5. 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:||Jean Baptiste Yonke (Cameroon)|
|Chairman of Commission I:||Roger Martin (Belgium)|
|Chairman of Commission II:||Gonzalo Buya Hoyos (Colombia)|
|Chairman of Commission III:||Gamal Ahmed (Sudan)|
6. In accordance with Rule XXIV-5(b) GRO, the Council elected the following 11 Member Nations to the Nominations Committee:
7. The Council considered document CL 88/9 "Increase in the Number of Vice-Chairmen of the Conference."
8. It noted that the Council, which was a body with 49 seats, had three Vice-Chairmen, and that the Conference, a plenary body with 156 Members had, as stipulated in Rule VIII of the General Rules of the Organization (GRO), only, the same number of Vice-Chairmen, i.e. three. It also noted that since 1945 that number of Vice-Chairmen at the Conference had remained unchanged, while at the same time the number of Member Nations of the Organization had grown from 42 to 156. It further noted that the three largest institutions in the United Nations system had, for their plenary bodies, a higher number of Vice-Chairmen.
9. It was recognized that this situation created difficulties in FAO, particularly at a Conference which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Organization. It was therefore proposed that Rule VIII GRO should be suspended.
10. Some members of the Council were against amending the relevant provision of the General Rules, but agreed with its suspension on this particular occasion.
11. Therefore, the Council unanimously recommended to the Conference that in order to facilitate the elections at its forthcoming Session, it suspend the application of Rule VIII GRO, so as to enable the Conference to elect four Vice-Chairmen for this Session. The Council recalled that it had itself taken a similar measure at its Seventy-fourth Session, when it provided for the election of a greater number of Vice-Chairmen.
12. The Council noted that His Excellency Alan García Pérez, President of Peru would be delivering the McDougall Memorial Lecture on the morning of Monday 11 November 1985.
13. The Council approved the report of the Fifty-fifth Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP). It expressed deep concern that, although world merchandise trade and trade in agricultural products had shown some recovery in 1984, more recent trade developments had been generally unfavourable. It regretted in particular the declines in the export prices of many agricultural products which had occurred since mid-1984 and the reduction in export earnings which was anticipated for 1985 in several commodities including sugar, coffee, tea, jute and natural rubber, oilseeds and grains. The Council noted with concern that, as a consequence, total earnings from agricultural trade were likely to decline significantly, with disastrous consequences for the earnings and farm sectors of exporting countries, particularly developing countries.
14. The Council also noted with concern that the outlook for agricultural commodity trade in the immediate future and FAO secretariat projections for the medium term pointed to ample supplies in international markets and only very limited growth in import demand for most commodities. As a consequence, it appeared that only small overall growth of the real export earnings from agricultural commodities could be expected and that the agricultural sectors of many traditional exporting countries would remain under considerable stress.
15. In the view of the majority of members, this unsatisfactory situation largely reflected the distortions of international markets caused by protectionist policies, export subsidies and other similar practices of certain developed countries in a wide range of commodities, such as beef, sugar and grains. Many members emphasized that their economic difficulties had been compounded by heavy foreign indebtedness, high interest rates, monetary instability and credit shortages, and that the decline in commodity export prices had seriously compromised their ability to service debt repayments.
16. In the light of the generally unfavourable commodity trade situation and outlook, the Council agreed that all efforts should be made by the international community to persuade countries to halt and eliminate export subsidies and other similar practices as well as protectionist measures which curbed access to international markets. In this connection, special attention was drawn to the harmful effects of export subsidies and similar measures on the export earnings of all primary exporting countries, particularly developing countries. It was stressed that agricultural trade liberalization and improvements in market access for exports were essential for a more efficient allocation of resources in all countries and that the long-term solution to heavy debt repayment problems of developing countries was closely linked with the expansion of their exports, which trade liberalization measures would greatly facilitate.
