44. The Council endorsed the report of the Eighth Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO), which stressed the importance of an integrated approach to forestry and agriculture, and of involving rural people in forestry. The Council agreed that the highest possible emphasis should be given to forestry, both in the Regular Programme and the Field Programme, in view of the need to protect and conserve forests in the tropical and temperate regions, to control desertification and to combat the harmful effects of atmospheric pollution.
45. The Council particularly supported the emphasis of COFO on heightening public and political awareness of the importance of forestry. The FAO International Year of the Forest , and the Manifesto of Mexico adopted by the World Forestry Congress in 1985 had contributed to this end. The efforts of individual countries in informing and consulting local populations on problems and issues of forestry and development were welcomed.
46. The Council recognized the important role of appropriate forest industries and the marketing of forest products in socio-economic development, at both the national and rural levels. It underlined the special attention given by FAO to the activities of this programme.
47. The Council agreed that the FAO Conference in 1987 would be the appropriate forum in which to discuss the follow-up to the International Conference on Trees and Forests (SILVA), which had been held in Paris in February 1986, and it expressed its thanks to the Government of France for its initiative in organizing the conference.
48. The Council fully supported the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, adopted by the Committee on Forest Development in the Tropics, and approved by COFO. The Council noted that FAO was playing a leading role in harmonizing the implementation of the Plan at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
49. The Council emphasized the importance of mobilizing bilateral and multi lateral support for the Plan, particularly to assist these countries in the formulation of their development plans. It welcomed the financial backing of donor countries and other organizations.
50. The Council also noted that FAQ, at the request of COFO, was preparing a report on financing requirements for action to protect and conserve the world’s forests, with particular reference to the Tropical Forestry Action Plan. This report, which would be drawn up in consultation with Member Nations participating in COFO, would be presented to the Ninety-first Session of the Council.
51. The Council welcomed the establishment of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and strongly supported the fullest cooperation by FAO to ensure the complementarity of the activities of the two organizations.
52. In presenting the Eleventh Report of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes, the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) underlined that 1985 was another year of considerable achievements for the Programme. He pointed out that although easing of the immediate crisis in sub-Saharan Africa relieved the pressure on resources devoted to emergency operations, about a quarter of WFP’s total aid in 1985 was committed for emergency food aid. Once again the experience of 1985 proved that food aid, perceptively used, could be a most effective investment resource for sup porting the efforts of developing countries in achieving long-term and sustainable development, as well as in addressing their immediate needs. With the growth of other types of development assistance stagnating, food aid had become all the more important as an investment resource.
53. The Council noted with satisfaction that in 1985 the Programme committed US$ 642 million of resources to 55 new, as well as ongoing, development projects, involving 1.8 million tons of food aid.
54. The Council expressed its satisfaction that 85 percent of the volume of WFP’s development assistance went to least-developed and low-income, food- deficit countries and that projects approved the previous year reflected WFP’s continuing emphasis on providing support for agricultural and rural development, with 78 percent of assistance committed to projects in that sector. Some members, however, emphasized the need for universality of WFP’s operations and suggested a better balance in commitments to various geo graphical regions. They recognized, however, that emphasis should continue on African countries, in particular on low-income, food-deficit countries, and they noted the Secretariat’s explanation that there would be year to year variations in the commitments to countries and regions.
55. The Council noted that during 1985, US$ 230 million were committed to 55 new emergency operations in 32 countries, involving more than 700,000 tons of food and US$ 5 million in cash subsidies reaching about 11 million beneficiaries. It also noted that these activities were not limited to Africa alone, but also brought relief to other stricken nations, refugees and displaced persons and the victims of natural disasters all over the world.
56. The Council expressed its special appreciation for the commendable role played by WFP in the recent African emergency. In particular WFP’s role in the coordination of transport and assistance to internal logistics, including a new feature, the management of large fleets of trucks in several African countries, were commended as historic examples of the potential of the UN System to meet the challenges faced by the international community in alleviating human suffering.
57. The Council also took note of a statement made on behalf of the Council of the European Economic Community indicating that new basic rules on food aid might be adopted by it before the end of the current year, aiming at a closer relationship between food aid and development, as well as at quicker responses to emergency needs.
58. The Council welcomed the Programme’s efforts on the new project cycle, intended to increase the development effectiveness of WFP’s project resources. It was informed that at the forthcoming session of the CFA all projects submitted to it would have in them new concepts of the project cycle.
59. The Council also welcomed WFP’s participation in aid coordination mechanisms, in particular the World Bank-led Consultative Groups and UNDP-led Round Table, as one major means of integrating food aid with other forms of assistance in the national development efforts of recipient countries.
