IV. Activities and programmes of the organization
A. Review of field programmes, 1972-73
B. Medium-term objectives
C. Programme of work and budget, 1974-75
D. Matters relating to the programme of work and budget
E. Relations and consultations with international organizations on programme matters of common interest
A. Review of field programmes, 1972-73
148. The Conference had an extensive discussion on FAO's field programmes based on document C 73/4 entitled Review of FAO's Field Programmes, 1972-73. The Conference endorsed the new format of this document and welcomed the many helpful pointers it contained for the improvement of FAO's field operations based on a frank, constructive and concrete analysis of past experience. The Conference noted with satisfaction that while the document contained basic factual data and analysed major developments and trends affecting FAO's field programmes as on previous occasions, its main thrust lay in providing a thorough assessment of the problems and accomplishments with regard to the planning, implementation and impact of these programmes This was in line with the recommendations of the Programme and Finance Committees as endorsed by the Council and had been made possible by a careful synthesis of the results of evaluation of over 100 large-scale field projects in nearly 50 countries. It was pointed out that FAO was unique amongst the UN organs in responding to the letter and spirit of Resolution 2975 (XXVIII, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 1972, which underlined inter alia the need for comprehensive and problem-oriented documentation by each executing agency as a basis for the review and improvement of their field operations.
149. The Conference stressed the importance of the basic policy issues outlined in the Director-General's foreword to document C 73/4. In particular, it agreed with the view expressed by the Director-General that the success or effectiveness of a technical assistance project was directly related to the degree of involvement of the recipient government in the planning and execution of the project. The Conference felt that the system of country programming, in spite of the transitional difficulties noted in section 3 of the document, should assist in increasing the recipient countries' direct involvement in the selection and formulation of field projects. The Conference therefore recommended that FAO should continually strive to build up its capacity to assist the recipient countries, UNDP and other donor agencies in improvement of the country programming procedures. It was suggested that Country Perspective Studies and Country Development Briefs should be specifically geared to that end. The Conference also recommended that the donor agencies and FAO should carefully review their procedures and take new initiatives to assist a fuller utilization of local experts and material resources in the implementation of field projects so that aid inputs were used to fill real gaps and not as a substitute for these resources. The Conference also stressed the importance of careful monitoring and evaluation of on-going projects by recipient governments themselves to ensure that these were implemented in keeping with the social and economic realities of the countries themselves and were not unduly influenced by the professional zeal of outside experts.
150. There was a lively discussion on the relative share and types of experts, equipment, fellowships and other inputs that should be included in technical assistance projects. The Conference agreed that no hard and fast rules could be laid down in this regard and that each project merited careful consideration in the light of the objectives and activities envisaged and local conditions in the recipient country concerned. The Conference noted, however, that the essence of FAO's role in executing technical assistance projects lay in its capacity to transfer experience and technical knowledge. In this context the Conference agreed that reliance on foreign experts -should be kept to the minimum and that FAO should recruit experts of high calibre to meet with the changing situation in recipient countries. The Conference also agreed that there should be increasing emphasis on the training of local personnel through fellowships or otherwise. The Conference reaffirmed its strong desire that close links should be ensured between the technical units and the operations units to improve FAO headquarter backstopping for field projects.
151. The Conference agreed that the Programme Committee should undertake a further review of sub-contracting procedures. The Conference urged the use of sub-contracts to establish exchange programmes between, and project servicing agreements with, academic and research institutes in different countries. It was suggested that such exchange arrangements between established institutes in developed as well as developing countries and newer institutes in the latter group of countries could provide a firm basis for training of professional staff at all levels. The Conference also agreed that FAO should make concerted efforts to use the services of qualified consulting firms in developing countries for the execution of field programmes
152. The Conference shared the growing concern around the world about the need to tackle problems of rural unemployment and social injustice through development assistance. The Conference recommended that FAO should undertake a careful analysis of the types of projects and activities that could be promoted by FAO to further the integrated rural development programmes of Member Governments with particular emphasis on assistance to small farmers. It was suggested in this context that FAO should review selected, completed or on-going development projects and programmes which had at some stage been financed by UNDP, IBRD, or other donor agencies to assess the impact of such projects or programmes on production, employment and income distribution and their catalytic or multiplier effect in promoting integrated rural development, The Conference noted with satisfaction the pilot study on the impact of the Muda scheme in Malaysia undertaken by the Investment Centre and expressed the hope that it would be possible for FAO to evolve specific guidelines from the results of such studies for the application of development assistance to expand opportunities for rural employment and reduce disparities in incomes and economic opportunities in the recipient countries.
