17. The Report of the Sixth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) 2 was presented by the Assistant Director-General (Fisheries) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee who was unable to be present.
18. The Council endorsed the Report of the Sixth Session of COFI, expressed its satisfaction with the way COFI was discharging its responsibilities and emphasized its major role with respect to the world's fisheries, constituting an international forum of great importance in reviewing fishery problems with a view to their solution, in addition to the valuable guidance it provided in the formulation and implementation of FAO's programme of work in the field of fisheries. The Council's attention was drawn to the suggestion of the Programme Committee, at its Nineteenth Session, that COFI might put major emphasis, at its non-Conference year sessions, on the medium- and longer-term aspects rather than on the biennial Programme of Work and Budget.
19. The Council agreed to authorize the participation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in the work of the Coordinating Working Party on Atlantic Fishery Statistics (CWP), and noted that the appointment by ICCAT of up to four experts to the CWP would not involve any cost to the Organization.
20. The Council unanimously endorsed the establishment of a Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa under Article VI-2 of the Constitution, and adopted the following resolution:
COMMITTEE FOR INLAND FISHERIES OF AFRICA
Recognizing the demonstrated importance of inland fisheries to Africa and the urgent need for consolidation of efforts in the further development of these fisheries;
Noting that the need for the establishment of an inland fishery body for Africa was stressed in particular by the Fifth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, the Sixth FAO Regional Conference for Africa and the Fifteenth Session of the FAO Conference;
Taking account of the conclusions reached by African Member Nations at the Ad Hoc Consultation on the Proposed Establishment of an Inland Fishery Body for Africa, held in Rome on 13 and 14 April 1971, and the recommendations of the Sixth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries;
Authorizes the Director-General to establish, under Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution, a Committee to be known as the “Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa”, and to promulgate Statutes for the Committee based on the draft Statutes contained in Appendix F to document CL 56/4.
21. The Council stressed the importance of the inland fishery resources of Africa as a source of protein, and their contribution to economic development. It therefore recognized the vital role that the proposed body could play in the rational and increased utilization of these resources, particularly in waters shared by a number of states.
1 CL 56/PV-5 and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 56/4.
22. The Council expressed its satisfaction with the programme of work proposed for the forthcoming biennium for the Fisheries Department, as endorsed by COFI. Several members expressed concern at the inadequate level of resources proposed to be allocated to the Department of Fisheries, although it was noted that the budgetary stringency affected the entire Organization. They also expressed the hope that the Director-General would seek to channel additional funds to the Department of Fisheries in the course of the next biennium, if these could be found from savings within the Organization or from outside sources and that, in the medium term, the Director-General would see his way to reverting to a growth rate for the Department of Fisheries as originally envisaged by the Conference at its Thirteenth Session (1965).
23. The Council noted with appreciation the important field programme for the fisheries sector executed by the Department of Fisheries, which reflected its responsibility to assist developing countries in expanding their fishery industries. It emphasized the importance of an integrated field programme which reflected varying needs of Member Nations, which mobilized technical assistance funds from a number of multilateral and bilateral aid agencies and which benefited from the high level of technical backstopping that the Department of Fisheries was able to provide. Several members expressed particular satisfaction at the progress achieved in the formulation of the International Indian Ocean Fishery Survey and Development Programme. The Council placed on record its appreciation of the contribution made by the Government of Norway in the form of a research and survey vessel for use in fishery development projects.
24. The Council noted with interest the discussion of COFI on the role of FAO in the management of fishery resources. It recognized that there was some divergence of views on this matter and that discussions would continue at future sessions of the Committee. Some members felt that FAO should, in view of its constitutional responsibilities, take the lead in furthering measures for resource management, especially through its own regional fishery bodies. Others, however, felt that management bodies set up outside the framework of FAO, by international convention, were preferable as they would enable important fishing nations that were not member nations of FAO to participate fully in the work of these bodies. The Council agreed on the usefulness to all fishing countries of FAO's work in biological and statistical data development and stock assessment. Several members pointed out the complexity in formulating management measures as they required taking into consideration economic, social and industrial conditions of the countries concerned in addition to the scientific factors relating to conservation. It was stressed that these conditions varied from area to area and solutions could best be found on a regional basis.
