LE PRESIDENT: Je déclare ouverte notre douzième séance plénière.
Sra. Ana María NAVARRO ARRUE (Cuba): Mi delegación quisiera no dejar pasar esta oportunidad para hacer sólo algunos comentarios de las novedades más recientes descritas dentro del sistema de las Naciones Unidas, que justamente son de gran interés para la FAO y para sus Estados Miembros. Por un problema de tiempo, mi delegación no se referirá a todos los acontecimientos relatados en el documento, aclarando que no por esto le conferimos a aquéllos menos importancia.
Reiteramos, por ende, nuestro apoyo a todas las novedades descritas, en las que de muchas somos partícipes activos como Estados Miembros del sistema de las Naciones Unidas.
Agradecemos a la Secretaría este valioso documento de información CL 99/6, opinando que es oportuno y de gran utilidad para nuestros países.
La delegación de Cuba acoge también con beneplácito las palabras introductorias muy amplias ofrecidas por la Sra. Kay Killingsworth. La delegación de mi país, en el marco de este 99° Consejo, y a la luz de este tema, quiere reiterar su honda preocupación por los destinos actuales de la Ronda Uruguay de Negociaciones Comerciales Multilaterales y la marcha de sus trabajos.
Aprovechamos esta ocasión para reiterar el encomiable papel que ha desarrollado la FAO en su labor de apoyo técnico a las negociaciones realizadas durante 1990.
Es indudable que la falta de interés y la ausencia de una voluntad para solucionar acuerdos finales justos y equitativos ha sido la caracteristica principal de estas últimas y angustiosas negociaciones. A nuestro juicio, ha primado la defensa individual de los grandes intereses, en detrimento y con efectos negativos para la mayoría de los países pobres, los que, sin soluciones cotidianas, deben enfrentar el desgaste de las políticas proteccionistas, los embargos, las barreras arancelarias, sanitarias y fitosanitarias. No obstante ello, y quizás extenuados ante la no solución de algo tan importante para la conducta futura de nuestros países, así como para nuestro mejoramiento y más equitativo intercambio económico, es que la delegación de Cuba hace votos por una rápida y beneficiosa solución de estas negociaciones.
Hi delegación aprovecha esta oportunidad para apoyar las labores del Fondo Común cuyo objetivo es fomentar la estabilidad y el aumento de los ingresos que los países en desarrollo obtienen de la exportación de productos básicos.
El párrafo 14 se refiere a que los órganos rectores del Fondo han aprobado una serie de principios operativos que regulan la preparación y presentación de proyectos, pero dice además que existen todavía algunos aspectos de la aceptación de proyectos y de la asignación de fondos que deben ser aún resueltos. Es por ello que, en este sentido, nos interesaría conocer los mecanismos establecidos hasta ahora para la solicitud de proyectos por parte de los países. Por ejemplo, si se tramitan éstos a través de las Organizaciones Internacionales de Productos Básicos OIPB a las que pertenecemos, a saber: Grupos Intergubernamentales de Frutos Cítricos, Arroz, etc., o si cada país se dirige al Fondo con sus propias propuestas.
Aprovechamos esta oportunidad para saludar en este marco a los países donantes de este Fondo Común.
Deseamos reiterar nuestro reconocimiento a la labor desplegada por la FAO en virtud de la labor preparatoria de la EID, así como del 18° periodo extraordinario de sesiones de la Asamblea General, que aprobó el primero de mayo de 1990 una Declaración sobre la cooperación económica internacional y, en particular la reactivación del crecimiento económico y el desarrollo de los países en desarrollo. Esta declaración que en su párrafo 38 plantea el compromiso solemne de los Estados Miembros de las Naciones Unidas a llevar adelante el diálogo multilateral, es muy oportuno sacarla a colación en este marco, o sea en este 99° Consejo de la FAO, donde tanto se ha discutido sobre el papel que debe jugar la FAO en la asistencia a nuestros países, así como por la crisis actual que atraviesa, producto de su precaria salud financiera, que atenta indirectamente con el cumplimiento de sus nobles tareas.
Antes de finalizar, quisiéramos reiterar lo que nuestra delegación, de una forma u otra, planteó en el propio 18° período extraordinario de sesiones de la Asamblea General, que vio nacer esta importante Declaración. Lo expresamos igualmente durante el 98° Consejo de la FAO y es que esperamos que los compromisos contraídos en esta Declaración no queden como letra muerta, haciendo más coherentes las cotidianas posturas de los países desarrollados con relación a su voluntad de cooperación y ayuda a los países en vías de desarrollo.
Asimismo, esperamos que esta Declaración sea un instrumento que contribuya decididamente, como lo han votado los Estados Miembros, al fortalecimiento de las vias multilaterales de cooperación.
Por último, mi delegación acoge con beneplácito las previsiones de la FAO en la lucha contra la droga, al tiempo que apoyamos las medidas de cooperación para Namibia, país al que Cuba ha apoyado tradicionalmente con una sostenida postura a favor de su total liberación.
Noboru SAITO (Japan): My delegation would like to thank Mrs Killingsworth for her very comprehensive introduction of this item. However, I would like to make a few comments on one issue in this agenda item.
As my delegation has already expressed its view on the Uruguay Round in an earlier agenda item, I would like to briefly touch upon it. My country recognizes that agriculture is one of the most important areas of negotiation in the Uruguay Round and has actively participated in the negotiations by submitting a comprehensive proposal which included previsions regarding food security. My country sincerely looks forward to a successful conclusion so that an eventual contribution can be made to world agricultural trade and the harmonious development of agriculture.
Japan is the largest net importer of agricultural commodities and has offered an attractive and stable market for exporting countries. As a result, the self-sufficiency ratio of Japan has declined to as low as 48 percent on a calorie basis, and 30 percent for cereals. This results in the Japanese people's serious concern for food security. Thus the realization of sustainable food security is one of the most important tasks of my Government. This is why my country believes necessary border measures should be admitted for securing the necessary domestic level of basic foodstuffs. In this connection, full consideration for non-trade concerns such as sustainable development and food security is indispensable to the course of negotiation.
Sanitary measures are another important aspect in this negotiation. My country appreciates FAO's efforts in providing technical assistance in this field to the Uruguay Round and hopes that these efforts will continue. The cooperative effort of FAO is indispensable, especially with the Secretariats of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Plant Protection Convention. My country believes that international standards such as that for food hygiene should be flexible in order to reflect the different climate conditions and dietary patterns of each Member Nation. More stringent standards will be applicable if these are established upon a sound scientific basis.
Harald HILDERBRAND (Germany): First, I would like to commend the document before us which has been prepared by the Secretariat, and thank in particular Mrs Killingsworth for her helpful introduction to the agenda item under discussion. We have been given a concise and illustrative survey of major activities in the United Nations system which are shared by FAO. I would like now to make short reference to just five sub-items.
The Common Fund for Commodities, paragraphs 10 to 15. Germany welcomes the fact that the Common Fund for Commodities at the moment has designated nine FAO bodies as International Commodity Bodies (ICBs). These groups are presently engaged in elaborating project proposals. It will be essential now for FAO to involve existing research, development and regional facilities which are already at the stage of project design. Likewise, this holds true for the implementation of the projects approved by the Common Fund.
As the financial resources available to the Fund are limited, not too many projects for each commodity should be applied for. Therefore, at group level the correct priorities should be set.
It would be desirable for project implementation to produce a stronger cooperation of the entities involved which, hopefully, would continue in the period following successful project execution.
Drug Abuse Control Activities, paragraphs 25-30. My country has been promoting in collaboration with the International Drug Control Programme (IDCP) a number of major crop substitution projects in Asia and Latin America. The financial resources earmarked by the Federal Republic of Germany for this field of development cooperation have continuously increased. The funds released by Germany for crop substitution projects amounted to 6.0, 6.8, 7.1 million DM for 1988, 1989 and 1990, respectively. Another 8.2 million DM have been planned for 1991. In our view, such contributions will help implement the Global Programme of Action against Drug Abuse and will, hopefully, have a catalyst effect on the development of a sustainable alternative to drug crop growing: the economically feasible expansion of areas under food crops.
Disaster-related Activities, paragraphs 36-37. As document CL 99/6 eloquently shows, FAO makes an appreciable contribution to the UN efforts in disaster prevention, preparedness, relief and rehabilitation. Therefore, we welcome the involvement of FAO in the Inter-Agency Working Group for the IDNDR. Likewise, we share the view that the Organization could make use of its specific experience in disaster prevention for the development, utilization and conservation of natural resources. The Organization can fortunately rely on dependable infrastructures at Headquarters and in member countries - that is, statistical information, early warning and alarm facilities as well as technical know-how, to respond to emergency situations and to try to cope with them. The measures taken to combat and eradicate the New World Screwworm Fly Infestation in North Africa is a concrete example of timely and effective international action. My country has contributed substantial money to help in the air transport and dispersal of sterile male flies.
Follow-up to the World Summit for Children, paragraphs 40-44. My country speaks out in favour of FAO cooperation with UNICEF, WHO and, if possible, ILO to implement follow-up action after the 1990 World Summit for Children. We share the view put forward in the document that FAO, in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 45/217, should strengthen its efforts to address one goal set by the Summit: the improved access to sufficient and wholesome food for children, one of the vulnerable groups this and other bodies have made repeated reference to when dealing with the problem of hunger and malnutrition.
International Conference on Water and the Environment (Dublin, 1992), paragraphs 67 to 74. In view of the pre-eminent role of water resources for sustainable development of agriculture, industry, and human settlements as well as for the protection of nature in the widest sense, my country sees in the forthcoming International Conference on Water and the Environment a valuable contribution to UNCED '92 and its preparatory process.
I may add that Germany is considering support to FAO in the concrete elaboration of the International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development.
Hatlgor SIAGIAN (Indonesia): Let me start expressing our appreciation of the work of the FAO Office for Inter-Agency Affairs and for their substantive report of CL 99/6. I shall be very brief.
My delegation has made statements with regard to this current situation of GATT-Uruguay Round Negotiations. I do not wish to repeat again this statement but wish to refer to the Indonesian statement expressed during the debate on the agenda item on the World Food and Agricultural Situation. With regard to paragraphs 8 and 9 of document CL 99/6, we wish to express our support for the continuation of the work of FAO in this important field. We, however, wish to request FAO to continue its technical assistance to the needy developing countries as well as regional organizations, including ASEAN, where it deems necessary.
With regard to the Common Fund for Commodities, my delegation welcomes with satisfaction the designation of nine FAO International Commodity Bodies and looks forward to fruitful and beneficial activities of FAO as a result of this important designation. In this regard, the forthcoming ICBs, as well as the Committee on Commodity Problems Meetings, should if possible finalize the documents and proposals for submission to the Common Fund Administration and for this reason of course need the close and full assistance of the FAO Secretariat.
With regard to the collaborative efforts with UNICEF and WHO on the ten-year Action Plan against Vitamin A Deficiency, we wish to reiterate our view (as has been expressed in other fora including WHO) that Indonesia pays great attention to combatting Vitamin A deficiency diseases in Indonesia. Therefore, we look forward with great hopes to the successful further activities of FAO and WHO in this field.
Adel EL-SARKI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate:
The delegation which I have the honour to lead wishes to express full satisfaction with this document now before us, and we would like to pay tribute to the work that has gone into its preparation. We are also very grateful for the brief but informative introduction given earlier by Ms Killingsworth.
We would also like to say that we are very pleased to see the role which the Organization has been playing within the United Nations system, and in particular in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations through direct contribution, as is made clear in paragraph 7 of the Report.
My delegation would also like to express satisfaction at the contribution made by our Organization to the preparatory work for the International Development Strategy, in particular as specified in paragraph 19. We also wish to support the reference in paragraph 24 to our Organization's contribution to the IDS.
We do, however, have some questions to raise regarding the role of the Organization in regard to Drug Abuse Control - there, we still have some doubts.
We have looked through paragraphs 36 to 39 concerning disaster-related activities of the Organization. My delegation welcomes the effort made by our Organization in this area to achieve the goals of the International Decade. We would also like to pay tribute to the work being done in providing relief for other disasters.
We are particularly glad to note the cooperation with ILO - this is a very important issue regarding the Application of Modern Agricultural Technology - and also the role of our Organization in the preparations for the International Conference on Water and the Environment.
Ms. Melinda KIMBLE (United States of America): The United States is pleased to see the breadth of cooperation between the FAO and its sister agencies within the United Nations system that is usefully described in this document prepared by the Secretariat. The United States strongly supports coordination within the United Nations system in order to reduce duplicative efforts and maximize the utilization of increasingly scarce resources. These efforts are particularly appropriate in the areas of disaster relief, drug traffic control, environment, and operational activities for development.
We would like to comment specifically on the various sections:
The Uruguay Round: The United States believes that paragraph 4 of the document skirts the fact that the negotiations were suspended at the Brussels Ministerial Meeting, principally because of the rejection by certain parties of a framework for negotiations on agriculture.
Drug Control: The United States looks forward to reviewing the new, unified structure for United Nations system activities in support of drug control. The United States hopes that this new structure will meet "Unitary UN" goals of greater coordination, complementarity, and non-duplication of activities across the UN system. We believe it is imperative that each agency do its part to contribute to the solution of the world-wide drug abuse problem. FAO has a unique contribution to make in the areas of technical assistance to advise national authorities on the use of remote sensing equipment for the collection and assessment of information on drug production, the use of environmentally safe herbicides, and the redevelopment of areas formerly used for illicit drug cultivation.
