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Perspective Study of World Agricultural Development and International Strategy for the Second Development Decade1

7. The Council noted that in accordance with the request of its Fifty-Fifth Session, document CL 56/2 summarized the basic approach to the Perspective Study and identified the main elements or component studies together with the timetable and working arrangements proposed. A supplementary paper had been prepared on the same subject 2, following the recommendations of the Nineteenth Session of the Programme Committee and taking into account developments up to date.

8. The Council expressed satisfaction that the direction of the work on the Perspective Study in CL 56/2 was in accordance with the recommendations contained in Conference Resolution 1/69, and accepted the additional guidelines presented to it. 2 It noted that the Perspective Study was seen as essentially a process rather than a document, though the main policy conclusions derived therefrom would be brought together periodically to produce integrated global perspectives. It was indicated that the Study could also serve the purpose of providing the necessary planning background for analyzing specific issues of timely importance, as well as maintaining the available material in a form suitable for ready use in providing assistance to countries and country groupings. Some members considered that the concept of the Perspective Study as presented in CL 56/2-Add. 2 was not sufficiently specific to permit countries to count on the availability of reports that could be drawn upon as reference and guidance in their national planning. The Council felt that there was a need for the timing of the Study to be stated more clearly. A number of members referred favourably to the specific timing proposed in CL 56/2.

9. The Council noted that in accordance with decisions taken in its Fifty-Fifth Session priority was being given to the Latin American Study. Appreciation was expressed of the offer of the Representative of Argentina to grant facilities for the work on his country. While noting that a major document centring around the theme of agricultural adjustment would be presented to the 1973 Session of the Conference, some members indicated that they would be concerned if there were no global results before 1975 as this would seriously limit the contribution to the international development strategy for the Second Development Decade. They felt that it was necessary to proceed more rapidly with the study. It was widely recognized, however, that resource limitations as well as the need to build up an adequate information system and develop methodologies that would take into account the differences in the nature of the problems facing the different regions, imposed severe constraints on the extent to which the pace of work could be quickened. Extra-budgetary resources should be used for this purpose, to the extent that they could be obtained.

10. Some members considered that the possibility should be examined of commencing work on the other regions parallel with that on Latin America with the intent that the global study could be produced earlier than 1975. The Council noted that whereas this proposal should be given careful examination, resource limitations were unlikely to permit putting it into practice beyond the production of specific studies on a few selected countries.

11. In this respect, it was clarified that the 1975 timing referred to the production of the global study but work on the other regions would start immediately upon completion of the Study on Latin America in 1972. During the process of such work close contacts and consultations with the governments in the respective regions would be instituted as had been done in the case of Latin America. Some members considered that the timing for the production of the first global study in 1975 was appropriate as coinciding with the first major review and appraisal. This timing would also allow the work on the Perspective Study to profit from the studies currently in progress in other organizations.

1 CL 56/PV-9, CL 56/PV-10, CL 56/PV-15 and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 56/2-Add. 2.

12. The Council supported the emphasis placed on inter-divisional cooperation within the Organization as well as the collaboration with outside agencies and organizations. It stressed the need to have adequate participation of the various substantive departments and divisions of FAO in the Perspective Study, and noted that the PAB Advisory Committee, which included the directors of all the participating divisions, would play an active role in this respect. A few members expressed the view that overall leadership and coordination of the work should be transferred from the Policy Advisory Bureau to an appropriate unit to be created in the Economic and Social Department. The Council noted the Director-General's statement that while the Economic and Social Department had a major contribution to make, the appropriate unit for leadership and coordination for the work on the Perspective Study, which involved all substantive divisions and departments, was the Policy Advisory Bureau situated in the Office of the Director-General. The resources allocated to the Policy Advisory Bureau for this task would not be increased but increasing reliance would be placed on the contributions of the individual divisions and departments.

13. The Council welcomed the emphasis placed by the Director-General on the incorporation into the analysis of social and institutional factors, but it stressed the methodological difficulties inherent in this analysis and it drew attention to the fact that decisions and action in this field belonged to the competence of the national governments. Some members felt the need for balancing the search for social goals by due attention to increasing efficiency and productivity, with due consideration to the new factors introduced by changes in technology. The Council noted that the analysis in terms of a number of alternatives reflected a correct interpretation of the Resolution 1/69. Reference was made to the need for the Second Development Decade objectives not to be lost sight of, particularly those that referred to the economic growth targets and the need for liberalizing and increasing trade.

14. The Council noted that the Study on Policy Issues for Agricultural Adjustment in Countries of Zones A and B and the OECD's appraisal of the Indicative World Plan would be valuable in providing worldwide coverage for the analysis. If agricultural adjustment was to be a major theme of the 1973 FAO Conference, several studies underway - i.e. the Developed Countries' study, the Commodity Projections, the Perspective Study on Latin America, as well as a review of regional agricultural developments since 1961–63 - would be relevant.

15. The Council requested the Director-General to provide the 1971 Conference Session with a fuller statement of the intended contents and objectives of the document to be presented to the 1973 Conference Session.

16. The Council welcomed participation of FAO in the Review and Appraisal activities of the UN bodies and Organizations and stressed the need for the UN to rely on the Specialized Agencies for functional (sectoral) review and appraisal. Some members reported that their governments had formulated long-term perspective plans which could be of great value in the review of progress during the Decade.

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