ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL:
SOCIO-ECONOMIC MEASURES TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY IN RURAL AND URBAN AREAS
(Item 7 (c) of the provisional agenda)
REPORT ON THE REGIONAL COORDINATION CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF COARSE GRAINS, PULSES, ROOTS AND TUBER CROPS IN THE HUMID TROPICS OF ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Note by the secretariat
1. The major developments that have occurred in the operation of the Regional Coordination Centre for Research and Development of Coarse Grains, Pulses, Roots and Tuber Crops in the Humid Tropics of Asia and the Pacific (CGPRT Centre) since the fifty-fifth session of the Commission, held from 22 to 28 April 1999, are detailed in the present report. The activities planned for 2000 and beyond, as endorsed by the Governing Board at its eighteenth session in December 1999, are presented, together with a review of the status of the financial resources of the Centre.
2. During 1999, the Centre carried out its activities within the framework of two programmes: research and development (R and D), and human resources development and information services (HRD/IS). Under these two programmes, the Centre implemented or conducted the following: (a) four R and D projects; (b) one two-week regional working seminar and one four-day regional workshop; and (c) provision of other information (see annex III). These activities were carried out in collaboration with national agricultural research institutes, national policy planning agencies, and other agencies and organizations involved in the Centre's crop development. The information and recommendations generated by, and disseminated through these activities were widely utilized. The involvement of countries in the activities of the Centre is shown in annex I.
3. The programme support resources decreased by 20 per cent in 1999. Specific programme support came from the Governments or research institutes of France, Japan, the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea. Institutional support was also given by the Governments of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
4. The Government of Indonesia, as the host, continued to provide premises and facilities for the Centre together with financial and in-kind support. In particular, its appreciable contribution to the institutional resources has enabled the Centre to stabilize its basic operations and management.
5. The Centre carried out its operations with a total of eight Professional staff, comprising a director, one programme leader and six researchers (as of 1 December 1999), who were provided by the member governments and institutions. In addition, collaborative research was undertaken by the Centre in cooperation with experts at the partner institutes in member countries, amounting to a total of 78 work-months in 1999. Support staff of the Centre numbered 11 as of the end of 1999. The staffing status in 1999 and the staffing plan for 2000 are shown in annex II.
6. The Centre maintained cooperation with its partners in developing member countries of the region. It also maintained cooperative relations with United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, and other international and regional institutions including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Potato Centre (CIP), as well as national institutions such as the International Cooperation Centre of Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) of France, the Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO/DLO) of the Netherlands, the Central Research Institute for Food Crops (CRIFC) and the Centre for Agricultural Socio-Economic Research (CASER) of Indonesia.
7. The size of resources for institutional support and programme activities declined in 1999. The general financial situation of the Centre has remained unstable and the funds available for the activities are insufficient. The Commission may wish to urge its members and associate members to provide contributions either at a minimum threshold level or at a higher level, according to the capacity of individual countries.
8. The objectives of the Centre and its capacity to serve the needs of its developing member countries by providing technical services and assistance can be achieved by implementing collaborative projects and activities. The expansion of programme activities would be required to respond to the increasing needs of developing member countries. In addition, the diversification of funding sources should ensure a stable and sustained increase in the resources of the Centre and would avoid wide annual variations. The Commission may wish to express appreciation for the support of the governments of the members and associate members and of donor agencies for the programme resources of the Centre. The Commission may also wish to request the members and associate members and donor agencies to consider increasing their support and its timely allocation to the programmes and projects of the Centre.
9. The staff of the Centre have been, and will continue to be, provided by member governments and institutions through funds-in-trust, non-reimbursable loans and other means. Competent and experienced experts with knowledge and skills which match the programmes and projects of the Centre are essential to ensure its successful operation. The Commission may further wish to express its appreciation to those governments and agencies which have provided experts to the Centre, and to urge the continuation and strengthening of support through the provision of experts, preferably on the basis of non-reimbursable loans.
10. The Centre's R and D programme has been structured in the direction indicated in the strategic plan for the Centre towards the twenty-first century.
11. The Centre's research projects are undertaken in collaboration with partner institutes of member countries. Under this arrangement, the Centre's staff work together with national researchers, policy planners, other officials and universities. In view of the catalytic role played by the Centre in the collaborative process, an increasing number of projects have been implemented by national teams of experts, while the staff of the Centre assume planning and coordination roles, including the development and exploratory application of methods and approaches. Equally, the Centre takes the leading role in identifying and formulating projects in consultation with its partners, and in placing proposals with potential funding sources.
12. During 1999, the Centre implemented four projects in the framework of its R and D programme. All of these projects will continue during 2000. The projects are as follows:
13. Project (a), funded by the Government of Japan, started in April 1997. The project is to be implemented over three years in collaboration with 10 countries, namely, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam. The aims of the project are the following: (a) to identify the changes in international trade of agricultural products with special focus on CGPRT crops in the region under further liberalized market conditions; (b) to characterize the situation and prospects for agriculture in selected Asian countries with special attention to the effects of trade liberalization; (c) to specify policy options for improving farmers' income in the process of trade liberalization; and (d) to provide concerned policy makers and researchers with discussions and suggestions on the above findings. The second phase of the project has been completed and the country reports for this phase are being published. A regional workshop on the effects of trade liberalization on agriculture in Asia was held in Bogor, Indonesia, in October 1999. A six-month extension of the project until June 2000 was approved by the donor. Follow-up in-country seminars to discuss and disseminate the results of the project will be organized in individual participating countries during this period.