Decolonization: The US regrets that the document makes no mention of the UNGA consensus Declaration on apartheid, 45/176A, which praised all parties in South Africa for the progress to date, and which encouraged negotiations leading to a democratic, non-racial government in South Africa. Instead, the document only refers to two UNGA Resolutions, 45/33 and 45/34, which are examples of outmoded rhetoric inconsistent with present-day progress in South Africa.
Disaster Assistance: The US emphasizes the importance of continuing close coordination between all UN agencies in responding to emergencies under the guidance of the Secretary-General and his designated representatives. We note in particular FAO's coordination with UNDRO on information and data exchange, and with the European, Dutch, and United States space agencies to develop early warning systems. These collaborative efforts contribute to IDNDR goals regarding disaster prevention and awareness.
World Summit for Children: The United States urges FAO to continue to collaborate with other United Nations agencies, in particular UNICEF and WHO, in implementing Summit Commitments. The International Conference on Nutrition is an opportunity for this type of cooperation.
Lastly, the International Labour Organisation. The United States would appreciate an update on the consultations with ILO regarding the Prior Informed Consent process. We recall that this issue was discussed at the Council Session last fall.
Björn WULF (Sweden): I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
This agenda item deals with FAO in relation to the UN system as a whole. The document before us also offers a check-list on developments in the UN system. I would like to thank Mrs Killingsworth for her introduction of it.
This is also, in our view, the proper setting to inform the Council about some ideas and proposals which have been formulated within a Nordic project on strengthening the UN's activities in the social and economic fields. This project was initiated in 1988 and has recently been concluded under the guidance of the Under-Secretaries of State for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The bulk of the work has been carried out through some 20 studies on selected issues undertaken by independent consultants and research institutions.
The main thrust has been an analysis of the role of the UN and its various agencies in meeting the global challenges and opportunities facing the world community. The recently published Final Report, The United Nations in Development - Reform Issues in the Economic and Social Fields, will be available to all Council members at the Documents Desk. Further copies can be obtained from any of the Nordic missions in Rome.
The first part of the Final Report contains a Nordic priority agenda. This section has been approved by the Nordic Under-Secretaries. The rest of the text has been compiled on the basic of the studies and by the project's secretariat for further consideration and contains a wealth of ideas, proposals and alternatives.
I will limit myself here to indicating the points of departure for the study and to giving a summary of its main conclusions as brought forward by the Under-Secretaries.
The Noraic UN project has focused on the problems and possibilities of the UN systems operational activities. More than 60 percent of the four to five thousand million US dollars which the UN system has at its disposal annually are spent on these activities. These areas have proved to be difficult to reform, not least because of the conceptual difficulty of clarifying both normative and operative tasks with all their implications.
One important issue which is highlighted is the ability of the specialized agencies to select and set priorities among the respective tasks given to them. Furthermore, the fragmentation of the organizational structure, with an array of organs and activities on different levels in a cobweb pattern, has blocked the system from reaching a critical mass in financial, staffing and research capabilities. Another concern is the sharp increase in extra-budgetary activities within several organs, which has resulted in distorted priorities and a shift in control from the governing bodies to the management.
Indeed, the Final Report asserts that the specialized agencies of the United Nations have a crucial part to play in responding to the rapidly growing global challenges. The major specialized agencies, therefore, ought to strengthen their centre of excellence role in order to become better qualified and relevant with their respective mandates. This would enable them better to exploit opportunities to meet the needs of all Member States for advice and analysis. The new perspective for the agencies must also be adjusted to the changes resulting from increased national executing of UNDP technical assistance projects.
According to the Final Report, there are two functions of the specialized agencies that stand out as being of particular importance. The first is the analytic and normative one, including the collection and dissemination of information linked to setting of international standards and the initiatives to organize international research efforts. The second relates to the agencies' capacity in operational matters where their advisory role should be enhanced and where their extra-budgetary activities must be organized in such a manner as to allow their governing bodies better control of both areas of involvement and of the costs associated with these operations.
The Final Report devotes considerable attention to the issues of governance and modern styles of leadership.
The system of governance, leadership and funding needed for the policy guidance function is distinctly different from that needed for the operative or "executive" function. These respective roles and tasks need to be better defined to complement each other and to form a coherent system-wide whole. Particularly, for the voluntarily financed developmental organizations, e.g., UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP and IFAP, the Nordic countries suggest the establishment of a joint International Development Council to give high-level policy guidance.
Let me summarize some of the proposals regarding the role and functioning of the agencies:
(1) A strengthening of their normative role;
(2) Restoring their analytical capacity through clearer priorities and termination of obsolete or irrelevant activities;
(3) Involving the agencies in problems of a truly global nature and more consistent service to the world community, industrialized and developing countries alike;
(4) Redressing the balance between regular and extra-budgetary resources, possibly involving increases in the regular budgets, reallocations and setting limits on extra-budgetary funding;
(5) Reducing their role in execution of projects, particularly at country level, and increasing their upstream activities such as sectoral analysis and policy advice; and
(6) Improving governance to ensure that the governing bodies exercise budgetary control.
These and other proposals are elaborated on in the report which will be distributed to the members of the Council, as I mentioned earlier.
The Nordic countries will come back to the ideas presented in the report at appropriate occasions in the various UN bodies. Naturally, we would in due course welcome our partners' views on these ideas. They should be seen, as I said earlier, as a contribution to the ongoing dialogue on ways of improving and strengthening the United Nations in the economic and social fields.
A. de JONG (Netherlands): The Netherlands delegation would like to congratulate the FAO Secretariat for document 99/6, for its to-the-point character and its excellent content. However, my delegation has a few suggestions to improve the text on the Common Fund for Commodities. Number one, in paragraph 11, the third sentence, where it could be added that the international Rubber Agreement is meant here; number two, in paragraph 11, the fourth sentence, we feel that it would be best to mention programmes and projects rather than just measures. Number three, in paragraph 13, the first sentence, we would like to add "to be acknowledged by the Common Fund for Commodities", and number 4, in paragraph 13, the last sentence, we would rather mention that FAO is not the major counterpart, but FAO should be mentioned as a major counterpart, since the least-developed countries and the developing countries depending on a few conmodities are major counterparts as well and stressed as such by the Common Fund for Commodities.
Vanrob ISARANKURA (Thailand): To save our time, my intervention will be very brief. I will concentrate only on the report of the FAO/WHO Conference on Food Standards, Chemicals in Food and Food Trade as contained in document CL 99/INF 17. That is, I would like to draw your attention to paragraph 5c of this document. It informs us that the Conference recommended to FAO and WHO that they continue to seek ways to improve
attendance and participation by developing countries in sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and/or other international bodies discussing and developing policies for food control systems. As a representative from a developing country, I think I know how to solve this problem. Therefore, I would like to stress that assistance to enable increased attendance at, and participation in, sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission should be sought by way of extra-budgetary funding as mentioned in paragraph 6.
Ms. Maria Luisa GAVINO (Philippines): Firstly, we will focus our comments on the Common Fund for Commodities, being a member of the Executive Board. We reiterate our congratulatory remarks to the FAO Inter-governmental Commodity Groups which were designated as international commodity bodies by the Common Fund. It is now essential that Project preparations be hastened and prioritization clear-cut. Since these commodities are important to developing countries' exports, we do no want to lose the opportunity for their amelioration because of default.
Turning to the FAO/WHO Conference on Food Standards, Chemicals in Food and Food Trade, we endorse the Conference's recommendation that FAO and WHO increase their technical assistance in matters of food control to developing countries. We would also like to endorse the Conference recommendation to find ways to help developing country participation in these very important Codex technical meetings, not excluding the other FAO technical committee meetings.
I would like to support the statement of Thailand which he just made.
Uwe KRACHT (WFC): As previous speakers pointed out, the World Food Council has just concluded its 17th Ministerial Session in Helsingør, Denmark. If you permit me, I will just highlight a very few points from the Helsingør Conclusions and Recommendations. As a general observation, this year the Council focused its deliberations on the likely consequences of the economic and political changes in many parts of the world for the developing countries' fight against hunger and poverty.
Above all, the Council reaffirmed, in these rapidly changing and difficult times, the primacy of food and hunger issues on the global agenda for the 1990s.
Coming to a few specific points from the Council's Conclusions and Recommendations, I should mention first that Ministers were encouraged by the incorporation of the four hunger-alleviation goals adopted by the Council in its 1989 Cairo Declaration into the United Nations International Development Strategy all member states of the United Nations have thus made these goals their own.
To set an example for the rest of the world, member countries of the Council with significant hunger and malnutrition problems agreed to set feasible targets for themselves, formulate supporting policies and programmes and monitor progress, with the support of all those in a position to do so. These efforts could reinforce the country-level preparations now under way for the International Conference on Nutrition. The WFC secretariat intends to consult with FAO and WHO in this regard.
Noting with deep concern the plight of millions of people affected by disasters, many of them caused by war and civil strife, the Council pledged to continue its work toward more effective measures to ensure the safe passage of emergency food aid to people in war-torn areas.
Second, after several hours of difficult but constructive negotiations, the Council agreed on a strong statement linking a speedy and successful outcome of the Uruguay Round to the developing countries' capacity to fight hunger and poverty. Council members represent all major country groups taking part in the GATT Uruguay Round negotiations - the EEC, Cairns Group, the USA, Japan, the ACP States and others. The statement has been sent to the multilateral trade negotiators in the GATT Uruguay Round in Geneva.
Third, the Council called for a special effort to promote co-operation between the countries of the East and the South and to facilitate developing countries' access to growing Eastern European markets. It decided to foster dialogue and cooperation on food security-related policy reforms and economic cooperation between developing countries and Eastern European countries, complementary to the Council's long-standing support to the South-South cooperation. Opportunities for such cooperation, together with those for East-West cooperation, will be discussed at a regional WFC consultation to be held in Moscow toward the end of this year.
Fourth, the Council considered the need for a new Green Revolution for the 1990s and the early 21st century and examined the critical elements in which a new Green Revolution would differ from the first one. These elements are illustrated in paragraph 18 of the Conclusions and Recommendations, indicating the need for a much broader orientation of future research and technology efforts.
The Council called on governments, donors, multilateral financial and development institutions and international research institutions, in particular the International Agricultural Research Centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), to strengthen agricultural research and to provide increased and long-term support to agricultural research and technology, with commitments for periods of some 15-20 years, replacing current projects of much shorter duration.
Finally, the Council reiterated its support for the creation of an informal inter-secretariat consultative mechanism to strengthen cooperation among the four Rome-based food organizations. The Executive Director of the Council will continue consultations with the other heads of agencies in Rome in this regard.
Daniel D.C. DON NANJIRA (Kenya): The Kenyan delegation listened very attentively to the introductory remarks made by the FAO Director for Inter-Agency Affairs on Item 13 entitled Recent Development in the UN System of Interest to FAO. The Director-General himself in his eloquent introductory statement also touched on some of the issues outlined in document CL 99/6.
We in this delegation would like to reiterate our position for the personal contribution of the Director-General and that of the FAO staff to the development of our country. Document CL 99/6 is useful and the issues in it are very important, so much so that the precise and telegraphic nature of the document, though excellent, does not, unfortunately, allow for the exhaustive information that we should get on each of the topics discussed in this document.
For example, some documents are mentioned therein merely in passing, and though useful, some of us are hearing about them for the first time when we read document CL 99/6, and we are at a loss as to exactly what happened in the fora that occurred and which the document talks about.
I would have liked, for example, to have read the document of FAO in conjunction with the documentation on international economic cooperation, the background document on implementation of the IDS Role of the UN System, and the like. The Africa Real Time Monitoring Information System is very important. I would have liked to see what it has to say, because the information contained there apparently is of great use to our governments which are having many problems of disasters.
I believe these and others mentioned in the Secretariat paper should have been made available to enable us to better understand and prepare our statements. I hope that for the Kenyan delegation it would be possible to obtain those documents.
In my current intervention, however, I wish to concentrate on one question, the question of coordination, whether inter-agency, interstate or between governments, and of concerned agencies of the United Nations System.
The problems of coordination in the UN System have consumed a lot of time, and yet one finds it difficult to say that good progress has been made on this issue over the years. For someone like myself who has been following these things for 25 years, every year, it is unfortunate that we have not found a better system of effective and efficient coordination.
In these years of so-called zero growth - I say so-called zero growth because it is not realistic but it is there - very difficult years, very scarce resources, we the members of the international community have a duty not only to decide on a priority basis the things we have to do, we must also strive to obtain efficiency and effectiveness in whatever we do. The purpose of coordination is thus to avoid duplication of efforts and unnecessary wastage of very scarce resources. It means consultation and collaboration, and in cases of emergencies such as natural disasters, coordination can help save human life.
In the case of the four agricultural organizations of the UN System, of course, based in Rome, coordination of activities and efforts is essential because there are very many areas of common and even identical work. Unless these agencies consult systematically on what they do, it is very difficult for some of us to know who does what, because the areas of activity are similar and duplication of efforts does not help us when resources are very scarce.
Therefore, we would like to urge enhanced inter-agency coordination, because the decade of 1990 is teeming with problems of natural disasters and other disaster situations having adverse effects of controllable severity. We have problems of drugs and drug trafficking. We have problems of refugees and displaced persons. We have problems of enormous migrations of human beings, such as we have never seen before. We have very serious issues raised in DD4, the IDS for the 1990s whose effective implementation will require the coordinated approach of the UN System agencies. We have scheduled important conferences on the environment and development, on nutrition, on water and the environment, on forestry resources and the like, whose preparatory processed will not be efficient unless and until there is an effective and efficient coordinating mechanism put in place.
