1. The ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Ministers and the Ministers of the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea held their first meeting in Medan, North Sumatera on 5 October 2001, under the chairmanship of H.E. Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih, Minister of Agriculture, Indonesia. The Meeting was held pursuant to the mandate of the Leaders of ASEAN Plus Three at their Summit on 28 November 1999 in Manila.
2. The Agriculture and Forestry Ministers of ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries acknowledged the importance of this First Meeting in opening up new venues for dialogue on agriculture, fisheries, and forestry issues with the aim of promoting and enhancing cooperation in the region and of exchanging views on the many serious challenges facing agriculture, fisheries, and forestry in the international agenda.
AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY IN ASIA
3. The Agriculture and Forestry Ministers of ASEAN, through a common statement, and the Plus Three countries exchanged information on the agricultural, fisheries, and forestry situations and contributions to the general economy and their respective countries. ASEAN also informed the Plus Three countries on the regional framework on cooperation in food, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry as well as on past and on-going cooperation with Plus Three countries; and suggested projects for future cooperation.
4. People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea highlighted the significant similarity among countries in the East Asian region, whereby rice cultivation is closely linked to the rural sector, and thus has a strong socio-cultural-economic role in the region.
5. The Ministers recognized that agriculture, fisheries, and forestry in East Asian countries share not only common climatic, cultural and social aspects, but what’s more, is also based upon rice cultivation. They also agreed that projects implemented under this cooperation would be to further develop agriculture in East Asian to become more competitive, to ensure food security in the region and to alleviate poverty. Furthermore, they also recognized that agriculture should not be treated in the same way as other sectors to ensure fair and equitable development of East-Asian agriculture.
6. The Ministers as well recognized and underlined the increasing role that fisheries could play in supporting food security primarily as source of animal protein, expanding job opportunities, improving the incomes of small-scale fishermen and fish-farmers families and to the better attainment of economic growth as a whole. The Ministers further recognized meanwhile marine capture fisheries have been in general under high pressure; aquaculture activities should be further promoted in a sustainable manner.
7. The Ministers recognized that forest ecosystem in Asia plays an important role in stabilizing global climate, conserving water and soil, and providing environmental services. They also recognized that projects implemented under this cooperation would be to further develop sustainable forest management.
8. The Ministers took note on the initiation for consultation and possible collaboration of ASEAN and the US-ASEAN Business Council as well as Asian Farmer Groups for Cooperation and look forwards a closer cooperation to these organizations.
AREAS AND MODALITIES OF COOPERATION IN FOOD, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY
9. In moving the cooperation forward, the Ministers identified the following areas of collaboration between ASEAN and Plus Three Countries:
- Poverty Alleviation and Food Security in the Asian Region;
- Research & Development on Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry;
- Human Resource Development in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry;
- Coordination and Cooperation in International and Regional Issues in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry;
- Agriculture Information Networking; and
- Trade Facilitation.
10. The Ministers looked forward to undertaking cooperative activities in these areas, which would enhance relationship and cooperation among the food, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry institutions of ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. They adopted the following criteria for deciding projects in the areas of collaboration:
- Projects should be regional in nature and of benefit to the Member Countries;
- Projects could be implemented with the participation of as many Member Countries as possible. However, these projects should involve, at the minimum, participation by any two (2) ASEAN Member Countries and any one (1) country from the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea;
- Projects should be implemented on a cost-sharing basis. Nevertheless some flexibility could be provided to the new members of ASEAN namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam; and
- Project proposals should be approved by SOM-AMAF Plus Three.
11. The Ministers tasked the Senior Agriculture and Forestry Officials to identify projects in the respective areas and to report their progress to AMAF Plus Three. Particular attention shall be made towards skills training and capacity building activities wherein the long-standing experience and expertise of the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in the agriculture and forestry sector of Southeast Asia, will be employed to develop the manpower in the region.
12. To maintain this cooperative and beneficial forum, the Ministers agreed to institutionalize the AMAF Plus Three and SOM-AMAF Plus Three.
13. The Ministers welcome the invitation of Thai Government to attend the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: “Fish for the People, “ to be held in Bangkok, 19-24 November 2001.
14. The Ministers agreed to study/ start the specific cooperation in the framework of ASEAN Plus Three aimed at reducing poverty and strengthening food security in East Asia. In this regard, the Ministers agreed to task Thailand to coordinate a study on East Asian Rice Reserve System, and to report the outcome of the Study at the next AMAF Plus Three Meeting for their deliberation. The Ministers welcomed the assistance by Japan for the implementation of the Study.
15. The Ministers also agreed to task Thailand to coordinate the improvement of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) in cooperation with international organizations concerned. The Ministers welcomed the announcement that Japan is considering assisting in the development of AFSIS.
16. The Ministers noted that strengthening the exchanges on agricultural science and technology and the training on human resources between ASEAN and the plus 3 countries are becoming important components in the future cooperation. The Ministers expressed appreciation for the sponsorship and assistance provided by China for some activities such as “Forum on Agricultural Technology and Cooperation in East Asia”, “Training in Groundwater Resource Development for CLMV countries” and “HRD in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) for Forest Personnel of CLMV”
PREPARATION FOR Third ASEAN and People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea Summit
17. The Ministers noted that the Third ASEAN and People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea Summit will be held in November 2001 to which the highlights of the First Meeting of AMAF Plus Three will be reported.
18. The Ministers agreed to have their second meeting in Lao PDR in October 2002.
LIST OF MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
- H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam
- H.E. Mr. May Sam Oeun, Secretary of State of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia
- H.E. Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih, Minister of Agriculture, Indonesia
- H.E. Dr. Rokhmin Dahuri, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
- Honourable Mr. Abdul Fattah, DS., Director-General of Forestry Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia
- H.E. Mr. Sitaheng Rasphone, Acting Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR
- H.E. Datuk Dr. Mohd. Effendi Norwawi, Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
- H.E. Datuk Anifah Aman, Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia
- H.E. U Ohn Myint, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar
- H.E. Mr. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Secretary of Agriculture, the Philippines
- Honourable Dr. Ngiam Tong Tau, Chief Executive Officer, Agri-food and Veterinary Authority, Singapore
- H.E. Mr. Prapat Panyachatraksa, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
- Honourable Dr. Le Van Minh, Director-General, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam
- H.E. Mr. Liu Jian, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China
- H.E. Mr. Takeshi Noma, Senior Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
- H.E. Mr. Kim Dong Keun, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Korea.