7. In accordance with Rule VII-1 of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), the Council agreed to put the following nominations before the Conference:
|Chairman of the Conference:||John R. Block (United States of America)|
|Chairman of Commission I:||José Ramón López-Portillo (Mexico)|
|Chairman of Commission II:||Chaka Ntsane (Lesotho)|
|Chairman of Commission III:||Theodor Glaser (Switzerland)|
8. In accordance with Rule XXIV-5(b) GR0, the Council elected the following 11 Member Nations to the Nominations Committee:
|Colombia||Madagascar||Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of|
|Ghana||Netherlands||United States of America|
9. The Council noted that in the past biennium FAO had undertaken a review of FAO's relations with NG0s with a view to systematizing and strengthening them. In this context, International NGOs having status with FAO had proposed various modifications in the existing cooperation. They proposed, inter alia, that they elect themselves, in consultation with the Director-General, the Chairman of the Informal Meeting of Observers of Non-Governmental Organizations held during each regular Conference Session. This procedure should allow a proper and timely preparation of this meeting and permit its better follow-up.
10 The Director-General agreed to this procedure and the item would no longer be referred to the Council's future sessions.
11. It was noted that Mrs. C. Pelà, Representative of IFAP (International Federation of Agricultural Producers) to FAO, and Coordinator of the Ad Hoc Group of NGO Representatives residing in Rome, had been selected to chair the meeting during the Twenty-second Session of the Conference.
12. The Council approved the report of the Fifty-fourth Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP). It was deeply concerned that trade in many agricultural commodities had fallen sharply in 1982, under the impact of world recession and continuing instability in commodity markets. It regretted in particular the steep decline in the developing countries' export receipts from agricultural, fishery and forestry products. The Council also expressed concern that the agricultural terms of trade had further deteriorated in 1982, and that the deficit in the agricultural trade balances of the developing countries had widened. This was particularly serious, because of the need for larger export earnings to help meet their heavy foreign debt repayments.
13. While welcoming the prospect of some expansion in world trade in 1983, the Council noted that the recent improvement in the agricultural commodity market situation mainly reflected short-term factors affecting supplies. The Council regretted that despite the upturn in economic activity in some industrialized countries, the economic and trade situation of many developing countries remained serious and was clouded by worsening terms of trade and persisting problems of indebtedness.
14. The Council laid stress on the linkages between food security and trade and requested the CCP to pay special attention to these interrelationships in its future assessments of the agricultural commodity situation, taking into account the broader concept of world food security, as drawn up by the Committee on World Food Security and endorsed by the Council.
15. Reference was made to the negative role of transnational corporations in food and agricultural commodity trade, which should be taken into full account in analyzing the causes of the unsatisfactory trade performance of the developing countries. In this context several members requested the FAO Secretariat to analyze the impact of the activities of transnational corporations in international trade in food and agricultural commodities, using the information available in the UN System, and from other sources.
16. The Council stressed the need for the establishment of a new international economic order so as to resolve the structural difficulties that the developing countries were facing in the field of trade.
17. The Council agreed that the unsatisfactory performance of agricultural trade had been aggravated by protectionist policies especially in many developed countries. It expressed its disappointment at the slow rate of progress in liberalizing trade in agricultural products and in limiting the use of export subsidies and other export aids. In particular, concern was expressed that not only were long-standing protectionist policies being continued but that there had also been an introduction of new restrictive measures. The Council stressed that protectionist policies and resort to open-ended export subsidies and other export aids were detrimental to all countries and especially developing countries which were heavily dependent on agricultural exports. The Council agreed that the ultimate goal for improving the agricultural trading system continued to be the progressive and multilateral liberalization of markets, with a special emphasis on enhancing the purchasing power of developing countries. It stressed the growing interdependence between developed and developing countries. The need to liberalize trade in order to sustain and strengthen the process of economic recovery was also emphasized.
18. The Council also noted that the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Ministerial Session (November 1982) had emphasized the need to examine the agricultural trade system, and welcomed its decision to establish a Committee on Trade in Agriculture. The Council urged that every encouragement and support should be offered to the GATT in carrying out its work programme in agricultural, fishery and forestry products.
19. Many members referred in particular to the need to reduce tariff escalation applied to semi-processed and processed products, bearing in mind the beneficial impact this would have on export diversification, higher export receipts and the promotion of domestic industries in developing countries.
