P. Technical co-operation programs
442. The Conference considered the report of the Director-General on the Organization's activities under the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and the United Nations Special Fund (UNSF). It also heard a statement by the representative of the latter. The Conference appreciated that effective working relations had been established between the Special Fund and the Organization.
443. The Conference took note of the increased support by governments for the technical co-operation programs of the United Nations which resulted in increased financial resources being made available to the agencies for field programs. The Conference fully endorsed the Organization's continued participation in these programs.
444. In reviewing the report of the Director-General, the Conference noted the following points.
445. Training. The Conference stressed the importance of training programs for technical personnel in countries receiving assistance. It appreciated the value of fellowships abroad under both EPTA and UNSF. The fellowships programs would continue to play an important role in the technical co-operation programs. In this connection, the Conference was pleased to note that it would now be possible for countries to request and obtain long-term fellowships under EPTA.
446. It was felt, however, that increased emphasis should also be given to training within the country. This could be achieved through national teaching and research institutes, like those organized under EPTA, and in-service training on projects. The Conference noted that training programs were also an integral part of UNSF projects. Several members felt, however, that emphasis on this feature should be increased.
447. The Conference therefore asked the Director-General to consider, along with the Managing Director of the Special Fund, the possibility for an increase of the provisions for in-service training or other suitable types of local training in UNSF projects.
448. Field personnel. The Conference expressed some concern about the considerable increase in field personnel required in the immediate future for the execution of the Organization's technical cooperation programs. It was informed, however, that the Director-General was fully aware of the problem and was paying great attention to the improvement of recruitment procedures which, with the active collaboration of member countries, had already given good results, so that, on the whole, the Organization was able to meet its obligations to member countries with regard to timeliness and quality of the service required.
449. The Conference appreciated the efforts of a number of member countries to supply associate experts for technical assistance work. Such associate experts, once they gained sufficient experience, could render the greatest services. Some delegations felt that the level of administrative charges in connection with associate experts should again be re-examined by the Council on the basis of the workload and expenditure arising from this scheme.
450. Counterparts. A number of delegations emphasized the fact that their governments had considerable difficulty in providing qualified counterparts to the Organization's experts under the technical cooperation programs. The Conference felt that in several instances counterpart services could be given by more junior or field assistance personnel and that, as mentioned above, provision for more adequate in-service training by the experts could assist materially in building up a trained national cadre.
451. Follow-up action. Attention was drawn by a number of delegations to the need to ensure maximum possible follow-up of each project after aid ceases. This applied particularly to the provision of capital as follow-up of preinvestment projects undertaken under the United Nations Special Fund. The Conference was assured by the Director-General and the representative of the UNSF Managing Director that continuous attention was being given to this problem and that so far results had been promising.
452. Possible EPTA and UNSF merger. The Conference appreciated the detailed report on this matter (c 63/40) presented by the Director-General at the request of the Council. While fully supporting possible measures to make both programs more effective, the Conference agreed with the Director-General that detailed questions concerning the possible merger of EPTA and UNSF and related implications should be studied in an integrated manner before a decision was taken. It hoped that such a study would result in the determination of the most effective ways of administering and co-ordinating the two programs, and at the same time ensure that the participating agencies would continue to play a role commensurate with their constitutional responsibilities and with the experience they had gained within their respective fields of competence.
453. Progress reports. The Conference felt that the official publications being made available to member countries on the technical assistance carried out under EPTA and UNSF did not always provide the governments and the public of participating countries with a clear picture of the scope, volume and results of the work. Improved reporting on this most important part of the Organization's activities would help to publicize the Organization's significant role in this field and to maintain the interest and support for multilateral technical assistance activities in member countries. The Conference therefore requested the Program Committee to consider the possibility of having periodic progress reports prepared on the Organization's technical cooperation programs. Such progress reports should aim at reporting on specific projects and the results achieved should be stated in practical terms.
454. The Conference adopted the following resolution:
RESOLUTION No. 29/63
Progress and evaluation reports of the results of field programs
Recognizing the importance of the efforts made by the Member Nations within the framework of the Special Fund and under the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance,
Considering the part played by the Organization in the implementation and administration of those programs,
Requests the Director-General to make available to the Council for consideration by the Conference at its Thirteenth Session
1. a progress report on the projects implemented by the Organization in its capacity as executing agency of the Special Fund and under the expanded Program of Technical Assistance;
2. an assessment of the results of such of those projects as gave been completed; and
3. quantitative data on the concrete outcome of these projects and on all funds from various sources used for their fulfillment.
Q. Impact of field programs on the regular program
455. The Conference took note of the rapid growth of the Organization's operational field programs, which had provided new and valuable opportunities for service to Member Governments but had placed an increasingly heavy strain and workload on the staff of the Organization. The operational programs now constituted an essential aspect of the Organization's activities, and FAO had benefited materially from the extension of its field work, which had drawn it into closer and more productive relations with Member Governments.
