Twenty-eighth Session

Rome, 6-8 June 2002


Table of Contents


1. The Committee, at its 24th session, set out its arrangements for monitoring progress in the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, agreeing to carry out its monitoring task every other year, in even years, and to undertake its review in two sets of clusters viz. "people centred commitments" and "development centred commitments". The Committee, at its 26th session, in September 2000, reviewed the progress in the implementation of the "people centred " commitments(Commitments One, Two, Five and relevant parts of Commitment Seven). This document reviews the progress in the implementation of the "development centred" commitments: (Commitment Three - Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, Commitment Four - Trade, Commitment Six - Investment, and relevants parts of Commitment Seven - Monitoring and Follow-up).

2. As of 12 April 2002, when this document went to print, the secretariat had received reports1 from 54 countries 6 UN agencies 2 international organizations and 1 regional body. This document has been prepared drawing from the 37 national reports, 6 UN agency reports, and 2 reports from regional organizations that were received prior to 15 March, as well as from published and unpublished international reports.

3. For any government, political will, good governance and the prevalence of human and democratic rights are essential elements for political stability, for commanding public confidence and for putting in place and implementing effectively strategies for sustainable development and progressive reduction of poverty and undernourishment. Yet in far too many countries where the number of undernourished is high and/or increasing, these essential preconditions for reducing the number have not been met.

4. Indeed, in a number of countries poor governance, protracted wars and conflicts, the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and recurring incidence of natural disasters, including the outbreak and animal and plant diseases, are proving to be serious constraints to their efforts to implement the WFS Plan of Action and in their progress towards the Summit objective of reducing poverty and food insecurity. With regard to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it will be recalled that the Committee at its previous session underlined that "HIV/AIDS can no longer be considered just as a health issue but must be recognised as a major crisis that undermines the ability to meet the goals of the WFS and can pose a threat to society itself."

5. During the period 1990-92 to 1997-99, of 99 developing countries for which data was available, only 32 succeeded in reducing the number of the undernourished. In 67 countries available data indicate that the number of the undernourished generally increased, though situations varied markedly from country to country.

6. A close analysis of national reports of some of the countries that have made positive progress towards reducing poverty and undernourishment, shows that the following factors were conducive to success:

7. Many countries, in their national reports, have indicated a number of specific problems that affect their capacity to achieve the Summit objective. Some of the more frequently-mentioned constraints are:

8. The seriousness and weight of each of these constraints on agricultural and overall economic growth and in the fight against poverty varies from country to country depending, inter alia, on the stage of development and agro-ecological characterstics of each country. Some countries, particularly in Asia, have also pointed out that budgetary limitations due to the economic stagnation of the global economy, especially in the USA and Japan, have constrained their efforts towards poverty eradication.

9. The Millennium Summit has resolved " to create an environment - at the national and global level - which is conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty". The Millennium Summit has also re-enforced the WFS objective by setting the goal of halving, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. A number of other conferences notably the G-8 Summit2 which met in Genoa, Italy, from 20-22 July 2001, the UN General Assembly at its 56th session 19 December 20013, and the International Conference on Financing for Development, Monterrey, 14-25 March 2002 4 have also re-enforced the WFS Plan of Action and its objectives.

10. Although the international community can be supportive, responsibility for eradicating poverty and improving the wellbeing of populations rests primarily with the national government. Now both evidence from country experience and emerging consensus in international bodies are converging on the point that the achievement of the World Food Summit goals will only be possible through the implementation of a holistic development strategy which not only takes into account but also attaches high priority to the needs of the poor in the country concerned. This document summarises experiences of countries and international institutions and organizations in implementing Commitments Three, Four, Five and relevant parts of Commitment Seven for the Committee's review and comment.


"We will pursue participatory and sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development policies and practices in high and low potential areas, which are essential to adequate and reliable food supplies at the household, national, regional and global levels, and combat pests, drought and desertification, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture."


Measures at national level

11. The policies and programmes of almost all countries explicitly recognise that gains in food production must not be achieved at the cost of eroding the natural resource base and indeed that active measures are widely required to restore soils, water resources, fish stocks, forest and vegetation cover already damaged by previous incautious farming practices.

12. This change in emphasis is well exemplified by China which achieved a reduction of some 76 million in the number of undernourished between 1990/92 and 1997/99. The Chinese government has, for some time, given over-riding importance to the agricultural sector and to achieving food self-reliance, and this policy has been matched with increasing emphasis on natural resource protection for sustainable development. Between 1996 and 1998, some 5 million hectares of arable land have been upgraded, through better farming practices and especially soil improvement emphasising organic fertilisers, resulting in an average increase in cereal yields of 2.2 tonnes per hectare.

