E. Wayne DENNEY (United States of America): We commend the Secretariat for preparing a much-improved Medium-Term Plan for this Conference. As noted by Mr Shah, in his introduction, the June Council favourably received the 1994-95 Plan, noting that it is more succinct, better focused, and more closely related to the proposed biennial programme of work than was the previous version.
The United States appreciates the inclusion of a wealth of information on the global and agricultural economic environment, significant events in the UN system and FAO's evolving role. The document under review is streamlined but maintains a strategic focus, thus providing a clearer sense of direction in each programme area. It is clear, however, that FAO needs to look at its own internal structure and rethink how it deals with the entire issue of Agenda 21 implementation. Achieving all the post-UNCED agenda will require flexibility and creativity on FAO's part.
As the Director-General appropriately notes in his introduction, the UN system has demonstrated its usefulness in a broad range of areas in recent years. But while the challenges facing the UN system, including FAO, will continue to increase, resources will remain tight. This is an unfortunate situation, but one that we must deal with. FAO will have to seek ways of achieving greater efficiencies and collaborating more with other international institutions in delivering programmes. There is much scope in this area and FAO must maximize these opportunities.
In this regard, we particularly support the comments made by Barbados yesterday concerning increased cooperation with IICA in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.
We appreciate the dilemma FAO faces when environmental concerns are seemingly at odds with economic concerns, as noted in para. 16. Further analysis by FAO will be required to better understand the long-term implications of short-term decisions regarding the environment. All countries need to recognize and understand short and long-term trade-offs invariably associated with environmental options. This is but one example of the type of issue FAO will be confronting in the medium term as it reorients priorities to concentrate on UNCED Agenda 21 issues and the follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition. We are pleased to see the marked shift envisioned in country capacity-building during this Medium-Term Plan.
FAO's ability to collect analyse and disseminate timely and accurate data and information will underpin its current and future activities. All countries rely on it, but it is pivotal to those countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere that are in transition to market economies. We encourage stronger linkages among all FAO members to help each of us benefit from individual efforts to improve policies and increase productivity.
The United States continues to support FAO’s increased collaboration with GATT on a number of trade-related issues that are well identified in para. 33. In some circumstances, collaboration with UN Regional Commissions is a useful way of efficiently working with other UN bodies. Renewing FAO collaboration with ESCAP in the Asia-Pacific region has clear potential for maximizing the strengths of both institutions.
We also agree that close collaboration between headquarters, regional and country offices is essential, as well as collaboration between FAO, at each level and other UN Agencies.
Regarding "coordination and the role of FAO country offices" (as noted in paras 63-71), in our view, this important issue could and should better reflect the FAO full commitment to the implementation of GA Resolution 47/129, the latter being recognized by the world community as the basis for strengthening the coordination of the UN development system at the country level.
FAO must serve all its Member States since members represent various stages of development; FAO's strategy toward assisting them must be tailored to individual country requirements relating to project support, policy advice, production techniques food safety and quality and technological improvements. FAO must combine these efforts to formulate strategies for sustainable agriculture in each country.
The cross-sectoral priorities identified in Chapter 2 have our support, but designing effective programmes to address these complex priorities requires a multi-disciplinary approach that will transform how FAO does business in the future. Discussion of the International Cooperative Programme Framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development on pages 21-26 identifies a number of activities FAO will have to undertake to assist developing countries in building national capacities.
FAO’s unique ability to provide integrated global data and information on sustainability suggests that this area must be systematically and rapidly developed. Similarly, the multi-disciplinary approach envisaged in the policy advice arena is very forward-looking.
The programme priorities reflected in Chapter 3 seem to be appropriate and consistent with those proposed in the 1994-95 Programme of Work and Budget. Increased work on integrated pest management, trade-related activities and a range of sustainability issues are appropriate.
The United States strongly supports the conclusion of the International Consultant Group on Food Irradiation, which convened last week in Geneva. In particular, my government has offered to establish a world centre for food irradiation in Washington to be co-sponsored by FAO, WHO and IAEA. We believe that future versions of the Medium-Term Plan should highlight activities in this important area. The sections on forestry and fisheries point out the important future challenges for FAO in those areas. UNCED Agenda 21 activities, especially those related to tropical forestry and biological diversity, will drive much of FAO’s work in these sectors. The Centre for Domestic Animal Diversity needs to be initiated and its Advisory Board put in place to facilitate follow-up to UNCED requirements on animal genetic resources. Hopefully, the restored resources in the forestry area will allow FAO to accomplish more Agenda 21 follow-up issues, but we still believe FAO may be overly ambitious, given the difficulty we have experienced in obtaining agreement on TFAP matters. We also presume that
support to Regional Forestry Commissions and to field activities will be gradually increased, as part of an overall effort to embark on a country-driven, participatory approach to resource management.
The question of resource implications for proposed programmes always prompts lively debate. The United States believes that this document should be used primarily to map out a strategic programme thrust for the future, with consideration of resources not becoming a focal point until the Programme of Work and Budget is being formulated for a given biennium. However, some types of indicative resource projections would be a useful addition to this document.
Yvan JOBIN (Canada): The Canadian delegation has contributed extensively to the debate on the medium-term perspectives of the organization of meetings of COAG, COFI, and COFO, and in the Programme Committee. Thus, our comments at this stage will be essentially recapitulatory in nature.
The document before us identifies well the major undercurrents and associated challenges which impinge upon the FAO, and on the UN system as a whole. While we are in substantial agreement with the analysis presented, we are not convinced by the assertion respecting a wave of inward-looking nationalism. We believe that an objective appreciation of increasing resource limits in a context of rapidly evolving and growing needs at both national and international levels, and not an erosion in human capacity for sharing and multilateral action, is perhaps a better conclusion to draw from the evidence before us. That said, we agree that this document is an important strategic link in the planning, priority-setting and implementation cycle of the work of the FAO.
We also concur with the Director-General’s positive evaluation of the extent to which the UN system has manifested its utility in a variety of areas. This comes at a time of ever-growing complexity of challenges coupled with progressively limited availabilities of resources. The only possible response in this context is to redouble efforts to do more with less - a call long-since insistently made on, and answered by, national administrations. This means that the FAO, too, must persist in its search for economies and efficiencies, among which we would identify the delegation and streamlining of authority, the simplification of procedure and the unsparing revisiting of priorities as fertile areas for possible action. The evolution towards a UN wide strategy respecting the system's presence at the country level, suggests potential benefits from a reexamination of FAO's presence at the country level. As well, cooperation and the establishment of strategic alliances with other international institutions, with non-governmental organizations and with the private sector, are obvious mechanisms to seek to exploit in maximizing impact and leveraging finite resources in the delivery of programmes. Such collaboration will be particularly important in addressing the priority to be given to the environment and sustainable development. Here the FAO must work closely with other agencies, in both lead and subordinate roles, in order to avoid duplication of effort and the consequent dissipation of resources. FAO's unique capacity to generate integrated global data suggests just such a commanding role, provided the necessary sustainability indicators and databases are quickly developed.
The desirability of integrating environmental considerations into programme design and delivery will not be painless, as is made clear in Chapter 2. There do exist potentially uncomfortable trade-offs between poverty
alleviation and the sustainable management of resources. These the FAO is well-positioned to help us better understand, as we struggle with the critical problem of how best to reconcile the major policy conflicts inherent to the alleviation of poverty and nutritional insufficiencies among the rural poor in developing countries, most of whom live in ecologically vulnerable areas.
Increasing the national capacities of member countries to manage and carry out the agricultural portion of their own national development programmes should continue to be a major objective of this Organization. FAO's move to upstream activities in its field activities is the essential concomitant of such a policy. In this respect, FAO leadership will be indispensable in the timely identification of trends and emerging issues, and in encouraging nations to accept and act upon the reality of a shared and finite planet and to work together in a common cause. Additionally, FAO must lead in developing methodologies and approaches to the sustainable exploitation of limited resources. FAO's ability to provide this leadership will test both its governance and delivery structures.
As FAO reduces its emphasis on downstream activities, it will be important to retain a focus on beneficiaries throughout the process of project design, implementation and evaluation. On this last aspect, FAO could provide technical backstopping to national governments and to other organizations. In facilitating donor support for projects in difficult areas of agricultural and rural development, this could have significant multiplier potential.
Concerning the broad prioritizing of the role of women in the development process which is articulated at various points in this report, and which we fully support, we would offer the importance of leading by example. In the view of my delegation, the FAO has a major responsibility to give full substance to this goal by developing and implementing a pro-active policy designed to integrate, to a much greater extent than currently is the case, the talents of the underrepresented 50 percent of humanity into its own operations.
Concerning the question of indicative budget figures that might be added to a Medium-Term Plan, we would side with those who caution against such an approach. Indicative numbers associated with broad visions of the future are invariably speculative, but their acceptance of part of a Medium-Term Plan package would invariably be interpreted as implying a parallel commitment of resources. Few governments are prepared to project commitments so far in advance, and we suspect a fewer still will be prepared to do so against an at best ball-park estimate of costing of activities whose details may well change significantly as actual operational realities assert themselves.
UNCED recognized that forests are of primordial importance to the planet's ecological balance and to the survival and sustainable development of human populations. The Canadian delegation is particularly pleased to see the recognition of the multiple roles of forests, and the reflection of a wide variety of forest values, in addition to economic development, as a central feature of FAO's approach to programming in this sector. This is fully consistent with the UNCED forest principles and with agenda 21, Chapter 11, which emphasizes the importance of perceiving forests as integrated ecosystems.
Canada is in general agreement with the programme priorities for forestry outlined in this document. Specifically, we state these as: 1) policy advice; 2) national capacity-building; 3) formulation of approaches to the conservation and utilization of biodiversity; and, 4) the formulation of criteria and indicators for sustainable development. Nevertheless, as COFO and this Council have clearly indicated, if FAO is to aspire to maintain leadership in global forestry issues, it must devote much greater focus and emphasis to forests than has hitherto been the case, and we urge the membership to unite behind this goal.
In confirming our broad support for the programme priorities described in the report, we would underscore the important normative task represented by work on the proposed Code of Conduct on Responsible Fishing with which the FAO will be proceeding during the period covered by the Medium-Term Plan. We share the view that a well-conceived code is an important element in the development of sustainable fisheries on a global basis, and we will give our full cooperation to this enterprise.
