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Report of the Second World Food Congress, The Hague, June 1970

68. The Council had before it a brief report on the Second World Food Congress 1 and a list of the Congress recommendations addressed to FAO, together with FAO's preliminary comments 2.

69. The Director-General, in introducing this item said that the two main themes emerging from the Congress had been the need for more massive resources to be made available for development; and that the benefits of development should reach all levels of society. There were many similarities between the strategy for the Second Development Decade adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and the findings of the Second World Food Congress.

70. The Congress had produced 206 recommendations. Those addressed to FAO were being studied in relation to on-going programmes and Member Governments would be asked for their comments on the final reports. The Director-General drew attention to recommendations calling for the establishment of a Food Production Resources Programme and a World Seed Programme. He believed that some form of food production resources programme was required and would reopen this matter. He also hoped during 1971 to make definite proposals for a detailed study of the dynamic structural changes required for a rational pattern of agricultural production processing and trade as proposed by Commission IV of the Congress.

71. The Council expressed appreciation to the Director-General for having organized the Second World Food Congress which gave an opportunity for a broad dialogue on problems of food and agriculture in the framework of overall development. The Council recognized that one of the outstanding features of the Congress was its insistence that there should be a strengthening in the participation of regions, Governments, organizations and nongovernmental groups and movements in the process of finding solutions to the world problem of food, agricultural development and rural well-being. Many members congratulated the Director-General on his decision to invite youth to take part in the Congress as full participants.

72. In its discussion the Council welcomed document CL 55/52 and expressed its appreciation for the rapid consideration given by FAO to the recommendations addressed to it. Many members expressed agreement with the insistence of the Congress on the importance of the social aspects of development and on agrarian reform. The Council supported also the importance which the Congress attached to the liberalization of trading relationships between developed and developing countries, and its recognition of the value of FAO's work on international commodity agreements.

73. The Council noted the recommendation of the Congress which stressed that FAO could benefit from the effective participation of farmers' organizations, trade unions, youth and other groups. Many members felt that the most important point to emerge from the Congress was the need to find ways of broadening the base of operation both for governments and international agencies and the possibilities for involving organizations of food producers and consumers. It was felt by some that there was a need to define ways by which such groups could be brought into active participation in the planning and implementation of world agricultural policies. Other members expressed considerable concern over the proposal that FAO should be restructured to ensure that such participation was effective. They felt that the present provisions for giving status to international nongovernmental groups desiring such status, as set out in the Basic Texts, were adequate, and recalled that no such group having a valid reason for association with FAO had been denied that association. The Council felt that better use should be made of the existing provisions in the Basic Texts, and that in these circumstances a restructuring of the Organization need not be envisaged.

74. A number of members welcomed and expressed their support for the emphasis which the Congress placed upon the importance of expanding resources for medium level training.

75. The Council agreed that the reports and recommendations of the Congress would require careful study, and insisted that each one must be evaluated on its intrinsic merit. It was suggested that within FAO the responsibility for technical evaluation must be assigned to the appropriate departments and divisions. At the same time, a number of members of the Council asked for further information as to how follow-up action as a whole would be handled within FAO. It was agreed that the success of the Congress in the final analysis would be determined by the vigour with which its constructive proposals were followed up, not only by FAO, but also by all those to whom the recommendations were addressed.

76. The Council supported the positive terms used by the Congress in its final Declaration.

77. The Council unanimously expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of the Netherlands for having generously provided such excellent facilities and services which permitted the good functioning of the Congress.

1 CL 55/10.
2 CL 55/52.

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