Agriculture & Rural Development

Agriculture And Rural Development

Cooperation under Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security

 South Asia is home to around a quarter of the global population, majority of whom live in rural areas and depend on agricultural and livestock resources. Recognizing both the inherent challenges and opportunities in agriculture, SAARC leaders have time and again underscored the importance of regional cooperation in agriculture, which is crucial to alleviating poverty, livelihood security, food and nutritional security and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth of the economies in the region.  The directives of SAARC leaders culminated in the adoption of the “SAARC Agriculture Vision-2020”, which shows the way forward for enhancing regional engagement in the field of agriculture for maximizing benefits from available options, enhancing ability to face new challenges and harnessing opportunities. 

According to 2014 statistics, South Asia is home of 1.749 billion people and 67% of them are living in the rural areas. Almost half of the workforce is employed in the agriculture sector 42% of South Asia’s landmass is under agricultural operation.  Considering the facts and importance, the Heads of State or Government agreed at the 18th Summit (Kathmandu 25 November 2014)-

 …to increase investment, promote research and development, facilitate technical cooperation and apply innovative, appropriate and reliable technologies in the agriculture sector for enhancing productivity to ensure food and nutritional security in the region. They also underscored the importance of promoting sustainable agriculture.

 

Subsequently, the Third Meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Dhaka, 7 April 2016)-

 …noted that though agriculture’s contribution to national economies is relatively less it holds tremendous importance in terms of meeting the ever growing nutrition and food security goals of a vast population.

 

The recently held Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Thimphu, 27 June 2019) reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen regional cooperation by promoting cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development for enhancing food, nutrition and livelihood security of the region.

Details of cooperation focusing on agriculture is here 

Details of cooperation focusing on rural development is here 

 

SAARC Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

SAARC Agriculture/ Food Ministers are meeting time to time to guide the cooperation process under the TCARD and other mechanisms related to Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security matters.  Though the Agriculture Ministers met twice in 1996 and 2002 to prepare for the World Food Summit, their Meeting in Islamabad in December 2006 is considered to be the first regular meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers. The first Meeting made specific decisions on effective functioning of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD). It endorsed revision of mandate of the SAARC Agriculture Information Centre (SAIC) and recommended changing of its nomenclature to “The SAARC Agricultural Center”. The Meeting recommended creation of an Inter-governmental Core Group on research and extension and farming linkage, IGCG R-E-F and identification of coordinating institutions for both research and extension, in addition to designated national focal points.

 

The Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers was held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 27 June 2019. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen regional cooperation by promoting cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development for enhancing food, nutrition and livelihood security of the region and unanimously adopted the Thimphu Statement on Agriculture and Rural Development, with 19-points regional pledges and strategies to deal with the emerging challenges being faced by the region in agriculture and its allied sectors. 

 

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Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD)

The Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD) is the Charter Body to promote overall cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development.  TCARD has been in operation since the 1980s. The present form of the SAARC Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD) instituted in 2002 ensures the evolution therein from the Study Group in 1981. Throughout the years the cooperation has passed through a number of changes/evolution to meet the changing dynamics in the field. It gained a wider mandate in 2004 when the separate Technical Committees merged into one and non-crop sectors like fisheries and livestock were focused for the first time. It may be mentioned that works related to establishment of SAARC Food Bank and Regional Seed Bank were finalized by TCARD. So far TCARD held nine meetings.

Ninth Meeting of TCARD was held in Thimphu on 25 June 2019. Bhutan is the current Chair of TCARD.

 

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Multi-stakeholders’ Dialogue on Agriculture

The Thirteenth SAARC Summit (Dhaka, 13 November 2005) endorsed the Guidelines of the Technical Committees, which, inter alia, stipulates that “…TCs should maintain effective interface with the expertise available within the Region, the regional think-tanks/institutions of repute. TCs should also function as fora for technical dialogue. As such, appropriate informal consultative and interactive session with the experts and representatives of civil societies, identified by the Member States, in the relevant fields may precede the TC sessions.”

Afterwards, the Fifth Meeting of TCARD (Dhaka, 5-6 August 2009) decided that “In keeping with the Guidelines for the SAARC Technical Committees, next Sessions of TCARD should precede by a half-day Multi-stakeholders’ Dialogue involving think-tanks and other stakeholders in the civil society, preceding the formal Working Session of the Meeting”.

