Contents -

Perspective Study of World Agricultural Development (PSWAD)

76. The Conference agreed that FAO had an important role in the implementation and evaluation of the progress towards the Second Development Decade targets and goals relating to or arising from the agricultural sector. Recalling its Resolution 1/69, the Conference re-emphasized that the Perspective Study of World Agricultural Development should continue to provide a useful instrument and a reference framework for FAA's contribution to the objectives and targets of the Second Development Decade.

77. The Conference endorsed the interpretation given to PSWAD by the Council at its Fifty Sixth Session, as a continuing process, drawing basically upon the headquarters and field work of the Organization, to facilitate examination of policy alternatives relevant for perspective planning by governments, the main policy implications being brought together periodically to provide integrated, global perspectives. The fundamental aims of such a continuing Perspective Study would be:

(a) To provide a continuing analysis of economic, social and technological changes so as to enable governments to take into account in their plans or strategies the implication of these changes;

(b) To facilitate FAA's contribution to Second Development Decade goals by assisting countries in the attainment of these targets and to assist governments in the periodical appraisal of progress; and

(c) To facilitate-in cooperation with other agencies-the solution of longer-term problems of agriculture through greater harmonization of national policies in a global perspective.

78. The Conference expressed general appreciation of the Director-General's efforts in adapting the work along the lines laid down in Resolution 1/69.

79. The Conference took note of the Director-General's proposals for the work to be done for 1973 and 1975. While provisionally approving in principle these proposals, delegates considered that more information would be needed to appraise them adequately. The methodology of the work would also have to be spelled out more clearly. The Perspective Study would be oriented towards providing the material needed by the 1973 Conference for its discussion in 1973 of agricultural adjustment. The 1975 report would go further in providing a global perspective as requested in Resolution 1/69 and would be preceded by a mid-term Second Development Decade review and appraisal of the agricultural sector by FAO in 1974, it being understood that in considering the selection of specific studies for the 1975 output, the Director-General would give high priority to the cereals-feeds-livestock complex.

80. Some delegates from the Latin American Region expressed appreciation of the work done under the Perspective Study in certain countries of the region and suggested that similar work be undertaken in as many Central American and Caribbean countries as possible. The Conference, noting that resources would be available, agreed that this should be done.

81. Some delegates expressed misgivings about the adequacy of resources for the large volume of work involved in preparing the studies proposed for 1973 and 1975. The Conference was assured, however, that it was intended to accomplish these tasks on a selective basis within the budgeted resources. Delegates from developing countries drew attention to the importance of timeliness. If the studies were to help countries to reach the objectives of the Second Development Decade, these studies must be available early in that decade. The perspective studies should be as practical as possible, and should relate long-term perspectives to country planning and programming with the aim of adjusting the projections of the specific development characteristics of each country. While fuller use should be made of advanced methods of analysis, such as econometric projections, models and relevant work already done in FAO and other agencies, it should be borne in mind that agricultural development included human and social aspects as well as economic and technological ones.

Agricultural Adjustment

82. The Conference endorsed the Director-General's proposal that international agricultural adjustment should be one of the major themes of the Seventeenth Session of the Conference in 1973. The Conference emphasized that adjustments in national policies, keeping in view the international implications of such policies, were necessary and desirable; but the success of such adjustments would depend on international cooperation and on the exercise of political will on the part of the countries concerned.

83. Varying views were expressed about the scope and purpose of international agricultural adjustments and the role of FAO in this context. It was agreed that there was a need to spell out more clearly the objectives to be reached in this process. It was recognized that agricultural adjustment entailed a wide range of economic and social problems which could not be ignored. The Conference also agreed that the concept of agricultural adjustments was broader than trade, although trade issues would occupy an important part of the work on adjustments. The Conference agreed that international agricultural adjustments should have as their primary objective the adoption of measures which would meet the special requirements of the developing countries and that these should be viewed in the context of the international strategy for the Second Development Decade.

84. The Conference welcomed the statement by the Director-General in his opening address to Plenary to the effect that he did not "envisage FAO acting as some kind of arbiter prescribing specific adjustment policies for individual member countries", and that it should not "turn itself into a general forum for economic and trade negotiations after the manner of UNCTAD or GATT''. The Conference recognized that, in view of the complex interrelationship of the production, consumption and trade aspects of the adjustment process and of FAA's competence in all aspects of agriculture, FAO had an important role to play in the process of international agricultural adjustment.

