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E. Relations and consultations with international organizations on programme matters of common interest

Matters arising from discussions in the UN general assembly, ECOSOC and ACC
Proposal for a special world food conference under United Nations auspices
Matters relating to the human environment
FAO/UNDP cooperation
Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

Matters arising from discussions in the UN general assembly, ECOSOC and ACC

276. The Conference took note of the report of the Director-General on matters arising from recent discussions in the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and ACC, which indicated developments on important inter-agency matters and the manner in which the Director-General was cooperating with other organizations of the UN system.

277. The Conference expressed satisfaction at the way FAO was responding positively, in cooperation with the OAU, to resolutions of the General Assembly and of ECOSOC relating to assistance to refugees from the colonial territories and the peoples striving to liberate themselves from colonial rule. It noted with interest the project, supported by UNDP, to provide agricultural training at the Mozambique Institute. A number of suggestions were advanced as to how assistance in this field could be further increased with the maximum involvement of the liberation movements concerned and the minimum burden to host countries with respect to counterpart obligations and the implementation of projects with a minimum of delay. The possibility of additional voluntary contributions by interested governments, to cover the costs not normally met by UNDP, was also mentioned. The Conference requested the Director-General to submit to the Council, at a session in the near future, a further report on this matter.

278. With regard to other inter-agency matters, it was suggested that in the future the Director-General's report should provide sufficiently detailed information on key issues which would show more clearly their implications for the Organization. With regard to the proposed cooperation with the United Nations concerning the rationalization of the work of ECOSOC, the Conference expressed its hope that FAO would approach the matter in such a way that any changes made in working relationships would lead to greater effectiveness of FAO in serving Member Nations. The Conference stressed that the application of science and technology to development in the field of agriculture was an integral part of the daily activities of FAO. Arrangements for coordination within the United Nations system should aim at strengthening such activities instead of establishing new machinery which might isolate them from their operational context. If any new machinery were established, it should not divert resources from existing programmes in the Organization.

279. The Conference, noting General Assembly resolution 2906 (XXVII) on ''Programmes of the Observance of the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights'', adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 7/73



Noting that the Human Rights Day in 1973 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the adoption and proclamation by the General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Convinced of the historic significance and the enduring value of the Universal Declaration as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations,

Reaffirming its abiding interest in the promotion of these rights on a continuing basis,

1. Welcomes the activities undertaken or contemplated by FAO to mark the Anniversary,

2. Reaffirms that FAO continue to work for the fuller attrainment of man's rights to freedom from hunger.

(Adopted 28 November 1973)

Proposal for a special world food conference under United Nations auspices

280. The Conference considered the decision made by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed fifty-fifth session, 15 to 18 October 1973, to recommend to the General Assembly the convening of a World Food Conference in 1974 under the auspices of the United Nations. It noted that, in accordance with the terms of this decision, the FAO Conference was invited to consider this question as a matter of priority and to submit its report to the Economic and Social Council. The Conference noted that the convening of a World Food Conference to be held jointly by FAO and UNCTAD had been urged by the Algiers Conference of Non-Aligned Nations (4-9 September 1973) and that a proposal for a World Food Conference under United Nations auspices had been formally submitted by the United States to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Conference had before it some suggestions by the Director General (C 73/22), and also benefited from a statement by the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs. The Conference report on this item would be submitted to the Economic and Social Council in response to its invitation.

281. The Conference welcomed and supported the proposal for a World Food Conference in 1974 under the auspices of the United Nations. The Conference recognized that the world food problem, which had undergone a serious deterioration during the past year, could not be solved within the agricultural sector alone, but should be examined within the broad context of development problems. This would call for a determined and cooperative effort to tackle the problem in all its aspects, some of which would be beyond the competence of FAO. It expressed the belief that such an event, which should be held at Ministerial level and should enjoy the full participation of all States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies and of the International Atomic Energy Agency including those not members of FAO, would enable a broad policy-level approach to be made to the world food problem in all its aspects, and would lead to the formulation and implementation of a programme of international cooperation to overcome this problem.

282. The Conference felt that, while it was not in a position to formulate detailed proposals for the agenda of the World Food Conference, it could offer some general suggestions for consideration by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, and at a later stage by the Preparatory Committee for the World Food Conference.

