Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates and observers, ladies and gentlemen,
The main purpose of this session is to prepare the Twentieth Session of the Conference in November next. Before beginning my remarks, however, the sad duty falls to me of noting the tragic death of someone who was a distinguished, accomplished and greatly liked participant in this Council. I refer to the late Jawed Salim Khan, who died suddenly on the evening of 27 April.
He was here representing the Government of Pakistan at the session of the Programme Committee, to which he was appointed in 1977. Previous to that he was Alternated Permanent Representative of the Government of Pakistan, and thus well-known to most of us for his ideals, his outstanding capabilities, his constructive approach, and his modest and friendly personality.
His death is a loss not only to his family and to his Government but also to the Organization. We shall miss him.
I would kindly ask you, Mr. Chairman, to request the Council to observe a minute of silence as a tribute to the memory of Jawed Salim Khan.
At your session last November, we carried out a full survey of the overall situation one year after the Nineteenth Session of the Conference.
Today I want to focus on a few issues of major importance for the next Conference and the next biennium.
First, however, I should mention that the Organization has recently been honoured by the visits of two Heads of State, the President of the Republic of Panama, and the King of the Belgians who was accompanied by his gracious Queen. Their knowledge of and interest in the work of the Organization was most gratifying.
WCAARD (World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development)In this connexion, I am glad to inform you that several Heads of State are likely to be attending and addressing the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in July. I would mention the Presidents of the Republics of Italy, Senegal, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Costa Rica.
This attendance at the very highest levels not only symbolizes the importance of the World Conference. It. will give it a significant policy impetus. And it will be an unprecedented recognition of this Organization of which we can all be proud.
For, after all, the Conference is not an end in itself.
The Conference must concentrate on all that is conducive to bringing out the political will, self-reliance, and drive for equity within the developing countries themselves and the assistance which the international community and the UN system can and should give.
That is why it is important that the draft Programme of Action, which is now being revised in the light of comments by Member Governments, should be the main focus of' the Conference.
The tasks of analysing and following up the proceedings of the Conference will constitute a particular challenge for the organizations of the UN family, especially FAO. The challenge will place a premium on achieving a blend of imagination, boldness, and practicability.
I guarantee that these qualities will be forthcoming from FAO, and this will be accomplished within the narrow margins of the modest total for Programme of Work and Budget for which. I am asking for 1980-81. I will come back to this issue later.
There are other important Conference issues arising out of current action. Of primary importance will be World Food Security.
The Council has before it the Report of the Committee on World Food Security which met in April. As you will have noted, this contains a Five-Point Plan which I put forward to the Committee following the failure of the long drawn-out negotiations for an International Grains Arrangement and a new Food Aid Convention.
While a resumption of the United Nations Negotiating Conference on a new International Grains Arrangement is still to be hoped for, we must face the probability - recognized by Secretary Bergland of the United States Department of Agriculture, and others - that no major developments in that direction can be expected in the next year or two.
This is implicit in the fact that the 1971 Wheat Agreement, which contains no provisions for stock building or price stability, has been extended in its present form for two years from 1 July 1979. The 1971 Food Aid Convention has also been further extended for two years, but with a recommendation that effect be given to the increased commitments which governments had been ready to envisage at the Negotiating Conference.
The failure of the Geneva negotiations represents a major blow to efforts to strengthen world food security. And it leaves a dangerous gap at a time when the stocks of developing countries will probably be about only 10 per cent of their annual consumption. In fact, imports of cereal by developing countries have jumped from 60 to 80 million tons since 1974, and I forecast they will have reached 100 million tons by 1985. We must not forget either that the world population increases by 72 million a year.
In these circumstances, I proposed to the Committee on World, Food Security a Plan of Action which is focused on some of the most immediate food security problems, particularly of the low-income food deficit countries.
It has been unanimously adopted by the Committee which recommended it to you with a resolution for your approval.
