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Highlights of the 2nd YPARD Asia and Pacific conference

The YPARD regional unit in Asia and Pacific (AP) organized 2nd YPARD AP Conference on July 21-22, 2018 at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing, China. 

The objectives of this conference were to share regional and national updates, review of existing regional development plan, and draft of new regional development plan based on the upcoming 2018-2022 YPARD Business Plan. In addition, communication and fund-raising training, donor mapping, and budget planning and discussion were included in the two days conference agenda. 

A total of 14 participants were gathered together, including nine country representatives and three observers, and all the sessions were chaired by Mr. Dinesh Panday, YPARD AP communications officer. 

Day one

The conference started with an opening remark from Ms. Zhai Lin, YPARD Steering Committee member and director of the division of multilateral affairs at International Cooperation Department of CAAS. After welcoming all the national and international participants to the conference, she mentioned about her contribution in the recently held YPARD GCU meeting

“YPARD is currently facing some challenges such as funding, hosting of regional units, and partnerships. However, our (CAAS) professionals are actively participating in YPARD activities. Here at CAAS, we have set up an opportunity that young researchers can work with us through YPARD’s platform” Ms. Lin said. 

Updates on YPARD and YPARD AP strategic development plan was delivered by Dr. Jieying Bi, YPARD AP coordinator. Dr. Bi also highlighted the major activities of the regional unit from 2015 to 2018, including the GFAR Constituent Assembly in 2015; YPARD 10 Years celebration, GCARD3, Youth in Landscape/ Global Landscape Forum, EduMala Mentoring Program, and Eco-friendly Village Program in 2016; GFRAS Youth Working Group, youth inclusive G20 Summit, APEC Symposium on Agricultural Science Data Sharing and Service,  and YPARD’s communication focal point for APAARI in 2017.

Major ongoing activities for 2018 include ADB proposal on climate change, YPARD Global Strategic Plan, CGIAR Task Force, YPARD China-Africa Cooperation, and MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Awards. She also talked about SWOT analysis of YPARD AP as follows: 

  • Strength: partners + country representatives + members 
  • Weakness: Flexible management + time Input 
  • Opportunity: ICT + rural-urban continuum 
  • Threat: Funding + orientation 

Later on, country representatives joined to share their national level updates and they were Mr. Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam from Bangladesh, Mr. Zhong Li from China, Dr. Yashpal Saharawat from India (via Skype), Ms. Anudari Enkhtur from Mongolia, Mr. Thein Soe Min from Myanmar, Mr. Abhishek Khadka from Nepal, Mr. Jim Leandro Pil Cano from Philippines, Ms. Dilanthi Nadeeka Koralagamage from Sri Lanka, and Mr. Hika Joseph from Solomon Islands. Mr. Panday delivered his presentation on ‘Effective Communications Strategies.’ After the lunch, regional officers and country representatives were thoroughly advancing their time in YPARD AP Development Plan. 

“At YPARD, we are working as volunteers. But what we have been missing to tell other people is we are skilled volunteers and we have a capacity to support and lead in agricultural development” Azam, Bangladesh

Day two

With the brief review of the first day by Dr. Bi, Mr. Panday took a lead for finalization of discussion in the draft version of YPARD AP development plan. Those six different outputs mentioned in 2015-2018 YPARD AP development plan were adjusted (with necessary changes) in the draft version of 2018-2021 YPARD AP Development Plan according to the upcoming 2018-2022 YPARD Business Plan and assigned under the four different aims. 

YPARD has identified four main aims which are divided into strategic and supporting ones. The two strategic aims are: 

  1. To be a key influencer in the strategic direction of youth engagement in sustainable food systems; 
  2. Enable young people in agriculture shape sustainable food systems. The support aims are; 
  3. To ensure the long-term sustainability of YPARD; 
  4. Be an innovative and supportive global team.

The building block of the second day’s agenda was a training session led by Mr. Cano, YPARD AP capacity building and policy officer on ‘Fund Raising Strategies’ and ‘Donor Mapping.’ Then CRs’ demand and challenge analysis were conducted by Mr. Azam, YPARD AP partnership officer. “We have about 3,500 YPARD web members from AP, but what we are missing is to motivate our members in the capacity building, leadership, and training opportunities. How can we establish an effective mechanism?” Mr. Azam raised a question in the floor. 

As a final agenda, Dr. Bi presented budget allocation for the regional unit which was approved by all the participating members. Dr. Bi said, “this conference has successfully achieved our objectives” in her concluding remarks. 

“I am glad for being a part of this family and strategic planning meeting, the event was teeming with innovative, productive, and inspiring thoughts; networked to promote working agricultural professionals in the region. Looking forward to marching with you all friends.” Dilanthi, Sri Lanka

The very first YPARD AP Conference was organized in 2015 which formulated its four years development plan and executive committee at the regional level. As per the consent of the participating regional officers and country representatives, YPARD Asia and Pacific Development Plan 2018-2021 will be finalized by the end of August 2018. In the meantime, have a look at the YPARD Flickr page for a photo gallery of the conference.

 

Photo credit:  Jin Shan Shan