The Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 27 June 2019, reaffirmed their commitments to further strengthen regional cooperation by promoting cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development for enhancing food, nutrition and livelihood security of the Region.
The Inaugural Session of the Meeting was attended by Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Royal Government of Bhutan as the Chief Guest. While addressing the Meeting, Foreign Minister stated that in the rapidly changing regional and global state of affairs, SAARC would need to align itself to the emerging priorities and assured the unwavering support and commitment of the Royal Government of Bhutan to the SAARC processes.
Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, Minister of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan and Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) also addressed the Inaugural Session.
Thimphu Statement on Agriculture and Rural Development, was unanimously adopted by the Meeting, with 19-points regional pledges and strategies, to deal with the emerging challenges being faced by the region in agriculture and allied sectors and to advance agricultural sector of the Region.
The Meeting, among others, agreed to promote multi-sectoral approaches to attain higher level of food safety and nutrition security; promote climate resilient agricultural strategies and technologies; expand agro-processing and building competitive agricultural value chains; facilitate gender mainstreaming and attracting youth and women in agriculture; intensify agricultural research, development and innovation through higher public investment and public-private partnership; adopt appropriate measures for addressing the issues related to transboundary animal diseases.
Recognizing the increasing challenges, posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to animal and human health in the region, the Ministers also adopted a Statement on SAARC’s Cooperation on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) with some specific directives to tackle this menace.
Hosted by the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers was preceded by the Meetings of the SAARC Senior Agriculture Officials, Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Third Multi-stakeholders’ Dialogue.
The Government of Nepal will host the Fifth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers.