B. Review of the Regular Programme 1984-85
258. The Conference examined the Review of the Regular Programme 1984-85 and welcomed the additional improvements made in the document which were in accord with the suggestions made earlier by the Council and by itself. It expressed its satisfaction with the structure, format, content and presentation of the Review.
259. The Review was a comprehensive source of information and analysis on the activities of the Regular Programme, their respective outputs and effects and their links with extra-budgetary funded field activities. The findings were well presented and covered both the results achieved and the constraints encountered in programme implementation. The Conference appreciated the analytical depth and objectivity of the document and urged that this approach be continued in future Reviews.
260. The Conference recognized that the Review was of considerable use to the governing bodies, to FAO's management and even to bilateral donors. It formed a vital element of the wider system of monitoring and evaluation in FAO.
261. The Conference noted that the structure of the fourth Review was balanced; 40 percent was devoted to the performance report (Part I) and 30 percent each to in-depth reviews and special topics (Parts II and III). It further noted that the four Reviews in succession had covered the in-depth evaluation of 2 Programmes, 17 Sub-programmes, 5 programme elements and 7 special topics. Thus, over one-quarter of the technical Sub-programmes included under Major Programmes agriculture, fisheries and forestry had been reviewed in depth.
262. Part I of the Review was a source of comprehensive and useful information on all FAO's Programmes. Although the performance report could not analyse in detail all activities of the Regular Programme, the text had been made more specific by highlighting selected achievements and indicating relevant issues affecting the performance of many technical Sub-programmes. In particular, the focus on country level activities pertaining to small-scale producers had been sharpened. The Conference noted FAO's intensive involvement in training, food production and food security, including the food information system, policy studies to overcome the food crisis in Africa, soil conservation and minor irrigation, the integration of population policy in rural development and strengthening FAO's data bases. It particularly appreciated the improved and extended coverage of Regional Office activities.
263. The Conference welcomed the in-depth reviews of four Sub-programmes and one programme element in Part 11 of the Review. It noted that these five in-depth reviews covered FAO's activities related to small-scale producers, rural poor and women. The coverage was comprehensive and the format used followed a similar pattern: rationale, resources, output, effects and impact, and outlook and issues. It also noted that these reviews covered both the results of Regular Programme activities as well as their corresponding field projects.
264. The Conference urged the Secretariat to make the performance report more result-oriented and to expand the coverage of activities where implementation had fallen short of expectation. The inherent difficulties in measuring the impact of technical assistance activities under the Regular Programme were recognized. The Conference urged the Secretariat to pursue its assessment of impact to the extent possible.
265. The Conference noted the emphasis given by FAO to promoting livestock production in the context of small-scale producers, to devising policies and technologies which could strengthen animal feed security and to assisting developing countries in the control and eradication of animal diseases. It endorsed the increasing involvement of FAO in the promotion of vegetables and considered that the nature of the sector deserved a further comprehensive and integrated approach embodying production, marketing, processing, pricing and profit margins for producers and distributors.
266. The Conference welcomed the emphasis given by FAO to developing inland fisheries - especially aquaculture - a vital area with direct impact on improving human nutrition and increasing the cash income of the rural poor. More work was needed to realize the full potential of this sub-sector, especially in establishing cost-effective systems of fish culture. It noted the significant fuelwood component of FAO's forestry programme which formed an integral part of the Organization's rural development strategy. It considered that in view of the fuelwood crisis In the developing countries, this Sub-programme deserved more attention by the Organization.
267. The Conference recognized the range of activities of FAO relating to the programme Women in Food Systems. While considerable progress had been made by the Organization in promoting the role and involvement of women in rural development through special programmes and projects, the Conference felt that additional emphasis was justified in order to consolidate the achievements, and to make further progress. Special attention was needed to further improve statistics on activities involving women, promote literacy among women and to support organizations directed toward women.
268. The Conference commended the two thematic reviews in Part III on research and ECDC/TCDC which cut across FAO's programmes. It found the two special chapters informative and useful. Both contained invaluable baseline information on FAO's support to research and ECDC/TCDC.
269. The Conference recognized FAO's major role in research, in providing Regular Programme support to member countries in research policy and management and in the transfer of technology for adaptation to local environments through extra-budgetary activities. Another supportive mechanism of the Regular Programme was the exchange of research information. The Conference noted the coordination role exercised by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Science and Technology and welcomed the participation of FAO in the work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and other international and regional research bodies.
270. The Conference endorsed the balanced approach adopted by FAO in strengthening national research capabilities through training, policy advice and management of research, including the monitoring and evaluation of research results. It stressed that the Organization's efforts in strengthening the links between research and extension were most appropriate to ensure that farmers' needs were fully reflected in the design of research programmes and that they reaped the benefits of research.
