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C. List of documents

C 83/1-Rev.1 Agenda
C 83/2 The State of Food and Agriculture 1983
C 83/2-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/2
C 83/3 Programme of Work and Budget 1984-85
C 83/3-Corr.1 Corrigendum to C 83/3
C 83/3-Sup.1 PWB 1984-85 - List of Publications
C 83/3-Sup.2 PWB 1984-85 - List of Sessions
C 83/4 Review of Field Programmes 1982-83
C 83/5 Financial Report and Statements Vol. I: Regular Programme 1980-81
C 83/5-Corr.1 Corrigendum to C 83/5
C 83/6 Financial Report and Statements Vol. II: UNDP, 1981
C 83/7 Financial Report and Statements Vol. III: WFP, 1981
C 83/8 Review of the Regular Programme 1982-83
C 83/9 Progress Report on World Food Day Activities
C 83/10 Statutory Report on Status of Conventions and Agreements, and on Amendments Thereto
C 83/10-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/10
C 83/11 Election of Council Members
C 83/12 Arrangements for the Twenty-second Session of the Conference
C 83/13 Admission to the Session of Representatives and Observers of International Organizations
C 83/13-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/13
C 83/14 Applications for Membership in the Organization
C 83/14-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/14
C 83/15 Appointment of Independent Chairman of the Council
C 83/16 Appointment of Member Governments' Representatives to the Staff Pension Committee
C 83/17 Relations with Intergovernmental and International Non Governmental Organizations
C 83/18 Land, Food and Population
C 83/19 Recent Developments in the UN System of Interest to FAO
C 83/19-Corr.1
(English only)
Corrigendum to English version of C 83/19
C 83/19-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/19
C 83/20 Progress in Implementation of the Plan of Action to Strengthen World Food Security: Re-appraisal of Concepts and Approaches
C 83/20-Corr.1
(English only)
Corrigendum to English version of C 83/20
C 83/20-Corr.2
(English only)
Corrigendum to English version of C 83/20
C 83/21 International Agricultural Adjustment (Fourth Progress Report)
C 83/22 Revision and Updating of Guidelines and Targets for International Agricultural Adjustment
C 83/23 Progress Report on WCARRD Programme of Action
C 83/23-Corr.1
(English only)
Corrigendum to English version of C 83/23
C 83/24 Change of Name of the Region "Latin America" and of the Regional Conference and Regional Office for the Region
C 83/25 Plant Genetic Resources: Report of the Director-General
C 83/25-Corr.1
(French only)
Corrigendum to the French version of C 83/25
C 83/26 The Application of the International Development Strategy for the Third Development Decade in the Formulation and Implementation of the Programmes of Work and Medium-Term Plans of the Food and Agriculture Organization
C 83/INF/Series
C 83/INF/1 Information Note for Delegates and Observers
C 83/INF/2 Guide on Conduct of Plenary Meetings
C 83/INF/3-Rev.2 Provisional List of Delegates and Observers
C 83/INF/4 Provisional List of Documents
C 83/INF/5 FAO Member Nations, Council Members, Members of Council Committees and of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes of the UN/FAD World Food Programme
C 83/INF/6 Presentation of B.R. Sen Awards (1982 and 1983)
C 83/INF/7 Presentation of A.H. Boerma Award (1982-83)
C 83/INF/8 Notification of Membership in the Open Committees of the Council (1984-85)
C 83/INF/9 Thirteenth Biennial Frank L. McDougall Lecture
C 83/INF/10 Implementation of 1982 Regional Conferences
C 83/INF/11 Provisional Checklist of Documents for Commission I
C 83/INF/12 Provisional Checklist of Documents for Commission II
C 83/INF/13 Provisional Checklist of Documents for Commission III
C 83/INF/14 Follow-up to the 1974 World Food Conference: Major Recommendations and FAO's response
C 83/INF/15 Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Participants at the Twenty-second Session of the FAO Conference
C 83/INF/16 No document
C 83/INF/17 National Agricultural Research (Report of an Evaluation Study in Selected Countries)
