UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL GENERAL E ESCAP March by armedman1

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 14

									UNITED NATIONS                                                                    GENERAL
ECONOMIC                                                                          E/ESCAP/1204
AND                                                                               6 March 2001

SOCIAL COUNCIL                                                                    ORIGINAL: ENGLISH




   ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

   Fifty-seventh session
   19-25 April 2001
   Bangkok




            EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL:
                        REGIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION

                                      (Item 7 (a) of the provisional agenda)

                 REPORT ON THE REGIONAL NETWORK FOR AGRICULTURAL
                            ENGINEERING AND MACHINERY

                                              Note by the secretariat




                                                    SUMMARY

        The Regional Network for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (RNAEM), formerly known as the
   Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery (RNAM), has been providing effective assistance to the
   participating member countries since its establishment in 1977. Those countries have stressed the usefulness of
   the RNAEM activities and requested increased assistance in agricultural mechanization and related institution-
   building. The Governing Body of RNAEM has often emphasized the good work done by RNAEM and strongly
   supports its continuation and strengthening. It approved the extension of the project into its seventh phase, for
   the period 1999-2001. The beneficiary countries had pledged to pay their agreed share of the minimum
   requirements of RNAEM so that the priority needs of member countries in agricultural mechanization could be
   met. The hosting of RNAEM was being discussed with China and had reached a crucial stage. In order to
   accommodate the expansion of the scope of work of the Network and to allow for participation on a wider scale,
   it was recommended that the name of the Network be changed to Regional Network for Agricultural
   Engineering and Machinery (RNAEM).

       The report of the Governing Body of RNAEM on its twentieth session is provided in the annex to the
   present document.




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                                                          CONTENTS
                                                                                                                                    Page

INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................       1

  I.    RECENT ACTIVITIES OF THE REGIONAL NETWORK FOR
        AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING AND MACHINERY ..............................................                                         2

 II.    ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION..................................................................................                    5

III.    RECOMMENDATIONS...............................................................................................                5

Annex.        Report of the Governing Body of the Regional Network for Agricultural
              Engineering and Machinery on its twentieth session, Rongcheng, China,
              19-21 October 2000 ................................................................................................     7
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                                         INTRODUCTION

1.      The Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery (RNAM) was established based on studies
conducted by the former Asian Industrial Development Council under the aegis of ESCAP, which
indicated a need for regional institutional support for agricultural mechanization in Asia and the
Pacific. The Commission, by resolution 156 (XXXI) of 6 March 1975, approved the establishment of
an Asian centre for agricultural machinery, and the Government of the Philippines offered to host the
centre and provide host facilities. Initially, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan,
the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated, and those countries were
joined by Bangladesh and Nepal in 1987, China in 1990 and Viet Nam in 1994, bringing the total to
12 participating countries. It may be noted that the Commission, in 2000, changed the name of
RNAM to the Regional Network for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (RNAEM) following
the decision on expanding its scope of work to post-harvest technology.

2.      Agencies and organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Asian
Institute of Technology (AIT) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have regularly
provided the Network with technical inputs and expertise through their active participation at
meetings of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Governing Body. The Network is
currently at a critical juncture and it is necessary to review its status and future. The most recent
meetings of TAC and the Governing Body were held in Rongcheng, Shandong Province, China in
October 2000.

3.      From 1977 to the mid-1990s, the Network provided assistance in the following areas: the
development of an infrastructural mechanism for agricultural mechanization; human resources
development in the exchange of information; the design and prototypes of tested machines for
commercialization; and the establishment of joint ventures. In recent years one of the major activities
undertaken by the Network was to identify and exchange information and develop agricultural
machinery which could be used by women, with a view to promoting women’s involvement in
agriculture at the national level. The Network also implemented a project, financed by UNIDO, on
developing agro-based metal industrie s.     Non-RNAEM participating countries such as Bhutan,
Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Samoa and Solomon Islands also
benefited from that project.