271. The Conference noted the clear description of ECDC/TCDC activities under each Programme and recognized that the Organization's activities in support of ECDC and TCDC had increased since 1980. It recognized that work in these areas was closely linked to the possibilities of mobilizing extra-budgetary support.
272. Some members cautioned against a dispersal of FAO's Regular Programme resources in too many ECDC/TCDC activities and suggested more emphasis in areas of greatest potential for success. FAO could be more selective in promoting networks, ascertaining first that the institutions concerned had the capacity and commitment required to permit their effective participation. Analyses of successes and failures should continue so that useful ECDC/TCDC models could be applied elsewhere. While imaginative approaches were needed to mobilize resources by participating countries, donor assistance remained crucial, particularly in support of weaker national institutions.
273. The Conference adopted the following Resolution:
ECONOMIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION AMONG DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Recognizing the increasing importance of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries for the achievement of accepted goals in the food and agricultural sector, while acknowledging that ECDC and TCDC are not substitutes for but complementary to North-South cooperation,
Taking into account the Buenos Aires Plan of Action on TCDC, in particular recommendation 32, urging the governing bodies of organizations of the United Nations system to make every effort to mobilize their organizations to contribute to the implementation of the Plan focusing inter alia on promotional, coordinating, operational and financial issues in order to achieve the objectives of said Plan,
Recalling, as adopted, the Caracas Plan of Action, the Programme of Action of WCARRD, the conclusions of the FAO Technical Consultation on ECDC in Food and Agriculture and the recommendations of the Bucharest Global Meeting on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries, on cooperative action in food and agricultural production, food security, fisheries, management of natural resources, research and development and transfer of technology in the food and agriculture sector and land reform and rural development,
Recalling further FAO Conference Resolution 9/77, and the recommendations on ECDC and TCDC in the reports of the Twentieth and the Twenty-second Sessions of the FAO Conference and Resolution 9 of the FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development,
1. Calls on the developing countries to promote and strengthen their individual and collective self-reliance, and to exert every effort to adopt and/or improve and strengthen national policies and mechanisms as well as national, sub-regional and regional institutions' capacities necessary to identify, formulate and implement inter-country cooperation, and to seize opportunities to exploit potentialities for ECDC/TCDC in the food and agriculture sector, particularly through exchange of experience, the pooling, sharing and utilization of their technical resources, and the development of their complementary capacities;
2. Invites developing countries to cooperate on a regional or sub-regional basis in order to coordinate their agricultural policies and develop trade in food products;
3. Urges developing countries to establish national focal points, as well as sectorial focal points in food and agriculture, where these have not yet been created, with the appropriate responsibilities and budgetary appropriations for the promotion, coordination and execution of ECDC and TCDC projects;
4. Urges the developed countries to provide the appropriate support and financial assistance for the implementation of programmes of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries in the food and agriculture sector, and to encourage and join tripartite cooperative arrangements, aimed at strengthening mutual cooperation among developing countries;
5. Commends the activities related to ECDC and TCDC undertaken so far through the use of FAO's Regular Programme and extra-budgetary resources and stresses the priority given to ECDC and TCDC in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1986-87 as a means of action to further enhance efficiency and effectiveness;
6. Recognizes the dynamic and catalytic role of FAO in assisting developing countries, particularly through the regional and country offices, in identifying areas of cooperation in supporting the preparation and execution of TCDC and ECDC projects, as well as in monitoring and reviewing their implementation;
7. Recognizes that the new category for the TCP which was established by the Council would cover projects catalyzing economic and technical cooperation among developing countries, including inter alia research network, twinning institutions of two developing countries or between institutions of a developing and developed country;
8. Requests the Director-General to adopt all appropriate measures necessary to intensify and step up such activities including inter alia the application of TCDC in programming and project formulation exercise, the use of TCDC as an innovative and cost-effective method of project delivery and increased utilization of developing countries' capacities in regular and field programmes;
(Adopted 28 November 1985)
274. The Conference commended the Director-General's initiative to commission the evaluation of the Technical Cooperation Programme by a panel of independent consultants. The evaluation report of the panel was comprehensive and thorough and discussed fully and openly the main features of this important and successful programme. Some members, while recognizing the value of the panel's report, stated that the coverage of longer-term effects and impact should be further emphasized in future evaluations.
275. In connection with this evaluation, a number of Member Nations reiterated their concerns on some aspects of the TCP. Some of these members expressed a wish for a clearer specification of the criteria governing the programme, for a greater transparency in the operations of the programme, for improved monitoring procedures and recognition of the TCP's implications on other FAO programmes in terms of administrative and technical backstopping. Some members also recalled their position that technical assistance activities in the UN System should be primarily funded by voluntary contributions, inter alia through the central funding mechanism of the UNDP. Some reiterated their objections to raising the ceiling of an individual TCP project to US$ 400 000 and to introducing a new category 'C' intended as a catalyst for inter-country cooperat4lon (TCDC).
