Guatemala City, Guatemala, 26 to 30 April 2004


Technical Committee

26 to 27 April 2004

I. Introductory Items

1.     Opening of Technical Committee Meeting

2.     Election of Technical Committee Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson and Appointment of Rapporteur

3.     Adoption of Technical Committee Agenda and Timetable

II. Technical Items

4.     Food Security as a Strategy for Rural Development

The information document examines the strategy of focusing on food security for rural development.

In the framework of trends and lessons learned in rural development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and of efforts to achieve the objectives of the World Food Summit, this document provides a strategic vision of rural development from different approaches to food security. The original approach of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) – and the recent approach of the second-generation SPFS – together with the approach on the food availability, accessibility, stability and utilization that has guided FAO’s work, are complemented by other approaches to food security to investigate how food security can constitute a central thrust for the promotion of rural development.

Special attention is given to determining how boosting food production and consumption affects crucial development variables: rural employment and income; agro-industrial development; stronger dynamic between agriculture and the rest of the economy, enhancing aggregate development; tighter linkages between the rural and urban sectors, fostering the development of both; the fight against poverty; income distribution; and development of market opportunities.

The document describes the orientations of a food security strategy that seeks to curb the forces of social polarization by focusing on reduced hunger and poverty by means of vigorous rural development.

5.     Economic and Social Development as a Basis for the Implementation of FAO Actions in Latin America and the Caribbean

The document explores the appropriate institutional and operative implications that are required if a rural development project (RDP) is to support economic and social development through the formulation and strengthening of public policies. It determines approaches and modalities for actions to be replicable at higher levels without losing the coherence of a national development strategy, paying due attention to the existing institutional context and to the need to guarantee returns from public investment in the rural world.

Key factors include: the existence of an experience base that is accessible and easy to interpret; recognition of actual problems and the institutional environment; the role and importance of instruments for monitoring and follow-up that are based on indicators defined from project outset, these being crucial to the implementation of lessons learned in a context of national policy and public investment. All these factors be approached from the standpoint of FAO’s mandate and will be illustrated with experiences in project execution.

6.     International Year of Rice (2004)

This document focuses on the activities and observance of the International Year of Rice (IYR) which is intended to encourage the effective, sustainable promotion of rice through collective activities involving all stakeholders and addressing the challenges and opportunities that are associated with the production, consumption, marketing and sale of this strategically important food.

7.     FAO Strategic Framework for Bridging the Rural Digital Divide

Knowledge is fundamental for development. Yet, much knowledge and information is still not accessible to low-income rural populations to help them deal more effectively with the causes of their poverty. New information and communication technology (ICT) and increased priority and resources for the exchange of information have the potential to enhance low-income rural people’s access to accumulated knowledge and its derived benefits. At present, an information or digital divide separates the most needy from much of the world’s abundance of knowledge and information. The FAO strategic framework provides the mechanism for a global alliance to tackle this digital divide by reducing food insecurity and poverty. The scope and nature of the strategic framework are described and linked to various aspects of FAO’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the strengthening of human and institutional capacities to deploy information and knowledge more effectively in support of agricultural development and food security.

8.     Consultation Meetings and Group Discussions among Delegations

In follow-up to a request made at the 25th Regional Conference, delegations are invited to hold multilateral, regional or subregional meetings to discuss topical issues of common interest. Each subregion will also discuss its respective food security strategy.

III. Conclusions

9.     Adoption of Technical Committee Report

10.    Closure of Technical Committee Meeting


Plenary Session

28 to 30 April 2004

I. Introductory Items

1.     Opening Ceremony

2.     Election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons and Appointment of Rapporteur

3.     Adoption of Agenda and Timetable

II. Statements

4.     Statement by the Director General

5.     FAO Activities (2002-2003), Trends and Challenges in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food Security in the Region and Actions Taken on the Main Recommendations of the 27th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean

The purpose of this Agenda Item is to review FAO’s work in the Region, to analyse the evolution of priority issues for agricultural and rural development and to discuss guidelines for FAO activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Related trends and main challenges are examined, with special reference to changes in the sectoral production structure, in resource use and in the structure of agricultural trade. Main policies affecting the sector and policy instruments are reviewed, and selected successes highlighted. Key emerging issues are discussed, including: the deepening of multilateral agricultural reform; the necessary agricultural adjustment to globalization; employment opportunities for the rural population; new technologies to sharpen the agricultural competitiveness of Latin America and the Caribbean; and the impact of these issues on the development of the agri-food and rural sectors, their recent evolution and a look to the future. Interinstitutional and multidisciplinary topics are also discussed, including: (i) the new institutional structure for rural and agricultural development; (ii) the feminization of rural economies; (iii) new normative instruments and evaluation methods; and (iv) the rural environment and the territorial dimension of development. In each case, reference is made to relative impact on FAO’s programme. There is also a report on the main measures that have been adopted to follow up on the recommendations of the 27th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.

6.     Follow-up to the World Food Summit and the World Food Summit: five years later Regional Dimensions

This document submits for the delegates’ consideration the outcomes of the meeting “World Food Summit and World Food Summit: five years later. Regional Dimensions” and the implications for the Region. It covers, among other subjects, strategies for agricultural development and food security towards 2015, the importance of national medium-term and associated programmes, and the need for financial commitment at regional and subregional level.

7.     Initiative to Review and Update National Strategies and Policies for Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security

In 1997, as immediate follow-up to the World Food Summit, FAO prepared and submitted for the consideration of member countries a draft National Strategy for Food Security and Agricultural Development – Horizon 2010. Nearly 120 countries formally endorsed this paper while others incorporated its approaches and contents into their own strategy papers. In the period leading up to the World Food Summit: five years later, over 100 governments revised and updated their national strategies. However, despite the formal endorsement of these updated strategies, they have not always had a clear beneficial impact on food security or on the identification of agriculture as a primary recipient of national and donor resources. Towards the end of 2002, FAO launched the Initiative to Review and Update National Agricultural, Rural Development and Food Security Strategies and Policies under which the Organization would co-operate closely with member countries in updating and improving their policies and strategies for agriculture and food security.

8.     Reports of the Regional Commissions: Commission for Inland Fisheries of Latin America (COPESCAL), Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (WECAFC), Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC), and Commission on Livestock Development for Latin America and the Caribbean

This item looks at the reports of the regional commissions. The 29th Conference of FAO (Rome, November 1997) urged regional bodies established under Article VI of the FAO Constitution to seek additional extrabudgetary funding and recommended a series of measures to streamline their work and increase their efficiency. To facilitate examination of this item, documents LARC/02/INF/9, LARC/02/INF/10, LARC/02/INF/11 and LARC/04/INF/12 provide a synthesis of background information, main achievements and recommendations of the last meetings of the respective regional commissions. The Regional Conference is invited to examine the proposed measures together with other measures that Member Nations might put forward to strengthen the role of FAO’s regional bodies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

9.     Round Table on Financing for Agricultural Development

Ministers of agriculture, ministers of the economy and finance, and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank and of other multilateral, regional and subregional bodies will participate in this round table held to discuss investment and opportunities in agriculture. Subregional panels will be formed to examine related issues.

III. Conclusions

10.     Date, Place and Agenda Items for 29th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean

The Memorandum of Responsibilities will be transmitted to Member Nations interested in hosting the Conference.

11.     Other Matters

12.     Adoption of Report (including Technical Committee Report)

13.     Closure of Regional Conference