10. The Council generally endorsed the Report of the Eighth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and expressed satisfaction at the way in which COFI continued to discharge its responsibilities effectively and with great technical competence.
11. The Council considered the matters of substance to which its attention had been drawn by COFI 2 and it decided on them as follows:
it authorized the Director-General to consult with all the countries eligible to become members of a proposed fishery body for the Western Central Atlantic and in the light of these consultations to take the necessary action to establish the body in accordance with the relevant provisions of the FAO Basic Texts, it being understood that it would not be concerned with management and regulation of the fisheries;
it concurred with the view of COFI that no changes should be made at this time either in the basic structure and status of the Committee or in Rule XXX-6 of the General Rules of the Organization defining its functions. It also agreed that when the four-year trial period of open membership in the Committee was over, and the outcome of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea was known, the structure, status and functions of the Committee might again be reviewed.
12. The Council also discussed a number of other subjects arising from the Report of the Eighth Session of COFI, on which it might provide COFI with some guidance.
13. In particular, the Council agreed with the comments made by COFI on the recommendations of the Technical Conference on Fishery Management and Development (Vancouver, February 1973). It placed particular emphasis on the need to follow up recommendations on improved fishery data systems, education and training in fishery resource management and development, and aquaculture, including the holding of the Technical Conference on Aquaculture. The importance of maintaining fishery stocks was stressed as well as the significant role that regional fishery bodies play in this regard. Some members favoured the establishment of regional voluntary funds, such as the one recommended by the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, while one member reiterated reservations regarding a global voluntary fund. The Council agreed that the various avenues suggested for extra-budgetary funding should be explored simultaneously.
14. The Council expressed satisfaction at the continued contribution of FAO to preparations for the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.
1 CL 60/5, CL 60/PV/11 and CL 60/PV/17
2 See also paras 204–206 below.
15. The Council welcomed the comments provided by COFI on the proposed regular and field activities during 1974–75. It concurred with the views expressed regarding priorities, although several members felt that COFI should pay particular attention at future sessions to artisanal fisheries, fishing harbours and to all aspects - economic, social, biological and technical - of inland fisheries. In this connexion, it was suggested that COFI consider the establishment of a Sub-Committee to deal with inland fisheries. The importance of the work of FAO concerning protection of the aquatic environment was also stressed. As regard the proposed new structure for the Department of Fisheries, some members felt that it would lead to more efficient and better integrated activities, while others expressed concern over the increase in senior posts at a time when the total number of professional posts would be reduced. The Council noted the assurance of the Director-General that particular efforts were being made to secure from outside or inside the Department appointees for the new senior posts who could best contribute to a real strengthening of the Department; there would be no automatic upgrading of existing personnel. In order to carry out its responsibilities, in world fisheries, the need for maintaining the strength and efficiency of the technical staff in the Department was emphasized.
16. One member commented on the terms of reference of the ACMRR Working Party on Marine Mammals and stressed the valuable contribution these resources could make as a source of protein and other products.
17. As requested by its Fifty-Ninth Session, the Council considered the Provisional Agenda for the Second Session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG), which the Director-General had prepared in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.
18. The Council endorsed the items proposed for the Provisional Agenda and considered that the approach was in line with the mandate of the 1971 Conference that the Committee should conduct periodic reviews and appraisals of agricultural problems on a highly selective basis with a multi-disciplinary coverage of technical, economic, institutional, social and structural aspects.
19. The Council emphasized that the work of the Committee should be programme-and actionoriented, with emphasis on the medium and longer term programmes of FAO's work in the fields selected for detailed review, ensuring an integrated approach to both programming and implementation. The working papers should present the experience of member countries in the various fields and be designed to permit the Committee to clarify the nature of the action required by both FAO and Member Governments.
20. Some members pointed out that full discussion of the subjects proposed, on a multidisciplinary basis, implied inclusion of several specialists in each delegation to the Committee, and expressed doubts whether discussion sufficiently substantial to justify attendance of such delegations would be possible in plenary meetings of this open Committee.
21. The Council noted that the item Food Production Technology and Achievement of Social Goals, if the Committee could usefully consider it, would provide for a more general discussion by the Committee of agricultural development perspectives and priorities in the medium-term with particular emphasis on one of the most crucial dilemmas facing the developing countries: how to accelerate the widest possible adoption of appropriate technology in food production, processing and distribution along with the more rapid achievement of social goals in rural development, including full employment and better income distribution. It also noted that as an innovation this Agenda item would be introduced and debated by a Panel of outstanding experts in different fields, which might bring out the issues for consideration by the Committee itself. This innovation was agreed to on an experimental basis with some members emphasizing the importance of ensuring that the discussions did not become too theoretical and that the experts did not take up discussion time that should be available for delegates.
22. The Council noted that the inclusion of the item Improving Productivity in Low Rainfall Areas resulted from the discussion of the problem of less favourable environments at the First Session of the Committee which had recommended that further work be developed on this particular type of environment. The Council endorsed the concept whereby consideration of this agenda item would be inter-disciplinary and emphasized the need for a thorough review of experiences and progress made in Member Nations towards bringing these areas into the streams of agricultural development.
1 CL 60/10, CL 60/PV/6, CL 60/PV/7 and CL 60/PV/18.
23. The item Livestock Development for Meat Production was considered to be of great importance in view of the very favourable demand prospects in the high-price markets of developed countries. The Council was of the view that in order to make the subject relevant for a larger number of countries the subject be broadened to cover both aspects of milk and meat production. Accordingly, it was agreed that the item be entitled “Livestock Development for Meat and Milk Production”. The Council suggested that the working document should also refer to the review by the Inter-Governmental Group on Meat, of a proposal for implementing an FAO meat development scheme, as well as to the progress made by the International Scheme for the Coordination of Dairy Development. Some members stressed that the proposed international action for developing animal protein should not result in lower emphasis on further development of fish protein and particularly plant protein which would still remain a major source of protein in developing countries for many years to come.
24. The Council agreed with the inclusion of the item Fertilizer (Use, Production and Trade) recognizing the important role of fertilizer as a major input in agricultural development especially in view of the availability of new fertilizer responsive varieties of high yield potential. It noted that the working paper would include both technical and economic considerations such as technical research and extension, marketing and credit systems and sources of fertilizer supplies.
