The following report was prepared as an expression of the Council's views on the world food situation, discussed at both the Tenth and Eleventh Sessions.
The early months of the year 1949/50 were marked by an event of major importance affecting world food and agriculture - the alteration in the exchange values of sterling and a number of other currencies, which had an almost immediate effect on the volume and direction of world trade. The year closed with two events of even greater importance - the initiation of the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance, and the outbreak of hostilities in Korea.
As this latter event took place almost exactly at the close of the year 1949/50 it is obviously convenient to divide this statement into two parts: a review of the state of world food and agriculture during the year 1949/50, that is, the “pre-Korea situation,” and a review of the outlook for the year 1950/51, that is, the “post-Korea situation.”
In preparing this report, the Council received invaluable help from the Director-General's report World Outlook and State of Food and Agriculture 1950. Owing to the change in the date of the Conference, the Director-General was much handicapped in preparing this document since hardly any of the Article XI reports of member countries had been received by him at the time by which he had to prepare his own report. (See Article XI Reports, page 19.) The Council thinks that it should pay a cordial tribute to him and his assistants for the preparation of his report considering the difficulties he had in obtaining the necessary material.
Too often the Director-General has been compelled to prepare his reports from inadequate material. Far too many member governments still submit no reports or very inadequate reports in fulfillment of their obligations under Article XI of the Constitution, and the Council again calls the attention of member governments to their obligations under this Article.
The Council is not, however, fully satisfied that, even if all member governments fulfilled their obligations, the Director-General's report would be completely satisfactory in its present form. It --
-- Invites the Director-General to report to member nations in future years any information of major importance supplied by individual members on the social aspects of agriculture, whether it relates to favorable aspects such as improvement of rural life, land reform, and rural social security (including rural health) or to unfavorable aspects such as obstacles to rural improvement and disequilibria between the agricultural manpower available and opportunities for agricultural employment.
The Council also hopes that in future volumes in this series the index of food production which was omitted this year will again be included. The Council was handicapped in making a comparison between estimated food production in 1949/50 and that of previous years by the absence of this material. It understood, however, that the absence of this index was due to the fact that the method of preparing it was under revision.
The Council also suggests that the Director-General should be invited to consider whether he could not make greater use of the regional offices of the Organization as the eyes and ears of the headquarters; the regional offices could forward material suitable for inclusion in the report on the world outlook.
The Situation in 1949/50
The most obvious conclusion to be drawn from a review of the year 1949/50 is that, whether the matter is looked at from the point of view of the producers or from the point of view of the consumers, the year was a fairly good one. So far as the producers are concerned, although there was a slight drop in the volume of production of certain foodstuffs, for example some grains, output of plant products was by and large maintained or increased; this and the residual effect of a good harvest in 1948 made it possible to expand the livestock industry, and the general level of the prices of farm products in most countries remained satisfactory. In some countries, however, disequilibrium between farm prices and wages and the price of manufactured products began to cause anxiety. The year was also notable for the fact that, owing to the progress of world recovery, fertilizers and agricultural machinery were, for the first time since the outbreak of the second world war, in ample supply, in the sense that agricultural producers were able to buy all the fertilizers and agricultural machinery that they were prepared to pay for.
The words “prepared to pay for” must be interpreted not only in terms of money availability but also in terms of the availability of certain currencies, particularly dollars. Although certain countries were not short of money, they had insufficient dollars to buy all the machinery which they required. The problem of the “dollar gap” remained a very serious one, in spite of the improvement brought about by the alteration of exchange rates in September 1949. A further difficulty of agricultural producers in a few countries was that the price per unit of some of these fertilizers and agricultural machines was so high that they did not think it would pay to buy them.
So far as the consumers are concerned, the statistics compiled by the secretariat show clearly that in about half the countries of the world for which figures are available the estimated energy and protein content of national average food supplies per head per day was greater in 1949/50 than in 1948/49 and that in nearly all the remaining countries it was about equal in both years. The only country in which significant reductions were reported was Turkey, which, owing to short crops, had 5 to 6 percent less calories, total protein, and animal protein. The figures are not complete; no figures are available for China, Eastern Europe, or any part of Africa south of the Sahara, except the Union of South Africa, but apart from these major omissions the information is almost complete.
This is not to say that, because the food situation was nearly everywhere better in 1949/50 than it was in 1948/49, it was everywhere satisfactory. All it means is that during that year the peoples of the world were getting about as much food as they had been accustomed to getting in recent years, and, on the average, a little more than they had had in the immediately preceding year, indeed in most areas more than in any year since 1940. But the fact still remained that food supplies were not evenly spread throughout the world.
