CL 127/16


Hundred and Twenty-seventh Session

Rome, 22 – 27 November 2004

Report of the Joint Meeting of the
Ninety-second Session of the Programme Committee and the
Hundred-and-eighth Session of the Finance Committee
Rome, 29 September 2004

Table of Contents

Matters requiring attention by the Council

Matters requiring discussion and/or decision


Medium Term Plan 2006-11

4 - 10

Matters for information


Savings and Efficiencies in Governance

Proposed Reform of the General Debate at Conference

11 - 12



Rome, 27 September 2004


1. The Committees submit to the Council the following report of their Joint Meeting.

2. The following Members were present at the meeting:

Programme Committee

Finance Committee



H.E. E. Wermuth (Netherlands)

Mr R. Seminario (Peru)



Mr A.R. Ayazi (Afghanistan)

Mr A. Bakayoko (Côte d’Ivoire)

Mr B.J. Hughes (Australia)

Mr A. Zodda (Italy)

Mr J. Melanson (Canada)

Ms R. Inoue (Japan)

H.E. M. Arvelo (Dominican Republic)

Ms L. Al Saqqaf (Kuwait)

Mr G. Nair (India)

Mr S.J. Draper (New Zealand)

Mr F.B. Zenny (Jamaica)

Mr M.H. Syed (Pakistan)

Ms W. Dikah (Lebanon)

Ms A.M. Baiardi Quesnel (Paraguay)

Mr R. bin Khalid (Malaysia)

H.E. A. Beattie (United Kingdom)

Mr G.G. Lombin (Nigeria)

Mr J.M. Cleverley (USA)

Ms M. Mohapi (South Africa)

Ms V. Takaendesa (Zimbabwe)

Adoption of the Agenda1

3. The Agenda and Timetable for the Joint Meeting were approved.

Medium Term Plan 2006-11

4. The Committees welcomed the improvements reflected in the Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2006-11. They endorsed in particular the application for the first time of Results Based Budgeting principles to the non-technical and technical cooperation areas and the stricter adherence to the concept of a rolling plan.

5. The Committees noted that, as in previous versions, resource projections had been included in the document. They reiterated that these projections were of an indicative nature and non-binding on the Membership. The Committees stressed that the usual discussions among Members and final decision on the budget level for the next biennium would take place in connection with the examination of the Summary (SPWB) and full Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2006-07 proposals.

6. The Committees recognized that, while the proposals in the MTP embodied Real Growth (RG), it was also possible to identify the programme implications of Zero Real Growth (ZRG) resource levels. They received further clarifications on the proposed real growth percentage (2.2% per annum) used in the MTP, confirming that it was exclusive of any cost increases which, it was recognized, would as usual be developed from detailed calculations on each cost item, the results of which would be presented in the SPWB to be submitted to the next session of the Committees. The Committees recalled that another aspect with potential impact on future financial contributions from Members was the on-going amortization of After Service Medical Care (ASMC) liabilities. They were advised that the amount of US$ 14.1 million which had been added by the last FAO Conference to assessed contributions for the 2004-05 biennium was no longer sufficient. The latest actuarial valuations showed a sharp increase in this liability and a consequent increase of US$ 15.9 million in the biennial amount required, assuming the additional liability was to be fully funded over the same period as the original liability.

7. Many Members stressed that the 2.2% per annum RG rate was very conservative given the demand from Members for FAO services and when compared to those proposed in previous MTPs. They would have preferred higher growth rates and wished to see the implications of these developed for consideration in the PWB 2006-07. However, they felt that the 2.2% per annum RG rate should provide a basis for general consensus and endorsement. They recalled that the purpose of the MTP was essentially to chart a course of action based on the Secretariat’s analysis of all pertinent factors. They urged that reactions to the MTP proposals not be overly influenced by short-term considerations, including of a financial nature, and stressed the burden inherent in preparing many scenarios.

8. While sharing the perception of the MTP as an informative guide for the future, other Members emphasized that the proposed RG rate was not consistent with recent budgetary decisions patterns in FAO and would not be conducive, if pursued, to facilitating consensus at the Conference. They also recalled the difficulties experienced by many Members in meeting their financial obligations to the Organization. They, therefore, considered that alternative scenarios would be necessary to enlighten the Membership about the possible impact of lower allocations.

9. In addressing the issue of unprogrammed resources raised by the External Auditor and for which several options were outlined in the document, the Committees took note of the conclusions of the Finance Committee, whereby support was expressed for pursuing the current approach (option 2 in paragraph 163 of the MTP).

10. The Committees recognized the importance attached to the reinstatement of the cancelled session of COAIM (Consultation on Agriculture Information Management) or some acceptable alternative approach and requested the Secretariat to make proposals to their next sessions in the context of the SPWB 2006-07.

Savings and Efficiencies in Governance

11. The Committees reviewed proposals set out in JM 04.2/3 regarding the management of the Thirty-third Session of the FAO Conference (November 2005), which had been reduced from nine to seven days. The innovations proposed also addressed the question of financial restrictions and the conduct of Round Tables to be convened during the Conference. It was noted that the reduced Conference time frame meant that no more than two Round Tables on the same theme could be convened, and that their interactive nature would best be assured by limiting participation, preferably to Ministers only.

12. While the in-session arrangements set out in the Savings and Efficiencies in Governance document would be included in the draft Arrangements submitted to the Hundred and Twenty-eighth Council (June 2005) for approval, the modalities concerning the Round Tables and economy measures would be the subject of a detailed analysis, including a comparative study with other United Nations Agencies, to be submitted to the May 2005 session of the Joint Meeting.


1 JM 04.2/1