THE INTERNATIONAL RICE COMMISSION
Bangkok, Thailand, 23-26 July 2002
The FAO Conference of the United Nations, at its Fourth Session in 1948, established the International Rice Commission (IRC), with the objective of promoting national and international action in matters relating to the production, conservation, distribution and consumption of rice. The Commission's Constitution went in force in 1949. Its Member Countries have grown from 15 in 1949 to 60 at present.
Every four years, the IRC organizes a Session to review the emerging issues and recent achievements in scientific, technical and socio-economic matters relating to sustainable rice production and rice-based farming systems. Furthermore, it assists Member Countries in orienting strategies for their national rice development programmes while encouraging an extensive interaction among national, regional and international institutions. The last 19th Session of the IRC was convened in Cairo, Egypt in 1998.
The Twentieth Session's Focuses
More than half of the world's population depends on rice to meet their daily energy requirements. About 90 percent of the world's rice is produced by small-scale farmers in low-income developing countries and consumed locally. Rice has become an important element of national food security in an increasing number of developing countries. Often rice accompanies every meal, and it is an integral part of religious ceremonies, festivals and holidays. In high-income countries in the Near East, Europe and North America, its consumption is popular because it is a healthy and tasty food.
- The Expert Consultation on "Technological Evolution and Impact for Sustainable Rice Production in Asia and the Pacific", held in Bangkok in 1996, reported the stagnation and deceleration of rice yield in many Asian countries. Since 1990, the growth of the world's rice yield has decelerated considerably: from more than 2 percent per year in the 1980s to about 1 percent per year in the 1990s.
- Overcoming hunger, poverty and malnutrition is a major challenge for many countries because of land scarcity and depleted water resources. It is estimated that there are 800 million hungry people, including more than 200 million children, in developing countries.
- The intensification of rice production needs to be adjusted in order to reverse the depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation, such as agrochemical pollution, increased pest infestation and loss of biodiversity. Flooded rice fields are known as a major source of methane emission contributing to global warming.
The challenge of maintaining the productivity of rice production systems while protecting the environment and health of the people is far too great for any single country, organization, or institution to handle individually. The promotion of partnerships among stakeholders, and the coordination of national, regional and global efforts to secure sustainable rice production for food security and poverty alleviation will be the main focus of FAO in the first decade of the new millennium.
Theme and Provisional Agenda:
The main theme of the 20th Session is Rice for Food Security. During this Session, papers and reports on the following sub-themes will be presented and discussed:
- Issues and Challenges in Rice Technological Development for Sustainable Food Security.
- Rice in the World's Trade.
- Progress in Rice Genetic Improvement for Food Security.
- Progress in Integrated Management for Sustainable Rice Production.
- Regional Strategies on Rice Production: Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Country presentation.
After the three-day Session, a field trip will be organized in the Central Plains of Thailand for those participants who are interested in the Integrated Crop Management for Rice Production.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and
- Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand (Host Government)
Venue and dates:
The Twentieth Session will be held in Conference Room 4 at the Headquarters of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (US/ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand from 23 to 25 July 2002.
The FAO Committee:
- Chairman: Director, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO
- Members: Representatives from FAO's Crop and Grassland Service; Plant Protection Service; Seed and Plant Genetic Resources Service; Plant Nutrition Management Service; Soil Resources Management and Conservation Service; Water Resources Development and Management Service; Agricultural Engineering Branch; Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Service; Basic Food Stuffs Service; Nutrition Planning, Assessment and Evaluation Service; Women in Development Service; Research and Technology Development Service; Extension, Education and Communication Service; and Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service.
- Secretariat: D.V. Tran, Senior Officer (Rice Agronomy), V. N. Nguyen, Agricultural Officer (Rice Agronomy), Chiara Ventura, Secretary, Crop and Grassland Service, FAO.
The National Committee:
- National Project Consultant: Mr. Vichai Hirunyupakorn
- National Project Coordinator: Mr. Watchara Purivirojkul
- Associate National Coordinator: Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot and Mr. Nopparat Muengprasert
- Members: Ms. Wilailuk Sommut, Dr. Waree Chaitep, Dr. Utcharaporn Na. Lumpang Mr. Visut Keepthong
Participants of the 20th Session include the Senior Officers of rice programmes in 60 Member Countries, scientists from main CG rice research centres, officers of technical units of FAO, and officers of other international and regional developmental and financial institutions, and NGOs.
