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G. Review of Field Programmes 1980-81

Development assistance for food production and rural development
Support costs

Development assistance for food production and rural development

257. The Conference commended the quality of the documentation prepared in connexion with this item. It considered that document C 81/4 - Review of Field Programmes - was clear and concise and contained useful charts and tables. It gave a comprehensive picture of FAO's field programmes, contained an objective analysis of the problems which their implementation encountered and, thus, constituted a sound basis for judgment. The very great majority considered that document C 81/28 - Development Assistance for Food Production and Rural Development - was equally well presented and provided a satisfactory response to Conference Resolution 6/79. Some members however indicated they would prefer a more detailed analysis of trends and requirements.

258. With particular reference to document C 81/28, the Conference, on the basis of provisional figures for 1980, noted with concern that the level of official development assistance (ODA) specifically to agriculture, in spite of a continuing increase in current terms, had in fact been stagnant, if not slightly decreasing in real terms in 1980. One delegation however pointed out that this understated the total provided, since account was not taken of non-project assistance, and that the prospects for 1981 seemed more hopeful. The Conference re-affirmed the importance of maintaining an upward trend in both ODA and other official flows to agriculture and stressed the need for full replenishment of international funding sources, such as the International Development Association (IDA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the regional banks and funds.

259. The Conference noted with concern the difficult resource situation facing UNDP which remained the main source of funding of the Organization's field activities. UNDP planning for the Third Programming Cycle (1982-86) had initially been based on the assumption of a regular increase of 14 percent per year in voluntary contributions. This assumption however had had to be sharply revised downwards twice. First, in June 1981, the Administrator had indicated that the annual increase might not exceed eight percent in current terms. Secondly, in recent communications, he issued new warnings that even this modest target might not be reached. This trend, combined with the continuing effects of inflation, would result in a substantial decrease in real terms of UNDP operations during the Third Cycle. The Conference therefore called on all present and potential contributors to strengthen their financial support to UNDP, in order that it could continue its significant contribution to the development process, including, in particular, food and agricultural production.

260. The Conference also expressed its preoccupation over the declining share of agriculture in UNDP allocations and, within this sector, the somewhat reduced role of FAO as executing agency. It noted that the share of total UNDP allocations going to agriculture had dropped to some 30 percent only, as compared to significantly higher proportions in the case of several other major bilateral and international development agencies. Full support was therefore expressed for the action taken by the Director-General to help correct this situation, through consultations with the governments of recipient countries, which played a major role in shaping their country programmes. and with the Administrator of UNDP, who retained final authority for actual project approval. Some members noted however that the selection of executing agency should be the prerogative of the recipient country. A number of members expressed their concern that this decrease was even more pronounced in some regions.

261. Though variations in actual delivery were relatively smoother, the Conference also noted with concern the marked cyclical fluctuations in the level of UNDP allocations to FAO shown in Chart 2 of Chapter One of the Review It considered that this phenomenon had serious negative effects on the efficiency and economy and economy of field project management and requested the Director-General to pursue his current discussions with the Administrator of UNDP, with a view to finding ways and means to correct this situation.

262. While recognising that the volume of field activities financed by Trust Funds was difficult to predict accurately, the Conference noted with satisfaction that, during recent years, the number and value of such projects had grown steadly. It expressed its deep appreciation to the countries which had made this expansion possible and called on these and other potential donors to increase further their support, particularly in connexion with FAO's special action programmes,

263. The Conference emphasized the vital role played by the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). It particularly praised the usefulness of this Programme in connexion with emergencies, and in meeting small-scale unforeseen needs, and to provide bridging assistance for investment preparation and training, and the catalytic effect which it had in many other areas. It noted however that TCP resources were small in comparison to those available under other programmes. since the TCP represented only five percent of FAO's overall field operations in 1980-81. The TCP could not therefore be considered as a substitute for UNDP or Trust Funds. On the contrary, it should continue to complement and multiply the benefits of these other field projects.