85. There was general agreement that the moat fruitful approach for the adjustment problems at the international level would be on a commodity-by-commodity basis. However, it was becoming more apparent that attention would also have to be given to problems of interrelated commodities and to the effects of technological developments. Attention was repeatedly drawn to the need to give developing countries greater market access, even though this alone would not solve all trade problems. Improved access implied a gradual reduction in the high levels of agricultural protection. Several delegations pointed out the long term nature of adjustment problems and stressed that any adaptation of the agricultural sectors of high-income countries which might be needed to permit a substantial increase in their agricultural imports from developing countries encountered difficult social, political, technical and economic constraints.

86. Most delegates felt it would be premature, and perhaps unnecessary, to establish an advisory panel of experts as suggested in document C 71/41. The Director-General could engage consultants if required, and retain responsibility for their work, but an advisory panel, if one were to be established, should be intergovernmental in nature. The role of existing FAO bodies in their respective sphere was stressed by several delegations.

87. The Conference emphasized the importance of very close cooperation between the FAO secretariat and member countries and other international bodies, and appreciated the contribution made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) in their response to the Director-General's invitation to comment on the implications of the Indicative World Plan for their member countries. In addition to throwing further light on the scope for and problems of agricultural adjustment, these reports were an instance of the kind of fruitful cooperation which should be continuously sought by the FAO secretariat with international bodies as well as with governments.

C. World food programme

88. The Conference had before it a proposed resolution submitted by the FAO Council at its Fifty-Seventh Session concerning the establishment of a pledging target of $340 million for the World Food Programme (WFP) during the period 1973-74, The Conference wee aware that a similar resolution had been approved by the ECOSOC and submitted to the United Nations General Assembly.

89. The Conference heard a statement from the Executive Director setting forth the reasons why the pledging target had been established at that minimal level. There had been a sharp change in the economic and social climate. The pace of economic affairs had slackened, international trade was threatened with protectionist tendencies and, while some major donor countries had stepped up their aid, others have cut it back, amid questioning of the effectiveness of aid. The crisis in balances of payments and in international monetary affairs had led to calls for a fairer sharing of burdens, including that of providing aid. Support for multilateral aid had become very uneven amongst donor countries. Some donors who had formerly supported the Programme had not yet made pledges for the current biennium. Hence the Programme had been unable to expand as recommended by the General Assembly. WFP commitments had fallen from $328 million in 1969 to $196 million in 1970 and $85 million in 1971 Given the present levels of pledges and targets, commitments could hardly be expected to rise substantially in 1972.

90. The Executive Director said that a realistic appraisal of the current situation had led WFP to the belief that it might have to resign itself to a commitment level of about $150 million yearly, a pathetically inadequate multilateral response to the growing needs of human under-nourishment and unemployment. Another main problem underlying the food aid situation was that in some cases major food surpluses were not being used for human feeding. Despite General Assembly recommendations for increased food aid, in Asia rice surpluses were often being held until they deteriorated, and in Europe very large quantities of dried skim milk were being fed to livestock. With little increased expenditure by the governments concerned, these surpluses could be used to meet aid target. of the Second Development Decade.

91. The Executive Director did not expect policies to change overnight, but emphasized that, if a fraction of such surpluses could be transferred to WFP, benefits to development and human welfare would be very considerable. He urged the Conference to adopt the resolution as a minimal pledging target for the 1973-74 biennium and hoped member governments would make timely preparations for the next pledging conference, which was expected to be held in New York at the end of January 1972.

92. A large number of delegates expressed strong support for the World Food Programme and noted its growth and progress. The Conference approved the acceptance of the $340 million target, although many delegates would have preferred a target of $400 million AS originally proposed to the IGC by the Executive Director. Most delegates noted that pledges so far for the current biennium amounted to only about two thirds of the $300 million target and urged those donors who had not already made pledges to do so and those who had done so to increase them whenever possible. Many delegates mentioned that the Programme had to fulfil important tasks in the field of development ant some delegates suggested ways in which the Programme might be made less dependent upon surpluses of a temporary nature, It was pointed out that fluctuations in the amounts of resources available to WFP prevented projects from being carried out as planned. In this connexion, the Conference noted the importance for the Programme of planning the use of its resources on a medium-term basis. It was, therefore, suggested that Member Nations consider indicating at the next Pledging Conference the probable size of their contribution for the biennium 1975-76. Many delegates noted the shortage of proteins in commodities available to WFP and made a strong appeal to donor countries to consider increasing the protein content of their commodity pledges. Some delegates suggested that WFP should not be treated as a means of disposal of surpluses but as a part of multilateral development aid.