20. The Council examined with interest a proposal made to the CCP that FAO should convene a group of experts to develop guidelines on national agricultural support measures, tariff and non-tariff barriers and export subsidies. Several members referred to the ongoing work in this field in the GATT Committee on Trade in Agriculture. The Council agreed that the CCP should keep progress in GATT under review on a regular basis. If necessary, the Council would consider this proposal at a future session.
21. The Council noted the widespread and deep concern which had been expressed at the CCP, except by the EEC (European Economic Community) member countries, regarding the recent proposal of the EEC Commission to the EEC Council for the imposition of a tax on domestic and imported fats and oils of animal and vegetable origin except butter to be effective from 1 January 1984.
22. Many members pointed out that the proposed tax would be a new barrier to trade and would be contrary to the EEC commitments under the GATT, to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) resolutions and to the Conference Resolution 2/79. It would damage particularly those developing countries which are economically weak. They stressed that as the tax was meant to help solve problems arising from the EEC Common Agricultural Policy on dairy products, the EEC should find a solution domestically rather than by shifting the burden to another sector and to third countries. The so-called "nondiscriminatory consumption tax" which according to the proposed rules would be levied at the point of entry, would not be added to consumer prices, but under general market conditions would be discounted by traders from the c.i.f. (cost, insurance, freight) prices. In their view, even if it were possible for the EEC to find legalistic justification for the tax under GATT, it was still morally incorrect to transfer the burden of butter subsidies to third countries, many of which were developing countries.
23. The observer of the EEC stressed that at this stage the tax was only a proposal of the Commission to the Council of Ministers which had not as yet taken a decision, and that any eventual measure would be in full conformity with the obligations of the Community under GATT. He stated that in the view of the Commission this tax was necessary because of the fact that in the Community, butter fats were already governed by a policy of production controls, by a co-responsibility tax and quantitative production restrictions, while there were no such measures on other fats and oils. This difference had contributed to creating an imbalance between these commodities and the introduction of the tax should therefore help to reduce this imbalance.
24. The Council, with the exception of the EEC member countries, appealed to the EEC Council of Ministers to take full account of the feelings of deep concern and worry which had been expressed and to reject the Commission's proposal to impose a tax on oils and fats other than butter.
25. The Council agreed that the Committee on Commodity Problems should continue to keep under regular review developments in protectionism which might affect the trade prospects of agricultural commodities. It was stressed that the Conference should examine further the issue of agricultural protectionism in the light of the principles expressed in Resolution 2/79.
26. The Council recognized the importance of ECDC (Economic Co-operation between Developing Countries) as a means of promoting agricultural trade among developing countries which could to some extent counter the limitations on trade in other markets. It welcomed the recent Expert Consultation on this subject convened by the Director-General and hoped there would be effective follow-up to its recommendation.
27. Many members expressed their disappointment at the outcome of UNCTAD VI which did not fully reflect the hopes and aspirations of developing countries as reflected in the Buenos Aires Platform.
28. The Council recognized that it was essential to continue the dialogue between developed and developing countries, particularly in the field of commodities. In this connection, attention was drawn to the need to negotiate effective international commodity agreements in order to stabilize markets. It was also stressed that discussions should be resumed on a new International Grains Agreement, taking into consideration the interests of the developing countries. The Council expressed the hope that the current negotiations would lead to the early conclusion of a new International Sugar Agreement and to its implementation by 1 July 1984.
29. The Council referred to the sharp decline in the prices of jute, kenaf, sisal and other hard fibres, on account of competition from synthetic subsitutes, and stressed the urgent need for research to improve productivity and to find new end uses for these commodities.
30. Stress was laid on the need to improve cooperation among developed and developing countries to stimulate research and development of new technologies which would permit diversifying the use made of basic commodities.
31. The Council stressed the importance of the early entry into force of the Agreement establishing the Common Fund and urged all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Agreement without further delay and preferably by 1 January 1984. In this respect the observer from the EEC recalled that the EEC had undertaken to finance the capital contribution to the Common Fund for certain least developed countries.
32. The Council fully supported FAO,s work in the field of commodities and trade which complemented the activities of UNCTAD, GATT and other organizations in this field. It stressed the important role of the CCP and the network of Intergovernmental Commodity Groups in providing valuable fora for consultations among producing and consuming countries on the commodity situation and prospects, on global problems of international trade in agricultural products, and on desirable policy measures to improve conditions of trade. A suggestion was made that the adequacy and effectiveness of the CCP should be assessed. While recognizing the desirability of improving the effectiveness of informal commodity arrangements and policy guidelines developed by some of the FAO intergovernmental commodity groups, the Council considered them to be useful techniques for encouraging desirable adjustments in policies at both national and international levels. Attention was drawn to the important preparatory work under way in FAO towards a possible commodity agreement on bananas. The Council stressed the continuing importance of the consultative and monitoring functions of the Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal (CSD) in ensuring an orderly disposal of surplus agricultural commodities as food aid or on other concessional terms. It also welcomed the practical and useful assistance provided to developing countries in formulating and implementing their national commodity policies under the CPCL (Commodity Policy at the Country level) programme
33. The Council endorsed the report of the Fifteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries and expressed its sincere appreciation for the tasks accomplished by the Committee both in reviewing the work of FAO in fisheries and in conducting its session as the technical phase of the FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development.
