|ARC/00/1||Provisional Annotated Agenda|
|ARC/00/2||Report on FAO Activities in the Region, 1998-99|
|ARC/00/3||The Challenges of Sustainable Forestry Development in Africa|
|ARC/00/4||Public Assistance and Agricultural Development in Africa|
|ARC/00/5||World Food Summit Follow-up: The FAO 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 Level to implement the Plan of Action|
|IRT/00/1||Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade in Food and Agricultural Products - Background paper on Intra-Regional Trade in Food products in Africa|
|ARC/00/INF/1||Provisional List of Documents|
|ARC/00/INF/4||Statement of the Director-General|
|ARC/00/INF/5||Progress Report on the Common African Agricultural Programme (CAAP)|
|ARC/00/INF/6||Integration of Sustainable Aquaculture and Rural Development|
|ARC/00/INF/7||Drought Impact Mitigation and Prevention: A Long-term Perspective|
|ARC/00/INF/8||a) Representation of the Region on the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR)|
|b) African Agricultural Research and Development : Vision, Strategy and Action Plan|
Opening Address by the Prime Minister and Head of Government of the Republic of Cameroon, HE Mr. Peter Musonge, on the occasion of the Inaugural Ceremony of the 21st FAO Regional Conference
Yaoundé, Cameroon, 24 February
His Excellency the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
His Excellency the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity,
Excellencies, Heads of Delegations,
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Honourable Members of the National Assembly,
Honourable President of the Supreme Court,
Experts, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me today, on behalf of His Excellency Mr Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, to preside over the opening ceremony of the ministerial session of the 21st FAO Regional Conference for Africa.
On this august occasion, on behalf of the Head of state, the Government and the people of Cameroon, I wish to welcome you and wish you a pleasant stay in Cameroon.
Cameroon is particularly honoured and proud to have been chosen by the FAO to host this meeting. We are convinced by this choice that, FAO wishes to attest to the excellent multifaceted co-operation existing between the Organization and Cameroon. For this manifestation of undeniable confidence and esteem, please accept, Your Excellency the Director-General of FAO, the profound and sincere gratitude of the people of Cameroon.
Your presence with us today, Mr Director-General, offers me the opportunity to reiterate the hearty congratulations of President Paul Biya and those of the Government of Cameroon, on your recent re-election to head the FAO. This renewed demonstration of confidence by the FAO member countries in general, and the African countries in particular, is without doubt, the best way of paying homage to your important achievements as Head of this institution for the past 6 years. The entire continent of Africa is grateful to you for your untiring efforts to benefit its populations. The Special Programme for Food Security put in place recently by your institution, is a concrete example of your constant concern to see that all peoples, notably those in Africa, live in dignity, by being self-sufficient in food production.
The recent evaluation of the progress achieved in implementing the World Food Summit Programme of Action shows that the effort to reduce hunger, in spite of some improvements, still remains insufficient, while demographic projections forecast that Africa's population will double in the coming decades.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you know, agriculture in our countries is not an ordinary economic activity. With close to two-thirds of our populations engaged in it, agriculture is an essential factor for social stability, a foundation stone of our societies and a vector of our cultural values, and it is left to us to know how to utilize it to build a better Africa for the 3rd millennium. Unfortunately, in most of our countries, this noble activity still faces several hurdles among which are:
- the intense fluctuation of world producer prices which results in a reduction of the investments necessary for improving our production systems;
- insufficient public investments, which are indispensable for the improvement of the socio-economic environment of our urban and rural populations;
- degradation of natural resources in the most fragile zones and;
- numerous armed and bloody conflicts which, not only dissipate the finances of states, but also cause massive movement of people who are thereby condemned to a precarious and miserable life.
The challenge for achieving food security throughout Africa thus calls for a commitment toward a better utilization of our natural, human and financial resources. Above all, we must affirm our political will to act together, every time the need arises, in order to improve the effectiveness of our actions.
This regional conference, which constitutes a forum for consultation, is the appropriate venue to reflect deeply on the major food problems facing our countries, in order to find the appropriate solutions for the short, medium and long term.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is on this note that I wish you much success in your deliberations and declare open, on behalf of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya, the 21st FAO Regional Conference for Africa.
Long live international co-operation,
Long live Cameroon,
Thank you for your attention.
STATEMENT OF THE FAO DIRECTOR-GENERAL
Mr Prime Minister,
Mr Chairman of the Regional Conference,
Mr Independent Chairman of the Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be present among you in this beautiful city of Yaoundé, on the occasion of the 21st FAO Regional Conference for Africa.
