The Challenge to Balance Population Increase and Food Supply

Chaired by Malcolm Fraser
10-11 APRIL 1995
TOKYO, JAPAN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. If the world is to avoid increasing hardship as a result of the population explosion and excessive consumption, a significant change in attitude is needed by the leadership of both developed and developing countries. The high-level expert group emphasizes that continuous global expansion of population and wasteful consumption are inevitably going to increase pressure on future food supplies. While some official global projections may not in themselves be alarming, once the position of the individual countries or regions are examined, it is clear that pressures on a regional and a country basis will be great. Over the next 30 years, they will also be great at the global level.

2. Official estimates of population and food production should not lead to any complacency. The most vigorous efforts will be required from third world countries and from donor countries to avoid an increasingly serious and unsustainable situation.

3. On the one hand, low-income developing countries, where the greatest pressures already exist, must redouble their efforts to introduce effective and wide-ranging population policies. These polices must fully recognize the status of women. Redoubled efforts are needed to reduce the dramatically high birth rate, which in a number of developing countries, has led to reduced per capita food production over the last 25 years.

4. On the other hand, many donor countries must target their aid more effectively. This is important because most, but not all donor countries, contrary to their own and the world's interest, have been reducing Official Development Assistance (ODA). This makes it all the more essential to target assistance to the poorest countries to reinforce the efforts of those developing countries that are themselves doing what they can to overcome their problems.

5. Such assistance needs to pay particular attention to supporting agriculture and family planning in its broadest concept. Even the most optimistic forecasts suggest that some 700 million people, 200 million of whom are children, are likely to remain malnourished by the year 2020. This must be regarded as totally unacceptable in a civilized and humane society. The report also provides some details assessing the efforts required.

6. Consumption patterns in the wealthiest nations are depleting world resources in ways that jeopardize the future of world development. It cannot be right or sensible that the wealthy 23 percent consume 83 percent of the resources. Moderation and a sense of sharing our common world are required.

7. The global challenge of population growth and food security is not insurmountable. It requires large-scale efforts from both North and South, starting now. Such efforts should address four interrelated questions:

(i) redoubling efforts to reduce fertility and stabilize the global population at the lowest possible level;

(ii) increasing food production by modernizing and intensifying agriculture in an environmentally sustainable fashion;

(iii) ensuring long-term sustainability through more efficient use of resources, especially water, developing cleaner forms of energy, and undertaking appropriate environmental actions; and

(iv) reaching out to the poorest, the hungry and the malnourished by addressing head on the problem of extreme poverty and access to available food.

8. These actions will require appropriate policies, in both North and South, and substantial investments from domestic resources from foreign investment and from aid.

9. The high-level group has detailed a number of recommendations which place obligations on developing countries, on OECD donor countries, and on the international community.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Developing Countries

1. In order to ensure the world's capacity to feed 8.3 billion people in 2025, the U.N. median likely projection, major efforts must be deployed now to improve efficiency in use of resources and to strengthen research focused on sustainable agriculture.

2. Greater attention to social policy, including health care, family planning and greatly increased investment in education, is required.

3. Special attention is required to the status of women to ensure that in all respect they enjoy the same quality of rights and opportunities. This will lead to better informed women and voluntary choice in bearing children.

4. Governments must take daring measures to bring about major changes in the status of women which will ensure greater access to property, equality before the law, and access to credit and extension services that increase agricultural productivity.

5. Distorted policies of governments have too often adversely affected the performance of agriculture. Government policies must encourage investment and clarify the roles of public and private investment, in agriculture and in infrastructure in poorer countries.

6. In Africa, where major problems continue, particular action is required by national governments and the international community to ensure a sustained reduction in malnutrition.

International Community

7. ODA should be increased substantially, especially by those countries which have reduced aid over the last 10 years. Flows of aid should be depoliticized and targeted towards the neediest countries and so to lay the foundation for dealing with long-term problems of population growth, environmental degradation, food security and extreme poverty.

