The Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) was established in 1996, first as an expert group and then renamed as a working group in 2000, to serve as a forum for APEC member economies to enhance the capacity of agriculture and its related industries to contribute to the economic growth, food security and social well-being in the region. The groups’ objectives are to improve the capacity of agriculture and its related industries and to share information and experiences in the areas of agriculture, biotechnology, and animal and biogenetic resource management. This working group prioritizes projects and activities that strengthen members' capacities to increase productivity and trade in agricultural products.
Challenges facing agriculture include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the deterioration and shortage of natural resources, increasing demand for food brought by a growing population, labor shortage in farming and major issues regarding animal and plant pests and diseases. APEC member economies need to strengthen their cooperation in the innovation and harnessing of agricultural technologies, and the facilitation of agricultural trade and investment. These will help in attaining a sustainable agri-food system in the region and with economies’ COVID-19 recovery efforts.
The work of the ATCWG contributes to APEC's trade facilitation agenda by reducing business transaction costs, enhancing marketing capacity and improving the implementation of agriculture-related provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs).
In 2021, the ATCWG was renewed by the Senior Officials to continue its mandate until 2025 in providing support in the development of the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 in line with the Aotearoa Plan of Action (APA), which sets out to implement the Putrajaya Vision 2040 across the APEC Region. Along with the development of the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 Implementation Plan, APEC Leaders have charged the ATCWG with:
- Strengthening food safety standards
- Responding to food security challenges including food loss and waste reduction, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agri-food systems
- Promoting the development of next-generation sustainable biofuels
- Enhancing agriculture's ability to adjust and mitigate the impact of climate change
- Fostering digital transformation in agriculture by harnessing ICT technologies
- Empowering women and youth in the agriculture sector
- Strengthening technological cooperation in the strategic planning of ATCWG projects
The development of capacity building programs in these areas is now a core ATCWG activity.
The ATCWG is composed of government officials and experts from academia and works closely with the business community.
The 26th ATCWG Annual Meeting is currently scheduled to be held physically in August, 2022 during the SOM 3 cluster. The exact date is yet to be confirmed. There are also plans to resume holding joint meetings with the PPFS and other related fora.
In this meeting, member economies are expected to share their previous outcome of the projects they conducted starting from 2021, the latest agricultural innovations and policies, as well as possible upcoming ATCWG projects. The group will also be discussing initiatives and policies to implement the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 in line with other working groups and fora of APEC.
Expected Outcomes/Deliverables for 2022
Governance in 2022
The ATCWG will keep track to the guidance of the ATCWG Terms of Reference (ToR) 2022-2025 and the ATCWG Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, which will be updated to take into consideration policy initiatives laid out in the Aotearoa Plan of Action, and the Putrajaya Vision 2040.
The ATCWG will likewise support the implementation of the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030, in line with Aotearoa Plan of Action.
ATCWG Strategic Plan (2021–2025): The strategic plan will focus on the following priority areas:
- Strengthening regional food security and food safety
- Promoting conservation and utilization of animal and plant genetic resources
- Enhancing the research and development (R&D) and extension of smart agriculture (Agriculture 4.0)
- Building agricultural value chain and marketing channels
- Building climate smart and resilient agricultural systems
- Fostering sustainable agriculture systems
- Strengthening cooperation on prevention and control of animal and plant pests and diseases
The Following Workshops are planned to be held in 2022:
- APEC-GRA Joint Workshop on Enhancing Livestock GHG Inventory Methodology (New Zealand)
- APEC Workshop on the Application of Electronic Veterinary and Phytosanitary Certificate (Chinese Taipei)
- Workshop on Sharing Good Practices on Sustainable Agricultural Development through the Principle of Sufficiency Economy (Thailand)
- Virtual Workshop: Tackling Climate Change Challenges with Agricultural Innovation (the United States)
- Virtual Workshop on a Greater Understanding of Food Loss Reduction Practices at the Farm/Producer Level (the United States)
- Seminar on Promoting Rural Development and Prosperity for All Our People in APEC Region (China)
- Virtual Workshop on Agricultural Technological Cooperation for Improving Soil Quality and Food Productivity (China)
- Workshop on Agricultural Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Digital Economy Era (China)
25th ATCWG Annual Meeting (2021)
The 25th ATCWG Annual Meeting was conducted virtually by Chinese Taipei via the New Zealand MS Teams Platform on 30 July 2021. It was chaired by the ATCWG Lead Shepherd, Dr. Su-San Chang and attended by 15 APEC economies and a total of 55 participants.
During the meeting, members discussed and worked on finalizing the ATCWG 2022-2025 Terms of Reference as part of APEC’s fora renewal process. Economies also provided updates on agricultural technological innovations and policies that they have worked on during the year.
The ATCWG Leadership selection for 2022-2023 was also announced, with Dr. Su San Chang selected as Lead Shepherd for the succeeding two years. Updates on future plans of Thailand for APEC 2022 were discussed.
24th ATCWG Annual Meeting (2020)
The 24th APEC Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group Annual Meeting (ATCWG 24) was held virtually on 25 September 2020 in Taipei. In this meeting, the ATCWG endorsed its Strategic Plan for 2021–2025 with a few revisions afterward and deliberated on the importance of agricultural science, technology and innovation, and of the role of the ATCWG in promoting regional and global food security.
Delegates gave updates on their economies’ agricultural innovations and policies. They also discussed the projects they are going to implement. All the policies and projects are aligned with the priority areas of the ATCWG Strategic Plan for 2021–2025.
Projects endorsed for 2020-2021
- APEC Workshop on the R&D and Promotion of Smart Agriculture (ATC 01 2020, Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
- APEC-GRA Joint Workshop on Enhancing Livestock GHG Inventory Methodology (ATC 01 2020S, New Zealand, Self-funded)
- APEC-GRA Virtual Farm Study Tour (ATC 02 2020S, New Zealand, Self-funded)
- APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Circular Agriculture (ATC 02 2020A, Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
- Reducing Food Loss and Waste along the Food Value Chain in APEC During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic (PPFS 03 2020, Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
- APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Sustainable Models of Agricultural Production and Resource Efficiency: Sustainable Materials Management (ATC 01 2021S, United States, Self-funded)
- APEC Seminar on Cooperation in Agricultural Production and Regional Economic Integration after the COVID-19 Pandemic (ATC 02 2021S, China, Self-funded)
- Enhanced by Informatization under the COVID-19 Pandemic (ATC 03 2021S, China, Self-funded)
Activities for 2020-2021
- Hold the 24th ATCWG Annual Meeting (25 September 2020, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the APEC Workshop on the R&D and Promotion of Smart Agriculture (23-24 November 2020, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the APEC-GRA Virtual Farm Study Tour (April 2021, New Zealand)
- Hold the APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Circular Agriculture (23-24 November 2021, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the Reducing Food Loss and Waste along the Food Value Chain in APEC During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic (30 June-2 July 2021, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the 25th ATCWG Annual Meeting (30 July 2021, Chinese Taipei)
- APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Sustainable Models of Agricultural Production and Resource Efficiency: Sustainable Materials Management (30 August 2021, United States)
- APEC Seminar on Cooperation in Agricultural Production and Regional Economic Integration after the COVID-19 Pandemic (23-24 September 2021, China)
- Workshop on Sustainable Rural Development and Human Development Enhanced by Informatization under the COVID-19 Pandemic (1-2 December 2021, China)