AGRARIAN Reform Assistant Secretary Herminia Fe B. San Juan was voted last Monday as the new chairperson of the Executive Committee (EC)-31 of the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), which the Philippines hosted at the last minute after the supposed host country, Afghanistan, begged off for security reasons.
Ms. San Juan’s ascension to the chairmanship of the organization of 15 member-countries came into being by virtue of the Philippines, through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), being the host country for the 31st Executive Committee meeting and 21st Governing Council meeting slated October 9, 10 and 13, 2017, respectively, at the Hotel Jen in Pasay City.
The hosting of major CIRDAP ministerial is on rotation basis, a procedure that has been adopted since its inception in July 1979.
Besides the Philippines, other member-countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Membership in the CIRDAP would likely be expanded as it is courting Cambodia, Bhutan, Maldives and the three island nations in the South Pacific – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Ms. San Juan, who will serve for two consecutive years, replaced Mr. Setareki Tale of Fiji. Mr. Tale will remain as a key figure in the regional cooperation after having been elected unanimously as vice chairperson of CIRDAP.
As the EC chairperson, Ms. San Juan is expected to have her hands full as she will be spearheading a regional organization that is undergoing makeover in its system and procedures and is developing a vibrant and dynamic strategic plan that would make the CIRDAP more relevant and visible to member-countries.
The objective, she said, is “to strengthen CIRDAP system and processes for collaboration at the global, national and community levels in order to effectively respond to the changing rural development paradigms.”
Foremost among its agenda is the revision of the organization’s operation manual, which was found to be outdated and, therefore, is in need of updating to make it more responsive to the call of the times.
In a meeting in August 2015, the CIRDAP Governing Council (GC)-20 cited the need to clarify certain provisions in its Operation Manual to make them comprehensible and consistent with the organization’s Articles and By-Laws, formulate key administrative components for quality assurance, and recognize the GC policy decisions.
During the EC-31 meeting, the member-countries recommended for the realignment of CIRDAP organizational structure to make it more effective in carrying out its mandated roles and in enhancing the relevance and visibility of the organization in accordance to the expectations of the member-countries.
The EC-31 meeting will be followed by a two-day agribusiness forum set October 11-12, 2017 also at the Hotel Jen.
The forum, to be attended by a group of international delegates and local contributors, aimed:
(a) To act as a servicing institution for its member states;
(b) To encourage joint collective activities to benefit the member countries both individually and collectively; and,
(c) To poverty alleviation through people's participation in the development process.
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