34. The Council agreed that the report of the Fifteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries would serve as an excellent technical basis for the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference in June/July 1984, as it contained a thorough and balanced analysis of key issues involved in fisheries management and development.
35. In reviewing the Committee's debate on the above key issues, the Council stressed that the sovereign rights of each State to determine the most appropriate policy for the development of its fisheries and the utilization of its resources must be recognized in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Furthermore, in the formulation of the objectives, policies and strategies for fisheries development, a single model for fisheries development was not applicable, as the natural, physical and financial resources available, as well as national aspirations and social and economic targets, varied from country to country.
36. In the utilization of the fishery resources in the exclusive economic zone of a country, the Council also stressed the spirit of Article 300 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which refers to the good faith in which the State parties should fulfil obligations assumed under the Convention and should exercise the rights, jurisdiction and freedoms recognized in the Convention in a manner which would not constitute an abuse of right. In this context, it was recalled that at the Fifteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries, several delegations had urged that efforts be made to ensure that flag States accept responsibility for preventing their fishing vessels from infringing the fishery laws of coastal States and noted that this would greatly facilitate the task of ensuring compliance with coastal state requirements.
37. The Council attached great importance to the conservation and rational management of fishery resources as a necessary means to increase food supply and to maintain food security, including the prevention and abatement of pollution and environmental protection. In this connection, FAO could play an active role in providing information regarding the availability of the resources and the state of the fish stocks.
38. The Council also recognized the important role of inland fisheries and aquaculture in food production and food security and endorsed the Committee’s recommendation that these sectors should receive greater attention and increased support from governments and international organizations, including FAO.
39. The Council emphasized the importance of the management and development of small-scale fisheries and the central role played by women in this sector. It stressed the necessity of adopting an integrated approach to the development of small-scale fisheries, including social and economic aspects.
40. The Council noted with concern the various problems encountered by small developing island States and agreed that FAO should endeavour to provide increased assistance to these countries, particularly in the areas of stock assessment, harmonization of legislation, bait-fish culture, processing and marketing information.
41. The Council underlined the vital role fisheries development could play in alleviating undernutrition. It stressed that the reduction of post-harvest losses should receive particular attention to improve food fish supplies.
42. The importance of international trade in fish and fishery products was also stressed by the Council. It welcomed the suggestion of the Committee that a multilateral framework for consultations on fish trade matters based on regional arrangements be formulated in order to improve the participation and performance of developing countries in international fish trade, and the Committee's request that the Secretariat prepare, for the World Fisheries Conference, a document on the possible terms of reference and financial and other implications of an international group for fishery products acting as an international commodity body within the framework of the UNCTAD Common Fund of Commodities.
43. The Council shared the Committee's view that the introduction of the new regime of the oceans, together with the growing complexity of fishery matters and the number of shared stocks had increased the importance of international cooperation. It agreed that FAO regional fishery bodies and their sub-regional Committees for fishery management and development supported by associated field programmes, provided a unique mechanism for inter-country cooperation and for the delivery of technical assistance. In this connection, the Council recommended that technical and economic cooperation among developing countries should also be strengthened. It noted the valuable contributions being made to promote international or regional collaboration by a number of other intergovernmental bodies concerned with fisheries, both within and outside the UN system, e.g., the SELA (Latin American Economic System) Action Committee on Marine and Freshwater Products and the proposed Latin American Organization for the Development of Fisheries (OLDEPESCA), the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
44. The Council noted with satisfaction the close cooperation, in various sectors of fisheries, between FAO and the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and other international organizations. Special mention was made of the cooperation between FAO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in marine science and fishery research.
45. The Council welcomed the steps being taken by FAO to establish a Regional Project for the Development and Management of Fisheries in the Mediterranean to complement and strengthen the activities of the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean. It noted with satisfaction the interest expressed by the EEC to support this project.
