29 November 2003, Rome --
Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, opened today the 32nd
Session of the Organization's governing Conference (29
November - 10 December 2003), which is being attended by
Agriculture Ministers and senior officials from FAO Members.
One of the main issues on the agenda of the
Conference is the Organization's Programme of Work and
Budget for 2004 and 2005.
was seriously reduced in 1995 and has not grown hitherto despite
considerable inflation and associated cost increases and an
increase in the number of member countries served by the
The current budget for a
two-year period (2002-2003) is US$651.8 million, against
US$673.1 million in 1994-1995.
to the Programme of Work and Budget for 2004-2005, the FAO
Conference will examine several issues including:
- the latest FAO report on the state
of food and agriculture in the world;
and means of strengthening coherence in FAO initiatives to fight
- a progress report on the
implementation of the FAO gender and development plan of
- a progress report on the
implementation of the international plan to prevent, deter and
eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated
- another report on the
implementation of the plan of action for the Pan African Tsetse
and trypanosomiasis eradication
- admission of new Member
Four new countries have
applied for membership to FAO. These are Micronesia,
Timor-Leste, Tuvalu and Ukraine. Their admission, to be decided
by the Conference, will raise FAO's membership to 188,
including the European Community.
Conference will also review a document on the 2004 International
Year of Rice (IYR),which aims to promote sustainable increases
in rice-based production.
The UN General
Assembly has asked FAO to facilitate the implementation of the
IYR, in collaboration with governments, the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), the Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres and other
major international, non-governmental and private sector
FAO will host an
International Rice Conference at its headquarters on 12 and 13
February 2004. Round Tables and
During the Conference
a series of Round Tables and side events have been organized to
provide high-level officials from member states with the
opportunity to discuss key topics.
Round Tablesare intended to offer a forum for debate, and each
one will be co-chaired by a representative from a developed and
a developing country.
The first Round
Table, to be held on December 1st, will discuss the role of
water and infrastructure in ensuring sustainable food security.
The second will focus on developments in
international trade negotiations on agriculture and their
implications for food security, including the work of FAO.
The third Round Table will examine the
dimension of food safety in food security.
The Chairs of the Round Tables, which will be held on
consecutive days and will be closed to the press, will provide a
summary of their meetings to the Plenary of the Conference.
The side events will
- a discussion presented by the US
Delegation on the use of science and technology to improve water
management in Africa and the Middle East;
event coordinated by the Government of India on managing
- a presentation on small island
developing states led by FAO's Sustainable Development
- a presentation by Italy on the
social, environmental and economic contributions of poplars and
willows in sustainable rural development;
session on developing a common civil society/FAO approach
towards agroecology with the participation of international
non-governmental and civil society