The 26th session of the Asia Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) devoted its deliberations to tackling some of the region’s most pressing challenges in improving agricultural statistics, while also providing a forum for countries to share knowledge and good practices.The gathering, held in Thimphu, Bhutan from 15-19 February, discussed and made recommendations on agricultural statistics’ role in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the establishment of a Global Commission on Agricultural Statistics, and guidelines for the World Census of Agriculture 2020, amongst other topics.
Bhutan’s Minister of Agriculture and Forests, H.E. Yeshey Dorji opened the meeting by stating, “Data and information play vital roles in planning growth and poverty reduction in this largely agriculturally dependent region.” Following on this theme, the Global Strategy contributed prominently, presenting on its progress in the region and its technical issues and challenges, providing specific examples from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Lao PDR, Samoa and Sri Lanka.
APCAS 26 was concluded with a special side event presentation on Bhutan’s model of “Gross National Happiness” as a Development Framework. Agriculture plays a vital role in this development approach, which seeks to “achieve harmonious balance between material well-being and the spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of an individual and society”. As APCAS moves forward, its slate of ambitious proposals and actions will be critical in helping countries in the region achieve this balance.