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FAO and civil society strengthen partnerships in Asia-Pacific

Ensuring balanced representation in Asia-Pacific

Civil society and FAO agreed on improved space for dialogue and enhanced mechanisms to foster both closer partnerships and wider balanced representation in pursuit of the shared goal for eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition in Asia and the Pacific.

Despite important progress obtained over the years, today’s world continues to face serious problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. CSOs play a crucial role in food security and poverty reduction is several areas: from policy dialogue and discussions on substantive matters to programme and project design and implementation.

A CSO/FAO consultation in Bangkok on 20 and 21 November reviewed past cooperation and discussed areas for further dialogue and collaboration.

“We are making the most of new opportunities for engagement in a wide range of areas, envisaged to yield greater synergies, complementarities and impact”, Hiroyuki Konuma – FAO’s regional representative – commented at the end of the two-day consultation with CSOs for implementation of the partnership strategy in Asia and the Pacific. Based on the outcome of a mapping of CSO coordination mechanisms, a more balanced representation by CSOs will be ensured considering four main components: constituencies (small farmers, landless, agri workers, fishers, pastoralists and herders, forest dwellers, ethnic groups and indigenous people, urban poor, consumers, NGOs, women and youth), geography – in particular more space for the Pacific islands, gender, and member-based groups such as farmer associations, FAO said.

Overarching priority thematic areas for CSO/FAO partnerships are food sovereignty and protection of human rights, and dignity of farming to support and encourage rural youth – in support of issues dealing with agrarian and fisheries reform, land tenure, capacity building of food producers, gender equality and women development/empowerment.

For the immediate future, the engagement process will focus inter alia on setting up a CSO-FAO partnership coordination mechanism, the preparations for CSO participation at the FAO regional conference for Asia and the Pacific (Mongolia, March 2014) the APRC and the parallel CSO/NGO meeting; regional negotiations on responsible agricultural investment; implementation of the voluntary guidelines on tenure and on fisheries; and the International Year of Family Farming – amongst others.