Vanich VARIKUL (Thailand): First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr Chairman, on your election as Vice-Chairman. I am very pleased to see you chairing the meeting this morning for the first time.
May I welcome the Report of the Committee on Agriculture at the Eleventh Session, document CL 99/9. I wish to thank those who were involved in producing the report in front of us, and I extend my thanks to Dr Dutia for his presentation of this Agenda Item.
I would now like to make some short comments. First of all, my delegation noted with great concern the decline in FAO-assisted training courses, workshops, expert consultations and other meetings during 1988-89, especially in the Asian and Pacific regions. We hope that FAO will try its best to increase, or at least maintain, its activities in the future biennium.
Secondly, my delegation completely endorses the six priority areas proposed for the medium-term perspectives listed in paragraph 34. With regard to these medium-term perspectives and programme priorities in food and agriculture, the Secretariat could perhaps tell us more about the future financial situation in relation to the objectives.
Concerning the International Conference on Nutrition, my delegation warmly welcomes the collaboration between FAO and WHO. However, this Conference would be more successful, we feel, if the involvement of other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations is solicited.
My delegation supports the rescheduling of the ICN to 1993, if it would benefit the international community as a whole.
Finally, my delegation is very pleased to note that the Programme of Work and Budget for 1992-93 FAO proposes to increase the resources for activities aimed at integrating movements in agriculture and rural development. We hope that in the future these initiatives will continue.
J.A. HARVEY (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom delegation congratulates the Secretariat on the production of this Report CL 99/9, which we feel accurately summarises the discussions and conclusions reached and which we therefore endorse. In particular we applaud the emphasis given by FAO to the key role of rainfed agriculture in raising and sustaining production (paragraph 38): the need for an interdisciplinary approach to achieving sustainability, and the need for people's participation, including resource-poor farmers and women. However, there are a number of points dealt with in the report that we would wish to comment on here.
First, in a time of severe financial constraints, we consider that FAO must go further along the road of prioritization in its programme, concentrating its activities where it has a comparative advantage in relation to other bilateral and multilateral organizations. The need to exploit, where appropriate and feasible, comparative advantage in strategic areas of work was underlined by the Committee in paragraph 31. Whilst recognizing previous decisions by Conference regarding the complementarity of FAO's Regular and Field Programmes, it is nevertheless our view that such comparative advantages is held with FAO's 'normative' functions, for example regional and global information collection, processing and dissemination such as performed by the Global Information and Early Warning System, with regional coordination of programmes which cross political frontiers, for example the screw-worm eradication; and with regional training and policy support.
Second, we welcome the stress the Committee already places on evaluation of project execution to serve as a reference for further improving the development, design, implementation and sustainability of FAO's field programmes. However, with regard to the Technical Cooperation Programme, we noted at COAG that of 160 evaluation studies conducted between 1988 and 1990, only one had concerned a TCP project. It is our view that FAO should consider increasing the amount of evaluation conducted within this programme.
Finally, it was agreed at COAG that my delegation would raise the issue of the continued decline in participation of technical experts at COAG, particularly with reference to the developing countries. Whilst this was noted by the Committee in paragraph 132, it is our opinion that the technical, social and environmental challenges facing agriculture in the next decade are so complex, and the consequences of decisions so far-reaching, that it is vital to increase the level of technical representation, and hence debate. We appreciate that FAO may not be in a position to accept any extra financial burden in achieving greater technical participation by developing countries, and we would therefore propose that those countries in a position to do so investigate ways in which they might assist. For our part, my delegation would be prepared to investigate the possibility of funding a number of technical representatives from the developing countries at the Twelth Session of COAG. We would welcome further discussion on the matter.
Russell MULELE (Zambia): My delegation would like to thank you, Mr Chairman, for according it the opportunity to make a brief intervention on the subject now under discussion. In the same vein, we would like to thank the Assistant Director-General for his brief but very clear introduction to the document concerned last evening.
I would like to begin by stating that Zambia did participate in the deliberations of the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture. As such, we fully associate ourselves with the report of the Committee. We would, however, wish to underline a few points in the report.
We begin by looking at paragraph 9. We join all Member Nations who have expressed concern over the precarious financial position of FAO. Consequently, we fully endorse the appeal contained in paragraph 9 for all Member Nations to pay their assessed contributions and arrears to the Organization in order for it to fulfil its programme commitments.
Under the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for the biennium 1992-93, my delegation welcomes the Special Action Programme on Conservation and Rehabilitation of African Lands, as contained in paragraph 56. We consider that this Programme to be a very important one, especially in the light of the fact that in Africa we are struggling to sustain agricultural development. We therefore appeal for more funds to be allocated to this sub-programme.
My delegation has no difficulty in endorsing paragraph 104 regarding the proposed postponement of the International Conference on Nutrition by FAO and WHO to 1993. We believe this is necessary to allow sufficient time for making adequate preparations. In the case of Zambia, we have already set in motion the preparatory process for this Conference. A focal point has already been established to coordinate the necessary arrangements.
We welcome the recommendation in paragraph 114 calling for increased attention and activities aimed at strengthening national capabilities in developing countries, for the conservation and utilization of animal genetic resources. Accordingly, we support the proposed activities which are necessary for initiating the programme.
With respect to paragraph 132, my delegation fully shares the concerns as noted by the Committee over the continued decline in participation of technical experts, especially from developing countries, in the deliberations of technical committees, such as the COAG. We would like to suggest - and it is only a suggestion - that FAO should consider paying for the participation of one expert delegate from each Member Nation. We are, however, aware of the financial strain this proposal would bring on FAO's precarious budget, not to mention the financial implications to Member Nations. Nonetheless we are making this proposal in view of the importance and necessity of attendance and participation by all experts from Member Nations. Given the importance of this matter, this Council may consider forwarding such a proposal to the Conference.
Lastly, but not the least, we wish to fully endorse the COAG report.
Sra. Hilda GABARDINI (Argentina): Hemos leído el informe del ll° periodo de sesiones del Comité de Agricultura y dado que nuestra delegación participó activamente en esta última reunión del COAG, quisiéramos señalar brevemente los aspectos a los cuales el Consejo debería, en nuestra opinión, prestarle toda su atención.
En primer lugar, a juicio de nuestra delegación, es de fundamental importancia destacar el papel dinamizador que tienen los proyectos regionales y subregionales que fomenten la CTPD y CEPD como respuesta a problemas comunes de varios países. Esto fue bien recogido por el informe y consta en el párr. 24, en donde además se hace referenda a la necesidad de asistencia financiera para el establecimiento de un centro regional de capacitación en tecnología de la carne y control de la calidad que hemos impulsado junto con varios países de nuestra región. Esperamos que la Organización junto con los países donantes apoyen esta iniciativa.
En cuanto a los Programas de Campo, hacemos nuestro el párr. 27 en donde se menciona la necesidad de impulsar aquellas medidas tendientes a promover la ejecución nacional.
En otro orden de cosas y a pesar de los continuos llamamientos hechos al respecto, una vez más nuestra delegación debe deplorar que las politicas de subsidios a la producción y comercio agrícola aplicados por gran parte de los países industrializados aún no se hayan modificado. Los párrafos 31 y 41 de este informe nos alertan sobre el entorno perjudicial para el desarrollo que estas politicas traen consigo.
Nuestro país está sufriendo en este momento las graves consecuencias emanadas de las ventas de 100 000 toneladas de carne y 700 000 toneladas de trigo, a precios subsidiados hechas a uno de nuestros tradicionales clientes, que fueron efectuadas sin atenderse nuestros insistentes reclamos.
Con estos dos ejemplos queremos hacer evidente que a pesar de las conclusiones de ambos párrafos, nada ha cambiado.
Destacamos el contenido de los párrafos 33 y 36 e insistimos en que el acceso a los alimentos de los sectores pobres requiere la puesta en marcha de políticas nacionales e internacionales que promuevan el crecimiento con equidad. En este sentido, también apoyamos la última parte del párr. 36 en donde se afirma que debe fortalecerse el concepto de complementación de la agricultura clásica con actividades afines y no directamente vinculadas que posibiliten el aumento de los ingresos y de esa manera se evite el tan negativo efecto de la emigración campo-ciudad.
Respecto al papel clave de la FAO en relación con el análisis de politicas y a la necesidad de mejorar el marco general para la planificación, coincidimos con la primera parte del párr. 35 y con el 95 y proponemos que la FAO intensifique el diálogo con las instituciones de Bretton Woods destinado a que el diseno de los programas de ajuste estructural se realice sin comprometer el crecimiento de las economías de los países en desarrollo.
En relación al punto 2.1.1 sobre los recursos naturales, de este informe, consideramos que la FAO no debería dirigir prioritariamente sus actividades al medio ambiente si éstas no poseen un alto contenido destinado al desarrollo y propiciamos la creación de un programa especial de aceión para que con fondos extrapresupuestarios se financie el componente ambientalista de cada programa.
En cuanto a la próxima Conferencia Internacional sobre Nutrición, nuestra delegación coincide con las expresiones del párr. 101 referidas a la necesidad de que la FAO y los países donantes brinden su asistencia para permitir la efectiva participación de los expertos de los países en desarrollo y en la preparación de los informes nacionales.
La delegación argentina coincide y destaca el párr. 108 de este informe. Consideramos que la Organización debería mantener una activa participación en el desarrollo de un instrumento jurídico sobre biodiversidad, de manera de balancear los aspectos de conservatión con los de desarrollo.
Por último, quisiéramos señalar a la atención del Consejo la preocupante situación planteada en el párr. 132 y de la cual nosotros hemos sido testigos. Creemos que debe analizarse detenidamente la posibilidad planteada por varios países para que con el presupuesto ordinario de la FAO se costeen los viajes de los expertos de los países en desarrollo para asistir a las reuniones de los Comités Técnicos, a la luz del bajo nivel técnico presente en esta ultima reunión del Comité de Agricultura.
John McGOWAN (Canada): The Canadian Delegation attending the COAG Meeting in April was very pleased with the constructive dialogue at that meeting. We support the conclusions and recommendations outlined in the COAG Report and appreciate the way in which these are highlighted in the introduction to the document. We trust that this will be a regular feature in the future.
