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C. Preparations for an international development strategy for the fourth UN development decade FAO's contribution

64. The Conference discussed the subject of FAO's contribution to the preparation of the International Development Strategy (IDS) for the Fourth UN Development Decade and to the Special Session of the UN General Assembly devoted to International Economic Cooperation, in particular to the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries. It noted that the UN General Assembly was to consider the IDS towards the end of 1990 and that the Special Session was to be held from 23 to 27 April 1990.

65. The Conference noted that the UN General Assembly resolution on the IDS had invited, among others, the specialized agencies of the UN System to include in their agendas during 1989 items regarding their contributions to the preparations of the IDS and had requested their executive heads to contribute effectively to the preparatory process for the Strategy by providing all appropriate inputs, including relevant documentation, using comprehensive analytical studies. It also noted that the UN General Assembly had requested the UN Secretary-General to carry out appropriate high level consultations, including consultations with eminent personalities, for the preparation of his report to the UN General Assembly Preparatory Committee on the Special Session. In this context, FAO had been consulted and requested to provide appropriate inputs.

66. The Conference noted that the Council had been informed of these matters at its Ninety-fifth Session in June 1989. The Conference endorsed the Council conclusions which emphasized the particular importance of FAO's contribution to the IDS and the Special Session, as the food and agriculture and the rural sector had a vital role to play in revitalizing economic growth and in achieving the objectives in the areas of nutrition, poverty alleviation, development of human resources and the environment.

67. The Conference noted that FAO had already made contributions, both at the Secretariat level through the ACC (Administrative Committee on Co-ordination) and its appropriate subsidiary bodies as well as to the two sessions, June and September 1989, of the UN General Assembly ad hoc Committee of the Whole for the preparation of the IDS.

68. The Conference supported FAO's active involvement in the preparation of the IDS. It noted that the UN General Assembly had recently adopted a resolution (A/C.2/44/L.11) which recommended to the ad hoc Committee of the Whole for the Preparation of the IDS to adopt an outline annexed to the resolution as a basis for elaboration of the IDS. The outline referred explicitly to the food and agriculture sector and policies in both the chapter on the reactivation and acceleration of broad durable economic growth and in the chapter on priority aspects of development.

69. The Conference reviewed document C 89/19 "Long-term Strategy for the Food and Agriculture Sector" and noted that it was an outline and preview of the contents of the full FAO Strategy document. It had been prepared by an FAO-wide Task Force especially set up by the Director-General for this purpose. It also noted that a full FAO Strategy document would be prepared by the Task Force, taking into account the Conference discussions and recommendations. The full FAO Strategy document was to serve as a basis for making further contributions to the preparatory work in the UN for the Special Session and the IDS as well as to the relevant General Assembly sessions themselves, as appropriate.

70. The Conference welcomed the Director-General's initiative to set up the above-mentioned FAO-wide Task Force. It agreed that the full FAO Strategy document should be based, inter alia, on elaboration of the findings and recommendations of existing FAO global and regional studies ("Agriculture: Toward 2000" and the regional studies on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe) as well as on the existing FAO or FAO-sponsored sectoral strategies, plans of actions and undertakings. These would include the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) Programme of Action, the Guidelines and Targets for International Agricultural Adjustment, the TFAP, the Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development, the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development, the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, and others. The Conference agreed that the full FAO Strategy document be submitted to the Ninety-eighth
Session of the Council in November 1990.

71. The Conference considered that the document under review was analytically sound and sufficiently comprehensive, and expressed its support for the suggestions contained in the document. The Conference considered that the document provided a good basis for further work for the development of the full FAO Strategy document and that it focused appropriately on the main themes, viz. Economic Growth and Agriculture, Poverty Alleviation and Human Resources Development, and Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Many Member Nations made suggestions for improvements, mainly in terms of the relative emphasis to be placed on the different aspects of the Strategy. Some Member Nations referred to studies and strategies of other organizations which contained useful material that could be drawn upon in preparing the FAO Strategy, including studies and strategies concerned with ECDC (Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries) and TCDC (Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries).

72. The Conference stressed that the elimination of war and civil strife, the pursuit of peace, and the respect for human rights were essential elements of the IDS and essential preconditions for achieving development objectives.

73. The Conference stressed that the International Development Strategies of the previous UN Development Decades had failed to meet their objectives, while the decade of the 1980s had been a period of serious slow down in growth rates for a great many developing countries. it considered that the main reasons for such failure were the inadequate progress, or even outright deterioration, in international economic relations coupled with trade protectionism, growth of debt, high interest rates, weak commodity markets, adverse terms of trade in international markets, decline in overall resource flows to the developing countries, significant negative flows on their long-term debt account, inappropriate domestic policies of both developing and developed countries, and inability of developing countries to adapt their export products to meet the demand in the markets of developed countries.