For example, the table of calorie consumption per head per day, which is perhaps the most direct indication of food availabilities, shows wide differences between individual countries, with Ireland, New Zealand, and Iceland at one end of the scale and India at the other, the former group consuming about twice as many calories per head per day as the latter. The difference between the two is not as significant as it looks at first sight since calorie needs vary with climatic and other factors, but it is still very serious. Nor is it the case that the peoples which have least to eat are diminishing or dying out, while those which have most to eat are increasing the fastest. Indeed the facts are rather the contrary; the populations which have least to eat per head per day seem, on the whole, to be increasing the fastest.
Nevertheless the fact remains that certain peoples are getting much less per head to eat than other peoples and much less than they really need in order to lead healthy and happy lives. The reason is very clear; it is that the real per head incomes of those peoples is low, and therefore their ability to produce or buy their food is less than is desirable. Whether the producers are producing foodstuffs, industrial raw materials, or manufactured goods (and the last represents an insignificant part of the total output of the underdeveloped countries), their output per worker in a year is very low compared with the annual output in more advanced countries. The reasons that output is so low are partly unfavorable physical factors (climate, etc.) which cannot be altered, at any rate in the short run, and partly factors which can be altered, of which the most important are lack of skill and technical knowledge and lack of equipment or the capital to buy equipment. As nearly all the producers in the underfed, underdeveloped countries are agricultural producers, it is obvious that FAO is the international agency principally concerned in promoting a correction of those unfavorable factors which can be altered, either through its own efforts where the matter is entirely within its own sphere, as it is in the case of increasing agricultural skills, or by representing the facts to the competent international agencies where the matter is not within its own sphere, as is the case in respect of international investment.
It has been said above that part of the problem in the case of low rates of output is the lack of agricultural skill in the underdeveloped countries. This is one of the most important points of difference between these countries and the more developed countries. It is more than a mere coincidence that bumper crops have been reaped in the more developed countries, notably North America and Western Europe, in recent years. It is true that natural conditions have been unusually favorable during this period and that if conditions had been unfavorable good yields could not have been expected. But the fact remains that there is a steady long-term tendency for agricultural yields to increase in these countries. The reason is that the long continued labors of agricultural scientists and research workers are progressively bearing fruit and that in given climatic conditions, whether they be good or indifferent or indeed anything short of really bad, a large, highly productive area of land in the developed countries will give a greater yield today than it would have given in the same conditions, say, fifty years ago. The conclusion is clear. If an equal volume of agricultural skill could be applied to the underdeveloped countries, similar improvements could be confidently expected to develop over the years in the agricultural yields, and consequently in the national incomes and nutritional levels, of those countries. This is of course without prejudice to the fact that in the countries with rapidly rising populations an increase in agricultural income would not by itself solve their problem. Other means of increasing national income such as industrialization will also be necessary.
That is why the initiation of FAO's Expanded Program of Technical Assistance is an event of such outstanding importance. For the first time in history an international agency has been endowed with the means to promote a really significant improvement in the well-being of those countries which are most in need of such improvement. This improvement can be effected mainly in two ways, by basic research and by the application of known and proven extension methods embodying the results of work in other countries. The latter offers the most immediately satisfactory application of technical assistance.
The review of the world food situation included in the Report of the Fifth Session of the Conference pointed out that the chief difference between the production of, and international trade in, foodstuffs before the second world war and in the year 1948/49 was that the share of North America had greatly increased in both sectors. This share, however, was not quite as great in 1949/50 as it had been in the years immediately preceding since conditions in the countries which had suffered most grievously during the war were steadily improving. There was a small diminution in international trade in the more important foodstuffs, since there was an increase in food production in the importing countries which enabled them to allow their imports to fall without impairing the standard of living of the people, and there was a shift in the relative shares of individual countries in this trade. The diminution was due chiefly to a heavy fall in the volume of exports from North America and lesser falls in the volume of exports from Latin America and Oceania, which more than offset rises in the volume of exports from Europe, the Near and Far East, and Africa. The changes in exchange rates referred to in the first paragraph of this statement were an important factor in bringing about this shift.
One unfavorable feature in 1949/50 which should be noted was the continued damage done by pests and diseases. It is true that the only major commodity, whose production was significantly reduced by disease during the year was cocoa, and that locusts, which are potentially the most destructive pest of all, were kept well under control almost everywhere during this period, but there were outbreaks of plant, tree, and animal diseases and pests in a number of countries, which in the aggregate have made a significant reduction in the output of food and raw materials for the world. Apart from losses before the crops come to maturity, certain stored food products suffer serious loss and deterioration owing to various pests. It is essential that these pests also should be brought under control. In the modern world with its easy and rapid means of communication these pests and diseases are a greater potential menace than they have ever been before; constant vigilance, highly trained professional personnel, in some cases research, and highly developed collaboration between the nations is essential to prevent really dangerous and widespread outbreaks and to ensure that avoidable losses are not incurred.