17. A few members expressed the view that the report of the CCP on the discussion on the follow-up to resolution 2/79 did not give a balanced account of the factors which led countries to protect their agricultural sectors. They pointed out that all countries protected, in one way or another, important parts of their domestic agricultural sectors for crucial policy reasons, including the need to reach food security objectives, to conserve the environment and preserve rural life especially in remote regions. In their view, the specific characteristics and problems of agriculture should be fully taken into account in any discussions on liberalizing trade in agriculture. However, many members pointed out that in choosing between alternative policy measures aimed at achieving domestic objectives, full consideration should be given to the need to avoid harmful effects on international trade and on other trading countries, particularly developing countries.
18. The Council noted with satisfaction the efforts of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Committee on Trade in Agriculture, which had examined the agricultural policies and practices of the majority of the GATT Contracting Parties with a view to drawing up recommendations for achieving greater liberalization of agricultural trade. It expressed the hope that the GATT Committee would conclude its work programme with definite and widely accepted recommendations which would clear the way for successful negotiations on liberalizing agricultural trade and improving access to markets. The Council also stressed the need to accelerate progress towards the conclusion of negotiations on tropical products in the GATT and urged developed countries to give due consideration to improving their General System of Preferences Schemes with regard to agricultural products.
19. The Council agreed that during the next round of negotiations in the GATT, the effective participation of developing countries should be ensured. It was suggested that the interests of these countries should be given priority treatment. Some members stressed that the forthcoming round of negotiations should focus on trade in goods, including agriculture, and that trade in services should be excluded because they felt it was not within the scope of the work of GATT.
20. Many members considered that, in addition to trade liberalization, formal agreements on international market stabilization were essential in order to achieve the objectives of a new international economic order. In this connection, they expressed their deep disappointment at the difficulties being experienced in the re-negotiation and implementation of existing agreements and the lack of success of efforts to negotiate new stabilization agreements; and the decision of one important country not to ratify the Agreement on the Common Fund for Commodities, with the consequence that the Fund was unlikely to become operational in the near future.
21. The representative of that country stated that international trade would benefit most from freely operating markets, that only four price-affecting commodity agreements had been negotiated and continue to operate, that only three of these provide for internationally-controlled buffer stocks, and that all would require significant modification to meet the requirements for association with the Common Fund. Consequently his Government had decided not to undertake the processes associated with ratification of the Common Fund.
22. As regards consultations on an international agreement on bananas, many members noted with disappointment that the Working Party on Elements of an International Banana Agreement had to refer its mandate back to the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas, owing to the negative attitude of a main importing country towards stabilization measures. These members urged the convening of an early meeting of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas in order to re-assess the situation and propose new strategies to deal with market imbalances and to strengthen the world banana economy.
23. Some members regretted that the negotiations in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on an international tea agreement had not succeeded. They supported the short-term remedial measures then being contemplated in the Sub-Group of Exporters of the Intergovernmental Group on Tea to improve tea prices by removing low , quality teas from international markets.
24. Referring to the coffee situation, some members regretted that the largest importer was the only one that disassociated from the agreement reached recently in the International Coffee Council. It was felt that this attitude could have very negative effects on the economy of a large number of developing countries highly dependent on coffee exports.
25. Some members referred to the difficulties faced by the sugar industry and the need for the conclusion of a new international sugar agreement with economic provisions.
26. Many members expressed their deep concern about instability of supplies and prices of jute in the international market and adverse effects of competition provided by synthetic substitutes. They also expressed their disappointment with the low level of funding made available to the international jute organization. These members urged FAO to continue its ongoing activities in respect of jute, kenaf and allied fibres, including the annual sessions of intergovernmental groups dealing with these commodities.
27. Many members expressed interest in having a new international wheat agreement with economic provisions.
28. Some members considered that commodity markets should be allowed to function freely and that emphasis should be placed on trade liberalization efforts, with a view to minimizing distortions of markets.
29. The Council underlined the need to strengthen economic cooperation among developing countries in agricultural commodity trade as a matter of priority. It looked forward to receiving the forthcoming FAO study on this subject. It was emphasized that the proposed Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries should make a positive contribution to expanding the mutual trade of developing countries. Some members stressed, however, that the expansion of such trade should not be regarded as a substitute for the general expansion of their trade.
30. The Council agreed that international trade could play a useful role in the food security strategies of developing countries, offering the opportunity of expanding markets for their export products and cheaper sources of food supplies. It noted, however, that increased risks and new uncertainties including, inter alia, monetary instability, high debt burdens, and falling terms of trade, had been introduced over the past decade into the global trading environment and international financial system. These reduced the scope of the trade option for improving food security, especially for low-income food-deficit countries. For this reason, many countries considered that inefficiencies in resource allocation and accumulation of some surplus stocks were the price that they had to pay for food security within an uncertain and risky trading environment. The Council endorsed the Committee's request that this topic be followed up in future sessions.
31. The Council noted with concern that the foreign debt burden of developing countries was still rising and that its servicing would use up, on average by end-1985, about 23 percent of their export earnings as a group; and that in Latin America, this would average around 47 percent. It was regretted that Official Development Assistance (ODA) had declined in nominal terms and that concessional assistance to developing countries had declined further. It was further regretted that a net transfer of resources out of the developing countries in general had occurred for the first time in 1984. In particular, the Council expressed disappointment that no replenishment of the Internationl Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) had so far been made, even at the reduced level favoured by some contributors. The Council called upon all donor countries to take urgent steps to replenish the Fund, which was of such crucial concern to the world's poorest and smallest farmers.
32. The Council fully supported FAO's work in the field of commodities and trade. It stressed that the CCP and the network of Intergovernmental Groups continued to provide a valuable mechanism where producing and consuming countries could consult together in order to review the commodity situation and prospects, assess global problems of international trade facing agricultural commodities, and consider desirable policy measures to improve the conditions of trade. The Council also supported the continuing collaboration with other organizations concerned with commodity trade, and activities to assist individual developing countries to devise and implement their national commodity policies. It approved the priority being given to workshops at regional and sub-regional levels to promote agricultural commodity trade among developing countries. The Council also supported FAO's global commodity intelligence activities, together with the associated analytical work. In this connection, it noted that a number of proposals had been made in the CCP for special studies, in particular aimed at strengthening the role of the CCP and its subsidiary bodies, and it suggested that these should be taken into account in the detailed planning of the Organization's work on commodities and trade in 1986-87.
33. The Council noted with satisfaction that, following the adoption of Conference Resolution 8/83 on the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources and Council Resolution 1/85 establishing the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and the First Session of the Commission, adherence to or support for the International Undertaking had increased from 74 to 76. It expressed particular satisfaction that the membership of the Commission had increased from 67 to 77. During the Council Session, two additional countries announced their decision to join the Commission.
34. The Council noted that, in line with the recommendations of the First Session of the Commission, a Working Group comprising 23 members had been established and would meet in February 1986 to monitor the implementation of the Commission's programme of work and other matters referred to it by the Commission.
35. The Council welcomed the establishment of a Task Force within the Organization to monitor follow-up action to the recommendations of the Commission and noted that this would be funded within available resources. It stressed the importance of the legal formulation to facilitate a free exchange of in situ and ex situ plant genetic resources, and of the active participation of non-FAO Member Nations in the work of the Commission. It also emphasized the importance to promote the technical and scientific participation of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in the work programme of the Commission to establish complementarity and avoidance of any duplication with FAO.
36. The Council noted with satisfaction that other related activities such as research, in situ conservation, an information system and training had been initiated and were expected to be completed by December 1986.
37. Many members suggested that an international fund on genetic resources be established to support further work in this area.
38. The Council noted that discussions were under way between the Director-General and the Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) on the relationship between IBPGR and FAO.
39. The Council recalled that it had given broad general acceptance to the draft Code as submitted to it at its Eighty-seventh Session and that it had decided to transmit it to the Conference after inclusion of a few amendments. These amendments were conveyed to the Director-General for consideration with the recommendation that they would not weaken the substance of the Code but add to the clarity of the text.
40. The Council was informed of the changes introduced by the Director-General in response to the Council's recommendations.
