C 99/6


Thirtieth Session

Rome, 12 - 23 November 1999


Table of Contents


1. The Conference, at its Twenty-ninth Session, endorsed the report which the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) had submitted through the Council on all aspects of the World Food Summit (WFS) and its follow-up, and decided to examine progress in WFS follow-up at its Thirtieth Session.

2. Section I of this document summarises further developments with regard to intergovernmental monitoring of implementation of the WFS Plan of Action (PoA). Section II covers action taken by FAO, in the following fields: implementation of the SPFS; progress in the FIVIMS initiative; national and regional strategies; and assistance for multilateral trade negotiations.


3. In considering progress in implementing the WFS Plan of Action, the Conference may wish in particular to:


4. As mandated by the World Food Summit, the CFS initiated in 1998 the monitoring of the actual implementation of the WFS PoA at all levels, based on the three streams of reports (para 60-e in box below).



From the WFS Plan of Action:

60. Objective 7.3: To monitor actively the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.

To this end, governments, in partnership with all actors of civil society, in coordination with relevant international institutions and, in conformity with ECOSOC Resolution 1996/36 on the follow-up to the major international UN conferences and summits as appropriate, will:


(e) Monitor through the CFS the national subregional, regional and international implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, using reports from national governments, reports on UN agency follow-up and inter-agency coordination, and information from other relevant international institutions;

(f) Provide regular reports on implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action through the CFS via the FAO Council to ECOSOC;

(g) Encourage the effective participation of relevant actors of civil society in the CFS monitoring process, recognising their critical role in enhancing food security;

(h) By 2006, undertake, in the CFS and within available resources, a major broad-based progress assessment of the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and a mid-term review of achieving the target of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015. This progress assessment and review should be in the contest of a special forum of a regular session of the CFS and involve active participation from governments, relevant international organizations and actors of civil society.

5. Ninety-three governments and 37 international organizations have submitted reports on the implementation of the PoA until end 1997. Many countries have undertaken the review of their policies and programmes in the light of the Commitments they entered into at the Summit, and some have widely disseminated their National Plan of Action, including where applicable, action for international cooperation, based on a preparation process that broadly involved governmental and civil society partners.

6. The CFS has established its workplan for future monitoring, endorsed by the Council, so as to conduct two complete cycles of review of implementation of the WFS PoA prior to the mid-term review, mandated for 2006 (box, para 60-h), of progress towards the target of halving the number of undernourished no later than 2015. The Committee also considered in-depth, at its 25th Session in 1999, steps to broaden the participation of civil society organizations in its work (box, para 60-g).

7. In preparation for the Twenty-sixth Session of the CFS to be held in September 2000, a reporting format has been adopted by the Committee that will form the basis for all future reporting on the progress of the implementation of the PoA. This format calls for the provision of information that will give a meaningful indication of progress, while at the same time remaining understandable and flexible. The first set of reports, on Commitments One, Two, Five and relevant parts of Commitment Seven, is required in Rome by the end of 1999, at the latest, in order to prepare for the Committee's debate later in 2000. Countries are encouraged to adopt internal reporting arrangements appropriate to their national government structures to monitor progress in monitoring the WFS PoA internally, and to prepare the periodic reports required at global level.

8. FAO Regional Conferences will also consider this topic on the basis of documentation that will be prepared by the Secretariat. Reports on conclusions reached during the Regional Conferences will form part of the background documentation when the CFS holds its monitoring sessions.

9. At its Twenty-ninth Session the Conference requested the CFS to provide, through the Council, a first report on implementation of the WFS PoA, to the Substantive Session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1999 (box, para 60-f). The Conference recalled that reporting on follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition would already occur as part of the CFS monitoring process for the World Food Summit. Considering the scope of the Plan of Action and its coverage of the goals and issues of the Programme of Action of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD), the Conference also decided to discontinue separate progress reporting on WCARRD. Noting that ECOSOC would be receiving reports on WFS follow-up, it recommended that ECOSOC adopt the same approach.

10. In its decision 1999/212 of 25 March 1999, ECOSOC decided to discontinue its quadrennial consideration of WCARRD implementation and invited the Director-General of FAO to transmit to it, every four years starting in 1999, a report prepared by the CFS on progress in implementation of the WFS PoA.

