member Nations among the Professional staff had been reduced from 54 to 21 countries,

Noting further with satisfaction that the Director-General was seeking actively to redress existing gender imbalances in the staff structure of the Organization in order to reach the target set by the United Nations,

Considering that, in line with long-standing practice of the Organization, current selection procedures, whereby the Director-General appointed Professional staff on the basis of recommendations of the Professional Staff Selection Committee, were designed to allow the Director-General to appoint staff meeting the highest standards of efficiency and of technical competence, while responding to geographical and gender distribution requirements,

Considering further that in the exercise of his full powers of appointment of staff the Director-General was under an obligation to give effect to the requirement of geographical distribution of staff set out in Article VIII.3 of the FAO Constitution and to relevant decisions by the Conference on gender distribution,

  1. Confirms that, in the selection and appointment of Professional staff, the Director-General, while maintaining the paramount importance of securing the highest standards of efficiency and technical competence, should continue to give effect to criteria of equitable geographical and gender distribution, through a combined application of all these requirements;

  2. Requests the Director-General to continue actively to redress geographical and gender imbalances in the Professional and Higher Categories staff structure, with a view to fulfilling the constitutional requirement of equitable geographical distribution and the United Nations target for gender distribution;

  3. Requests the Director-General to ensure that the selection and appointment procedures and the relevant Staff Rules and Manual provisions adequately reflect the wishes of the Conference, with particular reference to the need to give combined effect to the requirements of paramount importance of securing the highest standards of efficiency and technical competence and equitable geographical and gender distribution.

(Adopted on 23 November 1999)


60. The Conference considered that the successful completion of the negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking, as an international instrument for the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and for access to these resources, was essential in ensuring global food security and sustainable agriculture for present and future generations.

61. The Conference considered that the Undertaking was at the meeting point between agriculture, the environment and commerce, and agreed that there should be consistency and synergy in the agreements being developed in these different sectors. It felt that early success in these negotiations should allow the agricultural sector to shape solutions that took its specific needs into account.

62. The Conference expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the negotiations by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and its Contact Group during 1999, particularly in regard to the consensus reached on the text on Farmers’ Rights. It considered, however, that much work was still needed in order to finalize the negotiations in the year 2000. It expressed its appreciation for the untiring efforts of its Chairman, Ambassador Fernando Gerbasi, and its desire that he carry the process through to completion. It agreed that the Chairman’s Elements developed in Montreux, Switzerland, in January 1999 should continue to provide the framework in which to seek further consensus on the text of the revised Undertaking. It appealed for the Negotiating Parties to show flexibility and a spirit of constructive compromise in this regard.

63. The Conference agreed that a cornerstone of the revised Undertaking should be the Multilateral System for Access and Benefit-Sharing.

64. The Conference also confirmed that the negotiations on the revision of the International Undertaking would proceed on the basis that the Undertaking would take the form of a legally-binding instrument, closely linked to FAO and the Convention on Biological Diversity. It recognized that the full implementation of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture would be greatly facilitated by the funding strategy of the International Undertaking.

65. The Conference expressed its gratitude to the Governments of Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America for their generous contributions to the process in 1999.

66. The Conference requested that the text of the revised International Undertaking be finalized, as planned, for submission to the Hundred and Nineteenth Session of the FAO Council in November 2000. It appealed to all countries to facilitate this process. In this spirit, Members stressed the importance for countries that are developing relevant legislation to do so in such a way that would enable them to take into account and allow for the elements of this new international agreement.

67. The Conference recognized that progress was subject to the provision of extra-budgetary funds for further negotiating meetings of the Chairman’s Contact Group and the Commission. It therefore appealed to countries to provide the funds necessary to prepare and run the meetings, and to facilitate the participation of developing countries. It expressed appreciation for Japan’s announcement of a further contribution towards the costs of the next negotiating session of the Contact Group.


68. Members were unanimous in the expression of their condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of those who died aboard the WFP plane which crashed in Kosovo on Friday, 12 November 1999.

69. The security of humanitarian aid workers, as outlined in a United Nations General Assembly Resolution currently being finalized, had become an issue of the utmost importance, requiring assertive action by the international community at large.

70. The Conference congratulated the World Food Programme for the excellent work accomplished during 1998. Members also recalled the value of multilateral food aid as implemented by WFP and the importance of working towards a balance between emergency and development activities.


71. The Conference took note of the Report of the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council on the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land, and the Summary Report of the Maastricht Conference, which had been submitted to it as an information document.