276. These concerns were not shared by the large majority of Member Nations. They, in turn, reconfirmed their full support of the TCP as a quick action programme and reiterated their acceptance of its tested criteria and its modality of operation. They were convinced that TCP was fulfilling its objectives, did not duplicate the efforts of other agencies or programmes and was adequately monitored. The large majority of Member Nations was satisfied that the Programme was effective and efficiently managed. They accordingly supported the Director-General's proposals, as approved by the Council, to raise the ceiling of individual TCP projects to the maximum of US$ 400 000 and to introduce the new category 'C' for inter-country cooperation (ECDC/TCDC).
277. In the light of the above, the Conference welcomed the actions taken or to be taken by the Director-General in implementing the recommendations, arising from the evaluation report, which fell within his own authority and in general noted with satisfaction the measures approved by the Council.
C. Review of Field Programmes 1984-85
278. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the quality and comprehensiveness of the Review.
279. In underlining its strong support for FAO's field programmes, the Conference noted with concern the decline which had occurred in the funding of UNDP projects. Within the framework of the UNDP country programming process, the desirability of an increase in the share of the food and agriculture sector in overall UNDP allocations was emphasized, particularly in view of the serious food problems being encountered in African and other Least Developed Countries. In this connection, the role of recipient governments themselves in deciding sectoral allocation of UNDP funds was reaffirmed.
280. The significant increases during the biennium in FAO's Trust Fund programmes were warmly welcomed by the Conference. It was noted that, in 1985, Trust Fund programmes accounted for well over 50 percent of all FAO's field expenditures. Particular appreciation was expressed for Trust Fund support of FAO action programmes covering such areas as agricultural inputs, support to small farmers, foresters and fishermen, and women in development. The Conference also welcomed FAO's expanding role in technical assistance and training in association with the loans and credits of the World Bank and similar international and regional financial institutions. The Conference recognized the important and often complementary role of smaller-scale TCP projects, and noted the increase in TCP activities over the previous biennium. It emphasized that these various forms of assistance and cooperation enabled FAO to provide flexible and appropriate responses to the diverse needs of its developing member countries.
281. The focus of current field programmes on Africa was strongly endorsed by the Conference. Particular appreciation was expressed for FAO's timely preparation and implementation during 1985 of the Agricultural Rehabilitation Programme for Africa. Nevertheless, it was regretted that the share of current field programme expenditure in Latin America and the Caribbean was relatively small. The Conference took note that innovative TCDC approaches were being pursued by FAO, such as the promotion of technical assistance networks with limited amounts of TCP funding.
282. The Conference expressed its continuing support for and satisfaction with the investment project preparation activities of the Investment Centre. It was noted that, in spite of the substantial decrease which had occurred in the flow of concessional aid for agriculture from such sources as IFAD and IDA, the activities of the Centre remained at a high level, both for practical training in the preparation of investment projects, and for the investment follow-up of field projects.
283. The Conference encouraged close cooperation between FAO and UNDP at the field level. In this connection it was noted that the UNDP Administrator and the FAO Director-General had written two letters encouraging close cooperation, and emphasizing the importance of agriculture in the development process. It was recognized that the FAO Representatives in countries should be more closely associated with the UNDP country programming process.
284. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the candid and objective assessment of the performance of FAO's field projects presented in Chapter 2 of the Review. It agreed that the twin approaches of the FAO Representatives survey and the synthesis of individual project evaluation reports provided a realistic picture of the existing situation in this regard. While the difficulties and problems generally encountered in evaluating technical assistance such as that provided by FAO were recognized, a few members called for a greater level of detail to be provided, when possible, on the impact of field programmes. The Conference recognized the many successful results and outputs which were being achieved by FAO projects.
285. The importance of FAO's extensive evaluation activities was emphasized, and in particular the need to ensure the feedback from evaluation into the conception and design of new projects. In this connection, the Conference gave its full support to the role that FAO Representatives were now playing in appraising project ideas and proposals at country level, and to the continuous measures undertaken throughout the Organization to ensure the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of field projects. In this connection, a few members felt that the independent evaluations carried out by FAO should be, as far as possible, more numerous, systematic and detailed.
286. The Conference considered that Chapter 3 of the Review, which analysed field activities in connection with forestry, was timely and of high interest. In emphasizing the importance of forestry in ensuring food security and in preventing environmental degradation including desertification, the Conference noted with satisfaction the impressive contribution being achieved through FAO's field projects. The change in attitude of foresters and agriculturalists, resulting in increasing cooperation between them, was welcomed. Full support was expressed for the focus on community and rural development approaches to forestry and fuelwood problems, particularly in relation to tropical forests as well as for forest development and tree planting in arid and semi-arid zones such as the Sahel. The need for investment follow-up to forestry activities was stressed, and in this connection the Conference recognized the effective role of the Investment Centre.
