H. United Nations/FAO world food programme (WFP)
WFP proposed pledging target 1993-94
270. In introducing the item, the Executive Director reminded the Conference that the target of US$1 500 million had already been debated and supported by the FAO Council, as well as by ECOSOC and the Second Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations. He pointed out further that the target did not cover resources for emergencies and food aid for refugees. He also referred to previous discussions held during the Conference which were supported by two reports, namely, the State of Food and Agriculture and the International Agricultural Adjustment Progress Report," the essential points of those reports being that particularly in Africa the gap between food production and food needs continued to increase, thus indicating an increased need for food aid to help maintain food imports at the required level. The Executive Director stressed that WFP's projects were particularly appropriate in the struggle to alleviate hunger and to promote economic development and local food production.
271. The Executive Director noted with concern, however, that as a result of reduced availability of food from donors for the regular pledge, the Programme was simply not able to respond as positively as it should to all highly-deserving requests for food aid. With respect to the one-third of resources which should be made available by donors in cash, the Executive Director thanked those donors who had made a special effort to increase their cash pledge during the current pledging period (1991/92), such cash that now represented 29 percent of all pledges made for the biennium to date (US$290 million out of US$1 001 million). The biennium still had another year to run, however, and the Executive Director appealed to all donors to increase their pledges. He also noted that while WFP's development programme had stagnated, the dramatic increase in disaster situations had led to a substantial increase in emergency operations. As a result, the Programme was expected to ship four million tons of emergency, refugee and development food aid during 1991. Even this level of shipments did not reflect the full scope of the Programme's work as in many countries, such as the Sudan, the Programme acted as overall Food Aid Coordinator and managed considerable tonnages of food on behalf of bilateral donors including very complex and risk-laden logistic arrangements by land, water and air. He commended WFP staff for their dedication and professionalism in carrying out these programmes.
272. The Executive Director presented extensively the progress achieved so far by the Programme in the development of its logistic capacity. He underlined a positive development whereby the concept of the neutrality of food aid was slowly gaining ground, and was being increasingly accepted by both sides in civil conflicts. With regard to the food needs for refugees, the Executive Director drew the attention of the Conference to the new working arrangement between the Programme and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which would be implemented from January 1992. Under this new arrangement, WFP would progressively assume responsibility for providing all basic commodities and for mobilizing related transport funds.
273. The Executive Director closed his intervention by saying a few words about the amendments to the General Regulations of the World Food Programmes. In approving these amendments the Conference and the United Nations General Assembly had brought into being major improvements in the way in which the Programme was guided by governments, how it related to other organizations of the United Nations system and how it managed its internal affairs.
274. The representative of the Director-General indicated that several major factors were affecting WFP's regular budget. On the one hand the supply of food aid, particularly cereals, could contract due to reduced production and declining stocks, notably in the major cereal exporting countries, higher demand for imports and increasing prices for commodities and transport. On the other hand, the need for food aid, which even apart from the needs for refugees, displaced persons and returnees, was still at a high level, despite the achievement of improved food output this year in the Sahel and in some other distressed African countries. He indicated that the Director-General, on the basis of these factors, considered that a good justification could be made for recommending a higher pledging target than had been proposed. However, the Director-General was mindful of the constraints which faced the major food aid donor countries and of the fact that actual commitments to the Programme lagged behind the established targets. The Director-General had, therefore, concluded that the proposed target represented a pragmatic and sound level of resources and urged its endorsement. His representative also noted the stress placed by the Director-General on the need to meet the target in full and the importance of ensuring that one-third of all pledges be in cash for transport and support costs. The representative of the Director-General emphasized that the International Emergency Food Reserve (IEFR) should be placed on a sound and reliable footing and that its resources should be enhanced. He concluded by adding that the Director-General commended the adoption by the Conference of the draft resolution contained in the document before it.
275. The Conference commended the Executive Director, Mr James Ingram, for the efficient management of the Programme and the improvements which he had achieved during his ten-year tenure as Executive Director. The Conference noted that this was the last Conference which the Executive Director would attend in his present capacity, and wished him well in future endeavours.
276. The Conference also presented its best wishes to the Chairman of Commission II, Mr Hans Jorgen Kristensen, who would retire in the near future.
277. The Conference underlined the importance of the World Food Programme as a major source of assistance to developing countries. Referring to the current trend toward more emergency assistance, it hoped that this would not be detrimental to the food needs for important socioeconomic development activities, in particular, for the enhancement of local food production in recipient countries. Many Member Nations noted with regret that the Programme would be facing a biennium of zero growth target for its development activities. Some Member Nations recognized that the target represented a realistic level. The Conference expressed the hope that donors would make every effort to fully achieve the target of $1 500 million both during the current and the forthcoming biennium. The Conference also stressed the need for donors to provide one-third of the total contribution in cash for transport and support costs. The Conference hoped that a geographical balance in the allocation of resources should be maintained, although it was recognized that due to the inadequate level of resources relative to food aid needs, some difficult choices in resources allocations between projects could be necessary. The wish was expressed for greater efficiency in food aid in the light of resource constraints.
278. In concluding the debate, the Conference:
(b) particularly stressed the importance of providing one-third of the biennial target for voluntary contributions in the form of cash pledges in order to give the Programme necessary operational flexibility;
(c) observed with concern that with more emergency needs the balance of the Programme's activities was shifting away from development projects toward emergency operations;
(d) noted that substantial progress had been made by the Programme in developing its logistics capacity;
(e) reaffirmed the role played by the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes in guiding and monitoring WFP activities; and
(f) expressed its deep appreciation to the Executive Director for his dedicated leadership of the Programme during the last ten years. It noted, in particular, the achievements in the operational efficiency of the Programme during his tenure, as well as the valuable contribution made by him to the reforms aimed at improved governance of the Programme.
279. The Conference unanimously adopted the following Resolution:
TARGET FOR THE WFP PLEDGES FOR THE PERIOD 1993-94
Recalling the provisions of Resolution 4/65 that the World Food Programme is to be reviewed before each pledging conference,
Noting that the review of the Programme was undertaken by the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes of the World Food Programme at its Thirty-first Session and by the FAO Council at its Ninety-ninth Session,
Having considered Resolution 1/99 of the FAO Council as well as the recommendations of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes,
Recognizing the value of multilateral food aid as implemented by WFP since its inception and the necessity for continuing its action both as a form of capital investment and for meeting emergency food needs:
1. Establishes for the two years 1993 and 1994 a target for voluntary contributions of US$1 500 million dollars, of which not less than one-third should be in cash and/or services in aggregate, and expresses the hope that such resources will be augmented by substantial additional contributions from other sources in recognition of the prospective volume of sound project requests and the capacity of the Programme to operate at a higher level;
2. Urges Member States of the United Nations and Members and Associate Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and appropriate donor organizations to make every effort to ensure the full attainment of the target;
3. Requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Director General of FAO, to convene a pledging conference for this purpose at United Nations Headquarters in 1992.
(Adopted 25 November 1991)
I. Relations and consultations with international organizations
280. The Conference noted with interest the information contained in the documents before it, which provided an illustrative overview both of developments in other fore which had a bearing on FAO's activities, and of FAO's collaboration with other organizations within the UN system, with intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The documents were selective in their coverage, as FAO's cooperative links with other organizations were also reported upon under other substantive items on the Conference agenda, and an effort had been made to avoid duplication in the content of documentation in order to facilitate the Conference deliberations.
281. The Conference recognized that, as indicated in the Medium-term Plan, cooperation with other organizations was an essential element in all of the Organization's technical programmes, particularly with the increasing emphasis on cross-sectoral issues and multi-disciplinary approaches and the elimination of duplication among agencies' activities. The documents were useful in illustrating the wider context in which FAO carried out its work. A few Member Nations suggested that the documents' analytical content could be enhanced, and encouraged further integration of reporting on major issues into related Conference documentation.
282. The Conference underlined the importance of coordination in maximizing the impact of FAO's work and benefits to member countries. It stressed that the presence of FAO in UN system activities, wherever the Organization had a comparative advantage, should be given priority. It also pointed out, however, that resources were required to enhance FAO activities in this regard. It was noted with satisfaction that FAO would take the initiative in organizing, at the senior official level, informal inter-secretariat consultations among the Rome-based food and agriculture organizations before the end of the year.
283. The Conference commended FAO on its quick and effective response, within its mandate and technical expertise and within available resources to an unprecedented number of emergencies during the past year. In particular, it appreciated the excellent services provided by the Global Information and Early Warning System, which it would like to see strengthened in all regions. It also expressed appreciation for FAO's action, in close collaboration with other UN organizations, in dealing with the screwworm infestation in Libya, as well as with emergencies in Bangladesh, the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa. The Conference recognized the value of the TCP in assisting Member Nations to respond to emergencies and disasters. In this connection, the importance of building Member Nations' disaster-preparedness capacity was stressed. The Conference also noted the ongoing debate on ways of improving the UN system response to emergencies.
284. The Conference stressed the importance of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, and considered that FAO had acquired valuable experience in this area. It expressed the hope that FAO's activities in support of TCDC could be enhanced, and, noting that UNDP was increasing its allocations for TCDC, stressed that FAO could provide valuable support to the Programme in this regard. Some Member Nations suggested that TCDC could possibly be a modality to assist in the shift to national execution of UN projects and the building of national capacity.
285. The Conference welcomed FAO's collaboration with international financing institutions and its activities in providing investment support for the agricultural sector of the developing countries.
286. The Conference expressed appreciation for the prompt response of the Organization in addressing the issue of large-scale pelagic driftnet fishing, and for its valuable technical contribution to the General Assembly debate on this question. In this regard, it agreed that FAO should henceforth focus on the wider issue of high seas fisheries, and accordingly welcomed the technical consultation on high seas fishing which was planned for 1992.
287. The Conference noted the ongoing consideration by the General Assembly of restructuring and revitalization of the UN in the economic and social fields. In this connection, it was informed of findings and proposals contained in a study recently completed by the Nordic countries entitled "The UN in Development Reform Issues in the Economic and Social Fields". Some Member Nations encouraged the Organization to reflect on the findings and recommendations of this study.