Chapter 3: field programmes and development support
216. The main points in the discussion of this Chapter were as follows: the Conference supported the work and objectives of the Investment Centre because it had proved to be an important factor in greatly increasing the flow of investment, particularly from the IBRD and IDA, into agriculture, forestry and fisheries, including agro-industries, in the developing countries. It welcomed the increased attention which the programme intended to give to critical areas of agricultural development strategy, such as assistance to small farmers, integrated rural development, institutional reforms and nutrition. The point was made, however, that this should not prejudice continued investment in large-scale food production and processing which, in view of the present world food situation, was of utmost importance.
217. The Conference considered that close liaison must exist between this programme and UNDP project activities in order to take advantage of viable investment opportunities. Is was noted that at present FAO was executing about 60 UNDP projects with investment potential and these were being closely followed.
218. The Conference welcomed the increased cooperation with the regional banks and noted that a recent meeting had taken place between the Director-General and the head of the Asian Development Bank as a result of which cooperation with that institution was expected to increase.
219. With regard to the Industry Cooperative Programme, the Conference expressed its appreciation of the contribution which this Programme, entirely supported by member companies, was making to agro-industrial development in the developing countries. The Conference felt that this Programme could be especially useful in contributing to accelerated development by training local personnel in modern management, technical and marketing skills.
220. The Conference noted and endorsed the presentation of the unified programme concept under Chapter 2, and welcomed the presentation of regional problem areas as the basis for the work of the Regional Offices under Chapter 3. This also showed for the first time the total resources of the Organization, whether located in the Regional Offices or Headquarters, on the regional problem areas identified by regional conferences. It was noted that the Regional Offices were initiating monitoring systems for implementation of these priorities as well as under the unified programme.
221. The Conference noted that a substantial portion of the increases which were proposed in the budgets of the Regional Offices was for consultants. This proposal was especially welcome in that it would make available high-level expertise on specific problems of importance to the regions concerned. In this connexion the Conference urged that funds specified for this purpose should be used with particular care.
222. A number of delegates commented on the staffing of the Regional Offices, particularly in the Near East and Africa, and some suggestions were made to the effect that balance should be maintained between the technical and socio-economic disciplines, and to the fact that there were certain apparent deficiencies in the fields of forestry, plant production and protection, animal health and production, and land and water development. Some delegates felt that the Policy and Planning Units in the Regional Offices might have been better placed at Headquarters where they would have better access to the reference information and data they required. On the other hand, some delegates urged greater administrative decentralization to the Regional Offices.
223. The Conference recognized that in making his proposals the Director-General had followed the guidelines expressed by the Governing Bodies; that resources were limited but that a major part of the programme increases had gone to the Regional Offices; and that, as for Headquarters, the test should be whether specific, quantifiable tasks could be effectively carried out rather than numbers or location of staff as such.
224. With reference to the Regional Office for Latin America, it was recommended that closer cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Sciences, which was also directly engaged in many of the fields of interest to FAO, should be pursued.
225. On the subject of Country Representatives, some suggestions were made that they should be provided, to the extent possible, with secretarial and administrative staff sufficient to relieve them of routine and administrative duties so that they could devote more of their time and effort to the technical and economic concerns of the Organization. It was realized, however, that it was not possible to alleviate this situation to any great extent at present due to financial stringencies. It was also suggested that as soon as practicable FAO should assume full responsibility for the financing of these officers.
226. The Conference generally approved the proposals in this Chapter.
Chapter 4: special programmes
227. The Conference noted the importance of the aim of the FFH/AD programme to support self development programmes, which involved people in their own development and stressed the need to involve small farmers in these programmes, The emphasis on evaluation programmes, was noted. It was recalled that a full review of FFH/AD would be carried out at the Eighteenth Conference Session in accordance with Resolution 4/69. The need for FAO to help establish links between FFHC Committees and to help strengthen these where necessary was emphasized. As regards funding, it was noted that the Regular Programme represented only a small part of the funds available for this programme and that substantive extra-budgetary funds were made available by other UN Agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations, and that the seeking of such funds was indeed one of the aims of the FFH/AD.
