D. Structure, organization and future work of the CCP
93. Terms of Reference. The Conference reexamined the terms of reference of the Committee on Commodity Problems and found that they were generally adequate for the tasks which the Committee had been, or might be, called upon to perform.- It noted that events had confirmed the wisdom of the decision taken by the Special Session of the FAO Conference in November 1950 to widen the Committee's original terms of reference by resolving that it should be regarded as the instrument of FAO to analyze and interpret the international commodity situation and advise the Council on suitable action, and that it should address its attention to commodity problems falling within the competence of FAO to consider, whether arising from balance of-payments difficulties or from other causes. Consequently, the Conference decided to keep the expanded terms of reference of the Committee and invited it to interpret these terms of reference in their widest sense. At the same time, the Conference stressed the current practical significance, in the light of certain developments in the field of commodity trade and policy, of the Committee's original terms of reference which still formed the nucleus of the present widened version; namely, its assignment as an intergovernmental body for the consideration of problems of surpluses of agricultural products, and of methods for dealing with them.
94. Membership.. The Conference considered the following two alternatives: enlarging the membership of the Committee to twenty members, and open membership. While there was considerable support for the second alternative, the majority were in favor of the first.
95. Working Parties. The Conference, at its Sixth Session, had reminded the Committee of its competence to establish subcommittees or working parties in which countries, not members of the Committee, could be invited to participate as full members. The Committee, in its Report to the Conference, noted that its reluctance to respond more fully to this advice during the period under review had been prompted largely by the non-emergency character of the problems arising for commodities other than rice. It had also been influenced to some extent by the need to build up its working methods gradually and to gather the experience required for the development of its machinery with specialized and expert ramifications. In looking toward future activities of the Committee, however, the Conference agreed with the view expressed by the Committee that both the more acute character of certain current and prospective commodity problems and the specialized nature of some of these questions made it desirable to make more use, on conditions carefully determined in each case, of special working parties.
96. Frequency and Location of Sessions. The character of CCP's work is bound to be influenced by the changing types of problems arising from world agricultural commodity developments. In the circumstances, the Conference regarded it as essential that the periodicity of the Committee's Session be left as flexible as possible.
97. Recommendations for Future Work. The Conference noted with satisfaction the Report presented by the Committee on its activities during the past two years and urged Member Nations to make every possible effort to maximize the usefulness of the Committee. In its consideration of the Committee's future activities, it recommended that the Committee should continue to undertake, as part of its regular activities, appraisals of agricultural commodity situations and problems, both generally and with respect to specific products and reviews of obstacles to trade and national and international policies in agricultural products, in close coordination with other competent bodies. In particular, the Conference recommended that the Committee should give special attention to the following subjects referred to above:
(i) Special measures for surplus disposals and principles to be observed in such disposals;
(ii) National and international measures designed to lessen harmful price fluctuations of agricultural commodity prices;
(iii) Reviews of obstacles to trade in agricultural commodities;
(iv) Reviews of the international effects of national agricultural policies.
Resolution No. 15
Committee on Commodity Problems
Conscious of the importance to FAO Member Nations of inter-governmental consultations and advice on agricultural commodity problems;
Decides that the Committee on Commodity Problems be continued, and that its membership be enlarged to 20;
Reaffirms the Committee's terms of reference, as widened by the Special Session of the Conference in 1950;
Requests the Committee to interpret its widened terms of reference in a broad sense and to continue and extend its work, in the light of the views, findings and recommendations of the Conference;
Decides that flexibility in the Committee's operations must be ensured for the organization of its work;
Reaffirms the Committee's competence to set up sub-committees, or working groups in which FAO Member Nations, not Members of the Committee, can be invited to participate with full powers when subjects in which they are specially interested are under discussion;
Requests again Member Nations to make every effort to maximize the usefulness of this Committee, in particular by sending to it highly qualified representatives.
E. Special commodity problems
European timber trends and prospects
Pulp and paper
98. The Conference considered the outlook for rice in the light of the survey of production, requirements, international trade, prices and stocks prepared by the Director General It commended the work done to alleviate the world rice shortage, and, in particular, the FAO Special Meeting held in Bangkok, and noted the recommendations adopted there as well as the resolutions regarding rice passed at the Bangalore Regional Meeting. The Conference agreed that the review of the world rice situation and the implementation of these recommendations constituted a set of economic problems which required careful periodic review. It was also agreed that the CCP be asked to consider the best method by which such a review could be made so that all interested Member Countries could participate. The CCP should also consider the advisability of including aspects of international trade in rice amongst the matters to be discussed in this connection. The Conference noted the preparations by the Director-General for a small exploratory meeting in Rome of experts on rice grading, in conformity with one of the Bangkok recommendations, and expressed the hope that this would receive appropriate support from interested governments.
