"Agriculture, toward 2000" (FAO's study of prospects for world agriculture to the end of the century)
101. The provisional findings of this study were examined by Conference in the context of the preparations under way in the United Nations for the formulation of a new International Development Strategy (IDS). It was the purpose of the study to contribute both to this activity and to assist Member Governments in formulating their own national plans and policies by providing a global and long-term perspective framework of food and agriculture.
(i) Assumptions and Findings of the Study
102. The Conference noted the salient findings of the study. These findings were in no way predictions of what was likely to happen. Rather, they represented an assessment of what could be achieved in terms of acceleration of agricultural production in the developing countries, and the implications of such acceleration, on the assumption that agriculture received appropriate priority in the development effort. The study presented two alternative scenarios: The Trend scenario presented the situation resulting from a continuation of past trends in agriculture with some modifications; the Normative scenario, which was analysed more extensively, was based on higher overall economic-growth rates for the developing countries (7.3 percent for the 1980s and 8 percent for the 1990s). These growth rates reflected the discussions and preparatory work in the UN system for the deliberations of the UN on the new International Development Strategy.
103. The main findings of the study under the normative scenario were as follows: agricultural growth in the 90 developing countries which had been analysed individually could accelerate to 4.0 percent in the 1980s and 3.7 percent in the 1990s in terms of gross output. This meant that their agricultural output would double in the last two decades of the century. This compared with a growth rate of 2.7 percent that could be expected if trends continued as in the past. But such acceleration required a considerable effort to speed up the pace of modernization of the sector. Although arable area could be expanded by around 200 million hectares in developing countries overall, the mainstay of production growth had to be gains in productivity. For this to be possible, very substantial increases in the use of modern inputs and investment in irrigation were necessary. Irrigation had to be expanded by about 55 million hectares to be added to the already existing 100 million hectares. Moreover, strong emphasis was. placed in the study on rehabilitation of existing irrigation schemes.
104. The overall gross investment requirements for accelerated growth were estimated to be $57 billion a year by 1990 and $78 billion by 2000. These figures would be increased to $78 and $107 billion respectively if supporting investments in transport and first-stage processing were included. All values were given in terms of prices of 1975. A major investment had also to be made in the provision of services, particularly agricultural education and extension, which were prerequisites for improvements in farming management and techniques. The study stressed the fact that these increased material inputs and services to agriculture would be fully productive only if incentives to producers were adequate. The study indicated that gradual modernization of the production process in the agriculture of developing countries could be associated with a substantial increase in employment in agriculture.
105. By far the major part of the large investments had to be financed by the developing countries themselves and this implied that governments must give a higher priority to investment in agriculture. However, foreign assistance would continue to be needed for financing part of the import component of investment at the rate of $10 billion a year by 1990 and $13 billion by 2000. Moreover, foreign assistance needs for current inputs and technical assistance would raise the above estimates to $13 and $17 billion annually for 1990 and 2000, respectively.
106. Even such accelerated growth, however, would not prevent the cereal import needs of the cereal deficit among the 90 countries of the study from increasing further: from 47 million tons in the mid-seventies to nearly 80 and 135 million tons by 1990 and 2000, respectively. if production growth were to be no faster than in the past, the trend scenario indicated that such cereal deficits would be very much higher, 115 and 180 million tons, respectively. Despite the higher cereal imports foreseen even in the normative scenario, cereal self-sufficiency in the 90 developing countries in normal-weather years would remain stabilized around 92 percent and for all food crops and livestock products the comparable figure would be 105 percent.