Allow me, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of all the participants at this Conference, to thank the highest authorities of the Republic of Cameroon for their warm welcome and hospitality.
(State of food and agriculture in the world)
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world is undergoing a rapid pace of globalisation, and inter-dependence with borders increasingly opened economically.
In 1999, world cereal production, estimated at about 1872 million tonnes, was expected to be about one percent down from 1998, and two percent down from 1997 which was however a bumper year. The only expected increase was for rice, while wheat and other cereal harvests would be lower.
For the first time in four years, projected cereal consumption will exceed production, leading to a depletion of stocks of 8 million tonnes and leaving 334 million tonnes, which gives a stock-to-utilisation ratio of 17.4 percent, which is within the safety margin of 17 to 18 percent.
Not surprisingly, the 1999/2000 marketing season should see an increase of over three percent in world cereal trade, which should amount to 222 million tonnes. Yet, cereal prices on world markets are generally lower than last year, a positive factor for the low-income food-deficit countries.
Another encouraging sign is from the fisheries sector, where a partial recovery in output was achieved in 1999 from the heavy losses incurred the previous year.
However, the most positive factor was the reduction by 40 million of the total number of malnourished people in developing countries between 1990-92 and 1995-97, as indicated in the first FAO report on The State of Food Insecurity in the World. This reduction of about 8 million people per year on average was encouraging, but still far below the figure of 20 million required to achieve the objective of the World Food Summit.
Within a global picture where the number of undernourished people in developing countries is declining, but insufficiently and unevenly, in 1999 a total of 35 countries world-wide faced food emergencies. Whilst in the 1970s and 1980s, food emergencies were mainly the result of natural catastrophes, in more recent years man-made disasters, including war, civil strife and financial and economic crises, have shown an upward trend
In Africa, civil strife and recurrent droughts are the major causes of emergency situations, whilst in Asia millions of people have seen their basic access to food eroded by the decline in their purchasing power brought about by the financial crisis of 1997/1998. In Latin America, most countries are still recovering from the devastation caused by El Niño and Hurricane Mitch in 1998, aggravated in 1999 by a severe cyclone and disastrous flooding in Venezuela. In the Near East, the worst drought in decades seriously reduced food production in several countries in 1999.
FAO, which must first assess the food and agriculture situation and food aid needs, and then report back to the international community, has had to make heavy use of the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture. The System also collaborates with an extensive network of governmental and non-governmental organisations, in particular WFP and the UNDP.
Emergency situations also require that FAO help revive agricultural production in the framework of consolidated appeals for humanitarian assistance, especially by providing direct assistance to farmers. In 1999, FAO's Special Relief Operations Service intervened with emergency assistance in 67 countries. The resources available for such assistance have steadily increased over the past years, rising from US$ 98 million in 1998 to US$ 186 million in 1999.
FAO is currently implementing 72 emergency projects for a total value of US$ 31 million in 25 African countries. The assistance consists of seed and tool distribution, transboundary diseases and pest control, assistance to artisanal fisheries, livestock restocking and other initiatives helping farmers regain their production capacity and reduce their dependency on food aid.
But, the world also faces other "crises" relating to the quality of food products and the risks linked to rapid progress in biotechnology. "Mad cow" disease, dioxins in the food chain, and disagreements over trade in genetically modified organisms are serious causes of concern for governments and public debate.
FAO will have to play a greater role in establishing scientifically-based international standards and in disseminating objective information on potential risks and measures of protection.
To this end, the Commission on Genetic Resources is actively preparing Codes of Conduct. The programmes of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques for Food and Agriculture will be broadened to include the Codex Alimentarius, plant and animal health issues and biotechnology problems. As for questions of ethics, these are being examined by an internal committee supported by a panel of international experts.
(State of food and agriculture in Africa)
Now, let us focus on Africa. During the last three years, a number of African economies in general continued to grow, despite the slowdown in world trade and the re-emergence of civil conflict. First-round effects of the Asian crisis were more muted on the continent than elsewhere, except for South Africa. Food production, small-scale enterprises and intra-African trade are also expanding. This growth stems from government efforts to create investor incentives, better manage public resources and promote the private sector provision of goods and services. Such efforts can only be sustained in an environment of political stability, democratisation and decentralisation.
In Africa, agriculture still remains the dominant sector and its recovery in 1998 and 1999 was decisive for GDP growth. Good weather and reforms to improve the availability and distribution of modern inputs, and access to credit, contributed towards this result. However, the elimination of subsidies and the reduction of public extension services have negatively affected small agricultural producers. In addition, the efforts of African countries to achieve food self-sufficiency have been hampered by the decline in donor support for rural development projects, and by the reduction of investment in rural social services.