The four agencies of the UN System based in Rome are charged with high responsibility of fighting hunger, alleviating poverty and, of course, implementing projects, conducting operational activity for development, dealing with all kinds of disasters, encouraging people's participation in development, especially women and the youth, providing technical assistance, including human resource development, encouraging TCDC and ECDC activities among developing countries, and so forth. But these four agencies are not the only ones dealing with these problems; the whole system deals with these things. The UNDP deals with these things, the ILO, UNHCR, UNRAA and we can name a whole series of them, including regional organizations. They all deal with these things. In an age of zero growth there are no resources.
So if there is no effective and efficient mechanism to coordinate the activities of these agencies to avoid having duplication of efforts we are in a serious decade and we will face disasters of untold consequences.
My delegation, and the Kenyan Government have always appreciated the assistance - and I have said this before - of FAO and the other three agencies dealing with food and agriculture problems in Rome, but we believe, sir, that there is plenty of room for improvement and enhanced coordination of these activities if resources which are so scarce are going to help deal with these frightening problems facing the international community.
I believe that coordination has to be systematic and that a mechanism should be put in place in Rome to come up with some specific recommendations. It is not enough to have just mechanisms; they have to be productive, they have to produce some recommendations which we should discuss and see how effectively to use the scarce resources for the development of the developing countries, and I believe, sir, we, the developing country representatives in Rome should also be mobilized so that there can be a joint approach to tackle these problems. Otherwise, we face disaster.
I have many other things to say but I will not say them because you have been so kind to give me the floor. I do not want to be very long and I thank you very much and hope as well that some recommendation will be forthcoming to prepare a paper on ways and means of enhancing coordination in Rome of the agencies that will have the pride to be accredited to.
LE PRESIDENT: Nous en sommes ma in tenant au terme de la discussion de ce point de l'ordre du jour. Ce point de l'ordre du jour se limitait à examiner les faits nouveaux survenus dans le système des Nations Unies et intéressant la FAO.
Il est difficile d'ouvrír un débat et de discuter de choses qui ont fait l'objet de semaines, pour ne pas dire de mois, de discussions et je crois que nous n'avons ni à examiner ni à revoir la réforme. Après de très longs travaux on a abouti à la Résolution 19/89. On a examiné l'entièreté des activités de la FAO, et je crois que vouloir maintenant ouvrir un débat avec une série de thèmes qui ont été examinvs et réexaminés en 1987, 1988 et 1989, ne serait évidemment pas possible.
Je partage bien sûr l'avis sur la nécessité de la coordination. Cette coordination est souhaitable, elle doit être effective et opérationnelle. Elle ne se fait pas nécessairement dans l'action sur le terrain par une collaboration sérieuse et solide, et je crois qu'il faut surtout éviter de distendre les liens pour se rendre compte après qu'il faut les renforcer. Je crois qu'il est très important que les organisations situées à Rome travaillent ensemble, mais qu'elles travaillent dans des projets précis, concrets et opérationnels. Nous n'allons pas parler d'une nouvelle revolution verte, nous allons donner la parole, si elle le veut bien, à Mme. Kay Killingsworth pour répondre aux questions précises qui ont été posées, en restant dans le cadre modéste du point qui est actuellement à l'examen.
Ms. Kay KILLINGSWORTH (Director, Office for Inter-Agency Affairs): Thank you very much Mr Chairman. We have taken very careful note of all the comments made by the various delegations during their interventions which, in one way or another touched on just about all the subjects in the document. There was particular emphasis, of course, on a certain number of points, on some of which questions were also raised. Before answering those specific questions I would like to point out with regard to the format of the document that, as you have said yourself, we do try to keep it succinct and in many cases do refer to other documents. Normally these are documents of other UN bodies such as the General Assembly, ECOSOC and so forth, and therefore are already available to Member Nations who are members of those fora. In order to keep costs to a minimum we try to reproduce as little as possible of that type of documentation, but of course it is available and we are happy to furnish it to any delegate who is interested in seeing the background to some of the issues which we cover in our document.
I would also be happy to make available to the Ambassador of Kenya the documentation concerning the joint AGC/CPC session which covered the question of coordination.
Going on the Uruguay Round on which by far the greatest number of interventions were made, the Ambassador of Colombia asked to what extent is FAO less involved in the Uruguay Round as a consequence now of informal negotiations on agriculture? Although as he noted, the negotiations have tended to take the form of informal consultations among participants, inter alia in the Trade Negotiations Committee but also through other informal mechanisms, FAO has maintained contact and provided advice to a number of
developing countries at their request to enable them to participate more effectively in these consultations. At the same time, as I noted in my introduction, formal meetings of the Negotiating Group on Agriculture have recommenced. At the first of these meetings which was held last week, FAO resumed attendance as an observer and will continue to do so at future formal meetings of the group and through other means. This is both in order to follow the negotiations and to provide assistance to countries which may request it. The same situation will apply with regard to tropical products and natural resource-base products, on which formal negotiations also recommenced last week.
A question was also raised: what was the nature of this assistance and to which countries or groups was it provided? FAO has provided commodity information on the request of both individual countries and groups of developing country participants in negotiations on agriculture, tropical products and natural resource-base products. In addition, and in close collaboration with the GATT Secretariat FAO has provided information and documentation for the benefit of participants of both developed and developing countries in relation to the International Plant Protection Convention and CODEX activities of the Organization, which, as you know, are very relevant to the negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Substantive technical assistance to enable groups of countries to draw up their negotiating proposals has been extended, particularly to the group of net food-importing developing countries (Jamaica, Mexico, Egypt, Morocco and Peru) whose proposals relate to net food-importing countries at large and to member countries of the Central American Common Market.
Several questions are also raised with regard to the Common Fund, and the distinguished Ambassador of Colombia questioned whether the Inter-governmental Group on Bananas had considered the draft programme of research and development of bananas for possible Common Fund financing at the 12th Session held in Madeira recently, and also whether this programme had been revised and sent to the Common Fund. Yes, the Group did consider the. draft programme in detail. Specifically it set up an informal expert group, a committee of experts, which introduced a number of small changes which were subsequently approved unanimously. The Group thus requested the secretariat to modify the document accordingly and submit it to the Common Fund as soon as practicable. Work is already in hand to ensure that this will be done. The submission will be in conformity with normal in-house procedures and the format indicated by the Fund for submission of project proposals. It may also be mentioned that when this item came up during adoption of the report, a number of delegates from both importing and exporting countries took the opportunity of the presence of a representative from the Common Fund to reiterate strongly their support for the banana programme and their willingness to cooperate in its implementation.
The distinguished delegate of Cuba asked a question with regard to the procedures for submission of project proposals to the Common Fund and wondered whether this should be done through the International Commodity Body, the ICB. The answer to this is yes, it is the function of these commodity bodies to submit project proposals to the Second Account of the Common Fund for Financing. Since a total of nine FAO commodity groups have now been designated as ICBs, the countries that are members of these groups
have the opportunity to take part in selection of project proposals and in their development. These countries are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss project proposals. I should clarify that once submitted by the ICB, the Common Fund undertakes its own examination of these project proposals before coming to a final decision.
I might also say that the comments made by the delegate of The Netherlands will be taken into account for any future report that we should make on the Common Fund.
Going on to a number of questions with regard to the World Summit for Children and related activities, the delegate of Canada expressed support for the Montreal Conference. I would confirm, as did Mr Dutia the other day, that we are actively participating to ensure that food and agriculture concerns are given full attention in the Montreal Conference.
In addition to the Montreal meeting we are closely coordinating with UNICEF in preparing the International Conference on Nutrition, and this is to ensure also close linkages between Children's Summit follow-up and the ICN preparations. UNICEF has agreed to prepare a major ICN theme paper on "Caring Capacities" as well as to have UNICEF country representatives cooperate in the country-level preparations for the ICN, which will take national plans concerning follow-up to the World Summit for Children very much into account.
The delegate of Germany also pointed out that one of the major goals in the Summit follow-up should be to ensure improved access to better food for children. This illustrates the fact that FAO will undoubtedly be carrying out a broad-based follow-up to various aspects of the Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit, involving mainly the work on nutrition in connection with the ICN, but also through other activities under other parts of the Organization's overall work programme. I would reassure the UK delegate that the Conference will be receiving full information on FAO's plans and programmes for contribution to the follow-up of the World Summit, through documents for various items on its agenda: the Medium-term Plan, the Programme of Work and Budget and the report for the item on the ICN, as well as through the document which will be provided to the Conference under this standing item, Recent Development in the UN System of Interest to FAO.
The UK delegate also asked a question with regard to the Dublin Water Conference. FAO certainly recognizes the importance of economics, particularly the costs of irrigation development.
Since these are of crucial importance, social and environmental benefits and costs will be discussed at the Dublin Conference in 1992. To contribute to the discussion within the UNCED process we are planning four country missions this year to prepare costed and targeted programmes to address socio-economic problems relating to irrigation development.
With regard to the World Bank initiative on irrigation and drainage, we are in close contact with the Bank and have attended several meetings. In addition, both the Bank and FAO are represented in the Inter-Secretariat Group which is part of the subsidiary machinery of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, that is, that Inter-Secretariat Group on Water Resources, which is acting as a steering committee for the Dublin Water Conference.
The Dublin Conference will provide another opportunity to integrate the activities of the United Nations system in the sphere of water resources. We consider the programme of the World Bank therefore to be complementary to our International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development.
The delegate of the United States asked for an update on the contacts between ILO and FAO on Prior Informed Consent. As you will recall, this question was discussed at the Council last November and at the previous Conference. There is not a great deal to report on this point. The ILO Conference last year adopted the Convention on the Safety and Use of Chemicals and we are now in a period in which ILO will be continuing its work on following up the implementation of the Convention in various countries. There has been correspondence between the Secretariats of ILO and FAO on the subject. So far, this has mainly involved discussions and keeping each other mutually informed. FAO is for the moment also continuing its own work, particularly on PIC, in very close collaboration with UNEP. I would like to note that we have gone ahead with a joint programme with UNEP on the implementation of PIC and are making every effort to ensure that ILO is fully informed on the UNEP/FAO programme.
The delegate of Thailand made a comment on Codex and food control. We should indicate that the recommendations of the Conference which took place in March are to be discussed in full at the next meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to be held here in Rome in July. The comments of the Council will certainly be brought to the attention of that meeting.
If I have covered all the other questions, I would just like to note with particular satisfaction the support expressed by so many delegations for the considerable effort FAO is making to participate, in this rather difficult period, in a number of very important United Nations system initiatives, which have been mentioned this morning and this afternoon, such as the work on drug abuse control, the work on disasters - this is work to which we attach great importance. We were represented at the most recent meeting in Vienna of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the inter-agency meeting which followed that. We are monitoring carefully developments in the new drug abuse control structure which has been set up in Vienna, and will be taking that into account in future activities.
I hope I have dealt with everything adequately, Mr Chairman, but remain at your disposal for any further clarification.
LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie Madame Killingsworth d'avoir répondu de manière aussi exhaustive et complète à toutes les questions qui lui ont été posées. Je crois que l'on peut discuter à l'infini sur un certain nombre de points relevés dans le rapport concernant les faits nouveaux survenus dans le système des Nations Unies qui intéressent la FAO. Un élément extrêmement important pour l'avenir, à mon sens, c'est de déterminer les aires de compétence respectives des organisations. Il est extrêmement important, pour assurer la collaboration et la coordination souhaitées, de savoir qui s'occupe de quoi, qui est responsable de quol et quelles sont les responsabilités respectives des différentes organisations.
Il y a des organisations qui sont devenues pauvres, et nous le regrettons vivement. Or une organisation opérationnelle peut difficilement rester véritablement opérationnelle très longtemps si elle ne dispose pas des moyens voulus pour accomplir les tâches qui lui sont confiées.
Une de nos responsabilités est de déterminer ces aires de compétence, et d'assurer la coordination au niveau où elle doit se faire et non pas au niveau où certains voudraient qu'elle se fasse: elle se fait sur le terrain, dans l'intérêt des bénéficiaires, avec une bonne articulation des opérations.
A mon avis, l'élément opérationnel restera toujours un élément important parce qu'il n'y a de réflexion possible sans un prolongement efficace d'action sur le terrain. Nous devons garder cet élément présent à l'esprit.
Vouloir faire une sorte de séminaire d'étude désincarnée sans savoir quelles sont les implications des actions que l'on mène sur le terrain est totalement illusoire.
Il y a eu un excellent débat sur ce point. Si l'un ou l'autre des membres du Conseil désire obtenir plus d'informations, Madame Killingsworth reste à leur disposition pour leur répondre, dans les jours qui viennent. Je tiens à la remercier très vivement de son intervention, de sa patience et de la manière complète avec laquelle elle a répondu à toutes les questions qui lui ont été posées.
LE PRESIDENT: Nous sommes saisis du document CL 99/22. Nous ne discuterons pas simultanément les points 15 et 16 de l'ordre du jour, car ils sont très différents. Le point 15 concerne une éunion du groupe ad hoc d'experts pour le Plan d'action forestier tropical qui deviendrait un programme d'action forestier tropical, tandis que le point 16 concerne un instrument international sur la conservation et la mise en valeur des forêts. Ce sont done deux points différents et je crois qu'il vaut mieux ne pas mélanger les deux discussions.
