Contents -

Relations between CCP and UNCTAD

72. The Conference took note of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development held in Geneva in 1964. It welcomed the subsequent establishment of UNCTAD as a new institution in which the functions of the United Nations in the field of trade and development had been strengthened and concentrated. With the setting up by UNCTAD of a Board with a wide structure of subsidiary bodies, including a Committee on Commodities, the Conference recognized that a new force was now being brought to bear on international commodity problems. The Conference commended the Director-General for the action he had taken in pursuance of Resolution No. 1/63 of its Twelfth Session, in assisting in the preparation and servicing of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and for the co-operation extended in the follow-up action on the recommendations of that Conference.

73. The Conference noted the discussions which had taken place in the Committee on Commodity Problems and the Council on the future work of CCP and on the co-operation on commodity matters between FAO and UNCTAD. It generally concurred with the conclusions reached by CCP and the Council, and expressed satisfaction with the manner in which working relations had developed.

74. The Conference reaffirmed that FAO was the competent agency for agriculture within the United Nations family, and that work on agricultural commodity problems was an essential element in Its overall responsibilities. This work also constituted a foundation for other activities in the commodity field within the United Nations family, and in other international bodies, and for preparatory work on International commodity agreements. The well established lines of work of CCP should therefore be continued. The Conference agreed that the functions and work of CCP and UNCTAD bodies were complementary and that CCP and its subsidiary bodies could contribute effectively to the policy-making tasks of UNCTAD and its Committee on Commodities, by making available Its specialized knowledge and experience on agricultural matters. The Conference expressed the hope that this co-operation would be continued and strengthened further, with a view to avoiding duplication of effort and ensuring the best use of the resources available to the two organizations.

75. The Conference noted that the Committee on Commodities had expressed in its guidelines its intention to rely as far as possible on the assistance of other international bodies competent in the commodity field in carrying out its program of work. Thus, the pattern of fruitful co-operation between FAO and UNCTAD which had been developed at the secretariat level was being extended and confirmed at the intergovernmental level. The Conference stressed that CCP and its Secretariat should respond as fully as possible to the UNCTAD requests for co operation, re-orienting its work where necessary to take account of the requirements of UNCTAD and of the new concepts that were emerging, aimed at linking trade expansion with economic development.

76. The Conference noted that the UNCTAD Committee on Commodities had already Indicated certain specific areas in which it sought the co-operation of FAO. These Included, for instance, work for the UNCTAD commodity survey, including the Identification of the commodities requiring urgent attention by governments; on the study of problems raised by the competition of synthetics and other substitutes; and on the studies on the International organization of commodity trade.

77. The preliminary work being undertaken in UNCTAD toward the drafting of a General Agreement on Commodity Arrangements was a field of great interest for CCP in view of the experience it had acquired in the course of years of work on commodity arrangements. Some delegates felt that the views of CCP might be of assistance in the preparation of a General Agreement. The possible usefulness of a joint session between CCP and the UNCTAD Committee on Commodities at the final stage of this work might be considered.

78. The Conference agreed with the Council that It would be useful If arrangements could be made for the Chairman of CCP and the Chairman of the FAO Study Groups to participate on occasion in the relevant deliberations of UNCTAD on agricultural commodity questions.

79. The Conference agreed with CCP's request to the Director-General to draw the attention of the Secretary- General of UNCTAD to Its view that, given FAO's primary responsibility for agriculture, It was desirable that proposals for the establishment of new study groups on agricultural commodities should be referred to CCP. Some delegates suggested that CCP might re-examine Its criteria for the establishment of commodity study groups in the light of the new development approach to international commodity arrangements.

