Atomic energy in food and agriculture
379. The Conference recognized the great significance of the contributions that atomic energy can make to the development of agriculture, including forestry and fisheries, and to improved levels of nutrition, and considered that in the general international program for promoting the peaceful uses of atomic energy FAO has a specific and highly important role to play in its several fields of responsibility.
380. Progress in establishing the FAO Program of Work was noted with satisfaction, and the proposals for an essential expansion of activities were approved, with the exception of an amount budgeted for travel expenditure relating to a training course on the use of radioisotope technique in agricultural research in 1959.
381. The Conference expressed its agreement with the policy of initiating activities on a limited geographic basis in the first place and then extending them gradually to other parts of the world as appropriate. It noted that in accordance with this policy activities designed to promote the use of isotopes and radiation in agricultural research which had been initiated in Europe would he progressively extended to other regions.
382. In this connection special attention was directed to the general shortage of agricultural scientists with experience of radioisotope techniques, and to the great need for a training course of the type envisaged by FAO. Offers of assistance from several countries in the organization of such training facilities were received with appreciation by the Conference.
383. The Conference noted that the nutritional aspects of the preservation of food through the use of ionizing radiation are often overlooked, and therefore recommended that FAO should assist in the exchange of information on this subject and on progress achieved in the development of this technique. In view of the expense involved and the need for highly trained investigators in many scientific disciplines, the Conference emphasized the great importance of international co-operation in research on food irradiation and considered it appropriate that FAO should take the lead in encouraging such international co-operation, commencing this activity in Europe in the first place.
384. The Conference recognized that many of the problems of radioactive contamination of the environment are essentially agricultural problems, and in this connection noted with approval that FAO is already participating in the work of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. The Conference considered it important that FAO should continue to be closely associated with international studies of the problems arising from environmental radio-contamination, including methods of disposal of radioactive wastes, because of the possible effects of such contamination on food producing resources and food supplies.
385. The Conference stressed the need for the fullest co-ordination of international activities in connection with atomic energy, recording its firm conviction that the organizations within the United Nations family can achieve far more by cooperating together than by working alone.
386. In this connection, the Conference learned with satisfaction of the close cooperation with other international organizations which had been achieved and of the contacts already established between FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Conference welcomed the statement of the representative of that Agency that the IAEA, which in its early years would place special emphasis on activities in connection with isotopes, training, exchange of information, and health and safety, hoped in its activities to have the benefit of the wide experience in agricultural and related matters that exists in FAO, whilst in its turn the Agency was ready to render all possible assistance to FAO in the fulfilment of their common objective. In order to place such co-operation on a formal basis the IAEA was prepared to enter into negotiations for a relationship agreement with FAO as soon as the establishment of the Agency has sufficiently progressed.
387. At the conclusion of the debate the two following Resolutions were adopted unanimously:
Resolution No. 30/57
Having examined the Director-General's proposals for strengthening FAO's work on 50 atomic energy in food and agriculture;
Approves the establishment of a second professional post within the Atomic Energy Branch and, 50 as far as resources permit, the holding of such meetings or training courses as will prove most useful to Member Countries, provided that the travel and other costs of the trainees are borne by the countries concerned, as recommended by the Committee on Financial Control, or from ETAP on other special funds, and provided further that such activities are in line with the provisions of any agreement or agreements as may be entered into between FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
388. Resolution No. 31/57
Relationship Agreement between FAO and IAEA
Having noted that in his Program of Work and Budget for 1958-59 the Director-General has proposed a series of activities concerned with atomic energy in food and agriculture;
Having noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recognized the desirability of achieving effective co-ordination of the activities of the Agency with those of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies, for avoiding the overlapping and duplication of activities;
Noting furthermore that the IAEA agrees to cooperate, in accordance with its Statute, in measures recommended by the United Nations for this purpose, and in particular to participate in the work of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and, as appropriate, of any other bodies which have been or may be established by the United Nations to facilitate such cooperation and co-ordination;
Considering that the basis for co-operation between the Organization and the IAEA, within their respective fields of responsibility, should be established in a Relationship Agreement;