In 1998-99, the rate of growth of agricultural productivity was lower than the rate of population growth, estimated at 3%, thus placing undue pressure on land and other natural resources. Growth in output during this period was therefore due to an expansion of cultivated area.
The rate of growth was about 1 percent for cereals, 5.2 percent for roots and tubers, 5.7 percent for pulses and 4.2 percent for oil crops. Expansion of cultivated area contributed to the tune of 30 percent for cereals, 86.5 percent for roots and tubers, 50.9 percent for pulses and 59.5 percent for oil crops.
For crops vegetables and fruits, the rates of growth of output were 1.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, entirely due to expansion in area because yields declined by 0.5 percent per year for vegetables and 0.6 percent per year for fruits.
Livestock production increased in 1998/99 at an annual 1.1 percent for meat and 1.7 percent for milk.
Low yields therefore persist despite the significant investments that have taken place in research and extension in Africa by donors who have typically contributed about 40 percent of research funds. High returns continue to be recorded on research stations and demonstration plots but the products and technologies developed by international agricultural research centres (IARS) and national agricultural research centres (NARS) have yet to be widely adopted by farmers. A central thrust of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security, which is being implemented in an increasing number of African countries, is to find a lasting solution to this situation.
May I also mention that during the past two years, the African agricultural research community and its partners have decided to do better. Under the auspices of the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR) they have developed a Vision for making agricultural research an engine for poverty alleviation, food security and economic growth. The Vision calls for reforms to empower stakeholders and to make research institutions demand-driven. It emphasises the need for sustainable funding and for enhanced regional integration so that agricultural research in Africa can be more effective.
Annual commercial food imports have risen rapidly to bridge the gap between domestic food production and demand, with an increase of 15.1 percent for cereals and 6.5 percent for milk products. There is therefore a growing dependency on the outside if we add food aid to these imports.
Although food insecurity has increased, marked progress has been made in some countries. According to the FAO report on The State of Food Insecurity in the World 1999, 22 of the 40 countries that have made significant progress in meeting the World Food Summit target are in Africa. Furthermore, the 5 countries in the world that have registered the largest reductions in malnutrition are in Africa.
Against this background, FAO has reinforced its technical assistance to member countries in areas relating to food security, reduction of poverty and sustainable use of natural resources.
(Achievements of the Organization)
FAO's activities during the 1998/99 have focused in particular on the recommendations of the 20th Regional Conference held in Addis-Ababa in February 1998.
Food and Agricultural Policy: FAO has provided assistance:
- to 35 member countries in the design of policies, strategies, plans of action and investment programmes for agricultural and rural development; and
- to member countries to strengthen their institutional capacities and to enable them to participate actively and effectively in the WTO rounds of negotiation. Two regional workshops have been held for 11 French-speaking ECOWAS countries and five North African countries. Other workshops for English-speaking ECOWAS countries, the SADC countries and those of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) have been scheduled for the first half of this year. A workshop for the remaining English-speaking countries of Africa and for the members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is scheduled for this year.
- The organization of two meetings of experts, and assistance to 14 countries in the preparation of viable aquaculture programmes, and in the assessment and management of important fishery resources, through one workshop and three working groups;
- Implementation of a project to reduce the negative environmental impact of shrimp and trawl fisheries; and to provide training in sustainable fishing practices and quality and safety of fishery products;
- Application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries through the organization of two conferences, one seminar and three workshops.
With respect to the Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES), activities have centred on:
To date, the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) is fully operational in 30 countries and under formulation in 14 others in Africa. Within the SPFS context, the Organization has followed up with implementation of trilateral co-operation involving African countries, other developing countries and FAO under the South-South Co-operation initiative. Countries participating so far include China, Cuba, India, and Vietnam, in addition to two African countries, Egypt and Morocco.
Implementation of the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) is being conducted at international and especially national level, with the full co-operation of the UN system partners in the framework on an interagency committee. Initial activities commenced in some eight countries in 1999. The FIVIMS is thus helping design and implement appropriate policies and programmes to combat food insecurity and poverty.
(Agenda of the Regional Conference)
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen
This Twenty-first Regional Conference has set itself the task of examining some of the key issues relating to the fight against food insecurity and vulnerability, and the degradation of natural resources in Africa. You will thus be called upon to examine:
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You have before you an important and inspiring task in the fight against hunger and poverty on the continent. I therefore eagerly await the outcome of your deliberations and wish you every success in your work.
