On 16 June 2022, NSTDA and the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) hosted a webinar focusing on the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) policies in the transformation of food system. Moderated by NXPO Vice President Dr. Kanchana Wanichakorn, the event brought together eminent experts with international experience to share and discuss the importance of STI and the policy to the sustainable food system. Invited speakers include 1) Prof. Emeritus Dr. Kraisid Tontisirin, Senator of Thailand and Former Director of Food and Nutrition Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); 2) Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn; 3) Mr. Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; and 4) Dr. Koen Deconinck, Economist/Policy Analyst at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In the webinar, the presentations and discussion centered around the application of science and technology that enable food system transformation to navigate food crisis - caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict from the Russo-Ukrainian war, trade restrictions, decoupling in the food supply chain as well as the effects of climate change – and achieve net zero emission. The panelists stressed the importance of R&D investment in food and agriculture as demonstrated in the OECD statistics that R&D investment can have a long-lasting impact as much as 10 times. Several initiatives were proposed and discussed such as bioscience innovation, policy deployment and short-term and long-term guidelines for cooperation between relevant organizations within a country and between member economies in APEC for supporting sustainable food system. The concept of the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) model was brought up as an example of Thailand’s policy for driving sustainable economic growth and inclusive society that covers various areas, including food and agriculture. This model aims to balance economic and social development and environmental protection while focusing on the grassroots level, i.e., farmers. The BCG model helps improve agricultural productivity, distribute income opportunities, and bring wealth to the local community which is also in line with food system transformation approaches to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Examples of BCG projects were given such as riceberry product development, waste and plastic packaging reduction, and agricultural waste upcycling.

The webinar was attended by 98 participants. This webinar is part of seminar series of Asia and the Pacific Regional Dialogue on Science and Technology for a Sustainable Food System – one of the highlights of APEC 2022 hosted by Thailand. Results and recommendations presented in this webinar will be reported at the APEC Tech to Biz meeting scheduled for 10-12 October 2022 and the meeting of APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation (PPSTI).

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