CHAIRMAN: We shall first take up Item 5 on the Agenda, the report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security, the document CL 82/10. In this connection I would like to draw your attention to the statement made by the Director-General on the opening day that he is now under-taking a major study of the whole concept of world food security and that he is likely to come with the report soon. So in today's discussion what would be of value would be some concrete sugges-tions by members which would be helpful to the Director-General and his staff in terms of the study they are conducting. First the Director-General wants to say a few words and afterwards Professor Islam will introduce this particular paper but what I wanted to emphasise was that during the inter-vention, if members could be rather precise in their suggestions rather than go over the entire field of the need for world food security and so on, it would be very helpful because I think nobody denies the need for a world food security system.
I recall in 1974 at the World Food Conference held in Rome all the member nations assembled there passed unanimously a resolution that by 1984 - that is within a decade from 1974 - we should have such a system of world food security, that no child, woman or man would go to bed hungry and no human being's physical or mental potential will be stunted by malnutrition. We are only two years away from that particular deadline.
The point I want to stress is, we are all agreed on the need for insulating mankind from the ravages of hunger, but what would be of interest is in relation to the document we have and which will be shortly introduced. Members would offer some additional and precise additions which could be of help in furthering this cause of development of world food security that the time would be very well spent during the day.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I hope there will be no misunderstanding between you and me because what we are discussing today is the Report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on Food Security. That's the item on the Agenda, not what the Director-General will prepare in his report for next year's session of the Committee on Food Security; nor am I asking for the views of the Council. We have had a number of discussions during the last session of the Committee on Food Security on the content of my report and it was decided that I. should prepare it under my full responsibility. Some sugges-tions were made about what subjects I might cover and I have taken note. The decision remains, of course, with the members of the Committee on Food Security and ultimately with the Council to which they report.
On this issue I want to add that my report will not end the problem. It will indicate that there will be a need for further discussion in the 1984 Committee on Food Security. I am just touching on the topics, and would not be putting an end to the study of the problems of food security. I therefore repeat that it is not the Director-General's report for 1983 which is under discussion today, it is. Item 5 of the Agenda, the Report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on Food Security and Progress in Implementation of the Plan of Action the latter of which has been approved by the FAO Conference as well as by the United Nations General Assembly.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for this statement and clarification. I am sure the document, as I announced, under discussion on the Agenda Item is CL 82/10 but nevertheless all I intended was that if members have some suggestions which are of use to you I am sure they will be taken into full consideration. We do not know what document you are going to come forward with. In as much as you are good enough to make an announcement that you are working upon it, I thought that in order to get the value for the time here, during the discussions if there are some suggestions you might like to consider them.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I am sorry to disagree with you. The forthcoming report of the Director-General in 1983, is not on the Agenda and is not under discussion now. Anybody may make suggestions but the Committee on Food Security decided that the Director-General should prepare a document in the most independent manner, as you expect him to do. I will certainly listen to whatever proposals are made but I will feel free to write what in my conscience I think I should put forward as proposals, and ideas. Delegates are free, of course, to make comments, but you seem to be inviting them to discuss something which is not on the Agenda.
CHAIRMAN: I do not think there is any disagreement between you and me. I think all I said, if there are some useful ideas which come out of today's meeting, it will certainly be an input to the working of this Organization.
N. ISLAM (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department): It gives me great pleasure to report to the Council on the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security held in Rome in April of this year which has been circulated as a document CL 82/10.
The Committee met at a time when the world food security situation and outlook presented a mixed picture. The Committee welcomed the improvement in the global world food security situation, but expressed concern that the improvements have not been shared by all countries, and that the food situation remains precarious in many low-income countries. Even more disturbing was the continuing and long-term nature of the food problems which remained in the low-income food-deficit countries, particularly in Africa where the food gap is widening and cereal input requirements continued to rise.
The Committee expressed concern that in about two thirds of the low-income food-deficit countries per capita production of cereals had actually declined during the 1970's. It recognised that these countries faced a great number of difficult problems in increasing food production and that in particular the low-income food-deficit countries could not hope to meet the required investment needs unaided. The national investment efforts should therefore be supplemented by international assistance. In this connection a number of delegates expressed their regret that there are no indications that official development assistance would increase to the extent required. In view of the very grave situation in many of the low-income food-deficit countries in Africa the Committee decided to give special consideration at its next Session to the constraints on food production of low-income food-deficit countries of Saharan Africa and discussed possible follow-up actions by the Committee on World Food Security itself and other FAO committees.
The Committee stressed that adequate growth and food production was the only permanent solution to the problem of food security, particularly in the low income food deficit countries. At the same time it agreed that until these countries achieved satisfactory and sustained growth in food production, food aid remained essential to ensure world food security.
While welcoming the increased food aid commitment by some countries the Committee expressed concern that total food aid allocations in 1981/82 were below the quantities allocated for the previous year. It expressed its disappointment that the 10 million tons minimum target of total food aid in cereals had not yet been reached. It was noted that the food aid requirements and targets would be reviewed by the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes at its Fifteenth Session.
The Committee discussed sub-regional and regional food security schemes. It reiterated its support for the concept of collective self-reliance and agreed that there was considerable scope for regional cooperation in strengthening food security such as promoting food production through sharing of technology and joint agricultural research programmes, the development of complementary infrastructure, early warning systems, as well as inter-regional trade.
The Committee emphasized the regional food security schemes should supplement and strengthen, rather than replace existing national or global arrangements. They should be flexible and within the financial and administrative capacity of the countries concerned. The need to establish linkages among the regional schemes was also stressed.
In its review of the regimes for food security assistance the Committee noticed with satisfaction that the annual target of resources through the food security assistance scheme, as recommended in the FAO Conference Resolution 3/79 had been reached in 1981.
It welcomed contributions for 1982 announced at this Session. The Committee nevertheless stressed themselves that there is a backlog of food security projects still awaiting funding and recommended that donors should consider funding bilaterally the investment needs for larger-scale construction projects in close coordination with FAO, which would help in initiating contact between potential donors and recipients.
In his address to the Committee on World Food Security the Director-General surveyed the limited progress made in the seven years since the world food crisis. He suggested that the committee should take advantage of the breathing space provided by the current more confortable global food supply situation to review the whole concept of world food security in general and the Committee's own role in particular on the basis of a report which he intended to prepare. In his view such a reappraisal was necessary to establish new approaches towards solving food security in the 1980's.
The Committee noted that it was the only intergovernmental body in the United Nations system which is exclusively charged with monitoring, evaluating and consulting on world food security situations. The Committee accordingly welcomed the Director-General's proposal which met the concern shared by many governments about the persisting world food security problems even at times of plentiful global supplies and above all the overlapping of various fora about the issues.
It was agreed that the Committee should review these matters in its next session based on the report to be prepared by the Director-General.
The next Committee on World Food Security will be held in April 1983.
S. P. MUKERJI (India): My delegation supports the recommendations made by the Committee on World Food Security. I will not go into details of the problem of food insecurity that is growing in the world. It has already been elaborated in the document and elsewhere that in the whole game of food security it is the developing countries who are getting more and more vulnerable. In these countries population is outstripping the production. The import needs of foodgrains has been increasing. It has been indicated somewhere that in the last 10 years the import of foodgrains in the developing countries has gone up by 41 percent. On the one hand while import needs are increasing for developing countries their exports and return from exports are falling due to recession in other countries, due to trade barriers and lower prices in the international market. It has been pointed out that food allocations are still below the target fixed. Carryover of the wheat stock has gone down. In some countries the rate of growth of foodgrain production has been negative. To cap it all the prices of agricultural inputs, vital and strategic agricultural inputs, like fertilizers and pesticides, are going up. Finally, and most importantly the international financing agencies, including the World Bank, IMF and IDA are tightening the conditions under which these loans for productive purposes - I repeat even for productive purposes - are getting more and more inaccessible to the developing countries. It is therefore very urgent that serious consideration should be given to strengthening the institutional arrangements on a continuing basis for ensuring and guaranteeing food security.
You pointed out just now, Mr. Chairman, that we are still at the level at which we were eight years ago, perhaps we have slipped back a little. There is no dearth of concern being expressed by all the countries, but my feeling is that our concern while increasing at the intellectual level, in actual operational level has not been reflected proportionately. I have a feeling that while on the one hand we are increasing the number of resolutions, determinations, pious hopes, the number of organizations at the world level, regional level, country level, at the grassroot level nothing much is done. If I may quote a formula, action is inversely proportional to the number of organizations and resolutions passed. The more we multiply resolutions and organizations I am sure the less will be the real action taken at the ground level. Perhaps the passing of resolutions and the creation of more organizations and committees gives us a psychological satisfaction, a false sense of satisfaction to salve our conscience that whatever is possible to be done has been done. But that precludes us from going further and deeper at the ground level for implementing the various resolutions and actions that need to be implemented. Therefore I have a feeling that from now on we should pass fewer resolutions and create fewer committees and have a larger number of projects and a greater number of actual schemes to be implemented. This is the first feeling or thesis that I would like to place before this august body.
I have this to say, and I will say it most urgently and emphatically, that after all is said and done production remains the root of world security. Unless we have more production our discussions on world food security improvements will be academic. Therefore we should never lose sight of the responsibilities both of the donating countries and the recipient countries never to overlook the need to increase production in all manners, in all respects. I think it would be criminal on the part of any country in the world at this stage to think in terms of reducing production, reducing the area under foodgrain crops when large and vast areas of the world and millions of people are not having two full meals a day. Research in agricultural production, investment in agriculture, irrigation, power, and proper direction and political will at the national and international level, and all these supported by a conscious sympathetic and understanding world aid through various institutional arrangements, both grants and loans, will be the minimum unavoidable steps that mankind has to take at the present juncture.