Declan J. WALTON (Special Representative of the Director-General): The process of modifying the TFAP is currently in full swing. It is often referred to as the "revamping" of the TFAP, but I much prefer the word "renewal", and that is what I shall call it in these introductory remarks.
Document CL 99/22 gives the Council a photograph of what the process looked like a few weeks ago. The intervening period has seen no major new developments, but there have been some changes in perception which I shall try to reflect.
The renewal of the TFAP is being carried out in a participatory manner. This means that all the major actors in the TFAP are consulted before important decisions are taken. There is a cost, in terms of time. The process is inevitably a slow one.
The Geneva meeting, which is the formal subject on our agenda, reached its conclusions by consensus. However, they were couched in very general terms. Our problem now is to translate these general conclusions into precise, practical arrangements. This discussion in the Council comes at an important moment, as conclusions are beginning to crystallize.
Although the practical arrangements, as I say, have not yet been made, it is possible to see the shape of a renewed TFAP. I would like to describe, very briefly, the new TFAP in four of its aspects: substantive content; procedures; coordination; and funding. I shall then look at the most important and controversial element under consideration; namely, the creation of a new international consultative group on tropical forests. Finally, I shall say a few words about the strengthening of FAO's approach, both within the TFAP and more generally toward the problems of the tropical forests.
First, substantive content: The new TFAP is to be guided by a set of general principles, the language of which has not yet been finalized. The overall approach is summarized in the report on the Geneva meeting, which is Appendix A of our document. A more elaborate draft, currently under consideration, is attached as Appendix B. Let us call this the "TFAP philosophy". It will, of course, be of the utmost importance to ensure that the final text is acceptable to all as a balanced approach to conservation and development. Ultimately, any national or international programme of action on tropical forests will be entitled to use the TFAP name if it adheres to the TFAP philosophy. This philosophy includes a multi-disciplinary approach, and the full involvement of forest-dependent populations in the preparation of national action plans.
Procedures: The new TFAP will be much more flexible than the old one. Right now there is a standard process, which includes such elements as the preparation of an Issues Paper, a national forest action plan, and a series of Round Tables - I, II and III. In future each tropical country will be able to choose its own set of procedures, in consultation with the donors which are ready to provide external support. The current processes are not discarded; they just become one option among several. Countries will thus have no obligation to use a special process to carry out the TFAP. They can, if they wish, avail themselves of the normal procedures of the World Bank, the regional banks, the bilaterals, and other donors, provided the substantive content of their programmes and projects is in line with the TFAP philosophy.
Coordination: The changes I have just outlined will have the effect of making the TFAP a genuinely country-led process. As a result, coordination will be carried out essentially at the country level. Internationally, there will be a need for liaison and information flows, but not to any great extent for coordination in the usual meaning of the term. FAO's coordinating role will thus evolve into a liaison function, including monitoring, information, training, technical assistance and the provision of multi-disciplinary inputs to the TFAP process as a whole.
Funding: The key weakness of the present TFAP is in mobilizing aid funds. The figures for the funds actually released for expenditure following a Round Table of Type III are extremely disappointing. Yet we are told that over the last five years aid to the forestry sector has doubled. How can this be explained? I believe the basic reason is fairly simple. The procedures of the current TFAP were not devised by the people who hold the purse strings in the aid programmes. Some of the bigger donors simply have not found the TFAP in its current form to be a vehicle they could use for preparing decisions on the allocation of money. As a result aid to forestry, from the biggest donors especially, has been flowing outside the TFAP. The quickest way of getting funds moving is to use the normal procedures of these donors. In addition, it would be extremely useful to have a special fund available for quick-action projects, notably for helping countries to build up their capacity to handle the new TFAP process.
The four elements of the new TFAP which I have described thus all hang together. Flexibility in procedures opens the way to quicker decisions oh funding. A common philosophy links separate national exercises without the need for formal international coordination. The renewed TFAP would thus be realistic, balanced, and a shared responsibility of all participants. That, at least, is what we're aiming at. But we haven't got there yet.
And this brings me to the major issue: the proposal to create a new international consultative group on tropical forests. The most controversial aspect is the idea that non-governmental organizations would sit in the CG as full participants alongside governments. Current thinking is that the membership would include nine tropical countries (three from each of the major forest regions, nine donor countries, and nine nongovernmental organizations (coming from both the North and the South). It is also envisaged that the private sector would be represented by one member from the North and one from the South; a number of international organizations would participate including the ITTO and at least one regional bank; FAO, UNDP and the World Bank would be members and would also serve as sponsors; the Chairman of COFO would participate ex officio, as would the Chairman of the Forestry Advisers Group.
The idea of NGOs having the same number of seats as tropical countries and the same number as donors is undoubtedly disconcerting to those who are used to doing business in inter-governmental fora. In fact, it recognizes the immense influence which NGOs have acquired, especially in regard to forestry. Their influence is exercised on legislatures, on aid programmes, on the media, and on public opinion. It will continue to be exercised, whether there is or is not a CG.
Donor countries, or some of them at least, have had two occasions this month to look at the CG proposal. While reservations on the idea were expressed by members of the European Forestry Commission, which met in Oslo at the beginning of June, the TFAP Forestry Advisers Group, meeting just last week in Ottawa, reached a consensus in favour of the early establishment of the CG. Subject to any observations that may be made here to-day, I believe that the donors have come out in favour of the new CG.
The developing countries have not yet expressed their views, and we shall therefore be particularly interested to hear their reactions in the course of the present debate.
The most weighty argument in favour of the CG, from the point of view of developing countries, is the need to reach an international consensus on the ground rules for aid to forestry. If the developing countries do not wish to participate in the CG, then I believe there will be no CG, and if there is no CG there will probably be no TFAP. What you will then get will be a series of conditions on forestry aid, imposed unilaterally by donors under pressure from the NGOs, the media and public opinion. I believe the developing countries have a strong potential interest in participating in the new CG, so that there can be a dialogue - and hopefully an agreement -on the sensitive issues which have not yet been resolved.
I also believe that FAO should plan an active and constructive role in the preparation of the new CG, and seek to ensure that it arrives at a balanced approach to conservation and development.
Perhaps the first task of the CG should be to finalize the guiding principles of the new TFAP, what I have referred to as the TFAP philosophy. Appendix B of our document is, let me repeat, an intermediate draft. Unless and until all concerned agree on the definitive version we can't really say we have a new TFAP at all.
I must emphasize that we see the CG as a forum, and not as an operational entity. The NGOs, on the other hand, are obviously anxious to maximize the responsibilities of a body in which they have such a large interest. This is an issue which must be sorted out, one way or another, right from the start if we are to avoid continuing tensions.
The Group will have a small secretariat to be hosted by UNDP. We offered to provide these services from FAO, but encountered considerable opposition, mainly but not exclusively from NGOs. Indeed, the NGOs have conveyed the impression that they would have no confidence in the new mechanism if FAO were responsible for servicing it. This may appear to us unpalatable and irrational, but it is a fact of life, whether we like it or not.
I wish to underline that the CG will not substitute in any way for the FAO Committee on Forestry or other FAO bodies which are used by governments for international policy-setting in forestry. The CG will make its impact by persuasion, rather than by legislation. Its conclusions will be reported to FAO bodies, which will then have to decide whether they should be implemented in FAO. It will, of course, be important for governments to take compatible positions in the CG, in FAO, and in the other organizations concerned.
Regarding the composition of the CG, there is one particular aspect on which it would be helpful to have the views of Council delegations. The representation of the private sector - one person from the North and one from the South - seems to us somewhat perfunctory. Commercial enterprises are major actors on the forest scene. Should we not have a larger, representative cross-section from the private sector?
The conclusions of the Council will have a very large influence on what we can achieve in coming months. I hope, frankly, that we shall have a consensus on going ahead along the lines sketched out in our document and these introductory remarks. I would like to see the Secretariat encouraged to play an active and constructive role in helping to shape the final arrangements. We would report on further developments to the Programme Committee or the Council later this year, so that if specific decisions are required they can be taken in a timely fashion.
If all major partners in the TFAP are ready to move forward, probably the next stage will be to call an organizational meeting of the new consultative group, to thrash out the major issues.
I would like to make three quick additional points. In the period ahead, we shall be particularly concerned to ensure a smooth transition to the new TFAP, without disrupting any valuable work that is already under way in tropical countries using the current procedures. Second, it is clearly the responsibility of FAO as the world's principal technical agency in the field of forestry to provide technical advice to the new CG, and we shall do so. And thirdly, we are very conscious that the renewal of the TFAP is part of a broader picture, which includes the work in UNCED on an international instrument that the Council will be looking at separately; it includes the World Bank's development of a new forestry policy, and it includes the preparation of the World Forestry Congress. So far, these different exercises appear to be reaching compatible viewpoints, and we hope that governments, for their part, will ensure that this trend is confirmed.
Finally, a word about FAO itself. Despite past efforts, we have not yet succeeded in developing practical mechanisms for bringing together agriculture and forestry. This has certainly been a handicap in our performance under the TFAP, and I am convinced it will be of increasing importance in the years ahead - TFAP or no TFAP. I would advocate a dual approach, at the levels of the Secretariat and the intergovernmental machinery. Within the Secretariat, the departments concerned have started discussing new mechanisms, and hopefully some conclusions will be reached in the near future. At the intergovernmental level, I am attracted by the idea of taking a fresh look at the terms of reference and functioning of the Committee on Forest Development in the Tropics. Perhaps this Committee, which reports to the Director-General, could specialize on the agriculture-forestry interface. There are also other ideas which could be explored.
The renewal of the TFAP is a complex process. I have not attempted to cover all aspects of it, since this would take far too much of the Council's time. But if necessary, Mr Murray or I will be glad to answer any questions that may be put to us.
LE PRESIDENT: Le document qui nous est sounds pose un certain nombre de questions précises de nature à éclairer l'ensemble du Conseil et à éclairer également les responsables exécutifs de la FAO. Dans le document CL 99/22, au paragraphe 17, il est indiqué de façon très claire: "le Conseil est invite à présenter ses vues sur ces questions".
Les trois problèmes qui se posent sont les suivants: nécessité d'assurer une mise en ordre du Programme d'action forestier tropical axé sur les pays, création d'un nouveau Groupe consultatlf proposé lors de la réunion de Genève et répartition des responsabilités entre les divers acteurs du PAFT remanié.
Je fais remarquer qu'au paragraphe 29 du document il est indiqué: le Conseil pourrait souhaiter indiquer comment il volt plus spéclfiquement le rôle de la FAO pour ce qui concerne les trois grandes functions de coordination Internationale, d'appui technique et d'aide opérationnelle.
Aux paragraphes 33 et 35, 11 est indlqué de manière précise que le Directeur général souhaiterait connaître les vues du Conseil sur le point suivant, à savoir si le Conseil souhaite que l'Organisation reste l'une des institutions coparrainant le Groupe informel actual et 11 est également indiqué que le Conseil est invité à présenter ses vues sur les propositions de renforcement du PAFT et sur l'évolution du rôle de l'Organisation.
Cela veut dire, compte tenu de toutes les questions posées, que nous n'aurons certainement pas la possibilité de répondre de façon très brève à toutes les questions qui nous sont adressées et pour lesquelles nous souhaiterions obtenir un maximum de clarté. Cette clarté est souhaitable pour savoir comment procéder à l'avenir. Il va de soi que dans les mols qui viennent le Comité du Programme et le Conseil à sa centième session auront l'occasion de pousser l'examen plus avant.
Nous sommes dans un processus évolutif. L'étude du document sur certains points devrait être révélatrice de certaines tendances et il serait indispensable que les pays fassent connaître leur point de vue sur les questions précises qui ont été posées.
F.C. PRILLEVITZ (Netherlands): I would like to say that I am glad to see Mr Walton back in this room. First of all, my delegation wishes to express its gratitude for the opportunity we have had to orientate ourselves on this subject in two informal meetings with the Secretariat; a first one with the donors to the multi-donor trust fund TFAP, and a second one with donor and recipient countries together.
Even additional material was made available, such as the paper about the Survey of TFAP Implementation Status. And with the further information just given by Mr Walton the state of affairs is clear, although a further follow-up of certain aspects of the TFAP-exercise is needed and final decisions on the Consultative Group, for example, with regard to its composition, cannot be taken here. However, in our opinion the Council must be prepared to formulate a crystal clear decision at the end of this debate.
Four points have to be discussed, and they are mentioned in paragraph 1 of the paper under discussion now, CL 99/22. My delegation wants to comment on all these points which are so important for the revamping or the renewal of TFAP.
The reformulation of goals and objectives of a revamped TFAP is almost finalized. It is our impression that this outcome of the ad hoc experts meeting is a good one. The new formulated objectives show a balance between conservation and development, stress the involvement of local people and the participation of rural communities and ensure that TFAP should be a country-driven instead of a donor-driven activity and that an interdisciplinary approach should be followed. My delegation hopes that this part of the work can be finalized very soon, and that goals and objectives of the revamped TFAP can be considered as definitive.
The proposals for improved appropriate institutional arrangements for all interested parties are still not consolidated, as has been stated in paragraph 17 of the document, so clearly explained by Mr Walton. However, it is very clear from the Geneva meeting and from the follow-up meeting of the co-founders in New York, that the establishment of an international consultative group on tropical forests is unavoidable. If that is the case, a decision about an eventual sponsorship by FAO of the Consultative Group has to be taken now, in this Council meeting. My country has actively participated in the Geneva meeting and has welcomed the Consultative Group as an instrument for the channelling of public consciousness and worries about deforestation. Therefore, active participation of NGOs is essential, both international NGOs and some national ones especially from developing countries. On the other hand, my Government does not want to see that in future the Consultative Group will duplicate work that FAO is doing. In that respect, it is essential that in this Council meeting we consolidate the lasting tasks for FAO with regard to TFAP in the case the Consultative Group is working. My delegation is of the opinion that these tasks are the following ones:
Coordination of National Forestry Action Plans for which FAO has been asked to be the lead agency;
Policy back-up research and technical advice; and
Project implementation and execution.