25. The Council noted that the item Agrarian Reform was discussed at the first session of the Committee which had suggested that it should be included as a substantive policy item on the Agenda of its second session. However, the Council requested that in preparing the working paper the Secretariat should take account of the fact that the concept of Agrarian Reform was sufficiently well defined and that many countries had initiated important programmes It noted that experiences in one country were not necessarily applicable to other countries. Moreover, the policy decisions had to remain with the countries concerned, while FAO's programmes were mainly concerned with the technical means and problems of implementation, including financial aspects, within the framework of integrated rural development.
26. The Council agreed that under the item Terms of Reference and Methods of Work of the Committee on Agriculture the experience gained during the first and second sessions should be reviewed and assessed for the benefit of the further work of the Committee which should become increasingly relevant to the objectives of the Organization. Particular attention should be given to evaluating the approach of discussing medium and long-term priorities under each substantive agenda item. The Committee should also consider the form of the programme orientation of its activities.
27. The Council noted that the specific subjects under the item Matters arising from Sessions of Governing Bodies could only be determined after the Sixtieth Council Session and the Seventeenth Conference Session. The decision of the Fifty-Ninth Session of the Council was recalled, that in this item should be included a review of field programmes.
28. The Council requested the Director-General, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, to finalize the provisional agenda for the second session taking into account the views expressed by Council members. In line with the COAG Rules of Procedure the provisional agenda would be circulated at least two months in advance of the session to all Member Nations and Associate Members of the Organization, together with the working documents prepared by the Secretariat on each agenda item.
29. The Council agreed that, in order to allow for a detailed review of each of the subjects on the agenda, the second session of the Committee should be convened for two weeks in the second half of April 1974.
30. The Council invited the Director-General to study the record of the Council discussion on this item and if he considered that further suggestions for improvements in the procedures of the Committee could usefully be made, to bring these forward to the next Council session or the Conference.
31. The Council considered the Director-General's report on the measures taken to strengthen FAO's structure in the field of rural development, particularly agrarian reform through the establishment of a new Human Resources and Institutions Division.
32. The basic approach was that “the full benefits of agrarian reform can best be obtained within the broader framework of an integrated rural development programme”. Initially, a Policy and Planning Unit had been created within the Division to develop the broad approach to integrated rural development for the Division and for FAO as a whole. Experience gained during the last year, however, had indicated that this basic principle could be more effectively implemented by introducing certain new arrangements in the Division.
33. The Council was informed that according to these arrangements, the responsibility for broad policy and programme guidelines for integrated rural development and agrarian reform would rest with the Director of the Division in the form of assistance from special advisers located in his office. This would make possible the identification of the contributions required from all the Services in the Division and would also provide a better basis for joint or interrelated activities in these fields with other Units of the Organization. For this latter purpose, it might be found advisable to establish an Inter-Divisional Working Party on Integrated Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.
34. The Council expressed satisfaction with and approval of the measures so far taken by the Director-General and agreed with the basic approach on integrated rural development as a means of achieving the objectives of socio-economic development, but several members stressed that agrarian reform was, in some countries, the starting point for such development programmes and a prerequisite for integrated rural development. The Council recognized that the additional arrangements indicated by the Director-General, might be desirable as progress was made in evaluating and developing the full potentialities of the new Division.
35. The Council urged that integrated rural development and agrarian reform approaches should be designed according to the special characteristics and needs of specific countries and not merely transplanted from other regions or countries. It stressed, however, the importance of studying existing successful cooperative and other tenure and production associative structures and adapting them to facilitate people's participation and the adoption of advanced technology.
36. In view of their importance, many members suggested a constant review of tenure and production structures and their adaptation to the economic and social development processes of the different countries. In this regard the French delegate informed the Council that his Government was willing to sponsor a study on Agricultural Social Protection Systems and Structural Aids in Europe. The Hungarian delegate stated that his Government would sponsor in 1974 a seminar to support action in the promotion of and aid to agricultural cooperatives (including the role of COPAC in this field) during DD2. The Pakistan delegate also informed the Council that with the assistance of UNDP/FAO, his Government would organize late in 1973 a seminar on integrated rural development when special consideration would be given to a study of different aspects of the question.
37. The Council agreed on the need for people's participation in agrarian reform programmes and in the whole process of rural development. To assure this participation it was agreed that support should be given to special programmes of training and education and these programmes should include the beneficiaries as well as Government officials and technicians.
1 CL 60/12, CL 60/PV/7 and CL 60/PV/18.
38. While it was amply recognized that integrated rural development and agrarian reform policies were a matter of internal concern to the countries involved it was, however, agreed that FAO and other International Organizations should provide technical and financial assistance to those countries requesting it for the implementation of these programmes.
39. In expressing its satisfaction with the organizational changes being made by FAO to implement its integrated rural development and agrarian reform programmes, the Council nevertheless pointed out that simple changes of names could not be the solution to the difficulties which may arise and which FAO should overcome in these fields, and consequently it proposed to keep the programmes under constant review and appraisal.
40. The Council examined the Director-General's proposal to convene an ad hoc intergovernmental consultation as soon as possible to review the world fertilizer supply and price situation, in light of the concern expressed by the Council under other items of the Agenda.
41. A number of members noted that the supply and price situation posed serious problems, in that adequate supplies of fertilizers at reasonable prices were essential to their food production programmes, particularly those based on high-yielding varieties of cereals. Some members felt that it would be desirable to develop domestic production of fertilizers. However, this was not economically feasible for many countries because of their limited markets and under these circumstances it was necessary to import their fertilizer requirements. The Council recognized that rising fertilizer prices were not only due to current insufficient supplies to meet increasing demand, but also to the rising costs of transport and production. It was stressed that a more stable market was in the interest of both fertilizer exporters and importers.
42. The Council agreed with the Director-General's proposal to convene an ad hoc intergovernmental consultation on fertilizers as soon as possible, with the participation of industry representatives and of UNCTAD, UNIDO and IBRD.
43. The Council noted that this ad hoc consultation would address itself mainly to the current situation and trends in production, consumption and trade in fertilizers. The consultation should consider the desirability of establishing a standing inter-governmental FAO body on fertilizers and, if considered necessary, propose terms of reference for consideration by the Council and Conference in November 1973.