The Third meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Dhaka, 7 April 2016) “endorsed the recommendation of SAOM of holding one-day multi-stakeholders’ dialogue preceding the TCARD meeting. The multi-stakeholders’ dialogue would have two segments: cross-cutting and thematic”.

 

So far, three Multi-Stakeholders’ Dialogues have been held. The Third Multi-Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Agriculture was held in Thimphu on 24 June 2019 on the theme “Sharing Seeds to enhance Food Security: ‘Seeds without Borders’ in SAARC Member States". The Dialogue preceded the Ninth Meeting of TCARD.

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The SAARC Food Bank

The Third SAARC Summit (Kathmandu, 1987) witnessed the signing of an Agreement establishing the SAARC Food Security Reserve. The Agreement, which came into force on 12 August 1988, provided for a reserve of foodgrains for meeting food emergencies in the member countries. However, the Reserve could not be utilized due to a host of procedural and practical difficulties.

 

Therefore, the decision of the Twelfth SAARC Summit (Islamabad, 4-6 January 2004) to establish a Regional Food Bank, replacing the erstwhile Food Security Reserve, must be seen as the turning point in SAARC’s campaign to ensure food security in the region. The Agreement establishing the SAARC Food Bank, which was signed during the Fourteenth SAARC Summit (New Delhi, 3-4 April 2007), entered into force on 7 January 2013.

 

The objectives of the Food Bank are to act as a regional food security reserve for the SAARC Member Countries during normal time food shortages and emergencies; and to provide regional support to national food security efforts; foster intercountry partnerships and regional integration, and solve regional food shortages through collective action.

 

Till date, the SAARC Food Bank Board has held eleven meetings, during which operational modalities have been finalized and the quantum of the foodgrains has also been doubled.

 

Recently, in May 2020, to deal with the outbreak of the COVID-19 situation, Bhutan completed drawing on foodgrains from the SAARC Food Bank Reserve maintained by India. This is the first time the reserve of food grains maintained under the SAARC Food Bank Reserve has been utilized since its establishment and completion of this first ever transaction led to the operationalization of the SAARC Food Bank.

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The SAARC Seed Bank

The SAARC Seed Bank Agreement was signed on 11 November 2011 during the Seventeenth SAARC Summit (Addu City, Maldives, November 2011), which also contained the Framework for Material Transfer Agreement. The Agreement entered into force on 15 June 2016 upon issuance of a notification by the Secretary General of SAARC.

The objectives of the Seed Bank are to provide regional support to national seed security efforts; address regional seed shortages through collective actions and foster inter-country partnerships; to promote increase of Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) with appropriate varieties at a faster rate as far as possible so that the use of quality seed for crop production can be ensured; and to act as a regional seed security reserve for the Member States.

 

The Third Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Dhaka, 07 April 2016) laid emphasis on exchange of seeds and germplasms among the SAARC Member States for conducting adaptive trials and recommended to preferably facilitate the exchange of seeds and germplasms released within less than five years.

The SAARC Seed Bank Board so far held two Meetings. The first Meeting of the SAARC Seed Bank Board was held in Dhaka on 27-28 September 2016.

The Second Meeting of the SAARC Seed Bank Board was held in New Delhi on 17 January 2019. The Board recommended to shortlist potential common varieties of the crops of the Member States for adaptive trials in order to fix the assessed share of the Member States for the Seed Bank Reserve, and decided to constitute a Sub-Committee to develop common minimum Seed Quality Standard, Seed Testing Procedures and a draft Protocol for the SAARC Seed Bank Agreement, among others. During the Meeting, it was also emphasized that the Material Transfer Agreement should be effectively functional soon.

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Enhanced networking among SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers’ (CVOs) Forum

 Since its formation in 2007 the SAARC-CVOs Forum has been dealing with controlling trans-boundary animal disease (TADs) and capacity building on epidemiology activities, networking among the veterinarians, regional laboratories and other veterinary institutions.

 

The CVOs Forum has so far held seven meetings. The CVOs Forum has successfully supervised the exchange of high yielding buffalo germplasms-Nili Ravi of Pakistan and Murrah buffalo of India-to SAARC Member States. The CVOs Forum is currently working on establishing SAARC Vaccine Bank and SAARC Gene Bank.

