October 05, 2015 – News Releases
|05 October 2015|
APEC News Releases
|President Aquino confident in Roxas-Robredo tandem|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday expressed confidence in Manuel Roxas II and Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo as the Liberal Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates in next year’s elections.
Speaking at the party’s convention where Robredo was officially declared as Roxas’ running mate, the President said his strong belief in the tandem would make him work harder during the campaign.
“Malapit na namang pumili ng susunod na mga pinuno ang ating mga Boss. Ang hamon sa atin ay siguruhing magtutuloy at higit pang lalawak ang mga nasimulan natin… Ngayon, meron tayong Mar, may Leni pa na siguradong magpapatuloy ng Daang Matuwid. Kumpiyansa ako na lalo pa nilang pabibilisin ang ating paghakbang. Mahirap mang isipin, nasisiguro kong sa tibay ng paniniwala ko sa dalawang ito at sa koalisyon natin, di-hamak na magiging mas masigasig pa ako sa kampanyang ito kaysa sa sarili kong kampanya noong 2010,” President Aquino said in his speech at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.
The 51-year-old Leni is the wife of former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in 2012.
Following her husband’s death, Leni ran and won as congresswoman representing the third district of Camarines Sur, ending the political dynasty of the Villafuertes.
President Aquino rallied LP members to spread the word on how the people are benefitting from the government’s programs under the Daang Matuwid advocacy.
“Huwag tayong manahimik sa harap ng mga pambabatikos; huwag tayong mapagod sa pamamalita ng mga pangarap na naabot at inaabot na natin. Nakataya sa eleksiyong ito ang mga naging sakripisyo ng mga nauna sa atin. Nakataya dito ang kinabukasan ng isandaang milyong Pilipino,” said the President.
“Hindi naman mahirap ang kailangan nating gawin. Kung pagbabatayan nga ang nagdaang mga survey, nararamdaman at nakikita ng ating mga kababayan kung gaano kalayo na ang narating natin sa Daang Matuwid. Ang testimonya ng ating mga Boss ay parang delubyong bubuhos sa ating mga katunggali. Habang papalapit nga ang eleksiyon, nagiging malinaw na rin sa ating mga kababayan kung sino ang talagang may kakayahan,” he added.
“Ngayon, naipakilala na natin sa sambayanan ang mga pambato ng Daang Matuwid. Sa Biyernes, kapag inihain na natin sa ating mga Boss ang ating senatorial slate, lalo pang magiging malinaw: Habang hirap na hirap ang iba na magtagpi-tagpi ng koalisyon, buong-buo naman ang ating puwersa,” said President Aquino, also the LP’s chairman, before an estimated crowd of 1,500 composed of Cabinet members, party officials, representatives of civil society organizations and sectoral groups, as well as national and local government officials.
During her acceptance speech, Leni Robredo said she was able to make a decision only after getting the blessing of her family, especially her three daughters.
“Matapos po ng malalim na pag-iisip, malawak na konsultasyon, at taimtim na dalangin – buong puso, buong pananampalataya at buong-tapat ko pong tinatanggap ang hamon na tumakbo bilang pangalawang pangulo ni Mar Roxas. Ibinibigay ko po ang aking sarili ng buong buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa inyong mga tsinelas na nasa labas, nasa ibaba at nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” said Robredo, who graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Economics.
“Noong buhay pa po si Jesse, matagal na panahon niyang katuwang si Secretary Mar Roxas sa maraming pagsubok na hinarap sa pagsulong ng Daang Matuwid. Magkasabay po silang nangarap ng maganda para sa bayan. Malinaw po sa akin na si Secretary Mar Roxas ang magpapatuloy sa Daang Matuwid na sinumulan ng administrasyon ng ating mahal na Pangulo. Ang Daang Matuwid po ang magsisiguro na hinding hindi makakalimutan ang mga taong madalas napag-iiwanan. Hindi po kumpleto ang trabaho ng Daang Matuwid hanggat may napag-iiwanan sa laylayan. Malinaw po na ang daan patungo sa kaunlaran ay ang daang nagtataguyod ng maayos na buhay para sa lahat,” she said.