The important technical and substantive items were: plant and animal genetic resources, biodiversity, improvement of food productivity, information gathering and analysis systems, pest eradication programmes,
food standards, review of field programmes, the International Conference on Nutrition and the role of women in agriculture. Most of these items featured prominently in the comments of delegates during the review of the medium-term perspectives document.
The presentation of medium-term perspectives for review by COAG is an important element in the development of a medium-term plan. Canada commends the Secretariat for following up on this initiative. We appreciate the longer-term outlook and broad parameters which should guide the FAO through a major part of the 1990s. In this regard, we see the broad challenges as being: food security, poverty alleviation, trade harmonization, sustainable agriculture and rural development. These all relate in one way or another to the achievement of a more sustainable use of our most basic resources, the soil and water that supports all forms of life.
The desire for greater achievement in this area is reflected in the six priority cross-sectoral tasks proposed for the medium-term as outlined in paragraph 34 of the report. Canada strongly emphasizes the need for promoting food productivity in an environment of agricultural sustainability and enhanced rural development. We strongly support the recommendation that increased attention be given to environmental monitoring, including the development of an effective environmental agriculturally-related accounting system and to environmental training programmes. The frequent use of the word "sustainable" or "sustainability" in COAG documents and in those before this Council is tangible evidence of the growing importance of a critical approach to a more viable use of the world's resources. We are very interested in seeing how it will actually translate into meaningful and effective programming in the FAO's everyday work. We were pleased with the increased emphasis placed on environment and sustainable development in FAO programmes and believe this to be a positive response to the resolution adopted at the last Conference.
Another area of considerable importance is the role of women in agricultural and rural development, which was a major item at COAG. We will refrain from repeating what our Delegation said at that meeting and further discussion of the report itself. However, we would like to draw the Council's attention to the fact that the WID paper at COAG was the last of the papers on the integration of women in development to be prepared for the four technical committees.
My Delegation believes the review of the WID in the technical committees has been a useful process to draw attention to a subject of critical importance to agriculture and rural development.
My Delegation would like to see continued attention to women in development in the technical committees, both as occasional specific WID items and as a systematic feature of all papers presented by the technical committees.
The work done to date in the technical committees must be seen in the context of the overall context of the Organization's plan of action for the integration of women in development. We look forward to a full discussion on the progress achieved on that plan of action at the November Conference.
Finally, the Canadian Delegation wishes to underline the key role of COAG as a technical committee examining and providing direction relative to FAO's agricultural programme. In this regard, Canada supports all efforts to increase the participation of technical experts in such committees.
Ni HONGXING (China) (Original language Chinese): Before I speak on the subject, please allow me to thank the Secretariat on behalf of the Chinese Delegation for having prepared the document. This is a substantial, yet concise, report. The Chinese Delegation has spoken and will speak on certain issues contained in that report in relation to the relevant agenda items, so here I would like to offer only three comments.
First, with respect to the implementation of the programme of work 1988-90, we noted that despite the difficult financial situation, FAO has exerted the greatest efforts to ensure the maximum implementation of the programme of work adopted by the Conference. Furthermore, efficiency has been improved in the planning and implementation of intersectoral activities. In this connection, the Chinese Delegation would like to express its appreciation. However, we have also noted that the difficult financial situation has left a great number of vacancies unfilled in the Organization which has had a negative impact on many activities, in particular on training. This has reduced FAO's capacity in providing services and technical assistance to member states. This is further cause for our concern.
Second, concerning the review of the field programme for 1988-90, the Chinese Delegation has repeatedly stressed at relevant meetings that the regular programme and the field programme compliment each other, and neither can replace the other. This is where the vitality of FAO lies. Regrettably, recent years have witnessed a downward trend in FAO's field programme. We hope that the field programme will be maintained at a certain scale so as to allow the Organization to fully demonstrate its advantages.
Third, with respect to the medium-term agricultural development, the strategy, the monitoring and analysis of the constantly changing economic situation and restraining factors as well as the formulation of a rational medium-term agricultural development strategy are crucial for setting the direction of our efforts in the field of food and agriculture for identifying programme priorities and for accelerating the world agricultural development in general. However, we would like to stress that any development strategy must have adequate resources, material support and a practical plan of action. In view of the importance of agricultural development for the developing countries and the difficulties confronting them, such as increasingly heavy debt burdens, deterioration of the terms of trade, reduction of external assistance, etc., the medium-term strategy must coordinate and strengthen the developmental efforts in these countries. We hope that the FAO medium-term strategy will give priority to the development of human resources, the reversal of the worsening trend in international trade, reinforcing agricultural research and extension, as well as the development of agriculture.
Winston RUDDER (Trinidad and Tobago): Permit me this brief intervention on this item in the name of the 13-member CARICOM states of the Latin American and Caribbean region. First of all, may I thank the Secretariat for a very profound document which exposes the issues and the discussions of COAG fully. May I secondly thank my colleague and neighbour to the right, the distinguished delegate of the United Kingdom, for the generous proposed offer in respect of facilitating developing countries' attending more fully and participating more tangibly in the decisions of COAG. We hope that FAO will take the offer very seriously.
Unfolding global events and trends often provide moments of pause for reflection and retrospection. This is no less so in matters related to global agricultural development and, in particular, issues of food and agricultural production in developing countries. Indeed, the debate over the past two days on the current world food situation, the report of the CFS and the financial situation of FAO did much to highlight this. My Delegation recognizes that much has been done in the area of development assistance, both bilaterally and multilaterally, over the past decades. We are equally convinced, however, on the basis of the evidence adduced, that much yet remains to be done. In this regard, we underscore the views expressed by several Delegations that in the area of food and agricultural development, the mission of FAO remains as yet unfulfilled and the agenda for action remains crowded.
It is therefore with some regret that in this brief retrospective and prospective, without wishing to be prophets of doom or gloom, we deem it necessary to temper hope and expectation with reality and pragmatism.
Paragraphs 6-9 of the document under consideration review the 1988-90 programme of work and the field programme. The commentary is replete with observations on the adverse impact of the financial situation of FAO on several aspects of the Organization's activities, inter alia, full implementation of the work programme, paragraph 9; decline in training initiatives, paragraph 11; the issue of vacant posts, paragraph 12; the low level of TCP, paragraphs 13 and 21. The ultimate impact of these, of course, is the reduced capacity and capability of FAO to package and deliver the critical mass of initiatives required to assist developing countries in loosening the many and varied constraints on agricultural development. On these we are all agreed. More particularly affected are the resource-poor small states for which FAO assistance is a crucial development input.
My delegation fully endorses the points made at paragraphs 19-20 with respect to the complementarity of the regular and field programmes. We know and appreciate the value of technical assistance, and in this regard attest to the continuing need for FAO support in the transfer of technology and enhancement of our capability to develop our food, agricultural and rural sectors.
Paragraphs 30-41 constitute the prospective of FAO 1992-97.
We hold the view that in the discharge of its mission the relevant strategy of FAO must be the empowerment of nation states so that they become more self-reliant. This focus is appropriate in light of the reforms being
undertaken in several countries under the rubric of structural adjustment. Where FAO has a particular mandate in our view is to help us manage the process of transition while the necessary reforms are allowed to evolve in a manner that does not cause excessive dislocation of rural people and agricultural sectors.
Targeting the least-developed countries for special attention makes good sense. However, we must forewarn that rigidity and inflexibility ought not to so attend our approaches as to inhibit preventive action with middle-level developing countries, which, without timely and appropriate interventions and assistance, may inexorably tread the path toward the ranks of the LDCs. Prevention is better than cure and is often cheaper, too.
We endorse the focus on rainfed agriculture and on extension research and training as elements important in the development of agriculture.
We support the six priority cross-sectoral tasks for the medium-term as identified in paragraph 34. We see them as an intrinsic aspect of the strategy towards building self-reliance in the developing countries. Given the focus on human resource development and institutional strengthening, we have no doubt that they will contribute towards economic growth, poverty alleviation and to the sustainability of agricultural production in our countries.
It is precisely at this juncture that we face a dilemma, the resolution of which to our way of thinking is critical to the realization of the goals we set. And that is, having regard to the experiences of the recent past in respect of non-achievement of planned targets consequent on the uncertainty of payment of assessed contributions, what may be the reasonable, as distinct from the legitimate, expectations of Member States that this Organization with its defined mission and agreed strategy will be enabled to achieve the objectives set for the medium term and launch us safely, confidently equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.
Ms. Astrid BERGQUIST (Sweden): On this agenda item again I have the privilege to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
I can promise to be brief, since most of the matters addressed by COAG will be discussed under separate agenda items at this Council session. The Nordic countries would, however, like to draw attention to the following parts of the report from the 11th Session of COAG which we find particularly important.
COAG considered Medium-term Perspectives and Programme Priorities in Food and Agriculture for the period 1992-97. The Nordic countries welcomed this document as a first and important step in the process of preparing FAO's Medium-term Plan. We have for a long time been advocating medium-term planning as an important instrument to ensure a better priority setting in FAO's work. We thus look forward to discussing these issues in a fuller context at the Conference Session in November.
A document concerning integration of women in agriculture and rural development was presented to the COAG session. The Nordic countries appreciated the attention being given to this topic and the increasing recognition of women's crucial contributions to agriculture and rural development. In fact, we have been advocating this over the years since the middle of the 1970s. Our main concern is how FAO is going to implement the strategy introduced in the document. We look forward to receiving a progress report on the implementation of the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development, which is to be submitted to the Conference.
Finally, like the other technical committees of FAO, COAG had on its agenda a review of the field programmes within its area of competence for 1988-1990. The Nordic countries plan to analyze and assess as a whole the different reviews of the field programmes and revert to this matter during the Conference.
Peter G. FRANKLIN (Australia): My delegation participated actively in the work of the Committee on Agriculture and our views are adequately represented in the report of the meeting. As a consequence, I can be brief in my intervention and will focus solely on those few issues which we feel warrant special attention at this time.
The first relates to the documentation provided for consideration by COAG. Unfortunately, many were received too late to enable us to give the detailed consideration which they deserve. However we were pleased to see a considerable improvement in the quality of the documents when they were finally received. We look forward to a continuation of this trend, and in particular to greater emphasis on the analytical content. We feel that this is particularly important in those documents reporting on the implementation of the work programme. If future COAGs are to be able to make meaningful assessments about the effectiveness and impact of FAO's programmes, these reports will need to focus more on reporting the impact and less on describing activities being carried out.
