The Conference considers that the integration of nutrition into the work of FAO as a whole is of the utmost importance and emphasizes again the feet that the improvement of nutritional conditions is a basic objective of the Organization. With these ideas in mind, it has reviewed the work of the Organization in nutritional in 1949 and the program for 1950.
Work of FAO
The Conference expresses its approval of the work accomplished by FAO in the field of nutrition in 1949 and considers that satisfactory provision for extending and developing this work is made in the 1950 program. It notes that the studies of appropriate measures for application in school feeding and nutrition education programs, now being undertaken, are nearing completion, and that an analysis of the technique and interpretation of diet surveys has reached the stage of publication. It is the view of the Conference that in extending work in these fields in 1950 and 1951, the emphasis should be on providing direct technical assistance to governments in carrying out practical programs.
Collaboration with Other Specialized Agencies
The Conference notes that FAO is collaborating with other UN Agencies with interests in nutrition, including WHO, UNICEF, and ILO.
It has reviewed the Report of the Joint FAO/ WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition which met in Geneva in October 1949 and agrees that the Director-General should take appropriate action on the proposals of this Committee, as they concern FAO. It expresses approval of the steps which have been taken to co-ordinate the nutrition activities of both organizations and reemphasizes the need for continued collaboration in the future. While nearly all practical nutrition programs have aspects which concern both WHO and FAO, duplication of effort must be avoided to the greatest possible extent. It is therefore most desirable that the range of responsibility of the two organizations in this field be delineated as clearly as possible.
The Conference notes that in the program for 1950 adequate provision has been made for nutrition work in the regions.
The Conference considers that, when food production policies and targets are discussed at pre-Conference and other meetings in the regions, full weight should be given to nutritional objectives. It therefore urges member governments to include nutrition experts in delegations to future Pre-Conference Regional Meetings of the type convened in 1949.
Nutrition in Member Countries
The Conference notes that reports from member governments submitted under Article XI of the Constitution and reports made at the present Session of the Conference by Venezuela, Mexico, the Philippine Republic, and other members indicate increasing interest in nutrition in many countries. It is clear, however, that much more needs to be done. There is a general shortage of trained and capable nutrition workers, and governments should make every effort to arrange that more persons receive training in nutrition and are provided with opportunities to do effective work when they have been trained.
It is also desirable that national programs concerned with raising nutritional levels be initiated and developed where this has not already been done. Progress will be most rapid when all activities related to nutrition are coordinated and full use is made of the knowledge and experience of the nutrition experts available in the various countries. To achieve these ends, satisfactory organization is obviously necessary.
The Conference therefore draws attention to recommendations made at previous sessions to the effect that member governments establish national nutrition organizations where none now exist, give such organizations a status commensurate with their importance, and seek their advice in planning food policies and programs.
Nutrition in Relation to Economic Development
The Conference is convinced that a substantial contribution to the economic development of a country can be made by improving the diet of its population. Undernutrition and malnutrition impair health, lead to disease, and reduce working capacity. Workers in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and in industry cannot be efficient producers unless they receive adequate amounts of the right kinds of food.
Nutrition must occupy a central position in programs for increasing food production. The production and distribution of food must be planned to make it possible for all sections of the population to obtain a satisfactory diet. The first need is often a broad survey of the food situation, including the study of local foods and food consumption patterns, in order to determine needs on a scientific basis. In many countries sufficiently trained personnel is not available for this purpose, and suitable workers will have to be trained before such a survey can be made. Practical measures to influence food habits and productions and to ensure that the best use is made of available food supplies must be based on this appraisal of the situation.
The Conference considers that the most effective way in which FAO call assist governments in the field of nutrition is by helping them to establish nutrition services which will be concerned (a) with the planning of food production, distribution, and consumption policies, and (b) with measures and activities the aim of which is that families have the quantities of different kinds of food needed for an adequate diet. They will also be concerned with providing families with information on how to preserve foods, how to prepare them by such methods that nutritional values are conserved, and how to combine them into attractive meals. It must be recognized, however, that efforts spread over many years will be necessary for the full attainment of these objectives.
