VIII. Annex B - Opening address by dr. Hernan Santa Cruz, Chairman of the General Commemorative Conference
Mr. Prime Minister and authorities of Italy, Ministers, Mr. Director -General, Delegates, Representatives of international organizations, Observers, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I should like to begin by expressing, on behalf of the Conference, our deep emotion at the frightful tragedy which has struck Pakistan, one of our Member Nations. Around 100000 lives have been lost through one of those unforeseeable disasters which leave deep wounds in peoples and hold back their tremendous efforts to improve their own lot. I offer our deepest sympathy to the distinguished representative of Pakistan.
Before going any further, I also wish to express to the distinguished Minister of Agriculture of France, on behalf of the FAO Conference, our deep feeling of sorrow at the passing of General de Gaulle, that great statesman and human being who, for a third of a century, by his genius and compelling personality, wielded a decisive influence on the course of world events and inscribed one of the most brilliant pages in the splendid history of France.
It would be wrong not to render homage at the same time to the memory of Maurice Gemayel, who chaired the FAO Council for four years with such distinction. He was a delightful friend and an accomplished man; only a year ago he was sitting beside us at this very table and his untimely death casts a shadow over the Organization.
I now invite the Conference to stand and to observe one minute's silence In homage to the thousands of men, women and children involved in the Pakistan disaster and of the illustrious persons whose less we are mourning.
The representatives of the 119 Member Nations and two Associate Members of FAO are assembled here today to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Organization. We are honoured by the presence of distinguished representatives of the Government of Italy, the country whose generous hospitality we are enjoying. Among them are the Prime Minister, the Honourable Emilio Colombo, whom, on behalf of the Conference, I welcome with respect and gratitude for the honour which he is paying us.
An even more solemn note is introduced into our proceedings by the participation, in a few moments' time, of His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of human beings throughout the five continents and an illustrious personality among the illustrious of the world, whose inspired words we await with impatience.
This morning, the Chairman of our Council, with his unequalled experience of the Organization, will speak to us of its history and past achievements. The Director -General, on his part, fortified by the great authority conferred on him by his position and by his great ability, will set out the prospects for the future, and delegations will draw up conclusions and outline courses of action. I should, therefore, like to concentrate on a number of more general topics in the hope of placing the analysis of our problems in the broader context of international cooperation as a whole. This year of 1970 marks the first quarter -century of existence of the whole United Nations cooperation system, and the resolution of our own Conference, which convened this extraordinary assembly, enjoined us to remember today not only the founding of FAO but also that of the United Nations. It could not be otherwise because the United Nations is the head of the whole system.
The Spirit of 194
Like all the great collective movements which have mobilized the efforts of men for good or for true progress, this system of cooperation was begotten in pain and sacrifice. It was born as a consequence of the most inhuman, the cruelest and the most widespread calamity in the history of our planet. It was born in one of those supreme moments in the life of mankind when man feels the bonds that tie him to his fellow-man; when his eyes and mind are opened and he is able to discern the needs of his neighbour and the injustice and exploitation suffered by individuals as well as by whole peoples; when, as happens very rarely, peoples and their leaders are capable of penetrating into the underlying causes of war and conflict and of prescribing suitable remedies.
It is not surprising, then, that the leaders of the United Nations who met at the end of the war to affirm their decision to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind", as stated in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter, considered it necessary to construct a new order of international relations, centred, for the first time in history, on man, his well-being and his dignity.
The new international order created for the postwar period
This new order meant not only the establishment of a system of collective security against aggression and threats of aggression. It did not aim only to put an end to conflicts between nations and to make war on war. It meant, also, a declaration of war on hunger, want, disease, ignorance, unemployment, on the exploitation of man by man, of one people by another, of one race by another, of one group by another group. It was based on the fact that if the freedom of peoples to self-determination is not respected, in other words, their right to control their own destinies without interference, colonialism or tutelage, to follow the path chosen freely by them and to adopt in their sovereign capacity, their own form of government and their own economic and social system, there will be no peace but the danger of war instead. This danger will also exist if there are nations which Interfere in the Internal affairs of others, In order to Impose on them either a line of International conduct or specific economic and social systems, and if the principle of the equality of all human beings and of the juridical equality of states is ignored. It is based, too, on the fact that there will be a danger of war and that there will not be peace if the dignity of the individual is systematically trampled upon; that is to say, if individual rights - political, social, economic and cultural - are not respected.