The year 1950/51 is now sufficiently advanced for it to be possible to say with reasonable confidence that in the aggregate the availabilities of food and industrial raw materials, except cotton, are likely to be in slightly greater volume than they were in 1949/50. Food crop production* may be about equal to last year, and livestock production is likely to increase. There is reason to expect continued increase in livestock in those countries where the industry is dependent on natural pastures or home-grown feed stuffs, but in those countries where further expansion in livestock is dependent on increased availabilities of supplementary feed stuffs expansion will slow down. This favorable result has been achieved in spite of the fact that, owing to adverse weather conditions, grain crops in parts of North America, Western Europe, and Australia are now not expected to be quite as satisfactory in quantity or quality or both as had at first been hoped, that drought in the Danube basin has caused major damage to crops in that area, especially in Yugoslavia, and that the outturn of the cotton crop both in the Western Hemisphere and in Egypt has been disappointingly low. Nevertheless, had it not been for the outbreak of hostilities in Korea it is possible that there might have been price falls in the case of some agricultural commodities.
The events in Korea have, however, brought about a dramatic change in the situation. This change has been felt principally in the sphere of industrial raw materials. The rearmament drive, more particularly in North America and Western Europe, has caused a great increase in the demand for a number of industrial raw materials for current consumption. This current demand has been reinforced by a substantial demand for stock-piling purposes. Not only have certain governments been acquiring substantial stock piles of such commodities for strategic purposes, but the manufacturers using these commodities, who had been lulled by the prospects of greater availabilities of them into a feeling of security and had allowed their working stocks to fall to dangerously low levels, became suddenly alarmed at their own positions and began active buying to increase their stocks.
The effect of this sudden increase in demand from so many quarters has been a dramatic rise in the prices of a number of industrial raw materials, vegetable as well as mineral, to levels which some of the producers themselves regard as undesirably high. It is true that price rises are the best indication which can be found of increased demand and that these price rises are at any rate advantageous to the extent that they have stimulated or are stimulating the production of commodities which the world needs; but there is no doubt that the rise has been overdone, and that everything possible should be done to adjust these prices in an orderly fashion to more reasonable levels as one way to avoid a major crash when the buying wave is spent.
* The term “food crop production” is not a precise one, and some improvement in terminology is desirable. It is here used in the sense of “human food of vegetable origin”, that is, sugar, fruits, nuts, vegetable oils and fats, and those parts of the grain, green vegetable, and root crops which are used for human and not animal consumption.
One way of bringing this about would be for the governments and private individuals and institutions who are now buying so eagerly for stock to slow down their purchases where practicable without reducing their ultimate targets for stock accumulation. This would have the advantage that present excessive prices would be reduced and that spreading out the purchases for stock over a longer period would mitigate the pace of the fall and give the producers time to adapt themselves to the lower level of demand which is inevitable once these stock-pile targets have been reached. The accumulation of stocks of raw materials and foodstuffs by consumers, although in the short run it presents advantages to the producers by enlarging the market for their goods, may in the long run prove seriously to their disadvantage. Even if the stocks are not liquidated, the mere fact that they exist and may some time be liquidated may exercise a permanently depressive influence on the market. It is therefore essential that, if stocks are liquidated, this should be gradual and orderly.
While the major effect of events in Korea has been on industrial raw materials, foodstuffs have not been unaffected. One immediate result of the crisis was panic buying of certain kinds of foodstuffs in a number of countries where people thought that the outbreak in Korea was the immediate prelude to a third world war. This brought a good deal of confusion to the markets for a number of foodstuffs. With the successes of the United Nations campaign in Korea, wiser counsels have now prevailed and panic buying has subsided. Were it not for the indirect results of the crisis, the position in regard to these foodstuffs would now have returned more or less to normal. But the indirect results have been very significant. The rearmament drive, with all which that implies, in North America and Western Europe, has produced a marked increase in employment in those countries where there was still some unemployment, and a shift in employment where there was not. These increases and shifts in employment by themselves may be expected to increase money incomes generally and so to lead to a greater demand for foodstuffs in those countries where financial resources, rather than available supplies, have been the limiting factor on food purchases.
But increased production of armaments is not, in the true sense of the term, an increase in real, as opposed to money, wealth, and in a number of countries in North America and Western Europe some measure of inflation has appeared. There is, therefore, a danger that, while money incomes may increase, the purchasing power of those incomes, and with it the ability to buy foodstuffs, may not increase or may even decrease. On the other hand, with an increase in industrial activities, particularly through rearmament, the prices of manufactured products may increase faster than the prices of agricultural products. The outcome is still obscure, and it is not yet clear what tendencies will develop in relation to the consumption of foodstuffs. Certainly the tendencies will be different in different countries.