Finally, and in closing, my delegation would like to recall Canada's proposal, tabled at the 103rd Council, for making the 50th Anniversary of the founding of FAO. We would hope that this could provide a suitable occasion for reflecting on the past accomplishments of our Organization, and for considering the future challenges and responses thereto which will dictate its character at the turn of the century. We hope that this Conference will accede in granting Canada the privilege thus to contribute to the constant process of institution-building and renewal of the FAO.
Marian BRZOSKA (Poland): The Medium-Term Plan is one of the most important documents being discussed during the Conference for FAO work, especially for developing regions and for East European countries. Poland much appreciates FAO’s efforts in preparing this document.
The Medium-Term Plan forms the basis for the appropriate stratification of FAO's tasks and function. The expected evolution of the Organization's programmes can be seen also in the East European region. However, the proposal has not been on a sufficiently large scale to meet historical changes in the region. Therefore, Poland supports the idea expressed by many delegations of far-reaching changes in FAO's long-term programmes in Europe.
Poland's support for large-scale changes is justified. East European countries have been transforming their economies from centrally-planned to inter-market ones. None in the world has tried to achieve that goal. We have already achieved many successes based on our determination and bilateral assistance, from EEC, US and other countries, but at the same time we are paying for many mistakes. Our work is followed and will be followed by many countries. They may repeat our mistakes or avoid unnecessary costs.
As a region, we need more technical assistance from FAO, other organizations and developed countries, even at the expense of activities of secondary importance. We need technical assistance mainly in the field of institution-building typical for market economies: banks, credit institutions, market information centres, chambers of agriculture and commerce, commodity exchanges, farmer's professional associations, trade and investment insurance institutions, and so on.
I should like to underline that these are new institutions for our economic system.
Institutional development is decisive not only for the effectiveness of transformation but also it is a condition for an inflow of foreign capital to the agricultural sector.
In our opinion assistance in that field should be a main part of FAO's activities in central and eastern Europe, described in paragraphs 408 to 416.
The beginning of this type of work by the REUR and the FAO European Agricultural Commission met with great interest in many countries. This type of work is not too costly and, importantly, it can mobilize non-statutory funds for the FAO programme.
KENJI SHIMIZU (Japan): My delegation welcomes the Medium-Term Plan before us, prepared by the Secretariat, as a useful guideline for our future activities. The mandate of FAO to promote food and agriculture development by its nature needs medium- and long-term perspectives. Therefore my delegation supports the plan in general. My delegation has made clear its position in general on previous occasions but this time my delegation wishes to make a few remarks on coordination, and in particular we refer to paragraphs 63 to 71.
First, coordination is always one of the major concerns of Japan. Japan has supported the coordination arrangements mainly elaborated at the General Assembly where we have taken numerous actions and decisions to enhance the efficience and effectiveness of UN activities, including those of FAO.
My delegation commends the efforts of FAO's Secretariat in this context to promote coordination at country levels, as described in the aforesaid paragraphs. However, we urge the Secretariat further to strengthen efforts in particular along the lines of General Assembly Resolution 47/199 as a basis for strengthening the coordination of the entire UN development system at the country levels. My delegation fully associates itself with the concern which has been expressed by previous speakers.
Secondly, on the representative office of FAO there is an indication to strengthen FAO's country representative offices in those paragraphs. The indication has some serious implications in terms of coordination and resources. My delegation has difficulty in endorsing the indication as such without careful study of the implications. The study may be considered in the light of constrained resources as well as the need to prioritize the issues in an interdisciplinary or holistic manner, which implies more coordinated and integrated approaches. The approaches are all supplied on the roles or functions at country levels where UN agencies are expected to work in a well-coordinated manner.
Morad Ali ARDESHIRI (Iran, Islamic Republic of): In the name of God, the Almighty, the Compassionate, first of all, I wish to express my appreciation to the Secretariat for the excellent job that has created such a valuable document. Secondly, concerning the subject of the present discussion, I wish to make some remarks on issues of great concern.
Regarding the environment and sustainable development, I wish again to congratulate the FAO on its efforts to integrate sustainability criteria in all its programmes and activities. However, given the mandate of this technical organization of the United Nations, some key points within the concept of sustainability and development should be highlighted and emphasized in the performing of FAO's functions.
First, in developing countries more emphasis must be placed on development in comparision with environment protection. In other words development, particularly socio-economic development, should be preferred to the environmental protection as environment and natural resources degradation in developing countries is primarily caused by the rural communities in order to meet basic needs and requirements for living.
Second, in developing countries, the problems of sustainability are usually related to lack of agriculture research, agriculture inputs and environmentaly sound technology and to improper agricultural practices. So special attention should be given to these essential needs of developing countries within the functions of FAO. In particular, access to and transfer of technology on preferential and concessional terms to developing countries is vitally important, and in this regard the Intellectual Property Rights should not hinder the transfer of technology to developing countries.
Third, we are of the strong opinion that natural resources are the main basic source for and supportive of every development, particularly agriculture development, and that increased attention should be given to the conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use of natural resources in every region of the world, particularly in developing countries. In this context, the people who make their living from it play a crucial role. In particular, this should be taken into account in arid and semi-arid areas of the world, where the productive capability of land is too low to meet the rural community's demands.
Accordingly, we fully support the Natural Resources Programme of Agriculture major programmes. Above all, we strongly believe that more attention must be given to this Programme in all the aspects concerned.
With regard to forestry issues, unfortunately in spite of national activities, along with technical assistance to developing countries from FAO and international support we are still witnessing deforestation and forest resources deterioration at an alarming level in various regions of the world, particularly in developing countries. Therefore, as stated in the statement of His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Plenary meeting, the time is right for decisive action for the conservation and sustainable utilization of the world's forest resources to be taken. In this regard, it should be noted that there should be an equitable burden-sharing for the sustainable development of the world's forests by all countries, and for all types of forests in all ecological zones.
In line with this approach, FAO should assist the developing countries in preparing and implementing their national forest action programme in accordance with the specific needs of each country, and take decisive steps to mobilize the international commitment effectively. My delegation believes that this issue must be recorded and more greatly emphasized in an appropriate manner in the report of this Commission.
As my delegation actively participated in the Eleventh Session of COFO, we fully support the medium-term objectives for the Major Programmes in Forestry established at the above-mentioned Session. In particular, we consider the objectives pointed out at paragraph 328(e) of Document C 93/23 as the most important requirement for the Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in many developing countries.
In general, Mr Chairman, on the Major Programme of Forestry, we fully support the programme areas mention in the related paragraphs in the document. However, I would like to emphasize some programmes which are closely related to the same key objectives of the Forestry Programme, such as poverty alleviation through the socio-economic development of forest-dependent populations, the launching of National Forestry Action Plans, the strengthening of institutional arrangements, the development of human resources and of research and training capabilities, the enhancement of community forestry and the integration of forests and trees into land-use systems.
Mr Chairman, with regard to the Regional Forestry Action Programme, as we have said on several occasions, we believe that every Regional Forestry Action Programme must be implemented through the strengthening and implementation of the National Forestry Action Programme of each country. In this regard, we appreciate the efforts of FAO to establish a Mediterranean Action Programme. However, it should be noted that it could be implemented successfully if it is dealt with through the National Forestry Action Programme of the countries involved, particularly the developing countries of the region.
Regarding fishery issues, I would like to make the following remarks. Firstly, information plays an important role in development and it is therefore obvious that, with the expansion of databases, the needs and capacities of a country will be known. In coordination with FAO, various countries in a region are able to understand the potential and the needs of neighbouring countries. We believe that this type of database can be created bilaterally as well as multilaterally among various developing countries in a region, which is the aim of most developing countries. FAO should therefore strengthen cooperation with Member Nations with a view to accelerating the development of national capabilities in the collection and analysis of fisheries information and statistics in order to understand their needs and capacities, and disseminate the information among Member Nations to encourage them to cooperate with each other.
Secondly, aquaculture is a major concern in fisheries. In order to expand aquaculture, which is necessary for the protection of the environment, FAO should increase its Regional Workshops in various spheres, including fish diseases, genetics, farm management and the introduction of new species to existing water resources.
Thirdly, Mr Chairman, high seas resources, especially in the Indian Ocean, are very important to the Asian countries and the majority of people in this region are dependent upon these resources. Although some steps have been taken to control over-exploitation by high seas fishing vessels, the over-fishing of these resources leads to shortages in coastal areas, on which the livelihoods of millions of people depend. FAO should examine other ways of controlling over-exploitation of resources in high seas fisheries while establishing and expanding regional projects for improving fisheries management in coastal areas.
Finally, Mr Chairman, in our view, TCDC has brought many benefits to the countries concerned and therefore, in order to expand these activities, on behalf of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I would like to urge FAO to concentrate on this issue, particularly on a regional basis.
D.P.D. VAN RAPPARD (The Netherlands): Mr Chairman, first of all, I would like to thank Mr Shah for his introduction to this third part of our quartet, bearing in mind the important role Agriculture Towards 2010 has to play in the Medium-Term Plan. I would rather speak of a quintet but I leave that to Mr Shah himself.
It is far from easy to describe the developments in such a broad field as that of Sustainable Agriculture, with all its regional-specific aspects and problems. Nevertheless, the document provides in a brief and concise way an outline of the most important aspects of FAO’s activities. The Netherlands delegation compliments the Secretariat on this result. Does this mean that the Medium-Term Plan fully lives up to expectations? It occurs to us that this is not quite the case. For instance, the general analyses and consequences of the first two chapters of the document are only partly reflected in the Programme Priorities. Secondly, the chapter regarding regional issues stands very much on its own. Basically, we would have preferred it to be integrated in the first chapter or preceding the Programme Priorities. Such an approach would have better reflected the supporting role of this chapter to these priorities.
In his introduction the Director-General mentions an "inward-looking turn in national and human attitudes". The Canadian delegation has already mentioned this. There is more and more of a tendency towards micro-nationalism in the justification of the own identity as a result of the increasing battle for the scarce means of existence. In the Field Programme there is even more emphasis on sector and sub-sector studies and the strengthening of the development capacity of countries. This must result in more delegation of responsibility to the field and closer cooperation between donors and involved parties in the recipient countries. This analysis shows first of all that FAO Member States must be more responsible for their own development.
Secondly, it concludes that there is a necessity to pay more attention to a sustainable approach in agricultural development. The consequences for FAO's activities of this analysis are properly reflected in the discussion of cross-sectoral priorities. My delegation agrees with this analysis.
