Improved data is vital to planning and policy making
The 26th Session of Asia Pacific Commission for Agriculture and Rural Statistics ( APCAS) co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) which was hosted by Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with delegates drawn from some 20 countries and sub-regional organizations is being held in Thimphu ended last Friday.
The participants deliberated on the challenges of meeting the information needs for the agriculture sector for better moni- toring 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).
To achieve its Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific, the region improved systems of agricultural statistics is needed.
In the opening session of the meeting, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and forests said, “The Asia and Pacific Region is home to more than 57 percent of global population, has nearly 62 percent of the world’s under-nourished.”
“The Data and information play vital roles in planning growth and development for poverty reduction in this, largely agriculturally-dependent, region.” He added.
“Agricultural statistics are vital for monitoring progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, said Secretary of APCAS, Mukesh Srivastava.
He also mentioned that “this meeting will not only focus its atten- tion 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 the 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 Pacific to produce a Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics that will assist in building national capacities to produce core data for monitoring the SDGs and for better development planning.
The partner countries of GSARS, has prepared a strategic Plan for SPRNRS which was presented to the meeting for obtaining valuable feedback. SPARS outline has reached advanced stage in seven countries.
The commission Session served as a forum for sharing advances and innovation in economic, social and environmental statistics, including the new World Programme for the Census of Agriculture.
The Asia Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) is a statutory body of FAO with a mandate to review the state of food and agricultural statistics in the region and advise member countries on their development and standardization within the general frame work of FAO’s statistics work.
Asia –Pacific countries participated in the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Lao, PDR, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.