After 40 years of existence, however, it seems that the time has come to conduct a review of its activities

After 40 years of existence, however, it seems that the time has come to conduct a review of its activities

My government submitted a paper on an item in accordance with the understanding reached in the Council, as you can see in the secretarial document C/. I would like therefore to state briefly the position of the Japanese Government on this item by explaining what we meant by a paper and some additional ideas we have had after its submission. FAO was established more than forty years ago with the ultimate objective of contributing towards and expanding world economy and ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger, as stated in the preamble to its Constitution.

Japan has always been an ardent supporter of FAO since it joined the Organization in 1951 thoroughly appreciating its activities in the field of food and agriculture. FAO has certainly responded to the changing needs of the international community in carrying out the functions as spelled out in Article 1 of its Constitution in the past 40 years. My government believes FAO should and will play an increasingly important role in combatting hunger and malnutrition and other problems in the field of food and agriculture.

I believe that FAO will continue to play a major role in solving world food and agricultural problems

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I consider it essential for the Organization to conduct such a review not only to cope with the present problems but also to be able to confront its future more efficiently and

effectively. Such a review is all the more necessary, especially now that FAO is facing financial difficulties. In this connection I would like to remind you that the General Assembly of the United Nations established a group of high level intergovernmental experts, a so-called G.18, to conduct a thorough review of these related and financial matters of the United Nations and that the group submitted a report containing 71 recommendations which was adopted in the 44th Session of the General Assembly. Following this example of G.18 and as many other countries suggest, the Japanese Government would like to propose to set up a high-level group of experts to conduct a review of FAO’s activities. What this group should review, in our view, is two things; first, the group should examine what role FAO should play in the field of food and agriculture. FAO is, of course, expected to carry out the functions stipulated in Article 1 of its Constitution.

My government considers that FAO should continue to be a central organ for information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture and for giving policy advice in the field of food and agriculture. At the same time as the fact that FAO Field Programme accounts now for approximately two-thirds of its total resources, FAO’s technical assistance activities are assuming increasing importance. In view of its vital role, this field of activities should be reviewed for better functioning and management.

The group should submit a report to the Council and the Conference for deliberation and possible adoption

Secondly, the high-level group should examine the ways and means of improving the administrative and financial functioning of FAO. I know that FAO has already started to streamline the Organization in reducing the budget increase and the number of staff. However, under the present dire budget restraints, the responsibility should not be left solely to the Secretariat but should be faced by member countries jointly for more efficient and effective management. In this regard the report of the G.18, which I mentioned earlier, would be useful for possible developments.

As regards the composition of the group, I suggest a small number of experts, probably not exceeding 15 and the chosen have individual status.

Any organ is in need of a thorough review after a certain amount of experience. I earnestly hope that this session of the Conference will be able to establish the high-level group of experts with the support of all other member countries in order for FAO to play an even more constructive role in the field of food and agriculture.

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