CCP: TE 99/8



Thirteenth Session

Ottawa, Canada, 27-29 September 1999


Table of Contents


a) (i)-(ix) Recommendations of the Intergovernmental Commodity Groups

12. The Committee endorsed the reports and recommendations of the seven IGGs and two Sub-Groups which had met since its 61st Session1. In endorsing these reports, the Committee took note of positive innovations in the arrangements and conduct of some IGG sessions, particularly of the IGG and Meat, its Sub-Group on Hides and Skins, and of the IGG on Tea, which had led to more intensive and productive technical deliberations, including through the active participation of private sector experts. The Committee agreed that efforts should be pursued to extend this positive approach also to other IGG sessions. The Committee was informed of the concerns of members of IGGs for which joint meetings had been already or might be organized in the future. It agreed that for the next joint meeting of the Intergovernmental Group on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres and the Intergovernmental Group on Hard Fibres there was a need to ensure that separate time was given for the discussion of individual commodity issues, and that the time allocated to joint meetings should be slightly extended beyond three days to allow fuller benefits to participating countries. It was proposed that the Groups should assume a more active role in the evaluation and prioritization of commodity development programmes and in the mobilization of resources to support them. While appreciating the work undertaken to analyze trade and food security issues in certain commodity groups, some delegates considered that such issues extended beyond individual IGGs. The Committee suggested that the linkages between food security and trade could be a matter for its future consideration.

b) Mandate and operational procedures of the
Intergovernmental Commodity Groups

18. In line with the recommendations of its 61st Session and taking into account the conclusions and guidelines of the Council and Conference regarding the review of all statutory bodies, the Committee examined the role and functioning of its IGG system. Document CCP 99/10 was provided to assist the Committee in this task.

19. As called for by the 29th Conference, the Committee abolished its statutory bodies listed in Annex B of Conference Resolution 97/13 (as specified in paragraphs 53 and 54 of document CCP 99/10).

20. In reviewing the mandate and operational procedures of the IGGs, the Committee generally agreed that the IGGs fulfilled a useful role in a flexible and cost effective manner, particularly in recent years following the implementation of measures to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Many delegations underlined that the work programmes of the IGGs should be developed taking full account of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, giving priority to economic and trade issues, policy advice as well as measures aimed at poverty alleviation, enhancing productivity, encouraging sustainable use of technology and promoting food security. Some delegates expressed reservations about whether the system of IGGs was the most effective mechanism for undertaking the current functions of the Groups as they had evolved over time, and stressed that a more analytical review was needed to determine their value under changing international trading conditions and disciplines.

21. The Committee noted that the IGGs covered commodities which accounted for a large proportion of the value of world agricultural trade, but that the share had slightly decreased over the past decades. With a view to enhancing the relevance of IGG activities, many delegates supported the extension of the mandate of selected IGGs to include important related commodities, value-added products as well as commodities of importance for food security considerations in the case where no other international forum existed to deal with these items. As regards specific commodities for which coverage was considered desirable, particular mention was made of the importance for food security and poverty alleviation such that cassava, yams and sweet potatoes could constitute a Sub-Group and plantains could be attached to the Sub-Group on Bananas. Reference was also made to the importance in international trade of dairy products. The Committee considered that any suggestions made by individual IGGs for the extension of their mandates would be considered, in accordance with normal procedures by the CCP, along with information regarding any resource implications of such actions. One delegate further opposed any proposals to extend the mandate of the IGGs until such a review was carried out.

22. The Committee noted the request of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) that a number of "orphan" commodities, including dairy products, cut flowers and cashewnuts, be adopted by the IGGs to the degree possible in order to allow commodity development work to be undertaken in accordance with the Fund's procedures. The Committee requested its IGGs to examine this request taking into account certain criteria. These include trade value and/or the contribution of these commodities to food security particularly for least developed countries as well as their relationship to the other commodities covered by the Group. The IGGs were requested to report the next session of the CCP on this matter. The question of the role of the CCP as a possible International Commodity Body (ICB) was raised, but the Committee considered that more background work was required before this issue could be considered. The Committee was informed that the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits had been given ICB status by the CFC.

23. In reviewing possible overlap of the IGGs with the work of other organizations, the Committee expressed satisfaction that little or no duplication existed, even in the case where parallell commodity bodies existed, for example in the case of the IGG on Grains and of the IGG on Rice. The Committee stressed the need to continue to rationalize arrangements to deal with commodity issues in the light of evolving institutional conditions.

24. In considering the functions of the IGGs, various suggestions were made to enhance this work through direct and closer collaboration with member countries, which could include meetings away from headquarters on a selective basis and strengthening the participation of the private sector. The Committee endorsed the convening of joint meetings of related IGGs to deal with thematic issues of common concern. It also requested that efforts be made to organize on a trial basis one or more ad hoc conferences dealing with related commodities of importance in world agricultural production and trade, bearing in mind that such conferences would be in lieu of the regular IGG sessions scheduled for a biennium.

25. The Committee expressed its satisfaction at the savings which had been achieved in the budgets of IGG sessions and requested that operational procedures which had led to these savings be maintained. With a view to achieving further economies, the Committee endorsed the proposals contained in paragraphs 60 to 64 of document CCP 99/10.

26. The Committee agreed to review at its next session the functioning of its IGGs, including the adaptation of their work programmes to the World Food Summit Plan of Action, their role under changing international trading conditions and disciplines, and modifications in their operational procedures and commodity coverage.

27. The Committee adopted the Terms of Reference of the IGG on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits as contained in document CCP 99/22 with some amendments. (Annex D). The Committee expressed appreciation of the offer of the Government of Australia to host the First Session of the Intergovernmental Group in cooperation with the Australian Banana Growers' Council in May 1999.

1) Bananas, 15th Session, May 1997 (CCP 99/2); Tea, 12th Session, July 1997 (CCP 99/3; Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres, 31st Session, November 1997 (CCP 99/4); Oilseeds, Oils and Fats, 28th Session, December 1997 (CCP 99/5); Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits, 1st Session, May 1998 (CCP 99/6); Citrus Fruit, 12th Session, September 1998 (CCP 99/7); IGG on Meat, 17th Session, and Sub-Group on Hides and Skins, 6th Session, November 1998 (CCP 99/17 and CCP 99/17 Supp 1); IGG on Hard Fibres and Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres, Joint Meeting, December 1998 (CCP 99/18).