Nineteenth Session

Rome, 13-16 April 2005


1.     Election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons

2.     Adoption of Agenda and Timetable for the Session

3.     Review of FAO’s Programme of Work in the Food and Agriculture Sector

a)     Programme Implementation Report 2002-03

The Programme Implementation Report (PIR) is a Conference document, which provides FAO Members with synthetic information on achievements in relation to the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) for the past biennium.

In this item, an extract of the PIR 2002-03 (C 2005/8) covering Major Programmes 2.1 (Agricultural Production and Support Systems), 2.2 (Food and Agriculture Policy and Development) and 2.5 (Contributions to Sustainable Development and Special Programme Thrusts), is submitted for the information of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG). The extract includes the achievements at Programme and Programme Entity level, and provides a summary of the completion status of planned and unplanned outputs in the PWB.

b)     Medium Term Plan 2006-11 and Preliminary Programme of Work Proposals for 2006-07

The Committee is invited to conduct a forward-looking review of planned activities under Major Programmes 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5 in the Medium-Term Plan (MTP) 2006-11, together with the preliminary programme of work proposals for the 2006-07 biennium.

The item presents for each programme under Major Programmes 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5:

The attention of the Committee is drawn in particular to those entities that are new or have been substantially changed since the previous MTP, as highlighted in the document. COAG is invited to review and comment on these new and changed entities, and to make recommendations on the programme priorities so that they could be reflected in the final proposals for the PWB 2006-07 for Major Programmes 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5.

Selected Development Issues

4.     Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)

Following the recommendation of the Sixteenth Session of COAG (March 2001) and FAO Council’s endorsement that SARD be a standing agenda item at COAG every four years, the document highlights the emerging context, recent achievements, lessons learned, and future priorities from among the portfolio of complementary efforts to achieve SARD within a framework of “putting people first”. Global driving forces of SARD and the interactions between macro-economic, agricultural, rural development, environmental and other sectoral trends and policies establish the context; the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation for Agenda 21 set the targets. The item seeks guidance from COAG on possible SARD Programme Thrusts for FAO. Key areas of action in Thrust One promote Sustainable Rural Livelihoods; those in Thrust Two facilitate adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and other action to enhance sustainability and safety of food chains; and those in Thrust Three support development and mainstreaming of an ecosystem approach for conserving land and water resources and protecting biodiversity. In implementing these thrusts, account will be taken of the need to harmonize and coordinate efforts, to improve impact and coherence of normative and field programmes, to accelerate lesson-learning and implementation of good practices, and to ensure more effective stakeholder participation in SARD. It is expected that effective implementation will lead to sustainable reductions in hunger and malnutrition and contribute in particular to MDGs 1 and 7.
As requested by COAG at its Seventeenth Session (March-April 2003), a review on the development of GAP activities is presented as an element of the standing item on SARD. By providing an international, science-based and neutral platform for intergovernmental, private sector and civil society dialogue on the development of a GAP approach, FAO contributes to the concrete application of one major action area of SARD.

5.     FAO’s Strategy for a Safe and Nutritious Food Supply

At its Seventeenth Session, COAG discussed the document prepared by the Secretariat in response to a request by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to FAO to develop strategies to address key elements of policy advice, capacity building and technical assistance, and actions that need to be taken at national and international levels for ensuring access to safe and nutritious food. COAG provided further guidance on the key policy elements to be covered and requested FAO to revise and resubmit the document for its examination. The item presents and discusses the FAO food chain approach for achieving food safety including the regulatory and non regulatory interventions needed to reduce risks. It discusses, in particular, the legal and administrative frameworks required for the application of the food chain approach; the regulatory food safety systems; the regulatory approaches to nutritional adequacy; and the risk management-based interventions along the food chain to prevent food contamination and promote food safety. The paper presents elements of an FAO strategy for ensuring safe and nutritious food. These elements include the strengthening of the international regulatory framework and its scientific basis; the strengthening of national regulatory food control systems; capacity building; information and advocacy; emergency response; and cooperation and coordination with other relevant programmes. The roles of the different stakeholders in the implementation of the strategy are highlighted. The item seeks the views of COAG on the proposed framework strategy and calls on governments to support food safety programmes as a priority, and for FAO and partner agencies to continue to support the development of scientific, risk-based food standards, guidelines and recommendations through the provision of expert advice, and the development and dissemination of necessary tools to assist in their implementation.

6.     The Globalizing Livestock Sector: Impact of Changing Markets

The livestock sector, traditionally based on locally available resources and supporting the livelihoods of an estimated 600 million rural poor, is increasingly vulnerable to the threats and opportunities of globalization and trade liberalization. In particular, developing countries face strict demands for animal health control related to export markets that can affect even those who produce only for the domestic market. Private sanitary and quality standards are taking the lead over public standards, the more so in situations where legislation is lagging behind. The predominant force behind changing markets is the consumer, particularly the growing middle class whose demands, concerns and preferences are passed down the supply chain. Globalization, while opening international markets for competitive suppliers, may lead to the “shutting off” of informal markets, on which small producers and poor consumers have traditionally relied. Demands for new products and new quality standards pose a problem for smallholders and small traders, who often lack the capital and knowledge to comply with changing requirements. The item seeks guidance from COAG on the priority to be assigned to the collateral social, public health and environmental impact of the globalizing livestock sector as well as on the approaches, both from a technical and policy perspective, to be used by FAO and its Members in addressing these consequences.

7.     Bioenergy

This item follows on the recommendations by the Office of the Director-General (ODG), in December 2003, for the establishment of an Interdepartmental Programme on bioenergy. It refers to the interdisciplinary nature of bioenergy, and identifies areas to be strengthened in FAO’s work on the two distinct but inter-related components of wood energy and agro energy. More specifically, actions are described for: a) the improvement of existing information systems on bioenergy, land use, land tenure, sustainable use of natural resources, and socioeconomic parameters of rural populations, b) the enhancement of the multidisciplinary expertise needed in the different areas of agriculture, forestry and economy, and c) the promotion of an intensified field programme to provide policy and technical advice to member countries on the subject. Guidance is sought from both the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and the Committee on Forestry (COFO) on the future direction of FAO’s work to promote bioenergy to succesfully achieve the Millennium Development Goals, by institutionalizing a multi-disciplinary approach to bioenergy, for example by establishing an Inter-Departmental Working Group (IDWG) on Bioenergy, and/or elevating the profile of bioenergy further by establishing a Priority Area for Interdisciplinary Action (PAIA) on Bioenergy.

8.     Other Business

9.     Date and Place of Next Session

10.     Adoption of the Report