Let us now turn to the way this analysis and its corresponding priorities influence the activities within the various programmes. We think the document is not sufficiently clear. This is because the following has to be concluded: first, the strengthening of the policy advisory role. This requires more attention to the consequences of the liberalization of world trade, the realization of the targets for sustainable agriculture, sectoral policy adjustment for Structural Adjustment Programmes, a shift from public to private sector and the strengthening of institutional capacities in both sectors.
Moreover, more attention should be paid to a catalytic role to protect and strengthen the weak chains of the biosystems and social systems. Secondly, FAO's role in development will change. More often than in the past FAO will play an intermediate role, and will have to cooperate with international organizations. Thirdly, FAO's programme must be adjusted in substance with
less attention being given to the production of individual crops, and more attention to the capacity to acquire knowledge and the strengthening of institutional infrastructure by the development of human resources and organizations such as cooperatives. More attention should be paid to inter-disciplinary cooperation for the development of knowledge and technology in the field of sustainable agriculture.
Finally, Mr Chairman, I would like to refer to my statement earlier this week on the Programme Implementation Report. On that occasion I expressed my concern that the implementation of the ICPF/SARD was hardly reflected in the Medium-Term Plan. I also requested that measures for improving the management of field activities be dealt with. I hope these remarks will contribute to the preparation of the next Medium-Term Plan.
Tiberiu VASIESIU (Romania) : Thank you, Mr Chairman, for this special opportunity to speak to this distinguished Commission for the first time on behalf of the Romanian delegation. We also thank the Deputy Director-General for his presentation of the Plan. Romania welcomes the Medium-Term Plan 1994-1999, and greatly appreciates the Secretariat's drawing-up of this document. We think this is a very good document. It is concise, and concentrates on policy issues covering a wide scope. The Plan depicts the policy concept quite rightly, and against this background appear the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which have broken sharply with past policies and are struggling through major reforms designed to put market-oriented economic systems into place. Among these countries is my country, Romania, with its specific features, problems, and priorities. The immediate objective of the Government's new Programme as regards agriculture is the halting of decline and the relaunching of agricultural production. Romania has an agricultural area of about 15 million hectares, of which 75 percent is arable land. At present 79 percent of this agricultural area is privately owned and 21 percent is state owned. The population of the rural area represents 45 percent of the 23 million inhabitants of Romania. Thirty-three percent of Romania's total area is mountainous and in these regions, 3.5 million people live in about 75 000 settlements . We also have large areas of forests. We are fully aware of the efforts we must make, and we envisage updating our irrigation systems • and making them fully operative over almost 3 million hectares. We would also like to increase the agricultural potential in the mountain areas.
In Chapter 4 of the Medium-Term Plan, Regional Issues and Priorities, we find our complex problems very clearly set out in the paragraphs beginning at paragraph 3 93 and between paragraphs 407 and 429.
We fully agree with the idea on paragraph 114 page 26 on the English version that FAO is mandated to work with and assist the Member Governments to achieve shared goals, specifically with regard to food, agricultural rural development. I think that this idea is also true for the Chapter "Assistance to Transitional Economies" and thus for my country.
We would like to present to you the domains and sub-sectors in which we request the FAO assistance: modernizational assistance for irrigation and land regulation work; then improvement of quality of food industrial products; development of agriculture in the mountain areas; setting up of database for the preservation of genetic resources, namely updating some laboratories, some scholarships for the expertise, technical assistance; setting up of a database for informatics for various types of farms and for various sectors, agriculture, industry, forestry, water management and
finally, monitoring forestry resources under sustainable management practices. In requesting FAO’s assistance, support and consideration of the above-mentioned priorities we feel and remain confident that these are attainable during the following years. We have requested a few actions of FAO's assistance to Romania but at the same time we are ready to share our experience in seed production, namely in wheat, corn, sunflower. We are ready to host, with the support of FAO, several meetings in Romania to be attended by experts from developing countries. The Minister of Agriculture from my country, Romania, in his statement of yesterday advanced the proposal for Romania hosting, under FAO's aegis, an international course of management of 15 to 20 days for both foreign and Romanian experts. Another proposal advanced by the Minister of Agriculture Romania is that in Romania there be set up a Regional FAO Centre for Central and Eastern Europe.
Romania nurtures the hope that guided by FAO and steered by FAO's leadership with the assistance of other international bodies and with the support of the donors whom we highly appreciate and with whom we would each of us like to share some day this particular happiness of lending a helping hand to others we hope then that the request of Romania, as well as the request of other countries for FAO's assistance will be fruitfully considered by FAO and will be soon implemented.
I also support here the proposal by the representative of Poland as regards the Region of Central and Eastern Europe.
James Owade OTIENO (Kenya): Thank you for giving my delegation this opportunity to express our views at this important Session of the FAO's Conference. Permit me that in my introductory remark to note with appreciation the fact that the documentation before us is of excellent quality and I give a lot of credit to my friend Dr Shah for this.
We note that in the words of the Director-General at the introductory part of the docment we have does reflect the changing circumstances in the international situation. As a matter of fact, if I need to emphasize we are within a period of changing circumstances, in a period where we begin to speak of peace dividends and a period in which we have to listen to the call of the Secretary General of the United Nations in his proposals under the Agenda for peace and we hope that this kind of circumstance will be borne in mind in the programme activities of FAO.
In the Plenary we did take note of the report of FAO so far as the World Food situation is concerned and I think it was noted that over the last two decades or so food production and in particular food production per capita in Africa has not shown any significant improvement, if anything it has declined and I think that the attention FAO is drawing on this matter is of crutial concern to countries of Africa like Kenya. So I congratulate FAO for exposing a new dimension in Chapter 1 of how their operations are going to be carried out.
With regard to Chapter 2, again I congratulate the Secretariat for the comprehensive and thematic manner in which they have handled the issue. I only want to remark and my remark should not be interpreted as any criticism, I am only saying that Kenya believes that there are certain areas where emphasis should be given. Let me say before then with the Report I think the whole world was there in Rio when we made commitment to ensure if not in contradiction to the health of that planet. In fact they could be made to go hand in hand and I see this is reflected, at least my
understanding of it in the documentation we have. However, may I share a little bit of concern in this matter, purely on a scientific or practical level the definition of sustainable development as presented in the Bruntland Report, that is using today's resources without compromising the use of those resources for the future in generations is a precise formulation of what is at issue. Nevertheless, we think that FAO should be in a position to translate this thing into workable concepts that suit the agricultural sector in particular and we have read certain documentation which gives different interpretation in so far as the principles of sustainability should be applied to agriculture and we would like FAO to make every effort to define this concept of sustainability, if it can be, even in renewable circumstances.
I think it is quite clear that even from Rio, the issue of poverty is a serious matter in Africa, and as in the case of Agenda 21, poverty eradication is the main issue and I think in the ordering of priorities FAO should be able to consider poverty eradication and its connection with malnutrition and ill health. We feel in these cross-sectoral issues the correct emphasis has been given for the need for preservation of biological deviersity. For many years, until quite recently, the whole value and the reason why humanity should set aside certain areas for the preservation of biological diversity have not always been clear. There has always been a controversy as to whether the opportunity costs of setting aside of certain areas for biological diversity may not conflict with the need to use such areas or such resources for immediate use of today but after Rio I think the call is clear, that there is greater need to do so if you have to take the long-term perspective of the future and therefore I agree with this problem. Kenya believes that the participation of people in the development process is critical. We happen to have had access to some of the publications or research findings of such diverse UN Agencies as IFAD, FAO, UNDP, World Bank and it is becoming increasingly clear that through the dynamic changes taking place which have brought about democratization, pluralism, must also empower the local people to take charge of their affairs and to see that agricultural production is within the reach of their own resources and the decision-making process must be with them and therefore I urge FAO to do the most they can to strengthen the people's ability to participate and mobilize their own resources for their own benefits.
I think the question of technical cooperation between developing countries is well understood and I think FAO should continue making efforts such that scientists, technicians, exchange views between continents and between regions and sub-regions and I think this is the correct way of doing it.
However, I have a small concern with respect to the area of the UN, the FAO cooperation with the other UN agencies. I would not like to speak on behalf of other delegations but let me pin this down to the experience we have in Kenya. In Kenya we find that unfortunately the role of FAO has been diminishing over the last few years. We do not know why and probably we will have an opportunity to discuss this with FAO and if Mr Shah would be available we might discuss it further to see why this is taking place. Nevertheless, I should mention two other aspects which raise concern:
(1) With respect to the guidelines which have been made through the General Assembly regarding the cooperation between other UN agencies particularly with respect to the preparation of the country's strategy route, Kenya is about to prepare that but what we observe is that the interests of FAO, if anything, is marginal; (2) We find that with respect to the preparation of
the UNDP Country Programme which is also inputting information into the development processes, again FAO's inputs in this process, in our view, is rather minimal and I think FAO and UNDP should be able to cooperate.
In the same manner we find that in the areas of environmental concern a little bit more coordination should be achieved between FAO country office and the UNDP headquarters in Nairobi. We see this as a very important part of the activities of FAO and also hope that in the context of the outcome of Rio and the establishment of the Commission for Sustainable Development that FAO needs to redefine its role in the area of sustainable development so that it becomes more effective.
With regard to Chapter III we do not have much to say except the focus is correct and again we would like to emphasize that we need to find ways in order to maximize the use of forests and other conservation measures. In our case we think FAO should be involved in the programmes of biological diversity. We have the East African Biological Diversity Project which is being funded under GIFAP and I think the FAO should have an input in it; I do not know by how much but we think this particular area should be expanded.
We believe the proposals contained in the priority areas with regard to nutrition are correct and also with reference to science and technology.
With regard to fisheries we have the following concerns: you know, Mr Chairman, that Kenya shares Lake Victoria with several other countries, Tanzania, Uganda and others. We have witnessed for the last ten years or so the lake's environment and the lake itself is beginning to show very serious deterioration in its ecological set-up. We know that there have been initiatives through other sources in order that countries of this region consider the health of this lake but we would ask FAO to put in more effort and join with others so that the international community can make a concerted effort to save this lake, which is shared by many other countries.
I would also point out that under the auspices of FAO, to take the experience we had at Lake Victoria where non-indigenous species were introduced with almost catastrophic consequences to the ecology of this lake, that these kinds of experiments should be discouraged elsewhere. We should be able to note also that increasing pollution of fish habitats in many of the African lakes and waters are taking place at an alarming rate, basically arising from agricultural use.