Individuals interested in the promotion of Sustainable Rice Production for Food Security are welcome to participate in this 20th Session of the International Rice Commission as the observer capacity.
- 23 July: Registration, Opening Session, Rice in the World's Trade, Progress in Rice Genetic Improvement for Food Security, Progress in Integrated Management in Rice Production, Cocktail Reception.
- 24 July: Progress on Integrated Management in Rice Production (Continuation), Regional Strategies on Rice Production, Socio-economic and Policy Issues in Rice Production (Cont.)
- 25 July: Global Achievements and Advances in Innovative Technology Development, Progress in Regional and Inter-Regional Co-Operative Networks on Rice, Rice Situation in Member Countries, Closing Session.
- 26 July: Field day
MEALS: Lunch and coffee break will be provided by the Organizing Committee at the UN/ESCAP facilities.
HOTEL: The participants are recommended to stay at the Prince Palace Hotel, 488/800 Bo Bae Tower, Damrongrak Road, Klong Mahanak, Pomprab, Bangkok 10100.
Tel: (662) 628-1111; Fax: (662) 628-1000.
Room rate (including a breakfast):
- Standard single: Baht 1,200, net/room/night
- Standard twin: Baht 1,300, -net/room/night
Hotel will provide transport from Hotel to UN/ESCAP's meeting room (about 20 minutes) and return.
- Entry into Thailand: Participants and/or delegates must have valid passports and visas.
- Health Requirements: No requirement is requested at Bangkok International Airport but it is advisable that participants and/or delegates possess a valid yellow card showing immunization against polio and tetanus.
- Timing of Arrival: It is advisable for the participants and/or delegates to arrive in Bangkok a day before the opening of the Session.
- Transport Upon Arrival: Participants and/or delegates should provide Mr. Watchara in advance with full information on arrival time, date and flight number. The RRI, Thailand will provide free transportation from Bangkok International Airport to the Prince Place Hotel, if requested.
If the participants and/or delegates arrive without prior notice to the Host Government, a taxi will be normally available. It is estimated that the cost of a taxi trip from the airport to the hotel downtown is about US$ 10 to 15.
- Return Flight: The participants and/or delegates are requested to contact the Secretariat of the Session as soon as possible after their arrival for return flight reservations, if needed.
- Airport Tax: An airport tax of about 500 Thai Baht (required) or equivalent to US$ 12 is normally levied at Bangkok International Airport upon departure.
- Climate: The climate in Bangkok during early July will be warm during the day and cool at night. Bangkok is well known for its tropical charm, hospitality and friendly environment and people. The floating market, the famous Thai cuisine, and the peacefulness of Buddhist Temples are some of the major attractions that you could heartily enjoy during your stay in Bangkok.
COCKTAIL RECEPTION: Participants will be invited by FAO and the Government of Thailand to a Cocktail Reception, which will be held at Prince Palace Hotel Reception Hall
- Simultaneous interpretation into English, French, and Spanish will be provided. In order to ensure accuracy of the interpretation and assist the Secretariat of the FAO Committee, participants and/or delegates are requested to furnish the Secretariat with copies of the text of speeches, statements, papers and documents on/or before 30 April 2002. This also facilitates the reproduction of papers and documents for distribution during the Session.
If submission of documentation prior to 30 April is not feasible, participants and/or delegates are kindly requested to bring sufficient copies with them for distribution during the Session.
- Audio-visual aides such as slides, transparency projectors and computer-assisted PowerPoint presentations will be available for the presentation of Session papers and/or reports. Projection of video-films by participants and/or delegates will be provided in separate sessions with early announcements and arrangements.
For further information please contact:
- FAO Committee:
Dr. D.V. Tran, Executive Secretary, IRC, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Tel. 39 06 570 55587; Fax. 39 06 570 56347/53152;
- National Committee:
Mr. Watchara Purivirojkul, Assistant Director, Rice Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, Paholyothin Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand.