The three-and-a-half day programme included official Opening and Closing sessions. The technical sessions included presentations by invited experts from 11 countries, specific topics of special technical interest by invited resource persons, FAO secretariat presentations and two panels, namely one by Lao PDR experts and another by development stakeholders from agencies based in Lao Peoples Democratic Republic.
His Excellency Mr Siene Saphangthong, Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Government of Lao Peoples Democratic Republic opened the Consultation. Ms Leena Kirjavainen, FAO Representative in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, presented opening remarks from Mr He Changchui, Assistant Director-General Regional Representative, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific on behalf of the FAO. The Opening session was officiated by Monthathip Chanphengxay, Deputy Director-General, National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute.
The closing session included presentations of acknowledgement and adoption of the preliminary report. The meeting programme is included as Annexure 1.
Participants in the consultation were from countries in South Asia and East Asia whose economies are highly dependent on agriculture. The countries represented were Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. A panel of experts from various sectoral and institutional groups represented the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic. The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the FAO Representation in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic represented FAO. Several UN, development and NGO agencies based in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic also participated as panellists and observers. Thirty-five participants attended various sessions. A local organising secretariat group supported the meeting. The list of participants is included as Annexure 2.
The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, works with 46 member countries in the region. The Gender and Development Service of FAO operates under the Gender and Population Division, one of the three in the Sustainable Development Department. The programme objectives are to promote equal opportunities for women and men in the rural communities; to support and facilitate gender-equal access to assets and resources such as land, capital, technology, learning, agriculture and rural development services for rural women. Additionally the service promotes the UN objectives of advancement for women with special relevance to rural women and through close collaboration with development stakeholders and national governments.
The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) was established in 1999, by combining existing agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries research centres. NAFRI is a research organisation under supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF); it has equal status with line departments under the MAF. It undertakes integrated agriculture, forestry and fisheries adaptive research to provide technical information, technical norms and results for agriculture, forestry and fisheries development strategy formulation in accordance with government policy.