Article 29 – Member Organizations of FAO
29.1 When a Member Organization of FAO deposits an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession for this Treaty, the Member Organization shall, in accordance with the provisions of Article II.7 of the FAO Constitution, notify any change regarding its distribution of competence to its declaration of competence submitted under Article II.5 of the FAO Constitution as may be necessary in light of its acceptance of this Treaty. Any Contracting Party to this Treaty may, at any time, request a Member Organization of FAO that is a Contracting Party to this Treaty to provide information as to which, as between the Member Organization and its member states, is responsible for the implementation of any articular matter covered by this Treaty. The Member Organization shall provide this information within a reasonable time.
Article 29.1 pertains to Member Organizations of FAO, such as the EC. Member Organizations are required to exercise their membership rights in FAO on an alternative basis with their Member States that are also Members of FAO. Under Article II.5 of the Constitution, regional economic integration organizations applying for membership in FAO are required to submit a declaration of competence at the time of application, specifying the matters in respect of which competence has been transferred to it by its Member States. Member States are presumed to retain competence over all matters in respect of which transfers of competence have not be specifically declared or notified to FAO. Under Article II.7 of the Constitution, any change regarding the distribution of competence between a Member Organization and its Member States must be notified to the Director-General of FAO, who must circulate it to other Members of FAO. Since the act of becoming Party can affect the distribution of competence, a Member Organization is normally required to notify the Director-General of FAO of any such changes.
Other Contracting Parties are understandably concerned to know who speaks for the EC and its Member States on any particular issue, and who should be held accountable for fulfilling membership obligations under international treaties. The second part of Article 29.1 therefore allows for any Contracting Party to query a Member Organization that is Party to the Treaty as to which, as between the Member Organization and its member states, is responsible for the implementation of any particular matter covered by the Treaty. The Member Organization is required to provide this information within a reasonable time.
Article 29.2 provides that the instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, accession or withdrawal deposited by a Member Organization cannot be counted in addition to those deposited by its Member States. As noted above, this is a provision designed to ensure that neither the EC nor its Member States are given a “double voice” by the fact of membership by a Member Organization in addition to its Member States. Thus, a ratification instrument by the EC would not be counted in addition to those of its member states when determining whether 40 countries have ratified the Treaty.
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