1. Financing Facilities
The last session of the Conference requested the Director-General to undertake the preparation of a report on international investments and financing facilities. This fact-finding statement was to be prepared in cooperation with the United Nations, the International Bank and other appropriate United Nations agencies, as a basis for a further report to be submitted by the Council to the next session of the Conference.
The Council has considered the informative statement prepared by the Director-General (CL 6/8) and expresses its appreciation of this very comprehensive review, which is a useful first step in building up a body of information on this important question. The report shows that a relatively low proportion of current investment is being devoted to agriculture, and that a relatively small part of such investment is being directed toward the underdeveloped countries.
The Council believes that this question will become increasingly significant as technical aid programs are developed. FAO should, therefore, continue on the one hand to keep under review the whole question of national arrangements for investment in agriculture, including agricultural credit systems and indebtedness, especially in under-developed countries. On the other hand a study of the international movement of capital is also required, but raises wider issues and needs to be carried on in conjunction with the secretariats of the United Nations, the International Bank and other interested specialized agencies.
Since the question of international investment is on the agenda for the next session of the Economic and Social Council, the Council believes it unwise at this stage to express its views or to take specific action. It requests the Director-General to circulate the document presented with certain minor drafting changes suggested by Council members, to all member governments with the request that they submit their observations by 1 September. On that basis the Director-General would submit to the next session of the Council a supplementary report embodying all the substantial relevant comments and reports that might have been obtained in the meantime, including any recommendations adopted by the Economic and Social Council.
2. Technical Assistance
The Council has devoted close attention to the subject of technical assistance for economic development. It has had before it the report on this subject of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (made up of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Directors-General of the specialized agencies), prepared for submission to the Economic and Social Council, and has heard a statement on the procedures of the Working Party set up by this Committee for preparation of the report, in which the Deputy Director-General and other FAO officials played substantial roles. The Council has further had before it the report of the Director-General on FAO's Supplementary Technical Assistance Program (CL 6/9).
The Council attaches the highest importance to the proposals for increased technical assistance to underdeveloped countries, and considers that the proposals put forward are likely to increase greatly FAO's ability to assist its member countries. The Council recognizes the importance of provision for cooperation among all of the international agencies concerned in a broad integrated program of technical assistance for economic development in which agriculture, nutrition, forestry, fisheries, and social welfare must form important parts. The Council also calls attention to the need for full coordination of FAO's activities with bilateral schemes to ensure the avoidance of overlapping and duplication.
The Council recognizes that the FAO Supplementary Technical Assistance Program is a description of the fields in which FAO can render technical assistance, together with tentative estimates of cost, rather than a definitive program of specific projects in particular regions or countries. It agrees that such an approach is inevitable at the present stage of the evolution of general plans.
The Council has adopted the following resolution:
Having considered the report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination on Technical Assistance for Economic Development, prepared in accordance with the resolution of the Economic and Social Council of 4 March 1949, and the Director-General's proposals regarding FAO's participation therein,
Regards the proposals for an extended program of technical assistance as being of the greatest importance for the attainment of the purposes of the nations as set out in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Constitution of FAO;
Approves the principle of full participation by FAO in the proposed extended program of technical assistance;
Attaches great importance to the development of a technical aid program in such a way as to ensure the utmost possible cooperation and coordination between the various agencies and governments concerned; and
Requests the Director-General to bring this resolution to the attention of the Economic and Social Council at its Ninth Session.
In its consideration of the proposals, the Council attaches special importance to the longer term projects to be carried out by FAO individually or in association with the United Nations or with other specialized agencies, such as the development of extension services, improvement of statistics, resource-surveys, training of technicians, and migration, but it urges that priority should be given to undertakings which would result in an early increase in food supplies, such as production programs and improved farming methods, control of animal and plant diseases, and reduction of waste on farms, in stores and in distribution.
The Council has adopted the following further resolution on this subject:
Requests the Director-General to circulate the report on a Supplementary Technical Program to member governments together with the Council's comments, and to place the subject of technical assistance on the agenda of the Regional Conferences, together with suitable documentation;
Recommends that the Director-General should avail himself of the widest possible expert advice on methods which have been proved valuable in the development of underdeveloped areas, and that he should consult those countries which have had special experience in this field, by consulting either individual experts or groups of experts concerned, with the object of completing a report for submission to the next session of the Conference, comprising
a survey of the diverse forms and techniques in which technical assistance can be given, and
an examination of the resources available for specialized advice upon which calls might be made; and
Further recommends that the Director-General should take such action as he deems desirable to ascertain from the governments of the member countries their preliminary views regarding the most urgent needs for technical assistance.