VI. Activities and programmes of the organization

A. Review of the regular programme 1988-89
B. Programme of work and budget 1990-91 and medium-term objectives
C. Review of field programmes 1988-89
D. Conclusions of the review of certain aspects of FAO's goals and operations
E. United Nations/FAO World Food Programme (WFP)
F. Relations and consultations with international organizations

A. Review of the regular programme 1988-89

130. The Conference considered the Review of the Regular Programme 1988-89 to be a comprehensive, useful and informative document and welcomed the further improvements made in its format, presentation and content. It was observed that a comparable Review did not exist in other agencies of the United Nations. In particular, the Conference appreciated the consolidated quantitative information on programme implementation (Part 1, Chapter Four), the highlighting of successful or innovative activities (Part I, Chapters One, Two and Three) and the coverage of interdisciplinary activities under Major Programme Agriculture. It also noted with regret the adverse effects of budgetary cuts on programme implementation under Major Programmes Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

131. While the focus of the Review was on Regular Programme activities, the Conference appreciated the inclusion of key achievements of field projects in the performance of Programmes, Sub-programmes and cross-sectoral topics. It recognized that this integrated approach helped underline the organic link between Regular and Field Programme activities, especially in the in-depth reviews of Sub-programmes (Part II) and of special subjects (Part III) in which the thrust of the analysis was on the assessment of effects and impact.

132. In appreciating the informative and analytical content of the Review, the Conference desired that the document be made even more evaluative, with particular emphasis on quality assessment of programme achievements and on the analysis of impact, including the influence of FAO's activities on national programmes, where appropriate. This would facilitate more effective feedback from evaluation to future programming.

133. The Conference noted that Part I of the Review had highlighted key achievements in the implementation of the Major Programmes. It also noted the adverse effects on the implementation of technical programmes resulting from budgetary cuts and programme adjustments. It expressed serious concern about these adverse effects, including the erosion of FAO's technical staff strength, the reductions in training activities, work months used for the technical backstopping of field projects and in the number of meetings and important publications. The Conference agreed that such cuts and adjustments had rendered the orderly implementation of the Regular Programme difficult and had affected FAO's capacity to respond to urgent requests for assistance from member countries.

134. Among the wide range of activities covered in Part I of the Review, the Conference emphasized the importance of plant and animal genetic resources, prevention of food losses, land and water conservation, integrated pest management, locust centre, seed development, role of women in development, TFAP, development of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, global information and early warning systems, training of national professional and para-professional staff, biotechnology and Codex Alimentarius, and support to the Uruguay Round.

135. The Conference reiterated its support for the TCP (Technical Cooperation Programme). The majority of Member Nations urged an increase in the share of TCP in the overall budget. Some Member Nations considered that the treatment of TCP in the Review was insufficient and urged that future Reviews should include a substantive section on the structure and achievements of the TCP.

136. The Conference considered that the in-depth reviews of the four Sub-programmes included in Part II of the Review were frank and useful, and appreciated that these reviews had raised key issues which indicated the way for further improvements in the planning and implementation of the sub-programmes. It noted the positive achievements of Sub-programme (Food and Agriculture Industries) in improving indigenous processing technologies for grains, fruits and vegetables and in the development of sericulture and apiculture. All these activities were supporting rural development and contributing to rural income generation. The Conference supported the conclusions which emphasized, in particular, the importance of vertical integration and increased cooperation with other UN agencies, especially UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization).

137. The Conference agreed that Sub-programme (Situation and Outlook) performed a unique function consonant with FAO's constitutional mandate and welcomed the qualitative improvements made in the State of Food and Agriculture and the Commodity Review and Outlook. It supported the merger of the World Food Report into SOFA and noted with satisfaction the timely publication of SOFA.

138. The Conference expressed satisfaction with the contributions of Sub-programme (Fisheries Policy and Planning) in strengthening national planning and management capabilities in the sector of fisheries through improved data collection, training of national staff in fisheries planning and management and assistance to recipient countries through multidisciplinary advisory missions. It encouraged FAO to further strengthen this effort, particularly in the socio-economic and environmental aspects of fisheries and in the development of aquaculture, and concentrate research on small fishing boats.

139. The Conference recognized the critical role of Sub-programme (Forestry Training and Institutions) in the development of manpower and institutions serving the forestry sector. It noted that these activities made particularly useful contributions to the work of the Tropical Forestry Action Plan.