Finally, there will be no peace but danger of war if national societies continue to be divided between a few privileged persons who possess everything and the masses who lack the most elementary necessities; if, side by side with a few countries that have accumulated the wealth, prosperity and technology of the world, there exist around 100 nations comprising 2000 million human beings whose standard of living is ten times below that of the affluent countries and whose opportunities for rapid progress are blocked by an inequitable system of commercial and economic relations and by the survival of an international division of labour that is out of place in modern times.
This is what constitutes, explicitly or implicitly, the essence of that new international order set forth in the United Nations Charter and in the constitutional instruments of the United Nations Specialized Agencies. The Hot Springs and Quebec conferences, which gestated and gave birth to FAO, were imbued with the same spirit. Peace has been built up on the triple pillar of collective security, the defense of human rights and the extension to all men of opportunities to fully develop their own personality within a just social and international order.
The contrast between 1945 and 1970
Today, 25 years later, it must be admitted that all that visionary conception of 1945 and that magnificent sense of universal and human solidarity has faded - has virtually disappeared. The world has not changed fundamentally since then, except insofar as it has been constrained by the very power of destruction it has created. During this quarter of a century, international or civil wars have unfailingly produced their daily holocaust of precious lives, while violence has spread throughout the world to a degree never before experienced; expenditure on armaments has reached the astronomical figure of around 200000 million dollars per year, a sum which, if it were devoted to development, would transform men and women throughout the world into whole beings in the space of a generation; power politics and relationships based on force have welled up with renewed vigour; antihistorical and antihuman colonial systems persist; racism, a shameful practice of humanity, is still entrenched in vast areas where the repugnant policy of apartheid is applied and, what is worse, is also entrenched in the hearts of millions of individuals; hunger, poverty and ignorance afflict more human beings than 25 years ago; social inequalities have increased in dozens of countries and the economic and technological gap between the developing world and the industrialized world has to widen, with unemployment and underemployment of frightening dimensions growing apace in the countries of the Third World. Furthermore, there are the new problems introduced by technology, which here and there, instead of serving man, has enslaved him; technology which is sometimes applied without consideration of the interests of humanity and which causes or aggravates problems such as those of the environment, pollution of the air, rivers, lakes and oceans. Young people of today have rightly risen up against patterns and ways of life which, with the perception of their years and with undoubted maturity, they know will lead the world to disaster.
Therefore, we can only conclude that there is a tremendous contradiction between the political spirit and will that existed in 1945 and what we find in 1970. At that time, with fewer resources, more restricted possibilities and less experience than we have today there was a zealous pursuit of the interests of all people. In 1970, on the contrary, with practically inexhaustible resources and means and an infinitely greater knowledge of the needs of humanity and a more accurate identification of ways and means of satisfying them, the world community has proven itself incapable not only of solving problems of under-development, racism and colonialism but even of approaching them with the spirit of solidarity that prevailed in 1945 or the energy, will-power and generosity commensurate with the magnitude of these problems.
I do not say this in a spirit of criticism or of negativism. However, this commemoration would have no meaning if it did not invigorate international cooperation aimed at achieving a drastic change of attitudes and reappraisal of methods on the basis of an exhaustive and frank assessment of present-day realities.
The tragic side of the situation described is that this occurs just when, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations stated, "Humanity has already stepped with one foot into a totally new epoch in the history of our planet", an epoch in which science and technology and our enormous accumulated resources have opened courses and roads which could easily convert the dreams of 1945 into reality. A considerable portion of such resources, of this science and this technology has either been diverted to sterile or negative purposes such as armaments or has been used not to solve the problems of concern to the common man which threaten civilization itself, but to serve the artificial needs of the affluent societies.
There is no doubt that the community of nations has not adequately responded to the challenge represented by the vertiginous technological advances of the past 25 years. Because of these advances the world's population has risen from the 2485 million persons of 1950 to 3650 million today, 37 percent of whom now live in urban areas, creating new and tremendous problems as regards employment, services, transport facilities, etc., that urgently require solution.