Having noted that the first Special Session of the General Conference of the IAEA authorized the Board of Governors of that Agency to negotiate a Relationship Agreement with the appropriate authorities of the Specialized Agencies;
Decides that, in accordance with Article XIII of the Constitution, a Relationship Agreement should be drawn up between the Organization and the IAEA in which the basis of co-operation between the two Organizations shall be defined;
Recommends that this Agreement should, on the one hand, recognize that the Organization as the Specialized Agency having primary responsibility for food and agriculture matters of an international character, has certain responsibilities in relation to the application of atomic energy in food and agriculture and in relation to connected problems of radioactive contamination of the environment; and that it should, on the other hand, recognize the IAEA as the agency having primary responsibility for international activities relating to the peaceful uses of atomic energy as defined in its Statute;
Requests the Director-General to enter into consultations with the Director-General of the IAEA for the purpose of drawing up a draft Relationship Agreement, in which the foregoing principles are taken into account, for submission to the Council; and
Requests the Council to establish a Committee composed of government representatives to be available for consultation by the Director-General in his negotiations with the designated representatives of the Board of Governors of the IAEA in preparing a final draft agreement for submission to the Tenth Conference.
Welfare and community development
389. The Director-General, in introducing these two subjects, pointed out that his concern for giving an adequate expression to FAO's objective of promoting welfare was reflected in different parts of the work program and budget. He was seeking to pursue two lines of action; to exercise better co-ordination of FAO's program in all fields, so that all of them were clearly oriented to the common welfare purpose at all times; and, secondly, to give increased attention and resources to those activities like agricultural extension, co-operatives, home economics, nutrition, etc., which contributed directly to rural welfare. Such activities constituted vital elements in programs of community development, which were assuming increasing importance in many countries and demanded concerted action on the part of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. The Director-General requested approval of his general approach and of two specific undertakings in the present instance. The first of these was an expert group to study current experience of land settlement and land reform measures to provide guidelines for policy. The other wits the appointment of a panel of experts for the over-all appraisal of FAO's activities, both at Headquarters and in the field, to determine the extent to which these activities were serving the basic objectives of welfare.
390. The Conference fully recognized the importance of constantly keeping in mind the welfare objective of FAO's programs. While the intentions of the proposals were commended, some doubt was expressed whether these would achieve their purpose in practice. Questions were also raised whether present arrangements for co-ordination and conduct of welfare programs were not already adequate and whether these was consequently any need for further strengthening of the staff in the Director-General's Office. It was suggested that there might first be an internal review and proposals for new undertakings and expenditure should be scrutinized by the Program Committee and Council before approval by the Conference.
391. The Conference passed the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 32/57
Having examined the Director-Genera's proposals for strengthening or developing social welfare activities within the Organization, including provision for additional assistance in the Director-General's office,
Recognizing the important role to be played by the Organization in United Nations programs of concerted action in the social field;
Approves the assignment for special responsibilities in this field to the Special Assistant to the Director-General, and,
Further approves the budget proposals submitted by the Director-General;
Requests the Director-General to limit action until the Program Committee and the Council have occasion to review the report and recommendations of one team after it has visited a region; and
Recommends that no subsequent action be taken until the Director-General has examined the whole matter of increasing emphasis in rural welfare field and discussed his findings or recommendations with the Program Committee and the Council.
J. Expanded technical assistance program
392. The review presented to the Conference on the Technical Assistance Program dealt with the current activities, preparations for 1958 and questions of policy and procedure, as requested by Resolution No. 16/55 adopted at the Eighth Session.
393. Although concern was expressed over a possible decline in the financial resources likely to be available to the Program in the immediate future, a number of delegates expressed the firm belief that such a financial recession would be of a temporary character only. As evidence for this belief the wide support the Technical Assistance e Program enjoys both with the recipient and donor countries alike was cited, as well as the important role which this Program plays in the work of FAO. Reference was made to the proposal currently before the General Assembly to create a United Nations Special Development Fund which might over a number of years achieve a total of $ 100,000,000 partly to expand the present form of technical aid and advice and partly to be used for supplementary activities, such as extensive surveys, establishment of regional institutes and research on basic products, so as to create conditions favorable to capital investment.
