APEC seeks collaboration on food security

August 24, 2017 - 09:00

Multiple APEC agencies discussed common concerns and potential collaborative activities at a joint meeting in Cần Thơ yesterday at the APEC Food Security Week.

APEC’s Agricultural Technical Co-operation Working Group, High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology, Oceans and Fisheries working Group, and Policy Partnership on Food Security share ideas and concerns at a joint meeting at the 2017 APEC Food Security Week being held in Cần Thơ. –VNS Photo Hoàng Nguyên
Viet Nam News

CẦN THƠ – Multiple APEC agencies discussed common concerns and potential collaborative activities at a joint meeting in Cần Thơ yesterday at the APEC Food Security Week.

To ensure food security amid climate change, APEC’s 21 member economies have formed the Agricultural Technical Co-operation Working Group (ATCWG), the High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB), and the Oceans and Fisheries working Group (OFWG), and the Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS).

The four held their own meetings and workshops in the past few days and have already come up with their own action plans.

At their first ever joint meeting, each forum/group reported on the progress of its 2017 activities and went over their work plans for 2018. They also discussed how to co-ordinate the activities of the four next year in terms of food security and climate change and the Cần Thơ Statement.

Lead shepherd of the OFWG, Patrick Moran, who chaired the joint meeting, hailed Việt Nam’s efforts in making sure that all four participated in creating the Cần Thơ Statement.

"The draft statement that we are looking at right now is a good reflection of the priorities of APEC and the working groups and forums that provided inputs [in the statement] as well," he told the media.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thủy, HLDPAB chair, and director general of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, said: “Through our workshop and meeting, APEC economies agreed that agricultural bio-technology is one of the key tools to improve the yields and quality of agricultural products as well as to create new crop varieties that adapt to climate change.”

There were many new agricultural bio-technologies introduced at HLPDAB’s meeting and workshop, she said.

APEC economies need to further enhance co-operation to enable more farmers to access these advanced bio-technologies as well as apply them in their production most effectively and safely, she said.

Trần Kim Long, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s international co-operation department and PPFS chairman, said achieving food security is a significant and growing challenge for the world in general and APEC in particular.

“Nowadays, with the fast economic growth in the bloc, when we talk about food security, we do not mean only rice, wheat or staple crops but also include nutrition security.

“Therefore, to enhance co-operation in food security in APEC, I strongly believe that the co-operation between PPFS, ATCWG, HLPDAB and OFWG is very appropriate and complementary.

“Our joint meeting today creates a forum for us to share information and provide updates on the progress of activities, projects and initiatives undertaken by member economies in our co-operation efforts to ensure food and nutrition security in the region.”

Liu Wenbo, assistant to the lead shepherd of ATCWG, spoke on behalf of the lead shepherd, who was absent from the meeting. He said: "Today’s joint meeting will provide us a good opportunity to share more information for enhancing cross-forum collaboration in future."

Cross-collaboration between APEC working groups helps strengthen their links as well as synchronise their policies and practices to bring mutual benefits, he said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr Lê Quốc Doanh said: “I do expect that through this joint meeting the collaboration between the four groups does not only avoid overlapping but also create a chance for exchange of information, sharing of knowledge between them and developing joint activities.

"The meeting could also initiate a discussion on the way we could move forward and contribute to the improvement of food security in the APEC region and start brainstorming on the potential inputs and contributions to the Declaration of Leaders in 2017.

Priority for 2018

At the joint meeting, Papa New Guinea presented the priorities for the 2018 Food Security Week to be held in Port Moresby next August.

The theme for next year is enhancing food security through smart, innovative agriculture and fisheries with the main focus on three areas.

They are enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture through ICT in response to climate change, promoting women in agriculture and fisheries, and sustainable fisheries management and development.

PNG also laid out APEC guidelines for strengthening cross-collaboration and suggested more similar joint meetings as it would help build a culture of collaboration between APEC forums and collect diverse views on issues that need joint efforts and discussions between multiple parties.

Delegates from the four groups agreed that they should work together to provide more platforms for better engaging all working groups in joint discussions and keeping them informed about ongoing projects related to sustainable agriculture and food security.

Long suggested that each working group should bring their major issues to the joint meetings to discuss solutions with the others.

After each joint meeting a report should be sent to delegates and groups who could not attend for reference and update on the progress, he added. —VNS