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Joint Public Forum and Workshop on Food Security in the Asia Pacific 'Securing Food Futures in the Asia Pacific: Evaluating Regional Frameworks for Food Security'

Date: 6-8 October 2010
Venue: Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Between 2005 and 2008, global food prices increased by 83 per cent. The price of wheat rose by 127 per cent, rice by 170 per cent and that of maize tripled. As a result the number of people suffering from chronic hunger reached a historic high of 1.02 billion in 2009, with the Asia Pacific region accounting for 63 per cent (642 million people) of that total. Although the situation improved in 2010 due to a more favourable economic environment and the fall in both international and domestic food prices, the future remains daunting. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for example forecasted that the average wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years will increase by between 15–40 per cent in real terms compared to the average levels during 1997–2006. These events and projections demonstrate the global nature of the food problem, and underscore the importance of deeper regional cooperation.                                                                             

To address this growing food problem, the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies and the Department of International Relations of the Australian National University (ANU) jointly organised a public forum and workshop titled ‘Securing Food Futures in the Asia Pacific: Evaluating Regional Frameworks for Food Security’ on 6–8 October 2010 at the ANU in Canberra, Australia. The event is co-funded by the Japan Foundation under its Intellectual Exchange Programme and the MacArthur Foundation’s Asia Security Initiative.

Both the public forum and the workshop focused on regional frameworks for addressing food security challenges. In contemporary policy debates, food security has become more complex, multi-scale and interconnected. For some, the focus is on the human security of those who are poor, marginalised and most likely to be food insecure. As food insecurities are no longer just local problems, effective policy responses supported by regional governance arrangements are required. The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Explore and evaluate the regional frameworks on food security of multilateral and regional institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • Identify best practices and gaps in those arrangements.
  • Explore ways to strengthen regional cooperation on food security.

This workshop was aimed at improving knowledge of the kinds of regional governance arrangements that are required to guarantee a resilient and secure food system and to protect those who are most vulnerable to food scarcity.

The workshop examined the conceptual framework of food security as well as existing regional initiatives. It also identified a number of issues central to food security such as the impact of climate change on food security, community rights to food security, the relation between issues such as gender and health to food security, the challenges of food security in the fisheries and the agricultural sector in the Asia Pacific region, and the emerging issue of farmland acquisition. The discussion framed the multi-sectoral food security dimension by looking at issues of governance and institutions, the different level of analyses, food security as public goods and types of policy interventions.

Participants included representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), scholars from reputable think tanks and universities such as the APEC Study Centre of the University of Auckland, The Crawford Fund for a Food Secure World Australia, the WorldFish Center, the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

A report on the proceedings of this event is now available.

 

Presentations delivered at the Public Forum
 
Professor Paul Teng
Dean, Graduate Programmes & Research, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
and
Senior Fellow, Advisor to Food Security Programme, Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
 
Dr Osamu Koyama
Director, Research Strategy Office, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Japan
 
Australia’s perspective on regional food security
Dr Denis Blight AO FRSA
Executive Director, The Crawford Fund for a Food Secure World, The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Canberra, Australia
 
 
Presentations delivered at the Workshop
 
Introduction Session
 
Professor Paul Teng
Dean, Graduate Programmes & Research, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
and
Senior Fellow, Advisor to Food Security Programme, Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
 
Professor Lorraine Elliott
Department of International Relations, Australia National University, Canberra, Australia
 
Mr Steven Crimp
Senior Research Scientist, Climate Impacts Analyst, Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
 
 
Session on Regional food security initiatives Session
 
Mr Katsuji Matsunami
Advisor to Director General, Practice Leader, Regional and Sustainable Development Department, Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food Security Unit, Asian Development Bank (ADB)
 
Associate Professor Robert Scollay
Director of APEC Study Centre, Business School, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
 
 
Session on Evaluating food security frameworks I (sectors and support)
 
Dr Edward Hugh Allison
Director, Policy, Economics and Social Science, The Worldfish Centre, Penang, Malaysia
 
Dr TJ Higgins
Honorary Fellow, Plant Industry, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australia
 
Mr PK Hangzo
Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
 
and
 
Ms Irene A Kuntjoro
Associate Research Fellow and Centre Event Manager, Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
 
 
Session on Evaluating food security frameworks II (enabling environments for local food security)
 
Dr Keokam Kraisoraphong
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
 
Associate Professor Kyoko Kusakabe
Gender and Development Studies, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
 
Associate Professor Jane Dixon
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


Posted on: 6/10/2010 8:30:00 AM  |  Topic: Food Security


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