8. OECD countries should target some of their assistance to breaking bottlenecks and barriers to trade, in parallel with opening their markets to poor country exports.

9. Farm subsidies in the North should be gradually reduced to create more opportunities for enhanced production and marketing of farm products produced by the South.

10. Lesser developed countries need special assistance in their efforts to establish greater self-reliance in assuring food security.

11. Countries lacking human resources for receiving agricultural technology transfer to locate a national agricultural research system should be assisted. Training opportunities should also be provided for planning and management of agricultural policies.

12. The goals of social policy should be the promotion of social cohesion, equity and mobility, and accordingly policies must address the cultural and institutional dimensions of development.

13. In view of the huge burden of debts, especially in poor countries, multilateral nonconcessional debt should be retired and/or concessionalized. Debt reduction must be carefully managed so as not to impede the possible access of the poor countries to credit markets, especially for trade finance.

14. The creative use of guarantees or other mechanisms should be explored to draw private capital into making long-term investments in developing countries.

15. Broader partnership with NGOs should be sought to encourage more efficient ways to meet the needs of the poorest people and ensure more equitable sharing of development benefits so as not to exacerbate the already critical situation.

16. The capacity to monitor the impact of environment degradation by agricultural and industrial intensification should be strengthened, and research on environmentally sound farming systems should be increased.

17. In countries badly damaged by civil strife, special programs should be established for getting rid of the mines that render large parts of the arable land inaccessible, and such programs should be funded by donors.

18. The affluent industrialized countries should instill consciousness among their own people that their excessive consumption is an integral part of the problem. It is not permissible for the North unilaterally to ask developing countries to curtail population growth, while they themselves continue to aggravate the ecosystem with their excessive life style.

19. Global efforts on reforestation should be promoted by such campaigns as each inhabitant on earth planting one tree a year.

I. INTRODUCTION: GLOBAL AND REGIONAL CONDITIONS

The Present

1. The population-food balance of the world today presents major challenges, but there are reasons for cautious optimism. There are two major caveats, however. First, the optimism comes at the global level, while many serious problems remain at the regional and country levels. There is also the persistent and near universal problem of the very poor. Second, realizing any progress will require much hard work and improved national and international policies.

2. The global population is today 5.7 billion, growing at about 1.57 percent per year according to the 1994 U.N. World Population Prospects. This represents some progress in that the growth rate has declined from its peak of 2 percent 30 years ago, but the absolute growth will still add 900 million people in this decade. On the positive side, although population growth represents a challenge, it also reflects declining mortality and increasing life expectancy, indicating a general increase in the quality of human life.

3. The global agricultural situation has shown impressive progress. For the past half a century, total agricultural output has kept ahead of population growth. Supply has kept ahead of demand, and there has been a general decline in world food prices. However, there is less certainty that this trend will continue.

4. The hopeful global situation hides serious regional and national imbalances. Though population growth rates have declined in most of the less developed world, they have not yet declined significantly in Africa, and parts of South and West Asia. These areas show the lowest gains in life expectancy and the quality of life.

5. Progress has yet to be seen in solving entrenched environmental problems, both at global and regional levels. Global atmospheric emissions and regional problems of environmental degradation, pollution, water shortage, desertification and deforestation, soil erosion and salinization have reached proportions that are clearly unsustainable. Annually, 16 million hectares of forests are cleared, resulting in a net reduction in the world's forests of 10 million hectares.

6. Although global agricultural output has increased, per capita output has been declining in Africa for the past 20 years. Moreover, even where regional per capita output has increased, there remain large numbers of malnourished people, possibly numbering 800 million, of whom perhaps 200 million are children. The problem is not inadequacy of overall supply, but the inability of the poor to obtain access to the available food. It is particularly worrying that 200 million children remain malnourished since this is likely to restrict their learning ability and handicap them throughout their lives.