With regard to forestry, I would like only to mention that for some reason Dr Shah and his colleagues, in the documentation we had before Plenary, only refers to the industrial aspect of forestry. You have been talking of timber and timber trades, and you are very happy to give us statistics to that effect but we would like to invite you, within the spirit of Rio, to look at forestry in its wider context and the whole question of the role of forests in the preservation of the ecosystems, the role of forests in the food chain, as well as the role of forests in many other aspects. You need to expand this view.
Lastly, Mr Chairman, with regard to the Rio issues, particularly with respect to the African Regions, I think you are on the right course and I only want to emphasize again that for our region capacity building in the area of policy analysis and data gathering should be given more emphasis. These are the views I wanted to share with you.
Chrysanthos LOIZIDES (Cyprus): This version of the Medium-Term Plan is clear and well presented. It is concise while remaining comprehensive. The Secretariat should be complimented for the effort involved in its preparation. We have been particularly struck by the frank language of the Director-General's introduction. The Director-General has rightly drawn attention to the likely prospects of modest resource levels at the disposition of FAO in relation to future challenges.
In Chapter I we welcome the emphasis given in particular to environmental issues in the light of the follow-up of UNCED. We also welcome the action placed on the conference decision, particularly the Central and Eastern European countries, and we agree that FAO should provide the means of assistance to these countries. We also welcome the interesting coverage of developments in the UN system, the prospects regarding the Field Programme and selected management issues.
With regard to Chapter II the selection of five major cross-sectoral priorities should be commended. My country attaches particular importance to technical cooperation among developing countries but also to policy assistance which FAO is best placed to provide to Member Nations both in addressing domestic and agricultural problems and in relation to the international developments. We also are in broad agreement with the sectoral priorities highlighted in Chapter III and the description of regional issues and proposed activities in the regional chapter.
We appreciate the fact that FAO regional conferences have been able to consider the perspective sections. This process has permitted it to reflect latest developments and first-hand perceptions of necessary cooperation at the regional levels.
Finally, we think that Chapter V on resources is really interesting. We note that following deferred use on the matter at the last Conference no resource projections have been included in the Medium-Term Plan but what is the value of a plan if unaccompanied by at least an indication of the likely resource implications? We note that the Programme Committee has in general recommended that some type of resource projections be included in the next version of the plan. We would tend to support these recommendations keeping in mind the indicative character of such projections.
In concluding, we would therefore reiterate our Delegation's appreciation of this document which gives a good basis for us to reflect on the future orientations and activities of FAO.
Jaime GARCÍA Y BADÍAS (España): Señor Presidente, el Plan a Plazo Medio expuesto por el Señor Shah, tal como lo presentó la FAO, creemos que refleja las prioridades de la Organización, no obstante haberse producido algunas variaciones respecto al Plan a Plazo Medio presentado en 1991.
Entendemos que la prioridad asignada en 1991 al papel de la Mujer en el Desarrollo forma parte de la nueva prioridad presentada como "La Población en el Desarrollo". Conviene, no obstante, resaltar la especial importancia que el papel de la mujer juega en ofrecer la posibilidad del cambio en la familia, en el acceso al crédito, en la educación y en la propiedad de la tierra.
Para España, tanto el papel de la mujer como la posibilidad de potenciar y mejorar la formación de las poblaciones, son elementos básicos en el esfuerzo para aumentar la participación popular en el proceso de desarrollo. La nueva formulación de esta prioridad no debe olvidar los programas de formación para jóvenes y para adultos.
Para nuestra delegación el equilibrio en el medio ambiente, basado en un desarrollo sostenible, es básico. La FAO debe, efectivamente, mantener la prioridad acordada hasta ahora en las actividades de seguimiento de los acuerdos adoptados en la Conferencia de Río.
España se felicita en particular de las prioridades acordadas sobre nutrición, tras la celebración de la Conferencia Internacional de Nutrición. Tal y como reflejó la declaración de Barcelona, sobre los "Derechos Alimentarios del Hombre", la cual debe ser una prioridad permanente de la Comunidad Internacional. En ese contexto, la FAO debe, efectivamente, incrementar sus esfuerzos para el alivio de la pobreza. A finales del siglo XX se hace imperativo el asegurar los aportes nutricionales y vitamínicos mínimos al aproximadamente un tercio de la población mundial que sufre en la actualidad deficiencias básicas en su dieta.
En cuanto a las prioridades programáticas, España atribuye especial importancia al programa principal 2.2, sobre Pesca. Una vez más, nuestra delegación insiste en la importancia de dotar al Consejo General de Pesca del Mediterráneo de los medios necesarios para llevar a cabo sus cometidos de gestión, evaluación y conservación de los recursos pesqueros del Mediterráneo. Para hacerlo sería necesario adecuar, sin modificar las cantidades, los presupuestos previstos para cubrir las prioridades y objetivos que se decidieron en la última reunión de ese Consejo General de Pesca.
También hemos de subrayar la importancia que España concede a la elaboración del Código de Conducta de Pesca Responsable, prevista en el párrafo 301 C del Plan a Plazo Medio. Esperamos que se cumpla la recomendación del 104° Período de Sesiones del Consejo de la FAO, en el sentido de iniciar las deliberaciones de los principios generales de dicho código durante los primeros meses de 1994.
Creemos, Señor Presidente, que el Plan a Plazo Medio es de gran utilidad, puesto que permite estimar las prioridades, orientaciones y previsiones de futuro de la Organización.
Sra. María E. JIMENEZ DE MOCHI ONORI (El Salvador) : La Delegación de El Salvador desea hacer unos breves comentarios al documento que estamos analizando. En primer lugar, nuestra delegación apoya el Plan a Plazo Medio que nos ha presentado la Secretaría y agradecemos la excelente presentación que del mismo ha hecho esta mañana el Sr. Shah. Nuestra delegación estima que el documento refleja en forma adecuada las prioridades y programas que la FAO se debe fijar para contribuir en forma eficiente al desarrollo de nuestros países en los próximos 6 años. La reorientación que se ha realizado en las principales prioridades intersectoriales para actualizarlo e incorporar los resultados tanto de la Conferencia sobre el Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo como de la Conferencia Internacional de Nutrición merecen nuestra aprobación.
A estas alturas de nuestro debate, en esta sala se han hecho muchos comentarios que nosotros compartimos. Deseamos, sin embargo, recalcar unas pocas cuestiones que interesan particularmente a nuestro país. Primero, compartimos plenamente la necesidad de dar siempre particular importancia al desarrollo sostenible. Hemos escuchado puntos de vista pertinentes a este respecto en nuestro debate, los cuales nosotros apoyamos. Asimismo, El Salvador apoya el reforzamiento de las actividades a largo plazo relacionadas con el medio ambiente basadas en el Programa 21 de las CNUMAD. Debemos trabajar intensamente en este campo. Estamos de acuerdo en el hincapié que se hace en la asistencia de la FAO para creación de capacidades nacionales. Creo que ésta es una cuestión de fundamental importancia. Compartimos, en general, los puntos de vista que se expresan en el documento con relación a problemas y prioridades de la Región de América Latina y el Caribe. En ese sentido, apoyamos las orientaciones de la labor de la FAO en nuestra Región indicadas en los párrrafos 439 al 445.
Para concluir, deseo unir mi voz a los comentarios que ha hecho hace un momento el Delegado de España con respecto a la atención que se debe dar a la mujer en el desarrollo.
Mme Fatma LARBI (Tunisie): Prenant la parole pour la première fois, je tiens à vous féliciter pour votre élection et remercier M. Shah ainsi que le Secrétariat pour l’effort entrepris dans l’élaboration de ce Plan à moyen terme 1994-99.
Ma délégation étant membre du Comité du Programme et du Conseil a eu l'occasion d'intervenir et d'exprimer sa position quant aux priorités des programmes d'action de la FAO.
Je serai très brève et mon intervention sera plutôt axée sur le chapitre 5 se rapportant aux ressources.
Il est facile, et même aisé, de demander au Secrétariat d'élaborer des plans à moyen terme et de faire des évaluations de programmes et projets, mais comment peut-on arriver à satisfaire toutes les exigences des Etats Membres sans que des ressources supplémentaires ne soient prévues dans le budget de notre Organisation qui, comme vous le savez, a subi des réductions durant l'exercice biennal 1992-93.
Il est important que le Secrétariat puisse nous informer sur ce que coûte à l'Organisation l'établissement d'un Plan à moyen terme et la réalisation du Rapport d'évaluation du programme.
Les Etats Membres ont des droits, mais ils ne doivent pas négliger leurs devoirs envers notre Organisation. Ma délégation appuie le contenu du paragraphe 472.
Juste un commentaire sur le chapitre 4. Ma délégation souhaite insister notamment sur les programmes intéressant la Région Proche-Orient, à savoir: la maîtrise et la gestion des ressources en eau; la lutte contre la désertification et l'amélioration des ressources pastorales; l'amélioration des compétences techniques des femmes exploitantes agricoles et des conditions de vie des familles rurales.
Je voudrais, avant de conclure, appuyer les interventions sur le chapitre 5 des délégués qui m'ont précédé, notamment les Barbades et les Philippines.
Raoul VAN LANDUYT (Belgique): Un peu tardivement, mais comme c'est la première fois que je prends la parole au nom de la Belgique dans cette enceinte, je vous félicite, ainsi que le président de votre élection à la présidence de cette Commission fort importante. Je remercie également le Directeur général adjoint, M. Shah, de 1!excellente introduction qu'il a faite hier concernant le document sur le Plan d'action à moyen terme 1994-99.
En ce qui concerne ce Plan à moyen terme, je félicite la FAO et son staff de l'avoir présenté sous cette forme, mais c'est surtout son contenu que nous avons apprécié, c'est-à-dire les orientations qui vont dans la bonne direction. C'est également le programme de terrain qui a attiré notre attention et, dans ce secteur spécifiquement, les orientations suivantes: la délégation de plus en plus large des pouvoirs mais aussi des responsabilités vers le terrain, l'exécution nationale des projets et programmes, une plus grande attention à l'intégration des femmes dans les économies agricoles ainsi que la place plus large qui sera faite aux problèmes environnementaux.
Hier, plusieurs délégations ont souligné la priorité qui devait être réservée aux groupes cibles ainsi qu'à une meilleure coordination à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de la FAO.
J'ai retrouvé tous ces éléments dans les orientations futures du Plan et j'en remercie les auteurs.
La Belgique appuie les priorités énoncées dans ce programme à moyen terme mais l'exécution de ce Plan risque de connaître des contraintes d'ordre financier et qui sont d'ailleurs reconnues dans le document et dont vient de parler l'honorable déléguée de la Tunisie.
