Committee on Agriculture


Committee on Agriculture reviews issues ranging from livestock management to plant quarantine

Delegates from over 100 nations, UN bodies and specialized agencies, as well as other international governmental and non-governmental organizations, will gather at FAO Headquarters from 7 to 11 April for the 14th session of FAO's Committee on Agriculture (COAG). The opening speech will be delivered by FAO’s Deputy Director-General Mr H.W. Hjort.

The biennial sessions of COAG cover the work of three FAO departments - Agriculture, Economic and Social, and Sustainable Development. COAG provides member nations an opportunity to review the work of FAO programmes, to discuss technical issues of particular interest, and to make recommendations based on intergovernmental negotiations on various international agriculture-related agreements.

Some of the major issues on the agenda for the five-day session include:

  • FAO programmes in the food and agricultural sector in light of the outcome of the World Food Summit, held in Rome in November 1996;
  • management of livestock resources;
  • animal genetic resources;
  • rural development, with particular emphasis on land tenure and off-farm income;
  • standards of plant quarantine harmonization;
  • revision of the International Plant Protection Convention.

Highly technical discussions and negotiations will aim to facilitate international trade flows by addressing policy, institutional and plant quarantine issues arising from changes in the agricultural trade regime since the adoption of the GATT Uruguay Round.

One of the papers to be reviewed by COAG outlines a new focus for FAO’s work to assist member countries in developing their potential for livestock production. The focus attempts to address the changing development context, including the growing demand for meat and dairy foods from a rapidly growing, increasingly urban and increasingly affluent population.

Another document to be discussed analyses the dynamic relationship between land tenure change and off-farm employment. It concludes that particular attention should be given to changes that have resulted from economic and political liberalization and shifts toward market economies.

The Committee will also review a report by the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Animal Genetic Resources. The group was established after the FAO Conference decided in 1995 to broaden the mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources to cover animal genetic resources as well. Its report notes the continuing loss of farm animal genetic resources, resulting from poor management and breeding policies that do not take into full account the diversity of production environments and the value of indigenous breeds. The Group of Experts warned that this loss threatens efforts to achieve global food security and stressed the importance of the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources, in which FAO provides the framework and coordination for national programmes, plans and activities.

Other resources:

4 April 1997


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