74. The Conference agreed that the IDS for the 1990s should emphasize the importance of sound domestic economic policies, taking into account country and regional diversities, as well as the need for significant progress towards the creation of a supportive international economic environment, particularly in tackling the debt problem, reversing the negative flow of resources from the developing countries, increasing financial and technical assistance and creating a market-oriented trading system. The Conference recognized that food aid would continue to play a vitally important role, both as a means of resource transfer aimed at promoting development, and improving nutrition as well as for emergency purposes.

75. The Conference agreed that the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations provided a unique opportunity for policy reform in agriculture, particularly in the developed countries, that would lead to a market-oriented agricultural trading system as a major component of the IDS for the 1990s. The Conference recognized that in this context certain domestic concerns including food security needed to be taken into account as well as special and differential treatment of the developing countries.

76. The Conference recommended that the FAO Strategy should focus on a limited number of major issues. The document should be succinct and concentrate on issues on which FAO was particularly qualified to contribute, taking into account the contributions to the IDS of other parts of the UN system.

77. The Conference agreed that the IDS should not contain many and detailed quantitative targets and that whatever targets were included should be realistic as to the prospects for their achievement. In this connection many Member Nations considered that the IDS should Include a target for ODA (Official Development Assistance). They urged all countries to intensify their efforts to meet the existing ODA target, as some countries had already done. A few Member Nations stated that their governments could not associate themselves with targets for growth of ODA.

78. The Conference stressed that the FAO Strategy should recognize that revitalization of growth, particularly in agriculture and the rural sector, was inter-dependent with, and often a prerequisite for, progress in the areas of poverty, nutrition and human resources development. At the same time, the existence of trade-offs, both among objectives and intertemporally, should be acknowledged. The Conference noted that elimination of poverty and undernutrition would take longer than one decade to achieve and, therefore, there was all the more reason for the IDS to emphasize the immediate initiation of appropriate policy action. The Conference agreed that policies for agriculture and rural development should emphasize an enhanced role for women, people's participation, and equitable access to productive assets, inputs and services.

79. The Conference agreed that macro-economic policies should be designed to strengthen rather than counteract the incentives for agricultural development provided by means of sectoral policies. It also agreed that structural adjustment policies for correcting macro-economic disequilibria would need to put greater emphasis on growth-generating aspects by removing constraints and bottlenecks to growth. It emphasized that such policies should be designed, sequenced and implemented in such a way that social costs, in particular adverse effects on nutrition, health and education, were minimized in order to safeguard the human resources potential on which development depended.

80. The Conference agreed that the role of the public sector in economic life needed to be viewed from a pragmatic standpoint, taking into account the widely differing national circumstances, experiences and capabilities. It considered that the FAO Strategy should emphasize both an enhanced role for the private sector, including producers' organizations, and also the need to upgrade the efficiency of public administration which had an important role to play in promoting infrastructure, education and training and research and extension.

81. The Conference agreed that the FAO Strategy should attach high priority to issues of natural resources, environment and sustainable development and agreed with the approach adopted in the document on this subject. It accepted the need for a clear distinction to be made between the strategic approaches required for areas endowed with different natural resources, for example between those of marginal and high potential areas. The Conference emphasized the importance of comprehensive approaches both in the integration of environmental concerns with sectoral policies and in the sub-sectoral integration of crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries.

82. The Conference recommended that the FAO Strategy should have among its top priorities the promotion of agricultural research and development, particularly as regards the intensification of rainfed agriculture through ecologically sound and sustainable technologies and improved utilization of indigenous livestock breeds which were well adapted to adverse agro- ecological conditions.

83. The Conference also underlined several other aspects of the FAO Strategy as deserving particular attention. These included special attention to the needs of Sub-Saharan Africa; food security; agro-forestry; fisheries management, including the development of artisanal fisheries and aquaculture; off-farm rural economic activities, related to agriculture or not, as a key component of rural development efforts; and population policies.

84. The Conference stressed that within the framework of a policy of integrated agricultural and forestry activities, FAO should accord priority in allocating funds to agroforestry projects, which would be one form of salutary action to prevent deforestation and improve fallow land.