This will also involve the training of workers. Fellowships should be awarded, for study in the more developed countries, to senior workers to equip them to direct or organize nutrition services. In addition, special nutrition courses can he arranged in countries or regions to train personnel concerned with carrying out practical work in the field.
Emphasis should also be laid on methods of providing some knowledge of nutrition to non-technical workers who are in close touch with the people in their daily lives, e.g., missionaries, school teachers, and local administrators. Short courses can be arranged for this purpose.
Another method of assistance is through the provision of nutrition consultants to governments on request. These will assist governments in establishing nutrition services, in arranging the training of local personnel, and in the general development of a satisfactory nutrition program. It is important that such consultants should work in the closest possible contact with local experts and organizations.
Lack of efficient methods of preserving and processing food leads to considerable wastage. The inclusion in the Technical Assistance Pro gram of activities designed to improve methods of food processing and preservation is therefore appropriate.
H. Rural welfare
The Conference approves the work done by FAO in the field of rural welfare, in general approves the program of work for 1950, and makes the following comments on certain modifications and additions to the program of work for 1950, arising out of recommendations of member governments or of technical meetings since the program was prepared.
Home Economics and Related Fields
The Conference notes that a beginning was made by the Rural Welfare Division in home economics work during 1949 and that cooperative relations with rural organizations of women and young people were strengthened and extended, and in general approves the plans which have been made to extend the work in these fields during 1950.
As a means of enabling FAO to co-operate more effectively with member governments in work in home economics and related fields, the Conference invites member countries, where they have not already done so, to appoint to their National FAO Committee experts on rural welfare in general, and in particular experts in rural welfare in relation to work among rural women and children.
Statistical Survey of Rural Welfare Conditions
In the view of the Conference, the work of FAO and of international organizations looking toward bettering the condition of rural populations will be aided if criteria are established for comparing levels of living among different groups of farm people and between farm people and other groups, and if the statistical basis for such comparisons is improved. Knowledge of welfare deficiencies throughout the world is as important a guide to programs and policies as is knowledge of deficiencies in natural resources. Essentials of Rural Welfare, published in 1949, is a useful contribution to the establishment of such criteria. The Conference approves in principle the proposal for a long-term project to bring together the available statistics on rural welfare conditions in member countries and to improve these statistics, paying special attention to the methods of preparing and using family budgets, and collaborating where possible with leaders of cooperatives in member countries, and refers the technical aspects of the project to the Standing Advisory Committee on Rural Welfare. In developing the program FAO should collaborate with the United Nations, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, and other international organizations.
Rural Welfare in Mountain Areas
Member countries in Europe have requested that FAO give special attention to improvement of the conditions of life among rural populations in mountain areas. In many countries, the need for improvement is greatest in such areas. Failure to meet the need also has serious consequences in terms of population distribution in relation to resources. Moreover, the methods required to meet them are in general different from those in other areas.
The Conference therefore welcomes the proposal of the Organization to conduct an inquiry into rural problems and programs among mountain peoples in Europe and Near Eastern countries.
Rural Welfare in European Countries
A number of European countries have expressed an interest in holding national rural life conferences as a means of collecting information on and defining more clearly the problems of rural welfare. Moreover, the ECE asked for studies of certain rural life problems as a high-priority project when establishing its Committee on Agricultural Problems in 1949. The Conference notes that the national monographs and other material prepared for the European Rural Life Conference planned by the League of Nations for 1939 would provide basic information which might be brought up to date by further studies or by the proposed National Rural Life Conferences.
The Conference draws the attention of member governments to the need for providing information on rural welfare problems and programs in their Article XI reports during 1950 and suggests that such information be collected by national rural life conferences, studies, or other means, and that the results he made available to FAO.
In order that these results may be as comparable as possible, the Conference advises FAO to assist in the preparation of the agenda of such meetings or the list of topics to be covered by such studies. If this material could be collected during 1950, either through national rural life conferences or in monographs, it would provide valuable documentation for a European Rural Life Conference at a later date.
