Contents -

E. The role of women in rural development

142. The Conference welcomed the introductory statement of Mrs. Helvi Sipila, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Social Development ant Humanitarian Affairs and Secretary-General of the World Conference of International Women's Year (IWY) 1975. In reviewing sequential events during IWY and plans for future action at national, regional and international levels, including resolutions under consideration at the Thirtieth Session of the UN General Assembly, she stressed the importance of the commitment of Governments to implement measures recommended in the World Plan of Action for implementation of the objectives of International Women's Year.

143. The Conference expressed unanimous approval for the inclusion of this item on the Agenda of its Session and a number of countries indicated that it wee long overdue. It wee strongly urged that this issue be not dealt with in isolation, but be a continuing concern of FAO subject to systematic and periodic review.

144. The Conference discussed the role and status of rural women within the context of overall development at country, regional and international levels. Several delegates outlined accomplishments, problems and specific needs of rural women within their country's national development efforts. It noted FAO's current policy, programme and areas of competence and its projected collaboration with Member Governments, UN Specialized and Other Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizational FAO's unique role and its constitutional responsibilities in this area were also recognized by a number of delegates.

145. Many delegates expressed support for the belief that the full integration of women into the rural development process required a multi-disciplinary approach, as their problems and conditions could not be considered in isolation. Modernization and transformation of the agricultural sector which would provide adequate rural infrastructure and services was considered to be a necessary pre-requisite for improving the lives of rural people and especially rural women. It was stressed, however, that unless rural women were actively involved in decision-making and in the planning and implementation of programmes for action, modernization could have adverse effects on their lives. Several delegates expressed justification for giving special attention to the provision of opportunities for rural women so that they would be capable of assuming equal responaibilities and taking advantage of equal rights open to them.

146. There was consensus that equal opportunity in education and training was important if rural women of developing countries were to participate effectively in the development process. The Conference stressed the need for more training to improve information, knowledge and skills in the areas of health, hygiene, nutrition, child care, household management, food storage, family budgeting, family planning and home based income producing activities. To enhance rural women's role as agricultural producers, the Conference expressed the need for more training opportunities in farm management, training in techniques and leadership for cooperatives and appropriate technical agricultural skills.

147. In view of the recognized relationship among the multiple roles of women particularly in agricultural production, nutrition, family and community life, the Conference strongly urged that all FAO unite and divisions seek ways to contribute to this effort within their regular programme of work and allocate more of the regular programme budget for this purpose.

148. The Conference decided that there wee an immediate need for FAO to review, reorient and coordinate activities in its regular and field programmes in order to ensure that the involvement of women in the development process could be given the strongest possible support.

149. Several delegates requested the assistance of FAO in preparatory activities needed within their countries to plan and conduct realistic programmes for improving opportunities for women both as participants and beneficiaries of rural development.

150. The Conference welcomed the initiatives of the Home Economics and Social Programmes Service in promoting the full integration of women in rural development and agreed that this involvement should be continued and expanded and adequate resources be provided. Some delegates pointed out that the magnitude of the task seemed more than could be expected of the projected resources in the 1976-77 Programme of Work and Budget.

151. In order to extend the limited technical and financial resources available for measures to improve the conditions of rural women, the Conference strongly urged close collaboration in the planning and implementation of action programmes between and within countries, among UN Agencies, Bilateral Programmes and Non-Governmental Organizational Some delegates pointed out that FAO should increase its collaboration and joint activities with the UN Economic and Social Commission. It was also recognized that the Non-Governmental Organization had a significant role to play and should be involved in the planning and implementation of activities in collaboration with FAO. Particular mention wee made of the valuable contribution the Freedom from Hunger Campaign Action for Development (FFH/AD) could make due to its close association with local groups.

152. Several delegates inquired as to measures being taken to increase the proportion of women in professional positions in FAO, particularly in decision-making posts. The Conference wee assured that such measures were under active consideration, including special efforts to obtain more female candidates for professional posts, and that progress on this matter would be reported to the Council in accordance with paragraph 7 of the Council Resolution 2/66.

153. It was urged that the issues related to the role of women in rural development should be incorporated in the deliberations of all FAO Regional Conferences.