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      I. RECENT ACTIVITIES OF THE REGIONAL NETWORK FOR AGRICULTURAL
                         ENGINEERING AND MACHINERY

4.      The Network was very active in 1996 and 1997. In 1998-2000, however, it was unable to
contribute as before, primarily because of insufficient institutional funding by participating countries.

5.      The ESCAP secretariat has managed and provided support for the project since the end of
July 1998.

6.      The meetings of the Governing Body, held in Kathmandu, and Rongcheng in China, have
again endorsed the useful work of RNAEM. The Governing Body:

(a)     Recommended that RNAEM should continue providing catalytic assistance to member
countries.

(b)     Recommended that the scope of activities of RNAEM should be expanded in the areas of
human resources development in post-harvest and food-processing technologies; the mechanization of
horticultural crops, fruits and vegetables; low-cost surface-covered cultivation; and agricultural waste
and by-product utilization and that extrabudgetary assistance for those activities should be sought.

(c)     Emphasized the need for the timely payment of contributions by member countries for the
proper functioning of the regional office.

(d)     Recommended that participating member countries should consider providing expertise to the
regional office on a non-reimbursable loan basis.

(e)     Expressed its concern that the issue of a more permanent location for the RNAEM regional
office should be finalized. It expressed its profound satisfaction at the possibility of China hosting the
regional office and urged China to decide in favour of hosting it as soon as possible.

7.      After careful consideration of the report of the Governing Body, the Commission had decided
that RNAEM was serving a very useful purpose and had greatly assisted the members in developing
and promoting agricultural mechanization, including the active exchange of technical information
among its participating countries, and institution-building. It had directed the secretariat to continue
seeking extrabudgetary assistance for the approved activities of RNAEM for the period 2000-2001. It
had also urged the donor countries, and others in a position to do so, to provide programme support
for RNAEM projects.

8.      In endorsing the work programme of RNAEM, the Commission had welcomed the expansion
of RNAEM activities in human resources development in post-harvest technologies, especially in the
areas of fruit and vegetable processing and preservation. It had recommended that RNAEM should
initiate activities to promote better conditions for working rural women who were affected by


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agricultural mechanization. It had emphasized that entrepreneurship development activities should be
promoted for such women.

9.          The Commission decided that the host facilities offered by India for the holding of Agrimach
2000 in India could not be utilized, owing to the fact that funds for holding such an exhibition were
not available. The secretariat would like to suggest that Agrimach 2000 be postponed until proper
host facilities and the continuity of the project are assured.

10.         RNAEM, together with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Yantai municipal
government and the Shandong provincial government, organized an international symposium and
exhibition on fruit and vegetable processing technology and industrialization in Yantai, China from 19
to 25 October 2000. The symposium was held concurrently with the exhibition so that the symposium
participants would be able to gain firsthand knowledge of the technologies available for possible
transfer negotiations. The participants at the symposium made the following recommendations:

(1)         Promotional measures should be taken for regional cooperation to complement national
efforts in developing and popularizing appropriate technologies for fruit and vegetable processing and
marketing;

(2)         ESCAP should continue to work with the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of
Technology (APCTT) and RNAEM to continue the organization of appropriate regional technology
seminars and exhibitions, to exchange experiences and to demonstrate equipment and products
appropriate for the region. Other areas such as tropical fruit and vegetable and marine product
processing should also be dealt with;

(3)         Study tours to other countries should be organized and pilot or demonstration schemes
initiated, for the purpose of identifying technology that could be adopted and developed. Special
attention should be paid to the promotion of regional cooperation, human resources development,
technology transfer and dissemination and capacity-building in those areas.           In particular, the
ESCAP/RNAEM secretariat should assist in carrying out the following activities:

            (i)    Development of a practical manual for information, education and communication
                   programmes in fruit and vegetable processing;

            (ii)   Development of video programme series covering topics on traditional storage and
                   processing techniques;


(4)         Member countries should consider the establishment or strengthening of specialized entities
dealing with technology development, market research, sales promotion, skills and management
training, machine manufacturing and import digestion or substitution, aiming to upgrade the national
technical and production level. In that effort, focal points at APCTT and RNAEM could also be
utilized;