A final and important task should be that FAO, and especially the coordination unit, TFAP, remain the focal point for monitoring, information exchange, data processing, and liaising, etc.
So, Mr Chairman, in answering the two related important questions: what will be the main functions of the Consultative Group and secondly, what should be the future role of FAO's coordination unit for TFAP, my delegation wants to express first of all that we have to avoid duplication of work. The Netherlands is in favour of keeping the bulk of the work here in Rome within FAO, namely the international coordination and liaison function, the technical support and the operational assistance. The first one, the international coordination, is at stake now. The Council decided in its last meeting in November that FAO will suggest ways and means to strengthen this function.
In that respect the outcome of the so-called stock-taking, which resulted in a survey of TFAP implementation status, is important. My delegation proposes that this will be complemented by a mid-term review of the TFAP
multi-donor trust fund project, according to the normal rules applied to such projects. In designing the terms of reference for that evaluation my delegation will ask that special attention be given to the place, status and necessary budget and personnel for the unit. It is high time that FAO shows that it takes TFAP very seriously and that the revamped TFAP belongs to the first priorities of the Organization. In that respect the proposed financial support to the Programme in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for the next Biennium inside and outside the Forestry Department is encouraging (although the proposed amounts of money are still too small). Given the need for a more interdisciplinary approach, a more autonomous place for the Coordination Unit within the Organization which was, in the Forestry Advisers Group, discussed last week in Ottawa, has to be considered. By the way, the report of that Tropical Forestry Advisers' Group is available in English, and I asked the Secretary to make it available to the participants in this meeting, so it is on the counter at the end of the Nordic Lounge.
Besides strengthening the place and status of TFAP within FAO, in view of avoiding duplication of work, it is also of utmost importance that the Consultative Group concentrate itself on strategic matters, and in particular how to mobilize funds for the execution of National Forestry Action Plans. Furthermore, my delegation thinks that it is highly preferable that the Secretariat of the Consultative Group will be located in Rome for logistic reasons, but of course outside FAO. I don't want to dwell too long on the composition of the Consultative Group. My delegation is quite satisfied with what we heard from Mr Walton and can read about it in paragraph 13. Only one remark: I personally prefer a more independent chairman than a vice-president of the World Bank. May I make a suggestion? Perhaps we can ask a representative of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature which is an organization of a semi-governmental nature.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, TFAP works in practice in the tropical countries. For example, the Committee on Forestry in Latin America in its session in February this year "recognized the need for FAO to continue to exercise its coordinating role, which has enabled the TFAP to be so dynamic in the region". But still, FAO's performance on the international scene with regard to TFAP has to be improved. Donor countries, World Bank, UNDP and FAO are under pressure of the environment movement, international and national ones. We cannot afford to ignore them. For quick implementation of National Forestry Plans a lot of money is needed, from donor countries and international financial institutions. This, of course, relates to the final point the last Council asked for.
I think that a well designed and well composed Consultative Group can help on the one hand as an emotional outlet, a safety valve for environmental concern, but on the other hand work as a high-level advisory board for strategic guidance only.
Matthias SCHWOERER-BÖHNING (Germany): The German Government, being actively involved in the TFAP process since 1986, and having financed the Coordination Unit at FAO with 3 million German Marks, is highly interested in the successful outcome of the TFAP reform process in order to guarantee higher effectiveness of this framework for coordinated international cooperation.
We appreciate the initiative and active work of FAO within this process. We agree on the basis of the TFAP reform elements worked out so far at several high-level meetings that commenced in Geneva. This includes the proposal for a new International Consultative Group as a complementary component of the TFAP mechanism. We believe that FAO has to further accomplish its important liaison role covering tasks such as the provision of know-how in order to secure the quality of National Forestry Action Plans, and the dissemination and systematic monitoring of results and success.
The German Government regrets, however, that FAO has not taken sufficient measures to take over in its regular budget the TFAP Unit so far financed by Trust Funds. We, therefore plead for making use of existing options in this respect.
Moreover, we, like the delegation of the Netherlands, plead for a joint evaluation of the Trust Fund-financed measures by FAO and other donors in order to assess the current effectiveness of the instrument.
We welcome the fact that FAO has now conducted a stock-taking exercise of previous national forestry action plans. Even though this evaluation does not meet all expectations, we consider it as an important step towards the necessary corrections and improvements of National Forestry Action Plans unsatisfactory in quality, improvements being important for further donor support of the broad implementation of National Forestry Action Plans.
In our view, it is also necessary to come to concrete recommendations in those cases where existing NFAOs show considerable deficiencies hindering further donor support.
In order to ensure that NFAOs are no longer worked out without sufficient adherence to the TFAP guidelines, in our opinion it is urgently required that additional NFAOs are started only according to existing capacities both at FAO and at other donors involved.
The German Government definitely gives priority to the follow-up of existing NFAOs, as well as the satisfactory completion of planning exercises being in progress, before participating in additional NFAOs.
The German Government encourages FAO to continue to play a leading role in the successful completion of the TFAP reform process. Further appropriate engagement, the consequent overcoming of structural bottlenecks and the active participation in the new Consultative Group are therefore necessary. After years of important experience the decisive cooperation of all who are involved in the TFAP process is needed in order to make the TFAP the instrument which is required by the international community to halt the disastrous destruction of the tropical forests.
LE PRESIDENT: Je voudrais remercier également l'Allemagne de son intervention financière pour le PAFT. Il m'a été dit au Danemark que cette intervention financière n'était pas utilisée. Vérification faite, il n'en n'est point ainsi. Une très large utilisation des fonds mis à la disposition de la FAO par l'Allemagne a été effectivement faite.
Winston RUDDER (Trinidad and Tobago): My delegation intervenes on this agenda item on behalf of the 13 member countries comprising CARICOM.
For us this debate is propitious as it comes at a time when exercises relating to the TFAP are currently in existence in several Member States of the region being conducted with the acknowledged assistance of the Government of the United Kingdom.
We take as our point of departure on this matter the assumption that the major partners who bonded themselves in this cooperative alliance to promote the TFAP were motivated by deep technical, environmental, economic and social concerns relating to the rapid degradation of tropical forests and the impact on development, present and future, local, national, regional and global. More than that, we also understand that the partners were manifesting a commitment to contribute in accordance with their means and capacity, and to assist in procuring resources towards the realization of the TFAP objectives, and in this regard to do so by acting in complementarity and in cooperation with donor agencies and countries, as well as the relevant affected developing countries.
In light of the foregoing, the contents of document CL 98/2 did provoke some initial sense of disquiet and concern on the part of my delegation, because it seemed that not much progress had been made since these deliberations at the last Session of COFO in September 1990. Indeed, in some ways it appears as though we have taken one step forward but two backwards.
In terms of clarifying and harmonizing our perspectives and finalizing decisions regarding the future TFAP in fact, the future of TFAP, we humbly submit that this transition stage between TFAP I and II appears inordinately long, and we do seem to be stagnating a bit.
We have reviewed the proposals emanating from the ad hoc Meeting in Geneva and we are very pleased to see the content of the new TFAP, with respect to the philosophy on multisector approach and the greater involvement of forest-dependent people, both in planning and implementation. We also believe, as explained, that the procedures will be more flexible and that the orientation in terms of being country-driven is correct/However, the recommendations for a new international institutional arrangement does provoke some thought, to say the least. According to paragraph 3(e) of Appendix A of CL 99/22, we are proposing a Consultative Group which seems to be responsible to no one, which is empowered to do very much. Moreover, as yet we have no knowledge in specific terms about who will constitute this group of persons on whom such responsibility and authority have been entrusted. In certain respects the tenor of the proposal does seem to indicate some lack of confidence in our existing institutions in terms of their ability to discharge the mandate given them in respect of the TFAP and to monitor and evaluate progress towards implementation objectively and honestly.
This apart, one cannot help but observe areas of potential duplication between the mandate of the proposed Consultative Group and that of FAO in relation to information dissemination, identification of funding needs and sources, establishment of priorities and monitoring of progress. We find
difficulty too with the notion that there should be doubt about the need for coordination between the proposed Consultative Group and the FAO with respect to the implementation of the TFAP activities as expressed in paragraph 3(h) of Appendix A. It is clear that this re-look at and rethinking of TFAP after some 5-6 years experience was motivated by the highest consideration of goodwill and concern that the TFAP be made more relevant and effective and be oriented from being donor-driven to country-led in terms of planning and implementation.
Clearly too these perceptions with respect to nature, scope and direction of the TFAP have contributed to the fact that it is starved of funds particularly for follow-up implementation activities. In consequence, if this mechanism of the Consultative Group would allay concerns and inject greater transparency in so far as the members of the donor community are concerned, notwithstanding our earlier comment, my delegation would see a way to support the concept of the Consultative Group. However, as an institutional mechanism it must operate at a broad strategic level promoting the TFAP in the corridors of power in ways facilitating access to resources hitherto untapped, offering strategic advice and serving as a sounding board.
Against this background and noting the institutional issues raised in paragraphs 17 to 22, my delegation confirms the views expressed at the last COFO and Council of November with respect to FAO's continuing role and function in the TFAP.
In our view FAO's mission in international forestry development predates the TFAP. The TFAP offers the opportunity to further interpret and define that mission in terms of programmatic action. Accordingly, we endorse the roles identified for FAO with respect to international coordination, technical support, especially at the national levels in respect of coordinating national forestry plans, provisions, and in terms of project implementation and operational assistance.
According to this modality there are clearly defined links between the Secretariat of the proposed Consultative Group and the FAO Coordinating Unit. In fact, pragmatism demands that their functions perhaps be merged. This is consistent with the calls for non-duplication of efforts made so regularly in this forum.
Finally, we recommend that FAO continue the dialogue with its partners in the search to refine the proposed institutional arrangements and present final proposals for consideration and acceptance of Council and Conference later this year.
Soedjadi HARTONO (Indonesia): Let me start my intervention by expressing our gratitude to the Secretariat for the excellent report of this agenda item, and to Mr Walton for his introduction remarks on this matter.
Since TFAP was initially introduced in 1985, the efforts of improving forest management practices in most parts of the world, particularly in the tropical regions, seem to be very significant. Even though there are many criticisms on the TFAP, the merit of its original goals and objectives
still have to be appreciated. There is nothing running perfectly in our life, even one little thing must have deficiency. Forestry is not an easy discipline. It needs hard work under harsh environment, and forestry problems are getting more serious. Therefore the spirit of TFAP which is addressed to global interest, and where many parties are involved and expectations vary, the essential of its merit remain of utmost importance. Through TFAP, the hopes of international concerned countries have to be properly responded and addressed to the recent problems and adjustments are required. At this stage, my delegation wishes to express our appreciation and notes the TFAP co-founders for their exceptional works in formulating, monitoring, and evaluating TFAP excercices. Our particular gratitude also is accorded to FAO for their generous assistance rendered to our government in formulating national TFAP.
I would like to draw your attention to paragraph 5 of the document CL 99/22, paragraph 3, items (a) and (g) of the Appendix A, as well as paragraph 3 of Appendix B concerning tropical deforestation. As you may note, deforestation in the tropical regions has been claimed to have contributed to environmental instability, particularly to global warming through increased CO2 emission, to loss of biological diversity, and destruction of habitats. The main reason of this blame is that tropical forest has been considered as a "filter" to balance the condition of the global environment. As a matter of fact, like many other temperate and tropical countries, reduction of forest covers is an inevitable phenomenon in order to support socio-economic development. Although forests have economic value as producers of timber and non-timber products and for environmental conservation, forest land can often be put to more rewarding agricultural and other uses. In many cases, reduction of area covered by forests only results in a change of land uses, that is from forestry to agriculture or estate crops. All these changes are referred to as deforestation, which we believe will not have the negative effect referred to.
We are of the view that the term "deforestation" needs to be properly clarified because it would lead to serious misunderstandings and misconceptions. In Indonesia the conversion of forests is aimed for the benefit of people's welfare. This conversion of forests, which include activities of timber plantation establishments as well as rubber and oil palm, estates, does not necessarily cause denudation or land degradation. But the term is commonly used to connote total loss of vegetative cover leading to economic and ecological hazards.
The fundamental objective of TFAP apparently is to promote sustainable forest management in the framework of sustainable development. We therefore are of the view that the TFAP's main objective has to be based on a balanced approach to conservation and sustainable development. From the point of view of developing countries, therefore, sustainability must be linked to economic progress, community welfare, environmental conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, etc.
In addition, since the TFAP is complimentary to the national plan, the national TAFP should be formulated on the basis of both the short and long terms of national planning. Therefore, as requested in paragraph 10 of the document, my delegation wishes to recommend to the Council that the
proposed new name of TFAP - Tropical Forestry Action Programme instead of Plan - could be adopted in this session. In addition to this Indonesia is of the opinion that FAO should constitute a "planning document exercise" which has to fit an overall national planning system rather than a rigid framework of the programme. Furthermore, there should not be too much insistence on the operational details, and it has to follow the social, cultural and political system of the country.