46. The Council endorsed the proposal for the elaboration of a Draft Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development which would be submitted to the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference. It agreed that the major thrust of the Strategy should be the contribution of fisheries to national economic, social and nutritional goals, as well as the self-reliance of developing countries in fisheries management and development. It also approved a series of basic elements on which guidelines and principles should be formulated by FAO for consideration by governments and international organizations. These should include the question of financing fisheries development. In this respect, the Council requested FAO to convene a meeting with representatives form financing institutions so as to define financing policies and mechanisms, so that these could be considered by the forthcoming World Fisheries Conference.
47. The Council agreed that the following five Action Programmes should be submitted to the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference: fisheries planning, management and development (covering both marine and inland fisheries); development of small-scale fisheries; aquaculture; trade in fish and fisheries products; and promotion of the role of fisheries in alleviating undernutrition.
48. Whilst noting that the additional financial resources required for the implementation of the five Action Programmes should be established at the realistic level and would have to be found from extra-budgetary sources, the Council invited the Director-General to consider arranging further consultations with donor agencies and financing institutions.
49. The Council concurred with the Committee that fuller, revised drafts for the Strategy and the five Action Programmes would be prepared by the Secretariat, in the light of the Committee’s views and recommendations, and would be circulated to all governments, agencies and concerned organizations preferably before the end of December 1983. Written comments would be requested before the end of February 1984. FAO would then convene in March 1984 an ad hoc consultation of government experts to review the drafts and the comments received. For practical purposes, the number of such participating experts would have to be limited but, in order to ensure proper regional representation, invitations would be extended by the Director-General after seeking the advice of the Chairmen of the regional groupings. Following the consultation, the Director-General would finalize the draft proposals for the Strategy and Action Programmes for circulation to all governments, agencies and organizations which would be invited to participate in the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference to be held from 27 June to 6 July 1984.
50. The Council expressed satisfaction with the support given by the Ninth Session of the World Food Council in June and by ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) at its summer 1983 session to the enlarged concept of world food security adopted by the FAO Council at its Eighty-third Session. It also welcomed ECOSOC Resolution 1983/77 urging the international community to keep food and agriculture as its highest priority and emphasizing the need for adequate external assistance, especially through multilateral channels, to the sector; the decline of this assistance was a cause of concern to the Council.
51. The Council expressed concern at the unsatisfactory progress in the replenishment of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), and appealed for the commitments made under the first replenishment to be complied with and for progress to be made on the second replenishment with positive political will. The delay in the entry into force of the Common Fund, and the lack of progress in the initiation of global negotiations, were also noted with concern.
52. The Council supported the Director-General's initiative for mobilizing international emergency assistance to African countries suffering from acute food shortages. It was informed that the Director-General had recently renewed his appeal in favour of these countries before the Second Committee of the General Assembly.
53. The Council noted that, as far as the strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations system to respond to emergencies was concerned, the present arrangements were working satisfactorily and that the role of the participating agencies and organizations was now better defined.
54. The Council welcomed the Organization’s activities in support of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries (ECDC/TCDC) (Economic Cooperation between Developing Countries/Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries) and hope was expressed that FAO would actively participate in the meetings on this subject scheduled to be held in 1984 in Bucharest (Romania) and in Colombia. The Council took note with satisfaction of FAO’s intention to hold a Second Technical Consultation on ECDC in 1985.
55. With reference to an ECOSOC resolution on cross-organizational reviews concern was expressed about the section calling upon the Secretary-General to include in future reports specific conclusions and recommendations “based on an analytical assessment of the activities and programmes of the United Nations system in the selected sectors”, since it was considered that reliable and authoritative assessments should and practically could only be made by the concerned organizations and their governing bodies.
56. The Council recalled that it had approved at its Eighty-third Session6 the Director-General’s decision to submit a document to the Conference on the “Application of the International Development Strategy for the Third Development Decade in the Formulation and Implementation of the Programmes of Work and Medium-Term Plans of the Food and Agriculture Organization”, in response to General Assembly Resolution 37/202, so that it could be submitted to the Committee of Universal Membership for the Review and Appraisal of the IDS (International Development Strategy) established by the General Assembly together with the views of FAO Conference.
57. The Council considered that the document was well-balanced and comprehensive and that it would provide an adequate basis for the UN Committee on Review and Appraisal to consider the food and agriculture component of the Strategy.
58. The Council reiterated its view that fulfilment of the goals and objectives of the Strategy in food and agriculture was essential. It stressed in this connection that the attainment of the target of four percent annual growth in agricultural production would continue to require major efforts and commitment of resources on the part of the international community.
