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Improved systems of agricultural statistics needed

Improved systems of agricultural statistics needed in Asia-Pacific to help the region achieve its Sustainable Development Goals

15 February, 2016, Thimphu, Bhutan – Obtaining more accurate agricultural statistics in Asia and the Pacific will help the region meet its future food security targets, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

As agriculture becomes ever more important to meeting the food security challenges of a growing and rapidly developing Asia and the Pacific, the need for improvements to its systems of collecting agricultural statistics is critical, a gathering of regional statisticians and experts heard today.

The biennial meeting of the Asia Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) plans to review the region’s preparedness in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The 26th Session of the Commission, co-organized by FAO, is being held in Thimphu, Bhutan, from 15-19 February. It is hosted by Bhutan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with delegates drawn from some 20 countries and subregional organizations. The participants will deliberate on the challenges of meeting the information needs of the agriculture sector to better monitor and respond to patterns of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition while highlighting new methodologies and initiatives that will help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The Asia and Pacific Region, home to more than 57 percent of global population, has nearly 62 percent of the world’s under-nourished. Data and information play vital roles in planning growth and development for poverty reduction in this, largely agriculturally-dependent, region,” said Yeshy Dorji, Bhutan’s Minister of Agriculture and Forests, during the opening session of the Commission.

“Agricultural statistics are vital for monitoring progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mukesh Srivastava, Secretary of APCAS. “This meeting will not only focus its attention on the importance of the SDGs, but also highlight the critical role of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics in the region in ensuring that governments are prepared for today’s challenges in providing food security through sustainable agricultural production and adaptation to climate change.”

The Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics (GSARS) is an ambitious five-year programme implemented by FAO in collaboration with other partners that seeks to empower developing countries to produce better agricultural and rural statistics for effective policy making and to improve lives. GSARS is currently being implemented in 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific to produce a Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics (SPARS) that will assist in building national capacities to produce core data for monitoring the SDGs and for better development planning.

Bhutan is a GSARS partner and is preparing a Strategic Plan for Renewable Natural Resources Statistics (SPRNRS) which will be presented to the meeting for obtaining valuable feedback. Similar initiatives in Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Samoa and Sri Lanka will also be presented during the Commission Session.

In addition to GSARS and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Commission Session will serve as a forum for sharing advances and innovation in economic, social and environmental statistics, including the new World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA 2020 which will refer to the period 2016-2025). The WCA 2020 provides guidance to countries for integrated data collection on agriculture sector, including crop, livestock, fish and forestry sub-sectors, in line with international standards, and addresses the main emerging information needs of the 21st century. The improved data is vital to planning and policy making in the region.

The Recommendations of APCAS serve as a guide for FAO in redirecting its efforts toward building capacities of its member countries.


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