456. The Conference endorsed the recommendation of the Council that more realistic financial support from the extra-budgetary sources sponsoring the growing field programs be obtained in order to ensure adequate central management and servicing. In utilizing the Organization to conduct major segments of operational programs and in order to maintain its high standard of technical efficiency, the sponsoring bodies should recognize that they should contribute a more adequate share of the corresponding management cost.
457. In the report of its Eleventh Session, the Conference, while recognizing that a shift of emphasis in the work of the Organization toward field programs had already taken place, and also while recognizing the practical importance of such field programs to developing countries, expressed its concern at the adverse effects, in certain areas, of this change on the Regular Program; and it reiterated its regard for the basic activities of the Regular Program as essential to the efficiency of the Organization.
458. Subsequently the Council and its Program and Finance Committees studied intensively, in terms both of program and budgetary principle and of the practical implications for the Organization's activities and projects, the consequence of the two-fold aspect of the problem: the importance of the field programs on the one hand, and the heavy impact of their spectacular growth on the Regular Program on the other, keeping always in mind that maintenance of an able and effective Headquarters and regional office staff is fundamental to the efficient performance and success of the field program operations. This two-sided problem was also reflected in the reports of the Technical Committees of the Conference.
459. The External Auditor, in his report on the interim accounts of the Regular Program for 1962 and on the United Nations Special Fund accounts for 1962, has drawn attention to the question of proper allocation of Headquarters and regional office costs between the Regular Program and the field programs.
460. At the request of the 1961 session of the Council, the Director-General undertook periodic studies on the impact of field programs on the Regular Program including an assessment of the time spent by Headquarters staff and other identifiable costs in connection with the formulation, evaluation and management of field projects.
461. From reports of the Thirty-Ninth, Fortieth and Forty-First Sessions of the Council, and in the light of the findings arising from the Director-General's studies, the following facts emerged in terms of projections for the 1964-65 biennium:
(i) The total amounts available to the Organization for its activities would have increased more than five times since the first comparable study was undertaken in 1954.
(ii) The Regular Program was now providing a decreasing percentage of the over-all resources available to the Organization, accounting, in fact, for less than one third of the total.
(iii) Headquarters and regional staff were devoting an increasing proportion of their time to field program matters, to the point that field programs were now occupying more than half of their time and the Regular Program less than half. The latest study by the Director-General showed that UNSF and EPTA were each already accounting for approximately one sixth of the working time of the staff, and the other field programs combined nearly one fifth.
(iv) On the other hand, the Regular Program was still supporting Headquarters and regional office costs to the extent of about 80 percent.
(v) The ratio of Headquarters and regional office expenses covered from operating program resources was, therefore, far from reflecting the actual expenditure in money, time, and energy devoted to field programs.
(vi) The relative amount of time spent on EPTA was decreasing while that spent on UNSF had increased: UNSF would soon be contributing over 40 percent of the Organization's total resources and EPTA about 20 percent.
(vii) The Organization was absorbing almost entirely, without reimbursement, the cost of project planning and appraisal under UNSF, as well as the costs of preparation and negotiation of plans of operations.
(viii) As a consequence of these facts, the Organization was supplementing the Headquarters' costs of UNSF and other programs to a very considerable extent, thus impairing the quality and effectiveness of the Regular Program.
462. The Conference noted that a measure of relief had been obtained with regard to agency costs reimbursed from EPTA through the application of a new method of computing the annual lump-sum allocation, as approved by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 1963. However, the reimbursement was still based on the approved EPTA field program of the previous biennium, and disregarded the subsequent increase in the current program.
463. With regard to UNSF agency costs, the Conference took account of the explanations provided by the representative of the Managing Director of the Special Fund regarding the legislative limitations and the guidelines followed by the Fund in determining the allocation of amounts for agency costs to the executing agencies, including FAO, and regarding certain measures which the Managing Director of the Special Fund considered might serve to alleviate the situation in FAO. Nevertheless, the central problem remained that the formula utilized by the Special Fund fell far short of providing realistic financial support for the adequate technical and management servicing of field projects for which FAO was the executing agency.
464. Several delegations expressed concern at the implications of this situation and its effect on the integrity of the Program of Work and Budget as approved by the Conference. It was noted with equal concern that the Special Fund was not planning any review of the existing formula for determining agency costs until further experience with project implementation through 31 December 1965 was gained. The Conference concurred fully with the Council's request that the Director-General should bring to the attention of the Governing Council of the Special Fund through the Managing Director its conviction that a review and reconsideration of the agency cost formula should be undertaken by the Fund not later than mid-1964 so as to enable the Director-General to take the results of such a study into account when preparing the Program of Work and Budget for 1966-67. In this connection, the Conference also asked the Director-General to bring his study of the impact of field programs on the Regular Program up to date and to make the results available to the Council prior to consideration of the draft Program of Work and Budget for 1966-67.