44. The Council noted the information provided on matters of major interest that had recently arisen from discussions at the UN General Assembly, the ECOSOC and the ACC; and the related action taken or proposed therein.
45. In connexion with the protein problem the Council felt that specific action should be initiated, and requested the Director-General to consider the possibility of preparing a 10-year plan to endeavour to put an end to the inadequate food and nutritional conditions prevailing among needy populations.
46. The Council recalled that at its Fifty-Ninth Session, it had endorsed the view of the CCP that, FAO had an important contribution to make in the action to be undertaken pursuant to UNCTAD Resolution 83(III) on “Intergovernmental Consultations on Commodities in Connection with Access to Markets and Pricing Policy”. It was informed of the deliberations of the UNCTAD Committee on Commodities at its Seventh (Special) Session on the programme of intensive commodity intergovernmental consultations envisaged by that resolution. The UNCTAD Committee had invited appropriate intergovernmental commodity groups set up within FAO to undertake as soon as practibale intensive ad hoc consultations open to all interested UNCTAD Member States on agreed commodities that lay within their respective purviews. In the case of agricultural commodities for which no intergovernmental groups existed, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the Director-General were invited to cooperate fully in the convening and organization of such consultations. All consultations were to be completed by the end of 1974. The Secretary-General of UNCTAD had been requested, after consulting interested governments and in agreement with them, to decide the commodities to be the subject of consultations.
47. The Council was also informed that the Secretary-General of UNCTAD had communicated to the Director-General that there was general agreement to proceed with arrangements for intergovernmental consultations on bananas, citrus fruits, rice, grains (excluding wheat), hard fibres, jute, oilseeds, oils and fats, tea, tobacco and hides and skins during the first half of the 18 months period ending December 1974, without prejudice to subsequent intergovernmental consultations on other commodities in the second half of the period.
48. The Council noted that the decision of the UNCTAD Committee on Commodities was in line with its own view that the existing intergovernmental groups should be used to the maximum in these consultations. The Council reaffirmed that the forthcoming consultations should be an occasion for placing at the disposal of the international community the expertise accumulated during the years in FAO on matters concerning commodity problems and on international trade in agricultural products, and in particular, on the means to deal with problems relating to access to markets and pricing policy. The Council expressed the hope that the consultations would make an important contribution to the multilateral trade negotiations in GATT. The Council also expressed the hope that the consultations would lead to concrete and significant results on trade liberalization and pricing policy early in the seventies as envisaged by UNCTAD Resolution 83(III).
49. The Council considered that the early arrangements made by the Director-General and the Secretary-General of UNCTAD for the initiation of the programme of intensive consultations represented a positive new development in cooperation between the two organization at Secretariat level. The Secretariats were urged to persevere in their efforts toward further cooperation. The Council insisted on the need for adequate documentation for the consultations to be prepared and distributed in advance of the consultations to assist governments in preparing their participation. The Council noted that the calendar of sessions would impose on the FAO Secretariat additional burdens and requested the Director-General to continue to accord highest priority to the implementation of the programme. It noted that the Director-General was prepared to earmark additional resources required by the Division directly concerned with the servicing of consultations, and that steps had been taken to strengthen cooperation with UNCTAD. Some members urged that, if possible, the consultations be limited to one session each, preferably to be held in conjunction with sessions of the full intergovernmental groups concerned.
50. With a view to facilitating the timely initiation of the intergovernmental consultations, in close cooperation with UNCTAD, and the full participation of interested states, as recommended in the resolution of the UNCTAD Committee on Commodities, the Council authorized the Director-General:
to convene in cooperation with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, intergovernmental consultations on agricultural commodities that might be included in the programme under consideration in UNCTAD:
to invite interested states, Members of FAO or of UNCTAD, to participate in commodity consultations, whether held within the framework of existing intergovernmental commodity groups or convened in the form of ad hoc consultations.
51. The Council requested the Director-General to keep the CCP and the Council informed of developments in the programme of intensive intergovernmental commodity consultations.
1 CL 60/PV/8 and CL 60/PV/17
2 CL 60/13, CL 60/PV/8 and CL 60/PV/17
3 CL 60/26, CL 60/INF/10, CL 60/PV/8 and CL 60/PV/17
52. The Council heard a statement on the manner in which FAO was prepared to lend its assistance to help facilitate the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations to be undertaken in GATT by making available the full range of its expertise and knowledge on agricultural commodity matters following the experience of the Kennedy Round of negotiations when FAO assistance consisted of supplying technical data, working papers and expert opinions on various commodity issues emerging in the course of the negotiations. As on that occasion, it was ready to participate actively in the commodity consultations preliminary to the negotiations. On a more general level, much of the work now in progress in FAO could provide an analytical background to the GATT negotiations as, for instance, the International Agricultural Adjustment Study and its supporting studies; the proposals for food reserves, the informal commodity arrangements worked out by the intergovernmental commodity groups and the whole range of studies and investigations undertaken for these commodity groups. The intensive commodity consultations under the UNCTAD resolutions could also provide a basis commodity by commodity negotiations. The Council was informed that GATT had requested FAO to be represented at meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and that FAO would assign an officer to Geneva for liaison with GATT and UNCTAD.
53. The Council considered that the multilateral trade negotiations expected to open in GATT later in 1973, represented a unique occasion for the international community to tackle and solve many outstanding problems of trade and development. The Council felt that FAO could and should play a significant role in assisting the negotiations, particularly insofar as they dealt with agricultural commodities and trade, by making available to the Secretariat of GATT and to FAO Member Governments, as far as possible its technical expertise and relevant information. It agreed that the FAO contribution as outlined would assist governments in their preparation for the negotiations and in identifying alternative approaches for solving agricultural commodity problems in the GATT bodies concerned with the negotiations. It considered, however, that the CCP at its next session should give further thought to FAO's contribution to the multilateral trade negotiations in the light of further decisions reached within GATT. It therefore recommended that the subject of multilateral trade negotiations should be included as a standing item on the agenda of the CCP and that discussion should be continued in the Council at later sessions.
