Representation of the region in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
Update on preparations for the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN)
Fourth International Technical Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources
The Accra declaration on sound environment for sustainable agriculture in Africa
Cooperation between FAO and the OAU secretariat
Date and place of the Eighteenth FAO Regional Conference for Africa
Adoption of the report
Closure of the conference
62. In introducing the item 6, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa recalled that the Consultative Group had been established in 1971 as an international consortium sponsored by the World Bank and UNDP. Its mission was to help increase food crop productivity in developing countries, in addition to providing a range of other benefits related to forestry, fisheries and the improvement of the nutritional standards and well-being of people, especially the low-income groups. As an umbrela institution, it supported and guided existing institutes to deal with the pressing development needs of Third World agriculture.
63. The Regional Representative for Africa explained that following recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee, the orientation and priorities of CGIAR had been reviewed in 1989. The main objectives had been to respond to changing human needs by extending among others, research priorities to tropical forestry, and accepting non-associate centres in responding to these challenges.
64. The Conference was informed of the criteria for the selection of the Region's representative to the CGIAR, and the responsibilities entrusted to this office by the Regional Conferences. Criteria for the selection of a representative were indicated as being a demonstrated experience in agricultural research, willingness and dedication to actively participate in the CGIAR meetings and to apprise the CGIAR of the Region's research needs and priorities by reporting regularly to Member Nations on the CGIAR activities.
65. The Conference expressed its satisfaction with the excellent work done by Mauritius over the past two years in representing the Region on the CGIAR. The Conference emphasized that agricultural research was vital in view of the need to meet food production targets by using new technological practices, and to protect the environment. It noted that efforts should be made to make relevant research findings available to the farmers.
66. The Conference then considered regional representation on CGIAR, and unanimously elected Prof. Kwesi Affransah Haizel to represent the Region for the period 1993-1996.
67. The Conference was provided with an update of the preparation for the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN)7 by the Director of the Food Policy and Nutrition Division. He stated that the ICN was being held to provide a global opportunity to critically assess the continuing problems of malnutrition and how they could most effectively be addressed. FAO and WHO would jointly convene the ICN from 5-11 December 1992 in Rome. A Preparatory Committee meeting would be held from 18-24 August in Geneva to agree upon the draft Declaration and Plan of Action to be submitted to the ICN.
68. The Conference appreciated the efforts to encourage the active participation of Member Nations in all phases of the ICN, including its preparation, the ICN itself, and its follow-up, and urged all concerned to make full use of this opportunity to fight hunger, malnutrition and diet-related diseases that affected all countries. It noted with satisfaction that many countries had prepared country papers summarizing each country's nutrition situation, including the extent and causes of nutrition problems, past experience in addressing them and plans for future action. It commended FAO and WHO on the joint efforts to coordinate the ICN and noted the important inputs for the ICN Declaration and Plan of Action stemming from the Regional meetings.
69. The Conference noted that the ICN would be linked to country and regional-specific activities through regional and sub-regional inter-governmental meetings. Governments of the continent of Africa had been invited to attend one of the three sub-regional meetings held in Nairobi, Dakar and Cairo in March and April, and the Conference noted that a combined report of the Dakar and Nairobi meetings had also been prepared. The Conference stressed the importance of strengthening the food and agriculture base in most countries in order to improve nutritional well-being.
70. The Conference was informed that the NGO community also played a particularly important role in ensuring the nutritional well-being of people, and encouraged their continued involvement in the follow-up activities of the ICN.
71. The Conference emphasized that ICN should not be seen as an end in itself, but rather as an important step in the continuing process to strengthen the commitment and actions necessary in preventing and alleviating hunger and malnutrition.
72. In introducing the item 8, the Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department informed the Conference that since 1983, FAO had been developing a Global System on Plant Genetic Resources that covered both agriculture and forestry and that coordinated activities that promoted the safe conservation, sustainable use and unrestricted availability of genetic diversity.
73. The Twenty-sixth Session of the FAO Conference, in November 1991 adopted a Resolution calling on FAO to convene the Fourth International Technical Conference for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources, through extra-budgetary funds and in cooperation with other relevant organizations, in particular the IBPGR and other CGIAR centres.
74. The Conference recommended, as part of the preparatory process of the Technical Conference, the preparation of both the first report of the State of the World Plant Genetic Resources and the first Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources. It further recommended that a number of expert and regional meetings be organized, and that advantage should be taken of the FAO Regional Conferences in producing the State of the World Plant Genetic Resources and the Global Plan of Action.
75. The Global Plan of Action would include specific programmes and projects to be implemented by local, national, regional, international bodies and NGOs. It would aim at rationalizing and coordinating efforts in conservation and utilization of Plant Genetic Resources.
76. The Conference was informed that the Technical Conference was scheduled to be held in 1995. It would address, among other points, the decisions of UNCED and its Agenda 21 proposals. It would also examine and review the State of the World Report and the Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources, and make technical recommendations regarding proposed activities and their priorities for funding and coordination.
77. Based on a proposal submitted by the Delegation of Gambia, and after incorporating the various amendments made by other delegations, the Conference approved the "Accra Declaration on Sound Environment for Sustainable Agriculture in Africa", the full text of which can be found in Appendix D to this report.
78. The Conference expressed satisfaction with the various activities undertaken jointly by OAU and FAO. It recommended that these efforts be strengthened, especially in the areas of (i) nutrition and (ii) food and agriculture.
79. The Conference expressed the wish that the two organizations revise and update the existing Cooperation Agreement between the two institutions signed in 1967.
80. The Delegation of Burundi offered to host the Eighteenth FAO Regional Conference for Africa. The Conference took note of 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.
81. The Conference considered and, after some minor amendments, adopted its report by acclamation.
82. In a brief statement on behalf of the Director-General and on his own behalf, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa commended the delegates for their active participation at the Conference - a sign of their support for FAO's role in agricultural development. He paid tribute to the Ghanaian authorities for the efforts extended in making the Conference a success. He reiterated his thanks to the Chairman of the PNDC, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, for the realistic statement he made at the opening session and which had remained a source of inspiration throughout the deliberations of the Conference. The Regional Representative observed with satisfaction that the Conference focus was on the major problems threatening sustained development of African agriculture. In conclusion, he recalled with appreciation the emphasis laid by the Conference on regional cooperation and integration, the only viable option for realizing the objectives for sustainable development, and he reaffirmed FAO continued support to African countries in order to meet this goal.
83. On behalf of all delegates, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Water and Rural Development of Namibia, Honourable Mr Kaire Mbuende, moved a vote of thanks to His Excellency Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, Chairman of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and Head of State of the Republic of Ghana. He thanked the Conference staff and all the Observers to the meeting who had found the time to come and enrich the deliberations, and in particular the delegate from the United States of America for conveying his country's pledge to pay its arrears to the Organization.
84. In his closing address, the Acting PNDC Secretary for Agriculture and Chairman of the Conference, Mr Ibrahim Adam reiterated some of the major issues of the Conference and agenda for the future and appealed in particular for a change of attitude towards the environment since its destruction would also mean the demise of people throughout the world. Mr Adam referred to the recent demographic trends characterized by high population growth. He regretted that population growth had not been countervailed by adequate food production and had consequently led to increased environmental degradation. He appealed for adequate attention to be paid to all aspects of agriculture, especially as regarded access of agricultural products to domestic and external markets. He underscored the pivotal role of women in this endeavour, the social implications of their efforts, and the need for adaptive research. He finally invited all countries to give meaning to the Accra Declaration on "Sound Environment for Sustainable Agriculture in Africa" since it provided a basic framework for action in the future.