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.
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, 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 entrusted 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.
As 2023 will be the first year to begin the Implementation Plan on the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030, the ATCWG will strive to collaborate with Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS), relevant fora, sub-fora, and other organizations to carry out collective actions to contribute to the fulfilment of the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030.
- 27th ATCWG Annual Meeting
The 27th ATCWG Annual Meeting is currently scheduled to be held physically in August 2023 in Seattle, Washington during the Food Security Week of the SOM3 cluster. The exact date is yet to be confirmed. In this meeting, member economies are expected to elect the new ATCWG lead shepherd for the term starting from 2024, share their previous outcome of the projects conducted after the 26th meeting till 2023, the latest agricultural innovations and policies, as well as possible upcoming ATCWG projects.
- Fora Governance in 2023
- Conduct Leadership selection process in May 2023;
- Conduct an interim review of the 2021-2025 ATCWG Strategic Plan;
- Contribute to the Implementation Plan on the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030;
- Contribute towards Food Security and Agriculture initiatives of the ATCWG, PPFS and other food security related working groups; and
- Contribute to the SCE reporting documents such as but not limited to:
1..1. the biennial reporting on progress in the achievement of La Serena Roadmap objectives;
1..2. biennial reporting on progress towards the achievement of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040; and
1..3. Draft ATCWG’s annual report for endorsement.
- Projects to be held in 2023
- APEC Workshop: Promote Rural Development and Prosperity for All Our People in APEC Region
- Virtual Workshop: Tackling Climate Change Challenges with Agriculture Technology and Innovation
- APEC Workshop on Food Loss and Waste Tracking and Food Recovery in Hospitality, Food Service and Retail Industries
- Collaborating with the PPFS in hosting the Workshop on Designing Policies that Support Water Efficient and Sustainable Agricultural Practices in APEC
- Collaborating with the PPFS in hosting the Workshop on Approaches to Decreasing Agriculturally Generated Greenhouse Gas Emissions in APEC
- Workshop on Reducing Food Loss and Waste by Strengthening the Resilience of APEC Food System and Enhancing Digitalization and Innovative Technologies
- APEC Workshop on Digital Agriculture Cooperation for Ensuring Food Security
- APEC Workshop: Promote the Cooperation on Green Control Technology for Major Crop Diseases