Inception meeting to develop SAARC regional coordinated program on Agroforestry

An inception meeting to develop a SAARC Regional Coordinated Programme on Agroforestry (SARCOPA) was jointly organized by the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), Nepal; the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bio-resources (ANSAB), Nepal; and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), at Kathmandu from June 1 to 3, 2016.

The meeting was participated by an agroforestry specialist each representing Government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC Agriculture Centre was represented by its Senior Programme Specialist (NRM). Among others, scientists and senior policy makers from the Ministries of Agricultural Development, Forests and Soil Conservation, and Livestock Development; Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC); ICIMOD; and ANSAB were in attendance. In addition, agroforestry experts from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and from the Central Agroforestry Research Institute (CAFRI), India; and Senior Advisor and the Regional Director of ICRAF South Asia Program also participated and contributed to the meeting.

This meeting was a continuation of earlier SAARC- ICAR- ICRAF Regional initiatives held at ICAR-CSSRI, (Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal), (2013); ICAR-CAFRI (Central Agroforestry Research Institute, Jhansi), (2015); and a Regional Consultation on Agroforestry, New Delhi, India ( 2015). During these events, a strong consensus emerged to foster close collaboration and partnership among SAARC member states by initiating a SAARC Regional Coordinated Program on Agroforestry (SARCOPA) with facilitation and technical support from ICRAF and SAC.

The meeting developed a resolution called, the SAARC Resolution on Agroforestry, 2016and was unanimously approved by all the participants. It was agreed that ICRAF in close collaboration with SAC, SAARC countries, ANSAB, and partners will continue leading the process to finalize the SARCOPA, mobilize the resources, and implement the same. Thus, Mr. Uday C. Thakur, Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MFSC), Government of Nepal released the SAARC Resolution on Agroforestry, 2016 on June 3, 2016.