F. BREWSTER (Barbados): Document CL 82/10, the Report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security, draws attention to a number of achievements and issues on this challenging subject. My delegation is very grateful to the committee for the diligent work which evidently went into its deliberations resulting in the report before us.
The proposal of the Director-General to review the concept of and the approach to world food security is readily supported by my delegation. We value the Director-General's commitment to this subject and look forward to receiving his report.
The three-fold approach at the national, regional and international level outlined by the committee to deal with the problem of food security is one which is fully endorsed by my country. We feel that food production at the national level must first be improved and be complemented by action at the regional level and be supplemented by the financial and technical assistance at the international level.
The Delegate of India gave us in his statement the areas of operation at these three levels which will work towards improvement without duplication of efforts.
My delegation supports the views expressed in paragraph 30 of the report that increasing food production in low-income food-deficit countries is a crucial factor in achieving long-term food security.
Small developing countries like Barbados and other small Caribbean states face the problem of rising costs of production, lack of infrastructure, lack of adequate agricultural inputs, and investment capital, as set out in the document.
My delegation feels that the matter of food security has to be approached in a pragmatic manner, and while much emphasis has to be placed on increasing production, a corresponding degree of focus has also to be placed on distribution and prevention of food losses. This is particularly applicable to small states in the Caribbean where with medium scale levels of strategic financial and technical inputs the production capacity of these countries can be stabilised at acceptable levels. Perusal of the Report draws attention to the need for action in the area of distribution and prevention of food losses.
Finally, my delegation supports the proposals contained in paragraphs 34 to 37 for a review of food production and food security problems of low-income food-deficit countries in Africa.
R.B. RYANGA (Kenya): A national food policy or strategy can have several elements. These elements include trade, stocks, a food reserve and so on, but in the final analysis, food security for Africa must be rooted squarely and very deeply in local production, and African countries cannot compromise on this. We cannot compromise on this because while we appreciate the fact that food production and stocks have both increased globally and that the world as a whole is not badly off, we know that this production and this stockholding are both in the developed countries, which should be commended for their efforts in food production and also in world food security, and we take this opportunity to do so now.
We also know that our own access to supplies is to be limited, first of all by physical and political problems, and secondly by our inability to purchase sufficient ammounts. We know and our people know that they can only be sure of eating if they themselves produce the food.
We support and encourage the implementation of the Plan of Action on World Food Security and in fact are ourselves involved in the implementation of some of the elements of the Plan. We support also the strengthening of the Food Security Assistance Scheme. We would, however, like to see production given more emphasis in all discussions on food security, particularly why is production in certain parts of the world not increasing fast enough? The Committee on World Food Security at its meeting earlier this year recognized the plight of the low-income food-deficit countries, especially those in Africa, and decided that the Committee would at its next session next year review the food production and food security problems of low-income food-deficit countries in Africa, and recommended an action programme of up to 10 years' duration which would ensure accelerated and sustained food production in these countries. We appreciate the wide and public support that this proposal is receiving from the Council and hope that this support will be translated into action.
We should like to join Cameroon in noting and appreciating and encouraging the current efforts of Italy in collaboration with the FAO. We would also at the same time like to acknowledge and recognize the contributions of all the other countries. The details to be covered by the review are adequately outlined in the document at paragraph 34 and will cover the constraints faced by these countries, and we support them.
We support also the elaboration of these terms of reference by the eloquent delegate of Lesotho. In facts, we should like to take this opportunity to support the main thrust of his intervention. We look forward to the interim review and analysis that the Secretariat is going to prepare for discussion at the next session of the Committee on World Food Security. Owing to the extensive interest which has been shown by delegates here, perhaps it would be beneficial to have a progress report on the Secretariat's efforts so far.
We welcome the Director-General's assurance that he will continue to give programmes in Africa increasing attention during the preparation of the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium. We hope that these African programmes designed to assist the chronically food-deficit countries will receive the widest possible public support. We support also and welcome the Director-General's intention to prepare a paper on pricing policies.
We also welcome the increased prominence that these African programmes are due to receive in the future work of the Programme Committee. We support the suggestion made by several delegates beginning with India and Colombia that our attention should now be directed to programmes with deliberate and specific objectives at the country, sub-regional or regional level. We should concentrate somewhat less on general programmes. This kind of action will enable African countries, as Cameroon said, to join the ranks of those now reporting satisfactory progress in food production. Our preoccupation so far with production is actuated by the central nature of this element in any viable food policy, but we are also concerned that it has not been possible so far to conclude a grains agreement and the targets to assistance programmes are not being met.
In conclusion, we support the intention of the Committee on World Food Security to consider at its next session the food problems faced by the low income food-deficit countries in Africa. We note the review of arrangements for food security assistance and support the Committee's recommendations. We believe that global and regional stocks can only supplement national stocks. We support the intention of the Committee to appraise at its next session the whole concept of world food security and the role of the Committee on World Food Security, and look forward to the report on this subject to be prepared by the Director-General.
B.N. SEQUEIRA (Angola): We have taken good note, Mr. Chairman, of your request. Accordingly, we are going to be brief and try not to repeat what has already been said. However, since this is the first time we are speaking, we wish to congratulate all office holders.
Allow me to compliment those who have taken part in the preparation of document CL 82/10, which is a good one, and hence facilitates our work. We wish also to express our wholehearted support of the Director-General of FAO for his relentless efforts to achieve global food security and to render the question of food security more dynamic and germane to the needs of the African countries who have to face not only natural constraints but also man-made ones, especially in southern Africa. In this regard, at the national level, our Government is giving high priority to agricultural training and research, the results of which are made available to the farmers to encourage them to grow more food which is being priced at higher level, which stimulates more production.
At the regional level, Angola is playing an active role within SADCC, that is Southern African Development Coordinating Conference, to set up a regional food security in Southern Africa. Indeed, at the recent meeting of heads of state and the ministers of agriculture of SADCC, important decisions were taken to expedite the execution of the Regional Food Security Scheme.
Finally, we wish to express our gratitude to the Director-General of FAO for his timely action and to our multilateral and bilateral donors who have helped the Government of Angola mitigate the suffering of the victims of South African governments' aggression against the front-line states.
A. PINOARGOTE (Ecuador): Mucho me temo, Sr. Presidente, que los magníficos documentos que nos han sido entregados y que hasta el momento hemos analizado, puedan quedar flotando luego en una situa-ción de estancamiento y de recesión que está caracterizando a todas las actividades que se desarrollan actualmente en el mundo. Tanto es esto verdad, que el Sr. Director General propone al final la revisión de un enfoque sobre la seguridad alimentaria mundial. Porque viendo las cifras, que no son otra cosa que el resultado o la radiografía de una realidad, nosotros debemos concordar en que realmente muy poco se ha hecho y no deberíamos contentarnos con señalar que se ha hecho conciencia sobre este problema, puesto que no se ve que haya un desarrollo conjunto en relación a la solución de problemas tan graves como la seguridad alimentaria mundial. Hay, efectivamente, esfuerzos unilaterales, plausibles, dignos de recomendación y aplauso, de países que por su cuenta han realizado estos esfuerzos; pero estos esfuerzos perfectamente podrían inscribirse dentro de otro tipo de políticas que necesariamente no son las que se relacionan con la seguridad alimentaria; podrían inscribirse dentro de las políticas que inundan los medios de comunicación social, es decir el problema de la guerra y otra serie de problemas. Precisamente por eso yo temo mucho que con el análisis de estos informes y de los siguientes, a mí me da la impresión de que estamos haciendo bioxias a un canceroso, y me preocupa mucho que lleguemos a hacer en algún momento la autopsia porque, realmente, son reporters de un enfermo y luego al final se concluye que el enfermo va a seguir enfermo; es decir, es un canceroso.
Yo pienso que para poder superar esta situación penosa es menester en primer término apoyar lo que dice el documento, apoyar la recomendación del Director General de un nuevo enfoque, pero simultá-neamente con esto, si es que no se adopta por parte de este Consejo una recomendación, en el sentido de adoptar una posición más agresiva de la Organización respecto a los postulados de erradicar el hambre, la cual constituye una vergüenza como bien lo dice el documento de la Declaración de Roma sobre el Hambre, que dice exactamente: "que los datos reunidos por la FAO en su valioso estudio. La Agricultura, Horizonte 2000, así como otros estudios autorizados, nos han convencido de que si se mantienen las políticas y actitudes actuales, la vergüenza del hambre continuará en pleno siglo XXI, es decir, definitivamente estamos ante esta situación. Sin embargo, se gastan al año 650 000 millones de dólares en armamentos y el presupuesto de esta Organización yo no creo que sea insuficiente, es irrisorio, ya que con un presupuesto de esa categoría, que es inferior al de, creo, casi todos los Estados Miembros, con excepción de muy pocos, inferior al de miles y miles de grandes empresas, se puede realmente realizar una labor más efectiva. Por ello me permito sugerir como apoyo al planteamiento del Sr. Director General, que en su oportunidad se establezca una decisión referente a la estrategia para estimular y exhortar a los Estados Miembros a que la práctica realmente acompañe a todas las buenas intenciones que se dicen tener, porque de buenas intenciones está empedrado el camino del infierno y, realmente, hay que demostrar la voluntad con hechos prácticos.