Thanking her family, especially her daughters, for giving her their blessing, she said, “Hindi po ako susulong sa laban na ito kung hindi ko sila kasama. Ang pamilya po ang buod ng pagkatao namin ni Jesse bilang mga lingkod bayan.”
“Sa gitna na maraming pagsubok sa aming kahinaan, ang aming pamilya ang aming inspirasyon para piliin ang mas malinis na daan, kahit ito pa ang mas mahirap,” said Robredo, who finished law at the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City. PND (jm)
|Pulse Asia survey results show improved people’s approval of government programs|
| Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Monday said the results of a recent Pulse Asia survey show the Filipino people’s better appreciation of the government’s programs.
“We note the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted last September 8 to 14, which showed improved approval of our Bosses — the Filipino people — of government’s efforts to address key issues on upholding the rights of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), promoting peace, curtailing crime, protecting our territorial rights, and nurturing the environment,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.
He said the survey also showed the “positive effects” of the government’s programs under the Daang Matuwid advocacy.
“This shows that the government’s programs are now bearing fruit and that the public has felt the positive effects of the reforms that had been put in place in the last five years,” he added.
The Palace official further assured that the government is more determined to help improve the welfare of the people.
“In the remaining months of the Aquino administration, we shall intensify efforts in finding ways to improve the welfare of our public servants and strengthen the purchasing power of our consumers, especially those from the lower rungs of society, through our strengthened social welfare and safety net programs,” said Coloma. PND (jm)
|Palace suspends work in government offices in Metro Manila on November 17 & 20 due to APEC Summit|
| Malacañang has declared the suspension of work in government offices, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, in the National Capital Region on November 17 and 20, due to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, Jr. on September 23 issued Memorandum Circular No. 84, suspending work in government offices upon the recommendation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – Office of the Director General, Department of Labor and Employment, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The suspension, however, does not cover those agencies whose work involves the delivery of basic services, such as security and safety, health and emergency preparedness, and the conduct of various APEC meetings and related activities “to ensure the success of the event”.“For affected local government units and the private sector, suspension of work shall be on a voluntary basis based on their respective assessment of scheduled activities from 16 – 20 November 2015, and the traffic management plan which shall be implemented on the said dates,” the circular stated.
Last July, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Proclamation No. 1072, declaring November 18 and 19 as non-working holidays in Metro Manila for the APEC Summit.
Classes in Metro Manila have also been suspended from November 17 to 20 due to the scheduled summit.
This year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM), to be held on November 18 and 19 in Metro Manila, is expected to be attended by the heads of state of the APEC’s 21 member economies. PND (co)
|Consolidation of food value chain ownership poses challenges to small businesses, food security|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has seen an emerging threat to food security as well as participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the global food value chain in the region.
ABAC Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho, during the High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy (HLPD-FSBE) Meeting here, said there is now a growing consolidation of ownership of food value chain.
Ho mentioned that this poses a threat to the viability of MSMEs and leads to the development of “choke points” in the supply chain.
“Today, bigger and more complex issues have also emerged. Growing consolidation of ownership of food value chain is leading to intense competition between global and regional supply chains,” she said.
“Choke points also begin to develop in critical areas, including food-water choke points, affecting global capacity to grow enough food to sustain a growing global population,” she added.
The ABAC chair also mentioned that the consolidation of ownership of food value chain indicates “too much power in the hands of few players and economies”, not the promotion of inclusive growth.
Ho mentioned that as early as 1999, APEC Ministers have agreed on the overriding objective of the APEC Food System (AFS) as proposed by ABAC on 1998 to efficiently link together food production, food processing and consumption as a comprehensive approach to action in the food sector.