One thing, however, is certain. The diversion of productive effort to military uses will diminish the availabilities of certain agricultural requisites, such as machinery, chemicals, steel, and perhaps even fertilizers (particularly nitrogenous fertilizers), unless special efforts are made to maintain the production of these essentials, and in some countries it may reduce the manpower available for agriculture below the number currently required for full production.
Another indirect result of the Korean crisis has been a reduction in the exports of North America and an increase in its imports. As a consequence, the “dollar gap” has, for the time being at any rate, lost some of its importance, though it still remains one of the major factors in the international economic field. On the other hand, the rise in prices of industrial raw materials and some foodstuffs will turn the terms of trade still more against those countries which are largely dependent on imports.
The Korean crisis has had an immediate economic impact on North America, Western Europe, and Oceania, but its indirect economic effects have been world-wide. The rise in the prices of industrial raw materials such as cotton, wool, other fibers, and rubber has brought immediate benefits to the producers concerned. But these benefits will be largely illusory to the countries where production takes place if the result is that those countries where foodstuffs and raw materials are alternative crops divert an undue proportion of their efforts to producing these raw materials and cut back production of domestic foodstuffs. This would not only compel them to seek to import the food which they would otherwise produce for themselves, but would represent an absolute reduction in the available quantities of precisely those kinds of foodstuffs on which the most underfed countries rely.
All in all, the outlook is more uncertain even than is usually the case, but it is perhaps true to say that the economic potentialities of the present situation are more hopeful than they have been for a long time provided they are wisely handled. “Wise handling” is a phrase which must of course be interpreted differently in different contexts. For the more developed countries it means, for example, slowing down their stock-pile purchases of scarce raw materials without reducing their ultimate targets. For them too it means maintaining the production of fertilizers, agricultural machinery, and other agricultural requisites and giving all possible help to the underdeveloped countries, particularly in the form of technical assistance. It means also formulating and pursuing those agricultural policies which will be most advantageous to their peoples in the long run. For the underdeveloped countries it means realizing that the only certain way of improving their position is to increase their productive efficiency, and that this must depend largely upon their own efforts. It is true, however, that the rate of expansion would clearly be increased by external aid, both technical and financial. While capital investment will of course greatly facilitate their development, and is essential for certain forms of development, great progress could be made by established methods of bringing to the individual producers knowledge of improved agricultural practices and techniques which can be made available to them and which represent no more than standard practice in more developed countries.
It must not be supposed that improving the position of the underdeveloped countries in this way is an easy matter and that there are no pitfalls to be avoided. While the basic principles of good farming are universal, the application of those principles varies widely with local conditions. Increasing yield per acre is to an important extent dependent on improved planting material, and this is largely a matter of breeding work and selection which must almost inevitably extend over a period of years in the actual areas where the improved planting material is required. Moreover, it is not invariably true that any increase in the production of any commodity will necessarily be advantageous. A country where food availabilities are unduly low cannot go wrong by increasing its production of local foodstuffs. For example, the need for meat for local consumption in Africa is practically unlimited compared with present availabilities. Similarly there is a crying need for more rice in Southeast Asia. But most export crops are a different matter, and countries which contemplate increasing their output of such crops would be well-advised to consider in consultation with FAO whether markets will be available for increased supplies. Many raw materials, foodstuffs, and feed stuffs are still in short supply, quite apart from the recent demand for rearmament purposes. For example, there is still an unsatisfied demand for jute which is such an important contributor to the external purchasing power of India and Pakistan. But there is a limit to the demand for some export commodities. For example, the supply of vegetable oils and fats is beginning to catch up with current demand. Where specialized bodies (study groups and the like) exist to examine the position of such commodities, they provide an appropriate forum for studies of this kind. Where they do not exist, FAO is the appropriate international agency to advise countries on such problems.
However, the relative improvement in the world's food position as set out in this document should not give rise to overconfidence in the future, nor lead to a relaxation of effort. After all, one adverse production season in a major producing area could lead to positive scarcity and a loss of the ground so painfully won in recent years. In other words, although things are improving, the main task of FAO and the member countries in increasing food production, improving distribution, and raising nutritional standards still lies ahead.
The Council at its Tenth Session reviewed the Report of the Committee on Commodity Problems on its work since the Fifth Session of the Conference. In forwarding this report to the Special Session of the Conference, it recommended that a committee dealing with commodity problems was necessary; and that the Conference should determine the functions and terms of reference of such a committee.
