C. Economics, marketing and statistics, and distribution
The Conference generally approves the work in the field of economics. marketing, statistics, and distribution carried out in 1949 and the programs proposed by the two divisions for 1950, subject to the following comments and recommendations for modification and change of emphasis:
Economics, Marketing, and Statistics
World Analysis and Review of Goals of Member Governments
The Conference considers that the world analysis and review of goals should not be published before Pre-Conference Regional Meetings are held, when all the available information can be gathered together for consideration by the Conference. However, care is necessary in making projections based on the aggregates of national goals.
The Conference takes note of the work done in internationally comparable index numbers and feels that it should be continued as proposed.
Economic Trends and Prospects affecting Agriculture
The Conference -
- Endorses the program for continued work in this field, and suggests that the resources of relevant United Nations agencies be drawn upon to the fullest extent.
In this connection, the Conference takes note of the publication in 1949 of Current Outlook of World Demand and Prices of Farm Products, World Outlook for Individual Commodities, and Trends in International Trade in Agricultural Commodities, and approves similar work in 1950.
It also recognizes that the Director-General has been called upon to carry out further work on agricultural development policies in relation to international investment and financing facilities.
The Conference approves the proposal to conduct studies of the relationship between farm prosperity and general economic conditions. This work should be expanded to consider in more detail the interrelationship of farm to non-farm prosperity. Similarly, if resources are available, expanded work might be undertaken in 1951 on the relationship of food consumption levels to income; on retail prices with special reference to margins between farm and retail prices; on the relationship of population changes and movements to food and agricultural development; and, if it appears feasible to the secretariat, on transportation and related distribution costs of the major agricultural products moving in international trade, including a comparative analysis of the freight rates applicable to each product between the different producing and consuming areas.
Food Balance Sheets
The Conference -
Noting that only 15 governments have so far this year submitted Food Balance Sheets, draws to the attention of member governments the recommendation to submit these sheets to FAO;
- Requests that those governments which have not already done so submit their Food Balance Sheets for 1948/49;
Notes with approval the intention of the Director-General to keep the 1949 publication up to date by issuing loose-leaf sheets; and
- Suggests that the Organization, as far as possible, continue to help those countries which request its assistance in the preparation of Food Balance Sheets.
In addition, noting that information on total available national supplies of food, taken by itself, is insufficient for adequate government planning of food policy, if the nutritional wellbeing of the people is to be taken fully into account, the Conference considers it desirable (a) that member governments carry out sample food consumption surveys which would throw light on the distribution of national supplies and serve as a check on the accuracy of the Food Balance Sheets, and (b) that FAO, in co-operation with other relevant Specialized Agencies such as WHO and ILO, give assistance and advice on request to governments carrying out such surveys.
World Food Appraisal and Survey
Appraisals. The Conference recognizes that it is desirable to prepare periodic current appraisals of the world food situation, especially for Council and Conference deliberation, but draws the attention of the Director-General to the possibility of combining such appraisals with other subject matter prepared for these purposes, in order to eliminate duplication and to conform with the objective of an integrated approach in the presentation of the food and agriculture situation.
World Food Survey. The Conference considers it desirable for FAO to review the World Food Survey published in 1946, and prepare a second survey based on the more refined data on food supplies and energy requirements in different parts of the world. The most detailed and thorough preparation (including attention to world census data) is necessary. It is probable that the major part of the expenditure will fall after 1950.
Statistical Intelligence and Reference Services
Yearbooks. The Conference draws attention to the resolution of the Fourth Session of the Conference, which recommended annual publications covering both production and trade in food and agricultural products. The Conference considers that this resolution should be followed, that both volumes of the yearbook should be published in 1950, and that both should be prepared and issued each year thereafter. It also believes that the yearbook might include a further section dealing with consumption and nutrition, availability of food supplies, feed and seed, etc.
Statistics Review and Clearance Service
The Conference approves the procedure proposed in the Program of Work.
