Asia-Pacific international locations focus on methods of bettering diet, lives and livelihoods within the wake of the worldwide pandemic

From prime left: Lyonpo Yeshi Penjor, Chairperson of APRC35, Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Minister of Agriculture of Bangladesh and Chairperson of APRC36, FAO Director-Common QU Dongyu, Hans Hoogeven, Unbiased Chairperson of the FAO Council, a consultant of the Third Joint FAO and Pacific Neighborhood Ministers for Agriculture and Forestry Assembly, Gabriel Ferrero, Chairperson of the Committee on World Meals Safety, spokesperson of the Civil Society Session, SPokesperson of the Non-public Sector Session, APRC Convention Secretary.

10/03/2022 Dhaka/Rome

Ministers and high-level delegates from throughout Asia and the Pacific met at this time with a deal with bettering diet, lives and livelihoods within the wake of the worldwide pandemic, whereas taking goal at ongoing local weather and extreme weather-related threats, and tackling ailments and pests which can be affecting crops and livestock on this planet’s most populous area. Improved ecosystem responses within the Pacific Islands is one other key subject.  

The thirty sixth Asia and Pacific Regional Convention (APRC), convened by the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations (FAO) and hosted by the Authorities of Bangladesh, is happening within the capital, Dhaka.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina highlighted her nation’s achievement of self-sufficiency for a number of important meals and famous that agriculture stays the “spine” of the economic system, offering livelihoods for 40 % of the labour power. She appealed for “attaining meals safety and diet in the actual sense,” and he or she referred to as for collaboration amongst international locations within the area in areas corresponding to training, biotechnology and inexperienced investments.  

The FAO Director-Common, QU Dongyu, attending the regional convention in particular person, acknowledged the toll the worldwide pandemic has inflicted on lives and livelihoods of the folks of Asia and the Pacific.  He famous there was an extended strategy to go for the area to get rid of starvation and enhance diet, pointing to a FAO report from final 12 months that discovered 40 % of the inhabitants had been unable to afford a wholesome, nutritious weight loss program.

Reversing a few years of progress, starvation in Asia and the Pacific is on the rise once more, and inequalities are growing, significantly between rural and concrete populations, whereas too usually girls and youth are being left behind. “The pandemic has pressured us to rethink our priorities and approaches and has highlighted the significance of extra sustainable and resilient societies, in addition to of the urgency to attain the Sustainable Growth Objectives to safe meals, well being, training, a wholesome atmosphere, and a good life for all,” the Director-Common mentioned in his Assertion to Convention.

This has led to a motion to remodel the area’s agrifood methods and make them extra environment friendly, extra inclusive, extra resilient and extra sustainable, he added.

The Director-Common mentioned FAO shall be aiming to do that by means of 4 Regional Priorities. They deal with remodeling agrifood methods for sustainable manufacturing and wholesome diets; accelerating sustainable pure sources administration for biodiversity conservation and local weather motion; supporting inclusive rural transformation for sustainable agrifood methods and equitable rural societies, and constructing sustainable and resilient agrifood methods within the Pacific Small Island Creating States (SIDS).

Scaling up digitalization in meals and agriculture sectors to remodel agrifood methods

A key space of curiosity on this APRC is the digitalization of agriculture and meals processes which can be sweeping throughout Asia and the Pacific, and the potential they’ve for the area and the world, if scaled up additional, to assist remodel agrifood methods in ways in which additionally profit smallholder farmers. This might assist attaining the “4 Betters”, as set out within the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31: Higher manufacturing, Higher diet, a Higher atmosphere and a Higher life for all – leaving nobody behind.

FAO has been a frontrunner in selling digitalization and innovation in agricultural processes – from producers, to processers, transporters, retailers and customers – by means of FAO’s 1,000 Digital Villages Initiative, as one prime instance, and the creation of a SIDS Options Platform as one other.

“The 1,000 Digital Villages Initiative goals to transform villages the world over into digital hubs to assist the acceleration of rural transformation,” Qu mentioned, noting that the initiative has been rolled out in 15 international locations throughout the Asia-Pacific area and can facilitate smallholder producers’ entry to information and markets, whereas lowering the digital hole, together with the gender and rural divides.

This “will leverage the entrepreneurial spirit of youth and girls within the area by creating an enabling atmosphere, and supporting the event of nationwide e-agriculture methods and digital instruments and providers. And I’ve excessive expectations for this area as a result of there are such a lot of ‘champion international locations’ and you have already got digital worth, digital governance and digital economic system in rural areas,” the Director-Common mentioned throughout his assertion to the convention.

The regional convention’s agenda consists of a number of high-level segments with ministerial roundtables.

Certainly, the convention “is a good alternative to debate nation and regional priorities and in addition urgent points and desires within the area such because the impacts of local weather change, the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of agriculture, pure useful resource administration, meals safety and diet,” mentioned Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, MP, Bangladesh’s Minister for Agriculture and the Chairperson of APRC36.

“The shortcomings of our world agrifood system have been laid naked. The dots don’t join anymore,” mentioned Hans Hoogeveen, Unbiased Chairperson of the FAO Council. “We want transformative change, and we’d like it now. Transformative change through transformative actions. There are not any excuses anymore for not appearing.”

“We want a broader innovation in the way in which we govern of our meals methods, domestically, nationally and globally:  what I prefer to consult with as ‘governance innovation’,” mentioned Gabriel Ferrero, Chairperson of the Committee on World Meals Safety

The FAO Director-Common expressed his gratitude to the federal government and other people of Bangladesh for internet hosting APRC36 throughout difficult instances, and for the participation of delegates who joined the assembly each nearly and in-person in Dhaka.

Regional structural reforms to higher serve Members

The Director-Common emphasised that he has initiated institutional reforms to offer FAO’s regional and subregional workplaces extra agility to assist them ship on flagship initiatives and assist the Group’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031.

As examples of this enhanced supply, he cited 9 international locations within the area which can be already collaborating within the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, which goals at growing agricultural manufacturing in areas with the very best charges of poverty and starvation. He additionally pointed to the 1,000 Digital Villages Initiative, which seeks to cut back the digital hole confronted by smallholders and rural dwellers, whereas the brand new One Nation One Precedence Product initiative, focuses on merchandise with distinctive qualities, and holds necessary alternatives for implementation across the area, Qu mentioned.

Extra actions are forthcoming, the Director-Common added, as FAO develops its regional technique on digital innovation and completes the Regional Technical Platform on Aquaculture, which is able to turn into a information hub on the topic, permitting international locations around the globe to profit from the huge experiences acquired within the Asia-Pacific area.

At its headquarters, FAO can also be internet hosting a Coordination Hub to shepherd follow-up actions on the bottom after the UN Meals Programs Summit 2021.

Whereas the Asia and Pacific Regional Convention is convened each two years to hunt the views and route of the governments of FAO Member Nations within the area, it has expanded to turn into extra inclusive of different actors, corresponding to civil society organizations and the personal sector, each of which participated in #APRC36.