ARC/00/REP


REPORT OF THE

TWENTY-FIRST FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR AFRICA

Yaoundé, Cameroon, 21-25 Febraury 2000

Table of Contents


Organisation of the Conference

Inaugural Ceremony

Election of Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and Appointment of Rapporteur

Adoption of the Agenda and Timetable


FAO Member Nations in the Africa Region (as at 25 February 2000)

Algeria Ethiopia Namibia
Angola Gabon Niger
Benin Gambia Nigeria
Botswana Ghana Rwanda
Burkina Faso Guinea Sao Tome and Principe
Burundi Guinea-Bissau Senegal
Cameroon Kenya Seychelles
Cape Verde Lesotho Sierra Leone
Central African Republic Liberia South Africa
Chad Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Sudan Swaziland
Comoros Madagascar Tanzania
Congo Malawi Togo
Congo, DR Mali Tunisia
Cote d'Ivoire Mauritania Uganda
Egypt Mauritius Zambia
Equatorial Guinea Morocco Zimbabwe

Date and place of FAO Regional Conferences for Africa

First Lagos, Nigeria, 3 - 12 November 1960
Second Tunis, Tunisia, 1 - 10 November 1962
Third Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 3 - 15 September 1964
Fourth Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, 9 - 19 November 1966
Fifth Kampala, Uganda, 18 - 29 November 1968
Sixth Algiers, Algeria, 17 September - 3 October 1970
Seventh Libreville, Gabon, 14 - 30 September 1972
Eighth Rose Hill, Mauritius, 1 - 17 August 1974
Ninth Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2 - 12 November 1976
Tenth Arusha, Tanzania, 18 - 28 September 1978
Eleventh Lomé, Togo, 16 - 27 June 1980
Twelfth Algiers, Algeria, 22 September - 2 October 1982
Thirteenth Harare, Zimbabwe, 16 - 25 July 1984
Fourteenth Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2 - 11 September 1986
Fifteenth Moka, Mauritius, 26 April - 4 May 1988
Sixteenth Marrakech, Morocco, 11 - 15 June 1990
Seventeenth Accra, Ghana, 20 - 24 July 1992
Eighteenth Gaborone, Botswana, 24 - 28 October 1994
Nineteenth Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 16 - 20 April 1996
Twentieth Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 16 - 20 February 1998
Twenty-first Yaoundé, Cameroon, 21 - 25 February 2000

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Country Statements and General Debate

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. stressed that food security remained a high priority for Member Countries, and noted that improving agricultural performance was the key to increasing household incomes and reducing the incidence of poverty and malnutrition; (paragraph 25a)
  2. emphasised the need for cause and effect analysis of drought for awareness building at community, national and regional levels to enhance disaster management approaches as part of food security strategies; (paragraph 25d)
  3. re-emphasised the role of women in agriculture and food security and requested women's empowerment by identifying suitable technologies to reduce their labour input in household, farm and non-farm activities; (paragraph 25f)
  4. agreed that greater regional co-operation and integration were needed if African countries were to benefit from international trade negotiations under the WTO or other multi-national institutions; (Paragraph 25k)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. recommended that FAO intensify efforts to assist countries in forest resources assessment and monitoring and in developing training and extension programmes, which contribute to the sustainable use and conservation of forest and wildlife resources in Africa; (paragraph 25g)
  2. recommended that the debate on access to bank loans for small farmers and agricultural workers be the subject of a specific agenda item of future regional meetings; (paragraph 25h)
  3. recognised the lack of quality control of food products in the region and recommended FAO assistance in establishing a regional food control laboratory in the context of Codex Alimentarius. Algeria offered to host such a laboratory; (paragraph 25i)
  4. recommended that FAO intensify support to non-conventional food products, especially bushmeat and non-wood forest products; (paragraph 25j)

Report on FAO Activities in the Region 1998-99-ARC/00/2

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. commended FAO for accelerating trilateral partnership under the South-South Cooperation initiative and urged member countries to take full advantage of assistance offered though these arrangements; (paragraph 27b)
  2. underscored the importance of the development and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture and the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; (paragraph 27f)
  3. applauded the efforts of FAO in expanding integrated production and pest management to eight countries in Africa and reaffirmed the need to build national implementation capacity in this important area through Farmers' Field Schools; (paragraph 27g)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. commended the Director-General for the expansion of the SPFS to 44 countries in Africa, and expressed appreciation for the technical assistance provided within the context of the Rome Declaration on Food Security and the WFS Plan of Action; (paragraph 27a)
  2. supported the priority given to sustainable management of natural resources and noted with satisfaction assistance provided to countries in land and water development, soil fertility management, integrated plant nutrition systems, transfer of irrigation technology, fertilizer use, land degradation studies and in standardizing soil analytical procedures; (paragraph 27c)
  3. appreciated the work undertaken in the field of forest genetic resources and the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in dry zones of Africa. The meeting welcomed the recent initiative to prepare the Forest Outlook Study for Africa, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union; (paragraph 27d).
  4. noted FAO's experience in drought and desertification control and the seriousness and extent of resource degradation in dryland ecosystems and fully supported the FAO pilot programme on an integrated, self-reliant and environmentally responsible approach to drought management in the semi-arid areas of Southern Africa, in addition to on-going initiatives in other sub-regions with CILSS and IGAD; (paragraph 27e)
  5. approved the orientation of the future Programme of Work for the Region based on the Strategic Framework of FAO and endorsed the policy objective of increased food production and food security; (paragraph 29)

