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C. FAO activities related to environment and sustainable developments

77. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the measures taken by the Organization in the implementation of Conference Resolution 3/89 calling for a strengthening of FAO's activities in the field of environment and sustainable development. It noted that sustainable development and environment concerns had been incorporated in a broad spectrum of the Organization's activities. The Conference agreed that these concerns should continue to be given high priority in FAO's programmes, as proposed in the Medium-term Plan.

78. The Conference welcomed the Den Bosch Declaration and Agenda for Action of the FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment. It endorsed the Den Bosch recommendation which had been supported by the FAO Council at its Ninety-ninth Session, that FAO develop, in cooperation with other partners concerned, an overall International Cooperative Programme Framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ICPF/SARD) in support of action of local, national and international levels.

79. Several Member Nations reported on significant developments towards achieving sustainability in the field of agriculture, rural development, forestry and fisheries in their own countries. It was noted, however, that in order for national efforts towards sustainable development to succeed it was indispensable to ensure parallel improvements in international economic relations, elimination of unfair terms of trade, of protectionist barriers and of any type of subsidies which distort prices, alleviation of the burden of debt in developing countries and implementation of appropriate structural adjustments.

80. The Conference agreed that the strategies for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) should face the challenges of ensuring food security, eradicating poverty and conserving natural resources. It underlined the pressing need to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, to introduce land reform, to ensure people's participation in the development process as well as employing market processes, and, in particular, to enhance the role of women in all activities leading to sustainable development. To this end FAO was encouraged to cooperate with other UN and non-UN institutions concerned with sustainable agriculture and rural development.

81. The Conference agreed that the objectives of sustainable development and environmental protection should permeate all aspects of agriculture, forestry and fisheries development. It also underlined the need to promote diversified production systems and land use patterns improving efficiency, increasing resilience and minimizing risks. It noted that, in the search for sustainable farming systems, activities such as cottage industries, agribusiness, tourism and recreation could be sources of off-farm employment and could serve to diversify sources of income.

82. The Conference recognized the wide range of different issues affecting developed and developing countries and the differences generally found between countries as concerned conditions for sustainable agriculture. It agreed that appropriate SARD strategies should be developed by each country. It also agreed that many issues common to several countries would benefit from a cooperative regional approach. In particular, it recognized that small island states would need special consideration and support, due to the specific problems and constraints they faced in their quest for sustainable development.

83. Several Member Nations noted that critical ecosystems would need particular attention, considering their vulnerability, the importance of their biological diversity and their requirements for appropriate technologies in ensuring both environmental conservation and sustainable development. It was noted that, in intensifying food production, undesirable environmental effects should be avoided, in particular in the use of external inputs. Mixed farming systems and waste recycling should be promoted whenever possible and the use of traditional know-how of local populations should be encouraged in the development of sustainable agriculture.

84. The Conference decided to launch an International Cooperative Programme Framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ICPF/SARD) as a flexible, gradual but concerted process at the international, regional and national levels, in order to introduce the necessary changes and give greater emphasis to sustainable agriculture and rural development.

85. Several Member Nations indicated that the ICPF/SARD should concentrate particularly on promoting sector policy adjustments and that FAO should make use of its comparative advantage in this field to facilitate the process of conducting policy reviews, formulating strategies, and developing the appropriate institutional mechanisms and tools for SARD at the national level. Some Member Nations emphasized the need for FAO to develop guidelines enabling countries to undertake this process. In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran invited FAO to carry out a case-study for sustainable agriculture and environment in the Province of Bakhtaran in that country.

86. A number of Member Nations stressed that additional human and financial resources would be required by the Organization for the implementation of the ICPF/SARD, while other Member Nations indicated that the resources should be obtained from reallocation within the existing programmes. Some delegations stressed that not all aspects of SARD involved significant additional costs. The Conference underlined the need to develop the ICPF/SARD within the existing mechanisms and programmes of the Organization, avoiding all duplication of efforts. The Conference requested the Organization to cooperate closely with the intergovernmental organizations (NGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned in the implementation of the ICPF/SARD.