54. The Council recognized the growing importance of environmental problems, and stressed that due account should be taken of the diversity of these problems within each country, and also between developed and developing countries. While some environmental problems were associated with over-industrialization and abundance, others were linked with population pressure, poverty and undervelopment. In many developing countries the enhancement of the human environment would essentially depend on accelerated development and rational management of natural resources for the well-being of their growing populations.
55. The Council noted that a large degree of concord had been achieved between the programme priorities being concurrently considered at the First Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and those proposed by the FAO for the 1974–75 Regular Programme. The Council agreed with these priorities stressing the importance of the role of FAO in the fields of monitoring and management of natural resources for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The need for increased efforts in the fields of information exchange and training programmes for developing countries was stressed with respect to management practices enabling the conservation of the long-term productive capacity of natural resources and the prevention of harmful effects of some agrochemicals.
1 CL 60/PV/9 and CL 60/PV/17.
2 CL 60/14 and CL 60/PV/9.
56. As to the implementation of these priorities, the Council agreed that the long established programmes of FAO in this field should be maintained for 1974–75 at the present level through the priority allocations proposed for the sub-programmes concerned. Further strengthening beyond this level and especially new activities should, to the extent possible, be financed through extra budgetary resources including the Environment Fund. The Council recognized however that it would need to further assess the impact of the recommendations of the Stockholm Conference on FAO programmes in the light of both the detailed proposals for the 1974–75 Programme of Work and Budget and the further developments in FAO/UNEP cooperation. It therefore requested the Director-General to present to the next Council and Conference sessions a more detailed report of proposed FAO programmes in the field of natural resources and environment, with particular emphasis on the requirements for multidisciplinary cooperation within FAO in these fields and for closer links between the sectoral sub-programmes concerned.
57. The Council recommended that the collaboration established between the Secretariats of FAO and UNEP be strengthened since FAO had an important role to play in the implementation of the Action Plan of the Stockholm Conference, while the task of the UNEP Secretariat was mostly one of coordination and stimulation. The need for close cooperation of FAO with other intergovernmental organizations both inside and outside the UN system was also stressed, as well as the need to avoid duplication of effort.
58. The Council, however, expressed some concern about the increased workload which would be placed on FAO, as a result of its involvement in the UN Environment Programme. The Council noted that the new cooperative procedures contemplated by UNEP would not make provision for a fixed rate of agency costs as for UNDP. The Council approved the steps proposed to meet the increased requirements for liaison and cooperation with the UNEP Secretariat although some members felt that these might prove to be insufficient. The Council, recognizing that the programme infrastructure support for UNEP/FAO cooperative activities would have to be borne mostly by the FAO Regular Budget, recommended that this matter be considered further by the Conference session.
59. The Council expressed appreciation to the Directors-General of FAO and IAEA for having so promptly implemented its recommendation to establish a Review Committee to review the programme and activities of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division.
60. The Council endorsed the report, analysis and recommendations of the Review Committee, the comments of the Director-General and the recommendations of the Programme Committee. The Council considered that the Report of the Review Committee had contributed to the clarification of the very complex structure and programme activities of the Joint Division. It expressed satisfaction with the problem-orientation of the activities of the Division, and urged that all efforts be made to ensure that any information developed was transferred as quickly as possible to potential users. Attention was called to the complementary, rather than the competitive, nature of these activities to conventional approaches to the solution of questions of practical importance and the contribution of the coordinated research programmes.
61. The Council emphasized the necessity for continued vigilance with regard to atomic energy applications. The Council endorsed the need to supply the next session of the Programme Committee with a working paper containing further details of individual programmes, including a cost benefit analysis and examples of cooperation with other Divisions of FAO. The Council felt that after discussing these details, the Programme Committee should report its conclusions to the Council which would then consider whether another additional and more fundamental programme review was required.
1 CL 60/3 paras. 51–54, CL 60/15, CL 60/PV/9 and CL 60/PV/17.
62. The Council stressed the need for adequate coordination at the national level between the atomic energy and agricultural authorities, which could then be reflected at the international level.
63. The Council noted the Review Committee's conclusion that strong efforts had already been made to ensure cooperation between the Joint Division and other FAO Divisions, but emphasized the importance it attached to the further recommendation that coordination should be a continuing concern at all levels of programming and implementation for programmes of common interest. The analysis and recommendations of the Review Committee provided a basis for improved cooperation in the future.
64. Because this item was closely connected with the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) Report on the Introduction of Cost Accounting in the Organizations of the United Nations Family, the Council considered these items in conjunction.
65. With reference to the new Cost Measurement System developed by CCAQ, the Council noted that Phase J of the System had been introduced in the larger Agencies with effect from 1 January 1973 and that the implementation of this system was expected to increase cost effectiveness and efficiency, while at the same time providing a basis for policy decisions on the extent of reimbursement to FAO of Overhead Costs in connexion with UNDP activities. It was informed that Unesco and UNDP were participating in the Task Force set up by CCAQ, and that this would permit introduction of the System on a uniform basis throughout the UN system of organizations.
66. With reference to the JIU proposal regarding the setting up of a small “Modernization Fund” the Council agreed with the Finance Committee view that the establishment of such a Fund should not be endorsed.
67. The Council also concurred with the Finance Committee that there was no need to “formalize” the CCAQ Task Force as this body could be convened at any time as required by CCAQ.
68. With regard to the problem in connection with UNDP Overhead Costs, the Council noted that Mr. Henderson, former Auditor General of Canada and former External Auditor for the United Nations and UNDP, had started his study with respect to the merit of the request of UNDP for settlement of overhead cost amounts allocated to FAO prior to 1972. The Council was informed that the Henderson report would not be available until Autumn 1973.
69. The Council requested that up-dated information on the trends in the volume of UNDP projects be made available to its Sixty-First Session when the 1974–75 Programme of Work and Budget would be discussed.
70. In its consideration of Agency Overhead costs, the Council took note of the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) Report on the Introduction of Cost Accounting in the Organizations of the United Nations Family, together with the comments of the Director-General and the Programme and Finance Committees on this Report. It considered that the Report made a significant contribution to the development of a uniform cost accounting system in the United Nations framework.
1 CL 60/3 paras. 10, 166–174 and 251–255; CL 60/16, CL 60/16-Add. 1 and CL 60/PV/16.
2 CL 60/3 paras 78–79, 231–233 and 251–255; and CL 60/9(c).
71. The Council was informed that the JIU Report had been requested by the UNDP Governing Council which had subsequently requested that certain of its recommendations be examined further by the CCAQ Task Force. The consolidated comments of CCAQ and those of ACC, if available, would in due course be transmitted to FAO for examination by its Governing Bodies.