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(5)     RNAEM, as an institution specialized in the agribusiness area, should play a more active and
pivotal role in the following areas:

         (i)     Coordination of polic y formulation for the integrated development and popularization
                 of processing technology;

        (ii)     Development of a regional information system to facilitate bilateral and regional
                 technical cooperation;

       (iii)     Preparation of a manual setting out procedures or guidelines for undertaking technical
                 cooperation among developing countries activities, including their formulation and
                 evaluation;

        (iv)     Production of a list of individual experts, regional and national institutions and
                 countries which can provide technical information in the field of fruit and vegetable
                 processing and industrialization.

11.     Donors and organizations were urged to provide extrabudgetary assistance to
ESCAP/RNAEM to carry out those activities.

12.     The secretariat is pleased to report to the Commission that the negotiations with the
Government of China to host the regional office in Beijing are at a crucial stage and a favourable
response is expected in the near future. At the meeting of the Governing Body held in October 2000,
the Government of China suggested that the status of the Network should be changed to that of a
centre. The Governing Body unanimously agreed to the proposal and requested China to make a
favourable decision as soon as possible. It may be noted that China hosted the meetings of TAC and
the Governing Body of RNAEM in 2001 and is willing to host both meetings in China again in 2001.
Such actions could be taken as testimony to the seriousness of China on the issue of hosting the
RNAEM regional office.

13.     In Rongcheng, China, the delegates were provided with an opportunity to visit the fruit and
vegetable exposition, organized in Yantai, China in October 2000. That opportunity was useful for
RNAEM national directors, as the areas of work of RNAEM were expanding to post-harvest and
preservation technologies.

14.     The Commission may wish to note that the Government of China is considering providing
financial assistance from the China/ESCAP cooperation fund to implement two activities by RNAEM
in the following areas: (a) a symposium and exhibition on tropical fruit and vegetable processing and
technologies and (b) marine and aquatic processing technology, to be held in China during September
or October 2001.




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15.     It may be noted that China has also agreed in principle to host the TAC and Governing Body
meetings of RNAEM in Rongcheng in September 2001, in conjunction with a symposium and an
exhibition on marine and aquatic product processing.

                              II. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION

16.     The Commission may wish to note that the member countries have reiterated their
commitment to the continuation of the activities of RNAEM and have requested the continuation of
the exchange of information and advisory services. In view of the shortage of institutional funds,
such assistance should be provided by hiring short-term consultants. The possibility of securing the
services of experts for the short or long term on a non-reimbursement loan basis should also be
explored.

17.     It may also wish to note that the discussions with the Government of China regarding the
hosting of RNAEM in China by the Chinese Academy of Engineering are likely to yield a positive
result in the near future.

18.     The present functions of RNAEM should be carried out from ESCAP headquarters until other
permanent arrangements are made.

19.     The Governing Body unanimously recommended that the possibility of changing the status of
the Network to that of centre should be explored, in order to enable broader participation and
continuity.

                                   III. RECOMMENDATIONS

20.     The Commission, while taking into consideration the past successes of RNAEM activities and
the resolve of the member countries, expressed during the recent meeting of the Governing Body, to
cooperate fully in those activities, may wish to endorse the report of the Governing Body and decide
to continue and strengthen the functioning of the RNAEM regional office so that member countries
are provided with the assistance they need.

21.     The Commission may wish to consider the financial difficulty faced, especially with regard to
institutional costs, and suggest measures to alleviate that difficulty. It may also wish to urge the
participating member countries to pay, in full and on time, the minimum contribution required for the
regional office. It may also wish to impress upon the more advanced countries of the region the need
to provide the services of experts on a long-term basis to the Network.

22.     The Commission may wish to urge China to decide on the hosting of the RNAEM regional
office in Beijing, and to make provisions for a project manager and bear the minimal cost of operating
the Network efficiently.



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23.     The Commission may wish to express its appreciation for the past contributions and
assistance provided by donors, including China, Japan, the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea, for
implementation of the programme activities of RNAEM.