 

The Sixth Meeting of CVOs Forum (Thimphu, 09-10 May 2017) unanimously agreed to set 2028 as the SAARC Year to Declare the Region PPR Free. The Meeting also finalized a draft Statement on SAARC’s Cooperation on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and draft Regional Action Plan to Curb Antimicrobial Use (AMU)/Antimicrobial Resistance in the SAARC region for consideration and approval of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers.

Recognizing the increasing challenges, posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to animal and human health in the region, as recommended by the SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers’ (CVOs) Forum, the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Thimphu, 27 June 2019) adopted a Statement on SAARC’s Cooperation on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) with some specific directives to tackle this menace. 

The Seventh Meeting of the CVOs Forum was held on 23-24 July 2019 in Islamabad. The Meeting of the CVOs Forum was preceded by the 4th FAO/OIE Sub-regional Meeting of GF-TADs for SAARC on 22 July 2019.

 

The Seventh Meeting of the SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers’ (CVOs) Forum reviewed the status of implementation of its earlier decisions, ongoing collaborations and activities as well as discussed various priority issues related to livestock, including disease information sharing and management, epidemiology, laboratory matters, controlling priority diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Avian Influenza (AI) and Anti-microbial Use (AMU) stewardship. The Meeting recommended to add Rabies, Brucellosis, and Newcastle diseases as the new diseases affecting the region. The Meeting also recommended that ASF (African Swine Fever), Nipah and IBR may be considered as emerging threats. The Meeting stressed on the need for effective implementation of the ‘Statement on SAARC’s Cooperation on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’ and ‘Regional Action Plan’ endorsed by the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Thimphu, 27 June 2019) and decided to implement the directives of the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers in this regard.

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Agricultural Research, Extension and Farmers linkages

The Saarc Agriculture/Food Ministers’ Meeting (Islamabad, 2006) endorsed the same idea of creating the SAARC Inter-Governmental Core-Group on Agriculture Research-Extension-Farmers Linkages (IGCG-R-E-F) to develop a comprehensive linkage among researchers, extensionists, farmers, private sectors, including input dealers, farmers’ organizations, civil societies and organized media. It was stressed that research agenda should attach utmost importance to frontier technologies in order to attain genetic improvements with desired traits. Subsequently the Twenty-ninth Session of the Programming Committee (New Delhi, 30 March 2007) decided to establish the IGCG-R-E-F. The decision was later endorsed by the Fourteenth SAARC Summit (New Delhi, April 3-4, 2007).

The Meeting also agreed on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Forum. IGCG-R-E-F met in 2007, 2009 and in June 2015.

The Third Meeting of the SAARC Inter-Governmental Core-Group on Agriculture Research-Extension-Farmers Linkages (IGCG-R-E-F) took place after a span of six years in June 2015 (Colombo, 25-26 June 2015). The Third Meeting underscored the need for cooperation among the Member States in food and nutritional security, food safety, both from technological and regulatory purview, sustainable use of natural resources, and in sharing of climate resilient crop varieties and technologies, among others. The Meeting emphasized the need to implement timely regional projects on cutting edge issues in regional agriculture such as quality seeds, application of modern technology in farming, and climate smart agriculture, and also recommended developing and implementing a project proposal on farmer friendly ICT-based agricultural technique for precision farming with funds from SDF/multilateral organization.

 

The Third Meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers (Dhaka, 7 April 2016) endorsed the recommendation of the SAOM that the Meeting of the Intergovernmental Core-Group on Agriculture Research-Extension-Farmers Linkages (IGCG-R-E-F) should take place in time and at a regular interval in a predictable manner so that issues pertaining to agriculture and rural development could be discussed regularly. The Meeting sought cooperation from the Member States in securing quorum for the meetings. The Meeting agreed that the IGCG-REF should have the capacity to develop important linkage among researchers, extensionists, farmers, private sectors including- input dealers, farmers’ organizations, civil societies and media. The Meeting also endorsed the recommendation of the last meeting to implement farmer friendly ICT- based agricultural technique for precision farming with funds from SDF/multilateral organizations. 