The Plan consists of the following five basic points:
First, adoption of, foodgrain stock policies by all governments which have subscribed to the International Undertaking on World Food Security;
Second, agreement on criteria for management and release of national stocks held in pursuance of the Undertaking;
Third, special measures to assist low -income food deficit countries to meet current import requirements and emergency needs;
Fourth, special arrangements for Food Security Assistance to developing countries; arid Fifth, promotion of collective self-reliance of developing countries in the vital sector of food security.
You also have before you the Report of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes.
The promotion of world food security is a major objective under the General Regulations of the World Food Programme. It is to be carried out by the Programme "in accordance with the recommendations made to it by the United Nations and the FAO".
Both parent organizations have now made specific recommendations to the World Food Programme on this subject in the last two months, the United Nations through the Committee-of-the-Whole established under General Assembly resolution 32/174, and FAO through the Committee on World Food Security.
The Committee on Food Aid has decided to review at its next session in October the role of food aid in strengthening the food security of developing countries.
I hope that Council will agree that positive steps should be taken toward an expanded role for the World Food Programme in this area. It is to be noted that the International Grains Arrangement which has been under discussion for 62 weeks in Geneva did not provide for a programme of financial and technical assistance for helping the developing countries to set up food security stocks.
Another important issue which both the United Nations Committee-of-the-Whole and the Committee on World Food Security have raised is the need to re-evaluate the annual food aid target of at least 10 million tons of, cereals, taking into account the Secretariat estimate that food aid needs would be in the order of 15-16 million tons by 1985. The Committee will also consider this highly important policy issue at its next session.
The need for food aid is most urgent in emergency situations. Last year we experienced a large number of natural disasters. Requests for emergency assistance out-stripped the resources available to the World Food Programme.
The Programme nevertheless carried out. 57; emergency operations - 50 percent more than in 1977. The International Emergency Food Reserve was exhausted in 1978 and an increase of US$10 million in the allocation of World Food, Programme resources for emergencies proved necessary.
It is, of course, not possible to forecast precisely the emergency assistance that might be required in 1979, but the FAO Food Information System is already giving an early warning of unfavourable crop conditions in 24 developing countries.
This is even more than the number of countries reported to have unfavourable crop conditions a year ago and underlines the significance of the Executive Director's views on the level of the resources available for emergency purposes.
At the forecast level, world wheat and coarse grain production would not be sufficient to meet consumption requirements in 1978/80, and the stocks would have to be drawn upon to meet the demand.
Particularly important is the question of contributions to the International Emergency Food Reserve. This Reserve has now been established on a revolving basis'. The United Nations Committee of the Whole and the Committee on World Food Security have stressed the need to ensure that the agreed target of 500 000 tons a year should be obtained in 1,979. In fact, I fully agree with the Executive Director of the World Food Council who is recommending that this emergency reserve should grow up to 750 000 tons in the coming year.
The need for generous pledges cannot be overstressed, as a failure to meet even the most vital emergency needs would render the whole concept of world food security meaningless.
In speaking of emergency situations, I cannot fail to renew the appeal I made at the meeting of the Committee on Food Aid to save thousands of people in South East Asia suffering from hunger and starvation. I am referring to the food situation in Kampuchea, the "boat people" from Vietnam, and nationals of and displaced persons from Lao as well as Kampuchea. in mentioning these countries, I am fully aware of the political reactions which may arise. I am fully aware of the legal, logistical and security problems involved. But we are faced with a tragic human situation which we cannot ignore. We must put aside all but our sympathy and our humanitarian response. I therefore appeal to all potential donors and relief agencies for a major emergency effort, bilaterally and/or multilaterally, to help these people afflicted by suffering and impending tragedy.
Turning back to the World Food Programme in 1979 and 1980, it is a matter of great concern that the pledges announced for this period have so far. reached only about 74 percent of the target of 950 million dollars..
I sincerely hope that new pledges by both traditional donors and new donors will soon make up this shortfall.
So far as the biennium 1981-82 is concerned, I hope that the minimum - I repeat minimum - figure of 1 000 million dollars, for 1981-82 which amounts to only a very slight increase, not even a real increase, will now be endorsed by you and the Economic and Social Council on the basis recommended by the CFA. Even more importantly, I hope that the contributions to meet the target will in fact be forthcoming.