Concomitantly, this same modern technology has aroused among the developing peoples and, in general, the underprivileged, a very vigorous consciousness of their right to share in the benefits of progress and an irrepressible surge of just demands and claims. Pressures and tensions inevitably generated by incurable situations continue to multiply unless such aspirations are satisfied. And in this connexion, please forgive me, fellow Delegates, if I refer to my own country, because at this moment I am not speaking as the Delegate of Chile but as the spokesman of you all. I have just witnessed the fervent attitude of a people which is fully conscious of the obstacles, both domestic and abroad, set in the way of its progress, and which is firmly determined to overthrow those barriers and assert its economic independence, defend its right to self-determination and to full enjoyment of all rights - political, economic, social and cultural - granted to it by the Declaration and Covenant of Human Rights. Fortunately, the positive steps which are being taken in this direction are legal and involve no violence, because the political maturity of the country has permitted the aspirations of the people to be confined within the framework of liberty and democracy. However, this is not always possible and in many places the torrent threatens to overflow the banks with obvious peril to social peace and, indeed, even to world peace.
The Second Development Decade
On 24 October last, at the United Nations General Assembly, the Second United Nations Development Decade was solemnly proclaimed. The relevant document states in its Preamble that "The governments designate the 1970s as the Second United Nations Development Decade and pledge themselves, individually and collectively, to pursue policies designed to create a more just and rational world economic and social order in which equality of opportunities should be as much a prerogative of nations as of individuals within a nation. They subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Decade and resolve to take the measures necessary to translate them into reality." These concepts show that we are witnessing the awakening of awareness on the part of governments concerning the problem of underdevelopment.
The document covers, first, goals and objectives and then policy measures in regard to international trade; financial resources for development; invisibles, including maritime transport, science and technology; human development; expansion and diversification of production. As regards the goals and objectives, they are undeniably extremely modest. The international community merely proposes during the coming decade to raise the average annual rate of increase of per capita growth by 3.5 percent which, as the document itself states, will be equivalent to doubling per capita income within two decades. Anyone who has lived close to the problems of the emerging world and knows its needs and the pressures and tensions that are incubating there, must be convinced that the dozens of countries with a per caput annual income of from 50 to 100 dollars, as compared with some 2000 to 3000 dollars in the developed countries, are not going to wait 20 years for a mere doubling of their income. This problem is of infinitely greater magnitude, and the International community must face it within a very short time if it wishes to avoid having the political and social explosions of the 1960s multiplied ten or twenty fold.
This goal for growth envisages an average expansion in agricultural production of 4 percent, that is, barely 1 percent more than the demographic growth rate in the developing countries. Here in FAO we know the indices of undernutrition and malnutrition that cannot be redressed with such meager increases. Is this the way to ensure the fundamental right of every man to freedom from want, enshrined in Article 11 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? There is no need to answer, fellow Delegates.
As regards policy measures, the strategy has accepted those which the developing countries have been advocating for many years in all international forums, particularly in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, but this strategy, while it constitutes in this respect a praiseworthy declaration of intent, contains no firm commitments or precise goals and time frames for each of these topics - as a result of which the strategy loses cogency. If we study The State of Food and Agriculture 1970, published by FAO, and the additional document of the Director -General that appeared a few days ago, we find that despite the so-called Green Revolution, the Director-General states that the index for agricultural, forestry and fisheries production combined showed no increase whatsoever in 1969 as compared with a 4 percent increase in 1968 and a long-term (1958-1968) increase of almost 3 percent per annum, while in 1970/71, the production of wheat, milk and milk products is expected to decline. On the other hand, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD informed us recently that, between 1968 and 1959, the exports of developed countries increased 21/2 times more than those of developing countries and that if in the past decade the developing countries had been able to maintain their 1960 percentage of total world trade in rapid expansion, by 1969 they would have earned 10000 million dollars more with their exports, making a total for the entire decade of about 40000 million dollars. He added that the decreased percentage of world trade of the developing countries was a symptom of the growing imbalance between the developed and the developing countries.
