Writer: Agriculture and Food Cluster Team
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the German Regional Cooperation project’s ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS) implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, together with Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR organized the 6th Project Partner Meeting and related meetings on 17-20 November 2015 at Vientiane Plaza Hotel in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.
ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) as part of the ASEAN-German Programme on Response to Climate Change in Agriculture and Forestry (GAP-CC) being implemented by GIZ is now in its second phase from 2014-2017. As Food Security in ASEAN requires national sustainable agrifood systems that sustain, the livelihoods and competitiveness of agriculture and supply sufficient staple food throughout the region, ASEAN SAS supports development of regionally-coordinated policies, strategies and dialogue concepts for a sustainable agrifood sector; promotion of the use of sustainable inputs and crop management practices through capacity development; and promotion of sustainable cross-border value chains in collaboration with the private sector.
This 6th Project Partner Meeting is another important milestone for ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems to review past achievements and discuss challenges to develop strategies for project implementation beyond 2015.
Considering the progress and achievements of project activities over the past years, these meetings provides a platform for project partners from the ASEAN Member States and private sector to discuss challenges and lay out work plans and strategies for project implementation in the coming years.
Mr. Xaypladeth Choulamany, Director General of the Department of Planning and Cooperation and Leader of the Senior Official Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF) for Lao PDR, officially opened the meetings. He highlighted the commitments and efforts of all ASEAN Member States and the support from Development Partners and international organisations contributed to the success of the realisation of the ASEAN Community by the end of December 2015. He reiterated the commitments of the ASEAN Member States made at the 37thAMAF Meeting in the Philippines to continue the cooperation and deepen regional integration beyond 2015 to improve ASEAN’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors and to achieve regional sustainable food security and nutrition. He recognized the efforts of the Member States with the support from the Federal Republic of Germany through ASEAN SAS to enable ASEAN Member States to implement the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework at national level and to strengthen the promotion of sustainable food production in the region.
In her Welcoming Remarks, Ms. Sri Dyah Kusumawardhani, Senior Officer of Agriculture Industries and Natural Resources Division of the ASEAN Secretariat underlined the importance of regional as well as global cooperation and partnerships for achieving food security and nutrition particularly through engaging civil society, private sector and research institutions. She emphasized the importance of sustainable food production through sustainable agrifood systems as addressed by ASEAN SAS and its contribution to food security. She also stressed that the meetings shall highlight emerging threats to food security such as environmental and climate-related changes and identify sustainable approaches for securing food production in the ASEAN region.
Dr. Matthias Bickel, Project Director of ASEAN SAS underscored in his Introductory remarks the German efforts to strengthen food and nutrition security through the promotion of sustainable agrifood systems to ensure food security at national and regional levels under the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework. He highlighted the progress made through the productive collaboration with the Member States to address sustainable food production in three intervention areas of policy frameworks, production technologies and market linkages. Considering ASEAN recognized World Economic Forum (WEF) and supported Grow Asia Partnership, which was officially launched in April 2015 to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration to enable sustainable and inclusive agricultural development in 10 ASEAN Member States, he emphasized that collaboration and partnership with private sector is the core factor for a success in achieving our goal. At his end note, Mr. Bickel concluded that this meeting is another important milestone for ASEAN SAS to review past achievements and discuss challenges to develop strategies for project implementation beyond 2015.