Statement By HE Mr. Aziz Mekouar, Ambassador Of His Majesty The King Of
Morocco To Italy, Permanent Representative To The FAO, WFP And IfFAD, In His Capacity As
Chairman Of The FAO Africa Group In Rome, On The Occasion Of The 21st FAO
H.E. The Director-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In my capacity as President of the Africa Group to the United Nations institutions based in Rome, my colleagues requested me to say a few words to the honourable delegates from our various capitals, to acquaint you with the activities of the Group, and avoid misunderstandings or contradictions at our future Conferences.
The Africa Group in Rome, like the other Regional Groups to the FAO, is a forum for reflection and consultation for the African Permanent Representatives to the FAO, WFP and IFAD, which seeks to achieve a common African stand on issues submitted to the Heads of the three Organizations for consideration.
The Group operates within general working regulations adopted in May 1998 at the Group's Plenary meeting, the supreme body of the Group, which is headed by a President. He is elected by the Plenary for a one-year mandate, on rotation basis between the five sub regions of the continent, namely: North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa. The President is assisted by a vice President who automatically becomes President the following year.
The Group also operates a Bureau made up of the President, the vice President and five co-ordinators representing each of the sub regions. In addition, a Committee on Candidacy, chaired by the vice President and governed by internal regulations, proposes to the Plenary measures to ensure equitable representation of the Group on the Governing Bodies of the Organizations and at all meetings which call for the presence of the Bureaux, in concert with the Group of 77 in Rome and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
I felt the need to give this brief description of the Africa Group in Rome to emphasize the point that the Group's participation in conferences including the present one, requires adequate preparations and fortunately, our Group is always able to resolve its problems through consensus. However, our Group sometimes faces difficulties in carrying out its tasks effectively.
The Group has therefore asked me to make certain recommendations for the future, which I would summarize here:
I need to point out that our Group is not always able to adopt a common position on issues. I will cite two examples: the multi-functional role of agriculture and the Alliance for Food Security. It would be highly desirable if honourable delegates were given clear instructions on such complex issues.
Furthermore, the Africa Group in Rome recommends that more emphasis should be placed on South-South Co-operation.
Finally, we encourage the Secretariat to organize, alongside our Regional Conferences, Consultations on topics of special interest such as trade between African countries, which was the focus of yesterday's Consultation.
REPORT OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST FAO REGIONAL
I. INTRODUCTORY ITEMS
1. The Technical Committee of the Twenty-First FAO Regional Conference for Africa met from 21 to 23 February 2000, at the Palais de Congrès, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
2. The meeting was attended by 157 delegates from 45 Member Nations of the Region, five observers from Member Nations outside the Region, one observer from the Holy See, 11 representatives of the United Nations Specialised Agencies and 20 observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.
Opening Ceremony (Agenda Item 1)
3. The meeting was formally opened by the Honourable Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, Mr Perevet Zacharie, and addressed by the Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Africa, Mr B. F. Dada.
4. Mr Dada welcomed the delegates on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Dr Jacques Diouf, and expressed FAO's appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Cameroon for accepting to host this Conference and for putting at its disposal the excellent facilities at the Palais de Congrès, not only for the Conference, but also for the FAO/NGO/CSO Consultation and the Consultation on Intra-Regional Trade on Food and Agricultural Products in Africa. He thanked the National Organising Committee for their hard work.
5. He reminded the meeting of their endorsement at the last Conference in Addis Ababa of the Resolution on the World Food Summit Follow-up including the FAO Decentralisation policy and the FAO priority programmes formulated in response to the outcome of the Summit. The Conference had also deliberated upon the harmonisation and co-ordination of Member Countries' policies and programmes in agriculture and rural development and re-affirmed the importance of conservation, management and sustainable utilisation of forest genetic resources. He noted that since then, some progress had been made and much also had been done.
6. Mr Dada referred to the encouraging, though slow, growth of the economies of most African countries, especially of small-scale enterprises and intra-African trade. He pointed out that despite these improvements, the situation on food security still remained critical as it threatened peace and stability in the region. He recalled that 43 out of the 86 low-income food-deficit countries in the world are in Africa and 12 of the 53 African countries are at various stages of armed civil conflict, thus virtually halting food production. In this connection, Mr Dada emphasised that FAO had intensified efforts to address the concerns of Africa during the biennium within the context of the Rome Declaration on Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. He urged the Technical Committee to study and discuss the major policy papers on the Agenda. Mr Dada concluded on a hopeful note that the meeting's recommendations would advance the common search for food security to enhance the well being of the people in the region.