C 83/INF/18 Letter to all FAO and UNDP Representatives on Collaboration Between FAO and UNDP
C 83/INF/19 Statement by the Director--General to the Twenty-second FAO Conference Session - 7 November 1983
C 83/INF/20 Report of the Informal Meeting of International Non Governmental Organizations
C 83/LIM/Series
C 83/LIM/1 Statement by Director IAA to the 83rd Session of the Council (Extract from CL 83/PV/II Item 9)
C 83/LIM/2 Proposal for Establishment of an International Convention for Plant Genetic Resources (COAG 83/10)
C 83/LIM/3 Scale of Contributions 1984-85 (Extract from CL 83/REP)
C 83/LIM/4 Audited Accounts (Extract from CL 82/REP)
C 83/LIM/5 Draft Resolution for the Conference on Target from WFP
Pledges for the Period 1985-86 (Extract from CL 83/REP)
C 83/LIM/6 Report of the Nominations Committee
C 83/LIM/7 First Report of the General Committee
C 83/LIM/8 First Report of the Credentials Committee
C 83/LIM/9 Preparations for the Twenty-second Conference Session (Extract from CL 84/REP)
C 83/LIM/10 Immunities of the Organization (Extract from CL 84/REP)
C 83/LIM/11 Headquarters Accommodation (Extract from CL 84/REP)
C 83/LIM/12 Amendment to Financial Regulations (External Audit Certificates (Extract from CL 84/REP))
C 83/LIM/13 Status of Contributions (Extract from CL 84/REP)
C 83/LIM/13-Sup.1 Supplement to C 83/LIM/13
C 83/LIM/14 Council Elections
C 83/LIM/15 Amendment to Rule XXXIX-3 of the General Rules of the Organization (Extract from CL 84/REP)
C 83/LIM/16 Second Report of the Credentials Committee
C 83/LIM/17 Second Report of the General Committee
C 83/LIM/18 First Report of the Resolutions Committee (Commission II)
C 83/LIM/19 Second Report of the Resolutions Committee (Commission III)
C 83/LIM/20 Third Report of the Resolutions Committee (Commission I)
C 83/LIM/21 Third Report of the General Committee
C 83/LIM/22 Matters Related to Financial Position of the Organization
Payment of Assessed Contributions for the 1984-85 Biennium
C 83/LIM/22-Sup.1 Draft Resolution on Financing of 1984-85 Budgetary
C 83/LIM/23 Fourth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/24 Fifth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/25 Third Report of the Credentials Committee
C 83/LIM/26 Sixth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/27 Fourth Report of the General Committee
C 83/LIM/28 Fifth Report of the General Committee
C 83/LIM/29 Seventh Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/30 Eighth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/31 Ninth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/LIM/32 Draft Resolution on Plant Genetic Resources
C 83/LIM/33 Tenth Report of the Resolutions Committee
C 83/REP/Series
C 83/REP/1 )
C 83/REP/2 )
C 83/REP/2-Sup 1 ) Draft Reports of Plenary
C 83/REP/2-Sup 2 )
C 83/REP/3 to )
C 83/REP/9 )
C 83/I/REP/1 )
C 83/I/REP/1-Sup.1 ) Draft Reports of Commission I
C 83/I/REP/2 to )
C 83/I/REP/4 )
C 83/II/REP/1 to )
C 83/II/REP/5 ) Draft Reports of Commission II
C 83/III/REP/1 to )
C 83/III/REP/3 ) Draft Reports of Commission III
C 83/PV/Series
C 83/PV/1 to ) First to Twenty-first Verbatim Records of Plenary
C 83/PV/21 )
C 83/I/PV/1 to )
C 83/I/PV/6 )
C 83/I/PV/6-Sup.1 )
C 83/I/PV/7 ) First to Sixteenth Verbatim Records of Commission I
C 83/I/PV/8 )
C 83/I/PV/8-Sup.1 )
C 83/I/PV/9 to )
C 83/I/PV/16 )
C 83/II/PV/1 to ) First to Twentieth Verbatim Records of Commission II
C 83/II/PV/20 )
C 83/III/PV/1 to ) First to Sixth Verbatim Records of Commission III
C 833/III/PV/6 )
C 83/DJ/Series
C 83/DJ/1 to ) Journals of the Conference
C 83/DJ/14 )


D. Statement by the Director-General

Mr Chairman, Distinguished Delegates and Observers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honour for me to appear once again before this distinguished assembly. All recent summits, without exception, have designated the fight against hunger as one of the major priorities of the day. Now, Ministers of Agriculture from all over the world are gathered here today to discuss the problem and give the necessary impetus to FAO, the United Nations agency responsible for food and agriculture.