13. Other Asian countries (Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam) that have been major adopters of `Green Revolution' high-yielding rice varieties and input packages are now focusing on substituting more sustainable production strategies such as the use of green manure and integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce negative environmental and health impacts. In India, managing organic matter and combining organic and inorganic fertilisers, provides the basis for the country's Integrated Plant Nutrition System while Mexico's `kilo por kilo' programme promotes the use of improved seed and high yielding varieties supported only by organic inputs.

14. In rice-deficit West African countries such as Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana, innovative plant-breeding strategies, such as the crossing of high-yielding Asian rice species with stress-tolerant African species are helping to boost rice yields while reducing the needs for labour and other inputs. Modern plant breeding is also producing extremely drought-tolerant varieties of legumes such as chickpea, for use in rotations with cereals for improving soil and enhancing diets in South Asia, and low-toxin grass pea as a fodder and famine reserve in drought prone areas of Ethiopia, India and Pakistan. However in many cases such activities have yet to introduced on a scale large enough improve food security at national level.

15. Many countries have also introduced plant and animal breeding for resistance to pests and diseases, often with the help of bilateral or multilateral assistance. A number of countries are also adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as pest and disease management approach. Based on the success of the FAO-led IPM project for rice in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, countries such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Peru, also with the help of FAO, have taken steps to establish national IPM policies and programmes that reduce hazards to producers, consumers and the environment. Classical biological control remains the strategy for combating exotic pests such as the larger grain borer in Africa and the hibiscus mealy bug in the Caribbean.

16. Non-chemical methods of pest and disease control introduced out of necessity to reduce the cost of inputs or to meet residue tolerances for exports (as in countries of eastern and southern Africa exporting to the European Union), have sometimes proved to be an economic boon to the producer country. For instance, Morocco and Syria benefit from the higher price paid for organically produced citrus fruits exported to Europe while the Dominican Republic has become the world's largest producer of organic bananas and plantains.

17. Though the lack of adequate investment in both technology and human capital is generally a constraint, especially in the LIFDCS, some countries have made good progress in improving irrigation facilities, leading to a marked improvement in productivity and income. Since 1997, China has improved irrigation practices on 13 million ha, increasing yields and saving a total of 10 billion m3 of water per year. On the other hand, poorly-managed irrigation schemes can have negative effects. In Pakistan, for example, 80% of cultivated land is already irrigated but yields are low and problems of water logging and salination are widespread.

18. Efficient use of scarce water resources is an especially pressing problem for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa where agriculture already accounts for 90% of water consumption and many countries depend on exports of high-value fruits and vegetables to finance the import of basic food grains. An important strategy to encourage efficient use of water is to move towards obliging users to pay the real cost of supply, as in initiatives introduced by Morocco and Brazil. Also to reduce pressure on declining groundwater supplies, new emphasis is being given to water-harvesting techniques in countries such as Morocco and Syria, as well as in some countries of the Horn of Africa.

19. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 4% of arable land is currently irrigated, providing ample scope for expansion of irrigation; in addition there are opportunities for increasing efficiency in countries with substantial areas of irrigation such as Sudan. However, uncertain water supply is only one of multiple constraints that have prevented countries in this region from achieving their potential in the production of food crops, leaving over 200 million people in the region under-nourished. The effects of inadequate investment in rural infrastructure, and over-dependence on export of commodities subject to extreme price and demand variability, has subsequently been exacerbated by protracted conflict and poor governance in several countries. Additional stresses have been superimposed by recent cycles of drought and flooding and the spreading HIV/AIDS epidemic.

20. Many countries have devised development polices and programmes based on decentralisation of services and decision-making, diversification of crops and products and strategies to improve infrastructure and enhance employment- and income-generating opportunities in rural areas. Details, vary from country to country, especially as regards the exact roles played by elements of the public and private sector, but policies and programmes based on these principles are now being pursued by countries as diverse as Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Liberia, Togo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Ghana - and, indeed, by countries in Central America, the Caribbean and South America. Key challenges in this new approach to development include: assuring the provision of extension advice and the supply of inputs such as improved seeds and fertilisers; and provision of credit to allow rural people (often without collateral) to upgrade production and storage technologies, as well as to establish processing enterprises to add value to agricultural produce. Experience differs as to the extent that the private sector can take over such functions while assuring equity and the greater public good.