394. In response to the Director-General's suggestion for a review of current programing procedure so as to ensure increased recognition of agency technical responsability and for the limitation of projects to activities within the capacity of countries fully to implement, some delegates felt that a greater measure of flexibility might well be introduced into these procedures so as to give the agencies a greater say in the formulation of country programs. These delegates expressed the hope that FAO, in association with its sister agencies, would explore this matter further. Other delegates suggested that present procedures seemed to be satisfactory and that a further period of trial was desirable.
395. Attention was drawn to the difficulties attendant on the financing of the Program by annual pledges. This made difficult orderly long-term programing and impeded the adoption of such needed administrative measures as the awarding of longer-term contracts to experts. The hope was expressed that governments might consider making their pledges for a two- or even three-year period.
396. In connection with programing, it was thought desirable to clarify still further the relations between the TAB Resident Representatives on the one hand and the FAO Regional and Country Representatives on the other, and to make more widely known the determination of the Technical Assistance Board on this subject. This determination recognized that the role of the Country Representative was to negotiate the FAO share of the country program and to carry responsibility for the day-to-day management of the FAO mission. as compared with the general co-ordinating function of the TAB Resident Representative.
397. The Conference considered the question of the priorities to be followed in determining the size of country programs and the related one of the evaluation of projects already in operation. Some delegates expressed the view that priority should be given to those governments possessing the administrative and technical resources enabling them to make effective use of the aid received. Among the criteria proposed was the existence of long-term programs of economic and social development and the provision of counterparts and other facilities. Other delegates, however, took the view that priority should be given to countries having the greatest need.
398. It was suggested that periodic reviews should be carried out by the officers of the government concerned in association with the FAO Regional or Country Representative on the progress of country programs. The strengthening of the regional organization should facilitate this. Such reviews would permit a continuing assessment of the conduct of the program.
399. The full implementation of the program negotiated and approved by the Technical Assistance Committee was a matter of concern to several delegates. They expressed the hope that ways and means could be found of ensuring that the approved program would be substantially implemented. There was a suggestion for a periodic review so that, should the full implementation of the approved Category I Program be difficult, appropriate projects in Category II might be substituted without undue delay.
400. In response to the Director-General's request for guidance and suggestions regarding the use of contributions from governments which were not members of FAO, the view was expressed that while supplies of equipment from such sources were valuable, the whole of such contributions should not be devoted to that purpose. centers, seminars and study tours should only be organized in such countries if there was a clear desire on the part of recipient countries to participate in such activities - a matter which it would be the responsibility of FAO to ascertain.
401. In general the increase in the permissive amount for regional projects from 10 percent to 12 percent, as now sanctioned by TAC, was welcomed. The hope was expressed that this increase in the percentage shale for regional projects would be sufficient to accommodate the most important of them but that if it were felt that a still higher percentage was found to be necessary, this possibility should be further considered. The related question of the usefulness of group country projects was also referred to, and their effectiveness and relatively low cost emphasized.
402. The recruitment, briefing, servicing and supervision of technical assistance experts in the field was extensively reviewed. Some apprehension was expressed that the rates of pay now offered might not be sufficiently competitive to ensure that FAO could secure the best technical talent available. Attention was also called to delays arising out of the necessity for obtaining clearance from recipient governments for experts suggested for service in their countries. The use of " funds-in-trust ", in supplementing the limited number of experts that the Organization was able to supply under the normal Technical Assistance Program, was welcomed as a valuable development.
403. The Conference urged the desirability of improving the system of briefing experts before appointment. An expert could not hope to be fully effective unless he had some familiarity with the social, historical, cultural and economic character of the country to which he was sent. His briefing on these aspects of his assignment should be regarded as being of first importance. In recognition of this need, one government, whose country had supplied a large number of experts, had established a training center for such of their nationals as would be serving as United Nations Technical Assistance experts. It was also suggested that fuller use of the regional office should be made for briefing purposes.
