Virtual 35th session of the FAO APRC kick starts

1-4 September, Thimphu: Around 490 delegates from FAO member nations have gathered for a virtual  35th Session of the FAO Asia and Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) to discuss the region’s present food security situation with an emphasis on COVID19 implications on food systems.

Experts say that the arrival of COVID19 has a great impact on agriculture and food systems in Asia and the Pacific, a region already beset by climate and weather-related challenges.

According to FAO, the region is home to more than half of the world’s undernourished. With COVID19, the number of hungry people in Southern Asia is projected to rise by nearly a third to 330 million by 2030, the sustainable development goal deadline to eliminate hunger and malnutrition.

Supply chains have been disrupted and demand has dropped for certain foods resulting in damage to nutrition, health and livelihoods for millions of people in this world’s most populous region.

In this pandemic situation, the APRC will be a forum to discuss the current priorities and  pressing issues in the region such as the impact of COVID19, the state of agriculture, natural resources management, food security and nutrition. It will also be an opportunity to highlight examples of partnerships, innovation and digital technologies that are helping to improve food security and nutrition challenges posed by COVID19.

“Ending hunger and poverty amid COVID19 impacts will require leveraging agricultural technology, innovation and partnerships. By working together, learning together and contributing together, we can overcome both pandemics and transform the agri-food system,” said QU Dongyu, the Director-General of FAO in his statement.

The conference will also highlight the FAO’s recently launched comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme designed to provide a flexible and coordinated global response that aims to ensure access to nutritious food for everyone. The programme includes the mobilization of all forms of resources and partnerships at the country, regional and global levels.

Some new marketing channels and new technologies that will help reduce food losses will be also discussed as these are critical to ensure the flow of nutritious foods and generate improved incomes for those working for food sectors.

The conference started yesterday with the Senior Officers Meeting under the chairmanship of Dasho Rinzin Dorji, the Agriculture Secretary, Bhutan. The Ministerial Level Meeting will be held from September 3 where the Hon’ble Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tandi Dorji will deliver a keynote address which will be then chaired by the Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, Yeshey Penjor.

The virtual conference hosted by Bhutan in collaboration with FAO will end on September 4.

The live webcast on the conference can be accessed at https://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en

Other details on the conference can be accessed at http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/aprc35/en

 

-ICTD

 

 

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