264. The Conference noted with great concern that, in spite of the positive trends in Trust Funds and the effectiveness of the TCP, the overall level of FAO's field activities had already started to decline in real terms. Furthermore, a much sharper drop was to be expected in 1982-83, as a result of the very serious situation concerning FAO/UNDP activities described in paragraphs 3 to 5 above. It was stressed that unless the present trends were rapidly reversed, it was likely that the total number of field experts employed by the Organization would drop sharply during the coming months, thus reflecting a situation similar to that encountered in the period from 1974 to 1976.

265. The Conference noted that the sectoral composition of FAO's field programmes, as well as their geographic distribution, did not depend entirely on the Organization. In most cases, this resulted from a tripartite process in which the views of the funding agency and the decisions of the recipient government were of fundamental importance. Bearing this in mind, the Conference supported the broad sectoral distribution of FAO's field programmes.

266. The Conference recognised the special importance of activities intended to strengthen food production and of all forms of training. The need to pursue and strengthen activities dealing with energy and with the nutritional aspects of development was also underlined. Special reference was made to cooperation with regional organizations and the particular usefulness of the TCP in this regard.

267. The importance of the impact on field activities of the conclusions of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) was emphasized. While welcoming the fact that WCARRD approaches hat already begun to permeate most aspects of FAO's field programmes, the Conference stressed that this influence should in future be reflected even more in all field activities of the Organization.

268. The Conference particularly commended FAO's activities in the field of investment preparation and requested the Director-General to pursue 0a efforts towards strengthening the participation of the Organization in the implementation of technical assistance financed by international lending agencies. Some members emphasized the importance of ensuring follow-on financing or investment.

269. The thrust of FAO's field programmes towards Most Seriously Affected and Least Developed countries, particularly in Africa, was commended. At the same time, the Conference supported the initiatives which the Director-General was taking to provide continuing support to other countries and regions, within the means at his disposal.

270. The Conference found that the assessment of field projects provided in Chapter Two of the Review 1/ was frank and constructive. It identified clearly the main problems which had been encountered in project implementation and thus provided a useful management tool. The Conference emphasized that there was scope for further improvement in the efficiency and impact of field operations, particularly through better project design and the fuller involvement of recipient governments. The good performance of TCP projects was noted, as well as the fact that Trust Fund projects were often better designed, due to the close involvement of FAO in the early stages of project identification and formulation.

271. It was suggested by some members that external evaluation of field projects would provide a useful supplement to the type of assessment reported in the Review. Bearing in mind that the main responsibility in this respect rested with the Governments of recipient countries themselves, the great majority of the delegates felt, however, that the existing assessment and evaluation system was entirely adequate.

272. The Conference expressed its appreciation for Chapter Three of the Review covering field activities in support of foodcrop development and found the analysis presented both informative and useful. It welcomed the fact that some 46 percent of all field activities were concerned with the production of foodcrops. It was however suggested that their usefulness might be further enhanced by increased focus on specific problems such as post-harvest losses. The Conference noted the link between FAO's technical assistance and investment activities in support of food production and stressed the need to assist developing countries in their efforts towards the achievement of greater self-sufficiency in food production.

273. The very significant progress which had been achieved by FAO in applying "new dimensions" approaches to the implementation of field activities was fully endorsed by the Conference. Satisfaction was expressed with the detailed information provided on this matter in Chapter Four of the Review.

274. The growing use of national directors to manage field projects was supported as an effective means of increasing the involvement of host countries in the implementation of Technical Cooperation projects. The increased recourse to national institutions and firms from developing countries for the provision of services and supply of equipment was also commended. The Conference noted with satisfaction that experts from developing countries already constituted about 43 percent of FAO's total field staff; it underlined the need for sustained efforts to increase this share further. Recalling the UN target of 50 percent of developing country experts in agency submissions of candidatures to countries, the Conference noted that FAO was already very close to meeting this objective.

