November 1998 COFI/99/Inf.12

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Twenty-third Session
Rome, Italy, 15-19 February 1999
Rome, 26-27 January 1998








Appendix 1

List of Participants

Appendix 2

Terms of Reference

Appendix 3


Appendix 4


1. The High Level Panel on Sustainable Development met at FAO Headquarters on 26-27 January 1998 under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Department. The Panel members attending were: M. Rukuni, Chairman (Zimbabwe), M. Tolba (Egypt), L. Kristoferson (Sweden), and L. Xiaofen (China). Members A. Umaña Quesada (Costa Rica) and M. Otero (Bolivia) sent their regrets. Attending for SD were H. Carsalade (ADG) and R. Bordonaro (Rapporteur). The agenda and the list of Panel members are attached.

2. At its opening session the Panel was addressed by the FAO Director-General who emphasized, inter alia, the importance of the Panel's role in advising on the direction and performance of FAO's activities in the area of sustainable development and particularly in identifying new issues which may need to be addressed.

Agenda Item 1: Implementation of the recommendations of the first meeting of the Oversight Panel on
Sustainable Development, November 1995

3. The Panel expressed its satisfaction with the implementation of the recommendations made at its first meeting, as documented in Agenda Paper no. 1 provided by SD Department. It also noted two major developments since its first meeting which have conditioned SD's response to the recommendations, i.e. the convening of the World Food Summit and adoption of its Plan of Action to achieve sustainable food security; and the convening of the UN General Assembly's 19th Special Session which shifted the priorities of the Commission on Sustainable Development towards cross-sectoral themes requiring integrated, multidisciplinary approaches.

4. The Panel reaffirmed the importance of continued implementation of several of its earlier recommendations, taking into account changes in the global context within which FAO operates as well as in the Organization's programme of work for the 1996-97 and 1998-99 biennia. The Panel recommended that:

· The environmental impacts of globalization of the world economy and the liberalization of trade need to be better understood, especially to develop policies that promote sustainable agriculture.

· SD should develop an agenda for strengthening civic participation of rural people in the design and implementation of agricultural and rural development policies and programmes.

· FAO's work on valuation should ensure that the Organization's statistical guidelines incorporate valuation of natural resources and women's labour in relation to agriculture, with a view to incorporating such information into national accounts.

· SD should work to ensure that sustainability concerns are incorporated into the design of SPFS projects. A checklist for sustainable development impact assessment should be developed for this purpose.

· SD should encourage the field application of sustainable development indicators as tools for monitoring progress toward sustainable development.

Agenda Item 2: Follow-up to the World Food Summit regarding sustainability for food security and
future challenges for the Sustainable Development Department

5. The Panel endorsed Agenda Paper no. 2 for this item and centered its discussion on the issues of poverty alleviation, equity/equality, population issues, agricultural research, institutional issues and globalization of markets and of research.

6. The Panel agreed on the importance of poverty issues in food security attainment, as it impedes access to productive resources and to nutrition. The Panel recommended that SD should:

· Further strengthen both institutional development and participation/empowerment dimensions, which are central to poverty alleviation.

· Address the equity and gender aspects, including the gender aspects of food security.

· Take the lead in assessing the short-term impacts of economic globalization on food security (e.g. groups at risk such as women and children, shifts in access to land).

7. The Panel noted the importance of population factors in relation to the attainment of food security, especially in Africa. The Panel drew attention to the impact of a changing age structure on food security, given the predominantly young populations in poor countries. The Panel recommended that SD should:
· Assess both positive and negative aspects of people's migration in relation to food security and environmental degradation, on a regional basis, in order to assist member countries in policy formulation.

· Develop better understanding of the relationships between population factors (including age structure and population movements) and poverty, environment/ natural resources and food security.

8. The Panel welcomed SD's initiative in hosting the NARS Secretariat associated with the Global Forum for Agricultural Research. It cautioned that globalization of agricultural research should not mean the homogenization of all of its components. The Panel recommended that SD should:

· Actively participate in the global research system by designing programmes that address food security.

· Continue to promote the development of local institutional research capacity and its application.

Agenda Items 3/4: Partnerships and funding

9. The Panel commended Agenda Paper No. 3/4 for this item. It noted that the concept of "partnerships" had taken on a different meaning during the past years driven, in part, by institutional change and reduction of overall levels of financial resources. This required individuals, organizations and countries to cooperate in ways that were new and innovative.

10. The Panel identified some thematic areas where SD has strategic advantage including biodiversity, environmental indicators, land tenure, population and reform of rural institutions. SD should further develop these and other core themes, through consultations with FAO units and external partners, and identify potential sources of financing. The Panel recommended that SD should:

· Expand the use of emerging communication technology and satellites as communication and education tools to extend information on sustainable agriculture to rural villages that lack infrastructure.