25. The Council noted the collaboration between FAO and other international agencies, particularly in the field of marine pollution and marine sciences. It welcomed the results of the FAO Technical Conference on Marine Pollution and its Effects on Living Resources and on Fishing (Rome, December 1970), and expressed the hope that FAO would play an effective role in the implementation of its recommendations. It was nevertheless pointed out that FAO should recognize the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's (IOC) major responsibilities in the field of fundamental research.
26. The Council endorsed the views expressed by COFI regarding the contribution requested from FAO by the Sea-Bed Committee in preparation for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea 1. It noted that work was in progress. Several members cautioned that, in view of the political and legal aspects involved in this conference, the material to be provided by FAO should be restricted to scientific and technical matters subject to prior specific request of the above committee. The Council agreed that the importance of fishery issues made it desirable to include fishery experts on national delegations at future sessions of the Sea-Bed Committee.
27. The report of the session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry (Rome, 1–6 February 1971) 3 was presented by its Chairman, E.P. Cliff (U.S.A.) The Council's attention was drawn to a number of matters on which it might wish to give guidance to the Director-General and advice to the Conference.
1 See para. 65 below.
2 CL 56/PV-5.
3 CL 56/8.
28. The Council noted the growing importance of forestry in the national economies of the world, as evidenced by the rapid rise now occurring in world demand for timber and timber products and the increasing volume both of extra-budgetary funds put at the disposal of FAO for action in the forestry sector and of requests for assistance in this sector. The Council therefore considered that the establishment of a Committee on Forestry under Article V.6 of the FAO Constitution would be of considerable assistance to the Organization in discharging its responsibilities in the field of forestry, and expressed the hope that the Conference, at its Sixteenth Session, would approve the establishment of this Committee, in agreement with the draft resolution recommended by the Council at its Fifty-fifth Session. The Council noted that the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry felt that the proposed Committee on Forestry could make its greatest impact on programme development by concentrating on medium-and longer-term programme plans rather than on the Programme of Work and Budget for the immediately ensuing biennium, and indicated that this was in full accord with the terms of reference set out for the proposed committee for approval by the Conference.
29. The Council endorsed the report of the session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry, with the following additional comments.
30. The Council shared the views of the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry that the three priorities in the forestry field for the medium-term should be: modernization and strengthening of the forestry institutional infrastructure; integrated development planning of forestry and forest industries; and forestry action related to the conservation of the human environment. However, it was pointed out that other areas of activity were becoming of growing importance and concern to most member countries and that these should occupy a prominent place in the programme of the Forestry Department. The areas thus singled out were: forestry education; tropical forest management; forest resource surveys; afforestation and reforestation, especially in arid zones and marginal lands and in connexion with the growing concern over the process of desertification now being experienced in several parts of the world; logging and transport and the industrial utilization of forest products, particularly from broad-leaved species; and trade and marketing of forest products, particularly of timber from tropical and sub-tropical zones.
31. The Council noted the concern expressed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry at the fact that very little additional resources had been proposed for the forestry sector for the 1972–73 biennium, and its doubts as to whether the resources allocated to the Forestry Department were in proportion to the greatly increased efforts being made by Member Nations to develop their forestry potential, and the consequent requests being made to FAO for assistance in the forestry field. The Council, while sharing this concern and recognizing that FAO, as the only international organization covering the whole field of forestry and forest products activities, should devote increasing attention to forestry problems, decided in agreement with the recommendations of the Programme Committee, that under the present circumstances the Director-General's proposals for the 1972–73 biennium should be kept at the level proposed.
32. The Council noted the Department's decision to discontinue publication of the forestry quarterly “Unasylva”. It realized that the publication of this quarterly laid a heavy financial burden on the budget of the Forestry Department and appreciated the reasons for the Department's decision to discontinue publication, but expressed the hope that some way be found, compatible with the Department's financial position, to provide for an alternative means of ensuring continuance of the link that “Unasylva” had provided between the Forestry Department and forest services and institutions in member countries. The Council also recommended, that if savings were available for Forestry Department activities in the Near East region, consideration should be given to including in the Programme of Work the organization of the two seminars, on sand-dune fixation and on regulating and controlling forest grazing respectively, recommended by the Near East Forestry Commission at its Sixth Session.
33. The Council agreed that, should the Conference at its next Session approve the establishment of a Committee on Forestry, the proposals for the Programme of Work to be submitted to the Committee by the Forestry Department should follow the pattern adopted for the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry, and should include an estimate of the external resources expected to be available, so that the total resources anticipated could be considered sub-programme by sub-programme. The Programme of Work proposals should also contain detailed information on field operations activities, including data on the resources from both Regular Programme and extra-budgetary funds, and an analysis of the impact of field operations activities on the implementation of the Regular Programme.