107. Part of cereal and other food import requirements of the deficit countries could be covered by export surpluses of other developing countries but by far the greater part had to be supplied by the developed countries. In this respect, the question of financing such imports assumed critical importance. Faster growth of agricultural exports could make an important contribution. The study estimated in the normative scenario that the developing countries could increase the volume of agricultural export availabilities considerably, at rates of 4.3 percent and 5.0 percent for the 1980s and 1990s respectively. This implied an increase in the net value of their trade in agricultural products from an actual $12 billion in 1974-76 to $19 billion in 1990 and $29 billion in 2000. The trend alternative on the other hand indicated a $37 billion deficit in the year 2000. All values were at 1975 world export unit values. But for such potential to materialize as actual exports, substantial liberalization in import and agricultural protection regimes would be needed. This could lead gradually to both importing and exporting countries enjoying greater benefits from trade; maintenance of politically acceptable degrees of self-sufficiency, especially in basic foods, was compatible with a vigorous expansion of trade in food and agricultural products. An increasing number of developing countries would necessarily, however, have to depend on faster growth of manufactured exports for financing their food imports. Food aid would also continue to be needed for the most vulnerable of the developing countries. The study estimated food aid needs in cereals for 1990 at 20 million tons under the normative scenario and at 32 million tons under the trend scenario.
108. Even such greatly accelerated overall and agricultural growth combined with full coverage of the estimated food import gap would not be sufficient to eradicate hunger. The proportion of population involved could be reduced significantly from 22 percent at present to around 7 percent by 2000 but even this would leave about a quarter of a billion people still below critical levels of food intake. Under the trend scenario of the study the absolute numbers of under-nourished could, at best, be stabilized at the present level of about 400 million. This was a bleak prospect and demonstrated that growth alone in national income and food production would not be sufficient to eradicate the problem. What was needed in addition was a more equitable distribution of food supplies, and this could be achieved only if policies of redistribution and institutional reform were vigorously pursued. The promotion of non-agricultural activities in the rural areas was an indispensable component of the fight against rural poverty. Furthermore, as a rising proportion of the population earned incomes in non-agricultural sectors, the provision of adequate purchasing power for food would become more and more a matter for economy-wide rather than farm or even rural policies. Industrialization was, therefore, one of the prerequisites for nutritional improvement.
109. The provisional study was written before the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) was held and consequently the vital issues dealt with in that conference could not be reported on in depth. Even so, however, the preliminary analyses of the requirements for accelerating food production and for achieving adequate nutritional standards underlined the essential nature of improved access to land and other productive assets by small farmers and landless labourers and of the increased participation of rural people in the making of decisions which affected them. Only by such changes could the potential contribution of the two billion or more people expected to be in the agricultural sectors of the developing countries by the end of the century be realized and their basic needs met.
(ii) Conference Discussion
110. The Conference agreed that the provisional results of the study provided valuable insights into the possibilities of speeding up agricultural development in the developing countries. They represented a coherent set of analyses which accounted for the major factors influencing agricultural development. It was thought by some delegates that the overall economic growth assumptions used for the normative scenario at 7.3 percent for the 1980s and 8.0 percent for the 1990s were overly optimistic and this lessened the credibility of the results. It was suggested by those delegates that a new scenario using more modest growth assumptions be analysed during the revision of the study. The uncertain growth prospects of the developed countries under the energy crisis should also be taken into account, including possible implications for the developing countries.
111. The partial coverage in the analysis in the study of some developing countries, particularly China, was a gap which should be filled if possible. However, it was recognized that projections of possible net trade positions of the developing countries not covered individually were included in the study for purposes of analysis of trade prospects. Many members believed that for the study to be global it should analyse and present in greater detail than at present implications for the agriculture of the developed countries. The EEC Commission and the US Department of Agriculture both declared their availability for active cooperation to improve the study.
112. The need for institutional reform, including land reform leading to more equitable distribution of income, was repeatedly emphasized. It was considered that these factors, together with mobilization of the human potential in the developing countries, were the paramount ingredients of any strategy aimed at fighting poverty and hunger and at establishing a New International Economic Order. Faster growth, both overall and agricultural, was not a sufficient condition for achieving these objectives.