J'espère que notre Organisation sera à même de faire face à ce défi.
Guillermo BASSANTE (Ecuador) : Ante todo agradecemos la presentación del documento Plan a Plazo Medio, cuyo contenido permite apreciar ampliamente el valor de las directrices, orientaciones y prioridades de la Organización para el citado período. Consideramos que este Plan ha sido concebido en buena y debida forma, por lo que mantenemos nuestra fe para que se constituya en vertebral y decidido aporte para el desarrollo armónico de las actividades de la FAO. Sin apartarnos de estas consideraciones generales, quisiéramos sin embargo hacer unos breves comentarios alrededor de algunos aspectos particulares que a esta delegación le interesan. El reto que significa el marco de acción ha sido desarrollado de manera muy pertinente, en cuyo contexto compartimos con agrado la relación dada entre los programas ordinario y de campo, así como el espíritu de apoyo existente para el aprovechamiento y mejora de las capacidades nacionales de los Estados. Aspiramos a que la ejecución de estos enunciados tenga lugar en base al análisis comparativo de las regiones y su necesidad de manera justa y equilibrada.
El Capítulo II, referente a las prioridades intersectoriales, lo consideramos completo y bien concebido. Igual criterio nos merece el siguiente capítulo, que hace relación a las prioridades programáticas. Estimamos que deberá ponerse mucho énfasis en los sectores que se orientan a aliviar la pobreza, la malnutrición y la inseguridad alimentaria, problemas que, entre otros, constituyen quizás los peores males de las sociedades en desarrollo.
En esta parte destacamos lo expresado en el documento cuando se dice que los esfuerzos catalizadores y promocionales de la FAO tendrán que centrarse a plazo medio en sectores determinados por el carácter evolutivo de las necesidades de los Estados Miembros. Igualmente nos unimos al enunciado que allí mismo se hace, cuando se afirma que una base sólida de información sobre las capacidades y necesidades de los países en desarrollo es una condición imprescindible para disponer de programas sistemáticos y bien organizados de cooperación técnica entre países en desarrollo.
Particulares como los expresados merecen, señor Presidente, el más irrestricto apoyo y estímulo en la confianza de que la ejecución de éstos contribuirá para que los países menos desarrollados puedan lograr metas más elevadas en sus procesos productivos y para el alivio de sus más acuciantes dificultades económicas, financieras y sociales.
En lo que hace relación con el capítulo de los problemas y prioridades a nivel regional, queremos compartir con satisfacción la consideración de que la Región está dotada de abundantes recursos naturales que le permitirían satisfacer las necesidades alimentarias globales de toda la Región y producir excedentes considerables para la exportación. América Latina, se expresa también en el documento, está reconocida como una de las pocas fronteras agrícolas que quedan en el mundo y la depositaria de una gran riqueza de recursos genéticos. Nos satisface también el conocimiento de los esfuerzos que viene haciendo la Región para concretar cambios políticos y económicos que podrían constituir la base para un crecimiento interior continuo.
Especial atención nos ha producido la referencia respecto de los nuevos criterios en materia de política económica que ahora se manejan en América Latina tendientes al establecimiento de nuevas y mejores condiciones para el comercio exterior, así como para el ajuste macroeconómico. Esta situación, expresada tan atinadamente en el documento, nos permite hacer la exhortación para que en el ámbito adecuado se proporcionen respuestas extrarregionales recíprocas en consonancia con estos postulados que, por cierto, se aliñan con la historia y con la justicia como única manera de establecer auténticas relaciones de equilibrio.
El adecuado manejo de estas variables, consideramos, contribuirá positivamente a estimular y mejorar nuestras políticas agrícolas y de productividad, bases motoras de nuestras sociedades en desarrollo.
Finalmente, queremos reiterar el hecho tantas veces enunciado de que el panorama agrícola de América Latina está acosado por la deficiencia de recursos financieros, tanto internos como externos, por lo que estimamos que, en apoyo a las expresiones vertidas en el documento sobre el cual ahora deliberamos, debe procederse a la ejecución de planes regionales adecuados y pertinentes. Le agradezco, señor Presidente, haberme permitido hacer estas breves expresiones.
John Bruce SHARPE (Australia): We should like to congratulate the Director-General and Secretariat on the preparation of this document. Obviously, considerable effort, thought and analysis of the views expressed by members in the various FAO fora, including regional conferences, has gone into what we feel is a very useful document.
Whilst the document is only about the half the size of the previous plan, reflecting greater focus and a streamlined approach, it remains a large document of over 100 pages. We would therefore like to take some time to note specific areas which Australia has an interest in or which it would wish to add its support to.
Australia supports the context within which FAO plans to undertake its activities in the area of poverty alleviation, nutrition and food security. In particular, FAO's emphasis on alleviation of poverty is endorsed. Australia supports rural development and poverty alleviation as worthy goals for FAO, but strongly believes that poverty alleviation cannot occur in isolation from broadly-based economic growth. Poverty alleviation requires action on a number of fronts, through programmes that promote economic growth including agriculture, and through programmes targeted directly at the poor, including the rural poor.
We note in the medium-term approach at paragraph 147 that reference is made to a global nutritional status monitoring system. We understand that the WHO undertakes nutritional status monitoring and we would be concerned if the FAO proposal entailed duplication. Therefore, we urge collaboration between WHO and FAO in this important area.
Australia is supportive of FAO's proposed directions for work on forests as set out in the plan, and considers that the priorities arising from UNCED have been properly integrated into the plan. However, it is noted that only around 4.6 percent of the budget of the Regular Programme is devoted to forestry programmes. We would wish to see this proportion increased.
My delegation is pleased to see an emphasis being given throughout the plan to cooperation with UN and other international bodies. We wish to see cooperation continue and flourish. Such cooperation is to encompass also NGOs and the private sector. The Australian Development Cooperation Programme also provides for the valuable contribution of NGOs. As such, we welcome the statement in the plan that closer cooperation with NGOs and the private sector will also be pursued.
Paragraph 102 refers to the cooperation by FAO with other international and regional institutions in facilitating the negotiation of an International Convention on Desertification and Drought and its implementation. We support this having been active participants in the UN Desertification Conferences this year. We are also pleased to see that the intention is to make effective use of countries' own capacities in managing and carrying out the agricultural portions of their national development programmes. We note at paragraph 58 that in the next several years in the area of sustainability it is likely that a steadily increasing amount of FAO services will be directed towards strengthening countries' capacities to undertake national execution effectively.
Australia supports the priority given by the FAO to promoting sustainable agricultural and rural development and implementation of the relevant aspects of UNCED Agenda 21. Our views on this will be covered in more detail in our intervention on Agenda Item 7.
In the plan's section on management issues, we note in paragraph 74 that reference is made to the general budgetary climate within the UN system calling for increased delegation of authority, streamlining of operations and simplification of procedures. As a member of the Programme Committee, we agreed with that Committee's endorsement of FAO's intention to
vigorously pursue the streamlining of administrative procedures and the strengthening of management systems.
One area of the Medium-Term Plan where we have some reservations is the chapter on Resources. Many governments will not be prepared to make financial commitments too far ahead, and certainly not for up to six years. There is a risk that Conference endorsement of a Medium-Term Plan involving resource projections, no matter how purely indicative, may lead to an unrealistic expectation that resources will be forthcoming no matter what the variation in the economic situation prevailing at the time, either globally or for individual contributing countries.
Australia supports the work of FAO in Research and Technology development. The specific objectives mentioned in paragraph 227 of the Plan are very similar to the philosophy of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, which at times collaborates closely with FAO.
In our region, the Asia and Pacific Region, we would support the focus of work for the medium term which lists 12 areas, in particular formulation and implementation of policies for the prevention of food loss, expanded animal disease-free zones, improved equity by raising the incomes and living standards of the rural poor in general and women in particular, implementation of the ICN action plan and improving food safety and standards for local consumption and trade, and improving national capabilities in fish stock assessment and management.
We note from paragraph 388 of the Medium-Term Plan that the less developed countries and the small island countries of the Pacific sub-region will be more particularly assisted in the identification and preparation of projects, mobilization of funds for investment and monitoring and evaluation of projects. This is something we welcome as will the small island nations of the South-West Pacific region with whom we closely associate ourselves in the FAO context and elsewhere. Similarly, we support the plan's proposals for coastal areas and small islands generally covered in paragraphs 112 and 113. These refer to the need for an integrated approach to ensure sustainable development and environmental protection in the coastal zones and small islands, and assistance from FAO to protect coastal fisheries from inland sources of pollution.
My delegation will have further to say in support of the Action Plan on Women in Development mentioned at paragraph 137. Our intervention will take place under Agenda Item 8.
A.N.M. EUSUF (Bangladesh) : The Medium-Term Plan document is a well conceived and appropriately focused plan which in general is responsive to the needs and priorities of the Organization. FAO Regional Conferences held in 1992, Committees on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, as well as the Programme Committee, provided significant guidance and inputs in the preparation of the plan.
The plan incorporates major challenges that FAO will be expected to face in the medium term. Apart from its mandated role in providing policy assistance and advice in agriculture, forestry and fisheries to the Member Governments, it will have to play an important role in helping member countries to assess the environmental costs of policies and to help formulate new policies that can achieve development objectives having due regard to the environmental considerations. We welcome the emphasis on
FAO's assistance in strengthening national capacities in executing projects effectively. FAO has been doing a good job of facilitating the process of national capacity building which will eventually result in greater cost effectiveness of FAO's global operations. Increase in the number of nationally executed projects funded by UNDP over the last four years from 15 percent to 40 percent is a positive development and demonstrates the progress that has been made in promoting greater national self reliance.
FAO's expertise and capabilites will have to match the actual needs of the recipient countries in such a way that they receive the services and assistance in the areas they need most. It will, therefore, be necessary to reorientate and readjust FAO priorities in the coming years taking into consideration the changing needs and situations.
The ongoing process of restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations System in economic, social and related fields may have significant implications for FAO's overall operations. The process is aimed at ensuring greater coherence, coordination and effectiveness in the activities of the UN System. While the outcome of the exercise is yet to be finalized, it however seems that FAO's functions particularly at the field level will undergo a process of reorientation. We hope the final outcome of the restructuring exercise will see FAO performing its functions in a more effective and coordinated way in close cooperation with other UN agencies and programmes.