Report of the Technical Committee: The Challenges of Sustainable Forestry Development (ARC/00/3)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. recommended that strategies be developed to better capture international support, through carbon offset mechanisms, debt for nature swaps and any other international fund for forestry development; (Appendix G, paragraph 14a)
  2. recognised the inter-dependence between rural communities, forestry, wildlife and agriculture in the context of sustainable livelihoods. Along with full integration of women and gender concerns, this should be one of the guiding principles of sustainable forestry development in Africa; (Appendix G, paragraph 14c)
  3. recommended that African countries adopt common trans-boundary strategies in combating environmental degradation; (Appendix G, paragraph 14e)
  4. recommended that African countries adopt common positions on key forestry issues and strengthen the roles of their respective sub-regional organisations to facilitate their participation in the on-going international debate on forestry; (Appendix G, paragraph 14f)
  5. recommended that African countries make additional efforts to promote intra-regional trade in timber and other forest products; (Appendix G, paragraph 14g)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. recommended that FAO intensify efforts to mobilise additional funds to facilitate the implementation of conservation, sustainable management, use and improvement of forest resources; (Appendix G, paragraph 14b)
  2. stressed the need for a sub-regional meeting on forest genetic resources for Central Africa in partnership with the African Timber Organisation (ATO); and recommended that FAO take steps to convene such a meeting during the current biennium; (Appendix G, paragraph 14d)
  3. recommended that FAO continue its efforts in capacity-building to facilitate the effective participation of African countries in the multilateral negotiations on trade in forest products; (Appendix G, paragraph 14h)

Report of the Technical Committee: Public Assistance and Agricultural Development in Africa (ARC/00/4)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. urged member countries to allocate more financial and human resources to agriculture for investment and maintenance of agricultural public goods; (Appendix G, paragraph 16a)
  2. recommended that NGOs and the private sector should develop a positive view of and contribute to agricultural development; (Appendix G, paragraph 16e)
  3. recommended the provision of credit and its accessibility to all involved in agriculture, including resource-poor farmers, women and the youth; (Appendix G, paragraph 16f)

Report of the Technical Committee: World Food Summit (WFS) Follow-up: The FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) - National Ownership of the Programme and its South-South Dimension (ARC/00/5)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. urged Member Countries to enhance national ownership of the SPFS and to take full advantage of the benefits offered by South-South Cooperation; (Appendix G, paragraph 21a)
  2. recommended the development of an active partnership between governments and the private sector in all rural development activities; (Appendix G, paragraph 21e)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. underlined the need to expand the programme in order to achieve national food security objectives and requested FAO to mobilise financing, to the extent possible; (Appendix G, paragraph 21b)
  2. recommended that FAO introduce more flexible working arrangements with regard to contracting personnel under South-South Co-operation; (Appendix G, paragraph 21c)
  3. recommended that FAO consider convening regional consultations for countries implementing the SPFS to exchange experiences for programme enhancement; and that the film on the SPFS made in Tanzania and Senegal should be reproduced and distributed among the Member Countries in the region; (Appendix G, paragraph 21d)

Report of the Technical Committee: World Food Summit Follow-up: Actions Taken at Regional and Sub-Regional Levels to Implement the Plan of Action (ARC/00/6)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. recommended that national and regional policies were needed to enable member countries pool their efforts in combating both the causes and consequences of food insecurity; (Appendix G, paragraph 24a)
  2. recommended that governments establish a stable political environment to ensure sustainable peace and development of democratic institutions; (Appendix G, paragraph 24b)

Report of the Technical Committee: Progress Report on the Common African Agriculture Programme (CAAP) (ARC/00/INF/5)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. endorsed the "second track" proposal and called upon OAU/AEC and Member States to seek all possible co-operation from the Regional and Sub-regional groups in the development of CAAP; (Appendix G, paragraph 26a and 26b)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. requested the Director-General to continue to support, to the extent possible, the development and implementation of CAAP, including through "second track", as appropriate; (Appendix G, paragraph 26c)

Report of the Technical Committee: Integration of Sustainable Aquaculture and Rural Development (ARC/00/INF/6)

For the Attention of Governments

The Conference:

  1. emphasised that aquaculture is a broad term encompassing a variety of production environments including small-scale and commercial fish production in reservoirs and irrigated rice farms as well as traditional production systems; (Appendix G, paragraph 27c)
  2. urged increased inter- and intra-regional collaboration, including the exchange of aquaculture information and technologies; (Appendix G, paragraph 27f)
  3. recommended that policies should address key public sector concerns of extension, research and maintenance of government aquaculture infrastructure as well as divestment of those elements that exceed government's means or producers' needs, without imposing a top-down structure or inhibiting producers' innovative spirit; (Appendix G, paragraph 27h)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. recommended that FAO, within the limit of its resources, assist governments in elaborating effective aquaculture policies and streamlining public sector support to foster increased aquaculture production; (Appendix G, paragraph 27j)

Report of the Technical Committee: Drought Impact Mitigation and Prevention: Long-term Perspective (ARC/00/INF/7)

For the Attention of FAO

The Conference:

  1. recommended that FAO strengthen efforts to develop capacity for water resources development and management in dryland ecosystems; (Appendix G, paragraph 30d)
  2. recommended that FAO continue its assistance to the region in the dissemination of early warning information and in rapid response to adverse climatic changes (Appendix G, paragraph 30e).