I am conscious of the fact that so far we have been adopting what I call a firefighting approach: whenever there is starvation or earthquake or drought or floods in one part of the world we rush in foodgrains and other help. That is very well done. Perhaps for some time to come this firefighting approach has to remain one of the basic steps that we can take. But this firefighting approach will have to be supplemented continously by a medium-term and long-term approach to ensure that the production potential of the developing countries is fully utilised and tapped and developed.
I entirely agree with the recommendations of the Committee that bilateralism should be in big durable projects by direct contacts between the recipient countries and the donor countries. I would add that for short-term projects and for emergency relief multilateralism must remain the most supreme method of assisting countries or areas which are afflicted by natural calamities or shortage of food grains because it is through multilateralism that politics can be set aside so far as this humanitarian task is concerned and it is through multilateralism that the self-respect of the receiving country is protected.
I support that there has to be a regional approach in cases of food security, but that should not to my mind in any way dilute the need to have a national effort by the countries concerned on the one hand and a global effort made by world organizations to reduce hunger and distress in the world.
At the national level emphasis should be on production, stocking of foodgrains, their proper distribution, export of agricultural produce and earning of foreign exchange, nutrition standards and, what is very important, population control.
At the regional level collaboration amongst the regional countries on land and water management, exploitation of, complementarity of, production and infrastructional assets of one country by neighbouring countries so that the total benefit in that region is maximized, export/import among the regional countries and the establishment of an early warning system at the regional level, will be some of the areas in which the regional efforts will be very beneficial.
At the world level the flow of funds from the developed to the developing countries, emergency food aid, supply of loans for production purposes, stabilisation of prices of foodgrains on the one hand and, what is very important, stabilisation and availability of agricultural inputs, stabilisation of prices and availability of agricultural inputs like fertilizer, channeling of multilateral aid, establishment of a world development fund, would be very useful at the global level and perhaps to a large extent inescapable.
My delegation would like to emphasize that at the world level food and agricultural organizations should remain the nodal agency and all organizations, whether within the United Nations system or outside, should work through or in coordination with FAO.
At the regional level, and perhaps at the global level also, India can offer a lot of technical help and training in food management. At present we have a very well established food distribution system through 300 000 distribution points. We are procuring annually about 14 million to 15 million tons of foodgrains. We are storing them scientifically and distributing them in a proper manner. At present we are distributing to our population about 1 million tons of foodgrains every month. We have a public policy of increasing foodgrain production and giving help to the small and marginal farmers. We are developing our fisheries and animal husbandry resources also, and in all these respects, especially in the agricultural research extension and training, India can offer considerable technical assistance to the neighbouring countries.
I would close with the statement and hope that from now onwards we shall be more and more concerned with identification of specific action points, location specific and region specific action points, which should be supported by a time bound programme, and we will ensure through FAO and its committees that these programmes are fully, adequately and effectively implemented.
V. ISARANKURA (Thailand): The Thai Delegation has very carefully studied the Report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security and wishes to make a few comments. First we would like to inform them that Thailand has participated in the Committee on World Food Security since the first session. It is rather disappointing to say that though we have this Committee, we still cannot solve the food security problems of the world, especially in the low-income -food-deficit countries in Africa. We wonder how long we have to wait for this problem to be overcome. There was a question in our mind: is the Committee on World Food Security working in a dark room? For this reason we were happy to note that the Committee agreed to the Director-General's proposal to review the concept of World Food Security and the role of the Committee within the broad framework of the activities of the various international institutions dealing with food issues. We believe that this proposal is timely and look forward to the Director-General's report. Let him feel free to make this report. We also support the Committee's decision that the Committee should review the food production and food security problem of low-income, food-deficit countries in Africa, as indicateci in paragraph 34 of the Report. We do agree that FAO should continue to play an active role through the Food Security Assistance Scheme and urge new donor countries to do their utmost to increase the flow of financial resources to this scheme.
Sra. Doña D. SANCHEZ (Colombia): Sobre este tema la delegación de Colombia se referirá unicamente
a los asuntos que requieren la atención del Consejo enumerados en la página II del documento CL 82/10.
Pensamos que en su informe el Consejo debe reiterar la preocupación que causa el hecho de que parte desproporcionadamente de las reservas de cereales continúen y aumenten su concentración en unos pocos países exportadores y que es necesario una mejor distribución geográfica para reforzar la seguridad alimentaria mundial, según se afirma al final del párrafo 24.
Nuestra delegación opina que el Consejo debe hacer un llamado más a los países desarrollados para que estos ofrezcan a los países en desarrollo asistencia técnica, financiera y de todo orden, en forma que permita a los Estados del tercer mundo adquirir reservas, establecer instalaciones de almacenamiento y sufragar los gastos de transporte. Esa necesidad está justificada por el párrafo 25 en el cual se afirma que la mayoría de los países de bajos ingresos y déficit de alimentos no han podido constituir reservas ni alcanzar sus objetivos de existencias, no sólo por la insufi-ciencia en la producción, sino también por la falta de recursos financieros y de instalaciones de almacenamiento.
Acerca del párrafo 30 la delegación de Colombia va más allá de lo que allí se expresa. Creemos que no sólo en los países de bajos ingresos y déficit de alimentos, sino en todos los países en desa-rrollo el aumento de la producción alimentaria es el elemento esencial, la clave insustituible para lograr la seguridad alimentaria mundial a largo plazo.
La delegación de Colombia comparte plenamente las preocupaciones que se expresan en los párrafos 31 al 37 sobre la gravedad del problema de la producción alimentaria en Africa. Apoyamos toda medida que se adopte en favor de la solución de ese inquietante problema.
La Secretaría deberá preparar el examen provisional que el Comité le ha solicitado; naturalmente en esas actividades será conveniente proceder con criterio pragmático para evitar duplicación de esfuerzos, concentrándose en casos específicos con medidas concretas, sin largos e inútiles estudios generales que ya se han hecho en el pasado.
La delegación de Colombia espera que la aplicación del Plan de Acción siga realizándose con buenos éxitos, y a tal efecto apoyamos la preocupación del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial por el hecho de que el valor de los proyectos, ya identificados pero todavía en espera de financiación, aumentaban a un ritmo mucho más rápido que los recursos que se ponían a disposición del Plan.
Este Consejo deberá hacer un llamado para que aumenten los recursos y se puedan llevar a cabo los proyectos.
La delegación de Colombia apoya plenamente la valiosa labor que en el campo de la seguridad alimen-taria mundial viene realizando el señor Director General de la FAO. Nuestra Organización debe seguir recibiendo todos los recursos y medios necesarios que necesita para seguir ofreciendo estos importantes servicios a los países en desarrollo.
En su afirmativa declaración inaugural el Director General anunció la presentación de un estudio sobre la seguridad alimentaria. En la próxima reunión del Comité estudiaremos ese informe que, como lo ha dicho el Director General, será presentado bajo su propia responsabilidad. Tenemos plena confianza en él y sabemos de antemano que ese informe abarcará los aspectos fundamentales de la seguridad alimentaria mundial que particularmente tengan relación con los problemas y las dificul-tades que afrontan los países en desarrollo para alcanzar esa seguridad; en todo lo cual la asistencia de la FAO seguirá siendo siempre muy valiosa.
S.S. BALANZINO (Italy): The Italian authorities have examined in depth the Report of the Committee on World Food Security, and with this short statement we would like to point out some aspects of the Report that we consider of special interest.
The Italian Delegation wishes particularly to express its satisfaction for the general improvement of the world food situation, even though it shares the widespread worries concerning specific situations in some countries which are still seriously threatened by food deficits.
We fully agree with the remarks contained in paragraph 14 of document CL 82/10, in which the increase of local food production in low-income, food-deficit countries is indicated as the only way of achieving an effective food security. We recall that this fundamental concept and the other one, whereby food aid has to play only a temporary role, have been extensively referred to in the declaration at the end of the meeting on world hunger held in Rome in April of this year.
The conclusion of a New International Wheat Agreement, which Italy considers favourably, is indeed a way of reaching these aims. Meanwhile, my country stands ready to examine and to look into all realistic proposals which will tend to build up stocks in developing countries.
My delegation would like to briefly touch upon the paragraphs of the Report dealing with the Plan of Action for World Food Security. Italy wishes to express its interest in the proposal put forward in the Committee in April and supported by many delegations which drew the attention of the international community to the real problems of food production and security in low-income African countries. My Government for its part has decided to commit itself on these problems with the greatest dedication. Meetings at the highest level between CILSS are currently taking place in Rome in order to draw global and concrete lines of action. These lines, according to the proposals of the Director-General, are intended to offer a special contribution to the development of the Sahelian Region. The Report of the Committee on World Food Security stresses in paragraphs 40 and 44 the importance of programmes that can be instrumental toward achieving world food security. We refer in particular to the programme of prevention of food losses and to the Food Security Assistance Scheme, and we wish to re-confirm the increasing Italian Commitment to those specific programmes of FAO.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): Food security is one of the priority areas of common interest and also of common policy of the ten Member States of the European Economic Community. On behalf of these countries, I therefore should like to ask you, Mr. Chairman, to give the floor to the representative of the Commission of the European Economic Community.
CHAIRMAN: We will do that immediately after all the members of the Council have spoken.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): We would rather prefer if you could give the floor first to them, because otherwise members of the Community would have to repeat quite a few things if we were to speak individually. We feel that the representative of the Commission here expressing views on behalf of the EEC Member States on the topic before us should give his view right at the beginning so that we would just complement then his statement by our national views.