We would also wish to see some more evaluation of the effectiveness and contributions of Technical Cooperation Programmes, and support the views of the United Kingdom expressed today on this matter.
The Eleventh Session of COAG reviewed the Medium-Term Perspectives and Programme Priorities in food and agriculture for 1992-1997. We found this a very useful process and one which will be vital if FAO's scarce resources are to be directed and utilized to the best effect. We look forward to this item becoming a regular feature on COAG's agenda and to future medium-term plans having a sharper focus on the six priority areas.
Finally, I would wish to highlight the work of FAO in the following areas:
(1) the provision of timely and well-considered policy advice;
(2) providing support to national and international efforts to liberalize trade in agricultural products; (3) a continuation of its valuable work through the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission on GATT Related Activities.
It is our view that it is in these areas where FAO is particularly well placed to make a substantive contribution to creating an environment more conducive to achieving our shared objective of sustainable growth with equity.
Sra. Mercedes FEKKEN GOMEZ (Venezuela): Vamos a comenzar por agradecer este documento, y queremos contribuir a la mejora de la discusión no insistiendo en muchos puntos que ya han sido debidamente tocados en este debate previo. Sí querríamos insistir, porque nos parece que es esencial, en el contenido del párrafo 34, con relación a esas tareas prioritarias intersectoriales que están propuestas para los próximos años. Consideramos que ellas concretan la labor que ya viene haciendo la FAO y auguramos que no solamente se mejoren los servicios de apoyo a los pequeños agricultores, sino que se amplie efectivamente la participación popular. Creo que esto es esencial para los países en vías de desarrollo que tienen grandes masas de campesinos o pequefios agricultores pobres, que, si no rinden un trabajo productivo en la medida de sus necesidades, es por falta de capacitación.
En este sentido, quisiéramos apoyar todo lo relativo a este programa que se perfila en el documento, acercade los problemas relaclonados con la agricultura en su mejoramiento. Sabemos perfectamente bien por qué la FAO no desarrolla a satisfacción plena de los países necesitados su trabajo de cooperación técnica y su programa de campo; programa de campo que, para nosotros, es la actividad esencial y la contribución más efectiva para los países en vías de desarrollo y, sobre todo, para la población de pequeños agricultores pobres. Porque este programa de campo, que lleva al técnico de la FAO directamente al contacto in situ con los problemas inmediatos de los agricultores en cada una de sus áreas, es el que puede satisfacer de manera más efectiva las necesidades. Así lo revela el párrafo 38, en que se da cuenta de que no es necesario transformar la agricultura tecnificándola al extremo.
La satisfacción de las necesidades fundamentals de alimentos y de nutrición para combatir la pobreza y el hambre no se van a dar con las grandes empresas agrícolas. Si en cada uno de nuestros países los campesinos pobres pudieran tener el auxilio de un programa de asistencia técnica de nivel medio y, más que medio, de un nivel elemental con el que ellos pudieran ser capaces de cultivar sus productos autóctonos, podrían cubrir sus necesidades de alimentación, sin llegar al límite del hambre. Esto lo estamos viendo en cualquiera de nuestros países de América Latina y necesariamente en Africa. Son países que tienen sus masas campesinas convertidas en jornaleros o en masas de trabajadores a salario para grandes empresas, y entonces sus cultivos tradicionales, que eran los que daban de comer, no solamente a ellos, si no a la población, porque era la producción alimenticia que se tenía, han sido descuidados y abandonados. Muchos de ellos han desaparecido hasta del uso. Entonces, para recuperar esta situación, provocar por medio de este trabajo de campo, y de este programa de cooperación técnica la posibilidad de que estas masas medianas y pobres puedan ser productoras de sus alimentos, no es necesario que tengamos ni siquiera un nivel de excedentes para comenzar: con que satisfagan las necesidades, sería suficiente. Pero para ello es necesario que ellos sean asistidos porque, por desuso, las nuevas generaciones de esos campesinos han sido acostumbradas a alimentarse principalmente por esta ayuda alimentaria que les lleva alimentos exóticos y que ellos se han acostumbrado a comer.
Entonces, es necesario recuperar la producción de estos productos autóctonos que son fundamentalmente alimenticios y que ban sido tradlclonalmente los que ban mantenido a las masas de estos países, tanto en Africa como en América Latina, así como en el área del Caribe. Este sería, pues, un punto esencial: la cooperación técnica unida al trabajo de campo, y ya se ban lamentado otros oradores de que ha ido disminuyendo - por razones que todos conocemos y debido a la penuria de la FAO -, el énfasis que ponía en este trabajo de campo. Si nosotros pudiéramos recuperar esto y pudiéramos hacer que la FAO atendiera la capacitación de estos nuevos agricultores, y sabemos que la FAO ha estado preocupada por esto, ya que uno de sus temas fundamentals hace tres años fue los pequeños agricultores y después la juventud rural; sabemos que es preocupación de la FAO; pero queremos insistir y respaldar esta preocupación. Sin olvidar que en esa juventud y en ese campesinado hay una gran mayoría de mujeres a las cuales no podemos olvidar cuando se trata de programas de capacitación de la FAO o programas de asistencia de la FAO.
Queríamos insistir en estos puntos, señor Presidente, porque aunque parezca Hover sobre mojado, como dicen los campesinos en mi tierra, no está de más recordarlo. El otro punto que queríamos tratar es el del apoyo que vamos a dar a la propuesta y a la oferta del Reino Unido, que consideramos muy importante y que, ojalá, la FAO esté dispuesta de inmediato a aprovecharla para el bien de todos.
Finalmente, señor Presidente, insistimos en que en esta cooperación técnica se relacione mucho la atención a la educación de la mujer, porque ésta es, prácticamente por tradición, abandonada en la mayoría de los países en vías de desarrollo - y no estoy tratando de ofender a los hombres que están presentes en las delegaciones -; pero, efectivamente, por tradición nuestra sociedad deja a la mujer siempre de lado.
No creo que deba usar más tiempo refiriéndome a los asuntos que ya han sido tratados, pero quiero poner énfasis en estos cuatro puntos que me parecen indispensables y que no está de más nunca insistir en ello.
Juan NUIRY SANCHEZ (Cuba): Independientemente de la importancia de este tema de por sí amplio, pero con el propósito de facilitarle su conducción, señor Presidente, referente a los propósitos expresados al final de la sesión de ayer por el Embajador Saintraint sobre la planificación y el tiempo, la delegación de Cuba será breve y limitará su intervención únicamente a una preocupación, preocupación sobre la cual ya me ha ayudado la anterior intervención argentina.
Señor Presidente, en la última reunión del período de sesiones del COAG, y recogido en su informe, en su párrafo 132, aparece en el documento 99/9, en la página 24, lo siguiente: "El Comité observó, con especial referencia a los países en desarrollo, el continuo descenso de la participación de expertos técnicos, por ejemplo el COAG, y consideró que este tema deberia ser planteado por los Estados Miembros en los foros competentes".
Tal fue así, señor Presidente, que notamos, y nuestra delegación lo planteó, que a pesar de los esfuerzos que se realizaron por todas las partes, el documento final adoleció de los requerimientos técnicos que hubiera podido tener si hubiera contado con una participación mayor de expertos, fundamentalmente de algunos países esenciales. Aunque el tema está expresado en el documento 99/9, página 9, párrafo 45, sale de nuevo a relucir la crisis financiera de la FAO y derivada de ésta las consecuencias de sus reducciones sustanciales pues, prácticamente, nuestros países cada dia más escuálidos y con menos liquidez y la FAO tampoco debido a estas reducciones, podrían contraer esos gastos, ya que sin recursos, señor Presidente, no podemos tener ni capacitación, ni investigación y divulgación, lograr reforzamientos de nuestras oficinas regionales ni verdaderos programas de campo, ni asistencia técnica ni siquiera el programa de la integración de la mujer en el desarrollo, como son los propósitos y proyecciones de la FAO.
En resumen, señor Presidente, el poder contar con especialistas en Comités de tanta importancia como el COAG y el COFI, por ejemplo, bajando los niveles técnicos requeridos. Sólo como una preocupación, y recogiendo el mandato citado, nuestra delegación hace referencia y lo planteamos por su importancia en este período de sesiones con la esperanza de una búsqueda de soluciones.
Natigor SIAGIAN (Indonesia): Let me start my intervention by expressing our thanks and appreciation to the Committee on Agriculture for the substantive report of its Eleventh Session, presented under document CL 99/9.
My delegation welcomes most warmly the strengthening of cooperative arrangements between FAO and other international agencies in this sector activities, and expresses a hope that this cooperation could help FAO in optimizing the utilization of limited resources and avoiding unnecessary duplication. With regard to paragraph 11 of the report, my delegation is of the view that necessary efforts should be undertaken in order to prevent the downward trend of the implementation of FAO's workshops, training courses etc.
We note with concern the down-trend of the number of training courses as well as the number of participants from developing countries on COAG's workshops organized by FAO during the previous biennia. We note with concern that the number of training activities, as well as participants of those organized by RAPA in the previous biennia, had also declined. We support the Committee's views on the importance of FAO maintaining and increasing the regional trainings and direct support and consultancies.
With regard to paragraph 25 of the report, my delegation could go along with the views of the Committee regarding the need for acceleration of the process on national execution following with Resolution 44/211 of the UN General Assembly and the UNDP Governing Council Decision 9/21.
In this regard, we urge FAO to contact member countries soonest for necessary preparation in order to assume the smooth implementation of the aforesaid UN resolution.
We are pleased to note that the increasing use of national professionals in UN projects in their own country, as well as of professionals from developing countries for implementation and management of agricultural projects, is increased. My delegation fully supports any possible action that could be undertaken by FAO and/or others for strengthening this practice.
With regard to the views expressed by COAG on Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1992-1993, my delegation wishes to reserve its comments until the debate on this matter under agenda Item 19.
However, we note with concern that the proposed allocation of budget for the major programme - Agriculture for 1992-1993 - is US$1 million less than the allocated budget of this current biennium. We regret the reduction in the resources allocated to the livestock programme in view of this sector's significant role contribution to rural development, especially its role in enhancing food nutrition as well as increasing the income of the rural farmers. Indonesia therefore again expresses their strong request that the FAO Secretariat take any possible efforts to strengthening the programme and budget for this livestock sector.
