DPM attends Second National Dialogue towards UN 2021 Food Systems Summit
07:42 | 17/07/2021
VGP - The Second National Dialogue on Viet Nam's Food Systems towards the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit took place in Ha Noi on July 16.

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh delivers remarks at the Second National Dialogue towards the UN 2021 Food Systems Summit, Ha Noi, July 16, 2021 - Photo: VGP

The event was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, with support from the United Nations in Viet Nam, international and national development partners, research institutes, universities, businesses, associations and other stakeholders.

The presence of Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, leaders of various ministries, cities and provinces, socio-political organizations, and development partners, shows that the Government of Viet Nam attaches special importance and high commitment to the transformation and development of transparent-responsible-sustainable food systems in Viet Nam in the context of the "new normal".

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam Kamal Malhotra, and World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam Carolyn Turk, co-chaired this Dialogue.

In his opening remarks, Deputy PM Pham said: "The Government of Viet Nam is fully aware of the need for close coordination among countries and actors in the food systems in order to create revolutionary, sustainable and extensive changes of the whole systems. This will help us do better in the cause of alleviating poverty, ensuring food and nutrition security in the rural areas, especially in the remote or ethnic minorities' regions, and among the vulnerable groups in a more effective and sustainable manner, with a special focus on women and children. In addition, it is also an opportunity to connect actors both within and outside the food sector to share their experience and jointly develop the value chains of Viet Nam's key agricultural products toward transparency, responsibility and sustainability".

Viet Nam's agriculture plays a particularly important role in ensuring food security, social stability and livelihoods for over 60 percent of the population living in the rural areas, and contributes 14.85 percent of the country's GDP (2020). Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the global climate change and natural disasters, Viet Nam's agriculture still maintained a growth rate of 2.68 percent in 2020. The export turnover of agricultural, fish and forest products hit US$41.53 billion in 2020 and US$24.23 billion in the first half of 2021.

The Deputy PM also highlighted the important role of digital technologies and innovations in increasing the production efficiency, productivity, food safety and distribution, as well as in connecting producers directly with consumers. In addition, it is crucial to minimize food losses and wastes, and create better resilience of agricultural supply chains, raise awareness and promote green and sustainable consumption as an effective solution to protect the environment and the public health towards sustainable development.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le said: ""We need to support the development of equitable and sustainable agri-food value chain by promoting grassroots farmer organization development and diversified public-private partnerships to incentivize private investments for responsible, transparent and sustainable agricultural value chains, which is the key for enhancing coherence and equal benefits among actors in agri-food value chains; Scale up and replicate initiatives of farmer organizations and small and medium enterprises at grassroots level in establishing and strengthening coherence, ensuring transparent and equitable value distribution among agri-food value chain actors, enhancing benefits and health of consumers, reducing carbon emission, and applying 4.0 technologies, etc. in order to optimize the integration of multiple values, including economic, cultural, social, landscape and environmental elements in agricultural products".

Viet Nam's diverse food systems are facing many challenges. Global forecasts and empirical data in recent years show that Viet Nam is one of the countries most heavily affected by climate change. Viet Nam needs to take specific actions to enhance cooperation, promote the formation and development of smart, resilient and sustainable food systems, not only ensuring food and nutrition security for nearly 100 million Vietnamese people but also contributing to the global food security, especially in the context of the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viet Nam today is not only producing sufficient food quantities to feed her nearly 100 million people, but also contributing to ensuring world food security", said Malhotra. "However, the Vietnamese food systems are also facing critical challenges. Nutritional security remains a dilemma mainly due to unhealthy diets and unsafe food. Environmental degradation due to natural resource depletion and chemical overuse is becoming more and more alarming. The unequal value distribution, inability to attract young workers, lack of market connectivity, and weak supply chain management have reduced the competitiveness of agriculture and food industry. The United Nations in Viet Nam will accompany the Government of Viet Nam, along with other development partners, to further transform the food systems, contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

In her opening speech, Turk said: "The agricultural sector, with its enormous progress over the past three decades, has played a central role in Vietnam's successes in reducing poverty and maintaining food security and social stability. From not having enough to feed its own citizens, Vietnam has become an export powerhouse of rice, coffee and fish. However, the sector is facing daunting challenges which, if left unresolved, will put the country at risk of not fulfilling the SDGs. First, the sector is the third-largest emitter of GHGS. Second, agricultural production activities are extremely vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Third, food safety remains a major public health and trade concern. Now is the time for the sector to transform itself into a greener, more sustainable and inclusive one. The World Bank and other development partners stand ready to join forces with the government and the private sector to foster such transformation."

After the Summit, Viet Nam will develop a Roadmap for Transforming Food Systems to implement and review the suitability of the Food System Framework with a multi-sectoral, multi-level approach to the existing relevant policies and programs. In the implementation process, it is necessary to solicit the cooperation, collaboration and support from all ministries, line agencies, local authorities, development partners, businesses, associations, international organizations, NGOs, scientists, experts, and the public, in ensuring the achievement of socio-economic outputs, including nutritional and health ones, and minimizing the negative impacts on the environment, contributing to the successful roll-out of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Viet Nam's second National Dialogue aims to: i) share with the participants the discussion results of the previous Dialogues; ii) share the draft on the priorities and implementation roadmap for transforming the food systems in Viet Nam; and iii) call for the attention, cooperation, collaboration and support of stakeholders in the implementation process towards building transparent, responsible and sustainable food systems in Viet Nam. The Dialogue has attracted many participants, who are representatives of diversified groups of stakeholders, in the relevant discussions./.

By Thuy Dung


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