Representatives from Civil Society Organizations in Asia and the Pacific,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all of you to this FAO Consultation with CSOs for Implementation of Partnerships Strategy in Asia and the Pacific. I wish to thank all of you for sharing your precious time to attend this Consultation, which is a regional milestone event in promoting closer partnership between FAO and CSOs in the region. I would like to thank my FAO colleagues, particularly Mr Yon Fernandez Larrinoa, for his kind support in the organization of this event.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite important progress obtained over the years by Member States, organizations and institutions, today’s world continues to face serious problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. FAO acknowledges that eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty is a fight that can only be won by joining forces with different stakeholders in which CSOs are one of these key stakeholders.
CSOs play a crucial role in food security and poverty reduction. They have increasingly shown their capacities and potential in programme and project design, execution and implementation at regional, national and local levels. In recent years, CSOs have succeeded in opening up areas for dialogue with Member States and other actors at regional and global levels, contributing their capacities and expertise to higher quality policy and normative discussions.
As part of our continued efforts in collaborating with CSOs, the FAO strategy for Partnerships with Civil Society Organization was endorsed by Member States in April 2013. Along with the Strategy, a number of tools were developed to enable the implementation of the strategy. Among these tools, the Guidelines for Ensuring Balanced Representation of Civil Society in FAO Meetings and Processes, as well as the Guidelines for Civil Society Participation at the Regional Conferences, provide a renewed framework to approach the work of Civil Society in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) has been working for many years with a number of CSOs in technical work, emergency field operations, training and capacity building, and advocacy of best agricultural practices. In recent years, CSOs have evolved in terms of coordination, structure, outreach, mobilization and advocacy capacity. Likewise, FAO has also undergone changes in management, and given a new impetus to decentralization. This has provided new opportunities for engagement and partnership in six broad areas of collaboration i) field programme, ii) knowledge sharing and capacity development, iii) joint use of resources in emergency situations, iv) policy dialogue, v) normative activities, and vi) advocacy and communication. As a result, our joint efforts with partners is envisaged to yield greater synergies, complementarities and impacts.
In 2012, more than 25 representatives from CSOs gathered at the regional consultation in Hanoi to discuss their positions to be brought to the 31st Session of FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) held in March 2012. Although successful in its scope, a balanced representation of civil society considering four main components, namely constituencies, geography, gender and groups, need to be ensured.
In this light, this Consultation is held with the main objective to provide the main CSO networks in the region with a space for dialogue where they can organize themselves into constituencies for improved coordination in working with FAO. In particular, the consultation intends, among others:
- To review the current FAO RAP-CSO partnership mechanism and identify mechanisms to foster closer partnerships;
- To provide participants with updated information on the FAO partnership strategy and key FAO regional campaigns;
- To discuss common areas of interest and jointly develop possible areas for further dialogue and collaboration; and,
- To initiate preliminary discussions that could guide the CSO consultation for the FAO APRC 2014.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I trust that this Consultation will provide us with a good opportunity in clarifying ways towards closer and constructive engagement and partnerships. The result will not only benefit all of us here in the fight against hunger and poverty in the region but also a showcase on-going efforts of FAO-CSO partnership currently promoted at the global level.
Finally, I wish you a successful workshop and look forward to the fruitful outcome of your deliberations.