Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Call to overcome hunger and rural poverty - Asia-Pacific leaders urged to take the lead in this fight

24 Feb 2004 -- Bangkok - A high-level roundtable in Bangkok concluded today with a call on national leaders and regional economic groups to join hands with civil society, international organizations and donors to coordinate their efforts to overcome the problem of hunger and rural poverty in Asia and the Pacific.

Notwithstanding high economic growth, increasing per capita income and agricultural productivity in the Asia-Pacific region, and despite the success of many countries in reducing poverty and improving food security and overall welfare of the people, the region remains home to the majority of the world’s poor, landless and hungry, concluded the Declaration of the roundtable meeting.

“There is a need to translate the Declaration into concrete actions and to design a separate package of policy targets, strategies and programmes that are directly designed to address poverty issues and problems for specific disadvantaged groups in various sub-sectors of the economy”, said He Changchui, FAO regional chief.

The roundtable sent a strong signal to regional economic organizations – such as ASEAN, SAARC and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) – to involve civil society and social movements more closely in the process of identifying priority regional and sub-regional issues related to poverty, food security, agriculture and rural development, and of formulating and implementing related programmes.

The roundtable encouraged dialogue and information exchange as well as greater cooperation and partnerships with a view to lending unstinting support and moving towards on priority areas of collaboration for the purpose of overcoming hunger and poverty; and the formulation and implementation of comprehensive regional programmes for food security with special attention to increasing agricultural production.

Support needs to be provided to countries and REOs in areas such as trade facilitation and negotiations, capacity building in SPS, the harmonization of national agricultural policies, and regional cooperation on early warning and response systems to natural disasters and emergencies.

The regional high-level roundtable for the eradication of poverty and food insecurity in Asia and the Pacific was co-organized by FAO, ESCAP and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangkok from 23 to 24 February 2004. The meeting followed-up on the global commitment embodied in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and the World Food Summit to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and to achieve sustainable food security for all people. It recommended that FAO in collaboration with ESCAP, ADB, IFAD and WB monitor on a regular basis the implementation of the issues and recommendations in this declaration.

RAP 04/11