11:21 | 18/09/2017 Economy- Society
(VEN) - Senior officials of the 21 Pacific Rim nations met last month in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and issued a statement recognizing the links between food security, poverty, climate change and sustainable development.
The APEC 2017 Food Security Week and the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change was sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in coordination with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Can Tho People’s Committee.
The Mekong Delta is considered the largest rice granary and rice export center in Vietnam, providing more than 90 percent of Vietnam’s rice export volume, with rice being exported to 150 countries around the world. However, in recent years, the Delta has been strongly affected by climate change, especially drought and salinity intrusion.
Climate change and natural calamities have also heavily affected other economies in the Asia-Pacific region and caused serious damages to agricultural production and the livelihood of the global population. Therefore, ensuring food security and enhancing sustainable agriculture in response to climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing not only Vietnam but Asia-Pacific and the world.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s estimates indicate that about 800 million people in the world remain undernourished, including around 500 million in the Asia-Pacific region.
With its 21 member states accounting for around 39 percent of the world’s population, 57 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP), and 49 percent of world trade, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is working on areas such as trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, food security and sustainable agriculture, aiming to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity in the region.
Addressing the dialogue, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Le Quoc Doanh, highlighted the need for ensuring national food security, which is considered a decisive factor in economic development and poverty reduction. Due to changes in consumer tastes, conversion of distribution systems and effects of industrialization, urbanization and climate change, APEC economies have conducted agricultural reforms in recent years. This has opened up opportunities, but also poses challenges for the APEC economies in ensuring food security, enhancing sustainable agriculture and promoting poverty reduction.
Agreeing on food security goals
In their statement, APEC ministers and high-level representatives responsible for food security and agriculture call on the economies to strengthen and coordinate efforts at global, regional and economic levels in developing sustainable agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, and fisheries systems that are sensitive to climate change, as appropriate.
The region’s natural resources are under stress from over consumption, land and maritime habitat degradation, fresh water scarcity and loss of biodiversity.
Greater concreted efforts, including cross-border coordination, to foster sustainable use and management of land, forests, water and marine resources, are essential to both food security and environmental protection.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung called on the APEC economies to cooperate and support each other in building and developing sustainable and green agriculture. Differences in production ability, human resources and high-tech remain barriers to regional development, requiring the APEC members to step up their cooperation and seek the best measures to reach sustainable and green agriculture adaptable to climate change.
To ensure food security, the Vietnamese agricultural sector has strengthened scientific and technological research and transfer in agriculture, forestry and fisheries to increase productivity as well as product quality, while promoting technological applications in agricultural management. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also asked the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute to produce rice varieties with high resistance. In addition, localities should reorganize production, promote links between farmers and businesses, and enhance the capacity of processing businesses.
APEC economies adopted an action plan to implement the APEC Multi-Year Framework Program on Food Security and Climate Change; an action plan to implement the APEC Strategic Framework on Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth; and the Can Tho Statement on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change.