Resolution No. 16
Economic Aspects of the Rice Problem
Considering the importance of an adequate supply of rice as one of the world major foods,
Recognizing the great part played by rice in the economies of a number of countries,
Commends the work done since the last Session to improve rice production,
Requests the CCP to arrange for a periodic review of the world rice situation and other economic aspects of rice, and to consider the desirability and appropriate machinery for a review of the international trade in rice in which all interested member nations could participate.
99. The Conference noted that although the fisheries resources of the world contribute only about 10 percent of the total human intake of animal protein, these resources could undoubtedly make a much larger contribution to world food supplies. In certain parts of the world, techniques have already been developed in the culture, capture and utilization of fish supplies which could quickly bring about a considerable increase. Advanced fishing industries already have the capacity to produce up to the level required to meet the 1960 targets set forth in the FAO Second World Food Survey, but lack the incentive of profitable marketing opportunities. The increase in productive capacity must, therefore, take place mainly in those areas where the fisheries industries are largely under-developed, where protein needs are most urgent and where low levels of economic activity and education have hitherto restrained the application of modern commercial practices and equipment. In these areas particularly, there is a clear need for governments to take the initiative in breaking the vicious circle of poverty and low productivity by means of financial assistance and extension work and, above all, by the creation of incentives to produce more. The Conference felt that in many countries there is no clearly understood fisheries policy, that administrative services are inadequate and untrained and that there is a corresponding absence of contact between the government and the fishermen. The Conference adopted the following resolution:
Resolution No. 17
Production, Marketing and Distribution Of Fish
Recognizing that world fishery resources are capable of yielding a much greater contribution to world supplies of animal protein;
Bearing in mind the great advantage of relieving the heavy pressure on the use of land thereby;
Being convinced that the necessary knowledge and technical means exist and could bring about significant increases in a relatively short period of time;
Having noted that due regard must be paid to certain economic, social and political factors which at present retard the rate of increase in many areas;
Considering nevertheless that the present rate of development could be accelerated by the application of measures more closely adapted to local condition) in the fisheries, and by increased technical advice as well as the use of demonstration equipment;
Recommends that Member Governments should observe the need to:
(i) Review the prospects for a more rational utilization of fishery resources;
(ii) Establish well-defined policies in respect of these resources;
(iii) Set up permanent fishery services staffed by suitably qualified personnel, endowed with adequate authority and financial support and working in close liaison with all sections of the fishery industries;
(iv) Promote and coordinate measures designed to increase the availability and consumption of fish and its products at costs commensurate with the purchasing power of the potential consumers;
(v) Report frequently and comprehensively on the progress achieved and the problems encountered.
100. The Conference recognized the importance of viticulture to the agricultural economy of a number of wine producing countries, and called attention to the recommendations of the International Wine Office during its 33rd Plenary Session held in Rome in 1953. The Conference commended the close contact maintained between FAO and the International Wine Office.
Resolution No. 18
Production and Quality of wine
Recognizing the importance of viticulture which in certain climates is the only possible or profitable agricultural activity;
Draws the attention of various member countries to the excessive expansion of the area under vines compared with world consumption, which may result in a situation likely to become rapidly more critical if no quick remedies are found;
Supports the recommendations of the International Wine Office and, in particular:
(i) That the expansion of the total area under vines in the world should be arrested;
(ii) That increasing emphasis in viticulture should be put on improvement in quality instead of increasing quantity, especially by the selection of vines and by adjustments to soil and climate;
(iii) That the quality of wines sold commercially should be improved by the standardization of quality definitions and analytical methods.
European timber trends and prospects
101. The Conference commended the joint FAO/ECE study on European Timber Trends and Prospects and reviewed its conclusions on the basis of the reports of the 1953 Session of the European Forestry Commission and the Timber Committee of ECE. It noted the consensus of opinion among representatives of European governments as to the probability of a gradually widening gap between Europe's wood requirements and production as a result of increases in the former, while plans already formulated envisaged the latter remaining stable. It believed that a reduction in wood consumption would be contrary to the general objectives of FAO and that any prospective gaps should be closed by raising supplies to the level of effective demand.
Resolution No. 19
Timber and Forest Resources Policies and Studies
Reaffirming the conclusions reached by the European Forestry Commission and the
Timber Committee of ECE concerning the need:
(i) To adopt or intensify all over Europe dynamic forest policies designed to achieve systematic increases in forest output to the limit compatible with sound forest conservation and sustained yield practices;
(ii) To increase imports of sawn timber from the USSR, Canada and other overseas sources.