283. The Conference considered that the work of the World Food Conference should be based on an assessment of the world food problem. This assessment, which should take up the minimum possible amount of the time of the World Food Conference and might be handled in large part by the Preparatory Committee, should concern itself in the first place with the demand and supply outlook and should attempt to identify the dimensions and causes of hunger and malnutrition, in particular among the most deprived and vulnerable groups. In assessing the possible future evolution of the world food problem, the World Food Conference should focus its attention mainly on the short and medium term. As far as possible the documentation for these assessments should draw on work already carried out, and elaborate new studies should be avoided.

284. The principal task of the World Food Conference, on which most of its efforts should be focussed, should be to bring about a commitment by the world community as a whole to undertake concrete action towards resolving the world food problem within the wider context of development problems. In order to ensure success in achieving this objective, attention should be concentrated on issues of outstanding importance where progress within the framework of the World Food Conference could have a major impact on the resolution of the problem. While a considerable number of suggestions were put forward as to the subjects which might with advantage be tackled by the World Food Conference, there was a consensus that emphasis should, in the first instance, be placed on additional measures for increasing the food production, consumption and trade of developing countries. Such measures should be designed to achieve not only an expansion in terms of quantity, but also an improvement in terms of quality of diet. Particular attention should be paid to maximizing the production potential of available land, to an extension of the area under irrigation and to the expansion of the availability of agricultural inputs, which should increasingly be manufactured in the developing countries. Action should also be foreseen to reduce losses, both before and after harvesting.

285. The World Food Conference should envisage further action no strengthen world food security, building on the work of the FAO Conference at its current session. In this context, the World Food Conference should define a long-term policy for food aid, with particular attention to the role of the World Food Programme. It should at the same time bring about agreement on improved measures for providing emergency relief in cases of disaster, including strengthened arrangements for international coordination.

286. While the World Food Conference was not envisaged as a negotiating forum, it should nevertheless aim at reaching agreement on specific objectives and programmes, which would subsequently be carried out through existing international machinery. This role was particularly significant in the area of international trade and international agricultural adjustment, since questions of trade and food balances were highly inter-linked. Many delegations emphasized the urgency of improving the unfavourable conditions on international markets for the agricultural commodities produced by developing countries, in order to make it possible to achieve the objective of increasing food production. In this context the Conference noted that, under the arrangements which the General Assembly was expected to make, UNCTAD would be invited to cooperate in the work of the World Food Conference. The Conference expressed the hope that the World Food Conference would succeed in reaching agreement on approaches which would facilitate significant progress being made, in the appropriate fore, towards resolving difficulties in this area. In this context, the World Food Conference would not be expected to duplicate the work of UNCTAD or GATT, but could give valuable support and impetus to it.

287. The Conference gave careful consideration to possible arrangements for the preparation and organization of the World Food Conference. It recognized that no decisions on this matter could be taken before the General Assembly had reached its final conclusions on the proposal for the convening of a World Food Conference. Nevertheless it felt strongly that, as the organization in the United Nations system with specific responsibility for food and agriculture, the special role of FAO should be given full recognition when such arrangements were made. It also stated the need for UNCTAD and other organizations and programmes of the United Nations system to cooperate in the undertaking. The Conference authorized the Director-General to enter into appropriate arrangements for FAO participation in the World Food Conference should the General Assembly decide to convene it. Subject to the terms of the General Assembly's decision on this point, the Conference endorsed the Director General's suggestions that the World Food Conference Secretariat be established jointly by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of FAO. Many delegates suggested that the Secretary-General or Executive Secretary on the Conference be a national of a developing country with a close knowledge of development and in particular of food problems. It was also suggested that the Chairman of the Conference be from a developing country.

288. With regard to timing, the Conference recommended November 1974 as the date of the World Food Conference. Considering that the necessary facilities would be available at FAO Headquarters, and that the bulk of the preparatory work was likely to be done by FAO, in cooperation with UNCTAD as well as with other organizations and programmes, the Conference recommended that the World Food Conference be held in Rome. It also recommended that the Secretariat of the World Food Conference be located in Rome. It offered the facilities of FAO Headquarters for meetings of the Preparatory Committee.

