A team from the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Forum on Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development organized in Yangling city, Shaanxi Province, China. The Forum was hosted by the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO, the National Rural Revitalization Administration of China and the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province. Delegates and representatives including government officials, experts, entrepreneurs as well as civil society organizations from around the world, particularly Member States, Observers and Dialogue Partners of the SCO, attended the Forum to discuss issues pertaining to global poverty and opportunities to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On behalf of CSAM, Mr. Anshuman Varma, Deputy Head, delivered remarks as a panelist during a Panel Discussion in Sub-Forum 1 on the theme of ‘Joint Efforts towards Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development’. In his remarks, Mr. Varma reminded the audience that at the halfway point in the journey towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the overall progress for attainment of the SDG targets is significantly lower than expected. SDG 1 on ‘No Poverty’ is facing increasingly pressing and persistent challenges and it has been projected that only about one-third of countries will meet the targets to halve the national poverty levels unless bolder and more ambitious actions are undertaken to alter the current trend. In the backdrop of the challenges, Mr. Varma called for strengthened efforts and investments for promoting sustainable agricultural mechanization through innovation-driven technologies and applications such as precision agriculture, robotics, autonomous equipment, remote sensing, and big data with a particular focus on the needs of smallholder farmers, women farm workers and the elderly. These can help bring about the fundamental changes needed for transforming food systems and contribute to the realization of the related SDGs. Mr. Varma further urged for synergistic actions at the national, sub-regional, regional and global levels to enhance cooperation through policy coordination, knowledge and information exchange, as well as capacity development.
Alongside the Forum, as part of the United Nations Country Team in China, the CSAM representatives also joined bilateral meetings led by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in China Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, with the National Rural Revitalization Administration of China and the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, during which the important role of sustainable agricultural mechanization in safeguarding food security, addressing multidimensional poverty as well as optimizing the use of natural resources for rural transformation in China and beyond was underscored.
Picture courtesy: Le Dong, FAO Representation in China