Regional FAO/NGO/CSO Consultation for Africa

For the Attention of Governments

The Consultation:

  1. recommended the participatory formulation of a coherent and equitable national food security policy with the involvement of all stakeholders; (Appendix H, paragraph 5)
  2. emphasised the need to assist farmer organisations to build the capacity to take up their increased roles in food production and food security; (Appendix H, paragraph 9)
  3. urged Governments to facilitate access by small farmers to production factors; land, water, technology and finance; (Appendix H, paragraph 12)

For the Attention of FAO

The Consultation:

  1. requested FAO to facilitate policy dialogue between governments and farmer organisations and other stakeholders; (Appendix H, paragraph 15)
  2. urged FAO to assist in capacity building in policy analysis, service provision, and organisational strengthening; (Appendix H, paragraph 16)
  3. recommended inclusion of consultations with FOs/NGOs as a regular agenda item of FAO Regional Conferences; (Appendix H, paragraph 20)

Informal Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade in Food and Agricultural Products in Africa

For the Attention of Governments

The Consultation:

  1. requested Member Countries to take a common position in order to effectively defend their interests during multilateral trade negotiations;
  2. urged African Governments to accelerate harmonization of their food trade policies and undertake appropriate reforms in the framework of existing regional organizations to promote intra-regional trade;

For the Attention of FAO

The Consultation:

  1. commended FAO for the initiative taken to organise the Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade at short notice; (Appendix I, paragraph 1)
  2. urged FAO to play an important role in this area and to take the lead in providing advice and technical assistance to African countries to assess the economic and other implications of international trade agreements; (Appendix I, paragraph 4)
  3. urged FAO to assist African countries to develop the necessary tools to improve their preparations for future trade negotiations so that the outcome would reinforce intra-regional trade and enhance food security. (Appendix I, paragraph 5)

I. INTRODUCTORY ITEMS

ORGANISATION OF THE CONFERENCE

1. The Twenty-First Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa was held in the Palais de Congrès, Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 21 to 25 February 2000.

2. The Conference was attended by 157 delegates from 45 Member Countries of the Region, of which 26 were represented at Ministerial level; 5 observers from Member Nations outside the Region, one observer from the Holy See, 15 representatives of the United Nations Specialised Agencies and 20 observers from inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations. The list of participants is given in Appendix B. The list of documents is given in Appendix C.

INAUGURAL CEREMONY

3. The inaugural ceremony was held at the Palais de Congrès and the Conference was formally opened on behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Paul Biya, the President of the Republic of Cameroon, by His Excellency, Mr. Peter Musonge, the Prime Minister and Head of Government of the Republic of Cameroon. Opening statements were also made by the Director-General of FAO, Dr. Jacques Diouf; the Independent Chairman of the FAO Council, Dr. Sjarifudin Baharsjah; and by the UNDP Resident Representative and Co-ordinator of the UN System in Cameroon, Ms. Patricia de Mowbray.

4. In opening the Conference, the Prime Minister welcomed all to Cameroon and expressed his Government's deep gratitude to the Director-General for giving his country the opportunity to host the 21st FAO Regional Conference for Africa. He expressed his appreciation for the excellent co-operation existing between Cameroon and FAO and offered warm congratulations on the re-election of the Director-General. He referred to the SPFS as a concrete example of efforts by the Director-General to raise the nutritional well being and the dignity of people.

5. The Prime Minister reminded the Conference that agriculture was an essential factor for social stability and a vector of cultural values in African societies. He highlighted some major barriers to agricultural development in many African countries, such as high fluctuations in commodity prices, degradation of natural resources in the most fragile ecosystems and armed conflicts, which not only divert finances away from agriculture but also displace populations, in particular the more vulnerable groups. He reminded delegates that the Conference provided an excellent framework for consultation and an appropriate forum for in-depth discussions on issues of food and agriculture in the region.

6. The Prime Minister stressed that food security was no longer a national issue and urged governments to promote regional approaches for broadening domestic markets and facilitate the expansion of trade in food products by curtailing administrative, statutory and structural bottlenecks. He concluded by encouraging the Conference to make decisions and recommendations that would clearly reflect a commitment to effectively and collectively work for the economic development of Africa. The full text of the Prime Minister's statement is contained in Appendix D.

7. In his Statement, the FAO Director-General thanked the highest authorities of the Republic of Cameroon for their warm welcome and hospitality. He noted the key issues on the Conference agenda relating broadly to the fight against food insecurity and vulnerability and to the degradation of natural resources in Africa. He reviewed the state of food and agriculture in Africa and indicated that 22 African countries had made significant progress in meeting the WFS target in reducing food insecurity and hunger, as reported in the inaugural FAO publication on The State of Food Insecurity in the World.

8. The Director-General provided a detailed account of the main achievements of the Organisation in the region which, inter alia, included the deployment of professional staff to, and operational strengthening of, Regional and Sub-regional Offices under severe budgetary constraints; assistance to member countries and inter-governmental organisations for monitoring, elaborating and evaluating food security strategies as a follow-up to the World Food Summit Plan of Action; activities in the control and prevention of livestock diseases and of the desert locust under the framework of the Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES); and provision of non-emergency technical assistance through 118 projects at country level. FAO had fostered close co-operation with UN Agencies and African Organisations and Commissions. He outlined progress on implementation of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) and reported that it was operational in 30 countries in Africa and under formulation in another 14 countries. He commended China, Cuba, Vietnam, Egypt and Morocco for generously providing technical expertise to recipient countries in Africa under the South-South Co-operation initiative.