7. In his opening address the Honourable Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, Mr Perevet Zacharie, welcomed the delegates and observers and expressed the appreciation of the Government and People of Cameroon to the Director-General of the FAO, Dr Jacques Diouf, for the opportunity to host the 21st Regional Conference for Africa to take stock of the work done by FAO in Member Countries of the Region to fulfil the mission entrusted to it by the founding fathers. Despite efforts made by FAO and the international community to combat hunger and malnutrition, the number of people who are victims of hunger in the world was still very high and 40% of the hungry live in Africa due to political, social and demographic constraints.
8. Mr Peveret explained that Africa has enormous potential, which could help to overcome her food crisis in the long-term by adopting rational and judicious policies. The Honourable Minister concluded by calling on participants to carry out a realistic analysis of the food situation on the Continent and make strategic proposals that should help accelerate economic growth.
Election of Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and Appointment of the Rapporteur
9. The meeting unanimously elected Dr Nwana Bernard, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, by acclamation as its Chairman.
10. The meeting then elected, also by acclamation, the rest of the bureau members as follows:
|First Vice-Chairman:||Mr T. Khalema, Alternate Permanent Representative of Lesotho to FAO|
|Second Vice-Chairman:||Ms Adelaide Ribeiro, Directrice des Services Coopération du Ministère de l'Agriculture, Cape Verde|
|Rapporteur:||M. Ghebalou Abdallah, Directeur Général des Fôrets, Ministère de l'Agriculture (Algeria).|
It was also decided to constitute an Informal Working Group comprising: Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania to assist the Rapporteur with the review of the Draft Report to be presented to the Plenary Session.
Adoption of the Agenda and Timetable
11. The Meeting considered and adopted the Agenda and Timetable after some amendments. The Agenda is given as Appendix A while the list of documents is shown in Appendix B.
II. SELECTED ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The Challenges Of Sustainable Forestry Development (ARC/00/3)
12. The Meeting welcomed the presentation of the document (ARC/00/3) and noted that it highlighted the economic importance and challenges of sustainable forestry development. It recalled that sustainable development was the guiding principle of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), requiring integration of Sustainable Forest Management into overall strategies for national economic development and environmental management. The paper comprehensively discussed Africa's forest cover, its economic importance and the many threats it had been increasingly subjected to over the past decades.
13. Timber production and trade was among the issues that the paper brought to the attention of the Conference. Firewood and charcoal consumption increased significantly between 1980 and 1994, and this trend was likely to continue owing to ever rising population growth and macro-economic changes. The importance of wildlife and biological diversity was highlighted, especially the contribution of wildlife resources to food security and tourist development. National Forest Action Programmes had significantly contributed to the formation of policy reforms in Africa. However, political instability, lack of financial resources, and weak technical capacity had hampered effective implementation of these reforms.
14. The challenge to Africa was to develop healthy economies and to ensure food security by properly managing the continent's forest and wildlife resources and her rich biological diversity. The meeting therefore concluded that it was incumbent upon African countries to ensure that forest resources contribute to sustainable development whilst conserving the resource base. In particular, the Committee:
Public Assistance and Agricultural Development in Africa (ARC/00/4)
15. The meeting commended the quality of the paper, which could be used as a reference document. The level of public resources allocated to agriculture has been consistently low relative to its contribution to the economy. It highlighted the steady decrease of public expenditure in agriculture compared to other sectors of the economy. In many cases the allocation of public resources was based on inappropriate policies. Furthermore, limited attention was paid to the need for equitable allocation of these resources among sub-sectors, regional and different groups of economic agents including farmers involved in agriculture and related activities. The reduced contribution of the public sector to economic activities resulting from structural adjustment programmes had further reduced public sector support to the agricultural sector to fulfil its role in economic development.
16. It was noted that those African countries that maintained coherent policies on public resources allocation had encouraged private sector participation, which significantly reinforced growth and development of their agricultural industry. They consequently developed sound strategies for distribution of wealth and reduced poverty. In this regard, in particular the meeting urged Member countries to consider the following recommendations:
World Food Summit (WFS) Follow-up: The FAO Special Programme for Food Security - National Ownership of the Programme and its South-South Dimension (ARC/00/5)
17. The meeting commended FAO for achievements of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), reported under document ARC/00/5. It recalled that the SPFS was launched in 1994 and endorsed by the World Food Summit (WFS) in November 1996, when Heads of State and Government committed themselves to making food security a major priority.
18. The meeting noted that the SPFS was operational in 30 LIFDCs and under formulation in another 14 countries in Africa. It outlined progress in the four SPFS components of water control, crop intensification, diversification on small animals and fisheries and constraints analysis.
