United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

5 May 1997



Fifty-second session                         Substantive session of 1997
Item 98 (c) of the                           Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997
  preliminary list*                          Item 5 of the provisional
SECTORAL POLICY QUESTIONS:                     agenda**
                                               OF THE MAJOR INTERNATIONAL
     * A/52/50.                                UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCES 
                                               AND SUMMITS

                                                  ** E/1997/100.

             Outcome of the World Food Summit, including action to be 
             taken to follow up the outcome at all appropriate levels

                         Note by the Secretary-General

     In accordance with General Assembly resolutions 50/109 of
20 December 1995 and 51/171 of 16 December 1996, the Secretary-General
has the honour to transmit to the Assembly and the Economic and Social
Council the report of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations on the outcome of the World Food
Summit, which was held in Rome from 13 to 17 November 1996.


                                         [Original:  Arabic, Chinese,
                                                     English, French,

                Report of the Director-General of the Food and
                Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
                on the outcome of the World Food Summit, held 
                      in Rome from 13 to 17 November 1996

1.   In Resolution 51/171 on Food and Sustainable Agricultural
Development, adopted on 16 December 1996, the General Assembly
welcomed the outcome of the World Food Summit, held in Rome from 13 to
17 November 1996, urged all members of the international community to
cooperate actively in the implementation of the Plan of Action adopted
at the Summit, and reiterated its invitation to the Director-General
of FAO to submit to the General Assembly, at its fifty-second session,
through the Economic and Social Council, "a report on the outcome of
the World Food Summit, including actions to be taken to follow up the
outcome of the Summit at all appropriate levels."

2.   The Director-General of FAO is honoured to submit the present
report in response to the Assembly's invitation, and takes the
opportunity to express his gratitude to the General Assembly for its
support to the preparations for and outcome of the World Food Summit.


3.   The World Food Summit was convened in Rome from 13 to 17 November
at the level of Heads of State and Government. The objective of the
Summit was to renew global commitment at the highest political level
to the task of eliminating hunger and malnutrition and to the
achievement of sustainable food security for all people.

4.   FAO called the Summit in response to widespread undernutrition and
growing concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food
needs. At the 27th Session of the FAO Conference in November 1993,
Member Nations expressed "deep concern" at the present situation and
the future prospects, and stressed that "the world's major problems in
food, nutrition and sustainability require immediate action at
national and international levels". 

5.   After consultations with a large number of Heads of State and
Government from all regions of the world, the FAO Director-General
invited the FAO Conference to consider convening a World Food Summit
in Rome in November 1996. The proposal, which was approved by the
Conference at its 28th Session in October 1995, was subsequently
endorsed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in
December 1995.  Throughout the period preceding the Summit, growing
support for the Summit was expressed during discussions at the 106th,
107th and 108th Sessions of the FAO Council and at the FAO Regional
Conferences; resolutions and recommendations in support of the Summit
were also adopted at numerous other intergovernmental meetings. 

Preparation of the Summit Documents

6.   Preparation for the Summit involved broad-based consultations
among governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental
organisations, and the private sector.

7.   In its Resolution 95/2 adopted at its 28th Session, the FAO
Conference entrusted the role of focal point for World Food Summit
preparation to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which is
open not only to members of FAO, but also to all members of the United
Nations who have expressed interest in participating in the work of
the Committee. Through a special Inter-sessional Working Group of the
CFS, substantial progress was made in preparing a draft for the Rome
Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of

8.   Discussions at the FAO Regional Conferences provided a major input
into the preparation of the Summit documents.  These included the 23rd
FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, Rabat, Morocco, 26-30 March
1996; the 19th FAO Regional Conference for Africa, Ouagadougou,
Burkina Faso, 16-20 April 1996; the 20th FAO Regional Conference for
Europe, Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 April-3 May 1996; the 23rd FAO Regional
Conference for Asia and the Pacific, Apia, Samoa, 14-18 May 1996; and
the 24th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Asuncio'n, Paraguay, 2-6 July 1996; as well as a Regional Consultation
for North America organized by the United States of America and
Canada.  Each Regional Conference elaborated a contribution to the
drafting of the World Food Summit documents, on the basis of a
document on the food security situation and issues in the region,
together with progress reports on the work of the Inter-Sessional
Working Group of the CFS.