72. While agreeing with the CCAQ that the introduction now of further refinements in the proposed system might delay the initiation of Phase I, and that efforts should be made to avoid establishment of cumbersome and costly procedures some members considered that the idea of project-by-project costing, at least by project type, remained a long-term objective for implementation.
73. The Council agreed that time recording was basic to any cost accounting system, but even more important for programme management. The system should therefore not be over-elaborate and in-service training should be provided to ensure better acceptance of time recording by staff members and its effective implementation. In this connexion, it was noted that FAO already used methods other than time recording for accounting for non-substantive and repetitive work.
74. With regard to the recommendation in the Report that a manual on cost accounting be issued, the Council was informed that CCAQ had considered that it was advisable to use available financial resources for the issuance first of a system-wide manual on general accounting and that a manual on cost accounting per se might be issued later.
75. In giving its general endorsement to the Director-General's comments on this Report, the Council welcomed the proposal by the Programme and Finance Committees to re-examine this Report in conjunction with additional information forthcoming from Inter-Agency bodies, and to report its recommendations to a further Council Session.
76. The Council took note of this report, which had been requested by ACC. It also noted the observations of the Programme and Finance Committees. It agreed to defer substantive consideration of the recommendations in the report to a later session when it would have the consolidated views of ACC, and additional comments from the Programme and Finance Committees.
77. The Council considered this to be a very useful report and it endorsed in general the comments on it by the Director-General and the Programme and Finance Committees. Particular attention was directed to a number of recommendations in the report including those relating to the registering of vessels, the need for a medium-term fisheries programme, the preassessment and use of counterpart contributions, the chartering and disposal of vessels, standardization of equipment and the establishment of a pool of fisheries vessels.
78. The Council was informed that in respect of the registering of vessels, FAO had found it advisable to register its vessels in, and to use the flag of, the country in which the fisheries project was located. All FAO vessels also flew the UN flag. With regard to the disposal of vessels, the Council was informed that vessels were usually turned over to the recipient country when they were required for follow-up activities. The Council was also informed that vessels were chartered whenever it was considered in the best interests of the country and of the project to do so and that, with regard to standardization of equipment, this practice was being followed within the limits of access to servicing facilities, currency availability and other factors.
1 CL 60/9(a) and CL 60/3 paras. 65–69 and 241.
2 CL 60/9(b), CL 60/3 paras. 70–77 and 242–250 and CL 60/PV/16.
79. In connection with the fisheries vessels pool, the Council was informed that UNDP had initiated the discussions leading to the establishment of such a project. If approved, this pool would give the Organization greater flexibility and mobility in the management of its fishing fleet. It was suggested that the operation of this pool should be self-liquidating. The Council recommended that the Governing Bodies be informed about the financial and structural implications of this operation.
80. Finally, the Council was informed that there had been an increase in the delegation of financial authority to Project Managers from $1 000 to $3 000, and that a report on the delegation of greater authority to the Fisheries Department in the operation of the fleet would be submitted to the Finance Committee at its next session.
81. The Council had before it a Note by the Director-General drawing attention to the proble of ensuring world security against serious food shortages and setting out proposals for international action to assure adequate basic food stocks.
82. The Council agreed this was an urgent food policy issue of vital concern to people all over the world. It commended the Director-General for his timely initiative in alerting the Council, which had central responsibility in this field, and in proposing preparation of concrete proposals for governments to consider. The Council hoped that these proposals would represent a realistic approach to the long-standing problem of world food security. The assurance of an adequate availability of basic foodstuffs was a common responsibility of the entire international community, and was essential not only on humanitarian grounds but also for the economic and social stability of the world.
83. The Council recognized that the problem of world security against food shortages had become increasingly serious following important changes in the world cereal supply situation in the past season. After several years of ample cereal supplies on international markets, crop failures and lower production due to adverse weather in several parts of the world had led to a depletion of stocks and to a precarious world supply and demand position. For the first time since 1952, the new season would open with cereal stocks in exporting and importing countries at levels which would give no assurance of adequate supplies to meet world demand in the event of large-scale crop failures. Cereal supplies in 1973/74 were dependent almost entirely on the result of the 1973 harvests and were thus very vulnerable to the uncertainty of one season's weather. Although measures had been taken to expand output, demand remained strong and it would probably take more than one season, with favourable weather, to obtain a replenishment of stocks of sufficient magnitude. In the meantime, the world would be inadequately protected against shortages. The Council noted that there was at present no acceptance by the international community, in any meaningful sense, of the concept of a minimum safe level of basic food stocks for the world as a whole.
84. In introducing the proposals, the Director-General pointed out that the central problem was to ensure that basic food stocks were maintained at levels which safeguarded global security in the event of a major crop failure. In his view, this did not necessitate a comple and ambitious scheme for a world reserve along the lines of past proposals. He believed that the aim of a minimum level of world food security could be met more simply through a limited degree of coordination of national stock policies, provided the necessary understanding could be reached among governments. The Director-General emphasized that while the proposed scheme was voluntary and designed to minimize the obligations of governments, acceptance of the proposal would imply that all producing and consuming countries should take steps, each according to its means, to assure food supplies in accordance with an agreed concept. It would require commitment to the concept and a determination to give effect to it through adjustments in existing stock policies.
1 CL 60/11, CL 60/PV/5, CL 60/PV/6 and CL 60/PV/18.
85. The proposals contained four main elements. First, all producing and consuming countries, including developing countries, should cooperate in drawing up an acceptable concept of minimum world food security. This should aim to assure, through national stock-holding, the availability at all times of sufficient supplies of cereals, the world's basic foodstuffs, to avoid acute food shortages. Second, regular intergovernmental consultations should be held to determine the adequacy of world stocks to meet minimum needs, and to recommend action if stocks were insufficient. An improved international information system would be necessary to assemble the necessary data on stocks and other relevant matters. Third, voluntary guidelines for national stock policies would be recommended to governments, with the aim that countries have a minimum protection against crop failure and, where feasible, could contribute to world food security. Fourth, the special position of developing countries would be recognized, and an international programme would be drawn up to expand and coordinate assistance to developing countries wishing to establish national food stocks.