287. The Conference noted with appreciation the progressive trends which characterized both the content and the delivery of FAO's field programmes. General support was expressed for the many initiatives and activities which reflected successful follow-up, in terms of field activities, to the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development of 1979. The increasing use of TCDC approaches was also commended, in particular support to TCDC networks for agricultural research, training and other subjects. The Conference underlined the importance of the fullest possible government involvement in field projects, and welcomed the increased use of National Project Directors and national experts in appropriate circumstances.
288. The Conference supported fully the strong emphasis on training within FAO's field programmes. In recognizing the impressive numbers of men and women currently receiving training at all levels under field projects, the Conference stressed the importance of this aspect both in terms of quantity and quality. In this connection, the encouraging outcome of a recent survey of former FAO fellowship holders was noted with satisfaction.
289. In considering the Review, many members referred to the special problems faced by disabled people, particularly in the developing countries. The Conference therefore urged the Director-General to intensify FAO's activities toward the prevention of disability in the rural environment, and to increase technical assistance and support to those developing countries endeavouring to create national plans anti programmes in the field of disability prevention, rehabilitation, and the equalization of opportunities for disabled persons with the aim of improving their quality of life, and the possibilities for their social and economic development.
D. Follow-up of Conference Resolutions 8/83 and 9/83 - Plant Genetic Resources
290. The Conference reaffirmed the significance of plant genetic resources in continued agricultural development and in ensuring food security. It noted that, following the adoption of Conference Resolution 8/83 on the Inter national Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, 85 Member Nations had officially responded and of these 77 had agreed in principle to adhere to, or expressed support for, the Undertaking. In addition, two non-FAO Member Nations had responded positively.
291. Appeals were made to all countries which had not yet subscribed to the Undertaking to do so. In this connection, countries were urged to clearly spell out their reservations to the Undertaking, in order to establish a constructive dialogue to ensure widest possible adherence. Various members, in reiterating their reservations to the Undertaking, indicated that their national legislation, including plant breeders' rights and other domestic considerations, determined the degree to which they could adhere to the Undertaking. A number of members were of the view that were the Undertaking to be modified, a greater number of countries could adhere to it. A few members reiterated that they could not adhere to the Undertaking in its present form on grounds of principle.
292. The Conference took note of the fact that the membership of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources had increased from 67 to 77 Member Nations since its first meeting in March 1985. Six more countries had announced their intention of joining the Commission during the Twenty-third Session of the Conference. The studies currently being carried out by the Secretariat to investigate ways and means of allowing participation in the Commission by Member Nations of the United Nations which are not members of FAO were welcomed.
293. The Conference noted that, as recommended by the First Session of the Commission, a Working Group comprising 23 members of the Commission had been established and would meet in February 1986.
294. The Conference took note of the work initiated by the Secretariat on follow-up to the recommendations of the First Session of the Commission. The need to study the various legal aspects of the conservation and exchange of plant genetic resources was emphasized. The majority reiterated the significance of an international network under international jurisdiction on plant genetic resources base collections, both ex situ and in situ, and the overall importance of the unrestricted exchange of plant genetic resources, and emphasized that such a network did not imply duplication or overlapping with existing systems, but was complementary, pointing out that the existing network was responsible only for ex situ collections and for certain edible varieties. A number of members expressed their belief that the existing institutions had the flexibility and were quite adequate to achieve the objectives of the Undertaking.
295. The Conference stressed the importance of linking plant genetic resources with effective plant breeding and seed production activities, above all to the benefit of developing countries. In this respect, it reaffirmed, on the one hand, the global importance of facilitating inter-country movement of plant resources and stressed, on the other hand, the need for increased support to training activities for the maintenance and use of germ plasm.
296. The Conference noted the financial constraints of all countries, particularly of developing countries, to implement fully the objectives of the Undertaking. The majority requested the Director-General to study the feasibility of establishing an international fund for plant genetic resources, in the context of Article 8 of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources. Other members expressed their belief that such a fund was not necessary in the light of existing funding mechanisms.
297. The Conference reiterated its appreciation for the technical and scientific achievements of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in its area of competence. It emphasized the importance of continued close cooperation between IBPGR and FAO, and particularly with its Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, with a view to avoiding duplication and promoting complementarity. The Conference noted that the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research was reviewing the IBPGR and that the Commission had asked the Director-General of FAO to review the relationship between IBPGR and FAO. In this context, the relationship between IBPGR and FAO was currently the subject of discussions between the Chairman of the CGIAR and the Director-General of FAO. Some members indicated that they were prepared to support the establishment of IBPGR as an autonomous and independent international institution. Many members thought that the existing arrangements between IBPGR and FAO should be maintained and improved.