Mr. Amitava Mukherjee, Head of APCAEM, paid a good-will visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the People¡¯s Republic of China on 3 September 2008. He had a very friendly discussion on the development of the Centre with Mr. Lu Kang, Counselor of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences of MoFA.
Mr. Mukherjee expressed appreciation to the Government of China for its strong support to the Centre financially and in technical cooperation. He briefly introduced the work programme and activities that APCAEM has been doing to reposition itself to be a centre for South-South Cooperation, disseminating best practices and developing policy options as also networking with think-tanks and network in agricultural innovations and related disciplines.
Food security was one of the major topics during the meeting. The sharply rising food price and energy price in the latter part of 2007 and the early months of this year has severely stressed the most vulnerable groups particularly in the Asian developing countries. It is threatening to reverse the gains in poverty reduction in the Asian and Pacific region, undermining the global fight against poverty and the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by 2015. Food security will become the thematic focus of the 4th session of the Technical Committee, an annual professional meeting of APCAEM, which will be held in Chiang Rai Thailand tentatively during the fourth week of November 2008.
Mr. Lu expressed his warm welcome to Mr. Mukherjee for his reporting onboard as Head of APCAEM. ¡°The Centre has operated well for 5 years. I can assure you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China will give you full support,¡± said the Counselor. He said the Government of China was appreciative of the work that APCEAM was doing and it was a unique organization for the Chinese Government because it was the only Regional Office of an international organization in Beijing. It is, inter alia, for that reason that the Government of the People¡¯s Republic of China was very supportive of APCAEM.
When talking about food security, the Counselor shared the same comments as Mr. Mukherjee. He reiterated that most members in Asia and the Pacific are developing countries. Food security is the top priority. China, as a big agricultural country, will be very supportive of the food security work of APCAEM because though China is self sufficient in grain security, it is keen to help other countries who may stand in need of help in this regard.
Mr. Mukherjee informed the upcoming visit to China of Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP. The Counselor assured of all help with the visit of the ES and that his Ministry was working very hard to make the visit very successful.
They also discussed about the upcoming renewal of the Headquarters Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of China on the Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (APCAEM), and the Administrative and Financial Arrangements. The Centre was established in Beijing China in 2002 under the generous support of the Government of China.
Present also at the meeting were Prof. Chang Ping, Senior Expert of APCAEM, and Ms. Ai Yuxin, First Secretary of MoFA.