FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

COVID-19 response, recovery and beyond: Collaboration for resilient food systems in ASEAN Roundtable with Senior Officials of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF)

24/06/2020-24/06/2020 Virtual meeting, Bangkok, Thailand

FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is convening a roundtable discussion in collaboration with ASEAN senior officials of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry to discuss the COVID-19 responses across the ten member countries and to consider next steps forward. The virtual meeting will take place on Wednesday, 24th June 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic is posing an unprecedented challenge to Governments and populations across the globe. The spread of the virus, by itself, is placing huge pressure on health systems but it is also having enormous social and economic repercussions across all sectors of the economy including food and agriculture. The necessity of physical distancing, lockdowns, travel and trade restrictions has seriously reduced activities across the food system. Agriculture, covering farming, fishing, and forestry, contributed to more than 10 percent of ASEAN GDP annually in recent years.

The ASEAN perspective

  • The Statement of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to ensure food security, food safety and nutrition has emphasized the importance of the food, agriculture and forestry sectors, and urged to ensure that essential, safe and nutritious produce continues to reach ASEAN markets
  • Noted the FAO Policy Brief on ‘COVID-19 and the risk to food supply chains: How to respond?’ and agreed that as countries combat the COVID-19 pandemic, they must also make every effort to keep the gears of their food supply chains moving
  • Recalled the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Statement on Strengthening ASEAN’s Economic Resilience in Response to the Outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which resolved to remain committed in keeping the ASEAN market open for trade and investment.
  • Noted that the COVID-19 outbreak has drawn our attention on the immediate danger of food shortage and its adverse effect on nutrition, given a sudden spike in demand and disruption in supply chains, and that ASEAN needs to also continue its efforts to ensure stable and sustainable food sources.

The roundtable

The AMAF Statement looks forward to further exchange of views and collaboration in food, agriculture and forestry development with other sectors and partners to address the adverse impacts of COVID-19. FAO, therefore, will convene a joint roundtable with SOM-AMAF to discuss actions and support for ASEAN to collaboratively mitigate these impacts. The existing Memorandum of Understanding and work plan between the two organizations and FAO’s experience and capacity to assist ASEAN and its Member States provides a strong basis for concrete technical assistance along with development partners.

The roundtable event is by invitation only