87. The Conference called for the Organization to fully integrate sustainability criteria in its programmes and activities and in the streamlining and rationalization of its Special Action Programmes, including those related to the ICPF/SARD and those related to forestry and fisheries, while ensuring close linkages between those programmes which should be mutually supportive.

88. The Conference also noted the important contributions made by the Organization to the UNCED preparatory process, in particular for the formulation of action proposals for the Plan of Action ("Agenda 21"). In view of the extensive role of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in development and environmental protection, the Conference requested the Organization to continue playing an active part in the preparations for UNCED.

89. The Conference recommended that UNCED give due attention to agriculture, forestry and fisheries in launching and mobilizing financial resources for the Plan of Action ("Agenda 21") in these fields. The Conference invited governments to make efforts to ensure the active participation of Ministries concerned, including those dealing with food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, in the preparation and follow-up of UNCED. It requested the Organization to take a still higher profile at the UNCED in order to fully participate in the process and effectively assist in the implementation of the Plan of Action ( Agenda 21").

90. The Conference requested that the Secretariat report on progress regarding the points mentioned in paragraph 87 above, including the further streamlining of the Field Programme, on the organizational arrangements and action taken to put the ICPF/SARD into operation and on its contributions to the UNCED preparations and follow-up, at the Hundred and second Session of the Council and at the Twenty-seventh Session of the Conference.

91. The Conference then adopted the following Resolution:

Resolution 2/91



Recalling Conference Resolution 3/89 requesting the Organization to strengthen its activities related to sustainable development and environment and its cooperation with the UN system in the field, particularly in view of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to be held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 1-12 June 1992,

Welcoming the measures taken by the Director-General in response to Conference Resolution 3/89 as reported to the FAO Council at its Ninety-eighth, Ninety-ninth and Hundredth Sessions,

Noting the significant contributions made by FAO to the preparation of UNCED, in particular the Den Bosch Declaration and Agenda for Action adopted by the FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment and the development by FAO of an International Cooperative Programme Framework for sustainable agriculture and rural development (ICPF/SARD), as requested by the Ninety-ninth Session of the Council,

Welcoming the process of streamlining of FAO Special Action Programmes, undertaken by the Director-General as part of the development of the ICPF/SARD,

Emphasizing the crucial roles to be played by the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors in the attainment of both sustainable development and environmental objectives,

Recognizing that sustainable development and conservation of the environment are high priority objectives of the Organization for developing and developed countries in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the next biennium, in the Medium-term Plan and in the long term:

Decides that:

1. within the imperative of its mandate, FAO should integrate sustainability criteria in all its programmes and activities;

2. the strategies and proposals presented in document C 91/30 should be further elaborated by FAO in the light of the outcome of the Conference as guidelines for future international and national action in this field;

3. in this process FAO should seek to strengthen its cooperation with other UN and non-UN institutions concerned with sustainable agriculture and rural development;

4. the Organization will pursue its active cooperation with UNCED so as to ensure the necessary support to sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries activities in the context of the proposed UNCED Plan of Action ("Agenda 21");

5. a report will be presented to the Conference through the Council at its Hundred and second Session in November 1992 on the implementation of this resolution.

(Adopted 25 November 1991)

D. Third progress report on the world conference on agrarian reform and rural development (WCARRD) programme of action

92. The Conference reviewed, in a general and preliminary way, the Third Progress Report on the WCARRD Programme of Action and the document entitled "United Nations Agencies and Rural Development: a Review of the Post-WCARRD Decade and an Agenda for the Future: Director-General's Views and Comments". In view of the importance of the issues raised by these two substantive reports and the limited time available to Member Governments to study them in sufficient depth to permit a rigorous and detailed discussion of the issues, the Conference agreed to proceed with a preliminary discussion at this session.