113. The Conference agreed with the conclusion of the study that production growth at the rates indicated could only be achieved through more intensive application of modern production technologies and stressed the importance of continuous effort to adapt such technology to local conditions, including conditions of the great numbers of small farmers in rainfed agriculture. The role of research and extension, particularly in the developing countries, was highlighted.
114. Concern was expressed over the possibility of pursuing a modernization path intensive in the use of non-renewable sources of energy which were becoming very scarce. Concern was also expressed over the ecological implications of substantially intensified agricultural production. In this context, the projected increasing scarcity of fuelwood and forest products in general emerging from the, results of the study increased the risk of further forest destruction and loss of environmental benefit from its protective cover. The study included an analysis of the question of protection of the environment and also estimates for needed investment in soil and water conservation and flood control. Greater emphasis needed to be paid to environmental aspects in the final version of the study.
115. The Conference agreed that while estimates of the study pointed to very large investment requirements, they appeared to be useful and reasonable indicators of what would be required to achieve the necessary acceleration in production. Some members felt that the estimates of external assistance needed to be examined in more depth. It was appreciated that these estimates were largely the result of detailed estimates of capital requirements in a physical sense. Growth could not be bought cheaply. It was pointed out, however, by some members that some developing countries lacked the absorptive and implementation capacity even when financial means were available. This consideration highlighted the need for putting emphasis on up-grading the administrative capability of developing countries, including creation of appropriate institutions and training. Pre-investment analysis capability also needed to be strengthened for the same purpose.
116. These considerations led some members to question the feasibility of the postulated acceleration in agricultural production although some other members considered that in view of production potentials the growth rates of the study were possibly conservative. It was repeatedly emphasized that the estimates of the study were in no way predictions of what was likely to happen but were, on the basis of the available data, sound assessments of what was needed to accelerate agricultural production in the developing countries and of what was feasible provided necessary measures were adopted. Such a higher growth rate of production was an essential condition for avoiding future deterioration in living standards of large proportions of the growing world population. The analysis also indicated that global demand would require an increase in food production in the developed countries even under the accelerated growth estimates for developing countries in the normative scenario. To the extent that such accelerated agricultural growth in the developing countries did not materialize, the developed countries would need to increase food production to much higher levels,
117. The question of the possible impact of climatic changes, including occurrence of drought periods, was raised and the inclusion of sensitivity analysis in terms of a "poor weather" scenario was suggested.
118. It was pointed out that the pursuit of improved food self-sufficiency may not be appropriate for all developing countries. It was explained that in the study due consideration had been given to natural resources endowments and the possible role of trade of individual countries. Most members drew attention to the role of agricultural exports from developing countries in achieving higher economic growth. Agricultural exporting countries, particularly developing countries needed improved access to markets in both industrialised and other countries in order to achieve the much needed higher export growth. It was recognized chat for some countries increased domestic production presented the only way to secure increased food supply while for others a more trade oriented policy was appropriate. The analytical approach of the study, which treated countries and commodities individually, enabled country difference and the potential on international trade growth for individual commodities to be taken into account. Presentation of the results of the study in more disaggregated form would have helped members to appreciate the extent to which differentiation of treatment among countries had been embodied in the results. This consideration should be taken into account in the preparation of the final report in which all the estimates for each region should be presented together. The usefulness of the study as a guide to FAO's own work programme was also noted.
119. A number of issues of the methodology of the study were discussed. The assumption of constant prices was a shortcoming which excluded a rigorous link to capture fully I-lie. mutual influence of demand and supply. The limits of analysis of demand at the national level. without distinction of rural/urban components was pointed out, though lack of data on consumption levels and demand elasticities as well as of projections of urban and rural population and incomes for each of the 90 countries effectively precluded extension of the methodology in this area. The question of rigorous treatments of institutional reforms arid institutional policies was another case where lack of data as well as inadequacy of analytical techniques precluded generalized analysis in a rigorous quantitative model. This question was best analysed in terms of a few country cast, studies. It was appreciated by the Conference that the analysis drew heavily expert judgement. Judgement was an element indispensable for securing realistic results at the level of country and commodity detail present in the study. Finally the inadequate treatment of relationship of agriculture to the rest of the economy reflected the sectoral nature of the study. However, a good measure of compatibility could be ensured through cooperation with similar work carried out at the economy-wide level. in other parts of the UN system in the course of preparation of the new International Developments Strategy.
