Hundred and Twenty-fourth Session
Rome, 23-28 June 2003
Report of the Group of the Friends of the Chair on the Question of the Number and Length of Terms of Office of the Director-General (Article VII.1 of the Consitution of FAO)
1. Conforming with the decision made by the FAO Council during its 123rd session, the Friends of the Chair group - composed of representatives from different regional groups, the Presidents of the G77, the OECD and of the EC and the former President of the G77- has been created in order to discuss the question of the length and number of terms for the Director-General of the FAO and to reach a suitable solution for all members of the Council.
2. Five meetings have since been held at the FAO, the most recent of which was on 29 March 2003.
3. Since the beginning of the meetings, the group has unanimously agreed on the principle that “there would be no agreement on anything until there was agreement on everything.”
4. Throughout these meetings, the group long debated the question of the length and number of terms for the Director General of the FAO, where a wide range of opinions was expressed regarding the eligibility of the incumbent Director-General to run again. The group consulted the Legal Counsel on the transitional situation. He indicated that, if the amendment was adopted without any reference to the transition, the Conference would have the authority to elect under the new system any of the nominated candidates. The group agreed that there should be silence on transitional measures.
5 At the conclusion of the meetings, the Friends of the Chair group proposed that the Amendment of Article VII.I of the Constitution,“The Director-General should be appointed for a term of six years, renewable only once for a further term of four years,” be referred to the 124th session of the Council.
The revision of Article VII.I would apply to the election at the 33rd Session of the Conference in 2005 and govern the mandates of the Directors-General from 1 January 2006.