Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific



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

at the

Thirty First FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific

16 March 2012
Hanoi, Viet Nam


Honourable Chairperson,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset I wish to thank all of you for your contribution to the Conference during all these days. I particularly recognize and appreciate the hospitality and professionalism shown by the Government of Viet Nam under the leadership of the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Agriculture, food security and nutrition are on the global development agenda and this meeting therefore, is most timely. This regional forum of FAO Regional Conference of Ministers of Agriculture - has thus become even more crucial to the future of agriculture 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 several important policy matters and critical issues relating to agriculture and food security, especially in the context of achieving the World Food Summit and MDG 1 target of reducing the number of undernourished people by half by 2015.

To highlight briefly, this week we considered future prospects and emerging issues relating to food and agriculture in the Asia and the Pacific region. We reviewed the report and consultation on the outcomes of the 37th Session of the Committee on World Food Security and follow-up actions at regional and country levels.  We also reviewed FAO activities in Asia and the Pacific region in the biennium 2010-11 and progress made on the main recommendations of the 30th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and Pacific, including recommendations of the five Regional Technical Commissions. Matters arising from the 37th Session of the Committee on World Food Security received special recognition and attention at the Conference and appropriate follow-up actions were recommended. 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 multiple challenges and crises the world and the region face today. We also discussed two technical presentations on key subjects that included sustainable intensification and diversification of crops and agriculture towards food and nutrition security, and value chain development and post-harvest loss reduction for smallholder farmers.
We were also informed about the State of Food and Agriculture in the region and the Conference was further provided with information relating to the Programme of Work and Budget 2012-2013 for the region including priority actions for the following biennium.

As part of FAO’s decentralization strategy to improve the effectiveness of the organization’s work, the Conference recommended many actions for national and regional cooperation, including a better delivery system by the regional and sub-regional offices to meet and address the needs of our member countries, while noting also the special comments and views highlighted by the delegations under the agenda item on “Prioritization of country and regional needs”.

The decisions and recommendations adopted by this conference will certainly serve as a solid foundation for both the Conference as well as FAO to formulate future priorities, programmes and actions for policy advice and technical assistance to member states. These recommendations will also serve as important inputs for finalizing the Multi-year Programme of Work 2012-15 for the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, and in undertaking priority actions for the Programme of Work and Budget 2012-2013 including areas of priority actions for the following biennium 2014-15.

I would like to thank you, Honourable Ministers and Distinguished Heads of Delegations, who in spite of your pressing official duties back home, spent your valuable time and resources to participate in this Conference and to share your views. Attendance of Ministerial level participation of 27 countries, including vice-minister is a testimony to the success of this Conference. We deeply appreciate your contribution.

I am convinced that your valuable comments and interventions will guide the course of, and have a positive impact on furthering the development of agriculture in this region, especially in addressing food security issues which have been comprehensively and accurately captured in the Report of this 31st APRC that we have just adopted.  In this respect I would like to express my congratulations to the Drafting Committee and the outstanding Rapporteur, the Honourable Joketani Cokanasiga, Minister for Primary Industries of Fiji.

It is my honour now to propose a vote of thanks to our Chairperson, His Excellency Cao Duc Phat, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of the Socialist Republic of. Viet Nam. His Excellency has proficiently guided the Meeting to its successful conclusion. Let me also thank the Honourable Heads of Delegation of Mongolia, H.E. Tunjin Badamjunai, Minister for Food, Agriculture and Light Industry for kindly serving as Vice Chairperson. I wish to place on record our appreciation to the Government of Mongolia for its offer to host the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific.

We are extremely thankful to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for generously hosting this important Conference, and especially to His Excellency Nyuyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for kindly inaugurating this Conference.

Honourable Ministers, I am sure I speak for all Distinguished Delegates and Observers in expressing my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for the excellent arrangements made to facilitate the stay of all the delegates and the warmest hospitality shown by the Vietnamese people in their usual manner. All the support and assistance provided by the able team from the Ministry of Viet Nam, 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 the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

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 management and other staff of the Melia Hotel for kindly providing us with incredibly excellent services. Of course, the dedication and hard work of the interpretation staff as well as that of my FAO staff throughout the entire Conference process is also highly commendable. Without all these, the Conference would not have been as successful as it was. 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.