60. The Council recognized the important role that women can and should play in food-aided projects and encouraged the Programme to continue its efforts to promote greater participation by women in its development programmes. It expressed satisfaction that in many projects supported by the Programme women and children were the major beneficiaries. It also noted that the representation of women in WFP’s professional staff had considerably increased over the past years.
61. Most members stressed the importance of triangular transactions and urged the Programme to increase as far as possible the purchase of commodities in developing countries. Noting that by far the greater part of WIFP purchases were made in developing countries, those members commended the Programme’s role in supporting triangular transactions which could benefit both producer and recipient developing countries. Mention was made about the high level of contribution by Japan for this purpose. Mention was also made of the importance of using more vessels from developing countries, and the Council noted that the trend in WFP was for greater use of developing country vessels, having regard to cost-effectiveness. A number of bilateral donors commended the Programme for the excellent services provided to them •for their food assistance. The assurance was welcomed that the cash component of the wages of workers on public projects would be maintained and increased.
62. The Council noted that although WFP had received in the 1985-86 biennium the highest level of contributions in the history of the Programme, over US$ 1,000 million, this represented 78 percent of the target. Noting that the prospects for the resources for 1987-88 was slightly better, with US$ 623.8 million already pledged, the Council urged that the donors who had not yet pledged should do so in order to meet the target for 1987-88, keeping in view the need for enhanced cash resources for the Programme.
63. The Council expressed its satisfaction that for the fourth consecutive year, contributions to the resources of the International Emergency Food Reserve (IEFR) had surpassed its target, and expressed its gratitude to the donors which included also some developing countries.
64. The Council welcomed the information that the recommendations of the Joint UN/FAO Task Force on FAO/WFP Relationships had been implemented in a spirit of constructive cooperation, and the transfer of authority from FAO to WFP was already in place and fully operational, enabling WFP to be more effective in managing its affairs. The Council commended the present relationships of harmony and cooperation between FAO and WFP.
65. The Council noted that the question of policy of monetization of food aid would be discussed under an agenda item at the forthcoming CFA session. Most members indicated their support f or monetization, which they regarded as very important for the beneficiary countries which were short of economic resources, while a few others felt that major monetization of food aid represented a departure from WFP’s traditional focus.
66. The Council noted that during the last CFA in October 1986, the Executive Director had shared with it the recommendations of the management consultants regarding the management review of the Programme, and expressed appreciation for the initiative of the Executive Director. It noted that the implementation of the recommendations would make management of WFP more field- oriented. The Council welcomed the review, as it was in the interest of both donors and recipients to make the Programme more efficient and effective, in its operations.
67. The Council unanimously welcomed the decision taken by the Secretary- General of the United Nations and the Director-General of FAO, with the full support of the CFA, to reappoint Mr James C. Ingram for a second term of five years. Whilst warmly congratulating Mr Ingram on this re-appointment, it wished him every success in his efforts to make WFP an even better instrument for development and international cooperation during his second term beginning in April 1987.
68. The Deputy Executive Director thanked the Council for the very positive and constructive debate and for the generous support extended to the World Food Programme and to its capable staff. He also thanked the Council for its trust and support to the leadership of Mr Ingram. He informed the Council that WFP was constantly in. touch with the EEC to ensure the best use of food aid provided by it; similarly, regular contacts’ were maintained with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to collaborate with it regarding handling of refugee situations and providing food assistance to refugees everywhere. Regarding the importance of proper geographical representation in the staff of WFP, he said that WFP had a relatively small staff with just over 300 professionals both at Headquarters and in the field, but within the constraints of suitable staff recruited on a competitive basis, every effort was being made to ensure proper geographical representation as far as possible. Concerning the involvement of women in WFP’s projects, the Deputy Executive Director informed the Council that the instructions issued to WFP field offices with regard to the new projects cycle contained specific advice to find ways and means to ensure even greater participation of women in WFP’s development activities.
69. The Council elected the following five Member Nations to the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes for a term ‘of office of three years ( 1 January 1987 to 31 December 1989 ):
Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of) United States of America
70. The Council expressed its appreciation for the document, which reflected FAO’s active and constructive involvement in the wide range of activities and programmes of the United Nations System. The Council commended FAO’s increasing cooperation with other organizations, which, among other things, represented a contribution towards the optimum use of available resources and a close coordination of efforts.
71. The Council noted that, of necessity, the report was selective in scope. For example, it was noted that in the future it might contain reference, as appropriate, to the work of the Group of 18, which was still under consideration by the Fifth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. The principal purpose was to inform members of the Council of current developments, while, at the same time, to analyze the work of FAO in cooperation with other organizations of the System. By its nature it was an information document, but in future could also contain specific elements for decision.
