What is SNAP?
BACKGROUND
The developing world is facing serious food security challenges in alleviating widespread chronic hunger and meeting the target of increasing food production by 77 per cent by 2050 to address the demand of its rapidly growing population. This target must be met under various constraints such as the stagnation of expansion of arable lands and increasing scarcity of water resources. The promotion of neglected food crops such as sago palm which has a high starch yield potential and which can grow in underutilized swamps and wetlands with minimal competition from other food crops for land and water use, is therefore, of growing importance.
Sago palms play an important role in environmental protection toward the conservation of traditional eco-systems and bio-diversity. They also contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage in rural communities. When grown in a suitable environment with organized farming practices, the sago palm could have a yield potential of 10-15 metric tons of dried starch per hectare per year. This starch yield per hectare is approximately 3 to 4 times higher than that of rice or wheat.
Sago palm serves as a food security crop which can be harvested over an extended time frame, and as an income earner in many countries where it is grown, thereby contributing to household food security and to poverty alleviation. Despite its environmental and socio-economic benefit, traditional uses and industrial potential, thousands of hectares of sago forest in many countries in Asia and the Pacific Region are currently being replaced by oil palm plantations or put to other use.
The multiple benefits and uses of sago palm and its products are not well known, and accordingly sago palm has remained neglected and underutilized. The crop has, in the past, benefitted from minimal policy and budgetary support from both public and private sectors, and hence there has been almost no policy and strategic approach for long-term planning towards its promotion, sustainable cultivation, utilization and conservation through research, development, and associated interventions.
The aims of the Regional Network are to exchange knowledge, share experiences and promote collaboration and concerted efforts on the conservation, sustainable cultivation, utilization and development of sago palm, and to promote advocacy for its economic, social and environmental values and benefits among all partners and stakeholders who are associated with sago palm and its products. It is also envisaged that this regional level sago network would be linked and closely associated with existing networks. Within this context and against this background, the Regional Sago Network for Asia and the Pacific is being formed.
The SNAP will interact with a wide range of partners and stakeholders working on various aspects of sago palm research, cultivation, utilization and conservation. It will, in the process, provide an informal mechanism for cooperation and collaboration among international and regional organizations, research and academic institutions, CSOs, public and private-sector entities and other associated groups.
Activities include the following:
Knowledge sharing - research results, meeting reports, project outputs/outcomes - on the research, cultivation, utilization and conservation of the sago palm in Asia and the Pacific Region
Identification of issues and gaps in sago palm research and development and implementation of follow up actions
Establishment and maintenance of a web-site on sago palm (the web-site will initially hosted by Mei University for four years)
Development of a regional strategic framework on sago palm research, development (including effective and sustainable cultivation and utilization) and conservation, which would serve as a common platform for concerted and harmonized efforts
Conduct of an annual regional meeting, preferably back-to-back with special sago events and annual sago symposia that bring together a broad range of stakeholders and perspectives that enrich the dialogue on sago palm and enhance collaborative action to promote its sustainable development, conservation and utilization
Formulation of an action plan and/or annual work plan of the Regional Sago Network and implementation of joint activities as appropriate
Name
The name of the Network will be Regional Sago Network for Asia and the Pacific (SNAP), hereinafter referred to as the SNAP.
Establishment
The SNAP will be established at the Expert Consultation on the Development of a Regional Sago Network for Asia and the Pacific convened by FAO, on 21 and 22 March, 2013, at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.
Goal & Objectives
The SNAP will be a voluntary partnership of stakeholders promoting research, utilization, conservation and sustainable development of sago palm and its products with an overarching goal of enhancing the contribution of sago palm to food security and economic development. The SNAP aims to bring together key partners and stakeholders, including researchers, policy makers, public and private sector entities and representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), and development partners from across Asia and the Pacific Region, with the following specific objectives:
To exchange knowledge, share experience and promote collaboration and concerted efforts among all stakeholders on the research, cultivation, utilization, conservation and sustainable development of sago palm, and advocate for its economic, social and environmental values and benefits.
To promote effective linkages among public and private stakeholders associated with sago palm and reduce the negative environmental impacts of its by-products.
To facilitate the development and implementation of policies, strategies and institutional mechanisms associated with sago palm and its products and by-products.
To promote the consumption and utilization of sago.
Application for Membership
Membership of the SNAP will be expanded on an on-going basis. Other organizations/institutions interested in applying for membership in the SNAP will submit a formal application to the Chair. Membership will be approved by the unanimous decision of all SNAP members, either at the annual meeting or through email consultation.
Division of work and focal agencies
The SNAP will base its activities on an annual action plan and/or work plan, developed in line with prioritized activities outlined in its Regional Strategic Framework. SNAP members will identify activities on a voluntary basis and will select focal agencies for respective activities/action areas to facilitate collaboration among concerned institutions.
Language
The working language of the SNAP will be English.
Chair
FAO will chair the SNAP unless requested by a two-thirds majority to step down.At least one of the Vice chairs should come from one of the three main sago-producing countries ? Indonesia, Malaysia and PNG. One of the vice-chairs must be a representative of an Institution.
The Vice-chairs would be elected on a bi-annual basis. Vice chairs could stand for election to the Chair after two years. Terms of Reference of the Chair and Vice-chair are included in Annex 1.
Professor Bintoro, of Bogor Agricultural University, and Professor Kopli Bujan of the Center of Excellence for Sago Research, Universiti Malaysia, Sarawak, Malaysia will serve as vice-chairs for the term 2013 through 2015.