In view of the difficulties presented by the differences in the constitutions and methods of the various specialized commodity bodies, the Council requested the Director-General to prepare and circulate to member governments, well before the Twelfth Session of the Council, a statement setting out FAO's relations with each of the specialized commodities bodies and describing the problems arising for FAO in this sphere of its activities.
The Council further suggested that in preparing such a statement the Director-General should keep in touch with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in connection with the study which the Secretary-General was requested by the Economic and Social Council to undertake for devising appropriate procedure for convening study groups and commodity conferences.
The Special Session of the Conference resolved that a Committee on Commodity Problems should continue to operate, and defined the terms of reference under which this committee should function, at the same time requesting the Council and the committee to consider the organization of the committee's work and its place of operation.
Accordingly, at its Eleventh Session the Council --
-- Agreed to invite the following governments, representatives of which had been serving on the committee, to continue as members of the newly constituted committee: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Uruguay.
The Council debated the location of the committee's headquarters, and --
-- Agreed that, for budgetary reasons, the headquarters should be moved to Rome at the time of the transfer of the headquarters of the Organization; only by such an arrangement would it be possible to service the committee adequately.
At its Tenth Session, the Council heard and discussed a report by the Director-General on developments in FAO's participation in the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance. It also noted a report by the Committee on Financial Control, which indicated that the financial arrangements for the Program are proceeding satisfactorily.
The Council placed the following observations on this subject before the Special Session of the Conference:
1. The progress now being made on technical assistance is limited by two factors. First, the great majority of the different contributions promised to the Technical Assistance Fund by member governments have not yet been received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Second, many of the recipient countries are not yet fully informed regarding the conditions under which technical assistance may be granted and the obligations which governments themselves are required to undertake, under the terms of the General Assembly Resolution [No. 304 (iv)].
Nevertheless, a number of satisfactory arrangements are being made. In some cases, agreements between recipient countries and FAO calling for the undertaking of specific projects, have been signed, and experts are being recruited. In a great many more cases, requests have been received in rather general terms and are now being studied by the Organization.
2. The machinery established for co-ordinating the work of the United Nations and the specialized agencies through the Technical Assistance Board is proving useful, and there seems to be a satisfactory degree of integration between the work of the various agencies. This is particularly important in the early stages of the Program, when many of the applicant countries are not sufficiently informed of procedures under which Technical Assistance can be applied for and granted. Good co-ordination is also being achieved with bilateral programs of technical assistance.
3. The Council attaches the highest importance to the Technical Assistance Program as a complement to the regular activities of FAO, especially during the coming year when much of FAO's normal field work will be restricted because of budgetary limitations. It hopes that this Program will serve to strengthen FAO's practical activity and its general authority in the realm of food and agriculture.
4. Some contributing countries are establishing machinery within their government services for co-ordinating treatment of requests received, particularly in connection with recruiting experts. This procedure may merit the consideration of other countries. Problems are arising, both for the contributing countries and for the specialized agencies, in recruiting specialists from government services. It is important that such recruitment should proceed in as orderly a way as possible, and that approaches are not made to technicians whose release would seriously impair the government services in which they are engaged. Technicians should be selected on as wide a geographical basis as possible, consistent with the standard of efficiency of the Technical Assistance Program.
5. Technical assistance needs are not, it must be remembered, limited to the recruitment of experts. Appropriate equipment is also required, as well as training schemes. The technical assistance provided by FAO must serve as the foundation for wider development, and must be designed to enable the recipient country to continue the work.
The Technical Assistance Program in itself does not provide the direct financial assistance for capital investment which a great many development schemes will require. Capital investment will be essential if technical assistance is to stimulate economic development and raise living standards.
6. Recipient countries have a high responsibility in the Technical Assistance Program. Only the recipient country itself can determine the direction its economy shall take. FAO can offer guidance in those fields which fall within its ambit, but the priority of for example, industrial or agricultural development cannot be imposed from without. Since the whole concept of the Technical Assistance Program is based on governmental requests, these requests must be predicated on the governments' own determination of primary needs.
The Council adopted the following resolution on the subject of technical assistance:
THE COUNCIL --
-- Notes the developments since its Ninth Session in FAO's participation in the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance;
-- Endorses the Director-General's arrangements within the Organization for handling requests from member countries and negotiating the details of specific projects;
-- Expresses the hope that contributions to the Technical Assistance Fund will be forthcoming without undue delay and that fuller understanding will be developed on the part of the recipient countries regarding the conditions under which technical assistance may be provided; and
-- Recommends that the Conference
take note of the report submitted by the Director-General (C 50/9) and the Report of the Committee on Financial Control regarding financial aspects of technical assistance (C 50/13),
endorse the observations of the Council, and
urge member governments to render all possible assistance in the implementation of the program.