120. The Conference emphasized the opportunity and the necessity for undertaking revisions of the provisional study but appreciated that resources available to the Secretariat for this work were limited. The Secretariat was, however, asked by many to include within the limits of its resources the following improvements in the revisions:
- An additional and "intermediate" scenario based on GDP growth rates lower for both developed and developing countries than in the normative scenario.
- Inclusion of the most recent IN population projections.
- Analysis of the implications on agricultural growth in regard to energy, particularly the possible bearing of higher energy costs, reflecting greater Scarcity, on production strategies and commodity output and prices.
- Deeper analysis of institutional and organizational issues and those of income distribution in developing countries, in relation to both agricultural. production and nutrition. These us would best be done by a few country case studies.
- More detailed analysis of developed countries including assessment of their need for maintaining agricultural production taking into consideration their food security, environment and employment policies. Conference welcomed the several offers of assistance in this area of work.
- Additional sensitivity analysis of results, e.g. effects of widespread bad seasons.
- Additional aspects of countries not covered in full.. China was the major instance.
- Estimation of price response of Agriculture: Toward 2.000 production and consumption results through the use of appropriate other global models.
- Additional analysis of environmental aspects, employment, appropriate technology, basic research and agro-industries.
(iii) Conference Action
121. The Conference considered submitting the provisional study to the UN General Assembly and to the UN Preparatory Committee on the new International Development Strategy. for consideration in the preparation of the new International Development Strategy. Although it was desirable in principle to submit the final study, questions of timing precluded this option. The revised study would not be finalized for another year while the Preparatory Committee would need the FAO material for its series of -meetings beginning early in 1980. Hence it agreed that the provisional report on Agriculture: Toward 2000 (C 79/24) should accompany the submission of the Conference report. Attention should be drawn to the provisional form of the study, and to the views of member countries on it expressed in the Conference Report on this subject. If possible, an attempt should be made to convey to the UN General Assembly any new findings that may become available as a result of the intended revision.
122. The Conference requested the Director-General to transmit its report on Item 8.2 and to convey its conviction to the UN General Assembly and to the UN Preparatory Committee for the new International Development Strategy that the new strategy must reflect fully the key role of food and agriculture in improving the quality of life of almost two billion men, women and children directly dependent on agriculture in developing countries and in raising the rate of economic growth in these countries. It furthermore requested the Director General to draw the attention of the UN General Assembly and the UN Preparatory Committee to the potential contribution of the food and agriculture sector to economic and social development as analysed in the FAO provisional study Agriculture: Toward 2000.
E. Comprehensive programme for the development and management of fisheries in exclusive economic zones.
123. The Conference noted that the new legal regime of the oceans emerging from the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea and from State practice was having a profound influence on world fisheries. With the general extension of national jurisdiction over fisheries, there was now an unprecedented opportunity for coastal states to manage rationally and to reap the full benefits of the living resources off their shores. It further noted, however, that few developing countries had the capability to take advantage of this opportunity and to fulfil the concomitant responsibilities for the optimum utilization of the living resources under their jurisdiction. The Conference endorsed the unanimous support expressed by the latest sessions of the Committee on Fisheries and of the Council for the leadership and timely initiative taken by the Director-General in establishing a comprehensive Programme of Assistance to developing coastal states in the management and development of fisheries in their exclusive economic zones. Most members expressed their appreciation of the high priority being accorded by the Director-General to the new Programme.
