I had hoped that, with so little time having elapsed since the last Session of the Council, there would not be any need for a lengthy statement from me today. There are, however, quite a number of points that I must mention.
As in previous summer Sessions of the Council, your main concern will be preparing the way for the Conference in November, with particular reference to the Programme of Work and Budget, On this occasion, however, this Session is also part of another and rather special sequence of events. It is now six months since the World Food Conference. Within two weeks, immediately after you have concluded your Session, there will be the first meeting, here in Rome, of the political authority set up by that Conference to face up to broad policy issues arising from the world food situation. The fact that you are meeting on the eve of the first Session of the World Food Council, which will be considering a number of matters of critical importance for the work of FAO, will, I am sure, provide a considerable stimulus to your discussions of the various aspects of the world food situation that are before you. You will no doubt wish to put forward a number of your own views to assist in furthering the work of this new world body as it takes up its task.
So far as the present world food situation is concerned, I do not really have a great deal to add to the fairly comprehensive account I gave in my opening statement to your last Session three months ago. Since then, indeed, there has not been any outstanding change in the general outlook.
Broadly speaking, we continue to be reasonably hopeful about the short-term situation regarding food supplies themselves. The MSA countries - the “most seriously affected”, that is - have now covered the bulk of their requirements for the present 1974–75 season, due chiefly to three factors - an increase in their commercial purchases, partly with the help of external financial assistance; the recent fall in world grain prices; and an expansion in the availability of food aid in recent months. The outlook for the coming wheat and coarse grain harvest also remains fairly promising. It seems increasingly probable, for example, that there will be good crops in North America. But I must emphasize most strongly that - as last year's experience showed - there can be no certainty of these supplies until these crops are actually harvested. Moreover, the bulk of the increase in output is expected in the developed countries. This means that we still face major uncertainties over supplies in developing countries, the most crucial of these, as in the past, being the vital Asian rice crop which is so heavily dependent on the monsoon.
Even if all turns out this year as well as we hope, however, we shall still be a long way from achieving world food security. The world's carry-over stocks of cereals at the end of the 1974–75 season are estimated, excluding China and the Soviet Union, at a new low in recent years of about 100 million tons, which is far below minimum safe levels for world food security in the event of widespread crop failures. Even if the hoped-for increases in production materialize and thereby make it possible to replenish stocks by about 25 million tons, this would still only bring us to the equivalent of about 14 percent of total world consumption, as compared with the 17 to 18 percent which FAO estimates as being necessary for world food security. It is therefore essential at the least that producing countries in the developed world keep their cereal production at maximum levels until stocks are adequately replenished.
There are other causes for continued and indeed increased concern. In view of the effect of the general fall in world commodity prices on export earnings from primary products, the International Monetary Fund has concluded that the general economic situation in the MSA countries, particularly as reflected in their deficits on current account, will almost certainly become even more grave than it is at present. The MSA countries as a whole will continue to face a very large food gap in the 1975–76 season which we tentatively forecast at between 14 million and 20 million tons. Their important requirements for fertilizers and pesticides for their own food production will also continue to be high. In the second half of this year alone, the amount they will have to pay for imports of fertilizers to meet their needs will, despite a decline in prices, be more than three times what they would have had to pay at the 1972–73 price levels. It is thus clear that the MSA countries are going to need considerably increased international assistance in the year ahead. For this, urgent action is needed. I think it is very important, among other things, that the World Food Council should, as a matter of top priority, take up the question of arrangements to carry on the essential role performed in the last year by the United Nations Emergency Operation, which was terminated at the end of last month.
Let me now revert to the World Food Conference and give the Council a brief survey of some of the more important developments since then, concentrating mainly of course on direct follow-up action to the Resolutions of the Conference carried out both inside and outside FAO. In view of the fact that the time since the Conference has been relatively short, I think we are justified in regarding the spirit in which quite a wide range of issues has so far been tackled as a most promising indication of the seriousness with which the international community intends to take the results of the Conference.
Since the principal concern of the Conference was how to bring about the vast increase that is needed in the food and agricultural production of developing countries, and since, realistically speaking, the key question here is how to provide for the corresponding increase in financial resources that will be necessary, let me begin with the two specific initiatives that the Conference took regarding arrangements for external financing. These, I need hardly remind you, are the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment in Developing Countries - the CGFPI.
