FAO Press Release 97/69

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Press Release 97/69


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.

For further information please contact
John Riddle
tel: (39 6) 5705 3259


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