80. The Conference noted the work being carried out by UNCTAD on the international organization of commodity trade, and adopted the following resolution:

Resolution No. 2/65

Organization of World Agricultural Commodity Markets


Recognizing that even the considerable aid given to developing countries by those more advanced is in Its present form not adequate to reverse the trend that is reducing part of the world to in ever more tragic condition of undernourishment,

Recognizing that past and present economic circumstances stimulate production in developed countries whereas It should be stimulated chiefly in the developing countries where the shortages lie,

Convinced that freedom of trade between unequally developed countries would augment the existing inequality because the emerging countries are handicapped by high production costs resulting mainly from their low levels of productivity, by competition from synthetics and by the support given to agricultural production in many developed countries

Knowing that the developing countries will not be able to supply the ever growing food requirements of their peoples or provide the financing for their own economic and social development except by Increasing their production and by a reversal of the present terms of trade,

Feeling, moreover, that the effort to diversify production, which is essential for bringing world production into harmony, should not be demanded solely from developing countries,

Invites the Director-General, taking into consideration the respective responsibilities of FAO and UNCTAD as well as the co-operative relationship between the two bodies to:

  • (a) give more attention to studies of the structure of production costs of agricultural commodities Important in International trade;

    (b) give more attention to studies relevant to the formulation of a policy for the worldwide organization of markets, which would provide developing countries with outlets for their products in such volume and at such prices as will give them Incentives for increasing production, and export earnings commensurate with their needs, and also give producers remunerative returns;

    (c) explore with the governments of developed countries whose national economies are not dependent upon a restricted range of products that enter into competition with the products of the developing countries, the possibility of their undertaking a study to seek ways of reconverting those sectors of their economy that compete with the vital production activities of developing countries taking into account the various constraints Involved, as appraised by them.

  • (Adopted 9. 12. 65)

    1970 world census of agriculture and agricultural census fund

    81. The Conference noted that the Program for the 1970 World Census of Agriculture had been advanced by two years in comparison with the 1960 Program, in accordance with the directives of the Eleventh and Twelfth Sessions. The Conference approved the distribution of the Program to Member and Non-Member Governments and considered that in further programming work particular attention should be given to the co-ordination of Sections 4 and 5 of the FAO Census Program with the preparatory work for the 1970 World Population Census.

    82. The Conference noted that more than thirty Member Nations did not participate in the 1960 World Census of Agriculture, and felt that special efforts would be required to achieve full participation in the 1970 Census. The Conference further stressed the great importance of adequate publicity for the Census, so as to avoid any misunderstanding of the purpose. It endorsed the preparation of publications on the importance of the Census and on the methodology of census-taking, and suggested that an additional publication be issued advising governments on procedures for checking the validity of the census results. It also endorsed the other measures for census promotion, including the appointment of regional census advisers, training of census -staff, both at high and intermediate levels, as well as the provision of census experts to countries requesting such assistance.

    83. The Conference felt that, in addition to the training centre for senior technicians, there should be five regional training centers for professional census staff, in view of the differing conditions in the regions and that, notwithstanding the negative response from the Special Fund in the past, special efforts should be made to obtain its approval to finance the centers in view of the over-riding Importance of training for censuses.

    84. The Conference noted that the African region faced special difficulties due to shortage of trained staff, peculiar field conditions and paucity of transport, processing and other equipment, and therefore requested the Director-General to prepare a special program for promoting the Census in the countries of the region.

    85. The Twelfth Session of the Conference, by Resolution No. 20/63, had requested the Director-General to explore, in consultation with Member Nations, the possibility of creating an Agricultural Census Fund by means of which It would be possible to give financial aid to such countries as required it, in order to carry out agricultural censuses and to report to the Thirteenth Session of the Conference. A Working Party appointed by the Council had made various recommendations on the subject which were approved by the Forty-Fourth Session of the Council for submission to the Conference. The Conference considered the major recommendations from the Working Party as summarized in document C 65/16.

    86. The Conference felt that the assistance available from the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance, the Special Fund, and from bilateral sources, was not sufficient to ensure participation of all Member Nations in the 1970 World Census of Agriculture.

    87. The Preliminary Report on the Needs of Developing Countries in Relation to the 1970 World Census of Agriculture, which the Director-General had brought to the attention of the Member Governments, had supplied ample evidence that the lack of material resources, particularly those requiring foreign currency, was a major obstacle to the carrying out of the Census in many developing countries. The Conference was deeply concerned about this situation and considered various measures to overcome the difficulties.