Al respecto, otros delegados han expresado algo similar, entre ellos el del Congo, y esta voluntad debe ser expresada en este terreno, así como se lo expresa en otros terrenos como el de las armas. De manera que yo propongo que se establezca una estrategia de estímulos y exhortaciones para que estos enfoques tengan la suficiente difusión mundial, para que realmente lleguemos a tener conciencia sobre esto.
En otros aspectos, como en la educación, sólo se ha hecho lo que yo digo puede parecer una utopía más de las tantas que a veces se oyen en otros foros. Pero realmente no es así; por ejemplo en educación se hizo una campaña sostenida durante muchos años, gracias a la cual en las Constituciones de muchos países se llegó a consagrar un porcentaje obligatorio para educación, alrededor del 30 por ciento en mi país. Una vez consagrada una norma de esta índole, aunque luego haya cambios de gobierno o de sistemas políticos, sin embargo ya eso es una realidad que queda consagrada, que queda institucionalizada en el país.
En consecuencia mi intención es precisamente recomendar esto porque si no, realmente, seguiremos nosotros con la bioxia y, realmente, me parece a mí muy desagradable.
M. TATIETA (Haute-Volta): La délégation de la Haute-Volta appuie l'initiative du Directeur général de la FAO tendant à redéfinir le concept de sécurité alimentaire. Nous attendons avec espoir les propositions qui seront contenues dans ce rapport. Nous sommes tout à fait d'accord sur le contenu du rapport CL 82/10 dans ses grandes lignes. Nous accordons une grande importance à la constitution de stocks de sécurité à différents niveaux: niveaux international, régional et national. Nous tenons cependant à exprimer un souhait tout particulier afin que l'accent soit mis sur les stocks régionaux et nationaux dans les zones continuellement menacées par la crise alimentaire et de faible revenu. Nous ne sous-estimons pas les problèmes de structure et de gestion que cela pose mais nous pensons que c'est la meilleure solution qui permette une rapidité d'intervention en cas de calamité. C'est également une occasion pour les pays qui seront concernés d'être initiés aux aspects ardus en matière de gestion. Cela constitue également une garantie pour les populations que de pouvoir compter sur des stocks situés dans leur région.
La délégation de la Haute-Volta rejoint tous les pays ici représentés qui ont pertinemment affirmé que la véritable sécurité alimentaire passe forcément par une augmentation de la production des pays concernés, d'où la nécessité de ces pays à augmenter leur capacité de production.
Avant de terminer, la délégation de la Haute-Volta tient à remercier le Secrétariat de la FAO pour la qualité des documents qui nous ont été présentés.
F.M. MBEWE (Zambia): My delegation would like to echo the points made here by many delegations, and that is that the permanent solution of food security problems can be assured by increasing food production in food-deficit countries. Unfortunately many, if not all, food-deficit countries, especially in Africa, lack resources to enable them to achieve their goals. Some of the problems faced by these countries are mentioned in paragraph 30 of the report which we are now discussing.
After taking note of these problems, it was proposed that the Committee at its next session should review the food production and food security problems of the food-deficit countries of Africa, since it is in that continent where the situation is now most acute.
Such a review would help the Committee to identify the restraints of food production in those countries. It is only with the problems clearly identified that appropriate measures may be taken to improve the situation. After identifying the constraints and proposing the correct measures, all countries should play their part to implement those measures which are required. Countries of goodwill should not just end by making nice-sounding statements but should take steps to assist the needy countries to increase their food production capabilities.
This is why we commend the action taken by Italy in assisting the Sahelian region. The action of Italy would have little impact on the involvement of those countries if it was not followed up by similar action by other donor countries. Sahelian countries are a good example of what needy countries can do if there is a reasonable length of time provided.
We have been talking of FAO playing a leading role in food security. This role would only be meaningful if help from various quarters is forthcoming in good quantity. This is our view.
O. AWOYEMI (Nigeria): The Nigerian delegation joins similar speakers in supporting the proposal contained in paragraphs 34-37 of document CL 82/10, with particular reference to the plan of the Committee on World Food Security to devote its next session to specific problems of low-income, food-deficit countries. We ask the Secretariat as a matter of urgency to undertake a review and analysis of situations in each country, and if necessary to bring to the attention of national governments policy changes and actions which would dramatically improve the food status of those countries.
Although the regional and sub-regional food security may be difficult to obtain in the near future, particularly in Africa, nevertheless it should continue to engage the attention of the Committee, and also as much of the support of the Secretariat as is possible.
T. AHMAD (Pakistan): I will make a very brief intervention, as most of my colleagues have already highlighted the most important issues on this subject.
My delegation feels that the report of the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security, as contained in document CL 80/10, brings into more precise perspective the state of food and agriculture of the world which we have been discussing in the last two days.
Despite the improved supply situation of the cereals in the world, the basic problem of world food security remains unsolved. Paragraph 9 of the report highlights the fact that though carry-over stocks of cereals in the 1981/82 season are at an adequate level, the vulnerability of the developing countries remains a matter of concern. The improvement in the global situation cannot obscure the long-term nature of the food security problem. Many countries of the world, especially in Africa and Asia, are still affected by food shortages, and unfortunately nothing tangible or concrete has been achieved to provide these countries or their people with a sense of security.
The financial and physical constraints do not allow most of these countries to maintain reserve stocks or to build necessary infrastructures required for these reserves. Many developing countries, like my own, are making attempts and are achieving some progress in this direction, but they need assistance - technical assistance from FAO and financial assistance from international communities.
In Pakistan we are aiming at a national food reserve requirement of 2 million tons of wheat out of which we have already achieved a reserve of 1.5 million tons. However, the financial implications of maintaining such a reserve and building the requisite infrastructure is a formidable task, particularly in view of the limited resources, and urgent multi-sectoral demand on these limited resources.
We recognize that in the long term world food security can only be achieved by increased food production, particularly in the developing countries. Recognizing this imperative, we in Pakistan have been making efforts in this direction and have achieved substantial progress. In the past few years we have achieved 4 percent annual growth rate in our agricultural production, and we intend to maintain this momentum. However, we cannot help but highlight the fact that the current world food supply is adequate to feed all the hungry in the world provided there is willingness to do so.
We recognize that the problem of world food security cannot be completely divorced from the question of food production but we wish to emphasize the fact that it is not production alone which will solve the problem and provide food to all the hungry in the world. The world community has to devise ways and means of ensuring food security within the current supply situation.
During the Seventh Session of the Committee on World Food Security, our delegation pointed out that making world food security entirely dependent on increased production tends to cloak the immediate problem and postpone the possible solutions available to the world communities for solving the immediate world food security problems. It is with this in view that we welcome the Director-General's initiative to review the concept of and approach to world food security, which is most timely in view of the fact that the problem of world food security persists despite plentiful global supplies.
We therefore look forward with great anticipation to the Eighth Session of the Committee on World Food Security and hope that there will be more concrete and tangible solutions.
S. SAKO (Côte-d'Ivoire): Prenant la parole pour la première fois au cours de cette session, la délégation ivoirienne tient à joindre sa voix à celle de nombreuses délégations qui vous ont félicité de votre élection à la présidence du Conseil; qui ont apprécié le travail du Secrétariat et qui ont loué le Directeur Général pour sa clairvoyance et sa franchise.
Concernant le point sous examen, le Comité de la sécurité alimentaire a reconnu entre autres que dans la plupart des pays en développement et particulièrement en Afrique, le déficit alimentaire s'est aggravé parce que la production vivrière n'a pas progressé aussi rapidement que les besoins de consommation. Les réserves alimentaires n'ont pas été constituées et les objectifs de stockage n'ont pas été atteints. Le manque de ressources financières et d'entrepôts empêche la constitution de réserves alimentaires. L'accroissement de la production vivrière est un élément essentiel de la sécurité alimentaire. Nous voudrions insister sur le fait que les prêts consentis aux pays en développement pour qu'ils importent les produits qui leur manquent ont leur limite. Par ailleurs, ils créent de nouvelles habitudes alimentaires qui rendent ces pays des importateurs permanents. L'essentiel, comme le dit le Comité, est de les aider à produire eux-mêmes ce que leur sol et leur climat peuvent leur offrir. La solution de la faim dans le monde ne saurait être trouvée en dehors de cette voie. Comment peut-on aider les pays en développement à produire? d'abord par la formation des cadres à tous les niveaux. En effet, sans formation, il n'y aura pas de vulgarisation et sans vulgarisation, il n'y aura pas d'agriculture moderne. On a voulu trop souvent que nos paysans soient pragmatiques. Ce qui compte pour eux, c'est l'exemple, ce qu'ils voient. Ensuite, on peut aider les pays à produire par la recherche. La recherche dans les pays en développement a été centrée sur les produits d'exportation, en un mot, sur les produits qui intéressent les pays indus-trialisés, tandis que les recherches sur les cultures vivriëres traditionnelles ont été quasi-inexistantes.
