National Food Systems Summit Dialogues 2021 - Coming Together for Sustainable Food Systems
Vientiane, 2 June 2021- Today, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), in collaboration with participating ministries and the United Nations (UN), organized the National Food Systems Summit Dialogues 2021 in preparation for the Global Food Systems Summit 2021. The dialogue co-chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Phet Phomphiphak and Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator to Lao PDR convened a wide array of stakeholders at every level of food systems in the country and highlighted an extensive consultation among different stakeholders leading up to the event.
As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the Food Systems Summit 2021 aims to establish a future of more sustainable food systems around the world and inspire action on how we can get there. Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Representative shared that Food Systems are the coherent and inclusive way forward to achieving the vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It is multi-sectoral and involves all stakeholders engaging in the system -- from farm to table. “We need to work together to strengthen the Food System at all levels to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, he said.
To this end, the National Food Systems Summit Dialogue 2021 aims to outline a national pathway towards a more sustainable food system in Lao PDR by focusing on four key areas: 1) ensuring safe and nutritious food for all, 2) boosting nature positive production at sufficient scales, 3) advancing equitable livelihoods and value distribution, and 4) building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress. The Technical Groups of each thematic area are co-led by line ministries and UN agencies with contributions from across the UNCT, INGOs, private sector and other relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), The Ministry of Health (MoH), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
At the dialogue Mr. Phet Phomphiphak, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry highlighted that “this National Food Systems Summit Dialogues is an important start. It brings together government at different levels, development partners, civil society organizations, NGOs and the private sector to discuss the food systems in Lao PDR and to reach a consensus pathway for achieving SDG 1 and SDG 2”. He also emphasized that the key thematic areas of the dialogue also align with the national priorities of Lao PDR as envisaged in the National Social Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS).
Over recent years Lao PDR has made great progress towards the SDGs and creating a more sustainable food system. Even though Lao PDR faces numerous challenges and remains vulnerable to climate change, the Government has already put in place a number of policies and frameworks that can create a conducive environment for a more sustainable food systems in Lao PDR.
Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator to Lao PDR, stressed the importance of the National Dialogue, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the process and the potential for accelerated progress towards the SDGs in the country, ‘’the four thematic areas complement well the ‘five Ps’ framework of the SDGs on People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships. Both represent intertwined, and not siloed sets of goals, and naturally complement each other. In terms of the Dialogue, our goal is to balance the objectives of each and find the best way forward to create a more sustainable food system in Lao PDR. The process has been inclusive, consultative and collaborative and aligns with the new Lao PDR-UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, particularly, in particular of its people centric approach ensuring that no group is left behind at this critical juncture of the country’s development process.”
During the meeting, participants discussed and agreed on a way forward, solidifying their commitments in relation to the national pathway towards a more sustainable food system in Lao PDR. An integrated report on the proceedings will be summited by the national convener to the pre-Summit in Rome in July and then to the Global Summit in the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2021.