289. A number of suggestions were advanced regarding the composition of the Preparatory Committee for the World Food Conference. It was generally felt that the Preparatory Committee Should be manageable in size, while allowing for the equitable representation of all regions and stages of development. Many delegates would have liked to see a formal association of FAO in the selection of the members of the Preparatory Committee. However, the timing difficulties were recognized, since neither the Conference nor the Council would be in session when the Preparatory Committee was likely to be set up by ECOSOC and the General Assembly. The Conference urged the governments of countries selected for participation in the Preparatory Committee to designate as their representatives officials familiar with development issues, and especially with food problems. The Conference also stressed the importance of FAO in cooperation with UNCTAD and with the assistance of other organizations and programmes, being directly associated with the work of the Preparatory Committee. In this connection the Conference felt that the Independent Chairman of the Council should attend the meetings of the Preparatory Committee and the World Food Conference in an appropriate capacity. The usefulness of the FAO Regional Conferences considering the issues expected to come before the World Food Conference was urged by a number of speakers.

290. In concluding its debate, the Conference considered that the convening of a World Food Conference would be a significant step only if the international community had the political will to take decisive steps to overcome the world food problem. It expressed the hope that all governments and international organizations concerned would collaborate speedily and efficiently in the common aim of holding a World Food Conference that would lead to effective and lasting results.

Budget Aspect of the 1974 World Food Conference

291. The Conference considered the possible financial implications for the Organization of the convening of a World Food Conference in 1974 under the auspices of the United Nations. It recognized that at the present time no specific budget proposal could be submitted, since it was not known whether the UN General Assembly would in fact decide to convene a World Food Conference, nor what provision would be made for such an event in the United Nations budget. The Conference therefore authorized the Director-General to draw on the Working Capital Fund up to a maximum amount of $500 000 to cover costs connected with the preparation for, or servicing of, the proposed World Food Conference if it were held. The Conference requested the Director-General to report to the Finance Committee and the Council on the expenditure of this money, and insofar as timing permitted to submit proposals to these bodies before expenditures were actually incurred. In reaching this decision the Conference noted that it would have been preferable, had circumstances permitted, for the necessary expenditure to have been included in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1974-75. It recognized, however, that the contribution required from the Organization would remain unclear until the General Assembly had reached a conclusion regarding the proposal for a World Food Conference.

Matters relating to the human environment

292. The Conference recalled the long established activities of FAO in the field of Natural Resources and the Human Environment and the many recommendations of the UN Conference on the Human Environment requesting FAO to strengthen its programmes in this area. It was stressed that the major environmental problems facing agriculture, forestry and fisheries were not only the avoidance of environmental pollution but the ensuring, in the development process, of the maintenance of the productive capacity of the basic natural resources for food and agriculture through rational management and conservation measures. It was recognized that agricultural development and world food security depended on the careful husbandry of living resources, on their biological laws and ecological balances, as well as on the adjustments of production, supply and reserves to demands.

293. The Conference therefore recommended that the proposed programme framework ''Natural Resources for Food and Agriculture'' should constitute the basis for coordinating and developing FAO's environmental activities, in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme and the other UN and non-UN agencies concerned. It was also agreed that assessment and ecological management of natural resources should constitute the two major components of the programme.

294. In the field of assessment of natural resources for food and agriculture, the Conference stressed the need to fill the existing gaps in the inventories and to assist Member Nations in developing integrated and standardized systems of scientific and technical information, data collection and data processing on natural resources for food and agriculture. The Conference recommended that the major contribution of FAO to the Earthwatch programme of UNEP should be in the field of monitoring the state of natural resources and the environment for food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. To this end, FAO should not only be involved in the global and regional aspects of the UNEP monitoring programmes but also assist national food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries institutions to develop their capabilities in this respect. Particular reference was made to the practical requirements for monitoring the effects of agricultural development activities on natural resources and the human environment. The Conference endorsed the proposal of the Director-General to make periodic assessment of the ''State of Natural Resources and Environment'' as an essential complement to the existing yearly report on the State of Food and Agriculture in the field of production and economics. It recommended that preparatory activities should be initiated by the FAO Secretariat in cooperation with Member Governments in 1974-75 to enable the Organization to make such assessments in the following biennium.

