One of two themes for the forthcoming World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) is Mobilizing Resources to Fight Hunger. FAO is concerned that investment in agriculture continues to decline instead of growing as demanded by the World Food Summit in 1996. The incremental requirements of agricultural investment in developing countries are estimated at US$30.7 billion per annum - of which approximately one - third is needed for irrigation. The evidence suggests, however, that agricultural investment has progressively declined rather than increased. For instance, the share for agricultural lending in the loan portfolio of The World Bank fell below 10 percent in the year 2000 compared with 40 percent 30 years ago. One possible cause for declining investment in agriculture might be the historically poor performance of such investments and the non - recognition of their secondary benefits. There is also a shift from public to private investment which does not fully compensate the decline.
FAO is therefore striving to reverse the trend of declining investment and to draw attention to the fact that investment in Land and Water is a good investment, if managed properly. For this purpose, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in close collaboration with the Land and Water Development Division in FAO Headquarters organized and conducted the Regional Consultation on Investment in Land and Water. Its objective is to raise awareness and to enlist and enable the support of partners and member countries to attain enhanced commitment and innovation to finance sustainable agricultural development and food security.
The consultation was held in FAOs Regional Office for Asia and The Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 to 5 October 2001. High level government officers from 12 countries in the region participated together with observers from the Asian Development Bank, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and various Thai government agencies.
This publication contains the papers presented at the meeting as well as the highlights and recommendations for enhanced investment in Land and Water which resulted from the group and plenary discussions. The Consultation adopted the Bangkok Declaration which urges Heads of State and Ministers of agriculture, rural development, planning and finance in the region to alert and motivate the necessary political will and investment commitment, to form policies and take initiatives to create an enabling environment for sustainable land and water management and advances in agriculture and rural development leading to comprehensive food security.