Regional Workshop on “Scaling-up Agroecology in ASEAN Higher Education to meet SDGs and Ensure Climate Resilience” Hosted by Maejo University (MJU), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 26-27 June 2019, International Education and Training Center (IETC)
With support from the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) Thailand, Chulalongkorn University (CU) is leading a small multi-disciplinary policy studies and dialogue project on “ASEAN Way Forward for SDGs and COP21 through Social and Sustainability Sciences” contributing to the ASEAN Work Plan on Education (AWPE), 20162020 while Thailand is Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019 under the theme: “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.”
As part of CU’s policy studies and dialogue project Maejo University (MJU) during 26-27 June, 2019 hosted a regional workshop in Chiang Mai on Scaling-up Agroecology in ASEAN Higher Education to meet SDGs and Ensure Climate Resilience” in partnership with CU and ASEAN Agriculture Universities Network (AAUN). MJU generously provided campus accommodation, meals and airport pick-up for all delegates. Participants self-financed air travel were sponsored from their home institutions or received assistance from other donors. Plenary sessions reviewed theoretical and regional perspectives and selected national or institutional case studies. Various participants made interventions which discussed perceived upscaling challenges and needs demonstrated examples of models to learn from or suggest potential synergies with the FAO-led Scaling-up Agroecology Initiative: Transforming Food and Agricultural Systems in Support of the SDGs. Small groups conducted a classic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on agroecology scaling issues for ASEAN higher education. Breakouts focused on four main themes: a. National and Campus Policies: b. Curriculum and Learning Resources, 3. University-based Extension Services; 4. Scientific Research and Data. SWOT results will be tabulated and summarized in the full workshop report… On the last day, participants toured some MJU campus research facilities and teaching farms demonstrating how MJU is aspiring to be a 100% Organic and Eco-University. Around 40 delegates in total joined from higher education institutions (HEIs), international organizations, NGOs or government agencies in eight ASEAN countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
13 universities or colleges participating in the workshop from across the region were:
- Andalas University (AU), Indonesia,
- Asian Institute of Technology (AIT); Thailand
- Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CHSUA); Philippines
- Chulalongkorn University (CU); Thailand
- Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI); Malaysia
- Kasetsart University (KU), Thailand
- Maejo University (MJU), Thailand
- National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Thailand
- Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi; Thailand
- National University of Laos (NUOL); Laos
- Vietnam University of Agriculture (VNUA); Viet Nam
- Yogyakarta Agricultural Extension College, Indonesia,
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS CONTRIBUTING
The Agroecology Learning Alliance in South East Asia (ALiSEA) sponsored the participation of 3 experts from universities in the Mekong region otherwise unable to attend. The Thai Education foundation offered insights from its research on pesticides affecting schools and regional efforts through the FAO supported Pesticide Reduction and IPM programs reflecting on future partnerships with universities. Two UN agencies. the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) actively contributed to co-organization and facilitation, as well as one regional organization: the SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). A consultant from NIDA charged with developing a work-plan for the new SEAMEO Centre for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) to be founded in 2019 by Thailand joined inviting collaboration in the development of the future work program. Two other international organizations – Bioversity International, Rome, and CIAT-CGIAR Hanoi Regional office unable to attend in person, sent short video contributions shared in plenary about the training of young scientists, agroecology and agrobiodiversity education while suggesting a future partnership with universities in the region.
MAIN WORKSHOP OUTCOMES & RECOMMENDATIONS
- Various participants made proposals to host future agroecology-related business, academic or specialized technical meetings which could examine more specific policy issues or scientific and practical topics while addressing learning gaps, capacity development or resource mobilization needs as part of a new regional network.
- Various participants expressed interest to work with FAO and different partners to develop concepts or new proposals and to secure funding for one or more multi-year, multi-country higher education and science projects for FAO’s new Scaling-up Agroecology Initiative.
- Various participants agreed to support the Sustainable Development and Sufficiency Economy Studies Center (SuDSESC), (NIDA)Thailand to incorporate agroecology higher education concerns in the development of an initial work-plan for the new SEAMEO Centre for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) to be launched in 2019 by Thailand.
- Various participants suggested establishing an ASEAN regional universities network on agroecology education and multi-disciplinary sciences (with a need to find necessary financial and human resources to support the network). Goals, scope, functions, and financing for such a network require further clarification and development in consultation with prospective partners or members.
Photos documenting the event are available online through Google Drive:
Video recordings of plenary presentations and discussion are available on YouTube:
PowerPoint Presentations from Speakers are also available soon.
CU, FAO, and SEARCA will co-edit and publish the report of the CU-Maejo workshop. CU is also collaborating with FAO to publish a related Policy Brief on Mainstreaming Agroecology in ASEAN Higher Education. That Policy Brief will review main issues and research to date while building on results from the CU-Maejo workshop and offering some practical recommendations for the ASEAN Member States, universities, partners and donors. Feasibilities and viable options for different types of future activities to address recommendations from the CU-Maejo workshop will be also explored with partners and implemented subject to available resources.