· Organize periodic meetings of external technical experts to assess and review programme priorities, identify emerging issues and suggest new initiatives relating to sustainable development.

11. Continuity in the beneficial impacts of externally financed field projects was underlined. Local partnerships were considered to be important ways of extending the concept of sustainable agriculture and rural development. The Panel emphasized that the "profile" of SD projects tends to be different from that of traditional FAO projects and that sustainability dimensions need to be clearly reflected. The Panel recommended that SD should:

· Work with other units to ensure that national government and NGO commitments, financial and technical, are secured in advance and that technical knowledge used in projects will actually strengthen national capacity.

· Develop partnerships with local people and institutions by working actively with them to prepare proposals for sustainable agriculture and rural development.

· Document successful experiences in participatory project development, including the partnership, institutional and financing dimensions.

· Further define the principles of sustainable agriculture and recommend design elements that could be incorporated in production-related projects.

12. The Panel felt that FAO is sometimes seen to focus on technical issues and not give adequate recognition or emphasis to institutional, policy and/or political dimensions. It recommended that SD should:

· Make more use of existing methods, analytical tools and techniques to address institutional constraints to sustainable development.

13. The Panel noted that several existing SD initiatives (viz. Artemis, GTOS, SEAGA) already possessed the characteristics of innovative partnerships and funding, and suggested that more such initiatives were needed. The Panel endorsed the need for SD to strengthen partnerships with private foundations but also urged caution to avoid industry "self-interest" (e.g. pesticide and fertilizer industries) dominating to an excessive extent. The Panel recommended:

· FAO senior managers make efforts to actively market key programme initiatives within an overall plan for the whole UN System.

· Work at a high level with selected governments to exploit funding available under the Global Environment Facility.

· Establish and strengthen FAO "seed" funds to be used as incentives for building intra- and interdepartmental partnerships in sustainable development.

Agenda Item 5: The Panel's vision and recommendations for sustainable agriculture and rural

The global context

14. The Panel noted that the decade leading up to the year 2000 had been characterized by many historically unique trends having important implications for food security, environment and agricultural development. Among the most significant of these have been:

· Globalization and liberalization of economies, markets, and information;

· Global geo-political realignment and reassessment of development assistance;

· Consistent national economic growth in some regions;

· Gradual reduction of poverty and food insecurity in some countries;

· Persistent high levels of poverty and hunger in all developing regions and a growing gap between rich and poor;

· Population growth and large-scale migration;

· Persistent gender inequities despite positive changes in the role and status of women;

· Global environmental change, including climate change with variable regional impacts; increased desertification of arable land; growing shortages of freshwater; and loss of biological diversity.

15. Assuming the above trends continue over the next 10-15 years, the Panel identified at least five major elements that have importance for FAO's and SD's priorities and strategies: (i) migration; (ii) inequity; (iii) technology - science; (iv) technology - information; (v) institutional performance.

Proposed goals and strategies for FAO and SD Department

16. In view of its analysis of the emerging global context, the Panel reaffirmed FAO's strategic focus on poverty, food security, sustainable agriculture and rural development, and natural resource conservation. It proposed the following long-term goals and identified strategies which might be undertaken by the Organization and SD Department for achieving them:


17. Empower women, youth and the poor in the design and implementation of development policies and programmes using, inter alia, new information technologies.

18. Develop checklists for the design of policies, formal/informal institutions and technologies for sustainable agricultural development, with particular attention to the interactions between these elements in the design of programmes and projects.

19. Strengthen national capacity for monitoring and evaluation by using performance indicators and management information systems.

20. Develop an overall strategy for the use of ecotechnologies for sustainable agriculture, including the safe use of biotechnology in food production.

21. Transform FAO databases into information which can be utilized to empower organizations and communities in developing countries.

22. Devise policies and strategies to manage diminishing freshwater resources and to create mechanisms for conflict resolution amongst countries sharing water resources.

23. Assist countries to deal with the environmental, social and economic impacts of the evolving rules and regulations of the Uruguay Round (WTO, TRIPS and SPS).

24. Continue to play a leading role in South-South cooperation for food security and sustainable agricultural development.

25. Perform a clearing-house function by identifying the resource needs of developing countries in the agricultural sector and assisting in locating potential sources of support.

26. Make deliberate but cautious efforts to tap private sources of finance for technical assistance to agriculture, coupled with improved "marketing" of FAO's products.

Sustainable Development Department

27. As market-driven globalization takes place, address the growing problem of marginalized groups, particularly among the poor, by designing more inclusive development policies that ensure equity.

28. Foster more equitable and sustainable rural development policies through participatory analysis of the patterns and trends of inequity along gender, class, age (with special attention to youth issues) and ethnic lines.

29. Promote awareness and assist policy-making that takes into account the impact of population factors (growth, age structure, migration) on food security and rural development.

30. Address issues of socio-cultural sustainability with a view to preserving cultural diversity and the viability of the indigenous institutions relevant to sustainable development.

31. Work to enhance the benefits of science on people's lives through a shift in the paradigm for organizing agricultural research. Devise agricultural research systems that can deliver both the technical and institutional innovations needed for sustainable agriculture.

32. In parallel with the rapid advancement of communication, computer and other electronic technologies, use these tools as means for training, education, developing meta-databases, environmental indicators and decision-support tools for sustainable development.

33. Address the link between science and policy-making in developing countries by helping to increase technical capacity in areas such as biodiversity, bioenergy, desertification and climate change, and by encouraging inter-ministerial cooperation on cross-sectoral issues affecting sustainability.

34. Ensure continual development of concepts, methodologies and tools needed by other FAO units for the integration of sustainability concerns in normative activities and field work, including sub-regional approaches (e.g. Baltic-21) to sustainability issues amongst countries.

35. Closely monitor the application of "joint implementation" and the "clean development mechanism" under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, emphasizing the need for equitable distribution of benefits between industrialized and developing countries.

Appendix 1


Panel Members

Professor Mandivamba Rukuni (Chairman)
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension
University of Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwe

Professor Lars Kristoferson
Secretary General
M-Baltic 21
Ministry of Environment
Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Mostafa K. Tolba
Central Egyptian Society for Consumer Protection
International Centre for Environment and
Development (ICED)
Cairo, Egypt

Ms. Li Xiaofen
Deputy Director-General
Department of International Cooperation
Ministry of Agriculture
Beijing, China

Sustainable Development Department

Mr. Henri Carsalade
Assistant Director-General
Sustainable Development Department

Mr. Robert Bordonaro (Rapporteur)
Senior Officer
Environment and Natural Resources Service
Research, Extension and Training Division


Ms. Marcela Villarreal
Senior Officer (Socio-Cultural Research)
Population Programme Service
Women and Population Division

Mr. Jeff Tschirley
Senior Officer (Environment)
Environment and Natural Resources Service

Appendix 2


The Oversight Panel on Sustainable Development will provide strategic guidance to FAO and particularly to the Sustainable Development Department by advising on its future policy and activities. Specifically, it will:

a) review work related to sustainable development in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, with a view to identifying specific issues gaps and opportunities for action which require the special attention of FAO;

b) provide policy advice on how FAO may more effectively provide leadership on sustainable development issues which fall within its mandate, and contribute more effectively to initiatives on similar issues led by other institutions;

c) provide advice on how FAO could better assist its Member Nations in formulating policies toward and implementing sustainable agriculture and rural development.

Appendix 3


1. Implementation of the recommendations of the first meeting of the Oversight Panel held in November 1995

2. Follow-up to the World Food Summit regarding sustainability for food security and future challenges of the Sustainable Development Department

3. Relations with partners in universities and international institutions in the same field as SD

4. Funding opportunities with bilateral and multilateral institutions

5. The views of the Panel on two key questions:

(a) What vision does the Panel have for the next 10-15 years in agricultural development?

(b) How does the Panel see FAO implementing its mandate in the framework of that vision?

Appendix 4


Monday 26 January


Opening Session

Welcome: Henri Carsalade, Assistant Director-General, Sustainable Development Department

Election of Chairman, adoption of agenda, organization of work


Address by Jacques Diouf, Director-General


Item 1

Implementation of Recommendations of first meeting of Oversight Panel on Sustainable Development, November 1995


Overview/Issues: Henri Carsalade


Open discussion


Coffee break


Preliminary conclusions/recommendations:Chairman


Item 2

Follow-up to World Food Summit regarding Sustainability for Food Security and Future Challenges of the Sustainable Development Department


Overview/Issues: Henri Carsalade


Open discussion


Preliminary conclusions/recommendations: Chairman


Lunch hosted by Director-General (Mohamed V Room)


Items 3/4

Relations with Partners in Universities and International Institutions in same field as SD.

Funding Opportunities with Bilateral and Multilateral Institutions


Overview/issues: Henri Carsalade


Open discussion


Coffee break


Open discussion (continued)


Preliminary conclusions/recommendations: Chairman


Panel review/revision of Draft Recommendations for Items 1 and 2

Tuesday 27 January


Panel review/revision of Draft Recommendations for Items 3 and 4


Item 5

The Views of the Panel on two key questions:

(a) What vision does the Panel have for the next 10-15 years in agricultural development?

(b) How does the Panel see FAO implementing its mandate in the framework of that vision?


Lunch hostes by Henri Carsalade (FAO Restaurant)


Report Drafting Session