124. The Conference welcomed the Programme and its two major and inter-related elements, namely, a medium-term plan of action to meet immediate priorities on request and longer-term basic studies to formulate principles and methods for the development and management of fisheries in extended zones of jurisdiction. It agreed that one of the main objectives of the Programme should be the strengthening of the capability of coastal countries and groupings of coastal countries to manage and develop their fisheries, thus contributing to the establishment of a New International Economic Order.
125. The Conference agreed that one of the first priorities under the Programme should be the locating, identifying and quantifying of the stocks lying within national jurisdiction, as well as those stocks shared by two or more nations. Emphasis was also placed upon the need for improved data collection methods on all aspects of the fisheries sector. Another priority should be assistance in the preparation and implementation of fisheries policies and plans and in the identification of alternative strategies and options for fisheries development and management. There was consensus on the vital importance of training of fisheries administrators and others responsible for the management and development of fisheries. Several members mentioned the need for the revision and harmonization of fisheries legislation and the strengthening of national institutions to meet the demands of extended jurisdiction. The provision by FAO of assistance to developing countries in these areas was welcome, as well as the establishment of a series of regional fishery law advisory programmes. As the implementation of legislative controls and management measures presented particular problems for developing coastal states, FAO was requested to pay special attention to these aspects. The need to introduce improved methods of processing, storage, marketing and distribution of fishery products was also emphasized.
126. Several members stressed the importance of individual coastal countries and regional fishery bodies ensuring the conservation of living marine resources and the preservation of their environment. Particular reference was made in this connexion to the need for rebuilding fish stocks depleted as a result of over-exploitation and for protecting endangered marine species within the framework of rational fisheries management programmes.
127. The Conference stressed the usefulness, for the development of fisheries under extended jurisdiction and the transfer of technology, of multinational enterprises among developing countries, joint venture arrangements and bilateral licensing agreements concluded under equitable conditions. It urged FAO to take an active role in promoting such arrangements and agreements and in providing technical and legal advice to developing countries in individual cases.
128. The Conference agreed on the importance of developing small-scale fisheries as a means of achieving more equitable distribution of income and other benefits. It was recognized that the extension of jurisdiction provided an increased opportunity for coastal countries to promote the progressive improvement in the socio-economic conditions of small-scale fisheries. This was indeed a matter for each government to decide within the framework of its own economic development policies.
129. The Conference particularly welcomed the assurance that the Programme would be delivered in a decentralized but integrated manner through a network of multi-disciplinary technical support units designed to respond to the specific needs of groups of countries in natural management areas based upon such factors as shared stocks or fisheries, common problems or opportunities and other natural affinities among the countries concerned. In this context, the Conference approved the key role being accorded to FAO regional fishery bodies as instruments for the execution of the Programme as well as in the management and monitoring of shared stocks. It recognized that there would be need in some cases to strengthen and adjust the existing sub-regional structure of these bodies. Particular reference was made to the South China Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Southwest Indian Ocean as examples of natural management areas. Several members mentioned the need to provide technical support to the existing machinery for regional collaboration in the Mediterranean.
130. The Conference recognized the particular problems of geographically or otherwise disadvantaged states which are not in a position to benefit directly from the new legal regime of the oceans. It agreed that the Director-General should give attention to the special needs and interests of those states in planning and implementing the Programme. It also noted that developing island countries would have specific needs for assistance in the development of their fisheries which were or could be a vital element in the economies of these countries.
131. A number of members expressed support for the proposal that an FAO technical conference on the management and development of fisheries should be held in 1982 to exchange experience and promote technical cooperation among developing countries and between developed and developing countries. They also welcomed the suggestion that the conference should be preceded by a series of preparatory regional seminars. In this connexion, the delegate of the Philippines informed the Conference of the willingness of his Government to host such a preparatory meeting in Manila at the end of 1980.
