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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsHello and welcome to Food and our Future: Sustainable Food Systems in Southeast Asia. My name is Matthew Fielding, and I'm the Lead Educator on the course. Today we have an interview with Dr. Bernadette Resurrección.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 secondsWelcome, Dr. Bernadette. Thank you, Matthew. Perhaps you can introduce yourself for the cameras. Hello to all of you. My name is Bernadette Resurrección and I'm a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute. I work largely on environmental issues, largely from a gender perspective, and I've done work on agricultural issues in particular a number of years ago.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsSo the first question we have is: what are the existing capacities of institutions at both local and national levels in Southeast Asia to actually engage in making changes in food systems? Well, from my experience, I would say there are a lot of institutions that actually have experience in intervening in food systems, largely because since the 1970s, I would say, or even the late 1960s, because of the so-called Green Revolution, a lot of institutions were put in place as a result. So you have, for instance, in most ministries of agriculture, you have national agriculture research systems that respond to needs for further research, say, in the field of production food and agriculture.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 secondsYou also have massive extension services that actually go to local communities and build capacities for new farming technologies or the use of new varieties, for instance. Apart from that, you have the CGIAR centres that constantly, of course, are exploring new plant and food varieties and therefore do connect and engage very much with the national agriculture research systems in each of these countries in Southeast Asia. So there's tremendously a lot of capacity and institutional support for food production and agriculture. And what level, if any, is there for coordinating these kinds of institutions on a regional level?

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 secondsAs far as I understand, I know for instance, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has time and again regionally convened these groups for various concerns, for various issues, looking at, for instance, the problem with pest disease, if you like, or any other relevant issue that would ultimately affect food production. There's been all that experience. But I think beyond the FAO, there may be other regional groups that come together, that actually convene governments and non-government organisations to actually look at issues of food security and food production.

Skip to 3 minutes and 40 secondsIn any way, can you see some barriers, perhaps, to a more regional focus? What would be the bottlenecks, you would say, that exist in translating scientific knowledge and research into more adaptive food systems?

Skip to 4 minutes and 4 secondsI think one barrier, if I may say so, would be the predominant focus on fueling economic growth in the different countries in the region. That leads to, for instance, tendencies towards massive monocrop cultivation as a result, which definitely has implications on soil and water resources. The intensive use of chemical agriculture is still, unfortunately, still with us, despite efforts say, 15, 20 years ago for low-intensive agriculture and integrated pest management initiatives. And I believe it is getting much more intensified. So that has to be addressed as an issue. And that remains to be a huge barrier. Well thank you very much for your time today, Bernadette. It's been really valuable to have you here and explaining to us.

Skip to 5 minutes and 16 secondsAnd don't forget also that you can continue the discussions in the comments section of the page. So thank you very much and I'll see you next time.

Welcome to Week 5

Welcome to the final week of Food and Our Future: Sustainable Food Systems in Southeast Asia, in which we focus on the way forward. We begin with our Lead Educator, Matthew Fielding, sitting down with Bernadette Resurrección, of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre, to discuss the capacity of Southeast Asian institutions to change in ways that result in more sustainable food systems.

This week, you will hear some new terms. To highlight the relationships between food systems, natural resources and the environment, some of our Experts refer to environmentally sustainable or resource-smart food systems, two terms that the UNEP International Resource Panel uses to describe food systems in which the environmental base to ensure the food security of future generations is not compromised. Key components of such food systems are a sustainable and efficient use of natural resources, and limited environmental impacts.


How do we reach our goal of sustainable food systems?

This week we will present a variety of ideas, projects, methods and options that attempt to answer that question in various ways. However, these are not the only ways forward. We encourage you, while going through this week’s steps, to consider other approaches: What have people, communities, or governance bodies attempted in your country or region? What were the outcomes? What kind of innovations are necessary, and what are the challenges?

Please use the comment function in the steps throughout the week to present your ideas for discussion.

Conceptual framework of food system activities and natural resources Conceptual framework of food system activities and natural resources (UNEP 2016).


UNEP (2016). Food Systems and Natural Resources. A Report of the Working Group on Food Systems of the International Resource Panel. Westhoek, H, Ingram J., Van Berkum, S., Özay, L., and Hajer M.

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Food and Our Future: Sustainable Food Systems in Southeast Asia

Stockholm Environment Institute