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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

ASEAN Member States and UN FAO agree five-year plan to strengthen cooperation in agriculture and forestry and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

12/10/2018 Hanoi, Viet Nam

The ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in order to strengthen cooperation for improvements to agriculture and forestry.

The ASEAN Member States, with a combined population of more than 640 million – some 140 million more inhabitants than the European Union – is the preeminent intergovernmental organization in Southeast Asia, with a combined US$ 3.2 trillion worth of trade in goods and services.

The agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was signed today in Hanoi, following a meeting of ASEAN Member State’s Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF).   

More than half of the population of ASEAN’s Member States live in rural areas, and the MoU will focus collaboration with FAO in areas of agriculture, food security, nutrition and food safety, in order to promote development activities in those fields. The two organizations have also pledged to consult on, and coordinate efforts to improve sustainable natural resource management, climate change response, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and rural development.

“This agreement creates a solid foundation for FAO to continue its technical support to our member countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and to do so collaboratively and in a coordinated way with the ten Member States of ASEAN,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “FAO’s main objective is to achieve zero hunger and zero malnutrition by 2030, in line with the world’s Sustainable Development Goals. Working collaboratively with ASEAN will give us the added momentum we need as we push forward.”

Knowledge sharing and technical assistance will also play a key role in improving capacity to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region. Currently, four Member States of ASEAN are parties to the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) – Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand. 

The FAO – ASEAN agreement will be in effect for five years, until 2023, and has a provision for further extensions of five years each.


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