275. The Conference commended the Organization's efforts in support of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) and called for these to be continued and strengthened. It stressed that TCDC represented a fundamental means through which the developing countries could build up and develop their own permanent capacity for planning and implementing agricultural and food development programmes. The Conference recorded the important role which FAO's regional and country offices were fulfilling in compiling lists of institutions from developing countries which could participate in TCDC activities and invited the governments concerned to supply the Organization with all relevant information in this regard.

276. The Conference reaffirmed that the Food and Agriculture Organization should continue to be recognized as the focal agency within the United Nations system for the execution of technical cooperation projects in the fields of agriculture and rural development. It would not be in the best interests of either the developing countries, or the UN system itself, if this Organization's accumulated technical knowledge and field experience were not brought to bear fully on the effectiveness of multilateral technical cooperation efforts, geared towards increasing food production and promoting rural development.

Support costs

277. The Conference was informed 1/ of the developments which had taken place in the biennium 1980-81 on the question of Support Costs, in particular Decision 80/44 taken by the Governing Council of the UNDP at its June 1980 Session, which was subsequently adopted by the General Assembly at its Thirty-fifth Session.

278. The Conference took note of the basic consequence of the Governing Council Decision which was to reduce the flat reimbursement rate from 14 to 13 percent of UNDP programme delivery with effect from 1 January 1982. It also noted that paragraph 4 of the Decision "urged" the Governing Bodies of Executing Agencies to apply the same support cost reimbursement to technical cooperation activities financed from all other extra-budgetary resources. It also noted the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Governing Council Decision.

279. The Conference felt that it should agree with the parallel decision of the General Assembly and decided to adopt the flat rate of 13 percent reimbursement on delivery of UNDP Projects. It also decided to amend the provision in paragraph 4(a) of the Manual Section 250 by changing the figure of 14 percent to 13 percent as the "established'. rate for Trust Fund projects, and to retain the present provisions in paragraphs (b) to (g) for application of lower rates or waivers in certain circumstances.

H. Follow-up to WCARRD

280. The Conference noted that the document "Follow-up to WCARRD" had been prepared as requested in Resolution 7/79 of the Twentieth Session of the Conference .

281. Recognizing the multi-disciplinary nature of rural development and the need to coordinate and guide WCARRD follow-up activities within FAO in all departments and divisions, the Conference welcomed the establishment of the Inter-Departmental Committee for Rural Development and other similar organizational arrangements.

282. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved so far in orientating FAO's policies and technical programmes towards the objectives of the WCARRD Programme of Action. It noted that, operational and technical guidelines had been prepared, for use by FAO as well as by Member Governments and aid agencies, for the formulation of projects and programmes in line with the WCARRD Programme of Action. It stressed the need for continuing efforts to achieve a full orientation of all FAO activities both under its regular and field programmes, in this direction.

283. While recognizing the primary responsibility of countries for the implementation of the Programme of Action, the Conference stressed the role of FAO in stimulating action at the country level, and particularly its role in providing support to Member Nations in the task of implementation. In this connexion, the Conference expressed satisfaction at the content and effectiveness of WCARRD follow-up activities and urged the continuation of FAO assistance to countries in this regard.

284. The Conference emphasized the impetus given by WCARRD to the formulation of appropriate national strategies for agrarian reform and rural development and the need for the integration of these with overall national development strategies. It called upon all countries which had not already done so to undertake this first major step in the implementation of the Programme of Action. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the types of assistance provided by FAO in this regard, through WCARRD policy review missions and catalytic projects to countries. It was informed of the steps taken and programmes initiated by various countries in conformity with the Programme of Action.

285. The Conference recalled that the WCARRD Programme of Action called upon governments to undertake action in favour of the rural poor in the following specific areas: access to land and water and other natural resources; people's participation; the integration of women in development; access to inputs, markets and services; the development of non-farm rural activities; education, extension and training. In pursuance of their commitments at WCARRD, the Conference called upon countries to undertake appropriate target-oriented action in these areas.