APEC Leaders likewise adopted ABAC’s recommendation for rural infrastructure development, technological advances in food production and processing, and promoting trade in food products.
“Sixteen years after ABAC’s recommendations were adopted, we remain faced by the same issues,” she noted.
“Food supply chains across the region remain frustrated by poor infrastructure. Lack or absence of financing and incentives continue to hound MSMEs, effectively preventing them from participating in supply chains; non-tariff barriers continue to abound; and the need to develop predictable, evidence-based food safety standards remains very pronounced,” she added.
ABAC, as the voice of the business community in the Asia Pacific region, pushes for strengthened collaboration between public and private sectors and hastening actions toward ensuring food security.
“The private sector needs to be part of the solution for food security, working in partnership with governments,” Ho said.
“I wish to underscore the importance of ensuring sustainability of global food systems and the importance of meeting growing food demand without sacrificing the resources of future generations,” the ABAC chair added.
It was projected that by 2050, the global population will hit nine billion with sixty percent of the number in the Asia Pacific.
This will require 70 percent more food in the next 35 years. PNA (kc)
|Shared resource entail shared responsibility — Agriculture chief|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) If there is one thing that Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have in common it is the vast Pacific Ocean where everybody gets their fish and other fishery products.
With this in mind, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala pointed out that “sharing the same resource entails sharing the responsibility of protecting and conserving it not only for our economies today, but also for future generations.”
In his opening remarks Sunday at the High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy hosted by this city, Alcala noted that APEC economies have great dependence on fisheries and aquatic resources. In fact, he said the consumption of fishery products in the APEC region is 65 percent higher than the world average. Moreover, APEC economies represent nine of the top ten fish producers in the world.
“It is indeed a big challenge for us to come up with responsive and feasible plans and recommendations that will substantially deal with ensuring the sustainability of the economic benefits we get from our seas,” he stressed.
The agriculture chief expressed confidence in APEC’s common aspiration for an economy “where no citizen will fear a day without food.”
However, he admitted it is truly a challenge to talk about food security and sustainable supply chain if the marine ecosystems are under threat of degradation caused by several factors including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and changing global climate patterns, among others.
To address these challenges, Alcala said their proposed plan of actions covers three priorities that are geared towards achieving food security in the APEC community.
First is to make the oceans, coastal resources and ecosystems more resilient and the aquaculture industry more sustainable.
Alcala said these are all possible by advancing sustainable management and conservation measures.
Second is to work together to reduce food loss and waste, improving the quality, quantity, safety and value of fish and fish products to ensure food security and sustainable livelihoods for the people especially those living in fishing communities.
Third is to promote agribusiness and the blue economy, increasing food security and inclusive growth through market development, and open and fair food trade for the integration of small fishers and fish farmers into the global food chains.
“A healthy marine environment would mean a healthy APEC community and sustainable livelihoods for our peoples,” said Alcala. “It is our hope that any policy we will develop in this meeting will always be rooted on protecting our resources on which our economies are built and will thrive.” (APEC Communications Group)
|Business group urges APEC to adopt international standard on food security|
| (ILOILO City, Iloilo) The 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member-economies, especially the developing countries, should adopt an international standard on food security to address increasing risks brought by global warming, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) said.
Anthony Nowell, a member of the Board of Food Standards of Australia-New Zealand, emphasized the importance for developing countries to start aligning their food standard policies with Codex Alimentarius, a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practices, guidelines, and other recommendations related to food, food production, and food safety.
“[Standardization on producing quality food] is actually quite easy because the work has effectively been done by Codex. If all countries were to make a commitment to come very close to Codex, and work strongly from the base, then I think that we have a large resolution to the issue,” Nowell said
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United States, Canada, and Japan have already aligned their food security standards with Codex, he said, noting that developing countries “have not been long enough to the process” and that “some traditional things have to change.”
The APEC Food Safety Cooperative Forum, which meets every two years, is a step in the right direction, he said.