G. BULA HOYOS (Colombia): Deseamos apoyar la propuesta que ha hecho el distinguido delegado de la República Federal de Alemania. Consideramos oportuno escuchar ahora la intervención del representante de la Comunidad Economica Europea, sobre todo a la luz de la intervención que hizo ayer, que ahora la encontramos serena y objetiva y nos evitará problemas en el futuro.
CHAIRMAN: In view of the report, I give the floor to the representative of the European Economic Community.
G. DESESQUELLES (Observateur pour la Communauté économique européenne): En ce qui concerne ce point 5 de l'ordre du jour, voici quelles sont les réflexions de la Communauté économique européenne dans le domaine de la sécurité alimentaire.
La Communauté économique européenne est d'avis que l'élément principal de toute amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire des pays en voie de développement est l'augmentation de la production vivrière dans ces pays. C'est pour cette raison que la Communauté européenne, dans le cadre de son plan d'action de lutte contre la faim dans le monde présenté lors de la dernière Conférence de l'Organi-sation en novembre 1981, a prévu un volet d'appui à la mise en oeuvre des stratégies alimentaires.
La Communauté économique européenne offre à ses partenaires d'entrer dans un processus de mise en oeuvre de leurs politiques de développement rural et de sécurité alimentaire comportant des obligations mutuelles. A cet égard, certains pays africains ont manifesté leur intérêt pour entrer dans une telle coopération.
Dans ce domaine, la Communauté européenne se félicite de la décision du Comité - je fais référence au paragraphe 37 du document du Secrétariat - à l'initiative des pays africains, de discuter lors de sa prochaine session des obstacles qui empêchent d'accroître la production alimentaire intérieure dans les pays à faible revenu et à déficit alimentaire en Afrique. Cet examen devrait se concentrer en premier lieu sur les difficultés que rencontrent les gouvernements dans la mise en oeuvre de politiques de développement rural, notamment celle relative au coût et à la production et au revenu réel des agriculteurs.
Dans les paragraphes 9 et 26, le document du Secrétariat analyse les possibilités de stockage dans les pays en voie de développement. La Communauté économique européenne considère que le moyen le plus efficace pour réaliser une sécurité alimentaire extérieure accrue des pays en voie de développement est un nouvel accord international sur les céréales instituant un système de stockage approprié.
En attendant un tel accord, la Communauté est prête à discuter de solutions alternatives, comme par exemple celle de constituer des réserves de céréales dans les pays en voie de développement, éven-tuellement avec l'appui du Fonds monétaire international proposé lors de la huitième session ministérielle du Conseil mondial de l'alimentation.
Cependant, il est important que des propositions pour un plan de sécurité alimentaire basé sur le stockage prennent en considération non seulement les principes, mais aussi les problèmes pratiques concernant, d'une part le coût d'un tel programme, d'autre part la gestion des stocks et les relations entre les stocks et le fonctionnement de marchés nationaux.
Pour ce qui est de la question du rôle du comité de la sécurité alimentaire dans le contexte des activités des diverses institutions internationales s'occupant de l'alimentation, question évoquée aux paragraphes 52 à 56 du Rapport, la Communauté économique européenne considère très opportune l'initiative du Directeur général de préparer un rapport à ce sujet.
La Communauté espère par ailleurs que les discussions qui ont lieu dans le cadre de la trente-septième session de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, au sujet de la coordination des activités des institutions multilatérales opérant dans le domaine de la sécurité alimentaire, aboutissent à des conclusions constructives.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): It is now seven years ago that the Committee on World Food Security began its work. This caused our Director-General to study the activities so far. We are looking forward with interest to his report.
We agree with the Director-General that quite a number of important recommendations made by the CFS have been realized in the course of talking and put into operational methods. This applies, for example, to the adoption of the international undertaking on World Food Security, together with the Early Warning System, the implementation of the emergency reserve of 500 000 tons of cereals, the launching of the Food Security Assistance scheme with 52 projects so far, the funding of US$ 45 million, the conclusion of the Food Aid Convention work on implementing the Five Point Plan of Action of FAO, and last but not least, the creation of the new IMF Food Facility.
Each of these instruments has made a contribution to making the world food situation somewhat more reliable. But we also regret with the Director-General the fact that it has not yet been possible to negotiate a new International Wheat Agreement.
We believe that such an agreement could be an effective instrument to improve world food security and market stability. If the CFS could not fully meet all expectations and not all aims were achieved, the reason for it should also be seen in the extraordinary complexity of the problem and its global dimensions.
At the suggestion and proposal of the Director-General, the CFS decided to reappraise the present concept of world food security, and the role of CFS, at its next session in April 1983, and to carry out a thorough review. This could be useful in the light of experience gained so far and the somewhat less tight supply situation with problems persisting simultaneously for many developing countries to finance their imports.
In its consideration about a re-definition of the functions of the Committee, the FAO Secretariat should continue to take the consultation and coordination functions of the CFS into account. This seems to us absolutely compatible with the principle of observing the independence of other bodies and other organizations such as the IMF and the IWC.
In view of the great importance of the food security problem, we await with interest the ideas of the FAO Secretariat, and are prepared to examine these in a constructive way. We attach personal importance to the food problems, in particular in low-income food-deficit countries in Africa. We therefore welcome the fact that the CFS will focus its attention at its next session on the causes of these problems and the possible approaches towards their solution.
With regard to paragraph 28 of the document before us, I can state that my country, like the EEC, although not having a special food security stock-holding policy, is in a position to meet its international commitments in this crucial area at any time, relying on the instruments of their common policies and the market organization on grains.
A. FEQUANT (France) : Monsieur le Président, abordant le thème de la sécurité alimentaire au titre du point 5 de l'ordre du jour, je ne peux que souligner le caractère fondamental de cette question, voire même son aspect prioritaire, si l'on en juge par les premiers éléments qui se dessinent d'ores et déjà du futur programme de travail de l'Organisation.
En tout état de cause, le problème de la sécurité alimentaire a servi de toile de fond à plusieurs interventions. Il figure expressément à notre ordre du jour sous plusieurs rubriques. Le Conseil examine le rapport du comité de la sécurité alimentaire et est saisi d'une proposition formulée lors de la conférence régionale pour l'Asie et le Pacifique, visant à la constitution d'une commission régionale de la sécurité alimentaire pour cette zone. Le Directeur général lui-même a décrit cette insécurité alimentaire, qui est à la fois la cause et la conséquence des insuffisances du développement et qui se traduit notamment, a-t-il souligné, par la dépendance à l'égard des importations alimentaires.
Les carences de la production, comme cela a été également souligné, ne sont pas seules en cause. Les phénomènes commerciaux, tels que les fluctuations de certains produits de base, voire les tendances persistant à la baisse des politiques internes des prix, méritent également d'être pris en considération. Conditions particulières de la géographie et du climat, cadre des échanges, poli-tiques économiques internes, sont ainsi fréquemment évoqués lorsqu'est formulé le diagnostic.
Si la thérapeutique que l'on peut imaginer et mettre en oeuvre ne saurait se limiter, compte tenu de la dimension du problème, à des applications homéopathiques, il convient néanmoins d'en définir les limites. Dans cette perspective, l'étude à laquelle le Directeur général a fait référence dans son allocution, qui sera soumise au conseil de la sécurité alimentaire, est attendue par nous avec un vif intérêt.
En ce qui concerne les efforts déployés par mon pays, j'indiquerai tout d'abord, au titre de l'aide alimentaire, élément constitutif de la recherche de la sécurité alimentaire, que la France a décidé d'accroître en 1983 sa participation au Programme alimentaire mondial. La procédure budgétaire est actuellement en cours au Parlement français.
D'une façon plus durable, la sécurité alimentaire doit procéder de la croissance de la production vivrière, ce dernier résultat s'inscrivant lui-même dans des stratégies alimentaires auxquelles mon pays, ainsi que d'ailleurs ses autres partenaires de la Communauté économique européenne, a déjà exprimé son attachement. Quant à la dimension commerciale du problème qui nous préoccupe, la négociation d'un nouvel accord international sur les céréales, assorti de clauses économiques, serait susceptible de fournir une réponse appropriée.
C'est une satisfaction pour ma délégation de noter que certaines des idées que je viens succinctement d'exposer figurent dans le document CL 82/10 soumis à notre examen. S'agissant tout particulièrement de la reconstitution de réserves, ce même document a le mérite de souligner les difficultés, parfois techniques, souvent financières, et j'ajouterai économiques, liées à la réalisation des politiques de stockage correspondant à l'objectif recherché. En effet, les stockages des grains et la gestion des réserves, s'ils se réalisent, nous semblent d'abord devoir s'organiser à partir de la production locale, et il convient de fixer avec réalisme le seuil en deçà duquel il convient de demeurer.
Enfin, Monsieur le Président, je ne saurais conclure sans faire référence aux paragraphes 35, 36 et 37 du Rapport qui nous a été transmis. Ma délégation est favorable à l'étude qui sera réalisée par le Secrétariat pour le comité sur la sécurité alimentaire, en ce qui concerne les problèmes de sécurité alimentaire des pays à faible revenu et à déficit alimentaire de l'Afrique, étant entendu qu'il serait souhaitable de concentrer les efforts sur des problèmes spécifiques et concrets, et sur les mesures pratiques destinées à des pays déterminés dont la situation est particulièrement grave.
Sra. Doña G. SOTO CARRERO (Cuba): La delegación cubana no tiene objeciones al informe del séptimo período de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial en el cual participo activamente. Por consiguiente, se referirá a los aspectos fundamentales que según la orientación expresada en el documento CL 82/10 deben ser objeto de análisis de este Consejo.