154. Some delegates requested that FAO, together with the UN General Assembly, proclaim, within the framework of FFH/AD, a Rural Women's Year within the context of a United Nations Decade for 'Women and Development,' if and when SO decided upon by the UN General Assembly.

155. The Conference adopted the following resolutions

Resolution 10/75



Recalling Council Resolution 2/66 on "Integration of Women in Agricultural and Rural Development and Nutrition Policies ",

Recalling Resolution VIII of the World Food Conference,

Recalling further the World Plan of Action adopted by the World Conference on International Women 'a Year.

1. Reaffirms the Council decision to:

(a) Support the necessary approach to the development of food production, food availability and utilization and the improvement of the quality of rural family life through the full integration of women in rural development;

(b) Request that the Director-General assure the integration of women in all FAO programmes and projects by directing all Departments and Divisions concerned with these activities to investigate, design, plan, implement and review, on a regular and systematic basis, all proposed projects and programmes in order to establish a measure of progress in assuring the important participation of women as equal partners with men in the total development process, it being understood that wherever possible women should be directly engaged in the planning, decision-making, implementation and evaluation of FAO projects end programmes;

(c) Declare that the policy of the Organization be directed towards bringing about the increased participation of women in professional positions in all its unite and that immediate action be taken to eliminate any differential treatment based upon sex;

(d) Express the intention to review periodically the progress mate in assuring participation of women in the development process and in achieving an increase in the number and improvement in the roles and status of women employees within all levels of the FAO staff, with due consideration given to the provisions of Article VIII of the FAO Constitution;

2. Invites all Member States of the United Nations and its specialized agencies to support measures ensuring that women share in the benefits of development in the rural sector, particularly through the recognition of their full legal equality and the adoption of measures implementing such equality:

3. Invites Governments of Member Nations to ensure that women participate on an equitable basis with men in the policy-making, planning and implementation process in all agriculture and rural development programmes, in particular those related to food and nutrition planning;

4. Requests the Director-General to ensure that

(a) current programmes ant projects in nutrition, agriculture (including fisheries and forestry) and rural development be reviewed by all departments and divisions concerned with these activities with a view to arrive at the full integration of women, who should be provided with the benefit of education, training, extension, cooperative activities, credit marketing and other community facilities in order to enable them to participate fully in agricultural and rural development;

(b) plans, programme and sector analyses, and programme documents incorporate an impact statement of how such proposed programmes will affect women as participants and beneficiaries;

(c) matters relating to the role of women in rural development be included in the agendas of the Regional Conferences so that specific programmes may result;

5. Requests further that information on progress and projections on the integration of women in all FAO programmes be submitted periodically to the Council and Conference in such reports as the Review of Field Programmes and the Medium-Term Objectives.

(Adopted 26 November 1975)

F. Policies and programmes for improving human nutrition

156. The Conference held a broad discussion on the increasing extent of malnutrition and its various causes; it noted the danger of possible further deterioration of the most needy population groups' food situation' resulting from poor harvests and from the adverse economic situation. It recognized that increased production and productivity was not by itself sufficient to improve nutrition, since maldistribution of food supply due to the insufficiency of distributory channels added to lack of purchasing power was at least as important as food shortfall in causing malnutrition.

157. The Conference recognized that, to reduce and if possible eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the coming decade, governments must clearly express their political will to cope with the problem and, by concerted action and a multidisciplinary type of operation, integrate food and nutrition objectives in development plans.

158. While particularly stressing the importance of food and nutrition planning with a view to a solution in the long term of the problem of world malnutrition and hunger, the Conference emphasized the need to continue and expand short-term actions undertaken to remedy nutritional deficiencies such as food aid programmes, nutritional education, and fortification of foods with special attention to the role of Vitamin A, and promotion of breast feeding.

159. The Conference expressed itself strongly in favour of the importance FAO gave to planning in the food and nutrition field, and affirmed that nutrition should be one of the fundamental objectives of the Organization's activities. The need to develop appropriate mechanisms for interdivisional cooperation in this respect was stressed. As some delegates expressed their concern over the reduction of resources available to the Food Policy and Nutrition Division, the Conference requested the Director-General to give all possible attention to the funds available to that Division to enable it to meet its increasing responsibilities stemming from the world food situation and to reach the objectives set by the World Food Conference.

160. The Conference underlined the need to define food and nutrition planning not only as a technical exercise but as a continuing process involving political decisions, and the need therefore to recognize that each country must be responsible for the development of its own food and nutrition planning. The emphasis should therefore be on building national capacity for food and nutrition analysis and planning. Same delegates stressed the need to undertake food and nutrition planning in all countries.

161. The Conference noted with satisfaction the efforts undertaken by the United Nations system in general and by FAO in particular, in conformity with the recommendations of the 1973 Conference and Resolution V of the World Food Conference, to assist countries to assess the magnitude and frequency of hunger and malnutrition, inter alia through preparation for the Global Nutrition Surveillance System, to develop their nutritional planning potential, and prepare programmes with a view to immediate action especially by continuing expansion of food aid programmes.

162. The Conference noted the progress achieved by organizations of the United Nations system and bilateral aid agencies in the area of coordination of initiatives in the nutrition field. It considered, in particular, that the ad hoc Committee on Food and Nutrition Policies, with membership open to all FAO Member Nations, should continue within the framework of its present terms of reference to play its role as a catalyst and coordinator of nutrition activities within FAO and with organizations of the United Nations system.

163. Several delegates pointed out the lack of basic data in many countries which limited the possibility of identifying and assessing malnutrition formulating programmes designed to combat it, and utilizing food and nutrition planning methods. Some delegates stressed the important role of women in improving nutritional levels and regretted the lack of reference to this in the document.

164. Some delegates emphasized the role of rural social and health workers in nutrition activities in rural areas, and also the need to stimulate community initiatives and mobilize human resources for the improvement of nutrition. FAO was requested to prepare policy guidelines for the establishment of primary services to provide a framework for their food and nutrition activities at local level, which would also link central and community level planning objectives.

165. Concerning FAO's activities in the fields of food standards, control and safety, the Conference stressed the importance of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme (Codex Alimentarius) and the benefits to be derived from it. The Conference emphasized the need for FAO and WHO to give greater support to these activities in order to accelerate their tempo, and pointed out the particular need to provide increasing technical assistance and advice to developing countries in food legislation, training and strengthening of their food control infrastructure. The Conference expressed appreciation to UNEP for the financial aid being given to these activities.

166. The shortage of specialized nutrition personnel, in particular in the nutrition planning sector, wee mentioned by many delegates. The Conference requested FAO, with assistance provided by bilateral agencies, to organize international, regional and national seminars and training courses to train a new generation of nutritionists able to participate in the permanent planning process with the help of national organizations.

167. The Conference asked FAO to develop its competence in the intersectoral planning area in collaboration with the other organizations concerned and inter alia in association with the United Nations University. It also asked FAO to take the initiative in developing applied nutrition research, especially in the food and nutrition planning field.

168. Lastly, the Conference approved the Council's decision to hold a session of the ad hoc Committee on Food and Nutrition Policies in 1976 taking into account the proposals presented by some delegates concerning the agenda, and expressed the wish that more nutrition specialists, particularly from developing countries, should participate in meetings of the Committee and in those of the governing bodies of FAO.

G. Review of the world fishery situation

169. The Conference reviewed the present state of some mayor fishery problems, discussed opportunities offered by the development of fisheries on unconventional resources and by aquaculture, and also drew attention to the possible implications of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.

170. The Conference expressed its satisfaction at the clear and concise presentation of the basic problems and issues relating to fisheries in the document. There wee general agreement that FAO and in particular the Department of Fisheries had a mayor role to play in assisting developing countries in the development and rational management of fisheries. The assistance FAO had provided hitherto was acknowledged.

171. The Conference stressed the important and increasing contribution fisheries were making to food production and the supply of high quality animal protein, and the need to ensure that the fisheries sector received adequate recognition and assistance both nationally and internationally. It wee stressed that care should be taken to clearly identify fisheries as being an important part of agriculture when mayor policy matters were befog considered.

172. The importance of improving the statistical data and assessments of resource potentials in order to provide an adequate basis for development planning and rational management of heavily fished stocks which were in danger of depletion wee emphasized. Although coastal states were assuming greater responsibilities for management of resources in wider areas off their coasts, there was also an increasing need for further international collaboration and coordination. FAO's competence and work in this field was recognized as was the need to strengthen its capacity in this direction.