At the last meeting in Cebu a month ago, “I’ve been told, there’s a lot of cooperation now developing. And that’s a meeting of regulators, food safety regulators across the region,” he added.
As part of the private sector, Nowell said he advocates a very strong role for the private sector on the issue of food security. He said that while bureaucrats can make the right policies, the private sector makes sure that “food gets from the small fisher folk and farmers to the markets of the world.”
Policy-makers should bring farmers, fisher folk, and the private sector together so that they can work closely on now to efficiently deliver their crops and fishes to the market for trade, he added. (APEC Communications Group)
|Caring for marine resources can address ‘wide economic gap’ among APEC economies|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Caring for the region’s biodiverse marine resources can help address the “wide economic gap” among the 21 member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.
At the opening of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy Sunday, Paje recognized the different stages of economic development among the 21 APEC members.
“We envision a regional cooperation to narrow the gap in economic development of our economies while sustaining growth with equity.
Thus, there is a need for us to cooperate and address this wide economic gap,” he said. To do this, Paje placed special focus on achieving food security in the area of the Asia Pacific region’s marine resources.
He said the region has two-thirds of the world’s capture fishery production and 80 percent of its aquaculture production.
“To sustain and improve the productivity of our oceans, we need to enhance the biodiversity of coastal and marine ecosystems,” he added.
“Healthy ecosystems support higher fishery production and provide better ecological services such as regulation of climate and disaster risk reduction.”
Having a “healthy marine and coastal systems” would result in the region’s own brand of blue economy, or the rich and diverse marine resources.
A healthy marine ecological system necessitates that the region advances sustainable management and conservation of ocean and coastal resources and ecosystems “in order to foster economic growth,” the secretary said.
The high policy dialogue is highly significant because it is an opportunity for APEC economies to discuss “concrete and feasible actions to advance sustainable management and conservation of our coastal ecosystems and habitats.”
The focus of the dialogue, which will happen from October 4 to 6, is on one of the four priority themes of the Philippines for this year’s meetings: “Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities.”
Paje said the focus would lead the economies to the three other priorities: enhance regional economic agenda; foster small medium enterprises’ (SMEs) participation in regional and global markets; and support and invest in human resources.
“We believe that these initiatives will contribute to making the theme of APEC Philippines 2015, ‘Building inclusive economies, building a better world,’ a reality. (APEC Communications Group)
|APEC told to protect marine resources, coastal ecosystem to increase fish stocks|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have been urged to intensify efforts to protect and manage marine resources and the coastal ecosystem to increase fish population and support the APEC’s goals toward food security.
The exploitation and lack of management of marine resources and the coastal ecosystem could threaten food production and food security, not only in the Philippines but in the entire Asia-Pacific region, head of the Philippine delegation to the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy Meeting, Theresa Mundita-Lim, said on Sunday.
The exploitation of marine resources – such as by using reef-associated and non-reef demersal fishing gears — has caused the destruction of coral reefs and seagrass beds, which are fish habitats, leading in turn to a decline in fish stocks, added Lim, who is also the Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Citing a DENR study, she noted that a square kilometer of coral reef in excellent or good condition could supply about 30 tons of economically valuable fish and invertebrates per year.
Coral reefs supply 10 percent to 15 percent of marine fishery production in the Philippines, which contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction in about 60 percent of the population in coastal areas, and among one million people engaged in fishing, she said.
The Philippines is one of 18 mega-diverse countries that host 70 percent of the world’s ecological resources.
However, only less than 6 percent of the country’s 25 million to 27 million hectares of coral reefs are in good to excellent condition, while 53 percent are in fair condition, and 41 percent in poor condition, Lim said.
Meanwhile, about 30 percent to 50 percent of seagrass beds have been lost due to industrial development, port activities, and recreation in the past 50 years, she added.
“Although we have been identified as rich in biodiversity, the status of our coastal habitats is not doing very well,” Lim lamented.