72. The Conference expressed its satisfaction at the successful conclusion of the negotiations for the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and its adoption in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in September 1998. It favourably viewed the cooperation of FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both in the negotiation of the Convention and the joint provision of the Interim Secretariat. The Conference supported the primary role of FAO and UNEP in the Interim Secretariat and the Convention Secretariat.

73. The Conference noted that, as agreed by the Rotterdam Conference, the Interim Secretariat was provided by FAO and UNEP and that "the Secretariat functions for the Convention shall be performed jointly by the Executive Director of UNEP and the Director-General of FAO, subject to such arrangements as shall be agreed between them and approved by the Conference of Parties". It also noted the request of the Rotterdam Conference that the Director-General and the Executive Director consider the offer received from Germany and the combined offer of Italy and Switzerland, as well as any other offers, for the physical location of the Convention Secretariat, and to provide a comparative analysis of these offers to be prepared in consultation with the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for consideration by the Conference of Parties at its first meeting.

74. A number of Member Nations favoured the retention of the existing Headquarters arrangements for the future Convention Secretariat to avoid weakening the synergy between FAO and UNEP's programmes and the Convention Secretariat and to minimize expenditure, both for countries and for appropriate UN bodies.

75. The Conference noted the necessity of providing technical assistance to developing countries to implement the Convention. Several Member Nations re-emphasized the need to consider the issues of dispute settlement, illicit trafficking, and responsibility and liability. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the outcome of the Sixth Session of the INC in July 1999, including the establishment of an Interim Chemicals Review Committee.

76. The Conference expressed its appreciation that a number of countries had made resources available for the implementation of the Convention. The Conference noted with concern that resources remained insufficient, and it requested that further resources should be made available to the Secretariat through additional Regular Programme funding, which could imply corresponding savings in other areas.




77. The Conference noted that this Programme Implementation Report (PIR), covering the years 1996-97, was based upon the actual results for the entire biennium, reflecting the arrangements and timing it had approved. It welcomed the improved format with extensive use of tables and charts, focusing on quantitative information and the main achievements and events of the biennium. The Conference observed that this more concise version had been made possible in particular by placing detailed information on the implementation of planned outputs in the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) on the FAO Internet Website. It encouraged further recourse to this method, in order to continue to strike a satisfactory balance between the expectations of a compact document and the availability of more detailed information on achievements for interested Members. It also proposed that the Programme and Finance Committees examine the possibility of the inclusion of an annual performance report in future versions of the Programme Implementation Report.

78. The Conference stressed the importance of feedback from the membership, when addressing key accountability reports such as the PIR and its companion report, the Programme Evaluation Report (PER). It recalled in this connection the expected benefits from the enhanced programme-budget process, including the introduction of the Strategic Framework and the new programming model, and the likely impact on relevant documentation. The Conference felt, therefore, that the format and content of future accountability reports could be usefully kept under review, in particular by the Programme Committee and through the latter, by the Council.

79. In endorsing the contents of the document, the Conference observed in particular the reported decline in resources, especially under extra-budgetary funding for operational activities excluding emergency activities. It looked forward to a reversal of this trend. The Conference stressed the need to use local consultants where available, instead of international ones, especially in field project implementation.

80. The Conference welcomed current efforts to reduce the actual cost of supporting the Field Programme, therefore contributing to bridging the shortfall in reimbursements from funding sources. While endorsing further progress in this direction, the Conference underlined that it was useful that donors continue to support Regular Programme normative activities through Trust Funds. It appreciated that the issue of support costs was under constant scrutiny, particularly under the aegis of the Finance Committee.

81. In considering the synthesis of field project evaluations contained in the document, the Conference welcomed the trend in improved project formulation reported, and urged that due attention continue to be placed on ensuring overall success of the projects entrusted to FAO and the long-term sustainability of their impact.


82. The Conference welcomed the Programme Evaluation Report 1998-99 as informative and useful. It appreciated in particular several improvements in this version, including enhanced reporting on the interaction between the evaluation teams, programme managers and senior management, as well as the use of external expertise. At the same time, the Conference endorsed the observations of the Programme Committee and the Council regarding areas for further improvement. For example, the individual programme reviews and evaluations should be more concise and less descriptive with more systematic assessment of results and impact. The Conference also called for further efforts to enhance the analytical quality of the Report. These could include more systematic use of results measurement and assessment criteria, greater attention to the Organization’s thematic priorities, such as gender and environmental aspects, and to a considerably greater extent, recourse to external expertise in evaluation.