404. It was generally felt that the periods of assignment of technical assistance experts were too brief and that the necessary continuity in field work was thus disturbed. Development in the field of agriculture must be, in many cases, a slow process and it was not surprising therefore that the percentage of continuing projects in the annual programs of FAO was high. At the same time recipient governments should train appropriate personnel to continue projects initiated by the Specialized Agencies so that such governments did not become so dependent on an expert that his departure would create a vacuum that could not be filled.
405. In considering the supervision and servicing of experts by FAO Headquarters, the hope was expressed that such supervision should not be too detailed or excessive so as to limit individual initiative or introduce an clement of conflict between the field expert and the head of the department or service to which that expert was assigned.
406. The Conference noted with regret the decline in the 1958 Technical Assistance Fellowship Program as compared with previous years. It felt that as the Technical Assistance Program is basically a training program, such a decline must inevitably reduce its effectiveness. It called upon governments, in preparing their annual programs? to consider carefully the role of fellowships and to seek the advice of FAO in drawing up their plans. Special care should be exercised in the selection of fellows and they' no less than experts need briefing on the country of study to which they were being sent if they were to derive full benefit from their training. Longer term fellowships should be provided, where appropriate, in view of the schedule of universities. Tribute was paid to the André Mayer Research Fellowships awarded by FAO, under its Regular Program and the hope was expressed that the number might be increased.
407. In placing personnel in important government posts, many governments require evidence on the part of candidates of diplomas or certificates of training. The suggestion was made, therefore, that it would be most helpful if FAO could issue a certificate of training which would establish with national appointment hoards the type and duration of training which a fellow had received under the auspices of FAO.
408. The Conference took note of the resolution adopted at the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Council regarding the desirability of revising the present method of financing the Headquarters' costs of servicing the Technical Assistance Program by means of a lump sum payment from Technical Assistance funds for an appropriate share of such Headquarters' costs. This plan was now being considered by the Technical Assistance Committee, together with other suggestions, one of which proposed that all such costs should be absorbed by the Regular Program, thus freeing all Technical Assistance contributions for the field program.
409. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the substantial improvement which had been made in the management of the Program and the steady progress it had achieved. It heartily endorsed the Director-General's tribute to the field staff and requested him to convey its appreciation to them.
410. The Conference expressed its satisfaction with the report presented by the Director-General in pursuance of Resolution No. 16/55 and decided that similar reports should be submitted to future sessions of the Conference.
K. Selected problems and longer-range proposals
Survey and appraisal of world agriculture fishery and forestry resources in relation to needs
411. The Conference stressed the importance of Regional Conferences as a basis for developing broad guide lines for FAO's future activities in the regions, and endorsed the principle established by the Eighth Session of the Conference that such Regional Conferences should be held in non-Conference years in order best to fulfil the above purpose.
412. The Conference noted with satisfaction the Director-General's report on the 1956 Regional Conferences held in Asia and the Far East and Latin America, as contained in the document C 57/20, and emphasized that the items of the agenda should concentrate on the broad fields of agricultural policy and programing suitable for discussion by government representatives at a policy making level. However, the scope and nature of the Regional Conferences were hound to grow and should remain flexible within the broad lines proposed by the Director-General.
413. The Conference also felt that while there was no doubt as to the great value of Regional Conferences as such, care should be taken lest they become pressure groups for inter-regional competition in the field of FAO's activities. A liberal attitude on the part of the Director-General was desirable in inviting those Member Governments outside the region concerned which might be particularly interested in the topics to be discussed at a Regional Conference.
414. Attention was drawn to the methods of reproduction and distribution of reports of Regional Conferences. Some countries were in need of only the summary of the report instead of the full report. It was suggested that some method of reproducing the report other than printing might be used so that it would not be obligatory to distribute the full reports to all Member Countries.