9.   In addition to this statutory process, numerous other fora
contributed to raising awareness and formulating viewpoints and
proposals to address the Summit's objectives, starting with the Global
Assembly on Food Security, an International Symposium organised by the
Federal Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec in October
1995 in Quebec and the Ministerial Meeting on World Food Security
convened in Quebec on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of FAO. 

10.  Countries and organisations were encouraged to use other meetings
already scheduled to discuss specific aspects of food security.
National position papers on food security were elaborated by a large
number of countries as part of their own preparations for the Summit
debate. NGOs and the private sector, in addition to participating in
national-level activities and in consultations organised by FAO prior
to each Regional Conference and the 22nd session of the Committee on
World Food Security, also held their own meetings to discuss the
Summit. Several important NGO Declarations for the World Food Summit
were submitted to the Summit Secretariat. Parallel to the Summit
proper, an NGO Forum for the World Food Summit was held in Rome from
11 to 17 November 1996. 

11.  Taking all inputs into account, the negotiation of the documents
was completed during the 22nd Session of the CFS meeting from 27 to 30
September, 8-9 October and 28-31 October 1996.  The texts for the Rome
Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of
Action were thus approved two weeks in advance of the Summit for
consideration by the Heads of State and Government or their
representatives.  The Committee also endorsed arrangements for the
organization of work for the World Food Summit and invited the
Chairman of the CFS to present to the Summit the texts of the Rome
Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of
Action for adoption.

Technical Background Documents

12.  Fourteen technical background documents plus a technical atlas
formed the analytical underpinning for the political decisions and
actions approved at the Summit. These were prepared by FAO secretariat
staff, often in collaboration with other UN agencies, and with other
intergovernmental organisations, academic institutions, NGOs and civil
society at large.  The documents were distributed in provisional form,
starting in early 1995, and comments were invited and received through
an extensive review process involving experts from governments, sister
UN agencies, development banks, selected centres of excellence, NGOs,
the private sector, and eminent persons, among others.  In their
revised final form, the background documents and the technical atlas
were published by FAO in three volumes shortly before the Summit.  The
titles of the documents are shown in the Box.

                Technical background documents prepared for the
                               World Food Summit

1.    Food, agriculture and food security: developments since the World
      Food Conference and prospects 
2.    Success stories in food security 
3.    Socio-political and economic environment for food security 
4.    Food requirements and population growth 
5.    Food security and nutrition 
6.    Lessons from the green revolution: towards a new green revolution 
7.    Food production: the critical role of water 
8.    Food for consumers: marketing, processing and distribution 
9.    Role of research in global food security and agricultural development 
10.   Investment in agriculture: evolution and prospects 
11.   Food production and environmental impact 
12.   Food and international trade 
13.   Food security and food assistance 
14.   Assessment of feasible progress in food security 
15.   Technical atlas 

Involvement of UN System Organizations in the World Food Summit

13.  United Nations General Assembly Resolution 50/109 of 20 December
1995 welcomed the decision of the FAO Conference to convene the World
Food Summit and, inter alia, invited all relevant United Nations and
other inter-governmental organizations to cooperate actively with FAO
in preparing for the Summit.

14.  Many organizations of the United Nations system participated in
the development, refinement and negotiation of the draft Rome
Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of
Action.  Involvement occurred either through the meetings of the
Committee on World Food Security (CFS), its Inter-sessional Working
Group, and the FAO Regional Conferences, or in the form of substantive
comments on the documentation submitted to the Summit Secretariat.  A
number of organizations were particularly active, including IFAD,
recalled that the preparatory process was crafted in such a way as to
be flexible, efficient and cost-effective.  Emphasis was placed on
keeping financial costs to a minimum and avoiding recourse to the
creation of new negotiating mechanisms by making use of existing
mechanisms, namely FAO Governing Bodies, their subsidiary bodies and
other scheduled meetings.