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SAARC Development Fund (SDF)

The first and foremost objective of SAARC is to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life. The sublime objective envisioned by our leaders can be achieved through meaningful cooperation among the Member States, particularly through project-based collaboration, which brings tangible benefits to the peoples in the region. Seen from this perspective, the establishment of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) in 2010 should be viewed as a milestone accomplishment of SAARC in promoting project-based collaboration. SDF is the umbrella funding mechanism of SAARC, which facilitates sub-regional and regional projects for amelioration of the quality of life of the peoples in the region.

 

Within ten years of its establishment, under the Social Window of the SAARC Development Fund, a total of 54 projects (7 out of 12 project areas) have been successfully completed to benefit thousands of people in South Asia.

 

Currently, SDF has twelve ongoing projects under its Social Window including several livelihood projects, which are at varying stages of implementation. The SDF Board of Directors has already approved projects under Economic and Infrastructure Windows, which led to the activation of both these Windows. Currently, SDF is having five projects under Economic and Infrastructure Windows. SDF’s Fund commitments under Social Window are totaling to an amount of around US $ 90.02 million, of which around US $ 48.86 million has already been disbursed. So far, Fund (loan) commitments under Economic and Infrastructure Windows are totaling to an amount of around US $73 million, of which around US $ 13 million has already been disbursed. The projects are intended to meet important socio-economic needs of the SAARC Member States. SDF has been actively soliciting regional/sub–regional projects in Energy/Power, particularly Renewable Energy, for co-financing.

 

During its 33rd Meeting (virtual, 28-29 July 2020), the SDF Board, among others, under the Social Window of SDF, has approved US$ 7.7 million for the COVID-19 project with seven components for seven Member States, which originated from the respective Health Ministries of the seven Member States, to support them in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Till date the Governing Board of SDF met for Thirty-three meetings and the Governing Council of SDF met for six times.

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SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC)

Following the endorsement at the 4th SAARC Summit (Islamabad, 1988), the SAARC Agricultural Information Centre (SAIC) started its journey in 1989 as the first ever Regional Centre under SAARC to establish network among relevant agricultural research and information agencies in SAARC Member States and disseminate regionally generated technical information to strengthen agricultural research, development and innovations.

In 2006, Member States agreed to expand the mandate of SAIC and entrust it to deal with all sub-sectors /allied disciplines of Agriculture e.g. Crops, Fisheries, Livestock and Horticulture and changed its nomenclature as SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC). Over the years, SAC has turned into an agricultural knowledge and information hub in South Asia. SAC has regular programmes on publications on measure areas of Agriculture. In 2016, The Library of Congress of the United States purchased five publications of SAC.

Across the year, SAC has been engaged in Action research, study, arranging regular expert consultation, workshop as well as various forms of capacity development programmes in addition to regular information sharing publications for disseminating regionally adoptable technologies. With technical support from specialized international bodies SAC has implemented regional projects. With support from AusAid, SAC has implemented a project on Agri input modeling in 2013 with a view to improving water productivity in rain-fed and irrigated smallholder rice-based farming systems in South Asia and thereby enhance agricultural production and food security. Since 2019, SAC has been implementing a SDF Funded project on "Livelihood enhancement of small farmers in SAARC region through small agro-business focusing on value chain development". The SAARC Secretariat has also taken number of initiative to upgrade/strengthen the capacity of the Centre by appointing regional and international specialists.

During 2016 to April 2019, around 55 time-bound, and action oriented need-based programmes related to consultation, training, adaptive trail, germplasms exchange and meeting/workshop were implemented by the SAARC Agriculture Centre. The programmes included identification of rice verities, high yielding dairy buffalo, germplasm exchange, animal bio-technology, agro processing, climate change impact on costal fisheries, fish diversity, conservation agriculture, technology sharing, backyard poultry production, Integrated plant nutrient management system, risk management for small farmers, proven technology sharing, good agricultural practices, integrated pest management training, women in agriculture, climate smart agriculture, ICT in agriculture, small scale fisheries, aquaculture of commercially important fish, value chain development etc.

In recent years SAC has significantly expanded its research and capacity development profile in partnership with various UN and International Specialized Organizations/Bodies such as FAO, IFAD, IFPRI, IRRI, ILRI, OIE and CIRDAP.

Sharing of Germplasms: The Centre facilitates sharing of elite plant and animal germplasmas for adaptive trial as well as genetic improvement purposes. “High Yielding Buffalo Breed Development in SAARC region” has been one of the priority programmes of SAC, under which, SAC in 2016 organized dissemination of Nili Ravi Buffalo Germplasm received from the Government of Pakistan and in 2018, SAC organized dissemination of Murrah buffalo germplasm/semen received from the Government of India among the Member States for breeding.