72. The Council noted with satisfaction the active participation of FAO in the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) and its subsidiary machinery and in particular its leadership with regard to the Task Force on Rural Development and the Sub-Committee on Nutrition.
73. The Council fully supported the activities of the Organization in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) on health. It expressed its satisfaction at the establishment of four Working Groups which were examining the interaction of development strategies and health objectives: FAO was sponsoring the Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition. The work accomplished through this intersectoral collaboration was noted with satisfaction. Similarly, the Council noted that FAO continued to maintain a close working relationship with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), particularly with regard to agro-industry and such specific topics as food processing, fertilizers, wood, wood products, agricultural machinery and fisheries.
74. The Council expressed its concern for the continued decline in multilateral commitments to agriculture. In this regard, the Council regretted the lower level of resources in the second replenishment of IFAD. Emphasis was placed on importance of the IFAD Special Programme, which had become effective in May 1986, and which had already mobilized two-thirds of its target of US$ 300 million, in assisting countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to cope with the food crisis and to make a sustained contribution to their economic recovery. The Council made an appeal to donors, and particularly to the industrialized countries, to help IFAD attain its US$ 300 million target for the Programme. The importance of the work carried out under the Agricultural Rehabilitation Programme for Africa of FAO was recognized. Also, stress was placed on the importance of FAO continuing its co-operation with international financial institutions, including regional banks.
75. The Council noted the level of commitments to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) made at the recent Pledging Conference in New York . It noted that the share of FAO in the overall UNDP Programme, despite a recent increasing trend, remained at a relatively low level (about 23 percent for the already approved country programme for the fourth cycle), and it expressed the hope that this proportion would be raised. The Council underlined the important role FAO could play to assist recipient countries in preparing for, and participating in, the UNDP Round Tables and the World Bank Consultative Groups in order to help ensure a proper priority for agriculture in developing programmes.
76. The Council expressed the wish that procurement of inputs from developing countries be increased as far as possible in the future, and urged that more attention be devoted to ECDC/TCDC (Economic Cooperation between Developing Countries/Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries).
77. The Council noted the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1986/74, entitled “Policy Review of Operational Activities for Development”, the text of which was annexed to the document. It was emphasized that coordination of activities and programmes between the Organization and other components of the United Nations System was critical at a time of financial constraints and that improved coordination could yield economies in the budgets of the organizations concerned.
78. The resolution called for efforts to increase dialogue and interaction among the governing bodies of the United Nations System concerned with operational activities for development so as to ensure consistency between decisions taken by policy bodies. In this regard, the Council agreed to provide in 1987 the views and comments of the governing bodies of FAO on the implementation of this resolution for consideration by ECOSOC. The matter of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) report on field representation would also be taken up in 1987, following decisions of the General Assembly, on the Group of 18 report. Close cooperation was continuing between FAO, UNDP, and UNDRO (Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator) with regard to special economic assistance and disaster relief. The Council noted that the request from a few members for an evaluation of field offices of FAO would have significant financial implications, and in the light of the Organization’s financial problems the Director-General would await a specific decision by the governing bodies before undertaking such an exercise.
79. The Council took note of the conclusions and recommendations of the World Food Council (WFC) at its Twelfth Ministerial session, and in particular of the proposals of the Advisory Group appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to improve coordination with other United Nations bodies and organizations. Close coordination of the WFC with FAO would be necessary in order to make optimal use of resources. The Council noted work in progress following the annual meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF), the launching of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations by the GATT at Punta del Este, as well as preparatory work for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) VII and other conferences.
80. The Council noted resolutions which had been adopted by the UN General Assembly at its current session concerning the fight against the locust and grasshopper infestation in Africa which, among other things, fully recognized the role of the Global Information and Early Warning System and called for a report by the Director-General of FAO to ECOSOC in 1987. The Council welcomed the Organization’s intention to continue to cooperate closely, in the areas of its mandate and competence, with the institutional mechanisms set up by the United Nations for the follow-up to the United Nations Programme of Action for Africa 1986-1990.
81. The Council stressed the importance of FAO activities in providing assistance to rural farmers and other displaced persons affected by the aggression and destabilizating actions of the regime of South Africa in the Front Line States. In this regard, the wish was expressed that FAO should do its utmost to help to counter the negative effects of these destabilizing actions on agriculture and food security in southern Africa.5
82. The Council noted with satisfaction the contribution made by FAO in the preparation of the documents for the recent Special Session of the UN General Assembly. It noted that the Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990 adopted by the General Assembly was based on these documents.