15.  In addition, informal consultations among UN system organizations
were held at FAO Headquarters in conjunction with sessions of the
Inter-sessional Working Group of CFS.  A first session was held on 5
June 1996, a second on 1 August, and a third on 23 September. These
consultations, attended by IAEA, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNHCR,
UNICEF, WFP, WHO, WMO and WTO, discussed ways in which UN system
organizations could make a meaningful impact on the Summit's outcome,
and contribute to the Summit follow-up.

16.  UN system involvement also took the form of financial support,
with the World Bank providing funds for preparatory activities and
UNDP for national-level preparation and follow-up in the Africa
region.  UN Resident Coordinators assisted in the coordination of
national-level preparations, information activities and resource
mobilization at national level.

17.  Many UN system organizations and bodies undertook additional
Summit-related activities, or issued statements of support, including
the Joint Consultative Group on Policy (JCGP), the ACC Subcommittee on
Nutrition and the ACC Subcommittee on Rural Development.  UNFPA and
FAO held an Expert Group meeting on Food Production and Population
Growth in Rome to examine issues raised in the technical paper on
population factors in food security.

18.  The UN Non-governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) assisted in
communicating news about the Summit and its preparatory process to
NGOs, through feature stories and bulletins in its periodical,

19.  At the Summit, twenty UN system organizations took the floor.  The
UN Secretary-General spoke at the Inaugural Ceremony, and in the
following two days addresses were delivered by 11 Executive Heads,
4 Deputy Executive Heads and 4 senior officials of organizations
participating in the ACC.

Outcome of the Summit

20.  One hundred eighty-five countries and the European Community were
accredited to the Summit. Heads of delegations  included 41 Heads of
State, 15 Vice Presidents, 41 Prime Ministers, 15 Vice Prime
Ministers, and 74 other Heads of delegations. Some 450
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and 80 United Nations System
(UN) and Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGOs) were represented.

21.  The documents (the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and
World Food Summit Plan of Action) were adopted by the 186 Heads of
delegations attending the Summit at the opening of its proceedings,
following the Inaugural Ceremony. Fifteen countries filed
"reservations or interpretative statements" on specific aspects of the
Rome Declaration and Plan of Action.

22.  The World Food Summit was very successful in increasing public
awareness of the extent of hunger and malnutrition world-wide, and of
the causes and prospects. Most importantly, it resulted in strong
political commitment necessary to promote effective strategies and
activities to reach its targets of reducing the number of
undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015
and eventually achieving food security for all and eradicating hunger
in all countries.

Follow-up to the World Food Summit

23.  The Rome Declaration sets forth seven commitments which lay the
basis for achieving sustainable food security for all and the Plan of
Action spells out the objectives and actions relevant for practical
implementation of these seven commitments.

24.  The Declaration and Plan of Action will be made available to the
Assembly and the Council for their information.

25.  Commitment Seven of the Plan of Action stresses that the main
focus of action lies at the country level, where governments have the
primary responsibility for creating an economic and political
environment that assures the food security of their citizens,
involving for this purpose all elements of civil society (para. 56 of
the Plan of Action (PoA)).  The importance of strong international
cooperation in the effective implementation of the World Food Summit
Plan of Action is also underlined.  It is emphasized that this will
require effective coordination and cooperation within the UN system,
including the Bretton Woods institutions, taking into account the
mandate of FAO and other relevant organizations (para. 57 of the PoA). 
The priority accorded to stimulating and supporting action at the
country level is one of the fundamental principles underlying the
arrangements for inter-agency cooperation in follow-up to the World
Food Summit.

-    Inter-agency cooperation on the implementation of the World Food
     Summit Plan of Action

26.  Commitment Seven assigns to the ACC a significant role in the
Summit follow-up as specified in the following reference (para. 59(h)
of the PoA) that governments:

         "Invite the ACC through its Chairman, the Secretary-General
     of the UN, to ensure appropriate inter-agency coordination in
     accordance with UNGA Resolution 50/227 and, when considering the
     Chair of any ACC mechanisms for inter-agency follow-up to the
     World Food Summit, to recognize, in the spirit of ECOSOC
     Resolution 1996/36, the major role of FAO in the field of food
     security, within its mandate."

