Andorra and Montenegro join FAO
17 November 2007, Rome – The FAO Conference today welcomed Andorra and the Republic of Montenegro as new members and the Faroe Islands as an associate member, bringing the total number
of FAO members to 192. The new members were admitted at the opening of the 34th session of FAO biennial governing Conference, which also elected Ecuador’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Carlos
Vallejo López, to chair the meeting and welcomed the delegation of the Russian Federation, Russia having joined FAO in April 2006.
One of the most important tasks of the Conference is to decide on the level of FAO’s budget for the next two years. Delegates will consider a proposed budget of US $885.8 million for 2008-2009,
which includes a provision of US$ 101.4 million to cover cost increases as well as incremental requirements of US$ 18.7 million, to allow the organization to continue to carry out its programme
Historic evaluation of FAO – Another major topic will be the report of FAO’s first-ever Independent External Evaluation, which includes over 100 recommendations for changes to enable the
Organization to “reform with growth”.
The Conference is expected to agree on a procedure for preparing a plan to implement the recommendations of the evaluation over the next three to four years, which would be ratified by a
special session of the Conference in the autumn of 2008.
Award winners – During today’s opening ceremony, the International Herald Tribune’s Elisabeth Rosenthal and the Egyptian journalist and Editor-in-Chief of The Agriculture
Magazine, Mr Hany El Banna, received the A.H.Boerma Award. Since 1979 FAO has presented the award to journalists from around the world who have helped focus public attention on food security
and rural development in developing countries. Elisabeth Rosenthal received the report for her very valuable contribution to increasing awareness about avian influenza and Hany El Banna for his
contribution to increasing awareness about agricultural issues in the Near East.
The B.R. Sen Award for a field officer who has made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of the country or countries in which they are assigned, was given for 2006 to Mr Brian
Dugdill from the United Kingdom, for his work in Mongolia; and for 2007, to Mr Shin Imai from Japan, for his work on FAO’s Special Programme for Food Security in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos and
The Edouard Saouma Award 2006-2007 was granted to Argentina’s Secretariat for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Livestock for its work on the technical cooperation programme to Evaluate
Post-harvest Management of Living Modified Organisms and Identification of Strategies for Implementation of Article 18.2a of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Finally, the Margarita Lizárraga medal was awarded to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. During the ceremony the McDougall Memorial lecture was
presented by His Excellency Moussa Al-Sarraf, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Municipality Affairs of Kuwait.
The substantive work of the Conference starts on Monday 19 November, when Director-General Jacques Diouf will deliver his opening statement.