TWENTY SECOND FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR EUROPE
Porto, Portugal, 24-28 July 2000
Agenda Item 6
REPORT ON THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT FOLLOW-UP
STRATEGIES FOR NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT - HORIZON 2010
RESULTS OF THE ONE-DAY NATIONAL WORKSHOP IN THE EUROPEAN REGION (TCP/RER/8924)
1. The World Food Summit (WFS) was convened in Rome from 13 to 17 November 1996 at the level of Heads of State and Government, representing 185 countries and the European Community. This historic event brought together close to 10,000 participants and provided a forum for debate on one of the most important issues facing world leaders in the new millennium - the eradication of hunger.
2. The adoption by 112 Heads or Deputy Heads of State and Government, and by over 70 high-level representatives from other countries of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action, at a meeting which also witnessed the active involvement of representatives of inter-governmental organisations (IGOs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), among others, has helped to influence public opinion and has provided a framework for bringing about important changes in policies and programmes needed to achieve Food for All. The Summit subsequently received the unanimous endorsement of the United Nations General Assembly.
3. The objective of the Summit was to renew global commitment at the highest political level to eliminating hunger and malnutrition and to achieving sustainable food security for all. The high visibility of the Summit has raised awareness among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, in the media and with the public at large. It has also set the political, conceptual and technical blueprint for an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries
4. The Summit made a number of commitments to achieve food security for all and to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people by half no later than 2015. The seven Commitments, embodied in the Summit's Plan of Action, relate to creating an enabling political, social and economic environment; eradication of poverty and inequality and improving economic access by all people at all times; pursuing participatory and sustainable food and agriculture and rural development policies and practices; ensuring that food, agriculture trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all; prevention of, and in the event of their occurrence, preparedness for natural and man-made disasters.
5. Commitment Seven stresses the focus of action at the country level, where governments have the main responsibility, involving all actors, to create the economic and political environment within which action can be taken to assure food security of their citizens. A large number of countries has already started to prepare national plans of action involving all society. The World Food Summit Plan of Action also calls upon governments to launch national "Food for All" campaigns, marshalling all sectors of civil society and their resources to help implement the measures identified.
6. Within the United Nations system, FAO's Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is responsible for monitoring, evaluating and consulting the international food security situation. The CFS also recommends policies to ensure adequate cereal supplies for food security.
7. The CFS was designated by the Summit to monitor implementation of the Plan of Action and to undertake a major review not later than 2006. The national reports, providing the baseline situation and orientations which governments intend to pursue, were used as basis for an initial Progress Report on the Implementation of the Plan of Action considered by the CFS at its session in June 1998.
8. The CFS has established its workplan for monitoring, endorsed by the Council, so as to conduct two complete cycles of review of WFS PoA activities prior to the mid-term review, mandated for 2006. The Committee also considered in-depth, at its 25th Session in 1999, steps to broaden the participation of civil society.
9. In preparation for the Twenty-sixth Session of the CFS to be held in September 2000, the Committee adopted a format for the reporting on progress of the implementation of the PoA. This format calls for meaningful indicators of progress, while at the same time remaining understandable and flexible. Countries are encouraged to adopt internal reporting arrangements appropriate to their national government structures to monitor progress in WFS PoA internally, and to prepare the periodic reports required at global level.
10. This section, covering major areas of action by FAO and its partners, does not purport to be exhaustive. The Summit commitments continue to influence the priorities and programmes of the Organization, as well as the work of its Technical Committees. The Regional Conferences have WFS implementation as a standing item on their agendas. The theme of food security also serves as a major focus for FAO's advocacy work through public information programmes, World Food Day and Telefood.
11. In the inter-agency sphere, FAO provides the Secretariat of the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, and backstops 80 country-level Thematic Groups, of which 65 are established. At the international level FAO is collaborating closely with IFAD and WFP to support these groups, which function within the framework of the UN Resident Coordinator System.
12. FAO continues to actively support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in implementing Objective 7.4 of the Plan of Action on the right to adequate food. Two Expert Consultations on the subject were conducted, in December 1997 and in November 1998, which was co-hosted by FAO. Another symposium was co-organized by the ACC Sub-Committee on Nutrition in April 1999 focusing on "The substance and politics of a human rights approach to food and nutrition policies and programmes". In May 1999, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted a General Comment on the Right to Adequate Food.
A. FAO Programme
13. FAO activities implemented in the Region during the reporting period are described in Documents ERC/00/2 and ERC/00/2-Sup. 1. The documents focus on activities that contribute to the WFS, the ongoing programme of work and the future programme orientation to face priority issues in the Region. The FAO activities in the region related to WFS include agricultural policy analysis and advice, agricultural production intensification, field crop development, agro-industries and agricultural services, animal production and health, agricultural trade, agricultural statistics, sustainable development and agricultural research, forestry development, fisheries development, and agricultural investment.
Draft Strategies for National Agricultural Development: Horizon 2010
14. The "Draft Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010" were prepared at FAO's initiative for 150 developing member countries and countries in transition, as an initial step for the follow-up to the World Food Summit. They were drafted with a view to (i) help member governments implement at the national level commitments that have been made at the global level; (ii) create a close partnership with all collaborating United Nations (UN) system and other international development agencies in supporting member government agricultural strategy development and implementation; and (iii) help put investment in agriculture high on the national and international agendas. They are based on official government documents, including national position papers for the World Food Summit, as well as relevant information and data from FAO and other official sources. Senior officials of the governments concerned have reviewed the draft of these papers and their comments have been incorporated.
15. Updating and where necessary amending the national strategies is important for ensuring that he policies and programmes for sustainable food security remain consistent with the changing socio-economic and food security situation in each member country. Starting in late 1999, workshops were held in the countries for which draft strategies have been prepared, in order to monitor implementation and to update. An overview on the workshops held so far in the Central and Eastern European and CIS countries is provided in the Annex.
Regional Strategies for Agricultural Development and Food Security
16. Though most of the issues related to poverty and food insecurity have national characteristics, to benefit from synergies and complementarities at regional and sub-regional levels, FAO has expanded its co-operation with Regional and Sub-regional Economic Groupings (REGs). FAO stands ready to assist the REGs in the formulation of policies and programmes designed to promote sustainable agricultural and food production, better access to food, food safety, and trade in food and agricultural products at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
17. Therefore, FAO, in collaboration with the relevant regional and sub-regional institutions, is elaborating for each relevant REG a Regional Strategy for Agricultural Development and Food Security (RSADFS). Each RSADFS draws extensively, but not exclusively, on the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010.
18. The RSADFS highlights the commonalties of member countries with respect to agriculture and food security, identifies major differences in resource endowment and policy parameters, recommends policy options and strategic thrusts for cooperation among members of the concerned grouping and proposes estimates of investment requirements in agriculture.
19. The regional strategies are complemented by Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS), to implement the key elements of the RSADFS. World-wide, thirty-four REGs have been invited to collaborate in the preparation of the respective RSADFS and RPFS.
20. In the European Region, a Regional Strategy has been prepared for the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). A preliminary document for a Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS) in FAO member countries of the BSEC was also prepared and submitted to the Secretary-General of the BSEC. The RSADFS and RPFS were discussed at the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of BSEC Member States in April 2000 which decided to organize a meeting of experts in Istanbul (July 2000) in order to finalize the documents.
Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS)
21. The emphasis of RPFS is to address those issues that are regional in character and can be better addressed at regional level. The main objective is to improve, on a sustainable basis, access by all the people of the region at all times to adequate food required for a healthy and active life through increases in productivity, production and trade of food crops.
22. With respect to increase in productivity and production the focus is on support to and expansion of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), as well as assistance to policy review and formulation, preparation of investment programmes in sub-sectors of agriculture, and identification and formulation of projects for domestic and external financing.
23. With respect to trade, the focus is on harmonised policies by reducing sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, promoting the reduction and harmonisation of tariffs and adopting international Codex Alimentarius standards. Such measures could induce local and national specialisation through enhanced competition and a better expression of the comparative advantage positions of the member countries of the REGs.
B. FAO Special Programme for Food Security
24. The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) was launched after its unanimous approval by the FAO Council in 1994. It was further endorsed by the World Food Summit (WFS) in November 1996. The SPFS main objectives are to assist LIFDCs to rapidly increase food production and productivity on sustainable basis, reduce the year-to-year variability of production, and improve access to food, as a contribution to equity and poverty alleviation. The Programme is therefore expected to contribute substantially to the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action Basic Commitments, in particular the following three:
25. The core features of the SPFS strategy are national ownership, partnership with the development partners, including donor countries and multilateral financial institutions, participation of farmers and other stakeholders, emphasis on technical modernization, priority to small farmers, gender sensitivity, and integrated, multidisciplinary and phased approach.
26. The Programme is implemented by governments and rural communities in two phases. Field demonstrations of Phase I involve the mobilization and training of local personnel and farmers and the supply of seeds, tools and equipment. The four interrelated and complementary components of this phase are: water control, including small-scale irrigation and drainage, water harvesting and on farm water management; intensification of sustainable plant production systems; diversification towards aquaculture, artisan fisheries and small animal production; and analysis of socio-economic constraints.
27. Phase II, the macroeconomic level of the SPFS, entails a nationally prepared action plan addressing the opportunities and constraints identified in the previous phase. The plan is composed of national food and agriculture policies intended to lift macro-level and sectoral constraints and provide an environment favourable to agricultural production, processing, marketing and access to food; an agricultural investment programme, to improve the physical infrastructure and increase the private and public financing of agricultural activities and services; and feasibility studies of "bankable" projects ready for implementation.
28. To facilitate a correct implementation of the objectives and strategy, the Programme assists countries to set up an institutional framework at various levels, to mobilize domestic and international financial resources, and to develop an innovative South-South Cooperation scheme.
Institutional Framework and Management
29. As a complex and decentralized programme, the SPFS requires well-established institutional structures, in the participating countries as well as at FAO. The recommended framework consists mainly of: an Inter-ministerial Policy Committee (national Steering Committee) preferably chaired by the Prime Minister, to provide policy guidelines and feed-back; an Inter-ministerial Technical Committee, responsible for the technical leadership of the SPFS and of its coordination with other programmes and the private sector; an Inter-departmental Regional Committee, lead by the head of the Region or Province bringing together the representatives of local institutions, to ensure synergy with other programmes in the region; and Local Committees, at district or community level, to ensure a participative formulation and implementation by all local stakeholders (public, private, NGOs, etc.).
30. On its side, FAO management structure consisting of the SPFS Joint Committee, chaired by the Director-General, a Policy Committee and an Implementation Committee, as well as a Coordination and Monitoring Unit, are currently settled down and functioning. As the top priority programme of the Organization, the SPFS activities receive strong collaboration from the FAO technical and operational structures. The Programme also benefits from the advice of an external Oversight Panel, which meets yearly, and from the reviews made by the Senior Field Inspector and by independent Regional Field Inspectors.
31. During the last biennium, these reviews and reports have underlined, inter-alia, three management issues. First, the implementation of the Programme is now being facilitated by a consistent number of specialized FAO documents. These documents are published in a Handbook Series composed of three separate volumes: Overview; Preparation and implementation of National Programmes; and Management and international cooperation issues. Second, special efforts are still needed to share the SPFS concept and approaches with the various national authorities and donors, as well as to ensure its inclusion in and coordination with the regular national structures, as well as its coordination with other food and agriculture programmes. Third, the FAO technical backstopping to the nationally owned programmes needs to be further enhanced, particularly with regard to the formulation of the National Programme Documents, the implementation of the constraints analysis work and the monitoring and evaluation system.
SPFS Selected Achievements in Europe
32. ALBANIA - A TCI mission visited Albania in October 1996 to identify and prepare the SPFS. The National Programme Document (NPD) and National Plan of Operations (NPO) have been finalised by the National Team in 1997. The social unrest has delayed the planned outset. The project is operational since April 1998. Its general objective is to support the formation of Farmer's Interest Groups, with particular focus on gender, in three or more districts to promote improved marketing of output, water management and access to improved seeds. The project will also support the establishment of an information management system at regional level, based on the experiences of on-going efforts made so far, and at farm level. Assistance includes reform of the seed sector, water management, formation of farmers' interest groups, promotion of marketing and information management systems.
33. National Consultants completed Rapid Rural Appraisals in three pilot areas: Kavaja, Lushnja, Elbasan, and have identified potential Farmer Interest Groups and Water Users Associations for participation in the project. Due to financial constraints, only the Lushnja area, and in particular Divjaka district and Synej commune, are included in the SPFS implementation. A Participatory Rural Appraisal in Mollas pilot area with participation of farmers has also been completed. In Dajci technical assistance has been provided for the setting up and functioning of milk producer and processing association; to Pojani for the functioning of the white bean producers association. A programme for multiplication of hybrid maize seeds is under implementation and a document on maize in Albania is being prepared which will be particularly useful to assist the Ministry of Agriculture in the development of the National Policy for maize. A programme for reproduction of potato seed is being prepared. Consultants have compiled the information regarding ongoing food-related projects in Albania.
34. The UNDP has participated in Phase I of the SPFS programme in Albania with a contribution of US$ 350,000. This is in addition to US$ 292,000 provided by FAO/RP. The World Bank has been involved in the donors' meetings and has responded positively to Phase I project proposal, but has not yet indicated any funding support. A consolidated collaboration with USAID is in place for local visits organization.
35. Interest to provide South-South Cooperation to Albania was expressed by the Turkish Minister for Agriculture during the 21st Session of the FAO Reg. Conference for Europe. A relevant communication was addressed to the Albanian authorities, but no concrete results have yet been achieved.
36. ARMENIA - A TCI mission visited Yerevan in October 1997 to support the Government in launching the SPFS - Phase I. The National Formulation Team was selected and the national consultants hired and the necessary funding for formulation has been made available by FAO. Two documents, the National Programme Document (NPD) and a TCP on Water Control, have been prepared and discussed by the Core-Team members in 1998. Both documents have to be finalized by TCI. A TCP project proposal on "Long-Term Agricultural Strategy" is being finalized by REUP, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.
37. AZERBAIJAN - Following two visits to Baku by TCIE staff in May and November 1997 an Aide-Mémoire has been signed. A National Team appointed by the Government of Azerbaijan prepared, with the financial support of FAO, a draft National Programme Document (NPD) and a draft Water Control Identification Document (WCD).
38. NPD was considered to provide an acceptable framework for the Programme. The WCD, however, lacked focus and concrete project proposals, and needed to be reformulated by the National Team.
39. Water Control: Water has the highest priority within the SPFS proposed activities, but choices must be made and priority should be given to low-cost solutions. Demonstrations should focus on few technologies and pilot areas should be carefully selected to represent agro-ecological regions where these would be most relevant. On-farm level management should receive particular emphasis.
40. Diversification: There should be good potential for the developing of in-land fisheries, based on an approach targeting rehabilitation of facilities (hatcheries) and coordination of water management with other stakeholders.
41. Credit: The possibility of building on the FAO "Community Fund" concept should be explored. The Director of Agroprom Bank in Baku expressed his keen interest in supporting such an initiative.
42. A joint Government of Turkey/FAO mission visited Azerbaijan from 12 to 16 October 1998 to formulate the South-South Cooperation-SPFS initiative. The four SPFS components will be included in the South-South Cooperation initiative to be finalized.
43. The Turkey-FAO report on the mission has been sent to both Governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan for comments and approval. The Government of Azerbaijan informed to have difficulties in meeting the requirements of the SSC costs. FAO is providing support in order to identify a fourth donor who should provide the needed financial support.
44. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA - As a result of an exploratory mission in September 1997, an official Aide-Mémoire, authorizing the launching of the SPFS, was signed between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Forestry and FAO. During a follow-up mission in November 1997 in addition to the recruitment of the national consultants in charge of formulating the National Programme Document and the National Plan of Operations, the future pilot activities were discussed with the Government and, in particular, proposals for preliminary activities to start-up the SPFS. In December 1997, these preliminary activities were approved and funded by FAO. The National Programme Document and the Phase I Plan of Operations were received respectively in July and September 1998 and distributed to the Core Team for review and comments, and were sent to the Review Committee in January 1999.
45. The Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina is facing a challenging transition period, as it has to switch progressively from a period of emergency and reconstruction to longer term and sustainable agricultural development. The country has to focus its agricultural priorities, organisation and services onto small-scale farmers. In this context, during the Phase I, the SPFS would be an opportunity to rapidly test new approaches in addition to improved technologies to support long term agricultural development, assess their performances, analyse the social, economical and policy constraints to their adoption or full efficiency before they can be expanded in connection with policy reforms.
46. Although some 13 projects have been identified in the draft document of Phase I Plan of Operations, the following are considered priority for assistance:
47. Three sites have been identified for starting up Phase I activities, namely:
48. The Government of the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina has indicated its willingness to enter South-South Cooperation with the Government of Egypt.
49. GEORGIA - In December 1997 a one-week mission was undertaken to assist the Georgian counterparts with incorporating comments made by the Core Team during a review of the National Programme Document (NPD) and Water Control Document (WCD) in October 1997. The NPD has been finalized during this mission. The WCD was revised by the Georgian counterparts. This revision came as a result of the Government's decision to ask the World Bank for the second Agricultural Development Project (ADP II) to deal with the irrigation and drainage sub-sectors. The ADP II was identified in February 1998 by the FAO/CP; this identification resulted in a substantial project that essentially deals with halting the sub-sectors' decline due to lack of institutional capacity to operate and maintain infrastructure. The main thrust is to create Water Users' Associations capable of taking over investment management and operation and maintenance of infrastructure. The Government requested FAO to use the SPFS Water Control Pilot as a test and precursor for the ADP II.
50. To address water control issues within the SPFS approach, taking into consideration the above-mentioned needs, a TCP/SPFS on irrigation was approved by FAO in December 1998 for an amount of US$ 372,000 and is currently under implementation.
51. The immediate objective of the project is to contribute, through a pilot project, to urgent low-cost repairs and rehabilitation of vital irrigation and drainage systems for emerging small private farmers and to establish irrigation associations operated and managed by farmers. As a result, two village-based irrigation/drainage systems on a total of 630 ha will have being repaired and operated through farmers-managed water users' associations, serving as a model for a future World Bank project. Recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Food of Georgia requested the extension of the project to include other areas and components.
South-South Cooperation (SSC): Approach and Initial Results
52. The South-South Cooperation initiative was launched by the Director General in 1996 within the framework of the SPFS, with the objective of allowing recipient countries to benefit from the expertise accumulated by more advanced developing countries. It should provide a new impetus for cooperation amongst developing countries, which in the past has only been partially successful due, inter alia, to the lack of foreign exchange needed to pay international transport and allowances, prepare feasibility studies, and finance operational and other implementation costs. The SSC fills these gaps through a combination of FAO, bilateral and multilateral support to countries participating in the SPFS. The SSC supplements the shorter-term TCCT agreements.
53. The South-South Cooperation consists of combining senior staff and technicians with practical field experience in agriculture to work directly with farmers, during two to three years, in the rural communities involved in the Special Programme. The number of experts and technicians required is determined on a case-by-case basis, but must achieve a critical mass, with site coverage representing all agroecological regions of the country. They are expected to play a key role in contributing to the implementation and extension of Phase I by the national teams.
54. Over 37 developing countries have already expressed interest in providing support and SSC cooperation agreements have been signed with 19 countries. Turkey will provide technical assistance under SSC to Kyrgystan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. It also expressed interest to provide SSC to Albania and a communication in this regard was sent to Albanian authorities.
C. World Food Day/Telefood
55. The FAO Conference at its 29th session in 1997 welcomed and approved the Director-General's decision to allocate, the proceeds collected through the TeleFood appeal to finance concrete grassroots-level projects, without diverting funds to administrative or other costs and to rely on sponsorship and other private and public voluntary contributions to meet the costs of promoting and coordinating the operation. It also endorsed the Director-General's decision to create (under Financial Regulation 6.7) a Special Fund to receive the proceeds collected, and a Trust Fund to receive sponsorship and other private and public voluntary contributions for financing the costs relating to promotion and coordination of the worldwide TeleFood operation.
56. In support of TeleFood, many national media of member states of the European Region, have joined hands with FAO in promoting TeleFood's objectives, to raise the public's awareness of the plight of 800 million hungry people in the world and to collect donations to finance small-scale projects aimed at increasing the productivity and living standards of rural poor farmers in developing countries.
57. A number of European countries associated themselves to the 1999 WFD special event/TeleFood programme. Spain, France, UK, Portugal, Italy in particular organised special events dedicated to TeleFood that reached a very large national and international audience. Moreover, the TeleFood main event, held in Jamaica, was broadcast on approximately 15 European TV and radio channels. In Spain, Radio Televisión Española broadcast a three-hour prime-time television special programme (that attracted 22% of the TV audience). This programme was made available, through satellite, to RTVE's Latin American TV partners. Several Francophone radio and TV channels produced special programmes dedicated to FAO's activities and to the TeleFood campaign. In the United Kingdom, BBC world and domestic channels launched a food week, a series of programmes on the issues of hunger and poverty. In Portugal, RTP produced and broadcast a special TeleFood entertainment programme, also broadcast by RTP International and RTP Africa. In Italy, various sports and musical events dedicated to TFD were broadcast on national TV.
58. In the European Region, TeleFood funded projects are currently being implemented in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latvia, Moldova, the FYR of Macedonia and Turkey.
D. Cooperation within the UN System
59. The priority accorded to stimulating and supporting action at the country level is one of the fundamental principles underlying the arrangements for inter-agency cooperation in follow-up to the World Food summit. A proposal for inter-agency coordination of Summit follow-up through a Network on Rural Development and Food Security was made to the UN/ACC by FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with a view to ensuring maximum cost-effectiveness, country-level focus, flexibility and efficiency. ACC approved the proposal, which was implemented during 1997 by FAO and IFAD, working closely with the World Food Programme (WFP).
60. The FAO Conference welcomed the establishment of the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security as an important means of ensuring a multi-disciplinary input by the UN system to support national efforts to implement the Plan of Action. It was noted that the network was conceived as a two-tiered mechanism, with a focus on action at the country level undertaken by inter-agency thematic groups on rural development and food security operating within the UN Resident Coordinator system. At the headquarters level, the network was to provide support for country-level action and obtain feedback on experience that could be shared, as well as to facilitate dialogue between participating organizations.
61. Across the globe, 65 Thematic Groups have so far been organized, one of them in the European Region (Turkey) and extension of Thematic Groups establishment in Eastern and Southern Europe is considered a priority for ACC Secretariat. In this connection, it should be noted that in most countries of Eastern Europe and CIS, the National FAO Committees will need to be involved, since, there are no FAO Representatives in Europe (except Turkey). Other additional mechanisms for their establishment will need to be sought either through national correspondents, focal points in ministries of agriculture or technical assistance committees.
