78. The Council had before it the Eighth Annual Report of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of the UN/FAO World Food Programme to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and to the Council of FAO 1. This report covered the period from 14 May 1969 to 15 April 1970. It consisted of a short covering note and the reports of the Committee's Sixteenth 2 and Seventeenth 3 Sessions. The report on “Food Aid and Related Issues during the Second Development Decade” prepared by the Committee in response to the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly 2462 (XXIII) on Multilateral Food Aid 4 was also attached.
79. In introducing the report, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that commitments for development projects since WFP was launched in 1963 had now reached $ 1 billion; pledges and other contributions, about $770 million. Current disbursements had reached a rate of $150 million per annum and were continuing to increase rapidly. 459 projects had been undertaken in 83 countries, including 71 completed. Total resources allocated to emergency aid amounted to $ 90 million.
80. Despite these encouraging figures, however, whereas in 1969 the Programme committed about $350 million to development projects, during 1970 commitments were not expected to exceed $190, while estimates for commitments in 1971 and 1972 were in the range of $150 million per annum.
81. This downward trend, the Executive Director said, was due to the fact the Programme's resources were falling behind the volume of development projects under submission and expected to be submitted to the Programme. Unless WFP's resources could be substantially expanded, receiving countries' development plans might be retarded. This problem was reflected in the IGC's report on the Role of Food Aid in the Second Development Decade called for by UN General Assembly Resolution 2462 (XXIII), and which was now in front of the General Assembly, which showed that WFP could make good use of resources at the rate of $300 million per annum. The Executive Director had drawn this to the attention of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, expressing the hope that the Assembly would approve the report's recommendations.
82. The Executive Director also noted that the IGC's report stressed the safeguards that were necessary to protect world food markets from disruptive forms of surplus disposal. WFP was committed to methods of food aid which were consistent with these safeguards. It had demonstrated its capacity to use food aid in support of projects without encroaching upon markets. It also cooperated closely with UNDP and the Specialized Agencies.
83. The Council welcomed the statement made by the Executive Director. All speakers expressed appreciation for the work of WFP, while some members outlined their needs for further WFP assistance in connexion with their country development plans or in relation to the effects of natural catastrophes. Several referred to the particular, urgent needs of Pakistan and the Philippines following the recent catastrophes there. In the course of the debate suggestions were made for improving the means of meeting such emergency situations; it was stressed that since more than food aid was required, the matter should be discussed by the UN itself. Some members felt that WFP was better suited to help in the reconstruction than in the early emergency phase. Others disagreed with that view.
84. Suggestions were also made as to the possibility of transforming WFP into a World Food Bank, to be an outlet for commodities produced by developing as well as developed countries, as well as by purchase if need be. WFP was urged to set up priorities and criteria for its activities in connexion with the Second Development Decade. Others cautioned against overloading the WFP with diverse functions which may lessen the effectiveness of the Programme. The Programme was asked to attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of its aid not only in terms of the success of individual projects but of its overall effect on a country's development. In his reply, the Executive Director said that the question of priorities would be discussed at the Nineteenth Session of the IGC. As for the evaluation of projects in relation to their overall effect on countries' economies, he felt that this would only be possible in the case of very large projects. In reply to a query he said that despite the smaller amount of resources available, the Programme could still consider requests for reconstruction assistance following emergencies as in the Philippines.
85. The Council considered that the objectives of the WFP should be brought more fully to the notice of Governments, and that more direct assistance should be given to governments in identifying and preparing projects to enable the countries of all regions to make more rational use of the Programme's resources. The Council requested the Executive Director to carry out a study for the purpose of simplifying the handling of projects, and to submit it to the Fifty-Sixth Council Session.
86. The Council took note of the Eighth Annual Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of the World Food Programme.
1 CL 55/14.
2 WFP/IGC: 16/21.
3 WFP/IGC: 17/16.
4 WFP/IGC: 17/5 Rev.1.
87. The Council elected by acclamation the following members to serve a term of three years beginning 1 January 1971 on the Intergovernmental Committee of the World Food Programme: France, the Federal Republic of Germany, New Zealand and Uruguay.