I have given particular attention to the questions of world food security and food aid, but there are, of course, also other important Committee Reports on your Agenda.
At this point, I will take the opportunity of referring to the report of the Commission on Fertilizers. The question of fertilizers, and indeed of other inputs, has recently tended to recede into the. background.
I am sure, therefore, that you will give full attention to the Report, which deals with the recommendations of the Consultative Working Group and reviews Some important issues.
At this moment, I would mention only two points. The first is that the Commission urged donor countries to contribute fertilizers liberally to enable us to reactivate out International Fertilizer Supply Scheme primarily in favour of small farmers in MSA countries. The second is that the producers have now committed themselves to provide nearly 1/2 million tons of fertilizer materials for the implementation of the so-called Option System. This is broadly equivalent to $100 million.
I am very glad that the industry has responded in this way and will now be taking the necessary steps to put the Option System in place. So far, however, there has not been any significant response to the appeal to reactivate the International Fertilizer Supply Scheme. I hope that this will be forthcoming, since it is crucial to success in achieving necessary food production targets.
Before going on to the Committee on Agriculture and certain connected matters, I would like to refer briefly to another item under Section III of your Agenda, namely Iten 9 on Inter-Agency Relations.
In early April I attended the meeting in Geneva of the Administrative Committee on Coordination. This was an important meeting because inter alia it dealt with some issues of crucial importance to the effective working of organizations in the UN system in the field.
The ACC had before it the results of a number of coordination meetings held in Geneva and New York during the past few months.
At the ACC, we achieved agreement on the letter of appointment of "the single official" at the country level envisaged in General Assembly Resolution No 32/197. This appointment constitutes a new element in the UN system with which Governments and Agencies will have to deal.
The single official will be called the "Resident Coordinator of the UN System's operational activities for development". His responsibilities are set out in his Letter of Appointment by quoting the relevant portion of paragraph 34 of the Restructuring Resolution of the United Nations "on behalf of the United Nations system, overall responsibility for, and coordination of operational activities for development carried out at the country level should be entrusted to a single official to be designated, taking into account the sectors of particular interest to the countries of assignment, in consultation with and with the consent of the government concerned, who should exercise team leadership and be responsible for evolving, at the country level, a multidisciplinary dimension in sectoral development assistance programmes. These tasks should be carried out in conformity with the priorities established by the competent national authorities and with the assistance, as necessary, of joint interagency advisory groups". It is also explicitly recognized that these arrangements "do not affect relations between your Government and individual Organizations of the UN system or the direct lines of authority and communication between the representatives of these Organizations at the country level and their own Executive Heads".
Since the Resident Coordinator will normally, though not necessarily, be the UNDP Resident Representative, and no one has yet explained what a "multidisciplinary dimension" is, it is small wonder that we are now experiencing some further difficulty in agreeing to detailed terms of reference of this singular official.
On my request, we are going to discuss this matter further at the end of the month in Geneva under the ACC auspices, I shall not fail to report to you at your October session.
In this connexion, I am aware that in certain quarters it has been suggested that FAO is the only Organization which is against coordination. I should like to assure you that this is not true.
We are perhaps the only Organization which speaks out frankly what many feel about tendencies towards centralization under the guise of coordination.
We are also against coordination for its own sake carried out by full-time coordinators, at the expense of practical action by people who know their subjects and have years of experience working in hard conditions in the fields, in the forests, and on the seas.
Furthermore, with the very large size of our field programme, in cooperation with the World Bank, other investment institutions, and many souroes of extra-budgetary funds, we have an interest in the matter which is far greater than that of anyone else.
In fact, by the very virtue of the size and depth of our activities, we already have more than enough coordination. We could hardly be more closely involved on a practical day-to-day basis with the World Bank, the UNDP, multi-bi donors, and above all with the recipient Governments.
It is with the latter, the Governments themselves, that rests the primary and the only real responsibility for coordination. And, through our growing network of FAO Representatives, we have the closest possible relationships with Governments and the UNDP Resident Representatives on the ground.