On ICN, the Indonesian delegation supports the Committee's views as stated in paragraphs 85-89 of the report. We agree that efforts be made by FAO to provide assistance for the formulation of national policies to improve nutritional status and access to food, and stresses the vital linkage of these activities with the preparations for the ICN.
Further comments on ICN will be conveyed at the debate on this matter under agenda Item 14.
With regard to the matter on "Biodiversity - Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture" my delegation takes note of paragraph 108 of the report which clearly expresses that "the Committee in general", - I repeat "the Committee in general" - recommended that steps should be taken for FAO and UNEP to ensure a closer cooperation on matters covered by UNCED that fall under the mandate of both organizations, in particular with respect to a legal instrument on biodiversity. My delegation could go along with this paragraph with the understanding that all the works should be carried out in line with the decisions of UN General Assembly on this matter which requested all UN bodies to actively participate in the UNCED preparation under the coordination, guidance and supervision of the UNCED preparatory committee.
My delegation joins the Committee on Agriculture in welcoming the increased attention and activities aimed at strengthening national capabilities in developing countries for the conservation and utilization of animal genetic resources.
My delegation takes note of paragraph 115 of the report and expresses the hope that an FAO expert consultation be convened in the earliest possible time, so as an in-depth consideration could be taken with regard to the desirability of establishing a separate forum for animal genetic resources.
My delegation considers with great attention the Committee's recommendation regarding activities on the Integration of Women in Agriculture and Rural Development. We support the Committee's recommendation as stated in paragraphs 121 and 122 of the report. We request FAO to take any possible actions in order to intensify its efforts to assist member countries to develop and implement the policy and plans of action on women in development. We also wish to join the Committee in urging donors to consider providing extra-budgetary resources for this purpose.
With reference to paragraph 132, my delegation wishes to suggest that the FAO Secretariat be requested to look into this matter and report to the Council if any possible way can be found to assist Members, especially in developing countries, in enabling experts to participate fully and actively in the deliberations of all the FAO technical committees.
Gerhard LIEBER (Germany): I promise 1 will be brief. My delegation is convinced that on the whole, COAG did much successful work at its Eleventh Session. We thank everybody concerned, and agree fully with the report. On this occasion, I would especially like to thank Dr Dutia and Prof. de Haen and their staff for the careful preparation and implementation of the meeting.
We believe that one of the reasons for the successful work of this Committee was that it was dealing with FAO policies and a review of the work done rather than with technical details. The mandates assigned to the Committee by the Twenty-fifth Session of the FAO Conference, mainly as a result of the 1988-89 review and reform process, have undoubtedly increased the value of the Committee's work. The discussions on the Programme of Work and Budget for 1992-93, as well as the medium-term perspectives up to 1997, were especially informative and interesting for my delegation. They allowed the most welcome exchange of ideas on future priorities.
As far as the UNCED preparation process is concerned and the role of FAO in this process, my delegation, with reference to paragraph 108 of the report, agrees very much with what has just been said by the Indonesian delegation.
To conclude, let me state that it has been a special pleasure for my delegation, and for me personally, to take part in the COAG session under the able as well as charming leadership of our colleague Mónica Deregibus of Argentina.
Pascal BRIODIN (France): Je ne reviendrai pas dans le détail sur les interventions que ma délégation a eu l'occasion de faire au cours de la récente session du Comité de l'agriculture.
Les points qui y ont fait l'objet de débats étant pour la plupart repris au cours de cette réunion du Conseil, je concentrerai mes propos sur deux questions majeures à notre sens: le moyen terme d'une part, et les relations entre programme ordinaire et programme de terrain, d'autre part.
Pour ce qui est du Plan-Glissant à moyen terme, ma délégation a déjà eu l'occasion de remercier le Secrétariat de l'intéressant travail de réflexion qu'il a fourni à l'occasion de la préparation du document intitulé "Perspectives à moyen terme".
Cette capacité de notre Organisation à inscrire ses actions dans la durée devrait faciliter la définition de priorités claires et rénover le cadre de ses activités.
Je tiens à rappeler l'attachement particulier de ma délégation à quelquesuns des thèmes qui s'intègrent aux trois domaines d'action principaux traditionnels de la FAO que sont: l'information et la formation, les conseils en matière de politique agricole et l'assistance technique.
Ces thèmes prioritaires pour ma délégation, ces axes majeurs de l'action de notre Organisation sont les suivants; ils seront au nombre de six:
- fourniture d'information sur l'agriculture, l'alimentation, la forêt et les pêches mais aussi appui à la meilleure valorisation de ces informations;
- formation des cadres de l'agriculture;
- identification et promotion de systèmes agricoles viables, c'est-à-dire respectueux de l'environnement mais aussi suffisamment productifs;
- appui à la formulation des politiques nationales, en privilégiant une approche instrumentale;
- prise en charge des programmes de développement agricole et forestier par les bénéficiaires directs et en particulier souci d'une meilleure prise en compte des besoins des producteurs dans la formulation des projets;
- prise en compte des aspects relatifs à l'environnement et à la nutrition au sein des programmes de l'Organisation. De ce point de vue, il s'agit moins de créer des programmes spécif iques que d'intégrer les préoccupations de l'Organisation relatives à l'environnement et à la nutrition au sein des projets de l'Organisation et en particulier des projets de terrain, quel qu'en soit le secteur d'intervention.
Je n'en terminerai pas sans me féliciter de ce que la lutte contre la pauvreté soit reconnue par tous comme l'objectif central de notre Organisation et je crois utile de rappeler à ce propos, non seulement les conclusions de la deuxième Conférence des Nations Unies sur les PMA, mais également la résolution prise par notre Conseil en novembre, au terme desquelles les PMA devront être les premiers bénéficiaires des activités de notre Organisation.
Le deuxième point que je voudrais traiter, c'est celui des relations entre programme ordinaire et programme de terrain.
Ma délégation a déjà eu l'occasion de dire qu'elle considérait comme essentiel le maintien d'un équilibre entre le programme ordinaire et le programme de terrain de l'Organisation, deux programmes dont beaucoup d'entre nous soulignent la complémentarité.
Les conditions de cet équilibre méritent de notre part un examen approfondi. Je souhaite en particulier attirer l'attention des délégués sur deux points: d'une part, les deux programmes n'ont ni la même nature ni les mêmes objectifs mais ils font l'un et l'autre largement appel à une même catégorie de moyens: la capacité d'expertise de la FAO.
Or, si l'on se place au point devue des moyens dont dispose la FAO pour faire face aux activités de son programme ordinaire, force est de reconnaître qu'à budget constant, ces moyens ne peuvent que décroître. Pour autant, les contributions volontaires au Programme de terrain ne sauraient être considérées comme venant compenser les réductions du Programme ordinaire résultant des difficultés financières de l'Organisation.
Il n'est donc au total pas facile dans ces conditions de dire si l'équilibre actuel est proche ou non de l'optimum que l'on peut souhaiter pour satisfaire au mieux l'ensemble des besoins des Etats Membres avec les moyens dont dispose l'Organisation.
D'autre part, alors qu'il est de l'intérêt des pays bénéficiaires que la FAO poursuive ses projets de terrain, la chute brutale des projets du Programme de coopération technique, la baisse des projets du PNUD, le tassement des fonds fiduciaires sont des indices très préoccupants et je me demande quelles seront les évolutions dans les années à venir.
Nous avons donc le triple souci d'une bonne utilisation de l'expertise technique indéniable de la FAO en matière d'agriculture, de pêche et de forêt, d'une cohérence entre programme ordinaire et programme de terrain, et de l'utilisation la plus rationnelle des moyens de notre Organisation.
Adel EL-SARKI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): I would like to comment on the document under discussion. My delegation took part in the Eleventh Session of COAG. We endorse the recommendations issued by this meeting, and therefore wish to welcome what is referred to in paragraph 9, that is to say, we urge all Member countries to meet their financial obligations in a timely manner to ensure implementation of the programme. We support paragraph 11 - the promotion and participation of women in training activities, given the important role of women in the achievement of agricultural production and rural development in general.
My delegation examined the Programme of Work and Budget for the period 1992-93 and we wish to express our support for what is referred to in paragraph 56, the special action programme on conservation and rehabilitation of African lands. We wish to support the efforts made towards the eradication of the screwworm in the Northern part of Africa. We support the activities mentioned in paragraph 68 in addition to paragraphs 76 and 77 concerning the extension in implementation of remote sensing techniques of satellites whereby the environment would be monitored, in addition to the increase in the resources allocated to the protection of the environment.
My delegation welcomes the increase in resources for the Special Programme 2.1.4 relating to the promotion of research and technology, given the importance of the programme in adapting the methodology to the conditions prevailing in different countries, in addition to the fact that this programme is highly important for the achievement of sustainable agricultural production and development for the 1990s and the 21st century. We wish to put on record our belief in the importance of this type of research in achieving food security.
During the Sixteenth Session of the World Food Council, my delegation confirmed and reiterated the importance of the second green revolution which would be based on scientific grounds. We also endorse the consultations held in Cairo early in 1990.
Benjamin CASTELLO (Angola): Nous seront très brefs dans notre intervention puisque ce que nous avions l' intention de dire a été bièn dit par lès orateurs qui nous ont précédés.
De toutes façons, nous voudrions réitérer que notre délégation attache une très grande importance à ce point de l'ordre du jour qui, très récemment, lors de la session du COAG, a suscité de profondes discussions parmi les participants.
Comme nous l'avons indiqué à ce moment-là, on a pu constater que, malgré les répercussions négatives sur l'exécution des programmes de terrain dues aux difficultés d'ordre financier, bon nombre des tâches prévues ont connù leur accomplissement. C'est pour cette raison que nous réitérons nos felicitations à l'Organisation et espérons que, dans un élan de solidarité internationale, on puisse dépasser au plus tôt cet obstacle.
Nous voulons une fois encore saisir cette occasion pour rappeler l'importance que nous attribuons à l'insertion de la femme rurale dans le contexte du développement global de nos pays à travers des actions qui visent son autopromotion. Dans ce sens, notre Organisation est appelée à jouer un rôle tout à fait prépondérant.
Enfin, nous voulons qu'il soit bien clair que notre pays soutient tous Iès efforts de la FAO qui visent à un développement durable, à la conservation de l'environnement et à la lutte multidisciplinaire contre la malnutrition et la pauvreté.