9. The Director-General provided a brief overview of FAO programmes in the areas of natural resource use and management, crop and livestock development, forestry, fisheries, food and nutrition, agricultural support systems, research and technology, women in agriculture and rural development, food and agricultural information and analysis, and food and agricultural policy. He highlighted the work undertaken by the Investment Centre of FAO, noting that 23 investment projects in sub-Saharan Africa were approved for financing by co-operating financial institutions with a total value of approx. US$705 million.

10. The Director-General emphasised that civil strife and recurrent droughts had aggravated food insecurity in several African countries, and recalled the role of FAO in humanitarian efforts to revive agricultural production through 72 emergency projects in 25 countries, valued at US$31 million. He stressed the need for FAO to play a greater role in establishing scientifically based international standards and Codes of Conduct and in disseminating objective information on potential risks and measures of protection. The full text of the Director-General's Statement is contained in Appendix E.

11. In his address, the Independent Chairman of the Council, Dr Sijarfudin Baharsjah, appreciated the vastness and diversity of Africa and as such recognised the value of FAO's decentralisation policy. He commended document ARC/00/INF/8 on agricultural research and development and encouraged member countries to fully support its conclusions and recommendations. He reported on his visit to the Institute for Agriculture Research and Development (IRAD) and to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cameroon, where he observed quality and focused research work with the dedication needed to realise the vision stated in document ARC/00/INF/8.

12. He reassured the Conference of the importance of agricultural development-oriented research and recalled that the endorsement of the 117th Council to phase out from the Regional Conference the item dealing with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) should not be seen as a diminishing view of the role of research in agricultural development and the importance of collaboration with CGIAR.

13. Dr Sjarifudin Baharsjah expressed his deep appreciation to the Government and people of Cameroon for hosting the Conference and congratulated the FAO Regional Office and the National Planning Committee for the excellent organization of the Conference. The Independent Chairman reaffirmed the readiness of the Council to put into action the endorsement and commitment of the World Food Summit Follow-up, including the Decentralisation Policy. He stressed the need for policy to strengthen important projects such as the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). He concluded his statement by thanking the member states of the Africa Region for their active participation in the Council and the various Committees.

14. n her statement, the UN Resident Co-ordinator in Cameroon, Ms Patricia de Mowbray, reiterated that food security was a basic human right and crucial for attaining sustainable human development. She expressed concern over the dwindling flow of public aid to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, at a time of increasing civil conflicts. She affirmed that the UN System, in collaboration with the Bretton Woods Institutions, was synchronising efforts to address poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. She stressed that the outcome of the Conference should be translated into well-focused strategies and concrete actions, consistent with WFS objectives, and with the participation of all stakeholders and partners.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN, VICE-CHAIRMEN AND APPOINTMENT OF RAPPORTEUR

15. The Conference considered the recommendations made by the Africa Group of Permanent Representative to FAO in Rome regarding the officers to service this session of Conference and approved by acclamation the composition of the bureau as follows:

Chairman: Hon. Mr Perevet Zacharie,
Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon
First Vice-Chairman: HE. Ms Abla Abdel Rahman,
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Cameroon
Second Vice-Chairman: Hon. Mr Mengistu Hulluka,
Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Ethiopia
Rapporteur: Hon. Mr Saïd Baskat,
Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Algeria

It was also decided to constitute a `Friends of the Rapporteur Group' comprising: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahariya, Madagascar and South Africa to assist the Rapporteur with the review of the Draft Report to be presented to the Plenary Session.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE

16. The Conference then considered and adopted the Agenda and Timetable (Appendix A).

II. STATEMENTS

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF FAO

17. The Director-General made his statement during the inaugural ceremony, which is reproduced in Appendix E.

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORLD BANK

18. In his statement to the Conference, Mr. Hans Binswanger, Director for Rural Development of the World Bank, expressed satisfaction with the Special Programme for Food Security but noted that policy bottlenecks impeded market access and input supply and thus needed attention. He informed the Conference of the World Bank's intention to finance national community action programmes and the technical role of the SPFS in these programmes. He highlighted some unresolved issues related to scaling-up of the SPFS and the integration of low cost innovations and approaches. He also informed the meeting about the creation of a SADC multi-donor Hub for Food Security and Rural Development, based in Zimbabwe, co-financed and staffed by FAO, EU, IFAD, Japan and the World Bank.

COUNTRY STATEMENTS AND GENERAL DEBATE

19. The Conference heard the presentations of 32 delegations and observers, which included representatives of the African Development Bank (ADB), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Chairman of the Africa Group of Permanent Representatives in Rome. The statement of the Chairman of the Africa Group of Permanent Representatives in Rome is contained in Appendix F.

20. The Conference congratulated the Director-General on his re-election and expressed appreciation for his efforts in refocusing the mandate of FAO to meet the challenges facing global food security. It underlined the encouraging results achieved in areas of poverty reduction and food security in countries participating in the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), and encouraged its expansion to all LIFDCs in Africa.

21. The Conference noted with satisfaction the new vision adopted by the African Development Bank on how to reduce poverty, protect the environment, promote regional integration and enhance people's participation in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes, taking into account gender and population related issues.

22. The Conference considered the request made by the Member Countries of the North Africa Sub-region relating to the use of the Arabic language in FAO Regional Conferences for Africa in accordance with the decision of the 116th FAO Council. It noted that the allocation of financial resources to implement this decision at future Sessions would be sought by the Secretariat.