24.     The Commission may wish to consider the above issues and recommendations and advise the
secretariat on the activities to be undertaken.




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                                               Annex

         REPORT OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE REGIONAL NETWORK
             FOR AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING AND MACHINERY
                        ON ITS TWENTIETH SESSION

                              Rongcheng, China, 19-21 October 2000

      I. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNING BODY FOR CONSIDERATION
                   AND ADOPTION BY THE COMMISSION

1.      The Governing Body:

(1)     Recommended that the Regional Network for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery
(RNAEM) should continue to provide catalytic assistance to member countries.

(2)     Also recommended that the scope of activities of RNAEM should continue to be expanded in
the areas of development and promotion of post-harvest and food-processing technologies.

(3)     Expressed its profound satisfaction at the developments regarding the hosting of the regional
office of RNAEM in Beijing and unanimously urged the Government of China to decide in favour as
soon as possible. It also expressed gratitude to the Government of China and the Chinese Academy of
Engineering for the full support they gave RNAEM. The Governing Body recalled past successes and
pledged to cooperate fully in the newly located and revitalized organization. As the scope of work of
RNAEM had expanded to include agricultural engineering, it agreed with the suggestion made by the
Government of China to upgrade the status of the Network to a regional centre.

(4)     Decided to explore the possibility of utilizing multilateral or bilateral funding for RNAEM
activities and requested ESCAP/RNAEM to explore funding from non-traditional donors and NGOs
and the private sector.

(5)     Urged ESCAP/RNAEM to initiate negotiations with donor countries and organizations to
provide programme funds for RNAEM, especially for activities related to income generation and
poverty alleviation and activities related to environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable
agricultural developments.

(6)     Suggested that RNAEM should undertake activities for 2000-2002, keeping in view the
following objectives, as modified by the Governing Body:

         (i)    Extension of agricultural machinery and post-harvest and food-processing
                technologies through demonstrations, for their eventual commercialization and
                market expansion;

        (ii)    Development and adaptation of agricultural and agro-related machinery through the
                exchange of information and hardware (prototypes, designs and drawings);

       (iii)    Improvement of the working conditions of women farm workers through their
                integration in mechanization and production activities;

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       (iv)     Formulation of strategies for appropriate agricultural mechanization, skills
                development and programmes related to agribusiness;

        (v)     Promotion of technical cooperation and exchange in food-processing machinery.

                          II. SUMMARY OF THE DELIBERATIONS

                                       (Agenda items 4 and 5)

2.      The Governing Body had before it documents on the activities of RNAEM in 2000; and the
recommendations of the TAC of RNAEM on its twenty-first session, held at Rongcheng, China on 19
October 2000.

3.      The Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP delivered a welcoming message to the meeting on
behalf of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

4.      The Governing Body took note that the meeting was taking place at a time when it was
crucial to consider the status and future of RNAEM. It also took note of the message of the Executive
Secretary and agreed that RNAEM was a unique project where even designs and prototypes of
agricultural machinery were exchanged without the cost of patents and royalties. It was pleased to
note that at various meetings the Commission had expressed appreciation for the work undertaken by
the Network and underlined the need to continue the activities undertaken by it.

5.      The Governing Body, after careful consideration of the recommendations of TAC, endorsed
them for implementation. While endorsing the report, it recalled the useful work undertaken by
RNAEM in past years and therefore strongly urged ESCAP, the participating member countries and
donors to undertake all necessary actions to continue and strengthen RNAEM. It also agreed to
expand RNAEM activities into the post-harvest and processing technologies. In that context, it
directed the regional office to seek resources to implement its activities in that area. However, it
pointed out that activities included in the project documents submitted for implementation should be
in conformity with the revised set of objectives as enumerated below:

(a)     Extension of agricultural machinery and post-harvest and food-processing technologies through
demonstrations, for their eventual commercialization and market expansion;

(b)     Development and adaptation of agricultural and agro-related machinery through the exchange
of information and hardware (prototypes, designs and drawings);

(c)     Improvement of the working conditions of women farm workers through their integration in
mechanization and production activities;

(d)     Formulation of strategies for appropriate agricultural mechanization, skills development and
programmes related to agribusiness;

(e)     Promotion of technical cooperation and trade in food-processing machinery.