The question of the Fund, as many members of the Council will recall, was a central issue of uncertainty at the World Food Conference itself. And, for some months after the Conference, it was still not clear whether it would obtain sufficient support. Then, last month, at a special meeting of interested countries that was convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Geneva on 5 and 6 May, there was what I think we can consider as a most promising breakthrough. Representatives of 66 countries were present at the meeting - from traditional and potential new donors, together with quite a number from developing countries - and, following a most positive lead given by the representative of Saudi Arabia and others, the general support was such that the meeting agreed that there was indeed a reasonable prospect for the establishment of the Fund. Thus, although no firm specific commitments were made, it now seems likely that the Fund will in fact be set up with quite substantial financial resources. This likelihood is undoubtedly increased by the very recent statement of Dr. Kissinger to the OECD in Paris, where he announced, on behalf of President Ford, that the United States will participate in the creation of such a fund and believes that its resources should total at least $1 billion a year. An Ad Hoc Working Group has been set up to go into the various aspects of the Funds in greater detail and to come up with specific recommendations for submission to a second meeting of interested countries which is scheduled to be held in November just before the FAO Conference. I can only say that I regard the progress that is being made on the Fund as both heartening and crucial for the success of the follow-up to the World Food Conference, since it is clear that, without this Fund, the prospects for action on many of the other recommendations that were made last November would be seriously dimmed.
Progress is also being made with regard to the CGFPI, which, you will recall, FAO was requested to organize together with the World Bank and UNDP. As most of you will be aware, subsequent to the appointment of Ambassador Edwin Martin as Chairman of the Group, Mr. Mensah, our Regional Representative for Africa, has been appointed Vice-Chairman and Executive Secretary. Following the designation of developing countries as members of the CGFPI, which is a matter for decision by this Session of the Council, the first meeting of the Group is scheduled to be held in Washington next month.
One of the vital factors in increasing food production in developing countries on which the World Food Conference laid particular stress was the need to ensure that they have an adequate and regular supply of fertilizers on a continuing basis. The question of fertilizers has generated a considerable amount of further discussion and activity both inside and outside FAO. I will confine myself today to three aspects which I think are of special interest to the Council.
In the first place, FAO's International Fertilizer Supply Scheme, which you established last summer, has been continuing and expanding its activities. It has carried out 42 assistance operations involving 30 developing countries amounting to $ 66.5 million. Resources pledged to the Scheme by the end of March came to a total of $ 73 million. The IFS has in fact provided just under one-fifth of the total aid in fertilizers supplied in 1974–75. Despite a decline in prices, the MSA countries are, as I indicated earlier, going to need increased financial assistance to meet their fertilizer requirements from abroad in 1975–76. Hence the attention of the World Food Council is being drawn to the need to increase the resources of the Scheme substantially, to enable it to strengthen its activities in line with the role that has been assigned to it by the FAO Council.
The second main point is that the World Food Conference Resolution on fertilizers included a request that the FAO Commission on Fertilizers should undertake an authoritative analysis of the long-term fertilizer supply and demand position in order to provide the elements of a world fertilizer policy. The Commission in fact met here last week.
Broadly speaking, it was recognized that, in order to ensure the expansion of fertilizer use on the scale required to achieve production objectives, it is necessary to overcome three main problems-firstly, the recurrence of cyclical fluctuations in supply, demand and prices which lead to critical scarcity situations of the type witnessed during the last two years; secondly, the considerable dependence of developing countries on imports of fertilizers; and thirdly, the various constraints of infrastructure that affect the actual use of fertilizer at the farmer's level.
The Commission recommended that a number of actions, forming the major components of a world fertilizer policy, should be taken. The first of these would be to establish at FAO a fertilizer data bank which would make it possible to forecast more reliably long-term fertilizer requirements and demand and detect the likelihood of short-term fluctuations. The Commission also recommended action to establish new capacity for fertilizer production in developing countries which have raw material resources or which have a considerable domestic market for fertilizers and to undertake the “de bottlenecking” of existing plants. It also said that the necessary measures should be taken for price stabilization, possibly through long-term contracts between importers and exporters, with built-in price formulae to protect the parties involved. The Commission further urged the continuation of assistance in fertilizer procurement, particularly to MSA countries, through bilateral aid and through the FAO International Fertilizer Supply Scheme - subject to further review of this Scheme by the FAO Council - until such time as a reasonable price stability has been achieved. Finally, the Commission recommended improvements in infrastructure aimed at the most effective use of mineral and organic fertilizers in developing countries, including extension, credit and marketing, storage and handling down to the farmer's level. I trust, Mr. Chairman, that the FAO Council will be prepared to endorse these various recommendations.