14. Project (b), funded by CIRAD and the Government of France, started in April 1998. The project consists of a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools for helping institutional and economic policy definition and decision-making processes in agriculture and related sectors. Case studies and training sessions covering the Red River Delta of Viet Nam and West Java of Indonesia had continued in 1999.
15. Project (c), funded by the Government of Japan, started in July 1999. Four countries, namely, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu, are participating in the project. The aims of the project are to assess the food security problems faced by the participating countries, to identify effective strategies, and to formulate appropriate policy options for solving those problems. A meeting to coordinate planning and in-country planning meetings were held in September in Bogor, Indonesia, and in December in each participating country. The project is to be implemented over two years.
16. Project (d), funded by ATO-DLO, started in May 1999 and is to be implemented over two years. The aim of the project is to identify feasible post-harvest technology and industrial development activities in South-East Asia. Survey work on current crops has been conducted in Indonesia.
17. The human resources development activities of the Centre address the following areas:
18. In July 1999, one two-week training course on database management at advanced level was held at the Centre. The course was funded by the Government of the Netherlands and attended by nine participants from three countries, namely, Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam.
19. The Centre has continued to publish monographs and working papers, together with its quarterly newsletter, Palawija News. In 1999, the Centre published 14 working papers, 2 monographs and other items.
20. The estimated expenditure from institutional support resources in 1999 was US$ 305,779 and Rp 308,560,000 (see annexes IV and V). Contributions to these resources were made by Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The evolution in contributions to the institutional support resources from member governments from 1991 to 1999 is shown in annex VI.
21. The cash expenditure from programme support resources for specific projects and activities amounted to US$ 507,575. In addition, other forms of support were received, mostly expert services, which totalled 170.6 work-months. Contributions of these resources were made by France, Japan, the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea and by some developing countries.
22. The estimated expenditure from institutional support resources for 2000 amounts to US$ 313,365 and Rp 318,690,000 (see annexes IV and V).
23. Based on planned projects and activities for 2000, and subject to the availability of funds for several of those projects, the programme expenditure for 2000 is estimated to be US$ 542,044. The bulk of in-kind contributions would be expert services from governments and agencies, which are estimated at a total of 165 work-months.
24. The general resource situation of the Centre remains unstable and the availability of funds insufficient. The programme support resources should be expanded so as to respond to the increasing need for CGPRT crop development in developing countries. Since the Centre relies on governments and other institutions for the provision of its expert services, an increase in, as well as the continuation of, such services to match programmes and projects is essential to ensure the success of the Centre.
25. The eighteenth session of the Governing Board of the CGPRT Centre was held at Bogor, Indonesia, from 1 to 2 December 1999.
26. The session was attended by representatives of Bangladesh, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand as members of the Board. Representatives of the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Bank, CIP and CIFOR attended as observers.
27. The Governing Board was informed of the Centre's activities in 1999, which were included in the R and D programme and in the human resources development and information services programme. The proposed programme of work for 2000, within the framework of the medium-term plan for the period 2000-2003, was considered and discussed. The Governing Board approved the medium-term programme and the proposed programme for 2000.
28. The Governing Board was expressed its concern about the reduced activity in the human resources development programme in 1999 and for 2000 due to the limited availability of funds. The Governing Board advised the Director to seek possible measures to continue the role and function of the Centre in the programme by combining it with the R and D programme. The Governing Board agreed to a proposal to support the Centre's information services section including the database and library under the regular operational budget.
29. The Governing Board expressed appreciation to the Director and staff of the Centre for their hard work on the Centre's programme. The Governing Board requested that the Director take into account its observations and remarks in the implementation of programme activities.
30. The Governing Board was informed of the expenditure from institutional and programme support resources in 1999 and the estimated expenditure and the subsequent financial situation for 2000. It expressed appreciation to the Government of Indonesia and other members for their continued support. The Governing Board emphasized that the Centre's institutional and programme support resources needed to be stabilized, in view of the continuing fragile financial situation and insufficient availability of such resources. In that regard, the Governing Board reaffirmed the need to strengthen efforts at fund-raising and staffing for the efficient and effective implementation of the programme activities.
31. The Governing Board approved the report on expenditure in 1999 and planned expenditure for 2000.
Involvement of countries in the activities of the CGPRT Centre in 1999
Staffing in 1999 and plan for 2000
a Based on the programme of work for 2000.
Summary of programme activities in 1999
a Project support funds for one year
Annex III (continued)
Summary of programme activities in 1999
2. Publication and information
Institutional support resources: joint contribution - estimated expenditure in 1999 and budget plan for 2000
(United States dollars)
a Based on the pledges for 1999.
b Proposed to ESCAP.
c Including PSC for the Indonesian rupiah budget.
c-1 US$ 4 855 c-2 US$ 5 014 c-3 US$ 5 179.
Institutional support resources: Indonesian contribution - estimated expenditure in 1999/2000 and budget plan for 2000/2001
(Thousands of Indonesian rupiahs)
a Proposed to the Government of Indonesia.
Institutional support resources: contributions from members, 1991-1999