Ladies and Gentlemen,
Food security is on the global development agenda and this meeting therefore, is most timely. This regional forum of FAO—the Regional Conference of Ministers of Agriculture - is becoming ever more crucial to the future of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development in the Asia-Pacific region. Indeed, the deliberations over the last few days have provided us with the most valuable opportunity to exchange experiences and views on a number of important policy matters and critical issues relating to agriculture and food security, especially in the context of achieving the World Food Summit target and the MDGs.
We noted the trends in food insecurity and malnutrition in the region, along with the role of investment, subsidies and public goods in addressing emerging issues. We deliberated on how inclusive economic economic development and strengthened food security can be facilitated by greater attention to building the capacity of Pacific Island countries. We reviewed the various ways with a view to achieving socio-ecologically sound approaches for the management of grasslands and forests for climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as the promotion of ecosystem services. We have also discussed improved and more environment-friendly agricultural practices in the context of green development, and promoting improved employment opportunities and livelihoods. The Conference was informed on the outcomes of the Committee on World Food Security at regional and country levels.
The Conference further considered priorities for FAO activities in the region and in this context noted Reviewed Strategic Framework 2010-19, Medium Term Plan 2014-17 and Programme of Work and Budget 2014-15, as approved the FAO Conference in June 2013. The Conference was also provided with the information relating to decentralization and decentralized offices network in order to enhance the Organization’s effectiveness and efficiency at country level.
We enriched our knowledge with regard to the Zero Hunger Challenge initiative; the national effort on Save Food Campaign; Regional Rice Strategy; Sustainable intensification of aquaculture; the programme and priority issues relating to the work of the five Asia-Pacific Regional Technical Commissions (RTCs); Regional plan of action for the global strategy in order to improve agricultural statistics; and also of the status of the high level Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) to be held in Rome on 19-21 2014. The Conference also had the opportunity to interact on one of the important current topics of global interest, and that is the “Double burden of malnutrition”.
As regards the last APRC, the Conference was informed on the outcomes of the deliberations, concerning the 31st APRC, of the 38th Session of the FAO Conference held in Rome in June 2013.
I should like to highlight that this conference has reviewed recent development trends and policy initiatives at both national and regional levels, taking note of the challenges of multiple crises the world and the region face today. The Conference recommended many actions for national and regional cooperation, including on better delivery system by the Regional and sub-regional offices to the needs of the member countries, as a follow-up to the decentralization efforts of FAO.
The large number of recommendations adopted by the Regional Conference will serve as a solid foundation for FAO and the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in particular to formulate its future priorities, programme and actions for policy advice and technical assistance to member states.
I would like to thank you, the Honourable Ministers and Distinguished Heads of Delegations, who in spite of pressing official duties back home, have spent your valuable time and resources to participate in this Conference and to share your wisdom. I am convinced that your valuable comments and interventions will guide the course of, and have positive impact on furthering the development of agriculture in this region, especially on the current efforts in addressing the global challenges of achieving food security and healthy nutrition. They have been comprehensively and accurately captured in the Report of the 32nd APRC that we have just adopted. In this respect I would like to express my congratulations to the Drafting Committee and the outstanding Rapporteur Mr Jale Rokoika, Acting Director Research & Development, Government of Fiji.
It is my honour now to propose a vote of thanks to our Chairperson, His Excellency Khaltmaa Battulga, Minister for Industry and Agriculture, the Government of Mongolia. His Excellency has proficiently guided the Meeting to its successful conclusion. Let me also thank the Honourable Heads of Delegations for kindly serving as Vice Chairpersons.
We are extremely thankful to the Government of Mongolia for generously hosting this important Conference, and especially to His Excellency, Prime Minister of Mongolia for kindly inaugurating this Conference.
Honourable Ministers, I am sure I speak for all Distinguished Delegates and Observers in expressing our sincere appreciation to the Government of Mongolia and yourself for the excellent arrangements made to facilitate the stay of all the delegates and the most warm hospitality shown by the Mongolian people in their usual manner. All support and assistance provided by your able team, including those members working behind the scenes, is deeply appreciated. I am confident that this will further strengthen the cooperation between our Regional Office and the Government of Mongolia.
Last, but not the least, I would also to thank the Conference interpreters for their highly professional work and cooperation; thanks also go to the Best Western Hotel management, and the Conference management team for kindly providing us with incredibly excellent services. Of course, the dedication and hard work of my staff throughout the entire Conference process is also highly commendable. Without all these, the Conference would not be as successful as it is. With this, I would now like to propose to all assembled Excellencies and Delegates to show their appreciation to them all in the customary manner.
Finally, I wish you all a safe journey home.
I thank you.