Food and agricultural problems : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly

  • Author: UN General Assembly (43rd sess. : 1988-1989)
  • Document source:
  • Date:
    20 December 1988

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, contained in its resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202 (S-VI) of 1 May 1974, the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, contained in its resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974, resolution 3362 (S-VII) of 16 September 1975 on development and international economic co-operation, and the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade, contained in the annex to its resolution 35/56 of 5 December 1980,

Recalling also its resolutions on food and agricultural problems, in particular resolution 41/191 of 8 December 1986,

Reaffirming the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition adopted by the World Food Conference,

Stressing the imperative need to keep food and agricultural issues at the centre of global attention,

Reaffirming that food and agricultural problems in developing countries should be considered in a comprehensive manner in their different dimensions and in their immediate, short-term and long-term perspectives,

Emphasizing that the continuing gravity of the economic situation in Africa, including the persistence of negative trends in the food and agricultural sectors, requires urgent and decisive action by the international community to accelerate and ensure the full implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990, as stressed during the mid-term review of the implementation of the Programme of Action,

Welcoming the support given by the international donor community to agricultural development in developing countries and the efforts of these countries in the development of their food and agricultural sectors,

Noting with concern that the tensions concerning trade in agricultural markets remain very serious, notably owing to the persistence and, in some cases, intensification of all forms of agricultural support, including export subsidies and import restrictions, as pointed out by ministers of Governments of States members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at their meeting in Paris on 18 and 19 May 1988,

Reaffirming that the right to food is a universal human right that should be guaranteed to all people and, in that context, believing in the general principle that food should not be used as an instrument of political pressure, either at the national or at the international level,

Deeply concerned about the worsening of the locust infestation and its spread to several regions of the developing world, particularly the recent infestation of large regions of Africa, as described in the status reports of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and about the grave consequences of the infestation for agriculture and food production in the countries of the affected regions,

Welcoming the ongoing work of the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture in monitoring the world food situation and in alerting the international community to impending problems,

Concerned that, despite some slight improvements in 1987, the economies of developing countries continue to suffer from depressed international commodity prices, protectionism and worsening terms of trade, growing debt service burden and net outflow of financial resources from developing countries as a whole, which have had a negative effect on international trade and agriculture, particularly for developing countries,

1.         Notes with concern that hunger and malnutrition have been increasing since the World Food Conference in 1974, that the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition has increased in the 1980s and that the central objective of the Conference remains largely unfulfilled;

2.         Welcomes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the World Food Council on the work of its fourteenth ministerial session held at Nicosia from 23 to 26 May 1988, in particular the Cyprus Initiative against Hunger in the World, and calls upon Governments and international and non-governmental organizations to assist the World Food Council fully in implementing the Initiative;

3.         Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on trends in international agricultural markets with special reference to the share of developing countries;

4.         Stresses the urgent need for substantial progress in stimulating food production in developing countries and the importance of increasing domestic food production, thereby stimulating national economic growth and social progress in those countries, in particular in Africa and the least developed countries, and helping to resolve the problems of hunger and malnutrition in an effective way;

5.         Urges, in this context, the members of the international community, in particular the donor countries, to take further determined action in support of the efforts of developing countries by increasing the flow of resources, including concessional flows designated for agricultural development, and to increase their contributions to intergovernmental organizations;

6.         Stresses the need for donor countries to increase aid commitments to food and agriculture in developing countries and the need to channel assistance through existing organizations and programmes;

7.         Also stresses that the provision of food aid in the context of emergency situations resulting, inter alia, from natural disasters should be reinforced through additional rehabilitation and development assistance in order to help restore food production capacity and self-reliance;

8.         Calls for a joint effort by all States and relevant international and intergovernmental organizations to improve the food situation and protect the nutritional levels of affected groups, in particular low-income groups, especially during the implementation of structural adjustment programmes;

9.         Affirms that increasing food production in developing countries will significantly contribute to the eradication of poverty and the elimination of malnutrition, and recommends that a higher priority be given to supporting food production in the national development efforts of those countries in order to ensure adequate food supplies and distribution;

10.       Stresses that the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, launched on the occasion of the special session of the Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, held at Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 15 to 20 September 1986, presents a unique opportunity to develop a more open, viable and durable trading system, to reverse the disquieting rise in protectionism, and to bring agriculture under the strengthened and operationally effective rules and disciplines of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Ministerial Declaration on the Uruguay Round, and urges that concerted efforts to this end should be made at the forthcoming mid-term review of multilateral trade negotiations at Montreal, Canada, taking into account the need to provide special and differential treatment for developing countries, considering their food security objectives and the need to avoid potentially adverse effects on those countries, especially those that import food, bearing in mind the overall benefits of trade liberalization;