7. It must be recognized that poverty and malnourishment are prevalent in many countries, both rich and poor. The need to attack poverty is a near universal one.

The Future

8. The great uncertainty about the future has led to conflicting statements of both extreme pessimism and optimism. Pessimists contend that global famine lies near at hand, while optimists are confident that there is no limit to what the earth and its people can produce in a sustainable manner.

9. We believe that neither of these extreme positions is warranted. The grounds for optimism lie at the global level, where we foresee world agricultural output remaining ahead of world population growth. At the regional level, however, we fear increasing imbalances leading to rapidly rising food imports. In a number of countries, the number of malnourished people will continue to grow. One vital question is for how long food output can outpace population growth.

10. Another worry is that, serious output constraints or reverses (e.g. a protracted drought) in major food exporting country like the United States, or in producing countries might produce challenges that the world is poorly organized to meet. Finally, even in the best scenarios, we see little likelihood that present programs will lead to a significant decrease in the incidence of malnourished people, especially malnourished children.

11. On present trends, it is likely that world population will reach 8.3 billion by about 2025, and possibly 10 billion before leveling off. However, if appropriate measures are taken, it would be possible to stabilize at the U.N. low variant of around 7.5 billion. Urgent efforts must be taken now to move in that direction. On the agricultural side, it is reasonable to expect that the world could feed 8 billion people in 2025, if research and technology investment are sustained and increased. This will require, however, that major efforts are made now to use resources more efficiently and to strengthen agricultural research especially focussing on sustainable agriculture for food security in the developing countries.

12. Both hopeful global scenarios still reflect serious regional and national imbalances. Sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of malnourished people continues to grow, will remain a major regional problem for years to come. If Sub-Saharan Africa doubles its population in the next 30 years to 1.6 billion as projected, and does not experience per capita gains in agricultural output, we do not see how Africa would be able to pay for the needed high food imports.

13. Prospects for reducing the number of malnourished are better in Asia, Latin America, the Near East and North Africa, but even in those areas there is much inefficiency both in population programs and agricultural production. These inefficiencies must be overcome if the more hopeful scenarios are to be realized, and particularly if the problems of the poor and the disadvantaged are to be solved.

14. In East and Southeast Asia, which have demonstrated remarkable economic growth, this has led to important changes in diet. Many people becoming more prosperous, are dramatically increasing indirect consumption of grain by eating more meat. This development could put pressure on the world's grain supply in times of poor harvests. On top of this, increases in food production are unlikely to meet the growing demand in East Asia.

Promoting Human Efficiency

15. In both population programs and agriculture, there remain major challenges throughout the world, and especially in developing countries. Looking on the bright side, the world also has the technology and the organizational capacity to address these problems more effectively.

16. One important but simple way of boosting the efficiency of production is by teaching the known modem technology for agricultural output to more farmers. In this way, yields of the owest producers can be raised to those of the average, those of the average can be raised to those of higher producers. Improvements can be made in agronomic practices, water management, and in adapting research to local conditions. In particular, given the fact that improved irrigation has increased yields per hectare, greater attention should be paid to improving water management.

17. This does not deny the importance of continuing and increasing basic agricultural research to improve biological yields and to make sure that new technologies reach the next generation of farmers. For every 0.1 percent increase in yields, the world gains the equivalent of 25 million hectares of rain-fed cropland. Thus both research and gains from more efficient farming practices are needed. Substantial immediate gains can be made through putting into fuller practice technologies that are now already available.

18. One of the greatest problems in developing countries is the shortage of institutions and human resources that can assist in accepting and adapting transfer of technology from industrialized countries. It is necessary to help establish and manage national agricultural research systems in less developed countries. Moreover, training opportunities should be provided for planning and implementation of agricultural policy and family planning. Greater use should be made of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research for that.

