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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

09 December 2022


Dr. Thi Tam Dinh, Chair of the 17th Session of the CSAM Governing Council,

Distinguished members and observers of the Council, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Eighteenth Session of the Governing Council of the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM).

I congratulate the new and re-elected members for starting their current term at the Council.

This session of the Governing Council comes at a critical time.

Our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Progress Report 2022 revealed that the region is not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The gap is growing wider with each passing year, and the expected timeframe for the achievement of the SDGs is beyond 2030!

In fact, for Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production and Goal 13 on climate action, the report showed that the region is regressing.

During the Food Systems Summit last year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres, reiterated that all 17 SDGs rely to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

Thus, we must transform our food systems to feed the world and to protect our planet, especially in the backdrop of complex shocks and challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

At the same time, the food and agriculture sector in the Asia-Pacific region is facing especially severe constraints. A majority of the hungry people in the world, as many as 425 million, are in Asia.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the geopolitical instability and the realignment of trade relations we are currently witnessing in the world, which have perpetuated a food crisis.

Distinguished Governing Council members, ladies and gentlemen,

Sustainable agricultural mechanization is vital for addressing the challenges facing agriculture in Asia and the Pacific.

Agricultural machinery is needed to phase out the use of outdated or inefficient technologies and practices that trap farmers, particularly smallholders, in a vicious cycle of low productivity, low income and low investment.

Moreover, in rural areas of the region, women play a large role in the economic sphere as farmers, wage earners and entrepreneurs. For instance, the agricultural sector engages more than half of employed women in countries like the Lao PDR, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Agricultural machinery can help by reducing drudgery for women farmers and farm workers and saving precious time and labour.

In this context, I am glad to note that gender mainstreaming in sustainable agricultural mechanization will be discussed by the Council today.

We are dedicated to supporting our member States in translating the immense potential of agricultural machinery in the region into real benefits for food security, sustainable rural development and poverty alleviation in support of the SDGs.

I am especially pleased that this year, with the guidance of member States and the Governing Council, we attained further recognition for its efforts. Our Regional Pilot Project on Mechanization Solutions for Integrated Management of Straw Residue was cited as one of 80 good practices globally by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

Distinguished Governing Council members, ladies and gentlemen,

We have greatly benefited from your strong support, guidance and partnership.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of China, CSAM’s host country, for its generous financial contributions and office space for the Centre, which has been vital for it to deliver upon its mandate.

I would also like to thank other members of the Governing Council for their financial contributions to CSAM.

To conclude, I trust that the deliberations at today’s session will play an important role in shaping CSAM’s programmes and activities and ensuring that the Centre continues to meet the needs of ESCAP member States for sustainable agricultural mechanization in the region.

I wish you a  very successful round of discussions as well as Governing Council session. 

Thank you very much.

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Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization