ERC/00/2


 

TWENTY SECOND FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR EUROPE

Porto, Portugal, 24-28 July 2000

Agenda Item 11

REPORT ON FAO ACTIVITIES IN THE EUROPEAN REGION
1998-99, AND PROPOSED PRIORITIES WITHIN
THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK 2000-2015

Table of Contents



I. INTRODUCTION

1. The present report on FAO activities includes two sections: one summarizing the major activities undertaken by FAO in the European Region during the biennium 1998-99, the other proposing a set of priorities for FAO activities in the Reigon within the Strategic Framework 2000-2015. A more detailed presentation of FAO activities carried out in 1998-99 in the technical and economic programmes (PWB Chapter 2) is contained in ERC/Sup/Documen.ERC/00/2-Sup.

2. A report on action taken by FAO in response to the 21st Regional Conference Recommendations (Tallinn, Estonia 1998) and on the activities of the Statutory Bodies concerning directly the European Region is contained in ERC/00/INF/8. Detailed information on strictly related WFS follow-up activities (status of SPFS in the Region, Workshops on the National Strategies for Agricultural Development, etc.) are reflected in ERC/00/3.

II. REPORTING ON 1998-99 PROGRAMME OF WORK

3. During the biennium 1998-99, the staffing of the Sub-Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest, Hungary) was completed thus enabling an enhanced presence of FAO in the Central and Eastern European sub-region. The FAO programme of work and activities was focussed on the major priority programmes as approved by the FAO Conference at its Twenty-ninth session and follow-up to the World Food Summit, with adjustments to make it relevant to the particular needs of the region. The Regular Programme Allocations to the European Region for 1998-1999 are shown below.

Regular Programme Allocations to the European Region - 1998-99 Programme of Work and Budget (estimates1)

Programme

Allocation
(in US$000s)

Percentage
of total

1 General Policy and Directions 2 971 10.3
2 Technical and Economic Programmes 15 600 53.9
2.1 Agricultural Production and Support Systems 4 186 14.5
2.2 Food and Agriculture Policy and Development 4 096 14.1
2.3 Fisheries 2 106 7.3
2.4 Forestry 1 804 6.2
2.5 Contributions to Sustainable Development and Special Programme Thrusts 3 408 11.8
3 Development Services to Member Nations 6 989 24.1
3.1 Policy Assistance 2 179 7.5
3.2 Support to Investment 4 235 14.6
3.3 Field Operations 160 0.6
3.4 FAO Representatives 415 1.4
4 Technical Cooperation Programme 2 999 10.4
5 Support Services 285 0.9
6 Common Services 121 0.4

TOTAL

2 8965 100.0

4. During the biennium, there were 48 projects operational in the Region of which 33 funded by the Technical Cooperation Programme and 15 by extra-budgetary resources. These figures do not include emergency projects.

5. The division for the above is as follows:

6. Emergency projects operated by the Special Relief Operations Service (TCOR) in Albania, the FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina totalled US $13.650.000, of which the TCP provided US$1.350.000.

CHAPTER 2: TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC PROGRAMMES

7. For each major programme under Chapter 2 of the PWB 1998-99, only the more significant areas in which FAO activities were carried out in the European Region are highlighted. A more detailed listing of activities per programme, including an indication of intended outcome or purpose of each activity, partner organizations with which FAO worked and type of funding support used, is presented in ERC/SUP. It will be noted that all activities were in line with PWB programme objectives and that some were also supported through the TCP and external funding.

MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.1: AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS

8. Programme 2.1.1: Natural Resources: activities focussed on assistance in dealing with land resources and land management for sustainable agriculture, and ranged from mapping soil and terrain vulnerability in Central and Eastern Europe and inputs to the preparation for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution capacity-building and training activities for improved land and water resources management particularly in some of the CEECs and Mediterranean countries. The latter activities have been carried out in collaboration with important partner organizations such as the International Centre for High Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the Munich Technical University in support of UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

9. Programme 2.1.2: Crops: this programme includes work in plant genetic resources and Secretariat support to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), in the period under review, the process of negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, in which European countries played an active role, constituted a major event. Other activities aimed at improving crop production and reduce losses due to pests, and included support to European Cooperation Research Networks, notably for the identification of a research strategy to develop the rice sector in countries in transition and for the application of biotechnology to sunflower breeding. Technical assistance was provided in a range of areas: in low-input grassland production systems for livestock feeding (Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia), demonstration of techniques and training in greenhouse vegetable production (Albania), in viticulture (Georgia), walnut production (Turkey) and integrated sunn pest control (Turkey).

10. Programme 2.1.3: Livestock: the technical assistance provided spanned the range from drawing up a strategy for animal breeding and revision of animal breeding legislation (Slovakia) and assistance in the technical aspects of feed production (Turkey) to capacity building of veterinary services (control of trichinellosis in the Baltic States; control of foot and mouth disease in Turkey; establishing a buffer zone for FMD control in the Caucasian region; reorganization of veterinary services in Azerbaijan). With such partners as the European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR), the European Commission on Foot and Mouth Disease (EUFMD), the OIE and others, activities have broadened to include support to updating of National Animal Genetic Resources Databanks in all European countries and to upgrading of laboratory diagnosis and veterinary standards for full compatibility with OIE and EU requirements (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), to programmes for cooperation on animal genetic resources management (Baltic States, Poland, countries of South Eastern Europe), capacity building of advisory services on animal production (Baltic States) and of disease contingency planning and preparedness, including modern veterinary epidemiology (extension of CENTAUR network to cover Balkan and Baltic countries).

11. Programme 2.1.4: Agricultural Support Systems: support ranged from agro-processing and marketing (Albania, Bulgaria, Malta) to market information systems development in a large number of countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the FYR of Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia). The FAO AgriMarket software was developed to facilitate dissemination of market information, a series of manuals were produced to promote improved banking services to farmers and the FAO MicroBanking System was extended in several Eastern European countries. With partners such as IAEA and WHO, attention was placed on important technical issues such as ensuring the safety and quality of food through radiation processing.

12. Programme 2.1.5: Agricultural Applications of Isotopes and Biotechnology: in line with Regional Conference recommendations, over 30 FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research projects addressed a variety of constraints to sustainable food security within the region, including water efficiency through fertilization, industrial crops improvement, marker assisted selection methods, improvement of AI services and diagnostic methods for EMPRES diseases and methods of analysis for residues and contaminants covered by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Projects aimed at removing a variety of specific disease-related constraints and improve yields were carried out (Turkey, the FYR of Macedonia, Cyprus, Portugal).

MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.2: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT

13. Programme 2.2.1: Nutrition and Food Quality Control and Consumer Protection: following the ICN recommendations, work continued with implementation of Plans of Action for improving nutrition in the countries in the region, including technical support for the production of a national food composition data base. The work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission continued to have a major impact in assisting several countries in improving consumer protection and enhancing their access to international markets for food exports, with capacity building in food quality control at national level (Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia). With partner organizations, in particular WHO, the National Codex Committees and national food control institutions, work has been extended to provide training in a variety of food quality control aspects ranging from the administration of national Codex committees and harmonization of food legislation to application of good manufacturing practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. Nutrition education has also been addressed in a variety of ways, including participation in scientific symposia on such problems as obesity in children and production of guidelines on nutrition education curricula for primary schools.

14. Programme 2.2.2: Food and Agricultural Information: focus has been on improving the quality of agricultural information, including collection, analysis and dissemination in Central and Eastern European countries. Most activities have been carried out in partnership with Eastern European universities and national agricultural information institutions as well as ECE, OECD and Eurostat. They have generally centred on (i) training, including production of guidelines, to improve analysis of specific types of data such as food balance sheets or economic accounts systems for food and agriculture adapted to the needs of countries in transition; (ii) methodological issues, such as "how to integrate economic aspects of agriculture with other economic activities of households"or "measurement of instability of agricultural production and the associated risk of insecurity"; (iii) dissemination of information based on establishment and extension of an agricultural information network for Central and Eastern European countries (Agro-Web), with 19 countries currently participating.

15. Activities under sub-programme 2.2.2.5: Food Information and Early Warning Systems merit a separate mention: GIEWS monitoring of near term food supply and outlook in the Balkan region was intensified in 1998-99 following the upsurge of violence in the Kosovo Province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which also affected neighbouring countries, in particular Albania and the FYR of Macedonia. Several of the Special Reports issued by GIEWS were based on the findings of Joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions to Albania and the FYR of Macedonia in June 1999 and the Kosovo Province in July/August 1999. Monitoring of the cropping and food supply situation in CIS countries was also intensified.

16. Programme 2.2.4: Agriculture, Food Security and Trade Policy: in partnership with the Institut fur Agrarenwicklung in Mittel and Osteuropa (IAMO), the role of agriculture in transition economies was studied with a view to contribute to enhancing Member countries' capacity to adjust policies in response to rapidly changing conditions.

MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.3: FISHERIES

17. To give effect to the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fisheries and other recent international fishery instruments, a number of activities were focussed on supporting responsible fisheries in the Adriatic Seas (ADRIAMED project financed by Italy) and on the creation of cooperation networks in the management of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean so that resources are more accurately evaluated and socio-economic and environmental aspects taken into account (regional project financed by Spain).

18. Other activities were more specifically addressed to the needs of countries in transition, with one large project to facilitate the structural adjustment of the fishery sector in seventeen CEE and CIS countries (EASTFISH financed by Denmark) and smaller ones to address more specific issues, such as support for the restructuring of the fish canning industry in the Baltic States or developing a plan for the restoration of the migration routes of Baltic salmon in Lithuania.

19. With Eurostat and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), work continued on improving fishery statistics, particularly statistics on international trade of fishery products, and their dissemination, including electronic publication of North Atlantic catch statistics.

MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.4: FORESTRY

20. Activities addressed a broad range of issues from enhancing institutional capabilities, including regulatory aspects, with a view to harmonise forestry policy and legislation with those of the EU (Slovakia) to privatization of forestry sector management, with the emphasis broadly placed on sustainable management of forestry resources (Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia), or on more specific aspects such as modern forest fire prevention and control strategies (Turkey) and emergency control of pests affecting forests (TCP projects in Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania).

21. Through successive ministerial conferences on the protection of forests in Europe (1990,1993,1998), special efforts have been placed on supporting the development of Pan-European criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. With the ECE, the Temperate and Boreal Forest Resource Assessment 2000 was completed as a contribution to the global Forest Resource Assessment 2000. Support was also provided to the ECE Timber Committee workshop on certification of sustainable forest management in countries in transition (1998). Together with the ECE, the European Forest Institute (ERI) and with the support of Finland, support was provided to a series of events focussed on developing the non-wood forest products sector.

22. Work in forest genetic resources, carried out in collaboration with the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) and the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), focussed on elaborating coordinated regional action plans. Work also continued on the management of forest genetic resources, including conservation, enhancement and sustainable utilization, in line with the recommendations of the 11th session of the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources (1999).

MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.5: CONTRIBUTIONS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND SPECIAL PROGRAMME THRUSTS

23. Programme 2.5.1: Research, Natural Resources Management and Technology Transfer: under this programme, activities were provided in support of the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and land (Maastricht, 1999) - ERC/00/6 provides the details. Another important event was the Second World Bank/FAO European Accession Workshop held in Poland (1999), which focussed on issues of extension, research and farm competitiveness facing EU-acceding countries.

24. Support also continued to be provided to the European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (ESCORENA). In 1998-99, over 2500 researchers, predominantly from Europe and the Near East but also from other regions, participated in over 30 courses, workshops and conferences organized by the Networks. European-wide institutional support made possible the publication of 22 issues of seven newsletters in three languages, 11 co-publications and four issues of REU technical Series.

