Civil society organizations (CSO) from Asia and the Pacific have participated in a two-day meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in preparation for their participation in a major multilateral conference aimed at charting a course for the region’s food security and rural prosperity.
The CSO participation in FAO’s 35th Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC35) aims to concentrate positions among the civil society organizations in anticipation of their contributions to discussions at the APRC – a biennial gathering of some 46 FAO member countries from across the region.
In parallel, an online consultation amongst private sector entities is ongoing. Representatives from the private sector will also, and for the first time, have seats at the FAO’s regional governing body session. The #APRC35 will convene in Thimphu, Bhutan, 17 – 20 February.
While the APRC is a formal meeting of FAO’s member countries in Asia and the Pacific, CSOs and private sector representatives participate as observers, and are invited to make interventions during the Conference. The CSO consultation process in the Asia-Pacific region has evolved since 2010 with broad-based support from the regional civil society community and FAO. The private sector consultation and participation at the #APRC35 is a first for FAO, encouraged by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, who was elected to the post in August 2019.
“In Asia and the Pacific, FAO has been working for many years with a number of CSOs in technical work, emergency field operations, training and capacity building, and advocacy of best agricultural practices,” said Jong-Jin Kim, FAO Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, during his opening remarks to the CSO meeting. “CSOs are playing an important role in the global, regional and national inter-governmental policy-making, consultations and decision-making processes, treaties and governing bodies facilitated by FAO, including the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), and APRC.”FAO
The addition of private sector voices at #APRC35, along with those of the CSO’s, will help FAO member countries and their policy makers better define the actions needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) by 2030, particularly those related to ending hunger and poverty, Kim added.
The CSO meeting was attended by 36 participants from 26 organizations. The participants represent various constituencies including small-scale producers, fisherfolks, pastoralists, indigenous peoples or landless organizations, rural and agricultural workers, woman and youth organizations and NGOs.