173. It was recognized that while more of the conventional stocks were being heavily, and in some instances even excessively, exploited, there was still potential for further development of fisheries on some conventional stocks, both through increase of the total harvest and through improved use of the catches.

174. The Conference noted that much of FAO's work in fisheries was carried out through its regional fishery bodies which provided opportunities for intergovernmental cooperation. It strongly endorsed the activities of the regional and interregional projects assisting some of these regional fishery bodies and noted that, with the support of the FAO Department of Fisheries, they already provided for decentralization of responsibilities and activities in a manner which was in any case well suited to fisheries and was possibly also applicable in other sectors. The regional bodies were, with this effective FAO support, actively promoting fishery development on a regional basis, coordinating development activities, promoting international collaboration and providing a focus to all assistance to fisheries in the regions. The Conference strongly supported the strengthening of these bodies and agreed that they should have increasing responsibility for stock assessment and management and also be fore for working out development strategies suited to each region. The importance of international collaboration was emphasized and the useful role of FAO and in particular the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in promoting coordination among all regional fishery bodies including those established outside FAO was stressed. A suggestion was made that a special meeting of experts on Collaboration in International Fisheries be organized and that this matter be discussed by the Sub-Committee on the Development of Cooperation with International Organizations of COFI.

175. One delegate stressed that national jurisdictions should be fully respected whenever the regional and interregional projects undertook resource surveys.

176. The importance of better utilization of catches, the avoidance of waste through better handling and storage, and the utilization of species hitherto discarded at sea through better processing methods was emphasized. In this connexion the need for better distribution and marketing methods, especially in developing countries, was noted. The need to develop low cost and appropriate technologies in the developing countries was also pointed out. Attention was drawn to the need for better and more timely information on production and marketing and a suggestion was made for the issue of a bulletin on a regular basis

177. The Conference noted the vast untapped potential in unconventional species notably the Antarctic krill, various cephalopods and small pelagic fish. International cooperation was needed to develop these fisheries particularly in view of the special fishing and processing techniques involved. The Conference noted the competence of the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty for all matters concerning the ecosystem of Antarctica, particularly its equilibrium and preservation, and the adoption of measures for the preservation of the Antarctic environment and its natural resources by the contracting parties over the last decade. The Conference agreed that FAO should keep itself informed of the relevant activities undertaken under the Treaty and coordinate its own activities with them. One delegate felt it desirable that the Director-General submit a report to the next COFI session clarifying the issues involved and delineating the relations between FAO and the Antarctic Treaty countries in this field.

178. Much stress wee laid on the development of small scale fisheries, and the initiatives taken by FAO through regional and country projects was welcomed. Development of small-scale fisheries was central to the improvement of the social and economic life of rural communities and its problems had economic, social and cultural dimensions much wider than providing pure technology. The Conference noted with satisfaction the growing awareness of these dimensions at COFI, in FAO and the countries concerned. The Conference stressed FAO's role in this field and emphasized that it should pay greater attention to the problems of the small-scale fishermen.

179. The special role of training and its indispensability in any fisheries development programme were pointed out. Training of fisheries scientific and technical personnel in research, stock assessment, catching and processing technology, pollution control, marketing and statistics was specifically mentioned. It was suggested that it might be useful to commence training national scientific counterpart staff immediately after a project wee approved so that they would be familiar with the work when the international staff arrived and would be able to participate more fully in the project activities. The importance of providing training on the spot and in the appropriate environment and through regional research and training centres was also mentioned.

180. The great potential in the development of fisheries through aquaculture and FAO's development programmes in this field, particularly the Interregional Aquaculture Development and Training Project, were noted. The Conference looked forward to the World Conference on Aquaculture (Japan, 1976) and expressed the hope that it would lead to the development of aquaculture on a broad front. It was pointed out that there was an urgent need to ensure adequately trained and qualified personnel in this field. Suggestions were made for the establishment of regional training and research centres, which would facilitate and promote aquaculture development. In view of its high returns and its wide and beneficial effects on large numbers of rural poor, it was agreed that aquaculture could be a suitable field for consideration for investment assistance from the proposed International Fund for Agricultural Development.