86. The Council noted that ECOSOC at its Fifty-Fourth Session (May 1973) had adopted a resolution which endorsed the Director-General's analysis of the problem, emphasized that the assurance of adequate food supplies was a common responsibility of the international community, and welcomed the intention to submit proposals to the Council of FAO.
87. The Council agreed that the proposals, while necessarily presented in general terms at this stage, represented a reasonable approach to the problem.
88. The Council emphasized that full consideration should be given to the possible wider implications of implementing the proposal, which might have long-term repercussions both on the structure of world production and on world trade. The experience of the major grainexporting countries had shown the difficulties involved in assessing the appropriate level of stock-holding, in stock management and in avoiding over-accumulation of supplies. The agreed international strategy of the Second Development Decade should be borne in mind. In this respect, it was also observed that it would be necessary to ensure that the scheme did not indirectly encourage uneconomic food production, particularly in developed countries which had a very substantial productive capacity and pursued agricultural support policies; the importance was stressed of taking care not to stimulate production unduly and cause structural surpluses and dislocations in international trade, which would be of particular disadvantage to developing countries heavily dependent on agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange earnings and capital resources for development; furthermore, the plan presented by the Director-General should therefore contain ways and means to avoid those risks.
89. Many members considered that the document should clarify the relation between the proposals, international agricultural adjustments and the multilateral trade negotiations under GATT.
90. The Council agreed that the position of developing countries, both importing and exporting, needed special attention. The principle of self-reliance which underlay the proposals was widely supported. Most developing countries, in view of their balance of payments problems, would have to build up their stocks from domestic production as far as feasible. This meant that priority in the allocation of their scarce capital resources should be given to building up the food production base. Implementation would therefore take time, perhaps several years, especially in view of the current tight supply conditions, and the proposals should clearly distinguish between the short-run and the longer-run situation. In the short-run, acute shortages and emergency situations would have to continue to be met by bilateral food aid programmes and the World Food Programme. It was suggested that the initial aim should be the restoration of stocks to normal operating levels, and, in the longer-run, consideration could be given to building up reserve stocks to meet emergencies and severe shortages arising from crop failure. Account had to be taken of the growing world food consumption. In general, national stock programmes would have to be carefully formulated within the context of national development priorities, bilateral and multilateral assistance programmes, and international adjustments in agricultural production and trade.
91. The cost, source and mechanism of financing of national food stocks and related facilities would be a key problem. International assistance would be required for building storage facilities, infrastructure, and in ensuring adequate management and other services in developing countries. Problems of deterioration of stored food would have to be studied. The objectives of minimum stock policies had to be clarified, as well as the location of stocks and sources of supplies. The possibility of international, regional and bilateral development agencies providing special assistance to national reserve programmes should be further investigated, and ways of identifying and mobilizing the resources needed by developing countries should be worked out. The role of the World Food Programme in assisting national reserve projects, which had so far been limited, should also be reassessed. It was noted that preliminary consultations which the Director-General had had with a number of international agencies (IBRD, IMF, UN, UNCTAD, UNDP and WFP) had already identified several aspects on which they could play a larger role in assisting interested developing countries in this sector.
92. In the discussion, some members pointed out that the inability of their countries to hold sufficient stocks to offset the wide crop fluctuations caused by natural disasters and adverse weather had created a precarious food situation and instability. It also disrupted their economy and trade, since in drought years bigger food imports at high prices were often accompanied by losses from the slaughter on export livestock at low prices whereas in good seasons grains were exported at lower prices while livestock had to be imported at higher cost to rebuild the herds. Other members informed the Council of the advantages which had been gained from the positive food stock policies which their governments already followed, and considered that national stock operations would be facilitated by the international system of consultation and cooperation envisaged in the proposals.
93. Some members urged bolder action, involving the international management of national stocks combined with a special programme to expand food production in developing countries. It was suggested that the feasibility should be explored of establishing a mechanism, possibly on a reciprocal basis, whereby countries could earmark part of their national stocks to help neighbouring countries suffering from temporary food shortages. Another member was ready to assist in the rapid mobilization of supplies which was the critical problem in emergency food situations. A member suggested that, in elaborating the concept, FAO should promote the negotiation of long-term bilateral trade agreements for the delivery of basic foodgrains as a means of assuring a regular flow of supplies. It was also suggested that it would be desirable ultimately to incorporate stock provisions into international commodity agreements rather than deal separately with this issue, and attention was drawn to the activities of the International Wheat Council. It was also felt that consideration of the proposals should not lead to delay in the implementation of the Emergency Food Supply Scheme.
94. Whilst associating themselves with the general aim of the proposal and sharing the view that the Director-General should now specify the content and procedures involved in his proposal, other members brought out a number of factors which they considered essential if the proposal was to be acceptable to their governments. Some members stressed national responsibilities in regard to production and stock-holding policy and the need for a clear statement of the limits of the international cooperation envisaged. Others thought that the problem of world food security was less a question of overall resources than of allocation and distribution, aspects to which a detailed plan should give serious consideration. Stress was placed on the idea that priority should be given to speeding up the improvement of food production in countries threatened by famine. It was accordingly stated that the additional cost of holding stocks should not hold up the financing of overall development.
95. Some members stated that since the problem of hunger was not exclusively a matter of wheat production or even of grain production other products should also be considered in the scheme.
96. The Council agreed that an adequate information system would be an essential element, and procedures for reporting national stock levels, storage capacity, stock-holding programmes, food requirements and other necessary data on the supply and demand situation would have to be considered. The cooperation of all Nations would be needed if a comprehensive scheme were to be developed. Better assessments of the production outlook would require improvements in national crop reporting and production statistics, which were also necessary to facilitate the management and maintenance of national food stocks. The seasonal unpredictability of agriculture presented great problems for stock management. The need to take full account of the longer-term trends in world production, consumption and trade was stressed. The interrelationships between cereals were increasingly important, because of the most dynamic growth in grain utilization as animal feed, in line with the strong demand for meat. The effect of substitution between commodities on price levels, market demand and supply, and consequently on stock positions, should be carefully studied.