We in FAO have a tradition of working in a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding, trying to avoid disputes and arrive at the necessary consensus, however complex the topic for discussion. I am sure that this occasion will be no exception.

In my statement I intend to begin by surveying the general context which must always be borne in mind and in particular, the prevailing economic crisis, a disturbing food situation, and declining international solidarity. I will then go on to review the efforts FAO is making to overcome the difficulties facing it today, most notably in presenting an austerity budget in which the emphasis is placed on economic and technical programmes, with high priority being given to the promotion of a fully-fledged food security policy, rural development, and the conservation and development of natural and human resources.

Only a few days ago, the international community celebrated the third World Food Day. The theme chosen was 'food security', a subject which could not be more acutely topical than it is at this present time.

For since the last Conference, progress in the fight against hunger and malnutrition has been meagre, and particularly in the low-income, food-deficit countries. Even though the 1982 harvest was good at the global level, we must not forget that in spite of this good harvest the ranks of the starving have continued to quell in various parts of the world.

It is true that the unsettled weather bears a good share of responsibility for the situation: drought, floods, typhoons and the like. But we should not underestimate the influence of other factors: human failings, inequitable forms of social organization, mistaken priorities, the unsteady balance of international relations and, in short, the consequences of the political, economic, social and moral crisis which the world is currently going through.

The increase in the number of local conflicts and areas of tension has fostered a climate of uncertainty and of suspicion which does little to encourage international solidarity or further development. All too often, confrontations take the place of dialogue.

Nations are being bled dry by the arms race, and particularly the weakest ones. Is it not absolutely nonsensical, is it not suicidal, to throw out of the window some 800 000 million dollars on military expenditure every year which amounts to twenty times the total for official development aid. And what a senseless waste this is, at a time when development resources are as tightly rationed as they are at present.

In the meantime, a recession unparalleled since the Great Depression in the thirties has made ravages in the world economy. It has severely tried international solidarity and turned a sense of natural interdependence into an attitude of 'every man for himself'.

Today, there are signs which do seem to point to a recovery in the industrialized countries and the crisis may well become less pronounced. But the extent, the speed, and the duration of the recovery, and especially its effects on poor countries, remain uncertain.

The international monetary system, put under severe strain by the 700 billion dollars of Third World debt, is at the present time threatened with collapse.

Despite deflationist policies, real rates of interest have failed to come down as much as expected and inflation remains high. Austerity measures intended to reduce public sector deficits have produced some unwelcome side-effects: unemployment has reached exceptional levels (over 10 percent of the workforce in some industrialized countries), whilst bankruptcies and factory closures are becoming more common; welfare programmer and established rights have come under fire, and development aid itself has been pruned, and cut back in various ways.

International trade has suffered too. The year 1982 may well have seen the sharpest drop in the value of world trade in agricultural commodities for twenty years. And despite the risk of escalation, protectionism is on the rise. Thus the State intervenes more and more to shield uncompetitive industries, preventing the necessary adjustments being made and this stifles the processing industries in the Third World. Competition between partners for markets grows ever fiercer, with subsidies or special trading and credit facilities being used as weapons.

It is true that the crisis has hit the developed countries hard - in 1982 their economies experienced zero growth. In many instances, net farm incomes actually fell, as we all know.

But of all those who have suffered, poor countries have suffered most. The majority of them have seen their real per caput income fall in 1981 and 1982, the first time this has happened for decades.

A number of factors have contributed to their balance of payments difficulties: the fall in commodity prices (down in 1982 to the lowest level for 50 years), the worsening in the terms of trade, and shrinking world trade. Dependent as they are on a few primary products, their export revenues have been slowly and steadily eaten away, whilst world inflation has increased both domestic production costs and the price of imported capital goods.