Urges European governments to review existing forest policies and to reconsider the importance attached to forest production in regard to their national economies with a view to the adoption of steps necessary to bring about a continuous upward trend in forest production at reasonable cost;
Recommends the adoption of the various measures outlined in the European Timber Trends and Prospects and especially those proposed in that connection by the European Forestry Commission and the Timber Committee of ECE including in particular more intensive forest management better utilization of waste, and an extension of national afforestation programs;
Invites the Director-General to undertake in co-operation with the Economic Commissions of UN similar studies of regional timber trends with regard to Latin America, the Far East and the Near East as time and staff permit, and adjusted to local circumstances and available statistical and factual information, and to review European timber trends from time to time
Pulp and paper
102. The Conference noted the Preliminary Summary of the World's Pulp and Paper Resources and Prospects prepared in accordance with Resolution No. 27 of the Sixth Session of the Conference in co-operation with the Secretariats of the Economic Commission for Europe, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It reviewed the conclusions reached, which indicated that raw materials are in adequate supply and that no technical difficulties exist in converting temperate and tropical hardwoods, bamboo, bagasse, straw and various agricultural residues. The establishment of new pulp and paper capacity in the less developed regions is delayed primarily by lack of capital and lack of industrial facilities. However, a beginning has been made to develop further production outside Europe and North America. A continuation of this development, which can be expected, should lead towards a certain decentralization of production essential to the necessary rise of consumption in these regions. The major pulp and paper exporting countries can thus expect to maintain, and even expand, their shipments outside Europe and North America provided this is compatible with the conservation of their forests and other raw materials resources. An expansion in the development of new pulp and paper capacity outside Europe and North America appears desirable since the amounts of pulp and paper that can be imported are subject to certain limitations, both on the side of the producers and with regard to the consuming countries.
Resolution No. 20
Balanced Expansion of Pulp and Paper
Commends the Director-General and the heads of other agencies on their competent and comprehensive analysis of the world's pulp and paper situation;
Requests the Director-General to transmit the full report to the Economic and Social Council together with the present resolution; and
(i) That governments in Latin America, Africa, the Far East, and the Near East give active consideration to the establishment of new pulp and paper capacity, especially in the light of the suggestions contained in FAO's world survey and based on the findings of the Organization's survey missions;
(ii) That governments continue to explore, where desirable with FAO's assistance, further prospects for new pulp and paper production centers, especially in view of the continuing increase in requirements that may be expected;
(iii) That governments and private investors prior to engaging funds and efforts on the building of new factories, undertake thorough investigations in each case about prospective markets, production costs, suitability and continuity of the supply of raw materials and the availability of water, power, chemicals, communication facilities etc. at reasonable cost.
Invites the Director-General to continue his studies with regard to the world's pulp and paper developments, to assist governments both under the regular program and under ETAP in developing new pulp and paper capacity and to help them reduce in that connection the risk of misinvestments through prior study and investigation.
F. Emergency famine relief
103. The Conference complimented the Group of Experts on the production of extremely valuable reports in pursuance of Resolution No. 16 of the Sixth Session of the Conference, and, after taking into consideration the views expressed by many Member Governments, adopted the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 21
Emergency Famine Relief
Recognizes, notwithstanding a difference of opinion as to whether the creation of on international emergency food reserve or fund is necessary, that in any case a pre-requisite to the creation of such a reserve or fund would be evidence that Member Nations would be in a position to provide the necessary stocks or money resources; and that in the absence of such evidence it is impracticable to create an international reserve or fund as contemplated by the Sixth Session of the Conference so long as this situation continues;
Reaffirms its belief in the value of Resolution No. 15 of the Sixth Session of the Conference, which reads as follows:
"(i) That on receiving intimation from a Member Nation or region that a serious food shortage or famine exists or is likely to develop which it is unable to cope with from its own resources, the Director-General shall depute one or more FAO officials to investigate the nature of the problem with the consent of the government concerned and to report on the extent, if any, of international assistance needed and communicate the report to the United Nations and the interested Specialized Agencies;
(ii) That when in the opinion of the Director-General there is an emergency requiring international relief measures he shall at his discretion convene forthwith a meeting of the Council or of interested governments to devise the most practical lines of action, which may be required to bring about prompt concerted and effective assistance by governments as well as by voluntary agencies; and that the Director-General shall thereupon report the action taken to the Secretary General of the United Nations for transmission to the Economic and Social Council."
Agrees that ad-hoc measures to relieve famine conditions are useful and necessary;
Draws the attention of Member Nations to the importance of providing assistance in the event of famine as speedily as possible and to the advantage of the provision by Member Governments of arrangements concerning finance, stocks and services to meet immediate needs on the declaration by FAO of imminent or existing famine conditions;
Notes with warm approval and commends to the favorable attention of Member Nations the action of the United States Congress in authorizing the President to use for emergency famine relied up to $ 100 million of government held stocks;
Expresses the view that if similar steps could be taken by other nations, a great contribution would be made towards meeting such immediate needs;
Recommends that FAO should be prepared to assist in coordinating such actions;
Draws the attention of Member Nations to the fact that it is open to countries which are members of the International Monetary Fund, to apply to that institution for additional foreign exchange which might be needed to finance emergency food imports.