11. Pursuant to the decisions of the Conference and of ECOSOC, the first Report on Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action was adopted by the CFS at its Twenty-fifth Session and endorsed by the Council at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session. On the occasion of its presentation in July 1999, the Director-General addressed ECOSOC. The CFS will present its second report on implementation through the FAO Council to ECOSOC in 2003, by which time it will have finished one complete monitoring cycle of the Plan of Action, and its third report in 2007, following the mid-term review foreseen by 2006.


12. This section, covering four major areas of action by FAO and its partners, does not purport to be exhaustive. The Summit commitments continue to influence the substantive priorities and programmes of the Organization, as well as the work of all of its Technical Committees. The Regional Conferences now 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.

13. 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 63  are now well established with agendas and work programmes. At the international level FAO is collaborating closely with IFAD and WFP to support the work of these groups, which function within the framework of the UN Resident Coordinator System.

14. 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. Under the leadership of the High Commissioner, considerable progress has been made. She has convened two Expert Consultations on the subject, in December 1997 and November 1998, the latter co-hosted by FAO. She hosted a symposium co-organized by the ACC Sub-Committee on Nutrition in April 1999 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, including a clarification of the content of the right and means for its implementation. The Special Rapporteur of the UN Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (formerly Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities) submitted to its 51st Session in August 1999 an updated study on the right to adequate food.


Background and Main Characteristics

15. The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) was launched after its unanimous approval by the FAO Council in 1994. The Programme's main objectives are to assist LIFDCs to rapidly increase food production and productivity on a sustainable basis, reduce the year-to-year variability of production, and improve access to food, as a contribution to equity and poverty alleviation.


At the WFS in November 1996, Heads of States and Governments committed themselves to making food security a priority of their national development efforts or of their development supporting policies. The Summit further agreed to Seven Commitments aimed at the target of reducing by half the world undernourished people no later than 2015.

The SPFS is expected to contribute substantially to the implementation of the Commitments of the WFS Plan of Action, in particular the following three:

Commitment Two - we will implement policies aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality and improving physical and economic access by all, at all times, to sufficient, nutritionally adequate and safe food and its effective utilisation;

Commitment Three - we will pursue participatory and sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development policies and practices in high and low potential areas, which are essential to adequate and reliable food supplies at the household, national, regional and global levels, and combat pests, drought and desertification, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture;

Commitment Six - we will promote optimal allocation and use of public and private investments to foster human resources, sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry systems, and rural development in high and low potential areas.


16. 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 modernisation, priority to small farmers and gender sensitivity.

17. The Programme is implemented in two phases. Phase I consists of four interrelated and complementary components: water control, including small-scale irrigation and drainage, water harvesting and on-farm water management; intensification of sustainable plant production systems; diversification into aquaculture, artisanal fisheries and small animal production; and analysis of socio-economic constraints. The results obtained at demonstration sites each season are quantified and analysed to reorient, replicate and extend operations and provide a firm analytical basis for Phase II.

18. Phase II, the macroeconomic phase of the SPFS, entails a nationally prepared action plan addressing at large scale 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 to increase financing for expanding pilot projects geographically and/or sectorally.

Main Achievements

19. To date over 75 developing countries applied to participate in the SPFS. The lessons learned and results obtained so far have led to the extension of on-going country programmes and a rapid incorporation of new countries. By September 1999 the Programme was operational in 49 countries, including 29 in Africa, eleven in Asia, two in Eastern Europe, six in Latin America, and one in Oceania. (Annex 1)

20. Demonstrations that included improved, low-cost water control and management techniques have had the best results on yields and stability of production, incorporation of high value food and cash crops, cropping intensification, farm incomes and food security impact. In Nepal, on-farm irrigation systems for wheat, rice, maize and potatoes resulted in 30 to 60 percent increases in cropping intensities and in expansion of the area under perennial irrigation; these same techniques are being utilised by projects supported by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. In Zambia, pedal pumps have been introduced and locally manufactured at lower cost.

21. The crop intensification component enhances single practices (soil preparation, varieties, fertilisation, etc.) but also production and processing technological packages. Crop intensification focussed initially on few products (rice, maize), but sorghum, wheat, millet, cassava, yam and horticulture were incorporated in the last seasons. Monitoring data indicates that the improved farming systems and technologies promoted by the Programme reach high rates of adoption and substantially higher yields and incomes. In Mauritania, the addition of phosphorus in rice was adopted by 60 percent of farmers, while in Tanzania the improved farming packages of maize and rice were adopted by 86 and 100 percent, respectively. In the first group of fifteen participating countries, unweighted average yields of main crops in the last reported seasons exceeded those of the control plots by more than two thirds, with many cases of doubling and tripling yields. Unsatisfactory results in some countries were associated to field demonstrations based on insufficient research or lack of consultation with research centres, unsuitable implementation and severe droughts and other factors outside the control of the Programme.