465. The Conference also believed that certain specific items required urgent reconsideration by the Special Fund, particularly the rejection of reimbursement to the Organization of the clearly identifiable increased costs arising at Headquarters owing to the reclassification of Rome for post adjustment and cost-of-living purposes. (The amount involved might soon reach $ 500,000.)
466. The Conference felt that, in the light of the close co-operation and cordial relationships between the Special Fund and the Organization, appropriate adjustments to ensure adequate financial support from the Fund could be made through a realistic interpretation of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1240 (XIII); if however agreement could not be reached on this approach, efforts should be made, in collaboration with the Special Fund, to secure the concurrence of the General Assembly in a reasonable implementation of the guiding principles as expressed in its Resolution.
467. It this general respect, the Conference also expressed the hope that Member Nations could coordinate the views of their representatives when participating in the shaping of policies of the various fund-providing bodies and of the executing agencies; and that full support would be given by Member Governments, not only in FAO but also in the governing bodies of the operational programs, such as the Economic and Social Council and the Governing Council of UNSF for the basic concept that the Organization must insist on maintaining its high standard of technical efficiency by safeguarding its Regular Program activities which, apart from constitutional obligations, form the technical base of knowledge and expertise for all field programs.
468. The Conference accordingly adopted the two following resolutions:
RESOLUTION No. 30/63
Impact of field programs on the FAO Regular Program - Interagency co-ordination
Considering the increasing importance of the effective co-operation of FAO with other United Nations programs such as the United Nations Special Fund, the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance and the United Nations Children's Fund,
Declaring that FAO is ready to continue to give these programs support as far as possible in their important activities and to place at their disposal the technical skill of FAO personnel,
Concerned about the impact on the FAO Program of Work and Budget of projects of these programs,
Recommends to the United Nations General Assembly that the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, when up to date the studies which it made in response to General Assembly Resolution 722 (VIII) of 23 October 1953, study and report on the impact of outside programs on the Regular Program of FAO; and further
Recommends to the General Assembly that arrangements be made for a joint review of this problem by representatives of the governing bodies of the organizations concerned.
RESOLUTION No. 31/63
Budgetary relation between the FAO Regular Program of Work and field programs
Considering the rapidly increasing importance of those field projects for which FAO is the natural executing agency, but which are mainly financed from other sources such as the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance, the United Nations Special Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund and Trust Funds,
Acknowledging the desirability of FAO's fulfilling these tasks as well as possible, while recognizing the importance of maintaining the Regular Program, and
Concerned about the impact of these projects on the Regular Program of Work as adopted by the Conference, sometimes to the detriment of activities under that Program,
Requests the Director-General (a) to continue his efforts to ensure a more reasonable coverage of costs in connection with the elaboration and execution of field projects; (b) to continue to study in conjunction with the Council and its Program and Finance Committees the best way of presenting the FAO Budget so that it clearly shows how much is allotted to the Regular Program of Work and how much is reserved for otherwise uncovered administrative and servicing costs resulting from the preparation and implementation of field projects originating prom outside sources; and (c) to present the FAO Program of Work and Budget for the biennium 1966-67 accordingly.
Documentation on the program of work and budget
Technical committees of the conference
Documentation on the program of work and budget
469. The Conference appreciated the efforts made by the Director-General to give as much useful information as possible to Member Governments and delegates about his proposed Program of Work and Budget. However, in view of the considerable cost in terms of staff, time and reproduction of the documents, and the difficulties for delegates to acquaint themselves with the total volume of documentation, the Conference agreed that it would be preferable if this documentation in the future could be made more concise without losing its clearness and usefulness. The Conference therefore requested the Director-General to prepare suggestions for the Council and its Program and Finance Committees for simplification of the presentation. The Program and Finance Committees should study these suggestions at their next sessions and make their recommendations to the 1964 session of the Council.
Technical committees of the conference
470. The Conference was satisfied with the assistance given by its Technical Committees within the framework of the new procedure established by the Council for the Twelfth Session of the Conference and adopted the following resolution:
RESOLUTION No. 32/63
The Technical Committees of the Conference
Noting the reports submitted by the Technical Committees convened immediately before its Twelfth Session, and
Valuing the importance of such reports and the aid afforded thereby to the work of the Twelfth Session by drawing particular attention to the technical aspects of the work of the Organization,
Expresses its appreciation to the Technical Committees for the competent advice contained in their reports; and
Invites the Council to maintain and, if it deems advisable, to improve, as it has already done, the procedure whereby the Conference receives technical advice from those Committees.
471. Wishing to preserve the full value of its expressions of satisfaction, the Conference adopted the following resolution:
RESOLUTION No. 33/63
Reports of the Technical Committees of the Conference
Considering that an excessively frequent use of laudatory expressions cannot but lessen the significance of approval and commendation, however highly deserved,
Reminds the Technical Committees of the Conference that their task is to submit their opinions so as to enable the Conference to approve or disapprove past work or future programs, and
Invites the Chairmen of the aforesaid Committees to omit from their reports in the future any expression that may tend to impart a laudatory character to merited approval.