This expert group aimed to assess capacities, best practices and policy options on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region while exchanging knowledge, and exploring interdisciplinary curriculum reform, teaching and research-extension needs as a contribution to strengthening regional poverty reduction, food/nutritional security and environmental protection.
The project engaged academic, civil society/NGO, government, ASEAN Secretariat officials, other regional organizations, UN and other partners in seminar discussions, policy dialogues, document drafting “write-shops” with academic analysis and reflections on government planning about HESA related concerns to improve curricula, research and extension services.
This SIANI project focused initially on establishing three expert sub-groups in three pilot countries (5 to 7 national or regional experts each from Thailand, the Philippines and Laos, PDR). This was quickly accomplished with great interest and participation already exceeding expectations in a short time. Inaugural national Expert Group meetings included national events hosted by CUSAR in Bangkok, Thailand (19-20 March); University of the Philippines Los Baños/UPLB, (27-28 July); and National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Laos PDR (4 August). Representatives of each national group also attended the first regional meeting Aug 18th 2015 at CUSAR in Bangkok to present Policy Brief outlines and discuss lessons learned with potential for broader research collaboration.