Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

WELCOME ADDRESS

of

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

delivered by

Vili Fuavao
Deputy Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

at the

2nd Regional Workshop on Strengthening Regional Coorperation and
National Capacity Building on Biosafety in Asia

Bangkok, Thailand
17 to 20 June 2013

 

Distinguished participants,
Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to address you in the opening ceremony of this important Regional Workshop on  Strengthening Regional Cooperation and National Capacity Building on Biosafety in Asia. At the outset, I would like to thank the Royal Thai Government with whom FAO has been working since 2002 on “Biosafety of GMO Crops in Asia” for their continuous support and cooperation to move this issue forward. Through our joint efforts we have achieved considerable progress in capacity building of member countries on biosafety of GMO crops. However, we have to do more in future given that subject is very complex in nature. This subject has received high priority in FAO and the works of the FAO Regional office for Asia and the Pacific. In this workshop we have secured participation of highly knowledgeable resource persons to facilitate the discussion.

The overall objective of the workshop is to assist member countries in developing required policy along with regulatory frameworks and associated issues related to biosafety evaluation of biotech crops.

More specifically, the workshop has three specific objectives:

  1. Strengthen technical capacity of member countries on biosafety and LMOs associated with food and agriculture;
  2. Support the development of related policies and biosafety regulatory frameworks and to ensure safe evaluation of LMOs associated with food and agriculture; and,
  3. Further strengthen  regional cooperation on biosafety and LMOs including the operationalization of  the established “Asian Bio-Net”.

The expected outputs include: 

  • Sharing of adequate information associated with biosafety, especially on the NFPs. 
  • Sharing of the country status report of participating countries on biosafety and LMOs including future challenges. 
  • Enhance the skills of participants  on biosafety rules and regulation, guidelines and policies. 
  • Reactivate “Asian Bio-Net” and the strengthening of  its secretariat and to link it efforts to biosafety capacity building and information exchanges 
  • Strengthening of the Regional cooperation on biosafety and LMO related to food and agriculture.

It is given that the understanding of biosafety matter varies from country to country. As such initiative of this nature, initiated by DOA and FAO should continue in future to enhance the capacity and understanding of  biosafety. 

I note that this workshop is attended by all members of ASEAN+3 countries except Brunei Darussalam. It is happening two years away from the integration of ASEAN countries. Biosafety policies, rules and regulations, will be important issues during the integration process. I believe therefore that this workshop is timely and confident that it will achieve the expected outputs.

I would like to thank the local Department of Agriculture (DOA) again for their excellent cooperation to convene this workshop. We are all grateful to all participants for attending this workshop.

Thank you for your attendance and I look forward in anticipation to the outcome of your discussion.