22. The diversification component, particularly targeted to women and small farmers is generating new skills for small animal production, apiculture, fish farming and artisanal fishery. Diversification is progressing well in China, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Zambia. Since 1997, participatory and multidisciplinary identification of socio-economic constraints, as well as ways to remove them, constitute a formal activity of all country programmes, and progress in constraints resolution has been achieved, particularly at farmer level.

23. Phase II has not yet been initiated in any of the countries. Most country programmes have nevertheless undertaken extension of the SPFS during the biennium, as indicated in the examples below.

SPFS Selective Achievements

24. China - Operations started in May 1995, with strong participation of 3 000 farmers (half women) from the Sichuan Province. Between 1994/97, increases in yields of rice, wheat and maize ranged from 15-30 percent, in crop intensity 168-240 percent, and in farmers' income 70-110 percent. Diversification to small animals and rice-fish-fruit started in January 1998 and rapidly expanded. Other results: controlled soil erosion, improved disaster prevention and environment (afforestation, reduced pesticides/fertilisers), training, etc. The GOC has recently proposed the extension of Phase I for four years to cover ten counties (60 villages, 32 300 farmers), for: land/water paddy development and dryland improvement (terracing and supplementary irrigation); crop intensification and improved technologies/varieties; diversification to small animals, fruits, fish rearing and vegetables; and participatory constraints analysis. Total cost US$60 million, half of which will be externally financed.

25. Ecuador - Preliminary activities which started in November 1997, focussed on the development of existing irrigation infrastructures and improvement of small farmer technologies. One upland site, supported by an Ecuadorian-Canadian Fund, and a coastal site where a water control TCP project is now starting, were selected. Since the GOE assigns high priority to food security, an adequate institutional set-up for the SPFS has been established, which is already assisting the creation of an interesting network of food security programmes and institutions (i.e. public/private, donors and NGOs).

26. Senegal - Operational since early 1995 in Casamance and the Senegal River Valley (four sites with 302 farmers of which 255 are women), the main crops under intensification and improved water control systems are rice, millet, sorghum and maize. Diversification to small animals, beekeeping, vegetables, fruits, aquaculture and socio-economic constraints analysis were incorporated later. An appropriate institutional set-up was established. Yield increases have been substantial (for example, 5 tons of paddy rice in Matam in 1997 (2.7 to 4.2 in control plots) and 4 tons in Kolda/Kedougou (0.6 to 2.5). Italy is funding the SPFS Phase I.

South-South Cooperation (SSC), operational since November 1996, facilitated the extension to eighteen sites and 7 007 farmers in 1999. In view of the success, the Government has allocated from its budget the equivalent of US$5 million to a further extension of Phase I to 30 sites, located in all agroecological areas of the country.

27. Tanzania - The Programme started in July 1995, for rice and maize intensification in 24 villages of two regions. Water control, diversification (small animals) and constraints analysis were incorporated later. The 1996 yield increases for rice ranged from 50 to 130 percent and for maize 118-165 percent, compared to the pre-SPFS situation. In 1997 yields increased a further 10-33 percent in rice and 43-68 percent in maize. Yields in 1998 were affected by El Niño floods and in 1999 by drought, but remained much higher than in control plots. The Programme was extended from the initial 669 farmers to 1 116 (four regions) in 1998. A grant of US$1 million from AfDB will contribute to its further extension. Due to the excellent results, the GOT is formulating a National Special Programme for Agricultural Intensification and Food Security, covering the whole country.

Regular Programme Financing and Donor Support

28. The SPFS was initiated with a limited allocation (US$10 million in 1996/7 and in 1998/9) from the FAO Regular Programme. Therefore, it initially focussed on very few sites and one or two components of the SPFS. However, expansion to new countries and extension to new sites and components within countries has benefited from the partnership with donors and financial institutions. Trust Fund donors are funding activities in fifteen countries and UNDP is contributing to the SPFS in approximately another twelve countries. Specific Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with UNDP, the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Banque Ouest africaine de développement, IFAD, WFP and other institutions. In this context, AfDB is supporting eight countries and IDB has committed contributions to the Programme in Comoros and to SSC in four countries. As of April 1999 firmly committed extra-budgetary resources, provided directly to the countries or through FAO projects, amounted to about US$50 million. Recipient countries also made substantial contributions in cash and in kind.

