Mr. Takeshi Yoshida, Director of International Agriculture Organization of the International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be here, to open this important FAO-Government of Japan Annual Review Meeting. I am pleased to see some familiar faces and wish to welcome the Delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Representatives from the Embassy of Japan in Thailand, as well as my colleagues from FAO.
First of all, I wish to express, on behalf of my colleagues, our deep sympathy and condolences to those who lost lives of family and friends, who suffer from the damages of devastating earthquake and tsunamis occurred in March last year. At the occasion of the World Food Day celebration in last October, we have awarded Ms Anzai from Fukushima prefecture as a first Japanese model farmer for her valuable contributions on organizing nationwide network on agriculture management and her devoted support to the disaster victims.
I would like to express FAO’s appreciation for the continuous support and contribution from the Japanese Government (MAFF and MOFA) putting emphasis on Asia and the Pacific Region which holds two thirds of world hunger population. The trend of annual delivery of Japan funded FAO projects in this region is increasing with a strong emphasis on Afghanistan which counted 22.4 million US dollars delivery in 2011, out of the total delivery of US$ 32 million Japan funded projects world wide in the same year.
Thanks to Japan’s cooperation, we have two irrigation rehabilitation projects in Afghanistan (GCP/AFG/066 & 071) and five regional projects contributing to food security and associated important fields. There are three projects at the final stage of implementation, including livelihood rehabilitation and development support to Tsunami affected farmers and fisherfork(GCP/RAS/218), enhancing conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources (GCP/RAS/240), and in-depth analysis of water basins for sustainable water resources use (GCP/RAS/241). The two new projects recently started in this region are aiming for preventing transboundary animal diseases (GCP/RAS/279), and capacity building for the implementation of international food safety standards in ASEAN countries (GCP/RAS/280).
Japan’s continuous contributions are extremely valuable under such environment of economic recession and financial crisis in Europe, and continued high proportion of chronic hunger in Asia which is far behind of MDG target has to achieve in less than 4 years by 2015.
Today, FAO will report on the progress the projects. This will be also an opportunity to review the progress of the projects and exchange views on the way how best we can maximize the efficiency and ensure the timely implementation of the of projects. I look forward to have a fruitful and constructive discussions with all the participants.
In addition, we would like to make a short presentation on project proposals for possible future funding. The focus of the proposals are mitigation of damage caused by flooding, or rehabilitation, improvement of watershed management. I would appreciate if you could review and consider our proposals for further collaboration with FAO.
As you know, Mr Jose Graziano da Silva started his term as the new Director General of FAO since this January. During his recent visit to RAP last year, Mr Graziano has confirmed his full support to our Office and confirmed that this office was best performing office in comparison with other offices. The new DG is a strong believer of the benefit of decentralization that will facilitate FAO’s assistance more close to beneficiaries and demand based. Under his guidance, we in RAP will continue our efforts aiming to achieve a world free from hunger through the promotion of agriculture, food security and rural development.
I believe today’s consultation with MAFF is going to be the great opportunity to strengthen our partnership and discuss how we can work together to achieve the global goals. Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the participants from MAFF for travelling long distance to Bangkok, and wish you a fruitful dialogue and discussions.