Rural Welfare in Other Regions
The Conference recalls the recommendations passed by its Fourth Session that reports of member governments to FAO attach importance to rural welfare conditions and programs, recommends that these be analyzed more fully than has been the practice, and that, especially in Southeast Asia, detailed studies on rural welfare conditions he made and special attention be paid to the training of workers in rural welfare.
In so far as the project above, "Rural Welfare in European Countries," furnishes a suitable approach, similar steps might be taken when practicable for other areas.
Development of Co-operatives
The Conference commends the work of FAO in promoting co-operative activities during 1949 within the existing limits of staff and budget, and notes with approval the proposal strengthen the Rural Welfare staff for the purpose of expanding these activities, but considers that this work should be further developed in the Director-General's Program of Work for 1951.
The Conference looks with favor on holding technical meetings on co-operatives such as that recently held at Lucknow, India, as a method of developing practical policies and procedures adapted to the varying needs of different areas, and in general approves the recommendations of that meeting for assistance by FAO, as being of a type which might be properly undertaken.
As a basis for initiating broad integrated programs for the encouragement of co-operatives, the Conference considers that similar technical meetings should he arranged where practicable.
Special attention should be paid by FAO to efforts by co-operatives to develop relations between different kinds of co-operatives within countries and between co-operatives in different countries.
As one means of relating the work of the Organization on co-operatives as closely as possible to the needs of governments, the Conference suggests that member countries consider the possibility of appointing honorary correspondents on co-operatives who would be members of National FAO Committees and who would regularly transmit information to FAO.
FAO should work closely with other agencies concerned with co-operatives, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), and International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP).
Taking note of Article XI paragraph 5, of the Constitution of FAO and of the resolution passed by the Fourth Session recommending the continuance of the valuable Legislative Service maintained by the International Institute of Agriculture since 1912;
Recognizing the necessity of such a legislative service to the Organization itself, and that the proposed Technical Assistance Program would increase the demand for such a service;
Recognizing the need of member countries for information on legislative action in other countries: and
Recognizing that many countries, especially smaller countries, cannot themselves provide this information, particularly in the case of legislation not published in one of the official languages of FAO;
- Recommends that the Legislative Service of FAO now situated in Rome be continued, if possible on a revised and expanded basis, but at least on the present restricted scale; and
- Requests the Director-General to make the necessary provision for suitable expansion, at least in the 1951 budget.
Proposals for 1951
There is great need for improving the wellbeing of fishing communities in many parts of the world. Diet, health, housing, conditions of work, and other aspects of well-being are frequently unsatisfactory. As in the case of mountain areas, those conditions arise out of special circumstances and may require special measures for their improvement. It is therefore recommended that the Director-General include in the Program of Work for 1951 a project similar to that proposed for mountain areas during 1951 to promote studies on welfare problems and programs by member countries.
The Conference recommends that provision be made in the 1951 Program of Work for the analysis of reports on rural welfare in European countries which these countries are invited to prepare during 1950; and, requests the Director-General to explore the possibility of holding a European Rural Life Conference late in 1951.
REFERENCE LIST, TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES OF FAO
Draft Program of Work for 1950 (C49/3)
Report by the Director-General on Long-Term Publication Policy (C49/5)
Work of FAO, 1948/49: Report of the Director-General (C49/8)
Proposed General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (C49/14)
National and International Reporting Services on Animal Diseases, Plant Diseases, and Insect Pests (C49/15)
FAO's Program for Extension and Advisory Services (C49/17)
FAO Pre-Conference Regional Meetings: Summary of Recommendations and Suggestions (C49/II/4)
Report of the Latin- American Pre-Conference Regional Meeting (C49/II/5)
Report of the Near East Pre-Conference Regional Meeting (C49/II/6)
Report of the Pre-Conference Regional Meeting in Asia and the Far East (C49/II/7)
Report of the Regional Pre-Conference Meeting in Europe (C49/II/8)
Report on the Library of the Former International Institute of agriculture (C49/II/9)
National Programs for Conservation and Utilization of Land and Water Resources (C49/II/10)