She further said that since 1948, the catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) has been declining.
The CPUE is used as an index for long-term monitoring of the fishery sector. A declining CPUE means fish stock cannot support the level of harvesting.
Lim however noted that despite the decreasing CPUE, capture fishery landing for both commercial and municipal fishing have increased over time.
“But that does not necessarily mean increasing fish stock. This is possible because of increasing fishing effort, shifts in fish catch composition from more valued to less valued fish,” she said, expressing hope that prolonged protection and proper management of marine resources would improve the fishery industry and that its benefits would spill over to communities.
The fishery sector plays a crucial role in ensuring food security in the APEC region, which is the largest producer and consumer of fishery products.
Consumption of fishery products in the region is 65 percent higher than the world average, while the region is home to two-thirds of capture fishery production and nine of the world’s top 10 fish producers. PNA (kc)
|Philippines pushes for shared governance of marine ecosystem at APEC meet|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The government, private sector, and local communities must co-govern a country’s marine ecosystem, the head of the Philippine delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy Meeting, Theresa Mundita-Lim, said here Sunday.
Citing the Philippines’ experience, Lim, who is also the Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau, said the country has adopted the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act, which defines the process of establishing and managing marine protected areas (MPAs).
The country has 50 MPAs, covering 1.57 million hectares, and they include the Tubbataha Reef, which is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and abundant marine life, and the Apo Reef, which is protected and managed to provide a habitat for sharks.
Lim said an MPA is managed by a network that consists of indigenous people, local communities, and local government units (LGUs).
One of the successful MPA Networks in the country is the 23-hectare Twin Rock Marine Sanctuary in Verde Island Passage, she said, noting that under an MPA Network, regular and coastal monitoring is done by the LGU and the Maritime Law Enforcement Network.
The LGU also allocates an annual budget of P700,000 for marine law enforcement and P350,000 for sanctuary management, she added.
The use of networks to manage MPAs has improved hard corals, fish biomass, and fish catch; generated a high income from tourism activities; and increased public awareness on sanctuary management, Lim said.
She further said that the joint management of marine resources and the coastal ecosystem would lead to the protection of fish habitats – such as coral reefs — that in turn would enable fish stocks to recover.
According to a DENR study, a square kilometer of coral reef in excellent or good condition could supply about 30 tons of economically valuable fish and invertebrates per year.
Coral reefs supply 10 percent to 15 percent of marine fishery production in the Philippines, which contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction in about 60 percent of the population in coastal areas, and among one million people engaged in fishing, she said.
The Philippines, with 57 million square kilometers of marine area, is one of 18 mega-diverse countries that host 70 percent of the world’s ecological resources. PNA (kc)
|Russia proposes region-wide fishery certification system to ensure food safety, sustainability|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Russia has proposed the adoption of a global fisheries certification system that will ensure food safety and at the same time make the Asia-Pacific region’s marine resources sustainable, a Philippine environment official has said.
“The first speaker was from Russia, Andry Kim, who brought a new idea and a new agenda into the table, which is the global fisheries certification system,” Environment Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi said during a press briefing here on Sunday.
Gerochi said Kim encouraged the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to push for and discuss the certification system for its ultimate adoption.
“This is a very new and still a very vague idea, and in fact, (Environment) Secretary (Ramon) Paje, the chair, requested Russia to spearhead or shepherd the whole discussion on this point through the APEC’s upcoming discussions next year,” he said.
“I think this will be brought principally to the main table of the ocean and marine discussion in Peru next year because the APEC host next year will be Peru.”
The fishery certification system is a technology-based arrangement aimed at putting up more organized fishing practices as well as trade.
Russia already has an existing system and wants the Asia-Pacific region to adopt a similar mechanism.
Part of the system is assigning fishing companies areas where they could exclusively fish.
It also calls for the barcoding of fishery products being sold in the global market to easily trace the origin of marine products and ensure that they are not illegally harvested.