Progress in Implementing South-South Cooperation (SSC)

29. The objective of this important initiative is to allow recipient countries to benefit from the expertise of more advanced developing countries, which provide technicians and experts for two/three years, to work directly with farmers. The number of experts required is determined on a case-by-case basis, but must achieve a critical mass (about 100), with site coverage representing all regions of the country. They are fielded in a phased manner and expected to play a key contribution to the implementation of Phase I by the national teams.

30. Over twenty developing countries have already expressed their interest in supporting the SPFS in one or more LIFDCs. As at September 1999, a total of nine SSC Agreements, wherein the advanced developing countries have committed themselves to send up to 900 experts and field technicians to other developing countries, have been signed.

31. Vietnam has been collaborating with Senegal since late 1996 with, at present, 100 experts and technicians working at field level. Under a tripartite agreement signed in October 1998, Morocco has fielded 49 experts and technicians to collaborate in the extension of Burkina Faso's Programme to eighteen sites by the year 2000. Similarly, a first group of twenty Chinese, nineteen Vietnamese and ten Bangladeshi experts are on their way to collaborate with the SPFS, respectively, in Mauritania, Benin and Gambia.


32. Progress in the inter-agency FIVIMS initiative has been rapid and encouraging. Although the FIVIMS initiative is in the early stages of its implementation, 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.

The WFS Plan of Action calls for FIVIMS

Commitment Two (para. 20a): "Governments in partnership with all actors of civil society, as appropriate, will develop and periodically update, where necessary, a national food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system, indicating areas and populations, including at local level, affected by or at risk of hunger and malnutrition, and elements contributing to food insecurity, making maximum use of existing data and other information systems in order to avoid duplication of efforts."


Activities in 1997-98

33. In March 1997, FAO convened a Technical Consultation to (i) review existing methodologies and indicators for the assessment of food insecurity and vulnerability and make recommendations for their improvement; and (ii) propose a workplan for the development and establishment of FIVIMS at national and international levels. Actions to be undertaken in the short term included:

34. These actions were approved by the Committee on Word Food Security (CFS) at its Twenty-third Session in April 1997 and were reported to the last session of the Conference.

35. The technical Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on FIVIMS was set up in December 1997 and two additional meetings have been held subsequently. A fourth one is scheduled for February 2000 in Indonesia. The meetings have been hosted by different IAWG members, as summarised below:

Date Sponsor Location

Main Focus

December 1997 FAO Rome Organization of the IAWG FIVIMS
April 1998 IFAD Rome Guidelines for National FIVIMS
November 1998 World Bank Washington Steps towards implementation of the FIVIMS Programme
February 2000 Helen Keller International Indonesia Lessons learned in initial National FIVIMS work, especially in Asia

36. Participation in the IAWG has now increased to 25 organizational members, including thirteen from the UN System.

37. The evolving FIVIMS programme has continued to receive very useful constructive advice from the CFS. In June 1998, the newly-organized FIVIMS was an important item on the Agenda for the 24th Session of the CFS. Two documents were presented and approved by that Committee.

38. CFS 98/4: Report On The Development Of Food Insecurity And Vulnerability Information And Mapping Systems (FIVIMS). This document reviewed actions that had taken place in the first year of the programme and then proposed an indicative work plan for the development of FIVIMS, which contained the following points:

39. CFS 98/5: Guidelines For National Food Insecurity And Vulnerability Information And Mapping Systems (FIVIMS): Background And Principles. The Guidelines represent a consensus of the IAWG members on how countries should develop their food security information systems. They are organized in six chapters, covering the problem to be addressed by FIVIMS, the current state of national information systems, the main objectives and operating principles of national FIVIMS, the expected benefits and main user groups, typical information products and dissemination methods and steps to institutionalisation.

40. The 1998 CFS expressed general approval of the modus operandi of the IAWG-FIVIMS, of the proposed work programme for the development of FIVIMS, and of the Guidelines for National FIVIMS. It emphasised that IAWG membership needed to be broad to enable participation of all relevant agencies and organizations including civil society organizations. The Committee emphasised the need for technical cooperation for the effective implementation of FIVIMS at the national level. The importance of seeking extra-budgetary resources for implementing FIVIMS was also highlighted.