19. It welcomed the institutional framework in place for the SPFS co-ordination and management at country level and at FAO. The meeting recognised the initial constraints in financing, which restricted program scope and coverage, but reported that donor financing now supports the SPFS in 15 countries. Commitments in excess of US$50 million had been pledged for SPFS projects in Africa. This amount had been supplemented by substantial contributions from recipient SPFS countries.
20. The meeting further acknowledged that South-South Co-operation was well integrated at field level. It also noted considerable progress in expanding South-South Co-operation among SPFS countries and applauded FAO and Member Countries in promoting this partnership.
21. In particular, the meeting:
World Food Summit Follow-up: Actions Taken at Regional and Sub-Regional Levels to Implement the Plan of Action (ARC/00/6)
22. The meeting considered this Agenda Item on the basis of Document ARC/00/6 and expressed appreciation for the initiatives taken by FAO to implement the World Food Summit Plan of Action. Access to food was particularly critical in the LIFDCs. Moreover instability of food supply and demand together with natural and human-caused disasters make it even more difficult to satisfy basic food needs. Of the 86 countries in the LIFDC category, 43 were in sub-Saharan Africa. Political, physical, social, financial and economic as well technical and institutional constraints were the main causes of food insecurity and vulnerability.
23. The meeting reaffirmed the measures indicated in some of the Commitments of the WFS Plan of Action which were aimed at overcoming the serious problems of food insecurity in the region. It stressed that attention should be paid in particular to peaceful resolution of armed conflicts, good governance and the development of participatory, gender-positive agricultural policies and programmes that would increase food availability and incomes, thus facilitating the access to food for all. This should be accompanied by strong South-South and International co-operation.
24. The meeting commended the strategy for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010 initiated by FAO, in co-operation with all countries of the Region, which provide frameworks at national, sub-regional and regional levels for the implementation of the measures proposed. These were strengthened by the Regional Strategies for Agricultural Development and Food Security (RSADFS) prepared in collaboration with regional and sub-regional institutions.
The meeting made the following recommendations:
Progress Report on the Common African Agriculture Programme (CAAP)
25. The meeting noted that the Document ARC/00/INF/5 was an information document prepared in response to the request of the 20th FAO Regional Conference for Africa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1998). It emphasised the importance of CAAP as a tool for promoting agricultural co-operation and integration objectives of the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) by the OAU.
26. In the ensuing discussion, the meeting regretted the continuing delays in the development of CAAP and agreed that the "second track" was the best way forward. It consequently:
Integration of Sustainable Aquaculture and Rural Development (ARC/00/INF/6)
27. The Committee commended the preparation of the document (ARC/00/INF/6) and the review of aquaculture development in the Africa Region, in the context of its relationship to rural development. In particular, the meeting:
Drought Impact Mitigation and Prevention: Long-term perspective (ARC/00/INF/7)
28. The meeting commended the FAO Secretariat on the presentation of document ARC/00/INF/7, which outlined an integrated, self-reliant and environmentally responsible approach to drought management in the semi-arid areas of Southern Africa, in particular the Limpopo Basin. It recalled that conditions of inherent rainfall variability and weather-related risks, in particular the high risk of rainfall scarcity, extended over much of Africa, where levels of crop and animal production were relatively low and notably unpredictable.
29. It was noted that drought management cut across a wide range of policy issues and their impact on farmers' livelihood and production strategies needed to be analysed and better understood in order to assist the region to develop coherent policies, including policies that promote the most suitable agricultural and livestock products.
30. In particular, the Committee:
Representation of the Region on the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR) - (ARC/00/INF/8)
31. The meeting considered the information document ARC/00/INF/8, which summarised the recent developments regarding the system of regional representation at the CGIAR. While emphasising the role of science and technology in achieving food security in the region, it noted that the FAO Council, at its 117th Session in November 1999, had endorsed the following decisions:
African Agricultural Research and Development: Vision, Strategy and Action Plan (ARC/00/INF/8)
32. The meeting welcomed the presentation by the Representative of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR), a coalition of stakeholders of African agricultural research hosted by the World Bank, of a new vision for African Agricultural Research and Development. It noted the Vision, Strategy and Action Plan put forward by FARA/SPAAR for the African agricultural research community. It also noted calls for the sustainable transformation of African agriculture and expansion of its productive capacity. By the year 2020, the continent could:
33. The paper highlighted the potential and the challenges of African agriculture, and put forward a Strategy and an Action Plan for realisation of the vision, involving the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARSs), the CGIAR, the Sub-regional Research Organisations (SROs), SPAAR/FARA or the proposed apex body for African agricultural research, multilateral organisations such as FAO, African governments and bilateral and multilateral donors.