Gerochi lauded the proposal but noted that it cannot be easily carried out in the Philippines because the country lacks scientific data on which the certification system could be based.
Regionally speaking, he said, the adoption of the proposal could also take years since there are disparities in the capabilities of the various APEC economies in having such a mechanism.
Senior officials of the APEC member economies met for the High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy here that ended Sunday. PND (as)
|Unregulated fishing threatens APEC marine ecosystem, Philippines proposes priority areas for food security|
|(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Aside from changing global climate patterns, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing threatens the marine ecosystem of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has said.
“It is truly a challenge to talk about food security and sustainable supply chain if our marine ecosystems are under threat of degradation caused by several factors, including illegal, unreported and unregulated or IUU fishing, and changing global climate patterns,” Secretary Alcala said at the opening of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy here Sunday.
Setting the tone for the dialogue, the Philippine agriculture secretary said the proposed action plan toward food security for APEC members gives priority to making oceans, coastal resources, and ecosystems more resilient, and the aquaculture industry more sustainable.
This is possible with “advancing sustainable management and conservation measures”, he said.
A second priority toward the twin goals of food security and sustainable livelihoods, especially for fisherfolk, is to reduce food loss and waste, as well as to improve the quality, quantity, safety and value of fish and fish products, he said.
“And finally, we ought to promote agribusiness and blue economy, increasing food security and inclusive growth through market development and open and fair food trade for the integration of small fishers and fish farmers into the global food chains,” Alcala said.
He challenged the delegates to “come up with responsive and feasible plans and recommendations that will substantially deal with ensuring the sustainability of the economic benefits we get from our seas”.
“I have full confidence that our common aspiration is an economy where no citizen will fear a day without food,” he added.
The APEC meetings that will culminate in the Leaders’ Summit in November aim to craft and advance policies relevant in building the economies of APEC members.
“A healthy marine environment would mean a healthy APEC community and sustainable livelihoods for our peoples. It is our hope that any policy we will develop in this meeting will always be rooted on protecting our resources on which our economies are built and will thrive,” Alcala said. (APEC Communications Group)
|ABAC chief underscores need to promote food security in Asia-Pacific region|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) To ensure a future regional economy with access to food for the people, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has called on APEC member economies to consider the need to improve the investment climate for agribusiness in the region amid distortions in the global food markets and issues that impede financial services delivery to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
According to ABAC 2015 Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho, such challenges also need to be addressed by the APEC to finalize the Food Security and Blue Economy Action Plan.
“We need to act on these (issues),” Ho said in her statement delivered at the Opening Session of the two-day conference on Food Security and Blue Economy held here Sunday.
The Action Plan, which the high level dialogue aims to produce, would hopefully provide a long-term strategy that would address food security issues in the region in tandem with the APEC Food System (AFS).
The establishment of the AFS, a comprehensive approach to action in the food sector, was proposed by the ABAC as early as 1998. The Plan’s overriding objective is “to efficiently link together food production, food processing and consumption to meet the food needs of the people as an essential part of achieving sustainable growth, equitable development and stability in the APEC region”.
The APEC Leaders adopted in 1998 the ABAC’s recommendations that called for efforts to address rural infrastructure development; spread technological advances in food production and processing; and promote trade in food products.
Ho however noted that 16 years after the ABAC’s recommendations were adopted, the region continues to face the same issues, as food supply chains “remain frustrated by poor infrastructure”.
She said the lack or absence of financing and incentives continues to hound MSMEs, effectively preventing them from participating in supply chains; non-tariff barriers continue to abound; and the need to develop predictable, evidence-based food safety standards remain very pronounced.
Likewise, the Asia Pacific, which accounts for about 60 percent of the global population, remains to be home to more than 60 percent of the world’s hungry.
Ho cited the Asian Development Bank’s Report on Food Security in Asia and the Pacific that showed that “one in every eight people goes to bed hungry at night; yet there is sufficient food to feed the world”.