D. Progress report on the GATT multilateral trade negotiations (Uruguay round) and Implications for FAO

85. The Conference stressed that the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations under the GATT was of fundamental importance for achieving a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system. It therefore welcomed the agreements reached in the Mid-Term Review of the negotiations by the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) in April 1989 which enabled the Uruguay Round negotiations to be resumed. In particular, it noted with satisfaction that the agreement on agriculture aimed to achieve substantial and progressive reductions in support and protection, resulting in correcting and preventing restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets. The Conference also noted with satisfaction that the approach adopted by the TNC for the negotiations on agriculture included both long-term elements for the reform of agricultural policies and short-term elements as well as arrangements on sanitary and phytosanitary regulations.

86. The Conference noted in particular that the Mid-Term Review called for harmonization of national regulations on sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and measures as a long-term goal, on the basis of appropriate standards established by relevant international organizations including the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Plant Protection Convention(IPPC). In this connection, the work programme adopted also embodied, inter alia, the objectives of: strengthening GATT Article XX so that measures taken to protect human, animal or plant life or health were consistent with sound scientific evidence and use suitable principles of equivalency; improving notification procedures; improving the multilateral dispute settlement process within the GATT in order to provide the necessary input of scientific expertise and judgement, relying on relevant international organizations; and providing technical assistance to developing countries regarding sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

87. The Conference emphasized the important pivotal role of FAO in these areas, particularly through the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the International Plant Protection Convention. The Conference expressed its appreciation for the long-established and valuable work of the CAC in harmonizing food standards and related rules for international food trade, for FAO's activities in relation to the IPPC, and for the Organization's technical assistance provided to developing countries on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

88. The Conference fully endorsed the support provided by FAO to the Uruguay Round negotiations, including support to the GATT secretariat in relation to agriculture, tropical products and natural resource-based products, technical assistance provided to participating countries, particularly developing countries, and participation in the negotiations, including those on sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. The Conference urged that such support should continue and, where appropriate, should be intensified.

89. The Conference noted that certain strengthening of FAO activities regarding Codex would be needed. It welcomed the plans of the Director-General to create a special unit within the Food Quality and Standards Service to expedite cooperation between Codex and GATT with regard to food standards, additives, veterinary drug and pesticide residues in foods which could constitute sanitary barriers to trade. The Conference emphasized that FAO had a unique role to play in providing independent advice and assistance to GATT in these areas.

90. The Conference recognized the basic role of the International Plant Protection Convention in the field of plant quarantine and that many of the issues raised in the GATT negotiations were covered in the Convention. It noted with satisfaction the actions taken by the Director-General, at the request for technical assistance by the Director-General of GATT, to address harmonization within the field of plant quarantine.

91. The Conference noted the results of the Technical Consultation between the Regional Plant Protection Organizations, convened by the Director-General in September 1989, and considered its recommendations. The Conference agreed on the necessity to establish a secretariat within FAO for the International Plant Protection Convention to address all issues related to harmonization and information exchange in the area of plant quarantine. The Conference carefully considered the proposed programme of work of the secretariat and agreed that it should have, as the main components, the development of harmonized guidelines for pest risk assessment, harmonized plant quarantine principles with which phytosanitary laws and regulations should be consistent, and harmonized plant quarantine procedures. The Conference further agreed that the secretariat for the IPPC should be supported by a panel of experts on harmonization and plant quarantine and be entrusted with the organization of regular Technical Consultations between Regional Plant Protection Organizations.

92. The Conference noted the role that the Asian and Pacific and the Caribbean Plant Protection Commissions, which were FAO Statutory Bodies, would have in the harmonization at a regional level. It also noted the need to establish a Plant Protection Commission for the Near East region.

93. The Conference discussed the recommendation of the Technical Consultation held in September 1989 regarding the establishment of a technical global body in the field of plant quarantine. It was felt that a decision at present to establish such a global body would be premature and that first experience should be gained of the functioning of the arrangements set out above, as proposed by the Director-General.

94. The Conference called on the FAO Member Governments that were not yet contracting parties to the IPPC to adhere to the Convention as soon as possible and stressed the necessity for wider acceptance of its amendments so that the amended version of the Convention could enter into force.

95. The Conference stressed the need for providing technical assistance to developing countries to enable them to meet international harmonization rules and procedures for sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

96. The Conference was informed that it would be desirable to begin phasing into FAO's programme of work with the minimum of delay the additional activities envisaged in relation to the Codex and the IPPC, so as to enable the Organization to respond to possible requests concerning harmonization of regulations and dispute settlement which may arise in the GATT context. In this connection, the Conference noted that the Uruguay Round negotiations would be completed by the end of 1990 and that it was expected that the implementation of the agreed results would begin shortly thereafter.

97. As regards the financing of these additional activities, the Secretariat informed the Conference that the implementation would be contingent on the Conference's decisions regarding the Programme of Work and Budget for 1990-91, and the timely payment of all contributions, or on the possibilities of raising additional extra-budgetary resources from interested countries.