It is right and proper, therefore, that we should be openly concerned about possible damage to our vital field action by excessive or impractical coordination detrimental to the interests of the developing countries themselves.
Of a much more promising nature are other aspects of our relations with the UN and other Agencies and with other Organizations.
The main item at the meeting of the Committee of the Whole in New York during March, was Food and Agriculture.
The Committee adopted "Agreed Conclusions" which are extensive in their scope and importance. These were circulated to the Committee on World Food Security but the content covers both general questions and a number of specific matters going beyond that particular subject.
The Committee "considers that a rapid increase in food and agricultural production in developing countries is an essential element for their overall development". It agreed that the developing countries should take urgent measures to accelerate the development of their food and agricultural sectors; international development institutes and developed countries should increase substantially their assistance for agricultural development; IFAD should be replenished on a continuing basis; and there should be continued support of donor countries and organizations "through financial and technical assistance to specific programmes and projects for agricultural and food cooperation among developing countries at sub-regional, regional and inter-regional levels". I was just quoting some of these recommendations.
In addition to substantial sections about food security, food aid, agricultural trade, and agro-related industries, the Committee made specific proposals about increased assistance for the supply of fertilizers to MSA countries, for the International Fertilizer Supply Scheme, for assistance to fertilizer and pesticide production, for contributions to FAO's Special Action Programme for the Prevention of Food Losses, and FAO's Seed Improvement and Development Scheme, and FAO's EEZ programme.
The Committee of the Whole also urged active participation of all Governments in the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, and further action and assistance to countries and in support of the ACC Sub-Committee for and FAO's programmes in Nutrition.
I have drawn your attention to these Agreed Conclusions because the Committee of the Whole is, as it were, the senior committee in the whole UN system responsible for progress on the North-South Dialogue.
These extensive conclusions are of great significance to us. Among other things, they show how relevant and important are FAO's programmes and activities to the formulation of the new International Development Strategy and the achievement of the New International Economic Order. I have no doubt that food and energy are the most important issues which are confronting humanity today. Secretary-General Waldheim, at UNCTAD V, has also confirmed this position.
It is also gratifying for me to be able to inform you that another external body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the 21 countries of the Council of Europe - which I had the pleasure of addressing in May - unanimously adopted a resolution referring to the Organization.
This resolution, after recognizing the salient points of the world food situation, specifically welcomes the projects implemented by FAO, especially the setting up of the Food Security Assistance Scheme and the Action Programme for the Prevention of Food Losses; approves FAO's methods of action which - it recognizes - are increasingly orientated towards practical field work......... parti-cularly through the implementation of a Technical Cooperation Programme which enables it, to help countries in difficulty with its own resources; and invites the governments of member states of the
Council of Europe inter alia to implement my Action Plan for World Food Security, to support the launching by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development of an Action Programme at world level, and to back the Plan I shall submit to our Conference in November on the Exclusive Economic Zones of Fisheries.
Committee on Agriculture. Many of the subjects just mentioned were also discussed by the Committee on Agriculture at its session in April.
Fortunately, the committee avoided getting enmeshed in discussions of format of documents and was able to have a discussion in depth of the subjects on its Agenda.
This was perhaps the most fruitful session so far, both for the Member Governments and for the Secretariat, of the Committee, It will help us greatly in carrying forward our programmes in the next biennium and beyond.
I am particularly gratified by the reception given by the Committee to the document we submitted on Nutrition. I think it may be said that with the impetus given by Governments, we have completely overhauled our approach on Nutrition.
The result is that there is now a strong consensus between developed and developing countries in support of the proposed policies and programmes in this vital field.
My proposed budget for Nutrition for the next biennium includes an increase at a preferential rate compared with the overall increase. But the total resources available will still be relatively modest and they need to be considerably augmented by extrabudgetary funds.
I believe that some Governments have the capacity as well as the desire to provide these. I hope they will in fact do so in the near future, in support of the high priority programmes and activities identified in the COAG document as well as in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget.
