Empowering tomorrow’s food systems leaders in Asia and the Pacific


Bangkok, Thailand — In collaboration with the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub recently facilitated the second workshop of its Food Systems Youth Leadership Program. From April 22 to 26, this event, facilitated by the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, gathered approximately 25 young professionals from 18 countries to empower a new generation of leaders poised to drive transformative changes.


Watch a recap of the workshop


About the program

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Food Systems Youth Leadership Program equips young leaders with the skills needed to implement systems thinking and integrate sustainable food systems strategies into national policies. This initiative aligns with the urgent call in the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Report of the UN Secretary-General, emphasizing the vital role of youth in fostering a resilient, equitable, and sustainable food future. Reinforcing this urgency, the fifth edition of the Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report reveals that nearly 45% of the region's population cannot afford a healthy diet, highlighting the critical need for transformative changes in the region’s food systems. 

Workshop dynamics

Structured around three core modules, the workshop concentrated on enhancing leadership capabilities, encouraging scientific innovation, and sharpening policy advocacy skills. Young professionals participated in a series of in-depth activities to strengthen their abilities to form collective visions and engage effectively in multi-stakeholder environments. 


Participant testimonials

Wannika Wutthi (Thailand): "Attending this workshop helped me gain more knowledge about the food system and improve my skills, especially leadership and communication networking skills."

Xinyue Han (China): "The crux of effectively addressing socioeconomic issues...is to transform our existing agri-food systems through multi-sectoral cooperation and collaborative leadership."

Thanh Duong (Vietnam): "The transformation of our food system is impossible without the vibrant energy and innovative ideas of young people."

Alokita Jha (India): "The learning that I have gained here is something that I'm going to put forward to the youth across India and the other youth across the Asia Pacific."

Mawloda Hassas (Afghanistan): "By actively engaging young people in food system transformation, we can ensure that their voices are heard, their concerns are addressed, and their ideas are implemented, leading to more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems."

Rino Dominic Cabungcal (Philippines): "If this incredible group is any indication, the future of our food systems is bright. We are the ones who will create lasting, positive change."

Experiencing food systems in the field

During a field visit, participants gained firsthand insights into the challenges and innovations within local food systems. The group engaged in a hands-on session entitled “Learning and Visit Aromatic Farm with the Food Systems of Regenerative Organic Coconut Agriculture Practice and Bio-Circular-Green Strategy”. They listened to an entrepreneur in the coconut industry discuss the challenges and opportunities for creating more sustainable supply chains, particularly in waste management. While participants were impressed by the business outcomes, they also recognized the high initial investment capital required, which often poses a significant barrier for youth in low and middle-income countries.


A vibrant new beginning

Equipped with new knowledge, passion, and determination, these young leaders have returned to their communities ready to drive systemic change. The UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and its partners remain committed to supporting these visionary leaders as they work to create sustainable and equitable food systems across the region. 

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