Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING REMARKS

by

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

delivered at the

Joint WFP/FAO Annual Brainstorming Meeting

Bangkok, Thailand
20 September 2013

 

Good morning colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great honor for me to welcome you to the third joint WFP/FAO Annual Brainstorming Meeting. I would like to welcome all the colleagues from WFP as well as my colleagues from FAO RAP office who share their experience, lessons and knowledge as part of today’s meeting for further development.

Today’s meeting represents a truly important opportunity to strengthen collaboration between our respective agencies in tackling one of the most significant challenges that confronts the region’s agriculture sector. I sincerely hope it is further step toward establishing more productive and effective regular forum to exchange ideas and identify opportunities for better, more effective collaboration.

FAO-WFP COLLABORATIONS

Asia and the Pacific is prone to natural disasters not only due to its geological location and features but also due to the changing weather patterns. The most frequent hazards are global food and farm input prices restricting access to food by the poor segments of the society, conflict and associated displaced people in the border areas, cyclones, droughts and floods throughout the region, and earthquakes.

The most affected sector by these hazards is agriculture, in particular the poor smallholder farming communities – as was demonstrated by the most recent crises and disasters to affect many countries. Given this situation the role of both FAO and WFP attains a significant importance in the region. While the role of WFP is to cater for immediate food requirement, FAO has a more sustainable role of helping the affected communities in rehabilitating their lives and livelihoods to ensure sustainable food security. 

FAO and WFP have a long history of partnership to promote food and nutrition security of vulnerable communities, by working together in areas complementary to their mandates. Apart from carrying out agency-specific programmes in the region and collaborating at different forums, FAO and WFP have also been co-leading the Food Security Cluster (FSC), Agriculture and Food Security Working Group (A&FS WG) for early recovery in country by country.

PRIORITY AND GAP

Although both FAO and WFP are working towards a common goal; elimination of hunger through food security, there is little synchronization or uniformity and coordination in the approaches. FAO’s thematic interventions are geared to focus on immediate, medium and long term measures relating to tackle the root causes of hunger and food insecurity, sustainably improving food and agricultural systems; empowering the agriculture sector through use of information technology, advancements in agriculture sciences through modern research and extension etc. Whereas, WFP’s interventions focus on eliminating hunger through short term measures; e.g providing emergency relief food packages etc. WFP’s interventions focus on tackling the symptoms of food insecurity, though WFP is increasingly working on solving some of the root causes of food insecurity.

POTENTIAL AREAS OF COLLABORATION

Food security starts with a seed, which has better resilience to elements of nature and provides better yield, and ends with the bread on table. A collaborated approach will essentially mean that each step along the way is defined, researched and best possible option utilized.

Hunger and poverty is a vicious circle that keeps repeating itself. A clearly defined strategy of seed to bread cycle, utilizing the knowledge base of both agencies, can curb the hunger and poverty circle by ensuring that all stages of food insecurity are tackled in a sustainable manner. Both agencies can also use each other’s expertise and technical knowhow to focus on providing relief during disasters.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We signal by our presence and our meeting that we believe in our cause, in our resolve and in an outcome that will be a foundation for eradication hunger and improving food security and nutrition in our region.  With reinforced solidarity underpinned by a relentless drive for results, we can, we must, and we will end hunger and build shared prosperity in food security and nutrition.

I hope that today we will have a constructive exchange of views between WFP and FAO, and that this exchange will deepen in future.

I would like to wish you a successful workshop.