ASEAN Food & Agriculture 'Road to COP27' Series Gathers Critical Climate Change Inputs from Region's Stakeholders

ASEAN Food & Agriculture 'Road to COP27' Series Gathers Critical Climate Change Inputs from Region's Stakeholders

Over 100 Key Stakeholders take part in Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam National Workshops

SINGAPORE, Nov. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A first-ever initiative and roadshow to seek key stakeholder input on climate change mitigation and adaptation with Southeast Asia food production has concluded prior to the start of COP27 in Egypt this weekend. The ASEAN Food & Agriculture 'Road to COP27' Series, co-coordinated by Canada-ASEAN Business Council, EU-ASEAN Business Council, US-ASEAN Business Council and CropLife Asia, convened national workshops in the capitals of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam – collectively bringing together over 100 government, civil society, and private sector stakeholders.

A host of recommendations were raised by stakeholders during the three national sessions, including: growing the role national farming cooperatives can play with related training; education capacity-building for smallholder farmers with greater adoption of new innovations that can mitigate climate change impact; addressing regulatory process timelines to better enable farmer access to newer technologies; improved farmer access to financing; and greater partnership among farmer organizations, governments, private sector and civil society to better equip regional farmers. These and many other recommendations raised were provided to the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN – CRN) as part of the organization's ASEAN Negotiating Group for Agriculture preparation processes leading up to COP27.

"Climate change adaptation is critical for the long-term sustainability and continued growth of the region's food and agriculture sector," said Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council. "We are committed to working with the ASEAN Member States to increase sustainability in the agri-food sector and safeguard the region's food security."

According to the 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report issued earlier this year by the United Nations, the number of people affected by hunger rose last year in Asia from 418 million to 425 million. Making the larger region the global leader in this most disconcerting category.

Meanwhile, climate change is wreaking havoc on regional smallholders' ability to produce the safe and nutritious crops to drive food security. Average temperatures across the Southeast Asia region specifically have risen every decade since 1960. Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Myanmar are among the 20 countries most affected globally by climate change over the past two decades in particular.

"Creating a food secure future in ASEAN will take the cooperation of many stakeholders, including governments, farmers, producers, international suppliers and partners working together to ensure citizens have access to safe, healthy and affordable food," added Mr. Greg Eidsness, Chair of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee.

The ASEAN region is also known to have one of the highest frequencies of unexpected severe weather events, which have destroyed human lives, property and crops. Climate change is exacerbating the many recurring constraints already faced by smallholder farmers, such as soil degradation and pest and disease outbreaks.

"At a time of clear worsening in the global climate, and increased concerns over food security, it is vital that we give farmers the tools to ensure both increased and higher quality production, whilst also improving the resilience of crops," said Mr. Chris Humphrey, Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council.

With COP27 scheduled to convene in Egypt from November 6 – 18 and bring government delegates together to accelerate global efforts with the climate crisis, the need for discourse and discussion around new approaches, innovations and technologies that can support national climate change adaptation efforts with food production and delivery is critically important.

"The inputs from this very important series of dialogues will serve as a reminder for the ASEAN Negotiating Group for Agriculture (ANGA) as we embark on the finalization at COP27, of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, which is a landmark decision for agriculture under UNFCCC," said Ms. Imelda (Dada) Bacudo, Convener of the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN) and the ASEAN Negotiating Group for Agriculture (ANGA). "The summaries from the countries add another layer of perspective from the business sector which is very much needed in scaling up the identified priority approaches of the region."

According to data released earlier this year, more than half of ASEAN policymakers (51%) agree that climate change is the biggest obstacle currently facing ASEAN food systems. A majority also believe that climate change has a widespread negative impact on agricultural issues in ASEAN such as maintaining soil quality (92%), managing plant disease (88%), ensuring sufficient crop yields (88%), and managing pests/infestations (85%).

These findings and others were part of a research white paper released in April 2022 titled Policymaker Survey: Climate Change Impact on ASEAN Agriculture. Conducted by market research company PSB Insights and made possible through cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and CropLife Asia, the initiative was designed to better understand the impact of climate change on agriculture, food production and smallholder farmers in the ASEAN region. Both quantitative and qualitative interviews were conducted for this research.

"Asia's smallholder farmers are on the frontlines of climate change impact to regional food production, and their access to mitigation and adaptation tools is critical," said Dr. Siang Hee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia. "Working together to ensure our smallholders have the tools they need to grow the food we depend on is more crucial than ever. I'm grateful for the partnership that made these workshops possible and the strong stakeholder participation at each of them."

The April research further revealed that ASEAN policymakers are acutely aware of the devastating impact of climate change on smallholder farmers, with over 60% of them strongly agreeing that farmers will be negatively affected the most by climate change impact to food productivity/security.

The full report can be accessed via CropLife Asia's website: http://www.croplifeasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Policymaker-Survey-Impact-of-Climate-Change-on-ASEAN-Agriculture-FINAL-April-2022.pdf

About CropLife Asia

CropLife Asia is a non-profit society and the regional organization of CropLife International, the voice of the global plant science industry. We advocate a safe, secure food supply, and our vision is food security enabled by innovative agriculture. CropLife Asia supports the work of 15 member associations across the continent and is led by six member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development. For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org


Source: CropLife Asia
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