132. The Conference noted that approximately US $35 million would be required over the next three years to plan and execute the Programme, which would subsequently require extra-budgetary funding in the order of US $18 - 20 million annually. It was informed that as a result of discussions held with UNDP and other donors firm agreement had already been reached on the provision of nearly US $13 million to finance the Programme during the 1980-81 biennium. Additional support to the extent of some US $8 - 9 million was at present being discussed with potential donors. The Conference recognized that the rate at which the Programme could be delivered and the network of technical support units be expanded would depend upon the success which could be achieved in securing the additional extra-budgetary assistance required. It called upon international, regional, bilateral and other donor agencies and financial institutions to provide the maximum support to the Programme and endorsed the efforts being made by FAO to marshal the necessary financial and other forms of assistance required. The Conference acknowledged the essential support already provided by UNDP and shared the hope expressed by the Committee on Fisheries that the UNDP Governing Council would recognize the importance and urgency for continued support to the Programme when they considered their third Programme cycle inter-country allocations for 1982-86. The Conference noted with satisfaction the offers of technical cooperation extended by a number of members. These included training facilities, fellowships, research and other vessels, as well as equipment.
133. Several members drew attention to the need for establishing a system to monitor and evaluate the progress achieved, as well as the problems encountered, in the implementation of the Programme. The Conference noted that a progress report would be submitted to the Fourteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries in early 1981.
134. A large number of members referred to the importance which should continue to be attached to inland fisheries and aquaculture. The Conference was informed that aquaculture development had been the subject of intensive discussions at the Thirteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries in October 1979 and it received assurance that high priority was being accorded to inland fisheries and aquaculture, which were regarded as complementary rather than competitive activities to marine fisheries in the Regular and Field Programmes of the Organization.
135. In the light of its discussions on this agenda item, the Conference adopted the following resolution:
PROGRAMME OF ASSISTANCE IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF FISHERIES IN EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONES
Recognizing that fundamental changes in the regime of the oceans and in the practice of States in regard to the extension of jurisdiction over fisheries offer unprecedented opportunities to, and entail concomitant responsibilities for, coastal states to ensure the rational management and optimum use of the living resources off their shores,
Aware that these developments are a manifestation of and contribute to the efforts to establish a New International Economic Order by securing a more equitable share in, and control over, the wealth of the sea, by encouraging self-reliance and by promoting greater opportunities for trade in fish and fishery products,
Realizing that in order to take advantage of these opportunities and to discharge the responsibilities for managing fishery resources and utilizing them for overall social and economic benefit, many developing coastal States will urgently need considerable assistance,
Convinced that FAO has for many years made a significant contribution to the development of fisheries and is now in a unique position to play a key role in assisting coastal states in their efforts to meet these challenges,
Recalling the declaration by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development that the right of every State to exercise full and permanent sovereignty over its natural resources, in accordance with international law, and to adopt the necessary measures for their planning and management is of vital importance to rural development,
1. Calls on coastal states to formulate and implement comprehensive policies and programmes to utilize their fishery resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone in ways which meet overall social and economic objectives, as well as ensure the sound management of these renewable resources;
2. Endorses the Director-General's proposals for a Programme of Assistance in the Development and Management of Fisheries in Exclusive Economic Zones, which it considers an excellent framework for the planning and execution of the assistance required by developing coastal states, notes that the steps already taken by the Director-General will help to ensure the effective implementation of the Programme, requests that these activities be continued and intensified, and further requests the Director-General to implement the Programme in a way that takes into account the special needs and interests of the geographically or otherwise disadvantaged states;
3. Emphasizes the importance in certain cases of the development of small-scale fisheries as a means of achieving a more equitable distribution of income, and other benefits, including nutrition, within the context of overall economic development plans;
4. Support's the proposal to hold in 1982 an FAO Technical Conference on the Management and Development of Fisheries, which it believes would contribute to such cooperation by providing a timely forum for the exchange of world-wide experience in the management and development of fisheries in economic zones;
5. Approves the decentralized manner in which the Programme is to be delivered through the existing network of regional fishery bodies and associated field programmes, adjusted in their structure and reoriented in their activities to reflect the needs of groups of states sharing fish stocks or fisheries, common problems or opportunities and other natural affinities;
6. Recognizes that this decentralized approach will expedite delivery of the Programme in the most effective manner and foster increased technical and economic cooperation among developing as well as between developing and industrialized countries, and will promote collaboration in the development and transfer of appropriate technologies;
7. Realizing that the urgent needs of developing countries will require substantial additional resources on a sustained basis over a number of years, urges international, regional, bilateral and other donor agencies and financial institutions to give maximum support to the Programme of Assistance being provided by FAO and to broaden their participation in the development and management of fisheries in developing countries;
8. Invites the Director-General to continue and intensify efforts to mobilize the financial, technical and other forms of assistance required to implement the Programme of Assistance in the Development and Management of Fisheries in Exclusive Economic Zones.
