On 16 June, 1970, Queen Julianna of the Netherlands gave a keynote address to open the congress. In her remarks, Her Majesty reminded participants that the objective of the congress was to improve the condition of each human being; for this purpose, idealism and realism are identical. She said that
"For this purpose which unites us here, it is essentially of no importance which form of national structure or international institution tries to attain it. They are but means subservient to that goal."
A central theme of her remarks was the role of youth as efforts in coming decades would unfold.
"The younger generations of all the countries represented here naturally are critical as well as dynamic. May they carry their full share and in time take their places in this crusade for the preservation of each and all.
For some day they will be its leaders. May they, now the pioneers, add their impetus to the experience of those who are now their elders. It is a joy to realize that so many want to give themselves to this crusade — with a dynamic and critically positive mind, or with experience and persevering idealism."
At the congress, and at the first UN Food Conference in 1974, youth would play an important role, and organizers at both events made great efforts to invite and accommodate youth participation. In advance of the congress, youth were given their own three-day preparatory conference facilitated by the host government and FAO. In addition, youth were afforded use of a former military base located adjacent to the congress facilities; this became known as the “New Earth Village” and was popular among youth and other participants — including FAO Director-General Adekke Boerma.
The congress was not itself a youth-oriented event, and organizers recognized that youth participation was a potentially disruptive event, but it also represented an opportunity and a resource. This is why youth were given the pre-congress conference, New Earth Village, and why officials accepted (tolerated) some unusual behavior by youth representatives during the opening proceedings.
At the opening of the congress, members of the youth delegation who had participated in the preparatory conference were invited to make a presentation to the congress assembly. The presentation was unusual, and it helped set the tone for the meeting. Milton Gregg, President of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation and participant at the Congress, described the event:
"The plenary session on “the role of youth in development” started off in quite a different atmosphere in the Congress assembly auditorium. A screen was hung at the back of the stage and slide projection set up. Tables and chairs were whisked off the stage, the lights turned out and the moderator sat cross-legged in the aisle. A number of pictures were flashed on the screen to give atmosphere. For example a large picture of Jack Kennedy, while a recorder reproduced the speech he had made at the opening of the first World Food Congress in Washington in Washington in 1963.
After a brief statement by the Moderator, a series of young people, from both the developed and developing countries, [with] microphones, under spot lights in various sections of the hall made brief dramatic contributions. The theme was: “WE WANT ACTION NOT WORDS”. Some listed the sins of their own countries. Chief amongst these was the lad who poured forth all the crimes that his country (USA) has perpetrated since it ‘had stolen the land from the Indians.’
After this series, the lights went up and the participants at large were requested to intervene. The shock treatment had been so strong that at first there was very little response. However a team of young people, each with a portable microphone, roamed the hall and interviewed likely adults with questions; e.g.: ‘What did you think of this programme? The responses as could be expected were not wholly complimentary, and for the rest of the session the discussion was very lively and very much down to earth. Some of the oldsters reaction could be summed up as something like this ‘We’re glad Youth is out to put new life into the effort, but don’t let your contribution be just ‘words, words, words.’ Whatever can be said of the content of the youth plenary, no one could complain of boredom [or] lack of opportunity for participation."
Harnessing the Youth Voice
Since the launch of the Freedom From Hunger Campaign, FAO had been cultivating a youth voice on international development throughout the First Development Decade. The Second World Food Congress was meant to highlight the role of youth, encourage other organizations to look to youth as a resource, and to draw more young people into volunteer or professional interest in development efforts. A key result of the First World Food Congress (1WFC) was that youth emerged as an important voice in international development. This was in part a result of the humanitarian movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, and in part as a result of a deliberate effort by organizations such as FAO. After 1WFC, there were several important youth-oriented initiatives that helped identify youth as a coherent voice and that set the stage for youth participation at the congress, and later at the UN Food Conferences. Important examples of these were:
· The Young World Mobilization Appeal (YWA) 1965-1966
· The Young World Assembly (Rome, 1965); this produced the Young World Manifesto
· And The Young World Food and Development Project (1967); this enjoyed significant support from Massey Fergusson Inc.
By the time of the Second World Food Congress, FAO had gained a great deal of experience working with youth, and youth organizations had gained experience working in the context of structures of international development and international politics. The Young World Mobilization Appeal and the Young World Food and Development Project had been largely focused on reaching youth and establishing a coherent voice for youth in international development, and in this way FAO “helped invent youth” as an identifiable group. Unlike the First or Second World Food Congresses, the Appeal, the Young World Assembly and the Young World Development Project were designed as youth oriented events and programs.
