Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING ADDRESS
by
Hiroyuki Konuma
Co-Chair of the Provincial Steering Committee and
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific of FAO
delivered at the

Second Provincial Steering Committee Meeting on the United Nations Joint Programme on Integrated Highland Livelihood Development in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son, Thailand
3 November 2010




Mr Gumtorn Thavornstit, Governor of Mae Hong Son
Mr Tanin Subhasaen, Vice Governor of Mae Hong Son
Provincial Task Force members
Distinguished participants
UN colleagues
Ladies and gentlemen


        It is my great pleasure that I could come back again to this beautiful province of Mae Hong Son, especially at this time of the year when the high tourist season has just arrived, to participate in the Second Provincial Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting. On behalf of the Provincial Steering Committee, and on my own behalf, I welcome you all to Mae Hong Son, the city of three mists, to join this important meeting.

        You may recall that, at the First PSC Meeting convened in April 2010, apart from the approval of the Annual Work Plan, a number of decisions and recommendations were made. They include: i) concentrating our joint effort in two Common Working Areas, namely, Tambon Mok Chum Pae and Tambon Tham Lod, first and foremost, ii) recruiting a national Community Activity Facilitator in each tambon to facilitate field activities and ensure strong collaboration with the sub-district and village authorities and beneficiaries, iii) supporting additional CWAs by each Objective, iv) conducting a rapid village appraisal to select priority villages in the CWAs, v) applying the Common Operational Guidelines and the External Communication Strategy to the programme implementation, vi) formulating Integrated Provincial Livelihood Development Strategy to replicate the Mae Hong Son model in other provinces of Thailand or regions, and so forth. I am very pleased to see all PMU staff recruited including Mr Sawachai, National Expert and two Activity Facilitators.

        Today we will have an opportunity to closely look at the progress achieved since the beginning of May along the lines with the Work Plan and with these decisions and recommendations made at the previous PSC meeting. Carefully reviewing and analysing our achievements, the PSC will be able to provide practical feedback and suggestion on the approaches and strategies taken by the UN agencies and the provincial government counterpart units directly involved in the field-level operations. In addition, we will discuss some next steps including setting up a monitoring and evaluation framework that should empower the stakeholders of the Joint programme, in particular programme executors including the Programme Manager in assessing outputs as frequently as possible, detecting bottlenecks in the programme implementation, and identifying remedial actions to resolve the problems and put the programme back on the right track if necessary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        I trust that your efforts made since the Joint Programme became operational early this year have given new strength to this valuable partnership between the UN Team, the Provincial Task Force, the Local Government authorities including the Tambon Administration Offices in Mok Chum Pae and Tham Lod, and the Implementing Partners.

        Working together, in a truly cooperative spirit, I believe we can have the strong capacity to improve the livelihoods of the vulnerable and underserved in Mae Hong Son and to move up the province from the bottom of the Human Achievement Index. We must realise the full potential of human security in Mae Hong Son, and a key element of this process is bringing together our efforts, resources, commitments, and confidence to change the current situation from all the parties engaged in the Joint Programme initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        In this respect, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Governor of Mae Hong Son, Mr Gumtorn, for convening this important meeting in partnership with the UN agencies and the Programme Management Unit, and to the Provincial Task Force members, the Local Governments staff, and the Implementing Partners for their strong dedication and support to transforming the Work Plan into concrete actions in the field.

        I would also like to thank the UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand and the Country Team and participating UN Agencies for their continued support for the successful implementation of the UN Joint Programme.

        Also my special gratitude should be conveyed to the Government of Japan for their generous financial support for the people in Mae Hong Son through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, and to the OCHA/Human Security Unit for allowing us to face up to the daunting change to achieve human security in this province.

        I wish to retreat the importance of true spirit of partnership and team work based on our mutual understanding, consultation and joint decision making, which can only bring this challenging programme as a success, and I trust today’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting will facilitate in strengthening this spirit and achieving our common goals.

        I thank you for your kind attention and wish you successful deliberations and accomplishments in your tasks ahead.