153. The Conference endorsed the need for concerted action by the international community for assistance to the least developed countries. It noted the analysis of special problems and constraints facing these countries as brought out in section 9 of document C 73/4, and commended the Director-General for the effective role FAO had played in coordinating UN relief to mitigate the hardships brought about by the continuous droughts in the Sahelian Zone countries. It was pointed out, however, that FAO had been relatively slow in developing specific projects or recommending special measures to meet the medium and long-term development needs of the least developed countries. The Conference recommended that the Director-General should intensify the search for the means of meeting the special needs of this group of countries by strengthening the Organization's capacity to influence programme and project development in this regard.
154. The Conference reaffirmed the importance of agricultural research in developing countries, in line with Conference Resolution 9/71. It was emphasized that research in various fields of agriculture was an essential link in the development process, without which increased production or rural development could not be achieved. It was pointed out that according to a recent study by the IBRD the developed countries in 1970 spent almost six times as much on agricultural research as did the less developed countries having about three times as many people. This perhaps explained much of the difference in output and yields between the two groups of countries. The Conference noted that the return on agricultural research had been extraordinarily high, and it was generally believed that this would continue because of the great and obvious scope for improvements.
155. Although much benefit to the developing countries could be derived from research undertaken in the developed countries, nonetheless a large volume of adaptive research would have to be undertaken in the developing countries themselves because of variations in soil, climate and other factors. The Conference agreed, therefore, that in this field the primary task of FAO was to help strengthen national research capabilities. It was also suggested that research in the developing countries should not concentrate only, or even predominantly, on the most favoured areas, but should also pay attention to the needs of farmers in the poorer and remote areas. For this purpose the necessity for extension and other supporting services was acknowledged, and it was noted that developing countries as a group were already expanding such services. The Conference recommended that FAO should continue to support action in strengthening research through its contribution to the Technical Advisory Committee of the Consultative Group and UN committees in science and technology, through Regular Programme activities in support of research on a global or regional scale, and through assistance in the development and execution of national research projects and programmes in the developing countries. Such action, it wee agrees, should be specifically geared towards the strengthening of national research organizations and promotion of effective links between these organizations at the regional and international levels. The Conference also emphasized the need for systematic transfer of knowledge and research results.
156. The Conference emphasized the importance of initiatives to stimulate the formulation and execution of inter-country, inter-regional and global development projects and programmes.
157. The Conference noted the close interaction between the Regular and the Field Programmes of the Organization. It was suggested that through country studies and other analytical work under the Regular Programme, FAO should be able to influence the donor agencies and assist the recipient countries in determining priorities for field projects. In addition to agricultural research, the Conference underlined the special needs of the developing countries for assistance in the training of local personnel at all levels.
158. The Conference took note with appreciation of the intention of the Government of Austria to arrange a Training Course on Forest Roads and Harvesting in Mountainous Forests, in 1975, for participants from developing countries.
159. The Conference expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the Evaluation Service in the development and application of criteria and methodology for evaluation of technical assistance projects. The Conference particularly welcomed the collaboration between FAO and UNDP and between FAO and bilateral aid agencies in this field. It expressed the hope that further progress would be achieved in the development and application of models for built-in evaluation. It was also suggested that the Evaluation Service should assist member countries in the setting up of national evaluation units through the preparation and dissemination of guide material and training of national staff on request.
160. In view of this promising experience with the systematic evaluation of technical assistance activities, the Conference suggested that the Director-General should explore the possibility of instituting a similar system for the evaluation of selected Regular Programme activities on an experimental basis, initially.
161. The Conference recommended that the lessons drawn from the synthesis of evaluation missions and outlined in document C 73/4 should be further examined by FAO in consultation with the donor agencies and the recipient countries with a view to applying these lessons effectively in the planning and implementation of field projects in future. The Conference suggested, in addition,. that every effort should be made by the various technical and economic divisions to utilize fully the recommendations of the Evaluation Service. It was also recommended that the format and the candid and constructive tone of the Review of FAO Field Programmes, 1972-73 should be maintained for the next Conference with such changes as the Programme Committee might recommend at its 1974 autumn session in the light of new emerging issues.
162. It was felt that the usefulness of the Review would be further increased by the addition of a succinct summary of conclusions and recommendations at the beginning or the end of the document. The Conference would in particular welcome a more critical analysis of the effectiveness of the activities of the Investment Centre and the Industry Cooperative Programme.
163. The Conference agreed with the Programme Committee on the desirability of requesting the Committees on Forestry, Fisheries and Agriculture to discuss and make recommendations on the Review of FAO Field Programmes 1972-73 at their forthcoming sessions, and agreed with the specific suggestions made by the Programme Committee.
B. Medium-term objectives
Section II: world outlook
Section III: medium-term objectives
Section III - medium-term objectives and section IV: concluding remarks
Form of future document
164. The Conference recalled the approaches leading to document C 73/10 and generally agreed that except in respect of the important question of implications for FAO's programmes it followed the directives of the Fifty-Ninth Council Session and was an improvement over the previous version (1972-77).
165. It was noted that same questions were the subjects of other major documents to be separately considered by the Conference, such as food security, international agricultural adjustment, food and nutrition policy, environment, and AGRIS. The Conference noted that the document had been prepared in March 1973 and thus did not take account of a number of recent developments and policy issues, decisions which might have a bearing on medium-term objectives.
166. It was further noted that inter-agency discussions, in line with the recommendations of ECOSOC, were proceeding on the harmonization and coordination of medium-term plans and that the UN Joint Inspection Unit was preparing a report on the subject. The Conference felt however that the special characteristics of FAO and its own requirements must have primary consideration.
167. The Conference considered the document section by section as follows:
Section II: world outlook
168. This was considered generally satisfactory as a statement of the present situation and outlook. Many delegates endorsed what was stated in the document and expressed dismay concerning the poor progress so far achieved in implementation of the strategy taken in the framework of the Second Development Decade, the falling off in official development assistance, as well as the lack of decisions by Member Nations to direct their efforts toward food and agricultural development. The Conference also stressed the need for greater will by developing countries in effecting their food and agricultural development, in particular as regards structural change and social justice.
Section III: medium-term objectives
169. Many delegates felt that this was little more than a catalogue under eight headings of all the well-known problems, neither reflecting an integrated approach nor analysing causes and solutions; some others however found the section useful as a concise and lucid exposition of complex and interrelated problems for the purpose of promoting discussion, although insufficiently specific in certain aspects. A number of delegates considered that this section should have been more selective and should have treated a smaller number of objectives in greater depth.
170. While it was the sovereign responsibility of Member Nations to establish their own policies and priorities, FAO Should make thorough studies, with the cooperation of the countries concerned, of the countries situations and offer, when requested, advice in planning and technical assistance for this purpose.
171. A large number of recommendations were made during the debate on detailed objectives which were of high priority or in the opinion of delegates required more emphasis. These fell into the following categories: (a) Increasing agricultural productivity, (b) Integrated Rural Development and Human Resource Development, (c) Fisheries, (d) Forestry, (e) Research, (f) Trade, (g) Advice on planning, (h) Environment, (i) Food and nutrition policy. Among these categories, specific references were made inter alia to the following as being of high priority for development:
(a) Agricultural productivity - seed production and multiplication, use of High-Yielding Varieties, pasture and rangeland, including research, livestock, post-harvest losses, fertilizer and pesticide availability and application.
(b) Integrated Rural Development and Development of Human Resources - the package approach, popular participation, training and education at the intermediate level, institution building, extension, agrarian reform, credit, farm management, small farmers, home economics, rural employment and income.
(c) Fisheries - marine and freshwater fisheries, resource management, aquaculture.
(d) Forestry - timber production industry and marketing, creation of a Tropical Timber Bureau, afforestation, importance of forestry to employment.