I have one further point regarding fertilizers. In view of the paramount importance of the fertilizer problem, I have taken steps to integrate more closely the work on fertilizers that has so far been carried out by a number of different units inside the house. I have in fact set up a Task Force comprising all the senior officers working on this problem under the leadership of Dr. Dudal, Chief of our Soil Resources Development and Conservation Service.
Next there is the question of pesticides, Here you may recall that, among other things, the World Food Conference requested FAO, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, WHO and UNIDO, to convene and Ad Hoc Consultation, which would include governments and industry, to recommend ways and means of giving effect to the Conference's Resolution on Pesticides. This Consultation was in fact held here in Rome from 7 to 11 April. Since its Report, covering quite a wide range of specific matters, is before you for consideration I do not think there is any general comment that I need to make on this occasion.
I come now to the question of world food security. This I think I can best divide up briefly under four headings, plus the question of food aid to which I will refer separately.
Firstly, there is the follow-up action regarding the International Undertaking on World Food Security that was endorsed by the World Food Conference and adopted by this Council last November. This was subsequently transmitted to all states which are members of FAO or the United Nations. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that, to date, 45 governments - plus the European Economic Community as such - together accounting for over 85 per cent of world exports of cereals and slightly more than half of world imports - have responded positively. Only two governments - those of the People's Republic of China and Thailand - have indicated that they could not participate at this stage. I am taking all possible steps to encourage the widest possible participation in the International Undertaking and to ensure that there is effective follow-up action.
Secondly - and once again in line with what was recommended by the Workd Food Conference - FAO has been extending its food security assistance programme to developing countries in cooperation with some other agencies, notably WFP, the World Bank, Regional Banks and the UNDP. This programme aims at providing technical advice to interested developing countries on appropriate national food stock policies and also at assisting them in the mobilization of of the technical, financial and food aid required to implement these. Inter-disciplinary missions have so far visited seven countries for this purpose, and many other developing countries have requested assistance and advice.
Thirdly, there is the Ad Hoc Consultation on World Food Security which met here from 19 to 23 May. I would like to draw your attention to the specific policy recommendations put forward by this Consultation for your consideration, and, I hope, adoption and transmittal to the World Food Council. I firmly support the intent of these recommendations which embrace a number of key food policy issues. In particular, I would mention the recommendation calling upon governments to pursue actively the negotiation of an international agreement on cereals with a view to accelerating the implementation of the principles contained in the International Undertaking. I should also draw your attention to the conclusion of the Consultation that the necessary steps should be taken to establish the proposed Committee on World Food Security so that its creation is not delayed beyond the next Session of the FAO Conference. This requires an amendment to the FAO Constitution which will therefore have to be considered by the present Session of the Council so that it can be circulated to Member Nations at least 120 days before the Conference.
Finally, on the general question of world food security, I would like to stress, without going into details at this stage, that we have been taking a number of active steps - in cooperation, where necessary, with other agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization - to implement the Council's decision last November to establish in FAO the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture recommended by the World Food Conference. I would again urge all governments to join in helping to build up this new activity, which, in view of the continuing uncertainties of the world food situation in many regions, is a matter of urgent practical importance, and I hope that the Council, also, will stress the need for their active participation.
In the context of the follow-up to the World Food Conference, a special word needs to be said about food aid. There is certainly encouragement to be drawn from the fact that, thanks to increases that have been announced by both traditional and new donors, the amount of food aid expected to be available in 1975–76 already stands at about 9 million tons, which is within reasonable distance of the minimum target of 10 million tons of grain a year set by the Conference itself. However, it has to be remembered that this was only a minimum target and that it is well below not only the levels of food aid available in the mid-1960s but also the real requirements of developing countries today.
