14 May 2018 – A delegation of representatives from CABI have promoted plans for closer partnership with countries in Southeast Asia as part of their presentation at the 2nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) London Committee  meeting in 2018 held on Tuesday 9 May 2018.

Representing CABI, Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Director of Memberships, and Phil Abrahams, Director of Strategic Business Development, were invited to the meeting by the current Chair of the ASEAN London Committee (ALC), His Excellency Kyaw Zwar Minn who is also the Myanmar Ambassador to the UK.

The ALC is made up of 10 ASEAN Ambassadors and High Commissioners represented in London, the wider UK, as well as an ALC working group. Not only in the United Kingdom, ASEAN Committees in Third Countries were established in many countries consisting of ASEAN Embassies/Missions such as the ASEAN Committee in Paris (APC) in France and ASEAN Committee in New York (ANYC) in the United States, to give a few examples. These Committees aim to promote ASEAN’s interests and identity in the concerned host countries and/or international organisations as well as to promote relations and cooperation.

Dr Zhang and Mr Abrahams gave the meeting an overview of CABI’s major global programmes and its activities in Southeast Asia, including Increasing rice production around the Mekong in South West China, Lao PDR and Myanmar, ‘Strengthening agro-ecosystem health and building resilience in Climate Smart Villages’ in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam, as well as the mNutrition initiative a UK DFID funded programme that aimed to improve the nutritional status of more than three million people across Africa and Asia (Myanmar).

HE Mr Kyaw Zwar Minn said, ‘In Myanmar, I know that CABI has also been involved in several important projects and activities including the formulation of the Myanmar Plant Health System Strategy 2016-2020, which is now being operationalized by the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

‘This strategy will no doubt help the Ministry to achieve its mission to attain maximum market share in regional and global markets for agro-based, value-added agricultural and speciality food products; improve food security and alleviate poverty, particularly in rural areas; and manage green growth.’

The Southeast Asian region and ASEAN are of strategic importance to CABI. Working with national partners and ASEAN Secretariat, CABI has undertaken extensive collaboration with all ASEAN countries, particularly Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam which are all important CABI member countries.

The collaboration with ASEAN countries has ranged from research and development co-operation projects, capacity building, knowledge management and information access, which has been coordinated by CABI’s Regional Centre for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, located in Malaysia and headed by Dr Annamalai Sivapragasam, Regional Director.

Dr Zhang said, ‘The ALC meeting presented CABI with an excellent opportunity to further strengthen our partnerships with ASEAN countries and ASEAN Secretariat, as well as our interactions with the ASEAN Heads of Missions and ALC Working Group in London.’

Mr Abrahams took the opportunity to highlight CABI’s flagship Plantwise programme, which has been implemented in 34 countries including four ASEAN countries – Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The Program works to help farmers lose less of what they grow due to plant health problems.

Dr Zhang added, ‘The questions and answers session after the presentation was very interactive, with simulating questions and valuable suggestions coming from senior members of the ALC.

‘Many ASEAN Heads of Missions expressed a strong desire for the deepening of co-operations between CABI and ASEAN countries as well as the ASEAN, built on what have already been active collaboration in the region, and suggested ways forward.

‘By improving the quality of agricultural products, ensuring farmers’ interests are met through access to objective and practical advice, and ensuring that sustainable agricultural development remains high on the agenda of the ASEAN and ASEAN countries, the prospects of greater partnerships between CABI and ASEAN are promising.’

Additional information

There is a more comprehensive version of this story on the Membership news pages.

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