97. As regards the proposed intergovernmental consultations, the Council agreed that use should be made of existing machinery, including the CCP, the Intergovernmental Group on Grains, the Intergovernmental Group on Rice, and the International Wheat Council.
98. The Executive Secretary of the International Wheat Council gave a short account of the recent activities of his organization, and expressed his belief that the Wheat Council would wish to explore ways in which it could collaborate in developing and implementing the proposals, particularly as they could have implications for the renegotiation of the International Wheat Agreement which would be under discussion at the forthcoming session later in June 1973. In this connexion, the Council welcomed the close working cooperation which already existed between the secretariats of FAO and the International Wheat Council.
99. The observer for the International Federation of Agricultural Producers stressed the basic responsibility of the world's farmers in assuring adequate food supplies and pledged the support of his organization in helping to implement the proposals.
100. The Council agreed that the following steps should be taken:
Concrete proposals designed to implement the concept of a minimum world food security policy should be prepared by the Director-General for consideration at the Conference, taking into account the views expressed at this Council session and the contents of the document approved by the Seventeenth Session of the IGC entitled “Report on Food Aid and Related Issues during the Second Development Decade”.
This should be submitted to the CCP for preliminary scrutiny, with the request that the CCP advise on the commodity policy aspects of the proposals and in particular on the proposed guidelines for stock policies and the suggested consultative machinery.
The Intergovernmental Group on Grains should be requested to advise through the CCP on the required information system, and on the practical problems and procedures involved in appraising the adequacy of stocks in relation to world needs. It should also make a special evaluation of the adequacy of current and prospective stock levels. The Intergovernmental Group on Rice should be requested to carry out a similar evaluation at its next regular session.
The Intergovernmental Committee of the WFP should be invited to review its procedures and policies towards assisting developing countries to build national food reserves.
The International Wheat Council should be informed of the proposals and invited to consider in what way it could participate in the examination and the plan arising from it.
The Director-General should invite interested international and regional development agencies to indicate the specific ways in which they could assist developing countries to participate effectively.
The views of these bodies and international organizations should be transmitted to the Conference for consideration together with the Director-General's proposals.
101. In conclusion, the Director-General emphasized that his more detailed proposals would be designed to be effective and acceptable. They could not, however, relieve the immediate shortage. In view of the precarious state of the current world cereals supply position, he urged governments to undertake contingency planning in case the situation worsened to the extent that very quick action was needed to safeguard available supplies. The Council agreed there was a full awareness among governments of the seriousness of the problem and a recognition of the urgency of taking any necessary action.
102. The Council considered the emergency measures initiated by the Director-General in concert with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to assist the countries of the Sudano-Sahelian Zone of West Africa in their determined efforts to overcome the effects of sustained drought.
103. The Council heard an address by the President of the Republic of Upper Volta, General Sangoulle Lamizana, the text of which is reproduced in Appendix E. The Council recognized the gravity of the human suffering, economic damage and social disruption being experienced by the region and expressed its gratitude to the President for his presence and for his eloquent and moving statement.
104. The Council was assured by Mr. B. Morse, the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the latter's deep personal and compassionate concern for the tragic situation, and his determination to continue efforts for the best response from the entire United Nations system.
105. The Council unanimously endorsed the measures taken by the Director-General to deal with the emergency situation. It expressed its conviction that they represented the kind of action for which the peoples of the world looked to the United Nations system and that it was fitting that in the disastrous situation under consideration, FAO should have taken the lead as the appropriate focal point for the United Nations system. It expressed appreciation for the way in which FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) had collaborated in taking early action for emergency relief supplies.
106. The Council acknowledged with appreciation the useful role of the Director-General's Special Representative for the Sahelian Problem, in drawing attention to the urgent needs not met by previous programmes of assistance and in persuading a number of Governments to increase such assistance, as well as supporting relief through the United Nations system.
107. The Council noted with satisfaction the progressively encouraging response to the Director-General's appeal of 10 May 1973 by contributions to the FAO Sahelian Zone Trust Fund. It sanctioned advances, totalling $900 000, from the Working Capital Fund, which the Director-General had been authorized under Financial Regulation 6.2 (a) (iii), to meet urgent expenditures of relief measures, pending the credit to the Trust Fund of donations pledged.
108. The Council attached considerable importance to collaboration among the governments and organizations involved, intergovernmental and non-governmental, whose contribution was recognized, as well as to the coordination of their activities. The effort was important not only with regard to emergency relief, but in order to phase this action into medium and long-term measures. It emphasized the importance of the coordinating role of the permanent inter-state committee, established by the six Governments concerned at Ouagadougou, Upper Volta, under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Agriculture of Upper Volta.
109. The Council noted the fact that donor countries which to date contributed on a bilateral basis over 80 per cent of the overall aid to the Sahelian zone had agreed to consult the multilateral bodies, in particular FAO and WFP, to harmonize efforts and especially to coordinate shipments. It recognized that the distribution of these supplies from ports of arrival to internal centres of need could not be fully achieved in the time limits involved by means of road and rail transport; airlifts, on a substantial scale, were therefore necessary and the Council urged all Governments having the means to assist in this to do so. It recognized that the logistical operation called for intensive collaboration among all concerned, and agreed that FAO could play a useful role in promoting the necessary coordination between the Governments of the region and all parties concerned.
110. The Council recognized that substantial food assistance was likely to be required during 1973–74. It urged donors of such assistance to be ready to provide it, to make commitments at an early date and to plan jointly for the orderly delivery of supplies'.
1 CL 60/LIM/5, CL 60/PV/10 and CL 60/PV/17.
111. The Council also endorsed the measures taken by the Director-General to undertake work on the medium and long-term problems. It recognized that this was a matter for concerted action by the entire United Nations system, under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, in accordance with ECOSOC Resolution 1759 (LIV). It expressed its conviction that FAO would have an important role to play, in consonance with its responsibilities in the domain of food and agriculture. It recognized that in assisting the governments of the region concerned in developing medium and long-term measures, donors of external assistance should be guided by the wishes and experiences of the stricken countries themselves.
112. The Council, in conclusion, expressed its profound sentiments of sympathy and solidarity for the peoples of the six drought-stricken countries and its hope that effective international action would both provide the necessary relief and minimize the effects of such disasters in the future.