23. The Conference concurred that globalisation and international trade in agricultural commodities and food had not taken sufficient account of the concerns of African countries, and stressed the need for regional co-operation and consensus in addressing regional issues on trade in agriculture. In this regard, the Conference congratulated FAO for convening a parallel Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade in Food and Agricultural Products in Africa, on 23 February, during the 21st FAO Regional Conference. This informal consultation provided delegates with the opportunity to exchange views on how best to prepare the Region for the forthcoming WTO negotiations.

24. The Conference noted with concern the continued spread of HIV/AIDS and its adverse effects on the farming population and appealed to FAO and other partners to continue to assist African governments in combating the spread of this deadly disease.

25. The Conference was also pleased to note that another Consultation, held in conjunction with the 21st FAO Regional Conference on 21 to 22 February 2000, brought together representatives of farmers' organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations from the region to reflect on issues of food security and to formulate a joint Action Plan in the context of FAO's new policy and strategy for co-operation with civil society organisations.

In particular, the Conference:

  1. stressed that food security remained a high priority for Member Countries, and noted that improving agricultural performance was the key to increasing household incomes, and reducing the incidence of poverty and malnutrition;
  2. emphasised the importance of household food security and agreed that high-quality analyses were needed on household food availability and access, including analyses of the linkages between agriculture, natural resources and non-farm employment;
  3. noted that increased food production would complement the search of African countries for access to wider markets and would eventually lead to the elimination of hunger and poverty;
  4. emphasised the need for cause and effect analysis of drought for awareness building at community, national and regional levels to enhance disaster management approaches as part of food security strategies.
  5. noted that climatic variability and climate-induced disasters contributed significantly to food insecurity and that the agricultural community in Africa needed reliable and timely climate information;
  6. re-emphasised the role of women in agriculture and food security and requested women's empowerment through identification of suitable technologies to reduce their labour input in household, farm and non-farm activities;
  7. expressed concern about the alarming rate of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa, despite the social, cultural and economic values of trees and forests to African societies. The Conference recommended that FAO intensify efforts to assist countries in forest resources assessment and monitoring and in developing training and extension programmes, which contribute to the sustainable use and conservation of forest and wildlife resources in Africa;
  8. recommended that the debate on access to bank loans for small farmers and agricultural workers be the subject of a specific agenda item of future regional meetings;
  9. recognised the lack of quality control of food products in the region and recommended that FAO assist in establishing a regional food control laboratory in the context of Codex Alimentarius. Algeria offered to host such a laboratory;
  10. recommended that FAO intensify support to non-conventional food products, especially bushmeat and non-wood forest products;
  11. agreed that greater regional co-operation and integration were needed if African countries were to benefit from international trade negotiations under the WTO or other multi-national institutions.

REPORT ON FAO ACTIVITIES IN THE REGION 1998-99 - ARC/00/2

26. The Conference congratulated FAO for the clear and concise report on its activities during the biennium, contained in Document ARC/00/2. It expressed appreciation for the valuable work being undertaken by the Director-General and his staff in implementing FAO programmes in Africa. It expressed concern that the situation of food security in the region was still critical, given that only 10 out of 40 African countries South of the Sahara had made any significant progress in meeting the targets set out in the World Food Summit. In addition, it noted that 12 countries belonging to the Near East and North Africa Sub-regions had also made progress towards meeting WFS targets, while all the five countries in the world that had registered the largest reductions in malnutrition during the 1980-96 period, were in Africa.

27. It commended FAO for implementing the recommendations of the Twentieth Regional Conference for Africa held in Addis Ababa in 1998. Apart from strengthening the expertise in the region through the transfer of professional officers to the Regional and Sub-regional offices, FAO had assisted member countries to monitor and evaluate follow-up activities of the World Food Summit and had also extended technical assistance to regional groupings such as ECOWAS, UEMOA, SADC, CEMAC and IGAD in the preparation of their strategies concerning food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable use and management of natural resources.

In particular, the Conference:

  1. commended the Director-General for the expansion of the SPFS to 44 countries in Africa, and expressed appreciation for the technical assistance provided within the context of the Rome Declaration on Food Security and the WFS Plan of Action;
  2. commended FAO for accelerating trilateral partnerships under the South-South Co-operation initiative and urged member countries to take full advantage of the assistance offered through these arrangements;
  3. supported the priority given to sustainable management of natural resources and noted with satisfaction assistance provided to countries in land and water development, soil fertility management, integrated plant nutrition systems, transfer of irrigation technology, fertilizer use, land degradation studies and in standardizing soil analytical procedures;
  4. appreciated the work undertaken in the field of forest genetic resources and development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in dry zones of Africa. The meeting welcomed the recent initiative to prepare the Forest Outlook Study for Africa, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union;
  5. noted FAO's experience in drought and desertification control and the seriousness and extent of resource degradation in dryland ecosystems, and fully supported the FAO pilot programme on an integrated, self-reliant and environmentally responsible approach to drought management in the semi-arid areas of Southern Africa, in addition to on-going initiatives in other sub-regions with CILSS and IGAD;
  6. underscored the importance of the development and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture and the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
  7. applauded the efforts of FAO in expanding integrated production and pest management to eight countries in Africa and reaffirmed the need to build national implementation capacities in this important area through Farmers' Field Schools;
  8. noted the support and collaboration provided to the CGIAR system, SPAAR and other sub-regional research organisations;
  9. appreciated the activities undertaken within the FAO/Women in Development Plan of Action as well as the programme of Technology Transfer Centres at community level;
  10. expressed appreciation for FAO's Investment Centre activities and encouraged the mobilisation of additional funds from lending institutions;
  11. noted the positive outcomes of the Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES) for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases, in particular the control of African Swine Fever, Rift Valley Fever and Rinderpest. This included the maintenance of a Trypanosomiasis network and the control of desert locust;

28. The Conference reaffirmed the need for strong political will, commitment and firm actions on the part of African Member States to implement policy and institutional reforms and to increase public resource allocation to agriculture for the attainment of food security.