93. In its preliminary review of the Third Progress Report on the WCARRD Programme of Action, the Conference noted that the report was prepared on the basis of the information provided by 70 countries on their policies and activities in implementing the WCARRD Programme of Action. This information was supplemented by other data from FAO and other United Nations agencies. Several Member Nations noted the lack of recent quantitative data on several socio-economic issue" in the report. The Conference was informed that FAO had developed and circulated to Member Governments socio-economic indicators of relevance in reporting on WCARRD and that it was encouraging the collection and analysis of such data. However, the financial limitations and weak statistical systems in a number of countries acted as constraints in the compilation of timely and reliable data on socio-economic developments. It was suggested that in future reports, attempts should be made to provide as much up-to-date quantitative information as possible and to further disaggregate the information for the period under review from that in previous periods.

94. The Conference noted with concern that the total number of the rural poor had increased between 1980 and 1987, despite efforts by countries to assist the most disadvantaged rural population groups. Recognizing that much more needed to be done to promote growth with equity and to alleviate rural poverty, the Conference stressed the need to intensify efforts to improve targeting of development policies and technical assistance programmes to reach the disadvantaged rural population groups, particularly women.

95. The Conference, while recognizing the progress made in the 1980s in reducing infant/child mortality, in raising life expectancy and in expanding primary school enrolments, noted with regret that in most countries progress in rural areas lagged behind that in urban areas and women were more deprived than men. The Conference recognized the positive effects of the education of women on reducing child mortality and limiting family size, and underlined the importance of raising female school enrolment rates.

96. The Conference noted with concern the slow progress in redressing the large disparities of access to land in a number of countries. While noting that several countries had distributed uncultivated public land to the poor, the Conference emphasized the need for redistributive land reforms, especially in countries with large inequalities in the size of landholdings. The Conference also emphasized the importance of improving access to production inputs and services, particularly credit, as well as the extension of modern technologies, and rural infrastructure. The need for improvement in women's access to land and other inputs was particularly underlined.

97. The Conference noted that credit programmes in many cases benefited wealthier farmers, and frequently failed to filter down to women and the landless. In order to enhance the access of the poor to credit, and to reduce transaction costs and default risks, the Conference agreed on the need for vigorous promotion of innovative village-level credit programmes based, for example, on group lending and social collateral mechanisms.

98. The Conference noted the growing awareness of the importance of people's participation in the design and implementation of policies and programmes and urged further efforts to promote people's participation in achieving the goals of the WCARRD Programme of Action. The Conference noted that this subject was discussed under the Agenda Item dealing with the Plan of Action on People's Participation.

99. The Conference noted with concern the widespread and growing problems of environmental degradation and the complex cause and effect linkages between poverty, population growth and environmental degradation. It recognized that although different poverty groups had often evolved strategies to cope with these stresses, their effectiveness depended largely on an economic and institutional policy environment conducive to their implementation. It encouraged governments to adopt specific policies that would assist the poor to intensify their production systems and/or diversify into non-farm employment.

100. As regards the Review of the WCARRD, the Conference noted that the idea for the review of WCARRD-related activities originated from the Report of Experts who had reviewed FAO's Objectives, Role, Priorities and Strategies, and which had been endorsed by the Programme and Finance Committees in 1989. The Conference further noted that the Review of the WCARRD was prepared by a team of three consultants and in consultation with other United Nations agencies participating in the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) Task Force on Rural Development. The Conference also noted the comments of the Director-General and of the ACC Task Force on Rural Development in the consultants' report.

101. The Conference recognized the continuing validity of the WCARRD Programme of Action and the need for governments, FAO and other UN agencies to intensify their efforts in its implementation. Several Member Nations broadly agreed with the findings and recommendations of the Review, as well as the Agenda for Rural Development in the 1990s. Recognizing the importance of intensifying efforts for promoting rural development, the Conference requested the Secretariat to resubmit to the Hundred and second Session of the Council (November 1992), the third progress report on the WCARRD Programme of Action and the report of WCARRD review, together with specific proposals for follow-up to the recommendations contained in the latter report. It further requested that these proposals give particular attention to the following important aspects of a poverty alleviation strategy: people's participation, access to natural resources, credit, inputs and markets, diversification of the rural economy, promotion of rural non-farm employment, development of agro-industries, gender issues and sustainable development.