II. The Role of Developing Countries

Population

19. The population of the developing countries reached 4.0 billion in 1990, and is projected to rise to 5.7 billion by 2010 and nearly 7 billion by 2025. More than 90 percent of the increase in the world's population will take place in developing countries. The absolute increase in developing country population is projected to be nearly 800 million persons for this decade and to remain close to an all time high. Though numbers will decline slightly, they imply a world which will have twice the current population and possibly even more in the next century.

20. Among developing countries, the rate of population growth is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by the Near East and North Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, while East Asia has the lowest rate of growth.

21. Many developing countries are endeavoring to slow down their relatively rapid population growth by devising a population policy suitable to their countries. As recognized at the International Conference on Population and Development, the solution to the population problem requires social and economic development as well as improved family planning services, especially to the rural and urban poor.

22. These services will need paying for, which means more money, though the amounts are modest in comparison with the benefits to be gained. Total annual expenditures must rise from approximately $4 billion to roughly $11 to 12 billion by the end of the century, according to UNFPA estimates. Of the extra amount, some $4 billion must come from the donor community.

23. Among those actions endorsed at the High-Level Expert Group Meeting are: ensuring a rise in the literacy rate, vital in promoting a well-informed voluntary choice of the number of children, and improving reproductive health and family planning services, public sanitation and safe potable water.

Food Production

24. Although there is a widespread agreement among economic and social forecaster that the continued slow gains in the availability of food on a per capita basis are likely to continue into the 21st century, developing countries as a whole are expected to increase their net cereal imports. The pressure to increase food production is particularly intense in countries with high population growth and a high incidence of chronic malnutrition. Natural resources are under intense pressure in many countries and yields are far below their potential.

25. Greater food production will require investment and development of research and technology. This means encouraging research and dissemination, including through demonstration, of sustainable agricultural technology, environmentally-friendly integrated pest management and plant nutrient systems.

26. As time goes on, the control of water for food and agricultural uses will become a more pressing issue. In addition to better maintenance of existing systems and implementing more efficient pricing policies for water, priority should be given to small-scale water bar-vesting and control techniques.

27. With growing urban populations (and urban growth in Asian developing countries over the next 30 years will equal the current population of the continent), it is necessary to consider where food is produced. Food transport and energy costs are part of the sustainability equation.

28. In view of the rapid urbanization in prospect, and the widespread reliance on private agents and markets, it is essential that input supply, marketing and processing assistance be available to producers.

Government policy

29. Poverty alleviation, improved nutrition and food security should be principal objectives of government policy. Such priorities should be reflected in official investment programs. In the least developed countries, agriculture is the dominant sector of the national economy and, unless it can be stimulated, neither incomes nor food availability will improve appreciably.

30. Distorted government policies have too often damaged the performance of agriculture. Government policies must provide the incentives to invest and sustain production of foods in which the country has a comparative advantage. In pursuing national nutrition and food security goals, each region within a country should also be encouraged to concentrate on its comparative advantage, and adopt a more socially equitable and environmentally friendly technology for food production.

31. Governments, directing the roles of public and private sector funds, must also invest or encourage the investment in roads and infrastructure to facilitate internal and external trade in food and agricultural products. Trade policies must ensure that foods subsidized by some developed countries do not create a disincentive to internal production. This can be done through the use of tariffs if necessary.

Social Policy

32. Much of the current misery in developing countries stems from failures of social policy. Civil strife is frequently caused by hunger and starvation. Very often, the legacy of civil strife lives on even when the conflict has ended.- For example, mines left over from wars may render large parts of the arable land inaccessible. This is true in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mozambique and Angola, where about one third of the arable land is mined, and unusable. To solve such problems, special programs for demining are needed and should be funded by donors.

33. The lack of adequate progress in increasing food production and social welfare is a factor fomenting widespread civil unrest. Moreover, such unrest is in danger of spreading geographically, as food shortages and widening income gaps encourage massive migrations from North Africa and Eastern Europe to Western Europe and from the Caribbean and Latin America to the United States.