41. The Council noted that these amendments did not substantially modify the text of the earlier version of the Code but rather that they facilitated its understanding.
42. The Council noted an amendment submitted to the Director-General during its Session by the EEC (European Economic Community) concerning Article 1.2, requesting that any reference in the Code to a government or governments should be taken to include the EEC for matters within its field of competence.
43. The Council endorsed the position taken by the Director-General that in a Code of global significance no specific reference should be made to particular identified regional groupings of states, but that in order to achieve a consensus, an amendment should be adopted which would read as follows:
Art. 1.2 - Add to end of paragraph:
"To this end all references in this Code to a government or governments shall be deemed to apply equally to regional groupings of governments for matters falling within their areas of competence".
44. The Council noted the draft Resolution for the Conference, to which the Code was an Annex, and endorsed its content for transmission to and adoption by the Conference.
45. The Council considered that the document was succinct and reflected FAO's wide-ranging involvement in the activities and programmes of the UN system. One member expressed the view that future reports might contain more information on coordination and harmonization with other parts of the United Nations System. It was stated that the FAO enjoyed a position of respect and prestige in the United Nations System and adequately fulfilled all its functions.
46. With respect to the mid-term review and appraisal of the implementation of the International Development Strategy for the United Nations Development Decade (IDS), the Council expressed concern that the targets set forth in the IDS had not been achieved and that the per capita output, in aggregate, in the developing countries was, in 1985, five percent less than in 1980. The average income in sub-Saharan Africa was lower than fifteen years ago. It also noted with concern that, due to interest payments and other factors, there was a net transfer of financial resources from developing to developed countries in 1984, with projections indicating a similar situation in 1985.
47. In this context, the Council welcomed the reaffirmation by the developed countries, in the document containing the agreed conclusions of the UN Committee on Review and Appraisal of IDS, of the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product as ODA, and of the ODA targets under the Substantive New Programme of Action (SNPA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
48. The Council also welcomed the agreement in the same document that every effort should be made to provide the resources required by the United Nations system and other international organizations, particularly the multilateral financial institutions.
49. The Council expressed its disappointment at the lack of agreement on the second replenishment of IFAD, an organization particularly supportive of the small and marginal farmers in developing countries, and repeated its appeal to all concerned to bring the negotiations for IFAD's replenishment to a successful conclusion without any further delay.
50. The Council welcomed the conclusions, relating to women in agriculture, of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace (Nairobi, 15-27 July 1985).
51. The Council noted with appreciation FAO's activities in the sphere of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries (E&TCDC). It stressed the importance of E&TCDC particularly in the context of the current global economic situation as an important means of fostering development in the developing countries and the need for stepping up support for such activities. The Council welcomed the approval by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Governing Council, at its session in June 1985, of an allocation of US$1.5 million to the Administrator, from the UNDP Special Programme Resources for the promotion of action-oriented TCDC activities.
52. The Council noted FAO's fruitful collaboration with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and hoped that such cooperation would further increase, with UNIDO becoming a specialized agency.
53. In dealing with the report of the evaluation of the Technical Cooperation Programme, the Council considered the Director-General's proposals derived from the report and the views expressed in the Programme and Finance Committees.
54. The Council congratulated the Director-General on having initiated this evaluation by an independent panel of high level experts. The results of the evaluation, which were presented in document CL 88/INF/10 confirmed the timeliness of his initiative. A few members, while appreciating the information in the panel report, regretted that it did not go further; for example in its examination of impact, rather than the extent of demand.
55. The Council repeated its support, already expressed on many previous occasions, to the Technical Cooperation Programme. The TCP had made an important contribution to food and agricultural development during the past ten years. The actions undertaken by the TCP were relevant, timely and had responded to urgent needs which were faced by member governments in their agricultural development programmes. The criteria and mechanisms fully corresponded to the needs of developing countries. The TCP was recognised as one of the few programmes in the United Nations System which had not given rise to controversy regarding its objective, content and usefulness.
56. More specifically, as regards the Director-General's recommendations, the Council welcomed the actions already taken or envisaged by the Director-General within his own authority, as described in paragraph 93 of document CL 88/8.