140. The Conference welcomed the inclusion of the two special subjects in Part III of the Review. Both subjects, which highlighted cross-sectoral issues, were of great importance for the future orientation of FAO's work in policy analysis and the use of natural resources on a sustainable basis. Consequently, their inclusion in the Review was useful and timely.

141. The Conference considered the chapter on Review of FAO's Policy and Planning Support to Member Countries as a comprehensive coverage of FAO's activities in policy and strategy formulation at global, regional and country level, including the strengthening of national institutions in policy analysis through training and advisory services under field projects.

142. The Conference noted that FAO's activities in policy analysis and planning were shared among 41 Sub-programmes and the level of expenditures during 1984-89 amounted to some US$ 82 million from the Regular Budget (13 percent of the combined budgets of the three technical Major Programmes). FAO's policy work in terms of advisory missions, meetings and consultations, training, publication of guidelines and the technical backstopping of field projects was considered impressive. The Conference appreciated that 40 percent of field projects in policy and planning were funded by TCP.

143. The Conference urged FAO to further strengthen its capacity in policy analysis and planning with particular focus on sector and sub-sector reviews and sector and structural adjustment work particularly at the level of the countries concerned. In connection with the latter, the Conference agreed that FAO had complementary roles to play in collaboration with other international agencies, such as IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, especially in avoiding or mitigating any adverse effects of structural adjustment on food security and rural development concerns. It also emphasized the need for closer working relationships with IMF and the World Bank, especially on country macro-economic frameworks, and with the UNDP. The early involvement of FAO in structural adjustment work was emphasized.

144. The Conference stressed the multidisciplinary nature of work in policy analysis and sector and sub-sector reviews. Some Member Nations considered that this called for a more effective internal working mechanism within FAO, as well as increased technical assistance to developing countries in these crucial areas.

145. The Conference appreciated the inclusion of the chapter on FAO Support to Member Countries in Conservation and Amelioration of the Natural Environment and Introduction of Environmental Considerations in FAO Projects and Programmes. It noted with appreciation FAO's traditional role in the use of natural resources on a sustainable basis. The Conference observed that the subject was complex and encompassed a large number of activities under 19 Sub programmes. The Conference stressed that in the light of international concern for environmental issues and the rational use of natural resources for sustainable development, there was a strong justification for increased allocation of resources in support of environmental aspects of FAO activities, both from the Regular Programme and extra-budgetary sources.

146. The Conference noted the upgrading of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Environment and Energy and welcomed the introduction of systematic environmental impact assessment in field projects.

147. The Conference stressed the need for a balanced approach in the use of natural resources. While the concern for preserving the environment was of crucial importance, there must be equal consideration given to the efficient use of natural resources to overcome poverty in the developing countries. The Conference considered that the twin objectives of protecting the environment and improving the living standard of the rural poor were compatible.

148. The Conference urged the active participation of FAO in the planned 1992 UN World Conference on Environment to the extent that available resources allowed.

B. Programme of work and budget 1990-91 and medium-term objectives

Programme budget process
Programme activities
Financial framework
Budget level


149. The Conference recognized the range of external and integral challenges confronting the Organization which had a bearing on the Programme of Work and Budget 1990-91.

150. The Conference agreed that a number of factors, such as the expanding world population especially in developing countries, the pervasive rural poverty and malnutrition in many regions, the environmental threats to the agricultural resource base, the imbalances in the world food and agricultural system and the burden of external debt called for a determined FAO response consistent with its three main roles, and an adequate capacity for FAO to provide the necessary technical assistance and support to needy countries. The Conference underlined the increased responsibilities which the world community expected FAO to shoulder through catalytic, supportive and regulatory actions. These included the facilitation of freer agricultural trade, the safe use of pesticides and the preservation of natural ecosystems and genetic resources.

151. Among internal challenges, the Conference reiterated its concern at the impact of continued financial difficulties due primarily to arrears in the payment of contributions. The Conference expressed regret that successive programme cuts made necessary by income shortfalls, particularly contributions shortfalls in the last two biennia, to some extent had deprived Member Nations of the Organization's valuable outputs and services. It noted that the longer term implications of these reductions were compounded by the difficulties encountered in the recruitment and retention of qualified staff.