Con relación al examen de la aplicación del Plan de Acción para la Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial y su intención de ocuparse en el próximo período de sesiones de los problemas de seguridad alimentaria que deben afrontar los países de bajos ingresos y déficit de alimentos en Africa, nuestra delegación considera que, si bien el aumento de la producción alimentaria en los países subdesarro-llados con déficit de alimentos, y en todos los países en general, es el elemento esencial para lograr la seguridad alimentaria, a largo plazo, estos países no pueden disponer de los recursos financieros necesarios sin la asistencia financiera externa, siendo por lo tanto necesario que los esfuerzos nacionales se complementen con la asistencia internacional.
En este aspecto, tienen especial obligación los países desarrollados, muchos de los cuales, como es conocido, han acumulado sus riquezas a costa del trabajo de los países pobres, donde han adquirido materias primas y mano de obra barata.
Nuestra delegación apoya la idea de que en el proximo período de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial, se examinen los problemas de la producción de alimentos y la seguridad ali-mentaria de Africa, teniendo especial cuidado en prestar atención a los aspectos específicos que se presentan en esa region. La labor que en ese sentido viene realizando la FAO está muy bien ex-plicada en el informe preparado para la octava reunion ministerial del Comité del Consejo Mundial de la Alimentación, documento WFC/82/4 (Parte I), al analizar el problema alimentario africano, y la función de los organismos internacionales.
Coincidimos con el distinguido delegado de la India en que la FAO debe ser el centro de la actividad en los aspectos de seguridad alimentaria, en coordinación con otros organismos que pudieran prestar su ayuda. En ese sentido, como conocemos, en esta empresa el Director General de la FAO siempre ha puesto empeños de primer orden.
También consideramos de mucha utilidad que la Secretaría prepare para el proximo período de se-siones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial un examen provisional basado en los estudios existentes sobre la producción de alimentos en la region africana, indicando además la labor que se está realizando, tanto por la FAO como por otras organizaciones, así como las dificultades que han impedido acelerar la producción de alimentos en esa region.
Relacionado con el examen de las disposiciones para prestar asistencia en materia de seguridad alimentaria, nuestra delegación apoya las disposiciones vigentes, y quisiera resaltar la necesidad de una capacitación más sistemática, profunda y a largo plazo del personal nacional en cuestiones técnicas y administrativas relacionadas con las reservas nacionales de alimentos. Al mismo tiempo, exhortamos a que en los programas y proyectos de seguridad alimentaria de la FAO continúen vinculándose la ayuda del Programa Mundial de Alimentos.
Asimismo, estamos de acuerdo en que el Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial es el único organo en el sistema, de las Naciones Unidas encargado de vigilar, evaluar y realizar consultas acerca de la situación de la seguridad alimentaria mundial. La delegación cubana reafirma su apoyo a la propuesta del Director General de reconsiderar el concepto y funciones del Comité, si bien este informe se preparará bajo la sola responsabilidad del Director General, aunque corresponde al Comité examinarlo, como bien se expresa en el párrafo 55, Nuestra delegación considera útil y tal vez dignas de ser tenidas en cuenta, las sugerencias que aparecen en el párrafo 54 del documento CL 82/10.
J. BELGRAVE (New Zealand): In addressing this item the point should be made that New Zealand is not a substantial grain producer, nor are we a substantial importer of grains; but nevertheless we are very well aware of the need for more stable access to food supplies and certainly agree on and support the high priority that is attached by FAO to this important issue of world food security. We agree with the comment on page 5 of the report of the Committee on World Food Security in document CL 82/10 that adequate growth in food production, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries is the only permanent solution to the problem of world food security. However, this objective needs to be supplemented as necessary by consideration of national, regional and sub-regional stock schemes. In working towards this objective of adequate growth in food produc-tion to help achieve food security, it is very clear from the Committee's report that there are a number of problems that need to be addressed. These problems include policies to provide essential agricultural inputs on reasonable terms, and this has been referred to by a number of delegations. They include an approach to pricing agricultural products that will help encourage food production, hopefully allied to increases in the food purchasing power of developing countries.
Indeed, in New Zealand's own experience, profitability is one of the mainsprings of agricultural development since, unless food production is profitable, the economic potential of agriculture cannot be realized.
Further, as a number of delegations emphasized in their interventions under Item 4 of the Agenda, improvements and access to markets for agricultural products will constitute one effective means of encouraging agricultural development and thus an improvement on the world food security situation. Of course, an improvement in world economic conditions generally will help to facilitate more last-ing increases in food production where they are needed.
Also, we feel greater productivity through applied agricultural research and adaptation of and transfer of improved production techniques to developing countries will assist food production development materially; and we note the Committee's conclusions on this issue. New Zealand is putting considerable efforts into this aspect of the problem, particularly in conjunction with the countries in our Region, but it can be submitted that we have no quick answers to all the complex issues that surround the achievement of adequate world food security, and this certainly is reflected in the report of the Committee which is now before us.
We therefore welcome the Committee's decision that on the basis of the report which will be prepared by the Director-General it is to review the concept of world food security and the role of the Committee for World Food Security. We welcome the fact that the Director-General's report is to be available soon and we hope in good time before the next meeting of the Committee, so that members of the Committee will be able to give it the very full consideration which it will warrant in advance of the next meeting. Some countries are a long way from Rome and the sooner we get copies of important reports such as this, the better they can be giving it the attention and consideration that is due.
Sra. Doña M. IVANKOVICH DE AROSEMENA (Panamá): Permítame, Sr. Presidente, hacer unos breves comen-tarios de mi delegación sobre el documento 82/10: Informe del Séptimo período de sesiones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial, que coincide con lo expuesto en el documento CL 82/2, en el sentido de que si bien el Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria acogió con satisfacción el mejoramiento de la situación en 1981/1982, expresó igualmente su preocupación por el hecho de que estas mejoras no hubiesen beneficiado a todos los países, y que la situación alimentaria siguiera siendo precaria en muchos países de bajos ingresos, especialmente en Africa.
Por otra parte en su Séptimo período de sesiones, el Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria hizo hincapié en la necesidad de una mejor distribución geográfica de las existencias remanentes mundiales de cereales. Se insistió, y mi delegación insiste nuevamente, en las repercusiones negativas de las barreras arancelarias y no arancelarias, así como las subvenciones a las exportaciones, tienen para los incentivos a la producción alimentaria, particularmente en los países en desarrollo.
Como lo expresamos al comentar el documento sobre El Estado Mundial de la Agricultura y la Alimentación en 1982, la falta de una adecuada financiación externa para la implementación de políticas nacionales sobre reservas de cereales, se convierte en un obstáculo y se llega a la falta de solución a los problemas, tales como el de la asistencia técnica, la falta de infraestructura y almacenamiento, la falta de insumos agrícolas esenciales, así como la no solución de los denominados costos de priorización de las reservas. Todo esto viene a ser efecto y no causa.
Nos referiremos a la atención de los programas de seguridad alimentaria de los países de bajos ingresos y déficit de alimentos en Africa, y aquí nuestra delegación incide en lo expuesto en los párrafos 34 a 37.
En cuanto a lo expuesto en el Capítulo IV del documento: examen de las dificultades para prestar asistencia en materia de seguridad alimentaria, queremos subrayar lo referente a la importancia de una capacitación más sistemática, profunda y a largo plazo del personal nacional en cuestiones técnicas y administrativas relacionadas con las reservas nacionales de alimentos, tal como está expues-to en el párrafo 46 del documento 82/10. Este es un aspecto muy importante y merece tenerse en cuenta prioritariamente.
Igualmente queremos destacar lo señalado por el Comité en el sentido de que sería conveniente dar mayor prioridad al Programa de la FAO para la Prevención de las Pérdidas de Alimentos e integrar mejor sus actividades con la del Plan de Asistencia para la Seguridad Alimentaria (PASA).
En otras reuniones hemos constado el impacto negativo que se tiene para lograr la seguridad alimen-taria de las pérdidas de alimentos producidos después de las cosechas.
Finalmente nos referiremos a la propuesta formulada por el Director General de la FAO en su discurso de apertura del último período de sesiones del Comité y que consiste en reconsiderar el concepto y el planteamiento de la seguridad alimentaria mundial.
Sobre este aspecto, creemos que toda reconsideración al concepto y al planteamiento de la seguridad alimentaria debe darse sobre la base de consideraciones realísticas y que excluyan todo aquello que signifique o conlleve duplicidad de funciones en los organismos internacionales, que a nuestro jui-problemas de la agricultura y la alimentación.
N. DIMITRIU (Roumanie) : La délégation roumaine a examiné très attentivement le rapport de la septième session du Comité pour la Sécurité alimentaire mondiale, présenté dans le document CL/82/10, de même que l'exposé de Monsieur le Directeur général Edouard Saouma, prononcé lors de l'ouverture des travaux du Comité et elle est tout à fait d'accord avec les orientations promues en vue de la solution de ces problèmes.
Il est vrai que la sécurité alimentaire se soit améliorée ces dernières années, cela dû è de bonnes récoltes obtenues, mais ce progrès ne se fait pas remarquer en égale mesure dans toutes les zones du monde. De nombreux pays, spécialement ceux en Afrique, n'ont pas réussi á redresser la production agricole, cela dû à leurs conditions climatiques, aux calamités naturelles, aux maladies dangereuses qui déciment les effectifs d'animaux.
Relativement au Plan d'actions pour la sécurité alimentaire mondiale, le document met en évidence le fait que de nombreux pays en développement n'ont pas la possibilité de mettre en pratique les programmes liés à la constitution de stocks, dû au manque d'entrepôts, à l'insuffisance des inves-tissements, au manque de personnel spécialisé, etc. Ces pays doivent être soutenus afin qu'ils puissent résoudre ces problèmes maintenant, quand la récolte mondiale de céréales est bonne et quand il y a les conditions appropriées pour l'acquisition des stocks nécessaires, au moins pour ce qui concerne l'assurance des situations d'urgence.
