IPC’s work in the FAO Regional Conference for the Asia Pacific

fao regional conference

March 7, 2024

Food producer movements and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from across Asia and the Pacific convened virtually in January 2024 to contribute to and prepare for the 37th FAO Regional Conference for the Asia Pacific. This consultation process, held on January 23-24, aimed to unify the voices of various stakeholders in the region’s food and agriculture sector.

The CSO consultation was co-hosted by  National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO) and Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) of Sri Lanka. This consultation also highlighted the crucial role of organizations like the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC)  and the Ad-hoc Committee (AHC) composed of AFA, Asiadhraa, and NGOs.

The CSO consultation has become a regular event leading up to the FAO Regional Conference, with participation steadily increasing since 2010. This year, over 100 representatives participated, reflecting the diversity of the region’s agricultural sector. These included small-scale producers, fishers, indigenous peoples, rural workers, and NGOs.

The aim of the consultation was to gather input and perspectives on key challenges facing the region’s food systems. Discussions centered on key areas for FAO’s work plan in the coming years. Participants addressed the current state of food and agriculture in the region, with a particular focus on finding solutions for smallholders and family farmers. The consultation echoed the importance of support from the governments for effectively implementing the programs on food security, agroecology, and with specific focus on increased participation of  smallholder food producers.

In his opening message FAO Assistant Director-General Jong-Jin Kim emphasized the importance of stakeholder input in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, particularly those related to hunger and poverty reduction.

Representatives from various CSO groups delivered opening remarks, highlighting the importance of collaboration and addressing specific challenges. Mr. Shamila Rathanasooriya (MONLAR/IPC) stressed the need for food sovereignty, while Ms. Esther Penunia (AFA/AHC) spoke about fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

Mr. George Dixon (FIMARC/IPC) highlighted the plight of marginalized communities heavily reliant on agriculture. He called for a focus on agroecology and FAO’s role in addressing complex challenges.

Mr. Herman Kumara (WFFP/IPC) underscored the collaborative effort behind the consultation and the need to address the challenges faced by fishermen and farmers, particularly vulnerable to Sri Lanka’s economic situation.

CSO representatives comprising IPC and AHC groups also participated in the FAO’s Senior Officers Meeting and the 37th  Ministerial Session held in Sri Lanka in February 2024. Anuka Vimukthi De Silva (LVC/IPC) delivered the CSO statement during the Ministerial Session.

The CSO consultation demonstrates the crucial role civil society plays in shaping FAO’s work on food security and sustainable agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region. By coming together and sharing their expertise, these groups can help build a more resilient and equitable food system built on food sovereignty.

Read the CSO Statement