(e) Research - many aspects of plant and animal production, economic and social development issues, applied rather than basic research, effective links between international and national institutes, and national institutions and extension workers.
(f) Trade - increase in value of exports of developing countries, competition of synthetics, adjustment, agro-industry and processing.
(g) Planning, global and country perspective studies, country programming, development programmes.
(h) Environment - conservation of resources, land and water management and investment (including finding and utilization of water), safe use of fertilizers and pesticides, periodical evaluation of the problems of the environment.
(i) Food and nutrition policy.
172. Reference was also made by some delegates to the opportunities for investment in agricultural development, including specifically agro-industries, by developing countries in other developing countries. It was felt that FAO should encourage such investment. Special reference was also made to the possibilities for cooperation between developing countries with regard to the availability of natural gas for fertilizer manufacture in developing countries.
173. The Conference recognized that in view of the wide range and number of priorities arising from the different circumstances and viewpoints of 131 Member Nations, it was very difficult to arrive at a consensus on a single set of objectives and priorities for Member Nations. A number of alternatives were suggested on how this problem might be approached. Among these were the following:
(a) the extension of country perspective studies and their analysis as soon as possible with a view to synthesizing common factors;
(b) the analysis of national priorities, their reconciliation at the regional level, and the distillation from these of certain global priorities;
(c) the consideration of national development plans, the use made of bilateral and multilateral assistance, particularly UNDP country programmes, and the reconciliation of the Regular Programme therewith;
(d) devising criteria to be applied to individual priorities stated by Member Nations.
Section III - medium-term objectives and section IV: concluding remarks
174. The Conference felt however that the main problem arising from the document was not in relation to Section III but to the inadequacies of Section IV. The Conference recognized the difficulties of identifying the priorities for FAO, as stated in paragraphs 141-148 of C 73/10, but considered that these could and should be overcome. A number of suggestions were made in this regard.
175. Some delegates considered that priorities should be determined primarily on the basis of the inter-relationship between FAO's Regular Programme and its field programmes, particularly the UNDP Country Programmes. There should thus be a closer correlation of the Programme of Work and Budget, the Review of the Field Programmes and the Medium-Term Objectives documents.
176. Some delegates preferred the treatment of priorities at the sub-programme level in the previous version of the document, giving indications of resource allocations at least in the form of gradings (A, B. C and D) to indicate priority trends.
177. A number of delegates considered that the recommendations of the regional conferences on regional problem areas should form the basis of the FAO priorities. Some of these felt that the regional priorities should emerge from an analysis of national priorities and in turn lead to concentration on priorities in FAO's global functions.
178. Several delegates felt that FAO's priorities must be more selective and deal on a flexible, overall basis with changing trends, emphases, and resource proportions. In this connexion, it was pointed out that FAO had many mandatory, continuing activities, and that a distinction must be made between these and activities which could be terminated or would change in importance or emphasis over time and in space.
Form of future document
179. After considerable discussion, the Conference reached a consensus on the following lines:
(b) the general framework of C 73/10 should be retained but the content should be more closely related to other key documents, such as SOFA and the Review of Field Programmes, and to extra budgetary developments;
(c) the section on Medium-Term Objectives should not be a catalogue of all the problems of food and agricultural development but should analyse on an integrated basis the causes of and options for solution of major problems in such fields as improving productivity, human resource development and food and nutrition policy;
(d) this section should as far as practicable reflect the results of analysis at the national and regional level, in particular the recommendations of the regional conferences, in order to reach a synthesis at the global level;
(e) the final section should, as recommended by the Programme Committee, deal with the main thrust of FAO's programmes under its four basic functions, as indicatively stated in paragraph 138 of the document, distinguishing between mandatory continuing commitments and commitments which could be run down or would change in importance or emphasis;
(f) in this respect more attention should be given to trends in extra-budgetary resources and activities;
(g) there should be a further section discussing, albeit somewhat speculatively, possible important issues arising in the longer term.
180. The Conference invited the Council to review, with the advice of the Programme Committee, the proposed outline of the document in more detail at its 1914 autumn session.
