Bangladesh to host FAO APRC for the first time in 2022

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Dhaka, Sept 04: Bangladesh will host the 36th FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) in 2022 – the first time that the country has been given the honour since it joined the FAO in 1973.

At the close of the 35th session of the regional conference, member states agreed unanimously to the proposal of Bangladesh to host the next APRC in Bangladesh, a press release said on Friday.

This marks an achievement for the country during this year’s birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and as the country approaches its 50th year of independence next year.

FAO Representative in Bangladesh, Robert D Simpson, said: “This is an exceptional and long-awaited achievement for Bangladesh.”

Bhutan hosted the 35th APRC, which ended on Friday and was held on a videoconferencing platform on an exceptional basis in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The first regional conference was held in Bangalore, India, in 1953. Bangladesh joined the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1973 and has been a fully active member.

Ministers and more than 400 delegates, including the private sector, civil society, academia, and technical experts in the food and agriculture sectors from 46 member countries across the Asia-Pacific region, participated in this year’s APRC.

The high-level Bangladesh delegation was comprised of five ministries — Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ministry of Finance.

Each regional conference, convened every two years, results in recommendations that guide FAO’s work.

Regional conferences are an official forum where agriculture ministers and other high officials from all member states in the region meet to debate challenges related to food and agriculture, thus promoting regional coherence.

Robert Simpson said Bangladesh’s progress in agriculture and food security over the past 40 years has been remarkable, particularly given the challenges of frequent natural disasters, population growth, decreasing arable land, and encroaching salinization.

“Bangladesh’s achievements are a lesson as to what can be done. Bangladesh is ambitious to achieve more, and continues to lead the way with strong support from the government and FAO.”

He said the 36th Session of the APRC will be a great opportunity for Bangladesh to show countries across the region what has been achieved, to share the lessons of its success, and to lead the way in innovation.