34. The goals of social policy, therefore, should promote social cohesion, equity and mobility, with a special focus on the needs of vulnerable groups. They should address the cultural and institutional dimensions of development.

Policies in Relation to Women

35. A more pernicious problem discouraging development is the unequal social status of women, many of whom are locked in extreme poverty. It is clear that economic progress has not been shared equally by both men and women. The needs of women present major challenges for the present and future.

36. Effective progress will require major changes in the status of women. Traditional biases against women and girls must be reversed. To help accelerate the reduction of population increase, it is especially essential to raise the status and decision-making of women.

37. Family planning programs are an essential complement to help accelerate the reduction of fertility. Such family planning programs should be as broadly based as possible and include primary health care, safe potable water, education of girls and the empowerment of women generally, as well as the distribution of contraceptives and clinical advice.

38. Education is particularly critical, since a rise in female literacy rate is vital in allowing women a well-informed voluntary choice of the number of children they bear.

39. Together these can speed the decline of fertility at the same time as they increase the quality of life. Success in increasing the speed of bringing women into the economy will be especially important for the poor.

40. In addition, women in the poorest countries are the backbone of the farm labor force. Greater access to property, equality before the law, and access to services such as credit and agricultural extension services that increase their productivity are all key ingredients.

Africa

41. Every indicator and all assessments of prospects for future food security identify Sub Saharan Africa as the region for priority action. Its rate of population growth is the highest, and its decline in per capita food production over the last three decades is unique. The incidence of chronic malnutrition increased over the decade of the 1980s and is most likely to remain unacceptably high, well into the 21st century, unless extraordinary measures are taken not just by the governments involved but by the entire international community.

42. The potential for increases in agricultural productivity as well as food production is impressive. At present, only 2-3 percent of the land used to produce food is irrigated, fertilizer is seldom used except for cash crops for export and proven technology is frequently ignored. Farmers often have difficulty in obtaining inputs for production in a good time. In addition, too often the marketing system means that prices plummet when producers harvest good crops.. The inability to control water makes the region extremely vulnerable to year-on-year variability in production and thus in emergency food needs.

43. Priority attention should be given to setting up small pilot demonstration projects that can show actual farmers how they can increase productivity through the control of water and the use of appropriate technology.

III. The Role of Donor Countries

44. Consumption in the North is an integral part of the problem. If all people in the world consumed the same amount of meat as the North Americans do, the entire world's grain supply and more would be needed just to feed the livestock. And if the world consumed fish like the Japanese, world fish stocks would soon be fully depleted. The affluent industrialized countries should awaken the consciousness of the people about their wasteful consumption. It is not acceptable for the North unilaterally to ask developing countries to curtail their population increase, while they themselves continue to aggravate the eco-system with their excessive life styles.

45. The level of Official Development Assistance (ODA), from the OECD countries declined to 0.3 percent of GNP in 1993. This figure masks wide disparities, with the United States, providing only 0.15 percent, much of it earmarked for assistance to the Middle East, and a large part of that given for non-development purposes.

46. There is no question that although the bulk of the resources required for the development of the LDCs will have to come from their own resources, well-targeted and timely ODA support, especially for the poorest countries and developing country governments with good governance, can be very beneficial in helping them achieve their development objectives.

47. The developed countries today represent over 83 percent of the world income but less than 23 percent of the world population. On the other hand, 80 percent of the world population receives less than 17 percent of the income. The poorest 20 percent barely survive on 1.4 percent of the world income. This inequality is both unstable and unsustainable. Further efforts must be made to increase ODA substantially, especially by the United States.

48. However, these flows of aid should be depoliticized and targeted towards the neediest countries with a dual perspective: first, to assist in overcoming current hurdles such as balance of payments problems and' severe investment shortfalls; and second, to lay the foundations for dealing with long-term problems of population growth, environmental degradation, food security and extreme poverty.

