FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

FAO Asia-Pacific Science and Innovation Forum highlights community-led climate actions and need for further investments in science, technology and innovation in agriculture

31/08/2023 Incheon city

The Asia-Pacific Regional Science and Innovation Forum held today highlighted the need for investments and the active involvement of young people, women and indigenous communities in building climate-resilient agrifood systems in the region. It spotlighted climate-actions driven by young people and local communities in Asia-Pacific with a focus on climate-smart agriculture, sustainable food production and processing, digital solutions, data-driven decision-making, and community mobilization.

The Regional Science and Innovation Forum was convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a session of the 8th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum underway in Incheon city, Republic of Korea. The APAN Forum is Asia-Pacific’s largest and longest-standing gathering of adaptation practitioners to meet, exchange knowledge and experiences, and collaborate towards the pertinent outcomes and practical solutions that are needed to address the challenges of climate change.

FAO’s Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi, addressing the Regional Science and Innovation Forum (SIF), in a video message said, “youth, women and indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by climate change. Yet they are also agents of change. Harnessing the active involvement of women, indigenous peoples and young people in the region in science, technology and innovation can help to strengthen the resilience of food systems to climate change impacts and help to produce more food to meet growing demands with less inputs and less impact on the environment.”

Science and innovation for climate action

Asia-Pacific is home to 60 percent of the world’s young people, making it the most youthful region with more than 1.1 billion young women and men aged 15 to 29.  Governments and development agencies in Asia-Pacific, the fastest growing region in the world, are leveraging on the presence of a large young population to foster an enabling environment for innovation and digitization in food systems.  

“With the right investments, the development and scaling-up of scientific and innovative approaches that foster climate-smart agricultural practices can open doors to entrepreneurship. It can lead to green enterprises, value chains and start-ups that can generate employment, incomes and rural enterprises,” said Elouafi.

The climate crisis remains one of the main drivers of food insecurity. The latest FAO State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report 2023 revealed that 735 million people faced hunger last year. The Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to high population density, heavy reliance on agriculture and exposure to extreme weather events.

Globally, for every USD 100 of agricultural GDP, only between 34 and 72 cents are being spent on agricultural research and development (R&D). In Asia-Pacific, while the value of public expenditure on agricultural R&D grew dramatically in previous decades, the level has stabilized and is declining in some regions as a proportion of agricultural output.

“We need to invest more in agricultural research for development, focusing on science, technology and innovation (STI). Investments in R&D over the next ten years, in combination with targeted investments in extension and known technologies such as agrometeorological advisories and irrigation focused on water productivity in Asia and the Pacific, will deliver significant benefits in terms of food security and nutrition now and in the future,” said Beau Damen, FAO Natural Resources Officer speaking at the Forum. “STI can be a powerful engine to end hunger and malnutrition as well as boost climate action when accompanied by strong institutions, good governance, political will, enabling regulatory frameworks, and effective measures to promote equity among agrifood system actors.”   

FAO’s Strategy on Climate Change and its Science and Innovation Strategy are enhancing support to Member Nations in their efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation, working towards climate-resilient and low-emission agrifood systems.

FAO and partners building momentum in the world’s biggest region – Asia and the Pacific

FAO is working with Member Nations in the Asia-Pacific region to employ new technologies including Artificial Intelligence and advanced geospatial technology to measure, report and verify climate adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry and other land-use sectors in nine countries.  The Digital Village Initiative implemented in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, to name but a few, is harnessing the application of digital innovations and technologies, services and solutions to create better lives and livelihoods for rural communities.

Other proactive measures in the region include:

  • Seven countries in Asia and the Pacific, supported by the Global Environment Facility (The GEF), government agencies, agricultural communities and the private sector are using innovative Sustainable Rice Platform standards and other measures to build markets for climate resilient and sustainable agricultural products.
  • And in Southeast Asia, the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network is a region-specific example of multi-stakeholder partnership that is deploying innovative resilience measures regionally and nationally with support of public and private sector actors.

The Asia-Pacific Regional Science and Innovation Forum featured a panel of innovators and community leaders who considered accessibility and application of climate technologies, innovative practices and local knowledge in agrifood systems for climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation. The key outcomes from the Forum will inform the global Science and Innovation Forum (SIF), hosted by FAO in October this year. The global SIF will be held under the umbrella of the World Food Forum – a youth led global network created and facilitated by FAO, where the momentum for climate actions for sustainable and resilient food systems is continuing. 


About 8th Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum

The 8th Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum is considered Asia-Pacific’s largest and longest-standing gathering of adaptation practitioners to meet, exchange knowledge and experiences, and collaborate towards the pertinent outcomes and practical solutions that are needed to address the challenges of climate change. This year’s forum is hosted by the Ministry of Environment – Republic of Korea, under the bigger umbrella of the Korea Global Adaptation Week 2023 in Songdo, Incheon City. The APAN Forum is a biennial flagship event of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) Secretariat, hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific with the support of the Ministry of the Environment – Japan.



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