228. The Conference expressed its continuing support for the work of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme in the development of international food standards, emphasizing the value and growing importance of such standards as inter alia instruments for facilitating international trade and for protecting the health of consumers. The Conference was informed that the financial difficulties of the Organization has made it necessary to apply a reduction in the funds allocated to the programme. Nevertheless, high priority was attached to it and the Conference noted that WHO expected to continue to make funds available to the programme in accordance with existing cost sharing arrangements.
229. The Conference approved the proposals in this Chapter.
Chapter 5: general programme services
230. The Conference recalled Resolution 1/71 adopted by its Sixteenth Session to institute a permanent new activity in memory of the late Lord Boyd Orr who was the Organization's first Director-General, and approved a proposal already endorsed by the Council at its Sixtieth Session to establish a Boyd Orr Food and Nutrition Library to be administered within the overall framework of the main FAO Library.
231. The Conference noted that under the new arrangements the publication CERES, the FAO Review on Development, was maintaining its high standard at reduced costs.
232. It was noted that the AGRIS project (sub-programme 5.3.1) was discussed, under another item of the agenda.
233. In this connexion, some concern was expressed that, with the shift in emphasis towards new information systems, such as AGRIS, the importance of the David Lubin Memorial Library was apparently being diminished and that the most valuable library activities would be adversely affected rather than helped by these new developments. The Conference was informed that staff reductions resulting from the overall savings exercise carried out in 1973 affected the whole Organization and did not discriminate against the Library as such. The Conference was assured that the Library activities would be preserved and improved, in particular as a result of international information schemes such as AGLINET.
234. In connexion with this Chapter, several delegates referred to the Resolution of the Eleventh FAO Regional Conference for the Near East which, while expressing appreciation for the steps taken to introduce the Arabic Language in FAO, noted that failure to translate all FAO documents and publications into Arabic limited the participation of Arab States in the activities of the Organization. They recommended that the Director-General should take steps toward making Arabic a working language on the same footing as English, French and Spanish. These delegates expressed regret that the Arabic translation programme for 1974-75 remained at the same level as in the two previous biennia and considered that resources should be foreseen in order to extend the use of Arabic in FAO by stages. Lastly, they requested that Arabic interpretation should be provided at future Council sessions.
235. The Conference was informed that the target of 1.8 million words of Arabic translation in 1972-73 had in fact already been exceeded. While it was true that the 1974-75 estimates did not specifically provide for an increase in this figure, the programme should be viewed in the perspective of the very small substantive increase for the Organization as a whole. Attention was drawn to the creation of a new post of Arabic Editorial Assistant in 1974-75. The Conference accordingly noted that the volume of translation actually carried out in 197475 would be further increased, and hoped that the Director-General would make every effort to provide Arabic interpretation in plenary meetings of the Council.
236. The Conference approved the proposals under this Chapter. The Conference, in accordance with Financial Regulation 6.9, also approved the estimates of expenditure (presented in C 73/3, page 592) to be borne by the Publications Revolving Fund in 1974-75 out of revenue.
237. The Conference approved the proposals in Chapters 6 to 9 (with any necessary adjustment of the provision for the Tax Equalization Fund in accordance with the Conference's decision on the additional cost increases to be included in the Programme of Work and Budget as finally approved).
238. The Conference generally commended the Director-General and his staff for the lucid and informative presentation of the Programme of Work and Budget and its Annexes.
239. As regards the format of the Programme of Work and Budget, some reservations were expressed about using the Areas of Emphasis rather than Departments for the structure of the programme budget or about the placing of some sub-programmes under various programmes, and Chapters. The Conference, however, endorsed the present structure of the programme budget as approved by the Fifty-Ninth Council session. Some possible changes by way of addition or omission were suggested in the presentation of information in the sub-programme narratives, but the Conference generally welcomed and endorsed the changes which had been made. The Conference requested the Director-General to submit the question of presentation of the Programme of Work and Budget to the Programme and Finance Committees for study. The results of that study should be submitted to the Autumn 1974 Council session.
