Pathways to Sustainable Food Systems in Lao PDR: Report launch on the margins of the 13th High-Level Round Table Meeting
09 November 2021
Vientiane, 9 November 2021- Today, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations in Lao PDR, launched the publication entitled ‘Pathways to Sustainable Food Systems in Lao PDR’. The report is the product of the Member States Dialogue in Lao PDR, which took place in June 2021. Shaped by the dedication and commitment of the Government of Lao PDR, development partners and stakeholders at every level of the food systems to explore the food systems as a whole; it identifies country-specific opportunities and challenges; to discuss synergies and trade-offs between different thematic areas and elements of food systems; and to delineate pathways toward more sustainable food systems in Lao PDR.
In his opening remarks, His Excellency, Dr. Phet Phomphiphak, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, thanked the UN in Lao PDR and involved stakeholders for their support, inputs and strong commitments throughout the dialogues’ process.
Considering that food system sustainability is a central development objective for Lao PDR, Dr. Phomphiphak further highlighted the importance of working together to translate commitments into actions that can bring great benefits to Lao citizen across the country. He therefore called for united actions among all stakeholders for sustainable food systems in the country.
In addressing multiple objectives for the suitability of food systems, UN Resident Coordinator to Lao PDR, Ms. Sara Sekkenes, emphasised the need for productive green agriculture practices, which are highlighted in the report. Green techniques require investment and training and should focus on large scale commercial projects but also on the livelihoods of ordinary small-scale farmers and producers, especially in remote and rural areas – ensuring they have equitable and sustainable access to land and markets and the tools and knowledge to scale up their businesses.
FAO Representative, Mr. Nasar Hayat shared the overview of the food system summit dialogues process which involved a national Food System Dialogue in Lao PDR held on 2 June, as well as Lao’s participation in the Asia Pacific Regional Food Systems Dialogue on 10 June in Bangkok, the pre-Summit held in Rome 26-28 July and the Global Summit in the margins of the UNGA on 23-24 September 2021. The pathways report is the result of the United Nations Food Systems Summit process, where more than 150 countries, including Lao PDR, made commitments to transform food systems and tackle related challenges, such as global hunger, climate change and sustainable food production, amongst others. Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, this transformation enabled by the commitments made in this process, has become even more crucial for the country. Mr. Hayat mentioned that “it’s time to follow our pathways to eliminating hunger by 2030”.
Deputy Director General, Department of Planning and Finance at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Phommy Inthichack presented the four thematic focus areas of the report – ‘ensuring safe and nutritious food for all’, ‘boosting nature-positive forms of food production’, ‘promoting equitable livelihoods’ and finally, ‘building resilience to shocks, vulnerabilities and stresses’. He further emphasised that the variety of stakeholders that contributed to the food systems process in Lao PDR is remarkable.
Looking forward, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will form a core group consisting of line ministries and UN agencies, which takes forward the work on food systems. Under a broad-based and inclusive consultation process, the group will develop a country action plan with specific initiatives that contribute towards sustainable food systems in Lao PDR.
Today’s launch constitutes a side event in advance of the 13th High-Level Round Table Meeting taking place on 17th November 2021. Each year, the Round Table meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for all those involved in development in Lao PDR to come together and work towards addressing national development challenges and ambitions.