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

98. The Conference noted with appreciation the spirit of cooperation and increasing consensus developed during the last years in the FAO debates on plant genetic resources and expressed its satisfaction with the progress made by the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and the considerable and growing acceptance of the International Undertaking. The Conference recognized the pioneering work of FAO in developing a unique Global System on Plant Genetic Resources which includes: a framework, the International Undertaking; an intergovernmental forum, the Commission; and a financial mechanism, the International Fund for Plant Genetic Resources.

99. The Conference recognized the role of the Commission as an intergovernmental forum where discussions took place and consensus was sought for the continuous development of the Global System on Plant Genetic Resources. In this context, it noted with satisfaction some of the new elements that at the request of the Commission and within the framework of the Undertaking are currently being prepared or considered by FAO in cooperation with the appropriate institutions. These included: the periodical publication of a report on the State of the World Plant Genetic Resources, the establishment of a Global Information and an Early Warning System, the establishment of a network of ex situ base collections under the auspices or jurisdiction of FAO, the establishment of a network on in situ protected areas, the development of a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), and the development of a Code of Conduct for international collectors of germplasm and a Code of Conduct on Biotechnology as it affected the conservation and use of plant genetic resources. It also noted that the Commission had requested FAO, in cooperation with relevant organizations, to continue to monitor actively the evolving new biotechnologies, in line with the International Undertaking. The Conference recognized that many of these developments were likely to influence for years to come policies, programmes and activities of FAO and other international organizations.

100. The Conference welcomed information from various Member Nations on plant genetic resources activities undertaken in their country and their willingness to cooperate with FAO on matters of joint interest. In that respect, the need to provide technical assistance to many developing countries was emphasized and the useful role of the International Fund was underlined. However, several Member Nations expressed the view that the financing of the Fund should continue on a voluntary basis. Other Member Nations felt that it was necessary to plan financing for the Fund.

101. The Conference stressed that maximum cooperation should be ensured with various regional and international organizations working on plant genetic resources, in particular IBPGR, and encouraged the Secretariat to develop appropriate arrangements for this. It welcomed the progress made on the development of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with the IBPGR and the active role played in this by the Commission and its Working Group.

102. The Conference drew attention to the importance of biotechnology in this field for agricultural development in developing countries. However, it stressed that most of the research on biotechnology was undertaken in the industrialized countries and was therefore mainly oriented to their needs. The Conference encouraged FAO to initiate and implement appropriate action to ensure that all countries would draw the full benefit of the various research and development activities on this matter. This should include the development of appropriate technologies that fit the needs of agriculture in developing countries. With regard to the application of the new biotechnologies, some Member Nations emphasized that it would be necessary to provide information on a timely basis through FAO's early warning system on plant genetic resources when the use of these new biotechnologies might involve a risk, or have a negative impact, on member countries.

103. The Conference noted the global importance of animal genetic resources and emphasized the importance for FAO also to be actively involved in this. Several Member Nations supported the results of the FAO Expert Consultation held in Rome from 26 to 28 September 1989, in which it was proposed to set up institutional, legal and financial mechanisms comparable to those existing for plant genetic resources. Others, however, considered that the present arrangements for plant genetic resources provided an adequate framework and should be amended to include animal genetic resources.

104. The Conference noted that the Ninety-fifth Session of the Council had extensively reviewed the report and recommendations made by the Third Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, held in Rome from 17 to 21 April 1989.

105. The Conference welcomed in particular the text for two complementary draft resolutions aimed to improve the participation of countries in the International Undertaking. The first one, presented by the Delegation of Spain, was based on the text prepared by the Commission for an agreed interpretation of the International Undertaking. The second one was prepared by the Commission and regarded farmers' rights. The draft resolutions, preserving the principle of unrestricted availability of germplasm, recognized the rights of both donors of technologies and donors of germplasm to be compensated for their contributions through the simultaneous recognition of plant breeders' and farmers' rights. The Conference recognized that both resolutions were intended to lay the basis for an equitable and lasting global system for sharing the costs and benefits of the world's plant genetic resources for present and future generations.

106. During the debate on these two resolutions, a few countries made specific proposals for amendments, but it was recognized that such changes needed further detailed review before they could be considered. A number of countries expressed their intention to join the Undertaking or to withdraw their reservations should the resolutions be adopted. The Conference agreed that the proposed amendments should be included in a document to be prepared by the Secretariat to be considered by the next session of the Working Group and the Commission for possible submission to the next Council and Conference Sessions.

