The Nineteenth Session of the Governing Council of the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was held on 30 November 2023, in Shanghai, China. The Council meets annually to review the work report as well as the administrative and financial status of the Centre, and to provide direction for the Centre’s programme work for the coming year. The Governing Council was held back-to-back with the Tenth Regional Forum on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Asia and the Pacific.
The Nineteenth Session was attended by all nine members of the Council, namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. Representatives from Bhutan, Nepal, the Republic of Korea and Uzbekistan attended the meeting as observers.
The Governing Council elected Ms. Malathy Parasuraman, Director General of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka, as the Chair of the Nineteenth Session and Mr. Anuchit Chamsing, Director, Post-harvest Engineering Research Group, Agricultural Engineering Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, Thailand, as the Vice Chair.
In her welcome remarks at the opening of the Session, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, highlighted that sustainable agricultural mechanization helps smallholder farmers and leads to the improvement of food production, both in terms of quality and quantity. While recognizing that the integration of new technologies in agriculture not only enhances the efficiency and precision of farming practices but also opens new avenues for data-driven solutions, empowering farmers with real-time information, and fostering informed choices on crop management and resource utilization, she remarked that the effectiveness of sustainable mechanization practices, even if paired with digital applications, hinges on the active involvement and empowerment of women. She thanked the Government of China, the Centre’s host country, for its voluntary financial contributions and providing office premises for the Centre, as well as other members of their generous contributions and strong support to CSAM.
The Governing Council complimented the Centre on the excellent progress achieved in the implementation of its programmes and activities in 2023. It recognized that wider adoption of mechanization is the key to ensure food security, improving productivity as well as social and economic development. In the context of a changing climate scenario, the importance of the adoption of suitable machinery and climate-smart technologies was also highlighted.
On this occasion, the Council recommended the Centre to continue promoting the gender mainstreaming in sustainable agricultural mechanization, renew its efforts in promoting the adoption of machinery through information platforms, aligning to member States’ priorities with a results-oriented approach including policy advisory on collecting data more efficiently, supporting manufacturing sectors through technology transfer activities on cross-cutting issues, sharing and documenting success stories among member States, verifying the feasibility and suitability of new and climate-smart technologies, and exploring possibilities for the application of mechanization in the livestock sector.