There is also the fact that much more needs to be done to strengthen the World Food Programme, which is the agency that was specifically set up by the international community as a whole to provide multilateral food aid and which has built up a fine record over the years, as I know many countries, developed as well as developing, will agree. Although it is not a matter for this Council Session, I hope that there will be a substantial increase in the target for the next pledging period. To refer now to a matter concerning WFP which is before this Session of the Council for consideration, I would urge that you recommend approval by the FAO Conference of the draft Resolution on the reconstitution of the IGC into a Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes so as to give effect as rapidly as possible to the recommendation of the World Food Conference on this subject.
The next question to which I should refer briefly in the context of follow-up to the World Food Conference on the part of FAO is that of nutrition.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Food and Nutrition Policies, which met here on Thursday and Friday of last week, carried out a detailed examination of FAO's proposals to assist countries in the development of intersectoral food and nutrition planning by means of a Nutrition Planning Scheme. I am pleased to say that these proposals were strongly supported and that FAO was requested to proceed without delay with the further development and implementation of them in cooperation with WHO, UNICEF, Unesco, WFP, UNDP and the World Bank and with advice from the Protein Advisory Group. The Ad Hoc Committee re-emphasized the high priority given by the World Food Conference to this proposed activity as part of improving human nutrition.
The Ad Hoc Committee also considered the implications of the World Food Conference resolutions for FAO's work. In its review of these activities, it stressed the urgent need for improving existing knowledge on the magnitude, location, nature and underlying causes of malnutrition so as to orientate food aid and implement adequate nutrition programmes for the most vulnerable groups, in cooperation with WFP and UNICEF. It also gave its strong support to the activities of the proposed global nutrition surveillance system to be set up jointly with WHO as means of complementing the Global Information and Early Warning System.
Finally, in the context of follow-up to the World Food Conference, there is the question of international agricultural adjustment. The basic recommendation on this subject was that FAO should take full account of the outcome of the Conference in formulating and implementing its adjustment strategy. Since then, there has been, in May, an Ad Hoc Working Party of government representatives on our Proposed Strategy of International Agricultural Adjustment. Rather than attempt to deal with the complex and wide-range issues involved here, there is another case where I would refer the Council to the relevant Report that is on its agenda. My main purpose, actually, in mentioning adjustment today in the present context was to flag the point so that we keep in mind the fact that this important subject has also inevitably been affected by the holding of the World Food Conference.
Mr. Chairman, the Council will see that a great deal has been going on in FAO by way of rapid and, I think, positive follow-up to the World Food Conference. But of course, as I have made clear, it is not just in FAO that the significance of the World Food Conference has been felt. Its echoes have spread wider and further than we can exactly measure now. Let me give one example of what I have in mind. The signing of the Lomé Convention in February of this year between the EEC and 46 developing countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific cannot of course be directly attributed to the World Food Conference. And yet I have a feeling that the spirit generated by the Conference helped in some way to create a warmer climate for achieving some of the objectives embodied in that remarkable document.
I now have reasonable hopes that the World Food Conference will prove to have been a watershed in international relations on food and agriculture. And this fact accentuates the role that must now be expected of FAO.
So I come to my proposals for the Programme of Work and Budget for 1976–77. As the World Food Conference showed, there is now indeed a much greater concern in the world for such matters as increased food production, world food security, improved nutritional standards and so forth. It is clear that this concern must be reflected in part in the strengthening of FAO, for this Organization is at the centre of international activity on these matters.
The progress that is made as a result of the International Fund for Agricultural Development or through the Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment, to take two salient examples, will depend ultimately on technical skill and experience which, at the international level, is mainly provided by FAO. Even where bilateral aid programmes are concerned, there has, as you know, been an increasing tendency in recent years to bring some of them closer together with FAO and its activities. To the extent that FAO is unable to make the increased contribution that is required of it following the World Food Conference, the objectives of that Conference are less likely to be adequately met.
That is the essential general point I want to make about this Programme of Work and Budget, which, I would remind you, it will be for my successor and not me to carry out. He must be given the tools he is going to need in the extremely difficult and challenging biennium that lies ahead.