E. Commission on plant genetic resources and international undertaking: Progress report

102. The Conference considered a progress report on the FAO Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources, including information on the outcome of the Fourth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources (PGR). The Conference noted with satisfaction the atmosphere of cooperation and harmony that had developed in the last years in the FAO debates on PGR and welcomed the consensus reached during the last Session of the Commission on a number of major issues. The Conference also noted that the Ninety-ninth Session of the Council had extensively reviewed the report of the Fourth Session of the Commission on PGR (Rome, 15 - 19 April 1991), and had endorsed its conclusions and recommendations. The Conference expressed appreciation with the development of the Global System on PGR and noted that, to date, 128 countries were formally part of the system, of which 111 wore members of the Commission and 103 had adhered to the International Undertaking.

103. The Conference considered a draft Resolution submitted by the Council at its Ninety-ninth Session and noted that this Resolution was an important stop forward in obtaining universal acceptance of the International Undertaking and in making it more operative. The Conference recognized the important consensus reached on a number of delicate issues such as sovereignty over PGR, access to breeders' and farmers' material and implementation of Farmers' Rights through an international fund. It also recognized that other relevant matters, such as conditions of access to PGR and nature and size of the fund, needed to be further discussed and negotiated in the light of the decisions on access to biodiversity and funding mechanisms of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development.

104. The Conference, recognizing that the text of the draft Resolution was the final result of wide-ranging and intensive discussions and negotiations among many countries, including non-members of the Commission and countries that did not adhere to the Undertaking or adhered to it with reservations, adopted the following Resolution and agreed that it would be the third annex to the International Undertaking:

Resolution 3/91



Recognizing that:

- the concept of mankind's heritage, as applied in the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, is subject to the sovereignty of the states over their plant genetic resources,

- the availability of plant genetic resources and the information, technologies and funds necessary to conserve and utilize them, are complementary and of equal importance,

- all nations can be contributors and beneficiaries of plant genetic resources, information, technologies and funds,

- conditions of access to plant genetic resources need further clarification;

Considering that:

- the best way to guarantee the maintenance of plant genetic resources is to ensure their effective and beneficial utilization in all countries,

- the farmers of the world have, over the millennia, domesticated, conserved, nurtured, improved and made available plant genetic resources, and continue to do so today,

- advanced technologies and local rural technologies are both important and complementary in the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources,

- in situ and ex situ conservation are important and complementary strategies for maintaining genetic diversity;

Endorses the following points:

1. that nations have sovereign rights over their plant genetic resources ;

2. that breeders' lines and farmers breeding material should only be available at the discretion of their developers during the period of development;

3. that Farmers' Rights will be implemented through an international fund on plant genetic resources which will support plant genetic conservation and utilization programmes, particularly, but not exclusively, in the developing countries;

4. that the effective conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources is a pressing and permanent need, and therefore the resources for the international fund as well as for other funding mechanisms should be substantial, sustainable and based on the principles of equity and transparency;

5. that through the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, the donors of genetic resources, funds and technology will determine and oversee the policies, programmes and priorities of the fund and other funding mechanisms, with the advice of the appropriate bodies.

(Adopted 25 November 1991)

105. The Conference considered the draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer, and noted that the suggestions made by the Fourth Session of the Commission and the Ninety-ninth Session of the Council had already been incorporated into its text. While the Conference agreed, in general, with the contents of the Code, it noted that further elaboration by the Commission on PGR was necessary. The Commission was requested to consider the incorporation into the current draft of changes and amendments suggested by member countries.

106. The Conference was informed by the Secretariat that the fires draft of the Code of Conduct on Plant Biotechnology requested by the Commission on PGR would be prepared for its next regular session. It noted that a number of meetings with technical and legal experts, including representatives of relevant organizations, were planned.

107. The Conference welcomed the Council recommendations to reorganize the FAO Seed Laboratory as the Plant Genetic Information and Exchange Unit, and to expand the Seed Information System into the Global Information and Early Warning System on PGR. The Conference recognized the complementarily of in situ and ex situ strategies for the conservation of PGR and welcomed the offers made by a number of governments and institutions to contribute with their base collections, in situ protected areas, or space in their genebanks to the development of international networks and cooperation. It requested that FAO initiate or continue negotiations with these governments and institutions.