62. FAO has collaborated with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), in the preparation of the General Comment on the "Right to Adequate Food", that was adopted on 11 May 1999. The General Comment was presented to the CFS at its 25th Session (Rome, 1999). The CFS welcomed the General Comment as an important step in implementing Objective 7.4 of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, and noted the reference to the need, for UN agencies, including FAO, to provide assistance to developing countries, upon request, and noted that the assistance should draw fully on the expertise of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS)
63. Progress in the inter-agency FIVIMS initiative has been rapid and encouraging. Although the FIVIMS initiative is in the early stage, it is already stimulating the production of better information on food security at both international and national levels. National governments are beginning to take new FIVIMS initiatives on their own to better identify and deal with specific, locally-defined problems of food insecurity. A large number of requests for assistance from national governments are being received by the Secretariat of the inter-agency working group on FIVIMS. In the European Region, a request was received from Turkey.
64. The 30th Session of the FAO Conference (November, 1999) noted with appreciation the initiative taken by FAO to play a catalytic role in the elaboration and definition of FIVIMS in collaboration with concerned UN System organizations, competent national institutions and non-governmental organizations, and supported plans for its further development. It considered that accurate and timely data was fundamental to national and international response to the problem of hunger and malnutrition, and stressed the need for full participation by countries in the establishment of national FIVIMS to be linked within the decentralized international system. The Conference was informed that arrangements envisaged reliance to the maximum extent possible on existing databases and mechanisms. The suggestion was made that the range of partners could be broadened to include other large-scale databases covering themes related to food security. The first edition of The Sate of Food Insecurity (SOFI) in the World was published in October 1999 and the second edition will be published in October 2000. By providing latest estimates of the number of chronically hungry people in the developing world, the SOFI reports will serve as regular progress reports on global and national efforts to reach the goal set by the World Food Summit.
65. Within the framework of the WFS Plan of Action, member governments of the Region, in partnership with all actors of civil society, are invited to:
FAO is committed to follow-up on the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Plan of Action stipulates follow-up activities by Member Nations. For its part, FAO has taken the initiative to prepare draft strategy papers for national agricultural development in developing countries and countries in transition. In the face of a changing socio-economic situation in most countries, the draft strategy papers needed to be updated. Therefore, a project was approved in order to facilitate the organization of one-day national workshops to revise and update the strategy papers. The "One-day National Workshop on Strategy for Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010" is intended to enable governments to update and where necessary, amend the Strategy Paper in light of comments made during the workshop and by the national specialists presenting results of recent developments.
In the European Region, One-day National Workshops have been held in nine countries: Albania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia and Turkey, and preparations are under way in three countries: Croatia, Latvia and Romania. Three countries (Cyprus, Malta and Poland) have requested postponement of the workshop to a later date. In the remaining countries discussions on when to organize the workshops are under way, also considering the output of recently completed policy assistance projects.
Salient issues and main conclusions
There was general consensus that these workshops have provided a much appreciated forum to review the national agricultural policy and trends in agricultural and food production with a changing focus on food security and food safety depending on the individual country's situation. The workshops were well attended with active participation and contributions by all concerned.
The issues considered as crucial for defining an agricultural development strategy could be found at different levels. In Georgia, macroeconomic policy and sectoral policy should be geared towards providing an enabling institutional environment for developing the private farming sector. This includes assistance to improve information flows and management skills to marketing and food processing entrepreneurs in rural areas in order to adjust to a market economy. In the case of Albania, besides improving the macroeconomic enabling environment, institutional issues such as completion of privatization, land reform and farm consolidation were in the forefront of discussions. In other countries of Central Europe, as in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Lithuania, matters of compatibility of sector policies with WTO trade rules, the need to adapt to EU regulations, specially in the field of food safety and quality standards, as well as the necessary adjustment of the institutional framework to the EU acquis communautaire dominated the agenda. In the Czech Republic the issue of nutrition and dietary habits to improve national health were also mentioned. In Slovakia, the discussions highlighted that the agriculture strategy was considered a useful preparation for EU accession, however it was noted that there was a need for an integrated rural development strategy that included the aspects of multifunctionality and gender issues. In Lithuania the support to organic farming and ecological agriculture, and the creation of an economic environment encouraging the creation of viable farming units and of non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas were emphasized.