B. Review of field programmes including FAO/UNDP cooperation
Resource and liquidity difficulties of the UNDP
270. The Conference commended the Secretariat for what was, at this stage, a comprehensive review of field programmes in document C 75/4. The Review of Field Programmes 1974-75, was judged constructive and quite concrete in its analysis of peat experience, as it had been in 1973; this was in accordance with the views expressed at the Seventeenth Conference Session. The Conference noted with satisfaction that the major thrust of the Review on this occasion was toward the future and welcomed the general and cautious optimism about the future prospects for aid to agriculture. The Review was not limited in this regard to an assessment of FAO's field activities alone, but also took note of the general environment in which these activities were being carried out and provided an in-depth and critical analysis of aid policies of multilateral and bilateral donors.
271. The Conference endorsed the view expressed by the Programme Committee that the Review of Field Programmes 1974-75, deserved careful attention at four levels; by the FAO Secretariat; by the multilateral and bilateral donor agencies; by Member Governments; and by the FAO Conference. It should be reviewed within the FAO Secretariat and by its field staff to determine the changes in attitudes, policies and procedures needed within the Organization to improve the effectiveness of its development activities. It would also help the implementation process and policies of Member Governments and aid agencies in matters connected with food and agriculture. At the same time the Director-General should circulate copies of the Review to the aid agencies through the respective governments, drawing their attention to the specific sections of the document which might be of special interest to them.
272. The Conference agreed with the Director General that FAO's interest in aid to the agricultural sector went far beyond its role as an executing agency within the UN System. It was implicit inter alia in its role as a co-sponsor of the Consultative Groups on Agricultural Research and on Food Production and Investment, and in its direct involvement in other follow-up measures since the World Food Conference. It wee recognized that FAO's association with several traditional as well as new bilateral donors, and the increasing concern of these donors with aid to agriculture, both financial and technical, put the Organization in a strong position to help influence the direction of the flow of aid and bring technical assistance and pre-investment activities into close alignment with investment programmes in the agricultural sector. Emphasis was also laid on the additional responsibilities FAO might be called upon to undertake on behalf of the proposed International Fund for Agricultural Development on the basis of its technical and country knowledge.
273. The Conference viewed with satisfaction the prospects for the expected expansion and diversification in FAO's field activities in the coming years. It accordingly endorsed the expanded concept of field programme development outlined in the Review. However, the Conference urged the Director-General to move rather cautiously in this direction to ensure that the Organization's managerial and technical capacity was not strained too heavily. The Conference also expressed the hope that the Director-General would pay special attention to building up the planning and programming capability in the Organization through Country Perspective Studies and other means to support the expanding volume of field programmes. In this context, the Conference urged FAO to give priority to the least developed, landlocked and developing island countries, and in particular, to the most seriously affected countries in the preparation of Country Perspective Studies.
274. The Conference was informed of the ominous signals of a liquidity crisis which was currently facing UNDP and which might temporarily slow down the tempo of UNDP programme delivery.
275. The Conference noted with interest the sections on assessment of FAO's current field activities by the Country Representatives and the analysis of issues relevant to the future orientation of technical assistance in Chapter 2 of the Review. Although the assessment was not based on objectively verifiable quantitative and qualitative indicators, the Conference voiced its concern at the fact that the degree of success of evaluated projects was at present as indicated in pares 2.3 - 2.13 of the Review. While recognizing the difficulties of establishing comprehensive indicators of output in projects dealing with the development of human resources and institutions, the Conference urged that during the formulation of projects, the recipient countries and FAO pay greater attention to determining such indicators in order to facilitate monitoring and evaluation during implementation. Stressing the initial responsibility of governments of recipient countries both in formulation ant execution of projects, the Conference recommended that in future these countries be more actively associated with such evaluations. The importance of active participation by FAO in the already ongoing tripartite reviews was also stressed.
276. While noting the significant improvements in FAO's execution of its field activities in general, the Conference felt that several matters required continuing and careful attention by the Director-General to enhance the effectiveness of FAO's role in these activities. These included in particular the quality of and mechanism for providing technical support to the field staff by the technical units at Headquarters and by the Regional Offices, the competence, orientation and origin of field experts, including the increased use of experts from the developing countries, speedy delivery of project reports to governments and a more intensive review of the selection and placement of fellows. The decision by the last Conference regarding the need to have continuing discussions of these problems in the competent organs of FAO on the basis of periodic reviews wee also stressed. The Conference also reiterated the suggestions made in-its preceding sessions that the Director-General should take steps for a systematic evaluation of completed technical assistance projects on a selective basis to assess the effectiveness of such assistance and draw lessons for the future.
277. The Conference requested that in future editions of the Review, information should be given on the role and integration of women in the development process, and in particular on their involvement's and participation in FAO field activities. It was also suggested that future editions of the Review should focus more on the links between research and the production-oriented projects in which FAO assisted.
278. Several delegates expressed the wish that present arrangements between FAO and UNDP be revised. The Conference noted the statement of the Deputy Administrator of UNDP to the effect that the existing arrangements between FAO and UNDP were working satisfactorily in most countries. Several delegates felt, however, that a more objective and in-depth review of these arrangements was necessary to determine whether the FAO Country Representatives enjoyed sufficient freedom and authority to act on behalf of the Organization in matters not directly falling within the purview of UNDP. In this connexion some delegates recommended that FAO Country Representatives should gradually become officials of the Organization itself, under the Regular Programme. Others stressed the continuing importance of preserving the UNDP's role in providing, within the UN system, leadership and coordination in the country programming process and that the most urgent measure as to the field organization was to give the recipient country concerned a decisive role in that process, with assistance, when requested, of a team of representatives from the different parts of the UN system. The Conference requested the Director-General to investigate the possibility of entrusting to the Country Representative a wider responsibility concerning particularly the development of the field programme, its monitoring and the evaluation of ongoing or completed projects, in all cases in collaboration with the recipient countries. The Conference felt that the proposed review should take full account of the need to maintain effective links and coordination between FAO and UNDP in matters affecting aid to agriculture.
279. The Conference commended the initiative taken in compiling and analysing all available data on the flow of aid to agriculture and urged the Director-General to include this work as a regular feature in the activities of the Organization. The Conference cautioned the secretariat, however, against any possible overlap or duplication with similar work in other organizations. In this context the Conference endorsed the recommendation of the Programme Committee that the contacts established by the Evaluation Service with the DAC Secretariat at the OECD and with bilateral aid agencies should be further strengthened. The Conference also agreed with the Programme Committee that much thought had gone into the preparation of the sections dealing with outlook for aid to agriculture and basic policy questions. These issues had been dealt with in a provocative but constructive manner and provided a basis for careful reflection by all Member Governments, donors and recipients alike, and by multilateral and donor agencies. The Conference recommended that the secretariat undertake a more detailed analysis of some of these issues to seek answers to the questions raised in the Review. In this connexion, the Conference endorsed the proposal for an in-depth evaluation of all aid to agriculture in a selected number of countries, and noted with satisfaction that such evaluations were proposed to be carried out with the active participation of the countries concerned.
280. The Conference agreed with the Director-General that in the final analysis, ensuring the effectiveness of aid to agriculture was primarily the responsibility of the recipient countries. In this context the Conference noted that while excessive donor-orientation in the past had possibly contributed to the relative ineffectiveness of aid, such donor orientation was partly the result of the general passiveness with which the recipient countries tended to view the programming of aid inputs at their end. The Conference in this connexion, drew attention to the actions outlined in Chapter 7 of the Review and to the comprehensive list of constraints on area development.
281. The Conference felt that the discussion of case studies on area development and the interim conclusions drawn from them deserved much greater time than the Conference was able to devote to such matters at its biennial sessions. The Conference urged the secretariat, however, to expand and diversify these case studies and prepare a more complete report in due course for wider circulation amongst member countries. The Conference recommended that attention should be focused in these case studies on the integration of the poorer sections of the community, including women, in the development process.
282. The Conference recognized that during the past 25 years there had been a marked difference in the pace and direction of change in the developing countries. This had led to a greater differentiation in their economic and resource structures, capabilities and development needs. The Conference felt therefore that it had become imperative to introduce a corresponding measure of diversity and flexibility in development assistance. In this context the Conference urged FAO to carefully examine the general guidelines for the future orientation of the UNDP Programme adopted by the UNDP Governing Council in June 1975, which appeared to be equally applicable to field activities executed by FAO on behalf of other donor agencies. The Conference recommended that FAO and other agencies should take particular note of the growing capability and aspiration of the recipient countries to assume effective control of programming and utilization of aid inputs within the framework of their national policies and programmes.
283. The Conference noted that in the document the recipient countries were grouped into four general categories for consideration of the future modalities and orientation of development assistance: (a) those countries in Europe which would require highly specialized technical advice and equipment in selected fields for brief periods to strengthen their already well-established capabilities in these fields; (b) the least developed countries which would continue to need the traditional types of technical assistance and capital aid on soft terms; (c) the oil-producing and exporting countries which would need technical and management support through the international system but which, like the countries in the first group, would gradually become net contributors of aid; and (d) the predominant group of the rest of the "developing countries" which were somewhere around the middle point on the development spectrum. However, some delegates questioned whether the bases or criteria for grouping developing countries into four general categories were of any value. In their view, future orientation of development assistance should be determined by or based on the level or stage of each country's development. The Conference recognized, however, that extreme caution should be exercised in applying any simplified or global concepts in the consideration of aid to agriculture in any particular country.
284. The Conference urged the secretariat to review the criteria for project selection and appraisal in collaboration with other multilateral and bilateral agencies. In undertaking such a review due attention should be given to the need to speed up project preparation and approval, the need to develop viable social criteria to complement the traditional economic and financial criteria particularly in respect of agricultural and rural development projects focussed on small farmers and depressed areas, and participation of the people directly affected by the project at the planning, executing and evaluation stages. It was also stressed that a high priority should be accorded to strengthening national research capacity, particularly in the area of adaptation of new technology to the field situation.
285. The Conference placed special emphasis on the need to promote technical cooperation amongst developing countries. It agreed that FAO's role in this connexion could be viewed from four angles:
(b) promoting direct sharing or exchange of technology, training and research facilities between developing countries through bilateral or group country arrangements;
(c) assisting in the transfer of financial resources from relatively affluent developing countries, particularly oil-producing and exporting countries, to support technical assistance and investment programmes in other developing countries; and
(d) development of research and training activities and market adjustments on a regional, sub-regional or other group country basis.
286. The Conference noted, however, that while some progress had been made in increasing the use of experts from developing countries, and through the successful execution of some inter-country projects, FAO had not taken any concerted steps under the four categories cited above. The Conference took note of the several difficulties which FAO was confronted with in this connexion, but it felt that these difficulties were not insurmountable. The Conference urged the Director-General to examine the specific measures that FAO could take on its own or Jointly with other international organizations to overcome such difficulties which appeared to arise mainly from ingrained attitudes both amongst the international staff and amongst the developing countries themselves.
287. The Conference reiterated the view expressed during the consideration of the Programme of Work and Budget that the links between Regular Programme activities and those financed from extra-budgetary resources should be further strengthened and coordinated. The Conference felt that if a review of Regular Programme activities could be presented as candidly and comprehensively as had been the case with the Review of Field Programmes on the last two occasions and the relationship between the two could be clearly elucidated, it would facilitate consideration of the Programme of Work and Budget by the Governing Bodies in an expeditious and more purposeful manner.