49. This will require a more farsighted view of development assistance. It should be linked to the objectives of development in the recipient countries, not to the political or economic interests of the donor countries. Transparency and adequate frameworks for aid coordination would assist in this direction.

50. Given the severe budget stringencies in all the donor countries, it is necessary to consider shifting support so as to maximize the impact of the flows available from any individual donor. Donor countries could usefully reexamine levels of spending on the military since a broad minded view of the security of these countries would include support for the development efforts of the poor.

51. Broader partnership with NGOs should be sought to encourage better ways to service the needs of the poorest people of the world to ensure more equitable sharing of development benefits and not to exacerbate the already critical situation.

52. In the absence of major increases of ODA flows from the OECD countries, we should consider a stronger targeting on sustainable food production and agricultural research, and population programs. These collectively would form the core of the attack on the nexus of problems that tie together environmental degradation, population pressure, food security and poverty reduction. In this context, it is important to recall that agriculture is the primary interface between human economic activity and the environment.

53. Agriculture accounts for over 70 percent of the world's fresh water use and 70 percent of the land use. Current problems of agriculture are already putting tremendous pressure on fragile ecosystems, for example, "slash and burn" destruction of forests, and colonization of the hillsides bringing soil erosion.

54. Hunger is a manifestation of extreme poverty. The poorest of the poor, without the money to go to markets for their most basic needs, require special attention. Intermediarv institutions, such as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, have shown that micro-credit can be a viable instrument to empower the very poor.

55. Efforts by the donors and the international financial institutions should be deployed to find ways of replicating such schemes on a large scale, as a complement to their support for broad-based pro-growth and anti-poverty macro-policies. The recently proposed Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), which provides such small loans, is a promising step in that direction.

Access to Markets

56. An essential part of the mobilization of resources in developing countries is going to be their ability to export their products to OECD markets. The Uruguay Round accords will go some way in facilitating this, but the poorest countries, especially Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), will not benefit adequately, and considerable distortion in international agricultural markets will remain upon implementation of the Agreement on Agriculture. Further, some countries that had preferential treatments cannot fully use them. Obstacles to their exports include domestic institutional, infrastructure and market failures but also restrictions in access to OECD markets.

57. Addressing these deficiencies, especially in SSA, will be an integral part of strengthening the access of the very poor countries to international trade. Donors should target some of their assistance to smashing these bottlenecks and hurdles to trade, in parallel with opening their markets to exports from poor countries. These bottlenecks also restrict the internal flow of goods and services within the countries and limit their ability to accelerate their economic growth.

Capital Flows

58. A most notable feature of the last four years has been the quadrupling of private capital flows to developing countries. These today represent over $170 billion, over three times the total OECD ODA flows of about $55 billion. These capital flows comprise portfolio investments, foreign direct investment (FDI) and some private capital loans to governments and enterprises.

59. The bulk of these flows, however, are concentrated in about 20 countries. A number of these 20 countries have an excessively high proportion of portfolio investment which can be extremely volatile as was recently demonstrated in Mexico. It is important that an increasing proportion of private capital flows come in the form of FDI and to that end, governments should design their incentive structures and their trade regimes with a view to encourage FDI rather than obtaining private loans or portfolio flows.

60. To draw private capital into financing long-term investments, special efforts by LDC governments and international financial institutions as well as donors will be required. The creative use of guarantees and other mechanisms should be explored.

61. A more careful calculation of the real costs and benefits of investments that takes into account environmental, social and human costs, as well as benefits, should be made in order that the apparent investment does not, in fact, turn out to be destructive to the long-term economic or environmental prospects of the country concerned. This is the case where a number of poor countries have subsidized extractive industries for export (such as mining, tropical hardwoods) but have not factored in the costs of reforestation, soil erosion and other aspects euphemistically treated as "externalities" in assessing investments. Issues like these will be particularly important, as the expansion of agricultural production necessary to meet rising food needs will be increasingly financed by internal private sources.

