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Towards the UN Food System Summit: CGIAR supports transparent, responsible, and sustainable food systems in Vietnam

Transforming food systems can help attain many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a community of experts who are joining forces to confront many challenges of the current food systems in Vietnam. 

The International Rice Research Institute joins hands with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture, other CGIAR centers, international organizations, and the private sectors in a series of dialogues ahead of the United Nations’ Food System Summit (UNFSS) in September 2021. The events bring together key people from state agencies, academia, NGOs, donor agencies and industry to help address existing and emerging challenges and opportunities in Vietnam's agri-food systems and inform policies and investments. 

The dialogues take place in June and July of 2021, starting with the first dialogue chaired by MARD and UNDP on 15th June 2021. This event invited stakeholders to discuss and identify key issues and opportunities for Vietnam’s food systems in the next decade, particularly under the UN’s five 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. 

IRRI chaired the discussion under Action Track 3 which raised important issues to be tackled and key actions forwards. Highlights from this session include a significant proportion of natural resource degradation and GHG emissions linked to agriculture, and the lack of coordination among different players – especially the linkage between production and consumption. Consumers’ awareness and willingness to support sustainably produced foods plays a critical role in developing and maintaining responsible, accountable, and resilient food systems in Vietnam.

Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, IRRI Representative for Vietnam

Following the kick-off at national level, CGIAR centers organized the Independent Dialogue on 1 July 2021 to facilitate conversations with partners on how CGIAR and partners can work together to better address the needs and priorities identified by national partners and policy makers. In his opening remarks, Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander – IRRI’s Country Representative to Vietnam stressed the significance of fostering partnerships to innovate the food systems to achieve food security while addressing the complexity of climate change and emerging challenges.

Seeking the ways forwards to achieving nature-positive agriculture production, IRRI and ICRAF-led discussion with partners underscored the issues in applying the landscape/ecosystem approach in agriculture production in Vietnam and the change/action that the CGIAR and partners need to take to address them. 

Roundtable discussion

The CGIAR has been working extensively in various initiatives around Vietnam, ranging from agriculture, nutrition and diets, One Health and climate issues – and more recently contributing to COVID-19 initiatives.

The dialogue series includes other three events in the Northern, Central, and Southern of Vietnam, and will conclude in mid-July with a national workshop. MARD, with support of the CGIAR, will produce a Vietnam’s report to take to the UNFSS in September 2021.