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F. Relations and consultations with international organizations

Recent developments in the UN system of interest to FAO
International conference on nutrition
Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

Recent developments in the UN system of interest to FAO

251. The Conference noted that the document C 89/9 provided useful information on the system-wide context in which FAO activities were undertaken. It underlined that the document should, inter alia, serve the purpose of highlighting activities undertaken by other UN organizations which could have an impact on or implications for the work of the organization.

252. The Conference expressed considerable interest in the triennial policy review of the UN system's operational activities for development. It noted that the UN Director-General for Development and International Economic Cooperation had now completed preparation of documents for the triennial policy review and the matter was under consideration by the Forty-fourth session of the UN General Assembly. It further noted that FAO was participating actively in the discussion on this subject at the General Assembly. The Conference expressed the view that FAO should continue to cooperate closely with the other organizations of the UN System on matters relating to operational activities for development.

253. The Conference underlined the importance of the "successor" UNDP support cost reimbursement arrangements to the system-wide operational activities for development. It noted in this connection that FAO had actively cooperated with the expert group appointed by UNDP, which had considered not only financial arrangements but also the basic collaborative relationships and division of labour between UNDP and the specialized agencies. It was indicated that the "successor" arrangements should be concluded expeditiously. In view of the fact that the report of the expert group was not expected before December 1989, note was taken of the recent ACC (Administrative Committee on Coordination) decision to bring the issue of the time-table to the attention of the UNDP Governing Council with a view to allowing governing bodies of the executing agencies to deal with any possible budgetary and organizational implications of the proposals advanced by the expert group.

254. The Conference noted that the Common Fund for Commodities formally entered into force on 19 June 1989. It took note of the outcome of the first annual meeting of the Governing Council of the Common Fund held in July 1989, in particular of the election of the Managing Director of the Fund and its executive directors, and the selection of Amsterdam as the site for its Headquarters.

255. The Conference recognized that developments concerning the Common Fund for Commodities were of direct interest to FAO. The Conference agreed that FAO should develop cooperative arrangements between its Intergovernmental Commodity Groups and the Second Account of the Fund. In particular, the Conference endorsed the proposals made by the various Intergovernmental Commodity Groups and the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, and supported by the Council, to encourage the Director-General to approach the Common Fund, when it became operational, requesting it to designate these FAO bodies as eligible International Commodity Bodies (ICBS) for sponsoring and following up, for their respective commodities, projects which might be financed from the Second Account of the Common Fund. The Conference noted that the final decisions on the designation of ICBs rested with the Executive Board of the Common Fund.

256. The Conference underlined the importance it attached to the Second UN Conference on Least Developed Countries to be held in September 1990 and to be hosted by France. It urged the international community to demonstrate its commitment to LDCs in a concrete manner. It encouraged FAO to contribute to the preparations for the Conference.

257. The Conference took note of the report contained in document C 89/9 on the Fifteenth Ministerial Session of the World Food Council held in Cairo, Egypt, from 22 to 25 May 1989. It also noted with interest the conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Ministerial Session as the Cairo Declaration.

258. The Conference noted with interest the initiatives taken by the ACC Task Force on Rural Development, in particular, the mechanism by which member agencies exchanged advance information on their future activities in the field of rural development, gender-specific reporting and the proposals of the Task Force Panel on Monitoring and Evaluation to introduce monitoring and evaluation methodologies in training activities of member agencies.

259. The Conference was informed in document C 89/LIM/23 of a convention and recommendation on "Safety in the use of chemicals at work" being prepared by the International Labour Organisation. The document compared these two instruments to the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides adopted by FAO Member Governments in 1985, and indicated that there was a considerable area of overlap and duplication between the instruments of the two organizations. The Conference was also informed that it was the intention of the Director-General to bring to the notice of the ILO and the International Labour Conference the dangers of duplication of instruments in the area of the distribution and use of pesticides, and the need to ensure the consistency of the two sets of instruments and preferably the restriction of the ILO instruments, in so far as pesticides were concerned, to the production and handling of pesticides "up to the factory gate". It was noted that the Conference discussed this question under Item 10 of the Agenda.

260. The Conference, noting UNEP Governing Council decision 15/34 "Preparation of an international legal instrument on the biological diversity of the planet", which might possibly take the form of a convention and might be submitted to the proposed 1992 conference on environment and development, urged that FAO play a key role in the formulation and negotiations of any eventual legal instrument in this regard. It was pointed out that FAO was well-qualified to assume this role in view of its long-standing work on plant, animal, forestry and fishery genetic resources. Reference was made in particular to the work undertaken within the framework of the International Undertaking and the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources which had sought to ensure that socio-economic development concerns related to the conservation and equitable use of these resources were taken fully into account.