152. The great majority of Member Nations stressed that it was imperative to restore FAO's capacity to meet extensive requirements for assistance from its membership. They urged that some expansion of its programmes was now necessary, in order to meet these expectations and compensate for earlier forced cuts in programmes and activities. Accordingly, additional resources had to be provided. Some other Member Nations recognized the need for FAO to be able to address new situations and adjust its technical capacity accordingly. They considered, however, that this should not necessarily imply additional resources but should be effected primarily through reordering of priorities and redeployment of resources.

153. The Conference agreed that the prime basis for the Organization's recovery and effective presence on the international scene lay in the prompt payment of contributions and settlement of arrears. It made a strong appeal for such payments from Member Nations with contributions outstanding for 1989 and for earlier years and stressed the need for effective and timely action to be taken by them.

154. Some Member Nations considered that eventual Conference decisions stemming from the FAO Review would have implications for the programme of work of the Organization in the next biennium. Accordingly, they urged that a final position on the budgetary proposals should not be taken until the budgetary implications of decisions on the Review were known. The majority of Member Nations did not agree with this approach and stressed that approval of the Programme of Work and Budget should not be subordinated to consideration of other issues. They strongly felt that any attempt to link the two outcomes would not be conducive to dispassionate dialogue and constructive decisions by the Conference.

Programme budget process

155. The Conference noted that the Council had agreed, at its Ninety-fourth Session in November 1988, to the introduction, on an experimental basis, of an additional consultative step to FAO's programme budget process, consisting in the submission of an Outline Programme of Work and Budget to an early joint session of the Programme and Finance Committees. The Conference further noted this development had originated from the FAO Review and that continuation of the procedure, for at least the 1992-93 Programme of Work and Budget, had been recommended by the Special Joint Session which had dealt with the Review.

156. The Conference recognized that views had already been expressed by representatives of Member Nations on the relative merits of this procedure at sessions of the Programme and Finance Committees and the Council. One current of opinion was that this additional step had enhanced dialogue among the membership on budgetary proposals, and that it should be pursued. Another current was that the true test of the value of this procedure could only take place at the time of voting on budgetary appropriations. Some also indicated that if the step of the Outline were to be continued, the elimination of the Summary should be considered. The Conference agreed that it would revert to this issue in the context of its consideration of the FAO Review.


157. The Conference noted the main features of the Director-General's proposals, which included the allocation of net additional resources only to FAO's technical and economic activities, the provision of a net programme increase of US$ 5.5 million, i.e. 1 percent of the recosted 1988-89 base, the deliberate absorption of some anticipated cost increases amounting to US$ 3 million and the further reduction of 25 established posts. This had resulted in a proposed budget level of US$ 574 million at the budgetary exchange of Italian Lire 1 235 to US$ 1, adopted by the FAO Conference in November 1987 for the present Programme of Work and Budget.

158. The Conference expressed appreciation of the Director-General's efforts, aimed at consensus approval of the Programme of Work and Budget. It recognized that the Director-General had sought to find a compromise between the wish of a great majority of Member Nations to see a level of resources commensurate with requirements and the need to limit the request for assessments in the light of continuing difficulties experienced by many Member Nations to meet their financial obligations to the Organization.

159. The Conference was satisfied that the substantive content of the Programme of Work and Budget duly reflected prior guidance by FAO's Governing and Advisory Bodies. It noted that this substantive content had been enriched by and took into account the comments made by the bodies which had examined the proposals in the form of the Outline and the Summary.

160. The Conference welcomed the further improvements made by the Secretariat to the format and presentation of the Programme of Work and Budget document, in order to enhance its clarity and transparency. It encouraged the continuation of additional improvements where feasible.


161. The Conference endorsed the nine priority areas under Chapter 2: Technical and Economic Programmes, which were targetted for net additional resources: policy advice; biotechnology; agricultural data development; sustainable development; women in development; crop/weather monitoring; crop protection; aquaculture; and the Tropical Forestry Action Plan. It was recognized that the listing of these areas did not reflect any ranking of priorities.

162. With regard to biotechnology, the Conference underlined the expected contribution of FAO to assisting developing countries in sharing more widely in the benefits from new technologies and to monitoring the impact of developments in such technologies on the world food and agriculture situation.

163. The Conference recalled the key role of FAO in the assembly and dissemination of information regarding food and agriculture. It was particularly pleased to note, in this connection, the planned resumed publication of key FAO magazines such as CERES and UNASYLVA.