For capacity building of young scientists, the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) has started SAARC Agriculture PhD Scholarship Programme since 2017. SAC has already awarded scholarships to the candidates from Bangladesh (2017), Afghanistan (2018) and Nepal (2019) to pursue their PhD at Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU), Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya (PGIA-UOP), Sri Lanka, and ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, respectively. In the year 2020, two candidates from the Member States (except Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal) would be awarded PhD Scholarships.

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SAARC’s partnership with the development partners

The Third Regional Consultation on SAARC Regional Programme for Food Security (Maldives, 27-29 May 2008) recommended as follows:

Quote

12.       …

-           the SAARC Secretariat convenes a Meeting of the potential development partners to present the fully developed project documents for their funding support to the identified Projects, with technical support from FAO. It may be organized at Kathmandu by the end of 2008; 

-           apart from the multilateral development partners, other major development partners, for instance DFID, JICA/JBIC, DANIDA, CIDA, SIDA, SDC, NORAD AUSAID, GTZ, USAID and Observers[1] in SAARC interested to collaborate with SAARC in regional cooperation in Agriculture/Food Security also need to be approached for supporting development and implementation of the identified Projects.

Unquote

 

The 47th Session of the Programming Committee (SAARC Secretariat, 31 Aug-1 Sept 2014) reviewed the engagement with the Observers which is dully endorsed by the 41st Session of the Standing Committee (24 November 2014). At the Eighteenth SAARC Summit (Kathmandu, 26-27 November 2014), the Leaders directed the Programming Committee to engage the SAARC Observers into productive, demand-driven and objective project-based cooperation in priority areas as identified by the Member States. In pursuance of the above directive, the Secretariat has circulated to all Member States and Observer States on 15 December 2014 the ‘Revised Guidelines for Cooperation with Observers’ and the seven identified areas for project-based Cooperation, i.e.

 

(i) Communication

(ii) Connectivity

(iii) Agriculture

(iv) Public Health

(v) Energy

(vi) Environment and

(vii) Economic Cooperation



[1] SAARC has now nine observers namely, Australia, China, EU, IRAN, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius, Myanmar and the USA.

 

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Efforts to combat Trans-boundary animal disease

It is evident that over the last few years the Secretariat is really putting visible focus of fostering cooperation on Trans-boundary Animal Disease. To this effect, a number of mechanisms i.e. Regional Support Unit, Regional Epidemiology Centre, SAARC Epidemiology Network (SAARC EpiNet), SAARC Animal Disease Information System (SADIS) and SAARC Laboratory Directors’ Forum (SLDF) are now in place. Relevant SAARC Forums (TCARD, CVOs Forum, Agriculture Ministers) were concerned on retaining the mechanisms and carrying on the activities beyond the ADB supported project completed in July 2017. There has been directive from the Forty-second Standing Committee to incorporate RSU and REC in the SAARC Agriculture Centre. The SAARC Agriculture Ministers during their Third Meeting in April 2016 recommended to sustain the mechanisms whereas the SAARC CVOs Forum is regularly pointing out their concerns over the issue.

 

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Project based Cooperation

a. Agriculture and Rural Development Projects funded through the SDF:

Several livelihood projects are at varying stages of implementation with the funding of SDF. Some of those projects are: Strengthening the livelihood initiative for home based workers in SAARC Region (SABAH); Scaling up of Zero Energy Cold Storage (ZECS) technology for the horticultural commodities in the high hills of SAARC countries; Empowering Rural Communities "Reaching the Unreached”; Post-Harvest Management and Value Addition of Fruits in Production Catchments in SAARC Countries and Livelihood enhancement of small farmers in SAARC region through small agro-business focusing on value chain development.