261. In this context, the Director-General was requested to examine the possibility of transforming the present International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources into an international convention and to ensure that the important work already accomplished would not be duplicated or ignored, thereby facilitating the use of existing structures for implementation of an eventual legal instrument on biological diversity.

262. The Conference agreed, in light of UNEP Governing Council decision 15/1, that the Bureau of the Fifteenth Session of the UNEP Governing Council, its chairman or one of its members, could meet with the Independent Chairman of the Council or with the Chairman of the Programme Committee, with a view to develop a more positive and collaborative relationship.

263. The Conference expressed its satisfaction at the investment support provided by the FAO Investment Centre to the agriculture sector of the developing countries. In this connection it noted the close working relations between FAO and the various multilateral, financing institutions lending for agriculture.

International conference on nutrition

264. The Conference considered the proposal of the Director-General to hold an International Conference on Nutrition under the joint sponsorship of FAO and WHO. It noted that the Administrative Committee on Coordination at its Session in October 1989 had welcomed the joint initiative of FAO and WHO to convene the Nutrition Conference. A few Member Nations were of the view that the case for an intergovernmental level meeting had not been established. However, the majority did not share this view and the Conference considered that an international conference on nutrition would be an important step towards obtaining national and international commitments to implement strategies and actions. The ACC had also invited concerned agencies and organizations as well as non-governmental organizations to work in close cooperation with FAO and WHO in this respect, using the mechanism of the ACC/SCN whenever appropriate.

265. The Conference agreed with the Director-General's proposal to convene the International Conference on Nutrition in the first half of 1993. It noted that nutrition problems were widespread in both developed and developing countries and in some areas they were even worsening. It emphasized that concerted national and international efforts were needed to tackle the problems of under-nutrition, and specific nutrition-related diseases and conditions. It noted that although nutrition programmes were often successful in narrow technical terms, they had not been effective, sustainable or widely reproducible at acceptable cost. The Conference therefore stressed the need for multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches that would link food production and supply mechanisms to food consumption and improved nutrition and health. In this context it welcomed the fact that the International Conference on Nutrition was proposed to be jointly organized by FAO and WHO, in cooperation with other interested agencies and institutions of the UN System.

266. The Conference recognized that the International Conference on Nutrition would be the first intergovernmental meeting on nutrition on a global basis. It noted that while adequate scientific and technical knowledge was available concerning specific nutrition problems and the ways to overcome them, there was a need for increasing the awareness Of policy-makers BO that nutrition objectives and programmes could be integrated in regional and national development strategies. The Conference stressed that the International Conference on Nutrition should be oriented towards developing realistic and cost-effective strategies and action programmes with a view to mobilize adequate resources to achieve nutrition objectives. It suggested that the objectives of the International Conference on Nutrition should reflect these aspects.

267. The Conference suggested that in view of the different nature of nutrition problems in different regions, the International Conference on Nutrition should have a regional focus in devising strategies and action proposals. In this context the Conference noted with satisfaction that specific nutrition problems and possible measures to overcome them in different regions would be considered by the forthcoming FAO Regional Conferences and regional meetings of WHO during 1990. The conclusions and recommendations of these meetings would provide useful regional inputs for the International Conference and Nutrition.

268. The Conference agreed that the International Conference on Nutrition would need to be prepared carefully and thoroughly with the involvement of all interested UN agencies, other international organizations, regional bodies and interested non-governmental organizations. The Conference agreed that the preparatory work should be undertaken utilizing the Administrative Committee on Coordination Sub-Committee on Nutrition (ACC/SCN), and with the assistance of experts and of interested member countries. Several Member Nations expressed their readiness to take part in preparatory activities, including the provision of experts to assist in the Conference preparations. Some Member Nations expressed concern that the preparations for the International Conference on Nutrition in 1993 could strain the resources of both the Secretariat and of governments in view of the need for the preparations for the International Conference on Environment and Development scheduled to be held in 1992.

269. The Conference agreed with the proposals for the organization of the International Conference on Nutrition contained in document C 89/27. It decided that the Conference should be convened under the joint sponsorship of FAO and WHO in Rome during the first half of 1993. It requested the Director-General to keep the governing bodies fully advised of the progress in the preparation for the Conference.

Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

270. The Conference was informed of some of the more significant developments concerning cooperation with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, during the period under review.

271. The Conference was also informed of the Informal Meeting of Representatives of Non-governmental organizations attending the Twenty-fifth Session of the Conference. The meeting had as its central theme: "People's Participation as a key element in development strategy and the contribution of INGOs through their rural organizations" which considered ways and means for increased involvement of the INGOs in FAO's work on people's participation and the role of women in development.

272. The Conference expected close collaboration with NGOs and INGOs to continue and that this would provide mutually beneficial results.

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