295. In the field of ecological management of natural resources for food and agriculture, the Conference endorsed the priority areas proposed in the document C 73/21. In particular, it was stressed that FAO should mobilize, with the assistance of UNEP, its expertise and resources to assist Member Governments concerned in implementing national campaigns and regional cooperation in preventing and reducing environmental degradation of natural resources for food and agriculture. In this respect the Conference stressed that FAO should, with the support of UNEP, have a leading role in assisting member countries in the problems of desertification of arid grasslands, salinization and water-logging of irrigated areas, endangered genetic resources, degradation of watersheds, water pollution in agriculture, forestry and fisheries and flood control. Attention was also drawn to the Man and Biosphere Programme of Unesco (MAB) and to the need to avoid duplication with the work of FAO in the area of monitoring and management of natural resources, for which MAB was expected to provide a scientific basis by promoting international cooperation in ecological research in this area. The Conference also recommended that FAO should be involved in the UNEP work on eco-development.

296. The Conference recognized the need to strengthen the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Natural Resources and Human Environment to enable it to continue to ensure an efficient coordination of FAO activities in this field and the overall guidance of the FAO/UNEP cooperative projects within this programme framework.

297. The Conference decided to review at its next session after the Council has done so the implementation of FAO/UNEP cooperation and its implications as the programme activities developed. The Conference felt that new projects not directly related to agricultural development should not be undertaken unless extra-budgetary funds were available for the purpose. It however noted that additional information was expected to be made available both on the substance of the programme and on the administrative arrangements between UNEP and the cooperating agencies after the Second Session of the UNEP Governing Council in Nairobi in March 1974. The Conference, therefore, requested the FAO Council to consider further this matter at its Sixty-Third Session and requested the Director-General to make a progress report on FAO/UNEP cooperation.

FAO/UNDP cooperation

298. The Conference considered the document on Arrangements with UNDP Regarding the Senior Agricultural Advisers/FAO Country Representatives scheme.

299. The Conference heard a statement by the UNDP Representative, who gave an assurance that there was less reason for concern than there had been about the growth of the financial resources of the UNDP. During the UNDP Pledging Conference for 1974 operations a large number of donor governments had announced pledges over and above their contributions of the previous year, as had been urged by the General Assembly and the UNDP Governing Council. Under the circumstances, it might be expected that the financial target set for the year 1976 would be reached. Also, the improvement of the financial situation would make it possible to give new emphasis to many areas of interest which were defined in the course of the Conference, in particular the strengthening of assistance to the least developed countries for which several governments had pledged supplementary amounts.

300. The Conference noted that the Sixty-First Council Session had been informed of the outcome of the review of the SAA/FAO Country Representatives system. The Conference expressed its support for the agreement reached, which maintained the concept and basic provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding but subjected it to a continual review in order to ensure flexibility in its application.

301. The Conference emphasized the important role of SAA/FAO Country Representatives in giving intellectual leadership in the harmonization of the programme priorities of the Organization with national priorities for agricultural development. In this connexion the need to have high calibre officers qualified in the agricultural field as SAA/FAO Country Representatives was duly stressed.

302. The Conference felt that consultations between the two organizations should take place at all levels and that, in the field, the role of UNDP Resident Representatives and SAA/FAO/ Country Representatives was essential to the improvements envisaged in the arrangement, particularly in regard to the preparation and implementation of field projects.

303. The question of keeping to the principle of international uniformity in the system for procurement and sub-contracting in the implementation of field projects was raised. The Conference noted that international competitive bidding was strictly applied by the Organization, and instances were given of recent cases in which, through competitive bidding, the position of certain countries has improved.

Relations with intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations

304. The Conference took note of a report on some of the more significant developments in relations between FAO and intergovernmental organizations (other than the United Nations and Specialized Agencies) and non-governmental organizations that had taken place since its Sixteenth Session. It also noted the report of an informal meeting of representatives of international non-governmental organizations attending the Seventeenth Session.

305. It further noted that there was no mention in document C 73/23 of the Joint Committee for the Promotion of Aid to Cooperatives (COPAC); however, it was pointed out that COPAC was a mixed body composed of UN, ILO, FAO and several non-governmental organizations and thus outside the scope of the document. It was suggested that consideration might be given to extending the use of agreements such as that made between FAO and the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations (APIMONDIA) to other non-governmental organizations, perhaps on a basis similar to that existing in Unesco, and that the Council study the question with the advice of the appropriate bodies.

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