The plan very correctly brings into focus FAO's vital role and responsibilities in the implementation of Agenda 21 of the UNCED Plan of Action. FAO will need to undertake important action-oriented programmes in close cooperation with UN and non-UN organizations to achieve the objectives of the UNCED Plan of Action. Follow-up action by FAO in the medium term in biological diversity and climate change, conservation and a rational use of critical natural resources, sustainable development and environmental protection in the coastal zones and small islands are, therefore, particularly important.
The need for policy advice and assistance by FAO to the Member Governments in the medium term will go up further. Increasing demands for policy assistance by countries in transition from a centrally planned to a market based economic system will considerably stretch FAO's capacity in this regard. While FAO will need to be responsive to these new demands, it should also ensure that such assistance is not at the expense of the genuine requirements of other regions. FAO should be provided with additional resources, if needed, so that it can shoulder this growing and very important responsibility.
Poverty alleviation, nutrition and food security being basic mandates of FAO have received priority attention in the Medium-Term Plan. FAO's planned actions in these fields cover a broad range of activities. Active participation of rural men and women in the FAO-assisted field programmes will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the various planned activities. Increased FAO assistance will be needed in the Medium-Term Plan period to help member countries design and implement national nutrition action plans as called for in the ICN Plan of Action for Nutrition. In this respect, FAO actions must be well coordinated with concerned UN agencies and international financial institutions, particularly, IFAD, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, and the World Bank.
TCDC and ECDC have always played a significant role in achieving both agricultural and economic development objectives in the developing countries. FAO support in this area will continue to be needed to enhance national capacities in formulating and implementing major initiatives in this regard. Assistance should be dictated by specific needs and emphasis should be given on appropriate transfer of technology.
The medium term objectives and priorities under three major programme areas of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry are realistic and achievable. FAO is encouraged to pursue these objectives vigorously.
Support in such areas as natural resource assessment, conservation and sustainability, integrated crop management, preservation and management of plant and animal genetic resources, research and technology development is vital to the needs of the developing countries. In Fisheries, FAO support should focus on supporting national efforts in the management of EEZ resources and strengthening national research capacities. Inadequate management and overfishing are mainly responsible for fishery resource degradation. Therefore, the need for an initiative like integrated coastal area management is of crucial importance, and FAO is well placed to support this initiative. FAO activities in Forestry as envisaged in the Medium-Term Plan (1994-99) are consistent with its expertise and capabilities. Agenda 21 and the Forest Principle adopted by UNCED will require a more active FAO role and assistance in achieving the objective of managing, conserving and developing forests on a sustainable basis. Increased support will be needed in building up country capacities in launching national forestry action programmes.
Regional issues and priorities highlighted in the Plan reflect a balanced view. However, considering the fact that Asia and the Pacific Region accounts for 53 percent of the world population and half of the world's poor still live in this region, its share of FAO resource allocation should perhaps be more than what is currently being provided.
Franco F.G. GINOCCHIO (Italy): The Italian delegation wishes to thank the Secretariat for its good work on the preparation of document C 93/23, the Medium-Term Plan 1994-99, which illustrates the priorities of the Programme for the next five years. We agree with this list of priorities and wish to underline the importance of the objective of the integration of women in the process of development, which was included in the priorities in the previous Medium-Term Plan.
We have noted that the Medium-Term Plan does not include any resource projections for the future. We can accept this Plan taking into account that there will be no programme growth for the next biennium, but we wonder if the Plan should have an additional chapter illustrating the financial consequences which could arise from devolution in the FAO's Field Programme, as described in Chapter 1, paragraphs 45-53. We are aware of the important and rapid changes in the Field Programme over the next years which derive from the new arrangements between FAO and UNDP and from the objective of reinforcing the national capacities of the developing countries. We think it would be useful to examine this question in depth and to study the consequences in terms of costs and relative financing.
Nasreddine RIMOUCHE (Algérie): Prenant la parole pour la première fois devant cette Commission, je voudrais tout d'abord vous féliciter chaleureusement pour votre élection à la présidence de cette Commission et vous assurer de l'appui de ma délégation durant ses travaux.
Je souhaiterais également remercier Dr Shah pour son excellente et pertinente présentation de ce thème. Ma délégation se félicite que le Secrétariat ait préparé un document concernant le plan à moyen terme, et tient à faire ici quelques commentaires sur ce document.
De manière générale, le projet que nous avons entre nos mains reflète nos préoccupations actuelles et représente une bonne base de travail pour la prochaine étape.
Ma délégation se félicite de la synergie recherchée entre programme ordinaire et programme de terrain et de l'attention accordée par la FAO au renforcement des capacités nationales. Une telle démarche de soutien est indispensable pour les pays en développement qui ont engagé des réformes pour accroître la production agricole et répondre ainsi aux besoins vitaux de leurs populations. Tel est le cas dans mon pays qui a engagé des réformes afin de promouvoir le développement agricole en procédant à la réorganisation foncière qui contribue à stabiliser et sécuriser le producteur. Parallèlement des efforts sont faits pour aider la profession à s'organiser et prendre en charge les préoccupations des agriculteurs et devenir un partenaire privilégié aussi bien sur le plan interne qu'avec les institutions internationales.
Mon pays juge nécessaire d'appuyer les mesures de lutte contre la désertification pour protéger les potentialités agricoles, la conservation des patrimoines phytogénétiques et zoogénétiques ainsi que la promotion des luttes intégrées contre les ravageurs, comme le criquet pèlerin, car autrement, toute politique nationale de garantie de sécurité alimentaire serait illusoire, mais recommande en outre l'adoption de mesures permettant d'une part de faire face aux graves pénuries d'eau et surtout à son gaspillage. Mon pays qui appuie les priorités intersectorielles retenues agit d'ores et déjà pour une concrétisation à travers une démarche globale de concertation à plusieurs niveaux avec les pays d'Afrique, les pays arabes et dans un cadre plus restreint, avec les pays du Maghreb. Dans ce cadre, l'accent est mis particulièrement sur la nécessité d'impliquer davantage les populations pour leur permettre de tirer bénéfice du développement et de sortir de l'étau de la misère et de la pauvreté.
Ceci étant, ma délégation ne cesse d'insister sur la nécessité d'accroître l'aide au développement qui viendra appuyer les efforts déployés, au prix de lourds sacrifices, par les pays en voie de développement pour améliorer les conditions de vie de leurs populations. Ceci est d'autant plus nécessaire que nous assistons actuellement à une réorientation des énergies et des ressources au détriment des pays en développement.
Ricardo VELAZQUEZ HUERTA (México) : En relación con el tema que nos ocupa, Señor Presidente, en primer lugar queríamos agradecer la presentación que ha hecho el señor Shah. Nos tiene acostumbrados a magníficas presentaciones y mi delegación agradece ésta tan brillante que ha hecho.
Para no dejar pasar el trámite de sanción positiva de nuestra delegación para el Plan a Plazo Mediano, queremos solamente destacar algún punto del documento al que de inmediato damos nuestra más completa aprobación. En
primer lugar, el párrafo 139, que nos asegura que la FAO cumple con unos procedimientos muy rigurosos para la aprobación de sus planes y de sus programas. Los documentos que nos presentan pasan por un tamiz muy adecuado, pasan por Comités Técnicos, por Consejos, por una serie de instancias que nos permiten llegar a la Conferencia ya casi sin mayores problemas para su aprobación.
En segundo lugar, Señor Presidente, quisiera destacar los párrafos 142 y 143 del documento, porque advertimos en ellos la necesidad de que la FAO cuente, cada vez más, con mayores recursos. Ello es difícil pero veríamos con muy buenos ojos que tuviese mayores recursos para que la necesidad de dar una cobertura a todos los países del mundo, en cuanto a sus necesidades de asistencia, pudieran acometerse sin ningún problema. Nos parece que estos párrafos son muy acertados.
Por último y en aras a la brevedad, quisiéramos destacar las cuestiones relativas a las prioridades programáticas, y en especial a un tema que para nuestro país ha sido de vital importancia y que nosotros siempre hemos apoyado con ahínco, es el referente a las cuestiones pesqueras. México tuvo la oportunidad de realizar una Conferencia Internacional de Pesca Responsable y el tema, para nosotros incluido en las prioridades programáticas, nos parece muy atinado.
Queremos, por todas estas razones, dar nuestra completa aprobación al Programa de Plazo Medio.
Jagan Nath THAPLIYA (Nepal) : It is a great pleasure and honour for me to addresss this august gathering and to share with you the views of my delegation. Before I start, my delegation would like to congratulate you on being elected a Vice-chairman of this very important Commission.
Mr Chairman, in many countries of the world there has been liberalization on both political and economic fronts. In keeping with this trend, we in Nepal started formulating a pragmatic economic policy to integrate our economy nationally and internationally soon after the formation of the newly-elected Democratic Government some two-and-a-half years ago. FAO's Mid-Term Plan is by and large consistent with our Mid-Term Plan, a Five- Year Plan from 1992-97, and both documents are extremely useful.
At the same time, Mr Chairman, I have no hesitation in admitting that the task of economic development of Nepal is an uphill task. Our economy is passing through a transitional phase, that is, from a more or less heavily controlled and relatively closed economy to an integrated and more open one. We now talk in our plans of a free market, enterprise economy, a liberalized economy, privatization, sustainability, focus on women's role in development, people participation, food security, poverty alleviation, agro-ecological consideration, environmental consideration and the like. If these planning objectives and priorities in the process of implementation are to be achived, however, my delegation seeks FAO's assistance, both technical and otherwise, as well as bilateral and multilateral assistance, to translate these planning objectives into action in order to achieve our planning objectives and assist in the process of development.
CHAIRMAN: I thank the distinguished delegate of Nepal for the congratulations he extended to me. We have now come to the end of the list of speakers, but we have received a request from the delegate of Switzerland to take the floor on this item for the second time.
Igor MARINCEK (Suisse): Merci de me donner la parole une deuxième fois. J'avais oublié, ce matin, de proposer une suggestion pour les futures versions du document. Afin de mieux saisir l'évolution d'un Plan à moyen terme à l'autre, ainsi que celle des propositions concernant les priorités, il serait très utile, à notre avis, d'avoir, au début de chaque chapitre un bref rappel des principaux changements proposés par rapport à la version précédente. Ce rappel pourrait consister en un bref paragraphe qui indiquerait les nouvelles priorités proposées et les priorités de l'ancien plan abandonné.
A notre avis, cela faciliterait l'analyse et le suivi du plan à moyen terme de la FAO par les différents services intéressés dans notre administration.
