1. The Asia-Pacific Network for Food and Nutrition (ANFN) of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) and the Asia FIVIMS Project jointly organized the Regional Expert Consultation on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) Initiatives in the Asia-Pacific Region and Meeting on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Assessment Methodologies and Lessons Learned in Asia from 15 to 18 November 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Consultation was attended by 42 experts from 12 countries, namely: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. Four officers from FAO headquarters, Rome and one from FAO Kenya served as resource persons and participated in the Consultation. An expert from the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), two Vulnerability Assessment Mapping (VAM) officers from the World Food Programme (WFP), one officer from UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and one expert from Japan also served as resource persons. The list of the participants is given in Annex 1.
2. Biplab K. Nandi, Senior Food and Nutrition Officer, FAO-RAP and Secretary, ANFN welcomed the participants. He gave a brief background of the Asia-Pacific Network for Food and Nutrition and explained the rationale for focusing on FIVIMS. He informed the Consultation that this was fourth of a series of meetings organized by ANFN that dealt with FIVIMS as a topic and this meeting was organized jointly with Asia FIVIMS Project, GCP/RAS/170/JPN, RAP, Bangkok. He acknowledged the importance attached by RAP and the support given by the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative (ADG/RR), RAP to pursue the FIVIMS initiatives in the region. This was followed by a brief introduction of all the participants, resource persons, observers and guests.
Opening of the Consultation
3. On behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Jacques Diouf, the ADG/RR, Mr He Changchui welcomed the participants to the Consultation and likewise noted that the current meeting is fourth of a series of meetings of ANFN dealing with FIVIMS.
4. He recognized and appreciated the generous support given by the Government of Japan through the Japan funded Trust Fund Project, known as the Asia FIVIMS Project. Japans collaboration and cooperation in FIVIMS and related activities was indeed noteworthy.
5. The Consultation was reminded that at the ICN held in 1992 and the World Food Summit: 5yl in 2002, the governments reaffirmed their commitments to achieving food security for all and halving hunger by the year 2015. He emphasized that the WFS: 5yl goals were attainable and FAO programmes were central to achieving these targets.
6. While FAOs primary role was to monitor the food and agriculture situation at the world level, one should not lose sight of the fact that equally important is the sub- national monitoring of the food insecure and nutritionally vulnerable groups which leads to targeted and priority action. It should also be noted that food insecurity and malnutrition can inflict heavy economic and social costs at the individual, household and societal levels. This underscores the importance of the theme for the current ANFN Consultation.
7. He reminded the Consultation to pay special attention to generating up-to-date and quality information which are prerequisites for effective policy and programme formulation and monitoring progress in achieving global goals and targets.
8. He Changchui reiterated that policy-makers and members of civil society concerned with food security issues at all levels need to facilitate the assessment of policy and programme options for improving nutrition situations. In this regard, FIVIMS provided a window of opportunity to improve the nutritional status of populations.
9. He was pleased to note the collaboration between ANFN and the Asia FIVIMS Project, which he referred to as two technical engines in the region and. in particular, recognized the important contributions of Biplab Nandi and Naoki Minamiguchi. He concluded by requesting the participants help in strengthening FAOs efforts in eliminating hunger and malnutrition.
10. He Changchui wished everyone successful and productive deliberations and officially declared the Consultation open. The full text of He Changchuis address is given in Annex II.
11. Nobuhiko Kaho, Director, International Cooperation Division, International Affairs Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on behalf of the donor government, Japan, also delivered an opening address to the Consultation. At the outset he expressed condolences to both Pakistan and India and other Asian countries hit by the most recent catastrophes like earthquakes and tsunami.
12. The Consultation was reminded of the early beginnings of FIVIMS and the global initiatives that caught the interest of the Japanese government and eventually led to the establishment of ASIA FIVIMS. The Japanese government has contributed a total of US$337 million to the Asian component of FIVIMS. This has also extended to human resources and, in this regard, he commended the particular contribution of Naoki Minamiguchi who has been involved in FIVIMS work since its inception in 1997. To date, an additional budget of US$ 320 million is being negotiated.
13. He informed the Consultation that there will be a midterm review of the Plan of Action of countries during the 32nd session of the FAO Conference in Rome to monitor the progress of attaining the WFS goals. He hoped that the Asian countries would be able to report proudly on the progress they have made, particularly those with support from the Government of Japan.
14. He requested FAO-RAP / FAO Secretariat not only to produce a useful system but also to provide continuous technical assistance to the targeted countries towards knowledge acquisition and capacity-building. FIVIMS and its related fields are the areas where FAO has a comparative advantage and rightly the Government of Japan had supported this initiative.
15. Lastly, he expressed strong interest and support for work on FIVIMS and looked forward to stimulating and exciting discussions and concluded by lauding the efforts of Biplab Nandi and Naoki Minamiguchi for organizing the ANFN Consultation and Meeting on FIVIMS.
The full text of Mr. Kahos Speech is given in Annex III.
16. The Consultation adopted the draft provisional agenda and the timetable (Annexes IV and V) as proposed by Biplab K. Nandi. Elsa M. Bayani, Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Secretary and Concurrent Executive Director for National Nutrition Council (NNC) of the Philippines was elected as Chairperson. A total of five facilitators and nine rapporteurs were also elected to help conduct various sessions. Elsa Bayani thanked the Secretariat for the trust and responsibility given to her in undertaking the task of chairperson for the Consultation.
17. Biplab K. Nandi in his brief presentation gave a background of the state of food insecurity and chronic and temporary energy deficits. He briefed the Consultation on the objectives, expected outputs and organization of the Consultation. He mentioned how FIVIMS activities have progressed over the last decade and the importance and support accorded by the Interagency Working Group (IAWG) in FAO Rome on FIVIMS. This is recognition of the significance of FIVIMS in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of food security and nutrition programmes. He also emphasized the importance of receiving appropriate inputs from the Working Groups and stressed the need to take advantage of the expertise of the participants.