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Our Expert Group on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) and Food Systems in Southeast Asia enters its second phase

Photo by Eustaquio Santimano via Flickr.

Photo by Eustaquio Santimano via Flickr.

This Expert Group is set to understand and improve the role of universities in food security of rural communities. The point of departure for the work of this group is the idea that universities can play a big role in supporting sustainable livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

The Expert Group will facilitate academic debate and policy dialogue on the sustainable agri-food system curricula, teaching, research and extension, working primarily on the intersection between Sustainable Development Goals 2 – “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agricultureand 4 – “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Sustainable Development Goals framework implies a broad and integrated approach, and so, the work of the Group will go beyond food and education. The Group will also explore how working with SDGs 2 and 4 can make a difference for poverty reduction, promotion of health and gender equality, creation of green jobs as well as for prevention land degradation or biodiversity loss while mitigating or adapting to climate change. 

 This Group includes mainly academics (from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam). However, the members of the group will be glad to collaborate with practitioners and extension specialists, farmers, youth and women groups as well as other civil society organisations, government officials, and agriculture or rural development experts from national, regional and international agencies.

The Group will facilitate three workshops in:

  1. the Philippines to engage government officials and regional bodies such as SEAMEO-SEARCA, the ADB, the UN agencies and farmer organizations;
  2. Indonesia to engage the ASEAN Secretariat, UN organizations and diplomats;
  3. one Greater Mekong Sub-Region country (location TBC) to build engagement among the member states, regional institutions and partners.

The group will prepare a final report that will provide an agri-food system component to the ASEAN Work Plan on Education (AWPE), 2016-2020.