286. The Conference supported the priority given by FAO to assistance in the above fields, and the nature, content and direction of such assistance. It emphasized particularly, the need for agrarian reform, including land tenure changes, the promotion of people's participation, especially through cooperatives and self-help organizations, programmes for the disabled, and education, extension and training, as basic to rural development. These measures and programmes are needed both for providing motivation and incentives to the rural poor, as well as for ensuring their equitable access to resources and to the benefits of rural development.

287. Recognizing the vital role played by women in agricultural production and rural life, the Conference expressed appreciation of the impetus given under WCARRD follow-up both within FAO and at the country level, to the integration of women in development, in all its aspects. It commended the types of activities being undertaken to integrate women's concerns into all relevant FAO projects, programmes and technical assistance to countries. It noted with satisfaction that the conceptual, technical and operational aspects of this important subject would be considered in depth at the next session of the Committee on Agriculture.

288. The Conference emphasized the important role of NGOs in the implementation of the Programme of Action. While expressing satisfaction at the progress made so far, it urged member countries to further involve non-governmental organizations (NGO) participation, and called upon NGOs to cooperate effectively in implementation. Noting recent positive developments in this respect, the Conference called upon NGOs and donors to provide all possible financial support to make such NGO activities more effective.

289. The Conference urged the implementation of the WCARRD recommendations regarding the monitoring and evaluation of agrarian reform and rural development, the collection and analysis of data on socio-economic indicators relating to rural poverty, the establishment of benchmarks for the year 1980, and the submission of reports on progress made, to every alternate FAO Conference. In this connexion, the Conference welcomed the action taken by FAO, in consultation with other concerned UN agencies, to assist countries through the development of indicators, assistance in pilot studies, and proposed regional workshops to prepare agreed indicators and guidelines for such monitoring. In order to implement the provisions relating to monitoring and reporting under the Programme of Action, the Conference called upon member countries to take the necessary steps to introduce such monitoring early.

290. In order to synchronize the reporting by countries and its consideration by the FAO Conference, the Conference urged member countries to make their first reports to the Twenty-second Session of the Conference in 1983, thus initiating the four-year cycle of reporting provided for in the Programme of Action. Further, in order to provide a uniform and consistent basis for such country reports, the Conference requested the Secretariat to provide a common format to assist countries in such reporting, and to provide such other feasible assistance as might he required, to enable them to meet this commitment.

291. It further requested the Secretariat, on the basis of such country reports, to prepare a consolidated report, both factual and analytical, reviewing the policies and progress of countries in the implementation of the WCARRD Programme of Action, for consideration by the Conference at its 1983 Session. It was noted that such a consolidated report would also provide a valuable input into the proposed document "Review and Analysis of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development" which FAG was to prepare, in collaboration with other UN agencies, for the consideration of ECOSOC in 1984, and every four years thereafter.

292. In considering action for WCARRD follow-up at the regional level, the Conference emphasized the usefulness of regional inter-country consultations in identifying problems and priorities for action, as well as areas for inter-country cooperation. It urged that periodic consultations of this nature be continued in the future. Noting that the Regional Conferences in 1983 would consider an item on WCARRD follow-up, the Conference urged that they give special attention to country preparations for monitoring and for reporting to the FAO Conference in 1983.

293. The Conference welcomed the establishment with FAO assistance, of Regional Centres for Integrated Rural Development, in both the Asia and Pacific and Africa regions. Noting the progress made towards the establishment of similar Centres in Latin America and the Near East, it urged their early establishment. The Conference recognized the important role that these autonomous intergovernmental organizations could play in promoting TCDC in rural development, especially in the fields of research, training and dissemination of information. It urged member countries to Join and support these Centres where established. It invited NGOs and other UN agencies to assist and cooperate with these Centres, on request. It invited donors to contribute directly to these Centres, or to selected aspects of their programme of work.

