1. The Twenty-fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) which was held on 10 October 2002 in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, was officially opened and chaired by H.E. Dr. Siene Saphangthong, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR and attended by:

  • H.E. Dato Idris Belaman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam
  • H.E. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia
  • H.E. Ahlan B. Razif, Ambassador of Indonesia to the Lao PDR
  • H.E. Dato’ Seri Haji Mohd Shariff bin Haji Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
  • H.E. Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman, Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia
  • H.E. U Ohn Myint, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar
  • H.E. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Secretary of Agriculture, the Philippines
  • H.E. Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, Singapore
  • H.E. Sora-at Klinpratoom, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
  • H.E. Le Huy Ngo, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam
  • Honourable Mr. Tran Duc Minh, Deputy Secretary – General of ASEAN and their delegations.
  • H.E. Dato’ Seri Haji Mohd Shariff bin Haji Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Malaysia was elected as the Vice – Chairman.

2. The Ministers discussed the state of the world economy and noted that amidst the challenges and uncertainties faced, ASEAN managed to stay on the path of recovery. However, more can be done if the region is to prevent adverse effects on the progress made thus far.

3. The issues of globalisation, sustainable development and trade disparities have become more pronounced and dominate the agendas of international fora. The Ministers were aware of the consequences of not addressing these concerns properly and vigorously. In particular, they expressed grave concern over the continued application of discriminatory tariff regimes and non-tariff barriers, especially unreasonable SPS measures, against products from developing countries, including those from ASEAN. The Ministers agreed to coordinate more closely with one another in positively working on these matters.

4. In this connection, the Ministers underscored the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Ministers showed their support for greater regional cooperation to achieve the goals of sustainable development and called on all countries to commit to the Johannesburg Declaration and the Plan of Implementation.

5. The Ministers also stand committed to the pledge at the World Food Summit in Rome, Italy to accelerate action to reduce world hunger by the year 2015. ASEAN looks forward to the collaboration with the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in developing a regional strategy and programme on Food Security. This initiative together with regional economic organisations should bolster activities in this area and help come up with practical modalities for financing the programme.

6. On matters of the region, the Ministers reviewed the progress of ASEAN cooperation in the various sectors of food, agriculture and forestry. The Ministers also shared the view that further efforts should be made to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in order to fulfil the sector’s mandates set in the Ha Noi Plan of Action (HPA).

7. The Ministers are pleased to announce the accreditation of the Veterinary Drug Assay Laboratory in Gunung Sindur, Bogor, Indonesia as an ASEAN Animal Vaccine Testing Laboratory for 11 specific animal vaccines. This is the first such ASEAN accredited laboratory and is the result of an assessment made by an ASEAN Audit Team. The laboratory has complied with the requirements stated in the Manual of ASEAN Accreditation Criteria for Animal Vaccine Testing Laboratories. The accreditation is valid for a period of three (3) years and can be extended for another period subject to a re-evaluation. In addition, the Ministers have approved the Second Edition of the Manual on ASEAN Standard Requirements for Animal Vaccines as well as the criteria for accrediting several livestock establishments. Through these efforts, the Ministers hope to boost the development of the animal vaccine industry in the region as well as to ensure that safe and effective animal vaccines are used to protect animal health within ASEAN.

8. The Ministers took note of the progress made in enhancing capacity building and public awareness on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) through a series of workshops on Risk Assessment of Agriculture-related GMOs. Following the successful organisation of two training workshop on Safety and Risk Assessment of Agriculture-related Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, two more are planned for next year in Thailand and Indonesia in collaboration with International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and the ASEAN Foundation.

9. In cooperation in trade of food, agricultural and forest products, the Ministers noted that, to-date, a total of 9,285 tariff lines of unprocessed agricultural products (UAP) have been included in the Inclusion List of the CEPT Scheme for AFTA.

10. Furthermore, the Ministers endorsed an additional 94 maximum residue limits (MRLs) values of 7 pesticides for various vegetables, which are being widely traded between ASEAN Countries. Thus, the total number of MRLs values that have been endorsed, to-date, is 269.

11. In the area of forestry, to ensure that ASEAN countries with forest resources and export – oriented industries remain competitive in the international market, the Ministers noted with satisfaction on the progress and on-going activities on the development and implementation by Member Countries of their respective National Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management and National Forest Products Certification Scheme. The Ministers also recognized the need for ASEAN Member Countries to work closely together towards the establishment of an ASEAN Timber Certification Scheme, to ensure the acceptability of our certified timber products in the international market.

12. The Ministers welcomed the establishment of a Pan ASEAN Timber Certification Scheme. An Ad-hoc Working Group has been set up to develop this Scheme, to be led by Malaysia. The Ministers were optimistic that this initiative would contribute to the greater marketability of ASEAN forest products.

13. The Ministers also welcomed the proposal to establish a permanent AFPIC Secretariat based in Malaysia and that the Ten ASEAN Member Countries constitute the founding members of the AFPIC.

14. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the on-going consultation between the ASEAN-CCI and the SOM-AMAF and hoped the involvement of ASEAN-CCI would further strengthen the participation of private sectors in ASEAN economic activity.

15. To address the current constraints that inhibit the performance and long-term sustainability of the forestry sector in the region, the Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for their support to look into ways of achieving sustainable forest management through the “the ASEAN – German Southeast Asian Forest Programme”. This development assistance programme will allow for the conduct of mutually agreed technical assistance and training activities in the field of forestry. The Programme will utilize the expertise from the German Government to formulate capacity building programmes oriented towards the requirements of sustainable tropical forest management. A Programme Management Unit, based in the ASEAN Secretariat, will spearhead this initiative between ASEAN and Germany.

16. The Ministers welcomed the progress made towards exploring ways to achieve a level of food security in the region through developing an East Asia/ ASEAN Rice Reserve System and agreed to propose the Pilot Project of the East Asia/ ASEAN Emergency Rice Reserve to the Second Meeting of the ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Ministers and the Ministers of the Peoples Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea (AMAF Plus Three) for endorsement.

17. The Ministers agreed to endorse the progress on the development of the “ASEAN Food Security Information System” and to propose the Project Implementation Plan and its activities which will be implemented next year to the Second Meeting of the ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Ministers and the Ministers of the Peoples Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea (AMAF Plus Three) for endorsement.

18. The Ministers welcomed the proposed signing of the MOU on Agriculture Cooperation with China by the Secretary – General of ASEAN on behalf of Member Countries. The MOU will serve as a technical cooperation agreement to implement training activities in China. Five training courses have so far been conducted in the field of crops, hybrid rice, livestock, and project management. ASEAN is grateful to China for this opportunity and looks forward to building the already rapidly growing ties between the two.

19. The Ministers will hold its second Meeting with the Ministers of Agriculture and the Ministers of Forestry from the Peoples Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (AMAF + 3) on 11 October 2002. The Meeting will discuss the progress of activities that have been undertaken during the past years and exchange views on how to further develop the cooperation.

20. The Ministers from other ASEAN Member Countries expressed their appreciation to the Government and people of Lao PDR for hosting the 24th Meeting of AMAF and for their warm hospitality. The next AMAF meeting would be hosted by Malaysia in October 2003.