29. It expressed appreciation for the valuable work undertaken by FAO in the region during the biennium and approved the orientation of the future programme of work for the region, based on the Strategic Framework of FAO and endorsed the policy objective of increased food production and food security through:

  1. reassessment of Member Country macro-economic, sectoral, sub-sectoral and commodity-specific economic policies in terms of their potential to accelerate agricultural growth;
  2. enhancement of farmer organization and NGO participation in policy dialogue on food security and agriculture, and provision of capacity building to enable them fulfil their new roles and responsibilities in food production;
  3. development of gender-disaggregated agricultural statistics for more effective planning and programming;
  4. advice on the participation of African countries in world trade matters for better integration in the world economy;
  5. expansion of efforts in areas of land and water resources use and development, animal health and production, integrated production and pest management;
  6. mobilisation of financing for sustainable forest management programmes and promotion of greater participation of the African Member States in the fishing industry and development of environmentally responsible aquaculture;
  7. promotion of the expansion of rural-based small-scale agro-processing industries and informal rural credit and financial markets
  8. establishment of better monitoring and surveillance systems in assessing food and nutrition vulnerability, adoption of food-based programme approaches in addressing malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies and strengthening food safety and quality control programmes.

REGIONAL FAO/NGO/CSO CONSULTATION FOR AFRICA

30. The Conference heard a presentation on this Consultation, held in conjunction with the 21st FAO Regional Conference on 21 to 22 February 2000. (The Conclusions and Recommendations of the Consultation are contained in Appendix H).

31. FAO had invited representatives of farmers' organisations (FOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the region to reflect on issues of food security, voice their concerns to the Organisation's Governing Bodies and formulate a joint action plan in the context of FAO's new policy and strategy for co-operation with civil society organisations.

32. The Consultation commended FAO for recognising the role of FOs/NGOs in securing food security in Africa, but expressed its deep concern for the crisis facing African agriculture and food security today, particularly in the context of globalisation. More than 75% of national food production in Africa was assured by family farms, the smallest unit of civil society, and it was civil society organisations at all levels that catered to the social dimensions of food security through mechanisms of solidarity and self-help. FOs and NGOs had always promoted activities relevant to food security. In the current environment of privatisation, however, they were being called upon to take part in policy formulation and to shoulder the task of providing services to farmers that the State was no longer able to ensure.

33. FOs and NGOs welcomed the opportunity to contribute more significantly to attaining the goal of food security, which was the basic objective of any society. To play their new roles effectively, however, strong partnerships were needed between Governments, FOs, NGOs and other stakeholders. The roles of each actor should be clearly stated and each assisted to build the capacity required to fulfil them. The recommendations adopted by the Consultation, addressed to Governments, FAO, NGOs and farmers organisations, seek to promote these partnerships.

34. The Conference heard and testified to the excellent results obtained from applying a policy of transparent partnership with FOs and NGOs. Agricultural Structural Adjustment Programmes and other projects had been negotiated with the participation of FOs and civil society representatives. Responsibility for channelling funds to local associations had been entrusted to FOs, which had managed them competently. Regular meetings with government officials at all levels had provided effective fora for discussing and resolving issues related to food production and security. At the request of Governments, FAO had helped to build the capacity of FOs through the Technical Co-operation Programme.

35. The Conference emphasised the importance of establishing partnerships with FOs and NGOs in pursuit of common goals of food security and sustainable agriculture. It commended FAO for establishing a policy and strategy framework for enhanced co-operation with FOs and NGOs and for hosting the Consultation. It recommended that the report of the Consultation be widely distributed to help member countries see how best to proceed in building collaboration. FAO should extend to other interested countries its existing experience of facilitating dialogue between Governments and Civil Society Organisations and in helping to strengthen capacities.

INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON INTRA-REGIONAL TRADE IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN AFRICA

36. The Conference commended FAO for the initiative taken to organise the Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade at short notice. It noted that the decision to hold the informal Consultation was in accordance with a proposal made by the Honourable Minister for Food and Agriculture of Ghana, Mr J. H. Owusu-Acheampong, to the Director-General during his recent official visit to Ghana to confer the FAO "AGRICOLA" Award on His Excellency Flight Lieutenant J. J. Rawlings, President of the Republic of Ghana.

37. The FAO Secretariat introduced the major conclusions and recommendations of the Consultation (Appendix I). The Conference acknowledged the high quality of the work done and insisted that the subject matter be given urgent priority attention. It requested that a common position be adopted by African countries in order to be in a better position to defend their interests during multilateral negotiations.

38. Key issues in intra-trade recorded as prerequisites for dynamic intra-regional trade include: harmonization of national trade policies and trade laws; standardization of products; convertibility of national currencies; control of corruption at border posts; development of appropriate post-harvest technologies to provide added-value to food and agricultural products; compliance with international code of conduct and norms in agricultural trade to guarantee food safety and environmental protection in order to ensure the competitiveness of African food and agricultural products; promotion of producer organizations so that they could defend their interests; private sector involvement/access to market information for a proper assessment of deficit and surpluses and their locations; and capacity building to develop knowledge and skills for future international trade negotiations/agreements.