E. Wayne DENNEY (United States of America): The United States endorses the COAG Report. Discussions during COAG gave members a unique opportunity to review programme priorities, both past and future, and to share views on a number of important issues.
The United States would like to highlight some of points made during COAG to which we attach greatest importance. The 1988-90 programme was highlighted in a more results-oriented fashion than in previous programme reviews. We look for continued analytical improvements and more impact assessments in future reviews. Increased collaboration with international research centres is welcomed.
Since the Summary Programme of Work and Budget will be discussed at some length during this Council Session, there is little reason to dwell on it here. During COAG, we generally supported the programme priorities being proposed; we questioned the amount of increase proposed for TCP; and we supported the Director-General's no-growth budget proposal.
The initial review of the Field Programme was very successful. As with any new initiative, improvements will come with experience. Field programmes must be designed, in our view, to complement the Regular Programme, not vice versa. The United States supports having more evaluations as an integral component of project development. We look forward to seeing more TCP evaluations in future Field Programme reviews. Greater selectivity in field projects will continue to be necessary, especially when financial resources are limited.
The discussion on medium-term perspectives enabled members to suggest future programme priorities for the Organization. While the priority areas may have lacked specificity and did not relate to the 1992-93 Summary Programme of Work and Budget as much as might have been desired, it was nevertheless a thoughtful exercise that will assist the Secretariat in finalizing the Medium-Term Plan.
The report of COAG noted the suggestion of many members with regard to the postponement of the International Conference on Nutrition for at least six months. We continue to support postponment, and look forward to a discussion of the issue under agenda item 14.
The discussion on biodiversity and genetic resources comprised several issues upon which opinions varied. We support a strengthened role for FAO in preparing for a convention on biodiversity, but not a leading role. We do not support widening the mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, but favour the exploration of an expert panel of putting a similar mechanism in place on animal genetic resources. The United States would like to participate in such an expert panel, and suggests that it be convened prior to the 1992 UNCED meeting.
The discussion on Women in Development was useful, covering a broad number of issues. We look forward to seeing how these issues will be integrated into existing programmes.
Finally, we agree with others who have noted the importance of having more country technical expertise at FAO's Technical Meetings. However, we believe the matter requires further discussion to determine how this can best be achieved. The budgetary implications could be considerable.
Cho BONG-HWAN (Korea, Republic of): My delegation is pleased to see you in the Chair and also would like to congratulate the members of the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture and the Secretariat for their excellent work.
The delegation of the Republic of Korea has no difficulties in supporting the main ideas and recommendations which are well illustrated in the Report of the Committee on Agriculture.
Since my delegation had the chance to attend the meeting, and since we can take the opportunity to touch upon certain items under other related agenda in this Council Session, I will narrow my intervention to the specific matters.
Firstly, concerning "Review of the Field Programme 1988-90", my delegation would like to underline with deep concern the situation that the value of the agricultural field programme has declined or has remained stagnant in real terms during 1985-89, although the nominal size has shown a somewhat increasing trend.
In particular, taking into account the fact that the resources for the field programme from UNDP, the Trust Fund and other sources are going to be reduced as a result of possible policy changes of the concerned international organizations and donor countries, we cannot avoid worrying about the future image of the agricultural field programmes, which are playing a very important role for the agricultural development in the developing countries.
My delegation believes it is desirable that within the context of national execution, progress has been made in increasing the use of qualified national professional staff in project implementation in their own countries. On the other hand I stress the value of the technical support made by a number of FAO units. At the same time my delegation reiterates the main idea of the establishment of the interdepartmental coordinating mechanism, namely a steering committee and a central task force, and firmly expects active and effective operations and good results reported from this mechanism.
Secondly, with regard to the medium-term perspectives and programme priorities in food and agriculture, my delegation has already pointed out in the Committee meeting that the priority areas for the Organization's activities cover almost all the important aspects of food and agriculture. At this moment, the Korean delegation stresses the necessity of follow-up action to the conclusions and recommendations.
In this connection, my delegation would like to re-emphasize that more attention should be given to how the priority areas, which sometimes seem to be contradictory with one another, are reflected in programmes of work and budget and how they can be organized as harmoniously as possible.
Finally, Mr Chairman, for the topics to be discussed in Committee, I agree with the main points from paragraphs 128 to 132 of the document. My delegation recognizes that by nature the Committee on Agriculture would cover a wide range of issues concerning agriculture.
On the other hand, we, as participants of the COAG meeting, can admit that it is really difficult to catch up thoroughly with all the items to be discussed. As indicated in paragraph 132, it is not easy to find the appropriate technical experts for the COAG meeting.
Therefore, my delegation would like to stress the importance of a proper selection of the discussion items in order to improve the quality of debate and wide utilization and dissemination of the meeting results.
My delegation firmly believes that the subject topics should be selected more specifically, based on close contact with other related meetings, and that good arrangements should be made between the socio-economic aspects of agricultural development and the technical side of agricultural production activities.
Assefa YILAIA (Ethiopia): Our delegation would also like to thank the Secretariat of FAO for the Report on the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture, and Dr Dutia and Prof, de Haen for the clear introduction and preparation of the Report.
Besides our participation and attendance in the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture, we have had a chance to examine the Report in the Sixty-second Session of the Programme Committee. We therefore would like to endorse the Report and associate ourselves with those delegations who supported the points and concerns that were raised by the Committee in this Report.
We would, however, like to express our concern with regard to the reduced resources for many of the substantive activities. We do hope that these shortfalls in budgetary resources for some of the substantive activities could be bridged through provision of extra-budgetary allocations, along with the fulfilment of financial obligations to the Organization. As the major Programme of Agriculture provides basic and important technical support to the efforts of increasing food production in each of our countries, all support being given towards bridging the gap through extra-budgetary allocation is very welcomed.
Even though the Council will deliberate on the programme and budgetary aspect during this Council Session, we would like to draw the attention of the Council to the reports of the Programme and Finance Committees which will provide background on areas which are affected by reduced resource allocations.
As we will have a chance to discuss this matter further under item 19, we would like to limit our observation to this general remark.
Oscar Sales PETINGA (Portugal): La délégation portugaise donne son appui total au rapport de la onzième session du Comité de l’agriculture.
C'est un document essentiellement technique sur les grands problèmes de l’agriculture mondiale.
Cependant, je voudrais reprendre le point II des questions diverses et attirer l’attention du Conseil, page 2 et page 7 sur une faible participation d'experts techniques au COAG et sur la nécessité d'étudier cette question dans le cadre des instances appropriées.
En ce qui concerne le point 6 nous pensons intervenir au moment où l'on traitera de la question des préparatifs de la Conférence internationale de 1992 sur la nutrition.
Ms Maria Luisa GAVINO (Philippines): We too are delighted to see you in the Chair.
My delegation actively participated in the Eleventh COAG last April, and generally agrees with the Report as presented to us in the Council, and we endorse it.
We would particularly wish to support the statement by the delegate for Indonesia regarding making available extra-budgetary resources for developing countries to enable them to send delegates to the technical meetings. My delegation has experienced that it is not adequately represented because of the absence of the experts, which hinders us from effectively participating in this very important meeting. We hope that this can be made possible by the Organization.
Noboru SAITO (Japan): My delegation would like to express our appreciation to the Secretariat for the introduction of the report on the 11th Session of the Committee on Agriculture. The Japanese delegation recognizes the importance of three subsidiary technical committees such as COAG. Therefore, Japan has actively contributed, at least we want to believe, to the debate at the Plenary and also at the Drafting Committee. Needless to say, we are pleased to mention that Japan endorses the adoption of the COAG report. However, we have some important points to call to the attention of the Council.
Firstly, we have concerns over less participation in the COAG from each capital, as was pointed out by a number of other delegations, particularly by the developing countries. The constraints on financing for travel to Rome may be one of the reasons. However, when Japan compares the Japanese delegation of COAG with those of COFI and COFO, the difference is obvious. Not only the number of the Japanese delegation but the levels or titles of the participants are far better than that of COAG, I should not say that the quality is also better. If I am not mistaken, this fact could be found in a number of other delegations, including developing countries. Therefore, we may say that the lack of financing for the participants is not the dominating factor. Rather, we believe that in COAG, because of its excessive importance, the agenda is too rich to be covered by each delegation. No single expert or wise man could know every aspect of the agricultural sector. Also, the agenda is so repetitious that we can discuss the same thing in the Committee on Food Security and the Council itself. And may I say of COFI and COFO that we can discuss the important agenda items by focusing on those. Therefore, we may seriously consider the possibility of the singling out of the important agenda only for COAG, such as the Programme of Work and Budget and Medium-Term Perspective, and the special topics should be eliminated.
Regarding the implementation of the Programme of Work 1988-90, we must address again at the Council here our concern over the reduction of activities provided by FAO to Asia and the Pacific Region through RAPA, such as training courses and publications. The importance of RAPA activities in the region to assist and coordinate the efforts for improving the food and agricultural production is increasing and continues to be so.
We must express our appreciation over the further elaboration and giving of explanation to Member Nations on WAICENT on the 24th of May in Rome by the FAO Secretariat. Although we also appreciate the briefing paper on WAICENT, we have some difficulties understanding it. Maybe experts definitely understand because it is full of jargon such as "decentralized process model", "corporate data management technique", "corporate dissemination policy", "conceptual design" and "DEC/VMS system". We are wondering whether FAO could come up with easy to understand language or supplemental explanations because the agricultural information system should be understood by amateurs in computer systems. We would also like to know why FAO decided to take the decentralized process model instead of the centralized system. What do you do for networking with a decentralized system? We would also like to know in more detail what you will demonstrate this November at the Conference, because we understand, if we are not mistaken, the working system will be developed after such demonstration.
Regarding FAO field programmes, my country is of the basic standpoint that field programmes and regular programmes are complementary in FAO activities, and their integration is of vital importance to the Organization. My country believes that national execution of projects is the right direction which we all agree upon. Country capacity should be built up, and clear arrangements should be further elaborated between UNDP and special organizations with necessary transition periods for the execution of the newly introduced concept of national execution.
Regarding TCP, we need to know more cases of a variation of TCP. Should TCP be one of the priority areas?