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6.      The Governing Body took note of the ongoing negotiations with the Government of China for
the hosting of RNAEM in Beijing. It expressed its profound gratitude to the Government of China
and unanimously urged it to make a positive decision as soon as possible.

7.      It deliberated extensively on the usefulness of the project activities; concluded that all the
participating member countries had benefited from the programmes initiated by the Network and that
those activities should be continued. The Network should also expand activities in the areas of post-
harvest and food-processing technologies. However, a proposal was made by the Government of
China to upgrade the status of the Network to a centre. It was felt that the institution could provide
services to a large number of countries in need of assistance and, with an expanded mandate, scope
and institutional framework, could solicit and receive contributions from various sources. It might be
possible for the newly established centre to receive assistance from traditional donors and
associations, including the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

8.      It thanked TAC for its useful work and its recommendations, which had facilitated the
decision-making of the Governing Body and assisted it in making recommendations to the
Commission for it to consider and decide upon.

9.      It took note that, following a recommendation to the Commission that the name of the
Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery (RNAM) be changed to the Regional Network for
Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (RNAEM), the Commission had agreed to the change of
name and the project was now in operation under that name.

10.     After consideration of the recommendations of TAC, the Governing Body approved them for
implementation.    It also agreed to expand RNAEM activities into post-harvest and processing
technologies. It directed the regional office to seek resources to expand its activity in that area;
priority, however, should be given to the eight activities included in the project document submitted
for the seventh phase.

11.     The primary concern of the Governing Body was the finalization of a more permanent
location for the regional office of the Network. The secretariat reported that the search had resulted in
negotiations with the Government of China on locating it in Beijing. Indications of progress received
so far had been very positive.

12.     The Governing Body expressed its profound satisfaction at the development and unanimously
urged the Government of China to decide in favour of hosting the regional officer in Beijing as soon
as possible.

13.     It noted that, with the new location of the regional office of RNAEM, it would have much
wider access to cooperation with member countries, especially with China, which had a wide variety
of activities to share with other member countries and on which they could cooperate.



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14.     It expressed gratitude to the Government of China and the Chinese Academy of Engineering
for their full support for RNAEM. The Governing Body recalled the past successes and pledged to
cooperate fully in the newly located and revitalized organization. Given the expansion of the scope of
work of RNAEM to include agricultural engineering, it agreed with the suggestion made by the
Government of China to upgrade the status of the Network to regional center. The Governing Body
recalled resolution 156 (XXXI) of 6 March 1975 on establishment of the Asian Centre for
Agricultural Machinery. Although the centre had not been established at that time, the Governing
Body felt that it had become necessary to establish a more permanent institution to cover that
important area of work. It strongly urged the Government of China to provide substantial support for
the host facilities for the institution. Other participating member countries also pledged to continue
their financial support. With the expansion of the scope of activities and the upgrading of the
Network to a centre, it was envisaged that a large number of countries could become participating
members and also provide institutional support.

15.     It urged ESCAP/RNAEM to initiate negotia tions with donor countries and organizations to
provide programme funds for RNAEM, especially for activities related to income generation and
poverty alleviation and to environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable agricultural
development.

16.     It also decided to explore the possibility of utilizing other multilateral or unilateral funding for
RNAEM activities and requested ESCAP/RNAEM to fully explore funding from non-traditional
donors, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

17.     It endorsed the modified objectives of RNAEM as follows:

(a)     Extension of agricultural machinery and post-harvest and food-processing technologies
through demonstrations, for their eventual commercialization and market expansion;

(b)     Development and adaptation of agricultural and agro-related machinery through the exchange
of information and hardware (prototypes, designs and drawings);

(c)     Improvement of the working conditions of women farm workers through their integration in
mechanization and production activities;

(d)     Formulation of strategies for appropriate agricultural mechanization, skills development and
programmes related to agribusiness;

(e)     Promotion of technical cooperation and exchange in food-processing machinery.

