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ASEAN’s approach to food security

Suriyan Vichitlekarn, from GIZ, discusses the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework in Southeast Asia
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In response to these challenges of food security in the region, ASEAN leaders met in 2009 and discussed a more integrated approach in terms of how food security should be addressed, and reaffirmed their commitment. What I’ll be providing to you is to understand that our political driver behind the concern of food security and how ASEAN member states agreed to join hands together to address food security. So the first issues would be to introduce to you the policy document that I will use as a basis for information to provide to you. In 2009, ASEAN leaders met in Bangkok and have agreed to pursue an integrated food security policy framework. And this is for the period of 2009 until 2014.
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This document raised the importance of how food security needs to be addressed. At the same time, also raised the importance of how we should continue to sustain livelihoods of farmers. With this goal and objective, it also signified the importance of food security on one hand for the ASEAN region as a whole, at the same time also recognised the role and contribution of the agriculture sector, particularly the livelihoods of the farmers who continue to provide a basis to serve food security. ASEAN integrated Food Security Framework, as was adopted by the ASEAN leaders in 2009, exemplified the concept of food security as adopted by World Food Summit in 1992.
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It basically recognised the fact that food security can be achieved by considering sufficient availability of food. The food should be accessible, affordable by the people. It should have nutritional value and also safety, and it should be stable, and that would mean at all times people can consume the food. This coincides with what ASEAN is trying to do. Therefore what ASEAN is going to implement will be in close synchronisation with other countries around the world to work towards achieving food security in the region and at the global level.
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I will walk you through what are the policy concepts and measures as guided by ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework, and trying just to provide the thinking behind of planning and implementation of this important policy document. Achieving food security in ASEAN region would first [be] to recognise the need to have regional food reserves as a buffer stock in order for ASEAN member states to mobilise in time of disaster and humanitarian response.
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These buffers provide a pledging of rice where the ASEAN member states can mobilise, so that if any shock in terms of extreme climate event, calamity happen in any countries, this rice reserve could be mobilised so that ASEAN could be served with certain food emergency assistance, so that the concern of food security will be reduced. Second policy measures to address food security in the region, recognise the fact that achieving self-sufficiency in food in all ASEAN countries is not going to be feasible and cost-effective. Some countries certainly do not have arable land. They don’t have resources. They don’t have labour. So producing enough food for the people would not be feasible.
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In order just to ensure that ASEAN collectively will continue to be self-sufficient in food is to make market and trade in agri-food products conducive to food security. That’s to say, to allow trade to facilitate free flow of food from surplus country to deficit country. By this way, ASEAN collectively can mobilise food from surplus countries to deficit countries so that we collectively can enjoy food and also food security for our people.
Tackling regional food security challenges requires coordinated action across Southeast Asia. In this video Suriyan Vichitlekarn, of GIZ, discusses the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework, which was implemented in response to the region’s 2008 food crisis.
Suriyan explains how ASEAN member states jointly adopted an integrated approach to addressing food security challenges. Through this video, we see how important regional cooperation can be for developing frameworks that provide shared benefits for all nations involved. In addition to food security, we also see how larger economic issues, such as regional trade flows, can be linked to such frameworks.
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Food and Our Future: Sustainable Food Systems in Southeast Asia

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