HAVANA, 22nd April 2002 -- The Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will
hold its 27th Regional Conference for Latin America and the
Caribbean in the city of Havana, Cuba, from 22nd to 26th April
2002. The Plenary Session - which will be preceded by two days
of work by the Conference's Technical Committee - is to be
officially inaugurated in the Palacio de las Convenciones
(Convention Hall) at 09.00 on Wednesday 24th April.
The FAO Regional Conference meets every two years and
is attended by Ministers of Agriculture and other high-ranking
officials from 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This is the second time it is being held in Cuba. On the
preceding occasion, in 1980, the Conference also took place in
the city of Havana.
The meeting will
analyse various important questions concerning agriculture and
food in the region. To this end, its activities will be divided
into two parts: first the Technical Committee and then the
Plenary Session of Ministers. The Technical Committee will meet
over 22nd-23rd April and will debate the following principal
subjects: (a) the balance between food safety and the
sustainable management of natural resources in Latin America and
the Caribbean; (b) the importance of production alliances for
food safety and rural development; (c) the effect of subsidies
and commercial restrictions on agricultural and fisheries
production, and access to markets. During the Technical
Committee meeting there will be a demonstration of the
FAO's general information and statistical data system,
WAICENT (the World Agricultural Information Centre).
The Plenary Session will be inaugurated at 09.00 on
Wednesday 24th April in the presence of high-ranking Cuban
government authorities and of FAO Director-General, Dr. Jacques
Diouf. At 12.00 on the same day, Dr Diouf will deliver an
important address to the Ministers and heads of delegation.
The afternoon of Wednesday 24th April will
be dedicated to analysing a report on FAO activities in the
Region over the two years 2000-2001, and to considering the
trends and challenges that agriculture in the Region is facing.
The report will be presented by Sr. Gustavo Gordillo de Anda,
Sub-Director-General and Regional Representative of the FAO for
Latin America and the Caribbean. There will also be some
discussion, from a regional perspective, concerning preparations
for the "World Food Summit: five years later"
which will be held in Rome from 10 to 13 June this year.
Finally, reports will be presented by FAO Commissions for
fisheries, livestock and forestry in Latin America and the
On Thursday 25th April, the
Conference will hold a general debate on the trends and
challenges the region is facing in the areas of agriculture,
forestry, fishing and food safety. Space will also be allowed
for consultative and analytical meetings between delegations.
The Regional Conference will conclude on
Friday 26th April with the approval of the final conference
The Second Regional Consultation
of Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations (NGO/CSO)
was also held in Havana in the days leading up to the FAO
Regional Conference. The aim of the Consultation was to
contribute to the debates of the Regional Conference with the
views of NGOs/CSOs concerning the subjects of (a) production
alliances, commerce, access to food and to productive resources,
and (b) the "World Food Summit: five years