At its Eleventh Session, the Council noted that the Conference had endorsed the above recommendations, and had requested the Director-General to submit to appropriate sessions of the Council further information concerning the Expanded Technical Assistance Program in order that it may be evaluated in relation to the regular program of work.
The Council was informed of action taken by the Director-General in response to the appeals of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council for assistance in the relief and support of the civilian population of Korea. The Council --
-- Decided to place this matter on the agenda of the Special Session of the Conference and requested the Director-General to inform the Conference of the further action being taken by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly at the current meetings.
The report of the Committee of the Council on Relationships with International Organizations (see “Committee Appointments”, page 32) was discussed by the Council, which noted the progress made during the past year in developing working relations with the United Nations, specialized agencies, and other international bodies.
Full Employment Resolution
The Council at its Tenth Session gave special consideration to Resolution 290(XI) adopted 15 August 1950 by the Economic and Social Council. This resolution is concerned with the need for continuing action by member governments and by the organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations to implement the obligation contained in the UN Charter with respect to full employment. The Council --
-- Requested the Director-General to report to the Eleventh Session on methods by which the Organization could best participate in carrying out its responsibilities in relation to this resolution.
The Council, on the basis of the report presented to its Eleventh Session, agreed that FAO should extend the fullest co-operation to the United Nations in carrying out the terms of Resolution 290(XI) and decided to address a resolution to the Economic and Social Council expressing the interest of FAO in this matter from the standpoint of food and agriculture. The Director-General should, meanwhile, analyze the material he obtains from member government on their agricultural programs and targets, or forward estimates, to the end that this information should be made available to the United Nations. The Director-General was also requested to report to the next session of the Council as to the material he had been able to collect and as to the participation of FAO in the work required by the Economic and Social Council.
The Council accordingly passed the following resolution:
THE COUNCIL --
-- Having considered Resolution 290(XI) on Full Employment of the Economic and Social Council;
-- Places on record the great interest of FAO in the information to be collected and the reports to be prepared in pursuance of this resolution having regard to the over-all responsibility of FAO for the expansion of agricultural production and the importance of full employment in agriculture in achieving this purpose, as well as the interdependence of urban prosperity with high industrial production and the welfare of agricultural communities;
-- Offers the full collaboration of FAO in the collection and analysis of information relating to food and agriculture (including fisheries and forestry) required for the studies to be undertaken and reports to be prepared on the subject;
-- Suggests that the Director-General should make available to the Secretary-General of the United Nations material he obtains from member governments on their agricultural programs and targets, or forward estimates, collected as part of the regular work of the Organization;
-- Authorizes the Director-General to respond to the maximum extent possible to any request he may receive from the Secretary-General for such collaboration within the ambit of FAO in this undertaking as the resolution itself contemplates; and
-- Requests the Director-General to prepare a short report on full employment in its particular relation to agriculture and on the material submitted to the Economic and Social Council to serve as a basis for discussion at the next session of the Council.
The Council also addressed the following resolution to the Economic and Social Council:
THE COUNCIL --
-- Having carefully reviewed Resolution 290(XI) on Full Employment of the Economic and Social Council,
-- Notes the vital interest and primary concern of FAO in the agricultural and social aspects of this project;
-- Points out that two-thirds of the world's population are engaged in agriculture and draws to the attention of the Economic and Social Council:
the far-reaching influence of levels of industrial employment upon the demand for agricultural products and, therefore, upon levels of nutrition and upon standards of living of rural populations, on rural health, and rural education;
the relation between employment and land tenure and farm mechanization;
the problem of partial and temporary employment in rural areas;
the problem of excess rural labor, in certain countries and insufficient labor in others;
the problems created by the divergent levels of agricultural skill;
the constantly changing equilibrium in employment in the various economic fields, both rural and urban, and the importance of labor mobility;
-- Therefore approves fully the steps already taken by the Director-General of FAO, in response to the request from the Secretary-General for the Economic and Social Council, for complete collaboration and assistance in undertaking the study on full employment; and
-- Resolves to consider again the problem of full employment in agriculture at its next session.
It had been decided by the Ninth Session of the Council that, since the Organization was nearing the end of its first five years and was about to establish its permanent headquarters in Rome, the time was appropriate to review the fundamental policies and trends of FAO, with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of the Organization and ensuring the greatest benefit from the resources likely to be made available to it.
In consequence of this decision, the Director-General presented to the Tenth Session of the Council his proposals for carrying out the review. He also presented his plans for reorganizing the general structure of the secretariat which were approved by the Council in principle.