27.  Relevant UN system organizations are encouraged to initiate
consultations, inter alia, within the framework of the ACC, on the
further elaboration and definition of a food insecurity and
vulnerability information and mapping system.  FAO is expected to play
a catalytic role in this effort, the results of which should be
reported to ECOSOC through the ACC (para. 59(b) of the PoA).

28.  The Secretary-General is also invited to request the ACC to report
to ECOSOC in accordance with established procedures on the follow-up
by UN agencies to the World Food Summit (para. 60(d) of the PoA). 

29.  After the Summit, a proposal for inter-agency coordination of
Summit follow-up was made to ACC by FAO and IFAD with a view to
ensuring maximum cost-effectiveness, country-level focus, flexibility
and efficiency, avoiding institutional additionality at a time of
shrinking budgets within and outside the UN system, respecting the FAO
Conference and General Assembly resolutions which noted that the
Summit should not call for new funding mechanisms nor new
institutions, and adhering to the principles which had guided the
streamlining of the ACC subsidiary machinery.

30.  It should be stressed that from the conceptual to the operational
stages of this exercise, the two organizations intend to have the
closest cooperation with WFP and other concerned partners.

31.  It is foreseen that consultation would be carried out through the
establishment, within the Resident Coordinator system, of thematic
group(s) with participation of national government and its external
and internal partners, including NGOs, to support national action. 
This is in line with the spirit of General Assembly resolution 50/120
which "requested the Secretary-General to make the Resident
Coordinator system more participatory in its functioning at the field
level by, inter alia, making greater use of thematic groups and
adopting a more consultative approach" (para. 36 of resolution
50/120).  Furthermore, this mechanism would facilitate enhanced
inter-agency coordination at the field level as implied in para. 4 of
General Assembly resolution 51/171.

32.  The objective at the field level is to build "ground-up" and not
"headquarters-down" mechanisms which would (i) facilitate or catalyze
a participatory process for the setting of priorities and designing of
programmes and projects, and (ii) use effectively the complementarity
of resources available to national agencies and UN system

33.  The sharing of country-level experiences and the provision of
headquarters backstopping support to the field level groups would
derive from networking arrangements among relevant organizations, with
FAO assuming responsibility for operation of the network.  Extensive
use of electronic communication, with periodic on-line posting of
progress reports, is expected to reduce the need for formal meetings
to a minimum.  This flexible mechanism would also permit involvement
of non-UN partners, in order to tap the broadest possible knowledge
pool, without the institutional constraints imposed by formal
inter-agency structures.

34.  IFAD, as the former chair of the Panel on Monitoring and
Evaluation of the ACC Subcommittee on Rural Development, would be the
task manager inter alia for selective analysis and dissemination of
country level experiences including best practices.

35.  Full reporting to ACC through its subsidiary bodies, namely the
Consultative Committee on Programmes and Operational Questions (CCPOQ)
or the Inter-Agency Committee for Sustainable Development (IACSD), as
appropriate, is foreseen in order to place the mechanism within the
broader context of inter-agency coordination carried out by the ACC
and its subsidiary machinery.  This would help to ensure
complementarity with other inter-agency initiatives and would also
facilitate ACC reporting to ECOSOC.

36.  At its First Regular Session of 1997, the ACC "endorsed the
arrangements proposed for inter-agency follow-up to the World Food
Summit......, which would focus especially on country-level action and
coordinated headquarters support for that action."  The ACC report
further clarifies that: 

     "Under these arrangements thematic groups covering food security
     and related issues would be constituted at country level, within
     the resident coordinator system.  At headquarters level, FAO would
     assume responsibility for overall operation of a network of
     interested organizations, including also non-UN actors, to
     backstop these country-level groups and promote common approaches;
     IFAD will manage a monitoring and evaluation component inter alia
     to collect, analyze and disseminate selected country experiences. 
     Reporting to ACC would occur, as appropriate, through CCPOQ or
     through IACSD.  Its outputs could also be made available to other
     mechanisms within or outside the ACC machinery".  (Report of the
     First Regular Session of the ACC in 1997)

