ICC Session & Ministerial Meeting is the highest decision-making body of the Community and is held annually to discuss, deliberate and take policy decisions on the activities to be undertaken by the Community for the sustained development of the global coconut sector. The countries are represented at the Session by the Honourable Ministers of Agriculture/Trade/Commerce, Plenipotentiary Delegates authorized by the National Governments and Senior Officials from the concerned Ministries.
The three-day-long 58th ICC Session and Ministerial Meeting was conducted virtually from 28th-30th November 2022. The Government of Kingdom of Tonga held the Chair of the International Coconut Community (ICC) for the CY 2021-2022 and was the host for the 58th ICC Session & Ministerial Meeting. For the third time consecutively, Session & Ministerial Meeting convened virtually.
The inauguration is an official opening ceremony organized by the host Government of Kingdom of Tonga. Dr. Viliami T. Manu, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests delivered the greeting remarks followed by the National Anthem of Kingdom of Tonga, and Prayer of Thanksgiving by Father Lutoviko Finau Parsh Priest, Nuku’alofa.
In absence of Hon. Mr. Lord Fohe, ICC Chair & Minister of Agriculture Food and Forests Government of Kingdom of Tonga, Dr. Manu read his welcome address. The official opening of the session was done by H.E. Hon. Hu’akavameiliku., Prime Minister Government of Kingdom of Tonga as Chief Guest. Introductory Remarks delivered by Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC with the soft launching of the Cocopest portal.
The 58th ICC Session & Ministerial Meeting was attended by Delegates and participants included Senior Government Officials of ICC member countries and Official Observers from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), The Pacific Community (SPC), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture (ITPGRFA), Bioversity International, Non-Alligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation (NAM CSSTC) and International Trade Centre(ITC), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Department of Science and Technology, Philippines and Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI). The Governments of Guyana, Kiribati, and Vanuatu were not represented. A total of 76 participants registered for the Session.
Country Papers- Gateway for Exchanging Ideas and Programs:
The session meeting started with the country paper presentation by member countries to give a brief update on the policies and programs for coconut development undertaken by National Governments including the legislation to promote the development of the sector. The delegates presented the status of coconut production, processing and export in their countries. Presented the updates on the coconut replanting, new planting and rehabilitation programs. The status of the research and development activities, policies, and programs implemented in the country to enhance farm productivity and increase the farmers’ income were also shared by the member country delegates. The constraints faced by the sector and suggested road map for the way forward for the coconut sector were briefed by the delegates besides the impact of Covid-19 on the coconut industry by some of the countries. The country papers helped in understanding the developmental activities undertaken by the countries and helps to identify the replicable models for customized implementation in other countries. It also helped in the exchange of ideas and technology and paved the way for possible collaborations between member countries, ICC and international partner organizations.
The International partner organizations were attended and presented the nature and extent of their involvement in the coconut sector with reference to collaboration with the community are French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD); CAB International (CABI); The Pacific Community (SPC), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture (ITPGRFA), Non-Alligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation(NAM CSSTC), International Trade Centre(ITC) Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Department of Science and Technology, Philippines and Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
The other agendas discussed were the ICC Annual Report which included the global scenario of a sustainable and resilient coconut sector, highlights of 2021, update of activities of 2022 The report was presented by Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director. The Session also discussed the various programs and projects proposed to be undertaken by ICC during CY 2023.
During the year 2022, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ICC’s activities as planned were implemented both virtually and physically. The major ICC program, which was organized physically was the 50th International COCOTECH Conference & Exhibition in association with the Government of Malaysia,. The physical program organized during the year was the International Workshop on Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in coconut and Tissue Culture Workshop both in India. The first International IPM Symposium was conducted virtually in association with the Philippines Coconut Authority. International Certificate Course for Coconut Development Officers could not conduct in 2022 and have postponed to the year 2023, to conduct physically in association with the Coconut Research Institute(CRI), Sri Lanka.
International COCOTECH Conference and Other Event Matters
The 50th International COCOTECH Conference was conducted successfully with the theme “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy for a Resilient and Sustainable Coconut Agroindustry” and the policy recommendations of the Conference and other recommendations crafted from the International Workshop on GAP in coconut 1st International symposium on IPM in coconut was adopted by the session for implementation by the ICC member countries.
The 58th ICC Session & Ministerial meeting adjourned with the acceptance of the Chair of ICC for 2023 by Government of Thailand hosting the 59th ICC Session & Ministerial meeting in 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.