FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Multi-stakeholder collaboration to strengthen sustainability and resilience of livestock systems in response to drivers of change

30/10/2023 Chiang Mai, Thailand

The 13th Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) Meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) and the Regional Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation kicked off today in Chiang Mai, Thailand, running until 3 November 2023. Around 240 participants from 50 countries, including ministers and vice-ministers, high-level officials, farmers’ and producers ‘organizations, civil society organizations, private sectors, academia, and financial institutions from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania convened to inaugurate this event aimed at enhancing the sustainability and resilience of livestock systems on a global scale, with a specific focus on those in South-East Asia.

“The 13th GASL MSP Meeting and the Regional Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation in Chiang Mai, with participants from all over the world, is a great opportunity for them to add together to the discussion on what viable solutions are there to keep livestock systems sustainable and resilient amidst the impacts of the various drivers of change that affect livestock systems” said Shirley Tarawali, GASL Chair, in her welcome remarks.

Thanawat Tiensin, Director of FAO Animal Production and Health Division from the Headquarters in Rome, said that “Building on the momentum of the first FAO Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation held in Rome in late September 2023, we are thrilled to continue our discussion and take more actions at the Regional Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation and the 13th GASL MSP Meeting in Chiang Mai. Together, let's exchange knowledge, share best practices, and collaborate towards a more sustainable and resilient livestock sector. Join us as we shape the future of sustainable livestock and agrifood systems.”

The event seeks to identify drivers of change in livestock systems, analyze linkages among these drivers, and foster multi-stakeholder collaboration to drive policy changes for sustainable livestock worldwide within the 2022-2024 GASL Action Plan framework. Moreover, the meeting will provide a comprehensive overview of GASL’s achievements and briefly outline the current 2022-2024 Action Plan, underlining its alignment with the GASL Theory of Change.

Agrifood systems are influenced by various factors. Some can create long-term changes, such as the gradual transformation seen in the shift towards monogastric livestock and more intensified livestock systems, while others, such as disease outbreaks, bring short-term consequences that can cause sudden disruptions in supply and demand.

In this context, adopting a holistic perspective of livestock systems is crucial. It involves recognizing their intricate nature, spanning from resource utilization to consumption and waste management, and aligning with sustainability domains, encompassing livelihoods and economic growth, food and nutrition security, animal health and animal welfare, and climate and natural resources use. Livestock systems are complex and need to adapt quickly to change.

In recent years, global agrifood systems have faced growing instability due to factors such as geopolitical tensions, global health crises, climate change, and emerging technologies, all acting as catalysts for the transformation of livestock systems.

These transformative forces can be categorized into different areas: those related to political, social, economic, and cultural aspects; drivers linked to natural resource availability and constraints; One Health-related drivers; and innovation and knowledge drivers, which transcends these domains by responding to and accelerating change. As these drivers interact, they not only shape livestock systems but also influence a broader spectrum of spheres.

Transforming livestock production in Asia-Pacific – sustainably

“FAO’s Animal Health and Production Programme in Asia and the Pacific focuses most of its effort on transforming the livestock sector to increase production, use less antimicrobials and be more sustainable, climate-smart, genetically diverse and efficient. It is important to adapt technologies at farm level, and across value chains, to strengthen livelihoods, rural economies and production,” said Robert Simpson, Special Advisor at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “FAO will build on the outcomes of this important event as we forge a path towards better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life,” he added.

The 13th MSP Meeting of GASL and the Regional Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation will serve as a critical platform for stakeholders to delve into these transformative forces, understand their implications, and collectively develop strategies to ensure sustainable and resilient livestock systems for the future.

The welcoming session saw the participation of Chaiya Promma, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives; Shirley Tarawali, Chair of GASL; Thanawat Tiensin, Director of FAO Animal Production and Health Division, Headquarters in Rome, Robert Simpson, Special Advisor at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, Professor of the Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and Sopat Chavalkul, Deputy Director General of Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development. Following this, a keynote session framed the knowledge on drivers of change setting the context for the four sessions of panel discussions addressing different drivers of change. The ministerial roundtable was attended by Abdallah Ulega, Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Tanzania; Marcelo Gonzalez, Paraguay’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Livestock and GASL Public Sector Cluster Coordinator; Jambaltseren Tumur-Uya, State Secretary of Mongolia’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (MoFALI); and Huyam Salih, Director of African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Kenya.

Over the coming days, three plenary events will highlight perspectives and solutions to mitigate the impacts caused by the drivers of change. The meeting will end with a summary of actions for GASL and across livestock systems towards greater sustainability and resilience. Along with the main sessions, the event will feature five field trips, five side events and a sharefair featuring exhibition booths from across the globe.

In contemporary, following the success of the first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation held from 25 to 27 September 2023 at FAO headquarters, FAO RAP is hosting a Regional Conference with a dedicated focus on addressing the region’s challenges to achieve increased production with less environmental impact, less social impact and more economic return with greater equity.

Also, the first of a series of National Dialogue on Investment in Sustainable Livestock Transformation is scheduled for 6-7 November in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. This event is organized by the Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) with the support of FAO, the international development partners, and the international and regional financial institution. Its primary objective is to foster discussions on the opportunities and challenges to transform the livestock sector and promote investments to contribute to more effective, inclusive, sustainable, resilient and low-carbon agrifood systems in the country. 

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