Mr Chairman, as a concept, as a flexible format, and as a general guideline, the TFAP has been serving well to install a sense of urgency and direction in the planning process of many tropical countries, especially those where the system of forestry planning has not yet been developed. There is, however, need for more guidelines and a checklist of different steps to be considered for very different situations found in tropical countries. In this regard Mr Chairman let me draw your attention to paragraph 12 of the document now being discussed. My delegation notes the idea of the establishment of an international consultative group on tropical forests, and a number of issues should be taken fully into consideration. First, the CG should not constitute a duplication effort of existing institutions either multilateral or regional organizations such as FAO and ITTO, and consequently the overhead cost of the CG is supposedly not be creating new financial implications to the countries concerned. Secondly, since the TFAP is a planning exercice of the implemented countries, botanical and qualitative improvements of the exercice should be the main concern of the CG. Thirdly, overall activities of the CG should remain the same as the TFAP's main objective which is, in particular, based on a balanced approach to conservation and sustainable development. At this juncture, Mr Chairman, my delegation fully supports the FAO's role in enhancing international coordination, providing technical support and making possible an improving operational system in the process of TFAP as all these matters are clearly explained in paragraphs 23-28.
With regard to paragraph 16 of the document CL 99/18 my delegation wishes to request clarification of the members of the CG. It is of the utmost importance that a balanced representation could be one of the crucial points which needs to be considered carefully. There is still an unclear definition of the improvement of NGOs in the proposed membership of the CG. Indonesia believes that NGOs can develop an informal network of local organizations and help to implement development programmes. In many countries, religious institutions, women's organizations and others have formed such a network. In Indonesia there are about 650 NGOs, and FAO has noted some existing 150 000 NGOs all over the world. However, some NGOs who are insensitive to national development need and are only interested in critisizing instead of policy interdevelopment cannot help the implementation of the TFAP. Unfortunately these NGOs are well recognized in the international forum. Mr Chairman, my delegation is of the view that NGO's involvement at the national level has, therefore, to be based on the evaluation of their development delivery capacity and a sense of accountability. The decision on which the national NGOs are to participate in the TFAP process, and the nature and extent of participation should be the responsibility of the national government. The limits to the roles of various participants of the TFAP process should be specified in due consideration of the sovereignty of the national government. In this regard, Mr Chairman, my delegation also wishes to request the Secretariat to precisely define what does the NGO mean so that we could assign which NGOs are fully qualified to represent the country.
LE PRESIDENT: Je crois que vous avez posé au Secrétariat des questions vastes, positives et difficiles, qui ne recevront pas de réponses definitives mais qui doivent être posées.
Bo JONSSON (Sweden): I have the honour of making this statement on behalf of the four Nordic countries. First of all let me thank Mr Walton for his excellent introduction and for further information on this subject.
The Nordic countries have over the years participated actively in the discussion on forestry matters. We have stressed that the development and conservation of forests present fundamental challenges and opportunities for the international community. In this context, we have found the Tropical Forestry Action Plan of FAO and the other co-sponsors a very promising way of channelling multilateral development assistance in the field of forestry. The Nordic countries have also participated in, and financed TFAP activities. Against this background we find the future of TFAP a most important matter.
The report of the independent Review Team of TFAP led by Ambassador Ola Ullsten was published one year ago, and during this year, the problems of TFAP have been discussed in several fora, so far without satisfactory results. In our view, it is of utmost importance to solve these problems without any further delay, if we really want to keep the TFAP going on.
In our view, the most crucial need in strengthening the TFAP is to ensure the country centered coordination of TFAP activities. However, the capacity of countries to take responsibility for the implementation of the needed activities varies, and the international support to TFAP should be flexible enough in order to offer the kind of support needed. A gradual approach towards national execution is here the agreed way to go. International coordination functions will also be needed, however, to ensure exchange of information and experiences.
We note the steps taken by the Secretariat to follow the COFO recommendations endorsed by the Council at its last session. We regret so far, however, to notice that progress is lacking in several important respects, but I have just noticed that some steps habe been taken, if I take notice of what Mr Walton has said. The Nordic countries believe that it is fundamentally necessary that both the governing bodies of FAO and the Director-General clearly and unequivocally demonstrate the Organization's support to TFAP. This should be translated into a substantial shift of the regular resources to TFAP in the proposed Programme of Work and Budget.
For many years now, many member countries have proposed that increased emphasis be given to the forestry matters by the Secretariat. A budget increase of 0.4 percent to forestry in general and 0.3 percent to TFAP does not, in our view, give sufficient relative weight to these matters. And even more so, since we understand that the funding of the TFAP-related activities in the other relevant FAO departments, so fundamental in this interdisciplinary activity, is uncertain. The Secretariat should propose further options for reallocating resources to TFAP in the Programme of Work and Budget.
The Nordic countries recognize that a revamping of TFAP is necessary as called for by the Independent Review. As for the organizational matters of international support to TFAP, the coordination between the co-sponsors leaves much to be desired. Various ideas of organizing the international coordination have been suggested, but nothing has been agreed to so far. The proposed Consultative Group of TFAP may be a way to provide the international support needed. In addition to links to other sectors, such as agriculture, links to other organizations dealing with forestry, such as the IUCN and ITTO, should be ensured. Other institutional arrangements could also be considered. The Organization of the Global Environmental Facility provides one interesting model.
As far as multilateral funding is concerned, the World Bank has responsibility for investment in this sector. The UNDP in turn has system-wide responsibility for in-country coordination and for providing multilateral technical assistance. The most important role of FAO is to provide technical and policy advice to projects, regardless of who executes them. An inter-agency agreement to this effect should easily be concluded.
There is presently an intensive global dialogue on many different forestry matters. A subtle and positive approach is called for. We believe that any organizational set-up of TFAP should be so constructed that an easy integration to the proposed International Instrument on Forests should be possible. From the Secretariat's side, immediate clear and forthcoming action is called for in order to reaffirm the Organization's credibility as a natural partner of cooperation.
LE PRESIDENT: Je me permettrai quand même de faire la remarque que je fais habituellement: quand on parle de supprimer certaines activités, il faut savoir de quoi il s'agit. Quand on propose un renforcement dans un secteur, cela veut dire une diminution dans d'autres et je pense qu'il faut avoir le courage de dire ce que l'on veut diminuer. Quand on parle de réallocation, lorsqu'on veut réorienter certaines sommes dans le cadre d'un Programme de travail et budget extrêmement réduit, il faut également dire à partir d'où la réallocation doit se faire; autrement, la proposition me paraît entièrement inutile et superfétatoire.
Masayuki KOMATSU (Japan): I would like to thank the Secretariat, particularly Mr Murray and Mr Walton, for the efforts made in preparing the document before us, CL 99/22. I would also like to extend the compliments of my delegation to the delegate of The Netherlands for his intervention. You have made lots of suggestions, Sir, but it is natural, because you are lucky, for you to concentrate always on the forestry issue, whereas we must divert our effort to other areas, too.
Nevertheless, the process of turning TFAP into the revamped TFAP (Tropical Forestry Action Programme) as we all know was initiated in late 1989 by the Director-General of FAO. The report of the review team was completed last May. Follow-up action on the conclusion and recommendations of the review, pursuant to the COFO and FAO Council recommendations, requested ad hoc high-level expert group consultations. Our delegation has the honour to make the following intervention on this Report. Japan appreciates FAO's
intention to tackle the problems of the revamped TFAP. We view as of vital importance that in the revamping process, the country-led or country-driven process was recognized as one of the prerequisites for strengthening TFAP, and that the scope of the participants in the TFAP will be duly expanded not only from most governmental sectors and industries, but also toward a wider participation of NGOs.
My delegation is of the opinion that it is of paramount importance to ensure the wider participation of the related experts and officials for the various international organizations, countries' private sectors, NGOs etc. with substantive contributions from them to pursue goals to achieve the objectives of TFAP. In this regard, Japan is willing to support the proposal to formulate an international consultative group on tropical forests that could provide broader strategic guidance to the developing countries and donors in order to address the challenge entailed in the conservation and wise use of tropical forests.
We are aware, as is described in paragraph 13 of document CL 99/22, that the exact membership and number of members of the consultative group were not finally decided. We expect that the consultative group will serve as a forum to promote coordination and cooperation amongst international organizations relating to tropical forest issues - organizations such as ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization), UNEP and the Asian Development Bank, etc. which have deployed the activities for the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forestry resources.
At this juncture we are pleased to remind you, Mr Chairman, that the International Tropical Timber Organization has shown interest in becoming co-sponsors of the TFAP, as paragraph 3 of the document CL 99/22 shows.
The division of responsibilities between the sectors of the revamped TFAP should be carefully elaborated for the achievement of its goals and objectives and the better use of the resources of the related international organizations. However, it is stated that these meetings did not deal explicitly with the division of responsibilities between the main actors of the new TFAP. We are supportive of paragraph 22 which makes it clear that any decision on the institutional arrangements and on the reallocation of responsibility in the TFAP process must avoid duplication of tasks and the creation of additional structures with associated costs.
Concerning FAO's role, Japan is pleased to support FAO's three roles in revamping TFAP, that is (1) international coordination, (2) technical support, and (3) operational assistance, which recognizes the importance of the change of direction of the TFAP country-led process and decentralized approach.
Japan would like to see FAO's directives to strengthen the coordinating function, as was requested by the 98th session of the Council. Our delegation suggested at the last Council meeting there should be active and effective use of an investment centre for TFAP.
We would like to see the strengthening of the multidisciplinary function coordination within FAO's TFAP coordination unit; also within other departments such as land and water management, social economic
policy-making, and an enhanced capacity in the developing countries for institution-building, human capability and planning funded through the possible FAO trust fund. We would like to see FAO making further efforts to strengthen its own capacity while pursuing the appropriate measures, including those mentioned above.
We also appreciate the proposals in the Summary Programme of Work and Budget for 1992-93. The budget will be augmented from US$1 250 000 to US$3 087 000. Five new posts will be created in the Forestry Department to back-stop the TFAP. But how many new posts will there be in the TFAP coordination unit, and how much budget is specially allocated for the unit to strengthen the function of coordination of FAO?
Japan is supportive of the view of FAO expressed in paragraph 27 that FAO stands ready to do so. The new TFAP arrangements should recognize the Organization's responsibility for the provision of such technical advice within its spheres of competence.
Concerning operational assistance, we recognize the FAO's wide experience in the execution of technical cooperation with Member Nations. We know that the operational capability of FAO in forestry development is very high. That is the reason why Japan has a relatively large number of forestry trust fund projects.
Japan is committed to further assist the TFAP process not only by bilateral aid schemes, but also by multilateral mechanisms, including funding to FAO field projects such as the country capacity projects, because we believe that one of the major objectives for a revamped TFAP is strengthening and planning with regard to institutional and human resources, as well as for the implementation capacity at national level.
LE PRESIDENT: Fatalement si l'on recommande la création d'un nouveau Groupe consultatif, il s'agit d'une structure supplémentaire. Entre le paragraphe 20, où on demande d'éviter la création de structures supplémentaires, et le paragraphe 27, il n'y a pas une harmonie parfaite. Il faut trouver une formule de compromis pour éviter les coûts supplémentaires, en se rendant compte que la création de nouveaux groupes entraîne certains coûts.
Vanich VARIKUL (Thailand): The delegation of Thailand welcomes document CL 99/22 including Appendices A and B. We would like to thank Mr Walton for the presentation of this agenda item.
May I first draw your attention to the first sentence of Appendix A of the document before us. I quote: "...there is wide agreement that the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) has fallen short of meeting the objectives set for it when it was launched in 1985.. ." We understand that this is the main reason why the original co-founders of the TFAP convened an expert meeting in March 1991 to strengthen the TFAP. My delegation, therefore, welcomes the outcome of this expert meeting. However, we would like to offer some comments.
First, my delegation regrets to note that the World Resources Institute is no longer one of the co-sponsors of TFAP. On the contrary, we welcome the International Timber Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to join the co-sponsors of TFAP.
Secondly, I refer to the last sentence of paragraph 6. I once again quote: "It is believed that the international community will provide significant additional resources to support the efforts of countries that adopt the revamped TFAP approach to conserve and wisely use tropical forest resources". We understand that this is the FAO's belief, and we would like to have more specific information regarding what countries or organizations the FAO had in mind when mentioning "the international community" and whether FAO has solicited any commitments from them.
Thirdly, my delegation fully endorses the revamped goals and objectives of TFAP. In addition, my delegation welcomes the establishment of an international consultative group on tropical forest. However, we would like to be informed how the individual member countries will be selected to be represented in this consultative group, and also that FAO will make a substantial contribution to the work of this consultative group. My delegation also believes that FAO, in particular the Forestry Department, will assist to carry out the three major functions mentioned in paragraphs 24 to 28.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, we hope that the revamped TFAP will fulfil the objectives of conserving and wisely using the tropical forests.
Oscar Sales PETINGA (Portugal): Le document CL 99/22 informe le Conseil, d'une manière très exhaustive, des résultats de la réunion du Groupe ad hoc d'experts pour le PAFT. Le document "Actualisation PAFT N° 21" le complète de façon très utile. Le Conseil a obtenu une excellente information sur la position actuelle, les travaux et les études en cours au niveau des pays.
Nous voudrions féliciter le Secrétariat pour ces documents. Le Département des forêts nous a déjà habitués à des documents précis et très utiles. Nous devons d'ailleurs rappeler que le secteur forestier est un secteur sur lequel il a toujours été possible, au niveau du Conseil et de la Conférence, d'obtenir un large consensus.