59. It also emphasized that this growth in production would need to be achieved in the broader perspective of social progress and of integration with major policy issues such as rural development and world food security, as consistently pursued by FAO, and particularly through the WCARRD Programme of Action and the enlarged concept of food security.
60. The Council agreed with the thrust of the policy measures recommended in the Strategy and the validity of FAO programmes to achieve the aims and objectives of the Strategy 7. In this connection it reaffirmed and recognized the essential role of FAO both in shaping policies and in assisting Member Nations through technical cooperation.
61. The Council commended the document to the attention of the Conference.
62. The Council took note of the Work Programme as outlined in Document CL 84/INF/1O.
63. The Council took note of the report and endorsed the views expressed by the Director-General, and the Programme and Finance Committees.
64. The Council took note of the report and endorsed the views expressed by the Programme and Finance Committees.
65. The Council expressed its concern that rinderpest continued to be a serious problem, threatening livestock production throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It expressed satisfaction that prompt emergency measures to limit the disease had been taken by governments with the support of FAO, the EEC, and other agencies. It commended FAO for the emergency assistance provided through TCP (Technical Cooperation Programme) projects, which had amounted to more than US$ 4 million since 1982.
66. The Council also expressed its regret that the emergency was not yet over and that the success achieved was only partial; sporadic outbreaks continued and the threat of further serious epizootic outbreaks remained in a number of countries.
67. The Council stressed that the situation demanded continuing vaccination, as well as the rehabilitation of vaccine production centres, which were seriously deficient in equipment and other supplies because of foreign exchange difficulties for their purchase. It was therefore recommended that FAO continue to provide emergency assistance through TCP and appealed to other donors to take similar action.
68. The Council re-confirmed that the launching of the proposed long-term multi-donor funded Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign remained essential. The implementation of the Campaign was foreseen as having a duration of some 10 years and would require a significant increase in the inputs of the African countries concerned, as well as financial support from external sources in the order of US$ 100 million.
69. The Council reiterated its recommendation at the Eighty-third Session in June 1983 which stated that FAO support for the proposed Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign should cover not only technical assistance for the Organization of African Unity/Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (OAU/IBAR) but also responsibility for the backstopping and monitoring of the progress of the campaign, as well as coordination of the very substantial bilateral and multilateral donor inputs that were needed.
70. The Council recommended that in order to involve all countries concerned more intensively in the campaign, regular intergovernmental consultations should be convened by FAO. In this connection the Council requested FAO to:
71. The Council congratulated the Director-General on his report and noted that it incorporated the advice and many of the suggestions of the Working Party of 13 Member Nations which had been convened by the Director-General as requested by the Seventh Session of COAG (Committee on Agriculture).
72. The Council expressed general satisfaction at the scope and content of the report. It considered that this document provided a-comprehensive analysis of the problems related to plant genetic resources and observed that it proposed a series of measures aimed at establishing a global system, including an international agreement or undertaking incorporating the concept of an International Genebank under the auspices of FAO in the form of an internationally coordinated network of national, regional and international centres assuming the responsibility to hold base collections of plant genetic resources.
73. The Council expressed full support for the general principles contained in the report with regard to the importance and free availability of plant genetic resources for scientific and development purposes as a heritage of mankind. A number of members indicated that certain articles in the draft Undertaking caused difficulties.
74. The Council recognized that the proposals contained in the Director-General’s report had been formulated with a view to achieving a consensus and the widest possible participation of Member Nations. It noted the Director-General’s view expressed during the Council that the proposals for changes would be welcomed in advance if possible, of the Conference discussions.
75. On this basis, the Council recommended that the report be submitted to the Twenty-second Session of the Conference.
1 C 83/12; CL 84/PV/5; CL 84/PV/6.
2 CL 84/6; CL 84/PV/1; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
3 CL 84/7; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
4 C 83/19; C 83/19-Sup.l; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
5 C 83/26; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
6 CL 83/REP, para. 152.
7 One delegation noted that it had expressed certain reservations on the International Development Strategy and, while largely agreeing with many FAO approaches, nevertheless had questions and concerns that reflected its reservations on the IDS.
8 CL 84/4; CL 84/INF/l0; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
9 CL 84/4; CL 84/INF/l1; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
10 CL 84/4; CL 84/INF/11; CL 84/PV/2; CL 84/PV/6.
11 CL 84/INF/l3; CL 84/PV/5; CL 84/PV/6.
12 C 83/25; C 83/25-Corr.l (French only); CL 84/PV/4; CL 84/PV/6.