41. The Committee stressed the need for FIVIMS work to become more country-driven and user-focused. Finally, the 1998 CFS encouraged countries which have not yet designated their focal points for FIVIMS to do so. The Committee noted the role of the Thematic Groups on Rural Development and Food Security of the ACC Network in the promotion of FIVIMS at country level.

Activities in 1999

42. A full-time Secretariat to coordinate Inter-Agency (and intra-FAO) FIVIMS activities has been set up in FAO/ESD, with some outside budgetary support from WFP and UNDP. An independent website (www.fivims.net) and a FIVIMS tracking system have recently been established. The latter will help ensure that country requests for assistance are distributed among donors and technical agencies in an organized manner. During 1999, five major programme thrusts are underway:

43. The following have emerged as the core functions of the FIVIMS programme:

44. At its 1999 Session the CFS requested to be informed annually about the progress of FIVIMS and recommended that an item on this subject be included in the agenda for its next meeting. The report for this item should include, inter alia, technical information about methodological developments, criteria used for selecting indicators, data sharing with other organizations and specific applications of the FIVIMS approach at country level. The Committee agreed that a standard set of indicators was needed to enable measurement of progress in the achievement of the WFS Plan of Action Objectives and for comparison of results in different countries.


Draft Strategies for National Agricultural Development: Horizon 2010

45. The "Draft Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010" were prepared at FAO's initiative for 150 developing member countries and countries with economies in transition, as an initial step in the preparation 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 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 government concerned have reviewed the draft of these papers and their comments have been incorporated.

46. Updating and where necessary amending the national strategies is important for ensuring that sustainable food security is achieved at national and household level in each Member Nation. Therefore, workshops will be held before the end of 1999 in all the countries for which the draft strategy has been prepared and the activity undertaken will be reported to the Regional Conferences in 2000. It is expected that the workshops will lead to stock taking of progress in implementation and to updating with the latest information and development.

Regional Strategies for Agricultural Development and Food Security

47. Though most of the critical issues related to poverty and food insecurity have national characteristics, to reinforce national policies and programmes and take advantage of synergies and complementarities at regional and subregional levels, FAO has undertaken to expand its cooperation with Regional and Subregional Economic Groupings (REGs) of developing countries and countries in transition. 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 the enhancement of trade in food and agricultural products at national, regional and subregional levels.

48. To pursue this commitment, FAO, in collaboration with the relevant regional and subregional institutions in Africa, Near East, Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, Latin America and the Caribbean, is elaborating for each relevant REG a Regional Strategy for Agricultural Development and Food Security (RSADFS).

49. Each RSADFS draws extensively, but not exclusively, on the findings, conclusions and key policy recommendations of the Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010. The RSADFS highlights the commonalities 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 cooperative effort among members of the concerned economic grouping and proposes tentative estimates of investment requirements in agriculture covering the period 1998-2010.

50. The regional strategies are complemented by Regional Programmes for Food Security (RPFS), designed to implement the key elements embodied in the RSADFS. Thirty-six REGs have been invited initially to collaborate in the preparation of the respective RSADFS and RPFS, with draft strategies and project documents prepared accordingly and joint elaboration of the strategies and programmes is under way.

Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS)

51. The emphasis of RPFS is to address, in the context of the respective national and regional strategies, those issues which are regional in character and can be better addressed at regional level. The main objective of the Regional Programmes is to contribute and 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.

52. With respect to increase in productivity and production, focus is on support to and expansion of the SPFS, including the microeconomic phase as well as assistance to policy review and formulation, preparation of investment programmes in sub-sectors of agriculture, identification and formulation of viable projects for domestic and external financing.

53. With respect to trade, focus is on harmonised policies and measures for trade facilitation by reducing sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, technical obstacles, promoting the reduction and harmonisation of tariffs and adopting international Codex Alimentarius norms and standards. Such trade facilitation measures could induce local and national specialisation through enhanced competition and allow for better expression of the comparative advantage positions of the member countries of the REGs needed for enhanced food security and overall economic development.



54. The Plan of Action of the World Food Summit commits FAO to continue assisting developing countries on trade issues and, in particular, "in preparing for multilateral trade negotiations including in agriculture, fisheries and forestry inter alia through studies, analysis and training." The objective is to "ensure that developing countries are well informed and equal partners in the (negotiation) process". FAO has implemented a wide range of normative and operational activities in this regard, including, for example, several regional and national capacity-building workshops in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East2.