Comme on peut le constater, pour sortir les pays en développement, et singulièrement ceux d'Afrique, de cette situation, un effort massif et une mobilisation générale sont nécessaires et cela ne peut se faire sans reconversion des mentalités.
H.H. CAKABAÑO (Venezuela): Quiero que mi delegación se sume a todas aquellas otras que se han referido a este documento, y en orden a la brevedad no voy a insistir en los puntos que ya antes han sido expuestos. Sin embargo, quiero destacar de manera especial la complacencia con que vemos la promesa del Director General de ampliar y revisar este concepto de la seguridad alimentaria.
Piensa mi delegación que con el concepto de la seguridad alimentaria está aconteciendo lo que hace algunas décadas acontecía con la conservación de los recursos naturales o con el desarrollo rural, que fue preciso que FAO hiciera una conferencia especial para centrar y definir estos conceptos en toda su amplitud.
La seguridad alimentaria podría ser definida como la responsabilidad que tiene un país, una region o el mundo de garantizar de una manera sostenida la producción y el abastecimiento de alimentos en forma tal que haga posible la materialización del derecho que asiste a toda persona y a toda familia a un nivel adecuado de alimentación, tal como está consagrado en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos. Ella constituye un sistema coherente de principios y de acciones que permitan encarar el problema alimentario en toda su complejidad; es una filosofía que conduce necesariamente a los pueblos a la adopción de una actitud y a la aceptación, en este campo, de un compromiso moral y ético. La seguridad alimentaria rebasa los límites meramente nacionales para trascender a la región y al mundo. Es un problema de la humanidad que debe ser encarado solidariamente.
La seguridad alimentaria supone, ciertamente, el desarrollo de una agricultura moderna capaz de au-mentar la producción y la productividad agrícola en función de la demanda creciente; todo ello con salvaguarda del patrimonio ecológico y sin menoscabo de la justicia social. Exige la existencia de una infraestructura que permita la movilización de los insumos y de las cosechas, así como el almacenamiento de éstas y su conservación con capacidad de reservas para períodos críticos. Requiere también mecanismos de distribución y de comercio con precios justos para el productor y accesibles a los consumidores. El sistema debe proveer, cuando sea el caso, subsidios u otras formas de ayuda que garanticen a los sectores más desvalidos su acceso a los alimentos. En suma, se trata de un sistema que se inserta en el contexto más amplio del desarrollo económico general; por eso el mundo está esperando que un organismo que tiene la rectoría en los problemas alimentarios, como es la FAO, haga esta definición y cree en torno a él el compromiso de la humanidad para encararlo con decisión.
Me llama también la atención, y quiero subrayarlo, el interés que ha puesto el Director General en coordinar acciones con otros organismos que se ocupan del problema alimentario. Yo creo que es nece-sario decir que hay una hermosa y valiosa iniciativa tomada por el Consejo Mundial al hablar de las estrategias de seguridad, pero deberían ser estrategias de seguridad alimentaria no para ser desarrolladas por el Consejo Mundial de Alimentación sino que deben ser realmente soportadas por la FAO que es el organismo que tiene la rectoría en el seno de Naciones Unidas de todos los problemas de la alimentación. Si el Consejo Mundial de Alimentación pretendiera por sí mismo desarrollar y guiar estas estrategias, o el FIDA pretendiera a su vez hacer los programas que deben ser financiados, cometeríamos un grave error porque los recursos son pocos, las necesidades son muchas y el mundo nos está pidiendo a gritos la necesidad de potenciar esos esfuerzos; de manera que esta ini-ciativa del Director General debería dar pie para que organice una conferencia especial, si es que ello no es muy costoso, o el propio Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria presentara a la Conferencia decisiones, recomendaciones para que en este sentido se coordinaran las acciones que son necesarias a nivel mundial, pero siempre bajo la rectoría de FAO para que este concepto de la seguridad alimentaria verdaderamente pueda contribuir a la solución de los problemas en cada uno de nuestros países, a potenciar la colaboración recíproca entre los países y poder resolver, entonces, el problema a nivel regional y mundial.
ABDUL WAHID bin ABDUL JALIL (Malaysia): My delegation must apologize for taking the floor at this very last moment. However, we have listened with interest to the views expressed by the various delegations who have spoken before on this very important issue of world food security. We agree with the various views expressed and with the recommendations and conclusions of the report of the Committee on World Food Security as contained in the document. Food security issues of developing countries and measures to overcome them have been discussed and adopted since the world experienced the widespread food shortage in the early seventies. Various institutions and plans of action were created and implemented to ensure that the world would would not again experience the agony of the prospect of having no food. The results, however, seem to be very elusive. Indeed, there had been progress made but the situation was still uneven and to some extent disappointing.
The insecurity of food supplies in developing countries, especially the low-income food-deficit countries, continue to cause grave concern amongst all of us. Even though there has been progressive improvement in cereal production in some developing countries, we find many of these countries, especially in Africa and Asia, are still experiencing food shortages under normal conditions, and more so in times of crop failures and emergencies. We were told that no less than 37 countries of the developing world recorded a negative rate of growth in their cereal output on a per capita basis during the last decade. 19 of these countries experienced an actual decline in their total cereal production. While conditions in some low-income countries of the world continued to require attention of the world community the deteriorating situation in some food-deficit low-income countries of Africa caused great concern. My delegation therefore supports the proposal for a review and action programme of the constraints and measures needed to improve the food production capabilities of these countries, as mentioned in paragraphs 34-37 of the document.
Finally, we would like to pay tribute to the Director-General of the FAO, Dr. Edouard Saouma, for his untiring efforts in the search of a world devoid of hunger, poverty and malnutrition. For a man dedicated and fully committed to this mission I am sure the failures and non-effectiveness of the various measures and undertakings for a workable system of world food security has given him further strength to strive for further efforts to achieve this noble goal. The Director-General can be assured of the support of my government in all his endeavours. Malaysia therefore supports and welcomes the initiatives of the Director-General to renew the whole concept of world food security and the role of the Committee on World Food Security in order to establish more approaches towards a more effective system towards world food security.
E. HARAOUI (Liban) (langue originale arabe): Je voudrais commencer par présenter mes félicitations au Dr. Islam pour l'exposé extrêmement clair et intéressant qu'il nous a fait. Pour commenter le point 5 de l'ordre du jour concernant le rapport de la septième session de la Commission de la sécurité alimentaire qui s'est tenue du 31 mars au 7 avril 1982, la délégation du Liban voudrait souligner les points suivants:
Premièrement, le Liban est d'accord avec le rapport et les conclusions auxquelles la Comission a abouti et qui sont contenues dans le document de travail CL 82/10. En particulier, nous enregistrons avec satisfaction ce qui est dit dans les par. 8, 9 et 10 sur 1 amélioration significative de la production agricole mondiale en 1982, particulièrement en ce qui concerne les céréales de base et les céréales secondaires. Nous espérons que les projections pour 1982, comme cela était prédit, vont être optimistes; il semble que les campagnes agricoles pour cette année répondent à ces projections. Mais cet optimisme pour la production alimentaire et agricole, et cette amélioration dans la production agricole pour les années 81/82 ne doivent pas cacher, comme nous l’avons dit hier et comme cela est dit dans le par. 11 du présent document, une disparité dans la production d'un pays à l'autre.
Dans la région du Proche-Orient à laquelle appartient le Liban, il apparaît que cette amélioration de la production agricole et alimentaire ne se manifeste que dans un très petit nombre de pays de la région.
Nous sommes d'accord avec ce qui a été dit par le Directeur général adjoint et que l'on retrouve dans le document, à savoir que les capacités personnelles de chaque pays et la coopération interrégionale sont le dernier recours pour la production agricole et alimentaire. L'assistance alimentaire complète et renforce les possibilités de production de chaque pays, et à notre avis, cette assistance alimentaire ne doit pas être inférieure à 17 millions de tonnes de céréales.
Nous sommes préoccupés par ce qui est dit dans le par. 19 à propos des négociations concernant la convention mondiale des céréales qui n'a abouti à aucune conclusion, bien que ces négociations soient en cours depuis de nombreuses années. Cela prouve à notre avis que la résolution qui a été adoptée par notre Conseil concernant l'accord sur la proposition faite par le Directeur général pour adopter les cinq points concernant le. développement et le renforcement de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale est tout à fait juste. Nous sommes en particulier satisfaits de ce qui est prévu dans la troisième partie du document, aux par. 23 à 42, concernant l'amélioration des stocks de céréales mondiaux et le débloquement du plan d'action visant la sécurité alimentaire mondiale. La délégation du Liban voudrait exprimer sa gratitude pour l'assistance technique offerte par la FAO au Liban, notamment pour l'élaboration des projets de sécurité alimentaire et les études détaillées concernant le projet de stockage des céréales au Liban pour lui trouver des sources de financement. Nous saisissons l'occasion pour dire, à travers notre expérience dans ce domaine, que les services offerts par la FAO en matière d'assistance et de conseils aux pays membres représentent une contribution très valable, en particulier dans le domaine de l'élaboration des études techniques destinées à trouver les financements nécessaires.
