JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
1. The ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministers of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea held their third meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 22 August 2003 under the chairmanship of H.E. Dato Sri (Dr.) Mohd. Effendi Norwawi, Minister of Agriculture of Malaysia.
2. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the growing number of cooperation activities in agriculture, fisheries and forestry that have been carried out between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and ASEAN in the six areas of collaboration, namely:
i. Alleviating Poverty and Strengthening Food Security in the Asian Region;
ii. Research & Development on Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry;
iii. Human Resource Development in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry;
iv. Coordination and Cooperation in International and Regional Issues in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry;
v. Agriculture Information Networking and Exchange; and
vi. Trade Facilitation.
3. The Ministers welcomed the new projects proposed for this year as well as the coming year. These activities will continue to be instrumental in fostering good relations and contribute to the stable and equitable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry in the region.
4. The Ministers recognized that the varied agriculture traditions of ASEAN countries and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea significantly contribute to defining the shape of the social, economic and cultural landscape in region; and that farming in Asia played other diverse roles such as food and rural livelihood security, in addition to agricultural production.
5. The Ministers agreed that advancement of agricultural production was one of the most effective strategies for poverty reduction and economic development in Asia, where resource poor small – scale farmers dominate the sector. They agreed on the need of comprehensive policies for agriculture – driven development that could include public support services to small – scale farmers to complement those offered by the private sector.
6. Recognizing that the stable supply of rice, which is the staple food for about two – thirds of the world population and is 90 percent grown in Asia, is key to regional food security, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of establishing the East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve System. The Ministers also noted that a Management Team would be established in early next year to carry out the Pilot Project of the East Asian Emergency Rice Reserve, and called for accelerated progress of the Pilot Project. The Ministers welcomed the progress made towards the development of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) which would contribute to strengthening regional food security.
7. As was decided by the United Nations General Assembly at its 57th Session in December 2002, the year 2004 is declared as the International Year of Rice. In this context, the Ministers encouraged each Country to commemorate the year to heighten awareness of the important role of rice and rice – based production systems in providing food security, and alleviating poverty and malnutrition.
8. Recognizing the importance of forestry resources, the Ministers agreed to collaborate towards achieving sustainable forest management (SFM). In line with this, the Ministers also recognized the initiatives by ASEAN Member Countries to establish timber certification in this region. The timber certification is an important component of SFM to make sure that certified timber products actually come from sustainable managed forest.
9. Also recognizing the state of declining timber resources in Asia, the Ministers agreed on the importance of collaboration between states and civil societies to preserve precious ecosystems of the forest, as well as to establish sustainable forestry in Asia. The Ministers urged to deepen cooperation in the Asia Forest Partnership (AFP) as an effective way to tackle the challenges of forest management in Asia through collaborative efforts, especially law enforcement mechanisms of illegal logging and its associated trade, prevention of forest fires, reforestation of degraded lands, and a phased approaches to certification.
10. The Ministers are also committed to preserving marine resources and to establishing sustainable fisheries, and highlighted the importance of maintaining an array of functions of fishing communities in the region.
11. The Ministers agreed on the need for efforts to reform the current socio – economic systems of mass production, mass consumption and mass disposal that depend on finite fossil fuels, into a recycling – oriented society by introducing such measures as the promotion of biomass utilization: the utilization of food and livestock waste, unused portion of farm crops and forestry residue for fuel and material.
12. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitments to consumers for the safety and other qualitative demands associated with food, feed and other produce of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the food safety initiative, which would include cooperation for BSE control and capacity building on SPS measures with the aim to improving the knowledge and capacity of the policy for the safety and security of foods and related techniques.
13. The Ministers expressed their full support to the accession of Cambodia in the WTO at the Ministerial Meeting in September 2003.
14. The Ministers agreed to have their fourth meeting in Myanmar in 2004.
15. The Ministers noted that the Sixth ASEAN and People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea Summit will be held in October 2003 in Bali Indonesia, during which the highlights of the Third Meeting of AMAF Plus Three will be reported.
16. The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Malaysia for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.
The Meeting was attended by:
H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam
H.E. Mr. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia
Honourable Dr. Fatuchri Sukadi, Director-General of Aquaculture, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
H.E. Dr. Siene Saphangthong, Minister of Agriculture & Forestry, Lao PDR
H.E. Dato Sri (Dr.) Mohd. Effendi Norwawi, Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
H.E. Dato Seri Hj Mohd Sharif Hj Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
H.E Dato’ Anifah Haji Aman, Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia
H.E. Major General Nyunt Tin, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar
H.E. Mr. Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr., Secretary of Agriculture, the Philippines
H.E. Mr. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore in Kuala Lumpur
H.E. Mr. Sora-at Klinpratoom, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
H.E Dr. Bui Ba Bong, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam
H.E Mr. Zhang Baowen, Vice Minister of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China
H.E Mr. Naoto Kitamura, Senior Vice Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
H.E. Dr. Sang-Man Huh, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Korea
H.E. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary General of ASEAN.