Jakarta, 13 March, 2012: The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), under the leadership of the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA) and the European Union (EU) are joining forces for improved food security and nutrition of the poorest and most vulnerable people in South and South-East Asia through SATNET Asia - a 'Network for Knowledge Transfer on Sustainable Agricultural Technologies and Improved Market Linkages in South and South-East Asia' that focuses on supporting innovation by strengthening South–South dialogue and intraregional learning on sustainable agriculture technologies and trade facilitation.
Rural poverty and malnutrition, gender inequalities and environmental degradation remain rampant in South and South-East Asia. Although some countries in the region have made great strides toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the majority of the world's poor people still live in developing countries in South and South-East Asia, where there is the highest proportion of undernourished people worldwide. Agriculture is the economic backbone of most of these countries, yet growth within the sector, especially in less-favoured environments, has remained low. Although past decades have witnessed unprecedented growth in the agricultural sector during the Green Revolution, too little of this growth has benefited the poorest and most vulnerable. The current organization of knowledge, science, and technology cannot adequately deal with the challenges to sustainable food systems because information such as on food, agriculture, environment, climate, ecology, trade and policy trends continue to reside in separate 'knowledge silos'. SATNET Asia aims to address this challenge by facilitating knowledge transfer among various change actors in the agricultural sector for the benefit of poor and marginalized farmers.
CAPSA-ESCAP, with the support from European Union (EU), convened the Inception Workshop of SATNET Asia from 13 to 14 March 2012 in Bogor, Indonesia. The workshop followed the recent award of a grant to ESCAP to establish and facilitate a network on sustainable technologies for agricultural production and processing, and facilitation measures for agricultural trade. Twenty six participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, as well as representatives from ESCAP, the World Vegetable Centre – AVRDC ESEA (Thailand), the University of Hohenheim (Germany), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN, attended this two day workshop and participants expressed their strong commitment to contribute actively in the network.
The UN Assembly has urged all relevant United Nations organizations and multilateral institutions to intensify their efforts to effectively mainstream the use of South-South co-operation in the design, formulation and implementation of their regular programmes and to consider increasing allocations of human, technical and financial resources for supporting South-South co-operation initiatives. "When countries, multilateral agencies and other partners work together throughout the South to pool know-how, exchange ideas and co-ordinate policies, they unleash a creative force that furthers our development efforts and helps us build the future we want." stated the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the UN Day of South-South Co-operation, 19 December 2011.