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APEC’s big step towards sustainable agriculture, food security

Update: August, 22/2017 - 11:00
Viet Nam News

Food security has become an increasing concern for many APEC economies who are facing multiple challenges from the impacts of climate change, which threatens sustainable agriculture and food security.

The Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) held a two-day meeting in Cần Thơ from August 21 to shape actions to ensure food security in the context of climate change.

Việt Nam News asks Trần Kim Long, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s International Co-operation Department and chair of the PPFS, and JongHa Bae, FAO representative in Việt Nam, how the meeting would help improve food security in APEC.

Trần Kim Long, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s International Co-operation Department and PPFS Chair

What were the main focuses of the PPFS meeting and its expected outcomes? 

There are many activities organised during the Food security Week in Cần Thơ targeting food security for APEC economies, which account for 40 per cent of the world’s population and 57 per cent of the world’s GDP. Of them, many are developed economies and others are developing ones.

Ensuring food security is a survival issue for economies, especially developing economies.

Being the chair of the Policy Partnership on Food Security, we have closely co-operated with other APEC economies to prepare for this event.

With the active participation of APEC economies and pro-active role of Việt Nam, we conceived many activities to ensure food security. They were backed by many members, both developed and developing.

We have drawn up 17 small and large events during the Food Security Week, hoping to come up with action plans to implement the Multi-Year Action Programme on Food Security and Climate Change and the Multi-Year Action Programme on Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth.

The action plans are not just for Việt Nam but all 21 APEC economies. We hope that the APEC hosts in the coming years will continue to implement the activities agreed in the two action plans.

On August 22 the meeting discusses the proposed Cần Thơ Statement on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change.

The Statement is expected to be approved at the APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change to be held on August 25.

What are the main contents of the two action plans approved and the Cần Thơ Statement?

The proposed Cần Thơ statement will include the main contents that were discussed at previous meetings, measures to develop agriculture in a sustainable manner.

The Cần Thơ Statement aims to ensure food security for at least 21 APEC economies, improving people’s incomes, and expand co-operation with international, regional and other multilateral organisations.

As for the action plan to implement the Multi-Year Action Programme on Food Security and Climate Change, many contents were agreed such as sustainable agricultural development, application of technology in farming, fostering public-private partnerships, and engaging farmers in the process of developing agriculture in a sustainable manner.

It also includes enhancing exchange of information between economies and co-operation in hygiene and food safety to improve the competiveness of agriculture.

Water resources are very important for agricultural production. The statement as well as the action plans include contents related to water resources.

Each economy is unique. Việt Nam, especially the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta, was seriously affected by upstream water [projects]. Therefore, we want to enhance co-operation, especially with riparian countries, to propose things that benefit the whole region, especially the countries along the Mekong.

Jong Ha Bae, FAO representative in Việt Nam

What challenges are APEC members facing in terms of food security? What are your views on the meeting?

In general, food security situation has been improved over the years, but recently climate change has been an emerging issue, and Việt Nam is one of the countries most impacted by climate change. 

Now there are initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

So this year’s meeting on food security related to climate changes is very timely and very appropriate. In this meeting we will discuss how to cope with the challenges from climate change. I really believe that the meeting will bring fruitful outcomes.

FAO as an observer here and one of the international organisations who have the technical expertise on this, is fully committed to supporting countries by providing support in this area, especially through initiatives in climate smart agriculture launched several years ago. 

In the last three decades Việt Nam achieved remarkable progress in terms of production, and now Việt Nam is one of the top exporters of several products. I am sure Việt Nam has great potential to improve its performance in the agricultural sector. - VNS

 

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