Au sujet des mesures pour l'assistance de la sécurité alimentaire, nous sommes d'accord qu'il existe encore des lacunes dans l'octroi des aides et que la FAO continue à jouer un rôle actif, en vue de la coordination des efforts nationaux dans ce domaine.
Ces mesures pourraient être complétées par des actions vouées à mener à la mise en valeur des terrains qui ne sont pas utilisés, à la réalisation de systèmes modernes d'irrigation, à la lutte contre l'érosion du sol, à l'accroissement de la fertilité du sol, à la vulgarisation dans la pro-duction des variétés et des hybrides végétaux et des races d'animaux ayant un potentiel de production élevé et adaptables aux conditions locales des pays.
Nous sommes d'accord avec les recommandations faites par le Directeur général concernant la nécessité de réexaminer la notion de sécurité alimentaire et du rôle du Comité dans le cadre des activités multilatérales internationales pour les problèmes de l'alimentation.
K. MATSUSHITA (Japan): Japan would like to extend its appreciation to the Committee on World Food Security for its constructive work. We also would like to thank Dr. Islam for the excellent presentation of the report.
In the document the Committee welcomed the improvement in the global food security in 1981-82 but expressed concern that the improvement has not been shared by all countries, especially in Africa.
The Committee also stressed the need for developing countries to adopt appropriate policies, including incentives to encourage agricultural production. The Committee also reiterated that increasing food production in low-income food-deficit countries was a critical element in achieving long-term food security. Japan fully supports the conclusions of the Committee.
The Committee review on progress in implementing the Programme of Action on Food Security underlines the fact that a large number of countries adopted cereal stock policies but the majority of low-income food-deficit countries has not yet been able to build reserves or to implement their stock targets. Our country supports the Plan of Action and expects that these countries should take early action to establish and implement national stock policies.
Concerning the setting up of regional food security schemes, we would like to support the Committee report that regional food security schemes should supplement and strengthen, rather than replace existing national or global arrangements.
Finally I would welcome the proposal of the Director-General to review the concept and approach to world food security.
JIN XIANG-YUN (China) (original language Chinese); We have studied the report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security and have listened to the statements by previous speakers. I would like to make a few remarks on this issue.
First, the past two years witnessed fairly good harvests in the world grain production and the situation of world food security has taken a turn for the better. However, such a development is far from being steady and many food-deficit and low-income developing countries still face food problems. Food situation in Africa presents a particularly critical picture which has caused our deep concern and sympathy. Therefore, we support the appeal issued by the Director General and by the President of Cape Verde, for the expansion of food aid to Africa.
We feel that it is highly necessary to provide food security assistance for food-deficit and low-income developing countries so as to help them establish adequate food reserve and related infrastructure. We have noted that the Food Security Fund, proposed by FAO, has reached the originally-set target of ten million US dollars. Although many donor countries have made their efforts, the fund raised still falls short of the requirements of food security assistance. Consequently, we endorse the idea in the report to call for increased financial resources to food security projects by strengthening the Food Security Programme or through bilateral assistance.
To better utilize limited resources for food security assistance, we share the view in Paragraph 49 of the report, that is, the fund for food security assistance programme should be concentrated on relatively more pressing technical assistance and on projects with smaller-scale investment.
As we know, the Director General has proposed that the guidelines for World Food Security and the role of the Committee on World Food Security be further examined. This will be conducive to the strengthening of future work, to the coordination of policies adopted by the international community to guarantee world food security, and to the avoiding of unnecessary duplication of work. Since the concept of world food security was introduced, many countries have done a great deal to this end. It is high time for us to sum up the experiences so as to find out generally acceptable guidelines.
A. JUAN MARCOS ISSA (México): Nuestra delegación desea reiterar su total apoyo a la propuesta del Director General de la FAO para reconsiderar el concepto de seguridad alimentaria mundial; es claro que corresponde al Director General la responsabilidad de este trabajo y la preparación del documento correspondiente, como queda sentado en el informe del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria. Solo deseamos destacar la importancia que nuestra delegación concede a estos trabajos.
La dinámica de los acontecimientos de la producción y el consumo mundiales de alimentos demandan la necesidad de uniformar criterios y objetivizar las causas de la problemática alimentaria. El conoci-miento preciso de las causas contribuye en gran medida a encontrar la búsqueda de su solución. Rede-finir el concepto de seguridad alimentaria mundial dentro de un contexto en que estén incluidos los principales agentes que afectan y modifican las tendencias de la producción y consumo de alimentos a los diferentes niveles, regionales, mundiales y nacionales, constituye en sí un gran avance.
Evidentemente, no se parte de cero, se cuenta con la experiencia de reuniones del Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial y con la de otras instancias donde se ha debatido sobre este particular.
Se está también de acuerdo, por ejemplo, en la necesidad de aumentar la producción de alimentos y mejorar la distribución entre quienes lo producen a través de incrementos en la producción de los países deficitarios.
El problema de la seguridad alimentaria mundial está íntimamente ligado a otros problemas de origen financiero, comercial y tecnológico, por mencionar sólo algunos de los más importantes.
Nuestra delegación apoya todos los esfuerzos que realiza la FAO encaminados a auxiliar las acciones que sobre seguridad alimentaria regional se están desarrollando. Las medidas complementarias de la Conferencia Mundial sobre Reforma Agraria y Desarrollo Rural y las actividades realizadas a través del Programa Ordinario en materia de planificación y políticas constituyen dos formas concretas en que la FAO contribuye a acciones sobre el particular que realizan los Estados Miembros.
La cooperación regional para la producción de alimentos mediante la participación en la tecnología y programas de acciones conjuntas encaminados a la autosuficiencia regional forman parte de las acciones que nuestra delegación desea destacar por su importancia, y considera necesario que se continúe fomentando dichas actividades. En este contexto México ha prestado apoyo y orientación para la implementación de estrategias nacionales de desarrollo agrícola en nuestra región.
Señor Presidente, apoyamos firmemente la propuesta del Director General de elaborar un estudio deta-llado y profundo sobre la cuestión de las políticas de precios. Comprendemos que se trata de un asunto complejo, sin embargo necesario y prioritario en los asuntos relativos a la seguridad alimen-taria mundial.
Consideración similar a ésta fue hecha por el Comité de Productos Básicos durante el 21 período de sesiones del Grupo Intergubernamental de Cereales.
Nuestra delegación apoya asimismo la propuesta de que el Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria examine los problemas de la producción de alimentos y la seguridad alimentaria en los países de bajos ingresos y deficitarios en alimentos. Esperamos que la propuesta tenga el apoyo financiero externo que requiere, ante todo que exista la voluntad política para apoyar a los países deficitarios en sus tareas hacia el aumento de la producción local, que significa mejorar el ingreso y el consumo de un sector importante de quienes padecen hambre. Estamos convencidos que apoyar a quienes más necesitan de apoyo es apoyarse a sí mismos, es cumplir con un principio elemental de justicia universal.
SYED AHMED (Bangladesh): The Bangladesh delegation has studied with interest and eagerness the report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security, as given in Document CL 82/10. We would like to congratulate Professor Islam for so beautifully presenting this paper.
The report has drawn the attention of the Council to three major issues and we wholeheartedly support the recommendations and findings of the report and, what is more encouraging, is the call by the Director-General for a reassessment and review of the whole approach to the concept of world food security, the need for redefining and the need for finding new approaches to solve what he called in his report the apparently insoluble problem.
The concept of world food security encompasses a very broad spectrum. It is a production problem; it is a management problem. But it is not a subjective concept; there is not much subjectivity involved as in many other problems. It is amenable to quantification; it involves production quantity, distribution, storage, movement, procurement and finally consumption, which are all quantities. These are all quantifiable variables in an integrated system.
The decade of the 1970s witnessed several important initiatives in this direction, primarily at the initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization. They include the international undertaking on world food security, the FAO early warning system on food and agriculture, the food security assistance schemes, the Action Programme for Prevention of Losses, negotiations on a new international grains arrangement, the FAO Plan of Action on World Food Security, the International Monetary Fund compensatory cereal financing facility and the emergency food reserve among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations as well as other bilateral and multilateral investment assistance for the food security infrastructure development.
These initiatives did make some progress and they provided a framework for future concerted action. But more resources are needed for these programmes to alleviate the regional food security problems, the world food security problems. But at times it appears that the efforts and sacrifices of the past are in danger of being wasted and unfortunately one of the major issues of the World Food Day that we celebrated only recently was how to revive the interest of the peoples and governments of the industrialized nations in helping to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Today we are talking about reviving the interest, whereas the decade of the 70s witnessed a lot of important initiatives in this direction. That is why the call by the Director-General of FAO to have a reassessment of the situation, the need for redefining the whole concept, is highly appropriate and we most wholeheartedly welcome it. This has been in conformity with the abiding interest and the missionary zeal with which he and his Organisation have been pursuing this objective of attaining world food security and finding some solution to a problem of such vital interest to all of us.
Another important aspect to which he has drawn attention, and it was also mentioned by the distinguished Delegate of India, is the need for avoiding overlap and duplication because it is a problem of such enormous magnitude that the question of duplication or overlap need not and should not arise. Efforts made by various organisations can at best be complementary to each other, but never competitive. So on the initiative taken by the Director-General and the actions that will be taken by the Committee on World Food Security and the deliberations which will follow on the basis of the report are things we are eagerly and expectantly looking forward to.
