Thailand made remarkable progress in nearly eliminating hunger and undernutrition in their country. To share the lessons from their experience with a broad range of stakeholders from Africa and Asia—including those from Compact2025 focal countries Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Rwanda—the International Food Policy Research Institute and Mahidol University hosted a learning event in Bangkok, Thailand on June 20 and 21. The event was developed in partnership with Compact2025 and the Food Security Portal project, and with support of Nourishing Millions and the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (AROFIIN).
The workshop presented a unique opportunity to bring together over 50 stakeholders from government, the private sector, academia, and civil society to discuss these questions. The discussions focused on how to mobilize communities and work together across multiple sectors to for large-scale progress in nutrition.
The event was opened by Dr. Shenggen Fan, director general of IFPRI and member of the Compact2025 Leadership Council, and Udom Kachintorn, President of Mahidol University. Professor Emeritus Kraisid Tontisirin of Mahidol University gave the keynote presentation on Thailand’s Progress in Meeting Food and Nutrition Security Goals. He described the formulation of Thailand’s nutrition program, as well as their current vision of a country that “ensures food and nutrition security and is a sustainable source of nutritious and safe food with premium quality for Thailand and the world”. His exciting presentation set the stage for robust discussions of how other countries could mobilize communities at the massive scale seen in Thailand.
The keynote presentation was followed by three roundtable discussions, each of which was kicked off with a presentation from a prominent Thai expert to set the context. The presenters were Dr. Siriwat Tiptaradol, Senior Advisor from the National Health Commission; Dr. Tantip Thamrongwaranggoon of the Sustainable Community Development Foundation from Ubonrat Hospital; and Dr. Pattanee Winichagoon, Associate Professor at the Institute of Nutrition of Mahidol University. The workshop featured a multi-sectoral panel, moderated by Associate Professor Dr. Emorn Udomkesmalee, also of Mahidol University’s Institute of Nutrition.
Among the key messages from the workshop were:
- Nutrition efforts must be country-driven, as was seen in Thailand’s case
- Research is critical for producing knowledge, research, and policy advice for government
- Community-led mobilization with monitoring and evaluation, supported by modern and innovative technologies, can improve tracking at all levels
- Under the right policy environment, the private sector can support nutrition efforts as a profitable opportunity
- Mutual learning by bringing together different countries and stakeholders is critical
On the second day, participants toured visited Mahidol Uinversity, an institution that played a critical role in Thailand’s nutrition achievements. Participants also learned about the Sampran Model for sustainable and organic food sourcing, and visited a farm demonstration site in Central Thailand.
A draft case study of Thailand’s success was prepared to inform the discussions, and will be updated shortly with inputs from the workshop. Additional meeting documents and presentations can be found here:
- Draft case study: Thailand food security and nutrition—successes and next steps
- Presentation: Thailand’s Progress in Meeting Food and Nutrition Security Goals (Dr. Tontisirin)
- Presentation: Strategic Planning & Coordination Experience of Thailand (Dr. Tiptaradol)
- Presentation: From Healthy Ubonrat district to the best district of the World (Dr. Thamrongwaranggoon)
- Presentation: Tracking and Monitoring Progress on Nutrition (Dr. Winichagoon)
This post will be updated with a meeting synopsis and further resources.