Press Release 97/69
FAO’S GOVERNING CONFERENCE ENDS 29TH SESSION
Rome, November 18 -- The governing Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) ended its 29th session today, after agriculture ministers and
senior officials reviewed the state of food and agriculture, adopted the Organization’s
Programme of Work and Budget for 1998-99 and endorsed FAO’s TeleFood event aimed
at increasing public awareness of food and agriculture issues and raising funds for
FAO’s Special Programme for Food Security and other grassroots development activities.
For 1998-99, the Conference voted FAO a budget of $650 million, the same as 1996-97,
effectively forcing the Organization to absorb almost four percent in increased costs.
It was adopted without opposition and with the abstention of only one member (Germany).
In adopting the budget, the Conference recalled “the importance of concrete action
in the field,” and “reiterated its support to the Technical Cooperation Programme
(TCP) and the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).”
During the Conference many countries reported on actions taken or underway at national
level to implement World Food Summit commitments, including the preparation of national
reports and action plans.
The Conference adopted guidelines for surveillance and for export certification
systems to harmonize plant quarantine standards and strengthened the International
Plant Protection Convention by taking “into account the need for the development
of International Phytosanitary Standards to protect plant health without creating
unnecessary impediments to the international transportation of plants” as called
for in the agreements reached as a result of the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations.
The Conference welcomed the progress made toward finalizing the Convention on Prior
Informed Consent, which would regulate international trade in hazardous pesticides.
It also endorsed the Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT) to combat
a major outbreak of what is commonly known as sleeping sickness when it occurs in
people. The disease, transmitted by the tsetse fly, affects about one-third of
Africa. It kills animals and people alike and contributes significantly to food
insecurity and rural poverty.
Kazakstan was admitted to FAO during the Conference, bringing the Organization’s
membership to 175 countries and one member organization, the EC. The Conference
also elected the following countries to the FAO Council, the Organization’s interim
governing body between biennial Conferences: Cameroon, Eritrea, Namibia, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia,
Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Spain,
Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Iran, Kuwait,
Qatar, Canada and the United States.
Mr. Sjarifudin Baharsjah of Indonesia was elected as Independent Chairman of the
Council for the next two years, replacing Ramon Lopez Portillo of Mexico.
The Conference also established the Margarita Lizarraga Award for the person or
organization that best implements the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries over
the next two years. Lizarraga, who died recently, worked in the FAO Fisheries Department
promoting the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
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