240. In this connexion, it was also emphasised that information on the trends of extra budgetary resources, and their inter-relationship with and impact upon the Regular Programme, should continue to be provided and, as far as practicable, incorporated in appropriate ways within the Programme of Work and Budget.
241. The Conference welcomed the innovation in 1973 of the submission of a Summary Budget to the Sixtieth Council session. It recognized that the submission in such detail of a Summary Budget at that stage involved some difficulty in anticipating all that might arise between the time at which this had to be prepared and the time when the Conference took place. Nevertheless, the Conference expressed serious concern at the rate of growth of the budget and that the Director-General had submitted a Supplementary Budget requesting a substantial additional budgetary provision shortly in advance of the Conference, especially as the proposed programme additions had not been previously submitted to the Programme and Finance Committees. Some delegates felt that ample provision would be available to absorb at least some of the additional cost increases or that they need only be provided for after further review by the Council in 1974. The Conference recognized, however, that the origins of the proposed additions for cost increases were not within the control of the Director-General and that the Governing Bodies had repeatedly endorsed the principle of full budgeting in order to avoid a repetition of the damage to the programme which has occurred during 1972-73 and to protect the level of programme approved by the Conference for 1974-75. In this connexion, it was stressed that administrative costs should be kept to a minimum, so that any increased resources could be devoted to programme activities. It was generally agreed that it was unfortunate that such a large total increase as proposed should be mainly for the purpose of covering increased costs.
242. As regards the proposed programme additions, some delegates expressed reservations of principle or substance about various items, in particular the provision of support costs for activities financed by UNEP. It was also felt that some or all of these could have been absorbed by further elimination of low priorities based upon more stringent evaluation of their relevance, feasibility and impact. It was, however, generally felt that the proposed programme additions were acceptable, particularly in view of FAO's success in managing the financial crisis during 1972-73, the resultant cut-back in programme in 1972-73, and the very small increase in real programme proposed for 1974-75.
243. The Conference expressed concern at the lack of time available to it for detailed examination of the general question of overall programme priorities, particularly in Chapter 2, which constituted the major part of the Organization's activities and its Programme of Work and Budget. It recognised that other mechanisms, including the Regional Conferences, existed to review priorities and that a number of factors inevitably made it difficult to conduct a detailed enquiry and attain a dialogue and consensus among Member Nations on detailed priorities in the Programme of Work and Budget in the course of a Conference session. Nevertheless, it felt that further steps must be taken in this direction. A number of suggestions were made as to how this might be done. The Conference decided to instruct the Council to consider and make recommendations on this question, on the basis of recommendations from the Programme and Finance Committees during their 1974 sessions.
244. A number of delegates would have liked more information or clarification, or had reservations of principle, about the proposed transfer amounting to $1 million covering professional posts from Agency Cost financing to the Regular Programme. It was felt that this had important ramifications or implications which required closer study, in particular the principle whether the Regular Programme should provide support to the field programmes, the specification of the nature and extent thereof, and possible future developments in this field. The Conference noted that the results of the CCAQ cost measurement system analysing the various elements of support, and the total support costs, would be considered by the ACABQ and the UNDP Governing Council in the course of 1974 with a view to reaching decisions by the governing bodies of the organizations concerned, on the reimbursement of UNDP agency costs. It was, however, generally recognised that this was not a new problem; that consistent positions had to be taken in the Governing Bodies of FAO and UNDP; that the problem had been compounded by the transfer out of the Regular Programme authorised by Conference Resolution 5/71 (pare. 2) of the posts funded from the former UNDP/TA; by the changes from 1 January 1972 in the system of UNDP reimbursement of Agency Costs; and by the Organization's difficulties on the Regular Programme and extra-budgetary funds.
245. The Conference therefore decided to accept the Director-General's proposals in this respect, pending a more comprehensive and definitive solution to the problem of reimbursement of Agency Costs and support by the Regular Programme to the field programmes, It requested the Council to continue to review this matter and to report further thereon at the Eighteenth Conference session.
Level of the budget
246. The Conference considered the Director-General's proposals for a level of $ 108 492000 on the basis of calculating all his proposals at Lire 563 = US$ 1.
247. In this connexion, it was recalled that the original budget estimates in the main document 73/3 were based on an exchange rate of Lire 582 = US$1. The Supplementary Programme and Budget included a provision of $ 1.19 million for recalculation of the budget at a rate: of Lire 563 = US$1, the rate prevailing between the end of August and the end of October. Since then, however, the rate had changed to around Lire 592 = US$1. In the light of all the considerations, the Conference decided to adopt this rate as the basis for calculating the Director-General's proposals. The result of this was to reduce the effective working budget to $ 106 700 000.
248. In view of the technical factors involved in applying the appropriate reductions to each chapter, the Conference decided to make the deduction of $ 1 792 000 resulting from its decision as a one-line deduction from the Appropriations Resolution, and to authorize the Director-General to make the necessary adjustments subsequently to the appropriations by Chapter as necessary.
249. The Conference accordingly adopted the following resolution:
BUDGETARY APPROPRIATIONS 1974-75
Having considered the Director-General's Programme of Work and Budget and the conclusion reached by its Commissions,
1. Approves the Programme of Work proposed by the Director-General for 1974-75;
2. Resolves that for the financial period 1974-75:
3. Appropriations are voted for the following purposes:
|Chapter 1 - General Policy and Direction||$||7,816,500|
|Chapter 2 - Technical and Economic Programmes||$||62,121,100|
|Chapter 3 - Field Programmes and Development Support||$||9,202,800|
|Chapter 4 - Special Programmes||$||2,515,700|
|Chapter 5 - General Programme Services||$||7,642,200|
|Chapter 6 - General Support||$||18,259,400|
|Chapter 7 - Miscellaneous Expenditure||$||734,300|
|Chapter 8 - Contingencies||$||200,000|
|Effect of recalculation of Budget level at Lire 592: US $ 1||$||1,792,000|
|Total effective working budget||$||106,700,000|
|Chapter 9 - Transfer to Tax Equalization Fund||$||18,600,000|
4. The appropriations (gross) voted in paragraph 3 shall be financed by assessments on Member Nations.
5. In establishing the actual amounts of contributions to be paid by individual Member Nations, the assessment of each Member Nation shall be reduced by any amount standing to its credit in the Tax Equalization Fund; provided that the credit of a Member Nation that levies taxes on the salaries, emoluments and indemnities received from FAO by staff members who are nationals of such Nation, shall be reduced by the estimated amounts of such taxes to be reimbursed to the staff member by FAO.
6. The Contributions due from Member Nations in 1974 and 1975 shall be paid in accordance with the scale adopted by the Conference at its Seventeenth Session; which contributions, after the deduction of amounts standing to the credit of Member Nations in the Tax Equalization Fund, result in net amounts payable totalling US $ 107 120 000 as set out in Appendix D to this Report.
7. The total effective working budget set forth in para. 3 above may be adjusted by the Director-General (1) by transfer between chapters to reflect changes which may become necessary in the implementation of decisions related to restructuring of "Operations" activities, (2) by redistribution of cost increase in the event that their incidence by Chapter differs from that estimated, and (3) by applying the reduction of $ 1 792 000 to the individual Chapters as appropriate on the basis of recalculation of the Budget level at Lire 592 : US $ 1.
(Adopted 28 November 1973)
250. The Conference further considered the recommendation of the Council at its Sixtieth Session to establish a Suspense Account to cover unbudgeted costs. The Conference decided to set the level of this Suspense Account at $4 million as recommended by the Council. The Conference therefore adopted the following resolution:
AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER CERTAIN AMOUNTS TO A SUSPENSE ACCOUNT
Aware of the serious impact on the Organization's Programme of Work and Budget for 1972-73 of unbudgeted extra costs due mainly to movements of currency exchange rates and to inflationary trends,
Having considered the recommendations of the Council at its Sixtieth Session as regards measures to ensure the financing of such unbudgeted extra costs as may have to be met during the 1974-75 biennium as a result of continuing pressures in these areas,
Conscious of the need to ensure that adequate cash resources are available to the Organization to finance the Programme of Work approved by the Conference for 1974-75.
