Experts convene for regional review of food systems transformation progress in Asia-Pacific

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The United Nations Food Systems Coordination Hub convened Food Systems National Convenors from the Asia-Pacific region on April 29, 2024, in Bangkok for a food systems transformation progress review. The meeting was part of a series of regional meetings held with the National Convenors to discuss progress since the 2023 United Nations Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2) held in July 2023 in Rome to prepare for the for the next UNFSS Stocktaking Moment and UN Climate Change Conference planned for 2025.

More than 100 experts from 20 countries representing the National Convenors and their teams, plus UN country and regional staff and other stakeholders participated in person and virtually. The meeting was held at the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) office and organized by ESCAP, the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 report, progress in the Asia- Pacific region in achieving food security and nutrition objectives has stalled or regressed compared to the period before the global pandemic. During the meeting, Dr. Dao The Anh, National Convenor from Viet Nam and Vice Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) took the opportunity to emphasize that healthy diets are one of the key objectives of the National Action Plan on Food Systems Transformation toward Sustainability, Responsibility, and Transparency by 2030 (FST-NAP), which was issued in 2023.

Viet Nam is one of the three target countries of the CGIAR Initiative on Sustainable Healthy Diets through Food Systems Transformation (SHiFT). VAAS is one of SHiFT’s Strategic Partners in Viet Nam. As SHiFT’s Country Coordinator in Viet Nam, Tuyen Huynh from the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, works with VAAS and the other Strategic Partners to facilitate SHiFT’s support to the food systems transformation process. Recently this has included capacity building activities, like the new Training of Trainers (ToT) program and technical support for subnational policy dialogues and the M&E system, which were mentioned by the Viet Nam delegation during the progress review.

Upon invitation by the national team, Ms. Huynh joined the progress review meeting in Bangkok. During the meeting, the Viet Nam delegation provided an update on food systems activities that are in progress across the country, many of which SHiFT researchers are supporting. The activities include:

  • Integrating nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems under the National Action Plan of Zero Hunger into activities under the National Target Programs on Poverty Reduction in remote areas.
  • Establishing a food systems partnership for fostering the implementation of the FST-NAP.
  • Establishing a Food Innovation Hub, a small-scale bottom-up mechanism to attract new technologies that support food systems transformation.
  • Holding a series of subnational policy dialogues to support the implementation of the FST-NAP.
  • Developing an M&E system for the FST-NAP.
  • Capacity building and communication on food systems.
  • Cooperating with university networks to integrate food systems into curriculum.

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT lead SHiFT in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Research and with contributions from the International Potato Center. SHiFT combines high-quality nutritional and social science research capacity with development partnerships to generate innovative, robust solutions that contribute to healthier, more sustainable dietary choices and consumption of sustainable healthy diets. It builds on CGIAR’s unparalleled track record of agricultural research for development, including ten years of work on food systems and nutrition under the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.

Information about this meeting was reported in an online piece in the Vietnam Rural Development Science Electronic Magazine on May 18, 2024.

This news item was written by Tuyen Huynh, SHiFT Country Coordinator for Viet Nam.

Header image: Participants listen during the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub’s regional review of food systems in Asia and the Pacific held in Bangkok on April 29, 2024. Photo by Tuyen Huynh, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.

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