164. The Conference reiterated the importance it attached to the close complementarity between the Regular and Field Programmes. Many Member Nations expressed the hope that adequate extra-budgetary resources would be forthcoming to permit continued expansion of field activities. The planned strengthening of country offices under Chapter 3: Development Support Programmes was considered particularly timely in this respect.

165. Some Member Nations expressed the wish to see a clearer definition of links between programme elements and established priorities, thereby facilitating consideration of the programme proposals.

166. In respect of the regional balance, the members of the Latin American and Caribbean Region expressed concern at the relatively low share of both Regular Programme and field activities for the benefit of their region and expressed the hope that this would be redressed in future biennia. In particular, they requested that a formula should be found to avoid closing down the AQUILA (Regional Aquaculture Activities for Latin America and the Caribbean) aquaculture network which, it had been expected, was to continue to be funded by donor countries.

167. Many Member Nations regretted the suppression of certain programme elements intended for Africa. The Conference supported the continued priority given to this region.

Programme activities

168. During the discussion, a number of comments were made on selected programme activities to which Member Nations attached importance. In some cases, Member Nations expressed regret at the proposed reduced level of resources for specific activities to which they attached special importance.

169. With regard to Chapter 2: Technical and Economic Programmes, broad endorsement was given to the substantive thrust and objectives of all component programmes and sub-programmes. However, several Member Nations reiterated their particular support to FAO fisheries and forestry activities and their hope to see these major programmes benefit from higher levels of resources in future biennia.

170. Many Member Nations gave examples of what they considered the main components of FAO's broad action in support of sustainable development: inter alia desertification control, sound management of land and water resources and the catalytic role of the TFAP.

171. The Conference underlined the expected enhanced contribution of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Plant Protection Convention to furthering the objectives of the Uruguay Round of the GATT and the facilitation of agricultural trade and stressed FAO's supportive role in this regard.

172. The Conference recalled its appreciation of the catalytic role and useful contribution of the Technical Cooperation Programme. The great majority of Member Nations expressed regret at the reduced share of the TCP in total appropriations, especially at a time of greater requirements for TCP assistance and in the light of unsatisfied requests which could not be accommodated. Many Member Nations expressed the hope that the share of the TCP in the total budget could be increased to at least 17 percent in further biennia. A few Member Nations, however, considered that they could not accept the proposed programme increase for the TCP. Some also mentioned their wish to see more transparent information on TCP operations in the future. Most Member Nations, however, expressed their satisfaction with the information available on the TCP's operations.

Financial framework

173. The Conference addressed the financial aspects of the Programme of Work and Budget 1990-91.

174. In connection with the estimate for cost increases, a few Member Nations questioned the inclusion at this stage of provision for the costs likely to result, in particular from the decisions of the UN General Assembly to be taken on the recommendations of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) regarding conditions of service for professional and higher categories. They referred to the possible use of the Special Reserve Account when the exact financial implications became known. A number of Member Nations could not agree to any actions by the Conference which appeared to prejudge decisions of the UN General Assembly. A few Member Nations noted that the situation in relation to these costs, if approved, would be monitored by the Finance Committee, and expressed the view that to the extent that the funds were not needed for this purpose, they should form part of an eventual cash surplus at the end of the 1990-91 biennium.

175. The great majority of Member Nations, however, stressed that it was essential to protect the implementation of the programme eventually approved by the Conference by including the necessary budgetary provision. They warned against subsequent cuts due to unbudgeted cost increases, as had often happened in past biennia. They saw no basis to question the total estimate which had been calculated according to established methodology and had been subject to the usual detailed review by the Finance Committee.

176. The Conference noted that the absolute amount of the provision for cost increases would be revised downwards in the light of the Conference decision on the budget rate for 1990-91, if based on prevailing exchange rates.

177. Many Member Nations underlined that the net programme increase, as proposed, had to be considered in the light of the deliberate absorption of cost increases amounting to US$ 3 million. This would result, in their view, in a programme increase of only 0.45 percent. A few Member Nations, however, considered that this link would not be in accordance with established methodology and the correct programme increase was one percent as stated in the document.

178. The Conference addressed the proposal to reduce the lapse factor used for the calculation of cost estimates for established posts, as contained in document C 89/3-Sup.4 which was submitted as part of the Director-General's overall budget proposal. Some Member Nations did not consider that any substantive explanation to justify such a change had been put forward and pointed out that the current level had operated without problems for many years. They indicated concern at the additional costs that would arise if this proposal were accepted, amounting to an addition of US$ 9.3 million to the proposed Programme of Work and Budget and at the substantial consequential increase in Member Nations assessed contributions. They also recalled that the Finance Committee could not reach agreement on this proposal. Some other Member Nations, while expressing their approval for the Programme of Work and Budget, specifically supported the proposal to reduce the lapse factor. They found the proposal reasonable, in view of the practice regarding the application of the lapse factor in comparable institutions, and, as it would facilitate the effective and full implementation of the Programme of Work and Budget. They found the proposal timely and realistic in the context of the modest increase in the proposed budget level and the prospects of greater staff stability in the short and medium term. Most Member Nations accepted the Director-General's budgetary proposals.

179. In conclusion, the Conference agreed to the reduction of the lapse factor to 3 percent.

Budget level

180. In the light of the above, the following views were expressed on the proposed budget level.

181. A few Member Nations reiterated their support for zero real growth and maximum absorption of non-discretionary cost increases for the organizations of the UN System. A few of them considered that the level for 1990-91 should reflect the resources likely to be available to the Organization and stated that they could not, therefore, join in a consensus on the proposals as formulated. Some others, who upheld the same position of principle, however, felt that an eventual consensus could be reached if the impact of Conference recommendations on the Review could be accommodated within the proposed level. Some other Member Nations reserved their final position until the time of voting on the Programme of Work and Budget.

182. A few Member Nations expressed concern about the impact of the proposed budget level on assessed contributions of developing countries affected among other factors, by the burden of external debt, but supported the Director-General's programme proposals.

183. The great majority of Member Nations emphasized that they had expected a higher programme increase in order to enable FAO to meet more adequately expressed requirements for its services. They rejected the concepts of zero growth and enforced absorption of cost increases, which they considered were tantamount to stagnation and regression, at a time when the Organization had greatly suffered from exceptional financial difficulties. They supported the Director-General's proposals despite the modest increase. Member Nations shared his wish that the Programme of Work and Budget 1990-91 be approved by consensus, if not unanimously by the Conference.

184. The Conference approved the Programme of Work and Budget and adopted the following Resolution:

Resolution 8/89



Having considered the Director-General's Programme of Work and Budget and the conclusions of its Commissions:

1. Approves the Programme of work proposed by the Director-General for 1990-91;
Chapter I - General Policy and Direction 40 605 000
Chapter II - Technical and Economic Programmes 273 869 000
Chapter III - Development Support Programmes 88 469 000
Chapter IV - Technical Cooperation Programme 67 767 000
Chapter V - Support Services 79 654 000
Chapter VI - Common Services 17836 000
Chapter VII - Contingencies 600 000
Total effective working budget 568 800 000
Chapter VIII - Transfer to Tax Equalization Fund 69 200 000
Total Appropriations (Gross) 638 000 000
  (Adopted 24 November 1989)

C. Review of field programmes 1988-89

185. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the quality of the Review, which it found to be clear, concise and comprehensive. It was noted that the document represented a significant improvement over such documents in the past. Some Member Nations expressed the view that a more analytical and forward-looking approach should be pursued in future, with greater emphasis on complementarity between the Regular and Field Programmes and full account being taken of the comparative advantage of the Organization.

186. The Conference welcomed the fact that the field programmes in terms of current value had continued to expand in the biennium, although it was noted that this was still below the real volume levels achieved in the early part of the decade. It was noted that the main area of expansion was UNDP-funded technical assistance, where renewed emphasis on addressing food and agricultural issues was welcomed. The Conference commended FAO's close cooperation with UNDP, and called for this to be further strengthened in future.

187. The Conference underscored the fact that Trust Fund programmes reflected both donors' and recipients' confidence and trust in FAO to provide high quality assistance to tackle critical challenges in agriculture and rural development. The decline in TCP 1988 expenditures was regretted by many Member Nations which called for a renewed increase in TCP delivery to meet urgent needs for short-term emergency and technical assistance.

188. Many Member Nations regretted the fact that the serious financial liquidity crisis affecting the Regular Programme had strained the Organization's capacities to support its field programmes.