My country would like to appreciate the Secretariat's efforts to prepare the medium-term perspectives and programme priorities for food and agriculture as a basis for discussing FAO's medium-term activities. Six priority areas proposed by the Secretariat are deemed appropriate, and my country would like to support them in principle if continuous revising will be done from time to time; for example, every two years at the time of the Conference. We also support the idea of discussions on medium-term perspectives, a regular feature of the agenda.
My country recognizes that the formulation of FAO's Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium would be continued to be done under the severe financial constraints reflecting the difficult financial condition of Member Nations, whether developed or developing. On this standpoint, my country is pleased that by the Director-General's commitment that the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium would be made on the basis of no overall real programme increase. My delegation has a serious concern on the reduction of programmes in the field of natural resources programme 2.1.1, and livestock, 2.1.3. Natural resources management and conservation are the most fundamental activities to ensure sustainability in agriculture, as everyone admits. Japan has a long tradition in sustainable agriculture, utilizing paddy fields which conserve water resources, which serve undergound preservation and avoid soil degradation and salinization and so on.
Regarding the budget level of major programme 2.1, agriculture, my country is of the position that since technical programmes like this major programme 2.1, agriculture, are the heart and core of this Organization's activities, the budget level must be at the same level as that of this biennium by transferring the resources from the other chapters 1 and 3 through 7. One possibility would be to set out the budget level of chapter 4 as equal to the level of the current biennium.
My country recognizes the importance of biodiversity, especially as a basis for food and agricultural production, and would like to appreciate FAO's activities in this field as one of the pioneers. However, FAO's role in dealing with biodiversity should concentrate on that relating to food and agriculture, and FAO should cooperate to avoid the duplication of effort put in by other UN and international organizations, especially UNEP.
In the plant genetic resources field, we are pleased to announce in this Council that Japan became a member of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources this March, and also has long been promoting international cooperation in this field, such as offering assistance for establishing plant genetic resources centres in several countries. However, my country is not in favour of mandatory international funds for plant genetic resources. In the same line, my country does not support making the international undertaking a legally binding framework. It is still premature to make a rigid framework in this rapidly changing field.
In the animal genetic resources field, my country deems it necessary that FAO should make a study, first within its regular programmes and then to be discussed at COAG. Because animal genetic resources is very new and requires heavy work scientific understanding, my country would further like to comment on this matter when the appropriate agenda item comes up.
Jaime MARTINEZ TORRES (México): La Delegación de México, después de haber analizado con particular interés el informe del Comité de Agricultura, manifiesta su complacencia con los resultados alcanzados en esa importante reunión, que, en síntesis, aborda uno de los temas que dan sustento a la existencia de nuestra Organización.
Sin embargo, queremos manifestar nuestra preocupación y pesar en virtud de que el Programa de Labores 1988-90, particularmente en cuanto al programa principal de agricultura, no se instrumentó en su totalidad. Por otra parte, si bien reconocemos la gran capacidad operativa de la FAO y su función catalizadora en cuanto a los objetivos del desarrollo agricola, rural y alimentario del mundo, por lo que se refiere a los programa de campo, que constituyen parte fundamental de la labor de la FAO, consideramos que debieran incrementarse y fortalecerse de manera definitiva, ya que es en el campo donde hay que resolver el problema agricola.
Insistimos, tal como lo expresáramos en el COAG, en que un imperativo del desarrollo agricola y rural lo constituye la formulación y puesta en práctica de politicas nacionales e internacionales adecuadas y actuales que aporten efectivamente alimentos y coadyuven al crecimiento social y económico de todos los países. En ese sentido, no obstante que el tema de
la investigación no aparece entre las tareas primarias ni se le otorga un lugar destacado en el apartado "Ambitos prioritarios para el Programa de Labores de la FAO", reiteramos también lo expresado en el COAG, en cuanto a que la investigación desempeñe un papel básico y prioritario en la formulación de políticas y planes agricolas orientados a un verdadero desarrollo en esta materia, que nos lleve a la autosuficiencia e independencia alimentaria.
Finalmente, mi Delegación se suma a los pronunciamientos de las delegaciones de Cuba, Argentina, Zambia, Indonesia y Filipinas, entre otras, en cuanto a que la FAO debiera apoyar decididamente en gran medida la participación de expertos técnicos de países en desarrollo en los próximos comités técnicos, como es en el caso del COAG.
All AL-MAHRUG (Libya) (Original language Arabic): I should like to congratulate COAG on its conclusions. Allow me to refer to paragraph 68 relating to the positive results so far achieved in the field of eradication of the screwworm, particularly in Libya, and urging the Organization to continue its efforts in this field. Only yesterday, as did many of our colleagues, we heard the report of the Coordination Committee on that programme for the eradication of the screwworm. In fact, it is going very well and this could not have been achieved except for the international solidarity manifested, which is still being manifested. It is hoped that this sort of attitude will continue and that this will fully eradicate this pest which threatens the life of human beings and animals in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
We hope that this sort of attitude will be the beginning of international solidarity for combatting all pests everywhere in the world. As this sterile insect technique has proved successful in this connection, I think FAO should consider trying the same technique in combatting desert locust and other pests threatening human life and livestock. We wonder if this technique should also be tested against other pests in the Mediterranean area.
Allow me to thank all the countries and international organizations that have contributed to this programme which is alerting the Mediterranean basin and the whole world to this very dangerous pest.
Muhammad Saleem KHAN (Pakistan): Once again, having participated in the proceedings of the COAG, we associate ourselves with the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee.
Firstly, we would like to take special note of paragraph 37 on Natural Resources Conservation and Development and the different elements therein. We would be obliged to be informed by the Secretariat of what special steps have been taken. Our attention has been focused on these elements in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget, particularly in relation to salinity control and eradication, and also to the special needs of South and South West Asia.
Likewise, with reference to paragraph 94 and the regional study for Asia, we would like to know whether any measures have been taken for initiation of this study in the new Programme of Work and Budget. We, the Asian countries, as noted in the report, feel that this is very important and that "Agriculture: Toward 2000" does not have the same extent of coverage as special regional studies. Perhaps I would be referring to this in greater detail when we are discussing the Summary Programme of Work and Budget.
Finally, regarding the last part of the report on Other Matters, we are pleased to know that a lot of improvements have been suggested in the content o£ the sessions of the COAG for the future, as we see from the number of subjects that have been listed. We hope that this trend towards having more case studies included in the agenda of the technical meetings will be further expanded.
There is one particular point that we would like to refer to in paragraph 132. We would be guided by you as to whether we could raise this point later as a special point under Other Matters or as part of the COAG Report. My delegation, as well as several other delegations, raised at the COAG the difficulty that, because of the difficult financial situation of developing countries, it was becoming exceedingly difficult for them to send delegations even to the technical committee meetings, so that participation was mainly on local level. We did take away two things. It put pressure on delegates locally because they have to attend all sorts of intergovernmental meetings, commodity groups, technical meetings, sessions of the Council, and also the other bodies such as the World Food Programme, the Agricultural Fund for International Development, as well as other meetings that relate to the World Food Council.
Secondly, it took away a bit from the technical level of discussions of those technical committees. What we suggested was that the Council should consider either requesting some donors to create a special fund to assist developing countries to field technical delegations from the countries that participate in the major technical committee meetings or see if some adjustments in the budget proposals being formulated for the next bennium is possible to accommodate this, as is done in the case of the Council itself.
As I mentioned, we would be guided by you. We could pick it up as a separate item under Other Matters or in continuation of paragraph 132 of the COAG Report. However, this would restrict it to COAG, and my delegation feels that it should extend to all other technical committees.
Morad All ARDESHIRI (Observer for Iran, Islamic Republic of): In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
First of all, my delegation would like to express its congratulations to you on your election as a Vice-Chairman of the present session of our Council.
I will be brief because my delegation participated in the recent session of the COAG, so we endorse the report, and particularly as my delegation is speaking as an Observer.
Regarding the subject of natural resources as contained in document CL 99/9, our delegation would like to make some technical comments.
First, concerning sustainable agricultural development, and also in order to achieve the sustainable production systems, it is imperative that any development plan should be based on the conservation of natural resources in general, and conservation of natural and inherent inputs of land resources in particular. Therefore, FAO should strongly emphasize conservation and management of natural and inherent inputs of land resources in formulation and implementation of agriculture development plans at national and local levels.
Second, regarding paragraph 130 of the document, in order to be complete from a technical viewpoint, the matter of "Natural Range Land" should be added in the first subject topic of this paragraph. Accordingly, this topic should be amended as follows: "The Role of Livestock, Improvement of Natural Range Land and Pasture, Feed and Forage and Combatting Desertification."
Finally, my delegation would like to support the Special Action Programme on Conservation and Rehabilitation of African Lands, and strongly request the launching of a similar action programme in Asia.
Frank M. BUGKHAM (Observer for Swaziland): The Swaziland delegation congratulates you and your colleagues on your election to guide our deliberations, a responsibility that we are very pleased to see you discharging so well.
In the interest of time my delegation wishes merely to express our full endorsement of this report and the programme. We congratulate FAO and especially the Director-General on the ability to achieve so much in implementation of the programme to date despite the severe constraints imposed by the lack of adequate financial resources.
In that regard my delegation wishes to add our voice to respectfully persuade countries in arrears to do everything possible to meet their obligations to FAO in-order to enable this all important programme to be implemented towards sustainable agricultural development and the reduction of hunger and poverty in the world.
In conclusion, I wish to refer to paragraph 78 in the report and to endorse the call for emphasis on upgrading human resources for sustainable development through training, especially at the policy and managerial levels. We regard this form of assistance to developing countries by FAO as crucial if developing countries are to continue to build and develop their local capacity to effectively implement their national agricultural development plans and programmes.
CHAIRMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, we come to the end of the debate. I invite Mr Dutia, Mr de Haen and Mr Shah, Assistant Directors-General of FAO, to respond to the interventions from the floor. I hope that the question raised by the representative of Pakistan will be included in the responses.
B.P. DUTIA (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department): First of all I would like to thank the Members of the Council for the comments that they have made on the work done by the Committee on Agriculture and the report that has been presented to the Council.
I would also like to thank the members of the Council for the support that has been expressed for the Programme of Work of the Economic and Social Policy Department.
I would like to refer to two other points. Several members of the Council have referred to the question of the postponement for the International Conference on Nutrition, because this was raised at the Committee on Agriculture at its last session. The Council will have the opportunity to discuss the entire matter of the International Conference on Nutrition under Agenda Item 14, which will be taken up immediately after this item is completed. So I would suggest that on this particular suggestion I do not want to comment at the moment.
