14 March 2016 – The 8th Steering Committee meeting of the China-CABI Joint Laboratory was held successfully in Beijing, China on 4 March 2016. Steering Committee members and other key delegates were delighted with the Joint Laboratory¬ís achievements and progress in 2015, and agreed its plans for 2016. The Joint Laboratory is now regarded as one of the top platforms of its type within the Chinese agricultural research and development community, and is drawing international attention as a model for others. The Laboratory¬ís Technical Advisory Group also held a one-day meeting on 2 March. Both this and the Steering Committee were held at the Nuoya Organic Farm in Pinggu, Beijing, highlighting the importance attached by all to environmentally-friendly agricultural practices and ¬Ďgreening agriculture¬í.

In 2015, the Joint Laboratory achieved significant progress in key areas addressing both Chinese and global needs for food security and sustainable agricultural development. Highlights included the joint creation and implementation of international development and research projects, scientific exchange and research team building, dissemination of scientific outputs, and capacity building.  Progress was also made in technology transfer to other developing countries, and South-South and triangular co-operation.

Chairperson of the Steering Committee for 2015 was Dr Tang Shengyao, Deputy Director General of International Co-operations and CABI Executive Council member for China. Dr Tang delivered a welcome address and expressed the Ministry’s continued strong support for the Joint Laboratory. He pointed out that the Joint Laboratory could play even more important roles in addressing the current and future needs of Chinese agricultural development policies, which stress innovation and sustainable development, and promote a swift move from volume of agricultural production to quality, efficiency and productivity.

The timing of the Steering Committee meeting coincided with the opening of China¬ís twin meetings of the National People¬ís Congress and Political Consultation Congress, where agriculture was high on the agenda. 2016 is the first year for the implementation of China¬ís 13th Five-year Plan, which calls for speeding up agricultural modernization, promoting innovation, ensuring sustainable development, safeguarding people’s living quality, strengthening support for the poor, and promoting Chinese technologies abroad.

Priorities for the Steering Committee included topics related to promotion of wider dissemination of project outcomes, joint authorship of research outputs, facilitation of further research collaboration, technology transfer and south-south and triangular co-operation, particularly among CABI member countries (and potential member countries) through the open Joint Laboratory platform. A project on technology transfer and soil pest management in Rwanda has become another success story of triangular collaboration at the Laboratory. Financed by AgriTT RCF of the UK Department for International Development, the project aims to transfer biologically-based crop protection technology from China to Rwanda, using beneficial nematodes, for the control of soil insect pests in vegetable production. It builds on the success of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology transfer projects to the Greater Mekong Subregion countries and DPR Korea. Significant results have been achieved so far.

Initiated and agreed at the last Steering Committee meeting, the ¬ĎBelt and Road¬í (formerly referred as ¬ĎOne Belt, One Road¬í) Plant Protection initiative has made significant progress. On 15-16 May 2015, key plant protection experts from major Chinese institutions and CABI attended the first national consultation meeting to discuss and outline the development plan of establishing a Belt and Road (B&R) Plant Protection International Consortium (PPIC). This led to an international consultation workshop on 11-12 September 2016 in Changchun with 143 delegates representing Chinese key stakeholders and plant protection stakeholders from another 12 B&R-target countries (Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Switzerland and Australia).

On 24 December 2015, national and CABI experts further reviewed and discussed the revised proposal of the B&R plant protection programme plan. Chinese government funding has already been secured to implement components of the plan.

CABI’s Board member, Mr Ian Barry was elected as the 2016 Chairperson of the Steering Committee. He noted the importance of developing a sound Joint Laboratory Medium-term Strategy to ensure the continued success of the Joint Laboratory. Progress can be attributed to:

  • a sound management mechanism stressing the important role of Steering Committee to provide guidance and strategic direction of the Joint Laboratory;
  • strong support from both the Chinese government and CABI, both politically and financially; and
  • a robust team (both permanent and virtual teams) working on the ground led by Co-Directors with support of Liaison Secretaries. Building the capacity of the team will be a key priority of the Strategic Plan.

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