Food security experts on mission: The 6th Project Partner Meeting and related meetings plus field trip in Lao PDR, 17-20 November 2015

The ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems ‘6th Project Partner Meeting and related meetings’ were recently organized in Vientiane, Lao PDR to mark its mid-term milestone and discuss emerging issues and challenges to food security, including environment and climate changes in order to develop the post 2015 strategies for the project activities in securing sustainable food production in the ASEAN region. The events were co-hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR. About 60 participants from civil society, private sector, and research institutions of ASEAN Member State countries attended the event.

The 6th Project Partner Meeting was organized back-to-back with the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Soil and Nutrient Management Expert Group and the 7th Meeting of the ASEAN Bio Control Agents Expert Groups on Application and Regulation from 17-20 November 2015. A field trip to the Clean Agriculture Development Center of the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Lao PDR was also combined with the event.

ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) project, since the inception of the 2nd phase in 2014, has implemented activities under three intervention areas namely policy framework, production technologies and market linkages to encourage regional cooperation in promoting sustainable food production at the national level as well as enhancing synergies and boosting greater impact in respective countries. The project objective is to enable the ASEAN Member States to implement the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework at the national level.

ASEAN SAS aims to enhance capacity of ASEAN countries on sustainable food production and to promote sustainable agrifood systems, which contribute towards food security. At national level, the Project has been working closely with the Member States to implement the ASEAN Guidelines on the Regulation, Use and Trade of Biological Control Agents. In addition, experts from the ten Member States are actively engaging in the development of new regional guidelines on soil and nutrient management.

The Ministerial Statement on Food Security and Nutrition at the 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) held on 10 September 2015 noted key challenges to the sustainable food security in ASEAN region. The Statement recognised the importance in strengthening the regional as well as global cooperation and partnerships for achieving food security and nutrition particularly through engaging civil society, private sector, and research institutions.

In addition, in achieving sustainable agrifood systems, it requires close collaboration among stakeholders along the value chain, including governments, farmers, civil society, consumers, and last but not least, the private sector. ASEAN SAS has been cooperating with a number of private associations and companies in implementing pilot measures to develop business models of sustainable agrifood systems to incorporate best practices into the policy advisory processes.

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