    88. Most delegates felt that the creation of an Agricultural Census Fund would contribute substantially to channeling more material aid for census-taking to developing countries, especially now that no grant such as that from the Ford Foundation received in 1960, was yet forthcoming. The Conference noted with appreciation that some delegations had already pledged contributions to the Fund, particularly concerning transport, equipment training of personnel and services of census experts. At the same time some delegates bad some reservations with regard to the creation of the Fund, and Indicated that their principal assistance to the Census would be through their present bilateral arrangements. The United States of America proposed the use of counterpart funds available under Its Public Law 480 Program for census activities in the recipient countries.

    89. The Conference also noted that food aid, whether from bilateral or multilateral sources, could, if used with some flexibility, be a means of helping countries in paying, partially, the salaries of the enumerators. Some delegates suggested that food aid could also be used to purchase some of the needed equipment. The Conference requested the Director-General to explore the matter further.

    90. The Conference adopted the following resolution:

    Resolution No. 3/65

    1970 World Census of Agriculture


    Recalling the recommendation of the Eleventh Session of the FAO Conference that preparations for the 1.970 World Census of Agriculture should be promptly started, and Resolution No. 20/63 of the Twelfth Session regarding the creation of an Agricultural Census Fund,

    Recalling, also, that the Director-General consulted the FAO Council on the basis of the Report of the Working Party on the Census Fund,

    Noting the Program for the 1970 World Census of Agriculture, as finally completed by the Statistics Advisory Committee;

    Approves the distribution of that Program among both Member Nations of the Organization and Non-Members;

    Emphasizes the role and the importance of agricultural censuses in development planning and in Improving current agricultural statistics; that many of the developing countries will be unable to conduct an agricultural census in 1970 without appropriate material aid and technical assistance;

    Requests the Director-General to use all possible resources to:

  • (a) establish, in accordance with Regulation 6.7 of the Financial Regulations, a Voluntary Agricultural Census Fund;

    (b) set up, in accordance with para. 2 of Article VI of Vie Constitution, a committee of selected Member Nations and Associate Members designated by the Director-General to advise him on the operation and administration of the Fund;

    (c) make every effort to achieve the closest possible co-operation between bilateral and multilateral assistance for the agricultural census, in accordance with the principles laid down in paras. 378 to 381 of this Report (Co-operation between Multilateral and Bilateral Aid Programs);

    (d) organize training centers for senior and other professional census staff;

    (e) arrange for the processing of the census data by computer- equipped international centers;

  • Further request the Director-General to include within the Program of Work and Budget for 1968-69 the establishment of a Special Program for Promoting the 1970 Census in Africa;

    Recommends that Member Nations promptly start their plans for participating in the 1970 World Census of Agriculture;

    Urges governments of developing countries to:

  • (a) give high priority to needs arising in connection with the World Census of Agriculture when formulating their requests for technical assistance;

    (b) utilize all available assistance in order to conduct the Census, including both the Voluntary Agricultural Census Fund, once established, and food aid;

  • Suggests that all governments, and especially governments of developed countries, make their pledges for contributions in cash or in kind to this Fund;

    Invites the governing body of the United Nations Development Programme to provide assistance to countries in their planning and conduct of the Census and processing of the data, as a matter of immediate concern.

    (Adopted 9.12.65)

    B. Indicative world plan for agricultural development

    91. The Conference considered document C 65/17 and the introductory statement of the Director General on the Indicative World Plan for Agricultural Development. The Conference endorsed the concept and objectives of the Plan. The elaboration of such a Plan was timely in the light of the situation facing developing and developed countries alike.

    92. The Indicative Plan should provide:

  • (a) A focus for the activities of FAO.

    (b) An international frame of reference which would help governments to formulate and implement their agricultural policies.

    (c) A useful basis for attempting to reconcile the conflicts of production and trade policies between countries.

    (d) Guidance to both recipient and donor countries and organizations with respect to international aid.

  • 93. The Conference endorsed the broad approach proposed by the Director-General for elaborating the Indicative World Plan, but stressed that it was a tremendous and extremely complex undertaking which would make heavy demands upon the staff of the Organization. It emphasized therefore that the work which could be achieved during the next two years should be regarded only as a first stage in a long term task. The Plan, like all other plans, even after it had been completed would be subject to periodic revision in the light of developments, and as more information became available.