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that pending the development of an integrated world food security system we in Bangladesh have been receiving generous assistance both in aid of foodgrain cereals and in assistance in our infrastructure and other related storage building programmes. I would like to mention here that besides the commercial imports that we are making in our development programmes for building the storage and infrastructure, and the fact that over the last few years we have increased our storage capacity from 1.1 million tons to about 1.8 million tons it has become possible with the assistance of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the EEC, DANIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Netherlands, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom. In matters of food assistance the World Food Programme has been a major donor to Bangladesh and we are one of the largest recipients of the Title II wheat of the PL 480 from the United States Government. Then recently we have had a big consignment of wheat under the United States PL 480 Title III. Other donors, Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany, Canada, EEC, the United Kingdom and Japan through the long-term credit and also grants under the Kennedy Round have helped us a lot in building up our security reserve.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my delegation's heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all our friends. In the region also, whether it was a commercial purchase from Burma and Thailand, we have very good treatment. The prices have been what are called special friendship prices at concessional rates, and the recent example of the ship diversion from India to Bangladesh at the instance of the World Food Programme. We also gratefully recall the gesture of this shipment of wheat, which was commercially purchased by India, to Bangladesh at a time when we needed it, and also the diversion of a shipment from India to Bangladesh of the loan that we negotiated with them with the help of the World Food Programme. These are all brilliant instances of regional food security, and these could be further enhanced and more systematically taken advantage of with the help of a regional commission, which we will be discussing very soon.
We wish FAO godspeed, sir, and I am sure with the blessings of the countless millions of the hungry and impoverished around the world their efforts will be crowned with success.
Ms. M.C. WENNER (United Kingdom): The Report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security as presented in the document before us, CL 82/10, in our view represents a fair summary of d the proceedings of that committee. Since that committee met earlier in the year we have of course seen the outturn figures for the 1982 world cereals harvest, which have been encouraging and have brought the estimated stock levels in 1982/83 up to 20 percent of world consumption, well above the minimum safe level of 17 to 18 percent. Nevertheless we agree that there is still no room for complacency, and particularly disturbing is the position of the low-income food-dèficit countries.
In this connection we were most encouraged by the unanimous agreement of the Committee on World Food Security, as recorded in paragraphs 34 to 37 of the report, to study the problems of the low-income food-deficit countries, particularly in Africa, and more specifically the reasons why so many efforts directed towards the improvement of food security in these countries have apparently not met with success. We would like to ask the Secretariat if they would give us more information as to how this study is progressing, although the contribution of members of the Committee can be sharply focussed in order to have as valuable a discussion as possible at the Eighth Session. The Director-General has expressed the hope that members of the Council will not discuss the forthcoming report to be presented on his own responsibility at the next session of the Committee on Food Security. It is not my intention to discuss this, however, and I believe a number of suggestions were put forward at the Seventh Session to assist the Director-General. However, again so that discussion next year will take matters forward and not simply be another hand-wringing session, I would be grateful to know how this study is progressing. In this connection, the Director-General will no doubt be looking for efforts in other fora to put forward workable proposals on world food security.
We support earlier speakers who have warned against unnecessary duplication. We would like to stress the need for the fullest cooperation in the endeavours of all institutions and countries in order that real progress can be made, as India has pointed out, at the grass roots. The welfare of human beings is what we are discussing here and I do not believe that, removed as we may be in this body, we can allow ourselves to forget it.
AMIDJONO MARTOSUWIRY (Indonesia): Allow me to make a brief statement. It is not surprising that Indonesia agreed with the Report and supported the recommendations and findings of the Committee on World Food Security, since Indonesia is a member of that Committee and participated in the Seventh Session of the Committee. Despite the fact that the global food security situation in 1981-1982 seems to be rather encouraging about food conditions in many low-income developing countries, it still remains precarious. My delegation entirely agrees that increasing food production in the low-income food producing countries is the key element for solving world food security problems. The international community and international financial institutions are expected to give more assistance to these countries in order to strengthen their capability to develop agriculture and to increase food production. Food aid is highly required by the low-income developing countries in order to enable them to cope with food problems. In this context, my delegation regrets that the food aid target of 10 million tons of cereals has not been attained so far. We observe that many developing countries have implemented their national food reserve policy, especially in cereal commodities, in line with the Plan of Action of the International Undertaking of World Food Security, and we know that some of them really need external assistance, financial and technical, as well as skills. It seems there is no other option than to encourage donors, international organisations, developed countries as well as developing countries, who are in a position to provide assistance to these low-income developing countries. On this particular deliberation, Indonesia once again would like to support the concept of collective self-reliance. In this context, Indonesia fully supports the establishment of a Regional Commission on Food Security for Asia and the Pacific, as recommended at the FAO Regional Conference held recently in Jakarta. My delegation notes with satisfaction that the projects through the Food Security Assistance Scheme have been well implemented. We also agree with the Committee on World Food Security that the Food Security Assistance Scheme should focus its attention on the Technical Assistance Projects as well as to small-scale investments. Large-scale investment could be done hopefully through direct cooperation between developed and recipient developing countries.
In conclusion, my delegation does hope that FAO will play a more important role in the field of project identification and in initiating contacts between potential donors and recipients.
M. PHOOFOLO (Lesotho): Developing countries have to grapple with a myriad of insurmountable problems in their attempt to build national grain stocks and reserves. To cite but one problem among the many which are well-documented in this paper, we may mention the fact that climatic conditions preclude us developing countries from predicting any season's crop harvests.
It may be asked why we do not use the seemingly successful Early Warning System now used by developed countries and some of the developing countries. Our difficulty is that the Early Warning System is a relatively new concept to us, and some of us are still struggling to understand how it works and how it should be taken advantage of. Maybe in two or three years time we shall have marshalled all the necessary resources required to implement it, and probably by that time we shall have trained adequate personnel who will master and know how it should be used to predict climatic dangers to crops and prescribe the appropriate action to be taken in a timely manner in order to safeguard our food stocks.
We really look forward to receiving the assistance of FAO to help us further in setting up our own ad hoc Early Warning System. In fact, the Committee on Food Aid has clearly shown that in certain areas, food aid can be used to set up national food reserves in countries that must be assisted because they cannot produce enough food due to natural factors such as drought. This assistance is greatly appreciated by all the food-deficit developing countries that are being helped by FAO to set up their own food reserves. Our support goes to the Food Security Assistance Scheme because this is the area where FAO has been helping needy developing countries on their food security.
As was rightly said yesterday by Bangladesh, there is a lot of food in this world. What we, however, see as our cause for concern is the non-existence of a satisfactory mechanism to safeguard international world food security. We fully realize that food security is a lengthy process which involves production, consumption, technical inputs, etc. and that there are several documents in which production and consumption data exist, such as the World Food Outlook, food balance sheets, and so on. Therefore, we feel that food production should not be made a main issue at this Council,
Permit me to express our gratitude to the Republic of Italy which has made such a commendable contribution to the Sahelian Region where brothers and sisters have pooled their brains, energy, technical expertise and their meagre resources to wage a war against the vagaries of nature with a view to producing food for people in that area. We strongly hope that in undertaking the in-depth study on food prices in terms of agricultural sectoral analysis, the Director-General will give priority to the proposal contained in paragraphs 34 and 35 of document CL 82/10 for a study of the problems of food production in the low-income food-deficit countries in Africa. This proposal calls for an action programme to review agricultural policies to stimulate agricultural production.
Considerable assistance is needed to assure the availability of adequate financial assistance to ensure the success of the programme. We shall be more than pleased if the greatest bulk of the Italian financial contribution to the Sahel Region can be ejected into this action programme. The proposal solicits FAO to undertake a study of those countries in Africa which have experienced negative food production in the past decade in line with the WCARRD Plan of Action. The terms of reference of this study as proposed were clearly articulated. If my memory serves me right, they were: 1) to identify food production constraints of these countries. I would like to add "with special reference to the Sahel"; 2) to identify measures necessary to provide essential financial aid. In regard to these terms of reference, we have already requested that the bulk of the contribution made by the Government of Italy be channelled to this study; 3) to identify the financial implications of regional programmes; 4) to determine needed technical assistance. I may add that the concerns and requests made by Kenya yesterday, agreed to and supported in various ways by Cameroon, Zambia and Lesotho, calling for the assistance of FAO in developing high-level manpower, that is planners and managers of resources in Africa, find direct application in those terms of reference; 5) to propose alternative mechanisms to provide the assurance of food security needs.
I shall not identify and mention all the terms of reference as contained in the proposal, but I presume that this is a sufficient list.
We fully recognize that this work is considerable and that the Secretariat will not like to issue a paper based on journalistic impressions or judgements, but will like to produce a paper that is the product of work done professionally by experts. In our opinion, a period of ten years is long enough for really committed experts originating mostly from the developing countries like Latin America, Asia and Africa itself to come up with a workable programme as well as action can be taken immediately following a decision to implement the proposal.
In regard to paragraph 13, our delegation entertains the same view and is in agreement with the colleague from Bangladesh that in most developing countries there is a lot of food available but the difficulty is how to circulate it. For these countries the difficulty stems from lack of domestic processing and transport facilities. Some developing countries have indeed made a deliberate effort to attain food self-sufficiency by implementing appropriate national food production programmes. They simply do not possess a large enough army of well trained planners and managers of their resources. This lack of manpower is prevalent in most of the African countries.
It is often said that some of the recommendations dished out to governments by our Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Bank and other financing institutions, have not been implemented in developing countries, and therefore the governments of these countries have failed to implement them. We are convinced that FAO and others concerned will try all they can to successfully pressurize the members of the Sahel region to implement these recommendations once these governments have clearly understood in which areas they are weak and how they should strengthen themselves to remove these weaknesses.
