The ASEAN-CRN in the time of Corona – Virtual Meeting

ASEAN-CRN virtual meeting participants on the World Earth’s Day, 22nd April 2020. Photo @GIZ/Diella Dachlan

Aptly themed “ASEAN-CRN in the time of Corona”, on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2020, over 45 participants attended the network’s first virtual meeting. The virtual meeting signalled the network’s first of a planned series of virtual meetings. The annual meeting of the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN), which was set to be held in Penang, Malaysia last in April 2020, was postponed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The virtual meeting was co-hosted by Thailand as Chair of ASEAN-CRN, with Malaysia as this year’s host to the annual meeting.

The virtual meeting discussed issues related to food security and food safety in the time of pandemic, funding opportunities of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness Fund for Agriculture, and updates from ASEAN-CRN and its partners. The webinar was also an opportunity for members to check on one another.

The participants were representatives of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) from 10 countries and cooperation partners such as the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS-CGIAR),  Climate-Smart Land Use (CSLU) in ASEAN, the project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-ROAP), the Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) and Grow Asia.  The meeting was organized with the support from FAO, GACSA and GIZ.

Food Security Amidst the Pandemic

Mr. Dhanush Dinesh of the CCAFS gave a thought-provoking presentation on parallelisms between the climate emergency and pandemic response, suggesting that the Covid-19 is the fast-forward version of the climate crisis. In his presentation, Mr. Dinesh discussed the implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic on food systems, what lessons we can tackle from the climate emergency in relation to the pandemic, and possible key actions towards a new normal.

On the implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic on food systems, AMS were able to exchange experiences on how each country is dealing with the global health crisis in relation to their agriculture base and food supply.

The AMAF Joint Statement and the Funding Opportunities

Mr. Dian Sukmajaya from the Food, Agriculture and Food Security (FAF) Division of the ASEAN Secretariat provided updates on the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) issuance on the joint statement addressing the pandemic and food security in the region. The joint statement in mid-April 2020 was to reaffirm commitment to ensure food security, food safety and nutrition in the region during the outbreak. The ASEAN Ministers have identified 11 points  to overcome the challenges posed during the pandemic (the statement can be viewed and downloaded here).

Mr. Sukmajaya also addressed the possible rice shortage that are facing by countries by providing a brief explanation about the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) and its application process (more information can be found here). Furthermore, the FAF division reminded AMS on the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry. 

In addition to this, the FAO is currently undertaking a regional rapid assessment of Covid-19 food systems and food security in all countries in the region in partnership with country and regional partners. FAO country offices are reaching out to governments and food system actors to undertake a range of focus discussions.

The meeting also discussed a regional proposal targeting the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) Readiness Fund for ASEAN Agriculture. The ASEAN GCF Readiness Fund proposal is currently under development and ASEAN-CRN members are welcome to be part of this regional effort. Therefore, a separate webinar dedicated to discussing the regional proposal was put forward.


Several updates of ASEAN-CRN were discussed, for example the ASEAN-CRN communication tools, including CRN design manual and the CRN website improvement. CSLU provided update on a planned Leadership Course on Land Use Management for Food Security and Climate Impacts, the review of usability and application of ASEAN guidelines from the FAF sectors and case studies on integrated mitigation and adaptation approaches in the FAF sectors.

FAO-ROAP shared their six key  climate change work programmes in 2020-2021. This includes (1) Advanced planning tools for climate resilient agriculture and value chains, (2) Nature-Based Solutions for Agriculture and Climate, (3) NDC implementation and Transparency, (4) Regional engagement on Koronivia, (5) Private sector financing for CSA and (6) Scaling-up action through GEF and GCF.

GACSA continues to play role for coordinating a knowledge platform where governments and regional groups can share their experiences in scaling-up CSA in terms of successes and challenges. GACSA will also be hosting their annual forum online later this year.

The ASEAN-CRN continues to communicate and coordinate virtually among members and partners before the actual physical meeting is taking place.

For meeting summary on ASEAN-CRN Virtual meeting series, please visit this link

Relevant information:

ASEAN pledges to ensure food security during COVID-19 outbreak

Statement of ASEAN Ministries on Agriculture and Forestry in Response to the Outbreak of the Coronavirus Diseas (COVID-19) to Ensure Food Security, Food Safety and Nutrition in ASEAN

The ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR)

The Green Climate Fund

Covid-19 and Food Security Related Articles

How we can use the COVID-19 disruption to improve food systems and address the climate emergency

COVID-19 — Another wake up call for food security

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