-    Intergovernmental monitoring of implementation of the Plan of

37.  Under Objective 7.3 of Commitment Seven, the Summit called upon 
governments, in partnership with all actors of civil society, in
coordination with relevant institutions and, in conformity with ECOSOC
Resolution 1996/36 on the follow-up to the major international UN
conferences and summits as appropriate, to establish, through the CFS,
"a timetable, procedures and standardised reporting formats," ... for
reporting "on national, sub-regional, and regional implementation of
the World Food Summit Plan of Action" (sub-para. a); to report to the
CFS "on national, sub-regional and regional implementation of the
World Food Summit Plan of Action..." (sub-para. c); and to monitor
through the CFS "the national, sub-regional, regional and
international implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action,
using reports from national governments, reports on UN agency
follow-up and inter-agency coordination, and information from other
relevant institutions" (sub-para. e).  Governments are also expected
to provide regular reports on implementation of the World Food Summit
Plan of Action through the CFS via the FAO Council to ECOSOC
(sub-para. f).

38.  At its Twenty-third Session, held in Rome from 14 to 18 April
1997, the CFS considered the question of Institutional Arrangements
for Monitoring and Reporting on Implementation of the World Food
Summit Plan of Action, and was informed of action already taken by FAO
and its partners.  These included, in addition to the decision of the
ACC as described above, a report made to the Commission on Human
Rights in March 1997 on the outcome of the Summit with particular
reference to Objective 7.4 relating to the right to food, and a report
on the outcome of a technical consultation convened by FAO on the Food
Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS)
with the participation of nine UN organizations, five national
institutions and 15 experts from 11 countries. 

39.  The following extracts from the Committee's report on its
discussions are included here for the information of the Economic and
Social Council and the General Assembly:

     "... The Committee recalled that the World Food Summit had
     entrusted to it the critical role of monitoring the implementation
     of the Plan of Action and progress in reaching the minimum target
     of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their
     present level no later than 2015.  It noted that an important task
     at this Session was to ensure that effective arrangements are made
     to enable it to fulfil that critical role. 

         The Committee reiterated that the primary responsibility in
     taking actions to implement the Plan rests with individual
     governments.  A number of delegates reported the steps taken by
     their governments to develop national action plans to follow-up on
     the Summit commitments ...

         The Committee also underlined the importance of concerted
     action at sub-regional, regional and international levels to
     support national efforts for the earliest possible achievement of
     sustainable world food security.  In this connection, the
     Committee appreciated the statements presented by the World Bank,
     International Food Policy Research Institute, International Fund
     for Agricultural Development, and the World Food Programme in the
     context of the follow-up to the World Food Summit, on their
     intentions with respect to food-security related actions in the
     areas of rural development, policy analysis, poverty alleviation
     and food assistance. The relevance of the Bank's new strategy for
     rural development, 'Rural Development:  From Vision to Action' to
     the Summit objectives, and the new spirit of partnership between
     FAO and the Bank were particularly welcomed.  

         The Committee recalled that arrangements for monitoring and
     reporting on implementation of the Summit's Plan of Action should
     be based on three streams of reports - reports from national
     governments, reports on UN agency follow-up and inter-agency
     coordination, and reports from other relevant international
     institutions.  It further agreed that in addition to arranging for
     the regular flow of reports from these three sources to the CFS,
     arrangements also had to be made for monitoring implementation at
     the subregional and regional levels.  It noted with appreciation
     that the FAO Regional Conferences would have a standing item on
     follow-up to the Summit.  It was stressed that all reports
     prepared by FAO for the CFS in connection with monitoring of World
     Food Summit follow-up should be made widely available, including
     through Internet.  It encouraged members and observers to also
     make their reports available.