It was in part because of the presence of youth at the 2WFC that FFHC itself was able to continue into the 1970s. The new Director-General of FAO, A.H. Boerma, had intended to kill FFHC early in his first term, but it was in part his experience at the congress that helped persuade him to keep it going. Boerma maintained two somewhat contradictory positions on the role of youth at the congress. On the one hand, the Director-General did not want to separate youth as a distinct group by including a special panel or commission on youth; in planning for the congress he noted that
"I am particularly anxious that young people should play a major role in the Congress and I attach great importance to the arrangements that will make this possible. I do not want youth simply as youth – there will be no ‘Commission for Youth.’ I want young people to play their part in every stage and in all the commissions of the Congress. In this way, youth will participate as citizens, with all the rights and responsibilities of citizens and not as a separate group with separate needs."
On the other hand, Boerma feared the youth movement and its possible impact on congress proceedings. Prior to the congress, organizers became aware of rumours that “left-wing radicals” planned to take over the proceedings. The response by FAO was an effort to undermine the potential for disruptive protest. The Advisory Group for 2WFC felt that these elements could either be suppressed or absorbed and took the decision to adopt the latter alternative. To encourage youth participation FAO invited, subsidized, and housed youth participants, included youth on the congress steering committee, and youth were given the three day conference noted above. The New Earth Village was the main gathering point for youth participants. There were in excess of 500 youth participants (out of a total congress participation of 1800) from all over the world — though the majority came from Western Europe. Boerma himself had spent a great deal of time personally interacting with youth at the New Earth Village and it was in part this experience which began to impress upon him both the success of the Congress and the value of FFHC.
The FFHC Secretariat was well aware that Boerma was looking for justification to close down FFHC and that youth activism at the Congress could provide such an opportunity, so they looked for a means to anticipate Boerma’s reactions to youth at the Congress. Members of the FFHC secretariat secretly approached a friend at the Dutch Institute of Social Studies, and, as Charles H. Weitz recalled, “We told him we needed a mole…someone to infiltrate the youth groups and feed us daily as to what was really going on so we could anticipate Boerma.” The individual FFHC/FAO selected was Jan Pronk, who later became the Netherlands Minister of Development cooperation, Minister of Environment and who held several other important posts, whom Weitz characterized as brilliant in his role as mole. Pronk was able to gain insight on the issues concerning the youth delegates and their possible activities, and then to share that information with the FFHC Secretariat. The result was that youth action was anticipated, understood and harnessed. The strategy worked. Boerma frequented the New Earth Village, as did other senior ministers, in an effort to engage with “radical” and other youth. The Village was the most popular feature of the Congress and participants of all kinds came together in large gatherings and “tremendous discussion groups” each evening. The Director-General had a very positive experience with youth at the Congress, and it was in part this experience which ameliorated his desire to close FFHC.
After the Second World Food Congress, and in part because of it, youth were accepted as an important and ubiquitous presence in the international development and humanitarian landscape. May of those young people who were involved in the early movements went on to enjoy careers as development professionals, government officials and activists. The congress was important because of the approach organizers adopted with regard to the youth constituency. It was understood that youth represented a potential for positive engagement as well and disruptive protest. This helped set the tone for later international gatherings, notably the 1974 UN Food Conference, and was an influence on later efforts to engage with youth as a resource and as a means to influence policy makers and other stakeholders.
Final Declaration of the Second World Food Congress
Food is the first need of every human being — a fundamental human right. But for hundreds of millions throughout the world that need is not met and that right is denied. This is intolerable.
We come to the Second World Food Congress determined to unite in an all- out attack on the scourge of hunger and poverty. Recent technological advances have stirred our hopes but inadequate pace of economic and social development has deepened our frustration.
Men and women of many countries, age groups and professions, with deep and often conflicting convictions, we have confronted each other in complete frankness. The dominant theme was immediate action. We value the opportunity for this unique dialogue.
Our overriding and unanimous conclusion is positive. The battle against hunger and underdevelopment can be won. A green revolution is underway in many developing countries. Everywhere groups begin to attack public apathy toward development. The Indicative World Plan shows the contribution that agriculture can and must make.
But victory depends on a massive effort by the entire world community. It is not enough to think only of food. The development of every man, woman and child is at stake. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, discrimination and all manifestations of human selfishness. Many believe that this scandal can only be ended by a radical transformation of contemporary power structures, international economic relations and social values.
We cannot wait for these problems to solve themselves. They are so vast and intricate that their solution requires active participation of every single person. We must act now.
We will urge support for our governments in all authentic efforts to build a worldwide partnership for progress to which people aspire, but we can no longer tolerate empty pledges.
All governments must drastically increase the supply of resources for development and channel an increasing proportion through an improved system of international cooperation. Is it not insane to spend such vast sums on armaments when resources for development are so deeply needed?