25. With the European Forum on Agricultural Research and Development (ARD) and the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD), a number of important events took place, including the first ARD meeting held in the Netherlands (1999) with the purpose of increasing coordination, exchange of information and participation in a European response to global food security. Five subject areas were prioritized for a common European strategy for ARD: (i) natural resources management, (ii) genetic resources management and biotechnology, (iii) rural transformation and innovation, (iv) crops not covered by the CGIAR and (v) information and communication systems.

26. Global Territorial Observing Systems (GTOS) meetings were organized mainly in Budapest to support participation of a number of CEE countries in the international conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). Activities were also carried out with the EU-funded No Limits Project which aims at developing integrated environmental monitoring networks in Europe. Technical assistance was provided to a number of countries in specific areas: (i) to strengthen national capacity in inventory of land cover and land use by remote sensing (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria); (ii) to strengthen agricultural education and communication (Albania, Estonia, Slovenia and with ITU for multipurpose telecentres establishment in Central European countries); (iii) to prepare a training programme for rural youths (seminar in collaboration with Herrsching University).

27. Programme 2.5.2: Women and Population: through the European component of a global project financed by Finland, support was given to a programme for "Farm Household Resource Management for Rural Family Development", and resulted in a manual for agricultural extension personnel on micro-enterprise development, household resource management and intrahousehold issues, and set the basis for national capacity building in socio-economic and gender analysis (SEAGA).

28. The incorporation of gender issues into policies, programmes and projects was further advanced with a series of training events, particularly the first all European SEAGA training of trainers workshops held in Spain (1999). Progress was also made to develop a cost-effective methodology that will allow for collection and analysis of gender disaggregated data, with the collaboration of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Empresa Publica para el Desarrollo Agrario y Pesquero de Andalucia (DAP - Spain).

29. Programme 2.5.3: Rural Development: initial land tenure activities in the region have focussed on the reallocation of property rights through state-led actions aimed at restitution, decollectivization and privatisation and consolidation of fragmented parcels. The rate of change varied considerably from country to country: in some, redistribution of collective properties is now largely completed while in others large amounts of agricultural land are still state property. Little work has been done so far on consolidating fragmented parcels into more economically viable units. Through the "Bertinoro Intiative"(financed by Italy), 18 countries in transition in the CEE and CIS are assisted in the development of effective and efficient land tenure and land administration systems through several seminars (1997,1998,1999).

30. Other activities focus on institutional strengthening, including one project aimed at establishing institutional development patterns in selected pilot countries and development over the long term of institutional models of rural development for the specific conditions of transition economies. Another project (CEESA - Central and Eastern Sustainable Agriculture) carried out in collaboration with the Humboldt University (Berlin) serves as a forum for exchange of views, knowledge and results on sustainable agricultural development among specialists from the EU and CEE countries, as well as decision and policy makers of the CEE sub-region.

CHAPTER 3: DEVELOPMENT SERVICES TO MEMBER NATIONS

31. This Chapter covers a range of services in direct support to Member Nations' development efforts, including policy advice and support to programme and project formulation, with special emphasis on those with investment potential, as well as operational services for the execution of country programmes.

32.  Major Programme 3.1: Policy Assistance: focussed on the provision of policy services to Member nations, this major programme covers primarily the work of the Policy Assistance Division's decentralized units, with a Branch in the Regional Office and a Unit in the Sub-regional Office. Since 1999, both Branch and Unit are fully staffed with a total of six professionals (including one Associate Professional Officer).

33. Support and advice in the formulation of national sectoral strategies and programmes and in related institutional capacity building has been provided to five countries. The work, supported with TCP funding for a total US$ 1 291 000, addressed agricultural development issues, some more specific arising in the context of the EU accession process (Slovenia, Malta, Slovakia) and others more broadly, to design a medium-term agriculture sector strategy (Bosnia-Herzegovina) or to develop a strategy for agricultural development and food security (Bulgaria). All project outputs were accepted and appropriated by the beneficiary governments, and several resulted in immediate follow up action by other donors: for example, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, EU/Phare has established programming units to assist in the implementation of the strategy recommendations; in Bulgaria, the World Bank followed-up on a number of the strategy's recommendations, such as the rationalization of food standards and control system with a view to achieve harmonization with EU standards and regulations; in Slovenia, project results contributed to the country's preparation for beginning accession negotiations and defining a position via--vis CEFTA.

34. Other activities, aside from continuous collaboration with such partners as OECD, the World Bank and the EU on various policy assistance activities in the region, included:

MAJOR PROGRAMME 3.2: SUPPORT TO INVESTMENT

35. The programme covers primarily the work carried out by the Investment Centre Division in cooperation with the technical divisions and units. Besides investment preparation work, the Division has been involved in many activities related to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-affected countries in the Balkans. In particular, during the second semester of 1999, the Division prepared a Programme for Reconstruction and Recovery in Kosovo with the World Bank and the EU in support of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. It also formulated a first Emergency Farm Reconstruction project for grant financing by the World Bank and other associated donors.

36. During the 1998/99 biennium, 14 investment projects in Europe prepared with major Investment Centre input were approved for financing by cooperating financing institutions. Total investments mobilised for these projects amount to US$ 364 million, including US$ 274 million in external loans, mainly from the World Bank (11 projects) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (3 projects). During the biennium, the Investment Centre assisted in the formulation of some 38 agricultural investment projects in 16 European countries and preparation work has been completed for four of these projects.

37. The Framework Agreement for Operational Services between FAO and EBRD, signed on 13 October 1997, has strengthened cooperation between the two institutions and allowed the Investment Centre to provide investment preparation work to numerous countries in the Region. The Framework Agreement has been extended in December 1999 for a two-year period.

MAJOR PROGRAMME 3.3: FIELD OPERATIONS

38. Programme 3.3.1: Field Operations: this programme covers primarily the work of the Field Operations Division (TCO) at its regional operations branches and at headquarters where the operational support is provided for projects in the European Region. During the biennium, the following projects were operational : 40 at national level and 8 at regional level, of which 15 funded from extrabudgetary resources, i.e. UNDP, Government donors and UTF. These exclude the emergency projects mentioned below.

39. Programme 3.3.3 Emergency Response Operations: this programme covers FAO's response to emergency situations through its Special Relief Operations Service (TCOR) the activities of which involves: (i) immediate relief, through the provision of agricultural essentials such as seeds, tools, fertilizers, fishing gear, livestock and veterinary supplies to permit immediate resumption of basic food production; (ii) early rehabilitation, through projects directed at seed multiplication, tools production, income-generating projects, vegetable production for local markets, etc; and (iii) technical advice and coordination, particularly with regard to NGOs and other UN system organizations involved in agricultural assistance.

40. During 1999, in response to the crisis which unfolded in the Kosovo Province of the FR of Yugoslavia, TCOR implemented emergency assistance projects in Albania, the FYR of Macedonia and Kosovo for a total of approximately US$ 12.7 million. This amount included extrabudgetary resources amounti to US$ 11.1 million, i.e. US$ 1.2 million for Albania and US$ 9.9 million for Kosovo received from a variety of donors (Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, UK and USA) and Technical Cooperation Programme resources amounting to US$ 1.6 million for projects in the three countries/region. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, during 1998 and 1999, TCOR coordinated the agricultural relief programmes and implemented emergency projects funded by the TCP and by the Governments of Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland for a total amount of US$ 1.2 million. In addition, with TCP funding, two emergency projects were implemented in Romania to support the private agricultural sector affected by floods.

MAJOR PROGRAMME: 3.5 COOPERATION WITH EXTERNAL PARTNERS

41. This programme seeks to meet the evolving needs of Members and to emply innovative approaches and modalities to achieve an enhanced impact of technical and economic cooperation among developing countries and countries in transition. Since the launching of the partnership programmes TCDC/TCCT agreements have been signed with 18 countries in the Region; Agreements on the Use of Retired National Experts with 9 countries; while cooperation/agreements for the programme of Visiting Experts from Academic and Research Institutions have been concluded with 17 countries and 3 Regional Centres.

III. IDENTIFICATION OF PRIORITIES FOR FAO ACTIVITIES IN THE REGION WITHIN THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
2000-2015

42. The identification of priorities for FAO activities in the European Region must start with recognition that the region is extremely diverse from the point of view of natural resources endowment as well as from the economic, social and political conditions. It contains countries with highly developed, efficient agri-food sectors faced with the problem of increasing abandonment of their less-favoured areas and countries in transition still in the process of defining the role and place of agriculture in their national economies. A high proportion of FAO's programmes should be relevant to the whole Region and take into account, to the extent possible, the specific needs and priorities of the main subregions, i.e. Western Europe, non-European Union (EU) Mediterranean countries of Europe, Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moreover, in times of acute resource constraints facing FAO, emphasis should be given to cost-effective programming, benefiting as many European countries as possible but also achieving a multiplier effect through the generation of information and lessons learned relevant to the development process in Member Nations outside the Region.

43. In establishing priorities for FAO activities, account must be taken of agricultural policies of Western European countries and of requirements of Central and Eastern European and CIS countries as they move towards market economies and some of them are in EU accession process.

44. Many of the medium- to long-term agricultural issues and opportunities in the European Region relate in one or more ways to the central issue of the sustainable use of natural resources, which directly or indirectly enters each of the five corporate strategies proposed for the "Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015" (FAO, 1999). Several CEE and CIS countries have regions where the natural resource base has been made fragile by industrialization and urbanization. EU countries that were the first to embark on agricultural intensification in the 1950s, have been facing increasingly serious environmental problems over time. While adverse impacts occur primarily at the national level, there is an increasingly global dimension through the contribution of intensive agriculture to climate change by the emission of greenhouse gases and the reduction of carbon sequestration by soils. It may be also expected that the situation will become more critical in the CEE and Cis countries, as their agricultural incomes improve and as they intensify farming.

45. Thus, reappraisal and reorientation of agricultural production is a necessity faced in varying degrees by all countries and especially by countries in transition. For the latter, key areas for attention include:

46. Taking into account the diversity and specificity of the European Region, the scope of the economic reforms and complexity of issues involved, FAO's presence in the Region has to use a flexible targeted approach to address the needs of the Member Nations in the Region and must be based on its comparative advantage. These can be achieved by providing assistance in accordance with the Mandate of the Organization and within the Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015, following the basic principles of interdisciplinarity and partnership as laid out in the Strategic Framework. With its broad-ranging technical capacity, FAO is in a position to respond to a variety of needs, and as an intergovernmental body functioning as an "honest broker" and providing a "neutral forum" for international debate, it is well placed to contribute towards a coordinated approach to development issues while taking into account the economic, social and cultural identity of each recipient country, including attention to gender issues.

47. Main priorities for FAO activities are proposed in the following sections. It will be noted that proposals do not address all corporate strategies in the Strategic Framework, since priorities are determined by regional/subregional needs. Consequently , FAO activities carried out at a global level and of which the European Region is a part, are not specificially mentioned. Also, while the focus is on the development issues of countries in transition, it is not intended that FAO activities be limited to this group of countries. However, given the fifteen-year timeframe of the Strategic Framework, it must be understood that within identified priority areas, needs of individual countries or group of countries will have to be addressed through the elaboration of specific programmes. For the sake of clarity, the titles of the relevant corporate strategies and strategic objectives are repeated, thus providing the context for the proposed areas of work.