93. Delegates offered various suggestions for solving these problems. It was suggested that WFP, in view of its experience and success in the handling of food and in view of the existence of surpluses in many countries, could cooperate in the collecting of information about surpluses and shortages among nations and take action to facilitate the exchange of such surpluses as needed. This activity could produce for WFP a certain percentage of these surpluses to be added to its development resources. The Conference requested the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) to examine this suggestion along with related proposals that were already under consideration by the IGC.

94. Many delegates promised that their countries' pledges would continue, and in many cases increase, in the coming pledging period. Several delegates said that their countries would make further contributions to WFP through the Food Aid Convention. Some delegates also drew attention to the bright side of the picture and noted a substantial growth in the Programme since its early years.

95. It was suggested to recommend the use of computer system where possible for better handling of the distribution of WFP commodities. Some countries offered to contribute by their experience in this field for the benefit of other countries.

96. In summing up the discussion, the Executive Director said, on the question of cooperation with other United Nations organizations, that the Programme and the IGC had made major efforts in this direction since the Programme was established. Thus, the Programme was primarily represented in developing countries not by its own officials but by the UNDP Resident Representatives. WFP also had not set up its own group to give technical advice on labour, health and other technical aspects of protects, but had relied on the competence of the appropriate UN technical agencies, thus maintaining a low level of overhead costs for WFP operations. As to his appraisal of the resources situation, he had referred to the fact that, while the Programme had shown its ability to handle far larger resources, these resources had not continued to grow lately as they had done over the first eight years of WFP's operation.

97. The Conference then adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 2/71

Target for WFP Pledges for the Period 1973


Recalling the provisions of Resolution 4/65 that the World Food Programme is to be reviewed before each pledging conference,

Recalling the provisions of operative paragraph 4 of Resolution 3/69 that, subject to the reviewed mentioned above, the next pledging conference should be convened at the latest early in 1972, at which time governments should be invited to pledge contributions for 1973 and 1974 with a view to reaching such a target as may be then recommended by the General Assembly and the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,

Noting that the review of the Programme was undertaken by the Intergovernmental Committee of the World Food Programme at its Nineteenth Session and by the FAD Council at its Fifty-Sixth Session,

Having considered Resolution 1/57 of the FAO Council as well as the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Committee,

Recognizing the value of multilateral food aid as implemented by WFP since its inception and the necessity for continuing its action both as a form of capital investment and for meeting emergency food needs,

1. Establishes for the two years 1973 and 1974 a target for voluntary contributions of $ 340 million, of which not lees than one third should be in cash and/or services, and expresses the hope that such resources will be augmented by substantial additional contributions from other sources in recognition of the prospective volume of sound project requests and the capacity of the Programme to operate at a higher level;

2. Urges States Members of the United Nations and Member Nations and Associate Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to make every effort to ensure the full attainment of the target;

3. Requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Director-General of FAO to convence a pledging conference for this purpose at United Nations Headquarters early in 1972;

4. Decides that, subject to the review provided for in Resolution 4/65, the following pledging conference at which governments should be invited to pledge contributions for 1975 and 1976 with a view to reaching such a target as may be then recommended by the General Assembly and the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, should be convened at the laterst early in 1974.

(Adopted, 24 November 1971)

D. Second world food congress

98. The Conference considered a progress report on action arising out of the Second World Food Congress, held in the Hague from 16 to 30 June 1970.

99. The Conference expressed its appreciation of the opportunity the Congress had provided for bringing together a large number of people from all over the world to discuss, in their individual capacities, the problems of underdevelopment.

100. The Conference recognized that the mayor significance of the Congress was the emphasis which had been placed on the humanization of the development process, and which had given a new dimension to the development debate and established a constructive strategy for the seventies. The Conference requested the Director-General to continue to give due attention to this emphasis, as well as to the other Congress recommendations, in the programme of the Organization.

101. The Conference stressed the importance of the participation of women in the Congress and the valuable contribution made by young people to its deliberations, and urged the Director General to take the necessary steps whereby the participation of women and youth in the development process could be maintained and enlarged.

102. The Conference noted the positive cooperation the Organization had achieved with nongovernmental and professional organizations, largely through the Freedom from Hunger Campaign/Action for Development, and requested the Director-General to consider the methods by which the dialogue initiated with these organizations at the Congress could be increased.

103. The Director-General was requested to study the feasibility of designating, as part of the follow-up to the Congress, a special week to promote the fundamental concerns of development among the wider public at either the regional or international level.