Le point le plus important du rapport qui nous est soumis est la proposition faite par le Directeur général et présentée à la Commission de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale au cours de sa septième session, visant à réviser le concept de sécurité alimentaire mondiale et la manière de le traiter, est une proposition pertinente et nécessaire pour trouver des solutions aux problèmes de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale. Nous appuyons cette proposition adoptée par la Commission et nous espérons que le
Conseil l'adoptera à son tour. Il n'y a pas de doute que le rapport que le Directeur général présentera sur ce sujet important répondra aux aspirations et aux voeux des pays membres. Il est indénia-ble que toutes ces questions touchant la sécurité alimentaire mondiale sont parmi les questions les plus importantes qui sont traitées par la FAO et le Conseil en raison de leur utilité.
En souhaitant plein succès au Directeur général et à la FAO pour réaliser les objectifs fixés, nous vous remercions M. le Président de nous avoir donné la parole.
P. O'DONOGHUE (Ireland): I have nothing really to add to what the EEC representative said this morning. He reflected the views of my country in his intervention. I can only add that we fully support the report before us and with particular reference perhaps to the proposals for the review of the special problems of the food-deficit countries in Africa, problems which seemingly so far have defeated all attempts at solution at international and national levels.
G. TULAY (Observer for Liberia): We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for the splendid work done in preparing the document. We, however, would like to express the view that like our other African countries have expresed, what we need most urgently are plans of action that will enable the low-income countries to achieve their targets.
In the document we have, paragraph 14, great mention has been made of the fact that in order to be self-sufficient in food production the countries should be assisted to attain self-sufficiency.
We commend the Secretariat for their splendid work in preparing the document. We believe that what is most urgent is to assist, these countries in carrying out their plan of action, so instead of stating for ten years or so the problems that we already know, like my colleague has expressed from India, what we need is a working committee if we are not really only to give lip service to this cause which concerns humanity. At expressed by the delegate from the United Kingdom, it is most urgent that a working committee be set-up to work with the countries that already have these problems. In many instances the problems are already known. What is most needed is to assist them in either identifying the exact strategies that will make them self-sufficient, like in my country where a lot of strategies have been worked out, but the lack of funds to carry out these ideas is really most unfortunate. I should reiterate that we get assistance from the united States of America, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany, but these are only on a limited basis because they have other obligations. In order to make these aims of ours accomplishable it is necessary that another effort be given to the strides that we have taken.
My other proposal should be the possible setting-up of a committee within the plan of action, that a fund for food security be set up whereby direct assistance can be given to the countries that are already making some effort to be food-sufficient. In this way I believe that we shall have done service to humanity and given them cause to be alive.
M.M. HAQUE (Observer for Commonwealth Secretariat): The Commonwealth Secretariat as a voluntary association of 47 member countries and financed by its own members serves a clientele spread all over the globe. While almost a quarter of the world's population lives within the Commonwealth, half of the world's total disadvantaged living below subsistence level are situated in our less fortunate member nations. The Secretariat therefore has deep concern with the state of world food and agriculture and with the world food security.
We have listened with keen interest to the excellent and inspiring statement made by the Director-General. He has rightly pointed out that there is no scope for complacency by member nations at the slightly improved global food situation, because the situation in many developing countries, particularly in Africa continues to be precarious. In many of the developing countries weather and population explosion have played havoc with the efforts to produce more food towards attaining a higher national food sufficiency and food security.
Dr. Saouma's statement has set the tone for the deliberations of the Session and would provoke the thought amongst those who are involved in making this world more secure through greater food production and its greater availability to the poorest and the most disadvantaged.
Permit me also to congratulate Professor Islam for his brief but excellent exposition of the current state of world food and agriculture and the state of world food security. This has given us a clearer picture of the dimensions of the problems we are facing.
We are told there is enough food in this world for all but even then we face hunger in pockets of scarcity, we face famine or near-famine conditions through natural and sometimes man-made disasters. The tensions created through hunger, malnutrition and poverty could pose a serious threat to the world order.
The international community has contributed towards the alleviation of these situations, but as documents CL 82/2 and CL 82/10 clearly point out, there is a need for a lot more to be done through more food aid and greater investment in agriculture and rural development in the developing countries which are in greatest need of such assistance.
The Commonwealth in their various fora, including the Heads of Government meeting in Melbourne in 1981, have consistently supported the FAO Plan of Action on World Security. We look forward to the preparation of the report to review the concept of and approach to world food security. We also join the call for replenishment of IFAD and for meeting the annual target of international emergency food reserve as well as the biennial target of the World Food Programme, in particular the target of US$ 1,2 billion for 1983/84. We consider that these actions by the international community will strengthen their hands in the struggle for the eradication of hunger from the face of this planet.
While assistance from the international community is crucial in the achievement of the goals set by FAO there can be significant results emerging out of the national plans of action for increased food production and by supportive action through TCDC and economic cooperation amongst the developing countries. We are sure that FAO, as in the past, will lead the way to greater use of technical cooperation and economic cooperation amongst these developing countries in solving their problems in the relevant fields.
We could not agree more that Africa should receive priority attention in its attempts to produce more food for its burgeoning millions. The Secretariat in this context is providing assistance to member countries of Africa at their request as well as to the island member countries of the Caribbean and the South Pacific in their attempts to achieve higher national sufficiency in food.
It was heartening to hear from the Director-General that he is commissioning a study of the effects of price policies with a view to increasing production and ensuring remunerative prices to farmers. I am happy to inform you that on request from the Heads of Government the Commonwealth Secretariat is organising a Consultative Meeting on Food Price Policy and Marketing in the spring of 1983 in London with support from FAO, the International Food Policy Research Institute and other organisations. We have plans to bring policy makers and resource persons from selected developed and developing Member Nations and relevant organisations for exchanging information and knowledge, particularly in the context of technical cooperation among developing countries, which we hope will lead to concrete actions. The situation of low-income food-deficit countries of Africa is foremost in our mind in this respect.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting when they met in Suva last October have set up a Consultative Group on Agriculture for the Asian Pacific Commonwealth with Sri Lanka as its host country. We are grateful to the Sri Lankan Government for offering themselves to act as the convening and host country. The main objective of this Group, consisting of senior policy makers, will be to strengthen and ensure better utilisation of existing agricultural and research institutions and their results and findings through upgrading of professional skills, through exchange of scientists and other personnel and through training in the field of their perceived needs. This would be another step towards greater technical cooperation amongst developing countries, with the region trying to help itself.
These activities I am sure will complement the global FAO efforts and plans of action. But may I mention the Commonwealth's contribution to the promotion of regional food security through assisting the SADCC in the preparation of several of their relevant studies. We believe that increased national food sufficiency and security through increased production will lead to a more viable regional food security system. The Commonwealth will always be ready to provide all possible support in achieving these objectives in the context of world food security. We are also helping two small island countries, Grenada in the Caribbean and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, in their preparation of national food policy outlines.
Our previous and current work in the prevention of food losses, small farm extensions and credit, transfer of appropriate technology, small holder livestock production and better management of fishery resources, including the Exclusive Economic Zone management had received FAO's collaboration. I am sure that similar support and assistance from FAO will come in our future work as well, which is mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of Government and the Agriculture Ministers. We are in constant touch with FAO to avoid duplication of efforts and wastage of resources.
May we offer our sincerest thanks and gratitude to FAO, and particularly to Dr. Saouma, for the unstinted support and collaboration that the Commonwealth Secretariat have always received from them.
N. ISLAM (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department) : We are very happy to note that delegates attach great importance to the problem of world food security. All the delegates have endorsed the report and its conclusions and recommendations.
As delegates are aware, this is a subject of the highest priority to the Director-General. In every speech, every statement he makes in FAO and other fora, in every interview with the press, he has been focussing on the necessity of establishing an international food security system and urging repeatedly the need for concerted national and international efforts for its promotion. Because he is concerned about the slow progress achieved so far, because he is aware that time is running out, because open action is needed soon, he decided to carry out the review that delegates have been referring to during this debate.
In this context we are happy to note that the Council welcomes the Director-General's initiative to present such a report on the world food security and that they are looking forward to this report which will be discussed at the next meeting of the Committee on World Food Security.
It is very heartening to note also that delegates have repeatedly emphasized the importance of similar lines in food production as a central component, a most important component of world food security. This is precisely the emphasis that the Director-General places as a principal component of food security.
In this connexion reference was made by many delegates to the importance of pricing and incentive policies for promoting agricultural production and they welcome the study which FAO will be undertaking during the next biennium on this very complex and vital subject.
Many delegates regretted the absence of an international grains arrangement for promoting market stability and food security. In the absence of international arrangements they emphasized that national food reserves assume central importance, and this is indeed the thrust of the Five-Point Plan of Action. It does require however both domestic efforts and international assistance to build up food security infrastructure and to acquire stocks of food reserves.
Many delegates have strongly supported the efforts of FAO in promoting such national efforts, especially in terms of food security assistance schemes of FAO.
