Technological Transfer and South-South Cooperation Key to Food Security in Asia-Pacific

ESCAP and China mark 30 years of partnership by focusing on food security
(24 August 2009)

For millions across the Asia-Pacific region the economic crisis has become a food crisis, and while the global economy may be showing signs of recovering the opportunity to set agriculture on a more sustainable path remain a significant challenge to the region.

Food security was the key issue discussed in Beijing Monday at an event marking three decades of cooperation between China and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), where speakers stressed that there is now a need for stronger South-South cooperation and transfer of technologies when responding to the challenges of food insecurity and climate change.

“Agriculture is the main livelihood of the poor, providing employment for 60 per cent of the working population in Asia and the Pacific,” said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP in her keynote address. “If future economic development is to be sustainable and inclusive, significant investments are required by governments to promote the development of pro-poor sustainable agricultural systems.”

The Asia-Pacific region is home to 64 per cent of the world’s undernourished. Rising food prices, compounded by energy price fluctuations and the current financial crisis, has made innovation in agricultural technology imperative.

Dr. Heyzer said that China has provided support for many technical cooperation initiatives - helping developing countries in Asia and the Pacific adopt new development approaches and technologies – and that such cooperation is a key to development in the region.

“South-South cooperation holds the key to building upon the best of what our region has to offer,” Dr Heyzer said. “Let us leverage our strengths to create a more integrated and inclusive Asia Pacific region - free from poverty, free from want and free from hunger.”

Mr. Niu Dun, Vice Minister of Agriculture of China who also spoke at the event, thanked ESCAP for the past 30 years of successful partnership and looked forward to continued cooperation between China and ESCAP.

One example of the ongoing partnership has been the establishment in Beijing of a regional institution of ESCAP, the United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (UNAPCAEM). UNAPCAEM is designed to be a centre of excellence in agricultural technology transfer through South-South cooperation.

Monday’s event was attended by representatives from governments within the region, UN agencies and other key stakeholder.


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Mr. Bentley Jenson
UN/ESCAP Information Services
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