181. The Conference felt that the primary purpose of the document was to provide a better basis for a constructive dialogue between Member Nations themselves and with the Director-General in order to achieve a consensus on the guidelines for the solution of major food and agricultural development problems and FAO's priorities and biennial programmes. The Director-General should not be unduly concerned to represent all disciplinary interests but should be very bold in suggesting trends and options in major problem areas.
C. Programme of work and budget, 1974-75
Chapter 1: general policy and direction
Chapter 2: technical and economic programmes
Chapter 3: field programmes and development support
Chapter 4: special programmes
Chapter 5: general programme services
Level of the budget
List of publications and list of FAO sessions
Organization of discussion at the eighteenth session of the conference
Chapter 1: general policy and direction
182. In connexion with Chapter 1, the Conference expressed views on a number of general issues.
183. As regards Chapter 1 itself, the proposals in the Work Plan under sub-programme 1.2.3 (Office of Programme and Budget), regarding Programme Management Systems Development, were endorsed, but attention was drawn to the need to avoid imposing undue burdens on the technical and scientific officers of the Organization.
184. The Conference approved the proposals included in this chapter.
Chapter 2: technical and economic programmes
185. Since the Conference dealt with this chapter as a whole, references to Areas of Emphasis and to individual sub-programmes, although numerous, were brief and discussion on matters of priority or emphasis between or within sub-programmes was limited.
186. In the references to sub-programmes, there was general support for many sub-programmes. There were also reservations about some sub-programmes or elements thereof and a number of questions. The Conference requested the Director-General to take these into account, and, as far as appropriate and possible within the resources available, to adjust the sub-programmes accordingly. On this basis, the Conference concerned itself with recording views and conclusions on major subjects and themes which emerged from its discussions.
Areas of Emphasis - General
187. A number of delegates expressed the view that Mobilization of Human Resources was of the highest priority and expressed concern at the reductions, or small increases, for some sub-programmes in Area 2.1, in particular for those under programme 2.1.2 dealing with Education and Training.
188. A number of delegates felt that in view of the world foot situation, the Area of Emphasis 2.2 (Production and Productivity), merited the highest priority, particularly the sub-programmes covering land and water, pasture and rangelands, seed and planting material, basic food crops, fisheries, forestry and fertilizers. increasing production and productivity of food crops was particularly important in the least developed countries with limited access to external sources of supply.
189. In this connexion, concern was expressed that the share of resources allocated to the main scientific and technical aspects of the Organization's work had in the past few years suffered a relative decline in the share of total resources. This view embraced certain specific sub-programmes within Area 2.3 (Nutrition and Protein), in particular fisheries and livestock problems, and most of the sub-programmes in Area 2.4 (Conservation of Resources and Control of Diseases and Pests).
190. Reference was made to the contribution which FAO should make to preparation and follow up on the Law of the Sea Conference. It was felt that the responsibilities of the Fisheries Department in its present form should be maintained. Some concern was expressed in regard to the abolition of the Fisheries Education and Training Branch. However, it was noted that coordination in this important area would be provided in the Policy and Plans Service.
191. It was recognized that the sub-programmes under Areas 2.5 (Agricultural Policy and Planning) and 2.6 (Basic Economic and Statistical Service), dealt with important global and policy functions of the Organization, although some reservations were expressed concerning the scope of or methodological approach to projections and perspective studies.
192. It was agreed that the Organization must make every effort to continue to reduce the proportion of its administrative costs to the whole and to operate more economically and efficiently so as to be able to concentrate more resources on the scientific and technical sectors of its work.
Area of Emphasis 2.1 - Mobilization of Human Resources
193. The Conference stressed the importance of integrated rural development as a major concept which the Organization should more clearly define and actively promote. The social and human aspects of raising the level and well-being of rural populations should go hand in hand with increasing agricultural productivity. In view of their inter-relationship and the many disciplines involved, the Conference recognized that it was not appropriate or practicable to establish a specific sub-programme for integrated rural development as such. The restructuring of the Human Resources and Institutions Division, and the work of the Inter Departmental Working Group on Integrated Rural Development to achieve coordination, was noted.