“It underscores that food security is much more than just raising food production,” she said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations further reports that feeding 9 billion people is estimated to require about 70 percent more food by 2015.
Today, Ho said, bigger and more complex issues have emerged.
She said the growing consolidation of ownership of food value chains is leading to intense competition between global and regional supply chains, thus threatening the viability of MSMEs.
“This means too much power in the hands of few players and few economies,” said Ho, Chief Executive Officer of Magsaysay Inc.
Choke points also begin to develop in critical areas, including food-water choke points, affecting global capacity to grow enough food to sustain a growing global population.
“Food security is indeed a complex problem that requires a deeper level of strategic dialogue within APEC and with governments,” she said.
According to Ho, initiatives toward the attainment of food security are numerous and APEC is among the platforms that have made great efforts in this area.
“The APEC helps promote more free and open trade that can help bring food security to an estimated 800 million people around the world that remain chronically undernourished,” she pointed out. “Free and open trade has compelled economies, businesses, and farmers to be competitive and efficient. It offers opportunities for market access.”
However, free and open trade means that farmers of APEC economies must be innovative and must be able to identify their unique selling propositions to seek ways to embrace global value and standards, so they can become eligible to be part of the larger global value chain.
Ho said the APEC needs to further deepen the level of strategic engagement and dialogue with the private sector to improve the understanding of the economic and commercial context for food, to address supply chain connectivity and integrity, and to promote the participation of MSMEs.
“The private sector needs to be part of the solution for food security, working in partnership with governments,” she stressed.
Underscoring the importance of ensuring the sustainability of food systems and the importance of meeting growing food demand without sacrificing the resources of future generations, Ho said greater efficiency is needed in food production and delivery.
“Agricultural trade and general trade policies should promote food security through a fair and open trading system,” she said. (APEC Communications Group)
|Environment official: APEC discussions offer new ideas for Philippine fishery protection|
|(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussions on fishery gave Philippine fishery officials new ideas on how to protect the country’s marine areas, as well as enforce fishery laws, an environment official has said.
Law enforcement has always been a major concern for the government because of the country’s extensive coastline, making it difficult to secure, said Dr. Theresa Mundita-Lim, Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“In the APEC discussions, there were solutions presented, some technologies are available for the government to utilize, like DNA barcoding for example, that can be used to trace where the fishes are coming from,” she said during a media briefing here Sunday.
“We also promote community conservation areas so that all can work together. The national government cannot do it by itself.”
The amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines, which imposes huge fines and penalties, could also help Philippine authorities protect the remaining protected areas in the country, she said.
Despite the very strong protection provided by the Fisheries Code however, the government and coastal communities must work and cooperate to strengthen its implementation, she said.
“It (Fisheries Code) strengthens the protection of our seas and helps restore our fish stocks. But we need the capacity and the resources to be able to enforce it.”
Another government thrust is the maintenance of marine protected areas to ensure sustainability, Mundita-Lim said.
Addressing illegal fishing and unsustainable fishing methods, as well as having marine protected areas, must be all taken together in efforts to protect the country’s fishery resources, she said.
She further said that climate change also plays a role in the declining fishery production in the Philippines because the weather disturbance causes coral bleaching in some parts of the country.
Only 6 percent of the country’s coral reefs are in good and excellent condition, while the rest are in fair or poor condition, according to Mundita-Lim.
Once coral reefs are destroyed, fishery production would drop to less than 5 percent, and in 10 years of protection, it will only recover up to 5 percent, she explained.
“The protection takes a long time for destroyed coral reef areas. We also have data that it is not just coral reefs but also seagrass beds that are also an important ecosystem for fishery production,” she said.
“Our data shows that we have lost about 30 percent of our seagrass beds and we also have mud plots that form another ecosystem that provides nutrients for some of our important marine resources.” PND (as)