Im­proved data is vi­tal to plan­ning and pol­icy mak­ing

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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.

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