. Food for Peace Program and Population
Discussion:One of the most fundamental aspects of the impact of population growth on the political and economic well-being of the globe is its relationship to food. Here the problem of the interrelationship of population, national resources, environment, productivity and political and economic stability come together when shortages of this basic human need occur. USDA projections indicate that the quantity of grain imports needed by the LDCs in the 1980s will grow significantly, both in overall and per capita terms. In addition, these countries will face year-to-year fluctuations in production due to the influence of weather and other factors.
This is not to say that the LDCs need face starvation in the next two decades, for the same projections indicate an even greater increase in production of grains in the developed nations. It should be pointed out, however, that these projections assume that such major problems as the vast increase in the need for fresh water, the ecological effects of the vast increase in the application of fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, and the apparent adverse trend in the global climate, are solved. At present, there are no solutions to these problems in sight.
The major challenge will be to increase food production in the LDCs themselves and to liberalize the system in which grain is transferred commercially from producer to consumer countries. We also see food aid as an important way of meeting part of the chronic shortfall and emergency needs caused by year-to-year variation at least through the end of this decade. Many outside experts predict just such difficulties even if major efforts are undertaken to expand world agricultural output, especially in the LDCs themselves but also in the U.S. and in other major feed grain producers. In the longer run, LDCs must both decrease population growth and increase agricultural production significantly. At some point the "excess capacity" of the food exporting countries will run out. Some countries have already moved from a net food exporter to a net importer of food.
There are major interagency studies now progressing in the food area and this report cannot go deeply into this field. It can only point to serious problems as they relate to population and suggest minimum requirements and goals in the food area. In particular, we believe that population growth may have very serious negative consequences on food production in the LDCs including over-expectations of the capacity of the land to produce, downgrading the ecological economics of marginal areas, and overharvesting the seas. All of these conditions may affect the viability of the world's economy and thereby its prospects for peace and security.
Recommendations:Since NSC/CIEP studies are already underway we refer the reader to them. However the following, we believe, are minimum requirements for any strategy which wishes to avoid instability and conflict brought on by population growth and food scarcity: (1) High priority for U.S. bilateral and multilateral LDC Agricultural Assistance; including efforts by the LDCs to improve food production and distribution with necessary institutional adjustments and economic policies to stimulate efficient production. This must include a significant increase in financial and technical aid to promote more efficient production and distribution in the LDCs.
(2) Development of national food stocks16 (including those needed for emergency relief) within an internationally agreed framework sufficient to provide an adequate level of world food security;
(3) Expansion of production of the input elements of food production (i.e., fertilizer, availability of water and high yield seed stocks) and increased incentives for expanded agricultural productivity. In this context a reduction in the real cost of energy (especially fuel) either through expansion in availability through new sources or decline in the relative price of oil or both would be of great importance;
(4) Significant expansion of U.S. and other producer country food crops within the context of a liberalized and efficient world trade system that will assure food availability to the LDCs in case of severe shortage. New international trade arrangements for agricultural products, open enough to permit maximum production by efficient producers and flexible enough to dampen wide price fluctuations in years when weather conditions result in either significant shortfalls or surpluses. We believe this objective can be achieved by trade liberalization and an internationally coordinated food reserve program without resorting to price-oriented agreements, which have undesirable effects on both production and distribution;
(5) The maintenance of an adequate food aid program with a clearer focus on its use as a means to make up real food deficits, pending the development of their own food resources, in countries unable to feed themselves rather than as primarily an economic development or foreign policy instrument; and
(6) A strengthened research effort, including long term, to develop new seed and farming technologies, primarily to increase yields but also to permit more extensive cultivation techniques, particularly in LDCs.
III. International Organizations and other Multilateral Population Programs
III. A. UN Organization and Specialized Agencies
DiscussionIn the mid-sixties the UN member countries slowly began to agree on a greater involvement of the United Nations in population matters. In 1967 the Secretary-General created a Trust Fund to finance work in the population field. In 1969 the Fund was renamed the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and placed under the overall supervision of the United Nations Development Program. During this period, also, the mandates of the Specialized Agencies were modified to permit greater involvement by these agencies in population activities. UNFPA's role was clarified by an ECOSOC resolution in 1973: (a) to build up the knowledge and capacity to respond to the needs in the population and family planning fields; (b) to promote awareness in both developed and developing countries of the social, economic, and environmental implications of population problems; (c) to extend assistance to developing countries; and (d) to promote population programs and to coordinate projects supported by the UNFPA.
Most of the projects financed by UNFPA are implemented with the assistance of organizations of the Untied Nations system, including the regional Economic Commission, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO). Collaborative arrangements have been made with the International Development Association (IDA), an affiliate of the World Bank, and with the World Food Programme.
Increasingly the UNFPA is moving toward comprehensive country programs negotiated directly with governments. This permits the governments to select the implementing (executing) agency which may be a member of the UN system or a non-government organization or company. With the development of the country program approach it is planned to level off UNFPA funding to the specialized agencies.
UNFPA has received $122 million in voluntary contributions from 65 governments, of which $42 million was raised in 1973. The Work Plan of UNFPA for 1974-77 sets a $280 million goal for fund-raising, as follows:
- 1974 - $54 million
- 1975 - $64 million
- 1976 - $76 million
- 1977 - $86 million
RecommendationsThe U.S. should continue its support of multilateral efforts in the population field by: a) increasing, subject to congressional appropriation action, the absolute contribution to the UNFPA in light of 1) mounting demands for UNFPA Assistance, 2) improving UNFPA capacity to administer projects, 3) the extent to which UNFPA funding aims at U.S. objectives and will substitute for U.S. funding, 4) the prospect that without increased U.S. contributions the UNFPA will be unable to raise sufficient funds for its budget in 1975 and beyond;
b) initiating or participating in an effort to increase the resources from other donors made available to international agencies that can work effectively in the population area as both to increase overall population efforts and, in the UNFPA, to further reduce the U.S. percentage share of total contributions; and
c) supporting the coordinating role which UNFPA plays among donor and recipient countries, and among UN and other organizations in the population field, including the World Bank.