11.       Stresses the need to implement fully the relevant provisions of the Ministerial Declaration concerning tropical products;

12.       Also stresses the need to improve global economic conditions in order to establish national, subregional and regional food security in developing countries;

13.       Calls upon the international community to support scientific and technological training and research in developing countries in order to promote agricultural development in those countries, and emphasizes the urgency of strengthening international co-operation in the field of transfer of agricultural technology and of facilitating the free exchange of information on experience and technology relating to food production, processing and storage;

14.       Also calls upon the international community, through specific and effective measures, to support and complement the efforts made by African Governments to stimulate agriculture and food production and to implement fully the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990;

15.       Urges all States members of the International Fund for Agricultural Development to take decisive action to ensure the timely conclusion of the negotiations on the third replenishment of the resources of the Fund so as to facilitate its adoption by the Governing Council of the Fund in January 1989, thus enabling the Fund to pursue its mandate of assisting developing countries in increasing their food production and in alleviating rural poverty and, to that end, appeals to all parties to make their best efforts to achieve the overall target fixed for the replenishment;

16.       Takes note with satisfaction of the fact that the target of the Special Programme for Sub-Saharan African Countries Affected by Drought and Desertification of the Fund has been achieved, and appeals for increased contributions to the Fund;

17.       Appeals to the international community to contribute generously to the World Food Programme so that the pledging target for the period 1989-1990, as set out in General Assembly resolution 42/164 of 11 December 1987, can be attained and the Programme can continue its activity in support of capital investment and in meeting emergency food needs;

18.       Notes with appreciation the eighth replenishment of the International Development Association for the period 1 July 1987 to 30 June 1990, which provides for a total of 12.4 billion United States dollars, and stresses the need to draw upon those resources for the development of food and agriculture;

19.       Stresses the need for co-ordinated international action to tackle the long-term problems of migratory pest control, particularly in Africa, and, expressing gratitude for the support of donors and recognizing the efforts made by the affected countries in the fight against the grasshopper and locust infestation, calls upon donors to continue to give high priority to the implementation and continued co-ordination by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations of emergency control programmes, as well as longer-term measures, against grasshoppers and locusts currently affecting vast areas of Africa, as well as other regions of the developing world, and to remain prepared to provide financial and technical assistance to affected countries at short notice;

20.       Takes note of the establishment, within the framework of the World Food Council, of the informal ad hoc consultative group for the implementation of the Cyprus Initiative against Hunger in the World, and urges all Member States and international organizations to participate actively in the work of the group so as:

(a)        To review and assess the policies and instruments currently available to combat chronic hunger and malnutrition in developing countries, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries, and to identify the reasons and obstacles that may have reduced their impact;

(b)        To consider concrete and realistic measures that could make existing policies and instruments more effective;

(c)        To identify workable initiatives;

(d)        To recommend a course of action to combat hunger and malnutrition more effectively;

21.       Requests the President of the World Food Council to present to the Council at its fifteenth ministerial session an action-oriented report on the Cyprus Initiative against Hunger in the World;

22.       Urges the World Food Council to continue, within its mandate:

(a)        To assess the overall impact of structural adjustment programmes in developing countries on the nutritional levels of their populations, especially among children and low-income groups, and to suggest remedial measures in that area, including ways of stimulating the provision of resources to eliminate the suffering of those groups;

(b)        To assess the impact of liberalized international trade in agricultural and tropical products on all countries and especially on the food security and development efforts of developing countries and, in this context, to maintain an active interest in the progress and outcome of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations;

(c)        To promote activities related to food security and agricultural trade, as well as to regional and South-South co-operation in food and agriculture, within the context of economic growth and the development needs of developing countries;

(d)        To stimulate progress in and contribute more actively to the full implementation of the food policy and programme components of the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990;

23.       Also urges the World Food Council to continue to exercise leadership in sensitizing the international community to the nature, extent, causes and consequences of hunger and malnutrition and in recommending appropriate practical policies for remedial action;

24.       Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the World Food Council, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to submit to the Economic and Social Council, at its second regular session of 1989, an updated comprehensive report on trends in the international market for agricultural and tropical products and on the liberalization of international agricultural trade, together with suggestions on ways and means of increasing the share of developing countries in that trade, while avoiding the potentially adverse short-term effects on developing countries, in particular those that import food..


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