(Adopted 27 November 1979)
F. Food standard matters and the work of the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius commission
136. The Conference had before it an extract from the Report of the Seventy-fourth Council Session 21. The Council had considered the response of the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission to its request that the Commission examine and report on certain matters concerning the economic implications of the international food standards for developing countries. The Council had further considered changes introduced by the Commission in the content and direction of its work to place increased emphasis on the needs and concerns of developing countries.
137. The Conference noted that the above matters had also been reviewed by the Programme Committee at its Thirty-fifth Session. Both the Programme Committee and Council had welcomed the action taken by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In particular they had approved the policy and work reorientation by the Commission and the new procedures for the assessment of the economic impact of the international standards. The Programme Committee and Council had agreed that the effectiveness of the new procedures would depend, to a large extent, on a mechanism evolved within the Commission and its Secretariat for dealing with trade impact statements from governments.
138. The Conference noted that the Programme Committee and Council had endorsed the action taken by the Commission in adjourning certain Codex Committees and in establishing two new ones of particular interest to developing countries - the Codex Committee on Cereals and Cereal Products and the Codex Committee on Vegetable Proteins - and in strengthening the importance and significance of the role of the Codex Regional Coordinating Committees for Africa, Asia and Latin America.
139. The Conference also noted that the Council had underlined the need for strengthening food quality control infrastructure in developing countries to assist them in implementing the recommendations of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and had stressed the value of the work of the Commission to all countries. Both the Programme Committee and Council had stressed the importance of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, within the overall context of nutritional improvement, food production and food trade. The Council had indicated that it would follow general policy trends within the Commission.
140. The Conference agreed with the changes in direction and emphasis made by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in its programme of work. In particular, it welcomed the concrete measures which it was informed would be recommended to the Codex Alimentarius Commission for adoption at its Thirteenth Session (3-14 December 1979), and which were designed to give effect to the wishes of the Council and Programme Committee concerning an appropriate mechanism for considering economic impact statements.
141. The Conference wished to draw to the attention of Member Nations the importance of accepting Codex Standards to facilitate international trade and to protect the health of consumers. The Conference considered that it would be especially important that importing countries should give full acceptance to as many of the Codex standards as possible in order to give effect to the desire of many developing countries to expand their exports by means of agreed international standards. In view of the importance of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, it was suggested that the Commission should review its procedures for the elaboration of standards in order to expedite their development.
142. The Conference emphasized the importance of the role of the Codex Regional Coordinating Committees for Africa, Asia and Latin America in promoting the health, nutrition and trade interests of the countries of these regions.
143. The Conference concurred with the views expressed by the Council at its Seventy-fourth session. Concerning the Council's intention to follow general policy trends within the Commission, the Conference agreed that this should be confined to major policy issues. The Conference concluded by stressing the value of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to all countries, developing and developed.