The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), working together with seven other CGIAR Centers under the guidance of the CGIAR Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, engaged with relevant stakeholders in the agri-food sector of ASEAN member states to discuss national and regional needs for future food systems transformation.
Dedicated cross-Center teams organized a series of technical consultation workshops with seven ASEAN member states, namely Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia in March and April 2022. Additionally, bilateral meetings were held with Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar.
The consultations are a step towards building a new ASEAN-CGIAR research program, aiming to gather insights into ways for the CGIAR to contribute to addressing food systems challenges, provide strategic direction, and support existing agricultural research and development in the region.
Partnerships as groundwork for cross-cutting change
To plan further action reflective of each country’s priorities, CGIAR partners in the government, private sector, and civil society were invited along with ministers and secretaries of agriculture to converge at the consultations.
While cross-cutting issues differ in context by country, the following thematic areas were identified as a starting point for the consultations:
• Climate-smart agriculture and aquaculture
• Policy, market integration and trade
• Nourishing Asian megacities and peri-urban areas
• Climate change and green recovery
• Mechanization and modernization (digitization) of agriculture
• Germplasm exchange for evaluation network for crops, livestock and fisheries for regional safety
• Harnessing the use of local agricultural biodiversity
• Strengthening cooperation through institutions
• Youth and women entrepreneurship and technology
The Alliance’s contribution is led by Stephan Weise, Managing Director in Asia and ASEAN-CGIAR Program Co-Director, while working closely with Nafees Meah, ASEAN - CGIAR Program Director and Asia Representative of IRRI. Several Alliance staff are also part of the Technical Development Team, namely Tiffany Talsma and Danny Hunter.
The Alliance continues to work with other CGIAR centers in refining and integrating the outcomes of the consultations to provide insights in specific complementary mechanisms in the program to address food systems challenges in the countries and in the region.
Overall, ASEAN member states expressed looking forward to CGIAR’s future contributions in the national and regional agri-food sector and how they can participate accordingly.
The ASEAN-CGIAR Initial Framing Document was presented for consideration at the 14th ASEAN Technical Working Group on Agriculture and Research Development last April 20, 2022. This is an integral step in co-developing a full proposal over the next 6 months, which will be presented in the next meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry later in the year.