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‘ASEAN Plus Three’ vows to address food security

Updated

By Ellson Quismorio

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its three dialogue partners from East Asia, namely China, Japan and South Korea, have vowed to enhance cooperation on food security.
ASEAN opening
The 13 nations are collectively dubbed the ASEAN Plus Three (APT).

On Tuesday, the second day of the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Manila, the group “[reaffirmed] their commitment to work together to ensure food security, food safety, better nutrition and equitable distribution, as well as to promote sustainable development in the region.”

This action is in line with their commitments under the United Nations (UN) Agenda for Sustainable Development to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by the year 2030.

The UN Agenda, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, officially came into force in 2016. It was adopted by world leaders in September 2015.

20th anniversary of APT Cooperation

Incidentally, this year marks the 20th anniversary of APT Cooperation, which came about as a way to mitigate the 1997 ASEAN financial crisis. The three-page statement was approved following the APT Commemorative Summit chaired by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Also attending the Summit were China State Council Premier Li Keqiang, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and South Korea President Moon Jae-In.

The three-page statement notes the “ever-increasing demand for food due to the rapid increase in global population, which has not been met by the limited growth in global grain production, and the need to safeguard regional food security with concrete and effective measures and cooperation.”

APT, through the document, also “emphasized [its] strong determination to enhance cooperation in food security by encouraging countries in the region to take effective measures.”

Fifteen measures to pursue food security cooperation were agreed upon by the participating countries.

Among these are the conduct of regular policy dialogues among the APT countries to exchange views on policies, share experiences and best practices, enhance cooperation and safeguard food security in the region; increasing private sector participation in policy discussions, programs and project formulation, research and development; and supporting countries in the region to actively and effectively coordinate their policies and actions and implement the plans to improve the comprehensive grain production capacity, including the use of green technologies, research and development and resource management systems.

They are also batting for the effective implementation of the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS) covering the period 2015 to 2020.

APT also plans to collaborate with relevant ASEAN bodies in implementing the ASEAN Food Safety Policy (AFSP).

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