21. Closer partnerships between universities, public research organisations, extension services and farmers, common in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa, are being widely adopted elsewhere, ensuring that new technologies are tailored to the needs of farmers. Producers, especially of valuable export crops, can often meet all or part of the cost of research as in Australia's Research and Development Corporations. Colombia has experimented with privatisation of extension services while Nicaragua is evaluating a `mixed' model where producer groups receive government assistance to purchase both the inputs and technical assistance they choose.

22. Investments to improve rural storage and increase the efficiency of post harvest systems often have a direct impact on both farm incomes and rural food security. Switzerland and Germany are two bilateral donors that have supported such programmes in Central America and Africa respectively. Many countries undertake improvements in storage and post harvest systems with technical assistance of FAO.

23. A multi-sectoral approach to food security and sustainable rural development opens the way for, and indeed depends on, more effective land use planning - a trend which is now apparent in most countries. In some cases, simple rules of thumb help to exclude cultivation from fragile environments, as in China where arable land of more than 20° slope must be returned to forest or grassland. In most countries soil and climate mapping is used to select areas best suited for particular crops, livestock, forestry and agro-forestry, aquaculture and natural habitat conservation. Even more important for sustainable development, increasingly sophisticated social arrangements, such as Australia's National Heritage Trust, provide models for consensus building among diverse stakeholders - farmers, agro-industries, indigenous people, community and environmental groups and all levels of government - on how natural resources can best be conserved and exploited for the common good.

Measures at international level

24. At international level, a number of activities continue to be undertaken in support of developing countries in their endeavour to enhance crop productivity and agricultural income on a sustainable basis. Among the important activities at international level are the steps taken by the International Rice Commission to (i) address the problem of productivity decline and yield gaps in rice; (ii) provide technical support for the development and use of hybrid rice outside China, in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS); (iii) assist in the rapid transfer of improved rice technologies to farmers in West Africa, in collaboration with the West African Rice Association (WARDA); and (iv) promote Integrated Rice Crop Management for sustainable rice production, in collaboration with selected Asian NARS, WARDA in West Africa, and Latin American Irrigated Rice Fund (FLAR) in Latin America.

25. To increase cassava production and utilization in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, FAO and IFAD, have led a collaborative effort to develop an overall strategic plan for cassava development. This was undertaken in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Natural Resources Institute ( NRI) and selected national institutions. Continued advances in crop improvement require access to plant genetic resources by breeders and farmers. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted by the FAO Conference at its Thirty first session, in November 2001 after seven years of negotiations in the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, will guarantee such access for the benefit of all through its "Multilateral System for Access and Benefit Sharing". Priority must now be given to the early ratification, entry-into-force and implementation of the Treaty.

26. The launching, in the year 2000, of the EcoPort - Information for Plant Production and Protection Decision Making5 - was also a major step forward in generating key information on cropping systems. The system contains almost 800 plant species with descriptions and cropping data, and approximately 500 major pest and disease records associated with 150 plants. The usefulness of this information system in the developing countries will depend on its accessibility and use by small farmers.

27. The Rome-based food agencies are actively engaged in field programmes intended to help countries achieve the Summit goals. FAO continues to, inter alia, assist LIFDCs through the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) to enhance productivity and income through transfer of yield-enhancing technologies for staple crops, improved water management practices, diversification technologies and constraints removal in these countries.

28. The World Bank and IFAD contribute to the achievement of the Summit goals through projects that enhance productivity and income as well as overall rural development in the developing countries, especially focussing on poverty alleviation programmes. WFP provides food to enhance sustainable development through projects for infrastructure development, environmental protection, primary health care, "food for assets" and women's enterprises. However the scale of assistance in these areas has declined6, owing to the decrease of ODA resources.

29. The United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) is also contributing to the achievement of the WFS objective through its "Alternative Development Programme" which, with the aim of preventing and eliminating drug production, implements projects to enhance food and agricultural production and rural development in various drug producing countries in Latin America, Middle East, Southwest and Southeast Asia, where in total about 700,000 million families (around 4 million people), living below poverty level, depend on income derived from the cultivation of coca bush and opium poppy. This programme has shown success as witnessed in the DIR district in Pakistan, where 50 percent of the population was below poverty line, but after 10 years of development project implementation, the district in terms of income has become third highest ranking district in the province, while poppy cultivation was reduced simultaneously having been replaced by diversified cropping pattern with the development of irrigation channels, soil conservation works and reforestation.