The distinguished delegate of Japan referred to the presentation and briefing that was given last month, and of course he appreciated the briefing, but he felt that it was somewhat technical and it needed to be more simple. I sympathize. But, Mr Chairman, this is a subject which is somewhat technical, a complex subject, and the use of some technical terms - one might call them jargons - is inevitable in order to be precise. Precision will not be obtained if it is all stated in simple terms. However, we shall try to be as simple as possible; we shall try to simplify these technical terms.
He also raised the question about the nature of the demonstration that will be given at the Conference. This demonstration will be a prototype demonstration as to how the whole system will work when it becomes fully operational in 1992.
In conclusion, I would just say that we would be very happy to discuss with the distinguished delegate of Japan, and provide any further information that he wishes to have on this matter. I will stop here.
H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): I too would like to thank you for the many very helpful comments and for the appreciation of the work, in this case particularly the work of the Agriculture Department. I have not noted very many questions and take this as a sign of positive comment of our work. But we have noted not only wide support for the mid-term perspectives and objectives of our programmes, but also concern about the financial constraints and their consequences for not only the volume but also the effectiveness of our programmes, and it is needless to say that we share this concern, and that we noted in particular from the intervention of the distinguished delegate from the
United Kingdom, that you encourage us to concentrate further on what you call "FAO's comparative advantages". I can assure you that we are constantly discussing where these comparative advantages may be, and that we are analyzing all your comments in this regard. We have received from many of you indications where you see comparative advantages. I will not go into detail, but just mention a few which were mentioned by a number of delegates: one being the whole field of genetic resources, both plant, and in particular, animal genetic resources. You have encouraged us to increase our efforts to build national capabilities to make better use and conserve animal genetic resources. I would just like to inform you that in particular since the last session of CÖAG, our Division of Animal Production has continued to develop a full-fledged programme for the conservation and use of animal genetic resources, and referring to the question of the delegate of the United States, yes, this expert consultation which was also called for by other delegates will most likely - or let me more carefully say - hopefully be heard before UNCED, and that is between now and Spring 1992 in order to provide further information to be used during the discussions at the Brazil Conference.
I will report to you about activities in the field of plant genetic resources under Item 10 when we discuss the outcome of the Commission on Plant and Genetic Resources. Therefore I will not go into details of, for instance, our activities towards the development of indigenous crops as suggested by the distinguished delegate of Venezuela.
When we discuss Item 10, I will go in more detail also with regard to the questions and suggestions brought forward by the delegate of Japan concerning our collaboration with UNEP and our preparation of UNCED in this field of biodiversity, but I can inform you that we will be able to report about progress in terms of more narrow and more intensive collaboration with UNEP and with the Secretariat of the Working Group for Legal Instrument on Biodiversity.
Several of you have mentioned natural resources and expressed concern that due to the financial constraints our activities in the field of natural resources might not be as effective as they should be. We noted also that some of you have said that natural resources should not be conserved just for the sake of conservation, but also as a part of a development effort with the ultimate objective to overcome poverty and to achieve food security in the long run. I can assure that this is exactly what we try to do in all the activities and what will be visible in the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium, where the delegate of Pakistan wanted to know whether we have taken action in response to the requests expressed in the last session of COAG. I can report to you that the answer is yes. Within the budget of the Department of Agriculture we have made proposals to, let me say, a reasonable but yet slight relocation of resources in favour of soil conservation and in favour of animal genetic resources.
Regarding your question whether we have prepared action for a land or soil conservation programme for Asia and the Pacific, we are continuing to work towards that end, but with the limited possibilities of relocation of funds within a limited budget, I do not think that this will be sufficient, so we will need extra budgetary funds for that.
The distinguished delegate of the Islamic Republic of Iran proposed that the topic mentioned in paragraph 130 for the special item discussions at the next session of COAG should include coverage of natural range-lands. Although the title did not indicate this, I can assure you that this was always conceived as a topic which would cover all the natural as well as, let me say, improved resources for livestock feeding.
The delegate of Libya wanted to know whether the sterile insect technique could be used and whether plans exist to use it for other than the combat of the New World Screwworm, and on this I am happy to report to you that we are currently, in particular under the lead of the Joint Division with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, that we are currently developing a regional programme for North Africa and Southern Europe to use this technique against the medfly, the Mediterranean fruit fly, and that countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya are being included in this programme. The med-fly has been eradicated from Mexico and from half of Guatemala, and we hope to be successful in these Southern-European and North-African regions as well. The technique could be used against tse-tse, but this is a much more complex item. Tse-tse exists - and I happen to know that - in twenty-three species, and I understand that these sterilized insects would have to be in the same or similar pattern and composition of species, otherwise they would not find each other in colour and careful terms. Being used in FAO programmes in Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and others is something I can report, where the technique is applied, but the continent, particularly the African continent, for instance, or the tropical areas where the tse-tse is a problem is much too vast in order to enter - let me say naively into eradication programmes before very solid cost benefit estimates, including all other techniques, have been conducted. The sterile insect techniques have also been used against the oriental fruit fly in Japan and against some other insects in the United States. It cannot be used to control the desert locust for various reasons, but these are of a technical nature and I will not go into them.
The last reply. Some of you have mentioned priority for FAO's role in support of research and technology development, in particular in developing countries, and of supporting the build-up of national capacities for research, and to do this the delegate of the United States proposed this in closer collaboration with the International Agricultural Research Institutes. You have mentioned with that proposal exactly activities which we are currently pursuing. I can report to you that I have invited all Directors of the International Agricultural Research Centres to come, when they are meeting in Rome, to have a special meeting with us later this month on the topic of how wè can improve our collaboration and support of national agricultural research capacities in developing countries.
I hope I have replied to most of your questions and suggestions.
V.J. SHAH (Assistant Director-General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): I am pleased to join my colleagues and to reply to comments which have been made on the Summary Programme of Work and Budget and the reactions of the Committee on Agriculture to it. May I say that we in the Secretariat are extremely grateful for the reaction of the Council since the Committee on Agriculture reports to you. In order to take account, due
account, of the reactions of the Committee on Agriculture we needed to know your reactions first, and this is one of the key aspects of the important debate which you have had as concerns the Summary Programme of Work and Budget.
Mr Chairman, a number of the distinguished delegates said that they would reserve their comments on the Summary until we get to that item, Item 19 of your agenda. By the same token, may I, with your permission, also respond to any specific comments when we get to that item in order to save your time which I understand is a matter of some importance to you.
The second subject I should refer to is a question raised by the distinguished delegate of Thailand who inquired about the resources which are envisaged for the six priority areas mentioned in paragraph 34 of the Report of the Committee on Agriculture.
My reply to the delegate is that the resources aspect has to be shown in the medium-term plan which is under preparation - and I can certify that it is very much under preparation - and whfch will be submitted to the Programme and Finance Committees and through you at your November session, to the Conference. I think it is useful to recall that the resources aspect is one which will be dealt with very carefully - very carefully - in view of the reactions of the Conference itself on this subject when it gave instructions to us on the preparation of the medium-term plan.
You will recall briefly that there were three sets of views expressed in the Conference on the resources aspect. I am not trying to quantify the number of delegations or countries. One view was that the medium-term plan should indicate the resources required and member countries should take a commitment on that. The second view was that no Member Nation was prepared to take such a commitment and they would rather not address this issue. The third view was that some indication of possible resources should be given. In fact, that is the view which was recorded in operative paragraph 6 of Conference Resolution 10/89: that the Director-General is requested, if possible, to give some indication of possible resources. We are doing our best. This matter will be addressed in the medium-term plan.
May I now turn to the third subject which has been the subject of numerous interventions - that is, participation in the technical committees of the Council, not only COAG but also the other technical committees of the Council. I want to make it absolutely clear that it is not within the province of the Secretariat, and the Secretariat does not presume to comment on the quality of participation. That is the prerogative of Member Nations. But the debate has addressed itself also to the Secretariat taking steps to facilitate participation, and I limit my remarks to this aspect.
Facilitate participation - two broad avenues have been mentioned. One is that budgetary provision be included. We take careful note of this suggestion, but I submit that the Council has not taken its own decision on the subject for several reasons. Firstly, in order to take such a decision, which would have budgetary implications according to Financial Regulation 13, the Council should first consider the financial and administrative aspects of such a proposal, which on this occasion you have not.
Secondly, it is not merely a question of the Director-General taking the initiative to include budgetary provision, because the cost of attendance at committees or intergovernmental bodies of this Organization is laid out in the General Rules, and the General Rules presently only provide for the cost of travel - and I use that word carefully - the cost of travel only for one Member of the Council per delegation and for the Programme and Finance Committees the cost of attendance, which is travel plus subsistence. The General Rules are limited to those provisions. If any budgetary provision were to be made for any other body, the General Rules would have to be changed and that, of course, would be an action for the Conference.
However, the debate has shown us very clearly that there is interest in the Secretariat pursuing the offer made by some countries to facilitate the participation of technical experts in COAG and other technical committees. The debate has also shown an interest by a number of member countries to avail themselves of this offer. They would like the Secretariat to pursue this. Fair enough - and we shall do so, but out of respect for the Council might I indicate our understanding of how we would pursue this.
From the side of any Member Nation which is ready or willing to make a contribution, as well as on the side of those Member Nations who would benefit from such a contribution, the multilateral aspect of any such arrangement, in our view, is of some significant importance. From the point of view of any Member Nation which may contribute resources - yes, they could do so under the auspices of FAO and they could do so under a trust fund arrangement. This ensures the multilateral aspect. From the point of view of any Member Nation who may wish to benefit from the arrangement, there is the aspect of equity of access which is important, and the maintenance of the dignity and sovereignty of the Member Nation who also benefits from such an arrangement.
I mention these things to show that the matter is not as simple as with a trust fund project involving one recipient country and one or more donor countries. These are aspects which I venture to submit in your own interest and in the interest of the Council you would want the Secretariat to pursue with all due care and attention.
