The official kick-off meeting of the regional project for the development of Agroecology and Safe food System Transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET) took place on November 10-12 in Vientiane, Laos. Around 130 people attended this event online and 20 in person, both in Lao PDR and in Vietnam. The objectives of the kick-off workshop were to introduce the ASSET project, with online plenary presentations and Q&A in the afternoon (Asian time), and discussions in working groups in the morning (Asian time). Due to the Covid situation, the working groups in Cambodia and Myanmar had to be rescheduled and will be held in December.
In their welcoming remarks, Dr. Thatheva Saphanthong, Director of the Department of Agriculture Land Management (DALaM), stressed that the ”ASSET regional project was built on the results of the ACTAE project, which have been developed to embed agroecological research outputs into the regional context and which now need to be mainstreamed and broadened in scope by integrating food system concerns”. Mrs Julie Gabet-Ouahioune, from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), emphasised that “An enabling environment needs to be created, including the right policies, public investments, institutions and research priorities.”
Representatives of Vietnamese, Lao PDR, Cambodian, Myanmar, European and international research organisations, United Nations agencies, and NGO partners to the project exchanged views and ideas on how to successfully implement the ASSET project, with specific focus on the potential flagship territories in which the project will support and learn from agroecological and safe food system innovations and on the common methodological framework.
Funded by Agence Française de Développement and the European Union, ASSET is being implemented by GRET and CIRAD, and is mobilising the expertise of 27 national, European and international partners, including the Ministries of Agriculture in the four countries concerned, FAO and UNESCAP. This 5-year project aims to make agricultural and food systems in South-East Asia more sustainable, safer and more inclusive, by tapping into the potential of agroecology. “ [The ASSET project] clearly falls into this green priority commitment for our external action. AFD and its implementing partners, including GRET and CIRAD, have strong longstanding experience in agriculture research and capacity-strengthening, so I have no doubt that they will reach the intended objectives, in very close cooperation with all the stakeholders in the partner countries of this project.” explained Mr. Vincent Vire, from the European Union Delegation in Lao PDR.
On behalf of GRET and CIRAD, Mr Damien Thibault and Dr Philippe Girard reminded all the participants in their concluding remarks that ASSET is a highly innovative and ambitious initiative, therefore the active involvement of all partners is crucial.
Lucie Reynaud, GRET Regional Coordinator N° 262, Unit 11, Saphanthongkag Village, Sisattanak District, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: +856 (0) 21 453 332 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Estelle Bienabe, CIRAD Scientific Coordinator
CIRAD Office, Van Phuc Diplomatic compound, Bldg 2G, off. 102,
298 Kim Ma, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +84 (0) 8 69 61 94 90 / email: email@example.com
This publication was developed with support from AFD and the European Union. Its content is the sole responsibility of GRET and CIRAD and can in no way be considered as reflecting the views of their financial partners.