39. It urged FAO to take the lead role in providing advice and technical assistance to African countries to assess the economic and other implications of international trade agreements, and to investigate the new intra-regional trade opportunities they offer to countries as well as the impact of such Agreements on national and sub-regional food security. The WTO and the World Bank were invited to provide FAO and its member countries with the financial resources required for capacity building in this field.

40. Finally, the Conference stressed the need for the follow-up of the recommendations of this Consultation and urged FAO and Member Countries to take appropriate action in this regard.

III. DISCUSSION ITEMS

REPORT OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

41. The Report of the Technical Committee, ARC/00/TC, was presented by the Rapporteur for consideration and adoption by the Conference, viz:

ARC/00/3
(Agenda Item 4):
The Challenges of Sustainable Forestry Development in Africa
ARC/00/4
(Agenda Item 5):
Public Assistance and Agricultural Development in Africa
ARC/00/5
(Agenda Item 6):
World Food Summit Follow-up: Special Programme for Food Security
- National Ownership of the Programme and its South-South Dimension.
ARC/00/6 World Food Summit Follow-up: Actions Taken at Regional and Sub-Regional Levels to Implement the Plan of Action
ARC/00/INF/5
(Agenda Item 7):
Progress Report on the Common African Agricultural Programme (CAAP)
ARC/00/INF/6
(Agenda Item 8):
Integration of Sustainable Aquaculture and Rural Development
ARC/00/INF/7
(Agenda Item 9):
Drought Impact Mitigation and Prevention: A Long-term Perspective
ARC/00/INF/8
(Agenda Item 10):
a) Regional Representation at the Consultative Group on International  Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
b) African Agricultural Research and Development: Vision, Strategy and Action Plan
Agenda Item 11): (WAICENT Presentation

After detailed examination and subsequent discussions, the Conference amended and adopted the Report of the Technical Committee. This document is contained in Appendix G.

Declaration

42. The Conference also unanimously adopted the following Declaration: "Yaoundé Declaration on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Africa", ARC/00/DEC.

YAOUNDE DECLARATION ON FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

43. "We, the Ministers of Agriculture or our representatives as Heads of member country delegations, gathered at the Twenty-first United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Conference for Africa, deplore the stagnation in growth experienced by the agricultural sector in meeting the food security needs and household incomes of our populations.

44. We consider it intolerable that agricultural growth continues to lag behind population growth as we enter the 21st century and that of the 800 million hungry and malnourished people in the world about 39% come from Africa, despite the abundance of natural resources available in the region.

45. The uncontrolled, accelerated rate of forest exploitation as commercial timber and household fuelwood, is inimical to the conservation of our forest genetic resources, wildlife and non-timber forest production, resulting in environmental degradation. We, therefore, reaffirm the necessity to sustainably exploit our forest resources at all levels; and hereby request the FAO to intensify its advocacy role and the financial mobilisation needed accordingly. We also underscore that the organisation of sub-regional meetings on the conservation of forest genetic resources initiated in East and West Africa, be also extended to Southern and Central Africa.

46. Despite the liberalisation of our individual member nations' economies in accordance with the Structural Adjustment Programme and the exigencies of a global market economy, we strongly urge member states to make substantial public investment towards the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, notwithstanding the level of private sector investment and multilateral and bilateral foreign assistance to the sector. The public sector intervention should be reinforced in order to create the Enabling Environment (i.e. sound fiscal policies, infrastructure, market access, institutions, decentralisation, capacity building and agricultural support services) needed to enhance the effective realisation of country, sub-regional and regional programmes, with the active involvement of all stakeholders.

47. We recognize the importance of fisheries, especially aquaculture in the economies of member nations and as a contributor to food security. However, this sub-sector faces several constraints notably inadequate public and private investments; ineffective aquaculture policies and inadequate research and extension interventions. We therefore call on the FAO to offer more technical assistance to the sub sector and assist member nations in the mobilisation of the necessary resources.

48. The implementation of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) is progressing, albeit at a slow pace, in accordance with the World Food Summit Plan of Action (WFSPOA). We therefore reaffirm our commitment to demonstrate ownership of the SPFS, while appreciating the efforts of South-South co-operation, and donor support.

49. We note with enthusiasm the information documents on the Common Africa Agricultural Programme (CAAP); Drought Impact Mitigation; and the New Vision of Agricultural Research Development proposed by the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR). While we endorse the report on CAAP as work in progress, we urge the Director-General of the FAO to oversee the full realisation of CAAP and its implementation in the entire region.

50. We recognise the importance of drought and mitigation of its negative impact, especially in marginal and heavily populated areas through a shift from less profitable traditional crops to fruit production, failure of which will result in severe degradation of the natural resource base. We therefore call on the FAO to mobilise its expertise alongside other international organisations, notably the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Meteorological Organization of the UN (WMO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Scheme for the Conservation and Rehabilitation of African Lands (ISCRAL), in order to address the problem of drought and its consequences on the livelihoods of our populations and individual country economies. The FAO should intensify the dissemination of early warning information for rapid response to adverse weather conditions and trans-boundary diseases. We note the presentation on Agricultural Research and Development: its Vision, Strategy and Action Plan and recommend that these should be in accordance with the objectives of the SPFS towards achieving sustainable Food Security and the development of competitive export markets for the region.

