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I. Introductory items

Organization of the conference
Inaugural ceremony
Election of chairman. Vice-chairmen and appointment of rapporteurs
Adoption of the agenda and timetable

Organization of the conference

1. The Nineteenth FAO Regional Conference for Africa was held in the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 16 to 20 April 1996.

2. The Conference was attended by 148 delegates from 44 Member Nations of the Region, 29 of which were represented at ministerial level; 11 observers from Member Nations outside the Region, two observers from the Holy See, 15 representatives of the United Nations Specialized Agencies, 67 observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. A list of participants is given as Appendix B. The list of the documents is given in Appendix C.

3. The Independent Chairman of the FAO Council, Mr J.R. Lopez-Portillo also attended the Conference.

Inaugural ceremony

4. The inaugural ceremony was held in the same venue and the Conference was formally opened by the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Mr Blaise Compaore. Opening statements were also made by the Director-General of FAO, Mr Jacques Diouf, by the OAU Representative, Dr I.M. Nur, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the OAU, and by Mr. Adama Ouedraogo, "Grand Passage", a peasant farmer from the Yatenga District of Burkina Faso.

5. In his opening address, the President affirmed the relevance of organizing the 19th Regional Conference in Burkina Faso and reiterated the commitment of the Conference to provide solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty as well as to the struggle against under-development in the region.

6. He paid tribute to the Director-General of FAO for his efforts in championing the concerns of Africa at a time of difficult circumstances, particularly when multilateral cooperation was on the decline and commended him for his initiative to convene the World Food Summit. He expressed the hope that this Nineteenth Regional Conference would establish an enabling environment to highlight African dimensions of the problems of food in general, including the concerns of farmers, women and children. He referred to the experiences of Burkina Faso in solving food security problems through water control measures, prevention of youth migration and women's contribution to increased food production. He also thanked FAO for the confidence shown by inviting him to join the International Board of Patrons of the World Food Summit. The full text of the statement of His Excellency the President is contained in Appendix F.

7. The FAO Director-General, in his opening statement, expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of Burkina Faso and reiterated his concern regarding the agricultural situation in Africa. He enumerated the enormous difficulties confronting the continent and said that it was the reason why FAO decided to launch a large-scale operation to engender a solemn commitment at the highest level to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and to undertake concerted action at global, regional and national levels to ensure food security for all. He explained that this was the underlying aspiration behind the organization of the World Food Summit which would be held in Rome from 13 to 17 November this year.

8. He highlighted the attributes of the World Food Summit which would adopt a Policy Statement and a Plan of Action for Universal Food Security and mentioned the related preparatory activities. He said that the Summit would be the first time in the 50 years since FAO was founded that a meeting on this issue was being held at the level of Heads of State and Government. He recounted special programmes already initiated by FAO to offer solutions to the food insecurity sit nation and referred to brighter prospects in the aftermath of the Summit. The full text of the Director-General's statement is contained in Appendix G.

9. On behalf of the OAU Secretary-General, Mr Nur expressed his gratitude to the FAO Director-General for the invitation to the Organization to participate at this Conference. He further thanked the Government and people of Burkina Faso for their hospitality and for the excellent conference facilities made available. He drew the attention of the Conference to two resolutions adopted by the policy-making bodies of the OAU concerning an African Common Position on food security and agricultural development, and noted that pursuant to these resolutions a draft document had been prepared by the General Secretariat and was submitted to the Conference for consideration. He further mentioned that the proposed Common Position would be submitted to the forthcoming OAU Summit in Yaounde, Cameroun, scheduled for 8 to 10 July 1996 for consideration and endorsement prior to its transmission to the World Food Summit in Rome.

10. In his statement, Mr Adama Ouedraogo expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to address the Conference and commended FAO for inviting a peasant farmer to address such an august assembly. He elucidated the wisdom of utilizing farmers knowledge to solve problems of hunger especially as this was a basic concern to them. He opined that interaction between farmers themselves, from both the developed and developing world as well as between them and other actors, including donors, would be particularly productive especially in areas of water management, livestock rearing, processing and food preservation. He extended a warm welcome to all present. His full statement is contained in Appendix H.

Election of chairman. Vice-chairmen and appointment of rapporteurs

11. The Conference at its first working session elected Mr Michel Koutaba, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Burkina Faso as its Chairman. In a short acceptance speech, the Minister expressed his gratitude for the confidence placed in him and said that he was certain that with the cooperation of all concerned he would guide the Conference efficiently and successfully.

12. The Conference then elected the rest of the members of the bureau:

First Vice-Chairman:

Mr Abraham Iyambo, Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia

Second Vice-Chairman:

Mr Dennis Norman, Minister of Agriculture of Zimbabwe


a. Mr Mospshatla Mabitle, Minister of Agriculture, Cooperative Marketing and Youth Affairs of Lesotho


b. Mr Robert Sagna, Minister of Agriculture of Senegal

Adoption of the agenda and timetable

13. The Conference then considered and adopted the agenda and timetable (Appendix A).

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