Delegates have drawn repeated attention to the importance of regional and sub-regional food security schemes. In fact reference was made to the recently held meeting of the Group of 77 in Manila on this subject among others as areas of cooperation among developing countries and it was emphasized that regional stocks were to supplement and not supplant national stocks and that efforts should be made starting from modest beginnings to link up regional and sub-regional food security measures.
Delegates emphasized that food aid remains a critical component of food security until national efforts to increase food production succeed in closing the food gap or until the developing countries' economies are sufficiently diversified to enable them to make adequate commercial purchases in the world market. Therefore the attainment of food security is dependent on the ability of the developing countries to attain stable and expanding export earnings. In this connexion many delegates referred to the danger to world food security posed by the rising protectionism in the world.
The debate, it appears to us, emphasized once again the multiple facets and aspects of world food security, ranging from increasing production, national and regional stocks, access to supplies on the world market , food aid, international emergency food assistance, especially the need for a stable and enlarged international emergency food reserve as well as stable and expanding export earnings for developing countries.
The problem of stagnation and slow growth in food production in Africa attracted a great deal of attention in the discussions and reference was made to the work under way for the next meeting of the CFS on constraints of food production in low-income food-deficit countries in Africa.
I would like to refer to the report itself as to the nature and content of this study which is under way in order to clear up any possible misconceptions about the nature of this report. It is clearly stated there that this report is an interim analysis based upon existing studies. It will indicate available gaps in information and on the basis of this interim report the next meeting of the CFS will consider possible follow-up action. The preparation of the report is under way. I may inform the delegates that we have already reviewed about 50 reports selected from a much larger number of studies and reports which are available on African food production. The work is proceed-ing and it is too premature at this stage to discuss any conclusions of this report. Therefore this report is not a programme of action, as the CFS Committee report emphasizes. There is a Lagos
Plan of Action which is a kind of programme of action for the African Region as a whole, and progress on the implementation of this report was discussed at the last FAO regional conference on Africa. Those are all the comments I have to make.
CHAIRMAN : Thank you for this very complete summing up and also for the information you have provided.
Like yesterday, we had a very large number of speakers, forty today, thirty-seven members of the Council, and three Observers, and I want to thank all of them. I am sure we will all wish the Director-General great success in the two tasks which have been mentioned, the report on Food Security and the interim report on Africa. I think members of the Council as well as members of the Committee will look forward to reading these reports, which I am confident will become signifi-cant landmarks in the whole evolution of food security systems.
N. ISLAM (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department) : The introductory note to the document CL 82/29 does describe briefly the background of this Report. The FAO Conference at its Twentieth Session in 1979 had agreed that the Guidelines for the International Agricultural Adjustment should be reviewed and revised as appropriate in the light of developments in world agricultural production, consumption and trade, taking into account developments in world agricultural development and objectives of the New International Development Strategy, and the recommendations and conclusions reached in WCARRD, UNCTAD, the World Food Council and other relevant fora. It decided further that the draft revisions emanating therefrom should be presented to the Conference. A government consultation was held in March 1981 to consider the proposals for the revisions and updating of the Guidelines of International Agricultural Adjustment.
Some progress was made towards agreed formulations. In some instances, however, a consensus could not be reached and various alternative formulations remained without agreement.
In response to the above-mentioned Conference decision, the full report of the government consul-tation of March 1981 is submitted to the Council. It is hoped that it will provide the basis for a consensus, which in turn will permit the submission of an agreed revised text and the Guidelines to the Conference for adoption at its forthcoming Twenty-second Session.
If we go over the draft Guidelines one by one, we find that the full agreement was reached in the March 1981 consultation on revised texts for Guidelines Nos. 5, 6 and 7. We can therefore assume that these formulations are acceptable. There was one reservation on each of Guidelines 4 and 9, neither of which seems to us to affect the text. These texts might therefore be also agreed to by the Council either with the reservations retained or if the countries concerned feel that these reservations are no longer necessary, the reservations can now be dropped.
It appeared that a consensus was. already very, very close in the meeting last year on Guidelines 2 and 3. The remaining five proposed Guidelines are therefore left for substantive consideration by the Council if the interpretation given above is acceptable, and these are numbers 1, 8, 10, 11 and 12.
Finally, I may emphasize that the Guidelines are meant to be statements of principles. In the areas concerned they embody quantitative targets where these have already been agreed to in other international fora.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Professor Islam, for this very clear statement of the present position.
R. A. SORENSON (United States of America): The Guidelines as agreed upon in 1975 represented an international consensus on the universally applicable policy changes needed to achieve an orderly and balanced increase in world food production and trade benefiting all countries. The Guidelines which are universally applicable were designed to reflect a balance of obligations between developed
and developing countries. While it was recognized that national agricultural policy is necessarily a function of national priorities, it was hoped that Guidelines would serve as signposts to policy makers and promote harmonization of national policies bearing on agricultural adjustment. However, in the seven years since the finalization of the Guidelines, it would be difficult, I think, to argue that any significant policy changes at the national level can be specifically attributed to the Guidelines or the monitoring work taken. Some may argue that the lack of influence of the Guidelines reflects a failure of political will. In the view of my delegation, it would be more accurate and realistic to conclude that governments in weighing the various considerations that go into the formulation of agricultural policies, both domestic and external, do not give much weight to such set of Guidelines. It is unrealistic to believe that these circumstances can be changed by re-writing the Guidelines. The United States believes the existing Guidelines as agreed on in 1975 are adequate for the purposes for which they were conceived. Given the very limited impact of the existing Guidelines on the adjustment of policies of governments, we question the value of investing the time and resources of Member States and FAO staff in extensive revisions.
Even in five days of work by experts, the FAO Intergovernmental Consultation on International Agricultural Adjustment failed in its attempt to work out revisions to the existing Guidelines. We see no need for continued efforts to revise these Guidelines at this time. Certainly the Council is not the body, in our judgement, for seeking to reconcile the extensive differences on a number of highly contentious issues which are included in the heavily bracketed text we have before us.
We believe the Council should reaffirm the existing Guidelines and consider that the mandate given at the Twentieth FAO Conference has already been carried out, as far as is practicable, and that no further efforts should be made to revise the Guidelines at this time.
M. ZJALIC (Yugoslavia): At the time when the Conference decided to undertake a revision and updating Guidelines, existing Guidelines were already in practice for some five years, and as it appears from the introductory note and as we all know, the Conference asked the Council to draft a new proposal for revision, particularly taking into account developments in international and national policies. Since that time, an international development strategy for this decade has been adopted with, international consensus and new targets and tasks as well as political, in a way, Guidelines have been set up in this document which was adopted by consensus and by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
My feeling is that I am more optimistic than Professor Islam, and I think that probably only three major issues are to be solved in Guidelines 10, 11 and 12. The rest are more or less reductions and consensus can easily be reached, particularly on 4, 9, 2, 3, even 1 and 8. This is one thing.
The second thing is that we spent five days from 2 to 6 March 1981 and with the very active participation of representatives of all governments, particularly the representative of the country that spoke just before me was very active in this exercise of revision, and it has submitted some very useful and important amendments which at that time seemed to be unacceptable on the part of the participants, but since the time has come and following changes and adjustments in national and international policies and the international situation, at least some of us who posed those proposals are now ready to at least go half way in an attempt to find a consensus and an agreed formula, so my feeling is that first of all, we have a clear mandate by the Conference, and second, our task does not seem so tremendous and so much above the intellectual forces and political will concentrated in this body. Of course, if there is a political will and decision, and if we all agree that these Guidelines should be revised, the practical application of this decision could seem to be drafting business, and I doubt that it can be completed in such a large forum. Probably some more practical and technical proposals with a view to making our work easy could be found in the form of a contact group, but we really would like to know if there have been any further reflections or changes in the substance of the content of the Guidelines.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): International Agricultural Adjustment is without any doubt an interesting issue, and it is a continuing process. It deserves our attention. Some Council members may recall that the foundations to FAO's Guidelines on International Agricultural Adjustment were laid down at the Eighth FAO Regional Conference for Europe held in 1972 in my country in Munich. The International Agricultural Adjustment Guidelines adopted later by the Conference can be considered as a first approach to an international agricultural policy. We participated actively in shaping these Guidelines, and feel that they are still of value. So much
for the past. On behalf of the EEC member states, I should like to state that they are prepared to continue participating in the process of revising the international agriculture adjustment guidelines. But how can this be achieved in a practical manner. The report before us on the action taken by the Ad Hoc Group contains, unfortunately, a lot of unresolved issues. It was presented to the Council without previously having charged the CCP or the Agricultural Committee to go into the matter. The options for handling the issue before us in a practical and pragmatic way would be transmitting the unfinished work to the next CCP session in the autumn of next year, or as an attempt to see how far we could go during this Council session to set up a contact group which would try to find out whether some or all of the brackets could be removed.
I think this was the intention, also, of the intervention of the delegate of Yugoslavia. He proposed such an action.
Something which we would not like to be done is to convert the Council into a drafting and a negotiating body on this unfinished work. We do feel that this probably would not be very helpful.