288. The Conference. then adopted the following resolution:
REGULAR AND FIELD PROGRAMMES
Recalling the aims and functions of the Food and Agriculture Organization as set out in the Preamble and in Article I of its Constitution,
Recalling the relevant parts of the resolutions of the Sixth and Seventh Special Sessions
Of the UN General Assembly, and of the World Food Conference,
Convinced that while the responsibility for agricultural development rests with the developing countries themselves, international assistance and cooperation play an essential catalytic role in accelerating this development,
Recalling also UN General Assembly Resolutions 3251 (XXIX) and 3177 (XXVIII) concerning the promotion of technical and economic cooperation among developing countries,
Recalling also the views expressed by the World Food Conference in which FAO is called upon to play a strong role in promoting more rapid development of agriculture and food production,
Considering that this should entail a better coordination between the Regular and the Field Programmes in order to make FAO's consolidated knowledge and experience available to Member Governments, and further develop the Organization's capacity to advice governments as well as multilateral and bilateral institutions,
Considering that FAO's experience in supporting inter-country, including regional and interregional programmes and projects indicates that a joint approach to common problems often provides the best procedure to cope with such problems,
Persuaded that as a consequence of developments FAO will be called upon to shoulder increased responsibility in implementing both its Regular and its Field Programmes, and that adjustments will be necessary to maintain the relevance of these Programmes in the light of the changing patterns and orientation of aid,
2. Invites the Director-General, when submitting the biennial Field Programme report and the document on Medium-Term Objectives, to include inter alia further information and analysis regarding:
(b) the substance of the Field Programme for the coming biennium which also should include information regarding investment requirements in developing countries for food production and general rural development; and
(c) encountered problems and measures taken to tackle these;
3. Requests the Director-General, in view of the need to further promote technical cooperation among developing countries:
(b) to further increase the use of experts, equipment, consulting firms and research and training institutes from the developing countries for the execution of its field programmes;
(c) to facilitate direct sharing and exchange of technology, training and research facilities between developing countries;
(d) to assist in the transfer of financial resources from the affluent (developed and developing) countries, for technical assistance and investment programmes; and
(e) to develop research and training activities on a regional, sub-regional or other group country basis;
4. Requests the Director-General to make a survey of problem areas, provided the countries involved indicated their interest and support, for which an inter-country approach would be desirable but has not been initiated as yet;
5. Recommends that FAO should promote speedy preparation and implementation of projects and programmes and to this end involve measures for gradual devolution of technical and administrative responsibility at regional and country levels, in the light of the proposals to be made by the Director-General as requested by the Council;
6. Invites the Director-General to examine what measures should be taken to achieve these objectives, and to make provision for implementing them in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1978-79;
7. Requests the Council to carry out periodic reviews toward these ends for the preparation of which the Council, pending definite arrangements for which effective handling by the Council will be assured, should request the Programme Committee to study this subject at its regular sessions which could be extended to allow for such study;
8. Urges donor institutions, both multilateral and bilateral, to consider how they may orient their assistance activities to take fullest advantage of FAO's advisory capacity in the food and agriculture sector;
9. Invites all Member Governments to participate actively with FAO and other agencies in devising development programmes aimed at increasing agricultural production in developing countries and in bringing technical assistance and reinvestment activities into close alignment with investment programmes in the agriculture sector.
(Adopted 26 November 1975)
Resource and liquidity difficulties of the UNDP
289. This matter wee discussed by the Conference on the basis of a document submitted by the Director-General, in which he reported on 0a communications with UNDP regarding the scope and possible solutions of the problem. The Conference wee also requested, through a draft resolution, to grant authority to the Director-General for borrowing funds up to a limit of $10 million.
290. The Deputy Administrator (Administrative) of UNDP introduced the subject, first outlining the main reasons for the difficult financial situation: (a) the continued strong inflation with rising prices and costs, (b) the unprecedented rate of delivery of the Agencies during 1975, and (c) an unsatisfactory situation as regards contributions to the UNDP resources. Although the heavy inflation had lasted for several years, it had only recently become clear that in particular the expert coats were increasing to an unexpected extent in that the yearly "standard coat" figure, which had recently been increased from $30 000 to $36 000, would have to be changed to $42 000 and in the next year probably to $48 000. The delivery estimates for 1975 had throughout the year been revised upwards several times, now indicating a yearend result somewhere near 35 percent over 1974, as a result of an accelerating speed of delivery from January up to end October. As regards contributions to UNDP, there wee first the fact that substantial amounts of prior pledges were still outstanding or made in non-convertible currencies; secondly, the latest pledging conference in November 1975 had not yielded a total amount large enough to sustain a continuation of the present programme level in the next year.
291. The result was thus that (a) for the remaining part of 1975, and possibly for some limited period into 1976, UNDP could not guarantee its ability to make full reimbursements to the Agencies, including FAO, for their incurred programme costs ad Headquarters and in the field, and (b) the total programme level for the full year 1976 must be cut down in real terms to a total amount in monetary terms not exceeding that of 1975. The actual reduction would thus correspond to the impact of the increased inflation in 1976 over 1975.
292. The liquidity problem as regards 1975 could be solved if outstanding pledges were to be paid before the year-end. In addition, an extraordinary session of the UNDP Governing Council was being called with a view to its authorizing borrowing facilities. UNDP was also supporting individual efforts of the Agencies to advance additional funds, such as through the draft resolution before the FAO Conference to authorize short-term borrowing from sources such as Trust Funds or the World Food Programme.
293. In the discussion of the Conference there was full agreement that the problem must be considered a responsibility of UNDP - however, the necessary steps should be taken by FAO to protect the financial integrity of this Organization. It was furthermore considered that the overall solution and strategy on measures to be taken must be arrived at in close consultation between UNDP and the Agencies - and any cute, delays, and shifts in project items must only take place in full understanding with the Governments concerned. Special consideration must be given to LDCs and MSA countries. As regards the past building-up of the present problem it was felt that better coordination within UNDP, and by UNDP with the Agencies, could have prevented the near-crisis situation one had apparently suddenly been faced with. Some delegates regretted that FAO had gradually been forced into a position whereby the management of another organization, beyond its control, could affect unfavorably FAO's own financial situation. In this connexion it was pointed out by many that the present limited situation of cash flow difficulties was in fact indicative of a more deep-rooted problem regarding the UNDP long-range resource base.. Some delegates felt that certain countries were not in fact carrying their fair share of the burden, and that their contributions to UNDP must be increased.
294. As regards the handling of the problem, the Deputy Administrator of UNDP as well as representatives of the Director-General of FAO clarified certain issues raised by the Conference. It was thus confirmed by the representative of UNDP that the repayment of $10 million advance to UNDP, for which borrowing authority was requested, would take place shortly upon receipt of new pledge payments. It was further felt that to solve the short-term problem referred to above, a sum not exceeding $10 million would in fact be sufficient. The Director-General's representative considered that, in view of the fragmentary way in which details of the liquidity problem had come to FAO's knowledge, the time to involve the Conference with reliable information had been carefully chosen. At the same time a parallel exercise was being undertaken in the Headquarters Operations Units to review the planned 1976 financial commitments for all FAO/UNDP projects, so that a sound basis could be established for subsequent reviews with the Governments and with the UNDP Resident Representatives.
295. As an FAO contribution to solving the short-term problem of UNDP liquidity, the Conference approved the following resolution:
AUTHORITY TO BORROW
Noting that information has been received from UNDP that due to a severe liquidity crisis, funds are not at present available to permit them to fully fund FAO's UNDP programme cash requirements for the months November 1975 to early 1976; and that UNDP has advised delayed programme delivery during 1976 including even termination of projects,
Expressing its concern over the prospects that in spite of continued price increases and the proven capacity to deliver a larger programme the FAO expenditures of UNDP funds in 1976 may have to be kept at the same level as in 1975,
Further viewing with concern the sudden intimation of this crisis caused primarily by nonpayment of their contributions by certain donors and reduction of their contributions by some other donors,
Realizing that development efforts of developing countries are going to suffer a setback as a consequence of this crisis,
Recognizing that as Executive Agency FAO has contracted financial obligations, in particular as employer of field experts, as well as under contracts and fellowship awards,
Considering FAO's responsibility to Member Nations for the execution of projects approved under country IPFs and for other projects,
Believing that it is UNDP's responsibility to solve this liquidity problem at the earliest possible moment,
Noting, however, that in accordance with information received from UNDP, the possible shortfall in remittances to FAO for the period through January 1976 may amount to $10 million, and that FAO's contractual obligations must be met during that period,