108. The Conference recognized the importance of cooperation with other organizations in the development of the different elements of the Global System. In this context, the Conference noted with satisfaction that a Memorandum of Understanding for Programme Cooperation had been signed between FAO and the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR). This Memorandum of Understanding covered the development of the Global Information and Early Warning System on PGR, the merging of the IBPGR registry of base collections with the network of base collections under FAO auspices, and the preparation of a report on the State of the World's PGR. She Conference noted with satisfaction that IBPGR had reported to the Commission on its activities, and welcomed the request of the Commission to invite other relevant organizations working on PGR to do the came.

109. The Conference endorsed the Council's recommendation that urgent studies be undertaken by FAO to identify any possible danger to the germplasm stored in genebanks and propose solutions, especially in Central and Eastern European countries and in some developing countries where national PGR programmes were facing increasing difficulties.

110. The Conference noted that crucial decisions on conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources were being negotiated in the Preparatory Committee of UNCED 1992 through a Plan of Action ("Agenda 21") and in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity that would cover both wild and domesticated species, including plant genetic resources.

111. The Conference recognized that the Commission on PGR was the only permanent intergovernmental body in the UN system addressing a large portion of the world's biological diversity. The Conference asked the Director-General to draw the attention of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity and of the fourth session of the Preparatory Committee of UNCED to the above.

112. The Conference noted that there was a need for FAO to prepare itself to take appropriate action in implementing decisions taken by the UNCED on this issue as a matter of urgency, and suggested that steps be taken to prepare to hold an extraordinary session of the Commission prior to the Hundred and second Session of the FAO Council (November 1992) in order to progress toward early implementation of UNCED decisions on biological diversity and plant genetic resources. The Conference recognized that such an extraordinary session would require extra-budgetary funding in addition to internal reallocation of resources.

113. The Conference expressed full support for the recommendation of the Commission and Council that, following UNCED, FAO convene the Fourth International Technical Conference for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources, and agreed that during the preparatory process of such a Technical Conference, both the first report on the State of the World's PGR and the first Global Plan of Action on PGR would be prepared. The Conference also agreed that the preparatory process should include a number of expert and regional meetings and that advantage should be taken of the FAO Regional Conferences for the production of the State of the World's PGR and Global Plan of Action. It endorsed the Council's recommendation that the International Technical Conference should be financed through extra-budgetary funds and be organized in cooperation with other relevant organizations, in particular the IBPGR and other Consultative Groups on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres. The Conference welcomed the intention expressed by some countries, and especially the offer made by the Government of Spain, to contribute technically and financially to this project and invited other countries to also contribute. The Conference endorsed the Council's request to the Director-General to initiate consultations with potential donor countries so as to secure the necessary extra-budgetary funds. The Conference recommended that the preparatory process and the Technical Conference itself should draw upon the conclusions of the extraordinary meeting of the Commission on PGR.

F. Helping the least developed countries to define an agricultural development strategy

114. The Conference noted that the Report by the Director-General on helping the least developed countries to define an agricultural development strategy had been prepared in response to Resolution 1/98 of the FAO Council at its Ninety-eighth Session in November 1990 32

115. The Conference recalled that the Programme of Action approved by the Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) gave high priority to the development of the agricultural forestry and fisheries sectors and recommended specific measures in the fields inter alia, of rural development, modernization of agricultural production, food security, food aid, development of fisheries resources, environment, and disaster mitigation, preparedness and prevention. It noted with appreciation that the LDCs remained at the centre of FAO's concerns. The recommended measures accorded with the basic aims and priorities of the Organization, and were virtually all covered under the policies and procedures of FAO. More than half of the resources allocated to field activities were directed to the LDCs. Special Action Programmes of FAO, as well as major global initiatives launched by the Organization on rural development, fisheries management and development, pesticides and genetic resources, tropical forests and rural development, covered areas of particular interest and direct benefit to the LDCs. Some Member Nations encouraged FAO to pay greater attention to promotion of regional agricultural trade in order to improve commercialization of agricultural distribution and marketing systems and assist governments in finding ways to privatize parastatals. They also encouraged the Organization to integrate environmental and natural resource management efforts into its fisheries programmes.