Let me now turn to a few specific points. As was the case two years ago, what you have before you in a Summary Programme of Work and Budget. It does not therefore contain all the details that will appear in the final version. On the other hand, it does provide the main framework and sufficiently ample information on priorities, increases and so forth to enable the Council to form a measured preliminary judgement in the limited time that it has at its disposal. This is indeed the purpose of the exercise.
A great deal of interest will naturally centre on our eventual proposals for new posts. These are not what you have before you now. I have not yet had the chance to consider our final proposals fully, because the detailed formulation of them have only just reached me after an extremely rigorous process of sifting in the appropriate bodies within the house. What you have before you therefore are interim submissions only. In general, however, I must repeat that the essential contribution that FAO makes in the world is in the form of human skills, so that, if that contribution is to be increased, it must largely be in terms of skilled personnel. It has been urged that FAO should make larger use of the skills available in national institutions in both developed and developing countries. I accept that point, and it was in order to take account of it that we are in the process of substantially reducing the number of new posts we would normally require. However, there is only so far that one can go in that direction, since there are definite limits on the extent to which national institutions can make personnel available in the relatively short time-span we are considering. I would merely add in general that, in the light of the comparatively small total increase in posts that has taken place during my term of office, the increased number that we shall propose now in the present special circumstances - a major part of which is for the Regional Offices - will really not be all that large.
Similar considerations apply to the proposed level for the budget - $177 million, of which $40 million of the increase is for the programme as such. With the inflationary pressures of the last four years, there has been very little programme increase at all. What there has been has largely been eaten up by inflationary costs. In this connexion, I would like to stress the point that the Organization needs to be better equipped to meet unbudgeted costs in the next biennium. More generally, I feel I hardly need to urge the point that, with the relative standstill in programme increases over the last four years, with all that we have nevertheless been called upon to do in this biennium, with regard to such matters as the World Food Conference and the fertilizer crisis and with all that we are being called upon to do now and in the future by way of follow-up to the World Food Conference, the time has come when a sizeable programme increase is imperative. Without it, the Organization cannot hope to have the impact which is now expected of it and which, ironically enough, it is sometimes criticized for not having. If you look closely at what is now expected of us, I think you will find that there is very little, if indeed anything, that can be cut out as being an unnecessary or low priority activity.
The Programme and Finance Committees have, however, proposed certain cuts in our proposed increases - some of them, rather surprisingly, I would say, with regard to items which the World Food Conference has specially singled out for priority attention or on which this Council has placed high priority in the past. On this question, I can only say that I will listen with the greatest care to the views of the Council.
There is one further specific point concerning the Programme of Work and Budget that I must mention. I am referring to what the Finance Committee, in the report of its 34th Session, describes as “the balance between requirements and facilities and the application of the established principles of parity among working languages and simultaneous distribution of documents and publications.” The Finance Committee has asked me to consider whether this balance will be successfully maintained in 1976–77 and also “what flexibility there would be for adjusting servicing facilities to unforeseen needs, bearing in mind the need for discipline in the production of written material, and close adherence to the several programmes prepared by the substantive units”. The problem of striking and maintaining this balance has always existed in FAO and in other agencies within the UN system. In FAO, as elsewhere, the problem has lately become more acute. Over the past twelve months, there has been an acceleration in the tempo of conference activities served by our own staff, whose complement was actually reduced in the present biennium compared with 1972–73. Not only has the overall volume of work on translation and document production and distribution shown a very large increase, mostly under the impact of the World Food Conference and its follow-up, but the time available between successive meeting dealing with the same or inter-connected question has shrunk. As a result, everything has become urgent and many representative bodies, including the Committee on Agriculture, the Ad Hoc Working Party on International Agricultural Adjustment and the Council itself have complained that the rules of the Organization requiring simultaneous distribution and timely despatch of documents in all working languages have not been applied, so that many delegations have found themselves in serious difficulties. Another unacceptable consequence of the burden under which our translation and production services have been labouring is that periodicals have been coming out late, extremely late in some instances. This sacrifice in the timeliness of important printed publications in order to switch resources to conference work is not acceptable, and harms FAO's reputation in the eyes of the growing sections of the public who subscribe to our many annuals and specialized journals.
