JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
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 second meeting in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 11 October 2002, under the chairmanship of Dr. Siene Saphangthong, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR.
DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN ASIA AND ITS COEXISTENCE WITH OTHER REGIONS
2. The Ministers recognized that small farm production predominates the agriculture sectors of the ASEAN + 3 countries and that agriculture is one of the principal foundations of society and the economy. They exchanged views on the characteristics of their respective agriculture sectors, such as sustainability of agriculture, and on the various challenges and concerns they face in view of increasing modernization and globalization. They also recognized the necessity to ensure the coexistence of the various types of agriculture in this region.
3. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries with a view to protect the environment and sustainably manage the natural resources, in line with the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the Vision Report on East Asian cooperation by the East Asian Vision Group.
4. The Ministers, while recognizing some positive effects of trade liberalization, also urged that due consideration be given to food security, rural development and environmental protection.
5. The Ministers agreed to continuously exert themselves to narrow the gap between member countries and to reduce hunger in the region based on the discussion at the World Food Summit Five Years Later held in Rome, Italy. They reaffirmed the importance of actively undertaking regional cooperation through international organization such as FAO as well as exchanging information regarding the sustainable agricultural production in the region with a view to prevent possible exhaustion of resources such as farm land, water, forestry and fisheries.
6. The Ministers agreed that ASEAN + 3 countries attending the forthcoming 3rd World Water Forum to be held in March 2003 should highlight the particular situations and needs of respective countries. In the light of the Asian small farm agriculture, the Ministers also agreed that meaningful participation of farmers is essential to the success, effectiveness and sustainability of programs that address the conservation and sustainable use of water resources for agriculture.
7. The Ministers were pleased with the progress on the “The Study on East Asian Rice Reserve System”. The Study has completed a comprehensive analysis of relevant countries in the region that will serve as the basis for designing the Rice Reserve System. The continuing activities of this project include the establishment of a Pilot Emergency Rice Reserve Scheme which aims to generate empirical research for key information for the improvement of the system.
8. The Ministers also agreed to launch the Pilot Project of the East Asian Emergency Rice Reserve, on a voluntary basis, to improve the existing coordinating and monitoring system of the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) and to aim at the expeditious establishment of the East Asian Rice Reserve System with a view to strengthening food security and eliminating poverty in the region. The detail plan for the pilot project will be initiated as a reference for member countries to make their decisions related to the establishment of the Rice Reserve System. In addition, a Steering Committee will be established to guide in the implementation of the Pilot Project. The Ministers also requested that Thailand and Japan will serve as the interim coordinators for the Pilot Project.
9. The Ministers also took note of the progress on the development of the “ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS)” and agreed that the activities would start early next year, based on the proposal of the First Technical Meeting held in August 2002. The Ministers also agreed to hold a “Seminar for Director-Generals of Agricultural Statistics and Information in ASEAN Countries” towards the further development of the AFSIS.
10. The Ministers appreciated the progress of AMAF’s ASEAN IPM Project and approved in principle the proposal to expand the Project to include the Peoples’ Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
11. The Ministers have noted the positive gesture of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to cooperate in the area of agriculture with ASEAN and its member countries, and expressed satisfaction with the agricultural cooperation activities that have been carried out between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and ASEAN. For the purpose of strengthening the ASEAN cooperation with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, the Ministers welcomed the new project proposals.
12. The Ministers noted that the Sixth ASEAN and People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea Summit will be held in November 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia during which the highlights of the Second Meeting of AMAF Plus Three will be reported.
13. Lastly, the Ministers agreed to have their third meeting in Malaysia in October 2003.
LIST OF MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
H.E. Dato Idris Belaman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam
H.E. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia
H.E. Ahlan B. Razif, Ambassador of Indonesia to the Lao PDR
H.E. Dr. Siene Saphangthong, Minister of Agriculture & Forestry, Laos
H.E. Dato’ Seri Haji Mohd Shariff bin Haji Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
H.E. Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman, Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia
H.E. U Ohn Myint, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar
H.E. Hon. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Secretary of Agriculture, the Philippines
H.E. Ms. Seetoh Hoy Cheng, Singapore’s Ambassador to Lao PDR
H.E. Sora-at Klinpratoom, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
H.E. Le Huy Ngo, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam
H.E. Han Chang Fu, Vice, Minister of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China
H.E. Tadamori Oshima, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
H.E. Dong – Tae Kim, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Korea.