    94. The Conference placed special emphasis on the following broad aspects of the Plan:

  • (a) The preparation of the Plan must be closely interwoven with the activities of the entire Organization, bringing into play the accumulated knowledge and expertise to be found in all sectors of FAO both at Headquarters and in the field, At the same time, there was need to ensure that there was a strong central team and adequate staff to integrate effectively the contributions from the many spheres of competence involved into the regional studies and the overall World Plan.

    (b) An Indicative Plan for agriculture must be elaborated within the framework of overall economic development. It was therefore necessary to collaborate closely with a large number of other international, regional and also national bodies working in various aspects of the field of development planning. The Conference noted that some progress had already been made in this respect.

    (c) The success of the Plan will depend upon the positive support of Member Governments. For this purpose, it was essential that all Member Governments be associated as far as possible in the preparation of the Plan. The Conference proposed that some mechanism for consultation, practicable and flexible, should be established for this purpose. It noted the offers of a number of governments to make available the results of special studies and/or to place at the disposal of the Organization the services of national planning bodies, including the possibility of temporary secondment of staff. It also noted with satisfaction the intention of the Director-General to organize consultations with the countries concerned at an appropriate stage in the preparation of indicative studies for the various subregions. To ensure the confidence of governments and in order that the fullest use be made of the Plan, it was essential for full details of the basis on which estimates were made to be available to Member Countries as soon as practicable,

    (d) While the Plan must propose specific targets for production, consumption and trade of agricultural products, which would be consistent with general economic targets, the most important aspect of the Plan when It was finally prepared would consist in the indicative policies and measures required in the technical, economic, institutional and structural fields to achieve these targets. The main value of targets will be to provide a frame of reference within which adequate and appropriate trade and development policies and measures can be spelled out and their inter-relationships studied.

    (e) Targets, and where appropriate also policies, should be presented in the Plan in terms of alternatives, in such a way as to bring out the significance of the choices that confront governments.

    (f) The Plan should be realistic and practical. It should resist the temptation to set over-idealistic targets. On the other hand, it should not be merely a projection of present trends and policies, but should indicate objectives which would put the economies of developing countries and the world as a whole on a satisfactory course of development, including the achievement of satisfactory nutritional levels, provided that countries took the necessary measures to achieve these objectives.

    (g) Where the specification of targets was to be based on assumptions with respect to the policies of governments, or where it is proposed to present policy alternatives, such judgements or policy proposals would be made by FAO in consultation with the governments concerned.

  • 95. Many delegates emphasized that the Plan should concentrate on measures requiring international action and agreement among governments, as well as on measures which can be taken purely at the national level. in this *connection it should bring out clearly any inconsistencies between the policies of various governments, including those between developing and developed countries. Particular stress was laid by these delegates on the need for seeking policy solutions, even though they might be quite drastic, with regard to the basic difficulties facing developing countries in increasing their foreign exchange earnings from the export of food and agricultural raw materials, particularly in the processed form. Many delegates however, stressed that caution was needed in an exercise of this kind in order to avoid misunderstandings which could lead to frustration and disappointment.

    96. The Conference noted that statistical and other information, particularly in developing countries, was very inadequate and in some cases almost completely lacking. This would inevitably place limitations on the Plan, and in some respects would influence the methodology. In particular, the inadequacy of the data would place limitations on the possibilities of using more refined techniques of analysis, and would indicate the need for care in interpreting the results. However, some problems and policy alternatives could be brought into focus even in the absence of accurate statistics. In any case, neither planning nor action by governments could wait upon the improvement of statistics which was necessarily a slow process. The Conference highlighted, however, the need for the Statistics Division, in collaboration with the user divisions, to clarify and ensure consistency in concepts and definitions, to co-ordinate requests for statistical data to governments and to provide the best statistics available for the purposes of the Plan. It was recognized that the Indicative Plan would in itself constitute a powerful lever for the improvement of statistics, both at the international and the national level, since it would put the spotlight on the deficiencies and indicate the most urgent priorities. The same would apply to data needed in other fields for purposes of economic development such as information on natural resources and their response to technological improvements.

    97. Attention was drawn by some delegations to uncertainties regarding such matters as rates of population and income growth, the existence of non-quantifiable factors particularly in the field of Institutions, and to the limitations of the methodology itself. No doubt this should be taken into account in interpreting the conclusions.