To conclude, the EEC Member states of this Council are prepared to cooperate in this issue also in future.
H. CARANDANG (Philippines): The Philippine delegation would just like to support the views expressed by the delegate of Yugoslavia on this issue.
First of all, I would like to say that the alternative of dropping the discussion on the guidelines is not within our competence, because I think we have a clear mandate from the 20th Session of Conference that these should be reviewed and revised. We cannot disregard the mandate. I believe in the light of the previous interventions there is a good chance we might be able to arrive at something which could be presented to the Conference in the form of agreed guidelines.
With the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany we believe the Council cannot be turned into a drafting group, but the idea of a contact group which would thresh out the difficulties of the various guidelines is not a very bad idea at all. If this contact group then fails, I would say the other alternative which has been given by the delegate of Germany could probably be accepted, but in the meanwhile it is incumbent on us to seek whether it is possible for us to arrive at an agreement on the various guidelines which have hitherto been under discussion.
I would therefore submit the proposal that there be a contact group that would study the various guidelines that still have brackets, and that this contact group after the time you specify would report to this Council without further delays, and then I believe that we cannot really discuss the various guidelines here in the Council. I believe the idea of a contact group which would try to thresh out all the differences would be a good idea and a possible solution to our difficulties.
A. NAGA (Japan): I would like to thank Professor Islam for the excellent presentation of the report, document CL 82/29.
The government consultation was held in response to the Conference decision and some progress was made towards agreed formulations. However, consensus could not be reached. The report of the government consultation on the revision and up-dating of guidelines of international agricultural adjustment in document CL 82/29 gives a clear description of the process of discussions. Existing guidelines reached a consensus with the greatest efforts of member countries, and the guidelines contained the necessary elements for international agricultural adjustment with great delicacy.
Other consultations emphasize that the objectives should be limited to the mandate given by the Conference in 1979. This mandate is not the substantial re-writing of the existing guidelines, but some up-dating to reflect a new consensus reached in international fora since the introduction of the existing guidelines in 1979. We believe that the quintessence of the international agricultural adjustment is spread throughout the member countries. We recognize that the sustained economic growth implies constant adjustment of policies. International agricultural adjustment is a continuous process which takes place at national and international levels.
Concerning the revision and updating of the existing guidelines, the draft text before us still contains many critical and controversial issues.
My delegation believes that it is not appropiate for this Council to proceed to discuss the contents of these guidelines paragraph by paragraph. I would rather suggest that the Secretariat drafts a new page with the minimum necessary revision of the existing guidelines, and submit it to a forum such as the Committee of Agriculture or the Committee of Commodities, which are more appropriate to discuss these issues.
A. FEQUANT (France): La delegation française s'associe entièrement aux conseils de prudence qui viennent de nous être donnés par la délégation allemande. Nous estimons qu'il s'agit d'une question fort importante, qui ne devrait pas être examinée à la hâte au cours de notre présente session.
S. HASAN AHMAD (Bangladesh): On behalf of my delegation I would like to say that we associate ourselves completely with the views expressed by the delegations from Yugoslavia and the Philippines. We fully share their views that no further time should be lost in formalizing the revised guidelines. After all, the existing guidelines were formulated in 1975 consistent with the understanding, appreciation and requirements of the international food and agricultural situation at that time.
Since then, as we all know and as we all have been seeing from the deliberations in the various fora, including the Council and Conference meetings, things are changing and a lot of international developments have been taking place. As we have just heard from the delegate of Japan, growth does mean continuous adjustment, and as I understand from this document, the guidelines in the first place are supposed to provide a short, comprehensive statement of consensus arising from the considerable number of international discussions and decisions on food and agriculture.
In the second place, they are supposed to be benchmarks for monitoring progress on the basis of which the Director-General is supposed to submit this report to the Conference, and unless the guidelines are updated they would not continue to serve the purpose for which they are meant. That happens to be our view, and we would emphasize the importance of having the guidelines formalized before this Council session is over.
Secondly, as we have heard, the differences have indeed been narrowed down, and there are only Guidelines 10, 11 and 12 which really need some sort of serious reconciliation.
I would also agree with other delegates, including the delegate from the Federal Republic of Germany, that we should not convert this Council into a kind of debating forum, and as proposed by the delegate of Yugoslavia and supported by others I would also opt for having a contact group established which could resolve these differences quickly.
J. BELGRAVE (New Zealand): Listening to the interventions that have been made already, it seems to me that we are searching for a solution, but at the moment we are not searching in the same direction.
First, I should make it clear that New Zealand, as was evinced by our participation in the 1981 group, is of course very much prepared to work towards this revision, but I think it does seem to be difficult to be precise as to how it might proceed from here on. We have had a number of suggestions ranging from the CCP as a possible forum or consideration of the setting up of a contact group which I guess could be a sort of a committee of the whole.
I would like to raise a couple of questions on both of them, and have not formed an official view on either.
The contact group that has been suggested, what would be its terms of reference? Who would be members of it? I think it was said by one or two earlier speakers that the expert group back in 1981 spent five days addressing this issue and still, as is evidenced by the document in front of us, left a lot of square brackets around. With the contact group in a definitive period we might not be able to do much better.
Secondly, the CCP, as I understand it, is a technical body and - again, as I understand it - it is appropriately set up to consider some of the guidelines, but perhaps not others.
So really, is it a requirement that we need to do more work on the concept of the form or whatever, under which the matter might be progressed, before we actually progress it?
R.B. RYANGA (Kenya): I was only going to suggest that since the revision and the updating of the guidelines are not themselves in question, what we require now is to work out a procedure for doing this and, as possibly the Council itself might not be able to do it in Plenary, we might wish to perhaps establish this contact group to look at it at this Session and come back to us; and if the contact group is unable to arrive at some kind of an agreement, then we would come back and work out how we can proceed from there. But I agree with some of my colleagues that the areas which require a lot of heavy work are only three or four at the end, 10, 11 and 12, and I think even in those, once we know the broad objectives we are trying to achieve, we should be able to work out a text.
The thing is that in all those things there will have to be some compromise and sacrifices, and if we bear this in mind we should be able to arrive at a text which is suitable to everybody and which also embodies the aspirations of all our peoples.
A.G. NGONGI NAMANGA (Cameroon): I would join the other delegates - Yugoslavia, the Philippines, Kenya and Bangladesh - who have spoken: I do think, looking at this, it tends to frighten a lot of people.
I went through this document and I saw that in fact a lot of the square brackets did not really mean much. It is merely a matter of semantics, just some fancy words that we could eliminate in a very short time; we can eliminate the square brackets. As was pointed out by the delegate of Yugoslavia, clearly the last three of these guidelines require some substantive work but this can be done with some give and take from both sides; and I am very sure even if the contact group were not able to resolve the points and present a very neat document to the Council, at least the number of square brackets would be greatly reduced by the time the document is sent forward to the next level higher than this Council.
I therefore think that the idea of creating a contact group is very welcome. This group should be created by the Council at this Session so that we can solve these problems.
V. ISARANKURA (Thailand): I would like to join previous speakers in supporting the view expressed by the delegates of Yugoslavia and the Philippines. I think this is the appropriate time to look at the draft guidelines as proposed by the consultation. I myself took part in this consultation a year and a half ago and I remember that we generally agreed on the substance of the revised guideline but we had only some problems of language and also there were some words in brackets. I think this can be solved if we are willing to do it. Some of the language means nothing at all but if we are willing to have a good guideline so that every country can get the benefit, then I think we should set up a contact group or some other kind of group and I would join it; for example, in the way that it was expressed by the delegation of New Zealand, I could go along with that.
T. AHMAD (Pakistan): I thought I was perhaps the only optimist sitting here, but I am so glad that my distinguished colleague from Cameroon appears as optimistic as I am, that we can actually arrive at a consensus. I was reminded of the story that a glass is either half empty or half full, whichever way you look at it. To me it seems half full; to some other delegates it seems half empty and I want to assure them that it is half full.
It has been mentioned that the consultative group sat for five days and could not reach a final decision. I would say that the group sat for five days and came up with a text; and most of the guidelines, if you look at them even from distance, though there are one or two brackets, most of the texts seem clear. So if we make a little effort within this Council, and since we have arrived at a consensus, we could go ahead with it, there should be no problem in removing these brackets, that we could agree on a consensus formula on these guidelines and take it as a challenge that all members of the Council sitting here have ultimately arrived at a consensus.
I therefore strongly support the proposal of Yugoslavia that there should be a contact group - not necessarily a big one - a small contact group of interested countries who, within a day or two, would come back to the Council with an agreed formula; and, being a great optimist, I think it can be done.
J. TCHICAYA (Congo) : Après tout ce qui vient d'être dit, je n'ai plus grand chose à ajouter si ce n'est appuyer la proposition faite par l'honorable délégué de la Yougoslavie et soutenue par bien d'autres délégués.
En effet, nous avons fait partie de ce groupe consultatif qui a eu à examiner ces lignes d'orien-tation. A l'époque, les discussions étaient telles qu'à un moment donné nous avons failli arrêter notre travail et créer une commission. J'avais personnellement pris la parole pour décourager ce système, parce qu'à mon avis créer une commission, cela signifie abandonner une partie du travail; c'est lorsqu'on ne veut pas résoudre problème que l'on crée des commissions.