107. The Conference, recognizing that these resolutions were the final result of wide-ranging and intensive discussions and negotiations among many countries, including a non-member of FAO, some non-members of the Commission and some that did not adhere to the Undertaking, expressed its satisfaction with the draft resolutions.

108. The Conference adopted the following two resolutions:

Resolution 4/89



Recognizing that:

plant genetic resources are a common heritage of mankind to be preserved, and to be freely available for use, for the benefit of present and future generations,

Further recognizing that:

(a) the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources constitutes a formal framework aimed at ensuring conservation, use and availability of plant genetic resources,

(b) some countries have not adhered to the Undertaking and others have adhered with reservation because of possible conflict of certain provisions of the Undertaking with their international obligations and existing national regulations,

(c) these reservations and constraints may be overcome through an agreed interpretation of the Undertaking which recognizes Plant Breeders' Rights and Farmers' Rights,

Endorses the agreed interpretation set forth hereinafter which is intended to lay the basis for an equitable and therefore solid and lasting, global system and thereby to facilitate the withdrawal of reservations which countries have made with regard to the International Undertaking, and to secure the adherence of others:


1. Plant Breeders' Rights as provided for under UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant) are not incompatible with the International Undertaking;

2. a state may impose only such minimum restriction on the free exchange of materials covered by Article 2.1 (a) of the International Undertaking as are necessary for it to conform to its national and international obligations;

3. states adhering to the Undertaking recognize the enormous contribution that farmers of all regions have mad* to the conservation and development of plant genetic resources, which constitute the basis of plant production throughout the world, and which form the basis for the concept of Farmers' Rights;

4. the adhering states consider that the best way to implement the concept of Farmers' Rights is to ensure the conservation, management and use of plant genetic resources, for the benefit of present and future generations of farmers. This could be achieved through appropriate means, monitored by the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, including in particular the International Fund for Plant Genetic Resources, already established by FAO. To reflect the responsibility of those countries which have benefitted most from the use of germplasm, the Fund would benefit from being supplemented by further contributions from adhering governments, on a basis to be agreed upon, in order to ensure for the Fund a sound and recurring basis. The International Fund should be used to support plant genetic conservation, management and utilization programmes,, particularly within developing countries, and those which are important sources of plant genetic material. Special priority should be placed on intensified educational programmes for biotechnology specialists, and strengthening the capabilities of developing countries in genetic resource conservation and management, as well as the improvement of plant breeding and seed production.

5. It is understood that:

(a) the term "free access" does not mean free of charge, and

(b) the benefits to be derived under the International Undertaking are part of a reciprocal system, and should be limited to countries adhering to the International Undertaking.

(Adopted 29 November 1989)

Resolution 5/89



Recognizing that:

a) plant genetic resources are a common heritage of mankind to be preserved, and to be freely available for use, for the benefit of present and future generations,

b) full advantage can be derived from plant genetic resources through an effective programme of plant breeding, and that, while Most such resources, in the form of wild plants and old landraces, are to be found in developing countries, training and facilities for plant survey and identification, and plant breeding, are insufficient, or even not available in many of those countries,

c) plant genetic resources are indispensable for the genetic improvement of cultivated plants, but have been insufficiently explored, and are in danger of erosion and loss,

Considering that:

a) in the history of mankind, unnumbered generations of farmers have conserved, improved and made available plant genetic resources,

b) the majority of these plant genetic resources come from developing countries, the contribution of whose farmers has not been sufficiently recognized or rewarded,

c) the farmers, especially those in developing countries, should benefit fully from the improved and increased use of the natural resources they have preserved,

d) there is a need to continue the conservation (in situ and ex situ), development and use of the plant genetic resources in all countries, and to strengthen the capabilities of developing countries in these areas,

Endorses the concept of Farmers' Rights (Farmers' Rights mean rights arising from the past, present and future contributions of farmers in conserving, improving, and making available plant genetic resources, particularly those in the International Community, as trustee for present and future generations of farmers, for the purpose of ensuring full benefits to farmers, and supporting the continuation of their contributions, as well as the attainment of the overall purposes of the International Undertaking) in order to:

a) ensure that the need for conservation is globally recognized and that sufficient funds for these purposes will be available;

b) assist farmers and farming communities, in all regions of the world, but especially in the areas of origin/diversity of plant genetic resources, in the protection and conservation of their plant genetic resources, and of the natural biosphere;

c) allow farmers, their communities, and countries in all regions, to participate fully in the benefits derived, at present and in the future, from the improved use of plant genetic resources, through plant breeding and other scientific methods.

(Adopted 29 November 1989)

109. The Conference also decided that the two resolutions were to be annexed to the International Undertaking.

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