Ma délégation regrette de n'avoir eu accès à ces documents qu'au dernier moment. Elle n'a donc pas eu la possiblilité de les étudier au niveau d'un Groupe d'experts créé au Portugal grâce à la coopération bilatérale pour étudier et valoriser les forêts des tropiques.
La délégation portugaise considère que la méthodologie suivie, en accord avec les activités des différentes institutions, est correcte. Elle considère aussi que la FAO a les moyens techniques et l'expérience nécessaire pour participer activement à la coordination de ces activités.
Nous pensons que le PAFT représente un grand progrès en ce qui concerne la rentabilisation des ressources humaines et des moyens de financement.
Nous nous permettons cependant de noter qu'au niveau de la grande région tropicale existent des types de forêts très différents, qui sont liés à des types d'utilisation et d'intégration humaine très différents.
De même, les problèmes de la conservation, de la pression démographique, des types d'altération des écosystèmes sont très divers.
Tout ceci recommande de prendre en considération la diversité écologique et biologique.
Earl V. WETBRECHT (Canada): The Canadian delegation would like to thank Mr Walton for his helpful and clear introduction to this item, and the Secretariat for document CL 99/22.
Canada has been a significant donor to bilateral TFAP activities and attaches considerable importance to the strengthening of the TFAP process. Our delegation therefore welcomes this opportunity to discuss progress made in strengthening the Tropical Forestry Action Plan as requested at the previous Session of Council. This is also a very appropriate time to focus on the outcome of the meeting of the ad hoc group of experts on TFAP. In our view, the Geneva meeting was particularly significant in that it included a wide range of participants from international agencies, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives of donor and developing nation governments.
I would like to address the main issues on which the Council's guidance is being sought. Firstly, in paragraph 33, the Director-General assumes that the Council will wish the Organization to remain a co-sponsor of the revamped TFAP and the answer to that question from the perspective of my delegation is Yes.
Secondly, on the proposals for the strengthening of the TFAP, my delegation notes that the Council's views are being sought on the need to ensure country-centred TFAP implementation, the establishment of a new consultative group and the division of responsibilities between the actors of a revamped TFAP. On the first point, the FAO should participate with other parties in developing mechanisms to move the TFAP toward a country-level process. Part of the challenge will be to define the various levels of support packages offered by the donors in relation to in-country capabilities. Canada strongly supports the need to move the TFAP toward a fully country-lead process, based on partnerships at the national and international level as stressed by the ad hoc group of experts.
My delegation strongly supports the formation of a consultative group as recommended by the ad hoc group of experts and re-affirmed by the forestry advisors group which met in Canada last week. We would see the FAO as being a key participant in the consultative group and we strongly encourage the FAO to participate fully in it. We agree with the comment made in para. 19 that there is a need to avoid duplication. It is our hope that the CG will work in a way in which it would complement the FAO's operational programme for the TFAP.
The third point on the division of responsibilities is tied in with the question relating to the evolving role of the FAO. This is an area that requires considerable examination. Some of the functions that might be linked to the CG are those relating to quality assurance, mobilization of funding, and liaison with the independent sector. In paragraphs 24 and 25, it may be necessary to look at the country level before the division of responsibilities relating to coordination between FAO and the CG are clarified.
In our view the TFAP has arrived at the point where there will have to be some re-ordering of responsibilities. Our delegation stresses the need for FAO and other TFAP partners to adjust to changing circumstances in order to build the most efficient overall structure possible for the new TFAP. To avoid duplication, this means that if alternate, more effective machinery is developed, there should be a corresponding reduction of that function where it may have previously existed in some form.
In paragraph 29, we encourage the FAO to build on its strengths in relation to technical support and operational assistance including support through the Regular Programme. As my delegation has stated in the past, we encourage the FAO to intensify its efforts to further support the TFAP functions within the Regular Programme.
My delegation would be interested in the Secretariat's views on how it sees the TFAP coordinating unit evolving. Would it see its support maintained primarily through a trust fund, or how can it be strengthened in the mainstream of FAO programming and budgeting?
These, and other, issues were discussed at the meeting which took place at the Twelfth TFAP Forestry Advisers Meeting in Canada last week, as mentioned by the representative of the Netherlands. If time permits we would be interested to receive a verbal overview of some of the main issues discussed by that group.
In summary, Mr Chairman, my delegation recognizes the important, and in many respects unique, resource which the FAO's Forestry Department constitutes on the world forestry scene. My delegation would like to reaffirm our belief that FAO should remain a co-sponsor of TFAP. The participants at the Geneva meeting stressed the need that TFAP must be a country, not a donor-led process, by which the member states themselves effectively take charge of decision-making and implementation of activities, through use of national and international partnerships. Canada fully endorses these principles. We strongly support the formation of an international consultative group, and encourage the FAO to assume an active and effective role within the CG, in order to contribute to improved governance of the TFAP process and a much-needed strengthening of TFAP activities.
Paulo Estivallet de MESQUITA (Brazil): Document CL 99/22 responds to the Council's request to be informed about the proposals and recommendations put forward by the ad hoc group of experts. The Ninety-eighth Council did not request to be "informed of important policy decisions", as stated in paragraph 1 of this document. Our understanding continues to be that the Governing Bodies of FAO ought to be consulted before decisions are made.
Having made this point, Mr Chairman, we regret to say that the remarkable delay in the distribution of this document prevents us from taking a definitive stand on the current proposals for the renewal of TFAP. The experts met on an informal and technical basis and we cannot endorse their recommendations without careful consideration. The short time available, however, made it impossible to finalize internal consultations. We will therefore limit ourselves to a few preliminary comments and questions which we hope the Secretariat will be in a position to answer.
Our first comment regards the proposed goal for TFAP. We are somewhat surprised to note that TFAP's only suggested goal is "to curb tropical forest loss", whilst the promotion of the sustainable use of tropical forest resources is viewed merely as a means to the attainment of that goal and not as a goal in itself. We fear that this may not reflect adequately the diversity of situations and may limit the freedom of tropical countries to establish their own priorities. Paragraph 9 states that the proposed reformulated goals and objectives are still not definitive. What are the next steps in this process?
Secondly, we would like to ask the Secretariat why the group of experts did not make any suggestions to improve FAO's coordinating function, as requested by the Council. Could more background be provided to the information contained in paragraph 24?
Thirdly, were financial matters discussed in any detail? Did the World Bank, UNDP or FAO make any commitments regarding funding of a revamped or renewed TFAP? Were there any suggestions of ways and means to improve TFAP's financial situation and to make it more than a simple clearing house?
Regarding the suggested Consultative Group, we would like to know if there are any proposed terms of reference. Is it meant to be an advisory body, or would it also judge adherence to the TFAP's goals and objectives?
Finally, Mr Chairman, whilst stressing once again that our remarks are preliminary and that we reserve our position on this matter, we would also like to emphasize that the Brazilian Government supports the efforts to review and reinforce the TFAP. A positive result would increase the likelihood of our joining the programme or plan. We are also in favour of a higher degree of autonomy for the tropical countries in the design of national forest plans that are to be supported by TFAP. By the same token, institutional or procedural changes which could be perceived as an interference upon our sovereign right to determine the parameters for the utilization of our forest resources might create insurmountable difficulties for Brazil's adhesion to TFAP.
Miss Ting WEN LIAN (Malaysia): First of all, I would like to thank Mr Walton for the balanced presentation he just made. My delegation found document CL 99/22 very useful and noted with interest the outcome of the meeting of the ad hoc group of experts on the TFAP. Malaysia particularly welcomes the revamping of the TFAP which, in our view, will be a cooperative programme of action between tropical countries and donor countries and agencies. We certainly appreciate and recognize the need for
the conservation and development of tropical forests in the global context of the world's forests. We note with regret that the World Resources Institute feels that its non-governmental status and its lack of operational responsibilities preclude it from formal sponsorship of the revamped TFAP. We, however, welcome the interest shown by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to become cosponsors of TFAP. We hope this interest will be translated into action soon. The goal and objectives of the revamped TFAP as listed out in Appendix B of CL 99/22 incompass the programme of action planned by Malaysia in its national TFAP. In fact, our national TFAP is already a country-led or country-driven process. Now just a few words on our TFAP. Our plan consists of four priority areas within which there are ten programmes. The Malaysian TFAP was submitted to FAO, and the comments received from FAO were reported to be generally favourable, commending the country-driven trans-sectoral plan for its carefully selected, well integrated and need-related proposal that could lead to sustainable forest management in Malaysia.
The Malaysian delegation would like to thank FAO for suggestions to improve the plan or the programme in the areas of policy, institutions, land use, the wood industry and conservation. A meeting is presently scheduled for July 1991 between the offices of our national forestry action plan and the regional national TFAP for Asia and the Pacific Region to ascertain the follow-up actions on the comments and suggestions made by FAO on the NFAO, the nature of action from FAO that Malaysia may require and a schedule for the round table 3 meeting and other future activities of TFAP in Malaysia.
On the establishment of the new Consultative Group proposed at the Geneva meeting, the Malaysian delegation would support such a proposal if it ensures greater efficiency of the TFAP. However, we note that some of the proposed functions of this Consultative Group, particularly to review adherence to TFAP goals and objectives, undertake periodic programmes and impact reviews, promote dissemination of information on TFAP and help identify funding needs and resources, tend to duplication of FAO activities. Therefore, my delegation is of the view that the creation of additional structures or suprastructures should be carefully studied to avoid duplication of efforts and funds. However, we also note that the proposed Consultative Group is still under elaboration, and we will be giving more substantive comments at a later stage. We certainly hope that project or recipient countries would have an opportunity to present their views at the appropriate time.
We simply wish to stress that whatever the final structures or features of a revamped TFAP, we are particularly concerned that the objectives outlined in our NFAO obtain the relevant technical assistance to enable us to implement the programmes in our plan. Malaysia has been very supportive of the TFAP. Our forest management practices have been easily accessible to TFAP officials. However, our willingness should not be seen as a permanent carte blanche for well-intended modifications or for a proliferation of mini- and micro-groups advocating decisions on sovereign forests. Furthermore, my delegation does not see why a Consultative Group is necessary when, under a revamped TFAP, a country-led process in a NFAO will be the new philosophy, unless the Consultative Group is envisaged to provide the donor-driven monitoring profile. We are frankly rather
apprehensive of adopting yet another godfather under tropical forests. Therefore, we would like to request Mr Walton to once again explain at the end of this debate when this item is taken up again so that Malaysia can give a detailed input.
Lastly, my delegation agrees with the conclusion of the Geneva meeting that the TFAP will need to evolve in ways that are complementary to and mutally supportive of those parallel international initiatives seeking to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests in the global context of the world's forests. There is certainly no merit in initiatives or proposals taken in isolation from mainstream discussions which appropriately address the subject of environment and development in its entire perspective.
José Lais DARRAIDOU (Argentina): Nuestra delegación desea expresar el reconocimiento a la FAO por el esfuerzo llevado a cabo hasta el presente en el marco de las sesiones del PAFT. Ya hemos manifestado claramente en anteriores oportunidades nuestro apoyo a este ejercicio y lo sostenemos una vez más. Y siendo importante lo logrado hasta el presente en términos de conceptualizar la importancia del crecimiento de la actividad forestal, por lo que ella significa en diversos campos, creemos que este momento de maduración de este proceso es particularmente importante en países como el nuestro donde la prioridad que asigna el Gobierno a este tema crece en forma importante, como lo demuestran algunas acciones recientes.
En tal sentido, creemos que el papel coordinador de la FAO debe sostenerse tal como lo plantea el párrafo 25 del documento de la Secretaría. Para que esto sea posible deben darse a la Unidad de Coordinación del PAFT no sólo mayores recursos, sino también un nivel institucional que le permita una dinámica mayor en operatoria y autonomía en sus decisiones dentro de la División de Montes, la que deberá seguir dando su apoyo técnico.
En relación con la propuesta de establecer un grupo consultivo internacional sobre los bosques tropicales, mi delegación tiene numerosos interrogantes que se refieren tanto a sus competencias, enunciadas genéricamente en el párrafo 19, como a la duplicación de tareas con las estructuras que actualmente funcionan en la FAO, que son: la Unidad de Coordinación del PAFT en el Departamento de Montes, el Grupo de Asesores del PAFT y el Comité de Desarrollo Forestal en los Trópicos de la FAO.
En lo que respecta al mandato, nos surge la duda en cuanto a la naturaleza asesora o decisoria de sus funciones. La tardía distribución del documento ha evitado que el estudio al respecto pudiera ser completado por las áreas competentes de la Subsecretaría de Agricultura y del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Argentina y por ello estimamos que la consideración de las propuestas en él contenidas que se hagan en esta sesión del Consejo, deben ser necesariamente preliminares.
Una vez respondidas las preguntas y clarificados los alcances de las propuestas, estaríamos en condiciones en un futuro período de sesiones de este Consejo de efectuar un debate útil y productivo en relación a este tema.
Michael MARTIN (United States of America): The US delegation would like to thank Mr Walton for one of the best descriptions of the main issues related to TFAP that has been made to date. The US favours the rapid formation of an international Consultative Group on tropical forests. This group shall provide a broader base of support and policy direction for TFAP activities. The mission of the Consultative Group should be to enhance the ability of developing tropical countries to achieve the objectives of the renewed TFAP.
The United States agrees with Mr Walton that the ultimate value of the Consultative Group is related to the level of participation by the tropical countries themselves.
