by Charles Chambers, Nadi
Senior officials from 46 member countries of the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in the Asia-Pacific region concluded their meeting on a high note yesterday.
They converged in Nadi for the 34th Session of FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific since Monday and ended with useful and meaningful conclusions along with recommendations for further action.
FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, Dr, Kundhavi Kadiresan said it was an opportunity to understand the views, concerns and priorities under different agenda items.
“I believe we can all look back with satisfaction on the extremely productive sessions of the meeting,” she said.
The recommendations have been put in draft form for endorsement during the Ministerial Roundtable on Zero Hunger which begins today.
She added the deliberations covered some of the most complex issues of mutual concern with respect for the different views and opinions suggested.
The seven agenda items discussed were:
- State of food and agriculture in Asia and the Pacific region, including future prospects and emerging issues
- Climate action for agriculture, strengthening the engagement of agriculture sectors to implement the climate elemengts of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific
- Accelerating action on food security and nutrition in Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS)
- Safe Food for better nutrition
- Results and priorities for FAO Activities in the region
- Decentralise offices network
- Multi-year programme of work 2016-2019 for the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific.
Meanwhile, FAO hailed 40 years of close on-the-ground presence and support to ten of its member countries in Asia and the Pacific.
Between 1977 and 1979, at the suggestion of FAO, ten countries agreed to host FAO Representation offices in their capitals.
The 10 were Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
During a side event at the 34th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, in Nadi, Fiji, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, said the beginning of this decentralised strategy to the Organisation’s work had “today become a cornerstone of our efforts to work closer to countries in our common quest to eliminate poverty, hunger, malnutrition and promote sustainable agriculture and food systems.”
“When I took over as Director-General in 2012, I affirmed that FAO must be a knowledge Organisation with its feet on the ground,” Mr Graziano said.
“Since then we have been reinforcing our decentralisation process to better support countries to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 2 on eliminating hunger and all forms of malnutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.”
The Director-General noted that in the Asia and the Pacific region, FAO has prioritized improvements to nutrition and has taken action to ensure food security in the face of challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters. The development and implementation of Country Programming Frameworks (CPFs) have given greater focus to our technical and policy expertise, ensuring that country programmes are closely aligned with government priorities.
“We cannot work exclusively from Rome. We need to expand our Representations in Asia and especially the Pacific” Graziano said.
“We recently opened an office in Fiji (which has) given us direct contact with the country.”
Mr Graziano thanked all 10 countries for welcoming FAO to their lands as a trusted partner on the ground and assured them that FAO would continue to work closely with them to ensure the future of agriculture and the safety and sustainability of food production.