55. The Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) has considered studies prepared by the Secretariat on the effects of the Uruguay Round (UR) and has reviewed FAO's technical assistance to developing countries on UR-related issues3. The Committee stressed the importance of the Secretariat's technical assistance on preparing developing countries for the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations on agricultural policy advice and on developing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical standards as well as on assisting developing countries in adapting to these standards. In endorsing the reports of CCP, Council also stressed the importance of helping developing countries to prepare for the future negotiations4.

56. FAO has published a brochure, currently being revised for its third edition, which discusses the significance of the UR Agreements for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, reviews related technical assistance provided by FAO, and outlines specific areas in which the Organization can help Member Nations participate more fully in the international trading system5. The technical divisions of the Organization with competence in the various aspects of the UR are pursuing technical assistance activities in the context of the overall programme of work described in the Brochure. The full range of FAO activities in the UR related activities is now accessible on FAO's website www.fao.org/ur.

Focus of Assistance

57. At the normative level, FAO has prepared assessments of the effects of the UR on global agricultural commodity markets as well as detailed individual commodity assessments, including assessment of the export prospects in the major import markets. The Secretariat has examined the implications of the UR on selected issues, including: tariff escalation and the possibilities for vertical diversification of agricultural exports, loss of preferences, factors affecting world price instability and the impact of the world price spike of 1995/96. Work is under way to assess the extent of world price transmission to domestic markets of developing countries in selected commodities. The Secretariat monitors the impact of world price changes on the cereal import bills of the least-developed and net food-importing developing countries and reports this information periodically to the Committee on Agriculture of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Secretariat assists the CFS in its annual assessment of the global food situation and updates a set of global food indicators. Also, at the request of the International Grains Council, FAO provided a paper on issues and proposals to be taken into account in the process of the re-negotiation of the 1995 Food Aid Convention.

58. At the operational level the Secretariat has provided assistance to developing countries in the form of general studies and in the context of workshops, national policy advice missions, publications and training manuals. As regards regional activities, emphasis was placed initially on increasing awareness and understanding of the meaning of rules and commitments made, provided largely through workshops, in collaboration with the World Bank, the WTO, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and other international organizations, regional bodies and donors. In addition to addressing issues of interpretation of the AoA, these workshops focused also on selected issues of regional concern. At the invitation of the Swiss Agency for International Trade, Information and Cooperation (AITIC), FAO held a training course for the missions of developing countries in Geneva in October 1998. FAO is also associated with the six agency (WTO, UNCTAD, ITC, World Bank, IMF and UNDP) Integrated Framework initiative for providing trade-related technical assistance to the Least Developed countries.

59. At the country level, FAO assistance in agricultural and food policy included: reviewing current food and agricultural policies of countries that are members of the WTO and examining their compatibility with those agreed under the AoA; assisting in the incorporation of trade policy concerns in the formulation of domestic agricultural policy; assistance to non-members of the WTO on accession issues; and training farmers' organizations in WTO-related matters.

60. FAO helps developing countries with a range of legal issues in agriculture and renewable natural resources management, including in the field of intellectual property rights over plant varieties, and both technical and legal aspects of seed quality control and plant varietal protection6. The focus of FAO's work in this regard is to assist national authorities to analyse their needs and identify appropriate policy options; to formulate or revise the relevant national legislation; and to advise on the structure and functions of the institutions involved. FAO is able upon request, to advise countries in relation to the fulfilment of their WTO obligations to provide effective plant varietal protection, according to trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), and to assist in the formulation of relevant draft acts and regulations.

61. On SPS and technical barriers to trade (TBT) related issues, FAO's technical assistance is highlighted by the critical role played by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in the WTO Agreements on SPS and TBT. Both the CAC and the IPPC standards, guidelines and recommendations are identified in the SPS Agreement as benchmarks for harmonisation of food quality and safety measures and plant protection standards respectively. In instances where measures deviate from established standards, or where measures are established in the absence of standards, the SPS Agreement requires justification based on scientific principles and evidence. Risk analysis methods elaborated by CAC and the IPPC provide systematic frameworks for this purpose. The obligations of the SPS and TBT Agreements have resulted in significantly increased requests to FAO for technical advice and assistance7.