194. The Conference recognized that home economics was essential to many of the sub-programmes of the Human Resources and Institutions Division, in keeping with the multidisciplinary approach to integrated rural development, and that the officers concerned also exercised an important influence through the Economic and Social Department Working Group on Population Questions (ESDWGP). Some concern was, however, expressed that the group of home economics officers had been dispersed among several sub-programmes, and the Conference request _ the Director-General to review the situation in the light of experience.
195. The Conference welcomed the establishment of the Research Development Centre in the Office of the Assistant Director-General, Development Department, and its functions, as described in sub-programme 220.127.116.11 (Coordination of General Agricultural Research Facilities and Services) and certain other steps taken in the field of promoting research. There was agreement on the coordinating and operational as well as the servicing role of the Centre, both within FAO (subject to the maintenance of full respect for the competence of the technical divisions) and at national and regional levels among research institutions. Some doubts were however expressed about the choice of the title of the unit and it was felt that a better title would have been "Research Development Service" or "Research Development Section" but it was noted that the title reflected its coordinating and operational and servicing role.
196. The Conference agreed that research was basic to achieve food and agricultural development. In this regard, it was essential to promote the strengthening of national research activities in developing countries, and more resources from UNDP should be sought for this purpose. It furthermore stressed that in the developing countries particular importance should be given to adaptive research directed towards their immediate requirements.
197. It was also essential to strengthen relationships between international research institutions and research at the inter-regional, regional and national levels. FAO should increase its efforts to promote these relationships and also networks for closer contact between national institutions. It was also necessary to improve the outreach of research and its application to operational branches of national administrations and at the farm level through extension and services to farmers. In this regard the Conference emphasized the need to seek UNDP, IBRD, bilateral and foundation assistance.
198. The Conference commended the Director-General on the manner in which he had implemented Resolution 9/71 of the Sixteenth Conference session. While recognizing that considerable progress had been made in this respect, the Conference decided that the subject of agricultural research should be placed on the agenda of the Eighteenth Conference session in 1975 as a major topic for discussion.
Area of Emphasis 2.2 - Production and Productivity
199. The Conference stressed the importance of most of the sub-programmes under Area 2.2 as fundamental to food and agricultural development, including the basis for rural employment, income and welfare. In this connexion, stress was also laid on the interrelationship between these sub-programmes and those under other Areas of Emphasis, in particular research, education and training, credit, and marketing. It was also felt that more attention should be given to farm management.
200. Special emphasis was laid upon programmes, 2.2.2 (Development of Resources), 2.2.3 (Improvement and Production of Bio-Resources) and 2.2.4 (Improvement in Management and Resources). Among these, a number of delegates drew attention to the importance of and need for increased attention to all the sub-programmes in 2.2.2. Stress was laid on 18.104.22.168 (Introduction and Production of Seed and Planting Material), 22.214.171.124 (Soil Management, Fertility and Fertilizer Use), 126.96.36.199 (Water Application, Management and Use) and 188.8.131.52 (Processing of Food and Agricultural Products and Utilization of By-Products). As regards 184.108.40.206 (Joint FAO/IAEA Programme), it was recognized that the activities, particularly the pest control activities, of the programme were more practical and realistic than they had been in the past, but it was felt that resources being devoted to plant breeding genetics might be better utilized in other practical, quick-return areas. Attention was drawn to the importance of the problems of dry land cultivation in all its aspects.
201. The Conference expressed particular concern over the rise in prices and shortage of supplies of fertilizers. The Conference recommended that, in view of the strategic importance of fertilizers in increasing productivity, increased attention should be given to both technical and economic aspects of fertilizer use. It welcomed the establishment of a Commission on Fertilizers which would keep under review the world fertilizer supply and price situation and assess major trends and long-term outlook in fertilizer production, consumption and trade, noting that funds would be made available within the budget level for its work.
202. There was strong support for the forestry sub-programmes, but some delegates expressed reservations about the balance of priorities assigned to Forestry Management compared with Forest Industries. It was noted, however, that the concept of forest management covered a wide field and included activities under other sub-programmes, such as conservation, protection and forest tree improvement. The importance of forestry in the creation of employment and encouragement of industries and processing was stressed. It was felt that the responsibilities of the Department in its present form should be maintained.