Governments must ensure that the knowledge of different population policies is available to all, and that people are free to follow the mandates of their own conscience in the matter of family size.
We urge governments to transform inequitable trade arrangements which are a barrier to development. Increased export opportunities must be provided for developing countries.
We urge governments to provide farmers and fishermen with the means, services and incentives required to meet growing food needs. Is it not absurd that the men and women provide our food are so often the object of contempt and neglect? Above all, governments must not shirk any agrarian reform needed to enhance the status and dignity of rural people, improve their incomes and release their energies for increased production. Since insufficient numbers can find productive employment in urban occupations, employment opportunities in rural areas must be increased by all possible means.
FAO and other international agencies should reorient their policies and programmes in line with thie findings of this congress. They must be provided with the necessary means and resources.
We urge FAO and other international agencies to marshal their resources to alleviate the growing threat of contamination and destruction of the environment.
In addition to the assistance they give to governments, FAO and other international agencies must do more to provide national and community groups with the information and other support the require for their development efforts. We urge private investors to give preference to undertakings which make the maximum contribution to an economic growth which is geared to the basic needs of the people.
We urge voluntary organizations whose aim is community service to adapt their structures and free their resources for development according to the principals set for in the findings of this Congress.
We urge producer groups, labour unions, trade organizations and other influential private groups to accept the imperatives of development as a major factor in determining their policies.
The dialogue initiated at this Congress must continue. Food and development are too important to be left only to the experts.
 Report of the Second World Food Congress, Volume I. 8.
 Ibid, 68.
 Milton Gregg, “Notes on the Second World Food Congress’” (National Archives of Canada, MG 28, I-395, Vol 52, 52-4, FAO – Second WFC, July, 1970), 6.
 Charles H. Weitz, Interview, 5 October, 2005.
 Boerma was also persuaded to keep FFHC when Weitz convinced the Director-General to appoint a high level committee of inquiry to evaluate the future of FFHC; half would be appointed by the Director-General and half by the International Coordinator. Weitz recalled that FFHC staff “stacked the deck” with strong supporters of FFHC (two of Boerma’s choices for the committee were strong supporters of FFHC) and that the “genius” was in appointing Albert Van den Heuval of the Netherlands, a top official in the World Council of Churches and later Bishop of the Reform Church in the Netherlands, as the chair of the committee. Vanden Heuval ran the committee with skill and the secret assistance of Weitz and other FFHC staff, and the result was that the committee’s decision to continue and improve FFHC was virtually unanimous. Weitz and Hans Dall, International Coordinator for FFHC Charles Weitz, recalled that Boerma, whose heart was never in FFHC and who never really understood the program, was therefore forced to capitulate to the committee’s decision, and he wanted to put his personal stamp on FFHC; this was a part of the reason that “Action for Development” was added to the FFHC moniker. Charles H. Weitz, Hans Dall and Victoria Bawtree, Interview by Author, October 5, 2005.; Charles H. Weitz, email, 6 July, 2006.
 FAO, Report of the Second World Food Congress, Volume 1, 3.
 Don Paarlberg, “Notes on the Second World Food Congress,” (FAO: WF 1/1, Advisory Group, July
 The Advisory Group for 2WFC consisted of R.I Jackson (chairman), K.C. Abercrombie, V. Andersen,
A. Archer, A.C. Janssen, M. Autret , J. Stordy, D. Tweedle, and C.H. Weitz . FAO, “Advisory Group on
World Food Congress” (FAO: WF 1/1, Advisory Group, 15 September, 1969).
 Ibid., 1-2.
 Paarlberg noted that the youth participants were: “(i) idealistic young people sincerely intent on
alleviating world hunger; (ii) adventurous young people interested in being where the action was; (iii) a
relatively small number of hard-core left-wing radicals, a conference going cadre, some of whom may
show up at the UN meeting in New York.”The document goes on to outline youth ideology (Marxist), youth philosophy (existentialist, nihilistic), youth theology (atheism), the youth objective at the Congress (radical transformation of governmental and institutional forms), the youth strategy at the Congress (to profess humanitarianism and democracy), and the youth tactics at the Congress (attack Western powers, especially the U.S. – for militarism, exploitation and the capture of FAO and its conversion into “an agency of Western
Imperialism”). This document also notes friction between youth groups; youth from less developed
countries were interested in food and agriculture, youth from developed countries were politically oriented,
the Europeans sought intellectual leadership, and there was bickering between the various Marxist groups.
Don Paarlberg, “Notes on the Second World Food Congress,”, 2
 The Report of the Congress includes a picture of the Director-General sitting cross-legged on the ground
in the New Earth Village as he conversed with a group of the youth participants.
 Charles H. Weitz, Interview, 5 October, 2005; Email to Author, 6 June, 2006.