83. The Council welcomed the predominant role of agriculture and sectors related to it in the United Nations Programme. It noted that the UNDP Roundtables and World Bank Consultative Groups would be important mechanisms f follow-up at national level, and expressed the hope that FAO would be able to play an appropriate role in •the follow-up process insofar as agriculture was concerned.
84. The Council noted that FAO’s in-depth study “African Agriculture: The Next 25 Years” would provide governments with technical recommendations for implementing the Programme adopted by the UN General Assembly. It commended FAO on the quality of the analysis and of the documents in which the findings were presented. It welcomed the endorsement by the Fourteenth FAO Regional Conference for Africa in Yamoussoukro ( Côte d’Ivoire ) of the main findings and recommendations of the study. The Council agreed with the study’s conclusions on the need for agriculture to receive priority in national planning; on the importance of strengthening the four “i’s” of agricultural development: incentives, inputs, institutions and infrastructure; on the need for conservation-based development strategies; and on the importance of improvements in the international economic environment. These were the essential components of the Director-General’s Programme of Action, as endorsed by the Regional Conference. The Council noted that it was fully compatible with the UN Programme.
85. The Council supported the position taken by the Director-General that immediate action to tackle Africa ’s food problem could usefully focus on improved input availability together with steps to overcome incentive, institutional and infrastructural constraints.
86. The Council noted the Director-General’s proposals for complementary actions to expand aid-in-kind, enhance local production, and promote intra-regional trade in inputs.
87. The Council considered the Regional Conference’s proposal that the Director-General be given a mandate by the Council for a feasibility study on expanding aid-in-kind and expressed general support for the proposed feasibility study. It was widely felt that stepped up aid-in-kind might be able to help African countries to cope with a dual problem: on the one hand the need for more intensive forms of food production; and on the other hand the reduced capability to import or produce the necessary inputs as a result of financial crises. Some members stressed the need for a cautious approach, and underlined the importance of assessing the experience of donor countries in their programme aid for inputs. The fear was expressed that an increase in aid-in-kind would be a substitution and not an addition to other forms of aid. All members offered to cooperate fully in the study and to provide FAO with relevant data and information.
88. The Council endorsed the Regional Conference’s proposal that the Director-General carry out the feasibility study. The study should have two principal objectives: determination of likely input needs for the next five years, and an assessment of the potential role of aid-in-kind to meet them and of the possible modalities for doing so. It should examine qualitative as well as quantitative aspects of the provision of inputs as aid-in-kind, and should include country case studies. It should involve full consultation, with potential recipients, donors ‘and industry. The Council noted that the cost would be met from the contingencies fund in the Programme of Work and Budget.
89. The Council urged that the study ‘be launched immediately so that a progress report could be submitted to the Council in June 1987, and a final report to the FAO Conference for decision in November 1987. It decided that the study should initially focus on Africa , but thought should subsequently be given to extending it to other regions. As regards Latin America and the Caribbean, an examination of aid-in-kind could be included in the study, already being prepared for the Twentieth Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in 1988, on agricultural development problems and prospects in this region.
90. The Council took note with satisfaction of the wide and impressive range of activities that had taken place in almost all member countries to mark the sixth World Food Day in 1986. It also noted that these activities, as well as observances arranged at FAO Headquarters in Rome and elsewhere,’ were in full harmony with the objectives set out in the Conference Resolutions regarding World Food Day.
91. It recognized the prominence given in 1986 observances to the theme “Fishermen and Fishing Communities” with special attention to’ small-scale artisanal fisheries and the role of women in fish processing and marketing. The active’ involvement of the Fisheries sector in the organization of World Food Day events at country, level, as well as FAO’S contribution through the participation of fisheries’ projects, was appreciated by the Council.
92. The Council reiterated its support for FAO’s initiative in selecting every year an overall theme and focus for World Food Day observances. It welcomed the Director-General’s decision to choose “The Small Farmers”, a very relevant topic for the majority of FAO activities and policies, as the theme for 1987.
93. The Council commended the Secretariat for its effective support to the 1986 observance of World Food Day and requested the Director-General to continue such support in the future within the available resources.
1 CL 90/8; CL 90/PV/14; CL 90/PV/19.
2CL 90/9; CL 90/PV/13; CL 90/PV/19.
3 CL 90/11; CL 90/PV/14; CL 90/PV/19.
4CL 90/12; CL 90/PV/10; CL 90/PV/19.
5Six members entered reservations on the reference to one country by name in this paragraph.
6CL 90/19; CL 90/21; CL 90/PV/11; CL 90/PV/12; CL 90/PV/19.
7CL 90/15; CL 90/PV/16; CL 90/PV/19.