181. The Conference noted that greater attention should be paid to environmental and pollution problems in relation to fisheries, particularly those in inland waters and coastal areas, both in developed and developing countries. The importance of these problems was emphasized and FAO was urged to take a more active part in this area and requested to collaborate closely with organizations and bodies dealing with this problem. In this connexion it was pointed out that conflicts in use of coastal zones were assuming a greater importance and the claims of fisheries were often being overlooked. It wee necessary therefore to maintain close links with other bodies involved in coastal area development. A suggestion was also made that FAO should intervene in such situations in order to protect the living resources and that it should play an important role in coordinating these activities within the United Nations system.

182. The Conference commended COFI for recognizing the importance of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea and for giving thought to the need to adapt to changing circumstances. Recognizing that the Committee, as the only worldwide policy-coordinating body for fisheries, and FAO would have an increased role to play in promoting international cooperation and accelerating the transfer of technology to developing countries in the fishery sector, the Conference noted that a Sub-Committee of COFI would meet in March 1976 to consider these matters and suggest specific action.

H. Review of the world forestry situation

183. The Conference considered document C 7520 which contained a review of the current forestry and forest industries situation and set out the four main lines of action which FAO proposed to follow in this field. The Conference expressed its satisfaction with the content and presentation of this document, and agreed with the general thrust of the policy set out in it, which wee to concentrate on tropical forestry, on the harmonization of forestry with food production and general rural development, on development of pulp and paper industries, and on promotion of trade in forest, products.

184. The Conference agreed that high priority should be assigned to work in tropical forestry The importance of these forests, both directly and indirectly, in connexion with the production of food, the development of rural economies and as a source of raw material for a wide range of important industries wee stressed. The Conference expressed its approval of the "Tropical Forest Cover Monitoring Programme" being developed by FAO and UNEP in order to obtain the data needed to provide the framework for accessibility and land suitability investigations. In this connexion, the importance was stressed of ensuring and strengthening collaboration with national institutions which had long experience in tropical forestry.

185. Attention was drawn to the importance of tropical forests in-the regulation of water yields for agriculture and in the protection of agricultural soils, and to the consequences for agriculture, in the form of floods and droughts, of the abuse or the removal of the forests where it performed these functions. The Conference noted with approval the proposed increased efforts that would be made by FAO to identify ecologically critical watersheds and zones and to assist in initiating suitable management systems for these areas, at the request of the national institutions concerned.

186. The Conference also emphasized the more direct contribution that forestry could make to food production through agri-silvicultural systems that combined the production of both wood and food. While recognizing the complexities and problems involved, it was noted that a number of successful systems had been developed, appropriate to a range of different situations. Bearing in mind the size of the population in developing countries who lived in the forest zones and practiced shifting cultivation, and the low productivity of the latter system, the Conference endorsed the proposal to devote increased resources and attention in the coming biennium to the study and promotion of suitable agri-silvicultural systems in countries where these systems had been tested and accepted by the populations concerned.

187. It was also noted that agri-silviculture was an important component in harmonizing forestry with rural development. Forestry could create Job opportunities and help bring money into the economy in the rural areas both directly through forestry activities, and through wildlife, recreation and tourism activities, and through small forest-based industrial and craft activities. It was noted that in order to develop forestry in a rural context it was necessary to associate the people concerned with the forestry activity. The role of communication and extension services in enhancing awareness and changing attitudes was underlined, as was the experience of agriculture in this respect. The importance of forest harvesting operations in creating rural employment was also recognized. Some delegates suggested that logging and transport wee the weakest link in the forestry production process, and that this subject should be studied by the Committee on Forestry. The Conference noted with approval the priority attached to activities in the various fields related to rural development in the coming biennium.

188. Attention was drawn to the fact that wood continued to be the main domestic source of energy for the rural populations of most developing countries. It was noted that the drain on the forest cover that resulted wee particularly severe and destructive in arid and semiarid zones such as the Sahel, and the need in this and other areas for establishing fuelwood plantations was acknowledged. The scope for more efficient use of wood for energy in the form of charcoal wee noted. It wee also suggested that attention should be paid to investigating and developing alternative sources of energy, such as solar energy, to relieve the pressure on the forests.