Furthermore, there is an almost incessant mention of cooperation among developing countries to stimulate self-reliance. In our opinion this action programme will strengthen regional cooperation if it is undertaken. We are very much disturbed by the sluggish progress of establishing a New International Economic Order. The salvation of the developing world is found in this order. Ever since I started attending CFA and CCP meetings the concerns on the NIEO have been expressed by delegate after delegate several times but we see absolutely no headway whatsoever. There is no positive change in protectionism, tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers, subsidies, terms of agricultural trade, prices of raw materials produced and exported by the developing world. For how long must this state of affairs be allowed to continue? If the developing exporting world does not possess a legal power to set prices of its raw materials, if it cannot manage to set up its own manufacturing plants within its frontiers, if it does not control the supply of its own resources, this world will continue to face high unemployment rates, shortages of food, high interest rates, spiralling inflation rates, bloated negative values of payments, high debt services, and costly imports of manufactured commodities. The ultimate consequence of all these forces will be an uncontrollable social disorder leading to revolutions, civil war, and an unhappy world.
This world is full of a catalogue of Plans of Action. What remains to be seen is what they will yield in the short term and in the long term. My delegation considers the world fails to implement some of these matters because it has ushered aside a fundamental issue of a policy among all nations and species of man. We therefore request FAO to do all it can to pressurize all relevant world institutions to pay attention to and recognize this basic fact in their debates.
To close our intervention, our delegation wishes to congratulate the Secretariat on producing a comprehensive, concise precis of the deliberations that took place in April this year during the CFS session and has well taken into account all the comments of the delegates during that time. We fully support the recommendations and comments contained in this report.
A.H. EL SARKI (Egypt) (original language Arabic): My delegation would like to express its satisfaction with the report of the Seventh Session of the CFS (Committee on Food Security). My delegation completely agrees with the content of paras 14 to 18 of this document which state that the consolidation of food security depends necessarily on the availability of information, on an adequate level of food production and on an open international economic system.
My delegation agrees with para. 36 which stresses the need to concentrate on the solution of specific problems.
The Arab Republic of Egypt has always welcomed regional and sub-regional cooperation in programmes aiming at the promotion of food production and participates in joint agricultural research programmes.
Moreover, my delegation supports the active and efficient efforts made by FAO in the field of food security at both national and international levels.
P.H. GRUE (Norway): Norway has taken an active part in the meeting of the Food Security Committee. We are therefore in general agreement with the report before us.
The Norwegian delegation wishes to express its disappointment at the stagnation in the international cooperation in the field of food security. Neither the International Wheat Council nor the World Food Council have yet been able to agree on any complete measures. In view of the lack in political will at present to come to an international agreement, we feel it is important to give international support to efforts at the international level to strengthen food security, free building of stocks, especially of grain, etc.
Consequently, we would fully support the activities of FAO in this field such as the Five-Point Plan. In particular I would like to mention the Food Security Assistance Scheme, FSAS, as a means of giving assistance to the developing countries' own efforts and activities. Norway has partici-pated in the FSAS and has gradually increased its contributions to the scheme's activities. The Norwegian contribution to FSAS was doubled in 1982, and subject to parliamentary approval will be kept at the same level in 1983 - namely 4 million Norwegian kroner or approximately US$ 550 000. We hope that even more countries will contribute to FSAS.
At the last session of the Committee on Food Security the Director-General initiated a review and re-definition of the concept of world food security and as a concept of role of the FSAS. As mentioned by the Director-General in his opening statement, this study will be presented at the next session of the CFS. My delegation is looking forward to taking part in the forthcoming discussions.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): With your permission I would like to touch on two issues in connection with the problem of food security which have been mentioned only briefly by other delegations.
First, with regard to the assessment of the world food security situation and adequacy of stocks, I would like to mention some of the factors which have been referred to by the International Group on Grains meeting which was held early this year. Unfortunately, the report of this meeting does not go directly to this Council, but passes through the CCP. Nevertheless, some of its findings have a close relationship with the problems of food security, and the orderly development of supply and demand and the adequate flow of grains to the developing countries.
First of these is the cyclical shift in supplies and surpluses, and the attendant fluctuations in prices which create problems both for producers and importers. As you know, Mr. Chairman, right now there is an improvement in World Food supplies. Current stocks are at a satisfactory level, but this is not shared equally by all. At present current prices of grain are at their lowest for 21/2 years, and in real terms are at their lowest for 30 years. While this situation should bring some benefits to importing countries, at the same time it leads to disincentives to production. Many countries are now complaining they do not even meet the production costs. This could lead again to another shortage, and then the cycle would again repeat itself. It is just an alternation of a boom and bust supply. I think this is totally connected to the problem of food security.
The other problem which was mentioned by this group was the continuous rise in import requirements of developing countries which as a result of the balance of payment difficulties and other problems are not always translated into effective imports even in terms of low prices. As a result, annoyance in many countries is increasing.
The other factor is that stocks are limited in a number of countries, particularly in North America, which in times of market surplus places the burden of the world food security reserve adjustment on a few countries, but nevertheless we know that these stocks, while they represent an important defence against future shortages, place on unduly heavy burden on these few countries which could lead to new policies which would tend to reduce the supplies in these very same countries.
A further issue which I would like to refer to is in connection with the sub-regional and regional food schemes aimed at strengthening collective self-reliance of developing countries. This is referred to in paragraphs 38-42 in the report.
Following the request of the Council the Committee discussed ways of facilitating regional and sub-regional food security schemes aimed at strengthening collective self-reliance of the countries. The Committee noted there was increasing interest amongst governments in such schemes, and that there was a variety of proposals presently under consideration in a number of regions and sub-regions, including South Africa, America, etc., the most prominent of which was the Sahel, which held a meeting a few days ago.
Mention was also made of an experts' meeting on the subject within the framework of economic cooperation among developing countries, which was held in Manila in August of this year.
In this connection I would like to refer to the main findings of that meeting. While there were no spectacular conclusions that were reached during this meeting, I think nevertheless a few conclusions could be of interest to this meeting. Some of these are as follows: one, that the basis for cooperative action and establishment of sub-regional or regional food reserves is the national reserve policy and practice under which their group have the possibility of establishing regional or sub-regional food reserves. Second, that a scheme of acquiring and maintaining food reserves of developing countries should be composed of a network of regional and sub-regional food reserves and financial arrangements; that there could be no standard format for those sub-regional and regional schemes as this would depend on the particular conditions and circumstances of the different regions. That among the more critical factors that would determine the viability of the regional and sub-regional food reserve schemes are the size, scope, financial requirements, supply-demand situation in the participating countries and existence of a regional body. That the regional and sub-regional reserve scheme should first of all begin with a modest scale; then at a later stage they can be increased in size and expand in scope as experience and confidence are attained.
In this connexion the meeting took note that of the initial successes obtained by the Asean countries in establishing an Asean food security reserve scheme. While the size of the Asean reserve was only a modest one, the replenishment proviso in the agreement implied that in any given year the size of rice reserve could be considerably larger.
The scheme also included coordination of national stock policies, cooperation in the reduction of post-harvest losses and in other technical fields, as well as a regular exchange of information, and food supply and demand situation.
The political and economic-social considerations were also of vital interest to the regional and sub-regional reserve schemes. On the issue of financial arrangements it was pointed out that as much as possible the scheme should be self-financed and at most should involve minimal financial implications to the participating countries. Right now the ways and means are being studied for promoting regional consultations with a view of arriving at specific recommendations on the establishment of schemes for arriving at and maintaining food reserves at the regional and sub-regional level.
Finally, let me conclude by expressing the hope that FAO will continue to help in facilitating regional and sub-regional food security schemes in line with the resolutions of the FAO Conference and of this august body.
J. TCHICAYA (Congo): La delegation de mon pays, qui a pris une part active à la 7ème session du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale, voudrait apporter son appui au rapport soumis à notre examen. Nous avons ici un document complet et fidèle qui touche les points névralgiques de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale: que le Secrétariat en soit remercié. Cependant notre délégation voudrait souhaiter que les idées mises en exergue dans ce rapport suscitent plus de volonté politique pour une application effective. La sécurité alimentaire mondiale préoccupe l'Afrique plus que toute autre région et beaucoup de bonnes paroles sont prononcées et écrites à ce sujet dans tous les forums internationaux.
Cette proposition d'améliorer la situation de la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique existe sans qu'il soit possible à présent de percevoir le moindre signe d'amélioration. Aussi est-ce sans réserve que nous avons accueilli l'annonce faite par le Directeur général lors de la dernière session de notre Comité, et renouvelée à l'ouverture de cette session, visant à réexaminer le concept et l'approche de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale sous sa propre responsabilité.
Cette étude, pensons-nous, s'inscrit parfaitement dans le droit fil de l'étude que le Comité avait demandé et qui concerne le recensement et l'évaluation des contraintes qui empêchent l'accroissement de la production alimentaire et la mise au point d'un programme d'actions sur dix ans pour assurer une production alimentaire accélérée et soutenue en Afrique. De même nous avons appuyé la proposition faite par le Directeur général tendant à reconsidérer le concept de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale, de même nous sommes partisans du renforcement du rôle du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale comme principal organe chargé de cette question.