2. Authorizes the Director-General to negotiate and contract loans as needed during 1975 and 1976 from available sources of financing, particularly from the Trust Funds and WFP, up to a limit of $ 10 million, ! on the understanding that these loans will be contracted subject to a repayment guarantee issued by the UNDP;
3. Decides that the amounts of such loans and the actual cost of interest incurred thereon, or the loss of interest on funds employed in making such loans, will be reimbursed by UNDP not later than June 1976, it being understood that UNDP will seek its own borrowing authority;
4. Invites the Director-General to report to the Council in its first session of 1976, through the Finance Committee, on the measures taken and their results;
5. Requests the Council to delegate to the Finance Committee the authority to decide on the arrangements for borrowing in case the guarantee from the UNDP is not forthcoming and also to decide on the measures for borrowing funds, to be reimbursed by UNDP, which may be needed after January 1976 and until the first session of the Council in 1976;
6. Requests the Council to decide on the measures for borrowing funds, also to be reimbursed by UNDP, which may be needed after its first session in 1976
7. Invites the Secretary-General of the United Nations to call upon donor countries to take urgent and appropriate steps to solve the current liquidity problem of UNDP as well as to ensure timely programme delivery during 1976;
8. Invites the Administrator of UNDP, in cases where, despite these measures, field programmes are forced to undergo a marked reduction, to carry out such reductions by stages in order to avoid a sudden fall in field activities that could be both prejudicial to recipient countries and difficult to reverse once financing became normal again during the 1977-81 cycle;
9. Requests the Director-General to work out with the Administrator of UNDP, consultation procedures on policy and financial matters that would prevent FAO being committed without prior knowledge and consultation to situations that affect its own programmes and resources;
10. Requests the Director-General to ensure that programme adjustments which may be necessary are made only after full consultation by UNDP with the Governments concerned and FAO;
11. Invites the Director-General to call this Resolution to the attention of the UNDP Governing Council which is strongly urged to find, as soon as possible, ways and means of solving UNDP's severe liquidity problem.
(Adopted 27 November 1975)
C. Medium term objectives
296. The Conference agreed that the form of the document on Medium-Term Objectives, was in accordance with the recommendations of the Seventeenth Conference and the subsequent recommendations of the Programme Committee and the Council. The Conference noted that as recommended by the Sixty-Sixth Council Session the document dealt with FAO's contribution to the achievement of those objectives through its different roles, functions and programmes and did not duplicate material in other Conference documents dealing with the world outlook and objectives arising from Resolutions 3201 (S-VI), 3202 (S-VI) and 3362 (S-VII) of the UN General Assembly, particularly on matters concerning food and agriculture, international trade and the transfer of resources and technology, and the results of the deliberations of the World Food Council,
297. Some delegates considered that the objectives should be more specific and precise and where feasible quantified, and that the establishment of medium-term objectives should be the first step in the preparation of a medium-term plan, following the example of the Unesco Plan for 1977-1982 and covering also policies and programmes, the phasing of their implementation over the sex years, and an indication of relative priorities and resource allocations. It wee suggested that during the next biennium the Director-General, in cooperation with the Council, should develop a format for medium-term planning, and begin developing specific medium-term objectives which could be discussed at the Nineteenth Conference.
298. Other delegates however considered that past experience in FAO had showed the difficulties of proceeding in this way and that a flexible approach was desirable without constraining Programmes of Work and Budget for future biennia. It was generally agreed that the form and content of the document was adequate to FAO's needs and that it should remain substantially as at present with up-dating and improvements, pending decisions on the future format of the Programme of Work and Budget and other possible developments in the UN System which might be relevant.
299. Reference was made in this connexion to the JIU Report on Medium-Term Planning in the UN System, the Report of the Group of Experts on the Structure of the UN System, and the current efforts of harmonization of medium-term planning by other organizations in the UN Family.
300. The Conference welcomed the detailed analysis of continuing mandatory activities information and research, policy advice, international harmonization and field operations .
