The Australian Government has announced additional funding of A$ 1 Million to the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food and Nutrition Security Regional Program as part of its commitment to ensure long-term resilience and sustainability of agri-food systems in the ASEAN region and its member countries.
JAKARTA, 7 September 2023 - As most of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states continue to navigate their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many recognize the persistent issue of access to healthy and nutritious food as a barrier to achieving the 2025 global nutrition targets. In addition to issues on diets and nutrition, much of the food system issues in the region also include rapid land use change, poverty, and climate change. Throughout the years, CGIAR research centers have been actively engaged in the work of the member states to transform agri-food systems and achieve food security.
In support of ASEAN programs and projects related to food and nutrition security in the region, the Australian Government is supporting the work related to food and nutrition security through sharing expertise and funding innovations for transformation. During the 3rd ASEAN-Australia Summit in Indonesia, the government of Australia emphasized this support by committing an additional A$1 Million, through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), to the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food and Nutrition Security Regional Program.
ACIAR CEO Professor Wendy Umberger says that the Australian Government is very pleased to support this new mode of developing and implementing research. “The research partnership with ASEAN means that the research can have impact on regional issues that need collective action. This modality will help address the kinds of food system challenges that don’t obey country boundaries and need a shared vision from ASEAN Member States. This approach will ensure that research is being focused on the right places and on the right things for the future prosperity and sustainability of good systems in the region,” she said.
With the support of the Australian government through ACIAR, the CGIAR is able to expand and strengthen its activities in the region to proactively address complex and interrelated challenges in agriculture and food systems that are vulnerable to the impacts of poverty, climate and environmental change, urbanization, among others.
“The ASEAN-CGIAR Regional Program aims to deliver comprehensive solutions for ASEAN member countries. This additional financial contribution from Australia plays a pivotal role in ensuring the successful launch of this program this year and it serves as the cornerstone for securing funding for the entire program over the next four years. We genuinely appreciate Australia's invaluable support for this initiative,” said IRRI Asia Director and ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food and Nutrition Security Regional Program Director, Dr. Jongsoo Shin.
Preparing for the launch of the program
Enabling inclusive research partnership between CGIAR and the ASEAN also maximizes regional expertise, capacity, and know-how in delivering key outcomes and impacts in food and nutrition systems. This timely development in time for the launch of the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food and Nutrition Regional Program on 04 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a pathway in introducing bold steps in innovation in the agriculture sector.
The outcomes of the work in the ASEAN region will contribute to how the region will square up to the emerging challenges in the agri-food systems in the next decade and beyond in the areas of environmental sustainability, agri-food value chains, investments and financing, control and management of pest and diseases and food safety, access to water resources, nutritious healthy diets, actionable policies, and gender and youth inclusion.
“We are extremely excited to launch the ASEAN-CGIAR Regional Program to continue our commitment in delivering agri-food transformation in the region, with the help of our partners in research and development, we can unlock and scale new possibilities that will shape how member states achieve food and nutrition security in their countries and across the region, while being able to respond to current and emerging threats brought about by climate crisis,“ says Stephan Weise, Managing Director for Asia of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, and Co-Director of the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food and Nutrition Security Regional Program.