Action on food systems transformation must be stepped up to ensure food security for the almost 100 million Vietnamese people and globally.
The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT joined various Food Systems Dialogues organized by the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Vietnam ahead of the United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS).
From June to July, the dialogues provided opportunities for participants to share their roles, find meaningful synergies, and identify new action to transform food systems to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The dialogues aim to contextualize the conversation along the UNFSS’ Action Tracks:
- 1. Access to safe and nutritious food for all;
- 2. Sustainable consumption patterns;
- 3. Sustainable food production at scale;
- 4. Competitive, inclusive, and equitable food value chains; and
- 5. Resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.
The Alliance contributed and participated in multi-level member state dialogues, including the 1st National Dialogue (15 June 2021); the Subnational Dialogues in Central Vietnam (17 June), Northen Vietnam (22 June) and Mekong River Delta (02 July); and the 2nd National Dialogue (16 July).
Sabine Douxchamps, Alliance country representative to Vietnam, spoke on behalf of the CGIAR in the member state dialogues and the CGIAR Independent Dialogue. She reaffirmed CGIAR’s commitment to shaping new action with partners in Vietnam to achieve the 17 SDGs. In Northern Vietnam, she highlighted the longstanding work of the CGIAR to provide livelihood opportunities for ethnic minorities by supporting efforts to strengthen livestock systems, forages and vegetable seed systems, to stimulate food system transformation in the region.
During the concluding national dialogue, Jean Balie, CGIAR regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, emphasized One CGIAR's initiatives to protect agri-food systems in Asia Pacific Mega Deltas like the Mekong Delta against sea-level rise, flooding, and salinization. He reiterated commitment to strengthening relationships with country partners like Vietnam, and outlined One CGIAR’s value proposition to build: "recovery, resilience, and transformation."
In parallel with the member state dialogues, the Alliance convened the CGIAR Independent Dialogue in early July, facilitating conversations between CGIAR and partners to address and prioritize needs identified by national partners and policy makers together.
Stephan Weise, Managing Director in Asia, said:
“These Dialogues have allowed us to review the entry points towards food system transformation across stakeholders — from producers to consumers, from the public to the private sector, from rural communities to urban areas. This rich input provides us with insights on new opportunities for priority actions and convergence, sharpening our contribution as the Alliance and the CGIAR.”
Towards food systems transformation
The Vietnam food systems brief was cited as a reference point during the discussions, and the Food System Profiles developed in 2020, providing an overview of food systems in rural-urban areas of Moc Chau, Dong Anh, and Cau Giay District, were used to describe the current state of food systems in Northern Vietnam.
Dr. Dao The Anh of the Vietnamese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said that these profiles, including the comparison profile of the three districts, can help researchers and policymakers understand existing challenges and provide practical policy recommendations for local socio-economic development planning.
The profiles were released after a series of validation workshops in 2019 and the Partial Food Systems Baseline Assessment in 2018, and presented at an independent dialogue organized by the farmer union and IFAD, by Tuyen Huynh, senior researcher and A4NH Country Coordinator for Vietnam. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has invited Huynh to join the Vietnam delegation participating in the UNFSS Pre-Summit from 26-28 July 2021.
Although the dialogues in Vietnam may have concluded, new opportunities remain to build transparent, responsible, and sustainable food systems. H.E Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, led the session for "Catalyzing Country-led Innovation to Transform Food Systems," presenting the result from the dialogues and affirming Vietnam’s aspiration to become the Food Innovation Hub of Asia.
After the Summit, Vietnam is expected to develop a Roadmap for Transforming Food Systems to implement and review the suitability of the Food System Framework for existing relevant policies and programs across sectors at all levels.