Since the beginning of the year, world commodity prices have shown some signs of picking up again, but this seems to be due more to short-term factors operating on the supply side than to any sustained growth in demand. In any case, the recovery such as it is far too modest to have anything more than a marginal effect on the economies of countries with primary exports.

Indeed, according to World Bank forecasts, a marked fall is likely in real prices for coffee, cocoa, tea, and, to a lesser extent, palm and groundnut oil, compared with the average over the last twenty years.

The Bank also estimates during the current decade the prices which developing countries obtain for their commodities will remain on an average at 15 to 20 percent lower than in the sixties.

According to certain UNCTAD projections for 1990, it does seem as if unfortunately these low prices are going to be compensated for by a corresponding increase in the volume of developing countries' exports but the UNCTAD projections indicate that overall imports of the developing countries' products by developed countries with a market economy may not increase at all during the period 1980 to 1990. It seems, therefore, that for the foreseeable future any rise in Third World exports is highly problematical.

Now given the general context, what can one say about the world food situation, except that it has again become extremely disturbing?

Some people point to the good harvest in 1981 and 1982 as a reassuring sign. It may be so. Stocks are plentiful and there is no immediate threat of a global food crisis.

All this is true, but the prospects for 1983 are much less encouraging. Our latest information indicates that world cereal production will only amount to 1 605 million tons, or 6 percent less than in 1982. The main reason for this drop would appear to be a 13 percent drop in the world production of coarse grains.

As a result, world cereal stocks, which last year were equivalent to 21 percent of annual consumption, could well fall back to 17 percent. Although the danger point has not yet been reached, this fall cannot be treated lightly since past experience shows that it is very much easier to jump from surplus to shortage than the other way round.

For the second year running, per caput production slumped in less developed countries, and emergency situations have been proliferated. In more than 30 low-income countries, food production rose at a slower rate than population; in some instances, it even fell in actual terms of volume of production.

Developing countries already import more than 100 million tons of grains a year. This growing dependence on the outside for their basic foodstuffs represents a grave danger for the future: it is a heavy burden on the balance of payments, compromises investment programmes, and puts these countries increasingly at the mercy of outside interests.

The situation is especially serious in Africa where average per caput food production has fallen over the last fifteen years. According to our most recent information, at least 22 countries are in urgent need of supplementary food aid, in addition to requiring help to reestablish their agriculture on a firm footing, safeguard their livestock and provide protection against the risk of further disasters.

At the end of October, and for the second time since 1980, I had to convene a special meeting to mobilize increased assistance for these countries. I would like to urge donor countries to speed up delivery of food and other aid already promised and to consider additional commitments to meet the shortages which have been forecast for the 1983-84 season.

I must admit that I am not totally satisfied with the results of the meeting. The participants did indeed share our analysis of the situation, but what is needed now is for the necessary decisions to be taken. I intend to take advantage of the presence here of so many Ministers from donor countries to discuss with them the possibility of taking rapid action.

A depressing fact, especially at a time when so many people are threatened by famine, is that food aid is actually decreasing, despite plentiful stocks. Estimates for 1983-84 put it at 8.7 million tons of grain, compared to 12.5 million tons in 1972. In the intervening period, the world's population has risen by 900 million people, three quarters of them in the developing countries.

The mood of the times cannot be ignored. That is why, at a moment when you are about to embark on discussions about the Organization's programme of work and budget for the next two years, I have deemed it appropriate, in this first part of my address, to outline the general context in which we have to operate.

The proposals for the 1984-85 biennium which I have the honour of putting before you, have been designed to take into account the financial and economic difficulties prevailing at the present time.

It is, therefore, an austerity budget which I put before you, a budget which deliberately lays stress on technical and economic programmes, whilst maximum cutbacks have been made in administrative expenditure.

The budget for the biennium shows a net increase of just 0.5 percent, a figure which is more symbolic than real. However, expenditure on technical and economic programmes will rise by not less than 3.6 percent enabling the Organization to respond more effectively to urgent situations in Member States and especially in the poorest ones among them.