34. Member countries noted with satisfaction the Vision, Strategy and Action Plan proposed by the African agricultural research community. They also noted the convergence of the Vision with the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). If the Vision is realised, it should create the scientific and technological conditions necessary for achieving sustainable food security and developing competitive export markets.
World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT)
35. The meeting commended the Secretariat for the WAICENT presentation, which included practical demonstrations of its functions and activities. Both the oral presentation and the demonstrations were focused on the use and role of information as one of the priority areas of FAO in achieving food security. It was established after the WFS of November 1996 as FAO's strategic programme on information management and dissemination. Using Internet technologies, WAICENT provides access to FAO's databases to millions of users around the world.
36. WAICENT is responsible for the development and maintenance of corporate information systems and the FAO Virtual Library, where the entire FAO Catalogue is available on Internet with links to full-text documents. The Virtual Library provides the institutional memory for the Organization, using state-of-the-art technologies for managing and disseminating FAO documentation. It also incorporates strategies on information and knowledge management and the FAO Document Repository. The FAO Document Repository collects and disseminates on the Internet full FAO documents and publications as well as selected non-FAO publications.
37. WAICENT's work can be found on the FAO Web site, which contains more than 50 000 pages of technical materials recording over 3 400 000 hits per month. Its Web page provides an effective search facility to improve access to the wealth of information available on the FAO Web site.
38. The major functions of the WAICENT Information Finder include: Free text searching, searching of indexed sites, browsing by subject categories, browsing by resource type, browsing by FAO Departments, browsing through feature sites, finding information relating to the Library, finding information relating to FAO publications, and locating general information about FAO and other UN agencies.
39. The two key WAICENT programmes in support of research in agriculture are:
40. Delegates welcomed the invitation to make use of the WAICENT tools which were developed primarily for achieving food security in the region through the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) and the Key Indicator Mapping System (KIMS), two principal instruments for the implementation of WFS Plan of Action.
III. OTHER MATTERS
41. The meeting proposed that the resolutions of this Regional Conference be recorded as a Declaration to be known as the "Yaoundé Declaration on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Africa".
IV. CONCLUDING ITEMS
Adoption of the Report of the Technical Committee
42. The meeting considered its report and adopted it after some amendments.
Closure of the Technical Committee Meeting
43. In his concluding remarks, Mr Bamidele F. Dada, FAO Assistant Director-General/Regional Representative for Africa recalled that two parallel Regional FAO meetings were convened on Intra-regional Trade in Food and Agricultural Products, and on Regional FAO/NGOs/CSOs Consultation. He extended his appreciation and thanks to the Government of Cameroon and its Officials for their hospitality and for the facilities provided for the Conference. He thanked all delegates for their active participation and contributions, which enriched the discussions and ensured the successful outcome of the Technical Committee meeting. Finally, he wished those delegates who might be leaving, a safe journey home and those remaining a pleasant stay.
44. The Chairman, Dr. Nwana Bernard, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, closed the Technical Committee by commending the excellent work of the FAO Secretariat, in particular the quality of the documentation and the clarity of their presentations. He extended thanks to all secretarial staff, interpreters, translators, messengers and drivers, who contributed to the success of the meeting. He also extended his gratitude to the Committee for electing him Chairman and for their good co-operation and understanding throughout the sessions.
1. The above Consultation was held in parallel with the 21st FAO Regional Conference for Africa in Yaounde, Cameroon from 21-25 February 2000. The Consultation was attended by 27 participants from 14 farmers' organizations and 13 national and regional NGOs from East, Southern, Central and West Africa.
2. The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Cameroon, and addressed by the FAO Assistant Director-General/Regional Representative for Africa, Mr Bamidele F. Dada, and the President of the Committee of the host NGO. Mr Mamadou Cissokho, "Conseil National de Concertation et de Co-operation des Ruraux (CNCR)" of Senegal was elected Chairman, 1st and 2nd Vice-Chairpersons and three Rapporteurs were also elected to the bureau.
3. The discussions centred on the theme of the World Food Summit Follow-up: Actions Taken at the Regional and Sub-regional levels to Implement the Plan of Action." The deliberations were enriched by presentations of experiences by participants from IRED in the SADC Sub-region and the CNCR/FONGS in Senegal on examples of co-operation programmes, with FAO support, in capacity building for farmer organizations and some NGOs, in close collaboration with national governments.
