Four Regional Meetings to Agree Step Forward in Addressing Food Security
During 2-4 December 2014, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), GIZ together with the Department of Agriculture of Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation organized the 5th Project Partner Meeting (PPM) of the “ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS)”, The 6th Meeting of the ASEAN BCA Expert Groups on Application and Regulation, The 1st Meeting of the ASEAN Soil and Nutrient Management Expert Group, and The Dialogue on ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework at in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Attended by over 60 participants from nine ASEAN Member States, with the exception of Brunei Darussalam, the meetings highlighted progress of activities and discussed strategies and project activities as step forward for activities implementation at regional and national levels from 2015-2017.
Overview of the implementation strategies of the ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
The 5th PPM agreed with the overall implementation strategies of SAS project outlining key activities and their linkages across the three intervention areas, namely policy framework, production technologies (i.e. biocontrol agents, soil and nutrient management), and market linkages. Project implementation strategies appears below.
The 5th PPM recognized that other GIZ partner projects could provide complementary support in the implementation of SAS Project. These projects include:
- Forestry and Climate Change (FOR-CC) (Climate Smart Agriculture Component)
- Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA)
- ASEAN Food Standard
- Remote sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies (RIICE)
Outcomes and Recommendations of the 6th Meeting of ASEAN BCA Expert Groups on Application and Regulation
The proposed activities and interventions namely, policy frameworks, implementation of production technologies, and market linkages were discussed and agreed. Complementing the interventions at national level for achieving the project goals of SAS, there are some regionally integrative elements that support the implementation of the AIFS and also relate to ASEAN standards like ASEAN Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Organic.
Outcomes and Recommendations of the 1st Meeting of ASEAN Soil and Nutrient Management (SNM) Expert Group
The Meeting agreed on the following.
- Draft definition of the term “soil and nutrient management” for ASEAN Guidelines as “Soil and nutrient management is an integrated measure to manage soils, nutrients, water and crops in a sustainable manner to optimize crop production”;
- The tentative scope of ASEAN Guidelines on SNM; and
- To include general role concerning the bio-input database after the scope is defined.
Outcomes and Recommendations of the Dialogue on ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework
The Dialogue discussed on what and how “ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS)” can support ASEAN and ASEAN Member States. The recommendations for activities have been provided in relation to the two topics discussed i.e. a) Synergizing food security policy (national and regional) as well as develop and promote Sustainable Agrifood Systems; and b) Developing/promoting market linkages.
Challenges and Way Forward for the ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
- SAS project should give focus in the promotion of sustainable agrifood systems and how it will contribute to food security in ASEAN;
- Sustainable agrifood systems should target on GAP products by improving integrated pest management (through the use of bio-inputs), better soil and nutrient management, and market linkages. Organic products could be considered if they are considered high priority in the country(s);
- Policy dialogue on food and nutrition security at both regional and national levels are important to raise awareness on the AIFS Framework, linkages and contribution of sustainable agrifood systems to food security and other issues of importance (i.e. food trade, nutrition, etc.);
- Planning and implementation of SAS activities across intervention areas at both regional and national levels should be coordinated to ensure interlinkages, synergies and greater impacts; and
- Capacity development is considered a cross-cutting issue across intervention areas and should be designed and developed to suit the target groups and context.
Launching and handing over of the translation AIFS Framework and ASEAN BCA Guidelines
In conjunction with four meetings, the translation the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the ASEAN Guidelines on the Regulation, Use and Trade of Biological Control Agent (BCA) was launched and handed over to Head delegations from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand for the implementation by the ASEAN Member States at national level.
ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN region (SPA-FS)
The translation of AIFS Framework and SPA-FS has been accomplished for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand with a view to facilitating the implementation at the national level and promoting awareness and understanding among concerned stakeholders, which need multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches and collaboration.
It is hoped that AIFS Framework provides a useful basis for mutual understanding on food security and the development of policies and strategies to improve food security situation at national level and contributes to ASEAN integration and community-building process.
ASEAN BCA Guidelines
The ASEAN Guidelines on the Regulation, Use and Trade of Biological Control Agent (BCA) describes ways to improve sustainable crop protection through more extended use of BCA in concert with the principles of “integrated pest management”. A working definition, focusing on BCA within the context of internationally-recognized IPM narratives. BCA encompass a wide range of products. It is acknowledged that they are not applicable to all pest management situations, so specific case studies, where application appears effective and feasible; regulations and how they might develop in future, with necessary improvements, rationalization and harmonization; and suggestions for improvement that integrate aspects of regulation and use of BCA in details are described in the Guidelines.
It is hope that the Guidelines provides an agreed framework for future development of BCA: specifically creating a regional blueprint for national regulation and implementation strategies. In addition, harmonization of registration requirements would make regulation of BCA easier, less costly and promote their trade between ASEAN Member States.