83. The Conference reiterated the importance of evaluation in improving the relevance and cost-effectiveness of the Organization’s programmes and operations. It stressed, in particular, the need for integration of evaluation with programme-budget formulation and implementation, to ensure effective feedback to decision-making.

84. In this context, the Conference stressed that the introduction of the Strategic Framework and the new programming approach provided a good opportunity for more systematic use of evaluation as a management tool. It noted that the Programme Committee had begun a dialogue with the Secretariat, starting with a review at its September 1999 session, of proposals for an enhanced evaluation regime in FAO. It encouraged the Secretariat to continue undertaking joint evaluations with partner organizations. Some Members stressed that evaluation should be linked closely to the Strategic Framework and the Medium-Term Plan, facilitating management decisions on the future of programmes, based on performance assessments and defined criteria.

85. The Conference appreciated the performance in the implementation of the programmes covered in the Report. It concurred with the comments of the Programme Committee and the Council on the main conclusions and recommendations for the individual programmes.

86. The Conference adopted the Programme Evaluation Report 1998-99 on this basis.


General Considerations

87. The Conference considered the Programme of Work and Budget proposals for the 2000-2001 biennium, welcoming the concise format of the document made possible by placing detailed information on the FAO Internet Website.

88. The Conference recognized that this Programme of Work and Budget embodied the first attempt to apply the new programming model to technical and economic programmes. It appreciated the resulting enhanced presentation of planned activities, and invited further attention to improving the focus of FAO programmes.

89. The Conference also recognized that the proposals had been developed in terms of three scenarios, covering a Real Growth (RG) option, Zero-Real Growth (ZRG) and Zero-Nominal Growth (ZNG).

90. The Conference noted that the cost increase estimate of US$ 14.9 million given in the document was based on an exchange rate of Lira 1,800 to US$ 1, the budget having been calculated on this basis. It was satisfied that the above amount and related assumptions had been endorsed by the Finance Committee.

91. The Conference observed, however, that subsequent developments were leading to a significantly different impact of the exchange rate factor. As the rate had moved to the 1,860-1,880 range, this implied a much reduced cost increase estimate and attendant lower budget levels under both the RG and ZRG options. The Conference also noted the substantial narrowing of the difference between ZRG and ZNG, which would permit the release of additional resources for priority programmes under the latter option. It noted that irrespective of the scenario adopted, some adjustments to the distribution of resources by Chapter might be required, which would be duly reported to the Council through the Finance Committee.

92. The Conference took note that adjustments to organizational structures in the administrative and operational areas, and related anticipated savings, had been incorporated in the proposals. It requested the protection of the technical programmes of the Organization. In this regard, it shared the regret expressed by the Finance Committee concerning the transfer made from substantive work in Chapter 2 to administrative activities in Chapters 5 and 6 during this biennium. The Conference was informed that further restructuring requirements were being contemplated, which could not be identified at the time of processing of the document, and for which the envisaged solutions would not have an impact on total resources. These involved in particular the strengthening of the Finance Division (AFF) and would also be duly reported to the Finance Committee.

93. The Conference underlined that the search for possible efficiency savings should remain an on-going concern of management, provided it was well considered and planned. It encouraged further efforts towards the reduction in the effective cost of support to the field programmes and compression of administrative expenditures whenever feasible. Some Members stressed that a review of the FAO Country Office structure was warranted in this context. Other Members stressed the essential role of FAO Country Offices, and gave illustration of the benefits for the countries of accreditation.

94. The Conference reaffirmed the imperative of ensuring parity and balance in the use of all FAO languages and the need for supervision of the quality of translation and interpretation. It endorsed the proposed measures towards a more balanced use of languages, including a special provision to meet specific and urgent requirements, as reflected under all scenarios included in the Programme of Work and Budget. In this respect, many Members emphasized the need for countries hosting meetings held outside Headquarters in collaboration with or under the aegis of FAO to contribute to the costs in accordance with the rules of the Organization governing the use of languages. In looking forward to further improvements in the future, the Conference agreed to the need for Members to monitor progress closely through periodic follow-up and evaluation.

95. The Conference emphasized the need for assured Regular Programme resourcing for a healthy Organization. Many Members moreover, emphasized the need for extra-budgetary support to complement limited Regular Programme resources, and invited further generous contributions from donors. At the same time, the Conference warned against excessive dependency on extra-budgetary funding, particularly for the core activities of the Organization. The Conference also reiterated the need to continue to ensure an appropriate balance between FAO’s normative and operational work and, where applicable, synergy between the two.