30. The WHO, through a strategy which advocates two way interactions that enhance the impact of health /nutrition/population interventions on food security, and the impact of food security interventions on people's health, provides assistance to developing countries to help them achieve WFS objectives.

31. UNCTAD through policy oriented studies, provides to developing countries assistance on export diversification strategies of government and enterprises, and on development implications of diversification. In 2000 and 2001 UNCTAD implemented a project on capacity building for diversification and commodity based development with the primary view to promote the horizontal, vertical and geographical diversification of production and trade structures.

32. ILO contributes to the achievement of the WFS objectives through its technical and advisory support services on employment policies and programmes aimed at job creation especially through enterprise development and labour-based infrastructure development. The Global Employment Agenda developed recently by the ILO stresses the need for an employment-focussed development agenda to achieve the international development goals.

33. The WMO contributes to the achievement of the WFS goals through its activities related to the use of agro-meteorological information, including services to help reduce the impact of natural disasters, and short and medium range weather forecasts for agriculture and agro-meteorological aspects of land and water management in agriculture.


34. At national level, several countries have formulated livestock development policies and programmes, focussing on such priorities as: introducing more productive breeds, disease control and/or eradication, development of new or diversified fodder sources, and providing processing and marketing facilities. Most countries undertake such activities in collaboration with FAO. In Africa a number of countries have encountered special problems to restore national herds after these have been depleted by drought, conflict or disease outbreaks.

35. To reduce the pressures on natural resources exerted by rapidly expanding livestock production in many developing countries, FAO has developed an integrated knowledge base (including details of 700 feed sources and their usage) for providing advice on the better allocation, sustainable use and development of resources (feeds, breeds, land, labour, and capital) in the production and product transformation process.

36. In the area of animal disease control, the FAO-sponsored Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) has contributed to a progressive clearance of infected areas, having reduced the number of infected countries from at least 15 countries in Asia and Eastern Africa during 1996, to only three geographically-restricted areas at present, namely the Somali pastoral ecosystem of Somalia and Kenya and the pastoral systems in southern Sudan and southern Pakistan. The global partnership for the eradication of rinderpest by 2010 continues with financial support primarily from the concerned countries, the European Union, OAU and FAO. Today, only Syria and Iran maintain routine mass vaccination programmes.

37. FAO also provided support to contain the spread of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) epidemic in the Horn of Africa in 1997-1998 and, following the outbreak of RVF in Mauritania in September/October 1998, is assisting countries in West Africa in the control of RVF and in strengthening surveillance at regional level. FAO, through its TCP resources, is also assisting various countries to contain Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and African Swine Fever (ASF), all diseases still advancing geographically at alarming rates. The harnessing of community capacity in the surveillance and control of CBPP is currently being undertaken under the aegis of the Organization of African Unity's Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (OAU/IBAR) and the FAO. FAO has also succeeded in preventing FMD from coming into Europe through the Balkan Region and actively assists the Caucasus with vaccine and technical assistance. The development of a thermostable CBPP vaccine, which is supported by FAO, is hoped to play a crucial role in containing the disease.

38. As regards parasites affecting livestock, FAO has, since 1997, promoted the utilisation of harmonised and standardised protocols for the diagnosis of tick and other parasite resistance to pesticides. This is done through collaboration between FAO's Reference Laboratories and the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. FAO has also, as implementing agency of the Programme for the Eradication of Amblyomma Variegatum in the Caribbean, succeeded in clearing this tick from several Caribbean islands.


39. During the 1990s a number of countries, particularly countries with strong market economies, have moved toward decentralization of the management of capture fisheries as a precautionary measure. Towards the end of the 1990's, a consensus was emerging amongst major fishing nations, both developed and developing, that in fact it is essential to manage capture fisheries in an eco-system based framework. This approach is being supported at regional level, where new fishery arrangements have been created and existing ones are being strengthened.

40. In the sphere of aquaculture, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries7 calls for responsible development and management of aquaculture with due consideration for environmental sustainability and rational use of resources. The Bangkok Declaration and Strategy8 developed in 2000, in line with the Summit recommendation, re-enforces the role of aquaculture in rural development, stressing that the practice of aquaculture should be pursued as an integral component of development, contributing towards sustainable livelihoods for poor sectors of the community, promoting human development and enhancing social well-being. In line with this, aquaculture is now routinely included as part of the diversification component of the Special Programme for Food Security, wherever conditions are suitable.