         The Committee felt that the draft reporting format should
     reflect the structure of the World Food Summit Plan of Action in
     its entirety, covering the seven commitments.  A number of
     delegates pointed out that the aim should be to provide baseline
     information on actions being taken to implement each of the seven
     commitments.  A number of delegates pointed out that the focus of
     national reports should be on quality rather than on quantity and
     that there should be a right balance in qualitative and
     quantitative reporting.  It was emphasized that the information to
     be provided should include some analysis on how national policies
     and actions are geared towards, and effective in, achieving the
     food security objective of reducing the number of undernourished. 
     The Committee recommended that the reporting form should be simple
     and straightforward, should build upon existing information flows
     without duplication, and should allow a certain degree of
     flexibility to reflect specific country food security situations
     and circumstances.

     The Committee agreed on a provisional reporting procedure to be
     used in 1997, based on the following proposal presented to it by
     the Bureau:  

         -     the three reporting streams as mentioned in Para. 17 of
               Doc. CFS:97/5 will report on actions taken towards
               achieving the specific objectives under each of the Seven

         -     the reporting should follow the structure of the
               Commitments and Objectives of the Plan of Action. Such
               reporting should cover actions, the actors and, where
               available, results, including quantitative assessments,
               under each of the Objectives. Where appropriate, this
               could also be done against individual Actions of the Plan
               of Action;

         -     the streams of reports should reach the Secretariat by
               the end of January 1998.  They should cover the period up
               to end 1997.

         At its 1998 Session, the CFS will consider a standard
     reporting format for successive periods.  An open-ended working
     group of the CFS will be held immediately before the 1998 Session
     to examine proposals for this purpose, taking into account the
     experience of this first reporting cycle as well as progress with
     FIVIMS. The Secretariat will also provide information on
     experiences with reporting mechanisms and formats in follow-up to
     other conferences and conventions.  The Bureau would work closely
     with the Secretariat in taking these arrangements forward.  

         As regards the timetable for submission of reports from 1998
         and beyond from each reporting stream, some delegates felt
         the deadline should be extended to February or March.  Some
         other delegates, stressing on the one hand the cost and
         effort required, and on the other, the time required for
         policies to have impact and for observing statistical trends,
         suggested that national reports should be submitted every two
         years.  The Committee decided to consider these suggestions
         at its next session.  (Report of the CFS, paras. 35 through

         The Committee was informed of the outcome of the examination
         by ACC of the follow-up to the Summit.  It was also informed
         that ACC had endorsed the arrangements proposed by FAO and
         IFAD, comprising thematic groups at country level within the
         framework of the Resident Coordinator system and an informal
         Headquarters and field-based network on rural development and
         food security, whereby flexible and cost-effective
         inter-agency information sharing and coordination would take
         place.  The Committee requested that the relevant section of
         the report of the ACC's first regular session of 1997 be made
         available to the Council.  ACC endorsement of this
         arrangement provided the basis for the two organizations to
         open consultations with other UN partners on detailed
         arrangements for establishing the mechanism and elaborating
         an initial workplan.  Among the first tasks to be tackled
         would be arrangements for allocation and sharing of
         responsibilities for support to the implementation of the
         Plan of Action, taking into account also the follow-up
         processes to other international conferences."  (Report of
         the CFS, para. 43)


40.  With the decisions taken by the CFS and the ACC, the machinery has
been set in motion to ensure early and sustained support from both
inter-agency and inter-governmental bodies to national efforts to
implement the World Food Summit Plan of Action.  The arrangements
agreed stress cooperation and coordination, and are rooted in
recognition by all those involved of the need to achieve and maintain
a streamlined process, avoiding duplication of effort and promoting
efficiency and cost-effective use of human and financial resources
while ensuring provision of the necessary information to the various
fora charged with monitoring the actions of governments, their
partners in civil society and those of international institutions,
working in a coordinated manner to achieve the Summit objectives.

41.  Heads of State and Government at the Summit have taken a common
stand that the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition on its present
scale in our world is intolerable and unacceptable.  They have pledged
their political will and their common and national commitment to
achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate
hunger in all countries.

42.  These common and individual commitments by world leaders no doubt
represent a major step forward for advancing world food security.  The
challenge now is to see that the strategies and measures set out by
the Summit in the Plan of Action are translated into practical
actions, so that the number of the hungry and undernourished are
progressively reduced in line with - or faster than - the goal agreed
at the Summit.



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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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