301. Some delegates expressed their concern about the large growth which the document suggested could be necessary for publications, data, etc. It was also felt that there should be less emphasis on theoretical studies and more emphasis on action at the country level. In the areas of information, research, transfer of technology, and technical and policy advice, the need for better coordination and closer links with national institutions was emphasized. It was generally agreed that FAO should refrain from beginning activities in a minor way with extra-budgetary funds which later were found to require large Regular Programme resources in the medium term to continue them. On the other hand, several delegates felt that AGRIS and CARIS did not fall in this category and merited support, subject to review by the Nineteenth Conference Session of their priority and the progress made since 1973. The point was also made that FAO should not try to do everything, but should concentrate more on high-priority areas. In this connexion, some delegates emphasized that in view of the massive resources required for food production and the development of agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries, FAO's role should be mainly catalytic rather than operational.
302. It was agreed that harmonization of medium-term planning within the UN Family was a desirable objective but that this should not be construed as conformity for its own sake. The programmes of the various organizations were not such that a single system could meet all needs.
303. In this context, it was generally agreed that it was necessary for the existing organizations to keep their programmes sufficiently flexible in order to undertake special or emergency operations rather than creating new organizations for this purpose.
304. The Conference concurred in the need to improve the planning and review of field programmes and other extra-budgetary activities and to relate these more clearly to the Regular Programme and considered that this should be taken into account in the review of the structure of the Programme of Work and Budget.
305. The Conference also agreed that a system of evaluation for existing and proposed Regular Programme activities should be implemented as soon as possible.
306. The Conference also discussed the main programme priorities and generally supported the views expressed in the document on these. It was agreed that the main emphasis should continue to be on increasing food production in developing countries in a broader context of social and economic development; also that not only the least developed countries but also the most seriously affected, landlocked, and developing island countries required special effort. The section dealing with problems from the regional viewpoint was welcomed but it was regretted that the European region, including some developing countries, was not covered. Therefore it was pointed out that this situation would have to be taken into account by FAO when preparing future programmes.
307. Training in a number of areas was considered to be of the highest priority and strong support was given in particular to the need for a more concrete approach to, and a closer coordination of, activities in integrated rural development and to the importance of training in this field.
308. High priority was also given to: nutrition, particularly training of nutritionists in developing countries, nutrition planning at the national level and improving its interrelationship with other sectors; the integration of rural women in the development process, and their training not only through the important family-oriented and home economics activities, but also through all aspects of FAO's activities; conservation and storage of grains and increasing food supply by reducing post-harvest losses.
309. Other priorities supported included: forestry activities, particularly tropical forestry development, pulp and paper, wildlife conservation, and the contributions of forestry to rural development; fisheries, for which the priorities were well balanced except that training needed to be emphasized; agricultural inputs, including not only the physical inputs of soil, water, seeds, fertilizers, storage facilities, etc., but also extension, credit, agrarian reform and cooperatives and the related needs for training in all these fields, research and the transfer of research results, improvement of the management of inputs, and the avoidance of overdependence on purchased inputs - all of which were essential to increase production; livestock planning, disease control and livestock production, including the greater use of local breeds, a more inter-disciplinary approach, and more emphasis on poultry production; plant and animal genetic resources which must be preserved to ensure future food supplies; economic and social planning activities, in general, which needed to be better integrated; and Country Perspective Studies, for which the focus should be on developing the capacity of interested countries to carry out their own studies on a continuing basis; and land use planning, including irrigation planning and institutional frameworks. In general the movement towards strengthening of technical activities directly concerned with increasing food production should be continued.
310. With regard to the organizational implications, it was felt that personnel policies in a wider sense and the problem of the mobility of staff and its allocation depending on current priority activities merited more attention. In relation to the latter, it was emphasized that an evaluation system would be of special value. It was also felt that organizational changes, to the extent necessary, should allow for more flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and should be coordinated with other developments in the UN family. Emphasis was placed on the need to ensure that the female staff members of FAO should have better access to responsible posts.
311. In conclusion, the Conference appreciated that the document was a significant improvement over previous versions. It constituted a useful contribution to the preparation of the next Programme of Work and Budget.