41. Deforestation and degradation of forests in many parts of the world are negatively affecting the availability of forest goods and services, and increasing the risk of erosion of cleared land. While forest area in developed countries has stabilized and is slightly increasing overall, deforestation has continued in developing countries. The Global Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) 2000 estimated that forest area worldwide during the past decade (1990-2000) declined annually by 9.4 million hectares, representing the difference between the estimated annual rate of deforestation of 14.6 million hectares and the estimated annual rate of forest area increase of 5.2 million hectares.

42. Consequences of deforestation and forest degradation include loss of timber and wood resources for national and local use, negative effects on soil and water, and forest biological diversity. These negative environmental changes lead to declining food production potential, food insecurity and deterioration in overall living standards.

43. The causes of forest degradation are varied. Some, such as overexploitation of forest products, can be avoided or minimized by sound forest planning and management, whereas the others, such as natural disasters, can be mitigated by contingency planning. Most countries have formulated National Plans and Strategies for sustainable management of forests including the safeguarding of economic, environmental, social and cultural/spiritual values of forests. The management of natural forests in such programmes is complemented by the creation of new forest and tree resources to complement the provision of forest products and services. Countries with economies in transition have made special efforts in streamlining institutions and legislation during recent years.

44. Among the important actions taken at the global level was the completion of the FRA 2000, which not only updated and improved the knowledge of the state of world forest resources but also provided information on the underlying causes of deforestation and the processes of forest degradation such as un-managed harvesting, forest fires, and pests and diseases. Development of tools for the regular monitoring of the sustainability of forest management through regional and eco-regional criteria and indicators processes, and support to national field level implementation of sustainable forest management, have also been high on the forestry agenda, and have been vigorously supported by FAO, working in collaboration with international partners. The National Forest Programme Facility, established following the UNCED intergovernmental dialogue on forests, will be implemented as a partnership between FAO and a group of funding countries; it is expected to contribute to the strengthening of sustainable forest management in developing countries.


45. Desertification affects one sixth of the world's population, more than 100 countries, and one quarter of the total land area of the world - equivalent to seventy percent of the world's drylands (excluding hyper-arid deserts), or some 3,600 million hectares. Progressive desertification is one of the major causes for the continuing decline in agricultural productivity and deterioration of living standards in many arid and semi-arid developing countries. FAO in collaboration with the UNCCD Secretariat, the global mechanism of UNCCD, UNEP, and IFAD has provided assistance to several countries (Mali, China, Senegal, Turkey, Chile, Cuba, Yemen, Lebanon and Cambodia ) in the preparation of national action programmes (NAPs) to combat desertification). FAO, for several years, has also been implementing projects in dry lands for soil conservation, reforestation, agroforestry, sand dune reclamation, control of salinization of irrigated lands and promotion of sustainable energy - all of which are relevant to combat desertification.

46. In the area of information development, FAO is leading the Dryland Land Degradation Assessment (LADA), a major international initiative for the provision of basic, standardised information and methodologies on state, causes, and impacts of land degradation and possible remedial measures to combat it at national, regional and global levels.

47. In line with the WFS Plan of Action recommendation, to implement the Leipzig Global Plan of Action and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, FAO, in collaboration with IPGRI, IFAD and other organizations is developing a mechanism to facilitate implementation of the Plan by all stakeholders. This has been given greater emphasis by the FAO Conference's adoption, at its Thirty first session in November 2001, of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. To promote the use of biological diversity for sustainable agriculture, more generally, FAO is also developing and promoting application of the ecosystem approach for sustainable management of production systems, building upon FAO's successful work on IPM, as well as developing a new focus on the management of soil biodiversity. FAO is a leading partner of the Convention on Biological Diversity in developing and promoting its programme of work on agricultural biodiversity.

48. To arrest the rapid erosion in animal genetic resources, particularly in developing countries, FAO is in the process of developing a Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources, which involves conservation, sustainable utilization and development of these resources. At the request of member countries FAO is coordinating the country-driven preparation of the first Report on the State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources. Priority activities for implementation will be identified as part of this process.

49. To arrest the errosion of aquatic resources, the Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity was adopted. This is a programme of work on conservation of marine and coastal biological diversity and sustainable use of these resources. The 1993 FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, which aims to create a stronger international regime for achieving sustainable fisheries on the high seas, is an integral component of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.