34. The Council noted that although four working groups of the North American Forestry Commission were being replaced by informal cooperation in the fields they had covered, and that discontinuance of the Joint FAO/IUFRO Committee on Bibliography and Terminology was being contemplated, the Ad Hoc Committee on Forestry had recommended the continuance of the six Regional Forestry Commissions, notwithstanding the probable establishment of a Committee on Forestry. The Council agreed that these Regional Forestry Commissions should be maintained, subject to re-examination after sufficient experience had been gained with the activities of the proposed Committee on Forestry. The Council also recommended that all the other statutory bodies for which the Forestry Department was responsible, be kept under constant review by the Department in order to ensure that their activities and performance were in full agreement with the directives set out by the FAO Conference for the establishment and continuance of statutory bodies.
35. The Council heard with pleasure the information given by the Representative of Argentina regarding preparations for the Seventh World Forestry Congress, and took note of the assurance given that invitations to the Congress would be extended to all Member Nations of FAO and the UN, without exception. The Council recommended to Member Nations that they provide the Argentine Government with full collaboration and support in ensuring the success of the Congress.
36. The Council considered the document presented by the Director-General 2 proposing an intensification of the dairy development scheme and the fertilizer programme, expanded activities in connexion with pesticides as well as farm machinery and implements, and the initiation of a new scheme for seed development. The paper also proposed the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Food Production Resources to assist and advise the Director-General in coordinating and guiding the planning, formulation and implementation of FAO's activities in this field and to intensify contacts with regional and private banks, industrial leaders, government agencies and major non-governmental organizations.
37. The Council expressed its satisfaction with the emphasis on action, and fully supported the proposals aimed at assuring an increased and efficient use of food production resources in line with the recommendations of the Second World Food Congress. It recognized that its main purpose would be to enhance the development of food production in line with the rapidly increasing demand in developing countries. The Council noted that FAO's assistance in increasing the supplies of food production resources would be exercised as an integral part of the “Country Programming” procedures involving the identification and selection of projects which can absorb inputs to make them as effective as possible. Some members pointed out that there were, however, limitations to the extent to which multilateral organizations could participate in increasing the flow of food production resources, the bulk of which would continue to come from bilateral aid and individual country resources. FAO's role would mainly be one of encouraging, guiding and stimulating these efforts, with emphasis on the promotion of integrated pilot projects utilizing a package of inputs combined with the provision of technical know-how and the necessary infrastructure to assure maximum impact.
1 CL 56/PV-3, CL 56/PV-13 and CL 56/PV-16.
2 CL 56/7.
38. The Council noted that it was not envisaged to create a new scheme or structure outside the scope of FAO's existing activities but to ensure more rapid and effective progress in various FAO activities which have proved necessary and useful. The proposed activities would be carried out with existing resources with such adjustments within the available Regular Programme and extra-budgetary funds as necessary and possible. In this connexion, the Council recognized that any limitations in the capacity of FAO to undertake the basic surveys and to assist in pilot operations, training of personnel and infrastructure development might, for a number of countries, become a serious obstacle in absorbing rapidly increasing quantities of inputs.
39. The Council agreed with the broad “types of assistance” proposed which were related to various stages of development and accordingly differed from country to country, i.e.:
basic surveys to identify the critical factors which are either holding back or have the greatest potential for the increased use of inputs;
development of the necessary infrastructure and provision of trained personnel, where appropriate input policies have been formulated;
provision of inputs on easy terms, where infrastructure and know-how are available but lack of foreign exchange prevents the application of inputs on a large scale.
40. The Council expressed its satisfaction that the proposed activities would receive guidance by the continuing work on the Perspective Study of World Agricultural Development, and that studies and other analytical work in connexion with food production resources should become increasingly action-oriented to facilitate operational decisions as to direction, size and composition of input programmes.
41. Attention was drawn to the high cost of food production resources and also of transport which, particularly for land-locked countries, presented a major disincentive for their increased use.
42. Following the discussion of the general aspects of activities related to food production resources, the Council reviewed the specific action programmes presented in document CL 56/7.