294. The Conference stressed the need for inter-agency cooperation in the implementation of the multi-disciplinary Programme of Action, as envisaged by the World Conference. It expressed appreciation at FAO efforts, as the lead agency in the ACC Task Force, to bring about greater inter-agency cooperation in rural development at global, regional and country levels. It noted with satisfaction that the new programme of work of the ACC Task Force on Rural Development reflected more closely the priorities of the WCARRD Programme of Action, and invited other UN agencies to coordinate their efforts in WCARRD follow-up through this mechanism.

295. The Conference noted that whereas Resolution 7/79 of the Twentieth Session had called for voluntary contributions of US$ 20 million to finance WCARRD follow-up, only a sum of US$. 9.3 million had so far been pledged, while the cost of projects already identified exceeded a sum of US$ 19 million. While expressing satisfaction at the positive, flexible ant innovative approaches utilized to tap all available financial sources, such as the regular programme including TCP, UNDP, bilateral aid, international non-governmental organizations and large non-governmental foundations, the Conference expressed concern that the momentum so far achieved could not be maintained unless additional funds were provided. The Conference, therefore, urgently called upon all potential donors to commit additional resources to meet at least the target of US$ 20 million set by Resolution 7/79, so as to ensure the timely and adequate implementation of programmes for the follow-up to WCARRD. It invited all relevant organizations and agencies of the UN System to allocate more resources for WCARRD follow-up activities and further invited all bilateral donors to consider further direct assistance to such activities.

I. United nations/FAO world food programme (WFP)

296. The Executive Director a.i. of WFP reported on the resources and activities of the Programme. He paid special tribute to the legacy of idealism and creativity which the late Executive Director, Mr. Garson N. Vogel, had given to WFP. He noted that the Programme had been established by the United Nations General Assembly and the FAO Conference 20 years ago and that since then both bodies had reviewed WFP's activities and determined the pledging targets for voluntary pledges to the Programme every two years. The Executive Director a.i. informed the Conference that a number of records had been reached by the Programme in the past two years. In 1980, beyond supplies channelled through WFP by bilateral donors, WFP had delivered close to 1.3 million tons of food, about 66 percent for development projects and about 34 percent for emergency operations. Of the total deliveries, some 300 000 tons had come from the International Emergency Food Reserve (IEFR) and approximately one million tons from the Programme's own resources. The Programme had been able to increase progressively the level of its commitments for development projects, which had reached approximately $510 million in 1981 and was expected to be higher in 1982. WFP was concentrating a very high proportion of its development assistance on priority countries and projects. In 1981, of the new commitments for development projects, about 85 percent went to low-income, food-deficit countries and about 80 percent was directed to projects in support of agriculture and rural development. WFP purchases were being increasingly made in developing countries to stimulate development, further cooperation among developing countries and save on transport costs.

297. While not minimizing the importance of, and continuing need for, programme or bulk food aid, the Executive Director a.i. strongly advocated the advantages of project food aid as provided by the Programme over almost two decades, which entailed clearly defined beneficiaries and development objectives. Referring to the proposed pledging target for $1 200 million for WFP's regular resources for the biennium 1983-84, he stated that, in his view, the proposed target was essentially a balanced one and represented the best compromise between what was desirable and what was possible, considering the hard reality of the present economic situation. He stressed that the proposed target represented the absolute minimum needed if current levels of WFP deliveries and projects were to be maintained after 1983.