On the other hand, the cost of administration and common services will be cut back by 6.6 percent. 40 posts will be shed. Established posts will now account for only 58 percent of the total budget, as against 77 percent ten years ago. Internal audit and inspection will be reinforced.

The aim of my proposals is to concentrate FAO's action in high priority areas, and reinforce our operational capacity.

Plainly, UNDP's shortage of resources has had a marked effect on our own field programme. Between 1982 and 1983, FAO/UNDP operational activities fell by 20 percent in real terms. In consequence, more than 300 experts have been lost, projects have been either cut short or not extended, even in promising areas, whilst certain development programmes have been put at risk.

In these circumstances, the Technical Cooperation Programme, which mainly intervenes in emergency projects, in training and in investment preparation, has played a valuable role in ensuring the continuity of certain projects threatened by the reduction in UNDP financing.

The draft programme of work and budget which has been put before you, has been the subject of deep reflection, and I sincerely believe it to be a well-balanced one. I am pleased to be able to say that it has received the very full support of the Finance and Programme Committees and, subsequently, of the Council too.

I very much hope that the Conference will feel able to adopt it unanimously, by consensus. By doing so, it will provide the Organization with a solid base for pursuing its task, with a clearly established strategy, and list of priorities for our action.

It is impossible for me to describe here all the programmes run by the FAO. In any case you will yourselves be examining them in detail in the weeks to come. However, there is one aspect which colours all the Organization's activities, and which underlies all my proposals - and that is the quest for world food security.

Food security is a major priority, a question of elementary prudence. It is a sort of insurance against adversity, but not of the kind provided by cheap policies. Indeed, only far-reaching action taken over a prolonged period and embracing all aspects of the problem - national, regional and global - will bring us closer towards real food security.

But important though a food strategy is, it cannot suffice on its own. A global approach to agricultural and rural development is what is needed, closely integrated with the process of economic and social transformation in the countries concerned and taking into account all relevant factors at regional and world level, including trade and aid.

Up until recently, there was a tendency to attach too much importance to measures aimed at ensuring the availability of food supplies in the event of widespread bad harvests. That is the reason why, at the last session of the Committee on World Food Security, I suggested a new approach, new principles and new methods.

I am glad to say that the Committee, and subsequently the Council, approved my proposal for an enlarged concept of food security. Since then, the World Food Council and ECOSOC have given it their backing. I feel confident that the Conference too will adopt this concept.

According to the new concept, the ultimate objective of world food security is to ensure that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic foods they need, taking into account all those factors affecting countries' or individuals' ability to produce or buy enough for their requirements.

Three specific aims need to be pursued: ensure adequate production; maximize stability in the flow of supplies; secure access to these supplies for those who need them at the right time and in the right place.

Very often the root cause of hunger lies not so much in a shortage of food, but in poor countries not having enough foreign exchange to pay for imports, and in individuals having neither enough money to buy food nor the means to produce it themselves.

In short, the solution is to be found both in international trade relations and in domestic policies.

Trade questions have a direct effect on food security. It is difficult to see how poor countries can pay for the cost of food imports if they are unable to increase their export revenues. Consequently, it is indispensable if these countries are to be helped that commodity prices should be set at remunerative levels and that there should be a progressive liberalization of trade in those relevant commodities.

Unfortunately, there has been scarcely any progress in this area which is so important. The deadline for setting up the Common Fund for commodities expired on 30 September without the necessary number of ratifications having been obtained up to that date.

Insofar as domestic policies are concerned, on the other hand, priority ought to be given to rural development. Governments should make efforts to implement the Programme of Action decided on by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development held in Rome in 1979. You will be examining the first report on the implementation of this programme in the course of your Conference here.

From it an idea can be gained of the truly horrific extent of rural poverty and deprivation. In 1980 there were 1 340 million people living in the rural areas of 68 developing countries. Nearly 700 million of these, that is to say 52 percent, were living in conditions of abject poverty. Nor is there anything to indicate that the situation has improved since those figures were obtained.

These figures illustrate, soberly but most tellingly, a human tragedy on a planetary scale. What kind of a future awaits coming generations in these disinherited parts of the world? This is something in which we all have our share of responsibility and we should not be surprised if so much misery gives rise eventually to social and economic disturbances.