43. The Council noted the proposals related to dairy development aiming at securing an integrated approach to all aspects of production, processing and marketing. It stressed the need for restricting the number of studies and development plans being prepared, which should bear in mind the resources available for follow-up investment. The Council recognized that the Scheme now operated under the supervision of the CCP constituted a flexible system for coordinating available resources of external assistance for dairy development in the developing countries rather than being a “resource”. Some members therefore felt that it should not be included in a paper concerned with food production resources proper. Other members, however, expressed the view that the Scheme represented a pattern to be followed in mobilizing assistance in other sectors of agriculture.
44. The Council drew attention to the impressive work being done in the field of fertilizer use development, including experimental work, demonstration and extension, as well as pilot schemes for the distribution of fertilizer. The need for a parallel improvement in credit, storage and transport facilities was stressed.
45. The Council stressed the need for facilitating the safe and effective use of pesticides, and the importance of developing and promoting approaches to pest control which involved the integration of both biological and chemical methods. Regarding the establisment with UNDP/SF assistance of a global project for agricultural pesticides research, with emphasis on the development of less persistent, more specific pesticides, the Council noted that this was in line with FAO's policy to assist and encourage research in certain areas of importance to developing countries.
46. The Council welcomed the action programme proposed in connexion with farm machinery and implements. It emphasized the need for establishing machinery-testing units in developing countries to ensure that only suitable machinery would be imported, together with the necessary spare parts. It was also important to consider the employment aspects of mechanization, which should assist in increasing productivity but should not lead to the replacement of agricultural labour.
47. Regarding the proposals for the initiation of a new programme for seed development, the Council emphasized that this could not be considered as a new activity since FAO had been concerned with the question of seed production and utilization for some considerable time. Emphasis should be on the integration with other production factors.
48. Regarding the proposal for the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Food Production Resources under Article VI-2 of the Constitution, some members emphasized the advantages of establishing such a Committee as an advisory body to the Director-General, while others felt that such responsibilities should be assumed by the proposed Committee on Agriculture. A few members were of the opinion that an Inter-Departmental Working Group following the pattern of the Dairy Scheme would be more appropriate.
49. The Council endorsed the proposed activities related to food production resources and agreed that it would assume responsibility for keeping the problem under constant review. The Council requested the Director-General to report to it at future sessions.
50. At its Fifty-Fifth Session, the Council gave preliminary consideration to the results of the World Conference2. The Council now considered the recommendations of the World Conference and the follow-up action proposed by the Director-General 3. It endorsed in general the recommendations of the World Conference, and agreed to the proposals for action set out in the document. A number of members wished to see the issues for necessary action given in priority order, although it was recognized that priorities vary from country to country. Reservations were made, however, regarding the proposal for a Second World Conference before the end of the present decade.
51. The Council stressed the need to regard agricultural education and training as an essential element for economic and social progress. Several members felt that a large effort must be made by the countries and FAO at the intermediate and lower levels, as well as towards integrating education with research and extension. Attention was drawn to the importance of non-formal education for the masses who receive little or no formal instruction, to the need for emphasizing collective and group action through farmers' organizations and cooperatives, and to close cooperation with producers' organizations in developing agricultural education and training programmes.
52. Attention was also drawn to the need for the Director-General to consider ways in which FAO might direct its activities to give real support to the recommendations of the World Conference. Several members felt that FAO should pay particular attention to the planning and coordination of agricultural education and training. It was felt that more use could be made of Special Fund projects in developing training facilities. A number of members stressed the need for the closer adaption of general approaches to the field requirements. In this connexion the need for more regional agricultural education officers was emphasized. Several members underlined the need to examine the proposed Programme of Work and Budget for 1972–73 and the Medium Term Programme, with a view to ensuring that FAO could implement properly the recommendations of the World Conference.
53. The Council, in endorsing the inter-agency endeavour that was manifested at the Copenhagen Conference, expressed the hope that no effort would be spared in the future to develop cooperation on the basis of complementarity, and avoid the waste or duplication of resources. Stress was laid on the importance of inter-departmental and inter-agency cooperation in the overall planning of action and assistance at country level. Several members requested that particular attention be given in future to informing the FAO/Unesco/ILO Joint Advisory Committee on Agricultural Education, Science and Training promptly on major issues without waiting for the annual meeting, and to consulting the Advisory Committee members when appropriate in between meetings. It was also desirable that proper budgetary provision should exist in FAO for its share of the FAO/Unesco/ILO Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Agricultural Education, Science and Training, and that similar inter-secretariat cooperation should be developed at the field level.