Lino VISANI (Observateur de l'Alliance coopérative internationale): M. le
Président, l'ACI porte un grand intérêt à l'ensemble du document relatif au plan à moyen terme.
Nous soulignons l'importance de renforcer, face aux grands changements en cours dans le monde entier, la direction intersectorielle de la FAO.
Nous soulignons encore l'exigence à propos du développement agricole et rural, de la mise en oeuvre de nombreuses initiatives tant au niveau local que régional ou international, pour renforcer le dialogue et la collaboration entre les organisations populaires, et notamment les mouvements coopératifs libres et indépendants, les gouvernements et les agences internationales, comme la FAO, soit pour assurer l'application effective du Plan d'action pour la participation populaire, soit pour réaliser l'unique politique possible afin de promouvoir un développement durable.
CHAIRMAN: We have now come to the end of the speakers list. I think we have had a very long and very interesting debate on this very important issue that is before us. We have heard 36 Member States intervening on the subject and one observer. I would like now to invite Mr Shah to respond to the observations made by the Commission and the question raised.
V.J. Shah (Deputy Director-General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation) : If you had asked me to make a projection, even an indicative projection of the length of the debate you were going to have on the Medium-Term Plan yesterday afternoon my forecast would have been widly wrong. At that time, I would have said "Well, I think I hardly need to answer any questions or to respond to the debate except to express my thanks, my gratitude" but today has been a very rich day, certainly for the Secretariat and certainly for us. I believe, if I do not presume, also for the Member Nations because once again this has been an outstanding instance of a debate among Member Nations on policy issues which you attach importance to in your Organization.
I am glad that the overwhelming impression that I have of the reaction to the Medium-Term Plan, is a favourable one. In fact, a very favourable one because certainly many members have expressed their satisfaction with the plan that has been submitted to you. I have been very attentive, as always, to the suggestions for improvement but nobody has said "This is useless. We are so disappointed that we do not even want to consider a Medium-Term Plan”. I am very glad because while you have been giving your reactions I have been reflecting on this process and the fate or Medium-Term Plans in our own Organization and developments elsewhere. To summarize briefly, I think we started the Medium-Term Plan process in the late 1960s. The then Director-General presented to the 15th Session of the Conference a Medium-Term Plan in 1969 and we continued this until 1982. In between 1969 and 1982 if you look at each Medium-Term document and if you look at the Verbatim Records of the discussion I think you will find a lack of grasp, a lack of willingness to grasp the Medium-Tern Plan. There was always a wish, or a reflection in the debate of "Well, this is all very good but it is not quite what we want, let us try something else". So there was a great deal of trial and experimentation during that period. In 1982, you decided that you did not want a separate Medium-Term Plan, that you wanted Medium-Term objectives, indicated in the Programme of Work and Budget and that is what you had until 1989 when you asked for a new Medium-Term Plan. It is also I think interesting to reflect that Member Nations express a variety of opinions in different fora. You hve decided and we respect your decision that you want a Medium-Term Plan in FAO, a rolling plan covering six years to come to you at every Conference. We are commited to serving you and to improving the plan in response to your wishes. But, is it not interesting to reflect that in some other organizations of the UN system, in which your countries are members, in some of these there is a Medium-Term Plan prepared only once in six years, including in the United Nations itself. Is it not interesting to reflect that in ILO Member Nations recently decided to do away with the Medium-Term Plan? Is it is not interesting to reflect that in the United Nations the Secretary General has presented proposals to the current Session of the General Assembly radically changing the Medim-Term Planning process? The proposals comprise three elements: a perspective very brief document with a ten-year coverage; a second aspect is a four-year rolling Medium-Term Plan to be considered with the outline Programme of Work and Budget; and the third aspect is a biennial or an annual buget. Now these are only proposals of the Secretary General. We do not know yet how the General Assembly will react but following the subject as my colleagues and I do, we were very interested to find that in the discussion of these proposals in the Committee on Programme and Coordination of the United Nations some Member Nations have again expressed the view that they should do away with the Medium-Term Plan and others want to develop it under certain lines.
I only indicate this to share my own reflections with you, but there is no firm and fast decision either in FAO or in other organizations that Member Nations have wanted to pursue. In that context, I immediately add that I am delighted, the Secretariat is grateful for the reaction you have given to this document because the reaction you have given, I repeat again is a very positive one. You have recognized that we have built on the last plan. You have given us very thought provoking and well thought out suggestions of ways in which you would like to see improvements made in the future. Again I would like to say these are suggestions which we undertake to consider, study and see how we can respond to them in the next Medium-Term Plan. Bear in mind also that while the Director-General will be very pleased when I report to him the results of your debate, and very interested to see the decisions that may be reflected in the Conference Report, the process of
preparation of the next Medium-Term Plan will only begin some months down the road in 1994. At that time, of course, the Director-General will direct again the preparation of the next Medium-Term Plan and the Director-General at that time will want to take very much into account, I am sure, the results of this debate. I have emphasized each word I hope carefully enough.
Let me now respond to several isues which have come up in the debate. I will not refer to individual delegations because I think a number of these issues have been raised accross the room by a number of members. Again I reflect that it is interesting that these same issues come up time and again under a number of reports, under a number of agenda items: the issues of what FAO should do; how you should relate to and share efforts with other organizations; all this in relation to the priority setting process. So much has been said that I would not presume in this brief response to cover all aspects of what you have said. I hope that my response can further our dialogue because this dialogue, of course, we all hope will continue.
I would like to suggest that the role of FAO and its relationship with other organizations is a matter which cannot be prescribed in terms of one document, or one debate or at any one time. Let me start with one of the suggestions which was made, which I would like to consider further with my colleague, so I take this as a preliminary reaction. One suggestion was made quite early on in your debate, if I recall by the Representative of Switzerland, that the next Medium-Term Plan should contain information about other organizations, about their mandates, their role, their functions, their resources.
Let me point out that in the last Medium-Term Plan we have included distinct sections under each programme area of the other organizations involved, and an indication of what the relationship with FAO was. We have not done so this time because you wanted the plan to be more concise. Let us take the suggestion of providing such information. One reaction, with all respect which I share with you now, is that we would have difficulty in containing this information, how much information to give, how little information to give, to make it meaningful. Secondly, there is the aspect of what is considered relevant and what is considered less relevant. I must say if such an exercise were to be carried out in other organizations and they were going to refer to FAO, I would be very sensitive - not just me but I think the Director-General would be very sensitive - about how your Organization is portrayed by other secretariats. It is a matter to consider.
The third aspect is surely that under each area of activity, under each programme area, the relative weight of other organizations will vary enormously. It is not just a question of listing organizations and saying that these are the organizations working in the field of food, agriculture, nutrition, forestry and fisheries. Some of them are large intergovernmental organizations. Some of them are limited to functions of research and others are limited to functions of investment activities, as well as others which limit themselves to functions of technical assistance. So in each programme area it would be a kaleidescope that you would have to look at.
This brings me, Mr Chairman, to a more general point. Please take it as a reflection which we should all pursue, and certainly we in the Secretariat do. That is the issue of policy analysis on the one hand, and micro-
management on the other. It really is a matter of weight. Who is going to do what? If at the supreme level of the governing body, which is this Conference, you really want to go into micro-analysis and micro-management that is, of course, your decision. But it is a decision which a number of governments are not sure of, and even in public statements have questioned as to their own interest in pursuing that.
The subject of how FAO collaborates with other organizations in any particular field or of joint or related activities of mutual interest, it seems to me, is already pursued at a variety of levels. When a Member Government requests assistance from FAO in a technical field, I would ask whether that Member Government has not taken and does not take into account the activities of other organizations which are already working on its territory, other organizations which have offered assistance and made its own judgements and assessment of who is in the best position to assist it best. It is only one aspect, but we do not only respond to requests from individual Member Nations. When requests for assistance are made in the forum of a technical regional commission, whether it is a regional commission on statistics or a regional commission on farm management or a regional commission on fisheries, is that not the forum, I ask you, where the respective roles, functions, capacities, abilities of the various organizations involved are also taken into account?
When there are discussions in the Committee on Agriculture, or in any of the other technical committees of the Council, is that not again a forum where this kind of issue is surely borne in mind, should be borne in mind and should be pursued? I believe it is. When the Programme Committee, following the directive of your Council, undertakes programme reviews in the non-conference years, and these are as distinguished members of the Programme Committee know fairly in-depth reviews, with ample time for members of the Programme Committee to examine and raise all these aspects and others, I would suggest it is very much in fora like that that there can be a very thorough, very frank and very open discussion among members, and between members and the Secretariat, on these aspects. Without being at all negative, I offer these few reflections with all respect and suggest that, yes, even though these are very valid issues, there are a number of possibilities and ways in which they can be pursued and they do not need to find their culmination only in one document like the Medium-Term Plan or any of the other reports that you receive.
This leads me now to a point about coordination at the country level which I have just referred to. There was a specific question from the distinguished Ambassador of France in his intervention this morning and also from the distinguished representative of Kenya. Let me give you responses on two fronts. Firstly, on the form, and then a few reflections on the substance. On the form, I would like to address the question raised by France because the distinguished Ambassador of France asked whether there were arrangements for coordination between FAO representatives in a country and representative of governments with bilateral assistance programmes or representatives of governments with bilateral assistance programmes or representatives of other organizations in that country. My immediate response was to look to my colleagues of the Development Department to say, I know you send out instructions when the Director-General appoints an FAO Representative in a country, and what do we say about it? Certainly this is an aspect to which attention is paid.
In the letter of instructions to every FAO Representative there is a part which says "To facilitate your task, it will be necessary for you to establish and maintain close and constructive working relations with the Government, the various departments and units at FAO Headquarters, the regional representative, the UNDP Resident Representative, the resident coordinator, as well as other missions and Technical Assistance Programmes providing and contributing to the country's agricultural development". At least, the system has given provision for it.
The instructions also point out on the same subject, "In order to facilitate the coordination of all forms of technical assistance at the country level, you will exchange information on programmes, requests and so on with multilateral, bilateral, governmental and non-governmental agencies as appropriate; always of course, in consultation with the government concerned". That is one aspect of my reply, but then the very thoughtful remarks of the distinguished representative of Kenya made me reflect much more.
