The Council Conducts ASEAN-Wide Workshop on the United Nations Food Systems Summit to Emphasize Role of U.S. Business in Supporting the Regions Food Security

On July 15, the US-ASEAN Business Council (The Council) conducted its inaugural Virtual ASEAN Workshop in preparation for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (FSS) in September. The event provided ASEAN FSS country conveners with a platform to share game-changing solutions raised in National Food Systems Dialogues and emphasized the private sector’s role in building more sustainable and equitable food systems to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The workshop began with opening remarks from Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh, followed by keynote addresses from Acting Administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service Daniel Whitley and Former USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. Mr. Pushpanathan Sundram, Senior Advisor for Public Policy and Government Affairs for Elanco Animal Health, and Chairman of the Council’s Food & Agriculture Committee, also provided an address highlighting member contributions and activities to enhance ASEAN’s food safety, security, and sustainability.

“The Food Systems Summit offers a critical opportunity for U.N. member states and all stakeholders to drive consensus on harnessing the power of agricultural innovation to achieve the three essential elements of sustainability - economic, social, and environmental,” said Ted McKinney.   

“USABC companies are committed to supporting the ASEAN governments in enhancing their food security, safety, and sustainability in support of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of zero hunger, responsible production and consumption, climate action, gender equality, and good health and wellbeing,” said Pushpanathan Sundram. “In this regard, we have been working on empowering farmers on the use of agricultural innovations with emphasis on environmental sustainability. We hope to do more by building collaborative platforms in support of the U.N. Food System Summit to engage ASEAN governments and farmers to reduce food and nutrition insecurity, embrace diverse diets, including animal protein based on science-based standards and consumer choices, and enhance trade and investment for greater accessibility of food. We hope ASEAN governments will involve the industry and other stakeholders in enhancing the community contribution for improving food systems in ASEAN.”  

These sentiments were echoed by keynote speaker Daniel Whitley. “The Food Systems Summit offers us a chance to bring diverse stakeholders together around possible solutions to core issues in our food systems,” Mr. Whitley said. “We need to work together to build more sustainable food systems.”      

The second half of the workshop featured a panel discussion moderated by Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council. During the panel discussion, ASEAN FSS dialogue convenors shared outcomes and game-changing solutions raised in their national-level dialogues, discussed strategies to improve access to nutrition, and shared expectations for outcomes of the FSS in September. The panel was comprised of H.E. Sok Silo, Secretary-General for the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, Cambodia; Professor Nunung Nuryartono, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management at IPB University, Indonesia; Dr. Vanida Khumnirdpetch, Director of the Bureau of Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Thailand; and Dr. Truong Tuyet Mai, Vice Director of the National Institute of Nutrition, Vietnam.       

“The discussion we’ve had today has been a very important one for all of us. We hope that this workshop has provided all stakeholders in ASEAN’s food and agriculture sector with valuable insights or even a fresh perspective on how we can champion multistakeholder collaboration to develop robust food systems in the region,” said Amb. Michael Michalak. “We hope that the learnings, guidance, and insights from today’s session will help shape further discussions during the FSS process. USABC and its members stand as ready resource partners to assist ASEAN countries in transforming progressive food systems, and we wish to reiterate our commitment to the region.”

USABC member companies who participated in the workshop included Bayer, Bower Group Asia, Cargill, Corteva Agrisciences, Elanco Animal Health, Herbalife Nutrition, and Nestle Purina Petcare. Officials from the ASEAN Secretariat Food, Agriculture and Forestry Division; U.S. Foreign Agriculture Service; Council of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cambodia; Ministry of National Development, Indonesia (Bappenas); Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR; Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries, Malaysia; Singapore Food Agency; Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand; and the National Institute of Nutrition, Vietnam were also in attendance.


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Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.