Preferences for the Scenarios

96. During their interventions, Members expressed their preference in relation to the three scenarios.

97. Many Members stressed the context of persistent problems of hunger and malnutrition, while Official Development Assistance to agriculture was stagnant, following a period of substantial decline. They also recalled the commitments made by the Member Nations at the World Food Summit to which FAO must respond, to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, they called for adequate resources to fulfill the mandate of FAO, thereby ending the four-year period of budgetary restraint. These Members indicated that they preferred the adoption of the RG scenario, but they were prepared to endorse the ZRG scenario as a strict minimum, with the expectation that any additional resources available during the biennium could be used to adequately support high priority areas.

98. Other Members supported ZNG, recalling that this was a general policy pursued by their Governments throughout the UN System, and reflecting among other things the stringent approach to public expenditures in their countries. Some mentioned in this regard the decisions reached in other Specialized Agencies, including the ILO and WHO.

Substantive Priorities

99. The Conference endorsed the protection offered to a number of high-priority areas under all three scenarios, while noting that they had been consistently supported by the membership. These included FAO’s work on Fisheries and Forestry, Genetic Resources, work on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Gender Mainstreaming, the Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS), the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS), the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) and agricultural statistics development, assistance to Members in the context of the aspects of Multilateral Trade Negotiations falling under FAO’s mandate, the TCP and SPFS. Many Members expressed the wish to see increased resources being channelled to these high-priority areas. Many Members also recalled the desirability of achieving in the future an increased share for TCP in the total budget.

100. During their interventions, Members stressed other substantive areas to which they attached particular importance, such as monitoring and conservation of natural resources, including plant genetic resources, animal production and health, the Soil Fertility initiative, Prior Informed Consent (PIC), Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES), research promotion, the review of socio-economic and institutional strengthening aspects of rural development, assistance in case of emergencies from early warning to the rehabilitation phase, technology transfer and capacity-building in countries, Gender Mainstreaming, conservation of water resources, peri-urban agriculture, legal assistance in the application of international conventions and instruments, organic agriculture, aquaculture within the overall priority on fisheries, and active science-based contributions of FAO to current debates on biotechnology and genetically-modified organisms.

101. Many Members expressed regret that the requests of the Ministerial Meetings for Fisheries and Forestry, in particular the four Plans of Action endorsed by the former, had not been accommodated. They also regretted that requests for a different resource allocation pattern within Chapter 2, favouring the fisheries and forestry sectors, had not materialized. Other Members did not wish to transfer resources away from Agriculture.

102. The Conference endorsed the call from the concerned Members of the Near East Region to reinstate the post of Secretary of the Desert Locust Control Commission for the Central Region, and urged the Director-General to give high priority to identifying resources from the Regular Budget or extra-budgetary resources for this purpose as soon as possible.


103. The Conference reiterated the importance of prompt settlement of arrears due to the Organization. In this connection, it welcomed the positive information which gave it reason to hope for a significant payment of arrears by the main contributor in the next biennium.

104. In this light, the Conference addressed a Draft Resolution which had been prepared by the Secretariat to authorize the use of a portion of expected arrears payments for specific items. It received clarifications on the constitutional aspects of the Resolution.

105. The Conference considered other possible ideas as to the use of arrears payments, including for high priority technical activities which could not be funded under the normal Appropriations Resolution. It underlined the desirability of prior examination of proposed priorities by the Programme and Finance Committees and subsequent approval by the Council.

Budgetary Appropriations and the Use of Arrears

106. The Conference then adopted the following Resolutions:

Budgetary Appropriations 2000-01

Having considered the Director-General's Programme of Work and Budget:


Approves a total net appropriation of US$ 650 000 000 for the financial period 2000-01;


Appropriations24 are voted for the following purposes:


  Chapter 1 – General Policy and Direction

51 710 000

  Chapter 2 – Technical and Economic Programmes

289 658 000

  Chapter 3 – Cooperation and Partnerships

118 015 000

  Chapter 4 – Technical Cooperation Programme

91 516 000

  Chapter 5 – Support Services

58 067 000

  Chapter 6 – Common Services

40 434 000

  Chapter 7 – Contingencies

600 000

  Total Appropriation (Net)

650 000 000

  Chapter 8 – Transfer to Tax Equalization Fund

92 580 000

  Total Appropriations (Gross)