International Consultation on Food and Agriculture Goals
The Conference takes note of the co-operation between FAO and the regional economic commissions, especially with a view to ensuring more effective use of agricultural requisites. In view of the fact that most agricultural requisites are now in adequate supply, it draws to the attention of the Director-General the possibility of reducing proposed expenditures on this field of work in 1950. This is not intended to preclude his meeting requests for consultation from other international organizations.
Direct Technical Aid to Governments
The Conference notes that, in 1949, 11 governments sought direct assistance from FAO in developing their national goals in production, consumption, and trade. This kind of assistance is valuable and should be continued where governments seek it. Working manuals for the use of governments should be written in clear and simple language.
The Conference considers that this kind of direct technical assistance can be supplemented by discussions at Pre-Conference Regional Meetings but does not consider that special meetings for this purpose are necessary.
Statistical Aid. In view of the vital importance of developing statistical data relating to agricultural production, trade, and prices, the Conference approves the Director-General's proposal to assist governments to improve their statistics. It recognizes that, with FAO's existing budget, there are limitations on the amount of this work FAO can undertake, and considers that additional work should be financed under Technical Assistance or other funds, especially when personnel are spending extended periods in recipient countries.
World Census of Agriculture
The Conference notes with satisfaction that some countries have already taken a census of agriculture as part of the 1950 world census of agriculture. It calls to the attention of the remaining governments the recommendations made by the Fourth Session of the Conference:
" That each member government which has not already made administrative and financial arrangements for its census of agriculture undertake to conduct a census of agriculture, consistent with the program submitted by FAO, in or about 1950," and that special attention be given to developing census programs in economically underdeveloped areas, including non-self-governing areas.
The Conference also -
- Requests the Director-General to submit to the next session proposals on the form of publication of census results, so that this matter can be considered with a view to obtaining the most effective use of the material.
Statistical Training Centers
The work in this field is noted with satisfaction and the Conference encourages continued development along the lines being followed. It considers that extended development of statistical training is suitable for inclusion in the Technical Assistance Program, and to this end suggests that the Director-General seek the cooperation of UN, UNESCO, and other agencies.
Commodity Research and Intelligence
The Conference wishes to emphasize the following general principles for the guidance of FAO in this field of work:
1. In pursuing commodity studies, the Distribution Division should maintain the fullest co-operation with the Economics, Marketing, and Statistics Division, in order to assure full consideration of general economic factors and of intercommodity relationships.
2. One of the principal tasks of the commodity experts must be the annual world commodity reviews contained in The State of Food and which should give as comprehensive and authoritative a picture of the situation and outlook as space limitations permit. In this review, which is the basic economic document of the Organization, all important food and agricultural commodities should be covered; FAO should utilize the authoritative commodity information available in such specialized commodity bodies as the International Wine Office, the Rubber Study Group, etc.
3. The Conference considers that paragraph 1 (a) of the work program of the Distribution Division, in stating the functions of the division, appears to define also the functions of the Council. The Conference points out that it is the responsibility of the division to provide the Council or any of its committees with commodity analyses as requested.
Co-operation with Specialized Commodity Agencies
In reviewing the work of the Distribution Division with specialized commodity organizations, the Conference notes the practical collaboration based on demarcation of functions. The Conference emphasizes in particular that (a) FAO should endeavor to keep before the specialized international commodity bodies a comprehensive picture of the total world food and agricultural background against which specific commodity problems should be viewed; and (b) regular reports should he presented to the Council and Conference on developments relating to the work of these specialized commodity agencies.
The Conference has reviewed the publications program for 1950 as set forth by the Director-General and in the Program of Work. The Conference feels that the proposal to give additional emphasis to a series of brief, up-to-date situation reviews represents a step in the right direction.
With respect to the commodity bulletins, the Conference urges (a) that they be regarded as fundamental, comprehensive commodity studies, to be issued only when sufficient new data become available on any one commodity to justify a re-evaluation of the world position and outlook regarding it; and (b) that, in so far as possible, the bulletin publications program should give priority to commodities not covered in 1949. Annual bulletins may be desirable and justified on some commodities; on others, less frequent bulletins might suffice.