62. Debt remains an issue for many of the poorest countries. Special efforts to reduce the stock of debt and the burden of debt service will be needed. Multilateral non-concessional debt should be retired and/or concessionalized under agreed performance criteria. Debt reduction, however, must be 'carefully managed so as not to impede the access of poor countries to credit markets, especially for trade finance.

Farm Subsidies and Food Aid

63. Under the Uruguay Round agreement on agriculture, farm subsidies will be reduced in the OECD countries. Food surpluses, especially in the EU, will be reduced and be less available as food aid. It is our view that non-crisis food aid has been sometimes counter-productive, since it has tended to undercut domestic production by poor farmers and frequently creates a level of dependency that cannot be sustained. The removal of farm subsidies in the North will create opportunities for Southern countries to sell farm products in which they have comparative advantage. Such opportunities should be pursued.

64. Preliminary estimates of the likely impact of freer world trade in food and other commodities indicate a likely benefit to most countries and especially to net food exporters. SSA, being a net food importer for some time to come, is likely to find its import bill increase, and will therefore require special compensatory programs to be implemented by donors, especially by food exporting countries, so that they can gain recompense from a scheme that will benefit the rest of the world. To the extent that some other very poor countries (e.g., Haiti) are also likely to suffer as a long-term net food importers, they too should benefit from such compensatory programs.

IV. NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Responding to Population Pressures

65. Over the last two centuries the developed world has experienced an historic demographic transition from high to low birth and death rates, resulting in massive population growth. This demographic transition is now being experienced by the developing regions of the world. South Asia and Africa in particular are experiencing unprecedented increases in population. It is crucial for the social and economic development of these regions that this population growth does not exceed sustainable levels.

66. One way to encourage sustainable population growth is through family planning programmes. Along with this, attention also needs to be given to the availability of food for a significantly increasing population.

67. There are already about 800 million malnourished people in the world. If current rates of population growth continue, the present population in developing countries is expected to be nearly 50 percent higher by the year 2020. Future global food production will need to dramatically increase to provide adequate food for everyone. The availability of land for food production, however, is under growing pressure because of spreading urbanization.

68. For these reasons, the increase in agricultural productivity required to meet a growing world population will need to come primarily from technological innovation and intensified production methods. There are, however, serious problems of bio-diversity associated with the substantial intensification of agricultural production. Therefore, it will be essential to ensure that intensified food production is carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner.

69. Sustainable development means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. A central aspect of sustainable development is preserving the natural environment. The working group notes that there is considerable scope for improving food production, using currently available technologies, without causing irreparable damage to the environment.

Productivity and Environment

70. Agricultural and industrial intensification will inevitably produce certain by-products and side effects that are unfriendly to the environment. Ways must be found to minimize the effects of these by-products and side effects on the quality of soil, water, and the atmosphere. To this end, research on environmentally sound farming techniques should be increased. We also need to strengthen the ability to monitor the impact of production on the environment.

71. Achieving sustainable agricultural production growth in most countries will also require higher rates of savings. This can be achieved by reducing present levels of consumption in favour of future consumption, Investing in technological improvements and other production infrastructure will help improve productivity as well as the versatility of available resources.

72. To oversee this transformation in production, existing institutions will need to be refocused, or new institutions designed, to ensure that individuals, organizations, and societies in general manage resources and the environment in a compatible manner. This should aim to minimize the negative impact that the production activities of one operation has on the activities of other operations, both within the same country and abroad.

Interaction Between Developed and Developing Countries

73. Developed countries and a growing number of developing countries have accumulated knowledge, technology, and capital necessary for improving food productivity. The transfer of these assets to other developing countries should be facilitated through appropriate bilateral and multilateral arrangements. In particular, the experience of some countries in East Asia in coping with high density populations could provide valuable lessons to less developed countries and regions. Such assistance to developing countries is important not only to meet immediate critical needs, but also to encourage self-reliance in future food security as a major goal of national policies.