Another point which I noted with much satisfaction was that the Committee, as well as the Programme and Finance Committees, gave strong support to the other strategies and priorities put forward in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget and in the document on the "Medium and Long-Term Outlook for Food and Agricultural Development".
I think I am entitled to say that there has scarcely been a previous time in FAO'S history when there has been as full a consensus as there is now between Member Nations on the relevance of FAO'S strategies, priorities and action to the needs of the world food situation, on the ways and means employed by the Organization, and on its effectiveness.
You will have noted the reference to Exclusive Economic Zones of Fisheries (EEZ) in the UN Committee of the Whole's Agreed Conclusions and in the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I intend in fact to submit a document to the Conference on our future action on EEZ,
This is in response to the desires of the Conference. But it also represents my own conviction that FAO is the organisation par excellence, and perhaps the only organisation which can be of equal service to all Member Governments, in resolving the extremely complex, delicate problems arising from this extremely important development in the changing régime of the oceans.
Vital to successful and harmonious national and international action in this field is the role which FAO should and will play in providing a comprehensive approach, close meshing of national and international interests, and attraction and coordination of resources.
In this connexion, I am glad to inform you that the generous pledge of US $3.6 million by the Government of Norway for use on EEZ programmes is already being put to work. Seven projects have already been approved and several more are under active consideration.
The European Economic Community has also shown considerable interest and I hope that they will be ready to provide considerable funds.
Furthermore, I would like to pay tribute to the Member Governments and the Administrator of the UNDP for the very concrete interest which they have shown in this programme. As a result, I am hoping that the Governing Council of UNDP will shortly agree to grant substantial additional funds for EEZ under their provision for interregional activities.
This would be additional to the funds UNDP are currently mobilising for the control of desert locusts, to which I shall refer in a moment.
I will also be submitting to the Conference a document on the next phase of our action on Trypanosomiasis.
The first phase was a very modest but not an easy one. We have however made sufficient progress to be able to contemplate the next phase of the attack on this daunting problem affecting the wide central swathe of Africa.
I am putting forward what I think is a concrete, feasible and practical approach, which once again calls for cooperation between Member Nations, including a particular emphasis on Economic Cooperation between Developing Countries, ECDC, and Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries, TCDC.
Special Action Programmes. In this short address, I do not have time to discuss all the other Special Action Programmes as fully as they deserve.
They merit full attention because they constitute a unique combination of important elements for multilateral development.
They combine international priorities explicitly identified and supported by the highest international authorities, such as the UN Committee of the Whole, with individual recipient and donor interests.
They combine FAO's conceptual, managerial and coordinating roles with the inputs and preferences of recipient and donor Governments.
They combine a very modest input of regular budget resources with very much greater amounts of funds provided voluntarily by donors,
I will have more to say on this question of the role of the Regular Programme resources when I come to the Summary Programme of Work and Budget.
Special Action Programmes have already proved their worth in the Sahelian Zone, the Desert Locust Control, the International Fertilizer Supply Scheme, the Food Security Assistance Scheme, the programme for the control of the African Swine Fever, and the Action Programme for the Prevention of Food Losses.
I would like to add also the Dairy Development Scheme and Training Programme for which I have just been informed that the Government of Denmark will contribute up US $12,5 million during the period 198O-1984. I am happy to convey this information to Members of the Council.
The merit and success of these Schemes is fully attested by all concerned. Nevertheless, they are lacking in resources. Renewal and increase in voluntary contributions are needed for them during the next biennium.
In fact, in the case of Desert Locust Control, the need is urgent. During 1978, I was able to mobilize US $6 million from the TCP, the Working Capital Fund, and international donor contributions made through FAO.
The threat continues, however, during 1979. I have been making strenuous efforts to mobilize further funds, amounting to approximately a further US $6 million.
So far, I have succeeded in obtaining generous contributions from the OPEC Special Fund, the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Iraq, in addition to US $345 000 from the UNDP.
As I have already said, I am most grateful to the Administrator, Mr Bradford Morse, and his senior colleagues, for the close and active interest they have personally taken in these efforts, the UNDP contributions already made for 1979, and the requests they are now putting to the Governing Council of the UNDP to provide a much more substantial amount, that is more than US 82 million, for the restructuring of the Desert Locust Control Scheme and, we hope, eventually for a new linked system of national, regional and international efforts for regional plant protection services in Africa.