FAO must give the Programme of Action a high priority. The additional resources I ask for will for the most part be allocated to a number of activities, such as agricultural education, extension and training, agrarian reform and land settlement, rural institutions, the encouragement of people's participation and promoting the role of women.

Mr. Chairman, in the present circumstances, no potential source of food should be disregarded. Until now I have confined my remarks to agriculture and livestock production. However, as you are well aware, FAO also tries to help governments conserve, develop, enhance, and rationally exploit all those other resources that are et their disposal, such as fisheries, forests, and genetic resources. Above all, FAO spares no effort to train people in any discipline which contributes to agricultural and rural development. Allow me briefly to run through these various points.

Fish have great nutritional value and provide nearly a quarter of world animal protein supplies. The full potential of fishery resources, however, is far from being exploited at the present time. Fortunately the new ocean regime which emerged from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea has opened up some highly promising horizons for developing coastal countries since virtually all marine fish stocks now fall within their national jurisdictions. However, now these countries must be reaping full benefit which derives from this radical change in order to be able in this manner to increase both domestic fish consumption and exports.

To help them revise and update their methods of exploiting and managing their fisheries resources the FAO will be organizing next year, in 1984, a World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development. This will be the first major international meeting convened to look into the consequences which the new Law of the Sea has for fishing.

Turning now to forestry, there is a need for more detailed forest resources inventories and for appropriate conservation and development programmes, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical zones where many potentially useful species are at the present time simply being ignored.

The decline and degradation in forestry resources, the growing fuelwood deficit, the serious consequences of shifting agriculture, and other problems, all these require imaginative forestry policies in support of local community development. The success of such policies depends on the full and willing participation of rural populations, not only in the management of forests and forestry products but also in the resulting benefits. Indeed, the protection of the environment and the ecological heritage can only be ensured with the participation of all and if everyone feels that they themselves are getting something out of it.

That is why the Ninth World Forestry Congress, which wild be held in Mexico in 1985 under the auspices of FAO, has chosen as its theme 'forest for development'.

Plant genetic resources are another invaluable part of the heritage of mankind and they are threatened by erosion and in some cases they are in danger of extinction.

A report on plant genetic resources is before this Conference. The draft International Agreement which I propose has, as suggested by the Committee on Agriculture, already benefited from the advice of an inter-governmental working party specially convened for this purpose. I hope the Conference will give it a favourable reception. The draft takes into account the views of all interested parties, and aims at promoting the survey, conservation, free availability and full exploitation of these genetic resources. Governments and institutes active in the field will also be invited to join in an international bank of plant genetic resources located within the jurisdictional framework of FAO.

Just one word more before I finish - a word of gratitude to all the world's peasants and countryfolk. Our daily bread is the fruit of their labour. Town dwellers all too easily overlook this fact and take what they eat for granted.

Yet these rural people are the real resource of nations and the wealth of nations. That is why FAO attaches so much importance to education and to other activities in this field, such as extension and training, giving priority to small producers, women and young people in rural areas wherever this is necessary.

This is one of the Organization's essential functions and it is an important component in the majority of our programmes. We are determined to continue along this path, because the surest investment in the long term, is that which helps develop man's natural abilities.

Mr Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is time for me to stop and leave the floor to you.

Your are the States General of agriculture. It is now your task, in your collective wisdom, to assess the world food and agricultural situation, evaluate the Organization's work, and point it in the right direction.

I am thoroughly confident that your support will not be lacking. You may rest assured that the whole Secretariat and myself will given you our active and dedicated assistance throughout your important deliberations.

In a few weeks the United Nations and men of goodwill everywhere will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man. But we must say that there is little cause for rejoicing.

One of the most basic of the rights of man, the right to eat, is beyond the reach of too many of our fellow human beings.

A Conference such as ours gives an exceptional opportunity to assess the magnitude of the scandalous state of affairs and to proclaim it to the world.

Science and technology provide the means in which to respond to this challenge. Hunger can in fact become a thing of the past. It is even the necessary condition for peace.

In the greater interests of humanity, let us put aside our quarrels and build together a fairer society. Let us build together a society which cares for all, through all and with all.

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