50. FAO in collaboration with other international and regional research institutions undertakes concerted efforts to transfer technology and to broaden research and scientific co-operation in agriculture, fisheries and forestery, with the objective of enhancing sustainable production and food security in the developing countries. To strengthen National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), FAO has provided support through a number of projects to develop national master plans for agricultural research, which incorporate national policies and strategies for agricultural research and medium-term plans for their implementation. Activities undertaken to foster scientific co-operation in research include: (i) the conducting of an Expert Consultation on Technology Assessment and Transfer for Sustainable Agricultural Development and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa cosponsored by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)and The Special Program for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR), held in March 1998, in Accra, Ghana; (ii) the conducting of electronic conferences on use of biotechnologies in developing countries with the aim of promoting sound policies and programmes and exchange of information on biotechnologies and biosafety; (iii) the establishment of the Forestry Research Network for sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) in July 2000 as a federation of three existing sub-regional forestry research networks; and the Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA). In addition FAO has continued to foster coordination and collaboration between NARS in different regions through its support to ESCORENA, AARINENA, and APAARI. FAO is also assisting some member countries in building their national capacity in Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms and to assess needs, set priorities and harmonise biosafety legislation.


"We will strive to ensure that food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all through a fair and market-oriented world trade system."


51. Several recent developments have taken place in international and regional trade negotiations that hold important implications for agricultural development, trade and food security. Most important of these is the outcome of the Fourth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, November 2001, which launched a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. In addition to the talks on agriculture and services that have been underway for over a year, the new round will also cover negotiations on foreign investment, competition policy, trade and environment, government procurement as well as a range of implementation issues that have arisen since the Uruguay Round Agreement (URA) came into force. A substantial work programme was agreed in the area of environment and trade.

52. In parallel to the multilateral trade negotiations, regional integration is progressing in all regions. Several developments have also taken place in preferential trade arrangements for developing countries. In this regard, many of the developed countries have introduced some significant changes to their GSP schemes of preferences, with a general shift towards focusing enlarged benefits on LDCs. Likewise, the special preferential arrangements within the ACP- European Union (EU) Convention, the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the Andean preferences of the US have been adjusted, including to the new multilateral trade regime. In addition, the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) established a new scheme offering duty-free preferential access to selected African countries for additional agricultural, clothing and other sensitive products.

53. In May 2001, the EU introduced duty-free and quota-free entry for all products (except arms) in favour of the least-developed countries (LDCs). Since the EU announcement, a number of developed and developing countries have also declared their intention to extend similar preferential access for the LDCs.


54. Implementation of the commitments under the Uruguay Round is an ongoing process, which continues while the new WTO negotiations are underway. In the post-Summit years, many of the WTO members changed their agricultural policies in significant ways following the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). The most important change was the replacement of non-tariff import barriers with bound tariffs. In addition, a number of countries have reduced their bound tariffs and provided some further access to their markets through tariff rate quotas. However, bound tariffs in a majority of countries are still high and market access terms have not improved much for many products.

55. In domestic support, the EU, the United States and Canada have all moved away - in varying degrees - from market price supports that tend to encourage excess production towards direct income payments and other measures that are less distorting. But the overall total domestic support in developed countries remains high.

56. Export subsidies have also been reduced by countries that made commitments in this area, but their levels remain high for some products, notably meat, dairy products and cereals.

57. As regards food safety and quality, many countries have made efforts to improve their sanitary and phytosanitary standards and regulations in compliance with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

58. Many of the developed countries have provided technical assistance to strengthen capacity of developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations, as well as to upgrade and strengthen domestic SPS/TBT capacity to meet the standards and norms of the international markets, but much needs to be done to enable these countries to participate fully in international trade.


59. The Marrakesh Decision on Measures Concerning the Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries was a provision in the URA meant for easing food import burdens of the least-developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (NFIDCs). However, this provision is yet to be implemented effectively. At the Doha Ministerial Conference, Ministers adopted a recommendation to establish an inter-agency panel to explore ways and means for improving access by LDCs and NFIDCs to multilateral programmes and facilities for financing normal levels of commercial imports of basic foodstuffs, as well as the concept and feasibility of a proposal for the establishment of a revolving fund.

60. In line with the Marrakesh Decision, the Food Aid Convention changed its guidelines on food aid modalities in 1999, broadened the list of eligible products beyond cereals and introduced new provisions to improve the effectiveness and impact of food aid. FAO has also revised part of its "Principles of Surplus Disposal and Consultative Obligations" to bring them into line with the Agreement on Agriculture.