I trust that in the continuing contacts we shall be having with the Governments concerned, UNDP, other organizations, and donor Governments, we shall be able to mobilize the further funds required over the next few years.
I have stressed the Special Action Programmes not only because of their importance in themselves, but also because of the significant role which the Regular Programme of FAO plays as a catalyst in mobilizing funds for development.
This is even more true of our role in promoting investment through our cooperative arrangements with the World Bank and. other financing institutions.
You will find in the Report of the Programme Committee a very full analysis of our investment activities.
The facts speak for themselves. You will note how with a comparatively very small investment of staff and resources FAO has played a vital role in promoting the provision of very large sums to developing countries for food and agricultural development, including much greater emphasis on the small farmers and rural development.
The effort has been building up since 1974, but I am particularly gratified that of the total amount of US $13 billion of projects formulated by the Investment Centre of FAO and approved by financing institutions during the past 14 years, nearly half was approved in the last two years.
I consider that this is more than ample evidence that the emphasis which was given to investment in the Review of Programmes which you approved in July 1976 has not been just an oral contribution towards the achievement of the New International Economic Order and the new International Development Strategy. This investment achievement in only the last two years has been a very concrete and solid contribution to these objectives.
The Programme Committee has made some useful suggestions for your consideration on the continued operation of our investment activities, with which I generally agree.
I come now, Mr Chairman, to the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1980-1981.
I do not propose in this opening speech to go deeply into the considerations behind my detailed. proposals. This will be done when Item 11 is introduced. There are, however, certain points I would like to stress from the outset.
As I have already indicated, I do not think there has been a time when there has been a greater degree of consensus than now exists on FAO's main roles; how these roles are to be applied and translated into strategies and priorities; on the strategies and priorities now in fact being followed; and on the ways and means employed to follow them.
The problem we are facing is thus not the choice of priorities but of adequacy of resouroes.
I must confess in fact that I feel somewhat apologetic about the total budget which I have proposed. It is lower than desired or expected by a large number of member countries. It is lower than the merits of the priorities and our capacity for efficient action thereon would justify. It is lower than the current budget for Unesco, which totals US $303 million, including a 6.5% real programme increase. It is very much lower than the WHO's biennal budget of US $427 million for 1980-1981.
The supplementaries recently approved for the United Nations, at the end of one year only, alone constitute nearly half of the whole of FAO's current budget, and the supplementaries were mostly for meetings, documentation, studies and staff for coordination.
I make these comparisons not in order in any way to criticize other Agencies or to envy them, but simply to illustrate how modest my proposals are. Why are they so modest? There are many reasons. I will attempt to give a few.
We start from a low base despite the priority which everyone agrees should be given to food and agricultural development.
We are consistent and determined in the application of the new strategies and policies approved in 1976.
We are economical. We do not believe in spending money in order to increase the number of posts and studies at Headquarters.
We believe in maximum impact at minimum cost, principally for action in answer to concrete, urgent needs at the field level.
We have been consistent in our policy of decentralization. We have insisted on the complementarity of action by Headquarters, Regional Offices and at the country level.
We have not confused the organizational location of the budget allocations with the place of impact of the expenditure. The objective of all allocations is the same - complementarity of action to ensure impact at the country level.
There is no antithesis between Headquarters, the Regional and the country levels. They are not to be compared with or pitted against each other. We are one army against hunger.
We have out our low priorities to make room for new ones, particularly those which will mobilize more investment, more extra-budgetary resources.
I mentioned earlier our Special Action Programmes. Let me take as an example Desert Locust Control. At the beginning of 1978-1979, you approved the addition of some US $450 000 to the Regular Programme in order to take over the desert locust posts formerly financed by the UNDP. Extra-budgetary funds obtained in 1978 from various sources for desert locust control totalled US $4,5 million. We are on the way, 1 hope to a target of US $6 million in 1979. If we attain that target, the investment of US $450 000 at the beginning of the biennium will have played a vital role in mobilizing more than 23 times that amount.