A. Contributing to the eradication of food insecurity and rural poverty

Rationale:

48. Food insecurity in transition economies is mainly related to restructuring of the national economies and the agri-food sector in particular, resulting in a sharp decline in purchasing power of the population and disruption of traditional distribution channels. The recent civil conflicts and military operations in South-eastern Europe and some CIS countries have affected countries involved as well as neighbouring countries through market losses, the necessity to deal with refugee problems, and have inpacted sharply on the natural resource base. The refugee programes are extreme cases and need to be dealt with in the context of complex emergency assistance rather than normal development aid. However, under all circumstances and in the medium term, food insecurity in affected countries needs to be addressed by designing and implementing policies aimed at strengthening the rural economy in affected areas.

A.1 Sustainable rural livelihood and more equitable access to resources

A.2 Access of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food

A.3 Preparedness for and effective and sustainable response to food and agricultural emergencies

B. Promoting, developing and reinforcing policy and regulatory framework for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry

Rationale:

49. All countries in transition face problems related to re-definition of the place and role of the agri-food sector in their national economies. Formulation of sound, transparent and consistent policies, based on a thorough analysis of current economic factors, together with the establishment of proper legal, economic and institutional frameworks will facilitate a rapid reform process and the efficient and sustainable use of resources. Some of the transition countries are members of international economic and trade organizations, others are still in the process of accession, which increases the pressure to introduce and enforce policy measures consistent with their current and future international obligations.

B.2 National policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms that respond to domestic requirements and are consistent with the international policy and regulatory framework

C. Creating sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food and other products from the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors

Rationale:

50. During the transition, the majority of CEE and CIS countries faced a sharp decline in agricultural output that was caused by farm restructuring and adjustment to new market conditions in both domestic and external markets. New and changing circumstances put pressure on policy makers to design and implement policies aimed at improving the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and creating an appropriate legal and institutional environment for its future development. The available national expertise in countries in transition is limited and countries often must rely on external advice. The long-term solution for improving agricultural performance lies largely in the transformation of the agriculture sector through effective national agricultural research, extension, education and communication systems capable of generating, adapting and disseminating productivity enhancing technologies. This requires the full participation of all stakeholders and the strengthening of human and institutional capacities.

C.1 Policy options and institutional measures to improve efficiency and adaptability in production, processing and marketing systems and meet the changing needs of producers and consumers

C.2 Adoption of appropriate technology to sustainably intensify production systems and to ensure sufficient supplies of food and agricultural, fisheries and forestry goods and services

D. Supporting the conservation, improvement and sustainable use of natural resources for food and agriculture

Rationale:

51. As a result of economic reforms and price liberalization, the use of main agricultural inputs declined considerably in countries in transition. Structural reforms often resulted in fragmentation of land use and creation of many small, inefficient farm operations including in the forestry sector. As economic conditions improve, the commercial orientation of farming is likely to strengthen, resulting in consolidation of farm operations, recovery of input use and intensification of production. Taking into account past practices resulting in severe ecological problems in some CEECs and CIS, there is a need for substantial improvements in natural resources management and the introduction of sustainable, environment-friendly farm practices especially in areas at high environmental risk. However, it should be noted that issues such as the sustainable use and conservation of resources (including genetic) are Pan-European in nature.

D.1 Integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forest and genetic resources

D.2 Conservation, rehabilitation and development of environments at greatest risk

E. Improving decision making through the provision of information and assessments and fostering of knowledge for food and agriculture

Rationale:

52. While Western Europe has well-established information systems, countries in transition are still in the process of developing them. Formulation of sound and consistent agricultural policies and the choice of implementation mechanisms in transition economies in many cases are limited by the lack of reliable information on the structure, economic activities and financial situation in the farming sector as well as by limited access to international data sources.

E.1 An integrated information resource base, with current, relevant and reliable statistics, information and knowledge made accessible to all FAO clients

_______________________________

1  Excludes non technical programmes and Programme 2.1.5 Agricultural Aplications of Isotopes and Biotechnology which does not have a regional orientation.