 

b. External Funded Projects

Following the SAARC higher bodies’ directives, the Secretariat is regularly partnering with the UN agencies and other international organizations for implementing potential regional projects. Over the last two decades, SAARC has successfully completed several regional projects on Food and Nutrition Security, and Food Security through the control of trans-boundary animal diseases with the support of the Australian Government, FAO, ADB and European Union. Recently, SAARC Regional Food and Nutrition Security Framework has been drafted. In compliance with the directives of successive SAARC Summits and with a view to paving the Pathway to Partnership as envisioned by the Eighteenth SAARC Summit (Kathmandu, 26-27 November 2014), the Secretariat was engaged in implementing various projects and has recently implemented and completed following regional projects in various fields:

 

Completed Projects

a.     ADB supported TA on “SAARC Food Security Through Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases”;

b.      FAO TCP on “Technical Assistance for formulation of Strategies for the control of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) at Global and Regional Levels”;

c.       IFAD supported Project on “Strengthening the Role of SAARC in the Sustainable        Intensification of Agriculture in South Asia”; and

d.     FAO TCP on “Strengthening the Capacity of SAARC in the Development, Co-ordination and Monitoring of a Regional Food Security and Nutrition Framework, Strategies and Programmes”.

 

With the financial support of the European Union and the technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the SAARC Secretariat implemented the Project on “Regional Cooperation Programme on Highly Pathogenic and Emerging Diseases (HPEDs) in South Asia (SAARC Component)” during 2010-14. After successfully completing the HPEDs Project, the SAARC Secretariat implemented the Project on “Food Security through Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs),” which also subsumed HPEDs as a follow-up to the erstwhile Project funded by the European Union, with the financial support from the Japan Fund for Poverty Alleviation, secured through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and with the technical support of FAO. This Project ended on 31 July 2017.

Under the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) on PPR, inter alia, a number of SAARC Member States were supported to formulate National Strategic Plan of Action to eliminate PPR. The First Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Regional Roadmap Meeting for SAARC was held in Nagarkot, Nepal, on 13-14 April 2016, with the support of FAO/OIE. The Meeting was aimed conducting the first assessment of countries’ situation regarding PPR and the capacity of Veterinary Services to control it and to align the existing regional roadmap to the SAARC region. Though the project was to be concluded by the end of 2016, the Second PPR Regional Roadmap Meeting for Member States of SAARC was organized in Dhaka on 20-22 March 2018, in collaboration with the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) and the PPR Headquarters, with the participation of Chief Veterinary Officers/their representatives and PPR experts from the Member States, FAO and OIE. The Meeting reviewed the progress made since its First Meeting in April 2016 and set new targets and strategies to control the disease and free the region from PPR by 2028, the year the SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers’ (CVOs) Forum also agreed upon in May 2017 to free the Region from PPR. The Meeting revised the PPR Stage Progression 2018–2030, updated the prioritized list of other small ruminant diseases (SRDs) and discussed various issues related to formulation of the PPR National Strategic Plan (NSP) in the Member States of SAARC. The Report of the Second PPR Regional Roadmap Meeting for SAARC would be submitted to the next session of the SAARC CVOs’ Forum.

As part of the SAARC-IFAD scoping study entitled “Strengthening the Role of SAARC in the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in South Asia”, the Second Meeting of the Reference Group took place on 23-24 March 2017 in Kathmandu. The Meeting was also attended by other stakeholders, including development partners, representatives from various think-tanks and leading agriculturists, water resources experts and economists from the region. Through vigorous exercise, the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) has finalized –

            i. A Logical framework: SAARC Partnership Action Plan (2017-2025) on Land & Soil Management and Water Use Efficiency for Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in South Asia (2017-2025); and

            ii. Two policy briefs on Soil Management and Water Resource Management including a set of recommendations for implementation.

 

        The SAARC-FAO project on “Strengthening the Capacity of SAARC in the Development, Coordination and Monitoring of a Regional Food Security and Nutrition Framework, Strategies and Programmes” ended on 31 December 2017. Under the project, SAARC Food and Nutrition Security Framework (SFNSF) and Strategic Plan of Action (SPA) and following four project outlines have been drafted-

a. Improving Seed Delivery System in South Asia;

b. Strengthening Regional Food and Nutrition Security Information System in South Asia;

c. Strengthened Control of Transboundary (Animal, Fish and Plant) Pests and Diseases

(Tpds) in South Asia; and

d. Promote Production and Consumption of Pulses to achieve Nutritious Diets in South   Asia.

 

        A Special Session of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD) was held in Dhaka on 27 November 2017 to review the SFNSF and SPA drafted under the project and four project outlines for implementing the same. 

 

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