While it may be desirable to expand the range of commodities covered by publications, with a view to establishing FAO as the world focal point for information on food and agricultural products, it is important that FAO's work in this field not expand more rapidly than is consistent with the maintenance of high quality.
The Conference calls to the attention of the Director-General a number of general points:
1. It would be desirable for the Director-General's annual report on the work of FAO, or some equally authoritative FAO document, to be organized so that the Program of Work is laid out in the same order as the Budget adopted by the preceding session of the Conference. The work of the Conference would have been very considerably facilitated if the reports had been prepared in such a way as to permit direct checking of work performed and funds spent against work programs, resolutions, and budgets approved by the preceding Session.
2. For similar reasons, it would be desirable if the Draft Program for any period were prepared by the Director-General in a form that would give for each major project or group of projects the following information: (a) An explanation of the project in sufficient detail to show precisely what is envisaged; (b) the estimated cost of the project; and (c) whether it is a short- or long-term project, and, if the latter, its anticipated duration.
3. The Conference is deeply concerned over the correlation of the work of the Distribution and of the Economics, Marketing, and Statistics divisions. The Director-General should take such steps as are necessary to assure the Conference (a) that overlapping and duplication of work between the two divisions will not take place, and, perhaps more important, (b) that the two divisions work together in such a way as to assure the maximum contribution of FAO in the economics field. It is agreed that there is a place for commodity specialists within FAO, but they should work within the framework of the general economic situation, giving adequate attention to commodity interrelationships.
4. Relative to the appraisal work of the Economics, Marketing, and Statistics Division and the Distribution Division, and its effect on the content and timing of publications (such as The State of Food and Agriculture, World Outlook for Commodities, World Food Appraisal, and commodity bulletins and reviews), the Conference urges that steps be taken to ensure proper integration. It also suggests that a number of FAO publications, such as the Monthly Bulletin of Food and Agricultural Statistics and various outlook commodity situation and food appraisal statements, be combined into a single monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly journal of economics, marketing, statistics, and distribution.
5. The Conference, concerned with the necessity of expert consultation, suggests that the Director-General and the Council give consideration to: (a) reconstituting the Standing Advisory Committees on Statistics and Economics into a single advisory committee on economics, statistics, and distribution; (b) holding, when advisable, subcommittee meetings on special questions; and (c) using correspondence as a means of consultation with members of the Committee. Such an arrangement would facilitate co-ordination and should result in economies.
6. The Conference considers that the provision of authoritative and up-to-date economic and statistical reports relating to production, trade, and prices is one of the most important functions of FAO, but feels that the various procedures used for the collection of information from member governments should be reviewed and improved. To this end, the Conference proposes that the Director-General submit a report and recommendations to the Council at its meeting to be held in mid-1950. It is suggested that the Director-General analyze the extent to which member governments are providing data under existing arrangements and that he consult with them as to more suitable procedures for furnishing FAO with information in the future.
The Conference has reviewed and generally approves the work of the Organization in the field of fisheries during 1948/49, and its fisheries program for 1950 and 1951, finding them to be in conformity with decisions made at previous sessions of the Conference. The program is considered to strike a reasonable balance between the needs of the developed and underdeveloped countries of the world. The Conference notes with satisfaction the approach and treatment given to the fisheries projects outlined in the proposed Technical Assistance Program.
The work of an international agency in the field of fisheries is made significant by the needs of the world for the types of products which are yielded by the large and only partially developed fisheries resources of the globe. At the same time, marketing problems are emerging for some countries which are already relatively well developed in this industry. Also, conservation problems are arising with respect to certain fisheries and in certain areas. In this connection it is recognized that conservation is an essential element to sustained maximum production. These different problems reflect themselves in the endeavors of the division and require a thoroughly considered and well-rounded approach to the various phases of the work which has been undertaken or is being planned.
The Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination of Information
In general, the development of fisheries information services, and particularly the plans for future improvement, were approved, though the following additional comments were made: With respect to the assembling of information about fishing methods and gear as the basis of a consulting service, it is recommended that FAO encourage the countries themselves to aid the program through exchanges of information. The Conference also draws attention to the fact that commodity studies are a useful approach to a better understanding of the flow of international trade in fisheries products. With respect to statistical services, the Conference considers that it is desirable for governments to give some measure of the degree of accuracy of their fisheries statistics.
Promotion of International Consultation
The Conference notes with satisfaction the progress made in establishing regional fisheries councils. The Conference feels, however, that the Organization, in continuing consultation with governments to carry out the mandate of former sessions, should give full consideration to work being carried on by international fisheries commissions or similar bodies already functioning in international waters. Finally, car e should be taken in the formation of further regional fisheries councils, that there is sufficient technical fisheries personnel available in the potential member countries to ensure the councils' success.
Plans and Programs of Member Governments
The Conference considers that FAO documents such as Food and Agricultural Targets and Outlook for 1950/51 (C49/23) should devote more attention to the role of fisheries products in the general food supply situation.
Emphasis in Development Programs
The Conference draws attention to the need for emphasizing the guidance of underdeveloped countries in the development of local fisheries for improved nutrition of local populations rather shall for export.
E. Forestry and forest products
The Conference has reviewed the activities and future program of the Organization in the fields of forestry and forest products, and records its satisfaction with the work done and with the methods of work developed.
Third World Forestry Congress
The Conference has taken note of the General Report of the Third World Forestry Congress and commends its findings and statements of policy to the attention of governments. Certain parts of this report contain recommendations for international action. The Conference requests the Director-General to assist, by any practicable means, in the implementation of these recommendations.
National Forest Policies
The Conference particularly draws the attention of governments to the belief affirmed by the Third World Forestry Congress
(1) That each country should have for its territory a forest policy aiming at the maintenance of a reasonable forest area and at the conservation and use of forests on the basis of continuous and improved production, and
(2) That forestry legislation, research, education of forest owners and workers, and the training of a sufficient number of professional foresters and technicians - all in conformity with the constitution and structure of each country - are essential elements of such a policy.
The Conference understands that a statement of basic principles of forest policy is now being prepared by the Director-General to assist member governments in the formulation of their national forest policies and in the application of such principles to their forestry programs. It suggests that this statement be submitted for consideration to the 1950 sessions of the regional forestry and forest products commissions and subsequently, with their comments, to the next session of the Conference.
Having regard to the report of the second session of the European Commission for Forest Products, the Conference invites the Director-General to define the term "managed forest" as: productive forest regulated in accordance with a working plan based on silvicultural, economic, and social principles, aiming at sustained or progressive yield, but securing continuity in all cases, while assuring the conservation of the forest itself. A forest in which production is not the normal objective shall also be deemed to be a managed forest if it is maintained for reasons of general public interest and is managed in accordance with appropriate regulations.
Program for 1950
The Conference has considered in detail the program of work for 1950, as contained in C49/3, with revisions submitted subsequently, and generally approves these proposals, subject to the following comments and amendments:
Among the studies listed, the Conference recommends that the following receive the highest priority: (1) Aids to Improvement of Forest Inventories, (2) Range and Forest Land Conservation (in collaboration with the Agriculture Division), (3) Reforestation Methods, and (4) "Forestry Combinates" (Integrated Forest Industries). It also urges early publication of the information compiled by FAO on Forest Inventories and Forest Fire Control Methods.
The Conference welcomes the suggestion that technical information he disseminated with the help of microfilm reproduction, but invites the Director-General to make sure that these activities create no conflict with copyright regulations and the legitimate interests of publishers and authors of technical publications.