Cela se passait dans le cadre du groupe de travail. Mais ici nous sommes en session plénière de notre Conseil. Il va de soi que le nombre de lignes d'orientation qui nous préoccupe en ce moment n'est pas considérable et par conséquent pourrait faire assez rapidement l'objet d'un consensus.
Pour cette raison, j'appuie fortement l'idée de créer un groupe de contact qui pourrait nous proposer, au cours de cette session, des textes sur lesquels nous pourrions nous mettre d'accord.
A. PINOARGOTE (Ecuador): Yo pienso que el asunto fundamental aquí es de simple procedimiento, puesto que aquello de los corchetes o de que está más lleno o más vacío, realmente se tendrá que resolver en su momento oportuno. El momento de resolver este asunto definitivamente será cuando lo haga la próxima Conferencia, puesto que fue la Conferencia la que aprobó estos puntos, y es así que la Conferencia es la que resuelve que se estudien y se revisen estos puntos. De modo, entonces, que si estamos a un año más o menos de la Conferencia, debemos entender que si ahora el Consejo resuelve algo, en todo caso estará siempre sujeto a que sea luego aprobado por la Conferencia. Si la Conferencia se va a reunir después de un año, y si el Consejo se vuelve a reunir nuevamente antes de la Conferencia, yo sí pienso que lo más apropiado sería que se nombre un grupo de contacto para que entregue un informe completo para la próxima reunion del Consejo, y de esa manera, pienso yo, que sería lo más práctico y lo más adecuado para no dilatar esto en estas discusiones, puesto que de alguna manera no va a haber consenso en ciertos puntos.
S. SAKO (Côte d'Ivoire): Je voudrais simplement appuyer les délégations qui proposent de confier les points en suspens à un groupe de contact pour examen et rapport au Conseil.
P.S. MCLEAN (United Kingdom): I have listened very carefully to the remarks that have been made on this item. I believe we have at least reached one point on which we do have a consensus and that is that this is a matter which cannot be dealt with in the Council as such, or the Drafting Committee. So we are really left with a procedural point essentially and, as the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany said, the Community is very willing to take part in further discussions if we can find a way of doing it that might in the end lead to the desired objectives. And I believe that with the best will in the world, if we establish a contact group and attempt to try and resolve this in the matter of a few days we have in this Council, we will not get very far. It will be necessary to have contacts between various views and it may not be easy.
I believe that the proposal made just now by the delegate of Ecuador is the only practical one, that there should be convened a meeting of what one might call interested country representatives, which would consider whether it was possible to reach an accommodation on the various square bracketed portions, possibly even thinking about new or totally revised guidelines, because quite a lot has happened even since we had the consultation early in 1981.
I therefore believe that the most practical solution is in fact the one proposed by Ecuador, which is to agree that we should try to set up some very informal machinery which would allow an exchange of views with the objective of bringing - we hope - back to the next Council a text on which conceivably there could then be a consensus.
P.O. DONOGHUE (Ireland): I think the United Kingdom delegate who has just spoken has said exactly what I was going to say. From long experience in various fora, I think it would be rather optimistic of us to expect to come to some conclusion in the few days we will be here. It seems to me first of all that what the German delegate has proposed might offer the best prospect of a solution. But then one must consider also what the delegate of Ecuador has proposed, supported by the United Kingdom. I think we cannot hope to solve it, even with the best will in the world, here in the few days that we are here; from my own experience at least, I do not think we could manage it.
WU TIANXI (China) (Original Language Chinese): We did not take part in the intergovernmental consul-tation held in March 1981 but we believe the existing Guidelines for International Agricultural Adjustment should be revised and supplemented due to the recent developments in recent years. Therefore we support the idea put forward by the Yugoslav delegation, supported by other delegations, that a contact group should be established to take up the work of the actual revising and report back to the next session of the Council and we would like to submit our revisions in writing to the contact group.
G. KELLEY SALINAS (México): Mi delegación pone un énfasis muy especial en la revisión y la actualización de las orientaciones para el reajuste agrícola internacional. Es un tema central en todo lo que se refiere a la lucha y al debate que libramos por mejorar la situación del hambre en el mundo, y también un paso pequeño pero de grande importancia en lo que se refiere a la trayectoria para un Nuevo Orden Economico Internacional. En este orden de ideas y en este espíritu, mi delegación se quisiera consolidarizar con la propuesta de que se cree un grupo de contacto durante este Consejo, y que durante el período de este mismo Consejo, se proceda a tratar de llegar a un acuerdo en virtud de que consideramos que éste es efectivamente el foro adecuado para discutir este tan importante tema.
Sra. M. IVANKOVICH DE AROSAMENA (Panamá): Mi delegación también desea apoyar la propuesta de que se establezca un grupo de contacto que llegue o que trate de llegar a un texto único, y que este texto sea propuesto a este mismo Consejo.
S.P. MUKERGI (India): I share the optimism of the delegate from Pakistan that we should see the glass as half full rather than half empty, but my problem is that having filled up the glass the question is whether anybody would drink it or not.
The Guidelines have been there and we will revise it, we will perfect it with all the consensus that we can obtain, but the guidelines are no better than the extent that they are implemented by the countries concerned, so therefore I would very earnestly suggest that the Guidelines should be revised with unreserved consensus and a commitment on the part of the countries to promote the spirit behind the Guidelines.
I would therefore support the proposal that a contact group should be immediately established to complete the work which has been partly done by the consultation group and the contact group should report to this Council in this very meeting and hopefully, if they are able to resolve all the differences, this Council can ratify and submit it to the Conference, but should there be a possibility of some differences still remaining I would suggest that the remaining differences should also be further processed by the same contact group and returned to the subsequent meeting of the Council, so that before the Conference meets we are able to sort out and iron out all the differences. We have to go step by step, very cautiously and very gingerly because the path is slippery, very sensitive, but nonetheless we have to progress and see that the Guidelines take a shape which is acceptable to all concerned and then having got the Guidelines ready we should be very serious in getting them implemented.
H.H. CARABAÑO (Venezuela): Mi delegación desea intervenir por una cuestión de principio. Estamos de acuerdo en que no debe discutirse el asunto en Plenaria, porque la naturaleza breve de las intervenciones puede llevarnos a formular planteamientos que resulten polémicos, pero creo que este Consejo no puede declararse incompetente para conocer de esta materia, porque eso afectaría muy seriamente su mandato en el futuro. Por lo tanto, sí es éste el foro indicado para discutir esta materia; ahora, por lo mismo que ha dicho el Representante de la India de que estamos frente a una materia muy resbaladiza y que debemos, por tanto, hacer que prevalezca el buen juicio, yo creo que este grupo de contacto no va a crear mayores dificultades, sino que, al contrario, pondrá de manifiesto la magnitud de los escollos que hay que salvar para que en ulteriores reuniones se lleguen a esos acuerdos que todos estamos buscando.
Mi delegación se pronuncia por la idea del grupo de contacto dentro de los términos que acabo de decir; es decir, si tuviéramos la fortuna de que se llegara a un acuerdo, magnífico, sino, evidente-mente, ya sería el Consejo quien debería pronunciarse acerca de la magnitud de las dificultades que se confrontan.
Por otra parte tengo entendido que esto ha sido un punto también apoyado por el Grupo de los 77, que está sumamente interesado en persuadir a los grandes países de la necesidad de actualizar estas orientaciones, porque es cierto que desde 1975 a esta parte ha pasado mucha agua bajo los puentes y, por lo tanto, es interesante, aunque no son si no orientaciones indicativas, que ellas dejen constancia de la angustia y la preocupación que tienen los pueblos del Tercer Mundo.
AMIDJONO MARTOSUWIRYO (Indonesia): My delegation associates itself with the views by many delegations who insist on establishing, a contact group to complete the work. If my understanding is correct, I observe that there are those who are ready to cooperate to solve the problem, but when? I do not know yet. I should apologise to the delegation from Equador that perhaps the problem should be solved in the coming FAO Council meeting, but it seems to me that if the contact group can solve and complete the work right now, I think it is appropriate to solve the problem during this discussion.
I support what has been expressed by the delegate from India, if we cannot solve the problem, if there is still remaining or pending a problem, we can solve it in the coming FAO Council Session.
Y.A. HAMDI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): The proposal made by the Representative of India is very objective and we think that this august Council can set up a contact group that would review and update the Guidelines and the objectives of the International Agricultural Adjustment and the group would report to this Council and if differences still remain then these could be solved by the same contact group on condition that it reports to the next session of the Council who will report to the general Conference.
DIRECTEUR GENERAL : Un ou deux délégués ont indiqué que ce document aurait pu ou dû être renvoyé - parce qu'il s'agit de repasser ce bébé, dont certains ne veulent pas - au Comité des produits ou au Comité de l'agriculture plutôt que de l'envoyer au Conseil.