Instruments of International Cooperation
The special declaration on the occasion of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations also says that "international efforts to promote economic and technical cooperation should be made on a scale commensurate with the magnitude of the problem itself. In this context, the activities of the United Nations system intended to ensure the economic and social progress of all countries, above all, the developing countries - activities that have increased significantly in the past 25 years - should be strengthened and expanded even further." (Unofficial translation) This is tantamount to a recognition of the extraordinary value of the system of international cooperation created in 1945 and improved upon during this last quarter of a century. For, despite the defects and shortcomings of which we are all conscious, this system has been a tremendous instrument of cooperation. Its contribution to the awakening of world awareness in regard to economic and social backwardness and to the interdependence of economic phenomena has been extraordinary, as has also been its contribution to the definition of the problems of development, to the evolving of a philosophy of development and to the formulation of solutions. And all this would not have been possible had it not been for the concern, the experience and the knowledge of the real facts of the Regional Economic Commissions, the Regional Offices of the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations and their field services, as well as the headquarters.
It also amounts to a recognition of the gigantic labours in the field of technical assistance to developing countries through the joint action of the agencies of the United Nations family and of the United Nations Development Programme. Apart from what these labours have contributed from the material standpoint in promoting development, their immense political significance must be pointed out. The participation of tens of thousands of experts from over 100 countries working in more than 120 countries and territories in accordance with the principles of universal solidarity set forth in the United Nations Charter constitutes, on a worldwide scale, the most formidable enterprise of human rapprochement and intellectual comprehension in all history. It represents a contribution to the building of a better world unequalled by any international measures taken since the last world war, all this at a cost in two decades of less than 5 percent of what is devoted each year to armaments and military expenditure.
It must be recognized, however, that the strategy is in violent contradiction with the practices that we have been living with in the last few years. We all know about the policy of freezing budgets, of not accepting new initiatives, of not expanding activities, and of diverting resources to programmes financed by voluntary contributions. In this manner, neo-paternalism is taking the place of the principles of joint commitment and obligations established by the United Nations Charter.
The Future of International Cooperation and of FAO.
This glaring contradiction disturbs us. We are worried that there may go to waste the tremendous potentiality of exceptionally valuable instruments such as the organizations of the United Nations system directed by outstanding personalities and staffed by unselfish, capable officers. I myself know the frustrations that they have been experiencing in recent years because they are compelled to spend the energy that they would like to use in solving vital problems on futile, petty discussions about miserly increases or small savings. The international organizations, acting in close partnership and with perfect coordination, must take the lead in world policies for development.
FAO, for instance, faces immense tasks for which it will require greater intellectual and material resources. It should develop and define the work in its areas of concentration approved by the last Conference. Among many other things, it should complete and perfect the Indicative World Plan, including in it the developed countries in order to provide the necessary complete picture of the situation and world perspectives; it should pay greater attention to problems of land reform, which are daily acquiring greater relevance and which in their diversity call for a thoroughgoing analysis of realities and particular conditions. It should strengthen its operational capacity in order to meet the requirements of the announced expansion of the United Nations Development Programme, thus implementing the recommendation of the Governing Council of that Programme, as approved by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly. It should respond to the requirements for fisheries and forestry expansion demanded by countries and strengthen its regional services, as has been urged insistently at recent regional conferences whose contribution is becoming increasingly valuable; it should actively participate in the solution of problems relating to the environment; it should work jointly in the spheres within its terms of reference in scientific and technological research. Likewise, FAO should play a greater role in international negotiations on foods and other agricultural products and in basic studies to help impede the proliferation of certain negative aspects of the major economic groupings; and, finally, it should concern itself much more vigorously with the development of human resources, as one way of attaining the true goal of development, which is none other than bettering the lot of man himself. Moreover, following the same line of thought, it should participate actively in solving the problem of unemployment in the emerging countries - this being beyond a doubt, the most acute and dangerous phenomenon produced by underdevelopment in conjunction with technological progress. In this field, FAO has a many-sided task to fulfill.
For all the above, FAO needs funds and the political and intellectual support of governments and heads of governments, and, above all, the backing of peoples, who should be kept fully informed.
May this anniversary be the starting point of a new era under the impetus of a new political will. There is no doubt that the Organization is prepared to assume its responsibilities. It is now up to the governments.