Future Orientation

62. The focus of technical assistance in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food policy has now shifted to preparing countries for the continuation of the reform process in agriculture and the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations, under the WTO. FAO's technical assistance efforts in 1999 have been focused on pulling together the main ideas that have emerged from regional workshops and perspectives and at fostering alliances between countries that have similar concerns so that they put on the negotiating agenda issues of concern to them. A series of activities has been initiated which covers issues directly related to the AoA, SPS/TBT and TRIPS.

63. In particular, an expert consultation was held on 8 and 9 July 1999 with focus on the experiences of developing countries with the implementation of the UR AoA as well as on the issues of concern to them in the forthcoming WTO negotiations. FAO organized a Symposium on "Agriculture, Trade and Food Security" on 23 and 24 September 1999 in Geneva, Switzerland, to highlight developing countries' concerns related to agricultural trade, in particular the interrelationship between agriculture, economic development and food security.

64. A training programme is being implemented (beginning in June 1999) which covers the UR AoA, SPS/TBT and TRIPS. This "Umbrella Training Programme" comprises the organization and execution of fourteen subregional training courses. The goal of this programme is to train between four to six officials from each country, in total 700-800 officials, in order to create a critical mass of national experts to support trade negotiations. Training courses are designed to cover both the basics of these Agreements as well as issues that could come up in the next round.

65. FAO will be represented at the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference by an expert delegation which will be able to provide technical advice to Member Nations, as appropriate, at that event. FAO anticipates the need for, and will be able to provide, technical support to Member Nations in the analysis of proposals during the forthcoming negotiations, from the perspectives of food security and development.


Special Programme for Food Security - Status of Implementation in LIFDCs - 1/9/99

Region Operational Formulated Under Formulation To be formulated
Total* 49 0 26 8
  Burkina Faso      
  Cape Verde      
      Central African Republic  
      Congo Democratic Rep.  
        Congo Republic of
  Côte d'Ivoire      
      Equatorial Guinea  
      Guinea Bissau  
        Sao Tome and Principe
        Sierra Leone
Subtotal 29 0 11 4
  Korea, Dem. People's Rep.      
      Lao, PDR  
  Sri Lanka***      
  Syria, Arab Rep.      
Subtotal 11 0 8 3
  Bosnia and Herzegovina      
      Macedonia, FYR  
Subtotal 2 0 2 0
      Dominican Republic**  
Subtotal 6 0 3 0
  Papua New Guinea      
      Solomon Islands  
Subtotal 1 0 2 1


* In 1999, 82 countries are classified as LIFDCs of which 79 are FAO Member Nations

** Non-LIFDCs

*** Countries who have changed status in the last months


1  Global FIVIMS has yet to be defined by the IAWG with the same rigour as national FIVIMS has been. However, a basic function will be the CID which will contain, as a minimum, a set of indicators of food insecurity that can be compared across countries. The CID will be used for at least three purposes: (a) to assess whether progress is being made over time in meeting international targets for the reduction of food insecurity; (b) to facilitate donor resource reallocation based on need; and (c) to allow other comparative studies to be undertaken.

2  Reports:
· Expert Consultation for the Establishment of a Near East and North Africa Regional Network for Agricultural Policies. November-December 1998, Cairo, Egypt.

· Expert Consultation on the Preparation for the Next Trade Negotiations in Agriculture. December 1998, Rabat, Morocco.

· A Workshop on Agricultural Policy of African Countries and Multilateral Trade Negotiations - Challenges and Options. November 1998, Harare, Zimbabwe.

· "Seminario América Latina y el Caribe Frente al Proceso de Profundización de Reformas Agrícolas Multilaterales". November 1998, Santiago, Chile.

Round Table on UR Agreements - Implication for Agriculture and Fisheries in Pacific Island Countries. January 1999, Auckland, New Zealand.

3  Reports of the CCP 61st Session (February 1997) and 62nd Session (January 1999).

4  Report of the Council 116th Session (June 1999).

5  FAO Technical Assistance the UR Agreements, FAO Rome 1998 (Second Edition).

6  The WFS had endorsed the Global Plan of Action (GPA) on Plant Genetic Resources. A series of GPA follow-up actions have been implemented by FAO, including six regional meetings to promote the implementation of the GPA. The development of legislation consistent with Art.27.3(b) of the TRIP Agreement was a concern to many developing countries attending these meetings.

7  Relevant FAO technical assistance activities (1997/99) are listed in the Codex Alimentarius document ALINORM 99/5-Add.1.