The sessions of COFO and the Council held in 1990 encouraged the TFAP co-founders to hold a meeting of ad hoc Group of Experts to review programme and institutional options for a strengthened and renewed TFAP. The US applauds FAO for moving quickly to hold this meeting. The US believes that a strengthened and renewed TFAP is better prepared to take on the challenges of the 1990s.
The US is pleased that FAO's 1992-93 Summary Programme of Work and Budget increases the share of Regular Programme funds directed to issues of forest conservation and development and in particular to support of the TFAP. We applaud the FAO for reacting positively to interventions made by a number of countries in past sessions of COFO and the Council to boost the share of Regular Programme funds directed toward the wise use of forests.
FAO should be pleased in the overall success of the basic mission of TFAP, which we see as raising awareness of the economic and ecological importance of tropical forests. Having completed that phase of TFAP, the FAO should concentrate on becoming a powerhouse of technical expertise in tropical forest management. Its future role in the TFAP should be assisting countries build institutional capacity for better stewardship of forests, more capability in tropical silvicultural, regeneration of degraded lands, better analytical skills and the like.
FAO's role in TFAP should more resemble that of a source of technical expertise and less as a broker of development funds. More funds should flow directly to countries which would procure expertise from the FAO. UNDP and the development banks should be the conduits for external assistance; FAO should provide competitive expertise in sustainable forest management.
In summary, let me state that the United States looks forward to a time when a renewed Tropical Forestry Action Programme is attracting the level of financial resources it deserves and is contributing to its fullest capacity to forestry development in the tropics.
L. ROSS BROWNHALL (Australia): Document CL/22 invites the Council's views on a number of issues in relation to the future institutional arrangements for the TFAP.
Paragraph 29 seeks the Council's views on FAO's role in relation to the three main functions outlined in paragraphs 24 to 28. These functions are central to a future TFAP but FAO has not so far demonstrated real commitment to them.
The role our delegation would ascribe to FAO would depend to a large extent on clear indications of a new level of commitment by FAO to these functions as evidenced through its allocation of resources, including the use of other departments of FAO as proposed by Japan.
Paragraph 33 seeks guidance on the question of continuing sponsorship of the TFAP by FAO. On this point we could support continued involvement on the basis of the emergence of a satisfactory new institutional arrangement.
Australia supports moves for improving the modus operandi of the TFAP but recognizes the Consultative Group proposal only as one possible model, recognizing that others may emerge. The proposals for a Consultative Group raise very many questions, and it will be difficult to assess it properly until some of these are answered. Questions to be answered include:
(a) Under whose mandate would the Consultative Group be established and operate?
(b) What would its relationship be to FAO and between its Secretariat and the FAO coordinating group?
(c) The role of forestry advisers, COFO and the FAO Forestry Department?
(d) Where would funding for the Consultative Group come from, how much would be required and what accountability will be offered?
(e) Who would provide operational support for the TFAP if FAO is not to undertake this responsibility?
On paragraph 34 FAO should not rely on the availability of additional funds for its planning for the revised TFAP. Donor countries could rightly expect to be able to see more of the new TFAP before considering the issue of strengthening their support. The invitation appears to be premature and should wait until more detailed proposals are available.
On paragraph 35 the tenor of the document suggests that FAO may not yet have come to terms with the very real concerns of donors and international non-governmental organizations on performance to date. However, until much more is known, (1), of the proposals for the strengthened TFAP and, (2), the attitude, intentions and expectations of FAO in respect of its own future in forestry, it is premature for us to say much more about the evolving role of the Organization.
Jean-Pierre POLY (France): Je voudrais féliciter M. Walton, que nous avons plaisir à retrouver à cette tribune, pour l'excellente introduction de ce sujet examiné de façon désormais traditionnelle devant notre Conseil.
Ma délégation, tout d'abord, croit devoir rappeler que la France a soutenu dès l'origine, et qu'elle continue à soutenir, le principe et les orientations générales de ce plan. Il constitue en effet un cadre privilégié pour renforcer l'efficacité et la coherence des programmes d'aménagement des forêts tropicales, programmes équilibrés conciliant les impératifs d'une protection des écosystèmes forestiers et les objectifs du développement rural.
Les préoccupations d'aménagement et de développement durable contribuent d'ailleurs à définir le concept d'une gestion patrimoniale de la forêt selon le thème du prochain Congrès forestier mondial que mon pays s'apprête à accueillir au mois de septembre prochain.
Les récents travaux des instances qualifiées de notre Organisation ont utilement contribué à dresser un premier bilan du Plan d'action forestier tropical légitimement érigé en Programme, et à esquisser de nouvelles mesures, de façon à le restructurer et à le renforcer. A cet égard, la réunion du Group ad hoc d'experts, à Genève, au mois de mars dernier, a ouvert la voie, me semble-t-il prometteuse, à un ensemble d'améliorations du programme, au plan des objectifs comme au plan des procédures.
Au plan des objectifs, ma délégation souscrit aux propositions du groupe d'experts tendant à promouvoir un Plan d'action forestier tropical à la fois plus soucieux de la dégradation des milieux et plus économe des ressources naturelles, limitées et vulnérables, mais également plus adaptées aux politiques d'aménagement du territoire et mieux intégrées aux politiques de développement économique; plus respectueux enfin des initiatives locales et plus incitatif à l'égard d'une participation des populations dans le cadre d'une véritable approche multidisciplinaire.
Le Programme d'action forestier tropical doit être pris en charge par les pays bénéficiaires eux-mêmes, avec l'appui sans doute mieux coordonné des institutions spécialisées et des pays donateurs afin de l'inscrire dans une perspective de priorité nationale et de développement rural.
A cet effet, un effort important de la communauté internationale doit être consenti pour renforcer la capacité des pays à concevoir et exécuter, dans le cadre d'une stratégie à long terme, des projets opérationnels susceptibles d'enrayer la dégradation des forêts tropicales et d'en permettre l'exploitation rationnelle.
Au plan institutionnel, maintenant, ma délégation reconnaît le bien-fondé de la proposition du Groupe d'experts visant à établir un groupe consultatif international sur les forêts tropicales, composé de personnalités qualifiées de premier plan, representatives de l'ensemble des secteurs d'activités, des sensibilités, des institutions et des pays, ayant une influence sur la gestion du patrimoine forestier tropical. Ce groupe consultatif de haut niveau doit être en mesure de procéder aux analyses sectorielles, de permettre une réflexion prospective, de donner des avis et des conseils stratégiques, et de mobiliser la communauté internationale. Pour cela, ce groupe consultatif doit présenter un plan équilibré entre les quatre grandes catégories de partenaires: les pays bénéficiaires, les pays donateurs, les organisations non gouvernementales et les institutions qui coparrainent le PAFT, comme la FAO, la Banque mondiale, le PNUD et,
désormais, l'OIBT. La mise en place de ce groupe consultatif ne doit pas faire obstacle pour autant, bien au contraire, à la poursuite et au renforcement des importantes fonctions que nous avons confiées à notre Organisation:
- fonction de coordination Internationale - nous pourrions maintenant dire de liaison, comme le suggère le Secrétariat - qui ne remette pas en cause la part de responsabilité croissante des pays dans l'elaboration et l'exécution des programmes;
- fonction d'appui technique, ensuite, tant auprès du Groupe consultatif de haut niveau qu'auprès des gouvernements;
- fonction d'assistance opérationnelle en contribuant notamment au renforcement des capacités nationales.
A cet égard, la suggestion qui nous est faite de réviser le mandat du Comité des forêts dans les tropiques pour mieux combiner les intérêts du développement agricole et de l'aménagement forestier nous parait intéressante. Je relève, cependant, que notre Organisation a déjà accompli d'importants efforts en démontrant sa capacité de concevoir, en dépit d'une structure encore compartimentée, des programmes pluridisciplinaires intégrés, inscrits dans une perspective de développement durable. Sans doute peut-on, dans ces conditions, regretter que la priorité accordée au PAFT ne soit pas mieux établie dans le Programme de travail et budget qui nous est sounds, même s'il est vrai - initiative intéressante - que ce projet consacre l'appui au PAFT de l'ensemble des sous-programmes forestiers.
Telles sont les considérations générales de ma délégation sur l'évolution du PAFT, au moment même où, dans plusieurs autres enceintes du système des Nations Unies, notamment, s'élaborent les instruments d'une stratégie globale pour l'aménagement et la conservation des forêts. Je pense, notamment, au rapport sur la politique forestière de la Banque mondiale récemment discuté, au projet d'élaboration d'un instrument juridique, à la préparation de la CNUED et la préparation, enfin, du Xème Congrès forestier mondial.
J.M. SCOTT (United Kingdom): At the outset I would like to thank Mr Walton for his clear statement of where we stand on the renewal of the Tropical Forestry Action Programme. The UK delegation congratulates FAO for the part it has played in arranging the meeting of the ad hoc Group of Experts in Geneva in March. Such a meeting was, we feel, long overdue. As the distinguished delegate from Sweden has pointed out it is now one year since the independent review team on TFAP reported. We now hope that FAO will participate actively in ensuring the early release of an agreed report of that March meeting.
The UK delegation notes the progress made at that March meeting of the ad hoc Group of Experts towards reformulating the objectives, scope and content of the TFAP, in particular the clear statement that activities under the programme should be country-led, based on partnerships and that NGOs have a vital role to play.
The UK delegation also welcomes the decisions taken at the follow-up meeting in New York to establish an international consultative group as a means of improving mechanisms and processes for implementing and monitoring the programme. Such a consultative group should, in our opinion, be larger rather than smaller (a figure of 37 members has been suggested) as this will enable a wide range of countries and organizations - including NGOs to be represented. The UK delegation considers that the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), as a representative of private sector producers and consumers, should be a permanent member of the consultative group.
The UK delegation also supports the UNDP's offer to host and fund a small secretariat to the consultative group. We also suggest that the precedent of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research System might be followed, with the chairmanship of the consultative group rotating, although de facto the post remains with the World Bank.
We believe that FAO should remain a co-sponsor of TFAP and should use this influence to ensure that the current impetus toward "renewal" is maintained. The UK delegation hopes to see an early meeting of the consultative group to resolve outstanding issues such as quality control, how to take forward existing programmes, the future of the Tropical Forestry Plan Advisers and also the future of the TFAP co-ordinating unit. Thank you Mr Chairman.
LE PRESIDENT: Si vous me le permettez, je voudrais quand même faire quelques réflexions, en tant que Président indépendant. Le Représentant des Pays-Bas a bien voulu souligner le caractère indépendant indispensable de la Présidence, et j'ai peut-être le défaut de vouloir essayer de comprendre ce qui n'est pas clair. Dans le document que nous examinerons demain, qui porte sur l'instrument juridique, se trouve annexé un rapport du Comité préparatoire de la Conférence des Nations Unies sur l'environnement et le développement qui parle d'une classification des forêts boréales, des forêts tempérées, des forêts subtropicales et des forêts tropicales. Maintenant, nous parlons uniquement des forêts tropicales. Il serait peutêtre utile de définir ce que l'on entend par forêts tropicales par rapport aux forêts subtropicales. Pour les forêts boréales et tempérées, cela me semble clair, mais je vous avoue ne pas très bien comprendre où se situent les forêts tropicales et les forêts subtropicales. Il existe, dans des pays tropicaux, notamment en altitude, des types de forêts tempérées. Tout cela mérite une certaine clarification.
En ce qui concerne les organismes informels, nous avons entendu diverses prises de position. On a dit qu'il fallait qu'ils soient rattachés à la FAO sans être de la FAO, qu'ils soient à Rome sans être à la FAO. Nous avons évidemment sept collines à Rome et il y a diverses possibilités: sur l'Esquilin, sur l'Aventin, ou, éventuellement, en dehors, sur le Janicule ou sur d'autres collines. Je voudrais savoir si l'on veut la création d'un organisme alors qu'on ne veut pas arriver à une multiplication des organismes.
L'Ambassadeur du Kenya a très bien souligné que la coordination devait se situer à un certain stade. Il serait peut-être intéressant, d'ici demain, de réfléchir à la façon d'articuler la fonction du Comité des forêts et du sous-Comité des forêts tropicales et l'action du PAFT avec le futur programme.
Quand on parle de groupe consultatif, il faut savoir s'il s'agit d'une assemblée de cinq personnes, de dix personnes, de cinquante personnes ou de mille personnes. On peut rapidement arriver à une assemblée absolument incontrôlable, avec un secrétariat qui me paraît assez vague puisqu'il n'y a aucun organisme qui soit directement responsable du secrétariat. J'ai également peur que l'on ait des techniciens, sans souligner que la forêt est au service de l'homme et non l'homme au service de la forêt. Il y a toute une série d'éléments qui jouent et qui me paraissent extrêmement importants. Nous avons plusieurs heures pour y réfléchir d'ici demain. Nous reprendrons notre discussion demain matin, dès 9 h 30.
F.C. PRILLEVITZ (Netherlands): Thank you Mr Chairman, I would like to take the opportunity - perhaps I am a little late tomorrow morning - to thank Mr Komatsu of Japan who gave me a compliment, but settles that I am biased on forestry, but I can promise him that I have another hobby area and that is sustainable agriculture. But I have a long-term plan for being active here in FAO when you see the relationship between sustainable agriculture and the fight against deforestation, and perhaps a third subject will emerge. Thank you.
LE PRESIDENT: Le représentant du Japon est toujours aussi aimable tant à votre égard qu'à mon égard. Je n'ai qu'à me flatter de la gentillesse de Monsieur Komatsu.
The meeting rose at 18.15 hours
La séance est levée à 18 h 15
Se levanta la sesión a las 18.15 horas