Dr. Amitava Mukherjee attended this year¡¯s 65th Commission Session (CS65)
in Bangkok, as the focal point behind the Theme Study on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asia and the Pacific and as the Senior Economic Affairs Officer and Officer-in-Charge of UNACPAEM. His duel role at CS 65 not only highlighted the calls for food security and sustainable agriculture in the region but also brought the spotlight on UNAPCAEM as a Centre devoted to such critical issues.
In his address, Dr. Mukherjee noted the past achievements of the Centre but more specifically addressed its future with 2009 promising to be a fulfilling year for UNAPCAEM. In line with the recommendations of the Technical Committee as endorsed by the General Council, the Centre will work from now onward towards the thematic focus on innovation and transfer of agricultural technology (including clean and post-harvest technologies), particularly through South ¨C South Cooperation to align with the strategic framework of UNESCAP.
He stated that the projects could include, but not restricted to, the establishment of an Asia-Pacific Testing Network for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (ANTAM); exploratory study on the application of information communication technology (ICT), resource conservation, and environment enhancement technology and management practices on agriculture and food security; identification and prioritization of the technical needs of member countries and gaps of farm mechanization, agro-processing and energy in agriculture; and facilitation of the exchange of agricultural technology, prototypes of farm machinery and package techniques, including technologies to reduce post harvest losses through various channels.
Dr. Mukherjee continued that to address the problems of regional food insecurity, and compliment the theme study on food security, UNAPCAEM proposes to launch a multi-year project to transfer technology to extend hybrid rice cultivation to selected experts of 12 countries in the region to increase farm produce and reduce poverty in the region. In this venture UNACPAEM looks forward to the generous contribution from the Government of P.R. China on this project.
To take forward the agenda of food security, in line with the outcome of the ¡°High-level Regional Policy Dialogue on the food-fuel crisis and climate change: Reshaping the Development Agenda¡±, jointly organized by UNESCAP and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, 9-10 December 2008, Bali, Indonesia, and the theme study for this Commission Session, UNAPCAEM proposes to pursue along with other significant stakeholders and the UNESCAP secretariat, three broad areas as part of UNESCAP¡¯s connectivity role. As laid by Dr. Mukherjee, they are (i) Bridge knowledge sharing in the Asia-Pacific Region by serving as a node for regional promotion of sustainable agriculture, by developing strong linkages with national agricultural institutions and regional centres of excellence; and helping member States in developing the ¡°Five Codes¡± (good weather, drought, flood and adaptation) to address climate change and its impact on food production. (ii) Contribute substantive secretariat and technical services to support the initiation and operation of an Asia-Pacific food security coalition; and (iii) Initiate linkages among the five regional institutions for revitalizing small-scale sustainable food production for Asia-Pacific food security support inter-alia: technology transfer; evidence based advocacy; creation of an Asia-Pacific pool of extension experts; development of appropriate technology for improving agricultural productivity and post harvest processing in a sustainable manner.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Mukherjee noted that negotiations are on with the Government of the Philippines in the Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, and expressed his thanks to the Government as the host the 5th Technical Committee and Governing Council sessions of UNAPCAEM in October of this year.
UNAPCAEM with a ¡°full plate¡± in hand is ready to build closer collaboration with member countries in meeting the emerging challenges facing our vast and diverse region.
UNESCAP¡¯s 65th annual commission session, which brings together its 62 member governments, ended on Wednesday, 29 April 2009.