189. Member Nations welcomed the focus of field programmes on providing assistance to Africa, which had accounted for 48 percent of all expenditures during the biennium. At the same time, several Member Nations noted with concern that assistance to Latin America continued to be under 10 percent of total expenditures. Several others were of the view that field programme attention should, cutting across regions, have a direct and responsive nexus with the magnitude and spread of the problems of underdevelopment. They were of the view that the flow of assistance should have an equitable relationship with the extent and distribution of needs. Satisfaction was expressed that over 50 percent of field activities by value were being undertaken in LDCs (Least Developed Countries).

190. The Conference noted that applied research and experimentation was an integral part of numerous field projects in FAO's various disciplines. It welcomed the rise in assistance for planning and policy advice to around 10 percent of total expenditures in the biennium. Many viewed this as particularly important in the context of the structural adjustment programmes which many recipient countries were pursuing. Several Member Nations expressed regret at the decline in the share of activities aimed at developing the livestock sector, which was a major part of many developing countries' economies. Particular appreciation was expressed for the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, which involved a wide range of field activities in this high-priority area and could be set as an example to be followed.

191. Progress made in the use of developing country capacities was emphasized, in particular the use of developing country experts and national personnel in field projects, and the placement of fellows in developing country institutions. At the same time, the lack of progress in increasing the use of developing countries' equipment and inputs was noted with regret, along with the continued low share of these countries in sub-contracting activities. The Conference noted that these matters were of system-wide concern, and that FAO was active in inter-agency fora to identify measures to improve the situation.

192. The open and frank examination of the performance of FAO's field projects was welcomed by the Conference, both as reported in surveys by FAO Representatives and as demonstrated by the objective and critical summary of individual project evaluation reports by FAO's Evaluation Service. In particular, appreciation was expressed for the analytical assessment of the special difficulties in performance faced in LDCs, and for the measures identified to overcome these. Satisfaction was expressed with the special assessment of ARPA (Agricultural Rehabilitation Programme for Africa) projects, many of these funded through TCP, which had Indicated needs for improvement in this particular type of technical and emergency assistance programme. Some Member Nations called for the further strengthening of project evaluation work, including thematic evaluation, and greater attention to ensure the maximum feedback from evaluation into the design and operation of future projects. The need for project activities to be cost-effective and efficient was underscored by several Member Nations.

193. The Conference expressed its continued appreciation for the efficient and valuable activities of the FAO Investment Centre, which had generated over US$ 34 000 million in food and agricultural investments in over 100 countries in the past 25 years. The importance of continuing cooperation with the World Bank was emphasized, as was valuable collaboration with IFAD, the Regional Development Banks, and the UN Capital Development Fund. Some Member Nations called for renewed cooperation with private sector investment sources where appropriate, while recognizing that the activities of the FAO Bankers' Programme had to be suspended due to the Organization's financial crisis.

194. In particular, the Conference emphasized the importance of links between investment and FAO's technical cooperation activities, and stressed the need to strengthen the pre-investment element in field programmes. Member Nations also underlined the importance of training national personnel in investment preparation. The critical analysis of problems encountered in investment preparation activities was noted with appreciation.

195. The Conference expressed strong support for the various concrete measures taken in field projects to develop human resources and institutional capacities for food and agricultural development. It was noted with satisfaction that FAO's field programmes, counterbalancing to some extent the shortcomings of the Regular Programme in this area, were currently training a record 70 000 persons each year, and utilizing a rapidly expanding number of national project directors and experts. Appreciation was also expressed for rapidly expanding support to government execution in FAO's fields.

196. The spread of TCDC approaches within all FAO's major subject-matter areas was noted, along with efforts to consolidate and reinforce such approaches based on experience to date. In particular, the Conference expressed its support for the efforts of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in promoting fruitful TCDC networks, which provided valuable experience which could be usefully applied to other regions.

197. Appreciation was expressed for the expanding involvement of NGOs, including in particular local NGOs, in pursuing 'grass-roots' approaches in FAO's field projects. Member Nations called for the further strengthening of such approaches, and the use of NGOs to undertake specific parts of projects where appropriate, in particular where 'people's participation' was involved. The Conference fully endorsed the increased attention in field programmes to women's active role in food and agriculture development, and emphasized that this important aspect should form a key part of all major field programmes in future.