The growth in the substantive activities of FAO proposed in 1976–77 must therefore be matched by an adequate growth in conference, publishing and translation resources. This is a matter to which I attach great importance. I will review it further in the light of the outcome of this Council Session and my detailed proposals will be included in the final budget document that goes to the Conference.
I turn now to a few other issues that I should mention. First of all, the Council will recall that in September the General Assembly is holding a Special Session devoted to development and international economic cooperation. The objectives of this Session include the initiation of “the necessary and appropriate structural changes to make the United Nations System a more effective instrument of world economic cooperation”. In document CL 66/22 we have reported on the preparatory work under way. I would also draw the Council's particular attention to the summary of the Report of the Group of Experts on the Structure of the United Nations System, which will be circulated as a document as soon as we receive it in all three languages from UN Headquarters. The Report itself will be considered at intergovernmental level by the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session at a meeting which starts next Monday. It is not in a formal sense submitted for consideration by the FAO Council or the governing bodies of other specialized agencies.
I shall, however, probably have an opportunity of commenting on the Report of the Group of Experts at the Joint Meetings of the ECOSOC Policy and Programme Coordination Committee and the ACC which will be held in Geneva on 30 June and 1 July. For this purpose I would be grateful for any guidance that the members of the Council may wish to give me.
I would point out that most of the changes proposed by the Group of Experts relate to the United Nations itself and not directly to the role and functions of the specialized agencies. There are, however, a number of proposals which would strengthen the ability of the System as a whole to tackle complex problems of an inter-sectoral nature. These recommendations are not greatly dissimilar in some respects from the suggestions which I myself put forward in my contribution to the planned ACC statement, as summarized in document CL 66/22.
Next, I should like to report briefly on our progress with AGRIS - the International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology. AGRIS has formally begun operation in 1975, according to the schedule approved by the FAO Conference. This cooperative activity, coordinated by FAO, facilitates the transfer of technology through a network of national institutions and regional organizations. Input to the system is provided by these centres, which identify scientific and technical literature within the scope of the system and produced in their own country or region. The data so created provides, for users both in developed and developing countries, access to the world's literature through two media - firstly, AGRINDEX, a monthly printed bibliography, and, secondly, a magnetic tape service from which specific data may be extracted and organized for local needs. In the first six months of operation, 21 000 items, representing input from over 40 countries, have been processed and disseminated. Thus the AGRIS system, which is participatory and interactive, offers new possibilities for information transfer - vital to planning and development activities - by a cooperative mechanism hitherto unavailable in the fields of food and agriculture.
Another issue to which I should like to draw your attention is that of remote sensing. At the present time, there are, on a world-wide basis, over 50 FAO-managed projects with a remote sensing component. The activities involved cover a wide range of the most modern aerial photographic techniques as well as the more spectacular satellite sensing, thermal sensing and side-looking radar.. As a follow-up to the World Food Conference, it is planned to use remote sensing as an input for the Global Information and Early Warning System. Furthermore, the possibilities of co-operating with the data-receiving facilities of Italy and Iran in developing a satellite-based methodology for monitoring the migratory desert locust are being explored. In addition to all this, I have recently received a request from the United Nations for FAO's help and cooperation in establishing in Rome an international pilot programme in remote sensing applications and training for the benefit of developing countries. This would undoubtedly mean a leading role for the Organization in the activities on remote sensing carred out within the United Nations system. I would thus hope that, in considering the observations of the Programme and Finance Committees on the subject of remote sensing, the Council will take these facts into account.
Last, Mr. Chairman, but certainly not least, I should like to refer to International Women's Year. This is an initiative by the General Assembly that has undoubtedly - and rightly-had a major global impact. I think it is very necessary that FAO should review its policies and programmes to see how women can be more effectively integrated in rural development. For the majority of the world's women live in rural areas, yet the immense contribution they have to offer to agricultural and national development objectives has, more often than not, been neglected. We shall also need to examine what we in FAO can do to help implement the World Plan of Action that will be drawn up at the International Women's Year Conference that is meeting shortly in Mexico City. In support of this and of the aims of the Year in general, I would strongly urge that the Council adopt the draft Resolution on the “Integration of Women in Agricultural and Rural Development” that is before you.
I have now, Mr. Chairman, covered all the main points I wished to mention to the Council today. I shall of course be extremely interested in listening to your discussions at this Session.