116. The Conference further noted that the agricultural development strategy as envisaged in paragraph 86 of the Programme of Action approved by the Paris Conference represented a comprehensive agenda covering a wide range of FAO's activities. It recognized that the Organization had taken a number of initiatives which had a direct impact on the LDCs. FAO's regional and perspective studies, such as African Agriculture: the Next 25 Years, and Agriculture: Towards 2000, indicated broad lines of agricultural strategy suitable for LDCs to adopt according to their own circumstances.

117. The Conference recalled that at its Twenty-fifth Session in November 1989, it had fully endorsed FAO's role as an international forum and source of policy advice. It noted with satisfaction that the Organization was already becoming increasingly involved in country policy work, often in the context of structural adjustment programmes, and stressed that FAO had an advantage in assisting the LDCs in the analysis and monitoring of nutritional and other social consequences of the structural adjustment programmes. It further noted that the Director-General had established an internal mechanism for promotion and coordination of work in this field, and that a Country Policy Information System (CPIS) had also been created. Cooperation with other institutions, particularly the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and United Nations Development Programme were being strengthened. The Conference urged that FAO's technical competence and expertise should be mobilized at all the stages of the country review mechanisms, such as Round Tables and Consultative Groups.

118. The Conference underlined the importance of FAO as a centre of excellence for agriculture, fisheries and forestry and urged that this role be further strengthened to be of direct benefit to the LDCs and other developing countries. It suggested that the comprehensive data system maintained by FAO should be effectively organized and used in the analysis of problems confronting the LDCs. The Conference expressed some concern that the Organization was constrained in meeting the demands of the LDCs due to financial constraints and hoped that, with the fulfilment of financial obligations by the Member Nations and the readjustment of its own priorities, FAO would be able to better respond to the needs of these countries.

119. The Conference recognized the primary responsibility of the LDCs in the formulation of agricultural development strategies with the support of international organizations and donor community. It recommended that FAO, while assisting the LDCs in formulating such a strategy at their request, should adopt a multi-disciplinary approach and should pay particular attention to the issues outlined in paragraph 86 of the Programme of Action approved by the Paris Conference. In this connection, the Conference underlined the importance of issues, such as food security, appropriate agricultural price and credit policies, improvement of income distribution patterns, diversification of agricultural base, development and application of agricultural research, integration of energy policies in overall planning, preservation and protection of environment and the support of agricultural support services and of the objectives mentioned under the item on the Third Progress Report on WCARRD Programme of Action. There was also a need to adopt a judicious approach in building public, as well as private, sector policy analysis and development capacity in these areas.

120. The Conference stressed the role of strengthened economic and technical cooperation between LDCs and other developing countries in their development efforts and welcomed the offer of several Member Nations to assist the LDCs within the multilateral, as well as bilateral, frameworks.

G. Implementation of the international code of conduct on the distribution and use of pesticides including the prior informed consent (PIC) clause

121. The Conference considered the document prepared by the Secretariat on the actions taken by FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since the Twenty-fifth Session of the Conference. It recalled that the procedure for PIC had been accepted by the FAO Conference at its Twenty-fifth Session in 1989. It recalled that it was incorporated in the International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and the Use of Pesticides through Resolution 6/89, in which Articles 2 and 9 of the Code were amended and in which the Director-General was authorized to establish a programme jointly with UNEP for the implementation of PIC.

122. The Conference noted the progress made by FAO and UNEP in the implementation of the joint programme. A preparatory phase had been necessary for the implementation of PIC, in which Designated National Authorities had been appointed by governments. Information had also been collected on pesticides that were banned and severely restricted and the necessary documentation had been prepared. A list of pesticides and chemicals had been drawn up for inclusion in the initial stages of PIC, and Decision Guidance Documents had been completed on such chemicals. FAO and UNEP had also established a joint expert group on PIC to provide advice and guidance for the implementation of PIC, to review Decision Guidance Documents and to address other technical matters. Three meetings of the joint expert group had been held.