57. With regard to the proposals for which the Director-General had requested authority from the Council (paragraph 94 (a) and (b)) most members gave their complete and strong endorsement for immediate implementation. The proposed actions were in particular (a) an increase in the maximum cost of TCP projects from US$250 000 to US$400 000 and (b) estab lishment of a new category 'C' for TCP projects intended as a catalyst for inter-country cooperation (TCDC) which met TCP criteria. In this connection, it was noted that the number of projects which would actually reach the proposed revised ceiling was likely to remain very small. The authority now requested by the Director-General was therefore to meet exceptional circumstances in which the nature of the request warranted an allocation which was higher than the ceiling originally established.
58. Some members did not support the proposed increase in the maximum size of projects. In their view, the present average size of projects, which was well below the presently authorized ceiling, did not indicate any need for a change. As regards the recommendation to create a new TCP category to cover TCDC, these countries felt that this type of activity should not assume an important place in the activities of TCP and that such a new category was therefore not required.
59. As regards the recommendations in paragraph 95 (a) and (b) of document CL 88/8, the Council appreciated the spirit in which these recommendations were put forward. However, for a number of reasons it preferred the Programme Committee's formulations as presented in its September 1985 Session Report 10.
60. Accordingly, developing countries wishing to engage in TCDC activities should be asked to keep the Organization informed of the availability and experience of qualified experts and facilitate their prompt release for TCP assignments.
61. As regards the clearance of TCP consultants for assignments of three months or less, it was felt that it would be more appropriate that governments should be asked to take measures to reduce the time required for certain actions. The Council therefore, urged all Governments concerned to take steps towards this end. Some members indicated, however, that they reserved themselves the right to proceed with formal clearance in any case.
62. The Council accordingly decided to endorse the findings and conclusions of the evaluation team, and the recommendations by the Director-General as contained in document CL 88/8, subject to what was stated in paragraph 59 above.
63. In introducing WFP's Pledging Target for the 1987-88 biennium of US$ 1 400 million, comprising of 3.25 million tons of food in current prices and US$ 405 million in cash, as recommended by the Committee for Food Aid Policies and Programmes (CFA), the Executive Director pointed out that the target will allow the annual approval of new development projects, utilizing about 1.9 million tons of food, until the end of 1988. Such a commitment level would be substantially above the average level for previous years and would enable the Programme to continue the momentum it had been gradually building up. He emphasized that by 1988 total deliveries might well be 2.5 million tons for that year, if the deliveries for relief and on behalf of bilateral donors were added.
64. The Executive Director referred to the Programme's policy on triangular trans actions, and stated that the present surplus in some African countries provided the opportunity to assist the African poor with cereals grown by African farmers. He urged the donors to cooperate with WFP in this regard.
65. The Council highly appreciated the achievements of the Programme and expressed its commendation for the efficient and effective management of WFP. It supported the splitting of the proposed pledging target Into commodities and cash, noted the difficulties of some countries in pledging both in cash and commodities, and further noted the possibility of still pledging in monetary terms only. While some members would have liked to support a higher target, the Council agreed that the recommended target level represented the appropriate balance. The Council urged all donors, potential and traditional, to meet the approved target fully both in cash and commodities and to endeavour to exceed it. It also expressed satisfaction for the triangular transactions carried out by the WFP and encouraged it to continue such activities in the future.
66. The Council unanimously supported the pledging target for the regular resources of WFP for 1987-88 biennium at US$ 1 400 million comprised of 3.25 million tons in current prices of commodities and US$ 405 million in cash, and adopted the following Resolution to which is attached a draft resolution for approval by the Conference.
Noting the comments of the CFA concerning the minimum target for voluntary contributions to the Programme for the period 1987-88,
Recalling Resolutions 2462 (XXIII) and 2682 (XXV) of the General Assembly, which recognized the experience gained by WFP in the field of multilateral food aid,
1. Submits for consideration and approval of the FA0 Conference the attached draft resolution.
2. Urges States Members of the United Nations and Members and Associate Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization to undertake the necessary preparation for the announcement of pledges at the Twelfth Pledging Conference for the World Food Programme.