The issues dependent upon long-term policies were carefully considered by the Council at its Tenth and Eleventh Sessions. It was agreed that the basic aims and objectives of the Organization, as set out in the Constitution require no revision, being as valid today and in the foreseeable future as they were when first propounded. The task ahead, it was felt, is to give concrete and practical expression to those aims through a wise selection of the problems to which the Organization should best give its attention, and through careful analysis of the means by which FAO should endeavor to carry out its accepted tasks.
The Council's concern was not, at this stage, to arrive at final conclusions, but rather to raise questions for the further consideration of the Director-General and of the Working Party on Program of Work and Associated Long-Term Problems which was set up by the Council at the recommendation of the Special Session of the Conference (see page 17).
The deliberations emphasized the need for further discussions of FAO's role in the following fields:
In establishing the factual basis for adequate review of the world food and agriculture situation.
In providing technical assistance to its member nations.
In assisting countries and groups of countries in formulating their longer-term technical and economic plans for agriculture, and in relating these plans to the wider economic objectives of member nations.
In recognizing and providing for the social impact of the tasks FAO may undertake.
It was recognized that, in considering these various roles, a fundamental problem is also posed, i.e., whether, given such financial and other resources as member nations may make available, FAO's activities might best be concentrated on a relatively few major tasks, or whether the Organization should try instead to provide member nations with a wider, if less intensive, range of services. Whatever the broad policy decision of the future, it was evident that this problem in turn emphasizes the need for a program of work which will be securely based yet flexible enough to keep the program in line with the changing needs of a changing world.
With regard to the means by which FAO might best give effect to its work, the Council stressed two points:
First, it is essential that the Organization should secure and maintain the services of staff of competence and vision, capable of inspiring the enthusiasm and attracting the co-operation of scientists, technicians, institutions, and organizations throughout the world: without their aid FAO's work would be stultified.
Second, it is imperative in the shifting world of today that an adequate system of local and regional contacts should be set up, a system so balanced that the Organization can have effective working relations with its member nations while maintaining unification of direction and central control over its total activities.
How best the regional organization of FAO could be developed to fit in with these dual objectives remained a problem for further consideration.
Working Party on Program of Work and Associated Long-Term Problems
The Conference at its Special Session recommended that the Council appoint a small working party to undertake a thorough study of certain basic problems concerned with the future activities of the Organization, and suggested that this working party be composed of “representatives of nations members of FAO selected on an individual basis because of their special abilities in the matters under consideration.”
The Council at its Eleventh Session --
-- Adopted the recommendation of the Conference, and agreed that individuals should be selected from the following member nations: Australia, Belgium, Ceylon, Denmark, France, Lebanon, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Uruguay.
The Council instructed the Working Party to initiate a thorough study of the following problems together with associated long-term problems:
The degree to which effective decentralization of the work of the Organization can be carried out without reducing its efficiency and involving duplication.
The extent to which increased use can be made of universities, research institutions, and other organizations, in implementing the Organization's program, and the possibility of utilizing temporary consultants on a larger scale while maintaining fewer permanent technical officers on the staff.
The planning of FAO's activities in such a way as to achieve maximum co-ordination with the United Nations, its regional commissions (ECE, ECAFE, ECLA), and the other specialized agencies in fields in which FAO is specially interested.
The collection of information from member countries, particularly in the form of the annual reports requested by Article XI of the Constitution (see Article XI Reports, page 19), and the use of this material in framing the Program of Work, in implementing FAO's work projects, and in advising member governments.
The relative importance to be given to activities of the Organization in the several fields of its competence, the long-term policies to be adopted within these different fields of activity, and the priorities to be followed in deciding upon different projects in these fields, with special reference to the considerations set out in the introduction to the Program of Work.
The Council decided that the Working Party should meet at the earliest possible opportunity; it should seek the advice of the Committee on Financial Control and other expert committees and individuals on appropriate matters, advise the Director-General on the formulation of the programs of work and budgets for 1952 and 1953, and report to the next session of the Council.
Budgets for 1952 and 1953
The Council at its Eleventh Session considered the request of the Conference that it should give guidance to the Director-General as to the total expenditure to be adopted as a basis for planning the budgets and programs of work for 1952 and 1953.
The Council --
-- Instructed the Director-General to plan programs for 1952 and 1953 on the basis of an expenditure budget of $ 5,000,000.
Further, the Council --
-- Requested the Director-General to report to a later session on FAO's obligations and responsibilities in relation to income. The Council considered that in the light of such a survey it might be necessary to tender advice to member governments concerning the adequacy of the Organization's level of income in relation to the work desired of it by member governments.