Muhammad Saleem KHAN (Pakistan): I apologize for asking for the floor again. This is because I am a little confused because we have not heard from Mr Shah whether this participation in committees issue is supposed to have been concluded and would be reported upon to the next Council session, or have you shifted this question to the heading of Any Other Matters? It is not limited in its application to COAG only but also to the other technical committees. I first of all thank Mr Shah for not taking a view on the quality of participation of Member Nations in the various technical committees. Obviously people have expertise in different fields and if they sit on all committees they will have some non-capacity in the subject -some of them, at least.
Secondly, we understand that there is the question of substantial amendments to the Regulations of the Organization involved in this exercise. Perhaps it will not be possible before at least the 1993
Conference for any changes to be put into the text because the procedure calls for the Council to examine it, and form a view, and the Conference then takes a decision on it. Only then do we move further. But the commitment is that we have something coming before the next Council session in November and in that session we can look at both aspects of financing through the Trust Fund and Regular Resources. One could reflect on it more when the paper comes from the Secretariat to unable us to look at all the implications and the issues of what will be involved in the financing of a delegation from each Member State, including the developing countries. Firstly, could we have such a paper before the November session, so we could more further assess the situation. Do I correctly presume we need not ourselves take up this issue again during the present session and we could expect a paper on it in the November session.
V.J. SHAH (Assistant Director-General, Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation): I hope that the delegate of Pakistan found my remarks helpful. In the same spirit, I would venture to suggest that there is no need for the Council, if it so wishes, to discuss this subject again under Other Matters, because views have been expressed very clearly. For our part, we will endeavour to reflect those views in the report which you will adopt to show that the Secretariat will begin to pursue the arrangements which have been referred to in the debate for voluntary trust funds to facilitate attendance of experts on delegations from developing countries at the technical committees of the Council. We will begin to examine this matter and we will report the outcome to you. Whether we will do so in November -of course, we will do our best. But we are also subject to the responses of those Member Nations who would be interested in participating in any such arrangement. You can take it that the Secretariat will pursue it with all due diligence and at this stage of that proposal there is no question, no issue, of amending the General Rules.
Gonzalo BUIA HOYOS (Colombia): Deseo apoyar la inquietud planteada por mi colega y amigo Saleem Khan, de Pakistáan. Lo que ha dicho el Sr. Shah en el sentido de que el Consejo puede discutir este asunto es adecuado, pero convendria que para esa discusión la Secretaría preparara algún documento acerca de cómo podria determinarse cuál sería el funcionamiento de fondos fiduciarios para costear la asistencia de técnicos y también estimaciones para el segundo caso, en cuanto al monto a que ascenderian los recursos indispensables a asignar dentro del Programa Ordinario, si ésa fuera la alternativa que decidieran los Gobiernos.
CHAIRMAN: The intervention and response from the Assistant Director-General has already fulfilled our requirements. If Council has no objection, I suggest we proceed to Item 14 because we have a very tight programme today as has been mentioned by our Chairman.
Mr Antoine Saintraint. Independant Chairman of the Council, took the chair
M. Antoine Saintraint. Président indépendant du Conseil. assume la présidence
Ocupa la presidencia el Sr. Antoine Saintraint. Presidente Independiente del Consejo
LE PRESIDENT: Nous allons reprendre nos travaux pour un temps relativement court.
Je voudrais maintenant entamer le point 14 de notre ordre du jour: préparatifs de la Conférence Internationale de 1992 sur la nutrition.
Je voudrais d'abord signaler, pour éviter tout malentendu, que j'ai lu très attentivement les trois versions - hélas je n'ai pas lu la version arabe -du rapport du Comité de l’agriculture, et qu'il existe une grosse différence entre les versions française, anglaise et espagnole qui sont de nature à créer un certain nombre de confusions, uniquement en ce qui concerne le paragraphe 104. Il est entendu que seule la version anglaise est correcte.
Je présente le document CL 99/17: préparatifs de la Conférence internationale de 1992 sur la nutrition. Comme on nous l'avait demandé, nous avons fait une distinction entre les travaux du COAG et la Conference.
Je donne maintenant la parole à Monsieur Dutia, Sous-Directeur général.
B.P. DUTIA (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department): I appreciate this opportunity to update the Council on preparations that are under way for the International Conference on Nutrition, the ICN. As the members of Council will recall, the Ninety-eighth Session of the Council in November 1990, in discussing the ICN, had requested that a substantive report on progress be presented to this Session of the Council, and accordingly the paper before you, CL 99/17, has been prepared for your consideration. In addition, as you have mentioned, and also as members of the Council had noted while discussing the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, the subject of the ICN was discussed at the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture on April 1991. At this meeting, the Committee on Agriculture had fully supported the ICN; its discussion on this subject is contained in paragraphs 100 to 104 of its Report, CL 99/9. Mr Chairman, I thank you for bringing to the notice of members of the Council the difference that exists in paragraph 104 in different language versions of the report. The English version is to be considered the correct one. Further, another progress report will be given to the Council and the FAO Conference in November of this year. Moreover, in order to maintain a regional focus for ICN activities, the ICN will also be an agenda item in each of the five FAO Regional Conferences in 1992.
We greatly appreciate the comments and advice that we received from the Member Governments during discussion of the ICN in FAO's Governing Bodies. These guide us in shaping the ICN preparations. Since the ICN is a joint FAO/WHO effort, our preparations also take into account the views expressed by Member Governments in WHO Governing Body meetings. These bodies, including the May 1991 World Health Assembly, have also given their full support to the ICN.
Significant progress has been made in implementing activities for the ICN. The Organizational Arrangements made by the two sponsors - FAO and WHO -are reported in Section II of document CL 99/17. The full FAO/WHO Joint Steering Committee is now functioning; it is due to hold its third meeting in just a few days - to be precise, 24 to 26 June of this year. The ICN Joint Secretariat, which is responsible for coordinating ICN preparations, has been operating in Rome since January of this year under the overall policy guidance from the Steering Committee.
The technical focal points of FAO and WHO - the Food Policy and Nutrition Division and the Nutrition Unit, respectively - are actively collaborating to develop the primary technical inputs for the ICN.
On the third and fourth of this month the first meeting of the ICN Advisory Group of Experts, which is referred to in paragraph 9 of the document, was held here in Rome at the Italian National Institute of Nutrition. The AGE includes representatives from various disciplines relevant to nutrition and from different regions of the world. It has been formed in order to provide scientific inputs on technical issues for the Conference preparations. The AGE primarily represents views from outside the UN system, and it complements the expertise available through the ACC's Sub-Committee on Nutrition, which continues to be involved in the ICN's preparation. The AGE at its recent meeting reviewed the technical preparations to date and the proposed future activities. We look forward to their continued active participation, both individually and collectively.
As reported in Section III of the document, Member Nations are being informed of the ICN preparations through each organization's governing bodies. Also, an official communication announcing the ICN and providing information and guidance necessary for preparing country-specific inputs was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (or its equivalent) of all Member Countries of FAO and WHO in March 1991. Several countries have already designated focal points and they have begun preparing for the Conference. Guidelines for the country focal point have been sent to the Member Countries, along with guidelines and an outline for developing a country paper. To assist in preparing the country papers it is being suggested that country-level preparatory activities could include one or a series of meetings designed to bring together each of the sectors and organizations, both public and private, that significantly influence nutritional well-being within the country. This would facilitate the development of a common understanding of nutritional problems and their causes and should lead to a more coordinated approach to addressing them. We have already started receiving from Member Countries the names and designations of the focal points with whom we are liaising for country-level preparatory activities. However, the response needs to be widened and hastened. Support of the donor countries to the preparation of country papers and related meetings is essential and we do hope that this will be forthcoming.
Efforts to ensure the full participation of all relevant UN organizations, bilateral agencies, NGOs, the private sector and other institutions concerned with improving nutrition in preparing for the ICN are indicated in Section IV of the document. The heads of UN agencies, as well as their technical units, are being kept informed of the development in the ICN preparation, and efforts to enlist their collaboration continue. Relevant NGOs and other members of the private sector are also being encouraged to participate.
Sections V and VI of the document discuss the technical scope and content of the Conference and the main documents and expected outcome of the Conference, respectively. The views of the Council on the eight themes indicated in paragraph 22 are particularly welcomed.
A main document to be presented at the ICN, “An Assessment and Analysis of Trends and Current Problems in Nutrition”, has been started. As inputs to this document, activities are also underway in both FAO and WHO to provide information on the type and extent of nutritional problems, and their causes, throughout the world. These findings will be combined with those arising from the sub-regional meetings to be held in early 1992 to provide an accurate assessment and analysis of the world's nutritional problems.
It is also envisaged that the ICN will wish to adopt a Declaration and a Plan of Action based on the findings and conclusions of the Assessment and Analysis Paper as well as on the Theme Papers and Case Studies. The Declaration and the Plan of Action would be the basis for subsequent follow-up action particularly at the country level. As pointed out in the document, the Conference is not an end in itself, but is an important milestone in a continuing process to develop a global commitment and actions to alleviate malnutrition. We would greatly appreciate the views of the Council on these matters.
The core costs of the ICN are being shared by the two sponsoring agencies, FAO and WHO, from their Regular Programme funds. However, as pointed out in Section VII of the document, several activities will require extra-budgetary resources if they are to be effectively implemented. These activities include: country and regional level preparations; the information and public awareness campaign; and assisting the delegations from the least-developed countries to participate in the Conference. We are encouraged by the interest expressed by a number of governments in providing support to some of these activities. We are in contact with these governments and will also approach others, as adequate extra-budgetary support is essential for the success of some of the key activities for the Conference, especially the country and regional activities.
LE PRESIDENT: C'est un document particulièrement intéressant dont il a été largement débattu, notamment l'an dernier, dans toutes les conférences régionales. Il y a eu une très large discussion lors de la Conférence régionale du Proche-Orient, de la Conférence régionale Afrique, de la Conférence régionale Asie, de la Conférence régionale Europe et Amérique latine. Un exposé complet a été fait et un large débat a eu lieu.
Comme vous le savez tous, et comme vient de très bien le souligner M. Dutia, cette Conférence Internationale a deux papas ou deux mamans, je vous laisse le choix, l’Organisation mondiale de la santé et la FAO. Aussi, je crois qu'il est souhaitable que les pays prennent ou ne prennent pas les mêmes positions mais qu'ils expliquent exactement où l'on en est, que ce soit à Genève ou à Rome.
The meeting rose at 12.30 hours
La séance est levée à 12 h 30
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.30 horas