1. Authorizes the Director-General to transfer funds not to exceed $4 million to a suspense account for the purpose of meeting in 1974-75 such unbudgeted extra costs and cash needs, as follows:
(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of Financial Regulation 6.1(b), the cash surplus of the 1970-71 biennium withheld in accordance with Conference Resolution 24/71, and any cash surplus which may materialize in the 1972-73 biennium, shall be transferred, as necessary, to such suspense account;
(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of Financial Regulation 6.1(a), payment of the balance of the 1973 assessment of the maximum contributor, if not received until 1974, shall be transferred as necessary to such Suspense Account; and
(iii) Notwithstanding the provisions of Financial Regulation 5.2(a), Miscellaneous Income of the 1974-75 biennium shall be transferred, as necessary, to such suspense account; amounts not so transferred shall remain in the Miscellaneous Income Account.
2. Further authorizes the Director-General to use the funds in the suspense account:
(i) Whenever the Working Capital Fund is insufficient to finance budgetary expenditure, to advance monies to the General Fund to finance such expenditure pending receipt of contributions from Member Nations to the budget such advances to be reimbursed from subsequent receipts of contributions as soon as feasible; and
(ii) Subject to prior Finance Committee review and Council approval:
(a) to finance unbudgeted extra costs due to movements of currency exchange rates, and
(b) to finance unbudgeted extra costs due to unforeseen inflationary trends to the extent that such costs cannot be met through budgetary savings, up to a total amount of $2 million; funds so used under (a) and (b) shall not be reimbursed to the suspense account;
3. Decides that at the end of 1975 the suspense account shall be closed and the unused portion of this account transferred to cash surplus.
(Adopted 28 November 1973)
List of publications and list of FAO sessions
251. The Conference approved the List of Publications and main documents as presented in 73/3-Sup.1 and the List of FAO cessions under the Regular Programme in 1974-75 as presented in C 73/3-Sup. 2. The very high number of sessions (300) scheduled for the next biennium was underlined. In this connexion, a suggestion was made that, instead of the 142 expert meetings proposed, the Director-General should make use of specialists or institutes from both developed and developing countries which could act as advisers on the subjects to he covered by expert meetings.
Organization of discussion at the eighteenth session of the conference
252. Attention was drawn to the fact that the Review of FAO Field Programmes, the Medium Term Objectives, the Programme of Work and Budget, as well as Research, were inter-related to such an extent that the discussion of one inter-acted on the discussion of the others. In view of this it was suggested that, in order to provide for a rational and effective debate, it would be desirable to agree well beforehand on a systematic approach, based on an analysis of the concepts and topics common to all four and the consideration of each of these topics under one of the agenda items concerned. With this end in view it was generally agreed that, with the advice of the Programme Committee, the Director-General should propose to the June 1975 Council session, and circulate in good time to Member Nations, proposals on how the discussion on these topics could best be prepared, with the object of avoiding overlapping in the Conference discussion.
D. Matters relating to the programme of work and budget
International information system for the agricultural sciences and technology (AGRIS)
Nutrition: report of the ad hoc committee on increasing the production and use of edible proteins
Nutrition: towards a new strategy for improving nutrition
International information system for the agricultural sciences and technology (AGRIS)
253. The Conference was informed of the progress made in the development of AGRIS, pursuant to Conference Resolution 4/71, and of the comments thereon made at the Sixty-First Council Session. It expressed its appreciation of the way in which the Director-General has succeeded in securing extra-budgetary resources for the study and experimental phases of AGRIS, enlisting for this purpose the support, in kind and in cash, of a large number of governments, including the U.S.S.R., institutions, existing information centres and other bodies. This had permitted inter alia the preparation of an experimental issue of AGRINDEX (AGRI-Level One Current Awareness Service) which had been submitted for review and comments to governments, specialized institutions, and potential users.