Arising out of this discussion, the Council agreed that it might be of value for the Director-General to publish a full report of the achievements of FAO during the last five years.
The Council at its Eleventh Session noted the action taken to fulfill the requirements of its Ninth Session recommendation concerning the requests for and submission of reports from governments as outlined in Article XI of the Constitution. That recommendation had set 1 October 1950 as the closing date for the receipt of Article XI reports, and had listed the topics which would form the basis of the reports, as follows:
|Part A:||General position and significance of food and agriculture.|
|Part B:||Progress and developments in food and agriculture.|
|Part C:||Action taken by member governments on selected recommendations of the Fifth Session of the Conference, these recommendations to relate to (a) extension and advisory services, (b) national programs for land and water conservation and utilization, (c) nutrition in member countries, (d) national committees.|
It had indicated the decision of the Council to forego in 1950 that section of the reports treated with in Part D (special topics on which governments should give detailed reports). Instead, the Council had selected Part D topics for 1951, as follows:
Steps to promote wider use of agricultural and forestry supplies and equipment;
Practical nutrition programs.
At the Eleventh Session of the Council the Director-General reported that by 1 October 1950 only one Article XI report had been received, and that by 13 November, the date of the Eleventh Session, reports had arrived from 22 member countries and also for 7 dependent territories.
In considering plans for the publication of these reports, the Council --
-- Agreed that a short summary report should be made of Parts A and B and that a detailed interpretation and analysis should be made of Part C.
Referring to that part of its Ninth Session recommendation dealing with selected topics for Part D of the 1951 Article XI reports, the Council --
-- Reaffirmed its selection.
Since the Special Session of the Conference had not dealt with matters appropriate for consideration in the Article XI reports, the Council --
-- Agreed that Part C should not be dealt with.
With regard to the 1952 reports (Part D), the Council --
-- Decided that governments should be asked to report on social questions in the field of agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. This matter will be given further consideration at a future session of the Council. (See section of this Report on The World Situation of Food and Agriculture in 1949/50 and the Outlook for 1950/51, page 4.)
For the future, it was decided that FAO should publish two volumes as part of one report on the State of Food and Agriculture. The first volume should be devoted to the latest possible appreciation of the economic position of food and agriculture and its relationship to the over-all economic situation: The second volume should be based upon the Article XI reports and deal with wider issues (including the social aspects of agriculture), and should be issued only when reports had been received from a sufficient number of member countries to justify publication of a full review.
At its Ninth Session the Council had requested the Director-General to submit a report on the principles and procedures according to which the composition of Standing Advisory Committees is determined, the terms of office of the members of such committees, and the best ways in which co-operation can be achieved between these committees and the secretariat of the Organization.
A report on this subject (CL 11/3) was accordingly considered by the Council at its Eleventh Session. The Council noted that a new system of correspondence with members of Standing Advisory Committees had been inaugurated which would prove of great assistance to the Organization, particularly in view of the fact that the financial situation does not permit frequent meetings of the committees. The Council suggested that the letters addressed to scientists and technicians who are members of the committees might be circulated to the Working Party on Program of Work and Associated Long-Term Problems which the Council was establishing in accordance with the recommendation of the Special Session of the Conference. (See Long-Term Policies and Objectives of FAO, page 16.)
The Council --
-- Approved the following nominations by the Director-General to Standing Advisory Committees:
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition
The Committee consists of ten members, five being invited by FAO and WHO respectively. The members listed below, who will be invited by FAO to the meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition to be held in Geneva 17–24 April 1951, therefore compose only the half of the committee proposed by FAO. The geographical distribution of the committee as a whole has been considered in consultation with WHO to ensure contributions from experts located in the different regions.
Dr. Ali Hassan Bey
Technical Adviser of the Permanent Commission on Nutrition
Dr. V.N. Patwardhan
Director, Nutrition Research Laboratories
Director, Human Nutrition Research Unit
Medical Research Council
Hazel K. Stiebeling
Chief, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Director, National Center for the Co-ordination of Studies and Research on Food and Nutrition
National Center for Scientific Research
Standing Advisory Committee for Agriculture
Appointed to the Permanent Group:
Director-General of Agriculture
Government of the Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands
Members appointed to serve in their capacity as presidents of international scientific organizations:
President, European Federation for Animal Production
(This organization was not previously represented on the committee)
President, International Dairy Federation
Royal College of Agriculture,
|(Succeeding R. Burri)|
President, International Society of Soil Science
University of Gand
|(Succeeding C. H. Edelman)|
President, International Commission for Agricultural Engineering
|(Succeeding G. Bouckaert)|
|H. A. Lafferty|
President, International Seed Testing Association
Department of Agriculture
|(Succeeding W. J. Franck)|