74. At the same time, developed countries should make further efforts to reduce inequalities between rich and poor countries, particularly in regard to food and nutrition. Technology and resources available in the advanced industrial countries in North America and Western Europe combined with those of successful countries in East and Southeast Asia and elsewhere should be utilized to assist the lesser developed countries to increase their food productivity and meet the needs of a growing population.

75. In this sense, agricultural development in East Asia, North America and Western Europe may provide valuable lessons for developing countries in the development of sustainable food production strategies. To underscore an effective transfer of technology, improved interaction and dialogue are necessary between developed and developing countries, especially at the levels of policy-making and research.

Role of Political Leadership in Developing Countries

76. Whatever happens at the global level, social and economic advances in developing countries will depend primarily on their own peoples and their own leaders. The quality of governance, institutional responsiveness, commitments to justice and equity will be critical. Farsighted political leadership is absolutely essential.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Developing Countries

1. In order to ensure the world's capacity to feed 8.3 billion people in 2025, the U.N. median likely projection, major efforts must be deployed now to improve efficiency in use of resources and to strengthen research focused on sustainable agriculture.

2. Greater attention to social policy, including health care, family planning and greatly increased investment in education, is required.

3. Special attention is required to the status of women to ensure that in all respect they enjoy the same quality of rights and opportunities. This will lead to better informed women and voluntary choice in bearing children.

4. Governments must take daring measures to bring about major changes in the status of women which will ensure greater access to property, equality before the law, and access to credit and extension services that increase agricultural productivity.

5. Distorted policies of governments have too often adversely affected the performance of agriculture. Government policies must encourage investment and clarify the roles of public and private investment, in agriculture and in infrastructure in poorer countries.

6. In Africa, where major problems continue, particular action is required by national governments and the international community to ensure a sustained reduction in malnutrition.

International Community

7. ODA should be increased substantially, especially by those countries which have reduced aid over the last 10 years. Flows of aid should be depoliticized and targeted towards the neediest countries and so to lay the foundation for dealing with long-term problems of population growth, environmental degradation, food security and extreme poverty.

8. OECD countries should target some of their assistance to breaking bottlenecks and barriers to trade, in parallel with opening their markets to poor country exports.

9. Farm subsidies in the North should be gradually reduced to create more opportunities for enhanced production and marketing of farm products produced by the South.

10. Lesser developed countries need special assistance in their efforts to establish greater self-reliance in assuring food security.

11. Countries lacking human resources for receiving agricultural technology transfer to locate a national agricultural research system should be assisted. Training opportunities should also be provided for planning and management of agricultural policies.

12. The goals of social policy should be the promotion of social cohesion, equity and mobility, and accordingly policies must address the cultural and institutional dimensions of development.

13. In view of the huge burden of debts, especially in poor countries, multilateral nonconcessional debt should be retired and/or concessionalized. Debt reduction must be carefully managed so as not to impede the possible access of the poor countries to credit markets, especially for trade finance.

14. The creative use of guarantees or other mechanisms should be explored to draw private capital into making long-term investments in developing countries.

15. Broader partnership with NGOs should be sought to encourage more efficient ways to meet the needs of the poorest people and ensure more equitable sharing of development benefits so as not to exacerbate the already critical situation.

16. The capacity to monitor the impact of environment degradation by agricultural and industrial intensification should be strengthened, and research on environmentally sound farming systems should be increased.

17. In countries badly damaged by civil strife, special programs should be established for getting rid of the mines that render large parts of the arable land inaccessible, and such programs should be funded by donors.

18. The affluent industrialized countries should instill consciousness among their own people that their excessive consumption is an integral part of the problem. It is not permissible for the North unilaterally to ask developing countries to curtail population growth, while they themselves continue to aggravate the ecosystem with their excessive life style.

19. Global efforts on reforestation should be promoted by such campaigns as each inhabitant on earth planting one tree a year.