Je voudrais expliquer pourquoi ce document a été placé devant le Conseil. Le Comité des produits est un comité technique, le Comité de l'agriculture également, et ils font rapport au Conseil; c'est-à-dire que l'un ou l'autre de ces Comités vous aurait renvoyé le document. Le Conseil, lui, discute des aspects politiques, il est l'organe principal de la Conférence et toutes les questions importantes qui sont soumises à la Conférence doivent obligatoirement passer par lui. C'est l'antichambre de la Conférence. Donc - et je m'y suis pris à temps - il était tout à fait normal que je ne le soumette pas au Conseil en juin 1983, car à ce moment-là il n'y aurait vraiment pas eu assez de temps pour s'en occuper.
Je veux également donner une seconde information; l'année dernière, le Secrétariat, sur la demande de certains pays, a essayé de préparer un texte de compromis (et nous avons ce texte) pour remplacer les passages qui sont entre parenthèses. Nous avons suivi minutieusement les discussions l'année dernière au cours de la réunion, et nous connaissons les points de vue des uns et des autres. Nous avons donc essayé de trouver un texte qui puisse satisfaire tout le monde, et nous pensons qu'il n'est pas difficile d'arriver à un accord. Malheureusement, le groupe informel de contact qui devait s'établir entre les parties les plus intéressées n'a pas pu en définitive se réunir parce que certains pays très importants n'étaient pas en mesure à ce moment-là de participer à des discussions informelles avec le Dr Islam et les représentants qui l'avaient souhaité; nous sommes donc restés avec notre texte, et nous ne l'avons même pas soumis pour ne pas vous compliquer l'existence. Mais si le Conseil décide de créer un groupe de contact, nous sommes prêts. Nous avons un texte que nous soumettrons à ce groupe, s'il est créé. Ce travail est fait depuis l'année dernière. Il a été révisé. C'est tout ce que je voulais dire.
M. PHOOFOLO (Lesotho): All I would like to register is the fact that we are supporting wholeheartedly the suggestion and proposal made by the delegate of Yugoslavia and supported by more than 5 delegates that a contact group should be established to deal with this matter.
CHAIRMAN: Four major options have been suggested. Number 1 is to let the 1975 guidelines remain as they are, we report to the next Conference that no further improvements or amendments are possible, that we stick to the guidelines of 1975 - in other words, no further time need be spent on this item.
The second was suggested by Yugoslavia and supported by many members, that we establish a contact group at this meeting and that contact group should report back to us sometime next week before we adjourn.
The third option is a variant of number 2, namely to have a standing contact group which might continue its work beyond this session of the Council and come back to us at the next Council meeting with an agreed version.
The fourth suggestion is that FAO may organise another meeting of interested countries and groups and formulate agreed guidelines and put them up at the next meeting of the Council.
These are the options and I take it that almost everyone is agreed that we should not accept defeat in the sense that after four years we go back to the Twenty-second Conference and say that we have not been able to do anything other than repeat the 1975 guidelines. I think all members are agreed that we are in a dynamic world and that additions and alterations are possible and may be necessary and in fact, as Professor Islam said, there has been near agreement in almost all cases, except having some quantitative figures. I will however not undermine the importance of that. But obviously in the case where there is genuine difficulty, we have to face it. Therefore I take it that the consensus here is that we make an effort to try to understand the nature of differences, because a considerable amount of work has already been done by the secretariat, and let there be a small contact group which could sit with Professor Islam and go through the different versions and at least narrow down the further points which ought to be decided by governments concerned, and report to us. I will not at the moment say that it may be a standing contact group. Let us see how far we make progress. There may be points which ought to be resolved further, in which case this same group, or some modified version of it, depending on the interested parties, could continue the work between the two sessions of the Council and come up by the next Council meeting with agreed views.
I entirely support the delegate of India, and the delegate of the United States who said that if you have guidelines they ought to be observed and there must be some value to it and it is not a piece of rhetoric for our own satisfaction but serve as operational guidelines which all countries should respect. So there is a need for commitment for the implementation of the guidelines which should not be taken lightheartedly and we should not prepare some document which later on is observed more in the breach than in the follow-up.
I would therefore request your concurrence to the setting up of a contact group which could sit with Professor Islam and his officers and then they could report to us next week what progress has been made and at least make a tabulated statement. It looks as though there will be no difficulty with seven or eight of them but there are the remaining three, 10, 11 and 12. Then we could decide next week whether we request the same contact group to continue between sessions of the Council or request the Director-General to take some other steps which may be more appropriate in the light of the kinds of issues which are to be resolved once they are articulated. Then we will need an appropriate mechanism to get those points resolved. Therefore I suggest that we should move in two steps. First we set up a small contact group to discuss the issues and report to us next week and on that basis we take a decision on what further steps are necessary.
R.A. SORENSON (United States of America): I have listened with some fascination to the metaphors used. I always find myself differing from the delegate of Pakistan, who sees the glass half full. Another way of looking at it would be that a distinguished group should meet in an intergovernmental meeting for five days and they pour half a glass out so that only half a glass remains. I agree with the delegate of India that whatever we do with this glass full of liquid we should drink it if we are going to have it full and then I learn from the Ambassador of Venezuela that all the water had gone under the bridge. Anyway, even if we are able to fill this glass up I must inform the Council that it is the view of my government that in revising the Guidelines it was never the intention to negotiate new Guidelines, it was the intention to incorporate into revised Guidelines a consensus that had already been arrived at in other fora. So it is our view that the task is not an extensive reshaping of the existing Guidelines but rather an updating to reflect any new international consensus on the relevant issues specifically in the IDS, WCARRD and areas like that. The United States would not be prepared to support revisions which go beyond this consensus that has already been arrived at in other fora. So in making any revisions we believe that we should adhere to the Secretary's guidance that the Guidelines should be a succinct statement on a major principle involved and not a detailed blueprint or shopping list.
S.P. MUKERJI (India): I want to make it clear that when I suggested that a contact group could be established and report to this Council itself I meant that on the basis of the report and on the basis of whatever consensus has already been reached until today and whatever consensus can be reached until we meet in this session on those points at least this Council should take a decision and only on the remaining balance points where a consensus could not be reached by then ought the same standing committee or another one, or the same committee or another contact group, deliver it. My feeling is that we should not reopen issues on which a consensus has already been reached or can be reached during this session. Otherwise we will be undoing what has been achieved so far. So I support whatever has been suggested by you.
CHAIRMAN: Shall we then proceed with the setting up of a small group? I would like from the chair to make a suggestion of members I would like to participate in the group, which would not be a very large group, but I think there are some deeply interested parties who might like to participate in the contact group - United States, France/EEC, Yugoslavia, Philippines, Colombia, Cameroon, New Zealand and Norway with Professor Islam to help them. They could meet and then give us a report. But if there are countries or groups here who would like to participate in the work of the contact group we would enlarge it, but my feeling is it should not be too large a body if it is to be meaningful.
R.A. SORENSON (United States of America): I very much appreciate your interest in having us participate. I think at least for the time being I would have to reserve on whether we would be able to do that as a matter of principle. If it is the decision of the Council to establish a contact group we would be happy to look at whatever they produce and consider it in the light of the statement that I just made. Whether we would be willing to participate in a group is something that I would have to take advice on because it involves us in negotiation and as a matter of principle we do not feel that we should have a negotiation on this issue at this point.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you for your clarification. We hope very much that you can help because it is only a contact group of the Council. We are not setting up a separate body. We are just requesting a few members of the Council to sit with Professor Islam and the Secretariat to take stock of what has been done and to articulate the issues which are yet to be resolved and then give us a report in the Council next week. The United States delegate has already made the point that their interpretation is updating the guidelines and not a complete revision. We are not asking them to commit themselves to anything except to give time to sit with a group as a member of the Council and try to help us on deciding on the next step which ought to be taken. Are there any other comments?
A. NABA (Japan): If possible my delegation would like to join this small contact group.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your offer. I am happy that someone is willing to give his time. We are very grateful to you.
Let me now read the list: United States of America, subject to the comments made by the delegate because I cannot commit him, he has to commit himself; France, with such support from the EEC representative as may be necessary; Yugoslavia, Philippines, Colombia, Cameroon, Japan, New Zealand and Norway, with Professor Islam serving as your contact point and helping you.
I would request Professor Islam to contact the members to decide on time of meeting, place of meeting and so on, but I hope by next Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest we will have a Report as early as possible, so that the Council can then decide in its wisdom as to what further action is called for.
The Secretary-General informs me that in the case of this meeting, if interpretation is necessary, some kind of coordination will be called for. I would request Professor Islam to work out the logistics, whether a Council meeting room with interpretation facilities is needed or broken English or broken French or whatever is an international language will be used so that one can try to get a consensus.
A. FEQUANT (France): Le Groupe de contact aura besoin d'interprétation.
CHAIRMAN: That means then that there has to be some coordination, in terms of the meeting time, etc. It imposes a certain restriction in terms of facilities. The Secretary-General says that the Drafting Committee will be meeting, but this we will leave to Professor Islam's resources to decide.
The meeting rose at 17.15 hours
La séance est levée à 17 h 15
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.15 horas