415. The Conference endorsed the Director-General's proposal to hold the next Regional Conference for Asia and the Far East, the Near East and Latin America in 1958, preferably between September and December, and was gratified to learn that the Government of Japan was prepared to act as host to the next Regional Conference for Asia and the Far East, subject to the approval of the necessary expenses by the Diet. Negotiations were also under way between the Organization and the Government of Sudan with regard to the possible acceptance by the latter to act as host to the next Regional Conference for the Near East. The Conference noted with approval the Director-General's intention to hold a Regional Conference for the African region at an early date.
Survey and appraisal of world agriculture fishery and forestry resources in relation to needs
416. The Conference had before it a report by the Director-General on this subject (C 57/21) and heard an introduction by his representative. The Conference noted with interest the progress which had been achieved so far and the Director-General's policy in regard to future work in this field.
417. The Conference considered this an important project which should be given the fullest support that manpower and budgetary consideration would permit. It was felt that the integrated approach which had been adopted to the appraisal of resources seemed particularly suited to bringing about the sifting and analysis of data in such a way that the information will be of use for long term planning. As a world organization FAO had special possibilities to assist in bringing together the international fund of knowledge which is continually accumulating regarding resource potentialities.
418. It was also considered that this project was particularly well adapted to an international organization such as FAO, since the Organization could assist materially in developing methodology; at a later stage the countries themselves should do the work, both because of their special knowledge of the situation and the enormous size of the task. The results would be very useful to countries in appraising their own resources and in planning their development and use, including such practical things as possible changes in their cropping and rotation systems. This work was particularly important now and in the years ahead because of growing population pressures which will make it increasingly necessary for countries to get the maximum out of their resources.
419. The Conference expressed its appreciation of and fully endorsed the Director-General's intentions:
(a) to complete, in close collaboration with the countries concerned, the two pilot studies on the lower Ganges-Brahmaputra basin and the Tigris-Euphrates basin;
(b) to continue to develop the methodology of an integrated approach to the appraisal of resources as described in document C 57/21;
(c) to utilize this project to bring about the maximum comparability, on an international basis, in the methodology and terminology involved in resource surveys and in statistical and other data relating to basic natural resources;
(d) to carry out this work on the basis of full interdivisional co-operation, in order to arrive at an evaluation of the potentialities and optimum use-patterns of agricultural, fisheries and forestry resources in relation to needs and a consistent approach to the problems of methodology involved;
(e) to draw maximum benefit from the results in this field of (he wolf; of ETAP field experts;
(f) to seek special funds from foundations interested in fostering economic and social development in order to continue and expand work along the lines described.
420. The countries directly concerned with the two selected pilot areas expressed their appreciation of the fact that these areas had been chosen for the initial work and their eagerness to see these studies carried to a successful completion as rapidly as possible. The knowledge so gained would be of great benefit for the purposes of their long term planning. They offered full co-operation in assembling and making available the data at their disposal and in some cases felt that it would be possible even to appoint further staff in their own countries to help carry out the work. A wish was expressed that not only the development of methodology for surveys of resources, but the methodology for surveys related to increasing, productivity would be included in FAO's plans for future work.
421. It was noted that over and above the assistance which it may be possible to give to countries under the regular budget, if a country should feel that resource surveys, either of the whole country or of specific development areas, were of sufficiently high priority it would be open to them to request such assistance under the technical assistance program within their established country ceilings.
422. The question was raised if adequate machinery existed for the proper classification of the abundant information on resources that reached FAO from so many channels and is so many forms. It this respect the Conference noted with appreciation the work already carried out or under way in several fields, particularly fisheries biology, forest inventory and soils survey; it also noted that very considerable progress had been made over the last two years through the interdivisional cooperation established in the work on the resources survey. It felt, however, that it was important that adequate machinery should exist for this purpose so that while the studies are being completed on the present pilot areas the material which reaches FAO on other areas would be appropriately classified so that in due course the study of other areas could be carried out speedily.