123. The Conference noted that Decision Guidance Documents were being despatched to countries and they had been asked to take decisions as to whether they wished to receive the pesticides included in the Decision Guidance Documents in the future. Countries had also been asked to report on pesticides with a high level of acute toxicity that presented problems to human health in their countries.

124. The Conference noted that full implementation of PIC was foreseen for January 1992. As of that date, each valid notification of a ban or severe restriction would trigger the PIC procedure.

125. The Conference expressed its satisfaction with the cooperation between UNEP and FAO on the implementation of PIC and supported the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding, that was in its final stage" of development, to formalize this cooperation. It also requested the Secretariat to enhance its existing collaboration with the International Programme on Chemical Safety.

126. The Conference recognized the importance of continued attention to the implementation of PIC. It stressed the need to train country officials in the operation of PIC procedures and in pesticide risk assessment and management. It requested member countries that had not yet done so, to appoint Designated National Authorities.

127. The Conference expressed its appreciation to the various donors who had helped in the implementation of all aspects of the Code of Conduct. It endorsed the Council decision that the conversion of the Code into a legally binding instrument was premature, and asked the Secretariat to keep the issue under review.

128. The Conference recognized the role of the Code of Conduct in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and recommended that the Secretariat provide continued attention to Integrated Pest Management and to alternatives to pesticide use. It urged that attention be given to the environmentally safe disposal of stocks of outdated and obsolete pesticides, particularly in developing countries.

H. Plan of action on people's participation

129. The Conference considered the Plan of Action for People 'a Participation in Rural Development. It noted that the Plan had been revised taking into account the views expressed during the discussions at the Ninety-ninth Session of the Council (10-21 June 1991).35

130. The Conference noted the information provided by many Member Nations regarding their national policies for promoting people's participation that were in broad agreement with the objectives and the recommendations of the Plan of Action.

131. The Conference underlined the importance of people's participation as an essential component of sustainable and equitable agricultural development. It stressed the need for promoting participatory programmes and activities in order to mobilize local knowledge and resources for self-reliant development and, in the process, to reduce the cost to governments of providing development assistance.

132. The Conference recognized that active participation could be promoted through voluntary, self-reliant and democratic organizations of the rural populations and stressed the need to intensify the cooperation between governments, NGOs and FAO in this regard. It recognized that the Plan of Action would need to be implemented with flexibility, taking into consideration the specific conditions and needs of each Member Nation.

133. The Conference recognized that the promotion of participatory principles of development was a long-term process and would therefore require consistent policies and programmes designed to involve rural people in the design and implementation of development activities of direct concern to them.

134. The Conference also recognized that while the primary responsibility for promoting people's participation along the lines envisaged in the Plan of Action lay with the governments of individual Member Nations, its implementation would be facilitated by supplementary support provided by the international community.

135. The Conference noted that FAO had introduced participatory approaches in many of its projects and had gained considerable experience in promoting "bottom-up" development. It encouraged FAO to play an important role in the implementation of the Plan of Action, by acting as both a catalyst and an advocate, as well as by providing technical assistance to governments in promoting participatory activities. The Conference welcomed FAO's cooperation with other UN agencies through the ACC Task Force on Rural Development in the field of people's participation, and encouraged the Organization to pursue its efforts in developing cooperative activities in this field, including those with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as appropriate.

136. The Conference noted that FAO intended to involve many technical units in promoting participatory approaches to rural development. It further noted that the overall responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the Plan of Action and for its periodic reporting would be vested with the Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division, assisted by the Inter-Divisional Working Group on Rural Development. The Conference also took note of FAO's intention to report on follow-up action to the Plan as part of its regular WCARRD reporting.

137. The Conference then adopted the Plan of Action on People's Participation in Rural Development, which is given in Appendix E to this Report.

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