JOINT PRESS STATEMENT

1.       The 28th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) was held in Singapore on 16 November 2006. H. E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development of Singapore chaired the 28th AMAF, with H.E. Professor Dr. Thira Sutabutra, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand as Vice-Chairman.

2.       The Ministers reviewed the progress of the implementation of cooperation initiatives and activities in food, agriculture and forestry under the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), the Strategic Plan of Action (SPA) on ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry and the integration protocols for wood-based products, rubber-based products, agro-based products, and fisheries sectors under the ASEAN Framework Agreement for Integration of Priority Sectors.  The Ministers were pleased with the significant progress in the implementation of various ASEAN cooperation activities in food, agriculture and forestry.

3.       The Ministers conveyed their appreciation to the ASEAN leaders at the 11th ASEAN Summit in December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, who recognised that agriculture plays a pivotal role in improving food security and poverty reduction. At the 11th ASEAN Summit, the leaders reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to the World Food Summit and Millennium Declarations and supported further resource mobilisation for agriculture and rural development in the Member Countries. The Ministers expressed confidence that the ASEAN leaders will provide further boost to the agriculture sector and highlight its importance when they meet at the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, Philippines in December 2006.

Strengthening Animal Disease Control Programme

4.       In advancing the ASEAN leaders’ call in the 11th ASEAN Summit for responsive and coordinated actions to control and eradicate the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the Ministers concluded and signed the Agreement for Establishment of ASEAN Animal Health Trust Fund (AAHTF). The AAHTF will serve as the vehicle in the implementation of unified and harmonised animal health programmes in ASEAN.  In addition to the contributions made by ASEAN Member Countries, the AAHTF is open to financial contributions from ASEAN Dialogue Partners, international organisations and the private sector for implementing mutual and sustainable animal disease control programmes in ASEAN.

5.         The Ministers reaffirmed continuing efforts by the Member Countries to control and eradicate HPAI that remains a serious threat to the region. The Ministers recognised the need for Member Countries to work together and collaborate with international agencies such as OIE (the World Animal Health Organization) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) in the fight to control HPAI. The Ministers commended the work of the ASEAN HPAI Taskforce in coordinating and promoting collaborative arrangements and initiatives to enhance understanding and sharing of experiences in the control of HPAI, through the Regional Framework for Control and Eradication of HPAI. The Ministers welcomed the support given by ASEAN Dialogue Partners and international organisations in strengthening ASEAN’s capability to implement and coordinate effective plans to address the animal disease control programmes of economic and public health importance.

Expanding Markets for Agricultural Products and

Enhancing Safe Food Supply

6.         For supporting economic integration, the Ministers underscored the importance for ASEAN to continue to undertake concerted efforts in the harmonisation of quality and standards, assurance of food safety and standardisation of trade certification. The Ministers also emphasised the need for agricultural and forestry products to achieve internationally recognised standards in order to enhance ASEAN competitiveness in the international markets. Towards this end, the Ministers adopted the following ASEAN standards:

a)     ASEAN Good Agricultural Practices (ASEAN GAP) for the production, harvesting and post-harvest handling of fresh fruit and vegetables ;

b)     ASEAN Standards for Mango, Pineapple and Durian, to  ensure they are available fresh to the consumer after preparation and packaging;

c)      ASEAN Standard for Inactivated Canine Parvovirus Vaccine, to control canine viral diarrhoea; and

d)     A list of 117 additional ASEAN harmonised Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) of 19 pesticides. To date, AMAF has adopted a total of 676 ASEAN harmonised MRLs for 52 pesticides used in 59 vegetables, 24 fruits and 15 cash crops.

Coordinated Actions towards Sustainable Forestry

7.         The Ministers commended the efforts in the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora. Particularly significant is the establishment of the ASEAN Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) at the Special Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for the Implementation of Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in December 2005 in Bangkok. ASEAN-WEN is an integrated network among the law enforcement, customs and CITES authorities in Member Countries. The Ministers welcomed the setting up of the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) to support the implementation of ASEAN-WEN.

8.         The Ministers recalled the East Asia and the Pacific Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) Ministerial Declaration of 2001 which commits participants to take immediate actions to combat illegal logging and its associated trade, and the VAP which calls on Member Countries to eradicate unsustainable forest management practices by 2010. The Ministers noted that progress had been made towards meeting the goals of both initiatives, based on stronger political commitment, more effective programmes in countries within the region, and a number of bilateral and multilateral efforts, including further actions on FLEG matters by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry.

9.         The Ministers called for enhanced cooperation with their counterparts from outside of ASEAN and appreciated the offer of the Philippines to host the 2nd FLEG Ministerial Meeting in 2007 to ensure continued progress with national, regional and global actions. The Ministers also called for concerted actions on specific areas of cooperation including information sharing, forest sector transparency and regional cooperation in improving forest law enforcement mechanisms. The Ministers urged for active participation of Member Countries, ASEAN Dialogue Partners, civil society and the private sector.

10.       The Ministers welcomed and supported the Cebu Resolution on Sustainable Development by the ASEAN Ministers responsible for the Environment adopted on 10th November 2006.

Forging Stronger Bonds with Dialogue Partners

and International Organisations

11.       The Ministers noted the good progress made in the collaborative activities with dialogue partners and international organisations on food, agriculture and forestry. The Ministers thanked Australia, China, Germany, Japan, and Republic of Korea and international organisations like Asian Development Bank (ADB), FAO, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), OIE, and the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), for their technical assistance and financial support in 2005-2006.

12.       The Ministers welcomed the continued collaboration with China under the ASEAN-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Agricultural Cooperation. The Ministers also welcomed the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Strategic Partnership for strengthening collaboration in sustainable fisheries development in the region.

13.       The Ministers endorsed two new ASEAN-Japan initiatives on Strengthening of Partnership among Japan and ASEAN Countries in the promotion of Agricultural Cooperatives; and on South-South Cooperation Promotion Project for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement in Developing Countries.

14.       The Ministers endorsed the further development of a series of environmental indicators for ASEAN rice production as presented as a joint activity with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  The Ministers also endorsed the continued development of a digital Rice Knowledge Bank for ASEAN rice farmers, and the establishment of Rice Camps at IRRI to educate the young people of ASEAN on the importance of rice farming and rice research.

29th AMAF Meeting

The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry will meet for the 29th AMAF in

Thailand in 2007.     

The Ministers from other ASEAN Member Countries expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Singapore for hosting the 28th AMAF Meeting and for their warm hospitality.

LIST OF MINISTERS

H.E. Pehin Dato Dr. Haji Ahmad Haji Jumat, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam

H.E. Dr. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia

H.E. Dr. Anton Apriyantono, Minister of Agriculture, Indonesia

H.E. Mr. Sitaheng Rasphone, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR

H.E. Dato Mah Siew Keong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, Malaysia     

H.E. Major General Htay Oo, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar

H.E. Dr. Segfredo R. Serrano, Undersecretary, Department of Agriculture, the Philippines

H.E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, Singapore

H.E. Ms Grace Fu, Minister of State for National Development, Singapore

H.E. Professor Dr. Thira Sutabutra, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand

H.E. Dr. Bui Ba Bong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam

H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

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