BALI, Indonesia - The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) participated in the 8th Ad-Hoc Steering Committee on Climate Change and Food Security (AHSC CCFS) of the ASEAN, held in Bali, Indonesia on 28-29 March 2019. Dr. Pham Quang Minh, Head of Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) Division, ASEAN Sectoral Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat, chaired the meeting.
The meeting was set to inform the steering committee of key climate change-related decisions from the Special 39th Senior Officials Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-39th AMAF) and from the 40th AMAF. It also aimed to provide updates on key initiatives on climate change from working groups, discuss the ongoing study on the operationalization of the ASEAN Multi-sectoral Framework on Climate Change: Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security (AFCC) and the stocktaking of the ASEAN Cooperation on FAF within the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and explore potential collaboration with international partners.
Ms. Carmen Nyhria Rogel, Program Specialist of the Research and Development Department (RDD), presented SEARCA's key initiatives on food security in addressing climate change in the ASEAN Member States (AMS). Specifically, Ms. Rogel highlighted SEARCA's umbrella programs on Food and Nutrition Security for Southeast Asia (FANSSEA) and umbrella program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Southeast Asia (CChAMSEA), the knowledge centers of which were shared with the participants. The meeting also served as a venue to promote SEARCA's other initiatives such as those under Graduate Education and Institutional Development, Seed Fund for Research and Training, and Travel Grants, among others. Lastly, Ms. Rogel informed the participants that SEARCA, as one of the implementing partners of the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC), manages the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Strategic Response Fund (ASRF). Initial gains in the implementation of the ASRF were shared in the meeting. This includes the implementation of nine projects in eight AMS under its Reserved Grants (Grant 1) and the funding of three grantees to participate in conferences (Grant 2).
SEARCA, under the request of the ASEAN Secretariat, supported the development of a stocktaking paper, "Stocktaking of ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)." Dr. Roehlano M. Briones, Technical Consultant, presented the initial result of the stocktaking paper. The input and recommendation from the participants will aid in the preparation of the final draft that will eventually be submitted for endorsement by the relevant ASEAN bodies.
Dr. Doris Capistrano, ASFCC Regional Advisor, provided an update on recent developments on the ASEAN Multi-Sectoral Framework on Climate Change: Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security (AFCC) and ASFCC's future support including its transition phase. Likewise, other ASFCC implementing partners, namely, Center for Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Non-timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), and The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), presented in the meeting their key initiatives on food security and climate change.
As a side event of the 8th AHSC CCFS, the AWG-SF Secretariat hosted a meeting of ASFCC partners on 30 March 2019 chaired by Dr. Capistrano. The partners discussed preparations for the Asia Pacific Forestry Week (APWF) in Incheon, Republic of Korea on 17-21 June 2019 and the progress of ASFCC deliverables as stated in the Plan of Action (PoA) of the AWG-SF to be reported in the 13th AWG-SF Meeting in Brunei Darussalam on 1-5 July 2019. The AWG-SF Secretariat and ASFCC partners will lead Stream 2: People and Forests Living in Harmony of the APWF. Under Stream 2, SEARCA will lead Session 5: Youth and Gender Inclusion in Forestry, the concept note of which was presented by Ms. Rogel.
Ms. Amy Lecciones, ASRF Regional Program Coordinator, informed the ASFCC partners that ASRF, under Grant 2, will support the participation of AWG-SF Leaders and Focal Point as resource speakers in the APFW. Furthermore, Ms. Lecciones updated the partners on the progress of ASRF commitments to the PoA of the AWG-SF.
The ASFCC is a program funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to support the AWG-SF in addressing three inter-related issues confronting the region – food insecurity, poverty, and climate change. (Xyrus Godfrey B. Capiña)