CL 128/4


Hundred and Twenty-eighth Session

Rome, 20 - 25 June 2005

Report of the Joint Meeting of the
Ninety-third Session of the Programme Committee
and the
Hundred and Ninth Session of the Finance Committee
Rome, 11 May 2005

Table of Contents

Matters requiring attention by the Council

Matters requiring discussion and/or decision



Summary Programme of Work and Budget 2006-07



Matters for information



Savings and Efficiencies in Governance




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 Portocarrero (Peru)



Mr A.R. Ayazi (Afghanistan)

Mr A. Bakayoko (Côte d’Ivoire)

Ms J. Barfield (Australia)

Mr A. Zodda (Italy)

Mr J. Melanson (Canada)

Ms R. Inoue (Japan)

H.E. M. Arvelo Caamaño (Dominican Republic)

Ms L. Al Saqqaf (Kuwait)

Mr G. Nair (India)

Ms A. Bryant (New Zealand)

Mr F.B. Zenny (Jamaica)

Mr M. Saleem Khan (Pakistan)

Ms W. Dikah (Lebanon)

Ms A.M. Baiardi Quesnel (Paraguay)

Mr J. Ramli (Malaysia)

Mr A. Beattie (United Kingdom)

Mr G.G. Lombin (Nigeria)

Mr J.M. Cleverley (USA)

Ms M. Mohapi (South Africa)

H.E. M. Muchada (Zimbabwe)

Item 1: Adoption of the Agenda1

3. The Agenda for the Joint Meeting was approved.

Item 2: Summary Programme of Work and Budget 2006-072

4. After reporting by the Chairpersons of the two Committees on their respective discussions, the Committees jointly addressed the Summary Programme of Work and Budget 2006-07 (SPWB).

5. Note was taken of the conclusions of each Committee in their respective areas of mandate, as reported by the Chairpersons. This included endorsement by the Finance Committee of the proposal to Council, and ultimately to Conference, for establishing a Security Expenditure Facility, involving the addition of Chapter 9 to the PWB. The Finance Committee also agreed to transmit to the Council the Director-General’s proposal to require Member Nations to pay their assessed contributions without deduction of Miscellaneous Income.

6. The Committees recognised that the SPWB presented the proposal of the Director-General for real growth (RG), supplemented by two alternative scenarios at zero-real growth (ZRG) and zero-nominal growth (ZNG), in response to the request of the Council at its last session. Many Members considered that the rate of growth proposed under RG was not commensurate with the pressing requirements of the Membership, particularly in view of commitments to implement the Millenium Development Goals, and expressed their concern that meeting the increasing costs of security should not be at the expense of the substantive work of the Organization. The Committees requested that a higher RG scenario of 9.25% be included in the full PWB.

7. In the light of the different views expressed, the Committees did not, at this juncture, attempt to reach a consensus recommendation on the budget level.

8. One Member recalled the problems experienced by many countries in meeting their financial obligations to the Organization and stressed, therefore, that capacity to pay, especially for major contributors in absolute terms, was an important factor in budget decisions.

9. In emphasising again the importance they attached to COAIM, while appreciating the identification of alternative solutions for the current biennium, several Members requested its reinstatement in the next biennium.

10. The Committees also addressed how improvements could be sought in the programme and budget process and in documentation, to address identified problems and frustrations experienced by both Members and the Secretariat. In this regard, the Committees considered quite timely the suggestion by the Programme Committee to initiate dialogue among Members.

11. The Committees recalled that FAO was somewhat unique in the UN system in presenting more than one budget scenario and in having a comprehensive set of planning documents over different time horizons and a thorough process of formulation of proposals and consideration by Governing Bodies, as specified in the Strategic Framework 2000-2015. There was a general feeling that current arrangements entailed substantial duplication and placed undue burdens on both Members and the Secretariat.

12. One area where action could be taken in the short term was to improve elements of the planning process relating to the SPWB and full PWB.

13. The Committees, therefore, recommended the preparation of a shorter and more analytical full PWB for 2006-07. This would be achieved by the document including:

14. The Committees agreed that repetition of programmatic details by programme entity should be avoided, and biennial outputs would be part of the complete information on programme entity formulation posted on the FAO Web site.

15. The Committees welcomed the much shorter and more focused SPWB 2006-07, in particular the Budgetary and Financial Framework sections including risk assessment, that provided a solid basis for elaborating the Programme of Work. Building on this, the Committees supported the preparation of even shorter SPWB documents in the future. This would be achieved, subject to further review, by future SPWBs:

16. Beyond the above improvements to the SPWB and PWB documents, the Committees agreed to continue the discussion of broader issues related to streamlining the overall programme and budget process and finding better ways to align the Organization’s planning exercises and budget decisions. This would include exploring possibilities to: 1) rationalise further the number, scope and length of planning documents; and 2) more closely link the timing and level of the budget decision with the formulation of the corresponding Programme of Work.

17. In order to facilitate continuation of discussions on these complex matters at the next sessions in September 2005, the Committees requested the Secretariat to prepare a document that would review and summarise the practices and experiences of similar UN system organizations.

Item 3: Savings and Efficiencies in Governance3

18. The Joint Meeting took note of the arrangements envisaged regarding the format and conduct of two Round Tables during the Thirty-third Session of the Conference in November 2005.

19. Given the reduced duration of the Conference from nine to seven days, the Joint Meeting agreed that, on this occasion, the Round Tables should be merged with the two special events envisaged but some discussion should take place with the regional groups regarding the proposed themes.

20. The Committees noted the interest and participation of FAO Members in the Round Tables during the Thirty-second Session of the Conference in 2003. The Joint Meeting felt that there should only be two Round Tables in future Conference sessions and that the decision whether or not to have Round Tables should be taken before each Conference session.

21. The Joint Meeting took note of the Secretariat explanations regarding the production of Verbatim Records during FAO Council and Conference sessions. It took note of Secretariat efforts to liaise with sister agencies regarding best practices in the production of records/ summaries, and looked forward to receiving a detailed report on this subject, including measures taken and proposals regarding cost-effective measures, for its consideration in May 2006.

1 JM 05.1/1

2 Document CL 128/3

3 JM 05.1/3