189. The Conference expressed its satisfaction with the Pulp and Paper Industries Development Programme which FAO was implementing with the help of the UNDP and the World Bank in order to accelerate the process of identifying viable pulp and paper projects in developing countries. Though supplies of pulp and paper were currently adequate, a renewed shortage was expected before the end of the decade which could badly affect developing countries. Noting both that very little use wee as yet made of the fibre of mixed tropical hardwoods for the manufacture of pulp and paper, and that research and development efforts in this industry had in the past been almost exclusively directed to the raw materials and market conditions of the developed countries, the Conference urged that the necessary effort be made to develop operational technologies and mill sizes appropriate to the forest base and situation of developing countries. The need for training skills required for pulp ant paper manufacture was also stressed. In this connexion the recent Industry Cooperative Programme meeting with representatives of the pulp and paper industry and their positive attitude to this issue was noted.

190. Attention was also drawn to the need for research in the development of forestry in the tropics. Natural tropical forest ecosystems tended to be highly complex and much remained to be learnt about then. To be competitive, productive forestry might often require the replacement of natural forests by man-made forests. The importance of choosing the correct genetic stock for this purpose was emphasized, and FAO's continuing work in this field was welcomed. Some delegates pointed out the need to investigate indigenous as well as exotic species in making such choices, and the need for strong national research facilities and programmes in order to effect this. Certain delegates also drew attention to other areas of research requiring attention, including the need for further investigation into non-conventional use of forest products, such as the production of fodder for livestock and protein for human consumption.

191. The Conference underlined the great importance of forests as a renewable industrial raw material, and the particular potential in this respect of the tropical forest resources. Because of the selective utilization of the latter their potential was only being partially realized; huge quantities of tropical wood and wood fibre were being wasted or destroyed. The Conference noted that much of this waste was associated with a pattern of trade which was primarily characterized by exports of unprocessed or partially processed forest products from developing countries. The establishment or expansion of wood-based industries in the producing countries would not only permit a much fuller and more efficient use of the forest resource, but would allow more of the value added to accrue to the country of origin.

192. The Conference recognized the increasing role that trade wee likely to play in balancing the supply of, and demand for, forest products. It also recognized that increased trade required more coordination and information intelligence at the international level, and that FAO was in a unique position to contribute to this, particularly since marketing of tropical wood and wood products was affected by resource utilization and development. However, the Conference emphasized the need to avoid duplication of effort with existing national and international institutions concerned with this trade. In this connexion, attention was drawn to the continuing importance of FAO's regional and global timber trends studies. Particular mention was made of the recently completed study for Europe, and of the relevance of this and other FAO work in that region to the transfer of market and technological information to developing countries. In this connexion, the Conference noted with regret the reduction in the resources made available by FAO to the Joint ECEFAO Timber Division and expressed the hope that this situation would be remedied in the Programme of Work of the next biennium.

193. The Conference stressed that the needed improvements and developments in forestry and forest industries in developing countries could only be achieved if they had strong national institutions. The Conference noted with approval FAO's continuing programmes to assist countries to improve their planning, administrative and research capabilities and to strengthen forestry education and training systems.

194. The Conference stressed the great importance of forestry to developing countries and agreed that FAO had a major role to play in this area. Noting the magnitude and range of the tasks that FAO was called upon to undertake in the forestry sector and the large size of its field programme responsibilities relative to its Regular Programme resources in this same sector, the Conference agreed that in future Programmes of Work and Budget of the Organization a more adequate share of resources should be made available for work in the field of forestry, forest industries and wildlife. The Conference further expressed the view that, if possible, increased resources should be provided to the Forestry Department in the 1976-77 biennium.

195. The Conference then adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 11/75



Considering the importance that should be given to forest conservation and management in the new world food strategy,

Considering the role of the forest in the general ecology of many regions of the world, particularly its influence on climate, soils, and the regulation of water regimes,

Considering the importance of the forest in recreation,

Considering the intimate connexion between fauna and flora, and

Considering the impact of fauna in the economic, tourist, cultural, social and scientific fields,

1. Recommends to the Director-General that special emphasis be placed on the conservation and management of wildlife and that appropriate financial and technical assistance be provided;

2. Requests the Director-General to exert every effort toward the rapid implementation of this Resolution.

(Adopted 26 November 1975)

Contents -