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J. Relations and consultations with International organizations

Recent developments in the United Nations system of interest to FAO
Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

Recent developments in the United Nations system of interest to FAO

300. The Conference discussed this matter on the basis of the document (C 819-Sup.1) bringing up-to-date the information which had been provided to the Council at its Seventy-ninth Session, 22 June to 3 July 1981 (C 81/19).

301. It noted that there had been a number of major international meetings since June including two mayor United Nations Conferences: the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, held in Nairobi from 10 to 21 August 1981, and the Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Paris from 1 to 14 September 1981; and three major summit meetings at the level of Heads of State and Government, the first at Ottawa on 20 and 21 July 1981, the second at Cancún (Mexico) on 22 and 23 October 1981, and the third, the meeting of the Heads of Governments of Commonwealth nations, held at Melbourne from 30 September to 7 October 1981. These meetings had followed closely upon the adoption of the new International Development Strategy. It was to be hoped that they had created a climate such as to give new impetus to the Strategy. On all these occasions, the issues of food and agriculture were considered of primary importance and deserving very high priority.

302. The Conference expressed the view that FAO should continue to participate actively in major United Nations conferences and give its support to their preparation and follow-up as it had done in the past. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the fact that the Substantial New Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries had been adopted in Paris and, in relation to the problems of agricultural and rural development, reflected to a large extent the ideas expressed by the Director-General in his Minimum Global Programme for Food and Agriculture.

303. The Conference was pleased to note that rural energy had been included in the Programme of Action adopted at Nairobi as a priority area. In addition, specific measures had been recommended in sectors of direct interest to FAO such as firewood, charcoal, biomass, draught animal power, solar and wind power.

304. The Conference expressed its appreciation to the Italian Government for the initiative it had publicly announced at the Paris Conference to convene a meeting in Rome with its partners in the European communities and other donor countries at which proposals concerning food production and food security would be discussed. The meeting would be held in close liaison with FAO and other United Nations organizations and bodies in Rome. The Italian delegation announced that a preparatory meeting would be held in January or February and the meeting itself was expected for the spring of 1982.

305. The Conference expressed its concern at the unsatisfactory level of resources for development, despite the adoption by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the summer of 1981 of a resolution reiterating the need to strengthen international economic cooperation for development within the multilateral framework of the United Nations system. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) had discussed this matter at its recent autumn session (29 and 30 October 1981) in New York and had adopted a decision on the outlook for financing of multilateral cooperation for development. In that decision the Executive Heads of the United Nations system had expressed serious concern at the deteriorating situation facing all organizations of the United Nations system with regard to the declining level of resources in real terms available for international technical cooperation and other development activities. The Conference recognized that this issue was a matter of serious concern for the international community as a whole.

306. As a result of the Ottawa and Cancún summit meetings, prospects for relaunching the global negotiations might be improving, although the basis and circumstances offering the prospect of meaningful progress still had to be worked out and agreed upon by the General Assembly. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the importance attached by these summits to agricultural development and food security and was therefore confident that these issues would receive a prominent place in the global negotiations as and when they were launched. The Conference noted that FAO could provide appropriate services needed for this purpose with its experience of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations. FAO was thus ideally placed to assist in those parts of the negotiations relating to food and agriculture, which could include food production, food aid, food security and other related matters. The Conference accordingly supported the Director-General's offer for FAO to assist and play an active role in preliminary steps towards and in the preparation and servicing of the global negotiations. The Conference requested the Director-General to convey this offer to the Secretary-General so that it could be drawn to the attention of the General Assembly at the appropriate time.

307. Reference was made to the coordination of the activities of the system both at the central and country level. The Conference recognized that FAO was already making substantial efforts in that direction and commended the Director-General in that respect. It took note that the FAO Council had discussed the matter of coordination in detail in November 1981 on the basis of a comprehensive report (CL 78/13) presented by the Secretariat. The Conference concurred with the Council's conclusion that elaborate arrangements for coordination had already been built up over the years, and that the establishment of new mechanisms or additional procedures should be studied in the light of cost benefit analysis.

308. The importance of coordination in a large and complex system such as the United Nations was recognized in order to maximize the impact of the system in favour of recipient countries but coordination must remain the primary responsibility of governments themselves. It was also stressed that coordination must never be allowed to become an end in itself and that the cost must never outrun the benefits. Maximum efficiency and speedy action must be the primary concerns.

309. The Conference recalled that the Council had also had a thorough discussion of operational activities for development at its Seventy-ninth Session in June/July 1981 in the light of UN General Assembly Resolution 35/81 and agreed that the policies of the Director-General had been in line with that resolution, in particular by raising increased resources for development for the special action programmes of FAO and in taking various measures to achieve the greatest possible efficiency in the implementation of all field programmes

310. The Conference also noted with appreciation that, at the country level, the Organization in particular through its Representatives, had been cooperating actively with the new Resident Coordinators. It also noted the role of UN Resident Coordinators in the field. All those so far appointed had been UNDP Resident Representatives. It was considered that this had facilitated the continuance of constructive relationships, in accordance with the spirit of the joint letter which the Director-General and the Administrator of the UNDP had sent to their respective Representatives, in July 1980, to foster cooperation at the country level.

311. The Conference stressed the need for the FAO Representatives to have direct access to appropriate government authorities in their countries of assignment and to be able to maintain direct lines of communication with the Director-General. The General Assembly had explicitly recognized this need in operative paragraph 7 of General Assembly Resolution 34/213 dated 19 December 1979, which stated that the guidelines for the exercise of their functions by the Resident Coordinators did "not affect relations between Governments and individual organizations of the United Nations system or the direct lines of authority and communication between the representatives of those organizations at the country level and their own executive heads".

Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

312. The Conference took note of a report on some of the more significant developments that had taken place since its Twentieth Session in relations between FAO and intergovernmental organizations (other than the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies) and international non-governmental organizations, including international trade unions.

313. It noted the importance of cooperation between FAO and WMO in the application of meteorology to agriculture and that of FAO/OIE cooperation for developing productive and healthy animal industries, especially in the developing countries.

314. The Conference also noted with interest the report of the informal meeting of representatives of International Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) attending the Twenty-first Session of the Conference. During the past biennium new forms of FAO/NGO cooperation had been developed, especially at the Headquarters level. It was intended to explore further possibilities for cooperation particularly at the regional and national level. NGOs were particularly satisfied with the increasing efforts made by FAO to cooperate with people's organizations in rural development.

315. The Conference expressed its support for the progress achieved in cooperation between FAO and IGOs and NGOs. It considered this to be an important component of FAO programmes for rural development where the organizations of rural poor, women and other less privileged sectors of society should play an active role.

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