104. The Conference expressed its gratitude to the Government and the people of the Netherlands for acting as host to the Congress, and its thanks to the Director-General and the Congress secretariat for the efficient manner in which the organizational arrangements had been effected. A special tribute was paid to the work of Adrian Janssen, who was Secretary General of the Congress prior to his untimely death.

E. Report of the FAO special committee on agrarian reform

105. At the invitation of the Director-General, Carlos Lleras-Restrepo, Chairman of the Special Committee on Agrarian Reform, presented to the Conference the Committee's Report which had been prepared in compliance with Resolution 5/69 of the Fifteenth Session of the Conference.

106. Dr. Lleras-Restrepo stressed the increasing importance now attached to agrarian reform as a factor in agricultural development. It was essential for FAO to match the general growing willingness to take action on agrarian reform. FAO should exercise leadership in the elaboration of policy and in the implementation of appropriate and effective measures. In this task, FAO should seek the collaboration of other UN, regional and bilateral agencies active in this field. In particular, it was important, in the formulation of technical assistance programmes and projects, for FAO to attach due emphasis, where appropriate, to the issue of agrarian reform and related institutional and social considerations.

107. The Chairman of the Special Committee then proceeded to present the conceptual framework and strategy for agrarian reform contained in the Committee's Report. Such reform was a vital factor in economic and social development which aimed at bringing about changes in the structures of land tenure, agricultural production and agricultural supporting services, as well as an equitable income distribution. Particular emphasis should be laid, in this process, on the need to ensure popular participation, especially in the process of implanting and administering the reform by the recognition, encouragement and promotion of organizations such as trade unions and cooperatives, and their training and effective participation at all levels in order to enable them to make a creative contribution to the technological innovations required by social development. It was also important to set up farm units or producers' associations, which would facilitate the adoption of modern techniques, stimulate investment, raise income levels and generate more and better employment opportunities.

108. Dr. Lleras-Restrepo emphasized that the Special Committee's Report drew much of its inspiration from the discussions and decisions of the United Nations and the UN specialized agencies, and in particular from UN General Assembly Resolution 2542 (XXIV) on Economic and Social Progress. However, such resolutions and policy recommendations would remain largely inoperative unless the countries with inadequate or out-of-date agrarian structures themselves took vigorous steps to develop and implement a sound policy of agrarian reform. It had been clearly realized by the Special Committee that the national decisions involved were of a highly political nature, but this was all the more reason why greater emphasis should be laid on the need for such decisions by individual governments and in particular on the need to change the existing economic and social structures to the extent that they impeded the successful implementation of agrarian reform. The Committee also stressed the fact that development was indivisible, and hence, that agrarian reforms, however carefully planned, would be seriously prejudiced unless popular participation in planning, implementation and benefits was ensured. Similarly, defective agrarian structures hampered not only agricultural progress, but also development as a whole.

109. The Director-General congratulated the Committee and especially Dr. Llerea-Restrepo on the Report as well as on his presentation thereof and on his admirable work as Chairman of the Special Committee. Agrarian reform, with its economic, social and political components, was a very difficult subject involving many controversial aspects. He was pleased to note that the Committee had been able to agree on so many substantive topics.

110. The Report of the Special Committee gave rise to a stimulating discussion in which most of the delegations present took part. This discussion also took into account the note by the Director-General on the measures proposed for the implementation of the Report's recommendations. During this discussion many of the delegates stressed the importance of agrarian reform as a prerequisite for economic development and the urgency to carry it out where outmoded agrarian structures existed. Many valuable comments were also made on several specific topics such as the participation of peasants and rural workers in the agricultural development process; agricultural productivity; agricultural supporting services (credit, marketing, technical and financial assistance, etc.); avoiding obstacles to agrarian reform, agricultural employment and agrarian reform strategies. The representative of the ILO praised the Report and emphasized the cooperations of the ILO and FAO in matters of common concern relating to agrarian reform.

111. The Conference congratulated the Special Committee on the work it had accomplished, and broadly approved the contents of its Report, including the strategy for agrarian reform outlined therein. The Conference agreed that FAO had an important role to play in assisting the process of agrarian reform. The Conference emphasized that any decision concerning land reform and the strategy ultimately adopted by each individual country was a matter solely for the government concerned. The Conference took note of observations made by some delegations on the experiences of their countries as recorded in the Report.

112. The Conference then examined a draft resolution on agrarian reform submitted by the delegations of eleven countries, calling for the adoption of measures giving effect to the strategy proposed in the Report, Discussion centred on the recommendations concerning the creation of a Rural Institutions Development Committee and the elevation of the Rural Institutions Division to the rank of department.