Let me mention the Action Programme for the Prevention of Food Losses. For the current biennium, you approved additional resources under the Regular Programme, mainly for the cost of a small unit to mount and coordinate this Action Programme. To date, the extra-budgetary funds employed stand at nearly US $15 million. Approved projects have reached US $7 million, that is 38 times the additional Regular Programme resources.
If we take Investment, the total Regular Programme budget increased from US $1.8 million in 1974 to US 85.4 million in 1978, that is three-fold. The number of investment projects prepared increased five-fold. But their value increased from US $438 million to US $2 129 million, that is 400 times the seed-money provided by the Regular Programme.
In considering the programme increase, I have also frankly taken seriously into account the views expressed by some Governments at the last Conference and the world economic situation, which has not improved since then.
As a result of this, I have reduced the net increase as far as possible. It will be observed that despite all the factors militating in favour of a larger increase, the percentage increase I have requested is 20% lower than that for 1978-1979.
At this point, I should simply like to sum up my approach.
I have been concerned with substance, not with theories. We are professional, experienced and practical.
Our action between Headquarters, Regional Offices and Country Offices is coherent and complementary.
We are deeply involved daily in urgent, up-to-date relevant action, especially in the field.
We pay attention to detail, but we can also have vision and think of the future. We have proved it by proposing to you the five point plan for food security in our proposal on EEZ. We do not hesitate to come forward with initiatives when timely and practical.
Thus, we are looking ahead to the follow-up of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and the new International Development Strategy.
If anybody is making a really major, central contribution in policy and practical terms to achievement of the goals of the New International Economic Order, it is FAO.
That is why I think that what I am proposing is modest, but deserving of support, and why I hope and expect to get consensus if not unanimity on it.
There are, of course, a number of other items on your Agenda, not the least of which is that dealing with preparations for the Twentieth Session of the Conference. It will also be noted that you have before you an application for membership by the Independent State of Western Samoa, which you have already dealt with.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, I should like to say that the situation facing this Council and the Conference is as grave as any that has faced you in the past. The facts placed before you under the items on your Agenda dealing with the World Food Situation and World Food Security and Food Aid Policies delineate this.
The number of severely under-nourished people in the developing world will soon approach the half-billion mark. I would also like to quote the figures put by my colleague President Maonamara, according to which there are still one billion people living in poverty and their annual income has increased by only $2 per year in real terms between 1965 and 1975. Gross average income was $100 in 1965, in 1975 it is $150. $2 a year for one billion people! Virtually all other indicators of the world food situation are discouraging. Millions of people find themselves caught in a poverty trap, not of their own making and out of their control. Their poverty is so extreme they have no choice but to be victims.
Yet we have it in our power and our capacity to decide on and apply the necessary policies to improve the world food situation, to rescue millions from near-starvation and gross under-nourishment.
In the not-so-distant past, considerable doubt was placed by many on the capacity of the UN System to attack such problems.
I believe that today there is virtually no-one known to and respected by this Council who would maintain that FAO lacks the correct policies, strategies, priorities and capabilities to attack the world food problem.
In this connection, I take comfort from what Mr. Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser to President Carter, said recently in New York about the aims of the United States. He said it was seeking "a world community built not on the domination of a single sector, a single culture or a single ideology, but a community which draws on global diversity as the basis for strength in a pluralistic and increasingly just global order".
In another remarkable speech made by the President of Tanzania in Arusha in February, President Nyerere made the point that the developing countries should not consider that the only choice for them is between dialogue and confrontation with the rich; that the fact that the kind of dialogue which had been conducted so far had as yet brought no fundamental changes in the world economic order was not to say that the dialogue had been useless. He went on to say that there were now groups of people in the industrialized world which had realized that the present inequity could not be allowed to continue and that planned change was necessary in their own interests as well as those of the developing countries.
It is in the spirit of such statements, Mr. Chairman, that we must go on with our work and strive to achieve a successful Council and Conference.