Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

ADDRESS
by
HE CHANGCHUI
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Delivered at

Second Regional Focal Points Meeting of the FAO Executed Project Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for the conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific Region, GCP/RAS/186/JPN

21 February 2005, The Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand



Country focal points and delegates,
Mr. Yoshitake Tsuzuki, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Thailand
Dr. Kazutoshi Okuno, Director of Genebank, NIAS
Distinguish guests and participants
Ladies and gentlemen


It is indeed my great pleasure to address this important meeting of the second regional focal points meeting of the FAO executed and Japan funded regional project “Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (GPA) in Asia and the Pacific Region”, GCP/RAS/186/JPN. The meeting is organized by FAO as part of the work plan of the project. Seven countries are participating: Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. I am glad to see that national project focal points, representatives and delegates from all the participating countries, as well as collaborators from the CGIAR centres (IPGRI and ICRISAT) and representatives from the donor are here at this meeting. I would like to welcome all of you, on behalf of FAO and on my own behalf, to this meeting.

First of all, I should like to express my appreciation to the governments of the participating countries for their collaboration with FAO in jointly undertaking this very important activity to promote the implementation of the GPA and the establishment of a national information sharing mechanism on its implementation and monitoring. The participation and support from the CGIAR centers, particularly IPGRI, ICRISAT and IRRI to this activity in this region are also highly appreciated.

The generous funding support of the Government of Japan is greatly appreciated. Through Mr Tsuzuki, the First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Thailand and Dr K. Okuno, Director of Genebank, NIAS, Tsukuba in Japan, I should like to convey FAO’s gratitude to the government of Japan for their financial support.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The project aims to improve national capacities in implementing and monitoring PGRFA activities within the framework of all the 20 priority areas of the GPA by empowering the participating countries with tools leading to efficient decision-making processes. Through the establishment of the National Information Sharing Mechanism on the Implementation of the GPA (NISM-GPA) will allow assessments on the current status of plant genetic resources in each of the participating countries. It will also enable the countries to identify gaps and set priorities for further work to fully implement the GPA. The establishment of the NISM-GPA will enhance national capability in monitoring the GPA implementation in each country. In addition, another immediate objective of the project is to promote the implementation of the GPA priority areas related to in situ conservation and on farm management, by sharing successful experiences in this area among the participating countries. As a result, countries will be able to learn from each other and further enhance national capacities to carry out PGRFA in situ conservation and on farm management. An agendum to address this later objective of the project has been included in the programme of this meeting. I shall leave it to you, the experts in this area, to discuss the matter and develop a plan of operation to address the issue.

Ladies and gentlemen,

During the first regional focal points meeting held at the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok in October 2003, several important decisions were taken, including the preparation of work plans. Less than two years later, we are pleased to note that good progress has been made in establishing the NISM-GPA. It is now timely that this second focal points meeting reviews past activities and makes plans for the future.

I should like to stress that FAO places great emphasis in working with member countries to establish National Information Sharing Mechanisms on the Implementation of the GPA to enhance national capability in monitoring the GPA implementation and in carrying out the GPA priority areas identified by the countries. I firmly believe that the establishment of a centralized National Information Sharing Mechanism on the GPA implementation in your country will enable better monitoring and coordination of activities for the implementation of the GPA. It will also allow identification of priority needs for ex-situ and in-situ conservation and on farm management, sustainable use of plant genetic resources, as well as capacity development, including the identification and allocation of the required resources to carry out those activities.

In this connection, FAO will continue to provide technical assistance and coordinate national, regional and global efforts to improve the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. I am furthermore convinced that our joint efforts will succeed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In your capacity as national focal points of the project, technical experts and representatives from the CGIAR centers and the Government of Japan, I am confident that we will achieve the objectives of this meeting and substantially contribute to further the work of the GPA in the region.

In conclusion, I should like to reiterate that FAO will continue to work closely with member countries and partners such as UNDP, CGIAR centres and other organizations, including NGOs, to address issues related to GPA implementation and monitoring and the application of science and technologies for the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity to fight against hunger and poverty.

I wish you a successful meeting. Thank you.