61. The Doha Ministerial Conference recognised the work already undertaken in the negotiations in agriculture that began in March 2000 under Article 20 of the WTO AoA. The commitment is to undertake negotiations aimed at substantial improvements in market access; reduction of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support.

62. A total of 44 negotiating proposals have been submitted, sponsored by 125 countries, either individually or in groups, addressing the range of issues mandated for the negotiations in agriculture. Developing countries have participated effectively in the on-going negotiations in agriculture and in the launching of the new round of multilateral trade negotiations.

63. The Doha Conference also agreed that the negotiations would aim to clarify and improve WTO disciplines on fishery subsidies, taking into account the importance of this sector to developing countries. It was also agreed that the special and differential treatment is to be provided for developing countries, with particular focus on LDCs, to enable them to take account effectively of their development needs, including food security and rural development. Non-trade concerns are to be taken into account. The technical co-operation and capacity building needs of small, vulnerable and low-income transition economies were also recognised, and the delivery of technical assistance was emphasised.

64. FAO, other international organisations and developed countries have intensified their support to member governments, particularly the developing countries, in preparing for multilateral trade negotiations of relevance to agriculture, fisheries and forestry. This support is being provided in the form of information and databases, analytical studies and training, and capacity building.


"We will promote optimal allocation and use of public and private investments to foster human resources, sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry systems, and rural development in high and low potential areas."


65. Almost all countries have undertaken macro-economic and sector policy reforms focussing on privatisation and market liberalization with the aim of bringing about a dynamic self-sustaining development through an enhanced role of the private sector - both domestic and foreign. While the majority of countries generally introduced such reforms through structural adjustment programmes, some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa introduced such reforms - especially agriculture sector reforms - through Agricultural Sector Investment Programmes (ASIP). Some countries are also introducing reforms as a continuing process as in the cases of Bangladesh, with the view to enabling the private sector to invest and compete in the global market, and Sri Lanka, with the view of updating its policy and strategy for food and agriculture.

66. Although the impact of structural reforms has been generally negative on the poor and vulnerable sections of the population in many countries, its impact in changing the policy environment for the private sector was generally favourable, although not all countries have succeeded in attracting private sector investment as was expected. In small countries like Lesotho the size of the internal market and limited availability of domestic natural and human resources have proved to be serious limitations in attracting private capital while in others the lack of infrastructure such as roads and communication as well as absence of institutional infrastructures have proved to be an impediment. In still others overall social and political instability was the determining factor influencing the amount of private capital, especially foreign capital, invested. Available information on foreign direct investment (FDI) indicates that, though the flow of FDI has been generally increasing in developing countries, it remains skewed towards countries which have better infrastructure and communication links, legal framework and general economic stability9.

67. In addition to macro-economic reforms, several countries are also introducing specific codes and laws to make the investment climate more attractive to the private sector. In this connection, for instance, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela have promulgated or strengthened their legal framework, with specific incentives for private sector investment. Such codes generally contain provisions for tax exemption on imported inputs for production as well as provisions for opening of foreign currency account in the country concerned, and for transfer of funds abroad. Syria, in addition to tax incentives, provides technical support and short, medium and long-term loans as well as provisions for facilitating the transfer of agricultural research to solve technical problems facing agriculture, while Ethiopia provides special mechanisms to promote investment, especially in agro-processing industries. The Government of Venezuela, in addition to strengthening its legal framework in favour of small and medium producers, has increased by 15% the amount of funds dedicated to agriculture, supported the process of legalisation of land tenure and created specialized credit organizations such as the Bank for Women, Town Banks and the Bank for Economic and Social Development. The Government of Lesotho has established the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) to facilitate and encourage foreign investment in the country and the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation to support domestic enterprises. Several other countries have also established special funds and credit facilities to facilitate domestic investment.


68. Fiscal austerity measures undertaken as part of structural policy measures for budgetary balance have often meant reduction and/or re-orientation of public investment in agriculture, as was the case in the Philippines, where agricultural productivity declined following structural adjustment. The main focus of Agricultural Sector Programmes today is more on capacity building, defining mission objectives, and further reform and strategy development than it is on direct sustainable productivity enhancement. Lesotho provides a good example of this.