423. The Conference noted that the Twenty-Second Session of the Economic and Social Council had passed a resolution calling upon the United Nations and the specialized agencies, and particularly FAO to hell countries in the development of the methodology of resource surveys. The Conference considered that with respect to natural renewable resources this responsibility belonged fully to FAO.
424. It was recalled with appreciation that the proposal for a survey and appraisal of agricultural, fishery and forestry resources in relation to needs had originated with Dr. P. V. Cardon, former Director-General. The Conference expressed the wish that Dr. Cardon be informed of its appreciation of the valuable results which promised from the work which he had initiated. A number of countries had originally had doubts regarding this project, but were reassured by the accomplishments achieved and the current plans for the continuation of the project.
425. The Director-General was requested to bring before the Tenth Session of the Conference a review of progress made so that it could determine the further course the project should take. At the same time it felt that if the project continued to develop along the lines outlined, it should be a long term project.
426. As an outcome of its review of this subject the Conference adopted the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 33/57
Survey and Appraisal of World Agricultural, Fishery and Forestry Resources In Relation to Needs
Recognizing the importance of surveys of resources and development possibilities of underdeveloped countries and the need for collecting basic data for over-all agricultural planning;
Recognizing the need for the development of methodology for such surveys;
Noting the steps already being taken to carry out such surveys in the two pilot areas and the need for early action;
Requests the Director-General in consultation with the governments concerned to give appropriate emphasis to this subject and maintain and where necessary create the machinery for this purpose within the existing budgetary resources; and so to plan the work that further studies will be developed on the methodology of surveys related to increasing productivity.
L. ECOSOC resolutions on co-ordination and concentration
427. The Conference considered ECOSOC Resolutions 665 (XXIV) (a) and (c) regarding the development and co-ordination of the economic, social and human rights programs and activities of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. The Conference endorsed the importance attached by ECOSOC in the former resolution to the development of closer co-operation between the members of the United Nations family in concerted fields of action and requested the Director-General to apply the principles laid down by the Economic and Social Council on the preparation of programs of work and the development of closer co-operation with other international agencies.
428. The Conference agreed that FAO should participate in the invitation of the Economic and Social Council to the Specialized Agencies to prepare an appraisal of the scope, trend and costs during the next five years of their programs of work. The Conference endorse the recommendation of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination that such an appraisal should comprise a forecast of the orientation, character and scope of the program and should not attempt any detailed forward budgeting for each of the years referred to. It was thought important that in making any such forward appraisal the necessary flexibility in programing procedure should not be sacrificed and that FAO should retain the right to make such adjustments as might be necessary during that period to deal with new situations. Any forward appraisals should relate to anticipate major lines of development and not to individual projects which comprise those major lines.
429. It was agreed that any appraisal relating to FAO's forward program should be considered by the appropriate intergovernmental bodies comprising FAO's legislative organs before being submitted to ECOSOC.
430. It was also agreed that in the preparation of such an appraisal and in the implementation of the two ECOSOC resolutions the Director-General should consult, to such extent as he considered necessary, the Program Committee.
431. The following Resolution was adopted:
Resolution No. 34/57
ECOSOC Resolutions on Co-ordination and Concentration
Taking note of the resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) at its 24th Session, contained in Appendix I of document C 57/55, concerning the coordination and concentration of the programs and activities of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies in the economic, social and human rights fields;
Approves the recommendations contained in these resolutions and the principles included in Appendix 11 of document C 57/55 on the co-ordination and concentration of activities of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies;
Requests the Director General:
1) to apply these principles as a guide to the future work of the Organization with reference to co-ordination and concentration both within the Organization and in its relations with the United Nations and the other Specialized Agencies;
2) to consider the appropriate and practical method of preparing an appraisal of the FAO program in accordance with the second ECOSOC resolution contained in Appendix I of document (,'57/55;
3) to continue through the Administrative Committee on Coordination the consultations already initiated with the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies in the preparation of the report to be presented by the Administrative Committee on Coordination to the ECOSOC in implementation of that resolution; and
4) to report to the Council on action taken to implement the above paragraphs.