Recalling the provisions of Resolution 4/65 that the World Food Programme is to be reviewed before each pledging Conference.
Recalling the provisions of operative paragraph 4 of its Resolution 10/77 of 30 November 1977 that, subject to the review mentioned above, the next pledging conference should be convened at the latest early in 1986, at which time governments and appropriate donor organizations should be invited to pledge contributions for 1987 and 1988, with a view to reaching such a target as may be then recommended by the General Assembly and the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
Noting that the review of the Programme was undertaken by the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes of the World Food Programme at its Twentieth Session and by the FAO Council at its Eighty-eighth Session,
Having considered Resolution 1/88 of the FAO Council as well as the recommendations of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes,
Recognizing the value of multilateral food aid as implemented by WFP since its inception and the necessity for continuing its action both as a form of capital investment and for meeting emergency food needs,
1. Establishes for the two years 1987 and 1988 a target for voluntary contributions of US$ 1 400 million, comprised of 3.25 million tons of food at current prices and US$ 405 million in cash, and expresses the hope that such resources will be augmented by substantial additional contributions from other sources in recognition of the prospective volume of sound project requests and the capacity of the Programme to operate at a higher level.
2. Urges States Members of the United Nations and Members and Associate Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and appropriate donor organizations to make every effort to ensure the full attainment of the target.
3. Requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Director-General of FAO, to convene a pledging conference for this purpose at United Nations Headquarters early in 1986.
4. Decides that, subject to the review provided for in Resolution 4/65, the following pledging conference at which governments and appropriate donor organizations should be invited to pledge contributions for 1989 and 1990 with a view to reaching such a target as may be then recommended by the General Assembly and the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, should be convened at the latest early in 1988.
67. The Council noted that the Ninth World Forestry Congress was attended by over 2 200 participants from 105 countries and that it was opened by the President of the United States of Mexico and addressed by the Director-General of FAO and the Minister of Agricultural and Water Resources of Mexico.
68. The Council expressed its appreciation to the Government of Mexico for its substantial conceptual and logistical effort in organizing the Congress and its satisfaction with the assistance provided by FAO.
69. The Council considered that the Congress was a major event during the International Year of the Forest and that the "Manifesto of Mexico" addressed several important forestry issues of direct relevance and concern to both developed and developing countries. It decided to refer the Manifesto to the forthcoming Twenty-third Session of the FAO Conference for its adoption by a resolution.
70. Many members supported the proposal made by Austria and endorsed by the World Forestry Congress that a World Fund be created for the development and conservation of forest resources. Some members while supporting the principle underlying the creation of such Fund considered that this proposal needed more detailed analysis and study before action could be taken thereon. A few members questioned the establishment of such a Fund.
71. The Council noted that while the Manifesto of Mexico contained no recommendations specifically addressed to FAO, the main elements of the Manifesto were duly reflected in FAO's policies, strategies and programmes in forestry.
72. The Council noted the offer of several countries to host the Tenth World Forestry Congress in 1990 and decided to authorize the Director-General to initiate consultations to this effect.
1 C 85/12; CL/PV/2; CL 88/PV/7.
2 CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.
3 CL 88/9, CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.
4 CL 85/12, CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.
5 CL 88/6, CL 88/PV/l; CL 88/PV/7.
6 C 85/24, CL 88/PV/2; CL 88/PV/7.
7 C 85/25; C 85/25-Corr. 1 (S only); CL 88/INF/12; CL 88/PV/5; CL 88/PV/7.
8 C 85/9-Sup.l; CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.
9 CL 88/4, paragraphs 2.36 to 2.44 and 3.80 to 3.95; CL 88/8; CL 88/INF/10; CL 88/PV/4; CL 88/PV/5; CL 88/PV/7.
10 CL 88/4, paras. 2.42 and 2.43.
11 CL 88/2; CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.
12 CL 88/7; CL 88/PV/6; CL 88/PV/7.