254. The Conference noted that favourable comments had been received, together with suggestions for technical improvements, and that some twenty governments had already answered positively to the questionnaire on AGRIS, indicating their willingness to participate in AGRIS-Level One. The delegates of some other governments indicated that the questionnaire was under careful consideration. Additional indications of continuing support and participation were given by several delegates during the discussion.
255. The Conference approved the progress made so far in the development of AGRIS, and reiterated its support for the AGRIS concept and objectives, which were considered as essential tools to assist agricultural development, particularly in developing countries. The Conference reviewed in detail the results achieved so far, including the experimental issue of AGRINDEX, and the proposals for future action made by the Director-General. Many delegates intervened in the discussion to indicate interest and support; to provide guidelines for the institutional, organizational and financial arrangements; to give technical recommendations as regards the type of services to be provided by AGRIS; and to suggest the improvements needed to make them accessible and useful to all categories of users.
256. Comments on AGRIS-Level One included reference to: the importance of an extensive coverage, tempered by criteria for selection; the necessity of quality cataloguing and adequate subject indexes; the importance of access to primary documents; the interest in the tape version of the output; the need to develop adequate (multilingual) thesauri; the importance of dissemination points at regional and national levels as required; the essential role of libraries in this context; the need to assist developing countries in improving their information services; the need for education of users; and the importance of adapting methodology to users' requirements.
257. As regards management aspects, some delegates cautioned against undue haste, lest it be detrimental to the project. Other comments included the need for continuing studies on financing aspects (including realistic cost estimates, self financing, cost distribution), the importance of continuous evaluation during a sufficiently long and therefore meaningful pre-operational phase (one delegate specifically favouring evaluation prior to any further action) and the need for periodic information to and review by FAO governing bodies.
258. As far as AGRIS-Level Two (Networks of Specialized Services) was concerned, several delegates indicated that they considered its development, on a progressive basis, as an essential complement to AGRIS-Level One, and of prime importance to users. Emphasis was placed on the need to ensure the cooperation of existing services and the need for information on costs, sources and methods of financing.
259. The Conference agreed that the Director-General should:
(a) pursue in 1974 the detailed preparations required for the implementation of AGRIS-Level One, including (i) negotiations with the countries or groups of countries intending to participate in AGRIS, (ii) negotiations with governments, institutions or other bodies interested in providing support in kind or cash for the studies and operations, (iii) finalization of technical standards and procedures and other processing arrangements;
(b) encourage countries intending to participate in AGRIS to arrange to channel their inputs into the Service through regional or other multi-national centres, thus limiting to a desirable minimum the number of input points with which the Coordinating Centre had to deal;
(c) pursue the study of the legal or institutional instruments needed for the establishment of AGRIS, for agreement on participation and for the creation of an AGRIS Advisory Committee; to report on these aspects to the Autumn 1974 Council session; and upon approval of the Council to proceed with the arrangements or agreements necessary for the provisional operation of the service until the end of 1977;
(d) seek further support from interested bodies and institutions, as well as from Member Nations, in order to cover the costs of the central processing operations during the initial year of operations (1975);
(e) negotiate with non-Member Nations of FAO the means whereby they would make an appropriate contribution towards the basic costs of the service, if desirous of participating in AGRIS;
(f) subject to the availability of adequate funds from sources other than the FAO Regular Programme, to initiate by January 1975 the operational phase of the "Current Awareness Service'' (AGRIS-Level One) with a limited coverage, to be progressively enlarged as more contributions and experience were gained;
(g) with regard to AGRIS-Level Two (Networks of Specialized Service) (i) proceed with the ''overall'' and ''pilot areas'' studies and their evaluation, (ii) promote, in areas where conditions are already favourable, cooperation among existing centres, (iii) draw up an integrated programme for basic methodology and specific area actions; (iv) study and report to the FAO governing bodies in the course of the biennium on the costs, sources and methods of financing
(h) to report regularly on progress of the AGRIS project to FAO governing bodies; in particular to submit a detailed appraisal of the service, including the possibility of self-financing inside or outside FAO, to the Nineteenth Conference Session in 1977 to enable Member Nations to take a final decision on AGRIS at that time.
Nutrition: report of the ad hoc committee on increasing the production and use of edible proteins
260. The Conference considered the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Increasing the Production and the Use of Edible Proteins, which has met in November 1972.
261. The Conference expressed appreciation of the work done by the Ad Hoc Committee. It agreed that the protein problem could not be treated in isolation from the general food problem and approved the importance given in the report to the formulation of national food and nutrition policies and the implementation of intervention programmes.
262. The Conference agreed that the terms of reference of the Committee as well as the agenda of the session had been too narrow, and that a meeting of one day's duration was too short considering the importance of the problem.
263. The Conference therefore recommended that the Committee should be continued with broadened terms of reference to cover the whole field of food and nutrition, and the title should reflect its broadened activities. It was agreed that the future title be: ''Committee on Food and Nutrition Policies ".
264. The Conference further recommended that the new terms of reference and membership of the Committee should be decided by the Sixty-Second Council Session, and that meetings of the Committee, when held, should normally precede Council sessions.
Nutrition: towards a new strategy for improving nutrition
265. The Conference had an extensive discussion on the role of the Food Policy and Nutrition Division within the overall FAO approach to nutrition based on document C 73/36: "Towards a New Strategy for Improving Nutrition''.
266. The Conference, unanimously agreed that the food and nutrition problem was still very serious, was not limited to the vulnerable groups or even to the developing countries, and should be given immediate attention since nutrition constituted an essential condition of life. It gave its full support to the proposals of the Director-General included in the document.
267. The Conference stressed that the nutrition problem was a very complex one in which poverty was prominent and that the problem could not be treated in isolation since it was part of the production-marketing-consumption system and one of the factors which conditioned the system. So far not enough attention had been given to the integration of nutrition objectives in national plans and projects, and the actions undertaken to improve nutrition conditions had had little effect due to insufficient interdisciplinary planning.
268. The Conference agreed on the need for FAO to assist countries through nutrition planning in the formulation of food and nutrition policies to be integrated in agricultural and national development plans, and to provide follow-up action in the implementation of the measures adopted and actions proposed.
269. Mention was made of the importance of research in fields directly concerned with immediate nutrition problems such as crop planning, plant breeding, unconventional sources of proteins etc., of appropriate price policies and other measures to stimulate the production and consumption of nutritious foods, and of multisectoral training. In this respect, some countries had offered to provide training facilities and so share their experience.
270. To achieve this goal, the Conference agreed to the reorientation of FAO's work in the nutrition area to focus on food and nutrition planning and recommended that nutrition should be one of the major objectives of FAO projects. To this end, the Conference agreed that an integrated approach to nutrition problems be promoted between the various technical divisions of FAO and sister agencies, and stressed that a mechanism should be devised to allow the Food Policy and Nutrition Division to play a coordinating role in the activities of the Organization in this field.
271. The Conference recognized that although responsibility for national food and nutrition policy rested with governments, FAO had an important role to play in focusing their attention on the benefits to be gained by introducing such policies in their development plans. Resources should be provided in order to allow FAO Headquarters and Regional Office staff to stimulate this approach.
272. The Conference recommended that the planning process within the agreed strategy should not unduly delay action. Optimum use should be made of data available or easily obtainable. The Conference recognized, however, the need for improving the data basis in most developing countries in the long run for planning and policy refinement.
273. Observing that increased food production alone did not necessarily improve nutrition, the Conference recommended that the proposed World Food Conference should stress the nutrition implications of country food problems with to the promotion of programmes directly aimed at improving levels of consumption.
274. The Conference requested the Director-General to take all necessary steps within the present level of the budget or with the help of multilateral resources to make concrete proposals for short-term and medium-term action for improving nutrition and to provide the Divisions concerned with adequate resources to develop and carry out the resulting activities.
275. The Conference requested the Council to consider the implementation of the strategy as soon as possible. It also requested the Council to place on its agenda as soon as possible the problem of improving nutrition and the implications of the integrated approach for the work of the Unit having a primary responsibility for these problems.