Mr Chairman, in a debate such as this I would not want to give the impression that when such thoughtful remarks are made the Secretariat comes up just with snap replies. I would rather like to say that the sort of comments which were made are very serious comments and comments that the Secretariat takes seriously. The distinguished representative suggested that if I were to have time he and his colleagues would like to come and discuss them. Certainly the Secretariat is here to find time and to make time for these kinds of discussion and it is not only me because, after all, on the matters which were raised, other colleagues of mine who are more familiar and responsible for the handling of those matters are here but, on their behalf as well, let me answer that we want to be responsive.
A specific comment was made by the distinguished representative of Kenya about assistance in the development of the country strategy note. I understand that there was a TCP project approved to help identify the extent and scope of FAO involvement in this process and I understand also that the Director-General has presently under consideration another request from the Government of Kenya for TCP assistance in drawing up national agricultural policy and an in-depth review of the sector in the light of the reforms being undertaken by the Government. This exercise will form the basis of our further contribution to the preparation of the country strategy note and my colleagues will certainly pursue this further with the Delegation of Kenya.
The reference to Lake Victoria aroused a very personal interest because before I came to FAO, among the projects I was handling in UNDP, was the initial one in 1966 on Lake Victoria Fisheries Development. I have not kept in touch with it in recent years but I am told, again by my colleagues, that we have had a TCP project to assist in the diagnosis of the environmental problems on the lake. The Fisheries Department is planning in the next biennium to outpost a fisheries officer to support the Sub-Committee of Fisheries Management in Lake Victoria of the Commission for Inland Fisheries of Africa. So again this is not an answer just to say everything is all right but we are attentive and hope we respond adequately to the concerns which have been expressed.
A number of distinguished members referred to sustainable development and if I may use an abbreviation, ICPF/SARD. To deal first of all with the comments of the distinguished representative of the Netherlands I believe he said ICPF/SARD is hardly visible in the Medium-Term Plan. Mr Chairman,
ICPF/SARD is, as you have always said, a framework whose elements are described in the Programme Implementation Report but also in the Medium-Term Plan. Paragraphs 116 and 125 deal with policy advice on this subject, paragraphs 136 and 139 on People's Participation, paragraph 202 on Integrated Pest Management, paragraph 185 on Integrated Plant Nutrition Systems, and there are others. Finally, Mr Chairman, I would only recall that the ICPF/SARD and the Special Action Programmes are essentially field programme activities, as mentioned in paragraph 59 of this document.
The distinguished Ambassador of France asked about the introduction of sustainability criteria in the formulation of plans and programmes of the Organization.
This was a concern which we remember was mentioned in the Resolution of the last Conference (C 91/2). A progress report, as you know, was presented to Council at its 102nd Session, and the Council expressed satisfaction at the measures taken. The growing activities referred to - IPM, biodiversity, soil conservation and sustainable fisheries - should constitute evidence that we are not just paying lip service to these subjects, but actually doing something about them.
In this connection, the distinguished Ambassador of France also referred to the need for ways in which there can be coordination within the Secretariat, within units, and cutting across departmental lines. I take note of that point, but I must say that we do not dwell too much in our documents on internal Secretariat arrangements. Perhaps we should do so more in the future, but certainly we feel that these are internal processes - which are of course open to you all to see - that we should concentrate on the policy aspects and on the macro-management aspects, rather than burdening you with details of how we work. However, as the subject was raised, it may be useful to point out that on the subject of sustainability we work across technical departments and we work across the Regular Programme and the Field Programme. The way in which this is done is through the Steering Committee, of which my colleague Mr Mahler is Chairman. This is a Steering Committee, at the level of Assistant Directors-General. The Steering Committee then has an interdepartmental working group at Director level. They have seven task forces or sub-groups, among which one deals with sustainability indicators, and the introduction of sustainability criteria in agricultural policy, planning programming and project formulation. There is much more information which we shall be glad to share later, if you wish.
The distinguished representative of Barbados asked a question about small island states and FAO's efforts to help them. FAO participated actively in the intergovernmental preparatory committee meeting for the preparation of the UN Conference on Small Island States, which is to be held in Barbados at the end of April next year, and we have provided a number of contributions to prepare for this meeting. My colleagues who have been active in this field found, unfortunately, that the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry were scarcely represented at this preparatory meeting, and as a result these sectors are not very well covered in the draft Action Plan for this Conference, despite our efforts. Consultations among delegations of the small island countries during the present Conference would indeeed be very useful and we hope that they will lead to more active participation of the sectors which are our concern in the delegations to the Conference to be held in Barbados.
As so often happens, I have tried to respond to the general debate, as well as to some specific points. This is not through any attempt to convince individual members whose points of view have been well heard, and who may not be at all convinced by my reflections. I hope nevertheless that the reflective approach of this response will give them satisfaction that their voice is indeed very clear, is heard, and that we shall again continue to give you more satisfaction. That is certainly the intent of the Secretariat, under the Director-General.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Shah, for your response to the Commission, your answers to questions raised, and your observations. I would now like to ask the Commission if there is any delegation who would like to respond to the responses of Mr Shah? I do not see any delegation wishing to take the floor at this stage, so I take it that the answers of Mr Shah have been satisfactory to you.
We have now come to the end of what has been, I think, a very interesting debate on a very important issue, which is the third part of our so-called "quartet".
I will not attempt to make a full summary of this debate, because after all we have a Drafting Committee, which is very broadly composed and is under the able chairmanship of Mr Marsh. I am sure they will come up with a report that will reflect the debate and we will then have the opportunity to adopt that report. I shall therefore merely highlight a few main points that have come up during the debate, and which I personally think are important.
I would like to divide my remarks into three parts: First of all, general remarks that have been made about the usefulness of the Medium-Term Plan as a tool and an instrument to enable a dialogue between membership and the Secretariat on the future orientation of FAO's work. Secondly, a number of remarks have been made on the format of the Medium-Term Plan. The Medium-Term Plan has been reintroduced recently; we are at an experimental stage with the format, and a number of remarks have been made there. Finally, I would like to highlight a few points that have been made concerning the content of this Medium-Term Plan which has been before us during this Session.
So far as the usefulness of the Medium-Term Plan as a tool is concerned, I think it is fair to conclude that there is broad consensus that the Medium-Term Plan is indeed a useful tool and that we should continue to have it and to further develop it, maybe refine it and improve it - but that we should keep it. It is an important instrument, we think, to formulate the priorities for the Organization for its work in the medium term, and it is a useful basis for this dialogue.
Concerning the format of the Medium-Term Plan, I think one of the major issues which was raised during the last Conference was whether it should include resource projection or not. This issue has come up again. I conclude from the debate that there is a great number of Member States who would indeed like to see at least some sort of indication of the resources required for the implementation of the Medium-Term Plan. On the other hand, I know that there are other delegations who were cautious in this respect, and would like to mention the possibility that such indications could be construed as commitments on the part of governments to make available these resources.
Suggestions have been made to include in the Medium-Term Plan indications of targets, outputs that we are striving for, and timeframes for the various activities. Other suggestions have been made to the effect that the Medium-Term Plan perhaps should not indicate only high priorities, but should also indicate areas where the priority may be somewhat lower. In general, various delegations have made the remark that the Medium-Term Plan might have a somewhat sharper priority focus. A remark, which has already been responded to by Mr Shah in his remarks, is that in the Context Chapter information could be given on the relationship of FAO's work with other organizations, to put it in a broader context.
We have also heard remarks from several delegates to the effect that indications would need to be given of the areas in which FAO has a comparative advantage, so that could be the basis for development of the Medium-Term Plan.
I think these were the remarks on the format of the Medium-Term Plan. As far as the content is concerned, I think I can again conclude that the Commission has general appreciation for the content of the Medium-Term Plan. Of course, the Commission has made remarks concerning certain themes, strategies, and sectors which would require perhaps more attention than has been given in this Medium-Term Plan. There seems to be broad consensus that the issues of environment and sustainable agriculture not be put as an additional theme to other themes, but as an overall guiding approach in the whole work of FAO. In this respect, the question was raised of what the implications would be to the internal organization of FAO.
Another point that many delegations have raised is that they agree that poverty alleviation should be one of the focuses of FAO. The same goes for issues like food security and nutrition. A number of delegations also stressed the important role of FAO as an organization to give policy advice. The move towards upstream activities was mentioned.
Furthermore, the importance of cross-sector priorities, on which we have a whole chapter in the Medium-Term Plan, was stressed by many delegations. I noticed quite a number of delegations who mentioned in particular people's participation and women in development as important principles and strategies to be used by FAO in its work.
National execution, national capacity building and shifts from the public to the private sector were also issues mentioned by quite a number of delegations. A number of delegations underlined the importance of training and technical assistance. ECDC/TCDC, which receives quite some attention in the Medium-Term Plan, was also mentioned by many countries as a very important area.
Another question which arose, and which may be relatively new, is that of the situation of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and the so-called "countries in transition". I noticed that a number of countries which fall into this region took the floor on this issue, and have asked FAO to pay more attention to this particular area. In particular, more technical assistance was requested. Delegations of countries outside this region also mentioned this aspect.
Quite some time was spent during our discussions on cooperation with other organizations, not only within the UN system but also outside the UN system - private organizations. NGOs were mentioned.
Private organizations, NGOs, ECA and GATT were mentioned, as organizations with which FAO could perhaps cooperate more intensively than it has done so far. Almost all sectors have been mentioned by delegations as sectors requiring more attention. I should like to mention a few in particular.
It struck me that one of the sectors that was mentioned by many delegations as needing somewhat more attention was the forestry sector. The development of National Forestry Action Plans in the framework of the Tropical Forestry Action Programme and the technical assistance required for that was stressed by a number of delegations.
Another sector that received quite a lot of attention was the fisheries sector. Various aspects were mentioned: first, the important role that FAO has in the area of collection of information for the sector, and secondly the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fishing and questions such as integrated coastal management also received some attention by delegations.
Water was mentioned, as well as soil degradation, plant and animal genetic resources, biological diversity, plant protection, IPM and IPNS. Those were all areas mentioned in the course of the debate, so I think you will agree with me that that covered almost every subject in the Medium-Term Plan, but these are all important issues. I should like to thank all the membership for their constructive contributions to the debate. I have very much appreciated the fact that you have been brief, which has enabled us to finish our work within the time set. I should like to thank the Secretariat, in particular Dr Shah and Mrs Forthomme for their assistance and all the other members of the Secretariat who have helped in the deliberations on this issue.
This closes the deliberations on Agenda Item 11. Thank you all again for your cooperation.
The meeting rose at 17.45 hours.
La séance est levée à 17 h 45.
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.45 horas.