1. Attendance at this First Consultation on Agricultural Information Management (COAIM) was invited by the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in his circular letter (Ref. G / GIL-804) dated 13 March 2000, addressed to all the Member Nations of FAO, and to international and other institutions.
2. The general aims of the COAIM were to bring policy issues related to management and access to agricultural information to the attention of the inter-governmental process, and to establish a global framework for the normative work of the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT), recognizing the key role that information and knowledge play in ensuring food security and sustainable development, and thereby meeting the objectives of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
3. Additionally, the COAIM set out to discuss ways of improving the capacities of decision-makers, professionals and the public at large in member countries to access and use information essential for achieving sustainable agriculture development and food security. The COAIM covered key aspects of agricultural information management, capacity building and improving access to relevant information.
4. The First COAIM (Rome, 5-7 June 2000) was attended by 161 representatives of the 91 Member Nations of FAO. Among the participants were observers from one United Nations Member State, representatives from four United Nations specialized agencies, observers from 24 intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations having status with FAO and from seven institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Countries and organizations represented at the session are shown in Appendix A.