Momentum is growing for increased South-South cooperation to meet and overcome the challenges of poverty and food insecurity in the Asia-Pacific region, experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in Bangkok on the sidelines of a three-day multi partner EXPO on South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
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In collaboration with FAO and other United Nations agencies and partners, the eleventh annual Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) 2022 is taking place from 12 to 14 September, co-hosted by the Government of Thailand and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to showcase evidence-based successful development solutions and initiatives.
FAO is co-leading two thematic solution forums during the event. FAO and two other Rome-based Agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP) are jointly organizing a Thematic Solution Forum on ”unlocking the potential of National Home-Grown School Meals Programme (HGSF) to transform local food systems” and to support COVID-19 pandemic recovery through South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC).
Home-Grown School Feeding in Asia and the Pacific is viewed as an effective means to reach the more vulnerable people living in hunger and offers a strategic pathway towards food systems transformation. The programme can strengthen local value chains for the global food crisis response and generate long-term multi-sectoral benefits in education, health and livelihoods for children and communities.
Yet, while many countries have achieved significant progress in implementing the school meals programme, a number of them still face challenges, one in particular is connecting smallholder farmers to the programmes.
“The agrifood sector – and its smallholder farmers, fishers and herders – remains a key source of food, income and employment, for millions of people in Asia and the Pacific. But we need to transform our agrifood systems in order to ensure food and livelihood security and a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the other challenges that face us all in the Global South,” said Anping Ye, Director of FAO’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division.
“For this reason, FAO recognizes the importance of engaging with the private sector and other non-state actors, to promote the spread and uptake of new technologies and innovations in the global south and to strengthen market-related measures, including policies, to support these efforts.”
During the EXPO, FAO and the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) will organize a forum ‘to promote knowledge sharing on Conservation Agriculture (CA) policies, practices and solutions amongst partners’, on 13 September.
CA is well-known as a successful farming system for crop intensification while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment.
However, the inadequate availability of appropriate machinery and equipment is one the critical constraints for promoting CA. Concentrated efforts must be made to strengthen these systems and to enhance their resilience and capacity to become more self-reliant in the long term.
FAO along with multilateral development partners focuses on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) as a complementary modality to bridge the technological gap in support of sustainable development and eradication of poverty and hunger in the world, including the Asia- Pacific region. FAO has been promoting SSCT in its latest Plan of Action for 2022-25.
The GSSD Expo will enable dialogue between governments, development agencies, international organizations, regional entities, and other key stakeholders to build partnerships and scale-up solutions to strengthen sustainable agrifood systems transformation across the Global South.
SSTC can play a pivotal role in accelerating progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This cooperation between and among countries of the Global South can act as a key delivery modality to catalyze agricultural development, food and nutrition security, rural development, and poverty reduction for the attainment of FAO’s four betters- Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and Better Life – leaving no one behind. ■