69. To ensure sustainable food production and increase farm income, a number of countries have devised and are implementing specific programmes and/or projects with their own resources or in collaboration with bilateral and multilateral partners. The Government of Philippines, within the context of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), has designed a Medium Term Development Plan and launched various programmes to modernize agriculture and to make it more productive and more competitive, through the provision of support services such as irrigation, research, development and extension, credit, post harvest facilities and farm to market roads. The Government of Mexico has mobilised its own resources to implement various programmes namely: (i) the "Alliance with the Countryside Programme" which, through decentralised planning, provides assistance to a wide range of agricultural activities including technical assistance, natural resource management, and productivity and trade enhancement; (ii) the "Programme for Direct Rural Support" (PROCAMPO) which has invested in resources for 2.8 million producers, 13.9 million ha. and 4.2 million private estates; (iii) the "Agroecological Productivity Programme" which includes the support of indigenous; and (iv) the "National Fund for Social Undertakings" (FONAES) which was created to help producers access credit to invest in their productive activities. Similarly Morocco has established the "Hassan II Fund for Development" and the "Rural Development Fund" and, in co-ordination with NGOs, credit services for small farmers. In addition to using their own resources, almost all developing countries mobilize technical and financial support form bilateral and multilateral sources to implement programmes and projects related to food security and alleviation of poverty.

70. The limited capacity of many developing countries to raise domestic financial resources for needed public investments, is aggravated by a downward trend of ODA since 1995. The Heads of State and Government who attended the International Conference on Finance for Development, Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002, noted with concern current estimates of dramatic shortfalls in resources required to achieve agreed development goals. They urged developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts toward the target of 0.7 % of GNP as ODA to developing countries and 0.15% to 0.20 % of GNP of ODA to Least Developed Countries as reconfirmed at the third UN Conference on LDCs; they also encouraged developing countries to build on progress achieved in ensuring that ODA is used effectively to help achieve development goals and targets.

71. The Monterey Consensus stressed speedy, effective and full implementation of the enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and that it should be fully financed through additional resources. The consensus encouraged donor countries to take steps to ensure that resources provided for debt relief should not detract from ODA resources intended to be available for developing countries.10 Under the HIPC Initiative framework, as at December 2001, 24 developing countries had reached their decision point, and are now receiving debt service relief which will amount to about US$36 billion over time, amounting to approximately 70 percent of the total relief projected to be delivered under the Initiative.


"We will implement, monitor, and follow-up this Plan of Action at all levels in co-operation with the international community."

72. The Committee at its 24th and 26th sessions reviewed in detail the progress in the implementation of Commitment Seven in terms of actions taken with respect to each of the specific objectives contained under this commitment. The developments and the actions taken in pursuance of this commitment include:


73. As pointed out in paragraph 2, the Secretariat received only a limited number of national reports in time to prepare this document. The Committee may wish to reiterate its recommendation to member countries that they submit their reports by the deadline requested by the Secretariat, in order to allow their experiences to be taken into account in preparing the document and enable the committee to carryout its monitoring task effectively.

74. Based on its review of this document the Committee may also wish to highlight specific actions that would facilitate the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action and the achievement of the Summit goal. The Committee's attention is also drawn to the critical importance of:


1 The full text of all reports received this year will be made available on a CD-ROM, in their original form and language, for reference by delegates. The reports will also be made available on http//

2 The G-8 leaders committed themselves to make suppport to agriculture a key element of ODA as well as to put food security and rural development at the core of poverty eradication strategies, targeting, as a priority, the most food insecure regions.

3 Resolution on the Right to Food (A/Res/56/155)

4 Monterrey consensus, International Conference on Finance for Development , 18-22 March 2002, Monterrey, Mexico.

5 The EcoPort has 156 technical sponsors, including some CG Centres and prominent institutions and universities, and more than 900 registered users.

6 In 2000, the WFP development funding was at its lowest level in 23 years amounting to 14 percent of the programme total budget.

7 FAO, 1995. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Rome, FAO. 41p.

8 NACA/FAO. 2000. Aquaculture Development Beyond 2000: the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy. Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, 20-25 February 2000, Bangkok, Thailand. NACA, Bangkok and FAO, Rome. 27p.

9 UNCTAD, World Investment Report 2001,Geneva, 2001.

10 World Bank, Financial Impact of the HIPC Initiative, First 24 Country Cases, December 2001.

11 General Comment 12, The Right to Adequate Food (Article 11), E/C/12/1999/5, 12 May 1999.