51. We further note the importance of competitive export markets within the region as discussed during the parallel Consultation on intra-regional trade in agricultural products and do hereby reaffirm our commitment to enhance the elimination of political, physical and socio-economic barriers to trade within/amongst our nations, in the interest of food security and poverty alleviation.

52. We nevertheless recognise the necessity of member nations to collectively and actively participate in negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and adopt a common position in order to defend the interests of African agriculture and to support the actions of each other individually and collectively. Therefore, we strongly request the FAO to assist member nations to reinforce their capacity to participate effectively. We do pledge our political will to enhance intra-regional trade on a scientific basis.

53. We note with satisfaction the actions taken by FAO and other partners in assisting African countries in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS; we urge member countries to deploy concentrated efforts with a view to including this subject in their development programmes, given its repercussions on agricultural production.

54. We acknowledge the key role women play in agricultural production and consequently, we recommend that FAO reinforce its programmes in favour of women.

55. Finally, we are determined to maximise our individual and collective efforts to mobilise and optimise the allocation and utilisation of human, technical, financial and natural resources, including all forms of appropriate external debt relief from the international community, to facilitate the review, development and implementation of our national, sub-regional and regional actions in the promotion of sustainable agriculture towards food security and poverty reduction.

56. Convinced that only the rapid transformation of our agriculture on a sustainable and competitive basis is the sine qua non to food security, improved livelihood for our populations, conservation of our environment and overall economic growth, we pledge our political will and actions in support of this declaration, notably in working together to maintain peace in our continent, the peace necessary for development".

Yaoundé
25 February 2000

IV. CONCLUDING ITEMS

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

57. There was none.

DATE AND PLACE OF THE TWENTY-SECOND FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR AFRICA

58. The Conference was reminded of the usual practice of rotation in the selection of the venue for its next Session; and in this regard, the Chairman of the Africa Group of Permanent Representatives to FAO in Rome, announced the outcome of their consultation with the delegates of the North Africa Sub-region, during which Egypt was proposed to host the 22nd FAO Regional Conference.

59. In response, the Delegation of Egypt confirmed their willingness to host the 22nd FAO Regional Conference for Africa.

The Conference:

accepted by acclamation this offer, which would be conveyed to the Director-General of FAO who would decide on the date and place of the Conference, in consultation with Member Governments.

60. The Secretariat provided the delegation of Egypt with a copy of "The Standard Memorandum of Responsibilities" for Member Nations expressing the wish to host the Regional Conference.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE (INCLUDING THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE REPORT)

61. The Conference then considered and, after some amendments, adopted its Report by acclamation.

CLOSURE OF THE CONFERENCE

62. In a brief statement, the Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Africa, Mr. Bamidele F. Dada, on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Dr. Jacques Diouf, congratulated the participants for a very successful and rewarding Conference. He recalled that during the General debate on the food and agriculture situation in the region, the Conference concurred that despite encouraging improvements in the performance of most African countries, the situation of food security in the region was still critical. The session had therefore positively stimulated national and region-level discussions on the policies and priority actions needed to ensure food security in the Africa region within the context of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action.

63. Recalling the various documents that the Conference had reviewed, Mr. Dada expressed deep appreciation to the delegates and observers for their active participation and the high quality of debate. He referred to some of the major outcomes of the Conference which included the endorsement of the orientation of the future Programme of Work for the region, based on the Strategic Framework of FAO and approval of the policy objectives of increased food production and security. He also commended them for the unanimous adoption of the Yaoundé Declaration on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Africa, which eloquently captured the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Conference. He assured Member Countries that FAO and its Regional and Sub-regional Offices were committed, within available resources, to assist the region in achieving food security.

64. Finally, Mr. Dada once again expressed sincere appreciation of FAO and all the distinguished delegates and observers, to the Government and people of Cameroon for their kind hospitality and the excellent facilities provided for the Twenty-first FAO Regional Conference for Africa.

65. In moving the Vote of Thanks, the Honourable delegate and Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Italy and Permanent Representative to FAO, H. E. Robert F. Jalang'o, on behalf of all delegates and observers, read out the motion reproduced below:-

"We, the delegates of member states of the Twenty-first Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa held in Yaoundé, on 21st- 25th February 2000, do hereby express our sincere and profound gratitude to His Excellency President Paul Biya, Head of State of the Republic of Cameroon, and to the Government and people of Cameroon, for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded us on arrival and during our stay in Yaoundé, the beautiful capital situated on seven hills.

We also take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for all the efforts to make this Regional Conference a success."

66. In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the Conference Hon. Mr. Perevet Zacharie, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, expressed appreciation and gratitude for the kind words of thanks to the President, Government and People of Cameroon, as well as to himself as Chairman of the Conference, for its successful organization in Cameroon. He affirmed that it had been a privilege for his country to host the Conference and he felt highly honoured to chair the Session.

67. Referring to FAO's untiring efforts to improve the food security situation and alleviate poverty in Africa, the Chairman commended the organizers, including the National Organizing Committee and the Conference Secretariat, for the efficient organization of the Conference. He expressed hope and confidence, from statements made during the debate by Ministers and other participants, that delegates would return to their countries determined to redouble their efforts to tackle the problems of poverty and hunger in the region.

68. The Chairman thanked all those who had in various ways helped to make the Twenty-first FAO Regional Conference for Africa successful and wished delegates, other participants and observers a safe journey back to their countries.

69. The Conference was then declared closed by the Chairman.


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