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APEC dialogue on food security, blue economy kicks off in C.Philippines

MINISTERS of 21 member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) convened Sunday for a two-day forum to push for food security and blue economy in the region.

Philippine Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, during his opening remarks at the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue held in central Philippine city of Iloilo, called for greater cooperation among member economies to unlock the full potential of the so-called " blue economy" and achieve inclusive growth in the region.

"We envision a regional cooperation to narrow the gap in economic development of our economies while sustaining growth with equity," he said.

Paje underscored the need to narrow the economic gap among APEC nations, noting that the region currently "comprise economies at varying levels in the development spectrum."

Paje said the two-day forum provides "an opportunity to discuss concrete and feasible actions to advance sustainable management and conservation of our coastal and marine ecosystems and habitats, and improved biodiversity to support higher fisheries productivity and provide better ecological services."

He said the focus of the meeting is anchored on one of the four priority themes of the host country of this year's APEC meetings, the Philippines, which is "Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities."

The APEC dialogue aims to produce a plan of action that would keep the coastal and marine ecosystems resiliency and ensure sustainable food supply chains.

The action plan tackles three priority areas: resilient oceans and coastal resources; fish loss production; and agri-business development.

"The plan of action has undergone several revisions from the important and valuable comments and suggestions from different member economies," Paje said.

"I express hope and confidence that the proposed Plan of Action of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy will be adopted at the end of this meeting," he added.


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