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I. Plan of action for the integration of women into agricultural and rural development: Progress report

138. The Conference considered the Plan of Action for Integration of Women in Development through the Second Progress Report on its implementation. It noted that the Progress Report was submitted in accordance with the request of its Twenty-fifth Session. The Conference welcomed the information provided by delegates on the implementation of their national WID programmes for integration of women in agricultural and rural development.

139. The Conference commended FAO for the significant progress made in the implementation of the Plan of Action. It noted with satisfaction that Women in Development was one of the six priorities in the Programme of Work and Budget for the 1992-93 biennium and that, despite financial stringencies, the resource allocation for the Sub-programme concerned had been increased in both the 1990-91 and 1992-93 bienniums.

140. The Conference urged FAO and Member Governments to continue their efforts in support of the Plan of Action. It stressed the importance of taking into consideration socio-cultural differences when implementing the Plan of Action.

141. The Conference recalled that the objective of the Plan of Action was to ensure that, in the Organization's spheres of responsibility, women were accorded equal rights and opportunities to contribute to the agricultural and rural development of their respective societies. It regretted that women still encountered obstacles to their full participation in agricultural and rural development and called for more attention and efforts to support and enhance their roles as producers in agriculture, and as important contributors to rural development.

142. The Conference reiterated its support for the seven original programme priorities. Recognizing that the achievement of sustainable agricultural and rural development depended significantly on the active participation of both rural women and men, the Conference agreed with the addition of an eighth priority on Sustainable Development, Natural Resource Management and Environment.

143. The Conference stressed the important need to expand the Organization-wide efforts to more systematically integrate gender issues in mainstream programme and project activities. It welcomed the progress achieved during the 1990-91 biennium in the programme for training FAO Professional staff in gender analysis. It noted with satisfaction that FAO planned to produce a number of sector-specific guidelines for including gender issues in programme and project development exercises, for both FAO and Member Government staff.

144. The Conference reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the active involvement and support of the Member Governments in implementing the Plan of Action. This involvement and support was seen to be most important in terms of the elaboration of policies and programmes that increased women's access to income, extension services, training, technology, productive resources including access to land, health and education opportunities, population and nutrition information, management and decision-making positions, and natural resources and environmental conservation information. It supported the Organization's efforts to act as a catalyst and advocate to encourage and assist Member Governments to address gender issues in agriculture and rural development activities. In this regard, FAO was encouraged to continue to coordinate with and to draw on the experience of other UN organizations and bilateral agencies.

145. The Conference stressed the importance of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries for supporting Member Governments in implementing the Plan of Action. It particularly underlined the value of the exchange of information and experiences among member countries, as well as special programmes for women to enhance their educational levels. It expressed appreciation for FAO's contribution in establishing the Regional Network Mechanism and in holding sub-regional workshops on WID in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, and requested FAO to consider expanding these activities.

146. The Conference stressed the need for FAO, and the Member Governments, to expand their efforts to provide critically-needed management and skills training programmes for rural women. The Conference also underlined the importance of developing a data collection programme for gender specific statistical indicators for planning, monitoring and evaluating programmes on integration of women in development. It was noted that agricultural censuses, population censuses, and various sample surveys could serve as sources of data for such indicators. The Conference noted that FAO had convened an Inter-Agency Consultation on Statistics and Data Bases on Gender in Agriculture and Rural Development. It encouraged FAO to continue to cooperate with international and national agencies in providing technical assistance to developing countries in gathering and utilizing gender-desegregated statistics and indicators.

147. The Conference noted that, as a result of the Organization's efforts to increase the recruitment and promotion of women Professional staff, some progress had been achieved. It requested the Organization to continue its efforts to increase the number of Professional women staff, especially at the higher grades. The Conference also requested Member Governments to assist in this respect by identifying qualified women candidates from their countries and to encourage them to apply for positions in the Organization in order to expedite progress towards reaching the UN target of 35 percent by 1995.

148. The Conference requested the Director-General to present the Third Progress Report on implementing the Plan of Action to the Twenty-seventh Session of the Conference in 1993.

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