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APEC Leaders Call for Improvement of Food Security

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Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies on Sunday called for the improvement of food security in the region.

In a declaration issued after their two-day summit in Peru's capital Lima, the leaders expressed concerns about the impact that volatile global food prices, combined with food shortages in some developing economies, were having on APEC member economies' achievements in reducing poverty and lifting real incomes over the last decade.

"We support a fully coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue through the Comprehensive Framework for Action developed by the United Nations (UN) Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis," the declaration said.

Individual and collective policy responses to expand food and agricultural supply in the region should strengthen market forces to encourage new investment in agricultural technology and production systems, it said.

The leaders said they welcomed a plan endorsed by APEC ministers to refine and strengthen APEC's agenda to meet current and emerging food security challenges. "We directed APEC to increase technical cooperation and capacity building that will help foster agricultural sector growth ... We directed APEC to help member economies develop science-cased regulatory frameworks to benefit from the potential of agricultural biotechnology," the statement said.

APEC, established in 1989, groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2008)