742 580 000



The appropriations (gross) voted in paragraph (a) above shall be financed by assessments on Member Nations, after deduction of Miscellaneous Income in the amount of US$ 6 900 000, thus resulting in assessments against Member Nations of US$ 735 680 000.
(c) In establishing the actual amounts of contributions to be paid by individual Member Nations, the Assessment of each Member Nation shall be reduced by any amount standing to its credit in the Tax Equalization Fund provided that the credit of a Member Nation that levies taxes on the salaries, emoluments and indemnities received from FAO by staff members shall be reduced by the estimated amounts of such taxes to be reimbursed to the staff member by FAO. An estimate of US$ 4 000 000 has been withheld for this purpose.
(d) The contributions due from Member Nations in 2000 and 2001 shall be paid in accordance with the Scale adopted by the Conference at its Thirtieth Session, which contributions, after the deduction of amounts standing to the credit of Member Nations in the Tax Equalization Fund, result in net amounts payable totaling US$ 647 100 000.

(Adopted on 19 November 1999)

Use of Arrears and of Advances from the Working Capital Fund


Noting the continued pressure to constrain public expenditure and the consequences for the Organization’s assessed contributions,

Recognizing that the demands placed upon the Organization in respect of its programmes exceed the level of the effective working budget as defined in its Programme of Work,

Noting that the Director-General has, as a consequence, been unable to accommodate a number of important capital and other one-time expenditures under the budget as approved by the Conference,

Noting that additional funds may become available to the Organization during the biennium 2000-2001 in the form of payments of arrears of contributions, in particular by the major contributor,

Notwithstanding the continuing generous support of Trust Fund donors to the work of the Organization and recognizing that some of the purposes mentioned below may benefit from voluntary contributions,

  1. Requires that the Director-General apply such arrears as may be paid by the major contributor to a proportional reduction in the accumulated deficit as shown in the accounts of the Organization as at 31 December 1999 equal to the proportion of payments made by the major contributor of its total arrears in assessed contributions resulting in the replenishment of the General Fund and the Working Capital Fund as necessary,

  2. Reaffirms the principle of Financial Regulation 6.1 that any cash surplus in the General Fund at the close of any financial period shall be allocated among Member Nations,

  3. Urges Member Nations to pay their assessments in full, on time and without conditions and to immediately pay all arrears,

  4. Authorizes the advance of funds from the Working Capital Fund up to an amount of US$ 9 million to cover redeployment and separation costs as may be necessary, as a one-time expenditure, to complete restructuring pending the eventual receipt of assessed contributions in arrears from the major contributor,

  5. Further authorizes the Director-General, notwithstanding Financial Regulation 6.1, to use part or the whole of the balance of such payments of arrears for the following purposes, after providing for the implementation in full of the Programme of Work and Budget for the 2000-2001 biennium under Resolution 2/99, and to carry forward such funds to the following biennium if necessary, subject to the receipt of such arrears and prior review of priorities by the Programme and Finance Committees and subsequent approval of those priorities by the Council:
  1. One-time activities of high priority and of the technical programmes of the Organization; and/or
  2. One-time expenditures of a capital nature for improvement to the Organization’s infrastructure including its communication capacity with Members,
  1. Establishes Chapter 9 of the Programme of Work and Budget, "One-time Expenditures funded from Arrears", to manage such expenditures.

(Adopted on 19 November 1999)

FAO Representations

107. The Conference was reminded that despite the increase in membership in recent years the number of FAO Representations remained at the number decided by the Conference in 1987.

108. The Conference took note of the requests expressed by several Members to have an appropriate presence of the Organization in their countries. It requested the Director-General to review this matter and to submit proposals for decision to the Council and its relevant Committees on how best to respond to these requests.



109. The Conference addressed Version 4.0 of the Strategic Framework together with the Report of the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council, including its consideration of the observations of the Programme and Finance Committees. It noted that, as recommended by the Council at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session, supporting analytical material prepared by the Secretariat was contained in a supplement, which had been provided for information and not for approval. It further noted that another supplement was planned, covering Regional Perspectives, but had not been issued as the comments called for by the Council had not been received from all Groups.

110. The Conference recalled that the Council, in its Hundred and Seventeenth Session during the preceding week, had expressed generally positive views on the Strategic Framework. However, several delegations proposed substantive changes.

111. The Conference recognized that Version 4.0 was the result of a comprehensive process of analysis and discussions among Members, in line with Resolution 6/97. It appreciated the participatory nature of this process, including the progressive refinement of several versions. The Conference welcomed the fact that Members had been given ample opportunity to express their views through the review of the document by a large number of inter-governmental bodies.

112. The Conference also noted that the comments received from FAO partners had been taken into account.

113. The Conference recalled that the Strategic Framework was part of the enhanced programme planning process that it had endorsed. It underlined that, by providing general orientations for the work of the Organization over the coming fifteen years, the document was expected to greatly facilitate the formulation of the complementary Medium-Term Plans and Programmes of Work and Budget in future biennia.

114. The Conference agreed that both experience in implementation of the Strategic Framework and significant changes in the external environment would warrant its revision at appropriate times.

115. The Conference also agreed that a summary version of the Strategic Framework should be prepared promptly, in order to facilitate the dissemination of its key messages to broader audiences.

Discussion of Textual Changes

116. Following extensive discussions, the Conference approved specific amendments to paragraphs 30, 31, 39 and 154 of document C 99/12, as follows:

"FAO's Regular Programme is the basis and starting point for formulation of the Strategic Framework. The strategies to address Members' needs are rooted in normative work, complemented by operational activities requested by Member Countries, maintaining an appropriate balance between the two."

delete the words "certain critical"

"keeping in view the need to maintain a balance between normative and operational activities."

"...(e.g. through the TCP and the SPFS);".

117. Beyond these, considerable debate took place about the phrase "considering the multifunctional character of agriculture" in paragraph 76, echoing similar divergences in views expressed during the Hundred and Seventeenth Session of the Council, and at the last Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees.

118. A number of options were considered, and it was agreed to add the following sentence at the end of paragraph 76:

"However, as FAO’s Members have noted that there is currently no consensus on the meaning of the concept of the multifunctional character of agriculture nor on a role for FAO with respect to work on it, they agree that the Organization should pursue and further develop its work on sustainable agricultural and rural development."


119. The Conference adopted the Strategic Framework on that basis. It stressed the importance of approval by the membership of a policy document of such depth and nature at this juncture. The Conference underlined that it would contribute to forging renewed unity of purpose and commitment by the membership to the mandate and goals of the Organization.


1. C 99/INF/9; C 99/PV/1; C 99/PV/15

2. C 99/INF/6; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/15

3. C 99/INF/7; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/15

4. C 99/INF/8; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/15

5. C 99/INF/10; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/15

6. C 99/PV/14; C 99/PV/15

7. C 99/LIM/1; C 99/LIM/2; C 99/PV/1; C 99/PV/15

8. C 99/LIM/2; C 99/PV/1; C 99/PV/15

9. C 99/1; C 99/16; C 99/INF/16; C 99/LIM/14; C 99/LIM/25; C 99/LIM/27; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/11; C 99/PV/15

10. C 99/13; C 99/13-Sup.1; C 99/PV/2; C 99/PV/15

11. C 99/2; C 99/PV/4; C 99/PV/5; C 99/PV/6; C 99/PV/7; C 99/PV/8; C 99/PV/9; C 99/PV/10; C 99/PV/11; C 99/PV/14; C 99/PV15

12. C 99/6; C 99/INF/25; C 99/I/PV/1; C 99/I/PV/2; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

13. C 99/6

14. FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 1999 (October, 1999)

15.C 99/INF/21; C 99/I/PV/2; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

16. UNGA Resolution 53/221

17. C 99/9; C 99/LIM/21; C 99/I/PV/4; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

18. C 99/LIM/3; C 99/I/PV/4; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

19. CL 117/REP/6; C 99/INF/20-Rev.1; CL 116/REP; CL 116/PV; CL 117/PV/3; C 99/I/PV/3; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

20. C 99/14; C 99/14-Sup.1; C 99/I/PV/4; C 99/I/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

21. C 99/8; C 99/8-Corr.1; C 99/LIM/4; C 99/II/PV/1; C 99/II/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

22. C 99/4; C 99/LIM/5; C 99/II/PV/1; C 99/II/PV/7; C 99/PV/15

23. C 99/3; C 99/3-Corr.1; C 99/3-Corr.2 (Chinese and English only); C 99/LIM/6; CL 117/LIM/3; C 99/II/PV/2; C 99/II/PV/3; C 99/II/PV/8; C 99/PV/13; C 99/PV/15

24. Calculated at Lira 1,875 = US$ 1 (Euro 0.9684=US$ 1)

25. C 99/12; C 99/II/PV/4; C 99/II/PV/5; C 99/II/PV/6; C 99/II/PV/8; C 99/II/PV/10; C 99/PV/15


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