    98. Attention was drawn to the problems involved in achieving a reconciliation between the geographical and the commodity approaches, and the problem of dealing adequately with competition between regions and countries when working at the subregional. and regional level in the early stages of the Plan. The Conference noted however, that simultaneously with the approach by geographical areas, the broad relations and the world picture would be developed in two ways: (a) through the long-term commodity projections to 1975 and 1985 which would be available by May 1966, and (b) the preparation of a world consistency model covering the main aggregates and relationships in economic growth, and referring to the key periods 1965, 1975, 1985. These would help to throw light on inter-regional relationships; in any case subregional and regional studies would need to be revised in 1967 in the light of the problems involved in putting together the world picture.

    99. Many delegations raised the question of relationship between the Plan and the targets set in national plans. FAO should take due account of the objectives and targets of governments. It was also recognized that plans which might be appropriate from a purely national point of view could sometimes be inconsistent in relation to the plans of other governments. It was furthermore noted that very few governments had even perspective plans looking as far ahead as 1975, and especially 1985, and that the target dates in the Indicative World Plan would not therefore for the most part coincide with those in national plans.

    100. The Conference agreed that full use should be made, for consultation, of the existing FAO machinery and in particular the Council, CCP and its subsidiary bodies as well as the regional conferences. It was suggested that both the subregional and commodity studies be circulated among Member Governments for their consideration and comments. It would be desirable that such comments be received prior to the following session of CCP or the Council, whichever came first.

    101. Many delegations expressed concern at the short time available for the elaboration of the first draft of the Plan by the end of 1967. Some delegations were concerned that this might have an adverse impact on some of the other activities of the Organization. Some were also concerned that the Plan itself might suffer through an attempt to adhere rigidly to the proposed timetable. The Conference took due note, however, of the Director-General's assurance that the preparation of the Indicative Plan will not mean sacrificing other aspects of the Program of Work. It also noted the Director-General's view that the new sense of purpose given to these manifold activities, in answering the inter-related problems which the Indicative Plan will raise, will heighten their effectiveness.

    102. Note was taken of the Director-General Is question as to whether Member Governments would consider providing extra-budgetary ad hoc financial contributions, up to an amount of $1. 5 million, to strengthen and accelerate the pace of the work. Assurance was given that within the present limits of funds available, work would be carried out in such a way as to have a coherent presentation of the Indicative World Plan for Agricultural Development in time for the Second World Food Congress. It would certainly be possible, however, to go more deeply into many aspects, and perhaps treat some aspects that would otherwise need to be neglected, if voluntary contributions were received under the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, which provided for such contributions to the Trust Fund for special purposes. Assistance in kind, as already offered by a number of governments, would of course make an important contribution, as well as voluntary contributions in cash which might be available from non-governmental sources. Such contributions might be used for contracting out specific aspects of the work, for undertaking special studies in particular countries or for employing additional consultants. The Conference recognized that it would be most useful if additional funds from voluntary sources, Member Governments and foundations, could be available to the Director-General in 1966 and 1967 to undertake under the Indicative Plan tasks which would not otherwise be possible. It was assured that any additional financial resources that might be available would not be used in such a way as to create permanent appointments or to incur any liabilities on the budget for future biennia.

    103. The Conference recognized that the proposal for an Indicative World Plan for Agricultural Development had first come from the World Food Congress, and that this body had requested that the Director-General place such an analysis before the Second World Food Congress, which was nag due to be held in 1968. The Twelfth Session of the Conference had endorsed this request. While concurring with this procedure, the Conference drew attention to the fact that the World Food Congress would not constitute a body competent to pass judgement upon the Indicative Plan, nor would it be proper that the World Food Congress should place the seal of approval on the Plan in any sense that could be considered as binding on FAO. Nevertheless it was recognized that the Indicative World Plan would provide a most valuable practical focus for the discussions of the World Food Congress.

    104. The Conference was in full agreement with the Director-General that "it will be for the Conference, with such amendments and modifications as it may wish to make, to give the Plan its status and authority." It requested the Director-General to present a progress report on the provisional conclusions of the Plan to the Fourteenth Session of the Conference. It noted that later information would be available to the mid-1968 Session of the Council, and that a full discussion on the Plan by the Conference would be possible only in 1969.

    Contents -