203. The Conference considered that the responsibility in the field of remote sensing lay mainly with national authorities and institutions, but agreed that FAO has a role to play in the utilization of this technique for the benefit of developing countries, particularly in field projects.
Area of Emphasis 2.3 - Nutrition and Protein (Livestock and Fish)
204. It was noted that the nutrition problem and related action, including a new strategy for improving it, was the subject of discussions under another item of the Agenda. The Conference emphasized the importance of animal production and health in Member Nations and generally endorsed the work of FAO in this field under the various sub-programmes. In this connexion the importance of establishing disease-free zones, particularly in Africa, was emphasized. Importance was also attached to promoting the introduction of exotic breeds. The importance of poultry production was also stressed as a source of domestic protein supply.
205. The Conference emphasized the importance of FAO fisheries programmes under this and other Areas of Emphasis, since fish and fish products were an important source of protein for human and animal consumption and also a source of fertilizer for crop production, and many issues of great importance to Member Nations would arise in the near future. resources
Area of Emphasis 2.4 Conservation of Resources and Control of Diseases and Pests
206. Resources - The Conference recognized the basic importance of genetic resources in agricultural development, and recommended that the activities in this field should be supported and strengthened.
207. The Conference welcomed and strongly supported the very high priority given to strengthening the unit of Crop Ecology and Genetic Resources to permit it to coordinate a worldwide programme in collection, conservation, exploration, evaluation and documentation of crop genetic resources, as well as in the related fields of publications and training; also in promoting the establishment of genetic centres in the areas of crop diversity in the developing countries.
208. Recognizing FAO's role in activities in the genetic resources field and the importance of coordination, the Conference endorsed the recommendation that FAO should provide headquarters facilities for the International Board of Plant Genetic Resources, established by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, as well as the location of the Secretariat of this Board in the Genetic Resources Unit with financing by the Board through its extra budgetary funds, and requested that the Council be kept informed of the Board's activities.
209. Control of Diseases and Pests - The Conference also attached particular importance to the activities concerned with Control of Diseases and Pests in Growing Crops, with particular regard to control of the desert locust which periodically menaced agricultural production in north-central Africa, and the Near East. The Conference, while emphasizing the importance of the work on desert locust control which was directly related to agricultural production in the developing countries, reiterated the recommendations made at its last three sessions concerning placing this part of the programme on a permanent basis. In agreed that, should the present extra-budgetary sources cease to be available, steps should be taken to include the remaining elements of the locust control projects, particularly the three regional posts, in the Regular Programme.
210. The Conference also stressed that the use of pesticides, as well as developments of integrated pest control techniques, still continued to be important. However, it also stressed the need for judicious use of pesticides in view of the environmental risks. Reservations were expressed about the proposed deferment of the Committee of Experts on Pesticides in Agriculture Session since it was felt that this should meet before the proposed WHO/FAO Conference on the use of pesticides in integrated pest control. The Conference recommended that this proposal for deferring the Session should be reconsidered.
211. The Conference welcomed the attention devoted to the problem of prevention and control of post-harvest losses, expressing concern that resources for this activity had been somewhat reduced, and that no work was envisaged on the storage of staple root crops. The Conference was informed that rodent control was considered one of the highest priorities in this sub-programme and that other aspects were primarily covered by associated field projects in this area.
212. Environmental Aspects - As regards general environment matters, the Conference supported the priority allocation in the Programme of Work and Budget. It approved the establishment of a central coordinating unit but considered that the question of support costs, as provided for in the Supplementary Programme of Work and Budget, should be reviewed in the light of any proposals for further expanding UNEP's cooperation with FAO. Substantive aspects of this field of activity are dealt with later in this report.
Area of Emphasis 2.5 - Agricultural Policy and Planning
213. In view of the discussion under other items of the agenda on issues and activities covered by the sub-programmes under this Area, the views of the Conference on the main issues are to be found in the other relevant sections of this report.
Area of Emphasis 2.6 - Basic Economic and Statistical Services
214. There was general support for the sub-programmes under this Area.
215. The Conference approved Chapter 2 of the Programme of Work and Budget on the understanding that the Secretariat would carefully consider and give due account to the detailed comments made on the various sub-programmes or elements therein.