113. The Council considered a proposal for the Establishment of a Lord Boyd Orr Nutrition Library, dedicated to the memory of the first Director-General of FAO.
114. The Council unanimously supported the proposal which it felt would fulfill a known need in the field of food and nutrition. It recommended, however, that this new Library should remain a branch of the David Lubin Memorial Library at FAO Headquarters. It should be given adequate and prominent facilities and space.
115. It was further pointed out that the financial contribution requested for the establishment of the Library was very modest, considering the important role that it would play. It recommended that, in view of the benefit that Nutrition workers in developing countries and many private concerns would derive from this Library, the possibility of establishing a Trust Fund for this new activity financed by external sources such as food industries, should be very carefully explored. In this respect the Council was of the opinion that the scope of the Library should not be limited to nutrition activities only, but that it should cover food and nutrition activities in a broad sense; to reflect this idea it should be called the “Lord Boyd Orr Food and Nutrition Library”.
116. The Council noted with satisfaction the statement made by the United Kingdom delegate that if the Conference approved the present proposal his Government, subject to Parliamentary approval, would be willing to contribute a sum of £ 5 000 for the purchase of British books and periodicals over a period of five years.
117. The Council found the proposal for improving and expanding the content of the FAO Food and Nutrition Newsletter generally acceptable. However, one member remarked that the present newsletter was more like a technical journal than a newsletter. If it were to be expanded in the way indicated in the document it should not be regarded merely as a newsletter and might be re-named the FAO Food and Nutrition Journal dedicated to Lord Boyd Orr. The Council agreed that the future format of the present newsletter should be examined by the Programme Committee, in relation to FAO's overall policy in regard to periodicals, prior to the implementation of this proposal.
1 CL 60/17, CL 60/PV/8 and CL 60/PV/18.
2 CL 60/18 and CL 60/PV/16.
118. The Council was informed of developments in the implementation of AGRIS, pursuant to Resolution 4/71 of the Sixteenth Conference Session. It noted with satisfaction that the AGRIS project had been gaining increasing interest and support, in kind and in cash, from governments, institutions and other bodies, and reiterated its own support for the AGRIS concept of international cooperative action, for an effective dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge essential to development.
119. The Council noted that, as regards AGRIS Level One (Current Awareness System), an “experimental issue” of the AGRIS bibliography was being prepared with the collaboration of several countries and institutions, and would be ready for review and evaluation by September 1973. The Council was informed that the results of this experiment, and an evaluation of it together with detailed information on costs and benefits, would be submitted to the Autumn 1973 Programme Committee, Finance Committee, the Council and Conference sessions.
120. The Council noted that, as regards AGRIS Level Two (Network of Specialized Services) consultants were in the process of carrying out overall and specific system and users studies.
121. The Council was informed that, subject to the final approval of the Conference and resources permitting, it was anticipated that the Current Awareness System could be operational by late 1974 or early 1975. The Director-General intended to inform all Governments in order to seek confirmation of interest and support, to obtain preliminary indications of their intention to participate in the System singly or in association with other countries, as well as to obtain the designation of participating institutions.
122. The Council re-emphasised its interest in the AGRIS project, supported the measures already taken, stressed the need for full cooperation among governments and existing organizations in order to reinforce the project and avoid duplication of efforts and costs, insisted on the essential role of libraries - particularly the David Lubin Memorial Library - and asked to be provided at the Sixty-First Session with detailed information on cost and benefits to be in a position to take decisions on the AGRIS project. The Council noted that the AGRIS team had enabled AGRIS to exceed original expectations. The Council indicated that in further work the Director-General should keep in mind the need to keep the costs at a reasonable level while sustaining at all times the quality of the information provided through AGRIS, and making it readily available in good time. The Council also voiced the wish that the data-processing technique employed should not be unduly sophisticated so that it would be readily accessible to all users.
123. As regards the impact of the AGRIS project on the work of the David Lubin Memorial Library, the Council also noted with satisfaction that the new structure of the Library and Documentation Division, which was at an experimental stage, was intended not only to maintain the David Lubin Memorial Library as a clearly identifiable entity, but also to maintain and reinforce its functions by transferring most of the Documentation Centre staff to the Library and by merging similar services. (such as reference, reprographic and other services to users). Furthermore, the development of AGRIS would provide the Library with additional means to serve its users. The Council, however, noted the Director-General's statement that in the light of the Programme Committee and Finance Committee observations he would reconsider his proposals for restructuring the Library and Documentation Division.
124. The Council recalled that the Sixteenth Conference Session had approved the list of sessions and conferences to be financed under the Regular Programme for 1972–73. It also recalled that the Fourteenth Conference Session had recognized that in exceptional circumstances certain unscheduled sessions might be necessary, and had authorized the Director-General to make such exceptions when, in his view, this was necessary, and to report them to the next session of the Council. The Fifty-Ninth Council Session (November 1972), had also stressed the need for tighter planning and control of sessions and had requested the Programme and Finance Committees to review the method of reporting on unscheduled and cancelled sessions.
1 CL 60/7.
125. The Council noted that the Programme Committee had reviewed this question at its Twenty-Third Session 1 and, after slightly modifying the criteria used by the Director-General as a basis for approving unscheduled sessions, had considered that the present method was satisfactory, but that it would be preferable to submit a report only twice each biennium to the Autumn sessions of the Council. The Council agreed with this proposal and approved the modified criteria, as follows:
relation of the unscheduled session to the approved Programme of Work, including consideration of alternatives and determination that such a session would be the best method of achieving the programme objective;
the relationship, if any, to other conferences and sessions in the same field of work;
the reason why the unscheduled session was not included in the list as approved by the Conference;
whether the session was in substitution for another scheduled session or whether it was additional to the approved list;
financial implications if any.
126. The Council noted that 18 unscheduled sessions had been approved between 1 November 1972 and 14 May 1973, and that 28 sessions had been cancelled during the same period. It regretted the need to cancel sessions included in the Programme of Work approved by the Conference, and felt that the programme should be adhered to as closely as possible. It recognized, however, that the financial situation in the 1972–73 biennium had been exceptional.
127. A list of the unscheduled sessions approved and of the approved sessions cancelled during this period is given in Appendix F.
1 CL 60/3, paras. 55–58.