18.     The Governing Body expressed its appreciation for the work of TAC and thanked it for its
valuable inputs into the revitalization of the activities of the Network.

19.     It expressed its great appreciation to the Chinese Academy of Engineering for its valuable
support in the negotiations for the host facilities of RNAEM, which it was confident would be

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concluded as early as possible. It also expressed its gratitude to the Government of China for its
positive consideration of the hosting of RNAEM.

20.     Special and sincere appreciation was also expressed for the full support, resources and
excellent preparation for the successful holding of the TAC and Governing Body meetings in
Rongcheng by the co-organizers, namely, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the provincial
government of Shandong and the municipal government of Rongcheng. Sincere gratitude was also
expressed for the entire machinery that had worked behind the scenes to ensure its success.

21.     The Governing Body considered their gracious support as testimony to the resolve of the
Government of China to support the hosting and revitalization of RNAEM.

                           III. ORGANIZATION OF THE SESSION

                                     A. Opening of the session

22.     The twentieth session of the Governing Body of RNAEM was held in Rongcheng, Shandong
Province, China from 19 to 21 October 2000.

23.     In his opening remarks, Mr Liu Changyun, Deputy Secretary General of Shandong Province,
welcomed the participants and praised the work of RNAEM in serving and developing cooperative
actions in agricultural mechanization and technology. He requested the full involvement of RNAEM
in organizing the forthcoming international conference on marine and aquatic processing technology.

24.     In his remarks, His Excellency Mr Shen Guofang, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of
Engineering, stated that RNAEM played an important and active role in the development of
agriculture in the Asian and Pacific region. With the broadening of the scope of work of RNAEM to
include a broader concept of engineering in the development, adoption and adaptation of agricultural
technology, it could play an even greater role in agricultural development. He stated that the mission
of the Chinese Academy of Engineering was to enhance collaboration with the Chinese Engineering
Science and Technology Committee to promote progress in engineering science and technology. In
terms of agricultural engineering promotion and cooperation, the Academy had outstanding experts
and technologists and was committed to cooperation with countries in the region.

25.     In his opening speech to TAC and the Governing Body, Mr Liu Changyun, Deputy Secretary
General of Shandong Province, stated that RNAEM had achieved great success in the past and hoped
that the meetings in Rongcheng, China would reinforce the cooperation and exchange between
member countries and would assist the forthcoming symposium and exhibition on marine and aquatic
processing. He further stated that in the future Shandong Province would take a more active part in
information exchange on advanced technologies.

26.     In his message, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP stated that RNAEM was a unique project
which promoted meaningful cooperation through the free exchange of information, as well as designs
and prototypes of machinery, without incurring the concomitant costs for patents and royalties. He
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also commended the member countries on their commitment to cooperation and development in that
area, especially as it provided assistance at the grass-roots level to alleviate rural poverty. He also
believed that there was a high possibility of finding a permanent solution to the problems of the
Network’s sustainability and strengthening if the Chinese Academy of Engineering provided the host
facilities for the Network in Beijing.

27.     He concluded by thanking the participating member countries which had made contributions
to RNAEM, and also China and the Republic of Korea for their continued financial support for
RNAEM programme activities. He expressed his gratitude for the support for and organization of the
meetings of TAC and the Governing Body in Rongcheng, China.

                                            B. Atte ndance

28.     The session was attended by representatives of China, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, the
Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.

                                         C. Election of officers

29.     The Governing Body elected Mr Zheng Xiaoguang (China) Chairman for the session.

                                              D. Agenda

30.     The Governing Body adopted the following agenda:
        1.     Opening of the session.
        2.     Election of officers.
        3.     Adoption of the agenda.
        4.     Report on the twenty-first session of the RNAEM Technical Advisory Committee.
        5.     Programme of work for RNAEM.
        6.     Other matters.
        7.     Adoption of the report.




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