1 CL 56/PV-3 and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 55/11.
3 CL 56/9.
54. The Council expressed its satisfaction with the report submitted to it 2, and noted the detailed clarifications which had been provided in response to the request from the Council at its Fifty-Fifth Session. It was felt that the Scheme had already made a significant contribution in providing supplementary development assistance to developing countries wishing to utilize the services of associate experts.
55. The Council welcomed the Director-General's proposal to issue new instructions to the Secretariat, defining the objectives of the Scheme and criteria for the terms and conditions applicable to the recruitment and posting of associate experts. In this connexion the Council noted with satisfaction the progressive reduction in the number of associate experts working at Headquarters, and that by far the major part of associate experts would be attached to field projects. The Council endorsed the Programme Committee's opinion to the effect that the use of associate experts at Headquarters should be strictly restricted, that their assignments should be of such a nature that there would be no consequential distortion of, or establishment of new commitments on, the approved Programme of Work and Budget and that no distortion would result in the Organization's geographic distribution of professional staff.
56. The Council noted the proposal recommended in the Joint Report of the Programme and Finance Committees of June 1971 3 supported by the Director-General, for a further strengthening of this Scheme by providing for the recruitment of associate experts from developing countries financed by donor countries. Some members expressed certain reservations on this proposal, particularly with regard to the possible problems which may arise both from the point of view of the developing countries utilizing the services of associate experts recruited from other developing countries, and from the point of view of the developing countries from which an associate expert might be recruited. It was however recommended that the FAO Secretariat should ensure full consultation and agreement by all parties concerned to proceed in recruitment or placement of associate experts from or to developing countries. It was accordingly agreed that this new development might be initiated on a trial basis, taking into account the particular wishes of those developing countries which wish to participate either by offering a candidate for recruitment as an associate expert or requesting the services of an associate expert.
57. The Council had before it document CL 56/11 on matters arising out of the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC, and ACC, and a supplementary document on protein matters5.
58. The Council noted that, in the light of discussions at its Fifty-Fifth Session, and in response to the various relevant UN General Assembly resolutions on decolonization, the Director-General had pursued his consultations with the Administrative Secretary-General of the OAU.
1 CL 56/PV-4 and CL 56/PV-18.
2 CL 56/10.
3 CL 56/3.
4 CL 56/PV-5 and CL 56/PV-6.
5 CL 56/11 Add. 1.
59. As a result of these consultations, the Director-General had agreed to set up a Mission, led by his Regional Representative for Africa and comprising a senior member of FAO's Headquarters staff and a representative of the World Food Programme. The Mission's main task was to explore ways and means of dealing with the two main issues in the relevant UN General Assembly resolutions which called for action by FAO in cooperation with OAU. These issues related to (i) working out concrete programmes, in the areas of competence of FAO, to assist peoples struggling to liberate themselves in the territories covered by the resolutions; and (ii) examining the possibility of providing for participation where necessary and appropriate, in conferences, seminars and other regional meetings of FAO, of the leaders of liberation movements in the colonial territories in Africa. In this connexion the Mission would meet with the OAU and through it, with certain interested governments and others concerned.
60. A number of members supported the Director-General's initiative in the matter, and were in favour of the participation of liberation movement leaders in relevant FAO meetings, in an appropriate capacity. Others felt, however, that FAO as a technical agency, should not become involved in such political issues. They pointed out that the General Assembly resolutions were intended as recommendations, to be viewed in the light of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and General Rules of the Organization.
61. The Director-General suggested to the Council that consideration of such basic issues was, at this point, premature. The FAO Mission to the OAU would be exploring all the relevant factors involved. Its findings would then be brought by the Director-General before the governing bodies of the Organization for appropriate action. The Council decided to await the receipt of further information on developments in this matter from the Director-General at its next session.
62. The Council agreed that efforts should be intensified to close the protein gap, and that FAO should retain leadership in this field. It therefore welcomed the action taken by the Director-General to expand and rename the Protein Advisory Group to serve the whole UN family, and make it truly representative of all interested UN organizations in a concerted effort to find solutions to this complex problem.
63. The Council was generally opposed to an unnecessary proliferation of UN bodies, and reiterated the views expressed at its previous session questioning the contribution that any additional body could make in alleviating protein malnutrition. Some members felt that any such new body might indeed diffuse and hinder existing efforts to this end. However, some other members stressed the need to wait until the whole question was examined in other UN fora, before taking a specific position on proposals for any new body. The Council generally endorsed the lines of action which the Director-General proposed pursuing at the next session of ACC and of ECOSOC on this subject.
64. The Council also commended the Director-General for his efforts to mobilize inter-agency cooperation in furthering the impact of the “Green Revolution”. It expressed the hope that the socio-economic effects of the new technology would be given appropriate attention, and that his initiative would now lead to meaningful action-oriented programmes. The Council noted that the Director-General would bring the matter to the attention of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference, together with the views of ECOSOC.
65. The Council also took note of the other items brought to its attention, and in particular to FAO's contribution to the forthcoming UN Conference on the Law of the Sea 1, to be convened in 1973. In this context, it was felt that since this conference would be mainly concerned with the legal and political aspects of the matter, FAO's contribution should concentrate on the technical implications where they affected conservation and use of the sea's living resources, and preservation of the marine environment.
66. The Council took note of document CL 56/12, presented in accordance with Resolution 3/55 of the Council's last session, requesting the Director-General to report on measures taken to cooperate fully in a spirit of partnership with the UNDP in the implementation of the Consensus, and to report on his review of, and on action taken with regard to, FAO's organizational structure, with a view to its adaption to FAO's operational activities financed by the UNDP.
1 See para. 26 above.
2 CL 56/PV-6.
3 See paras. 187 and 204 below.
67. The Council was pleased to note that the cooperation between FAO and UNDP was progressing well on the lines of the Consensus, and that the proportion of UNDP projects assigned to FAO represented a demonstration of the confidence in FAO's capacity to provide the required development assistance.
68. The Council noted with interest that all Senior Agricultural Advisers (SAA)/FAO Country Representatives serving in the countries within the Latin America, Africa, Near East and Far East regions were convened at FAO Headquarters to participate in two group seminars. The first seminar was held from 8 to 22 March 1971, and the second from 6 to 21 May 1971. It was reported that during these seminars, there was a full exchange of views and experience between the SAA/FAO Country Representatives, Headquarters' staff primarily involved in FAO's field activities and the Regional Representatives concerned. It was indicated that an attempt was made to utilize all of FAO inputs for the attainment of improved methods and procedures for country and inter-country programming, including the rendering of assistance in project formulation, appraisal, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and for the strengthening of the integration between UNDP and other multilateral or bilateral programmes. It was generally felt that these seminars provided a good opportunity to better equip the SAA/FAO Country Representatives for discharging their combined functions both as Senior Agricultural Advisers to the Resident Representatives and as FAO Country Representatives.
69. It was noted with interest that 20 countries had completed their country programming exercises and had submitted their respective programmes to the UNDP for the approval of the UNDP Governing Council at its January 1972 session. These countries were as follows:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Chad, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Cyprus, Fiji, Ghana, India, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Panama, Philippines, Tanzania, Togo, Venezuela, Western Samoa, Yugoslavia, Zambia.
70. The Council was informed that detailed country (and inter-country) programming procedures were being formulated, that work on the country programming “briefs” had been initiated, and that more intensive follow-up action would be required in respect of the above-mentioned 20 country programmes which had been submitted for UNDP approval. In this connexion, clarification was requested on the respective roles of the Economic Analysis and Area Service Divisions with regard to country profiles, country files and country programming briefs. Recognizing that detailed procedures were not yet fully worked out on this complex matter, the Council requested that, in evolving these procedures, account should be taken of the need to avoid possible overlapping between the two divisions on the one hand, and, on the other hand, between FAO country files and those maintained by the UNDP Resident Representative.
71. Some concern was also expressed on the lack of clarity in defining the respective roles of the Regional Offices, Headquarters and the SAA/FAO Country Representatives in country programming. It was agreed that a report clarifying these issues should be submitted to the next session of the Council.
72. The Council expressed satisfaction at the progress made by FAO in the preparation of its contributions to the Stockholm conference. The Chairman of the Programme Committee reported that at its Nineteenth Session (April/May 1971) 2 this Committee had also discussed this matter, and had suggested that future FAO activities in the field of the human environment should be more clearly defined in future programmes. The Committee was also of the opinion that the plan of action which could be adopted at Stockholm should not lead to the creation of a new multilateral machinery nor to an encroachment on the areas of competence of FAO. The Council supported these recommendations of the Programme Committee.
