NEAT Working Group on
Enhancing the East Asian Food Security Mechanism: APTERR's Contribution to Food Security and Disaster Prevention
In East Asia, regional cooperation and integration has been advancing in the areas of economy, money and education since the start of the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation in 1997. The high growth of production, income and trade has continued and amplified the interdependence of regional economies. Such economic growth and integration, however, masks the existence of common challenges and negative side effects. The region is increasingly prone to natural disasters and climate changes. Poverty and hunger is still persisting among the lower tier of the society. The widening disparities of economic conditions among different social strata are undermining the national cohesion and social stability. Many concerns that the sustainable growth and the secure life of the region is being challenged.
A typical area of common concern has been the stable supply of food and food security. After the World Food Summit in 1996, the cooperation for food security was intensively discussed among the East Asian countries and the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) was established at the APT Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF+3) in 2001-2002, followed by the creation of the pilot project of East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve (EAERR) in 2004. The world food crisis in 2007-8 proved that world food market was still vulnerable against unexpected shocks and speculations, which paved the way to the establishment of the ASEAN plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) and made the AFSIS a permanent mechanism in 2012.
The APTERR is a unique program materialized under the APT cooperation. It aims at strengthening the food security and poverty reduction in the APT countries, mainly through the specific rice reserve mechanisms to prepare for large scale disasters or other emergency cases. Since its establishment in 2012, a considerable amount of rice was released from the APTERR stockpiled emergency reserves to the areas damaged by the typhoon, drought and other emergencies.
Nevertheless, these cooperation mechanisms for food security, in particular APTERR, have many limitations and challenges to address more effectively and swiftly the complex issues of food security and poverty reduction in the APT region.
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