Comme nous l'avons dit hier, la solution fondamentale pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire mondiale reste celle d'accroître la production alimentaire et non d'apporter l'aide alimentaire chaque fois que cette situation d'urgence se produit. L'aide au développement doit constituer le principal souci des pays donateurs car, pensons-nous, ces situations d'urgence sont pour la plupart, et c'est le cas pour la majorité des pays d'Afrique, les conséquences directes du manque ou de l'insuffisance des investissements susceptibles de garantir à long terme une production agricole et alimentaire accrue et soutenue. Celle-ci reste trop soumise aux aléas climatiques. Le problème de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale reste donc fondamentalement un problème de manque de ressources dans les pays en déficit alimentaire et à faible revenu. Un appel doit donc une nouvelle fois être lancé en direction des pays développés pour une aide accrue en rapport avec l'ampleur des situations prévalant dans ces pays. Nous pensons que la relance économique internationale en dépend.
R.A. SORENSON (United States of America): My delegation has studied with care the document before us, CL 82/10 which accurately summarizes the deliberations of the Committee on World Food Security. My government supports the FAO plan of action on food security, particularly its emphasis on enhancing the productive capacity of Member States and the building of national reserves. Reserve stocks held by farmers in the United States are expected to exceed 100 million metric tons by the end of the 1982/83 marketing year. This compares with reserve stocks of 69 million metric tons for the 1981/82 marketing year and 27 million metric stock tons for 1981. The estimated level for 1982/83 is excessive and represents a very high proportion of total reserve stocks held in the world.
In this regard most of the other large grain-producing and exporting countries have not, in our view, taken action to build stocks commensurate with the level of their production. Further action by these countries is therefore warranted in view of their support of the plan of action.
My government shares the views expressed by others today with respect to the desirability of the study being done by the Director-General on world food security. So that this study may receive our most careful consideration, we urge that it be made available to Member Governments as far in advance as possible of the meeting early next year of the Committee on World Food Security. We share with others the concern for the tendency of work to be duplicated in the international system.
We would like also to enquire about the status of the Secretariat's report on food production problems in Africa. This is an area where our assistance and support is critical and we believe that the Secretariat's report can help to shape our future activities in helping to build productive capacity on this important continent.
P. GOSSELIN (Canada): We consider the Committee on Food Security as one of the more important committees of FAO and the fact that 79 out of the 89 members attended its last session is indicative of the importance that others also attach to it. We look forward to the Director-General's study which is to be prepared prior to the next session of the CFS and we trust that the Secretariat will distribute this document well in advance of the session, so that capitals can give it the review and the importance it deserves.
As Canada has been and will continue to be an active member of this Committee and has also served on the drafting committee for this report, we do not intend to re-examine the issues specifically raised at the last session of the CFS. We would like to recall, however, some of the points which the Canadian delegates to that meeting made. We continue to support the view as noted in paragraph 14 of the document before us, that adequate growth in food production is the only permanent solution to the problem of food security. No one here, I think, argues with this principle but what is still in question, however, is how to go about it. We believe that the food sector strategy or overall rural development strategies are the most logical and scientific way of tackling this problem. The actual content of these strategies may vary from country to country but utilizing the overall framework of a food sector strategy can be of great assistance.
Today we do not really have an overall supply problem. Production and stocks are high in many areas of the world but there are national and regional distribution problems. These can be adequately addressed under the food sector strategy approach. The building of national food reserves as a cushion against poor crop years or against high international prices is obviously one element of the food sector strategy. Remunerative pricing to farmers or other socio-economic rewards to stimulate production and encourage further agricultural investment are also important aspects of any overall rural development strategy.
Some 2,000 years ago Caesar Augustus ruled over the Roman Empire from this very city. Augustus is reported to have stated the following: I had a good mind to discontinue permanently the supply of grain to the city, reliance on which had discouraged Italian agriculture, but I refrain from doing so because some politician would be bound one day to revive the dole as a means of ingratiating himself to the people. Nevertheless, in his handling of the food problem he now began to consider the interests of farmers and corn merchants as much as the needs of the city dwellers. History has shown us that governments which shortsightedly ignore the interests of the farmers do so at their peril. How times have changed, or have they really? It has been all through history and will continue to be, a short-sighted and disastrous policy indeed that forgets about the producers and the farmers. We continue to hold the view that food aid when properly deployed remains an essential but interim measures to ensure world food security. This point, of course, is stressed in paragraph 18 of the document.
We often hear concern expressed over the fact that a great percentage of the stocks of food grain are being held by a few major producers, a good percentage of which are in North America. This certainly has not prevented massive amounts of food from getting to the hungry millions of the world. Nowadays it appears fashionable to criticise the major producers but one really has to consider where the world would be without their general provision of food aid, both in the short-run through alleviation of emergencies and in the long-term through its development applications. Sometimes targets are not met, announcements are slow and progress seems doubtful, but let us continue in our efforts at building on our successes, as our Chairman has counselled us yesterday. We know there is disappointment over the apparent failure to reach agreement on a new International Wheat Agreement and the associated food aid commitments, but let us remind ourselves that even without this new agreement food grains continue to move, food aid continues to be provided.
Canada has already announced its contribution to the WFP 1983/84 biennium target at the pledging conference last March. We raised our pledge from Canadian dollars 190 million to Canadian dollars 250 million, of which $40 million was in cash. Our response to the WFP and the response of other donors is the eloquent testimony I believe of our support to the WFP and we are particularly pleased at the leadership which is being provided by this important development institution by its Executive Director.
Paragraph 34 of the report provides a very brief summary of the intensive discussions which took place on a proposal which was made by Cameroon. We were pleased to see the strong support given this proposal by many members at the time and urge fellow council members to support this initiative. We in this Council have heard and have spoken often of the necessary political will being a prerequisite to the achievement of agricultural development plans. A development strategy does not have to be initiated or envisaged by bilateral donors or by an international organization before it can be considered as viable or successful. In fact it is likely to have more potential if it comes from the government and the people themselves. This certainly has been the testimony of China and India and of others who claim progress in agricultural production and food security. What is needed now is an indication of support for these types of efforts, support from both bilateral as well as multilateral donors.
A.G. NGONGI NAMANGA (Cameroon): There is always a good part in listening to other speakers before taking the floor and I would say that I have been very much encouraged by what I have heard in this Council today. There seems to be a unanimous agreement that the food situation should go away from just talking and documents and platitudes and political will into some form of action requiring a mobilisation of resources. For this knowledge my delegation is very grateful.
Will you let me say, first of all, we are most grateful for the initiative taken by the Italian Government. I think we mentioned this yesterday. I think this is the kind of initiative which when adequately tackled by organizations like the FAO,can lead to some lasting results.
Let me refer to some statements which were made. A few developing countries have already given some positive aspects of their production efforts and the results which they have received. If my memory serves me right I remember very well that in the 1960's, when I was much younger than I am now, I read in the newspapers some of these countries being described in very unfavourable terms in the international press. I think they were also not only pushed to take action on their own and received help from this kind of organization. Very valuable and I would say, timely, adequate support. What was in the 1960's an aid programme to help some countries stand on their feet, today in the 1980' s we are getting positive results from some of these countries which were described in very derogatory terms, if I can remember what was written in the 1980's. What we are saying now in the 1980's then should be that those other countries which are now being looked upon as the replace-ment of those countries which in the 1960's were at the end of the bottom of the pit, that these regions of Africa today, if given this kind of assistance in the 1980's would also maybe in the year 2000 be making such favourable reports to this Council. Probably that sums up in a nutshell what most of the African delegations are talking about.
Concerning the report I cannot say very much because my delegation was very strongly associated with this work of this committee and we support generally the recommendations which have been made.
Food security, in the conception of this delegation, has to base its foundation on production and I think that this is what was brought out in the Committee on World Food Security and just in passing
I should stress that Cameroon is taking an active part in this debate, not because it is today one of the most food-deficit countries of the world. It happens to be one of those which in the last several years has been self-sufficient in food. But our actual production effort cannot last if we do not have continuous input from the international community in form of research, in the form of new ideas, in the build up and in the highlighting of our environment which is continually being destroyed by desertification. So we look on the food production effort of countries as the foundation of food security and I think the Committee on World Food Security stressed that very much and we also supported it. We feel that in the international communities contribution to this kind of effort is like the initiative being taken by Italy but in the short-term, before food self-sufficiency is attained, food aid has major role to play. This is why we deplore the non-attainment of the food targets which have been set for so long. That is why we join the Committee on World Food Security in deploring that the International Food Council has not been able to negotiate a new wheat agreement. I think that one is the preoccupying factor in those countries which in the long term should have attained self-sufficiency but which have many problems today.
It is not that we criticize the major donors for not being very generous. I think they are, to some limits, generous, and I think amongst them there are some countries which have even exceeded the minimum target of .7 percent of the GNP in donations. What we feel is many more should join that kind of group.
We come to the Action Programme. I think many details have been given by the Delegate of Lesotho and there is no need to go into them in more detail but I do think some eight months after this debate took place in the CFS, probably by now there are some more elements of the basis of this report, maybe in the summing up, or in the end when the Secretariat is answering questions, probably some indication of what is being done in the handling of this report would be most welcome so that we can also have our thinking, our re-orientation, some anticipation of our participation in the next session of this Committee, could be valuable.
We do welcome the proposal of the Director-General to write a report and to present it to the next session of the CFS on the whole concept of world food security and the role of CFS and of the FAO in the whole mechanics of it, but I do think the Director-General has the right to write his report and to present it to the CFS and I think that the report will get to the Council eventually, without overburdening it with too many of our own conceptions. I think we all look forward to the report and we shall be prepared to make our contributions when it is received.
On the whole, I think I would say that this delegation agrees with the recommendations of the report of the Committee on World Food Security; appreciates the support which has been given to the proposal which was raised by the African delegation and given the overwhelming support of the Committee on World Food Security and we look forward to the continued help of this Council on the mobilizing of the international opinion for the assistance of this, today, depressed continent.
The meeting rose at 12.30 hours
La seance est levée à 12 h 30
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.30 horas