The Conference believes that the review Unasylva provides an excellent medium for dissemination of knowledge and information about the work of FAO, and recommends that, despite budgetary difficulties, it should be restored as a bimonthly publication. It recommends increased efforts to economize on space in this periodical, and invites the Director-General to seek arrangements whereby the publications of FAO and microfilm service in forestry literature can be paid for in domestic currencies. It also urges prompt publication and distribution of the French and Spanish editions of Unasylva.
The Conference notes the proposal of the European Forestry and Forest Products Commission that a world statistical conference on forestry and forest products be convened by the Director-General, but suggests that, as a primary step, he arrange to hold a European conference on this subject, in consultation with interested member governments and the executive secretary of ECE. This conference should be invited to devise means of complying with particular European needs, in a manner that would permit inclusion of the statistical results within a general framework of statistical procedure adapted for world-wide use. In the light of the findings of this conference and the desires of regional forestry and forest products commissions elsewhere, the Director-General should then consider convening further regional conferences on forestry and forest products statistics. In the meantime, the Conference urges all governments to ensure that statistics relating to forest yields and to the utilization of forest products are in directly comparable terms.
Concurring in a suggestion made by the Delegate of Iraq, the Conference believes that the use of educational films on forestry should be generally encouraged.
The Conference stresses the importance of projects listed in the Program of Work having to do with standardization of timber testing and grading for more rational use of timber, and also seed and plant certification. It believes that the term "international agreements" as used in this context, might be misconstrued. It is desirable that technicians meet and agree on these topics, but the carrying out of such agreements does not call for the cumbersome machinery of formal conventions; it might be achieved through recommendations made by the Conference. The Conference accordingly commends to governments for consideration and eventual application the standardized timber-testing methods on which the Geneva Conference on Mechanical Wood Technology reached unanimous agreement. It also notes with satisfaction FAO's intention to work toward similar standardization with respect to the testing of fiberboard, plywood, and related products, and in regard to structural grades, sizes, and trade names of timbers.
Agriculture and Forestry in Tropical Regions
The Conference again stresses the urgency of dealing with the problems of destructive land use in tropical and subtropical countries, and especially with evils arising from uncontrolled shifting cultivation. notes with satisfaction the preparations for a Conference on Land Utilization in Tropical Regions to be held in the summer of 1950 in Ceylon, in accordance with a recommendation of the Fourth Session of the Conference, and emphasizes that the program for that conference should provide full opportunity for discussion of the forestry as well as the agricultural aspects of land utilization. It hopes that every effort will be made to secure wide attendance by technicians and other specialists in this field and especially by persons responsible for land utilization policy and by experts in shifting cultization, and that full opportunity will be provided for initiating a continuing action program undertaken by governments in co-operation with FAO, designed to protect and, where necessary, restore the vast land resources in tropical and subtropical regions.
In view of the recommendation of the Third World Forestry' Congress that FAO call an international meeting on tropical forestry, and considering the importance of the subject for the expanded Program of Technical Assistance, the Conference suggests that informal consultations on this matter be held among experts attending the conference in Ceylon.
Development of Regional Forest Policies
The Conference has reviewed FAO's activities and programs in the various regions and expresses its satisfaction with the progress toward decentralization, in line with the recommendations of earlier sessions. In particular it feels that the organization and work of the regional commissions for forestry and forest products in Europe and Latin America is an important step in this direction. The Conference believes that the work of the serious regional commissions should be adjusted to the needs of each region and has decided not to lay down formal terms of reference, in order to give these commissions the necessary flexibility.
Europe. In Europe the present arrangements regarding the division of activities between FAO's European Commission for Forestry and Forest Products and the Timber Committee of ECE are regarded as satisfactory, and call -for no modification so long as the Timber Committee continues to carry out the program adopted at its fifth session.
Far East. The Conference, having received the report of the Forestry and Timber Utilization Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in April 1949 at Mysore, India, endorses its conclusions and approves the establishment of a regional forestry and forest products commission for Asia and the Far East. It requests the Director-General to convene the first session of this commission in 1950.
Africa. The formulation of a program for Africa must await an expression of the views of the governments concerned.
Mediterranean and Near Eastern Problems. The Conference notes the request of the Delegate of Iraq that a forestry mission be sent to the region, but fears that budgetary considerations may delay such a mission.
The Conference, having received a proposal from the Delegate of Portugal to consider problems relating to cork oak and its products, refers this matter to the Subcommission on Mediterranean Problems.
The Conference has noted the statement by the Delegate of Greece that his country needs assistance in its reforestation program and suggests that a formal request to that effect be addressed to the Director-General
The Conference notes with approval the work of FAO with regard to forestry requisites and urges its expansion to all phases of logging, transportation, and primary conversion equipment. The information on types and procurement sources of such equipment could be of great value to member governments, especially in connection with the expanded Program of Technical Assistance. The Conference regrets that FAO's funds do not permit publication of these data and hopes that other arrangements for their dessemination will be explored.
Range and Forest Land Conservation. This study should be undertaken as early as possible, in cooperation with the Agriculture Division. and should stress the importance of proper land use and adequate vegetative cover, not only from the standpoint of grass feed for cattle hut also of watershed protection.
Forest Fire Control Methods. The Conference refers the Report on Forest Fire Protection in Portugal to the secretariat for possible inclusion in its study on this subject.
Reforestation Methods. The Conference takes note of the suggestion of the Delegate of Mexico that the planting of wood trees, particularly on hillsides, which could also make a direct contribution to food supplies for animal and human use, should be explored in connection with this study.
Wood Consumption. The Conference is of the opinion that studies on this subject should be undertaken in conjunction with other activities in the field of statistics and research.
"Forestry Combinates" (Integrated Forest Industries). The Conference feels that, in the development of these industries, special attention should be given to ensuring proper safeguards for the conservation and management of the forest resources connected with these industries.
The Conference has eliminated from the Program of Work the project titled "Agreement on General Policy on Conservation and Sustain-Yield Management," which it replaced by the action outlined under "National Forest Policies" above. It stresses the importance of the projects titled "Agreements on Standardization of Timber Testing and Grading and on More Rational Use of Wood" and "Agreements on Seed and Plant Certification," subject to comments under "Standardization" above. "Harmonization of Tree and Timber Names" should be listed as a subtitle under "International Consultation."
Development of Regional Forest Policies
The Conference has deleted the item "(1) - Europe - (iii) FAO/ECE Timber Committee" from the Program of Work, since it related to the activities of the Timber Committee.
The Conference notes with approval that, in order to avoid overlapping and unnecessary expenditure, the Technical Committee on Forestry Research will not be convened unless matters arise which are not within the competence of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. The Conference also feels that if a World Congress of Wood Chemistry is organized by the Swedish Government, this should not involve any special expenditure by FAO.
The Conference has reviewed and in general approves the activities of the Organization in the fields of publication and information and notes that the work of 1949, the program for 1950, and the general direction of planning for 1951 are in line with the basic policies laid down by the recommendations of the Fourth Session of the Conference and earlier meetings.
Although recognizing that the extent of information work, as a service, is chiefly determined by the technical programs approved for the Organization, the Conference feels it desirable that in future programs the work proposed be presented in such greater detail as will permit fuller and more expeditious examination of the various projects and permit the Conference to assess more accurately the cost of the information service involved in such projects.
Long-Term Publication Policy
The Conference approves the Report by the Director-General on Long-Term Publications Policy (C49/5) as a useful guide, and in particular accepts the plan of limiting free distribution of publications to governments by establishing maximum quotas, but requests that the basic formula be revised as follows:
10 copies for the first $2,500 of a country's annual contribution;
1 copy for each additional $5,000 up to $52,500; and
1 copy for each additional $10,000.
European Regional Bulletin
In view of the great value attached to Food and Agriculture: The FAO European Bulletin by countries Immediately concerned, the Conference believes that intensive efforts should be made during the next year to increase its paid circulation. The Conference is also of the opinion that, if sufficient public response is not forthcoming, discontinuance of the Bulletin should be considered at the next session of the Conference. Although not prepared to accept the suggestion of the Director-General that they underwrite a specified number of paid subscriptions, the European governments express a willingness to stimulate sale of subscriptions within their countries.
The Conference therefore -
- Requests that Food and Agriculture: The FAO European Bulletin be continued during 1950, with reductions in production costs to bring them within any available resources in the 1950 budget.
Information Work in Member Countries
The Conference -
- Reiterates the recommendations made by the Fourth Session concerning the importance of national official bodies in extending in their respective countries information about problems and progress in FAO fields; and
- Suggests that member governments include in the membership of their National FAO Committees or other official bodies at least one person trained in information work; and also
- Suggests that an adequate and timely flow of information material be supplied to National Committees or other official bodies by the Organization.
Information Aspects of the Work of FAO
The Conference recognizes that the work of FAO focuses in great part on informational and advisory services. Each technical program involves the bringing together of the best information available in the field, and requires its dissemination to those who can use it. This audience includes the appropriate officials of member governments and technical workers in nongovernmental positions as well. In many cases it includes also those less technically trained and the general public in the various member countries, to whom the information has eventual value.
This varied audience can be reached only through the use of all the various media and methods of transmitting information, and only through the joint efforts of FAO and the instrumentality's of the member governments.
One of the important media is publications. In the use of this medium the share of the Division of Information in the process of disseminating information initiated by the technical divisions in carrying on their programs is to edit, to translate, to look after printing, and to direct distribution in accordance with the needs of the technical or other divisions served.
Other important media, particularly for reaching the less technically trained and the general public are the press, periodicals, films and other visualizations, public organizations, educational institutions, and in some cases radio. In the case of these means of disseminating information it is the task of the Division of Information to assist the representatives of these public media to obtain the information they desire. By doing so, the Organization at relatively small cost receives the benefit of the vast network of international dissemination of information represented in the mass media.
The activities of the Division of Information thus fall broadly into two groups. The first group includes services connected with publication for the technical divisions, the translation of working documents and correspondence, interpretation, and the maintenance of the headquarters library of technical and reference documents required by the technical staff of FAO. These services are essential to the daily functioning of the Organization, and should be rendered with the greatest economy consonant with the requirements of the Organization's program of work. In connection with publications, the Conference emphasizes that constant care should be maintained by the Organization to avoid unnecessary elaborateness of format adding to production costs.
The second group of activities is that designed to help acquaint less technically trained people and the general public of all countries with their problems in the field of food and agriculture, and the objectives and progress of this important agency of the United Nations. In the long run, this is perhaps no less important to the success of the Organization's work than the first group if activities. The people of the member nations, who in the final analysis finance FAO's work, have a right to be kept informed of the problems faced by the Organization and its progress in meeting them. Widely disseminated information on the concrete work of FAO in the fields of agriculture. fisheries, forestry. nutrition, rural welfare, and related economic data, would not only interest men and women everywhere in the work of the Organization itself, but would also create a favorable public attitude for the accomplishment of the ideals and objectives of the United Nations in general.
Through its informational activities; at headquarters and in regional offices, FAO can maintain contacts and co-operate with the internationally important public media. It cannot, however, serve the many national organs of the press, radio, films, popular organizations, and educational institutions in every member country. This can better be done through the institutions of the member governments themselves. The Organization should, to the greatest extent possible in its informational activities of this character, emphasize assistance to the authorities of member governments.
The Conference has already recognized the obligations which should rest upon member governments in this connection and has recommended measures which governments should consider in meeting these obligations of FAO membership more fully. These were set forth in the Memorandum on Information and Publications Policies and Channels of Communications with Member Governments submitted to and endorsed by the Fourth Session of the Conference. This memorandum is again brought to the serious attention of member governments. The steps along this line already taken by some governments, such as the issue of national bulletins of FAO information and the designation of certain officials to be responsible for this work, are noted with approval.