1 CL 56/13 and CL 56/PV-6.
2 CL 56/3, paras. 132–134.
73. The Chairman of the FAO Inter-Departmental Working Group on Natural Resources and Human Environment reported that inter-governmental and inter-agency consultations were now being undertaken by the secretariat of the Stockholm conference on the action proposals which were submitted in the basic papers prepared by FAO, other agencies and governments on the various topics of the conference agenda. Coordination of all the FAO contributions in this respect would continue to be ensured by the Inter-Departmental Working Group, with the assistance of ad hoc FAO Secretariat teams on specific subjects. The role of the ACC Functional Group on Human Environment was also mentioned as an element of inter-agency coordination in this area.
74. The Council stressed the importance of FAO's responsibilities in the field of conservation and management of natural resources and the environment, and considered it essential that the Organization should play a major role in the preparation of the action proposals to be submitted to the governments represented at the Stockholm conference. It further noted that the decisions to be taken at this conference would have an important bearing on FAO's future programmes of work, and that it was therefore preferable for FAO not to initiate any new major programme of activities in this field prior to this conference, besides the existing regular and field programmes.
75. The Council also emphasized the need for FAO to take a constructive and positive attitude on the problems of the environment, and to assist in providing solutions to these problems in the context of socio-economic development. Concern was expressed by some developing countries regarding the possibility of additional constraints being put on them as a result of decisions taken by governments at the Stockholm conference. It was, however, mentioned that in the agenda of that conference a major subject area would be devoted to the problems of environment and development, and that several seminars would be organized on this subject by ECLA, ECAFE and ECA in the coming months in order to ensure that the views of developing countries were taken into account in this respect.
76. The Council noted that by Resolution 2735A (XXV) of the UN General Assembly the continuation of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) was extended on an experimental basis until 31 December 1973, and that the General Assembly had decided to review the question of the Unit at its Twenty-Seventh Session, for which purpose it requested the views of the participating organizations, including those of the governing bodies of the Specialized Agencies. The Programme and Finance Committees in their Joint Report to the Council 2 had stated that they would study this complex question in depth at their next sessions in 1971.
77. The Council also noted the comments by the Director-General and by the Executive Director of the World Food Programme on the Joint Inspection Unit Report on “Methods of Computing Reimbursements for Services Supplied by FAO to the World Food Programme”, and that this report would be on the agenda of the next session of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of the World Food Programme. In this connexion the Council further noted that an internal working party, which had been established by the Director-General of FAO and the Executive Director of the World Food programme to recommend changes to reduce duplication in activities between FAO and WFP particularly in the financial and budgetary areas, would take into consideration implementation of the JIU Report, and that the report of the working party would be submitted to the next session of the IGC.
78. The Council decided that the discussion on the extension of the Unit and on the JIU report on the World Food Programme should be placed on the agenda of the next Council session, at which time it would have the benefit of the review of the Programme and Finance Committees and of the views of IGC. One member suggested that, in the meantime, prudent management of funds be exercised in order to control the already high expenditures of the administrative costs of the Programme.
1 CL 56/PV-6.
2 CL 56/3.
79. The Council endorsed the Director-General's approach, and welcomed the growing support for agricultural research in and on behalf of the developing countries. While recognizing the urgent need for practical action aimed at achieving early technical breakthroughs, it noted with satisfaction that attention would also be devoted to problems of accelerating socio-economic progress.
80. The Council stressed the importance of effective coordination between international action in research and the development of national research capability. Although significant advances had been and could continue to be made through international and regional research programmes, where resources could be mobilized which were beyond the financial capability of individual developing countries, such efforts should be complementary to national programmes, as well as to FAO/UNDP support of projects at the national level. These programmes and projects might well provide a means for wider testing and/or application of results of international or regional programmes, but international and national action should be mutually reinforcing within an overall research network.
81. In discussing the Consultative Group, some reservations were expressed as to whether the super-structure proposed might not be unnecessarily complex. The Council was informed, however, that the Consultative Group was in no sense a new international body, but an informal association of countries and agencies which had as its objective the identification of important gaps and weaknesses in research in or on behalf of the developing countries, the determination of priorities for action to fill these gaps, and the mobilization of financial resources to do so on a voluntary basis by individual members or groups of members. The Technical Advisory Committee had been formed to give it the necessary expert guidance on which to formulate its decisions. This had deliberately been kept small, although covering as wide a range of disciplines and geographical expertise as possible, and would be supported by small working groups convened on an ad hoc basis to focus additional knowledge on specific identified problems. Such working groups would not become permanent or institutionalized: the Consultative Group was strongly action-oriented and wished to develop a financing programme to be initiated in 1972, it did however wish to base its decisions on sound technical judgements and saw the mechanism described in paragraphs 7 and 8 of document CL 56/18 as the most effective way of obtaining such advice.