298. The Conference expressed satisfaction and appreciation of the work of the Programme. General support was given for WFP's objectives and priorities, particularly to the emphasis on assisting low-income, food-deficit countries and projects for agriculture and rural development. In this respect, it was strongly felt that food aid should be primarily used in support of food self-reliance and food security in developing countries. The Programme was complimented for innovative and imaginative approaches in the use of food aid as an effective resource for development, particularly in depressed rural areas and for the benefit of the poorest of the poor. Recognition was made of the special and potential benefits of the regional approach to the planning and programming of food aid as shown in the successful example of the use of Zimbabwean maize stocks in Africa. The Conference recommended an increase in triangular transactions in support of this approach. Some members suggested that while maintaining its established priorities, WFP should direct its assistance in support of countries best able to increase food production, thereby helping the Programme to obtain more sources of food aid, and stimulating development. Several delegations indicated their view that food aid should not be used for political ends. The Conference noted that WFP's role in providing emergency food assistance had grown considerably in recent years as a result of the marked increase in emergency situations around the world. It noted with satisfaction the efforts that the Programme was making to improve its emergency operations and appealed to donor and recipient governments to cooperate in ensuring the relief assistance was delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. A number of members stressed the importance of WFP's coordinating role in the delivery of international emergency food assistance in large-scale emergencies and emphasized that the Programme should be adequately equipped and staffed to perform this essential function. The Conference commended the Programme on keeping its administrative overheads below six percent of the value of its food deliveries, despite the considerable increase in the size and complexity of its activities.

299. The Conference unanimously endorsed the pledging target for voluntary contributions to WFP's regular resources for the period 1983-84 of $1 200 million. A number of members expressed the view, however, that it should be regarded as a minimum target, taking into account the growing needs of developing countries for food aid. Some members felt, on the other hand, that the target was ambitious as the targets set for the two preceding biennia had not been met. Nevertheless, the Conference agreed that the pledging target represented the best compromise between what was desirable and what should be possible to achieve. The Conference urged traditional and potential donors to make a concerted effort, in a spirit of international solidarity, not only to reach the target, but to surpass it, taking into account the undeniable increase in the requirements for food aid, particularly in the low-income, food-deficit countries. The Conference also urged traditional and all potential donors to make every effort to reach the pledging target of $1000 million established for the current biennium (1981-82). Some members expressed the hope that centrally planned developed countries as well as other countries in a position to do so, would contribute to the Programme. The Conference noted with particular appreciation the substantial new contribution made recently by the OPEC Fund for International Development and the increased contributions of a number of donor countries, including Argentina, Australia and Italy. It also noted with appreciation the large supplementary contribution by the EEC and the first contribution by Austria and Spain to the IEFR. which would result in contributions reaching the target set for the IEFR for the first time since its establishment. The Conference appealed to donors to comply with the provision of WFP's General Regulations which stipulates that the cash and services components of pledges should amount, in the aggregate, to at least one third of potential contributions. in view of the crucial importance of cash resources for the Programme's activities. A number of members urged signatories to the Food Aid Convention to channel a larger proportion of their contributions through WFP. The Conference unanimously adopted the following resolution concerning the target for WFP pledges for the period 1983-84:

Resolution 10/81



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 its Resolution 10/77 of 30 November 1977 that, subject to the review mentioned above, the next pledging conference should be convened at the latest early in 1982, at which time governments should be invited to pledge contributions for 1983 and 1984, 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,

Recalling the recommendation contained in paragraph 90 of Resolution 35/36 of the General Assembly concerning the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade that the resources of the World Food Programme be augmented and that every effort be made to reach the target agreed upon, for each biennium during the Decade for the Programme's regular resources,

Noting that the review of the Programme was undertaken by the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes of the World Food Programme at its Eleventh Session and by the FAO Council at its Seventy-ninth Session,

Having considered resolution 1/80 of the FAO Council as well as the recommendations of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes,

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 in economic and social development projects and for meeting emergency food needs,

1. Establishes for the two years 1983 and 1984 a target for voluntary contributions of $1 200 million, of which not less than one third should be in cash and/or services in aggregate;

2. Urges State 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 convene a pledging conference for this purpose at the United Nations Headquarters early in 1982;

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 the biennium 1985-86 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 latest early in 1984.

(Adopted 25 November 81)

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