Ladies and gentlemen;
It is a great honor and privilege to have this opportunity to address at this Ministerial Forum on the East Asian Seas Partnership Council Meeting. On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, I would like to express my deep appreciations to the government of China and the EAS Congress Secretariat for inviting FAO to this important international partnership initiative.
As many of you are aware of that, FAO is a leading inter-governmental specialized agency to fight against hunger, in cooperation with both developed and developing countries, and works as a partner with various stakeholders at global, regional and local levels to help member countries achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especial goal one: reducing the number of poor and hungry by half by 2015. FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy on agricultural and sustainable rural development. It is a source of knowledge and information to help developing countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure food security and nutrition security for all. FAO, through its regional office based in Bangkok, renders policy advice and technical assistance to its 46 member states in the Asian and the Pacific region.
The Asia and the Pacific Region is home to some 524 million undernourished people, two third of the world total (850 million). To meet the challenge of eradicating food insecurity and rural poverty and support achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the Regional Office of FAO has developed a Regional Strategic Framework for the next 15 years, to be implemented through partnership with governments, international organizations, NGOs and CSOs, with the purpose of raising agricultural productivity while protecting the region’s natural resource base. The RSF identified six thematic programme areas, which include:-
- agriculture restructuring under changing market and trade conditions;
- decentralizing governance in support of sustainable development;
- reducing vulnerability to disasters;
- promoting effective and equitable management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources;
- strengthening biosecurity for food security and agricultural trade; and,
- alleviating poverty in rice-based livelihood systems.
A detailed analysis shows that there is a great potential in which FAO, the PEMSEA members, and its interested institutions can find complementarities and work as partners on a broad range of programmes through sharing information and expertise. FAO has been following closely the PEMSEA development and has taken a genuine interest in collaborating with PEMSEA members in the areas of direct relevance and common interest under the actions of PEMSEA and the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia. Especially, there is a potential for greater cooperation and synergy between FAO and PEMSEA in the region in the following areas:
- The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and FISCHCODE
- BOB-LME (An example of a “Large Marine Ecosystem” approach as a way of addressing transboundary fisheries issues
- Coastal environment management caused by poor agricultural practices, such as land-based pollutions due to excess use of chemicals and pesticides, livestock waste discharges( an example of “Reduction Livestock Waste Management Programme”)
- Promotion of livelihood approach in coastal disaster reduction and rehabilitation and long term development planning (experiences gained through Indian Ocean tsunami disaster emergency operation and rehabilitation)
- Use of Integrated Coastal Area Management in coastal eco-system management, including participation in the Mangroves for the Future Programme, led jointly by IUCN and UNDP.
FAO shares a common vision with PEMSEA in the sustainable development of the East Asia Seas and recognizes PEMSEA as one of those partnerships that FAO fully supports. FAO looks forward to working more closely with PEMSEA through the following mechanisms:
- enhanced information exchange between FAO and PEMSEA, through for example linking of websites for exchanges on specific topics;
- mutual recognition of areas of expertise, especially in the field of fisheries and a readiness to exchange technical experts as resource persons for each other’s major events;
- strengthening of existing regional partnerships through networking and participation in areas of direct relevance to FAO’s priorities of the actions of PEMSEA;
- planning for more joint capacity building events such as joint workshops; and
- provision and sharing of specific scientific data and study results.
Finally, I am pleased to indicate that FAO/RAP is seriously evaluating the potential and modality for participation in the PEMSEA Sustainable Development Strategy for East Asia Seas (SDS), based on its existing mandates and resources capacity.