82. The Council requested that the developing countries' needs be adequately taken into account in the new initiatives in international agricultural research. It noted that half of the members of the Technical Advisory Committee were scientists from developing countries, and that all the members had considerable experience of the problems of the developing world. The Consultative Group had wished for a Technical Advisory Committee composed of distinguished scientists, independent in the sense that they were not nominees of individual agencies or governments, but in addition it recognized the need for adequate representation of the official views of developing countries at its own meetings. It had therefore invited the FAO Conference to arrange for five representatives, on the basis of one country being agreed on by the Governments of each developing region 2, to represent the countries of that region at meetings of the Consultative Group during the next two years. A recommendation along these lines would be submitted to the Conference as part of the overall progress report on the subject of international and regional research.
83. The Council strongly supported the proposal for the establishment of an agricultural research information system for the developing countries, as a means of ensuring the most efficient utilization of existing research facilities, making them complementary, and avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort. In addition to cooperation with other ongoing efforts to catalogue and coordinate research activities in the developing countries, the Council considered that FAO's own wide experience should be drawn on to the full and fed into this system. In this respect it felt that the creation of an Inter-Departmental Research Committee within FAO was most timely.
1 CL 56/18, CL 56/PV-6 and CL 56/PV-18.
2 i.e. Africa, Asia and the Far East, Latin America, the Near East and the developing countries of Eastern and Southern Europe.
84. The Council noted with satisfaction that FAO was currently preparing a proposal for a Computerized Agricultural Research Information Project for consideration by the first session of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, which was to be held at FAO Headquarters at the end of June 1971. The main objectives of this were twofold: first to define what agricultural research was being undertaken in or on behalf of developing countries, where it was located, and what resources were being allocated to it; second, to enable workers on any given problem to consult with others in the same field.
85. The Council felt that the establishment of such a system would not only be of great value in assisting the Consultative Group to determine where the main gaps and weaknesses lay within the existing research infrastructure, but would also help FAO to keep abreast of the latest developments and thus strengthen its service to its member countries.
86. The Council recalled that the Conference at its Fifteenth Session had approved the list of sessions and conferences for the 1970–71 biennium to be financed under the Regular Programme. It was however recognized that in exceptional circumstances certain unscheduled sessions might be necessary, and the Fourteenth Session of the Conference had authorized the Director-General to make such exceptions when in his view this was necessary for the implementation of the Programme of Work as approved by the Conference, subject, however, to these exceptions being reported to the next session of the Council.
87. The Council noted that since the 23 unscheduled sessions approved between 1 January and 15 November 1970 had been reported to its Fifty-Fifth Session, 16 additional sessions had been approved. It also noted that since the 15 cancelled sessions had been reported to its Fifty-Fifth Session, a further 28 approved sessions had been cancelled, making a total from 1 January 1970 to 27 May 1971 of 39 unscheduled sessions and 43 cancellations.
88. The Council was informed that strict criteria were applied before unscheduled sessions were approved. The session must be of service to Member Nations, in line with the objectives of the approved Programme of Work and convened within the resources of the Organization. Reports of all sessions were scrutinized and critically reviewed to ensure that the session was effective, and to screen potential future commitments. Cancellations were also carefully screened.
89. The Council noted that sessions planned for the last part of a biennium had to be scheduled up to two and a half years in advance. It recognized that it was necessary to have some flexibility in order to be able to keep up with developments, for example the unscheduled sessions on remote sensing and on protein.
90. As regards the impact of programme budgeting, the Council was advised that the list of sessions for the 1972–73 biennium would be issued before the Sixteenth Session of the Conference, and would include the numbers of the relevant sub-programmes. In future biennia, it was envisaged that the programme budget would include more detail on sessions.
91. The Council requested the Director-General to include information on the costs of each session in future reports on unscheduled and cancelled sessions.
92. The Council approved the exceptions and cancellations effected between 16 November 1970 and 27 May 1971, a list of which is given in Appendix E to this Report.
1 CL 56/PV-8.