4. The Consultation emphasised that food security issues be properly addressed. There was the need for strong partnerships between national Governments, FAO, Farmers Organizations (FOs), NGOs and other stakeholders. It was recognised that the complexity of food security issues made collaborative efforts among all stakeholders mandatory and that the roles of each of them needed to be clearly defined and stated. Therefore, the recommendations of the Consultation were addressed to different stakeholders.
For the attention of Governments
5. urged governments to ensure the participatory formulation of a coherent and equitable national food security policy with the involvement of all stakeholders;
6. recommended that governments provide necessary protection and support for local food production in the context of attaining food sovereignty;
7. recommended that governments establish an enabling environment for the implementation of the national food policy, including appropriate legislative framework;
8. urged governments to recognize farmer organizations as partners in food security and implement this acknowledgement in practice;
9. emphasised that governments assist farmer organizations build capacity to take up their increased role in food production and security;
10. encouraged governments to enable farmer organizations to have access to those human, material and financial resources which are available and earmarked for carrying out these roles;
11. appealed to governments invest in sectors which support food security, health (HIV/AIDS), education, research and other social infrastructure;
12. implored governments to facilitate access by small farmers to production factors: land, water, technology, finance, etc.;
13. urged governments to ensure that the needs of vulnerable groups in food security were catered for;
For the attention of FAO
14. recognised and commended FAO as the guardian of the global food security concerns, the advisor to its member countries on agricultural and food security policy. These countries have committed themselves to working closely with civil society by signing the World Food Summit Plan of Action;
15. expected FAO to facilitate policy dialogue between governments and farmer organizations and other stakeholders;
16. urged FAO to continue assisting capacity building in policy analysis, service provision, and organizational strengthening;
17. appealed to FAO to ensure that there was clear and comprehensive two-way flow of information regarding food security, between governments and farmers' organizations and other civil society organizations;
18. recommended that FAO support information exchange networks at national, regional and global levels;
19. requested FAO to honour its commitment to work with civil society actors by systematically involving them in all of its programmes;
20. requested FAO to consider incorporation of consultations with FOs/NGOs as a regular feature of FAO Regional Conferences.
For the Attention of NGOs
21. reiterated that the mission of NGOs was to help farming communities improve their well being. They were valuable supporters of farmers' organizations, as sources of technical advice, support services and, in some cases, of financial assistance. NGOs were expected to assist farmers' organization to be strong and responsive voices of the farmers;
22. encouraged NGOs to form coalitions, adopt transparent codes of conduct and network with each other and with farmers organizations to clearly define their respective mandates and areas of operation and promote collaboration in the common effort to ensure food security;
23. urged NGOs to provide support for capacity strengthening for farmer organizations on a contractual basis in response to FO demands and conduct lobbying and public information campaigns on issues related to food security.
For the attention of Farmers Organizations
24. noted that FOs had the role of mobilising farmers in the country and articulating and defending their interests. In the current changing circumstances, they are increasingly responsible for providing support services to farmers. To achieve this, the Consultation:
25. reminded FOs to take responsibility for self auditing and house cleaning and develop leadership qualities to ensure good governance and grass-root control;
26. urged FOs to maintain a non-political status while recognizing the authority of the State as the key player in ensuring food security for all components of society;
27. emphasised that FOs develop a clear and broad vision of issues of food security involving grassroots groups and recognize the role of other actors in society - like transporters, trade unions, consumers, researchers, NGOs and foster alliances with them;
28. recommended that FOs develop their capacities to function in a liberalized market economy and gain the services they need and incorporate women's role in agriculture programmes.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON INTRA-REGIONAL TRADE IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN AFRICA
1. Delegates expressed their gratitude to FAO for taking the initiative to organize the Consultation at short notice in parallel to the 21st Regional Conference for Africa. The development of an action plan to structure its follow-up was suggested.
2. The Consultation was extremely useful in helping African countries exchange their views on intra-regional trade in Africa in food and agricultural products and to reflect on follow-up actions needed for future trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO). In view of the enormous difficulties African countries are facing to adapting their legislation and regulations to the new trends and to put in place appropriate mechanisms as those required by the WTO,
For the Attention of Governments
The Consultation recommended:
3. that African Governments should accelerate the 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 recommended:
4. that FAO should take the leadership role in providing advice and technical assistance to African countries to assess the economic and other implications of international trade agreement, 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.
5. that FAO assist African countries to develop the necessary tools to improve their skills for future WTO negotiations so that the outcome could reinforce intra-regional trade and enhance food security.
The Consultation recommended:
For the attention of WTO and World Bank
6. That WTO and the World Bank provide FAO and its Member Countries with the financial resources needed for capacity building in this field, and the utilization of opportunities offered by Internet and other information technologies to accelerate the process.