113. After considerable discussion, a compromise wee finally reached to the effect that the Agriculture Committee to be created by FAO should pay special attention to the social issues of agricultural development, and in particular to those concerning the reform of agrarian structures. The Conference also welcomed the Director-General's proposal to convene a session of the Special Committee on Agrarian Reform in 1973. While some delegations supported the possibility of creating a Rural Institutions Department, most delegations were opposed to this suggestion for the time being. The Conference accordingly further invited the Director-General to study which measures would be best adapted to strengthen the structure of the Organization in the field of rural development and especially in agrarian reform, and, in consultation with the appropriate Committees of the Council, to present to the Fifty-Ninth Session of the Council proposals to that end, within the limits of resources approved by the Conference for the forthcoming biennium.

114. The Conference then adopted the following Resolution:

Resolution 3/71

Special Committee on Agrarian Reform


Noting the Report of the Special Committee on Agrarian Reform prepared pursuant to Resolution 5/69 of its Fifteenth Session and recommending a strategy for initiating or accelerating, as appropriate, the eradication of outmoded forms of land tenure and, in general, the improvement of agrarian structures and related institutions,

Mindful that Resolution 2542 (XXIV) of the United Nations General Assembly indicates that social progress and development requires the establishment of forms of land ownership and means of production which exclude any form of exploitation of human beings and create conditions of true equality among them,

Considering that the part of the Report dealing with the nature and objectives of agrarian reform sets forth a conceptual framework that defines this process as a whole and as an integral part of the economic and social development of a country, inasmuch as development does not consist only in increasing production and productivity but also in achieving an equitable distribution of national income and obtaining the full participation of peasants and rural workers in the implementation and administration of the reform of agrarian structures,

Having examined the progress made in regard to agrarian reform during the First Development Decade, the obstacles that prevented a greater advance, and the strategy recommended for furthering it in a form that will make it possible to take account of the specific situation of each region and country,

Giving due consideration to the recommendations that the Report makes to international agencies and, especially, the recommendations addressed to FAO in order that the latter may best exercise its proper function in the agrarian reform field,

Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Report of the Special Committee, agrarian reform is a prerequisite for economic and social development and that without it my countries could not achieve the goals of the Second Development Decade,

1. Welcomes the views contained in the Report concerning: the nature and objectives of agrarian reform as a comprehensive process integrated into the economic and social development of countries; social justice for peasants and rural workers; the urgency of implementing it; its relation to increased production and productivity in agriculture; the improved use of natural resources; the full employment of human resources; and the dissemination and adaptation of technological advances for the benefit of the broad peasant masses;

2. Recommends to Member Nations of the Organization in which defective and outmoded structures of land tenure, agricultural production and supporting services, or inappropriate uses of the land, still exist, that they give careful study to the recommendations on reform strategy contained in the Report of the Special Committee and that they apply them in a manner consistent with the conditions prevailing in each of them and with the principles on social development approved by the United Nations General Assembly;

3. Requests that the Director-General forward the Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for consideration by its relevant bodies, and to the Specialized Agencies as provided in Resolution 5/69, and that the published Report include an Addendum embodying the observations made in the Conference on the experience of the countries covered in the Report;

4. States its agreement with the recommendations of the Report regarding the importance that FAO should give in all its activities to the social aspects of participation of peasants and rural workers in the reform and administration of agrarian stuctures, to equitable income distribution, and to improvement of the level of living and to research and education in the rural sector;

5. Recommends to the Committee on Agriculture that it give adequate attention in the conduct of its activities to the rural development aspects, and particularly to those bearing on the reform of agrarian structures, and that it should consider establishing a sub-committee for that purpose;

6. Welcomes the suggestions of the Director-General for a Fourth Session of the Special Committee on Agrarian Reform in late 1973; (to the extent possible, the studies referred to in Section 4, Part VIII of the Report should be completed prior to this Session);

7. Requests that the Director-General present to the Fifty-Ninth Session of the Council, in consultation with the committees thereof, a study on possible measures to strengthen the structure of the Organization in the rural development field, and particularly in that of agrarian reform, within the budget level approved by the Sixteenth Session of the Conference;

8. Recommends to the Governments of the Member Nations furnishing technical and/or financial assistance to developing countries that they give serious consideration to projects that follow the guidelines contained in the Report of the Special Committee with regard to cooperation by international agencies.

(Adopted, 24 November 1971)

Contents -