The Council is gratified to see in the reports of the regional meetings held recently at Cairo, Rome, and Baguio that a valuable start has been made in developing intergovernmental co-operation on a regional basis.
While the activities which have already started in various regions have reached different degrees of development, and while conditions vary from one region to another, there is always need in the first place to obtain a clear picture of the problems confronting each region. Then solutions must be sought, through co-ordinated action between the Governments of the regions and, when appropriate, through the assistance of FAO and other international organizations. These considerations will also have to be borne in mind by the Director-General in formulating his plans for the future.
The recommendations included in the above reports are in line with the overall policies and objectives of the Organization, since they are directed towards the increase of food production by bringing new land into cultivation, by increasing the productivity of land already in use, by combating loss of food through infestation and disease, and by improving consumption through better distribution systems.
Most of the projects for increasing 1949 production which were submitted by the three regional meetings are in part dependent upon external finance and upon getting the necessary equipment and supplies. FAO is not in a position itself to provide these means, nor can the Council sponsor the soundness of schemes which another organization would be requested to finance. However, the Council can endorse the objectives of those plans placed before it which it considers would constitute a material contribution to the food requirements of the countries concerned or of the world.
In addition to these schemes, the reports of the regional meetings contain information and recommendations of a technical character which afford a suitable basis for achieving tangible results and the Council refers them to the Director-General for consideration in formulating regional programs for FAO.
Some of these recommendations which are of outstanding importance have been carefully reviewed by the Council and have been made the subject of the following resolutions or other action:
(1) Projects for Bringing New Land into Cultivation and for Increasing the Productivity of Land Already in Use
having reviewed the irrigation projects recommended by the meeting of Near East countries held at Cairo,
understands that these projects are for the purpose of bringing into cultivation further land for the production of essential food; and
having also considered the proposal by the Government of Poland for implementing part of the recommendations of the FAO Mission to Poland,
expresses its interest in these projects which are designed to assist in the solution of the present world food shortage, and
requests the Director-General to take all possible and suitable action to assist the respective Governments to carry out these projects.
(2) Production and Distribution of Rice
having studied with the greatest interest the recommendations made by the Baguio Rice Conference,
considers that these recommendations represent an excellent starting point for further action to be undertaken on the rice problem in the Far East,
approves the setting up of a Rice Council, as proposed in the report of the Conference,
agrees that this proposal should be implemented as speedily as possible, and
recommends that the Director-General take steps to constitute the Council, and that the expense incurred by FAO to assist the functioning of such Council shall be determined, within the limits of the existing budget, by the Director-General, after consultation with the Committee on Financial Control
(3) The Campaign against Pests and Animal Diseases
considering that locusts are responsible for the destruction of a high proportion of the food produced in the Mediterranean Basin in the Near East and Africa, and that rinderpest is one of the major animal diseases in Asia and Africa,
approves the action which the Director-General is initiating with a view to developing co-ordinated action between interested Governments against these scourges and to reporting thereon to the next Session of the Council.
(4) Establishment of Regional Fisheries Council
approves the steps taken for the establishment of the Indo-Pacific Council of the Sea, which action was called for by the Third Conference, and which is the forerunner of the establishment of similar councils under the aegis of FAO in other parts of the world not at present actively served by such bodies, and
recommends to the Director-General that, when proceeding to the matter of Regional Offices, he gives due consideration to the servicing of these councils.
(5) European Timber Problems
notes with satisfaction the tangible results achieved by the Economic Commission for Europe/FAO Timber Subcommittee, and requests the Director-General to keep the Council informed about increases in European timber supplies and about progress made in helping European nations to secure the equipment and facilities needed for increased timber production,
expresses particular satisfaction about the efficient co-operation established between FAO and ECE in handling European timber problems, and believes that similar arrangements should be sought wherever suitable with regional bodies of the United Nations.
(6) Regional Work in Latin America
having considered a statement by the Director-General on the current activities of the Organization in the Latin-American region;
noting that regional work in Latin America is not so far advanced as in certain other areas; and that a beginning has been made in (a) the Timber Conference being convened in Brazil in April to consider plans for the industrial development of Latin America's forest resources, (b) the sending of technicians to Latin-American countries to ascertain the most urgent problems on the region, (c) the sending of a mission to Venezuela to study the possibilities of extracting oil from wild oil-bearing seeds and of developing new cultivated oil-bearing crops, and (d) the planning of further work including a regional conference on nutrition scheduled to open at Montevideo in July,
approves the establishment of an ad hoc committee forthwith, comprising the representatives of Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Mexico, with a view to giving assistance to the Director-General, in consultation with the representatives of Latin-American countries on the most appropriate course of action in that region, such action to have particular relationship to the advisability of calling a meeting on problems of production and distribution in Latin America, and to the organization of regional work and the location and function of regional offices in Latin America.
The Council has considered the report by the Director-General on proposals for the establishment of regional offices, and believes that regional offices should be outposts of a strong FAO headquarters and not in any way autonomous units, and that the technical program of FAO in each region should continue to be the full responsibility of the Director-General. It agrees that each regional office should be headed by a full-time official, directly responsible to the Director-General, and that it is not essential for regional offices to be organized on identical lines in every region.
The Council authorizes the Director-General to proceed with his plans for establishing regional offices, giving close consideration to the reports of the regional meetings and the oral and written statements made to the Council. It agrees that the time for expressing its views on the Director-General's plans will be when it considers at a later session the proposed budget of the Organization for 1949 in which provision for regional offices will be included.
The Council takes note of the unanimous recommendations of the meeting of the European National Committee that the European Office should be at Rome, expresses its thanks to the Italian Government for its most generous offer of premises, and approves the decision of the Director-General to maintain this office at Rome, pending a decision on the site of the permanent headquarters of the Organization.